Nikon Df Review
Three Guys’ Review: Nikon D5300
Nikon Singapore D4s Launch Event

Sony Announces Alpha a5100

Sony Alpha a5100 with 16-50 lens

Sony’s first off the blocks for the Photokina news, with the NEX, err, I mean, Alpha a5100. It is basically an updated a5000 with the a6000′s guts. So that lovely 24 megapixel sensor with the 179 phase detection autofocus points is now available in a cheaper camera that also does selfies.

There are also a bunch of other upgrades, such as a proper VGA resolution LCD at 3″ in size, a slightly higher continuous drive at 6 FPS, and like the recent Sony cameras, supports 1080p video at 60 FPS encoded with the 50mb/s XAVC-S codec. This is achieved with a full sensor readout too.

Those are pretty serious specs at a lower price, starting at US$550 for the body or US$700 for the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 power zoom kit lens. There are a few things missing, like superb lenses for the E-mount, no EVF, and lack of microphone and headphone jacks, but it is still a pretty serious set of specifications.

The a5100 is expected to arrive sometime in September.

Off-topic: A Surprise Addition

Cassie the CockatielI’ll keep this short, I promise: Lately it’s been really quiet around here, and it’s mostly my sister’s fault. See, she bought this cockatiel, and pretty much ended up with me taking care of it as it settled in. It being a seven-week old unweaned fledgling

Ok, so it is partly my fault. But just see how adorable it is; I wasn’t going to neglect it.

If this is even anywhere near a tenth of what it takes to take care of a human baby, I’ve got a new-found respect for you parents.

Meanwhile Photokina is just around the corner, so expect more news soon, starting with the next post!


Nikon D810 Debuts at “I Am Moving Pictures” Event (With High ISO Samples)

Nikon D810

Nikon D810

Nikon Singapore launched their latest digital SLR, the D810 today. The event was held at the upper-class bar Altimate on the 61st floor of One Raffles Place which offers a breathtaking view of the city. After a high-tempo dance routine by the “K-Pop Dances”, Nikon Asia President and Chief Regional Officer (S.E. Asia, Oceania, Middle East, Africa Region), Mr Noriyaki Yamaguchi, gave a short keynote before officially launching the camera with a clap of the clapperboard.  Continue reading

Nikon Announces the D810

Nikon D810 with AF-S 24-70mm Lens
So, are we moving towards incrementing smaller numbers instead of adding the letter “S” for minor updates? Nikon’s update and merging of the D800 and D800E is the D810, which properly removes the anti-aliasing filter. Other upgrades of note include a new first electronic shutter curtain and a re-designed mirror mechanism to combat the effects of vibrations, a faster continuous shooting rate of 5 FPS thanks to said re-design, a small raw format of 9 megapixels, and the Group Area AF mode that is carried over from the D4S. The new “highlight metering” mode that sets exposures to preserve highlights is another clever feature on paper that really should have been present in digital cameras since its inception.

There are also a few upgrades for videographers, or at least, still photographers who might need to use it as a video camera, in the form of 1080p at 60 FPS, a flat Picture Control mode for increased dynamic range, and zebra patterns in live view mode.

Overall, the upgrades are all minor, but anyone thinking of buying a D800 should be pleased with them. The camera will arrive in July for US$3,300, which is probably the only complaint most will have - merging the D800 and D800E and charging the latter’s price seems like a price hike to me.

CK: It’s call streamlining of the product line. Or maybe Nikon decided that they’ve priced the D800 too low and is now taking the opportunity to correct it. But yeah, the changes look rather incremental. 4K video would have been a nice addition, though, but looks like we will have to wait for another Nikon camera for that to happen.

More From Broadcast Asia 2014, With Very Brief GH4 Thoughts

P1020446I dropped by Broadcast Asia 2014 again, and this time Panasonic did not boot me out. Unlike many others Panasonic did not just have a booth, they had a whole room to themselves! The outer ring of the room was filled with different technology demonstrations, including this massive video wall. Who wants a bunch of these for their next photography exhibition?

Continue reading

Sony A7S High ISO Samples (UPDATED!)

P1020413Update (20/06/14): Adobe announced the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw, so I have updated the post with the ACR processed RAWs at the end. This also makes the post even larger, so it is best to view this on a fast connection.

As referenced in the last post, I spent a little time with the Sony A7S, and was pleasantly surprised when I was told I could take some sample images and put them up online. This is from an A7S with firmware version 1.0, and I was told this should be almost a production-level camera. This is not a definitive look, as a show floor is not the place to form final judgements, but it still allows for some decent first impressions, especially for low-light high ISO ones.

Some large images after the break, along with my comments. Continue reading

Broadcast Asia 2014 Begins; YS Gets Booted Out by Panasonic but Finds Solace with Sony

P1020406There are a few trade shows for cameras that stick in most people’s minds, the two that dominate are usually PMA (Photo Marketing Association) and Photokina. With video taking a more prominent focus, the NAB Show (National Association of Broadcasters) is the big one for video and film-making. Well, Singapore has its own show too! BroadcastAsia is now in its 19th year already, and this time round, I paid a visit. As you can see from the above image, it has no problem attracting well-known names. Time was a bit short today so my tour was a bit of a whirlwind one – what you see here represent about 5% of the exhibitors present!

Continue reading

Fujifilm Finally Launches the Weather-sealed Fujinon XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR APS-C Lens

Fujinon XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR APS-C lens

Fujinon XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR APS-C lens

The Fujinon XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR (what a mouthful) was announced quite some time back in one of Fujifilm’s lens roadmaps and it has been highly anticipated since. The wait is finally over and Fujifilm finally launched it today. This acronym-laden lens is no ordinary superzoom. It is designed to go along with the weather-sealed Fujifilm X-T1 and is the first weather-resistant lens in the Fujifilm lineup of lenses.

What is more impressive however, is the stabilisation technology Fujifilm has built into the lens. Utilising two high-precision gyro sensors, it promises an unprecedented 5 stops of image stabilisation. This means that you can shoot at 1/30s what would previously require a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second and still have a sharp image (unless of course, your subject moves.)

The lens will set you back US$900 and is available from July.

YS: It all sounds nice, but I bet all of you are waiting for the f/2.8 zooms, right? Right?

One Guy’s Review: ProMediaGear 3 Inch Universal L-Bracket

Panasonic GH3 with ProMediaGear 3" Universal L-bracket


One of the nice things about using an established, long-running system like Nikon’s is not just the breadth and depth of the system, but also the various accessories that complement it. Take for example, quick release plates. These are little pieces of metal that allow for quick mounting and dismounting the camera on a tripod. For stills cameras, there is actually a more-or-less de-facto standard for quick release system, and that is the Arca-Swiss dovetail and clamp design. In fact, the system is now so popular that there are a multitude of companies making custom plates to fit cameras and lenses, with Really Right Stuff and Kirk Photo being two of the older ones around.

However, switching to the Panasonic GH3 since last year meant that getting a custom plate was an epic quest in itself. Since I normally use L-brackets, which are L-shaped plates that allow for easy switching between landscape and portrait orientation, as well as vertical battery grips, that meant finding a custom bracket for the GH3 practically impossible. I went to the usual suspects, and also trawled the Chinese sites, but there were none. There were some interesting universal L-brackets that looked like a good fit, with one by Fittest Photo looking really good.

Except that there was one problem. Continue reading

4K in a Superzoom: The Panasonic FZ1000

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000

Panasonic has just announced the FZ1000, a superzoom camera with a 1″ sensor that can also record 4K video. It looks pretty amazing, I have to say. Starting with the sensor, it outputs 20 megapixels, which makes it similar to the other 1″ superzoom, the Sony RX10. The Panasonic does appear to have a few tricks that lets it do 4K video at 100 Mbps bit rate, similar to that of the GH4. Unfortunately the frame rate seems to be locked to 30 FPS. The camera can also do 1080p at 60p and 24p, and there is a 3.5mm microphone input for an external mic. Continue reading