Nikon D810 Review
Nikon Df Review
Three Guys’ Review: Nikon D5300

Nikon Announces the Nikon 1 J5

Nikon 1 J5 Front

After weeks of speculation Nikon has announced the Nikon 1 J5. The new camera has a number of upgrades, the biggest of which is the 20 megapixel back-side illuminated sensor. Could it be a Sony? I’ve always thought that Nikon using the Aptina sensors was due to the sensor readout speed, needed for both the crazy fast phase detect autofocus of the 1 cameras, as well as the impressive continuous shooting rates on them. Has Nikon managed to marry both speed and quality this time?

Other improvements include a flip LCD that goes both up for selfies and down for overhead shots, an additional command dial in the traditional Nikon thumb position (which I very much welcome) and a mode dial that has dedicated manual exposure modes. Oh, there is now a custom function button next to the lens mount too. At the very least ISO should be pegged to it.

The camera retains the speed of the J4 before it, with the 170 PDAF points and 20 FPS continuous shooting speed with continuous AF, and 60 FPS with AF lock on the first frame, which is still impressive in 2015.

Now, the other upgrade is a bit embarrassing: Nikon has given the J5 4K video capability, but at 15 FPS. Um, I am not sure who is actually going to use it at 15 FPS. Coincidentally 4K at 15 FPS has the same data rate as 1080p at 60 FPS, so it does sound like the engineers were pressured into delivering a 4K solution with whatever they had on hand for a marketing headline.

As much as I like the Nikon 1 cameras for what they are, such moves really do not help the line. Already I see the less than kind comments about it, and the last thing the Nikon 1 cameras need are more jokes to be made about them. It seems a shame too, as the cameras are slowly improving, and I really did quite like the Nikon 1 J4 despite the somewhat noisy sensor. Nikon really should have tried to address the criticisms head on, which they appear to have with the upgrades on hand, as the J5 has the better user interface, possibly better sensor, and better pricing, with the 10-30 PD kit coming in at a reasonable US$499 (US$100 less than the J4).

The Nikon 1 J5 will arrive in late April in black, silver-black, and white, with the above-mentioned 10-30 PD kit at US$500, the 10-30 and 30-110 dual lens kit at US$750, and the 10-100 kit at US$1050. I wonder if the trend in Singapore will continue, with the Singapore prices at 1:1 rates compared to the US prices. S$500 for the J5 will certainly be interesting, especially if the image quality will be up to snuff. More pictures of the J5 after the break. Continue reading

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Nikon D810 Review

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Introduction

The Nikon D810 is a mid-life refresh of the D800 cameras, which were lauded for pretty much the best 35mm DSLR you could get your hands on. The D810 consolidates the D800 and D800E models into a single variant, and adds a lot of small little improvements across the board. We’re going to take a look at the D810 and see how it performs!

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Camera Rental Centre Singapore Hosts Inaugral Sports Photography Contest

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Hey Singaporeans, as well as all who are based here! Camera Rental Centre Singapore has reached out to us to let us know that they are currently hosting their first Sports Photography contest. If you are a keen sports photographer and think you got the chops, here are the details:

Camera Rental Centre – Singapore will be holding their inaugural sports photography contest this month!

Submit your 3 best sports photography pictures to contest@camerarental.biz, and stand a chance to win attractive prizes from CRC and their partnering sponsors!

The top 15 works will be exhibited at Space@Camera Rental Centre, Sports Hub and selected Sport Centres!

For registration information and contest details, visit http://goo.gl/OtFNRB
Submission closes 27 March 2015!

All the best everyone!

Full poster after the break.  Continue reading

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Nikon Announces D7200 with Upgraded Buffer Size

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Nikon today unveiled the D7200, which basically takes the D7100 and upgrades it in a number of minor areas, along with one not-so-minor area. The camera still packs a 24 megapixel DX sensor without an optical low-pass filter, but it seems to be a new one; perhaps a Sony sensor? The biggest upgrade is the buffer, which means the camera can now do 6 FPS continuous shooting at up to 18 raw files or and 100 JPEGs. While I personally never held down my shutter release like some people do, the 6 raw file buffer in the D7100 was really on the shallow side, so the upgrade is definitely welcome.

Another change is the new AF sensor module from the D750, which means the camera can now focus down to -3EV light levels. Personally I would like the D7200 to have used the D750 body as well, but I guess Nikon wanted to keep the product segmentation at a bigger level between DX and FX.

Other changes include Wifi with NFC (NFC tag is on the grip), 1080p video at 60 FPS alongside a new dedicated movie menu tab, slightly improved battery life at 1100 shots compared to 920 previously. The rest of the camera is pretty much a D7100 otherwise.

The D7200 will be available in body-only and the 18-140mm kit in the USA, and additionally with the 18-105mm lens in Singapore. So far USA pricing has the body at US$1,200, and the 18-140mm kit at US$1,700, with the camera arriving in April.

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Panasonic Announces Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH and 30mm f/2.8 Macro ASPH

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Panasonic did the somewhat surprising move of announcing products after a major trade show had finished. Regardless, here they are: A couple of short optically stabilised telephoto lenses, one a compact portrait lens in the form of a 42.5mm f/1.7 with Power OIS, and the other a compact short macro lens in the form of a 30mm f/2.8 with Mega OIS.

The 42.5mm f/1.7 does seem a bit redundant with the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (which I personally bought for cheap during an Olympus promotion), but it does have Power OIS, and support for the 240hz faster focusing capabilities in newer Panasonic cameras. Not having a switch to turn stabilisation off is going to be a little annoying for non-Panasonic users, since that ability is not part of the Micro Four Thirds specification. Continue reading

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Nikon Announces D810A Astrophotography DSLR

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I guess Nikon made most of their big announcements for the first half of 2015 already in CES. This time the main news is in the form of the D810A, a D810 modified for astrophotography. The biggest change comes with a new filter that makes the D810A senstive to hydrogen alpha spectral emissions, which is what happens when an electron in hydrogen falls from its third to second lowest level. As a kid I used read up quite a bit on many astronomy phenomenal, and h-alpha images of the sun are always fascinating. What looks like a blob of light in the visible spectrum is a hive of activity under h-alpha capture.

Other changes include much longer shutter speed selection, modifications to the viewfinder and display for use in dark environments so you keep your pupils dilated. If you are interested in that kind of astrophotography the D810A will arrive in May for US$3800. Send us links to your awesome astronomy photos too!

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Sigma Photo Announces 24mm f/1.4 DS HSM Art and dp0 Quattro

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Sigma continue their conquest of the high-end lens market with the 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens. Given the great reception of the Art lenses with new designs so far, the 24mm f/1.4 is likely to be another hit. A bit surprising too, since I thought they would do the 85mm f/1.4 first, which should be an easier design. Now how about some Art lenses for us mirrorless users? I would like a 10mm f/1.8. Not greedy here, no.

No word on pricing or availability yet. Continue reading

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Ricoh Announces K-S2, DA 18-50mm f/4-5.6 Compact Lens, and AF201FG Flash

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Turns out Ricoh were not quite done after their high-end announcements (and development announcement). Yesterday they took off the wraps to what promises to be a pretty small Pentax DLSR kit, starting with the Pentax K-S2 DSLR. Following up on the somewhat eccentric K-S1, the KS2 is more traditional, with the LEDs being relegated to lighting up a ring around the shutter release and the Wifi button. The K-S2 keeps most of what the K-S1 offered, including the 20 megapixel sensor and 11 point autofocus system, and adds a much nicer grip, dual command dials, articulating LCD, and Wifi with NFC.

Pentax has always offered a lot of solid specs for the price; dual command dials and weather proofing have always been standard on their low-end models, and many of them come with an optical pentaprism, instead of the cheaper and dimmer pentamirrors. However I am sure this will not be the camera to bring their market share up; fighting to gain market share against the incumbents is a trench warfare environment that will take more than a great camera to win.

The K-S2 will be available in black, white and the above black-orange in March for US$800 with the new 18-50mm lens (discussed next). Continue reading

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FIFTY! Canon Announces 50 Megapixel EOS 5DS and 5DS R

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Wow, it’s a Canon Friday! First up, Canon took the wraps off the EOS 5DS and 5DS R, and I am pretty sure everyone is going ga-ga at the megapixel count. That is seriously a lot of pixels. Though I might want to remind everyone that the extra linear size advantage over a 36 MP image is just 18%. Square-cube laws are such a downer.

Basically, the 5DS cameras are a 5DIII with a 50 megapixel sensor and a few tweaks here and there. The R version uses the D800E trick of cancelling the anti-alias filter. With the new sensor the continuous frame advance has dropped to 5 FPS, and there are now in-camera crop settings of 1.3x and 1.6x. Canon also reworked the mirror lockup feature a bit, but I always thought that the Canon way is always a little clunky, and I recommend using Live View anyway. This sets the camera to use an electronic first curtain shutter which results in even less vibration.

The exposure meter is now the 1500 pixel colour meter from the EOS 7DII. The autofocus system still remains the same as the 61 point system from 5D III however. Like all contemporary cameras, Wifi and NFC are now present. To make it work with the recently announced media station, the NFC tap location is at the bottom of the camera. Hopefully you will never need to engage NFC with your smart device while the camera is on a tripod!

On the video front, little has changed, with the same 1080p modes with ALL-I or IPB compression. In fact Canon for some reason decided to remove the headphone monitoring out. Maybe they expect 5DS buyers to not be interested in video.

I do wonder why Canon bothered with two versions. Given Nikon’s little experiment the 5DS R should have been the camera to be released. Moire is going to be even less of an issue with 50 megapixels, and the extra detail will be well worth it.

Both cameras will be available in June for US$3700 for the 5DS and US$3900 for the 5DS R. There certainly is a small premium for the 50 megapixels. June must seem pretty far to some of you now. Photos of the back and top plate after the break.

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Canon Opens Wide with the EF 11-24mm f/4L USM

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With an amazing amount of resolution available, a nice wide angle lens to go with it will be nice, right? Canon thought so, and so has announced the EF 11-24mm f/4L USM. I know some will say 11mm is “too wide”, but that’s what they said about 14mm too. Now, even though it is not always useful, I still try to use that angle of view with my Panasonic 7-14. Ultra-wides are so much fun, and I can see Canon users having plenty of fun with this. The lens will arrive later this month for US$3000.

 

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