Nikon D810 Review: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, Continue reading Nikon D810 Review→
Nikon Df Review:Introduction The Nikon Df was introduced last year to a host of fanfare and hype, with the initial rumours going as far out as claiming to be a “full-frame” mirrorless camera which it is not; it is a standard F-mount Continue reading Nikon Df Review→
Three Guys’ Review: Nikon D5300:Introduction The Nikon D5300 follows in a line of entry level cameras that started with the D50, and eventually got bumped up half a tier with the D5000 line. By now it actually appears to house some significantly powerful internals, Continue reading Three Guys’ Review: Nikon D5300→
Canon has announced updates to two of their lenses—the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM and EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM.
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
This update of the 16-35mm f/2.8L features better durability and water resistance, and now has a large-diameter GMO dual-surface aspherical lens and a ground aspherical lens which supposedly fixes the Mark II’s edge-to-edge performance.
The lens will be available from late October at US$2,200.
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM
The new incarnation of the 24-105mm f/4 now features 4-stops of OIS (1 more stop from the previous version) according to Canon. The optical performance is improved as well, with the help of “air sphere coating”.
The lens will be available from late October for US$1,100.
W-E1 SD Card-Shaped WiFi Adapter
Canon says this was specifically created to bring WiFi capability to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, though it’s also compatible with the 5DS and 5DS R. It’s supposed to be sold with the 7D Mark II to give it the same level of camera control and transfer capabilities as the newly released 5D Mark IV.
Unlike the SD WiFi cards like the Toshiba FlashAir and EyeFi, the W-E1 does not have any storage. As such, you would have to use the CF card slot for your images and/or videos. Used with the 7D Mark II, you can transfer both images and videos, but on the 5DS/5DS R, you can only transfer images.
The W-E1 will be available for US$50 starting in September.
After a long period of anticipation and rumours, Canon has finally announced the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. The new camera features a 30MP sensor, 4K video and something called “Dual Pixel Raw”. The 30.4MP sensor is joined by a Digic 6+ image processor capable of shooting at 7fps for up to 21 frames of RAW and unlimited JEPG shots. It’s also capable of shooting 4K video at 30fps. A Canon first, the EOS 5D Mark IV’s Dual Pixel AF lets the camera focus continuously while shooting stills in Live View.
A major improvement is the AF system, which has 61 points and a 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor. This provides improved facial recognition, AF tracking and ability to focus down to a low light level of -3EV. The AF system is said to be similar to the one in the flagship EOS 1D X Mark II, and now covers more of the frame.
The so-called RAW Pixel RAW technology uses the two photodiodes that make up a pixel on the sensor, capturing separate info from each of them. This lets you correct for microfocus errors, correct ghosting/flare or perform “bokeh shift” after the shot is taken.
Connectivity-wise, the EOS 5D Mark IV has built-in WiFi, NFC and GPS support. This is a good thing, as other makers, like Nikon, has the WiFi and GPS as optional extras in their higher-end models.
The 5D Mark IV will be available from early September for US$3,500 for the body alone, or US$4,400 with the EF 24-70mm f/4L lens. You can also purchase it with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM for US$4,600 which was just announced. The last option will be available from late October.
Fujifilm has announced an update to their entry-level X-A2 digital camera with the X-A3. This is a “selfie-optimised” camera to go with the popularity of selfies today. It features an LCD which flips upwards by 180º so that you can compose that perfect selfie. A command-dial at the back of the camera lets you trigger the selfie shot while still having a good grip of the camera.
The sensor has been upgraded to a 24MP CMOS bayer sensor (no X-Trans here), and the AF system now has 49 points. No on-sensor phase-detection though, unlike the higher end Fujifilm cameras.
The camera will be available in Oct and will be available in silver, brown and pink at a price of US$600. Price includes a XC 16-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS kit lens.
Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 R WR
Fujifilm has also announced the XF 23mm f/2 WR, a small and lightweight, weather resistant lens for the X-series cameras. As the WR moniker suggests, the lens is dust and water resistant, and can continue working down to temperatures of -10ºC. The lens features 10 elements in 6 groups, and a 9-bladed aperture. Fujifilm claims that the lens can achieve and AF lock in 0.05s when paired with the AF systems of the X-T2 and X-Pro 2.
This lens sure took a long time to be released, most likely, I feel, due to Fujifilm not wanting to cannibalise the sales of the X100 series, which also has a 23mm f/2 lens. Prior to this, the only other Fujinon lens that lets you have a ~35mm equivalent is the 23mm f/1.4, which is larger and heavier, while lacking the weather resistance. It’s also costs more.
The lens is available in both silver and black, and is available starting in September for US$450.
After weeks of anticipation, the Fujifilm X-T2 was finally launched in Singapore on 10 Aug 2016, a day after Singapore’s National Day. It was held in the Luxe Art Museum, a small museum near The Cathay at the end of Orchard Road. To cater to the large turnout, Fujifilm Singapore has organised two sessions of the launch event—one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. I attended the latter session.
The event started with Mr. Favian Loo, Divisional Marketing Manager of Fujifilm Asia Pacific giving us a rundown of the new features of the Fujifilm X-T2. Among them are an upgraded 24MP sensor (the same one used on the X-Pro 2), significant improvements in AF performance and 4K performance. There is also a specially designed vertical battery grip which further improves the performance of the X-T2, as well as to give a much longer battery life by allowing the user to use three batteries simultaneously. The two batteries in the grip will be consumed before the one in the camera body. As with modern-day electronic devices, the X-T2 batteries can also be charged using USB.
Next to present is Ms. Mindy Tan, the first female Fujifilm X Photographer. Mindy presented a photo slide show about the hutong in Beijing, China and her experiences in using the X-T2 while shooting her photo project. Unfortunately, the projector and the purplish light used in the event doesn’t do justice to her work. Thankfully, they are also presented as prints in the event grounds.
Next up is Mr. Benny Ang, followed by Mr. William Chua, both wedding photographers. They shared with the audience their experiences of using the X-T2 for their shoots and how the small size of the X-T2 helped them get their shots more easily. In particular, William told us about how the smaller X-T2 (compared to a DSLR) enabled him to shoot more easily in Morocco, where the people are camera-averse.
After the presentation, we finally got to lay our hands on the Fujifilm X-T2. There are also two live studio shooting sessions hosted by photographers Benny Ang and Ivan Joshua Loh. I headed straight to the demo stations, where there are a few demo units.
In the hands, the X-T2 body feels similar to the X-T1. The hand grip is now slightly deeper, making for a nicer feel. The lock on the ISO dial—one of those things I hate on my X-T1—is now improved. It’s now a toggle switch—press once to lock, press again to unlock. This is much better as I can leave it unlocked for ease of changing settings. The same lock is also implemented on the shutter speed dial, though I think that doesn’t really require locking in the first place. But still a good usability improvement.
Also, as you can see from the photo above, the X-T2’s shutter button now has a threaded hole for those of you who wants to use a traditional mechanical plunger-type shutter release or a soft-release button. The exposure compensation dial of the X-T2 now lets you do up to ±5 stops of compensation. This is done by setting the dial to the “C” setting, and dialling in the desired exposure compensation using the front command dial.
On the back of the camera, the next major change is the flip LCD screen. Besides flipping up/down for high/low angle shots, the LCD also flips horizontally. Unfortunately, it only flips to the right. It would be nice if it could flip to the left as well. Though improved, I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the X-T2’s EVF compared with my X-T1.
Like the recently-launched X-Pro 2, the X-T2 also features a joystick controller at the back. This works much better in selecting AF points than the rather mushy D-pad of the X-T1. On the X-T2, the D-pad buttons were also improved. They click more positively now compared to the X-T1. Definitely an improvement. With 91 AF points, the joystick is a welcome addition to easy selection of the desired AF point or group.
Another new change is the SD card door. On the X-T1, the SD card door slides towards you to unlock, much like some Nikon DSLRs. On the X-T2, there is now a lock lever on it which you must press in order to unlock the door. This implementation, though possibly more secure, is more fiddly when you need to change SD cards quickly. It’s probably not something you can do quickly when wearing gloves.
I also tried to test out the improved AF speeds as well. However, the first unit of the X-T2 I laid my hands on had a XF 16mm f/1.4, which isn’t very fast. Also, the rather dim (and lit with purplish lighting) show ground isn’t the best place to test AF performance. I tested with an unit mounted with a XF 35mm f/2.0 and AF speeds were similar to my X-T1 which I had with me. At the live studio setup, however, the X-T2 AF speeds were pretty good, focussing almost instantly on the models. I believe the firmware is still not the final version and is still being improved. The production version should be much better.
Another highlight of the X-T2 is 4K video recording. Again, the lighting conditions on the show floor weren’t good for this. The rather short security cable which the demo units were tethered to didn’t help either. On the X-T2, Fujifilm has removed the dedicated movie record button from the body. Movie recording is now its own drive mode which you set on a dial below the ISO dial. Once in movie mode, the shutter button will start the video recording. The X-T2 is able to record to the SD card slots or to an external recorder via the HDMI output.
Image quality is excellent. Here is a shot taken at one of the studio shooting areas, using a X-T2 and XF 50-140mm f/2.8. It’s slightly cropped but no other image adjustments were made.
High ISO performance looks pretty decent too. Here’s a shot at ISO 12,800. This is the highest native ISO of the X-T2 before going into one of the boost modes.
Hopefully, we can get hold of a review unit of the X-T2 from Fujifilm as it’s really hard to test out the camera at the event. But as of now, I quite like the improvements which Fujifilm has put in. The camera is available for pre-order from Fujifilm’s authorised dealers at S$2,599 for the body alone, or $2,999 with the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens.
Over two years ago, Fujifilm launched the X-T1, which won me over to the Fujifilm X system, I never looked back since. Today, Fujifilm announced the highly anticipated and much rumoured (and leaked) Fujifilm X-T2. Like the recently-launched X-Pro 2, the X-T2 features a 24MP X-Trans CMOS III CMOS with an ISO sensitivity of up to 51,200 (extended.)
The improvements of the X-T2 revolve over AF and video, with the AF system being boosted up to a whopping 325 AF points (there were only 49 in the X-T1.) Out of these 325, 169 has phase detection. Fujifilm claims that the X-T2 will be able to focus down to light levels of -3EV. On the video side of things, Fujifilm’s video capabilities were previously sub-par on the previous X-cameras, so I am surprised that the X-T2 will have 4K 30fps video recording capabilities. I am not sure how that performs, though. It does look like Fujifilm is serious about video on this camera, providing a 3.5mm microphone socket, on-screen audio-level monitoring and even a F-Log flat tone curve for easier post-processing. Mic levels can be adjusted by means of a customisable button.
The maximum shutter speed has been increased to 1/8000 when using the mechanical shutter (1/32000 with electronic shutter.) Fujifilm says that everything from the AF speed, start-up time, shutter lag and EVF blackout have been improved to the extreme, calling this “ultimate mirrorless camera.”
The EVF has the same resolution as the X-T1 with 2.36 million dots, but the refresh rate has been increased up to 100fps in Boost Mode. The display lag time has also been reduced to 0.005s. Blackout time has been halved from that of the X-T1 due to parallel processing of the live view and fast shutter charging, allowing continuous shooting up to 5fps in Live View. Brightness has been doubled on the X-T2’s EVF and there is now a auto-brightness function to allow easier viewing in bright lighting conditions. Another improvement is in the rear LCD—whereas on the X-T1 you can only tilt up/down, the X-T2’s LCD also flips to the right for waist-level viewing when shooting in portrait mode.
Finally, a special Vertical Power Booster grip is also available for the X-T2, which lets you use a total of three batteries (two in the grip, one in camera) for an increased maximum burst rate of up to 11fps (from 8fps) and 4K video recording up to 30min (from just 10.) Of course, this also lets you shoot many more shots than you can with a single battery. Like the X-Pro 2, the X-T2 also features a joystick control at the back for controlling the settings or navigating the UI. This, in my opinion, beats the rather mushy d-pad of the X-T1.
Photographers who like old school cable releases might like to know that the X-T2 now has a threaded shutter release button which allows you to use these mechanical shutter releases. On the X-T1, the only option is the electronic shutter release RR-90. Like the X-Pro 2, the X-T2 now features two SD card slots which can be configured as backup, overflow or video storage.
Overall, the X-T2 is a significant improvement over the X-T1. I can’t wait to get my hands on one to try it out. Fujifilm, if you are reading, maybe you can send us a review unit to check out.
No local pricing has been announced yet, but in the US, the X-T2 will be launched in September at US$1600 for the body alone or US$1900 when bundled with the excellent XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens. The Vertical Power Booster Grip will cost another US$330.
After a couple of teasers and a leak yesterday, Hasselblad finally launched the X1D—the world’s first mirrorless medium format camera. Weighing at 725g (body only), it’s less than half the weight of a conventional digital medium format camera, Hasselblad says the 50MP camera is a game changer.
“The X1D marks a pivotal point in Hasselblad’s rich 75-year history. This camera makes medium format photography available to a new generation of Hasselblad users, while pushing the existing limits of photography to new heights.”
— Hasselblad CEO, Perry Oosting
The X1D is weather and dust sealed and sports a 50MP CMOS medium format sensor with 14 stops of dynamic range. ISO range can be set between 100 to 25,600. A completely new line of lenses has been developed to support the camera, offering a wide range of shutter speeds and full flash synchronisation up to 1/2000. A 45mm f/3.5 and 90mm f/4.5 will be available at launch, and the existing H system lenses can also be used via an adaptor. The camera also has a Nikon-compatible hotshoe.
At the back, there’s a 3″ 920K-dot touchscreen LCD, a 2.36M-dot EVF, dual SD slots, GPS and WiFi connectivity. It even shoots video at up to 1080/30p. A USB 3.0 Type C connector and mini HDMI ports are also available.
Hasselblad’s wants to make this a “everyman” medium format camera, pricing it at US$8,995 for the body alone. This is probably not too bad if you consider the fact that the 50MP version of the H6D costs US$25,995, or the Leica S at US$16,900. It’s also available with the 45mm f/3.5 as a kit for US$11,290, with both the 45mm and 90mm at US$13,985. The lenses are available at US$2,295 and US$2,695 for the 45mm and 90mm respectively.
What can you do when your company runs out of ideas? In the case of Leica Camera AG, they pulled all their marketing stops and came up with the M-D (Typ 262). The camera omits the rear LCD screen commonly found in just about every digital camera nowadays. Shocking!
It is touted to “embody the entire range of technical advantages perfected over decades in the Leica rangefinder system,” while intentionally leaving out “all but the most essential technical features.” Even Leica’s famous “Red dot” has been eschewed from the camera’s facade to lend itself an “unobtrusive appearance”, in line with Leica’s spirit of “Das Wesentliche” (The Essentials). Obviously, the camera doesn’t have Live View or video capabilities, either.
Specs wise, there’s nothing much to shout about. It has a 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor and a Leica Maestro image processor. All images are saved as DNG RAW files. The shutter and cocking system has been made quieter than the other Leicas, making for a truly inconspicuous shooting experience. It can shoot up to a measly two three frames a second. But Leica users are not known for rapid fire shots anyway, so this is no biggie.
This stripped down camera will be for sale at a cool US$5,995.
Leica fanboys are going to gush over this and wax lyrical about all that minimalism that it provides. But you know what? Why not take just about any camera, or even the Leica that you might have, or buy a used Leica M9 or something, and gaffer tape over that LCD? That will only cost you like $5.
As for Leica, we have some ideas for your next camera. If you do choose to adopt them, please remember to credit us!
Limit the number of shots per memory card to 24 or 36. This will evoke a sense of nostalgia for the film shooters, bringing them back to the good old days of 24 or 36 exposure Kodak Tri-X film.
While you are at that, why not lock the ISO to whatever’s set on the first shot? For example, if the owner set his ISO to 400, inserted a card and took a shot, all other shots will be locked at ISO 400. This also harks back to the good old film days of getting stuck with one ISO per roll.
Have a feature which wipes out all the shots if < 36 (or 24) shots were taken on the memory card if the owner opens the memory card door. Perfectly emulates the case where you open the back of your camera before the roll is finished and ruin everything! Alternatively, the firmware can apply a random light leak/flare effect to the photos taken.
Finally, since we are going back to basics with the “Das Wesentliche” movement, why not re-instate the film advance lever in a future digital M? You can even have two versions—single stroke and double stroke—perfectly emulating iconic Leica M3 film camera of yesterday. I am sure many Leica aficionados will be willing to pay for this!
Nikon Singapore has launched the flagship D5 and D500 DSLRs today (13 Apr 2016) at the Aura Skylounge at the National Gallery of Singapore. We were there at the launch event and managed to get a hands-on session with both the cameras.
The launch started with an introduction by Sunny Ng, Senior Sales and Marketing Manager of Nikon Singapore followed by a rundown of the D500’s features by Albert Yap from the Asia Technical Office. Some some strange reason, there wasn’t any talk about the flagship D5. The talk focussed on the Nikon D500.
Wildlife photographer C.S. Ling then talked about her experience shooting the D500 in Borneo and how it managed to capture her wildlife shots in vivid detail and very low noise, despite her having to use very high ISOs some times.
We then had a short Q&A with Nikon Ambassadors Bryan Fong and Elliot Lee, who briefly shared about their shooting experiences and how they felt about the two new cameras.
To allow us to test the D5 and D500, Nikon has kindly gave us 16GB CompactFlash and SD cards (Sandisk Extreme no less!) so that we can bring the images back. One of the much touted features of both the cameras are their excellent high ISO performance, and Nikon has specially constructed a dark box for this purpose. It simulates a lighting condition of -4EV, in which the naked eye can barely see anything. However, the D500’s centre AF point is sensitive enough to still be able to AF in such conditions. Previous cameras like the D750 can only AF down to -3EV, so the D500 is a stop better in this regard. I wasn’t able to achieve an AF lock using Live View though.
Here’s a YouTube video by local photographer Alex Ortega showing the camera achieving an AF lock under this lighting condition. Pretty cool, I’d say.
For testing the high-speed burst modes and fast AF speeds, Nikon got two bartenders to give bartending performances. Both cameras were able to capture this well. I don’t really shoot a lot of bursts myself, though.
There was also a section set up on the balcony to let us play with the AF-S 800mm /f5.6E, AF-S 400mm f/2.8E and the AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lenses. It was bloody hot outside, so I didn’t stay out there for long. I took a couple of shots on the D5 and it was expectedly good. This is a given, as just about any modern camera would have produced a good shot in good lighting nowadays.
Anyway, back indoors, I attempted to test both the camera’s high ISO performance. Since low ISOs are no longer a challenge for most modern cameras, I started from ISO 1600 and worked my way up to the maximum. “Unfortunately” it wasn’t dark enough to reach the ISO 3-million of the D5.
Expectedly, ISOs within the non-expanded range (i.e. below H.01) were all very good, particularly on the D5 which didn’t show much noise until about ISO 51,200.
The D500 that I was testing appear to have its Noise Reduction turned off or set to a very low level. So, the high ISO performance does not appear to be that great in the shots below. I’d still say it’s pretty decent, though.
Alex has also posted a set of high ISO images on ClubSnap and his appears to be much cleaner. I believe his test unit has the Noise Reduction turned on. We shot basically the same thing, and did not check if it’s turned on or not. Judging from his files, I’d say that the D500’s high ISO performance with Noise Reduction is pretty amazing.
One modern feature that Nikon has added to both cameras are touch-sensitive LCD displays. The D500 has a tilting LCD touch screen, while the D5 has a fixed one. Like smart phones, both allow you to swipe through images, as well as pinch to zoom in. Of course, you can also tap to focus during Live View. Unfortunately, you can’t navigate the menus via touch.
Another nice touch added to the cameras a little joystick controller for AF-point selection. This is available on both the D5 and D500 and makes it much easier to select the desired AF point. This is also seen on the newly-released Fujifilm X-Pro 2.
I am liking the D500 pretty much, but I am now too used to the size and weight of the Fujifilm X-T1. If Nikon made a mirrorless camera with the D500 specs, I’d be much more interested. Still, both the D5 and D500 are very nice cameras indeed. The AF speed is fast, high ISO performance is excellent and image quality is excellent too. There’s nothing much to dislike (except perhaps the price, especially for the D5.)
Here are a few more test shots.
YS: There are a lot of nice improvements, like the new joystick for AF selection, the position of the ISO button (though that will require some muscle memory re-learning for long-term Nikon users), the AF speed, and the AF demonstration in the dark was quite impressive.
Also, I’m particularly looking forward to how Snapbridge works. Finally, a way to connect with your smartphone that doesn’t require the two-handed juggle that always happens? During the presentation Nikon implied that the camera will retain a low-powered Bluetooth connection even when the camera is off.
It’s a pity Nikon took such a long time to release this. I’d have jumped on it immediately as a replacement for my then-D300.
CK: At the time of writing, pricing and availability dates are not known.
UPDATE (26 Apr 2016): Nikon Singapore has announced that the D500 will be available from authorised Nikon retailers at S$2,999 for the body alone, or S$3,999 bundled with the AF-S 16-80mm f/2.8-4E E VR kit lens.
Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-GX85, also known as the GX80 outside of North America. (What’s with naming things differently in different regions anyway?) This is cost-down version of the GX8, featuring a 16MP Live MOS sensor and no AA filter. It also has a redesigned shutter mechanism and 5-axis Dual IS consisting of both In-Body and Optical Image Stabilisation. Panasonic claims that the removal of the anti-aliasing filter supposedly improves fine detail resolution by 10%. The magnetically-driven shutter mechanism reduces the shutter sound as well as the vibration caused by shutter shock.
The GX85/GX80 features a Live View Finder (LVF) with 2764K-dots and 100% colour re-production, covering field of view of 100%. The rear LCD is a large 3.0″ one with approximately 1040K-dots with touch capability. It tilts up by up to 80º and down by 45º.
As with the trend these days, the GX85/GX80 features 4K at 30p or 20p video recording in addition to good old full HD at up to 60fps. There are also 3 different burst modes which allow you to: capture up to 30 still images at 8MP, record 30 frames before and after you capture a shot, and finally, a 4K cropping mode which lets you extract HD video from a 4K recording, adding zoom and pan effects within the camera.
A novel feature on the GX85/80 is Focus Bracketing. This is a Lytro-like “Post Focus” feature which lets you select the focus area after the image is taken. Other features include an ISO range of 100-25,600, WiFi and RAW recording.
The GX85/80 will be available with a 24-64mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens for US$800 in late May.
Nikon announced a new line of 1″ premium compact cameras dubbed the DL (which stands for “Digital Lens”) targeted towards serious photographers. It uses the CX-format 1″ BSI CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20.8MP and a maximum ISO Of 12,800. Powered by a EXPEED 6A Image Processor, the DL series of cameras are capable of 60fps continuous shooting with fixed AF, and 20fps with continuous AF.
The three cameras covers a wide range of focal lengths—DL 18-50mm f/1.8-2.8, DL 24-85mm f/1.8-2.8 and DL 24-500mm f/2.8-5.6. The first two models looks more or less alike, and somewhat reminiscent of the Coolpix A released in 2013. The DL 24-500 on the other hand, looks more like the P900 and the recently announced B700.
The DL 18-50 and DL 24-85 both features a 3″ tilting LCD with a resolution of 1.037 million dots, while the DL 24-500, like the B700, has a fully-articulated screen. All three cameras are capable of 4K video recording at 30fps, 1200 fps slow motion, HDMI output to an external recorder, still photos from video, RAW file recording, and a standard hot shoe. Wireless connectivity is provided by Bluetooth/NFC as well as WiFi. The DL 24-500 features a high-resolution OLED EVF with 2.359 million dots, while the other two has optional EVFs which can be purchased separately.
All three cameras will be available from early summer at US$850, US$650 and US$1000 respectively.