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

Sony Announces the Top-of-the-Line a9, a Blazing Fast 20fps Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Perfect For Sports

Sony a9 with FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM

Sony has announced what’s possibly the most advanced full-frame mirrorless camera at a live event at New York. The 24MP a9 is Sony’s new flagship and features a stacked CMOS sensor for super-fast readout. This allows the a9 to achieve a staggering 20fps for up to 241 compressed RAW frames before the buffer is full. If you shoot in JPEG mode, you can get up to 362 frames!

The a9 has a 693-point AF system providing 93% coverage, and AE/AF calculations are done at 60fps while also providing 60fps blackout-free live feed. Sony also claims improved subject tracking and Eye AF speeds, and focus down to -3 EV with F2 lens. This is a whole stop better than the a7R II. How does shooting at 20fps with no blackout look like? Check out this video by Hugh Brownstone of Three Blind Men and an Elephant Productions. With no blackout and a high frame rate, it looks as if he has not started shooting!

The Electronic View Finder (EVF) has a resolution of 3.68M dots (1280×960) and runs at 120fps, making it one of the fastest EVFs around. In comparison, thet X-T2’s EVF can only achieve 100fps in boost mode, and a resolution of only 2.36M dots. This should be quite something to look through. The shutter on the a9 is primary electronic, but it also has a mechanical shutter with a flash sync speed of 1/250s. There is also a 5-axis in-body image stabilisation providing 5 stops of stabilisation.

Sony a9 (Front)

On the video side of things, the Sony a9 shoots 4K downsampled from 6K worth of pixels, with full pixel readout without pixel binning. It is also able to record Full HD 1080p at up to 120fps with a data rate of 100Mbps.

Sony a9 (Rear)

Other improvements include dual SD card slots supporting UHS-II cards, an AF joystick and an AF mode dial. In addition to USB, an Ethernet port on the a9 alows for super fast data transfer. Sony also says that battery life has been improved by 2.2x with the new NP-FZ100 battery. A separately-available battery grip lets you double your shooting time by allowing the use of a second battery.

It looks like Sony has pulled all the stops for this, and it sure is a good contender for the stalwarts like the Nikon D5 and Canon 1DX II, both of which costs more than the a9.

Tempted? The a9 will be available in May 2017 at a cost of around US$4,500.

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Guess What? Fujifilm’s SQ10 Photos Are Shot on a Mamiya Leaf Digital Back!

While preparing the post about Fujifilm’s newly-released SQ10 Instax/Digital Hybrid camera, I went to Fujifilm UK’s Image Bank to look for images of the camera which I can use. After downloading, I wanted to check the file’s dimensions and file size, so I did a “Get Info” on mac OS. This is when I noticed that the file had the full EXIF information intact, and the images were shot on a Mamiya Leaf Aptus II 7 digital back. I would have thought that Fujifilm (or its photographic agency) would have used Fujifilm’s own GFX 50S to shoot them instead.

Interestingly, the images for the GF 23mm and 110m lenses doesn’t have the EXIF information embedded.

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Fujifilm Launches GF 23mm and 110mm lenses for the GFX 50S

Fujinon GF 23mm F4 R LM WR and GF 110mm F4 R LM WR

Following the launch of the GFX 50S Mirrorless Medium Format camera, Fujifilm has released the 23mm and 110mm lenses for it. The GF 23mm F4 R LM WR has a 35mm equivalence of 18mm on the GFX 50S, is weather resistant, and works right down to -10ºC. It features a linear focus motor, 9 aperture blades and a Nano GI coating. It’ll be available for US$2,599 in late June.

The GF 110mm F2 R LM WR, on the other hand, is a portrait lens with a 35mm equivalence of 87mm when used on the GFX 50S. It is also weather resistant, has 9 aperture blades, a linear focus motor and a Nano GI coating. It will be available for US$2,799 in late June as well.

In addition to the two lenses, Fujifilm has updated their roadmap for future medium format lenses. A 45mm F2.8R WR (equivalent to 36mm), a telephoto prime and a teleconverter will be available later this year.

Last but not least, Fujifilm will soon release the View Camera Adapter G, which lets you use the GFX 50S with 4×5 large format cameras.

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Fujifilm Launches SQ10 Digital/Instant Instax Hybrid Square Camera

Fujifilm SQ10

Fujifilm has launched the SQ10, a hybrid digital / Instax camera which shoots both digitally, as well as on square-format Instax film. This is a departure from Fujifilm’s tradition of analog-only Instax cameras of the past, and adds on-camera filters and other digital effects. Photos taken are saved to a microSD card. There is also auto-exposure, face recognition and autofocus.

Fujifilm SQ10

The camera has a 1/4″ 3.6MP sensor and a 3″ 460K-dot LCD display. This seems low by today’s standards, but is more than enough for the small print sizes that this camera produces. Images are printed on 86 x 72mm film which will go for US$17 per pack of 10 sheets. The camera itself will be selling at US$280. Both will be available in May.

I’m personally not a fan of Instax and other instant film (e.g. Polaroid) but this might appeal to the millennial generation who finds this more fun than traditional digital-only cameras. Perhaps the next generation will feature wireless connectivity to upload to Instagram?

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Nikon Releases the D7500, Essentially a Mini D500

Nikon D7500 with AF-S 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

The Nikon D500 is probably one of the best, if not the best, semi-professional APS-C DSLR ever made. Today, Nikon released a mini version of the D500, in the form of the D7500. This is the 3rd camera in the Nikon D7000 series, with the D7000 and D7200 preceding it.

The D7500 features a body which is 5% lighter than the D7200 and 16% lighter than the D500 (hence I called it a mini D500 here) as well as a deepened grip for better handling. Nikon has also improved the weather-sealing of the D7500. Powering it is a new EN-EL15a battery capable of 950 shots per charge, which sounds like a lot, but is actually 15% lower than that of the D7200. That’s a slight bummer.

Inherited from the D500 is the same 20.9MP CMOS APS-C sensor, Expeed 5 image processor and the 180k-pixel RGB metering sensor. It is also capable of capturing video at 4K at 30fps. ISO can be set from 100 to 51,200, and expanded to an equivalent of 1.64 million, though images will probably be rubbish at that ISO. But hey, it’s available if you really need to capture something in the darkness.

Nikon D7500 with AF-S 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

The LCD is now tiltable and touchable, although it remained at the same 3.2″ as its predecessors. Unfortunately removed, however, are the predecessors’ dual SD card slots. The D7500 now has only ONE, and it does not support UHS-II media. You gain something, you lose something.

D7500 Tilt LCD

The D7500 is capable of continuous shooting at 8fps with full AF and AE, with a buffer that stores up to 50 RAW+JPEG photos at 14-bit compression, or up to 100 JPEGs. Like the D7200 before it, the D7500 has 51 AF points (15 cross-type), that’s almost a 3rd of what the 135 AF points that the D500 has (though only 55 are selectable.)

The D7500 will be available this summer for US$1,249 for the body alone, or US$1,749 with a AFS 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens.

 

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Fujifilm Singapore Launches the GFX 50S, X-T20, X100F and XF 50mm f2 WR + Hands On

Fujifilm Singapore launched the GFX 50S, X-T20, X100F and the XF 50mm f/2 WR at Suntec City Convention Centre yesterday (17 Feb) in conjunction with a photo contest.

Visitors looking at the submissions of the photo walk held earlier.

The launch was opened by Mr. Favian Loo, the Divisional Marketing Manager of Fujifilm Singapore. To show off the newly-launched cameras, three beautiful models paraded them on stage,

Mr. Favian Loo, Divisional Marketing Manager of Fujifilm Singapore
Models showing off the XT-20, X100F and GFX 50S

Mr. Mokoto Oishi, Product Planning Manager of Fujifilm Corporation is up next, speaking about the design philosophy and technical aspects of the GFX 50S. This is Fujifilm’s mirrorless medium format with a resolution of 51.4MP, but with a relatively compact and lightweight form factor compared to a professional full-frame DSLR.

Mr. Mokoto Oishi, Product Planning Manager of Fujifilm Corporation

As with Fujifilm’s previous launches, X Photographers went on stage to talk about their experiences with using the new cameras. Popular street photographer Mr. Chia Aik Beng (popularly known as Aik Beng Chia or ABC) started the ball rolling, talking about his experience in using the X100F in Japan and India.

Mr. Chia Aik Beng talking about the X100F

Next, the first female X Photographer, Ms Mindy Tan talked about her experience with shooting the X-T20, and how how the small size and touch-screen helped her get her street photos.

Ms Mindy Tan showing how small the X-T20 is in her hands.

Commercial photographer Mr. Ivan Joshua Loh is up next, talking about how the GFX 50S has rekindled his passion for medium format. Being mirrorless, the GFX 50S is a lot lighter than the other medium format cameras, which made shooting a breeze.

GFX 50S

The star of the evening is, of course, the medium format GFX 50S and I wasted no time in checking it out. With the GF 62mm f/2.8 attached, it does feel pretty light, even when compared to a DSLR. With the GF 32-64mm f/4 though, it weighs nearly as much as a DSLR with a pro-level 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens. Not bad at all, considering this is a medium format camera after all.

The back of the GFX 50S features a 3.2″ touch-screen LCD.

AF speed of the GFX 50S is pretty decent, though slower than a typical DSLR. I’d say it’s roughly the same as the early X-T1 AF speeds, which I think is not bad for a medium format. The GFX 50S has a detachable, high-resolution EVF with 3.69M dots, which looks big and bright, just like the X-T2’s but it appears to be bigger as there is higher magnification.

This is how compact the GFX 50S is in my hand.

Here is a test shot from the GFX 50S, lit by Broncolor lights.

Shot on GFX 50S with the GF 63mm f/2.8.

And here’s a 100% crop showing the amazing detail.

100% Crop

X-T20

The X-T20 is designed as the smaller and lower-cost alternative to the flagship X-T2, with the same image sensor and processor in a smaller and lighter form factor. It also has a touch screen and pop-up flash, things with the X-T2 lacks. Having been spoilt by the excellent EVF of the X-T1 and the X-T2, the EVF on the X-T20 is smaller and dimmer, but still looks nice and sharp. AF speeds are pretty good too!

Fujifilm X-T20—Front
Fujifilm X-T20—Back

X100F

This is the forth iteration of the camera that started the ”X Revolution”. The camera still looks pretty much the same, with some tweaks to the physical dials and the addition of the AF selection joystick for easier AF-point selection when shooting. The ISO dial is now integrated into the shutter speed dial, like the X-Pro 2 and some of the old film SLRs.

Fujifilm X100F
X100F top plate

The original X100 was known to have super slow AF. However, thanks to its superior colours and image quality, photographers around the world were able to look beyond this and embraced the camera. Over time, Fujifilm has continually improved the AF speed with each release, and I am glad to say the AF speed on the X100F is now excellent. Not quite on par with the X-T2 but still very fast. Good job, Fujifilm!

The newly released cameras are now available from authorised Fujifilm dealers.

 

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Canon Releases a Trio of New Cameras—EOS M6, EOS Rebel T7i/800D and EOS 77D

Canon EOS M6 with EVF-DC2 and EF-S 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens

Canon has announced a trio of new cameras—The EOS M6 Mirrorless, EOS Rebel T7i (also known as 800D outside USA) and the EOS 77D.

EOS M6

Contrary to what the name suggests, the M6 is not an update to the recently-released EOS M5. Instead, it sits below the EOS M5 and is an upgrade to the old EOS M3. How confusing.

The EOS M6 shares much of the M5’s innards, including the 24MP APS-C sensor, Digic 7 image processor and a 3″ touchscreen LCD which can be flipped up for selfies. There is no built-in EVF, but an optional EVF (EVF-DC2) can be purchased. It has a resolution of 2.36M dots.

On the video side of things, the EOS M6 can record 1080/60p video, pretty standard stuff these days. It also has Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity.

Available in either black or silver, the M6 will go on sale in April 2017 for US$780 for the body alone, or US$900 with the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 STM. You can also buy it with the EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 STM for $1280. The optional EVF-DC2, also available in either black or silver, will be sold at US$250.

Canon EOS Rebel T7i with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

EOS Rebel T7i / 800D

The EOS T7i, also known as the 800D outside USA and the Kiss X9i in Japan (seriously, is there a need for all the alternative namings?) is a new addition to Canon’s entry-level line-up of DSLRs. It has a 24,4MP CMOS sesor, 45-point AF system with all cross-type sensors, and Dual Pixel AF in live view. This is a substantial upgrade over the previous model, the T6i’s 19-point AF system.

The T7i uses the new Digic 7 image processor and can shoot at a burst rate of 6fps. There is also WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity with smart phones as well as Canon’s new Bluetooth wireless remote control. On the back of the camera is a 3″ touchscreen LCD with 1.04M dots.

The EOS Rebel T7i will be available in April 2017 for US$750 for the body only, US$900 with the new EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6t IS STM and US$1300 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM.

Canon EOS 77D

EOS 77D

The EOS 77D, also known as EOS 9000D in some places (argh), sits between Canon’s Rebel series of entry-level DSLRs and the 80D. It essentially replaces the T6S/EOS 760D and has a 24.2MP CMOS sensor with Dual Pixel AF and Digic 7 image processor. Like the T7i, it features 45 cross-type AF points for quick and accurate focussing, Bluetooth, NFC and Wifi connectivity. 1080/60p video recording is also supported.

Compared to the T7i, the 77D features a built-in interval and bulb timers, more custom controls, AF-On button, a top LCD panel and an eye sensor which shuts off the rear LCD when the camera is raised to the eye for shooting.

The EOS 77D will be available in April 2017 for US$899.99 for the body alone, US$1049 with the new EF-S 18-55 f/4-5.6 IS STM lens and US$1499 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

 

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Fujifilm Announces GFX 50S Ship Date and Price, First Round of G-mount Lenses

Fujifilm GFX 50S

Fujifilm has announced that the highly anticipated, 51.4MP GFX 50S medium format mirrorless camera will be shipping in late February for US$6499.

GF 63mm f/2.8 R LM WR, GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR, GF 120mm f/4 R LM OIS WR

To go with it, Fujifilm has also announced three new lenses. They are:

  1. GF 63mm f/2.8R WR, equivalent to 50mm when mounted on the GFX50S. It is sealed from dust and moisture, as are the other two lenses announced.) It will be available from February at US$1499.
  2. GF 32-64mm f/4R LM WR, a lightweight general-purpose zoom lens with an equivalency of 25-51mm and has aspherical ED and super ED elements. It will cost US$2299.
  3. Finally, the GF 120mm f/4 R LM OIS WR Macro, a macro lens equivalent to 90mm featuring optical image stabilisation of up to 5 stops. It has 3 ED elements and a minimum focussing distance of 45cm/18in. It’s priced at US$2699.

Three new lenses will be announced by the end of the year—a 23mm f/4, 45mm f/2.8 and 1100mm f/2.

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Leica Announces a Slimmer M—the M10, But Unfortunately Makes Your Wallet Slim As Well

Leica M10 With Summicron 50mm f/2

Leica announced their new M-series digital rangefinder today, the M10, featuring a slimmer body. I’ve always felt that the other M bodies have been rather thick compared to other cameras, so in a way, we can say that the M’s diet has finally worked. Being no stranger to marketing spiels, Leica dubs the M10 a camera that “embodies the essence of photography like no other camera before,” Leica says. It seems that every Leica body features some sort of essence of photography in one way or another, so I wonder what really is the difference.

Leica M10 Top Plate. ISO dial is on the left.

Being rather outdated in terms of technology by now, Leica brings the M10 slightly more up-to-date with the addition of WiFi—a first in the M series—allowing you to transfer images to your mobile device. An ISO dial has also been added to the top plate, allowing you to adjust your ISO setting without having to go through a menu system.

The rangefinder on the M10 is now improved, with a 30% increase in the field of view and the magnification has been increased to 0.73x (up from 0.68x.) The eyepoint is now 50% farther, making it much easier for specs-wearing shooters.

To be on the same level as their competitors, Leica has incorporated a new 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor with better dynamic range, sharpness, resolution and contrast in the M10. ISO range is now expanded, allowing photographers to shoot from ISO 200 through 50,000.

With a price tag of US$6595, your wallet will definitely be slim! You can pre-order one starting right this moment.

 

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Fujifilm Releases X100F, X-T20 and XF 50mm F2 WR

Fujifilm X100F

Seven years ago, Fujifilm released the X100, a retro-looking rangefinder-style digital camera that won the hearts of many photographers with its excellent out-of-camera image quality. It especially appealed to street photographers wanting a digital rangefinder but doesn’t want to pay the ridiculous premium for a Leica M system. The X100 featured a revolutionary hybrid viewfinder, giving the advantages of an optical as well as an electronic viewfinder. The X100 has since gone through a series of upgrades, with the S and T models, but while each offered noticeable improvements over the previous, particularly in the AF speed, the 16MP sensor is getting a bit long in the tooth compared to the likes of the X-T2 and X-Pro 2, as well as the competitors.

Fujifilm X100F Top Controls

Today, Fujifilm announced the forth generation of the X100, named the X100F. Following the X-Pro 2 and X-T2, the X100F uses the same 24.3MP X-Trans III CMOS image sensor and the X-Processor Pro, so image quality should be on-par. Fujifilm has increased the number of AF points on the X100F from 49 to 91, and improved the AF acquisition time to just 0.08s.

Fujifilm X100F Rear Controls

Like the X-Pro 2 and X-T2, the X100F has a joystick at the rear of the camera for controlling the AF point’s position, It has also taken on the style of the X-Pro 2’s combination shutter speed + ISO dial. Other minor tweaks include moving controls over to the right side of the camera for easier one-handed operation, and the addition of a front control dial. The hybrid viewfinder now offers image magnification when using the EVF mode. Also new to the X100F is the addition of the new ACROS film simulation mode for B&W lovers.

The X100F will be available from February 16th in black or silver for US$1299. Maybe there will be a graphite edition in future too, who knows?

X-T20

Fujifilm X-T20 with XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS

Fujifilm has also released the X-T20, an update to the X-T10 released in 2015. Just as the X-T10 was the “little brother” of the X-T1, the X-T20 is a baby X-T2. There is no weather-sealing unlike the X-T2, but it still retains several of the X-T2’s features. This includes the same 24.3MP sensor and X-Processor Pro image processor, advanced AF and 4K video shooting. One feature that the X-T20 has that the X-T2 doesn’t is a touchscreen which works in stills, video and playback modes. It also has a joystick control and a pop-up flash. The EVF however, only has a magnification of 0.62x (0.77x on the X-T2.) Just like their other newly released cameras, Fujifilm has added the ACROS film simulation mode to the X-T20 as well.

The X-T20 will be available from late February 2017 at a cost of US$900 for the body alone, bundled together with the XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens for US$1000 and with the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS for US$1200.

XF 50mm f/2 WR

Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 WR

Alongside the two new cameras, Fujifilm has added a new member to their weather-resistant (WR) line of lenses with the XF 50mm f/2 WR. Like the XF 35mm f/2 and XF 24mm f/2, the XF 50mm f/2 is a compact, lightweight and reasonably fast prime lens weighing just 200g. It offers dust and water resistance and is freezeproof to -10ºC.

On the Fujifilm APS-C cameras, it offers a 35mm equivalent of 76mm at f/2, making it an excellent lens for portraiture. It consists of 9 elements in 7 groups, and has one aspherical ED element. Autofocus is via a stepping motor.

The lens is available in February for around US$450 and is available in either black or silver.

 

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