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

Panasonic Lumix Launch Event

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Panasonic organised a launch event at the Funan Digitalife Mall over the last weekend to launch their Lumix LX100, GM-5 and GH4 in Singapore. YS and I dropped by to get a hands-on on them, including the highly-anticipated Lumix LX100 (pictured above.)

I have been a long-time user of the old Panasonic LX3. It’s a great little compact camera with good image quality, manual controls and a fast zoom which starts at 24mm (equivalent) at f/2.0. It made for a great travel camera or for social settings when I don’t want to lug a heavy DSLR around.

YS: I myself had the LX2, which was before the LX3 really defined the LX class. It still was a pretty decent camera, at a time when Panasonic cameras had relatively noisy sensors. Remember them?

CK: I skipped the LX5 and LX7 when they came out as I didn’t think the changes are significant enough (more megapixels, slightly longer reach, etc.) But when Panasonic announced the LX100 with a Micro Four Thirds sensor, a fast 24-75mm lens which starts at f/1.7, 4K video recording and even an EVF, I was excited to get my hands on one to test it out. This launch event gave me that opportunity.

Following the previous LX models, the LX100 features knobs and dials for the controls, something of a trend right now with the likes of Fuji adopting it in their cameras. In fact, the top of the camera looks somewhat like a Fuji XE2. The body is bigger than my LX3 to cater for the bigger sensor and lens, but the overall size is still pretty compact. Due to the magnesium alloy body, the LX100 feels very solid in the hands.

YS: I would say it is more of a slow evolution: The LX7 after all added an aperture ring, so the extra dials seemed like the next logical step. Not one I am too fond of, however.

The camera is definitely larger than the LX7 that came before it, and I would even say it is no longer jacket pocketable, unless you like having a large bulge in your jacket. However it is still plenty small, and I would compare it to something like a Canon Powershot G camera.

CK: Like most modern Micro Four Thirds cameras, the LX100 focusses pretty quickly, though I still think the Nikon 1 series is slightly faster on this aspect. Having used to the big and glorious EVF of the Fujifilm X-T1, the LX100’s EVF looks small but refresh rate is pretty decent. It is definitely very usable, more so than the one on the Sony RX100 III, I’d say.

From the LCD, image quality is excellent, and high-ISO performance is pretty decent too. We weren’t able to use our own memory cards on the camera as there is a long queue of people clamouring over it and we didn’t want to hog it for too long. Hope to get a review unit from Panasonic soon, so that we can do a more in-depth review.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 will sell for S$1199 here, and there’s a current promotion with an additional 16GB SD card, original case, battery and $50 shopping vouchers.

YS: That’s a pretty decent price. I think for many enthusiasts this could be the one camera for all their photography needs. The wants, however, is a different thing altogether.

CK: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 was on display at the event, filming a water-drop setup to demonstrate still-image extraction from 4K video. Basically, a video of a drop of ink landing onto a bowl of water is captured as a 4K video, and the desired frame is extracted in-camera to obtain a still image. This might change the way photojournalism is done in future, where the photojournalist simply shoots video and select a frame later.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4

The Panasonic/Leica CM1 phone was also on display at the event, but unfortunately it’s housed behind a display case and we can’t get our hands on it. It’s less bulky than I thought, though it housed a 1″ sensor for its camera.

YS: I am pretty sure it’s a mockup. As far as I know, it’s still only going on sale in France and Germany, sort of an experiment.

Panasonic/Leica CM1 Phone

Panasonic/Leica CM1 Phone

Finally, I also spent some time with the GM5, the followup to the GM1. The camera is actually smaller than the LX100, though once you add proper lenses to it it will no longer be quite as small.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5

The changes to the GM5 are minor, but they improve the camera handling a lot. Having a proper rear command dial makes settings easier to change, and the slightly larger frame makes it better to hold. The EVF is a real tiny affair, but it is serviceable. I really liked the GM1, so we shall see if I end up getting something silly one day. Christmas is not too far away after all!

That wraps out our coverage of the cameras on show. We will be trying to get a LX100 for review, so stay tuned!

Canon Announces EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USMAfter a very long time Canon has finally updated the venerable 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L lens. The new design uses a rotating zoom ring instead of the old push-pull, which is nicer to use if you ask me, and the optics should finally be a match for today’s modern sensors, unlike its 16 year-old predecessor, which I always thought was a bit dicey on digital. Not too different from its Nikon counterpart then.

I actually like these lenses loads on DSLRs; the extra reach is nice to have, and needing f/2.8 is less of an issue compared to the film days. The only problem with Canon was that the old 100-400 was just not as great compared to the 70-200/2.8 II, but now Canon users will have a nice dilemma on their hands.

Arrives in December in the US for US$2199.

 

 

Nikon 1 J4 Review

Nikon 1 J4 with 10-30mm PD Zoom

Interested in the Nikon 1 J4? Buy yours from Amazon US!

Introduction

Nikon’s 1 series of mirrorless compacts in general have not got a lot of respect outside of those who have actually used the cameras, but even the most ardent of fans have to admit that these cameras have their own issues, ranging from quirky UI, sensors optimised for speed over dynamic range, to just some bad marketing mistakes in general (like the insane prices that the J1 and V1 debuted with).

 Does the J4 finally get it alright? We take a look. Continue reading

Going Commercial: A Small Experiment

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If there is one thing you thing you have noticed about our site so far, it has been the lack of ads and anything commercial-related; we are simply doing this in our spare time. Well, we would like to write more for you, but doing so takes time away from the things that makes that thing that buys things, ie. money. While we are not going to stuff our site full of ads like some other sites do, we will be starting out with an Amazon affiliate program, just to test the waters. Bear with us as we experiment a bit, and thank you for reading Three Guys with Cameras!

Fujifilm Launches the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition, X100T, X30 In Singapore

Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite Edition with XF 56mm f/1.2APD

Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite Edition with Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2APD

Fujifilm Singapore launched the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition, the X100T, X30, XF 54-140mm f/2.8 and XF 56mm f/1.2APD at One Rochester on 11 Oct 2014. The event was opened to anyone who registered, and I decided to check it out. Continue reading

“I AM Full Freedom” – The Nikon FX Experience

The stage setup for the Nikon FX Experience

The stage setup for the Nikon FX Experience

We were invited by Nikon Singapore to a media event for the I AM Full Freedom – The Nikon FX Experience held as part of the D750 launch. The hero product of the event is of course, the newly-launched Nikon D750. To let photographers test drive the new camera, Nikon has setup a platform with five of them, fitted with various lenses.

YS: Another chance to muck around with the D750, so why not?

Continue reading

A Few Words on the Nikon D750, and High ISO JPG Samples

Nikon D750That did not take long: The Nkon D750 is available, as promised by Nikon, and Singapore seems to have it at a great price too: About S$2,500 street price, which is considerably less than the US$2,300 the USA MSRP is at.

While we wait for Adobe to release the latest update to their software, here are some high ISO samples, starting at ISO 1600. Pardon the inconsistent framing; these were taken hand-held. Click on the images for the 100% crops: Continue reading

Six More Cameras From Leica Announced At Photokina

Leica S-E (Typ 006)

Leica S-E (Typ 006)

I have never seen Leica release so many cameras at Photokina, Leica is really on a roll. Other than the two rangefinders – the M Edition 60 LCD-less digital rangefinder and M-A film rangefinder camera, Leica has also announced 2 medium format cameras, a couple of compact APS-C cameras and two rebranded Panasonic cameras.

First up, the pair of Leica medium format S-series cameras. The Leica S-E (Typ 006) is an “entry level” model in their lineup, featuring a 30x45mm, 37.5 megapixel CCD sensor with a 12-stop dynamic range. The 2GB buffer lets you shoot up to 32 full-size DNG photos at 1.5 frames per second before slowing down.

The Leica S-E has a dual shutter system, comprising of a conventional focal plane shutter which lets you shoot at up to 1/4000th of a second. Used in conjunction with the electronic shutter of Leica CS lenses however, and you can shoot at up to 1/1000.

The weather-sealed S-E also has a 3″ 922k-dot LCD display made from Corning’s Gorilla Glass to protect from scratches. Yours for just €13,000 or US$16,900.

Leica S (Typ 007)

Leica S (Typ 007)

The next medium format is the top-of-the-line Leica S (Typ 007) featuring a 30x45mm 37.5megapixel CMOS sensor paired with Leica’s Maestro II image processor. It’s capable of shooting up to 3.5fps in stills mode, and 4K, 60fps 4:2:2 video in video mode. The AF system has been improved for faster and more accurate focussing, and the camera also comes with Wifi and GPS.

Like the S-E (Typ 006), the S (Typ 007) also features a 3″, 922k dot LCD display made of Corning’s Gorilla Glass. You can pre-order yours from B&H for just US$25,400.

With the big guns out of the way, let’s talk about the smaller cameras.

Leica X (Typ 113)

Leica X (Typ 113)

The Leica X (Typ 113) is a premium minimalist compact camera with a 16.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. It also does 1080p video at 30fps like any other modern compact. The lens is a fixed Leica Summilux 23mm f/1.7. Featuring full manual controls, it’s capable of up to ISO 12,500 and shoots at a maximum of 5fps in either JPEG or DNG. No viewfinder though, so you’ll have to compose on the 3″ 920k-dot LCD. Price? US$2,300.

Leica X-E

Leica X-E

The Leica X-E is basically like the Leica X but without the video capabilities and a slightly slower and longer lens in the form of a 24mm f/2.8 Leica Elmarit. The LCD is also smaller at 2.7″. It’s slightly cheaper, at US$1,800.

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109)

Leica D-Lux (Typ 109)

Finally, we have a pair of rebadged Panasonic cameras. If you think the recently announced Panasonic LX100 is not classy or expensive enough for you, you can opt to pay US$300 more to get the red dot treatment in the form of the Leica D-LUX (Typ 109). Specs wise, everything is exactly the same as the LX100. It’ll cost US$1,200.

Leica V-Lux

Leica V-Lux

If you want both the red dot treatment AND a long zoom, then the V-LUX is the camera for you. This is essentially a Panasonic FZ1000, but with the Leica price premium. It’ll cost US$1350.

Panasonic Announces Lumix CM1 Android Smartphone Camera With 1″ Sensor

Panasonic Lumix CM1

Panasonic Lumix CM1

Photokina: Smartphone cameras always had small sensors to keep their overall size down. Even the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom and the Lumia 1020 with 41 megapixels have puny sensors. Panasonic has just announced what’s possibly the smart phone camera to end all smart phone cameras – the Lumix CM1.

This Android smartphone is equipped a 4.7″ screen and a 20 megapixel camera featuring a 1″ sensor. The lens is a Leica DC Elmarit lens offering an equivalent of 28mm f/2.8 in 35mm terms. Settings such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO are controlled via the manual lens ring and there’s a dedicated shutter button at the top of the device.

The phone side of the device has pretty standard features – a 4.7″ Full HD screen, 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, 2GB of internal RAM, 16GB of internal memory and a microSD card which supports up to 128GB, as well as a 2,600mAh battery. It runs Android Kitkat out of the box.

All these does not come cheap though. The phone (or camera if you like) will be available in France and Germany only for now, at a cool €900 (US$1165). Don’t think the Leica aficionados are going to spring for this though. Leica has something more “exciting” for them.

YS: Probably US$900 then, Euro pricing and all. Not particularly enticed for some reason. Maybe it’s the price, or the fact that the battery is kinda tiny. After use the Note series I don’t want to go back to a phone with a battery with less than 3,000 mAh.

Leica Unveils All-New, All-Mechanical M-A FILM Rangefinder

Leica M-A with Summarit 50mm f/2.4

Leica M-A with Summarit 50mm f/2.4

Photokina: Looks like Leica is on a roll. Not content with the LCD-less M Edition 60, Leica has also announced the fully mechanical film rangefinder camera in the form of the Leica M-A (Typ 127). In wanting to connect with the Leica M3 launched 60 years ago, the M-A eschews all forms of electronics and 100% mechanical. Like the M3, it also has no light meter. Even the shutter speeds take on the M3, with a top speed of only 1/1000s. This is even more “pure photography” than the Nikon Df.

The M-A has a lever to change the frame lines for 28/90mm, 35/135mm and 50/75mm. In a very fluffy marketing speak, Leica says, “It may have no monitor, no exposure meter, and no battery, but what it does have is a mechanical quality that makes Leica’s 100 years of experience instantly tangible. Photographers can read the shutter speed and aperture directly from the camera and lens and so concentrate fully on their subject. The acoustic signature of the shutter release of a Leica M-A is a delight that immediately reveals the precision-engineered excellence of its origin.”

If you can’t afford the €15,000 (US$19,500) Leica M Edition 60 and wants to get on the purer-than-pure photography bandwagon, the M-A is yours for just €3,850 (US$4,750) for the body alone. It even comes with a free roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 to get you started.

I really can’t think of why anyone would want this over say, a Leica M7. Or just buy a used M3.

YS: Or how about not buy them? Rangefinders are awful really; there’s a reason why the Japanese finally wrestled dominance from the Germans with the coming of the SLR.