Three Guys’ First Thoughts: Canon EOS M

Canon EOS M with EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM
Canon EOS M with EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM

So here it is, the other shoe to drop in the mirrorless market, so to speak: The Canon EOS M. After Nikon was ridiculed (wrongly, I feel) for the sensor size and for the atrocious UI on the 1 system, will the Canon be able to avoid the pitfalls the Nikon encountered with their own launch?
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Gorillapod GripTight Smartphone Mount and GripTight Micro Stand

Griptight Smartphone Mount

Joby Inc, makers of the popular Gorillapod flexible tripods have released 2 new accessories for avid smartphone shooters. The GripTight Smartphone Mount is a spring-loaded clamp which securely holds your smartphone while providing a standard 1/4-20″ tripod mount. The clamp supports phones between 2.1 and 2.8 inches in width, which means it will not work with phablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note, but the Galaxy S3 should just work fine, as will the ever-popular iPhones.

YS: Oh come on! The Note II is super popular now – I haven’t see a similar queue for a phone since the original iPhone 4!

Griptight Micro Stand

CK: The GripTight Micro Stand is basically the same as the GripTight Smartphone Mount but comes with a little tripod stand which lets you prop your smartphone up on a table or other flat surfaces.

Both devices are pocket-sized, so you can easily take them wherever you go. The GripTight Smartphone Mount goes for US$19.95 and the Micro Stand goes for US$29.95.

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Nikon Announces the Nikon V2, Speedlight SB-N7 and Three 1-series Lenses

Nikon 1 V2 with 10-30mm kit lens

Ah, now I know why there’s a sudden price drop of the Nikon 1 V1 cameras. It’s because Nikon now has the Nikon 1 V2, announced today. The camera is an upgrade to the V1, sporting a 14 megapixel CX-sized sensor, built-in flash, a mode dial (finally), a customisable function button (finally) and a built-in hand grip.

YS: Ye gods, is that hump on top ugly or what? In fact, I can see the flash panel exposed in the image – This reminds me of Transformers toys with inelegant kibble bits stuck behind the robot, except this time it is hanging off on the front.

CK: Indeed it is ugly, no where as ugly as the Hasselblad-made NEX 7 recently announced but still ugly. A dpreview user was right to say that it shouts, “Don’t buy me!!!”

YS: To clarify on another point, there has always been a mode dial for the 1 cameras, just that this time the traditional PASM modes are there as well. However, there is still no button dedicated to the ISO setting, which means the customisable function button is not going to be so customisable after all, since most photographers will set it to ISO. Still, having a proper command dial is a good thing. Oh, and get ready for a new battery – the V2 uses the new EN-EL21.

CK: Nikon has also added a a Live View Control – giving a preview of exposure effects on the LCD and EVF prior to shooting.There’s also a “Slow View” mode which buffers 40 frames over 1.33s when you half-press the shutter button, then replays them at 1/5th speed, letting you choose your own decisive moment. A little gimmicky, in my opinion.

The camera will retail at the V1’s original list price of US$899 with the 10-30mm kit zoom in late November.

YS: This camera really needs to be S$899, not US$899. Plus, I am sure many early adopters are going to remember the V1’s incredible price drop (more than 50% over one year), and will tell their friends about it. Customers will remember when they’ve been burnt. Not Nikon’s best moment, really.

Continue reading Nikon Announces the Nikon V2, Speedlight SB-N7 and Three 1-series Lenses

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Nikon Announces the AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VR

Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VR

Nikon has launched the new AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VR, finally giving photography enthusiasts an affordable and light weight constant-aperture zoom in the mid-tele range. This was something that Canon has offered its users for a very long time with their EF 70-200mm f/4L. This will be welcome news of photographers who wants but doesn’t have the budget for Nikon’s AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II. The lens joins the AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR and AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR in a family of constant f/4 zoom lenses in the FX (full frame) format.

Nikon claims to be able to achieve up to 5 stops of image stabilisation with this lens, utilising their “third generation VR” technology. The new lens weighs just 850g, about 45% lighter than the f/2.8 VR II version. The filter size is also smaller at 67mm, compared to 77mm.

The lens will retail at a list price of US$1,399.95 in late November 2012. The tripod collar is an optional extra at US$223.95, available “in the near future”.

YS: Optional tripod collar? Oh come on!

Also, Nikon can promise all the VR effectiveness they want, but at the end of the day, that is not going to stop motion blur. That one stop from a f/2.8 lens however…

Read the full press release.

(Image: Nikon Press Image)

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Singapore Recieves the Canon Powershot G15

Canon Powershot G15
Canon Powershot G15

So here it is. If you want an advanced compact, the Canon Powershot G15 is now on sale here for your consideration, and in numbers too. I managed to briefly play with one: Canon promised faster AF and appear to have delivered – unfortunately for them the Panasonic LX7 and Sony RX-100 still feel much faster in operation. The camera should be available island-wide by this time of writing.

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Canon EOS M Available in Singapore from 20 Oct 2012

Canon EOS M with the EF-M 18-55mm f3.5/5.6 IS STM lens

According to Hardwarezone, the new Canon EOS M mirrorless camera system which was announced back in July this year will be available in Singapore from this Saturday, 20 Oct 2012 onwards. This will give Singaporean buyers another choice when buying their mirrorless camera systems.

The camera is available as 3 different kits, depending on your needs.

  • EOS M with EF-M 18-55mm f3.5/5.6 IS STM: S$1,149 (available in black or red)
  • EOS M with EF-M 22mm f/2.0 STM & EF-EOS M mount adapter: S$1,219 (available in black only)
  • EOS M with EF-M 18-55mm f3.5/5.6 IS STM, EF-M 22mm f/2.0 STM & Speedlite 90EX: S$1,349 (available in all four colors: black, silver, white, red)

YS: I really hope they tweak the AF system on this – the EOS 650D (of which the EOS M is heavily based on) had lacklustre AF in live view. To be precise, the AF was above average compared to other DSLRs, but very much slower than many mirrorless system cameras. That large sensor is of no use if the camera cannot focus well!

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A Better Bulb

A Chinese Clone of the Nikon MC-36 Remote Timer and Intervalometer
JYC’s “version” of the Nikon MC-36

It is 2012. What is with the Bulb setting?

Last week, while I was working on a series of long exposure photographs, a thought occurred to me. It is the year 2012, why are we still fiddling with external remotes and timers, and a setting called “Bulb”?

The “Bulb” term comes from the act of squeezing an air bulb to mechanically activate and open the camera’s shutter. Guess how old is that method. No cheating people. Was it 40 years ago, during the heyday of the mechanically operated 35mm film SLRs? Was it 60 years ago, during the rangefinder’s last hurrah? Or was it 90 years ago, when 4×5 press cameras were the norm?

Actually, try almost 120 years ago, back to the late 19th century. That’s how old it is.

With modern digital cameras possessing a large colour LCD screen, a set of navigation controls in the form of a directional pad or a joystick, and advanced electronics with modern CPUs, why are we still fiddling around with such anachronistic tools and names when we want to make long exposures? Why is it not all built into the camera, and given a new name as well?

Implementation of such feature is not terribly hard – once the user activates the “Long Exposure” setting, in the same way as Bulb was previously accessed, a configuration screen can be brought up when pressing the Menu key (pressing it again will go to the standard menu). From the configuration screen, the user can set the parameters for the exposure, like the length of the exposure, whether the mirror should flip up first, and so on. If the user wants to emulate the old bulb mode for some reason, like photographing fireworks, the camera will honour that as long as a remote is used to trigger the camera instead of the on-camera shutter release button.

I am sure there is some tweaking needed for the above concept, but it is certainly doable. Nikon already implements an intervalometer into their higher-tier DSLRs, rendering expensive accessories such as the Nikon MC-36 mostly useless anyway. The first company that does this will get plenty of goodwill and mindshare among photographers, as well as future customers. So who is going to be adventurous enough to try this?

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Leica Singapore “Das Wesentliche”

Leica Singapore's Das Wesentliche event at Ion Sky
Leica Singapore’s Das Wesentliche event at Ion Sky

Leica’s “Das Wesentliche”, which first premiered on the eve of Photokina 2012, came to Singapore last night at the fabulous Ion Sky Tower, where the new Leica M, Leica M-E, Leica S, the Dlux 6 and the Dlux 4 were shown for the first time in Asia outside of Japan. (A little known fact is that the Leica Akademie program is also available Singapore, and only in Singapore for the continent of Asia).

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Fujifilm X-E1 Now on Sale in Singapore

Silver and Black versions of the Fujifilm X-E1

We Singaporeans seem to be getting quite a number of cameras early: The X-E1 is now available from your favourite camera store in Singapore. Fujifilm promised a cheaper body with faster AF, and I think they have delivered. With the same 16 megapixel sensor on the X-Pro1, I think it will sell well. As for myself? Well… that 14mm f/2.8 does look pretty enticing…

CK:  Ok, I saw that alt text. The black one does look better. If I am looking for a mirrorless camera, I’ll totally consider this. I really dig Fuji’s excellent high ISO performance seen in their X100 and X-Pro1 cameras. Having used a Nikon V1 for a short period of time, I don’t think the lack of a optical viewfinder like the X100/X-Pro 1 is a big deal for me for such a camera. And it’ll for sure beat the daylights out of any of that obscenely overpriced German camera (and even the one that’s going to be released.)

(Image Credit: Fujifilm Press Image)

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