Nikon Launches Nikon 1 AW1 and Waterproofed 1 AW 10mm f/2.8 and 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 Lenses

Nikon 1 AW
Personally, after a rather quiet August and September I was still waiting for Nikon to launch the Nikon 1 V3. It would, if nothing, at least mean a price drop for the Nikon 1 V2. Instead we get the Nikon 1 AW1, which is a waterproofed, rugged version of the J3. Other media sources have made the comparison to the Nikonos, but the thing is, the Nikonos went tens of metres underwater as a dive camera should. This goes to… 15 metres. It is also drop proof to 2 metres, and a sensor suite comprising of GPS/GLONASS, compass, altimeter, and so on have been added to it. Continue reading Nikon Launches Nikon 1 AW1 and Waterproofed 1 AW 10mm f/2.8 and 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 Lenses

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We Are One!

A year ago, the 3 of us decided to start a blog about photography, with a emphasis towards gear news and reviews. A day after we launched the blog, Nikon launched the D600 in Singapore, and we were there to cover it as our first post (ok, second if you count the welcome post.) We also posted our thoughts of the D600 based on our experience with it at the launch.

YS: Since then, we’ve seen a number of cameras come on to the scene, and reviewed a few of them. We took the Panasonic GH3 out for a spin solely as a stills camera, which is something that is not common on the Internet, we pitted three of the most desirable compact large sensor cameras against each other, and we’ve been trying to get a few more. The first year has been fun, but stay tuned – we’re only just starting!

David: It’s been a year? That’s faster than some companies releasing new cameras! We hope you will continue to stick around for more gear news, reviews and articles!

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Olympus Announces OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens

Olympus E-M1 with 12-40mm f/28 Pro lens.

After all the leaks (including a gaffe by Engadget), the Olympus OM-D E-M1 has finally been announced. The 16 megapixel sensor now has phase detect pixels on it, allowing for 37 AF points. Sadly, PDAF is not available in movie mode, as well as single shot AF with Micro Four Thirds lenses. The big upside however, is that all those Four Thirds lens owners finally get a contemporary camera to use some of that fantastic glass on.

Continue reading Olympus Announces OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens

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Fuji Announces XF 23mm f1.4 R lens

XF 23mm f1.4 lens
Fujifilm’s new XF 23mm f1.4 R lens

Finally, the lens long anticipated and awaited for the Fuji X mount system, the XF 23mm f1.4 R lens is finally here – the hallowed focal length of 35mm, a common and highly popular moderate wide angle focal length is now available with this lens on any X-Mount camera (currently the X-Pro1, X-E1 and X-M1).

When Fujifilm launched the X-system with the X-Pro1, I was disappointed they did not include any lenses with an equivalent focal length of 35mm in its initial launch, opting instead to go with a 28mm, 50mm and 90mm equivalent set of lenses (the 18, 35 and 60mm XF lenses), though admittedly the 28, 50 and 90 combination is also a very widely popular set of focal lengths.  I can only assume Fuji wants to sell the X100 still, so to protect sales, the 35mm focal length was left to the X100, and later, the X100S.

All is now forgiven with this lens. Reading the press release, here are a number of stand out features:

– Lens distortion has been reduced to the absolute minimum using only optical rather than digital correction, thereby delivering the highest possible picture quality. This means the lens itself has an optical design that is purer and follows traditional optical design principles of getting it right in the lens – instead of some sloppy modern lens designs (I’m looking at you, Olympus and Panasonic lenses) which depend on software-based in-camera lens correction or worse, in-house raw converter lens correction. Score one for this new Fuji!

(YS: Hey hey, it’s a legitimate design for the digital age if you ask me, provided there is enough resolution to deal with the corrections in the first place.)

– The rounded seven-blade diaphragm ensures smooth bokeh even when shooting portraits or product shots at a medium aperture to maintain reasonable depth-of-field. This means bokeh is probably going to be good!

– All lens elements are treated with Fujifilm’s multilayer HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating) which delivers enhanced durability and ensures an even spread of light across the sensor. Similar to Nikon’s branding of their nano-crystal coat and Canon’s sub-wavelength structure coating, Fujifilm has caught on and brand its new coating with some fancy marketing name designed to induce a level of awe.

– The FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R features a camera-to-subject distance indicator and a depth-of-field scale on the barrel. Both are useful when manually pre-focusing to capture a fast moving subject, or minimize the shutter lag to capture a fleeting moment. Score another one for this new Fuji XF lens – a real depth of field scale and an actual subject to distance scale allows quick zone / hyper focusing without looking through the viewfinder or at the LCD, and is a great asset to working on the streets.  One quick glance down at the camera and one twist of the lens barrel is enough to achieve the desired zone of focus without even bringing the camera to the eye.

This lens is announced at a time when I’m contemplating an X-Pro1 to complement my Leica M9 as a medium telephoto solution using M mount lenses. If Fujifilm keeps getting things right such as this lens, I’m going to have to build a secondary system based on the X-mount!

X-Pro1 with XF 23mm f1.4R lens
X-Pro1 with XF 23mm f1.4R lens

 

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Nikon Announces Coolpix P7800 and LD-1000 LED Video Light

Nikon Coolpix P7800

Uh. Is that it, Nikon? The paucity of the August and September announcements makes me wonder if there is another one to come, or if there is some major reorganisation in the company. I was expecting at least a new Nikon 1 camera, but after their own admission that it is not doing well, I suppose some changes are in order (Hint: Don’t price the cheaper-to-make Nikon 1 higher than the more complex DSLR).

The star of the show is the Coolpix P7800, which adds an EVF to last year’s P7700, but takes away the quick control dial. Tradeoffs, tradeoffs. The lens and and sensor remains the same, with the 28-200 equivalent f/2-4 lens and 12 megapixel 1/1.7″ CMOS sensor. I wonder if they fixed the rather leisurely operation speeds associated with this series? Ships in late September for US$550. Details of the LD-1000 after the break. Continue reading Nikon Announces Coolpix P7800 and LD-1000 LED Video Light

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Sony Announces QX10 and QX100 Screenless Cameras to Accompany Your Smartphone

Sony QX100 on a Xperia Z

After way too many leaks, Sony has properly announced the QX pair of cameras. The smaller QX10 (pictured after the break in white and gold) comes with a 25-250mm equivalent lens at f/3.3-5.9 and an 18 megapixel 1/2.3″ sensor.

Right. Now, the real exciting one is the QX100, as seen above. It is bigger, but it comes with what is essentially the innards of the RX100: That 20 megapixel 1″ sensor and 28-100mm equivalent f/1.8-4.9 lens. What I liked about the RX100 was its operation speed: It had fast autofocus and very low shutter lag, so I hope it carries over through here as well.

For me, this could be a big thing. Smartphone cameras just aren’t good enough for me, and even with the GH3 I am using now, it is just too much hassle. RAWs cannot be transferred, the camera is not clever enough to generate a JPEG to do that, slow app, slow connection. I once took a nice photo just before arriving at the subway station, and by the time I actually got on the train, I just about got the image transferred to my phone. To camera manufacturers: This is not acceptable workflow, be it in ease of use or speed.

So for the QX cameras, much will depend on how well they link up to the smartphone. If it is the same laggy frustrating experience, this will be dead in the water. If it works, I might have an issue with my personal Sony boycott…

Now, the other bad news is that there is going to be limited manual control, and no RAW mode. As an aperture priority shooter, I can live with the former, but the latter irks me a bit. While for the purpose of being a smartphone companion mean RAW won’t be needed there, I am sure many of us enthusiasts would love to have an option for those really nice shots to be properly post-processed in our favourite software.

The QX10 and QX100 will be shipping in late September for US$250 and US$500 respectively. A bit pricey, but maybe a good discount will make it worthwhile.

CK: I am kind of skeptical about this. If I want to carry to gadgets, I’d get a compact camera and use it in tandem with my smartphone. The older Sony RX100 is a little more than the QX100 and has all the features you need for an advanced compact camera. What would be nice would be for Apple’s camera connection kit or the Lightning to SD Card Reader to work with the iPhone, and someone to come up with an Android equivalent. Sure, it’s a little clunkier than the QX100/QX200 but I think that’d be a better deal. Plus you get to use your existing camera too. And of course, there’s also the EyeFi and other similar devices which lets you transfer files to your smartphone too.

Continue reading Sony Announces QX10 and QX100 Screenless Cameras to Accompany Your Smartphone

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Adobe Introduces Lower Cost Subscription for Photoshop Creative Cloud

Adobe_deal_equation_650px_proof6

I will let Adobe fill in the blanks with their own blog post, but this is actually a good deal. The only thing I lament is, that they missed a chance to snag a bunch of new photographers who never had Photoshop before, but are interested in it. Limited time offer might sound bad, but the timeline is generous (31st December 2013), and this will get people to actually start subscribing soon. Since the price is for life, it’s actually a really good deal.

CK: The requirement to be at least a Photoshop CS3 user is a big bummer. Otherwise, this is a damn good deal. I just paid US$130 not too long ago for Photoshop Lightroom 5, and assuming I want to upgrade every year, this costs less and comes with Photoshop!

(Image credit: Adobe Blog)

 

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