Canon Announces Two New L Lenses—EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM and EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM— and a SD-shaped WiFi Adapter

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM

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
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

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.

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Canon Announces the Highly Anticipated EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS II USM
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS II USM

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.

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Fujifilm Announces Entry-Level X-A3 Digital Camera and XF 23mm f/2.0 WR Lens

Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-A3

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.

Fujifilm X-A2 with LCD flipped up.
Fujifilm X-A2 with LCD flipped up.

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.

Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 WR
Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 WR

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.

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Fujifilm X-T2 Launched in Singapore. Plus Hands-On Impressions.

DSCF5876

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.

Mr. Favian Loo
Mr. Favian Loo talking about the improvements made in the Fujifilm X-T2.

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.

Ms Mindy Tan
Ms Mindy Tan

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.

Mr. Benny Ang
Mr. Benny Ang
Mr. William Chua
Mr. William Chua

Hands-On

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.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm f/2.0 WR lens.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm f/2.0 WR lens.

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.

Fujifilm X-T2 exploded view.
Exploded view of the Fujifilm X-T2.

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.

Fujifilm X-T2 Rear LCD
Fujifilm X-T2 Rear LCD

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.

A visitor checks out the Fujifilm X-T2 at one of the live shooting setups.
A visitor checks out the Fujifilm X-T2 at one of the live shooting setups.

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.

Fujifilm X-T2 sample.
Fujifilm X-T2 sample shot.
100% Crop
100% Crop

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.

Fujifilm X-T2 output at ISO 12,800.
Fujifilm X-T2 output at ISO 12,800. No noise reduction applied.
100% Crop of the above image.
100% Crop of the above image. No noise reduction applied.

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.

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