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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