Nikon Announces Development of the D850

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of Nikon, and they have announced the development of the highly-anticipated D850 high-resolution, full-frame DSLR. Nothing much has been revealed apart from a teaser video, but Nikon says it’ll “exceed expectations” and be a “formidable tool for creators who will not compromise on exceptional image quality and versatility.” The teaser suggests that there’ll be an 8K time-lapse, but nothing else.

The D850 will replace the D810 in their high-resolution, full-frame (FX) line-up, incorporating “a range of new technologies, features and performance enhancements that are a direct result of feedback from users.”

More information will be released at a later date on the D850 microsite. Meanwhile, here’s the teaser video of the D850 which Nikon has released.

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Canon Unveils the EOS 6D Mark II Full-frame DSLR for Enthusiasts

Canon EOS 6D Mark II with EF24-105mmF4L II

As rumoured for weeks, Canon has finally announced the EOS 6D Mark II, an update to the popular EOS 6D released some time ago. Powering the new camera is a 26.2MP full-frame CMS sensor, a slight increase over the 20MP one used in the Mark 1. Image processing duties are performed by a DIGIC 7, which is capable of an ISO range of between 100 to 40,000 (25,600 in the Mark 1.) High-speed continuous shooting speed has also been increased to 6.5fps, compared to 4.5fps on the Mark 1.

The AF system features 45 cross-type AF points, a significant improvement over the Mark 1 where it only has 11 AF points, with only the centre point being a cross-type. The sensor also has Dual Pixel CMOS AF which provides phase detect AF during full HD video recording. Sadly, there is no 4K video recording on this camera, which is quite a bummer.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II with LCD flipped open.

A 3″ fully articulated LCD screen graces the rear of the camera, a first of its kind on a full-frame DSLR. It also has dust and water resistance, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity as well as GPS.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Rear View

The EOS 6D Mark II will be available from late July 2017 at US$1,999 for the body alone. You can also get it paried with a 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 STM for US$2,599 or with the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS for US$3,099.

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Nikon Releases a Trio of New Lenses—AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED, 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E Full-frame Fisheye and AF-P 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G DX

Nikon today announced three new lenses—the AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED, a full-frame AF-S 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED fisheye zoom, and the AF-P 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR budget superwide zoom.

AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED

Nikkor AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED

The AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED is the latest addition to Nikon’s arsenal of fast f/1.4 primes (the others being 24, 35, 58, 85 and 105mm.) It features nine rounded aperture blades for nice bokeh, two ED and three aspherical elements, as well as Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coating. The lens is sealed against dust and moisture.

It’ll be available at a rather pricey US$1999.95 in late June.

AF-S Fisheye 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED FIsheye Zoom

AF-S Fisheye 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED

Next on the lineup of new lenses is the AF-S 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED. This is a full-frame, circular fisheye zoom which features a 180º field of view both horizontally and vertically at the widest end. This changes to a non-circular image with a 180º diagonal field of view at 15mm. It has three ED and two aspherical lens elements, as well as Nano Crystal and fluorine coatings.

The lens is available immediately for US$1249.95.

AF-P 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR DX

Nikkor AF-P 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR DX

Lastly, we have a budget superwide zoom lens in the form of the AF-P 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR. This is made for DX bodies and is equivalent to 15-30mm on full-frame cameras. The lightweight and inexpensive lens features vibration reduction of 3.5 stops and uses a Pulse Motor for fast focussing in live view and video. The minimum focussing distance is 22cm.

It will be available from late June for just US$309.95.

 

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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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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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Fujifilm Singapore Launches the GFX 50S, X-T20, X100F and XF 50mm f2 WR + Hands On

Fujifilm Singapore launched the GFX 50S, X-T20, X100F and the XF 50mm f/2 WR at Suntec City Convention Centre yesterday (17 Feb) in conjunction with a photo contest.

Visitors looking at the submissions of the photo walk held earlier.

The launch was opened by Mr. Favian Loo, the Divisional Marketing Manager of Fujifilm Singapore. To show off the newly-launched cameras, three beautiful models paraded them on stage,

Mr. Favian Loo, Divisional Marketing Manager of Fujifilm Singapore
Models showing off the XT-20, X100F and GFX 50S

Mr. Mokoto Oishi, Product Planning Manager of Fujifilm Corporation is up next, speaking about the design philosophy and technical aspects of the GFX 50S. This is Fujifilm’s mirrorless medium format with a resolution of 51.4MP, but with a relatively compact and lightweight form factor compared to a professional full-frame DSLR.

Mr. Mokoto Oishi, Product Planning Manager of Fujifilm Corporation

As with Fujifilm’s previous launches, X Photographers went on stage to talk about their experiences with using the new cameras. Popular street photographer Mr. Chia Aik Beng (popularly known as Aik Beng Chia or ABC) started the ball rolling, talking about his experience in using the X100F in Japan and India.

Mr. Chia Aik Beng talking about the X100F

Next, the first female X Photographer, Ms Mindy Tan talked about her experience with shooting the X-T20, and how how the small size and touch-screen helped her get her street photos.

Ms Mindy Tan showing how small the X-T20 is in her hands.

Commercial photographer Mr. Ivan Joshua Loh is up next, talking about how the GFX 50S has rekindled his passion for medium format. Being mirrorless, the GFX 50S is a lot lighter than the other medium format cameras, which made shooting a breeze.

GFX 50S

The star of the evening is, of course, the medium format GFX 50S and I wasted no time in checking it out. With the GF 62mm f/2.8 attached, it does feel pretty light, even when compared to a DSLR. With the GF 32-64mm f/4 though, it weighs nearly as much as a DSLR with a pro-level 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens. Not bad at all, considering this is a medium format camera after all.

The back of the GFX 50S features a 3.2″ touch-screen LCD.

AF speed of the GFX 50S is pretty decent, though slower than a typical DSLR. I’d say it’s roughly the same as the early X-T1 AF speeds, which I think is not bad for a medium format. The GFX 50S has a detachable, high-resolution EVF with 3.69M dots, which looks big and bright, just like the X-T2’s but it appears to be bigger as there is higher magnification.

This is how compact the GFX 50S is in my hand.

Here is a test shot from the GFX 50S, lit by Broncolor lights.

Shot on GFX 50S with the GF 63mm f/2.8.

And here’s a 100% crop showing the amazing detail.

100% Crop

X-T20

The X-T20 is designed as the smaller and lower-cost alternative to the flagship X-T2, with the same image sensor and processor in a smaller and lighter form factor. It also has a touch screen and pop-up flash, things with the X-T2 lacks. Having been spoilt by the excellent EVF of the X-T1 and the X-T2, the EVF on the X-T20 is smaller and dimmer, but still looks nice and sharp. AF speeds are pretty good too!

Fujifilm X-T20—Front
Fujifilm X-T20—Back

X100F

This is the forth iteration of the camera that started the ”X Revolution”. The camera still looks pretty much the same, with some tweaks to the physical dials and the addition of the AF selection joystick for easier AF-point selection when shooting. The ISO dial is now integrated into the shutter speed dial, like the X-Pro 2 and some of the old film SLRs.

Fujifilm X100F
X100F top plate

The original X100 was known to have super slow AF. However, thanks to its superior colours and image quality, photographers around the world were able to look beyond this and embraced the camera. Over time, Fujifilm has continually improved the AF speed with each release, and I am glad to say the AF speed on the X100F is now excellent. Not quite on par with the X-T2 but still very fast. Good job, Fujifilm!

The newly released cameras are now available from authorised Fujifilm dealers.

 

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Canon Releases a Trio of New Cameras—EOS M6, EOS Rebel T7i/800D and EOS 77D

Canon EOS M6 with EVF-DC2 and EF-S 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens

Canon has announced a trio of new cameras—The EOS M6 Mirrorless, EOS Rebel T7i (also known as 800D outside USA) and the EOS 77D.

EOS M6

Contrary to what the name suggests, the M6 is not an update to the recently-released EOS M5. Instead, it sits below the EOS M5 and is an upgrade to the old EOS M3. How confusing.

The EOS M6 shares much of the M5’s innards, including the 24MP APS-C sensor, Digic 7 image processor and a 3″ touchscreen LCD which can be flipped up for selfies. There is no built-in EVF, but an optional EVF (EVF-DC2) can be purchased. It has a resolution of 2.36M dots.

On the video side of things, the EOS M6 can record 1080/60p video, pretty standard stuff these days. It also has Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity.

Available in either black or silver, the M6 will go on sale in April 2017 for US$780 for the body alone, or US$900 with the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 STM. You can also buy it with the EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 STM for $1280. The optional EVF-DC2, also available in either black or silver, will be sold at US$250.

Canon EOS Rebel T7i with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

EOS Rebel T7i / 800D

The EOS T7i, also known as the 800D outside USA and the Kiss X9i in Japan (seriously, is there a need for all the alternative namings?) is a new addition to Canon’s entry-level line-up of DSLRs. It has a 24,4MP CMOS sesor, 45-point AF system with all cross-type sensors, and Dual Pixel AF in live view. This is a substantial upgrade over the previous model, the T6i’s 19-point AF system.

The T7i uses the new Digic 7 image processor and can shoot at a burst rate of 6fps. There is also WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity with smart phones as well as Canon’s new Bluetooth wireless remote control. On the back of the camera is a 3″ touchscreen LCD with 1.04M dots.

The EOS Rebel T7i will be available in April 2017 for US$750 for the body only, US$900 with the new EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6t IS STM and US$1300 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM.

Canon EOS 77D

EOS 77D

The EOS 77D, also known as EOS 9000D in some places (argh), sits between Canon’s Rebel series of entry-level DSLRs and the 80D. It essentially replaces the T6S/EOS 760D and has a 24.2MP CMOS sensor with Dual Pixel AF and Digic 7 image processor. Like the T7i, it features 45 cross-type AF points for quick and accurate focussing, Bluetooth, NFC and Wifi connectivity. 1080/60p video recording is also supported.

Compared to the T7i, the 77D features a built-in interval and bulb timers, more custom controls, AF-On button, a top LCD panel and an eye sensor which shuts off the rear LCD when the camera is raised to the eye for shooting.

The EOS 77D will be available in April 2017 for US$899.99 for the body alone, US$1049 with the new EF-S 18-55 f/4-5.6 IS STM lens and US$1499 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

 

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Leica Announces a Slimmer M—the M10, But Unfortunately Makes Your Wallet Slim As Well

Leica M10 With Summicron 50mm f/2

Leica announced their new M-series digital rangefinder today, the M10, featuring a slimmer body. I’ve always felt that the other M bodies have been rather thick compared to other cameras, so in a way, we can say that the M’s diet has finally worked. Being no stranger to marketing spiels, Leica dubs the M10 a camera that “embodies the essence of photography like no other camera before,” Leica says. It seems that every Leica body features some sort of essence of photography in one way or another, so I wonder what really is the difference.

Leica M10 Top Plate. ISO dial is on the left.

Being rather outdated in terms of technology by now, Leica brings the M10 slightly more up-to-date with the addition of WiFi—a first in the M series—allowing you to transfer images to your mobile device. An ISO dial has also been added to the top plate, allowing you to adjust your ISO setting without having to go through a menu system.

The rangefinder on the M10 is now improved, with a 30% increase in the field of view and the magnification has been increased to 0.73x (up from 0.68x.) The eyepoint is now 50% farther, making it much easier for specs-wearing shooters.

To be on the same level as their competitors, Leica has incorporated a new 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor with better dynamic range, sharpness, resolution and contrast in the M10. ISO range is now expanded, allowing photographers to shoot from ISO 200 through 50,000.

With a price tag of US$6595, your wallet will definitely be slim! You can pre-order one starting right this moment.

 

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