Thursday, 20 April 2017

N&R: Impressive new Sony A9, interesting Pana-Leica ultra-wide and the rather poor Nikon D7500


Nikon have announced the D7500, which DPReview has compared to the D500 and the D7200. Honestly, this is a fail camera for me for just one reason - they've removed the dual slots. So, if you want dual slot redundancy, you're forced to either stick with the D7200, or upgrade to the bigger D500.

I think it's a shame when a product goes backwards like this. The D500 has enough features in its own right that a D7500 wouldn't have canibilised its sales. This just doesn't make sense, and I think there should be more outcry than there is from respectable sites like DPReview.


Panasonic have announced a co-Leica branded 8-18mm f.28-4 wide angle micro 43 lens. It is a similar size to the older 7-12mm f4 lens, but can take 67mm filters. Retailing for 1,098USD, it should be an attractive alternative to the older lens if it can control flare better.

Also in Panasonic news, a GH5 firmware with 10-bit internal recording has been released, and they've admitted their video AF sucks. Plus, they have a new compact superzoom.


An AF joystick selector and dual slots - hallelujah!

So, the long rumoured A9 has been announced - and it's a serious Nikon D5/Canon 1DX competitor.

From the press release:

  • World’s First full-frame stacked CMOS sensor, 24.2 MP resolution
  • Blackout-Free Continuous Shooting at up to 20fps for up to 241 RAW/ 362 JPEG images
  • Silent, Vibration-free shooting at speeds up to 1/32,000 sec
  • 693 point focal plane phase detection AF points with 60 AF/AE tracking calculations per second
  • Extensive professional features including Ethernet port for file transfer, Dual SD card slots and extended battery life
  • 5-Axis in-body image stabilization with a 5.0 step shutter speed advantage

The thing to bear in mind is that 20fps is achieved via an electronic shutter, using the mechanical shutter brings it down to 5fps. However, Sony claims the new stacked CMOS sensor will remove any rolling shutter effects.

For me personally, the stand out features are:

Those first 4 features were severe limitations on the A7R2 (for me) compared to the competition (Canon 5D Mark 3 and Nikon D810).

On the negative side of the A9 we have:

  • No log video (what the hell Sony?)
  • No control lever on the AF-On button - I always use this to change from back-button focus to Eye-AF.
  • Still just USB2 - though an ethernet port has been added.

Also not mentioned is if this camera can make use of hot shoe flash AF assist lights.

You can see a hands-on reviews from DPReview and FStoppers.

Will I get this personally? I'll wait for more in-depth reviews. If I were still shooting events as much as I used to, I would love this. If I wanted to get into weddings, this would also be my camera of choice. As it stands now, I might wait and see if an A9R or A7R Mark III is announced, and what it beings to the table.

As it stands, this is a very compelling offering from Sony. Even if I don't get it, I'm happy to know, every time I splash out for a new Sony FE-lens, that this camera exists.

Oh, they also announced a 100-400 f5-5.6 lens.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

N&R: Sony, Sigma, Zeiss, Atomos, Fujifilm & Google


An exciting new FE mount camera is rumoured to be coming from Sony on April 23. SonyAlphaRumors lists the most reliable information as being:

  • There will be a new High End E-mount FF camera.
  • This camera is all about speed: fastest AF of all Sony E-mount cameras, around 20fps, unlimited RAW recording.
  • Dual SD card.
  • Bit larger than current A7II camera series.
  • It has a joystick control on the back.
  • New FE lenses coming (16-35mm f/2.8 GM and 100-400mm FE G).
It remains to be seen if this is the extension of an existing line, or a brand new line. I just hope and pray that it can use AF-assist lights from flashes and triggers (and that RAW from continuous shooting modes are 14-bit instead of 12-bit).


Pricing for the Sigma 135mm 1.8 has been announced at $1,400 USD, with expected delivery in May.


If you want a slower, and probably more expensive, 135mm lens... it has been confirmed that the next lens in the Zeiss Batis range (for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras) will be a135mm f2.8.

Of course, it should be lighter and smaller as well.


Atomos have announced the Ninja Inferno, a cut down version of the Shogun Inferno. At half the price, you are losing the ability to record RAW, and SDI connections. If you're planning to pair it with a Panasonic Gh5, or a Sony A7S, this makes a good deal of sense.


Fujifilm have announced major new firmware updates for their X-T2 and X-Pro2 cameras. Bravo Fuji, this is the thing I probably admire most about Fuji, even though I feel their cameras aren't for me.

Meanwhile, DPReview have released a devastating article questioning the actual real life gains you will get from using the new Fujifilm’s GFX 50S (and, by extension, Hasselblad X1D).

This article summed up a lot of my thoughts, as I'd been a doubtful how much gain there is to be gotten from 'crop' medium format ever since seeing the comparison of the Pentax 645Z to the Sony A7R2 by Luminous Landscape.

For me, the quality bump you get from going to medium format isn't worth the extra cost, weight, slower AF, etc.


Google have released an open-source JPEG encoder that claims to produce 35% smaller files without noticeable loss in quality. Just be warned, many claim to see loss in saturation levels.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

N&R: Olympus, Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds


In news that would surprise no one, Olympus has officially stopped making four third lenses (their previous DSLR system). It's been 6.5 years since they released a camera for it.

Owners of the lenses can take some comfort that the lenses still work well with their new flagship E-M1 series of cameras via an adapter.

In other news, Olympus believes that 8K Micro 43 cameras are possible:
General Manager of Olympus Product Planning, Mr. Akira Watanabe, said: “we can assure you that there is no problem in developing sensors at 33 million pixels for filming in 8K. We started the 4/3″ saga with a sensor at 5 Mpx In 2003. Now the same sensor is at 20 Mpx with a much higher image quality especially for the management of electronic noise.”
However, one commenter hasn't forgotten:
Akira Watanabe, manager of Olympus Imaging's SLR planning department, said in 2009: "Twelve megapixels is, I think, enough for covering most applications most customers need"
I fall into the latter camp. A 12mp sensor using modern technologies like BSI could kick some serious butt and deliver 4K video. If they had a 43 sensor that could match the old Nikon D700 sensor for noise, DR and resolution*, it would be very hard for anyone to dismiss Micro 43s as a toy camera system.

* If you were to cut out the shape of a Micro43 sensor from the Sony A7R2, you'd end up with a 11mp sensor. If they could squeeze in a tad more pixels to get 12MP, but with Sony A7R2 dynamic range, you could have a serious little camera.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

N&R: Hasselblad, Phottix and Metz

In addition to the news below, there has been some rumours of a new Sigma 70-200 sports lens floating around. However, the original source of the news rates that as a less than 40% accurate rumour.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017