Thursday, 30 June 2016

News and Rumours: Canon, Fuji, Olympus, Sigma, Sony, Cactus and Metabones

In this week's summary:

  • The Canon 1D X sensor gets reviewed by DXOMark and seems to be a Nikon D5 killer.
  • The Fuji XT2 is to be announced very soon, as well as a Hasselblad competitor.
  • Some info about the Olympus E-M1 II.
  • Sigma has announced the pricing and availability for the sd Quattro.
  • Sony announces more delays to cameras and lenses.
  • Cactus has announced the the Cactus V6 II.
  • Metabones have brought out a seemingly ill advised firmware update to the Canon to Sony Smart Adapter IV.

The DxOMark overall mark for 1DX and D5 is the same, but is that the full story?


The 1D X sensor has been reviewed by DxOMark, and it's the highest rated Canon sensor yet. However, what gets interesting is when you compare it to only real competitor, the Nikon D5. When comparing the Canon to both that and the Sony A7 II, they said:
The Canon performs exceptionally well. Not only does it have a wider useful dynamic range at base and low ISOs than the Nikon, it’s not far behind the Sony, and that small difference won’t be noticed in use. The Canon sensor continues to offer a wide dynamic range at every ISO setting, improving on the Sony from ISO800 onwards, and falling only slightly behind the Nikon’s strong performance from ISO6400 onwards. Indeed, the difference at most is around +0.6EV. Canon cameras are known for high ISO noise performance, and the Mark II surpasses both the Nikon and Sony by nearly +0.5EV.
It's very interesting to see Canon beat Nikon in both dynamic range and ISO, which Nikon/Sony usually dominates in. It's also odd that, although seemingly a better sensor for most on paper, it only gets the same overall score as the D5.

However, on the negative side, the Canon still seems to be encountering issues with some 3rd party products. Although Sigma have just announced a firmware fix for their lenses and the metering issue with the Canon, there is now a new issue that certain Sandisk CFast cards can result in image corruption. Although it does appear to be an issue caused by Sandisk, Canon is considering a firmware update to resolve the issue.


As rumoured last month, the Instax SP-2 printer has been announced. Capable of charging its battery via a microUSB port (as well as other improvements in size, resolution, speed...) it seems Fuji want to remove the Polaroid ZIP as a competitor.

The more exciting news from Fuji, that many are waiting on, is that the X-T2 should be announced on July 7.

And the final bit of intriguing rumours from Fuji is that their own competitor to the Hasselblad X1D should be launched soon, with 3 lenses, and at a more affordable price! It will be very interesting to see how their offering compares.


It seems the Olympus EM-1 II won't ship until 2017, due to the Kumamoto earthquake.

On the plus side, one confirmed rumour says the E-M1 II will sport dual-SD cards - something I think all high end cameras should if they want to be used by professionals.


The sd Quattro, Sigma's APS-C Foveon sensor camera, has had its availability and price announced.
The sd Quattro is a mirrorless camera with an APS-C-size Foveon sensor (which Sigma claims is 'equivalent' to 39MP), hybrid autofocus system, 2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder and 'Super-Fine Detail' mode that combines seven exposures into one for high dynamic range. The sd Quattro will priced at $799 body-only when it ships in July. 
The sd Quattro will also come bundled with Sigma's 30mm F1.4 DC HSM Art lens for $999.
No word as yet on the APS-H variant.


Sony has warned there will be delays on the following cameras due to the Kumamoto Earthquake: a7, a7R, a7S, a5100, a77 II, a99.

The eagerly awaited 70-200 GM lens has also been delayed until September.


Cactus have announced the latest iteration of their flash triggers, which promise to bring 1/800s flash sync.

They also aim to bring high speed flash to Fuji cameras, where even their own flashes don't offer this. The new triggers will be available from July, priced at $95USD per transceiver. A Sony variant will follow in August. (Only Sony would choose to migrate to standard ISO hot-shoes, but still make it so their flashes can't work with most triggers. Shame Sony, shame.)


Speaking of shame and Sony, it seems the new firmware from Metabones is really a bit of a shame. It is supposed to bring native lens auto-focus ability for Canon mounted on Sony bodies (such as Eye auto-focus and PDAF for video). However, like the Sigma MC-11, it seems to have many issues, with user reports indicating the old firmware was more reliable.

According to DPReview:
The Metabones is only the second E-mount adapter to offer 'native' lens functionality with adapted lenses, with the Sigma being the first.* However, in practice the Sigma MC-11 has had many issues, too often reverting to contrast-detect AF off-center, and constantly hunting back and forth in minute increments in AF-C. 
UPDATE: We've tried out the new firmware on a Smart Adapter IV paired with a few lenses (Canon 35mm F1.4L II, 70-200 F2.8L II,  all Sigma Art primes) on a Sony a7R II. Phase-detect functionality appears to be limited to a very small central region, which means excessive hunting with off-center points, or Lock-on and Eye AF (both in AF-C) for non-central subjects. While AF in video is possible, it's slow with significant hunting. At this point, a7/R II and a6300 owners may find this update largely useless (or even counter-productive), though you can always revert to 'Green' (previous default) mode by de-attaching and re-attaching the adapter with its one function button held down.
It seems the impossible dream to have one set of AF lenses working natively on both a DSLR and a mirrorless body remains just that, a dream.

Then again, rumours of new mirrorless bodies from Nikon and Canon are still doing the rounds...

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