Feed Provided By Digital Photography News
Ask the staff: Pick one focal length or lens to rule them all
|Can you guess the focal length? Photo by Wenmei Hill |
We handle a lot of glass in the DPReview office, but there always seems to be a handful of lenses or fixed lens cameras that everyone is extra eager to lay some paws on. Which got us thinking of a fun hypothetical: If we could only choose one lens to use for the rest of time, what would it be?
To keep things interesting, and to vary the answers, we opened the question up to include one lens in particular or one focal length. The photograph that accompanies each answer was shot with that staff member's chosen lens or focal length. We purposely didn't list the gear used. See if you can guess!
|Any guesses what focal length Carey gravitates toward? |
Before I worked at DPReview, I would have immediately chosen the 35mm focal length. Now that I’ve worked at DPReview for some time, I have to say… I haven’t really changed my mind.
Splurging on a battered old D700 after college left me without enough money to pick up anything approaching a fast zoom, so I started building up a collection of affordable Nikon AF-D primes: a 50mm F1.8, a 35mm F2, an 85mm F1.8. I quickly realized that I just wasn’t a zoom guy, and the 35mm F2 was glued to my camera most of the time. A used X100 was a natural next step for a more portable setup when I scored a good deal on one.
Even today, after using lens after lens and camera after camera for review after review, the 35mm focal length remains my go-to. It doesn’t matter whether I’m headed to shoot an event, a wedding, an environmental portrait, or just strolling around when some nice light hits, it’s more likely I’ll have a 35mm lens with me than any other.
|Wenmei likes versatility. Did she choose a zoom or a prime? |
I’m going to take the easy way out and pick a zoom lens rather than a single focal length. My choice is the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4G ED VR, and my excuse is that the majority of shooting I do (documentary lifestyle and candid portraiture) requires a flexibility that is difficult to get with a single focal length.
I’m choosing the 24-120mm even though it’s not one of my ‘favorite’ lenses because it is relatively small, lightweight and versatile enough to get the variety of shots I look for when photographing. I am able to immerse myself in a scene at 24mm but also step back for a portrait at 120mm, using the longer focal length to get pleasing bokeh and separation from the background.
Shooting it on a DX-format body gives me even more reach at the long end (180mm equivalent) for portraits. I already use this lens as my everyday lens when I don’t have a particular creative plan and want to be prepared for anything, so it’s the one I’d choose if I had to pick just one.
|Dale chose a specific focal length that he didn't always love. Can you guess what it is? |
This will probably seem like I’m going for the low hanging fruit, but I would choose 35mm. I used to be a solid 50mm guy, and if I wanted to go a bit wider I switched to 28mm, skipping 35mm entirely. My shift to 35mm began in earnest when I started shooting Fujifilm’s X100 series of cameras, which have a 35mm equivalent lens.
Now, one could argue that I’m choosing 35mm because I really enjoy the camera to which it’s attached, but that’s not the case. In fact, when I first started shooting the X100 I enjoyed it despite the focal length. It was actually the one thing I didn’t care for about the camera. However, as I continued to use it, I learned to adjust my style to take advantage of the 35mm field of view. After a few months, I found myself really enjoying it, so I decided to do a little experiment: I was about to embark on a trip to Brazil and decided to shoot my entire adventure at 35mm. The idea was both exciting and scary; I knew from experience that I would be giving up some shots by not having the right lens. However, I like to travel light, and I hate carrying camera gear, so I threw down the gauntlet and accepted my own challenge.
The upshot? I had a great trip and captured a lot of memorable images. Did I miss a few shots along the way? Sure, I did. But on the flip side, I got some great photos I would have otherwise missed because I forced myself to visualize every scene at 35mm instead of mentally switching to a different focal length. Now, no matter what camera I happen to be testing, one of the first lenses I always put on the front is a 35mm (or equivalent).
|Sam chose a specialty lens. This image was shot using a similar lens, albeit with a different focal length. Do you know what it is? |
Forever? Forever ever? I’m sure I could do the practical thing and say ’24-70’, or be a motorsports spectator the rest of my life and say ’70-200’, but I’m weirder than that. If it was a lens for me to shoot what makes me happy for the rest of my days, it’d be the Nikon PC-E 85mm F2.8 for product, portrait, and automotive photography. The maximum magnification of 1:2 means I can get close for product, and use the tilt to either get more of the product in focus, or isolate the focal point. I like medium telephoto lenses for the narrower field of view that makes selecting a background out of a busy environment much easier, and even F2.8 can be bright enough to blur the background at 85mm. I’m a control freak, not a speed demon, so I’ll be watching eBay for a copy…
|Dan's image was shot with the equivalent of his favorite focal length. The image was cropped in slightly, still any ideas what he chose? |
The first and only lens I'd owned for many years was a 50mm. But as my interest in photography (and other activities) grew I found myself yearning for other lenses. If you'd asked me this question when I was 16 years old and shooting a lot of skateboarding, I probably would have said a fisheye is my favorite lens. If you'd asked me again when I was 18 or 19 years old and starting to get into photojournalism, I'd probably have said 24mm. If you'd ask me when I was 24-28 years-old, and reviewing cameras for a living, all why exploring the streets of NYC/Seattle, I most likely would have said 35mm. But these days, I've come full circle and 50mm is my focal length of choice if I could only shoot one lens for the rest of my life.
Sometimes overlooked or seen as pedestrian, there are plenty of reasons why a normal 50mm lens is number one in my heart and bag: For starters the nifty fifty is as practical as they come. Most manufacturers make a reasonably fast, yet inexpensive 50mm equiv. Moreover, I'd argue its the most versatile focal length of them all: in a pinch it can be used for portraiture or detail shots, in the same way a tele can. And it can also be used in some capacity as a wide-angle, if you have the room to move (I've shot many concerts with just a 50mm, without feeling a need for something wider). And if you get a reversal ring, you can mount a nifty fifty backward and use it for macro shooting!
For years I've carried a Nikon 50mm F1.8 in my bag as the ultimate backup for just about anything I'm shooting: weddings, concerts, portrait sessions, travel. It's light cheap and versatile. But these days, the lens spends as much time mounted on my camera as glass I own costing 6x as much.
|Jeff chose a workhorse zoom. Can you guess which one? |
Since I’m always shooting with something work-related, I don’t get to use my EOS 5D III very often. But when I do, my daily driver is the Canon EF 24-105mm F4L IS USM. Not the most exciting choice of lens, I admit, but for land- and cityscapes that I enjoy taking, it definitely fits the bill. The image stabilization works well, it focuses silently and the weatherproofing is helpful when you’re out at Snoqualmie Falls and it’s throwing mist. Naturally, not long after I bought the 24-105, the Mark II arrived, with new optics, better autofocus and new coatings to reduce lens flare and ghosting. The lens is larger and heavier than my Mark I model, which I consider a good size for its focal length and aperture.
It’s nice to see that Canon isn’t the only one offering a lens with this focal range. Sigma’s 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Art lens is even bigger and heavier than Canon’s Mark II version, but the build quality is excellent. And, according to DxO, it’s also a sharper lens. And did I mention that it’s a bit cheaper?
Thus, if I was stranded in a world with wonderful landscapes and cool architecture, the Sigma 24-105mm F4 Art would be permanently mounted on my 5D III.
|Vladimir is our newest DPR team member. He makes sure the site works properly. Any guesses what focal length he chose? |
I wasn't sure whether to bother praising the 50mm focal length. I figured that it's so common, that talking about it would be either redundant at best or boring at worst. However, sorting my photo collection by focal length showed that I took more photos with a 50mm (on a 35mm full frame camera) than with any other lens, including the more versatile zooms.
So why pick the "normal" prime for the rest of my life? Versatility and portability. It's the perfect lens for candid portraits in a casual setting - fast enough to use in low light, and small enough to not intimidate the subject. Wide enough for full-body and group portraits, and good enough for head-and-shoulders (especially when paired with an APS-C camera). I've also been able to use it effectively for landscapes, close-ups, product, and food photography. So although I'd certainly miss the other focal lengths, with enough creativity and trickery, the 50 and I could live happily ever after.
|Richard chose a favorite lens that doesn't yet exist. This image falls toward the tele-end of his made-up range. Can you guess what it is? |
If I have to live within the constraints of reality, then I’d be tempted to say a 35mm just for its Goldilocks-like flexibility. But, it seems only fair that if I agree to be bound by an arbitrary restriction, I’m should get to relax the need to limit myself to lenses that actually exist. The problem is that I really like 35-40mm equivalent lenses but also love something around 90mm equiv. for portraiture and a lifetime seems like a long time to have to go without.
Equally, if I have a 24 or 28mm equivalent lens, I get back into the habit of ‘seeing’ wide-angle scenes and I’m sure there’s some aphorism about making one’s life spicy. This is why I’m pushing back against reality: the need for a 90mm equiv, rules out the use of a 24-70mm equiv and, over time, the limiting equivalent aperture of an 18-55mm F2.8 on APS-C would leave me frustrated. Sigma’s 18-35mm F1.8 is a work of genius that I wish were available on mirrorless systems, so I’m going to put my faith in the men and women of Aizu and trust that they’ll make me a 16-60mm F2 for APS-C mirrorless. I mean, how hard could it be?
|Allison chose a specific zoom lens, can you guess which one? |
Maybe a truly bold person picks a prime to shoot with for the rest of their life, but I’m going to play it safe and pick a zoom, whatever that says about me. The Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 is not the very best lens I’ve ever shot with, but it’s fairly versatile, sturdy and relatively small. It’s the right size (along with the OM-D cameras I’ve used it with) so that it’s doable to carry around all day in my purse, and I like having a fairly wide 24mm equiv. out to 80mm for a little more reach when I want it.
Really, it’s not special in any way except that it’s a solid standard zoom for a system I like. I’ve had many happy days shooting with it, including one wonderful afternoon at a defunct nuclear power plant (seriously, it was awesome). If picking a zoom makes me basic, then so be it.
|Any guesses what lens Barney chose? |
If I was trying to impress you, and if I wasn’t such a died-in-the-wool contrarian, my choice for ‘go-to’ camera and lens would be a Nikon D810 and a 35mm lens – something good, like the Nikon 35mm F1.4 or Sigma Art 35mm F1.4, or perhaps an old ’sleeper' favorite, like the Nikon AF-D 35mm F2, for the hipsters. If you were to ask me what focal length I use most, I’d say that probably around 90% of my photography could be achieved with a 35mm lens. If you were to ask some of my comment-thread critics on the other hand, they’d tell you that 90% of my photography could be achieved with an iPhone, or their 5-year old daughter, or their blind grandmother, or their blind grandmother’s 5 year-old iPhone, but that’s beside the point.
But I’m not trying to impress you. Which is why I’m going to cheat a little, and make a case for a zoom lens, and one that doesn’t get a lot of love in these parts – the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4. The current version of Nikon’s ‘street-sweeper’ do-everything zoom, it’s true that the 24-120mm isn’t the sharpest lens in Nikon’s stable, or the best-controlled when it comes to distortion, or the toughest, and all the rest. It’s a kit zoom. A pretty good kit zoom, in my opinion, but still. So why – if I had to choose only one lens – would I pick the 24-120mm? Because it just works. I know that if I go out shooting with the D810 and 24-120mm, come rain or shine (or snow, or hail, or desert dust, or any of the other nasties I’ve thrown at it) I can capture pretty much anything I might want or need to. It’s almost boring. I wish I had more of an excuse to attach other lenses, but to be honest, most of the time I just don’t. I actually sold a bunch of my Nikon glass recently, because it wasn’t getting used.
The image above was taken just after a torrential downpour last December which turned into a hail storm. The camera and lens were - like me - soaked. Could I have taken it on something better? Maybe, but I wouldn’t have wanted to risk damaging a more expensive lens in those conditions. And would it be a better picture had I done so? Or a happier memory? No.
What would you choose?
If you could only shoot with one lens, or one focal length for the rest of your life, what would you choose? Feel free to share your answer in the comments!
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:00:00 Z
The Leica Summaron 28mm F5.6 is old-fashioned fun
The Leica Summaron-M 28mm F5.6 is a curious thing - a 'new' M-mount version of a pancake lens originally introduced in the mid 1950s. Manufactured in limited numbers between 1955-1963, the original Summaron would have been most commonly paired with Leica's screw-mount and (via adapters) M3 and M2 film rangefinders of the day.
So is the Summaron a collectors item best left inside its presentation box, or is this something you might actually want to shoot with?
Leica Summaron-M 28mm F5.6: Key specifications
- Optical construction: 6 elements in 4 groups
- Aperture range: F5.6-22 (full-stop detents)
- Minimum focus: 3.3 feet (1m)
- Filter thread: 34mm
- Hood included
- 6-bit coded
- Eight aperture blades
- Weight: 165 g (0.36 lb)
The answer to that question is a bit complicated, and I must admit that I changed my mind a couple of times during the course of shooting for this article.
Initially, I must say I was rather skeptical. Leica lent me the Summaron ahead of a trip to Japan at the end of February, and I opted not to take it, borrowing a more practical 28mm F2.8 Elmarit instead. I enjoy vignetting as much as the next person, but I didn't like the idea of being limited to F5.6. The fact that the Summaron arrived in a satin-lined presentation box scared me a little, too. I'm painstakingly protective of loaner gear, but accidents do happen, and the thought of accidentally losing or scratching the tiny jewel-like lens worried me. So I took the Elmarit, and I don't regret it.
Back home though, with a few days left on the M10 loan agreement and a strong desire to get away from rain-drenched Seattle, I headed to the coast to see what the little Summaron could do.
There's not much I can say about the Summaron's handling, because there's precious little lens to actually handle. As you can hopefully tell from the photographs in this article, it's very small indeed, which means that focus and aperture rings are small, too. The focus ring features a traditional infinity lock, by way of a sprung peg that must be depressed to move the lens from its ∞ position.
Whether or not you get on with this depends partly on what you're used to. Personally I find the infinity lock a bit annoying, more so on this lens than others I've used with a similar design, mostly because the whole thing is so tiny. With the hood attached and the camera to my eye, there is very little tactile differentiation between the infinity release peg and the hood tightening peg. A bigger issue is that when rotating the focus ring, the one tends to get in the way of the other.
The Summaron's aperture ring is unusual by modern standards in that it has detents only at every full stop setting, not 1/2 or 1/3. You can of course live dangerously and set intermediate positions if you want to. The M10, at least, will recognize 1/2 steps in aperture-priority mode, but be warned - in its 1/2 stop positions, the 8-bladed aperture is far from rounded - in fact it's literally star-shaped.
Like the focus ring, the aperture ring is slim, and a little hard to find by touch when the hood is attached.
Given that the hood also occludes a decent portion of the M10's 0.72X viewfinder, I stopped using it pretty quickly, except when it was very obviously going to be necessary. Flare isn't enough of a risk to require it most of the time, and ditching the hood makes the Summaron's aperture and focus rings easier to manipulate.
Of course this is mitigated somewhat by the fact that when the lens is used at a small aperture and its corresponding hyperfocal focusing distance, there is very little need to actually adjust anything.
Pubdate: Sun, 26 Mar 2017 10:00:00 Z
Flying drones over the internet isn't the future we wanted, but it's the one we've got
|You're flying... kind of! Cape lets registered users fly drones in remote locations. Takeoff and landing are handled automatically by the drone. |
We were promised jetpacks, but as many-a-scholar has noted, here we are knocking on 2020's door and we are still jetpackless. We have, however, managed to put countless drones into the sky. While jetpacks are scarce, a drone can be had for as little as $15 and as much as, well a hell of a lot more than that. Anyone can fly a cheapo drone into their living room wall, but if you want to fly a bigger drone somewhere cool there are costs, logistics and federal guidelines to contend with. What's an apartment-dweller with big drone flying ambitions to do?
Enter Cape: a service that lets you fly real drones in real outdoor locations, without leaving the comfort of your home or your web browser. No license, no learning curve, no expensive crashes. Flight locations are exclusively located in California at this point, and the service is in beta so its developers expect to work out some bugs and improve latency before launch. Deep into a stretch of grey Seattle weather, flying a drone around a sunny California desert sounded fantastic to me.
|Just sitting at my desk in Seattle, flying over the Sacramento River. You know, no big deal. |
How I learned to stop worrying and love the drone
Cape's locations include desert and coastal sites including San Francisco Bay, the Salton Sea and Sacramento River. Each has its own hours and days of availability, but most are available weekdays until 5pm Pacific Time. Provided your internet connection is robust, all you need to do is select a site that's available and hop to the controls of your very own DJI Inspire 1.
Your flight begins with a diagram of your keyboard control shortcuts overlaying the camera's live feed. Getting started just requires pressing 'enter' to initiate autopilot take-off. And there you are – soaring above the California desert with the press of a button.
|When your session starts, you're met with this handy controls diagram. |
Cape's drones are as dummy-proof as you'd hope they would be. A map in the corner of the screen indicates where your aircraft is in the geo-fenced zone. You can't go beyond the zone's boundaries, can't crash your drone into another drone, and can't stray outside of minimum and maximum altitudes – autopilot will kick in and prevent you from doing any of these things.
You quite literally learn the controls on the fly, but they're easy to master. There's some lag, but it was honestly less than I expected. In no time, I was zooming across a little patch of California desert at a reasonable speed and legal altitude. There wasn't much to see, since that's how deserts are, aside from some distant brush and pixelated mountains on the horizon.
And on that topic: considering you're flying a drone that could very well be a world away, the live feed resolution isn't bad. At best it looks like a Google Street View image, but most of the time it's a bit more pixelated than that as it catches up with your movements. This translates to a slightly less awe-inspiring experience than, say, actually being there to gaze on some distant desert mountains.
|I'm trying to drown this drone and it's having none of it. |
It's a small world after all
The zones feel small once you've flown from one edge to the other, and by necessity the controls are pared down to a minimum. If it's a truly realistic piloting experience you're hankering, I'm not sure it'll scratch that itch. Playing tennis on a Nintendo Wii is convenient and fun in its own way, but it's not the same experience as playing on a real court with a racquet in your hand. You don't come away with the same satisfaction when so much is done for you.
So if it doesn't quite provide the same excitement as flying a drone in person, is it escapism that Cape can provide? Sure, getting a peek at the sun for the first time in days, even virtually, felt pretty nice. I can attest to how strong the desire is around Seattle to be somewhere sunny right now. I got a little bit of that escapism from Cape, but not so much that I'll be racing back to fly somewhere else tomorrow.
But really, when you think about what Cape allows you to do, it's kind of incredible. You're controlling an aircraft hundreds, maybe thousands of miles away, in real time. Finding visually rich places where those drones can be operated safely and legally seems like a tricky balance. Cape's website says the company is working on 'unlocking new locations,' and if one of those locations is in say, Norway or Iceland, then you'd definitely have my attention.
It's not jetpacks, but maybe we're getting closer.
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 10:00:00 Z
Documenting a spontaneous cold-weather surfing trip to Maine
It only took one message on a group chat to convince Ryan Struck, a New York-based photographer and keen surfer, to make a last-minute trip to Maine. Snow and waves were in the forecast, a combination that Struck couldn't ignore.
Struck got the surfing and the photos he was looking for, but in a piece on Resource Travel he mentions another reason why the last minute trip was a no-brainer: community.
'But, as much as I relish the visual trophies that I bring home from these spontaneous road trips, it’s the experiences and the friendships that come from these surf adventures that I will look back on and cherish forever. I am a surfer. I am a photographer. I am a surf photographer. And I am proud to be a part of this community.'
Head to Resource Travel for the full story and more photos. Are you spending some part of your weekend with your photography community? Let us know in the comments.
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 09:00:00 Z
Lexar JumpDrive Tough is an ultra-rugged USB flash drive
Lexar has launched its new JumpDrive Tough, an ultra-durable version of its USB 3.1 flash drive product lineup. This model is designed to ‘withstand life’s challenges,’ according to Lexar, and to likewise protect data stored on the dongle via included EncryptStick security software with 256-bit AES encryption.
The Lexar JumpDrive Tough is resistant to temperatures ranging from -13°F to 300°F / -25°C to 149°C, water down to depths of 98 ft, and pressure/impacts up to 750psi. This durability is complemented with read speeds up to 150MB/s and write speeds up to 60MB/s. With those speeds, a 3GB video can be transferred in less than 1 minute. JumpDrive Tough is compatible with both Mac and PC, and is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0.
The new flash drive is available to purchase from Lexar now in three capacities: 32GB ($19.99), 64GB ($34.99), and 128GB ($59.99).
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 07:01:00 Z
Mount your EOS lenses on the Fujifilm GFX with Cambo's new adapters
Dutch accessory manufacturer Cambo has announced it is to produce an adapter to allow full-frame Canon EF lenses to work with the new Fujifilm GFX 50s medium-format camera. The CA-GFX sits between the camera body and the EOS lens and offers its own control dial for adjusting apertures. A small LCD displays the selected aperture but no EXIF data will be recorded by the camera.
Cambo says the adapter has been designed with the Canon T-SE tilt and shift lenses in mind as they have particularly wide covering circles which will fill the 43.8x32.9mm sensor of the GFX 50s. It isn’t clear whether other Canon lenses will cover the sensor to the same extent, but with some cropping of the edges of the frame most vignetting can be removed – with the loss of a certain number of pixels.
Earlier this month Cambo released a new ACTUS unit designed for the Fujifilm camera. The ACTUS-GFX is a bellows-and-non-rail unit that allows tilt, shift and swing movements in the front standards, as well as 27mm of vertical and 40mm of horizontal movement at the rear. The bellows unit accepts a range of medium and large format lenses via adapters. The ACTUS-GFX costs €2250 plus tax in Europe and $2795 in the US. No price has been released for the CA-GFX yet.
For more information see the Cambo website.
Cambo Lens Adapter for Fuji GFX50s
Cambo announces a new lens adapter to fit Canon lenses to the Fujifilm GFX50s.
The CA-GFX will be the third Canon lens adapter that Cambo have manufactured and marketed for camera movement. Having successfully adapted Canon lenses to the Cambo ACTUS (ACB-CA) and more recently the WIDE series camera (WRES-CA.) It was a natural transition to manufacture the adapter as it gives many photographers the option of using their existing lenses with the latest mirrorless, large sensor, Fujifilm GFX50s (CA-GFX.
Cambo CA-GFX Adapter
The CA-GFX adapter fits directly to the bayonet of the GFX camera body and the lens aperture is controlled electronically when dialling in the required f-stop. As there is no direct connection between lens and body, there is no data received; aperture, auto-focus or EXIF, from the lens.
Why make this lens adapter?
The Fujifilm GFX50s sensor measures 33x44mm and Canon lenses such as the 17mm T-SE and 24mm T-SE have very large image circles, they will cover the sensor size and will enable the photographer to apply movement.
Cambo CA-GFX Adapter
The CA-GFX (Product code: 99070301) is available from your local dealer.
Pubdate: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:25:00 Z
Federal judge dismisses case against Kentucky 'Drone Hunter'
A federal judge in Kentucky has dismissed a lawsuit against William Meredith, a self-proclaimed 'Drone Hunter,' who shot down a $1500 drone that was flying over his property.
The pilot, David Boggs, sued Meredith last year claiming that his drone was flying in legal airspace as determined by the FAA and therefore was not trespassing. A 1946 Supreme Court decision asserted that a property owner's rights extend up to 83 feet in the air.
US District Judge Thomas Russell ruled that federal court is not the proper venue for the lawsuit, noting that the FAA has not enforced any regulations regarding aerial trespassing, nor was the agency a party in the suit. Instead, the Judge said that the lawsuit should be litigated in Kentucky State Court under existing trespassing laws.
Boggs' attorneys have not said whether he will appeal to a higher court – in this case, the 6th US Circuit. In the meantime, drone pilots should probably steer clear of Meredith's property.
Via: Ars Technica
Pubdate: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:02:00 Z
Cactus announces flash transceiver firmware upgrade to support wireless cross-brand TTL
Cactus has announced a series of brand-specific firmware updates for its V6 II and V6 IIs triggers that will add TTL functions alongside their cross-brand HSS support.
The triggers are already capable of high speed sync across systems, as well as remote control over flash power and zoom. The upcoming firmware updates will add the ability to support automatic TTL exposure across brands as well. The first firmware releases will support Sigma, Fujifilm and Sony, with support for Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic and Pentax following one-by-one.
For more information on the Cactus V6 II triggers and compatible flashes check out the company's website, and for more information on the upcoming firmware releases, see the press release below.
X-TTL TTL without Boundaries! Cactus launches FREE firmware upgrades on the V6 II and V6 IIs to support wireless cross-brand TTL.
Hong Kong, March 24, 24, 2017 – Just nine months since the release of the Cactus V6 II and Cactus V6 IIs, Cactus is now launching a series of brand-specific firmware upgrades to transform the cross-brand HSS flash triggers to one that also supports crosscross-brand wireless TTL. The new X-TTL firmware versions, apart from supporting cross-brand high-speed sync (HSS/FP), remote power and zoom control of Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and Sigma flashes all at the same time1, NOW support automatic TTL exposure in the same cross-brand environment, both on-camera and off-camera.2
The first wave of firmware releases will be for Sigma Sony and Fujifilm. Other camera systems, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Pentax, will follow one by one as we complete system integration on the V6 II. All these X-TTL firmware versions are free of charge for V6 II / V6 IIs users. The new firmware is system-specific so users simply choose the corresponding system when updating with the Cactus Firmware Updater. Once installed, the V6 II / V6 IIs is transformed into a cross-brand wireless TTL flash trigger.
This unique function gives photographers an unprecedented flexibility. The need for matching flashes with the same camera system for on and off-camera TTL flash photography is over – TTL without boundaries.
The X-TTL firmware allows users to have wireless TTL automatic exposure with camera and flash that runs on the same system, such as a Canon camera triggering a Canon flash, and one that runs on different systems, such as a Sigma camera triggering a Nikon system flash.
Similar to the cross-brand HSS firmware on the V6 II, the supported flash systems for wireless cross-brand TTL include Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and flash that runs on the same camera system.
Two unique Exposure Locks
Cactus is unveiling a brand new approach in using TTL metering. Over the past, professionals who love the convenience from TTL metering often have to suffer inconsistency in lighting outputs, making post processing a pain. In view of this Cactus devised two types of Exposure Locks.
1. Flash Compensate: Store a desired flash exposure that will automatically adjust according to changes in camera settings. Gone is the ever-changing flash exposures between each TTL metering.
2. Flash Power Lock: Lock flash power output after a desired TTL exposure is achieved. Perfect for consistency in repeat shooting. Wireless TTL functions
The X-TTL firmware will also support advanced TTL functions on the Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs, such as first and second (rear) curtain sync, on-camera TTL, group TTL metering and TTL lighting ratios3.
New support for Sigma
We are delighted to offer firmware support for Sigma cameras and flashes. This includes remote power control, remote zoom control, wireless High-speed Sync, and wireless TTL with Sigma’s SA-TTL flashes. The same cross-brand support is also available on the Sigma X-TTL firmware. Cactus expresses appreciation to SIGMA CORPORATION for their immense support in our development for Sigma system firmware.
Fujifilm TTL and HSS
With the introduction of Fujifilm new flash system launched on the EF-X500, Highspeed Sync (HSS/FP) is finally available. Besides adopting the new HSS platform, the upcoming Fujifilm X-TTL firmware also extends support for wireless TTL to Fujifilm flashes as well as Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and Panasonic flashes. Fujifilm X-TTL Firmware release date will be announced on our website.
V6 IIs with Sony TTL
Existing Sony V6 IIs users already has a system-specific transceiver unit, and the upcoming Sony X-TTL firmware adds wireless TTL support for Sony flashes and other system flashes when paired with the Cactus V6 II. Sony X-TTL Firmware release date will be announced on our website.
Features at a glance
1. Cross-brand wireless manual power and zoom control with HSS/FP support of Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and Sony flashes;2
2. Cross-brand wireless TTL of Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Sigma and Sony flashes;2
3. Cross-brand group TTL metering is extended to use in a cross-brand setup;3
4. TTL Ratios output adjustments can be done directly on the V6 II (TX);3
5. Two Exposure Locks offer consistency with the convenience of wireless TTL.
6. Works seamlessly with Cactus RF60X to support HSS, TTL, remote power and zoom control.
Price and Availability
System-specific X-TTL firmware versions are free of charge. Download the Cactus Firmware Updater4 and select the corresponding system firmware to install the X-TTL firmware on the Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs.
After launching the initial three systems, i.e., Sigma, Fujifilm and Sony, Cactus will continue to launch X-TTL firmware for the remaining camera systems. Stay up to date for the latest releases on X-TTL’s microsite: https://www.cactusimage.com/special/X-TTL/
1 With the exception of Pentax and Sony system flashes due to special timing requirements so they must be paired with a Pentax and Sony camera respectively in order to support HSS.
2 Only Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Panasonic system flashes support cross-brand TTL.
3 This function may not be supported on all the camera systems.
4 Cactus Firmware Updater version 3.01 or later will better facilitate firmware selection. To be released soon!
Pubdate: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:53:00 Z
Re-make/Re-model: Leica Summaron 28mm F5.6 Samples
Leica's new Summaron 28mm F5.6 is an incredibly slim pancake lens, originally sold in the 1950s, and recently re-released in M-mount. Does it make sense in 2017?
Check out our gallery of sample images, and watch this space for a shooting report, coming in the next few days.
View our gallery of sample images
Pubdate: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:00:00 Z
Atomos introduces Ninja Inferno off-camera recorder
Atomos has launched the Ninja Inferno, the latest in its line of off-camera recorders for video shooters. The Ninja Inferno has almost the exact same feature set as the company's top of the line Shogun Inferno, including 4K/60p recording, a 1500 nit display with 10-bit color, and the ability to record direct to ProRes or DNxHR formats. It also includes the company's Atom HDR technology, which matches the Log curves from major camera manufacturers to the Ninja's display in order to show the full Log signal on the HDR screen, meaning that cinematographers can see vibrant, true to life colors while recording in Log.
The major difference between the Ninja Inferno and its big brother, the Shogun Inferno, is that Atomos has removed a few features that, while important to shooters using high end video equipment, often go unused by DSLR or mirrorless filmmakers. These include SDI plugs, Genlock and Raw recording capability. The result is that Atomos is able to make the Ninja Inferno available at a very aggressive price point of $995, compared to $1995 for the Shogun version.
|The Atomos Ninja Inferno mounted on the new Panasonic GH5. Together, these make a compelling combination for a budget filmmaker. |
Of particular interest, Atomos is promoting the Ninja Inferno as the 'ultimate accessory' for the new Panasonic GH5, and there's a reasonable case to be made for this. It's a good match for the GH5's 10-bit signal and Log video, but more importantly it supports 4K/60p 4:2:2 recording, one of the GH5's more prominent features. Also, since the GH5 doesn't include SDI ports or shoot Raw video, users are unlikely to miss those features on the Ninja Inferno, while benefiting from the much lower price.
We've had a pre-production copy of the Ninja Inferno for a few days and have been giving it a workout, so stay tuned for our hands-on report.
HDR 4Kp60 Ninja Inferno Shipping now in conjunction with GH5 for $995
Prices slashed across the 4K HDR line up
Melbourne, Australia – 23rd March 2017: Today, Atomos brings the power of 4Kp60 10-bit ProRes recording and HDR monitoring to the GH5 for an amazingly low price of just $995.
“Our message to video Pro’s is to Go HDR 4Kp60 Today showcased by the GH5 and Ninja Inferno combo”, said Jeromy Young CEO and co-founder of Atomos. “For less than $3k it’s an unbeatable total package especially when considering having 4K HDR content ready for clients, Netflix and YouTube is a must”.
Atomos has always led the way advancing the quality, affordability and simplicity of filmmaking by adding professional features to popular Japanese cameras. Atomos are again first to launch a portable HDR 4Kp60 10-bit 422 monitor recorder. Timed with the release of the powerful Panasonic GH5 and a $995 price point Ninja Inferno empowers the masses.
Just as the original Atomos Ninja broke open DSLR filmmaking by giving the Canon 5DMKIII professional Apple ProRes recording & the original Atomos Shogun pioneered 4K with the Sony a7s and Panasonic GH4, the Ninja Inferno now arms the Panasonic GH5, the hottest camera of 2017, with HDR Apple Pro-Res 10-bit 4:2:2 4Kp60 over HDMI 2.0 – a feat not possible internally on the GH5. This marks another incredible Atomos breakthrough – professional 10-bit color resolution, 4:2:2 color accuracy, high frame rate 4K 60p video resolution & all with the incredible brightness range that HDR delivers in PQ or HLG.
Apart from being an obvious companion for the new GH5, the Ninja Inferno is the world’s first HDMI monitor-recorder to accept 4K DCI signals from cameras like the Panasonic GH4 / DVX200 / HCX1000 / UX180 / HCX1, Sony FS7 / Z100 and the JVC LS300. Support for the 4096 DCI standard unlocks cinema recording from these 4K video & mirrorless DSLRs.
For the Ninja Inferno, like its flagship sibling the Shogun Inferno, we have created the ultimate monitor through end-to-end custom engineering of all components. It starts with a 1920x1200 resolution LCD panel and add 10-bit processing in highlights and equivalent 10+ bit resolution in blacks. This is achieved through the patented AtomHDR engine which when combined with our custom Atomos-built backlight allows the power of 1500nits to be utilized for High Bright Rec709 or HDR PQ/HLG at 10+ stops. The full-size HDMI 2.0 connection bypasses the camera’s internal limitations by recording to 4Kp60 4:2:2 10-bit pristine video in grading-friendly Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHR. The Ninja Inferno upgrades mirrorless and DSLR camera audio by including balanced XLR input and 48V Phantom Power, negating the need to purchase separate audio recorders. For on set review, the wide angle 7” calibrated screen, playback controls, playlist and XML tagging make the Ninja Inferno the perfect client or director’s monitor, with playout to the latest HDR PQ/HLG or SDR TV’s. The Ninja Inferno is equally adept in the editing suite as it is in the field with the recorded files dropping directly onto the timeline of all the major NLE editing and grading software with the HDMI input capable of accepting HDR signals to make the Ninja Inferno an unbelievably affordable HDR reference monitor for portable or in studio color grading.
The Ninja Inferno, which is shipping now for MSRP $995, is the ultimate camera accessory for the GH5, the popular Sony FS7 or cameras with 4K DCI output & other 4Kp60 / 4Kp30 / HDp60 cameras looking for a future proof monitor-recorder.
HDR now comes free across the Atomos 4K Line-up
Timed with the release of the Ninja Inferno, Atomos have driven down the price of the existing line-up, passing on the volume savings they receive due to the popularity of the entire HDR range. The Shogun Flame and Ninja Flame are now $995 and $795 respectively (both models ship with mains power supply, recording caddy & travel case. The Shogun Flame also ships with an XLR breakout cable). To complement all models in the line-up, Atomos have developed a tailored Accessory Kit and Power Kit that arm users with everything needed to power, control, dock, charge and safely carry the units at an amazing price. The flagship Shogun Inferno continues to ship as is today.
|Product ||New Price (MSRP ex tax) |
|Shogun Flame ||$995 ($1695 saving of $700) |
|Ninja Inferno ||$995 |
|Ninja Flame ||$795 ($1295 saving of $500) |
|Accessory Kit ||$295 |
|Power Kit ||$149 |
Pubdate: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:43:00 Z
OPPO launches F3 Plus with dual selfie cameras
Chinese smartphone maker OPPO has launched its latest upper mid-range model, the F3 Plus, and while the new device unfortunately doesn't come with OPPO's recently displayed 5x zoom camera unit, it does offer an unusual imaging feature: a dual-front camera.
The front unit features a 16MP main camera with 1/3" sensor and F2.0 aperture for standard selfies. It is accompanied by an 8MP module with 1/4" sensor and a super-wide-angle lens with 120 degree angle of view for group selfies. Thanks to built-in facial recognition, the camera app can notify users to switch to the wide angle camera if there are more than three people in the frame.
The rear camera is more conventional but offers capable-looking specifications. A 16MP 1/2.8" Sony IMX398 sensor is paired with a fast F1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization. Dual PDAF doubles the 'focus pixels' on the image sensor for up to 40% faster focus times in low light.
In the processor department you'll find Qualcomm's Snapdragon 653 octa-core offering, backed by 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage. A dual-slot card tray can hold two Nano SIM cards or one Nano SIM card and a microSD card, expanding memory to up to 256GB. OPPO claims the beefy 4,000 mAh battery allows for a standby time of more than 284 hours. It also features the company's own VOOC fast charging technology which can get you up to 2 hours of talk time with 5 minutes of charging.
At the front you'll find a 6" 1080p IPS LCD display that is covered by 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The F3 Plus features a metal unibody and comes in black or gold. It will be available from April 1st in a number of Asian regions. No information on pricing or global availability has been released yet.
OPPO Launches F3 Plus, Kickstarting the 'Group Selfie' Trend with A First-ever 120° Wide-angle Front Camera
March 23, 2017 – OPPO unveiled today the F3 Plus, the latest model of its Selfie Expert series. The F3 Plus sports the brand’s first dual front selfie camera including a first-of-its-kind 120° wide-angle group selfie camera. Priced at XX, the F3 Plus will go on sale from April 1st in India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar.
OPPO’s F3 Plus’ dual front camera will answer urban dwellers’ pursuit of snapping perfect selfie photos with a 16-megapixel camera and group selfie photos with a 120° wide-angle camera. The rear camera is co-developed with Sony, equipped with a customized IMX398 sensor for serious photography. The F3 Plus is a high-end smartphone that is efficient, long-lasting, secure and beautiful, addressing today’s highly-demanding mobile-first world.
“OPPO is an industry leader in the Selfie Revolution with the recent ‘Selfie Expert’ F-series. Our brand has been growing rapidly across Southeast Asia and other regions around the world. We became the No.2 smartphone brand in India in 2016. The F3 Plus marks the beginning of a new ‘Group Selfie’ trend, and reinforce our position as the Selfie Expert,” said Sky Li, OPPO Vice President and Managing Director of International Mobile Business.
“The F3 Plus was created for urban warriors, selfie photo aficionados and lifestyle mavens who want with the need to capturing flawless selfie photos, and our groundbreaking dual front camera smartphone will deliver the photos they seek. The F3 Plus is also packed with outstanding performance, premium design and amazing battery life,” Sky Li added.
Remarkable Wide-Angle & Dual Front Selfie Camera Define the Next Expert-Class Photography
OPPO’s devotion to perfecting the selfie camera technology began at the very start of their business nine years ago, when no other manufacturer focused on the selfie snapping capturing trend. For example, in 2012, the N1 model pioneered the world’s first rotating camera. In 2016, the F1 Plus was the first-ever device to sport a 16 megapixel front camera. Taking one step further, the revolutionary dual selfie front camera will take the standards of camera hardware and selfie photography to new heights.
Set to be the next ultimate ‘Selfie Expert’, the F3 Plus features dual front selfie camera. The 16-megapixel front camera builds upon the technology offered by the previous ‘Selfie Expert’ F1s. At the core of this camera is a 1/3-inch sensor, which increases light exposure and clarity of images. The large f/2.0 aperture allows for great depth-of-field effects – clear foreground focus matched with the perfect amount of background blurriness.
In becoming the ‘Group Selfie’ secret weapon, the first-in-the-market, specialized 120-degree wide-angle 8-megapixel camera captures a much wider view, up to 105 percent more than a regular 80-degree lens. This allows even more people to enter the frame with minimized lens distortion, thanks to the 6P camera lens. The camera also features a ¼-inch sensor.
This group selfie camera is a reflection of OPPO’s ‘user-oriented’ philosophy. With the built-in Smart Facial Recognition, the F3 Plus will notify users to switch to ‘Group Selfie’ mode if there are more than three people in the frame. Users can snap their Group Selfie at ease, without compromising image stability when taking the selfie with one hand.
The outstanding rear camera offers professional high-quality photography performance with fast focusing speed, noise reduction and advanced low-light performance. Powering the 16-megapixel rear camera is a brand-new 1/2.8-inch IMX398 sensor. This sensor is jointly developed by OPPO and Sony, which features Dual PDAF – dual phase detection autofocus technology. This new technology doubles the sensor’s pixel array area where the photodiodes are embedded, necessary for phase detection autofocus. This makes for 40 percent faster focusing speeds even in low light. Paired with the large f/1.7 aperture, the resulting images are clear and breathtaking.
There are other innovative technologies packed into the F3 Plus to help users capture picture-perfect, flawless selfies. OPPO’s pioneering beautification editing software, Beautify 4.0, will allow users to choose from various beautification modes, ensuring images presenting the favorable effects.
A Flawless Smartphone Experience
The OPPO F3 Plus is fast, utilizing an octa-core processor backed by 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM. It also offers a dual-slot card tray that can hold two Nano 4G SIM cards or one Nano SIM card with a microSD card, expanding memory to up to 256GB. OPPO’s leading optimized ColorOS 3.0 system ensures superb speed with reduced energy consumption and flawless performance with built-in Privacy Protection feature and the Avast-based virus scanner.
Extended daily usage is another of the device’s core features. The 4,000 mAh built-in battery gives the F3 Plus a standby time of more than 284 hours. Through OPPO’s proprietary and industry leading rapid VOOC Flash Charge Solution, the battery will charge four times faster than standard batteries. can get up to 2 hours of talk time with just 5 minutes of charging.
Privacy protection and security is also a top priority. F3 Plus’ Lightning-Fast Touch Access is undoubtedly one of the quickest in the market. The home-button fingerprint reader in the F3 Plus unlocks the phone in a mere 0.2s. The fingerprint reader is even more versatile with the fingerprint-activated calling and app launch functions.
Users can enjoy the flexibility to multi-task and ‘work hard, snap hard’, all on one smartphone – seamlessly, securely, with a long battery life.
 This number is for reference only and may differ depending on individual user usage / conditions.
Stunning Design and Exquisite Craftsmanship
Created with OPPO’s belief in design excellence, the F3 Plus is constructed with a metal unibody and carefully crafted for a better sense of hand-gripping, resulting in a sleek and thin smartphone that is a wonder to hold. The 6-inch, 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 screen features a pre-applied protective screen coating, giving it an elegant, classy and premium look while retaining unmatched durability.
The “Six-String” ultra-fine antenna is a design rethink by OPPO, removing the ubiquitous, thick pair of white antenna lines seen in previous smartphone models, and gives the back shell a stunning look.
Amazing Colors & Competitive Pricing
The F3 Plus comes in Black and Gold. The suggested retail price is $XXX. It will be made available first in India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar. Launches in the Middle East and North Africa will follow.
The F3 is also announced today, featuring the dual selfie front camera and 5.5-inch screen display. It is expected to be available in May 2017.
Pubdate: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:53:00 Z
Throwback Thursday: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3, Multi-Aspect Master
Back in 2008 there weren't a whole lot of enthusiast compacts. The two models which got the most attention were the Canon PowerShot G10 and Nikon Coolpix P6000. At that time, the 'Megapixel race' was really getting going, with the G10 and P6000 having 14.7MP and 13.5MP sensors, respectively (the LX2 was still at 10MP). All three of the aforementioned cameras had lenses with lovely focal ranges, but slow maximum apertures (F2.8-4.5 for the Canon, F2.7-5.9 for the Nikon).
Enter the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3. Panasonic didn't go crazy with Megapixels like other companies, instead using a 10 Megapixel, 1/1.63" CCD with a unique 'multi-aspect' feature. An even bigger story was its 'Leica' DC Vario-Summicron lens that had an equivalent focal length of 24-60mm (yep, kind of short) and a max aperture range of F2-2.8. Despite that fast lens and because of that limited range, the LX3 remained extremely compact.
|The LX3 is remarkably compact considering its lens. Its metal body gave it a quality feel. |
Indeed, one of the fun things about the LX3 was its multi-aspect capabilities. Using the switch on top of the lens barrel you could choose between 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9. On most cameras the angle-of-view would change at each of those ratios, but on the LX3 they are all the same. Simply put, the focal range (24-60mm equiv.) was the same, regardless of which of the three aspect ratios used. Having the ability to quickly switch aspect ratios made it a lot more tempting to mix things up a bit, since a trip to the menus wasn't required.
|The back of the LX3 had a pretty standard layout, with a 3" LCD and cluttered controls. |
The LX3 had a snappy UI, effective 'MEGA OIS' image stabiliization and plenty of manual controls. It could even capture 720/24p video, which was uncommon in that era. It's battery life of 380 shots/charge was pretty darn good, too.
| || |
|A pricey optical viewfinder was an available accessory. ||Third parties made teleconverters, like this 2.5x model from Fujiyama. |
Two other nice things about the LX3 were its support for an optional viewfinder and a threaded lens barrel. The DMW-VF1 was attached via the hot shoe and was framed for 24mm shooting. If you wanted to screw something onto the lens, Panasonic sold a 0.75x wide-angle converter and a number of filters. While Panasonic didn't sell any teleconverters, third parties did. Fujiyama produced a 2.5x teleconverter, which brought the long end of the lens to 150mm equivalent.
Ultimately, it's was the sensor + lens combination that made the LX3 so appealing. The LX3 had very good image quality at its base ISO and it held up well through ISO 800. Having that bright lens made the LX3 very capable in low light, as it allowed the photographer to keep the ISO as low as possible. And at a time when CCDs weren't exactly noise-free, that made a huge difference.
My colleague Richard Butler adds:
The LX3 is the first compact I ever liked. It also, arguably, rejuvenated the entire sector: everyone else started to make small cameras with bright lenses, including Canon re-launching the S series. Sure, the move to 1" sensors make the LX3 look rather less impressive, but it still pointed the way towards a generation of enthusiast pocketable compacts with lenses that let you get the best out of their sensors.
Have fond memories of your Panasonic LX3? Share them in the comments below! Feel free to leave suggestions for future TBT articles as well.
Read our Panasonic LX3 Review
Pubdate: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:00:00 Z
Canon EOS 77D / 9000D sample gallery
With a Rebel on one side and an 80D on the other, the Canon EOS 77D appears to occupy an interesting space in Canon's DSLR lineup. We haven't wasted any time getting our loaner unit out into the great outdoors (and the great indoors, for that matter). Take a look at our initial sample gallery, and stay tuned for updates once we get Raw support.
See our Canon EOS 77D sample gallery
Pubdate: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:00:00 Z
Zeiss is teasing a new telephoto Batis lens on its Instagram account
Recently, Zeiss started teasing a 'new Batis portrait telelens' on its Instagram account. A couple of Zeiss Ambassadors have posted photos from the yet-to-be-named lens as part of a weekly account takeover. The photo below was taken by music photographer Greg Watermann. Zeiss mentions that the E-mount lens will be available this spring.
UK-based wedding photographer Lisa Beaney also got a chance to use the new lens for a series of portraits.
Internet speculation is pointing to a 135mm F2.8. What do you think? Are you hoping for something faster than F2.8? Let us know in the comments.
Pubdate: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 07:01:00 Z
Major firmware updates coming for Fujifilm X-T2 and X-Pro2
Fujifilm will launch a couple of major firmware updates for its X-T2 and X-Pro2 cameras. The first one, available at the end of this month, brings the X-T2 up to version 2.00 and the X-Pro2 up to 3.00. Another update will arrive in late May.
The first update brings no less than 27 feature improvements to Fuji's flagship mirrorless cameras, including an option to enable focal length-dependent minimum shutter speed in ISO Auto, up to 15 minute exposures in T mode, more options for bracketing while shooting Raw and added autofocus flexibility.
Several other updates are aimed at improving handling during video shooting, including the addition of a live histogram for X-T2 owners.
A second round of updates will come in May. Firmware 2.10 for X-T2 and 3.10 for X-Pro2 will add -6 and -7 EVF brightness settings for very low light shooting and the ability to assign functions to the rear command dial. A few functions are added for the X-T2 only including tethered shooting via Wi-Fi. See the very long list of updates below.
You'll be able to download the updates from Fujifilm's support website.
X-T2 version 2.00 & X-Pro2 version 3.00 - due late March 2017
1. Shooting RAW in Bracketing and Advanced Filters
The update enables you to use the RAW format when shooting not only in AE Bracketing but also in other Bracketing modes (ISO, Dynamic Range, White Balance, Film Simulaitons) and also in Advanced Filter modes.
2. Extended ISO 125 and 160 selectable
The update adds ISO125 and ISO160 to extended ISO levels available.
3. Programmable long exposure of up to 15 minutes
Long exposure in the T mode currently goes only up to 30 seconds. The update will allow users to extend it up to 15 minutes.
4. ON/OFF for 1/3-step shutter speed adjustment (X-T2 only - already in X-Pro2)
The update allows you to turn off the Command Dial's function to adjust shutter speed by 1/3 steps in order to prevent unintended adjustments.
5. Full-range ISO adjustments with the Command Dial (X-T2 only)
With the update, set the ISO "A" position to "Command" to adjust ISO sensitivity across the full range, including extended ISOs, with the Front Command Dial.
6. "AUTO" setting added for the minimum shutter speed in the ISO Auto setting
The update adds an AUTO option for the minimum shutter speed in the ISO Auto setting, that allows the camera to automatically define the minimum shutter speed according to the focal length of the lens attached.
7. Faster "Face Detection AF"
The update enables the use of Phase Detection AF for faster performance in Face Detection AF.
8. Improved in-focus indication in the AF-C mode
The update reduces focus hunting in the AF-C mode, making it easier to track a subject.
9. Addition of a smaller Focus Point size in Single Point AF
The update adds a smaller Focus Point size in Single Point AF, bringing the total number of available sizes to six. The new smallest size facilitates pin-point focusing.
10. Addition of "AF Point Display" (X-Pro2 only - already on X-T2)
With the update, you can choose to have AF Points constantly displayed in Zone AF and Wide / Tracking AF, making it easier to track a subject.
11. Addition of "AF-C Custom Setting" (X-Pro2 only - already on X-T2)
The update adds "AF-C Custom Setting" for specifying focus-tracking characteristics. Choose from five presets according to your subject's type of movements.
12. Addition of "Portrait / Landscape AF Mode Switching" (X-T2 only)
The update allows you to specify separate AF mode and AF point settings for portrait orientation and landscape orientation.
13. Change of focus frame position while enlarging it
The update allows you to move the position of focus frame while enlarging it in Single Point in the AF-S mode or in the Manual Focus
14. Activation of the Eye Sensor in video recording (X-T2 only)
The update allows you to use the Eye Sensor during video recording to automatically switch between EVF and LCD.
15. Change of ISO sensitivity during video recording (X-T2 only)
The update allows you to change ISO setting during video recording.
16. Re-autofocusing in video recording
With the update, half-press the Shutter Release button or press the button assigned to "AF-ON" function during video recording to re-do autofocusing.
17. Display live histogram during video recording (X-T2 only)
The update allows you to display a live histogram during video recording.
18. Optimization of external microphone's input level (X-T2 only)
The update optimizes external microphone's input level (lower limit revised from -12dB to 20dB) to reduce white noise when an external microphone with preamp is connected.
19. Addition of "Eye Sensor + LCD Image Display" in the View Mode
The update gives the "Eye Sensor + LCD Image Display" option in the View Mode that allows you to shoot through the viewfinder and check images on the LCD, just as you would with an SLR.
20. Shorter EVF display time-lag (X-Pro2 only - already in X-T2)
The update shortens EVF's display time-lag in the AF-C mode so that you will not miss a photo opportunity.
21. Constant "Dual" mode display (X-T2 only)
With the update, the small window in the Dual mode stays on even when you half-press the shutter release button.
22. Automatic vertical GUI for LCD (X-T2 only)
With the update, when you hold the camera in the portrait orientation, the camera will automatically display the GUI on the LCD in the same orientation.
23. Name Custom Settings
The update allows you to assign a specific name to Custom Settings 1 - 7.
24. Copyright information in EXIF data
The update allows you to register the photographer's name and the copyright holder's name in advance so that the camera automatically adds the information to EXIF data for each image.
25. Voice Memo function
The update enable you to record 30-second "Voice Memo" clips in the Playback mode.
26. Extended AE Bracketing
The update extends AE Bracketing from the current 3 frames +/-2EV to up to 9 frames +/-3EV.
27. Addition of "Shoot Without Card" mode
With the update, you can have the "Shoot Without Card" mode turned OFF so that the camera can not shoot when there is no SD card inserted.
X-T2 version 2.10 & X-Pro2 version 3.10 - late May 2017
28. Support for computer tethering via Wi-Fi (X-T2 only)
The update adds support for computer tethering via Wi-Fi.
29. Addition of "All" AF mode (X-T2 only)
With the update, select "All" in the AF mode so that you can select the AF mode and Focus Area size by only using the Command Dial.
30. Function extension for "Shutter AF" and "Shutter AE" (X-T2 only)
With the update, you can specify different settings for AF-S and AF-C in "Shutter AF" and for AF-S / MF and AF-C in "Shutter AE."
31. Addition of "-6" and "-7" to EVF's brightness setting
Additional options of "-6" and "-7" to the "EVF Brightness" setting so that, even in an extremely low-light condition, the brightness of the EVF does not distract you from shooting.
32. Switchover of the main and sub displays in the Dual Display mode (X-T2 only)
The update allows you to switch between the main and sub displays in the Dual Display mode.
33. Function assignment to the Rear Command Dial
With the update, you can assign a specific function to be activated when the Rear Command Dial is pressed.
Pubdate: Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:21:00 Z
Drobo announces 'easiest and fastest ever' 5-bay NAS storage with 5N2
Digital storage solutions company Drobo has updated its 5N desktop network attached device with a new version that it claims is easier to use and faster than any previous NAS it has produced. An upgraded processor makes the Drobo 5N2 twice as fast as the previous model, and it comes equipped with a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports so two units can be connected for additional capacity and safety via what Drobo calls Adaptive Link Bonding.
The 5-bay device can accept up to 64TB total capacity and allows users to add and switch drives at any time. The 5N2 is happy to accept spinning and solid state storage, and can accommodate both varieties at the same time. One of the benefits of the company’s BeyondRaid system is that disk capacities don’t have to match and users can top-up the system using empty bays and can upgrade existing individual disks to higher capacities when needed. As the unit doesn’t use trays or carriers new disks simply slot in.
Drobo says the 5N2 is aimed at home networks, media professionals and small businesses and that up to 250 user accounts can be created. The device takes only ten minutes to set up and account holders can use a range of Apps to access data remotely and via smartphones and tablets. Read and write speeds are said to average around 190-197MB/s.
The Drobo 5N2 is available now and costs $499/€599/£518 with a pair of Ethernet cables. For more information see the Drobo website.
Drobo Launches Next Era of Storage Solutions with the 5N2 NAS
The Drobo 5N2 brings a revolutionary storage solution for the connected home or small office environment
Today, Drobo is launching the revolutionary 5N2, the fastest 5 Bay Drobo NAS with expanded functionality that includes the advanced technology features of Drobo’s enterprise level products. The 5N2 is built with Drobo’s patented BeyondRAID™ technology to meet the demanding data storage requirements of connected home users, media professionals and small businesses. The 5N2 has an impressive list of customer centric, industry-leading features such as:
- Two, One Gigabit Ethernet ports for unparalleled performance
- Upgraded processor for increased speed and throughput
- DroboDR, the Simplest to use Disaster Recovery (DR) solution available
- 2x Performance boost over the original 5N with port-bonding enabled
- Two Year Warranty
- DroboApps for turn-key applications and file management support
Designed From the Ground up for Connected Homes and SMBs
The 5N2 is perfect for the connected home and Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) who want a simple, safe, and smart storage solution. The 5N2 has secure remote access and enterprise level DroboDR functionality. The 5N2 also includes access to DroboApps, which extends the functionality of Drobo NAS devices. Applications such as DroboAccess (private cloud solution) and DroboPix (mobile pictures and video management) allow users both privacy and security of their data on a Drobo they own -- unlike public cloud solutions.
“The team at Drobo is working hard to deliver on the commitments we have made to customers, partners and ourselves,” said Mihir Shah, CEO of Drobo. “Our customers have been asking for our enterprise level technology in our 5 bay NAS products and the 5N2 delivers just that, at a cost effective price. We strive to be the storage company that is laser focused on our customer’s requirements.”
Superior Performance With Disaster Recovery
The 5N2 is the fastest 5 bay network attached Drobo ever. This allows for superior performance for data intensive applications that most connected homes and small businesses have. To ensure data is safe, the 5N2 also comes with the DroboDR software solution developed by Drobo. With DroboDR, users can set up a pair of 5N2s to make an
offsite copy of data. DroboDR is simple to setup and manage and replicates data to another 5N2, ensuring availability in case of disaster. Furthermore, the remote 5N2 stores all user account information, resulting in a quick and painless recovery with a single click in the Drobo Dashboard. The Drobo 5N2 also comes with an internal battery that protects against data loss during a power outage.
Customer Driven Focus
The 5N2 is the 7th new product introduced after the company underwent an acquisition and management change in 2015. Drobo is committed to introducing innovative products that preserve simplicity and customer confidence. The 5N2 includes a two-year warranty to extend peace of mind for users.
The 5N2 is the easiest to use NAS on the market today with automation usually reserved for more expensive solutions. This ease of use is what customers expect from Drobo’s award-winning focus on simplicity. This is evident in Drobo’s unique features such as:
Internal battery back-up for zero data loss during a power outage
Expandability with any size disk
Award winning ease of use setup and management dashboard
mSATA cache for speedy access to frequently used data
Ability to mix and match any size HDD’s and SSD's
Price and Customer Loyalty Program
The Drobo 5N2 is available today at an MSRP of $499 USD through www.drobostore.com and select channel partners.
Drobo is offering Drobo FS and 5N customers a $50 USD discount when they purchase a new Drobo 5N2 through www.drobostore.com.
US customers will also receive a limited edition GelaSkin if purchased on the US Drobo Store. The limited edition GelaSkin offer and $50 rebate are valid until April 4th, 2017 or while supplies last.
Pubdate: Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:39:00 Z
Midwest Photo camera store thieves reportedly cut hole in roof to steal gear
Midwest Photo, a retail store in Columbus, Ohio, has been the subject of a reported theft that the company president Moishe Appelbaum describes as 'Mission Impossible style.' On Wednesday, March 15th, an unknown thief or multiple thieves broke a hole through the store’s roof and used that hole to gain access to a pipe, which was then used by the thieves to slide down into the shop.
Once inside, the thieves stole a cache of items from Midwest Photo’s storage area, including cases, cameras, and lenses. A surveillance camera was able to capture at least part of this theft, though the store says it has now rolled out additional security crews. Speaking to local news affiliate FOX 28 Columbus, Appelbaum said, '[It was a] really professional crew that knew what they were doing.'
Appelbaum goes on to state that this may be the work of a professional burglary ring that is targeting camera shops across the Midwest and possibly the nation. ‘This is the third camera store burglary overnight we’ve seen in the Midwest in the past week-and-a-half,’ he said. ‘This is a crew I believe is making their way across the country.’ The company is encouraging anyone with info to contact Midwest Photo or the Columbus police department.
As DPReview previously reported, California lens company Veydra suffered a similar theft a couple days prior to Midwest Photo's burglary. In that case, thieves broke into Veydra's California headquarters on Sunday, March 12, and made off with more than 200 lenses. Whether the two incidents are related is unknown. At this time, it doesn't appear the stolen items in either case have been recovered.
Via: FOX 28
Pubdate: Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:24:00 Z
Instagram will soon let you book photographers and other services directly in the app
Photographers with a strong presence on Instagram might soon be able to monetize their accounts in a more tangible way than has been possible so far. In an interview with Bloomberg, James Quarles, Instagram's head of business, has confirmed that Instagram will soon add a function to book a business or service directly from the mobile app. The feature is expected to be launched within the next couple of months.
In practice, business accounts will be able to add a booking option, allowing potential customers to schedule appointments through the app, without the need to use other means of communication. The Bloomberg article gives the example of booking an appointment in a hair salon but the new feature could be especially interesting for commercial photographers, many of whom maintain a strong presence on the image sharing platform.
The move will put Instagram into direct competition with services such as Yelp or OpenTable. Quarles also said that currently about 8 million businesses use profiles on Instagram and 80% of users follow a business. The company may eventually add more tools, such as reviews. If you are a photographer offering commercial services, now seems like a good time to brush up your profile.
Pubdate: Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:03:00 Z
We asked three Canon lens masters to name their first and favorite lens designs
What is your first and your favorite Canon lens?
It's not everyday you get to sit down with three master lens designers, but it's also not every day you tour Canon's Utsunomiya lens factory (read the interview and take the tour). Each of the three gentlemen we posed our two questions to - what was the first lens you designed and what is your favorite lens - has decades of experience designing Canon glass.
Masato Okada (center), the Deputy Chief Executive of Image Communication Products and Operations, first began designing lenses for Canon back in 1982. Meanwhile, Kenichi Izuki (right), the Plant Manager and Shingo Hayakawa (left), the Deputy Chief Executive of Image Communication and Products Operations, have each been designing Canon lenses since the late 80's/early 90's.
|It takes decades of experience to design a lens like the Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L III USM. |
What was the first lens design you worked on at Canon?
Masato Okada: "It would go back many years, maybe you weren’t even born yet (Editor's note: I was not), but the first lens I worked on was the FD 150-600mm F5.6L. It was one of those lenses where it was on a box and you actually had a one-touch action to do the zoom and one-touch action to do the focus. That was a big revelation."
| ||Masato Okada is the Deputy Chief Executive of Image Communication and Products Operations at Canon's Utsunomiya lens factory. |
What was the first lens design you worked on at Canon?
Shingo Hayakawa: "It launched in 1991, the 75-300mm F4-5.6 USM, was the first lens I worked on and also the very first lens in that series. At the time, we actually launched the product at a lower price than the third party manufacturers, which was big news. The version "III" of that lens is still on the market."
| ||Shingo Hayakawa is the Deputy Group Executive of Image Communication and Products Operations at Canon's Utsunomiya lens factory. |
What was the first lens design you worked on at Canon?
Kenichi Izuki: "Because I joined Canon as a technical engineer I have so many memories of all the products I’ve worked on. Initially, I handled maybe 10 products over the course of a year. But the very first one that I worked on, which is now discontinued, is the EF 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 USM. It's also one of my favorites."
| ||Kenichi Izuki is the Plant Manager at Canon's Utsunomiya lens factory. |
What is your favorite Canon lens design?
Masato Okada: "For me I’d have to say the 11-24mm F4L USM, because when launched, it allowed the widest angle possible on a full frame with no distortion. And I was torn at the time of production because we could have gone for the 12-24mm F2.8, which I thought would be more customer-prone. But I was developing the lens more in terms of particular users: a videographer for example, needing that extra field of view, even if they can’t physically back out. Other manufacturers were doing the 12-24mm, but only Canon was doing 11-24mm. We thought it was something we should go for. And it was really difficult in terms of the design for mass production. So because of those challenges, I’d say this would be my pick."
| ||Masato Okada is the Deputy Chief Executive of Image Communication and Products Operations at Canon's Utsunomiya lens factory. |
What is your favorite Canon lens design?
Shingo Hayakawa: "I can say that in terms of the lenses we’ve been launching over the years, we’re proud of them all. But the ones that came out last year in 2016, the 16-35mm F2.8L III USM in particular, was very highly spec'd at the time of its release. I'm proud of it because it has amazing performance and resolution. But if I were to narrow it down, my choice would be a lens that came out in 2012: the Canon 24-70mm F2.8L II USM. And if I were to choose a telephoto, I’d say the 200-400mm F4L IS USM with the 1.4x internal extender. But the 24-70mm II is my overall pick."
| ||Shingo Hayakawa is the Deputy Group Executive of Image Communication and Products Operations at Canon's Utsunomiya lens factory. |
What is your favorite Canon lens design?
Kenichi Izuki: "My favorite, which I truly remember because it was so hard to design, was the original Canon 70-200 F2.8 L USM non-IS. I actually worked on the 70-200mm F2.8L USM version II with IS when I became a manager of the division. That posed a challenge because we had to exceed the requirements of the previous version."
| ||Kenichi Izuki is the Plant Manager at Canon's Utsunomiya lens factory. |
Have your say, what's your favorite lens?
So what do you think of the responses we received – were there any surprises? And what is your all time favorite lens? Let us know in the comments!
Pubdate: Wed, 22 Mar 2017 08:00:00 Z
Meyer Optik Trioplan 35+ Kickstarter unlocks colorful lens trio reward
Meyer Optik has an active Kickstarter campaign seeking funding for its new Trioplan 35+ Fine Art Lens, and though 22 days remain in that campaign, backers have already well exceeded the company's $50,000 base funding goal. As a reward for the high amount pledged (about $480,000 total at the moment), Meyer Optik has announced the launch of a new limited edition reward: green, red, blue and titanium versions of the Trioplan lens.
According to Meyer Optik, it took a total of six minutes post-launch for the Kickstarter campaign to reach its $50,000 funding goal. Over the following week, the Kickstarter went on to raise in excess of $420,000, and the company has launched the special Kickstarter stretch reward as a result. Says company CEO Dr. Stefan Immes, ‘The new colors are strictly limited in quantity and, therefore, [are] a real collector’s item.'
The crowdfunding campaign now includes pledge options for the new colors, of which 50 units are available per color. All four special ‘super limited color edition’ Trioplan lenses are priced at $799 and are estimated to ship to backers this upcoming November.
Via: Photography Blog
Pubdate: Tue, 21 Mar 2017 19:06:00 Z
Apple launches new 9.7" iPad and limited edition iPhone 7 in red
Apple has today announced a new 9.7" iPad model that is simply called the iPad and replaces the iPad Air 2. Compared to the latter, the A8X processor has been replaced with the A9 chip that is also being used in the iPhone 6s. Due to a larger 8610 mAh battery the new model is at 7.5mm also 1.4mm thicker than the iPad Air 2. The rest of the specifications, including the 9.7" display with a resolution of 1536 x 2048 pixels, the 8MP/F2.4 rear camera and the 1.2MP front camera remain unchanged. TouchID with Apple Pay is on board as well.
In an unusual move, Apple has lowered prices. In the past 9.7" iPads started at $499. The 32GB base version of the new model is only $329. The 128GB variant will set you back $429. An additional $130 gets you the cellular version of the respective models. The new iPad will be available in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold starting March 24 in the US and 20 other countries. Apple also reduced the price of the iPad mini 4 which now comes in only one storage version with 128GB at $399. The cellular version is $529.
In addition to the iPad, Apple also launched the (Product) Red edition of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Proceeds of the (Product) Red line go towards charitable causes – in this case, they go to the Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS programs.
The new models only come as 128GB and 256GB storage versions. The red iPhone 7 starts at $750, the Plus version is $870. In both cases an additional $100 gets you the 256GB model. The devices will be available from March 24.
Also new is a video sharing app called Clips. It lets you treat your videos with a large variety of transformations, overlays and filters and also offers a number of more conventional video editing features. Final results can be shared to any app but Clip lacks some of the social networking features of apps like Vine or Snapchat.
Pubdate: Tue, 21 Mar 2017 18:12:00 Z
Android 7.1.1 update for OnePlus 3T brings improved video stabilization
In our review of the OnePlus 3T
we were in general quite impressed by the device's camera performance and thought the 3T represented excellent value for money. However, video stabilization was a point of criticism as panning could lead to noticeably shaky footage.
OnePlus claims to have fixed the issue with its OxygenOS 4.1.0 update which is based on Android 7.1.1. and says the performance of the electronic video stabilization is now on the same level as the Google Pixel. Looking at the sample clip we recorded after installing the update we'll have to agree. Stabilization is noticeably improved and panning is now buttery smooth, allowing for very steady hand-held shooting.
Other new features and improvements of the update include the following:
- Upgraded Android 7.1.1
- Updated Google security patch to 1st March 2017
- Added expanded screenshots
- Improved picture taking of moving objects with blur reduction
- Improved WiFi connectivity
- Improved bluetooth connectivity
- General bug fixes
The over-the-air (OTA) update will be incremental. So if you own a OnePlus 3T and haven't received it yet, don't despair, it should arrive on your device within the next few days.
Pubdate: Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:55:00 Z
US bans most electronic devices, including cameras, on flights from eight countries
| Image: Etihad |
If you are planning to fly to the US from some Middle-Eastern and African countries and carry camera equipment or other electronics, you should probably have a closer look at the new rules put in place by the Trump Administration on Tuesday.
Passengers departing from 10 airports in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates won't be allowed to carry on electronic devices larger than a cellphone. This includes laptops, tablets and cameras.
The new rules took effect at 3 a.m. E.D.T. on Tuesday, and must be followed within 96 hours by foreign airlines flying to the United States from the affected airports – but not US-carriers. It is currently unknown how long the ban will remain in place.
According to Royal Jordanian airlines, medical items are exempt from the ban and banned electronic items can still be transported in checked baggage. Officials estimate that overall 50 daily flights to the US will be affected. Homeland Security says the ban is not based on a threat of an imminent attack.
Pubdate: Tue, 21 Mar 2017 16:52:00 Z
Fujifilm X-T20 Review
The Fujifilm X-T20 is a midrange SLR-styled mirrorless camera that sits above the X-E2S and below the X-T2. The X-T20 replaces the X-T10 and offers a host of new features, including Fujifilm's latest 24MP CMOS sensor and image processor, faster burst shooting, any improved autofocus system, 4K video capture and more. In many ways, it's a smaller, less expensive 'little brother' to the X-T2, a camera that earned a Gold Award when we reviewed it last year.
The X-T20 finds itself in a competitive field of both 'mirrored' (DSLR) and mirrorless cameras. Buyers are likely to find themselves deciding between midrange DSLRs like the Nikon D5600 and Canon EOS 77D, as well as mirrorless models such as the Sony a6300, Panasonic GX850 and the Olympus E-M5 II.
Fujifilm X-T20 Key Features:
- 24MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor
- Up to 325 selectable AF points (169 of which offer phase detection)
- 2.36M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
- 3" 1.04M-dot tilting touchscreen LCD
- 4K UHD video at up to 30 fps, with clean output over HDMI
- 8 fps continuous shooting with AF, 5 fps with live view
- 2.5mm jack for external microphone or wired remote control
- Dials for exposure compensation, shutter speed and drive mode
The X-T20 is more about the overall package than one or two specs that standout. That said, the 24MP sensor has proven its worth on the X-Pro2 and X-T2, and the AF system has also been refined in a good way. The EVF is a pleasure to use, though the touch functions on the tilting LCD are limited. The burst rate hasn't changed since the X-T10, but the buffer size has been dramatically increased. 4K video has also been added, helping to keep the X-T20 at an even level with the best of its peers.
And let's not forget the design of the camera which has become a trademark of Fujifilm's X-series models. The classic DSLR-style design isn't getting old (at least for this reviewer) and the build quality is very good for a $900 body.
Below we'll lay out the similarities and differences between the X-T20 and the Sony a6300 and OIympus E-M5 II mirrorless cameras, along with the Canon EOS 77D DSLR.
| ||Fujifilm X-T20 ||Sony a6300 ||Olympus E-M5 II ||Canon EOS 77D |
|MSRP (body) ||$899 ||$999 ||$1099 ||$899 |
|Sensor ||24MP APS-C ||24MP APS-C ||16MP Four Thirds ||24MP APS-C |
|Color filter ||X-Trans ||Bayer ||Bayer ||Bayer |
|Lens mount ||Fujifilm X ||Sony E ||Micro Four Thirds ||Canon EF/EF-S |
|ISO range |
|100-51200 ||100-51200 ||100-25600 ||100-51200 |
|Image stabilization ||Lens-based ||Lens-based ||In-body ||Lens-based |
|AF system ||Hybrid1 ||Hybrid1 ||Contrast-detect ||Phase Detect + Dual Pixel AF2 |
|LCD type ||Tilting ||Tilting ||Fully articulating ||Fully articulating |
|Touchscreen ||Yes ||No ||Yes ||Yes |
|Viewfinder (magnification3) ||EVF (0.62x) ||EVF (0.7x) ||EVF (0.74x) ||OVF (0.51x) |
|Max shutter speed |
|1/4000 sec (1/32,000) ||1/4000 sec ||1/8000 sec (1/16,000) ||1/4000 sec |
|Built-in flash ||Yes ||Yes ||No |
Clip-on, rotating/ bouncable included
|Flash x-sync ||1/180 sec ||1/160 sec ||1/250 sec ||1/200 sec |
|Burst rate |
|8 fps ||11 fps ||5 fps ||6 fps |
|Yes / No ||Yes / No ||Yes / No ||Yes / No |
|Video ||UHD 4K @ 30p ||UHD 4K @ 30p ||1080/60p ||1080/60p |
|Wireless ||Wi-Fi ||Wi-Fi w/NFC ||Wi-Fi ||Wi-Fi w/NFC |
|Weather-sealed ||No ||Yes ||Yes ||No |
|Battery life ||350 shots ||400 shots ||310 shots ||600 shots4 |
|Dimensions ||118 x 83 x 41mm ||120 x 67 x 49mm ||124 x 85 x 45mm ||131 x 100 x 76mm |
|Weight ||383 g ||404 g ||469 g ||540 g |
1. Hybrid denotes contrast and on-sensor phase detection.
2. Dual Pixel AF is a variation of on-sensor phase detection that has left/right-looking diodes on every pixel, rather than masked-out pixels on traditional PDAF systems.
3. 35mm equivalent
4. Live view battery life rated at 270 shots.
Lots to talk about before we really dive further into the X-T20. The X-T20 is remarkably competitive with its peers: sometimes an equal and other times surpassing the other cameras. The only area in which it falls a bit short is with regard to its electronic viewfinder, which is smaller than the other two mirrorless cameras (though it's larger than what you'll find on the EOS 77D). It's not weather-sealed like the a6300 and E-M5 II, so if you want that on a Fujifilm you'll need to step up to the X-T2, which is nearly double the price.
Pubdate: Tue, 21 Mar 2017 14:41:00 Z
Opinion: Thinking about buying medium format? Read this first
The recent announcements of Fujifilm’s GFX 50S and Hasselblad's X1D have turned a lot of heads, and for good reason. To take the GFX 50S specifically (since it's more likely to represent an affordable option for DSLR shooters), we love Fujifilm cameras. It’s hard not to – they offer excellent ergonomics with a level of direct control that photographers itch for, and Fujifilm’s color science renders images that harken back to the days of film, while retaining all the advantages of digital. Meanwhile, the X-Trans color filter array (CFA) offers a number of advantages compared to traditional Bayer CFAs, showing decreased false color and a slight noise advantage due to a (relatively) greater proportion of green pixels.
Ultimately, though, the image quality of Fujifilm’s best cameras was limited by their APS-C sized sensors, which simply cannot capture as much light as similar silicon in larger sizes. And if you’ve kept up with our recent technical articles, you’ll know that the amount of total light you’ve captured is arguably the largest determinant of image quality.
'Fujifilm skipped the arguably saturated full-frame market and went straight to medium format.'
That left many of us wondering when Fujifilm would step up to full-frame (35mm). But Fujifilm went one better – they skipped the arguably saturated full-frame market and went straight to medium format. In a rather compact, lightweight mirrorless form-factor at that. That made a lot of sense especially when you consider Fujifilm’s heritage in medium format film cameras, and its experience making medium-format lenses for other brands.
So, finally, here comes the GFX 50S: Fujifilm ergonomics and colors, but with all the advantages offered by larger sensors. But while heads turn, eyes widen, and colleagues fight over who gets to take the camera out for a shoot, personally I’m in need of a little convincing. And think you should be too, if you’re thinking about plopping down a fat wad of cash for this seemingly drool-worthy system.
But what’s not to like, you ask? Bear with me…
Theoretical advantages of larger sensors
The potential advantages of larger sensors can broadly be split into four areas: noise in low light, dynamic range, subject isolation (shallow depth-of-field), and resolution. But zoom into the following 36MP at 100% - are any of those lacking?
|ISO 64 on a Nikon D810 gets me medium format-esque signal:noise ratio (image cleanliness), along with subject isolation I can't get on medium format just yet, not at this focal length anyway (which would require a non-existent 44mm F2.5 MF lens). The incredible sharpness of this lens means I get good use out of those 36MP even wide open at F2. Photo: Rishi Sanyal (Nikon D810 | Sigma 24-35mm @ 35mm F2) |
The question is: does the GFX 50S currently deliver on all, or any, of these advantages over what the best of full-frame has to offer? Let’s look at each separately.
Low light (noise) performance
For the same f-number and shutter speed (or ‘focal plane exposure’), a larger sensor is exposed to more total light. The same light per unit area is projected by the lens, but the larger sensor has more area available capturing it. An image made with more light has less relative photon shot noise (the noise that results from the fact that light arrives randomly at the imaging plane). The more light you capture, the more you ‘average’ out these fluctuations, leading to a cleaner image (that’s the laymen’s description of it anyway; read about it more in-depth here).
That’s why a full-frame camera generally gives you cleaner images than your smartphone.* So if more light means better images, that’s a clear win for the GFX 50S, right?
Not so fast...
No, literally, not so fast. The lenses available for the GFX format simply aren’t as fast as those offered by full-frame competitors. The fastest lens on Fujifilm’s GFX roadmap is F2, which in full-frame equivalent terms is F1.56** (the concept of equivalence is out of scope for this article, but you can read about it in-depth here; for now, just remember the GFX has a reverse crop factor, relative to full-frame, of 0.79x). And most of the current MF lenses hover around F2.8 and F4, or F2.2 and F3.2 equivalent, respectively. That means that if they had the exact same underlying silicon technology (or sensor performance), a full-frame camera with an F2.2 (or F3.2) lens should do just as well as the GFX 50S with its F2.8 (or F4) lens. Even if were were to think ahead to the MF 100MP sensor Sony provides in the Phase One cameras, its 0.64x crop factor at best yields an F1.3 full-frame equivalent lenses from the one F2 lens announced, still not beating out the Canon 85/1.2, and barely beating out the plethora of available F1.4 full-frame lenses. So even if the newly announced G-mount lenses cover the wider medium format image circle (which I'd sure hope they would), things still aren't so exciting.
But full-frame can do better than that: F1.4 and F1.8 lenses are routinely available for full-frame cameras, typically for less money too. An F1.4 lens projects twice as much light per unit area than an F2 lens, and 4x as much as an F2.8 lens, amply making up for the 1.7x smaller sensor surface area of full-frame.
That means full-frame cameras can capture as much, or more, light as the GFX 50S simply by offering faster lenses. But wait, it there's more...
Companies like Sony have poured a lot of R&D into their full-frame (and smaller) sensors, and the a7R II uses a backside-illuminated design that makes it more efficient than the sensor used in the 50S. It also offers a dual-gain architecture that flips the camera into a high gain mode at ISO 640, allowing it to effectively overcome any noise introduced by the camera’s own electronics. In other words, the a7R II’s sensor is better able to use the light projected onto it, relative to the MF sensor – ironically a sensor made by Sony itself - in the G50S (or Pentax 645Z, or Hasselblad X1D). This allows it to match the low light noise performance of the larger sensor in the GFX (and Pentax 645Z and Hasselblad X1D) even at the same shutter speed and f-number. See our studio scene comparison widget above.
'The Sony a7R II’s sensor is better able to use the light projected onto it, relative to the MF sensor'
So if we start with parity, guess what happens when you open up that aperture on the a7R II to an f-number simply unavailable to any current medium format system? You guessed it: you get better low light performance on full-frame. Whoa.
Although the same f-number and shutter speed give a larger sensor more total light, they receive the same amount of light per unit area. Most sensors of a similar generation have broadly similar tolerance for light per unit area (technically: similar full well capacity per unit area). But a larger sensor devotes more sensor area to any scene element, so can tolerate more total light per scene element before clipping. That means that for the same focal plane exposure, despite clipping highlights at a similar point, a larger sensor will render shadows (whose noise levels define the other limit of dynamic range) from more total light. And the same logic that applies to low light noise applies here as well: more total light = less relative shot noise and less impact of any noise from camera electronics. That means cleaner shadows, and more dynamic range.
So another clear win for the larger sensor GFX, no? Well, no. Because someone poured a lot of R&D into the Nikon D810 sensor (noticing a trend here?), giving it higher full-well capacity per unit area than any other sensor we’ve measured to date: its ISO 64 mode. Each pixel can hold more total charge before clipping, relative to equally-sized pixels on any other sensor in a consumer camera. That means it can tolerate a longer exposure at ISO 64, longer enough (at least 2/3 EV, or 60% more light) to capture as much total light as the 68% larger sensor in the GFX 50S exposed at its base ISO (100). Don’t believe us? Check out our real-world dynamic range comparison of the Nikon D810 vs the Pentax 645Z, which ostensibly shares the same sensor as the GFX 50S:
In this shoot-out, we exposed each camera to the right as far as possible before clipping a significant chunk of pixels in the brightest portion of the Raw (in the orange sky just above the mountains). The D810, in this case, was able to tolerate a full stop longer exposure***, which allows its (pushed) shadows to remain as clean as the 645Z. That's the (scientific, not baloney) reason we claimed the Nikon D810 to have medium format-like image quality. Because its dynamic range and overall signal:noise performance at ISO 64 rivals many current medium format cameras their base ISOs (though not the huge new 100MP MF Sony sensor in the new Phase One). Just look at its massive SNR advantage (read: image cleanliness) for all tones at ISO 64 over the Canon 5DS R at ISO 100 - we intend to plot the Fujifilm GFX 50S on the same graph, and don't expect it to show any advantage to the D810. Because science.
Read about this all more in-depth in our D810 review here, and check out Bill Claff's quantitative data that shows a 0.22 EV base ISO dynamic range difference between the D810 and 645Z - hardly noticeable, much less something to write home about.
‘OK but it’s not fair to compare ISO 64 to ISO 100!’
Fair enough, there’s a little more to the story. ISO 64 does require more exposure than ISO 100, either via a brighter lens, or longer exposure time. But one might argue that under circumstances where you care about dynamic range – i.e. high contrast scenes – you’re typically not light-limited to begin with, and can easily give the camera as much light as needed. Either because you’re shooting on a tripod, you’re using studio lights and can just crank them up, or because there’s so much light to begin with (it is a high contrast scene, right?) You’re working at or near base ISO anyway, so you shouldn’t have trouble adding 2/3 EV exposure by opening up the lens or lengthening the shutter speed a bit.
'You’re working at or near base ISO anyway, so you shouldn’t have trouble adding 2/3 EV shutter speed'
But, yes, if you’re in a light-limited situation (i.e. you’re not shooting at base ISO) and it’s high enough contrast that you care about dynamic range (have to expose for highlights then push shadows), then the GFX 50S will have the upper hand here. But dare I say, that’s quite the niche use case: keep in mind that most situations demanding higher ISOs tend to be in lower light, where you care more about general noise performance, not dynamic range (since low light scenes tend to have lower contrast). And if that’s what you care about, there’s the a7R II which, although it may clip highlights a bit earlier, can give you as good, or better, low light noise performance… [link back to Noise section above].
But I'll concede – if you want both the base ISO dynamic range of the D810, and the low light noise performance of an a7R II (albeit with F2 or slower lenses), then the GFX might be your ticket.
As we calculated in our ‘Low light (noise) performance’ section above, the fastest lens on Fujifilm’s roadmap is ~F1.6 full-frame equivalent, with most current available lenses being F2.2 equivalent or slower. Since full-frame routinely has F1.4 (equivalent) lenses available, you actually get more subject isolation, and blurrier backgrounds, with full-frame than with medium format.
And, no, the ‘but larger formats have more compression because you use longer focal length lenses for the same field-of-view’ argument is false. Just say no to the compression myth. For equivalent focal lengths/apertures, there's no extra compression. Compression is relative only to equivalent focal length and subject distance (or subject magnification), and its relative distance to the background. Not the format you're shooting on. Don’t believe us, have a look for yourself:
Full Frame (70mm F4.5)
APS-C (46mm F2.8)
46mm F2.8 on APS-C is roughly equivalent to 70mm F4.3 on full-frame - meaning the two shots above should be virtually identical. And they are, save for a tiny bit more DOF in the full-frame shot because F4.5 was the closest I could get to F4.3. Now, of course, you can get shallower DOF on full-frame, for example by shooting at F2.8. But that's because those faster lenses are available for full-frame.
They're not in Fujifilm's lineup, which includes two F2.8 lenses, one F2 lens, and a few F4 lenses - which are equivalent to F2.2, F1.6, and F3.2 in full-frame terms, respectively.
Without brighter lenses, there’s just no reason to get excited about medium format for subject isolation and blurry backgrounds. If you're a bokeh fanatic, full-frame’s arguably the sweet spot.
OK, finally, some good news. Well, theoretically anyway.
If you have two differently sized sensors with the same pixel count, the smaller one will be more demanding on its lens (it samples the lens at more lines per mm for the same scene frequency). Manufacturing larger lenses is also slightly easier, since the same relative tolerance level can be achieved, despite a larger absolute variance.
So if you’re looking for true 50MP of detail across the frame, you’re more likely to get it with the GFX 50S than with a comparable 50MP full-frame sensor, simply because of the realities of lens design and tolerances. That said, we’ve been told that some of the newer full-frame lens designs were designed with 80 to 100MP in mind, on full-frame sensors. And with the eye-popping performance of some of the newest full-frame lenses we’ve seen, from varied manufacturers, we’re not inclined to disagree. We’ve seen some 50MP files from the 5DS R paired with truly stellar lenses where we simply can’t imagine anything better, resolution-wise. In fact, at ~F5.6-6.2 equivalent, I'm not seeing a major resolution advantage of the medium format cameras over the full-frame cameras in our studio scene comparison tool, and the 50MP full-frame image below isn't exactly starved for resolution, is it?
|50MP Canon 5DS R image, shot with a Sigma 24-35mm F2 lens at F2. At F2 full-frame equiv., this image would have been impossible to shoot on the Fujifilm GFX 50S without a 44mm F2.5 lens, which doesn't exist, nor is on Fujifilm's roadmap. And despite the 5DS R's smaller pixels for the same total pixel count sensor, this image isn't exactly starving for resolution and sharpness at 1:1 viewing, thanks to modern lens design. Photo: Rishi Sanyal |
Put another way: if you’re seeing eye-popping resolution at F2 above and here and here (and even at F1.4 on some new lenses) when viewing a Canon 5DS R 50MP full-frame file at 100% (do click on the above image and view at 100%), do you want or need a truer 50MP? Or do you want even more than 50MP, particularly if it'll come at the cost of more depth-of-field, since there are hardly any F2 equivalent lenses that'll give you the subject isolation and background bokeh you see in the full-frame shot above?
Only you can answer that question, but it is true that physics being physics, larger sensors will always tend to out-resolve smaller sensors with equivalent glass. And so this is the area where we most expect to see an advantage to the Fujifilm system, especially over time as we approach 100MP, and beyond. It’s probably easier for an F1.8 prime paired with the GFX 50S to out-resolve an F1.4 prime on a 5DS R when both systems are shot wide open, but whether that will be the case (or if Fujifilm will even make an F1.8 or brighter prime for the system) remains to be seen. I certainly don’t think it would be a cheap combination.
Thanks, DPR, for saving me money / killing my hopes and dreams
Still excited about the Fujifilm GFX 50S and Hasselblad X1D? Perhaps you still should be. You get Fujifilm ergonomics and color science in a body capable of far better image quality than Fujifilm's APS-C offerings. But remember you can emulate much of that color science in Raw converters with proper profiles (we're looking into a separate article on this). More importantly, remember that equivalence tells us that an F1.8 medium format prime is what the GFX 50S actually needs to at least match the performance from modern full-frames paired with F1.4 lenses, from the perspective of noise and shallow depth-of-field. And that’s before you consider the advanced silicon technologies we’ve seen in different full-frame (and smaller) sensors that we haven’t yet seen in any medium format sensor. These advances have, for example, allowed a Nikon D810 to catch up to the dynamic range of the Pentax 645Z at base ISO, and the BSI, dual-gain a7R II sensor to catch up to the GFX 50S in low light noise performance.
Still, as I've said, physics is physics. For equivalent apertures and final output resolutions, we do expect medium format to yield a slight resolution advantage, thanks to its lower demands on resolving power of lenses. But the extent of this advantage, especially given some of the tremendous progress we’ve seen in recent lens designs, remains to be seen: I'm not starving for eye-popping detail at 1:1 viewing of 50 and 42MP files when pairing a 5DS R or a7R II with stellar modern prime lenses.
'as medium format evolves, the same gains we see in full-frame over smaller sensors might find their ways into the format.'
Of course, as medium format evolves, the same gains we see in full-frame over smaller sensors might find their ways into the format. But this will require both the silicon to keep up, and for the development of faster lenses. At least as fast as the fastest lenses full-frame offers. One thing does make us hopeful - recent conversations with some forum members alerted us to the fact that certain full-frame lenses, like the Zeiss Otus primes, actually project an image circle large enough for at least a square crop on Fujifilm's new MF format. That would essentially get you high quality F1.1 equivalent glass on the GFX 50S. Cool, if you can focus it, anyway... (the GFX focus even with native lenses is anything but fast or intelligent, by the way). But if we see more and more fast full-frame lenses able to cover the image circle of the GFX G50S, then we're more likely to actually experience the benefits of the larger sensor format, though native fast lenses (that aren't slow unit focus, please) are really what we need.
Else, the potential advantages may be outweighed by the disadvantages: the extra weight, heft, price and severely lacking autofocus. And the GFX 50S has given up some of the noise and false color advantages their X-Trans cameras show...
For now, we hope that looking at the problem through the lens of equivalence at least gives you an idea of how big (or small) you can reasonably expect the differences to be. Maybe it even saves you a dime or two. Or makes you want to yell at us for bringing up equivalence, again.
But at the end of the day, equivalence has left me rather equivocal about medium format digital. What about you? Let us know in the comments below.
Editorial note: The headline of this opinion article has been updated to make it clearer that the points expressed are not intended to be taken as being specific to a single product, but represent discussion of the pros and cons of the emerging enthusiast medium-format camera class as a whole.
* It’s also why ‘multi-shot’ modes yield cleaner images than single shots: these modes essentially capture more total light, averaging out shot noise. It’s also why brighter scenes generally look cleaner than low light scenes: more light = more photons captured = less relative shot noise = higher signal:noise ratio (SNR, or ‘cleanliness’ in laymen terms).
** The GFX 50S’ 44x33mm sensor has an effective 0.78x crop factor, so you can multiply the MF lens’ f-number by 0.78 to get the equivalent full-frame f-number.
*** We don’t control for T-stop, which could partially explain the drastic exposure difference. This doesn’t affect our experiment though, as we applied well-vetted 'Expose to the Right' (ETTR) principles for a fair comparison
**** Blind test: our ISO 12,800 studio scene shots of the GFX 50S and the a7R II have both been resized to 42MP, and a 576px wide 1:1 crop has been taken. Can you tell which is which?
a7R II or GFX?
GFX or a7R II?
Pubdate: Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:30:00 Z