Fuji X-T1 Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Fujifilm X-T1, a weather-proof mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera from Fuji that was announced on January 28, 2014. Previously known for its popular X-Pro, X-E and X-M lines, the new “T” line is specifically made to be “tough”. With its all magnesium-alloy body, sealed buttons and compartments, the X-T1 is Fuji’s first attempt at a fully weather-sealed mirrorless camera. Although Fuji’s recent cameras have been quite popular, it had nothing to offer against the OM-D E-M1 and OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras from Olympus. With the latter two offering weather sealing, in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and a whole slew of lenses to choose from, Fuji wanted the X-T1 to offer similar features at a competitive price. With a larger APS-C sensor and a huge, high-resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF), the X-T1 was also meant to appeal a bigger audience from professionals and enthusiasts that want a lighter and more compact setup than their DSLRs.

Fuji X-T1

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Sensor Gel Stick Back in Stock!

It has been tough to keep continuous stock for the Sensor Gel Stick, but from now on, the manufacturer promised to deliver within 2 weeks, so we are hoping to be able to have continuous supply of the the product for our readers and customers. We have fulfilled all the pre-orders and if you still have not received any information from us on completing your order, it probably means that your mail server is blocking our emails or perhaps putting them into the spam folder. Since we have plenty of stock now (around 430 units), it might be easier to set up a new order instead. The Sticky Paper is also in stock and we have plenty of it (over 1000 units). The Sony version might have to be pushed back a few weeks per manufacturer, but we will keep our readers posted when we know for sure.

Sensor Gel Stick

The current version of the stick that we are selling now has gone through several revisions and we are happy to say that it should work with all cameras except for the new Sony mirrorless cameras (which have a different type of coating on their anti-aliasing filters). We have tested it with a number of Nikon, Canon and Fuji cameras (including the Fuji X-T1) and found no issues. Although the Sensor Gel Stick might appear less sticky than before due to the above-mentioned change, it is still very effective to clean all that dust and debris that ends up on your camera sensor!

To order the Sensor Gel Stick and / or the Sticky Paper, please see our Photography Life Shop. All orders are shipping within 24 hours!

Professional IPS Monitor from HP

If you are looking for a professional-grade IPS monitor (if you have no idea what IPS means, see “this article“) for your photography needs, then check out this HP DreamColor LP2480zx that is currently on sale at B&H for $799. Yes, that’s a hefty price for a monitor, but keep in mind that this is a professional monitor specifically designed to accurately reproduce over 1 billion colors (12-bit look up table with 100% Adobe RGB and sRGB Color Coverage). With a 6 ms response time, this is one amazing monitor that can be used for pretty much anything you throw at it, including gaming. And the $799 price is a heavy discount, because the retail price of this monitor is a whopping $2,299! I looked at a number of websites and could not find this monitor cheaper than $1500, so this is a very good deal.

HP DreamColor LP2480zx

Personally, I use a set of Dell U2413 24″ IPS monitors for my needs now. Although the U2413 is a more recent monitor with better specifications (including DP 1.2 support), the monitor is clearly a grade lower in quality in comparison to the above-mentioned DreamColor LP2480zx. Dell makes nice UltraSharp series monitors, but I found them to fade and change colors quicker than HP monitors overtime. So if you are looking for a long term investment, the HP is a better buy in my opinion.

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Adobe Announces Creative Cloud Photography Plan for $9.99

After going back and forth with limited time offers (that got extended several times) to lure photographers into its Creative Cloud platform, Adobe finally decided to create a special, permanent plan specifically for photographers for $9.99 per month. Compared to the $49.99 per month “all inclusive” plan, or the $19.99 per month single app plan that sparked a lot of negativity among the photography community, the $9.99 offer from last year attracted a lot of customers for Adobe, increasing the number of subscribers to close to 2 million. Since the program was introduced, close to half a million people signed up for this plan in just the first quarter of 2014. Since then, the program has been attracting even more subscribers, since $9.99 per month price appears to be much more reasonable for the latest and greatest features that Adobe packs in its Creative Cloud platform.

Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Offer

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Lightroom 5.5 and Camera RAW 8.5 Update

Today is a big release date for Adobe, because the company is rolling out a few major updates to its Adobe Creative Cloud platform, along with new apps for mobile devices designed for creative professionals and enthusiasts. One of the silent updates that got rolled and did not get much press is the final version of Lightroom 5.5 and Camera RAW 8.5. Adobe was so busy with its new products and updates, that it did not include any information on additional features included in Lightroom 5.5. It seems like the final release is similar to the 5.5 release candidate, where support for additional lenses and cameras were added, as shown below. The most notable bugfixes in this release are: properly reading lossless compressed files from older Nikon DSLRs and correct processing of Fuji X-T1 RAW files when using Dynamic Range 200% and 400% setting. And the most notable feature for Nikon D610 owners is that now there is finally tethering support, although Adobe never mentioned it on their website!

Lightroom 5

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Pics.io – In-Browser RAW Image Processing

Aside from various online portfolio solutions, there aren’t many online services that photographers can use for their work. Well, this may change soon. With technology of in-browser RAW processing, Pics.io aims to become an all-in-one photo management and editing solution in the cloud or, as they call it, “Google Docs of photo editing”. We spent some time checking out what Pics.io is all about and we are excited about where this project might take us in the future. Although it is at an early stage of development, some interesting and useful tools have already been released for beta testing. For example, the newly announced online raw converter, raw.pics.io works with Canon and Nikon RAW images. And despite our initial thoughts and doubts, it turns out that the converter opens images locally from your computer, without uploading any data to the Internet. Basically, you open the site raw.pics.io in your browser, drop a raw file (nef/cr2/dng) and save a processed JPEG file. At this point it is not anything amazing, but that’s just the first step. Imagine what this platform could potentially do when it is built with a complete set of controls and various presets, similar to what you see in Lightroom.

raw.pics.io

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Sensor Gel Stick for Sony Cameras

After months of waiting for the manufacturer to modify the chemical properties of the Sensor Gel Stick so that it works perfectly well with the new Sony cameras and heavy testing, we are happy to announce that we will soon be shipping the Sony version of the product to our customers. I have received a couple of sample units last week and I am happy to say that the product worked very well with the Sony A6000 and A7R mirrorless cameras. The manufacturer assured us that the Sony version will work with ALL Sony cameras without problems, but just to be sure, we did perform our own tests and found no problems! If you own a Sony mirrorless camera and would like to use the Sensor Gel Stick, you can now pre-order it from our store.

Sensor Gel Stick for Sony

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SanDisk One Day Sale at B&H

With higher megapixel cameras, storage needs are growing rapidly, especially once you start using a redundant setup with dual cards mirroring data on modern DSLRs. I have been using SanDisk cards for many years now and whenever I see a good sale, I jump on to get the best deals. B&H just let us know that SanDisk is running a one day heavy discount promo, which will end tonight. So if you are looking for a good deal, check out some of these savings on all types of cards, including SanDisk’s Extreme Pro line (up to 160 MB/sec!).

SanDisk One Day Sale

My top picks are SanDisk Extreme 32 GB SD card for $20.99 and SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB CF Card for $89.95. I use the latter for my Nikon D800E and it is an incredible fast and reliable storage. Unfortunately, none of the SanDisk Extreme Pro SD cards are on sale now, but I bet you can get those later this year at similar discounts!

Apple Mac Pro Review for Photography Needs

I never thought that I would be reviewing an Apple Mac Pro, since I have never owned a Mac and was always a PC user. In fact, the last time I really handled a Mac was about 14 years ago, when I worked as an IT tech at the University of Colorado, servicing campus computers. Since then, aside from occasional encounters at local stores or friend’s houses, I have been keeping myself away from Macs. Although I have nothing against Apple in general, there were a number of reasons why I kept myself on the PC platform. The first and the biggest reason was personal preference – having been “PC-savvy” for many years, building computers and providing support for them (whether it was for my family, friends or work), I was pretty content with what I had and never really had much interest in Macs. Second, having spent the majority of my adult life working for various companies and organizations, I took part in building PC and server networks based on the Microsoft OS platform, as Macs have just not been very popular in the corporate world. Lastly, cost was also an issue – for the price of a Mac, I could easily build a PC or buy one at half the cost.

Apple Mac Pro

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Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art prime lens that was announced on January 6, 2014 for Sigma SA, Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony A mounts. Ever since Sigma announced its new “Art” lens line, it has been releasing superb new lenses and updates. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art received the highest praise from us at Photography Life, especially after we compared it to the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G and other 35mm lenses in our extensive review. So when I first found out that Sigma had plans to update its existing Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM, I got really excited, since I knew that the new Art-series lens would not disappoint. It has been too long since both Nikon and Canon updated their 50mm f/1.4 primes. In the case with Nikon, its newer 50mm f/1.8G yields better sharpness than the bigger and heavier 50mm f/1.4G. In short, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G is just not good enough for modern high resolution sensors and its performance at maximum aperture is rather disappointing (and the Canon 50mm f/1.4 is quite similar in that regard). The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art announcement was very timely, because it hits a sweet spot between the sub-par 50mm f/1.4 Nikon and Canon lenses, and the exotic manual focus Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

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