Smart Camera – The Next Big Thing?

There is one camera manufacturer that we’ve not paid much attention to here at Photography Life. For some reason, Samsung, despite its efforts to gain traction for its NX interchangeable lens camera system, failed to make enough impact to be mentioned as a worthy contender next to Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm and other mirrorless cameras. Whatever the reason for lack of popularity is, Samsung has only one option to make an impact – differentiate itself from the rest. And, judging by recent product launches, it would seem their differentiating strategy might be… Android OS.

Samsung Logo

[Read more...]

Nikon Df vs D800

There is no doubt that the new Nikon Df camera is very similar to the D600/D610 duo, as we’ve already seen from the comparison. From a price stand-point, however, Df is dangerously close to the popular and extremely capable Nikon D800 model (see our very detailed review). Can the Nikon Df back up its price premium when compared to its bigger brother? Analyzing on-paper specifications of both cameras should give a pretty good idea, although you might find the ISO performance comparisons in this article quite useful to make your own conclusions.

Nikon Df vs D800

Keep in mind, please, that this comparison is based strictly on specifications and image quality. A camera is often more than a sum of its parts, and that stands true for both Nikon Df and D800.

[Read more...]

Nikon Df vs D610

It has been a while since Nikon last caused so much controversy. Even before Df was announced, and, naturally, as soon as all of its specifications were leaked, crowds gathered and the battle was on. Not even D600 or D800 issues caused so much racket. This sort of comparison – Nikon Df versus D610 – is likely to be the most popular among the fans and those who just can’t justify the new camera. We, too, will take a closer look at how these two full-frame DSLRs stack-up against each other. Before you jump to conclusions though, make sure to read the summary – you will find that there is nothing to be so perplexed by. And be sure to pay attention to ISO comparisons between the Nikon Df and the D610 that are posted below.

Nikon Df vs D610

[Read more...]

Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition Lens Overview

Along with the highly anticipated Nikon Df camera, Nikon has also introduced the restyled Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition lens. Such a move might be slightly confusing at first, because Nikon already has a new AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens in its line-up. So, are there any improvements with this new lens? In short – no. At least not from the optical performance stand-point.

Nikkor AF-S 50mm f1.8G Special Edition lens

[Read more...]

Nikon Df Announcement and Overview

During the last few years, the interchangeable lens camera industry has seen massive changes. If only a few years ago, a DSLR was considered to be the only serious photographic tool (not counting film cameras), we now have mirrorless cameras that are no less impressive. They’ve already stolen quite a few APS-C sensor DSLR sales. The full-frame market, on the other hand, has seen a huge increase in offerings. It would seem only yesterday when Nikon had three distinctly different full-frame cameras in its lineup – the D700, D3 and D3x. Now, if you count D800 and D800E as separate models, it has five. The newest sibling has been announced, one surrounded with so much hype and hope, you can only ask – what took Nikon so long? But let’s not dwell on the past, because the digital FM2 – or something as close to it as you might have hoped – is finally here. And just look at it. It has dials, and lots of them!

Nikon DF Black and Silver

1) Nikon Df Key Specifications

Before we get all excited, let’s take a quick look at Nikon Df key specifications:

  • Solid, magnesium-alloy construction with weather-sealing
  • 16.2 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor (same as the one in Nikon D4)
  • ISO sensitivity range of 100-12,800 (boost down to ISO 50 and up to ISO 204,800)
  • Shutter speed range of 30-1/4000s, flash sync-speed 1/200s
  • 39-point AF system (same as the one in Nikon D610), 9 cross-type sensors, focuses down to f/8
  • 2016-pixel RGB image sensor, full non-AI-S lens metering
  • EXPEED 3 processor
  • Large 3.2″ LCD screen with 921,000 dot resolution
  • Pentaprism optical viewfinder with 100% coverage and approximately 0.7x magnification
  • SD card slot
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed up to 5.5 frames per second
  • Measures in at 143.5 x 110 x 66.5mm
  • Weighs 760g with battery and memory card
  • $2749 body-only, $2999 with the new Special Edition AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens

[Read more...]

Is Camera Design Important?

The soon to be introduced Nikon Df has raised a heated debate among our readers. That is understandable, of course. Because Nikon is bold enough to charge $2750 for a camera that is basically a retro D610 with a D4 sensor, with some of the functionality removed on purpose. But let’s put the price question aside for a moment and focus on the design part of any camera, modern or otherwise. Remember the old Nikon FM2, a true classic. Remember the success of the Olympus PEN and the Fujifilm X series. And at this point, let me raise a provocative question. Does a camera have a soul?

Nikon Df with Leather Case

A silly question, isn’t it? How can a camera have a soul? It’s just a piece of plastic, glass and metal, copied again and again. It is a tool. But that, that is the real pickle. As I wrote in my Mamiya RZ67 Pro review, the best part of film photography – and something digital has severely lacked in comparison – was the involvement in the process of it all. Film – at least with manual film cameras – makes you slow down, makes you think about every single step you take. Makes you take every single step on your own, consciously, carefully. Want a setting changed? Rotate a dial. Turn a knob. Feel the physical feedback you camera gives you, hear it click in a sort of satisfying manner. Forget to do so and there is no LCD screen at the back to check the result prematurely, no way to know beforehand if you screwed something up. And at first, running away from such complexity is a relief. After-all, digital cameras offer so much room for mistakes and complexity of film photography is certainly not for everyone! It is like eating out at a restaurant after a long home-made sandwich diet. But as the time passes, some (not all) start to miss the sandwiches and the perfectly served, neat restaurant food becomes tedious. You want the involvement back. “Make an ordinary, daily, routine activity that bit more special, personal, intimate and meaningful, simply by making it slower”. Slower and less rational.

[Read more...]

Nikon Inspirations Photo Contest

An important note: the contest is open for US residents only.

Entering photography contests is one of the best ways to test yourself as a photographer. It is one thing when your family and friends admire your work, but gaining appreciation in a contest is a whole different experience. Photography is meant to be looked at and admired, and what better ways are there to start showcasing your work if not by entering a photography competition? Luckily, there are always ongoing contests that you can enter. The one I am going to introduce to you now is free, sponsored by Nikon (users of any camera system may enter) and called Inspirations Photo Contest (thanks for the tip, Rick!).

Nikon Inspirations Photo Contest

The contest has started a while ago, in September. This means that one of the categories – Sports & Action – has already been closed, which is unfortunate. But three other categories are still open for entries and, something you might certainly want to know, promise great prizes for the winning entrant.

1) Don’t Focus on the Prize!

Naturally, before I begin listing the categories, deadlines and rules, I would not be a proper motivator if I did not say that prizes don’t matter. And at this point you could say – of course they do! I mean, who would not want to win a Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 or Nikkor AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR lens? Anyone would! But I promise you, if you win this contest, the first thing that you will be happy about is that you won a big photography contest organized by Nikon. The first thing you will think is – “Alright, I might be better at this than I thought. Great!” The prize is just icing on the cake. If you think it is the other way around for you, you may be spending a little bit too much time focusing on the gear, friend.

[Read more...]

Fuji X-Pro1 vs X-E2

We have already compared the recently introduced Fujifilm X-E2 camera to its predecessor, the X-E1 (click here to read our comparison). Based on specifications, the newer camera proved to be better than the old one, but with price taken into account X-E1 can easily hold its ground and is still a very viable option. But how does it compare to the still-current Fujifilm flagship camera, the X-Pro1?

Fujifilm X-Pro1 vs X-E2

[Read more...]

Fujifilm Lens Abbreviations

Fujifilm has been producing lenses for decades now. The are m42 screw-mount lenses to be found, medium-format lenses on their fixed-lens 120/220 film rangefinder cameras, not to mention broadcast and cinema lenses. In this article, we will focus on Fujifilm’s current digital compact camera system with APS-C sized sensors and discuss the most common Fujifilm lens abbreviations you can come across while looking for a new lens to put on a Fujifilm X-E1 or other camera. I will also mention some of the common abbreviations found on other Fujinon lenses, too.

Fujifilm Lens Abbreviations

1) Fujifilm Lens Mount Abbreviations

The first thing that we need to talk about are the two best-known Fujifilm lens mounts:

  • Fujifilm X-mount – this is the current, modern, fully-electronic lens mount used in Fujifilm’s mirrorless camera system with APS-C sized sensors. As of October 2013, there are five cameras that use this lens mount: X-Pro1, X-E2, X-E1, X-M1 and X-A1. Fujifilm X-mount has a flange focal distance (distance between lens mount and film/sensor plane) of 17.7mm. It is relatively new, but has gained some good traction with over 10 lenses currently available since its launch in 2012 and more to come soon. Lenses that use this bayonet are simply called Fujinon.
  • Fujica X-mount – an old, mechanical lens mount used in the film era. It replaced the previous m42 screw-mount and was used by STX-1 and other analogue 35mm format Fujifilm SLR cameras. Fujica X-mount lenses are called X-Fujinon and X-Fujinar. The mount – and lenses designed for it – are now obsolete, but there are still plenty of old X-Fujinon lenses to be found in places like ebay at bargain prices. The Fujica X-mount has a flange focal distance of 43.5mm.

[Read more...]

Sigma 24-105mm F/4 DG OS HSM Lens Available for Pre-Order

A few days ago, Sigma introduced a new lens to its Art line-up, the 24-105mm f/4 OS. The lens is set to compete directly with Nikon’s Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VR and Canon’s 24-105mm f/4L IS lenses spec-wise, but the price was yet unannounced. Previously, Sigma lenses always offered a very good price/performance ratio, but after the success of its recent offerings some might have started to suspect that price increase is soon to follow. Luckily, the new 24-105mm f/4 OS lens is no different from previous Sigma products in terms of price when compared to direct “first-party” competition from camera manufacturers and will retail for around $899. Shipping starts in November.

Sigma 24-105mm f4 DG OS HSM Lens

1) Pre-Order Links

Click one of the following links to pre-order the new Sigma lens for Canon, Nikon, Sigma or Sony mount:

[Read more...]