PDN PhotoPlus Deals at B&H

PDN PhotoPlus show is currently taking place in Javits Center, NYC, which Nasim will be covering during the next few days. On that occasion, B&H is offering some special deals on a variety of photographic equipment, including popular DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Most of the deals are valid through October 27th, while Panasonic GX7 and Fujifilm X-M1, X-E1 and X-Pro1 deals are valid through October 26th. In addition to considerable mail-in rebates and instant savings, B&H is also offering free shipping for the items in the contiguous United States.

PDN PhotoPlus Deals at B&H

PhotoPlus Deals

Here is a list of the more interesting deals at B&H:

You can also follow this link to browse the rest of the deals. Some of the special offers may require you to enter the following promotion code during checkout: BHPPE2013

Canon Lens Abbreviations

Different manufacturers use very different abbreviations to describe the technology used in their lenses even if the technology itself is quite similar. Some abbreviations can be difficult to understand and easily mixed up. We’ve already covered Nikon lens abbreviations. This article will help you understand Canon lens naming terminology.

Canon Lens Abbreviations

1) Canon Lens Format Abbreviations

  • EF – this is the new fully electronic Canon lens mount introduced back in 1987. Lenses marked with EF are compatible with all Canon EOS cameras, digital and film, and are designed to cover 35mm full-frame image circle.
  • EF-S – the only difference between Canon EF and EF-S lenses is that the latter has been designed for Canon digital cameras with APS-C sensors, such as the Canon EOS 700D. Canon EF-S lenses should not (and in most cases can not) be mounted on Canon EOS film and digital full-frame cameras with 36x24mm sized sensors because of the larger mirror used in these cameras. If mounted, damaged to the mirror may be caused upon shutter actuation – it would hit the lens’ rear element. EF-S lenses feature a protective pin that stops these lenses from being mounted on a full-frame EOS camera.
  • EF-M – a new lens format specifically designed for the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera system with EF-M mount. Just like the EF-S lenses, EF-M are designed for APS-C sensor cameras. They will only fit Canon EOS M cameras, though, thanks to shorter flange focal distance (distance between lens mount and film/sensor plane). EF-S and EF lenses can be mounted on EF-M lens mount through the use of appropriate lens mount adapters, but EF-M lenses can not be mounted on the EF mount.
  • FD – this is the old manual focus Canon lens mount used before 1987. Because it was not suitable for autofocus, Canon decided to switch from FD and designed the EOS system with EF mount. Canon FD is now discontinued, but still used by film photography enthusiasts. There are some cracking lenses with the FD mount and, through the use of appropriate adapters, FD lenses can be mounted on modern EOS EF cameras. Adapters with an optical glass element allow infinity focus, while simpler adapters without an additional optical element will not focus at infinity.
  • FDn – the same as FD, only with no coating designation on the lens front (used SSC lens coating).
  • FL – same mount as FD, but without the ability to meter at full aperture.

[Read more...]

Four-Thirds Format is Finally Where it Should Be

It has been a very busy week for us here at Photography Life with so many new products announced and launched by several major camera and lens manufacturers. The marathon of announcement articles is coming to an end and the last (hopefully) camera that we need to mention is the new m4/3 sensor mirrorless Panasonic Lumix GM1. But, by all means, it is not the least interesting product to come out this week. In fact, the GM1 is rather special. Let me start by saying this – it is tiny.

Panasonic-Lumix-GM1

1) A Few Thoughts on (Micro) Four-Thirds System

Before Olympus mirrorless took entry-level DSLR market by storm, the 4/3 format didn’t really make all that much sense. With a sensor smaller than APS-C, it was distinctly amateurish. Image quality just wasn’t there, either, and the 4:3 aspect ratio, while a classic, was only shared by compact cameras. However, Olympus insisted on putting such a small sensor into rather large DSLR camera bodies, such as the Olympus E-5. A sensor four times smaller than full-frame in a comparable body? Four-thirds was always supposed to be minuscule – win in size where it lost in performance. That was the only real advantage it could exploit and for a long time Olympus made the mistake of trying to keep its DSLR system alive (which, incidentally, had a very loyal group of users). I still remember how they promised four-thirds would continue to exist when they introduced the E-5 in 2010. Make no mistake. Olympus DSLRs are done for. The only way they are going to “live on” is “spiritually” through micro four-thirds system and cameras like O-MD E-M1 that can use original four-thirds Zuiko lenses effectively.

[Read more...]

Samyang Lenses for Full-Frame Sony Compact Camera System

Of all third-party lens manufacturers, Korean Samyang was the first to launch a new lens lineup for the recently announced Sony A7 and A7R full-frame cameras. There are five of them – as many as Sony announced themselves, but unlike the Zeiss lenses these were not specifically designed for mirrorless cameras. Rather, they are tweaked Samyang prime lenses designed for the most popular DSLR systems and are also known as Bower, Rokinon, Vivitar and Pro-Optic.

Samyang 35mm f1.4 Lens

The plus is these lenses will be available very soon. On the downside, they are no different in size or weight to their DSLR counterparts, and possibly even bigger because, essentially, they have lens mount adapters attached permanently.

[Read more...]

Fujifilm Updates X100 Firmware

We are beyond impressed. Never before have we seen such support from camera manufacturers as shown by the relative newcomer to large-sensor digital camera market, Fujifilm. Only a while ago, Japanese company has released yet another firmware update for the original X camera, the X100. And a big one, at that. I can already hear the owners rejoice. They bought a quirky, charming camera and now, three years later, it is all grown up. So much, in fact, that we may have to append our initial review.

Fuji X100

1) What We Think

Over the past three years, Fujifilm has produced a number of extremely lovable cameras. Until 2010 when the original X100 was launched, I don’t remember myself paying attention to any of its digital cameras, including the legendary S2, S3 and S5 Pro models. Maybe because all they had in the line-up were compact point-and-shoot offerings. For me, Fujifilm was the maker of great lenses, photographic film and film cameras only. Not anymore. In our opinion – and trust me when I say I am trying not to let my personal affection for the firm get in the way of objective statements – Fujifilm makes some of the greatest digital cameras right now. But they way they keep improving them is frankly staggering. If you ever imagined a manufacturer that cares most of all about the loyalty of its customers and truly does its best to make their products as good as they can possibly be, well, I think it is safe to say Fujifilm is at the top of the list of such camera manufacturers right now. The slightly sad part is – it shouldn’t be. What Fujifilm is doing with its continued support is really only unexpected when compared to the likes of Nikon, who prefers to launch new products to fix old ones, and other manufacturers. It should be the gold standard, but isn’t. And right now, Fujifilm seems to be the only one who knows how to truly build a loyal customer base. Bravo.

As much as I love my D700, Nikon has a thing or two to learn from the charismatic folks at Fujifilm.

[Read more...]

Fujifilm X-E2 Announcement

Of all the announcements made recently by various manufacturers, including Sony’s groundbreaking step into full-frame mirrorless territory, we at Photography Life are most excited by Fujifilm’s news. Ever since the launch of X100, Fuji has been slowly winning over our hearts. Both with cameras themselves and the determination to improve their products and add features even after release impressed not only our team, but thousands of photographers worldwide. Don’t get me wrong, other manufacturers offer technologically brilliant alternatives and with the full-frame Sony A7 costing just $1700, the replacement for X-Pro1 will face tougher competition than before. Yet Fujifilm cameras, as we’ve written in our reviews, have something about them that makes you want to photograph all the time. The combination of drop-dead gorgeous looks, amazing prime lens selection, innovative hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder, analogue controls and quirks has, no doubt, made the Fujifilm X-series camera system one of the most charismatic on the market today. Fujifilm is not about to sleep on its laurels and is quick on learning from old mistakes. The X100s that we reviewed recently is a clear proof, and the newly introduced, highly-anticipated X-E2 promises to be at least as tempting. Read on to find out what has been improved.

Fujifilm X-E2_Front black

1) Overview and Key Specifications

The new Fujifilm X-E2 is not all that different from its predecessor, but the changes that did take place promise to make it that much more desirable. To start with, it shares virtually the exact same body as the Fuji X-E1, made of high quality plastic and magnesium alloy covers. It is smaller and lighter than top-of-the-line Fuji X-Pro1, but even with Fuji’s smallest lens attached – the XF 27mm f/2.8 – it is not as compact as the X100S. Not far off, though, and certainly much more pocketable than a DSLR. A very welcome addition is the larger, sharper LCD screen on the back of the camera to complement that 2.36 million dot OLED EVF also used in the X-E1. Having a large and super-sharp LCD is not an essential feature – at least for us it did not make the X-E1 less attractive. After-all, it is hardly a good way to sort through images. But having such a screen isn’t going to make a camera worse either, so we are happy it is now up there with the best. Oh, and the OLED EVF has gotten faster! The refresh rate has been changed from 20 fps to 50+ fps in low light situations, making it even easier to photograph without motion blur.

[Read more...]

Fujifilm XQ1 Announcement

Along with the highly-anticipated Fujifilm X-E2 interchangeable lens camera, Fuji has also announced a successor to the stylish X-F1 compact point-and-shoot. The new XQ1 builds on the tested formula for a high-end compact camera – a large (in comparison to lower-end compact cameras) sensor, solid build quality, fast zoom lens and diminutive size. Do anything less and the crowded market will literally swamp such a camera with other offerings from all sides, smartphones among them. Thankfully, Fujifilm seems to have made all the right choices with the XQ1. Let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer.

Fujifilm X-Q1_Lineup

1) Overview and Key Specifications

As the XF1 before it, the new XQ1 compact camera has a 2/3″ sized sensor with 12 megapixels. Unlike its predecessor, though, XQ1 sports an X-Trans II sensor with a different color filter array when compared to traditional Bayer sensors. What this means, at least in theory, is that XQ1 can do without AA filter and thus capture a little bit more detail. X-Trans sensors used in other Fujifilm cameras, namely the mirrorless system and X20/X100s compacts, also proved to be very capable in handling high ISO noise. Fujifilm XQ1 has ISO range of 100-12800, but don’t expect it to shine at highest sensitivities if you are used to APS-C or full-frame sensor level of performance. The new X-Trans sensor also supports phase-detect autofocus and the claimed AF speed is very fast – a mere 0.06s. I believe it is safe to assume XQ1 has the potential of delivering higher technical image quality over its predecessor, even if not by all that much.

[Read more...]

Canon 6D Discount Beats That of Nikon D600

Nikon is not the only one who knows how to attract customers with low prices. It seems Canon is not about to watch its main rival sell out all D600 stock without a fight. The difference is, Canon 6D never had any defects with its shutter mechanism or autofocus system. It is a fully functional camera that has had no recalls or widely-known issues, and was not recently replaced with a new, mildly improved (or, perhaps, fixed) model. And yet, for a limited time, you can get it for $1575 (price shown after Checkout).

Canon EOS 6D

But, as with the rest of current Canon discounts, B&H will throw in some stuff for free:

  • Discount: $325
  • Price with discount: $1575
  • Regular price: $1899
  • Includes: SanDisk 16GB SDHC Memory Card Ultra Class 10 UHS-1, Canon 200DG Deluxe Gadget Bag, Oben ACM-2400 4-Section Aluminum Monopod, Watson LP-E6 Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (7.4V, 1750mAh) + 4% B&H rewards program
  • Accessory value: $145
  • Click here to order from B&H

New Sony E-Mount Lenses Announced

Having a full-frame camera system does not make much sense unless you have lenses to go with it, too. That is why Sony has just announced five lenses to go with the recent Sony A7 and Sony A7R full-frame mirrorless cameras, and a refreshed 70-200 f/2.8 model for its Alpha line-up. What’s more, only one of these full-frame mirrorless lenses is a basic kit zoom, the rest being high-end Sony and Zeiss optics.

1) Sony 28-70mm F/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens

We start off with the cheapest of the bunch, a lens that can only be purchased as a kit with the Sony A7 and will not be sold separately. The new Sony 28-70mm F/3.5-5.6 OSS lens A very simple design in comparison with the rest of the new lenses, it serves a similar purpose as an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 class lens would on your run-of-the-mill APS-C camera. Naturally, its biggest strength is its compact dimensions and light weight, so if you are primarily a fixed focal length lens shooter, this may be a good “just in case” option for you to have.

Sony 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens

[Read more...]

Sigma 24-105mm F/4 Lens Announcement

Updated with pre-order links, prices yet unavailable

Sigma has no intention on stopping with its highly regarded 35mm f/1.4 and 18-35mm f/1.8 lenses. Today, the Japanese manufacturer has announced a new addition to its “Art” lens line-up – the full-frame compatible 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM lens set to compete directly with Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS and Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VR lenses.

Sigma 24-105mm f4 DG OS HSM Lens

[Read more...]