Fuji X-E1 vs X-E2

Now that the new Fuji X-E2 is officially released (see our announcement post with a short preview), it is time to compare the camera to its predecessor and see what has changed. In this article, I will show feature differences between the Fuji X-E2 and the older X-E1, which we have recently reviewed (and really liked). And by the way, we are giving one away this December! Please keep in mind that this comparison is purely based on specifications. A detailed comparison with image samples and other comparisons will be provided in the upcoming Fuji X-E2 review.

Fuji X-E1 vs X-E2

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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:

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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.

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Nikon D610 Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon D610, a very minor update that replaced the existing Nikon D600. Since full-frame DSLR cameras typically have a 2-3 year life cycle before they are refreshed with newer models, the D610 was an unusual update, as it replaced a camera that was only 13 months old – something that typically only happens with entry-level/consumer DSLRs. The thing is, the Nikon D610 is what the D600 should have been when it was initially launched. Plagued by a shutter mechanism issue which shred small particles from the shutter that fell directly onto the camera sensor (causing “dust bunnies” visible at small apertures), the Nikon D600 got a lot of negative press from its owners and camera reviewers. We were among the first ones to report the dust issue in our Nikon D600 review and later received many reports from our readers that confirmed the same issue. In a couple of months, the Internet was full of all kinds of examples of the same issue. Nikon ended up issuing a service advisory that categorized the behavior as “natural accumulation of dust” and suggested to try using the “Clean Image Sensor” feature of the camera, along with manual cleaning with a blower bulb. As a last resort, if those two options failed, Nikon recommended to consult with service centers to get the camera examined and serviced. Unfortunately, despite all the reported issues, service orders and returns from unhappy customers, Nikon never acknowledged the problem.

Nikon D610

The Nikon D610 was announced on October 8, 2013. To make it seem like it was a real upgrade over the D600, Nikon threw in a couple of extra changes to the camera, such as faster frame rate, quiet continuous shooting mode and improved white balance. Nikon also lowered the MSRP price of the camera to $1999 from $2099 that the D600 initially sold for. This was done for two reasons – the Nikon D600 was already discounted by $100 for a while, and Nikon wanted to stay competitive with the Canon EOS 6D during the holiday shopping season.

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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.

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Nikon D610 Does Not Have a Dust Issue

I have been testing the new Nikon D610 that I received today for the past 5 hours, running all kinds of tests on it. And by now, I have over 10 thousand actuations on the camera. The goal of this particular test was to see if the updated Nikon D610 has any dust issues as the Nikon D600 it replaced. Armed with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II, I have been shooting the Nikon D610 at f/22 (minimum aperture) in my lab continuously. I am happy to report that Nikon seems to have addressed the dust issue, thanks to the new shutter mechanism that they are now using on the camera. Take a look at the below before and after shots (left: Before, right: After):

Nikon D610 Sensor Dust Before Nikon D610 Sensor Dust After

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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.

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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.

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Nikon D610 is already in stock!

It has not even been two weeks since the Nikon D610 was announced and B&H already has some units in stock! I have also been notified that my sample has been shipped out, so I should be able to get my hands on one next week. Obviously, a rigorous test of the shutter is awaiting the D610 to make sure that there are no problems with dust or oil this time. Considering the fact that the D610 has a brand new shutter mechanism, I am sure that I will not see any of those issues, but I still want to check. I also want to make sure that there are no other potential flaws with the camera and compare the noise and fps speed right next to my D600.

Nikon D610

If you have pre-ordered your copy of the D610, it should ship today. Otherwise, you can order yours today and have it ship out first thing next Monday morning from the B&H warehouse.