Landscape photographers often deal with the dilemma of choosing between different types and brands of neutral density and graduated neutral density filters for use in high-contrast situations such as sunrise and sunset, where their cameras might not have enough dynamic range to be able to capture the entire scene. While we are not going to go over each and every brand to see which one performs better, we do want to show the difference in sharpness between glass and resin filters. For this particular test, we used three 0.6 (2 stop) filters from three different manufacturers – NiSi (glass filter), Lee (resin) and HiTech (resin). The latter two are probably the two brands that are used the most among photographers in the field.
Lately, you have probably noticed that we have not posted much content on the website. Ever since we had an attack on the site a couple of months ago (where our site was down for a day), I have been planning on upgrading the server infrastructure in order for us to be able to handle much more traffic and potential attacks. So after I got back from New York, I decided to make all the necessary changes, since we are planning to post a lot of great content very soon and I wanted the site to be able to handle it all. As of today, most of the work is complete and we can now finally get back to work! If you have been browsing the website today, you have probably noticed drastic changes to the overall speed and responsiveness of the site. I am happy to report that we are now running the site on a pretty beefy setup that should be able to handle quite a bit of traffic going forward.
During the past few months, both Spencer and I have pretty much switched from our old Lee filter system to a much better (in our opinion) filter system by NiSi. While I have been a fan of Lee filters, I have had a few problems with it in the field, whether it comes to how I use a polarizing filter, or the fact that I find myself having to re-purchase the resin filters, since they constantly get scratched. On one hand it is nice to have resin filters, since they are light and I can carry a single filter with me in a pouch and I am set. On the another hand, how good are these filters if they easily get scratched up and need to be periodically replaced? I have never tried glass filters, but after obtaining a pack of glass filters from NiSi, I might switch going forward. Well, I will save my thoughts to the upcoming NiSi filter system review, but for now, I would like to share the below interview with Macon Leiper of ikan Corporation, which distributes NiSi filters in the USA.
After we interviewed Fuji on the new GFX 50S medium format mirrorless camera, we also decided to interview folks at Hasselblad on their new X1D-50c. Since both cameras feature very similar sensors and are both mirrorless, they surely do compete head-to-head with each other. However, there are surely some interesting differences worth looking at – the X1D-50c does not have a shutter mechanism (it is integrated into lenses as a leaf shutter), it is a visibly smaller camera in comparison, its ergonomics are vastly different (less buttons and knobs to use) and it looks like it will be priced higher than the Fuji GFX 50S. In our interview with Ove Bengtson, Product Manager of Hasselblad, we take a quick look at what the X1D-50c has to offer:
You might have heard of a company called “FLM” before – it is based out of Germany and it is in the business of making pretty solid tripods and tripod heads, competing against such recognizable brand names as Manfrotto, Really Right Stuff, Kirk and Arca-Swiss. While at Photo Plus, we saw a few FLM ballheads on display and we decided to ask Markus Burklin, Director of Production at FLM to showcase their top ballheads for our readers.
FotodioX is the company behind the WonderPana Filter system for wide-angle lenses, which we had a chance to review a few years back. Since then, the company has been rolling out all kinds of products, from pretty impressive LED lights to different lens adapters for DSLR and mirrorless cameras. While visiting their booth at Photo Plus, we asked Bohus Blahut, marketing director of FotodioX Inc to demonstrate their latest products to our readers, specifically, their latest “ND Throttle Fusion” smart adapter that can be used to adapt Canon EF lenses on Sony mirrorless cameras.
As you have seen from some of the posted interviews from Photo Plus in New York, recording audio during interviews was a real challenge, thanks to all the ambient noise present in the area. With so many exhibits and people present everywhere, it was nearly impossible to keep our audio microphones pointed at one specific area – audio gear was picking up noise from all over the place. We did not want to mess with big microphones and lavaliers either, since we wanted to film quickly on the spot. Gladly, we found a booth that had the exact product we needed – Sound Shark Audio!
At Photo Plus NY, we also had a brief conversation with Mr Makoto Oishi of Fujifilm Corporation, who has been involved in the design and planning of the new Fuji GFX 50S medium format mirrorless camera. As you may already know, Fuji was the second to introduce the medium format mirrorless camera, after Hasselblad made the headlines a few months ago by introducing the Hasselblad X1D-50c. Both feature similar 50 MP medium format CMOS sensors and compete directly with each other in this new market segment. Previously, Pentax was the only company to offer a medium format camera in a similar price range of under $10K (see our Pentax 645Z review), but it cannot be really considered a competitor, since it is a medium format DSLR, which differs vastly in terms of size, weight and ergonomics. The new Hasselblad and Fuji mirrorless cameras are certainly game-changers in that regard, being so compact and lightweight. While full-frame mirrorless cameras can be comparable in size and weight to smaller full-frame DSLRs, the same cannot be said about what Hasselblad and Fuji have done with their mirrorless offerings – the difference between them and something like the Pentax 645Z is just too drastic.
While John and I were attending the Photo Plus show in New York, we had an opportunity to interview Lindsay Silverman, Senior Product Manager at Nikon USA. The highlight of the show were obviously the newly announced Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR, along with the 19mm f/4E PC-E lenses. Both are premium offerings specifically targeted towards working professionals, so we could definitely see quite a bit of people approaching the Nikon booth to see pre-production samples of these lenses. Although we have already provided our initial report on the handling concerns when using the new 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR, in this particular interview, Lindsay explains the reasoning behind the swapping of the zoom and focus rings. According to him, the new change is actually better for handling, as detailed below:
Big thanks to everyone who had a chance to come and join us at the Fstoppers + PL event last night – it is always great to meet our friends and readers! Now it is time to meet for another event, which will take place tomorrow at the Central Park in New York. John and I we will be hosting a photo walk, which everyone is welcome to join! The weather is supposed to be really nice and we thought it would be a good opportunity to do some photography, talk about photography and finally sit down at a dinner table and share some meals. It will also be a good opportunity to review your photos and provide some feedback, because we are here to help our fellow photographers. It will be a great event and we would like to invite everyone to participate!