Without a doubt, one of the most anticipated camera releases this year is the Sony A7R II, a mirrorless monster with world’s first 42.4 MP BSI CMOS sensor and a slew of features, such as in-body image stabilization, electronic first-curtain shutter, completely silent electronic shutter, high-resolution electronic viewfinder and 4K video recording, to make it worth seriously looking into. We have written about this release last week and based on our readers’ feedback, many are excited about the Sony A7R II release. I have been personally waiting for this camera for years, because it brings pretty much everything I want in a compact mirrorless camera – Sony did a great job in addressing most of my concerns that I have expressed on previous iterations of the A7 line. Although battery life is still a concern and 14-bit lossless / uncompressed RAW support is only a promise by Sony at this time, I will still go ahead and order the Sony A7R II for myself for a number of reasons. First, the camera already has most of the features that I want in a mirrorless camera. Second, with Zeiss backing up Sony with their new Loxia and Batis lines of lenses, along with Sony’s own high-quality primes, I don’t have any more concerns about native lenses. Lastly, the A7R II will be my reference camera for evaluating Sony-mount lenses, which I am planning to test and review more of. Sony has been working hard on the A7 line and it these cameras have now reached the point of maturity, so I consider them safe to invest in. In fact, if the A7R II turns out to be as good as the specifications promise, I might start using it heavily for my landscape photography needs. Well, today is an exciting day, because you can pre-order your copy of the Sony A7R II!
Today Adobe unveiled a number of pretty major updates to its Creative Cloud suite, with new “2015” versions of software, such as Adobe Photoshop CC 2015. Along with these updates, Adobe has also released two updates to Lightroom – one for the Creative Cloud version (Lightroom CC 2015.1) and one for the standalong version (Lightroom 6.1). The interesting part about this particular release, is that for the first time, Adobe is making a distinction between the two versions of Lightroom. The Creative Cloud version gained a new “Dehaze” feature, along with two more “White” and “Black” sliders for the adjustment tools (such as Gradient Filter, Radial Filter and Adjustment Brush), while the standalone version of Lightroom did not get these new features and instead only gained the typical bugfixes, along with new camera and lens support.
This is an in-depth review of the Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD, world’s first f/2.8 image stabilized ultra-wide angle zoom lens for full frame cameras, the development of which was announced in September of 2014, with the lens officially released in January of 2015. It is a very unique lens not just because of its very useful focal length range with a constant aperture of f/2.8 throughout the zoom range, but because it features image stabilization – something you practically never find on ultra-wide angle lenses. For many years now, I have been shooting with the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G lens, which is a monster of a lens when it comes to size, weight and performance – it truly is a legendary lens optically. But with its $2K price it is far from being an affordable choice, so Tamron decided to challenge the 14-24mm with the 15-30mm f/2.8 VC in a number of ways: longer focal length coverage extending to 30mm, built-in image stabilization and a more affordable price point of $1,200.
Recently, I had a chance to visit the beautiful country of Jordan, where I had a chance to stay for a whole month with my family. Although this was a family trip, I did not want to miss the opportunity to do some photography, so I grabbed a bag full of gear with me, along with my trusty travel tripod. I decided to share our adventures and trip logs from Jordan in a series of image-heavy posts and this is the first of the series. Hopefully, it will give a good idea where to visit and what to photograph in Jordan to our readers.
Today is a big day in the photography world, because Sony has just unleashed a true monster, the Sony A7R II, something that will seriously impact the photography industry. This is the camera that I have been personally waiting for, this is the game changer. I know this sounds a bit over-hyped and potentially over-promising, but as I was reviewing the Sony A7R, I asked myself “what would be an ideal mirrorless system look like for landscape photography?”. Based on my experience shooting with the Sony A7 II and Sony A7R, the wishlist included: lower-noise shutter, vibration-free shutter mechanism with EFCS (electronic first-curtain shutter), electronic silent shutter, high-resolution sensor with superb dynamic range, in-camera body image stabilization (IBIS) and full 14-bit RAW support. Well, the Sony A7R II today not only includes most of the items from my wishlist (the 14-bit RAW support is unclear at this time), but it also comes with more – this camera will be the first to feature a full-frame 42.4 MP BSI CMOS sensor, which means better low-light performance. Sony claims an improvement of two stops, which is huge. Faster sensor readouts also allow the A7R II to capture 4K video at 30p/25p/24p (with Super 35 support), making this camera highly desirable for both digital photography and videography needs. On top of this, the A7R II will come with a much more advanced AF system with 399 AF points (based on on-sensor phase detection points) and will be able to autofocus with third party lenses. Its OLED electronic viewfinder has been refined with impressive 0.78x magnification. This is why I called this camera a “game changer”, as it has more to offer than anything else on the market today. It sets a new benchmark, setting a new challenge for not only Nikon and Canon, but also medium format camera manufacturers. After this announcement, Canon’s 5DS already sounds unattractive and the camera has not even hit the shelves yet (sorry Canon fans, but we weren’t that enthusiastic after finding out that Canon did nothing to improve the dynamic range on the 5DS). And with Zeiss backing up Sony with its amazing Loxia and Batis lines of lenses and Sony working hard on releasing high-quality lenses, the Sony mirrorless system is gaining traction quicker than anyone anticipated. The only drawback of this announcement is the price – the Sony A7R II will be Sony’s most expensive mirrorless camera to date, with its MSRP price of $3,200.
I have been recently invited to review a piece of gear that I cannot yet talk about (info coming soon), a.k.a. the mystery camera, so I decided to post a couple of images from it that I captured recently from around the Denver area. I will give you a few hints and hopefully it will be easier to figure out what the mystery camera is. It should be a fun exercise, because it will get you to pixel-peep, something you probably have not done in a while :)
We have just announced the Photo Spots Project and we are so excited about it, that we decided to launch a contest for our readers! We want to make the process of submitting Photo Spots not only useful for everyone, but also fun, engaging and rewarding. Yes, the latter is important, because that’s how we get to thank our readers for being so awesome! So for the next 30 days, we will be accepting entries for photo spots from everyone. One person will win a brand spanking new, freshly announced Fuji X-T10 (come on, who can resist the temptation for owning this awesome camera?). If you do not want to Fuji X-T10, feel free to pick any other camera or lens of equivalent value. You can also just claim cash prize (details below).
NOTE: Please note that our submission form had some issues earlier today. Those should be fully fixed now.
During the past few weeks, I have been working on a project that I have been planning for years – the Photo Spots Project. Basically, the idea is to open up the ability for our readers to share their favorite photo spots with the rest of the community. You name the spot, upload one or more images, describe how to get to the spot, add some information (such as the country, GPS location, etc) and your adventures to the post and submit it. We will review each submission one by one and if it meets our standards, we publish the photo spot for everyone to see (meanwhile, our team at PL will be posting our favorite spots from our photo adventures to encourage others to join and contribute).
I have visited the Dead Horse Point State Park many times, but never had the luck to get beautiful sunrise colors. I kept on coming back, over and over until I finally got what I was looking for. It was a very cold and extremely windy morning – I was the only person in the park and it was a bit scary to come out of the car. After walking to my favorite spot (marked on the map), I set up my tripod pretty low and tried to stay closer to the ground, because of how bad and gusty the wind was. The sky was quite cloudy and I thought it would be another day with no luck. But I was wrong – within the next few minutes, the Sun’s rays pierced through the clouds and gave me a very short window to capture the above image. It was an absolutely amazing and breathtaking moment worth patiently waiting for!
I am finally back home and I have been slowly coming back to my senses, after a terrible food poisoning accident and a crazy jet-lag. After a month of amazing travel time in Jordan, our whole family managed to get badly poisoned after eating between our flight from Chicago to Denver airport. All that travel and outside eating in Jordan and not a single incident and we come home and get hammered, go figure! Since then, it has been a mix of diarrhea, throwing up and sleeping for 20 hours straight due to body intoxication. The last time I got poisoned this bad was 13 years ago. Oh well, airport food has never been great, so we should have kept it safe by eating snacks instead. Another lesson learned!