Without a doubt, Sony has been flooding the camera market with camera and lens announcements in the past few years. It has not even been a year since the company announced the Sony A6300 back in February and we already have another iteration of the camera in the form of the Sony A6500. I am not sure what the deal is with skipping iterations, but Sony went from A6000 directly to A6300 (skipping both A6100 and A6200) and it looks like there won’t ever be a Sony A6400 either. So why did Sony announce the A6500 this early? Based on the camera specs, one might think that Sony rushed with the A6300 in the first place, but looking at the price and the list of features, it appears that the A6500 isn’t meant to be a replacement for the A6300, but rather an introduction to a higher-end mirrorless camera. If we had NEX-3, NEX-5 and NEX-7 series cameras before, with a clear difference in features and price, now the higher model number is the indication of a superior camera. At $1,400, the A6500 is priced $400 higher than the A6300, but what exactly does the camera gain in comparison? Let’s take a look at all the new features.
In addition to the A6500 mirrorless camera, Sony has also announced an update to the RX100 and the new iteration is now called Sony RX100 V, as expected. While most of the camera specifications stayed the same (20 MP 1″ sensor and 24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-f/2.8 lens), the new RX100 V gains on-sensor phase-detection system to improve its autofocus performance. With a total of 315 phase-detection autofocus points spreading to over 65% of the frame, the camera snaps into focus almost immediately, at record-breaking 0.05 seconds.
Although the Pentax 645Z medium format DSLR has been out for a few years, I only had a chance to try it out earlier this year, during my trip to Death Valley. I have been wanting to try the 645Z for quite some time, since I heard so many good things about it. With medium format digital being traditionally out of reach in terms of cost for most photographers out there, including myself, I did not really have much interest in trying out cameras that are as expensive as some nice cars. However, the Pentax 645D changed the game back in 2010, by being the first sub-$10K medium format digital camera at launch.
More Photokina announcements are rolling in today and this time it is Sigma, with its headline-grabbing releases of upcoming Art and Sport-series lenses. With stellar lens designs such as the 35mm f/1.4 Art and 50mm f/1.4 Art lenses, we have been waiting for Sigma to release an 85mm f/1.4 Art lens for quite sometime now, so Sigma has finally delivered. The new 85mm f/1.4 Art promises to be a superb lens both in terms of sharpness and bokeh. Although Sigma is yet to provide MTF charts and lens construction images, the fact that there is no aspherical element in the lens design is an indication of the lens being optimized to yield pleasant-looking bokeh without onion rings, something that has plagued other Art-series Sigma lens designs. Its price is a bit steep at $1,199 MSRP, but it is still $400 cheaper than its Nikon counterpart.
Today is a big day for Fuji, because the company unveiled its first digital medium format mirrorless camera with a 51.4 MP sensor, the Fuji GFX 50S. And not only that, but also a total of 6 medium format “G” mount lenses specifically designed for the new GFX 50S: GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR (18mm equiv), GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR (32mm equiv), GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR (50mm equiv), GF 110mm f/2 (87mm equiv), GF 120mm f/4 Macro (95mm equiv) and GF 32-64mm f/4R LM WR (25-51mm equiv) zoom lens. Both the camera and the lenses are in development and they are not finalized yet, but we can expect the company to start shipping the camera with a couple of lenses in early 2017. Although the pricing has not been announced yet, the company promised that the GFX 50S will be well under $10K, which will put it in competition with the Hasselblad X1D-50c. Many would consider this announcement to be groundbreaking and I believe it really is – Fuji decided to skip full-frame mirrorless altogether, focusing heavily on APS-C cameras and now medium format. With Fuji’s ability to design superb lenses with impressive sharpness, color and contrast characteristics, I have no doubt that the GFX 50S will be in demand.
It has been a while since I posted the “How was this picture made #11?” article, where I showcased a very high resolution image of sand particles with tons of detail. The image was massive in size and resolution when I extracted it out of Lightroom. In fact, the image was so big, that I had to downsize it to 4096 pixel long resolution in order to keep the size at less than 10 MB with as much JPEG optimization as I could. When dealing with so much detail, even the highest JPEG compression levels will still yield large files, since there is so much pixel-level data. And that’s what you get when you have an image produced from a sensor that moves one pixel at a time in order to create a super high resolution image! And combined with the power of focus stacking multiple images, you get insane levels of detail from a macro shot like this. So how did I do it? Let’s talk about the specifics of this particular shot.
As smartphones are getting better at capturing images year after year, one might be wondering when, if at all, we will see smartphones directly competing with larger cameras. Are we at the point, or perhaps might be soon approaching one, where it won’t make any sense to buy a high-end DSLR or a mirrorless camera to capture professional-looking images? Now that smartphones like the iPhone 7 Plus are shipping with dual lenses (one standard wide-angle lens and one telephoto lens to capture portraits) and some manufacturers are even pushing larger sensors to specifically appeal the photography market, it is no wonder why some photographers might think that a smartphone is all they need to get professional results. During the past few years, I have been using a variety of different cameras with sensors ranging from tiny 1/3″ all the way to medium format, so I thought it would be a good idea to write an article about this particular topic, with some images to represent different cameras and sensor sizes.
Our readers know how much we love the MIOPS Smart Trigger, which we have previously reviewed and praised for its amazing features and capabilities, including the ability to capture lightnings. Now our Turkish friends are unveiling a smaller brother to the MIOPS Smart Trigger called “MIOPS Mobile”. As the name suggests, it is primarily intended to be used with a mobile device such as your smartphone, in order to capture images with your camera. We are excited about the MIOPS Mobile, because it combines the power of your smartphone with the power of this little device in order to capture those unique moments. Utilizing your phone’s integrated capabilities such as the GPS, MIOPS mobile can take advantage of them by offering specific modes, such as “Roadlapse”, allowing one to capture timelapses from a moving vehicle. The MIOPS engineering team made sure to include all the bells and whistles it could into the MIOPS Mobile, so you will find numerous different modes to fire your camera remotely, such as Vibration, Sound, Motion, Distance and the regular Timelapse modes have also been upgraded to now include HDR Timelapses. The connection between the MIOPS Mobile and the camera is wired (connects to the camera’s shutter release port), just like on the MIOPS Smart Trigger, but the connection between the MIOPS Mobile and your smartphone is wireless (via Bluetooth), which means that you do not have to stand right next to the unit in order to trigger action – everything can be done remotely. The product is being launched via KickStarter and with only one day of funding, it looks like it is getting very close to reaching its funding goal.
Today Apple unveiled the brand new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus mobile phones and it looks like a lot of attention has been given to the camera features of the two devices. With the “Shot on iPhone” campaign showing huge billboards featuring iPhone images, it is no wonder that Apple has been spending quite a bit of R&D towards the image capture capabilities of the new iPhone. The keynote presentation was filled with camera verbiage – in fact, the Apple team specifically used such words as “bokeh” to describe the new dual lens design of the iPhone 7 Plus. Speaking of which, it will only be the Plus model that will have two lenses – one wide-angle f/1.8 lens for wide shots and a 56mm equivalent telephoto lens for zooming in and capturing portraits (the regular iPhone 7 will have a single wide angle lens).
Ever since I started using Lightroom back in 2007, I have been keeping a backup of every single version on my computer, making sure that I had the latest version of that particular release. With the very first version of Lightroom having a few issues and not having 64-bit architecture support, I ended up deleting it, so the first release of Lightroom I actually preserved was Lightroom 2 (the latest build of that release was Lightroom 2.7). The next stable build I preserved was Lightroom 3.6. From there, it was Lightroom 4.4 that I used the most before Adobe released Lightroom 5. With the release of LR 5, Adobe introduced Lightroom CC, which was the first cloud version of Lightroom. From there, Lightroom CC 2014 was rolled out, which was equivalent to version 5.4 of LR standalone. The big release was Lightroom 6 (CC 2015), which is the most current version, the latest release being Lightroom 6.6.1, or Lightroom CC 2015.6.1 if you use the cloud version of the software. So what do you do when you have all these versions of the software? Well, I installed them all on my Windows 10 PC and decided to give them all a try and see how much Adobe has been improving the performance of the software over the years. The results are quite interesting to say the least!