A few days ago my buddies and I made it to the Death Valley National Park, after a long and uneventful drive from Colorado. I have previously been to the valley several times before, but neither my friends, nor I have ever had a chance to visit the magical Race Track playa. After deflating the tires of our SUVs, we headed out to the valley to camp overnight, shoot at sunset the same day and sunrise next day before heading back. We camped at the designated campground at the end of the road, which was about 10-15 minutes of drive time away from the playa. We spent a good part of the late afternoon scouting for some good rocks, realizing just how vast the territory of the playa really is – it is miles long!
While reviewing the Sony A7 II, I had a chance to test and play with every Sony FE lens made as of April of 2015. The list includes the following lenses: Sony FE 35mm f/2.8, Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2, Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2, Sony FE 55mm f/1.8, Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS, Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 OSS, Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS and Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 OSS. Since I also simultaneously had the Sony A7R and A7S bodies (reviews to follow soon), I decided to measure MTF performance of each lens using Imatest and see how they perform individually. While I am planning to review all of these lenses in detail within the next few months, I thought putting together some data for our readers might be helpful, perhaps for those of our readers who either already own the A7 system, or those who are planning to invest in it. The below numbers are based on two different samples of each lens (I always do my best to test at least two due to sample variation) and the numbers I present are for the lens that showed the best results. Unfortunately, due to the shutter shock issue of the Sony A7R camera, I was not able to reliably test the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 OSS lens, particularly at anything longer than 100mm. I will have to retest that lens when Sony adds electronic front curtain shutter feature to the A7R, or releases a newer 36 MP+ body with built-in EFCS (yes, the shutter shock on the A7R is pretty significant). I have not yet tested the newly announced Sony FE lenses, so I will test those separately as soon as I get my hands on them.
Our friends at B&H have just let us know that our readers will be getting an exclusive deal for DxO OpticsPro 10 Elite Edition for the next 3 days. Normally priced at $199, the software will be discounted to $129, so it is a pretty good deal saving you $70 on this DVD. Aside from the powerful RAW and JPEG processing engine for optical corrections built in OpticsPro, the Elite edition includes PRIME Denoising Technology, ClearView Haze Reduction, Anti-Moire tool, ICC Profile Management, Multiple Outputs, Presets and a total of 3 software activations.
As you know, Photography Life is all about sharing knowledge with our readers. Every day we work hard on bringing you the best content, whether it is in the forms of photography articles, tips, in-depth reviews or news. Because many of our readers are as passionate as we are in sharing their knowledge, they often share articles with us in the form of Guest Posts, the best of which we often feature on the site. While I was working on publishing yet another excellent guest post the other day, I came up with an idea to inspire more of our readers to write here at PL. We would like to invite our dear readers in participating in a knowledge sharing contest, in which we will reward every writer when their article is posted on the site. If your article is published, we will reward you with a $50 gift card from B&H, Adorama, Amazon or any other store of your choice as a token of appreciation, or if you prefer to be paid instead, we will transfer the sum to your PayPal account. This way, you are rewarded for your contribution even if you do not win the ultimate prize (see below for details). We will not limit your contributions, so you could submit as many articles as you would like and get paid for the work. Sounds exciting? Then read on!
The D7200 is currently Nikon’s best DX camera for shooting action, but how does it compare to Canon’s speed demon, the 7D Mark II in features and specifications? The Nikon D7200 comes with a 24.2 MP sensor, 6 fps continuous shooting speed, 51-point AF system, 2x SD card slots and built-in Wi-Fi, whereas the 7D Mark II has a slightly smaller sensor with 20.2 MP of resolution, impressive 10 fps continuous shooting speed, 65-point all cross-type AF system, 1x CF + 1x SD card slots and a pro-quality build / ergonomics. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but which one of these would be more suitable for capturing fast action? In this comparison, we will go over both feature and specification differences between the two cameras. Please keep in mind that this comparison is purely based on preliminary data. Further details and comparisons will be provided in our upcoming Nikon D7200 review later this year.
Some of our readers might be interested in seeing how the newly announced Nikon D7200 compares to its predecessor, the D7100 in terms of features and specifications. With a faster processor, improved AF system, much larger buffer, Wi-Fi and a few other tweaks, the D7200 is currently Nikon’s best DX camera for capturing fast action such as sports and wildlife photography. Although the D7100 is still an amazing camera, many found its buffer to be underwhelming for continuous shooting, as it sported a fairly small buffer that accommodated even less images than the first generation Nikon D7000. In this comparison, I will first go into specifications, then talk about specific features that differentiate the two cameras. Please keep in mind that this comparison is purely based on specifications. Further details, our impressions, ISO comparisons and other useful information will be provided in our upcoming Nikon D7200 Review later this year.
The Nikon D7200 has been announced, but full resolution image samples are not yet available at NikonUSA or Nikon Imaging. Below are the images I was able to find through Nikon Japan. At this time there are only 5 full-resolution image samples available, but I will update this article if I find more this week. Sadly, all images below were captured at ISO 100 and there are no high ISO samples to look at yet. Nikon Asia and other regional sites do have more sample images, but none of them are at full size.
It has been two years since Nikon announced the D7100 and today the company announced its replacement, the Nikon D7200. A number of things have changed / improved from the D7100, most notably: improved 51-point AF system with -3 EV sensitivity, built-in Wi-Fi with NFC, faster EXPEED 4 processor, larger buffer capacity, improved battery life and a slightly modified 24.2 MP APS-C sensor with a larger native ISO range of 100 – 25,600. Looks like Nikon finally addressed the buffer concern with this release, giving a three times larger buffer that can fit 18 14-bit RAW files compared to the D7100. The sensor on the D7200 is probably a tweaked version of the excellent sensor from the D5300 (made by Sony), which should provide pretty clean images at high ISOs. The camera retains the price of its predecessor at $1,199 MSRP. Looks like it is a great update to the already excellent D7100, which we have previously reviewed and praised for its superb performance. Judging by its build / ergonomics and the same continuous shooting speed of 6 fps, the D7200 won’t directly compete with the Canon 7D Mark II, which still leaves room for the potential release of the D400 later this year.
We have just received information from our partners B&H Photo Video and Adorama that Canon is significantly dropping prices on both 5D Mark III and 6D cameras. It is hard to say whether these price drops are coming as a result of the Japanese Yen depreciation, or perhaps Canon is planning to release replacements to these cameras soon and wants to clean off the shelves before new products hit the market. Either way, these are great prices on great cameras. We have previously reviewed both Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 6D and found them to be quite solid. So if you are invested in Canon glass and accessories and need to replace that aging 5D or 5D Mark II, or want to move up to full-frame from an APS-C camera, this might be a good opportunity to do so. At $2,499 for the Canon 5D Mark III ($300 price drop and $300 instant rebate) and $1,399 for the Canon 6D, these are the lowest prices on the two cameras we have seen to date.
October 16 of 2013 marks an important milestone in the history of photography, because it is the date when Sony announced world’s first full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Sony A7 and A7R. The Sony A7, being the cheaper model aimed for general use, sports a 24 MP sensor and offers hybrid autofocus, while the A7R with its high resolution 36 MP sensor is targeted at more specific types of photography including landscape, architecture, studio and product photography. Since the official release of these cameras, I had a chance to test both in 2014 as soon as they were available. However, I did not write detailed reviews for a number of reasons including native lens shortage and availability, all kinds of initial firmware bugs and lags, shutter vibrations (A7R), slow start up time, compressed RAW, terrible menu system, poor battery life and a number of other annoying issues. On top of that, 2014 was also a year of personal transformation for me, so I was incredibly busy trying to shuffle a lot of things at the same time. To put it short, my lack of time and my negative experience with these cameras contributed to reviews being put off for a later date. When Sony released the A7S a bit later, I did not see drastic changes aside from the camera sensor, so I put off reviewing that camera for a while as well. However, when Sony announced the second iteration of the A7-series, the A7 II, I immediately requested a review unit for evaluation. By then, Sony already had a few more native lenses to choose from and I had high hopes that Sony perhaps addressed many of the concerns from the original A7 in this new camera. In addition, the Sony A7 II came with in-body image stabilization (IBIS), which interested me a lot – with so many different adapters available for other lens mounts, the A7 II looked rather promising as a versatile tool that could stabilize pretty much any lens on the market. And that in itself sounded really good, so off I went with my journey to assess the new Sony A7 II.