Camera Maintenance: Is Proactive Maintenance Worth It?

One of our readers, who is a very busy professional wedding photographer, asked me if proactive maintenance with the manufacturer is worth the money or not. After a busy wedding season, she sent one of her Canon 5D Mark III cameras to Canon service center for cleaning. Shortly after the service center received the camera, she was told that her 5D Mark III had over 200,000 images, which was way above the shutter life of the camera, which is rated at 150,000. For a $600 fee, the Canon service center suggested to replace the shutter mechanism with a brand new one, promising that the camera would keep on clicking. Since $600 sounded better than paying $3K for a replacement camera, the reader asked advice from me, to see if it was indeed worth paying for the shutter replacement as proactive maintenance. I recommended not to do it for the following reason: shutter mechanism failures are completely random and it is best to replace the shutter when it actually fails.

[Read more…]

Nikon TC-14E III vs TC-14E II Performance Comparison

I am currently in the process of testing the Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL lens in my Imatest lab and I am simultaneously also measuring the performance of the new Nikon TC-14E III teleconverter and comparing it to the older TC-14E II. Although I am planning to review the teleconverter separately, I decided to give our readers a glimpse of the teleconverter performance when compared to its predecessor in terms of sharpness. To make it easy to compare differences, I converted all numbers to percentages (detailed numbers will be posted in the reviews).

[Read more…]

Latest Fujifilm Firmware Updates Now Available

As promised, Fujifilm has made the new firmware versions for some of its mirrorless cameras available starting today. For those who missed our previous article, the following cameras are eligible for the new firmware: Fujifilm X-T1 (both black and silver edition), X-E2, X-Pro1 and X-E1. It is important to note that all cameras receive slightly different updates with the X-T1 gaining the largest number of improvements and new features.

[Read more…]

On Comparing Cameras and Sensors

It reminds me of Goldoni’s “Servant of Two Masters“; only masters are now more than two and quite often they are not only capricious but they do not know what they want. First, any comparison is open to critics because even in a well-equipped lab it is impossible to repeat the shooting conditions from a year ago, or even from a day before while shooting to compare a newer model to an older one; the criteria for necessary accuracy is not set, or not made public, or not recognized by the community. Second, one single body in the testing opens the door for sample variation questions; and once again tolerances are not brought to the light. Third, using different lenses for different mounts does not help leveling the field. Using lens adapters to shoot with the same lens is often suggested, but it opens another can of worms: adapter alignment problems and different amounts of internal flare added by different adapters skew the results.

[Read more…]

Latest Fujifilm Firmware Updates

Last month, Fujifilm announced firmware updates for several of its high-end X-mount compact system cameras. No less than four cameras will receive such attention from the famously generous (when it comes to updates) manufacturer come December the 18th – Fujifilm X-T1 (both black and silver versions, which should really not be treated as a separate release), Fujifilm X-E2 and even the now-already-quite-old X-Pro1 and X-E1. That said, it is not all good news, since the firmware updates are very different for X-T1 and the rest of the cameras.

[Read more…]

Sony A7 II Pricing Announced

It did not take long for Sony to bring its new A7 II full-frame camera to the US market. But then, even from the Japanese announcement article, it is clear that the A7 series of mirrorless cameras are very popular among photographers, and this new model adds the very welcome sensor-based 5 axis image stabilization that works with any lens. Ought to be a real success for the manufacturer, especially at this price.

[Read more…]

Sony A7 II Announced in Japan

Sony is very, very serious about the full-frame mirrorless cameras and would seem they plans no break for the competition. The Japanese giant has just announced a replacement for the first and (currently) cheapest full-frame compact system camera, the A7. Dubbed the A7 II, it brings, more than anything, refinement to what is essentially the same core feature set. Mind you, so far it has only been announced in Japan. It is still interesting to see where the manufacturer is going with all the full-frame offerings.

[Read more…]

Canon 7D Mark II First Impressions

I had a chance to play with the new Canon 7D Mark II this past weekend and I wanted to provide a little bit of feedback regarding the performance of this speed monster. I received my copy of the camera earlier last week, along with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L lens, so that I could exclusively photograph wildlife with this setup. The Canon 7D Mark II is specifically targeted at sports and wildlife photographers, so I did not think it would make much sense to evaluate the camera for everyday photography needs. With the Canon 6D being in the same price range, it is a given that a full-frame camera would be much more desirable in terms of image quality for other photography needs.

[Read more…]

Photographing Butterflies With the 1 Nikon CX 70-300

As part of my field work for my upcoming hands-on review of the 1 Nikon CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom lens I went to the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory to take a few images. I spent a few very enjoyable hours at the conservatory taking photos of the various butterfly species and ended up with many usable images.

[Read more…]