Even though the new and upcoming full-frame Pentax DSLR camera will support existing brand lenses for APS-C sensor cameras, Ricoh realizes full and well that having a 35mm camera is only part of the package. Lenses are simply crucial to make such a system make any sense at all. That is why Ricoh-Pentax has announced two new lenses designed to cover the image circle of a full-frame sensor, the HD Pentax-D FA * 70-200mm f/2.8ED DC AW and HD Pentax-D FA 150-450mm f/4.5-5.6ED DC AW. It’s quite the mouthful, isn’t it? But I am focusing on the wrong things as both lenses, along with the upcoming full-frame camera, mark a new chapter in the history of the famous brand. Let’s take a closer look, then.
The ever-raging Canon vs Nikon debate might have you believing users of those particular systems are the most loyal to their brands. From what I’ve seen, though, neither Canon nor Nikon shooters have anything on those who shoot Pentax and swear by it. It’s a very niche system, that. No other DSLR manufacturer has such an array of competitive products priced so aggressively, that are also so compact and, when it comes to high-end models, so brilliantly rugged. No other DSLR manufacturer has such a great lineup of tiny, high quality autofocus prime lenses. And no other DSLR manufacturer has had so much trouble trying to find its identity. For a while now, Pentax has been experimenting with the narrowest of niches, launching boldly styled cameras, or boldly tiny interchangeable lens cameras with even smaller sensors. And yet those loyal to the brand always stuck by it. How happy they must be now that those who always ridiculed the brand will have their most valuable argument brushed away – “Pentax has no FF camera”. It’s true, there is no full-frame Pentax camera. But there will be, and rather soon. And for those who would rather avoid the pointless which-system-is-better debates, it means a new alternative to the best DSLR cameras on the market is soon to present itself.
Having spent quite a bit of time talking to many other photographers, one of the discussions that comes up every once in a while has to do with a “perfect camera”, one that does everything you need. I have been thinking about such camera for a while now and I think I have figured out what would be an ideal choice for me personally – it would be a modular camera. While the concept of a modular camera is certainly not new and we can see a living example of it in Red video cameras, those are largely not relevant to photography for high cost reasons alone. What I have in mind is a modular camera that is primarily aimed at capturing stills, but could also be potentially used for shooting videos, and not the other way around. The point of a modular camera is to be able to serve different needs, from consumer to professional, at varying costs depending on the requirements of the photographer. One should be able to afford the most basic modular camera with a smaller sensor at a comparable price to a modern DSLR or a mirrorless camera, while professional photographers should be able to customize their modular camera with say a medium format sensor, fast processor, high capacity battery and other tools / accessories they need. Like the idea? Let’s take a look at this concept in more detail.
Back in September last year, Tamron announced the development of a rather interesting wide-angle lens. Not only does it feature a very useful focal length range for landscapes, architecture and documentary style photography, but also allows a fairly wide aperture of f/2.8 and image stabilization. The lens has now been officially released in three mounts – Nikon, Canon and Sony (Vibration Correction is omitted for Sony variant). At a fairly reasonable price of $1200, it ever so slightly undercuts the Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VR lens (which also happens to be slower), significantly undercuts Canon’s 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens and matches the cost of the 16-35mm f/4L IS.
Although I am planning to fully review the Sony A7 II, I decided to share some quick thoughts on this new mirrorless camera which I have been shooting with for the past few weeks and share a photo of the Bay Bridge that I captured at night. I am currently in San Francisco, testing the Sony A7 II with a few Sony / Zeiss lenses, along with the Canon 7D Mark II, which I am also planning to review when I get back (I know, I have been a bit late on that one).
We’ve known for a while that this lens was coming thanks to Fujifilm’s most recent lens roadmap. Some details were still under a question mark, though, and with the official announcement we finally know everything about the most recent – and one of the most expensive – Fujinon lens for X-mount mirrorless cameras, the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR.
By now you have probably heard of the Nikon D750 issue that some describe as “flare” or “internal reflection issue”. Thanks to some websites and forums, the issue is now blown out of proportion, with some people claiming the D750 to be another “fiasco” from Nikon. Since many of our readers have been requesting feedback from me regarding the issue, I decided to write an article that describes the issue in detail, along with my opinion on the matter. The thing is, I have known about this particular problem for a while now, probably after the very first complaints started rolling in a few months ago. I never wrote about it, because I consider it to be a non-issue for 99.9% of situations and not even applicable for most photographers out there, which is why I never wrote about it. At the same time, I understand there might be concerns from current and future owners of the D750, who are probably wondering about the severity of the problem. In this article, I will show you what the issue looks like, when it occurs and provide my personal feedback on the matter.
Since neither “flare”, nor “internal reflection” correctly describe the issue (as shown below), I went ahead with “flare shading issue” title instead.
UPDATE: Nikon will be servicing all affected Nikon D750 cameras free of charge. See this announcement for more details.
I have been a fan of infrared photography for a while now (largely thanks to Bob Vishneski’s amazing infrared work), but I have not had a chance to explore that side of photography yet. After I bought the D810 to replace the D800E, I first thought about selling the D800E. But seeing how much the D800E was going for on eBay and other sites, I decided to keep it and convert it to an infrared camera instead. After some research and a few email exchanges with Bob on who he recommends, I picked the folks at Kolari Vision, who effortlessly converted my D800E to an IR camera. I did not want a full IR B&W conversion, so I opted for the thinner 720nm filter that allows some colors to come through. Have not experimented yet, as it is really cold and snowy outside, but there are some great news for our readers – my future lens reviews will now include infrared ratings and hot spot reports! So if you already enjoy infrared photography or want to start exploring it (I highly would recommend reading Bob’s excellent introduction to infrared photography article), then you will find the IR section of the reviews particularly helpful!
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.
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).