Along with the A6300 mirrorless camera, Sony today also announced three professional-grade lenses for the full-frame FE mount, the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM, Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM and Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS and two 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters. Because of the premium nature of these lenses, Sony gave these lenses a new “G Master” (GM) label; which is basically one step above the current “G Series” lenses. All these lenses are fully designed by Sony engineers, have advanced optical formulas, coating technologies and other advancements that are designed specifically for Sony’s A7-series full-frame cameras, and as a result, also have rather steep price tags. Since many DSLR shooters have been staying away from the Sony full-frame mirrorless line due to the absence of truly professional f/1.4 and f/2.8 lenses, Sony decided to address that gap with the GM-series lenses. Looks like this is the first step and more GM lenses will follow in the future. Let’s take a look at these lenses in more detail and see what they have to offer.
Today is a big day in the world of photography, because Sony announced a camera that might challenge DSLRs in terms of autofocus speed in accuracy. The much-anticipated update to the Sony A6000 we reviewed earlier is finally out and it looks like it was well worth the wait. The Sony A6300 is the first mirrorless camera that is specifically aimed at capturing fast-moving action, thanks to its “4D” autofocus system with a whopping 425 phase-detection autofocus points. The camera breaks the world record in terms of the number and the spread of these autofocus points, reaching all the way to the far end corners of the frame, allowing fast-moving subjects to be tracked and captured at up to 11 frames per second. Although with its 24 MP APS-C sensor the camera probably won’t have the necessary buffer to be able to shoot action for prolonged periods of time like the Nikon D5 or Canon 1DX Mark II can, even shorter bursts with fast and accurate autofocus are going to make a huge difference. Couple all these capabilities with the 4K video capture (up to 100 Mbps) along with its MSRP of $999, and we’ve got one of the most desirably mirrorless cameras on the market.
Last night Canon unveiled its much anticipated top-of-the-line DSLR, the Canon EOS 1D X Mark II. Packing very powerful features aimed at sports and wildlife photographers, the Canon 1D X Mark II is a direct competitor to the recently announced Nikon D5 DSLR. Canon developed a brand new 20.2 MP CMOS sensor with Dual Pixel AF technology for improved low-light performance and phase detection focusing in live view mode (via the rear LCD touchscreen), dual DIGIC 6+ processors to provide more throughput for both 4K video and the insane 16 fps continuous frame rate, a revamped 61-point AF system with 41 cross-type sensors, a brand new 360k-pixel RGB+IR metering system, built-in GPS capability and a rugged, fully weather-sealed magnesium alloy body. Without a doubt, this will be one powerful speed demon, the best of the breed in the Canon world. And with its MSRP of $5,999, it is $500 less than what Nikon is asking for its flagship D5. Let’s take a look at the Canon 1D X II in more detail.
Today Adobe released a bunch of updates to its Creative Cloud suite, along with a new Lightroom 6.4 update. Aside from the regular bugfixes and new camera and lens profiles, Adobe introduced a new feature to its panorama stitching option within Lightroom called “Boundary Warp”, which is basically a tool that allows straightening the curves we usually see in panoramas. As we have seen before, while bugfixes and camera / lens profiles are available for all versions, new features are only available for Creative Cloud subscribers, so the Lightroom 6.4 standalone update won’t include the “Boundary Warp” feature. In addition, Adobe promises to double the speed of the panorama merging process, as well as much faster thumbnail updates when settings are copy pasted to multiple images at once. I have been running Lightroom CC 2015.4 for a few hours today and while I cannot yet state if it is more stable than the previous version, the panorama stitching process is indeed much faster in comparison. Let’s take a look at the new “Boundary Warp” update in more detail.
Every once in a while, I bump into a great idea that I wish I came up with myself. Recently, I came across such an idea – a website called “KeepSnap” and I thought that the concept behind it was very smart. Many of us photographers often go to the streets and events armed with cameras, in hopes of finding something or someone interesting to photograph. And sometimes we do indeed come across fascinating people that we immediately get attracted to, wanting to take their pictures. Many of us can relate to such situations. While I was photographing a beautiful sunset in the mountains last fall, I saw a couple, sitting on chairs and enjoying the sunset and the surrounding beautiful scenery. I approached them and asked for a permission to photograph. They not only immediately agreed, but also requested me to take more photographs, because they had not been photographed for many years! I took a few photos, including some close-ups. When I showed the photos to them, they were really excited and they were ready to pay me for preserving their moment of happiness and joy.
A couple of days ago Fujifilm finally announced its long-awaited flagship camera, the Fuji X-Pro2. I have been personally waiting for this to happen for a while, because the X-Pro1 has been out for way too long – 4 years, which is a huge stretch of time if you consider how quickly the mirrorless market has been moving in the past few years. I have just gotten back from my 3 week trip to Death Valley and while I have a lot of catching up to do, I did not want to miss on this important announcement. Being a proud owner of the superb Fuji X-T1, I have been wondering what Fuji would do with the X-Pro1 successor. The X-Pro2 is finally out and it looks like it was well worth the wait. While the overall design of the camera has not changed much, Fuji has made a lot of improvements to the interiors of the X-Pro2. With its brand new 24.3 MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor (highest resolution X-Trans sensor we have seen to date), pushing native ISO sensitivity by a full stop from ISO 200-6400 to 200-12800, an improved focal plane shutter capable of handling 1/8000 sec shutter speed (electronic shutter up to 1/32000 sec), 1/250 flash sync (finally!), a brand new Hybrid AF system with a whopping 273 focus points (77 phase detection points covering 40% of the frame) that promises to be Fuji’s fastest AF system to date, a fully weather-sealed camera construction, dual memory card slots (finally!) and an amazing hybrid viewfinder, the X-Pro2 looks like a very serious tool for professionals. Although its pricing of $1,699 might not sound particularly attractive, Fuji has never been a cheap brand in the first place and it has been known to make attractive, functional and enjoyable cameras that many photographers are willing to pay a premium price for.
Without a doubt, the biggest surprise today is the announcement of the Nikon D500. Just like Nikon did it back in the day with the D3 and the D300, Nikon decided to release both the top-of-the-line D5 and the smaller DX version, the Nikon D500 on the same day. While we have been waiting for the flagship DX camera to appear for too long now (remember those D400 rumors?), Nikon finally decided to unleash the beast. The long-awaited Nikon D500 is finally here and it is promising to be damn good. It is surely Nikon’s best DX camera created to date, thanks to its amazing 153-point AF system (same as on the Nikon D5), 10 fps continuous shooting speed, 200 shot RAW image buffer, 4K UHD video recording capability, Bluetooth connectivity, 100% viewfinder coverage and 1.0x viewfinder magnification (more on that below). Sports and wildlife shooters will surely be attracted to this camera, since it is priced way lower than the D5, at $1,999 MSRP and offers many similar features. Let’s take a look at the D500 in more detail.
It is just the beginning of the year and we are already getting treated with some huge announcements, thanks to the CES show that is taking place in Las Vegas. One of the biggest and most anticipated announcements is surely Nikon’s flagship DSLR, the Nikon D5. Many sports and wildlife photographers have been waiting to see what kind of a beast Nikon would unveil in its new generation, top-of-the-line DSLR and it looks like the D5 is indeed a performance monster that sets a new benchmark in a number of ways. First, the AF system received a complete overhaul. While Nikon has been shipping a 51-point AF system since the original D3 series cameras (with tweaks in between), the new D5 literally triples that number to a staggering 153! That’s right, the brand new AF system will feature a total of 153 AF points, 99 of which will be cross-type. Compare that to the 15 cross type points we see on the current Nikon D4s and you will quickly realize just how huge that number really is. And for those who shoot with long lenses coupled with teleconverters, the number of focus points available to use at f/8 will be expanded from 11 to 15 AF points. That’s just the start – check out all the other impressive specifications of the new D5!
Many of our readers know how much we at PL love Samsung’s tiny SSD external drives. We have written a review of the Samsung T1 SSD device and praised it for its incredible performance, tiny form factor and its ability to add plenty of fast storage to laptops and devices like Apple’s iMac (see our recommendations on choosing an iMac). Today, Samsung announced a new line of portable SSD drives that provide up to 2 TB of storage. The new Samsung Portable SSD T3 drives will measure only 74x58x10.5mm and weigh just 51 grams, which makes them extremely portable – a perfect travel companion. With up to 450 MB/sec read and write speeds via USB 3.1 Type C interface, these cards will deliver exceptional performance, even for the most demanding applications.
We are excited to add another female contributor to our team and this time I am happy to introduce you to Elizabeth Gray, our previous Photo Spot contest winner! Elizabeth expressed interest in joining our team and writing some killer articles for our readers (have you seen her first article on choosing and preparing for a photo tour?), so I am really happy to make this announcement! Please give a warm welcome to Elizabeth Gray! Check out her intro post below, along with her beautiful and lively images.