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).
Many Photography Life readers already know how much our team likes the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens – we have written a few articles on how amazing the lens is for reach and our detailed review of the Tamron 150-600mm attracted a lot of people, with over 200 comments in the review. Today, Tamron announced a big update to this lens in the form of SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2. This second generation (G2) lens went through a number of changes, including improved image stabilization, faster AF speed and a few other mechanical and design tweaks. The biggest changes, however, are in the updated optical formula and weather sealing – the G2 now features better optical design with improved overall sharpness and a fluorine coated front element, while the lens barrel has been reworked in order to reduce both dust and moisture from entering the lens (which is one of the biggest issues of the previous design). Lastly, the new 150-600mm now joins the list of lenses compatible with Tamron’s TAP-in console, for future firmware upgrades and customization. The lens will retail for $1,399 and it is scheduled to start shipping at the end of this month. In addition to this lens, Tamron has also announced two new 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters, both of which will be compatible with the lens.
Today Canon officially unveiled its update to the popular Canon 5D line, with the much anticipated EOS 5D Mark IV. The new Canon 5D Mark IV comes with a 30.4 MP CMOS sensor (native ISO range of 100-32,000) with on-sensor Dual Pixel AF that allows for phase-detection AF when shooting video and continuous focusing when shooting stills in live view mode. The camera got a few upgrades for shooting video – it now can shoot 4K video (1.64x crop) at up to 30 fps (Motion JPEG format), 1080p at up to 60 fps and 720p at up to 120 fps. One of the biggest improvements is in the AF system: the 5D Mark IV gains the same 61-point AF system as the 1D X Mark II, with 41 cross points, larger AF coverage and better sensitivity (up to -3 EV in low light and -4 EV in live view). Although Canon utilized the current DIGIC 6+ Image Processor, it is still able to yield 7 fps continuous shooting speed, which is quite impressive, considering the resolution of the camera.
Things tend to go wrong at the worst times, and this time our team was out traveling in Mount Rainier when Photography Life went down. While we were filming a part of our upcoming landscape photography course, one of our servers experienced a critical error and the number of requests to the site ended up piling up, eventually overwhelming the site completely and bogging it down. We didn’t have cell coverage or wifi for three days, so we only found out about the problem this morning! The good news is that the website is back online, and we have posted all the articles that had been scheduled during the mean time.
Nikon has been on the roll in the past few years, releasing one amazing lens after another. We have seen a refresh of the f/1.8 prime lens line with some amazing optics, but those craving for more have been patiently waiting for a modern replacement of such lenses as the Nikon 105mm f/2 DC and Nikon 135mm f/2 DC, absolutely amazing and beautiful lenses in every way, capable of rendering stunning bokeh for portraiture. Well, the waiting for the first lens replacement is finally over, because today Nikon gave us something truly groundbreaking – the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED. While the de-focus control feature on the previous 105mm f/2 lens allowed one to modify the bokeh rendering of the lens, it would end up changing the field of view and it was a bit hard to get used to utilizing that feature effectively for many photographers. Plus, the maximum aperture of f/2 put it in competition with the superb Nikon 85mm f/1.4G (review soon to be updated), as the latter is a faster lens and has superb rendering capabilities wide open. For these and other reasons, many photographers having been choosing the 85mm f/1.4G over the 105mm f/2 DC for portraiture, while the 135mm f/2 DC remained untouched. Now that the 105mm f/1.4E is out, let’s talk about what is so amazing about this gem and why we can mark today as an important milestone in the history of lens making.
We are very excited to announce our second course, Level 1: Workflow and Post-Processing, which we have been working on for the past few months. We are currently in the process of adding some more bonus material and putting some finishing touches to the videos, which we are planning to release early next week. For now, I would like to present the trailer of the upcoming course, so that our readers could get a chance to see what we have in the course and what one can expect from it. This course completes our Level 1 basics courses, which means that from here on, we will be able to move up in content and complexity – we are already planning to start filming a Level 3 course on landscape photography later this summer, with the scheduled release of Q4 of 2016. It is truly exciting and rewarding to be working on these courses, because we are creating a strong foundation which we can build on in the future.
Hasselblad today dropped a huge bomb on the photography market by revealing world’s first medium format mirrorless camera, the X1D-50c. With its huge 44x33mm sensor (0.8x crop factor, 4:3 aspect ratio, ISO 100-25600 range), 16-bit color, 14-stop dynamic range, 2.36 MP electronic viewfinder (EVF), 2.3 fps continuous shooting speed, dual SD card slots, 3″ 920k-dot touchscreen LCD, built-in Wi-Fi, built-in GPS, an incredible leaf shutter capable of flash sync up to 1/2000th of a second and a super lightweight construction weighing only 725 grams with a battery. At 150 x 98 x 71mm, this is a very small camera relative to its sensor and its throat diameter – a truly innovative design. And with all these specs, one might think that the camera would be priced in the $30K+ price range like other medium format Hasselblad cameras. But that’s not the case…the Hasselblad X1D-50c will retail for $8,999, which is surprising, considering that the sensor alone costs about half of the price of the camera. With such amazing specs and a powerful 3200mAh battery (which is a lot – the Nikon D5’s EN-EL18a is only 2500mAh in comparison!), this camera is aimed at a variety of photography needs, including landscape, architecture and portrait photography. In addition to the X1D-50c, Hasselblad has also announced two brand new lenses specifically made for this compact medium format camera – a 45mm f/3.5 (~36mm full-frame equivalent) and a 90mm f/4.5 (~72mm full-frame equivalent). Older Hasselblad lenses will have to be coupled with an adapter to work, which according to Hasselblad will be released soon, retaining autofocus capabilities. Hasselblad dubbed the X1D as a “groundbreaking” camera and such words as “game changer” are used in its public announcement for a good reason – there is nothing at the moment on the market that can compete with the above specs at this price range.
I am sad to say that the world of photography lost one of its true masters this past Sunday. Chinese photographer Fan Ho, known for his intimate street photographs of 1950’s Hong Kong, died of pneumonia at the age of 84. His photographs are more than simply beautiful; they show an understanding of light and composition is truly unparalleled. I cannot write anything that does justice to work like this, so I will leave with one of Fan Ho’s quotes – among the most beautiful sentiments I have heard from a photographer: “I put my whole life into a single photograph.”
Today is a very sad day in our photographic community – Michael Reichmann, the founder of one of my all-time favorite sites “Luminous Landscape“, passed away late last night after an extended battle with cancer. He was 71. Although I never had a chance to meet Michael in person, I always hoped that one day our paths would cross, since he has always been such a huge inspiration. A great teacher, an amazing photographer and from what I had heard from others, a very warm, kind and funny person. I learned so much from Luminous Landscape and the articles that Michael and his team put out on the site, and I have always recommended the site to our readers as one of the best sources on the Internet on landscape photography.