Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art and Sigma 150-600mm Available for Pre-Order

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Just a day after Sigma announced its 24mm f/1.4 Art lens, it has now also announced both pricing and availability of the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art lens. I honestly expected over $1K price for this quality of the lens, so I was a bit shocked to see that the lens will be sold at $849, which is tremendous value if you compare it to Nikon and Canon 24mm f/1.4 counterparts. Another much anticipated lens, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary is also available for pre-order for $1,089, which is priced right around the same as the Tamron 150-600mm which we highly praised in our in-depth review. Both lenses are expected to ship around March 20, 2015.

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Nikon D810A Image Samples

Nikon D810A Image Samples (5)

And for those who are interested in the newly announced Nikon D810A, below you will find some sample images from the camera. Please keep in mind that aside from the last photo, all sample images were taken as composites with multiple images, then put together via special stitching software for astrophotography. That’s why EXIF data is not present in these images. As usual, you can download images to your computer to see a full-sized version.

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Nikon D810A Announcement

Nikon D810A

It has only been 8 months since Nikon announced the D810 and today the company announced a very specialized camera for astrophotographers, the Nikon D810A. In essence, the D810A is pretty much identical to the existing D810 – the camera has exactly the same body build, ergonomics, sensor, etc. What has changed is the filter stack in front of the sensor, which contains a modified infrared filter that is more sensitive to super low light emitted by the stars and nebulas (specifically, the hydrogen alpha wavelength). In addition, Nikon implemented additional shutter speeds (4, 5, 8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60, 120, 180, 240, 300, 600 and 900 seconds) to give more flexibility for astrophotography needs. While the announcement is certainly big for astrophotographers, because it is world’s first full-frame astrophotography DSLR camera, I do have a few concerns about this particular release. Having done a bit of research in astrophotography last year (my primary interest was in deep space object photography using specialized mounts and CCD sensors), I learned a little bit about the tools and what’s needed.

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Affinity Photo: Possible Photoshop Alternative?

Serif Affinity Photo

Adobe has been enjoying their place in the software industry for a very long time now. It’s a monopoly, isn’t it? Despite the effort made by Corel, DxO, PhaseOne and others, the benchmark is still Photoshop and Lightroom (even if the latter does not actually lead in every area). In fact, Photoshop has actually become a synonym to the word “post-process” or “edit”. “To photoshop something”, how many times have you heard someone say it? Exactly. And all of this is well deserved, because there simply isn’t any better alternatives. But for us, the users, monopoly is not such a good thing. Lack of proper competition puts the developer in a rather lazy state. Fortunately, an alternative might be in the works, called Affinity Photo (currently in Beta stage). Unfortunately, it is only available for Mac at this time.

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Are You Ready for 50 MP Cameras?

Canon EOS 5DS

Later this week Canon will be announcing its first super high resolution cameras, the Canon EOS 5DS and the EOS 5DS R, which will feature a 50.6 MP sensor. After the current 22.3 MP sensor on the 5D Mark III, this will be quite a jump for Canon, something that many did not expect would actually happen. With Nikon dominating the DSLR market with high resolution 36 MP sensors for a number of years now with its D800, D800E and D810 cameras, Canon has been getting a lot of heat from its loyal fan base for not releasing a true competitor. The 5DS and 5DS R cameras are Canon’s response – with the former sporting an anti-aliasing / low pass filter and the latter not having one, similar to what we had previously seen on the D800 / D800E cameras. With such a high resolution jump, it will be interesting to see where the market will trend in the next few years. Sony and Nikon will probably follow suit, releasing their versions of 50+ MP sensors. The megapixel race is still on…

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Sports Not So Illustrated?

Sports Illustrated Logo

Since Sports Illustrated’s (SI) announcement that it would lay off its staff of 6 professional photographers last week, there has been the traditional wailing and gnashing of teeth in the media. The responses have ranged from the stereotypical demonization of capitalism to lamentations for a skill set no longer appreciated. Others predict SI’s demise due to the inevitable (so they claim) decline in the quality of its photos that will result from this decision. You may recall a similar outrage when the Chicago Sun Times laid off its entire staff of full-time photographers.

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Nikon Offers to Fix the Flare Shading Issue on the D750

Nikon D750 Flare Outdoors

Back in December of last year, we reported the Nikon D750 Flare Shading Issue that occurs on some D750 camera bodies and talked about the cause of the problem. Although we found the issue to be insignificant due to the fact that it only occurs at a particular angle when pointing at a very bright light source, and showed that other cameras can also be potentially prone to the same issue, some of our readers expressed their disappointment and wanted Nkon to address this issue. If you own a Nikon D750 that is affected with this problem and it has been bothering you, Nikon USA today issued an official statement, in which the company announced that it will inspect and service all affected Nikon D750 cameras at no charge starting from the end of January, 2015.

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DSLRs To Catch-Up With Smartphones?

Nikon D750 vs D810

DSLR customers have had a nagging sense that manufacturers were far more interested in having them upgrade their cameras than providing additional capabilities to the customers that already purchased DSLRs. Back in the days of mechanical film cameras, it would have been a challenge for OEMs to deliver upgraded capabilities to existing customers. Customers would have had to bring their equipment into a local shop or send it to the camera manufacturer to be retrofitted with new capabilities – a prospect not very practical or financially attractive for manufacturers or customers. In a digital world, however, enhancing just about any product has become a simple software download and installation process. Thus the idea that any digital product (particularly a sophisticated and expensive one) should remain relatively static over its lifetime has become obsolete. It appears that Nikon may be ready to acknowledge and address this growing concern.

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Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Image Samples

Nikkor 300mm f/4E VR Image Sample (4)

If you are wondering how the new Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens renders images, take a look at the below high-resolution image samples captured by Robert Bösch and Drew Gurian. To open these images in high resolution, please right click and save them to your computer, or open them up individually in new windows (clicking on the image will show them in low resolution). As I find more high resolution images from this lens, I will post more in this article.

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Nikon D5500 Announcement

Nikon D5500

Along with the exciting Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR, Nikon also announced a boring entry-level camera. After skipping the D5400 for no reason (Nikon marketing at its best), the D5500 was revealed at the CES with very similar specs as the D5300, except it gains a touchscreen and drops the GPS module. Same resolution, same processor, same fps, WiFi, same menu and features for the most part, except for slightly different design that resulted in a smaller and lighter camera. It seems like Nikon has no clue what else to add to the D5x00 line to make it more interesting and this release is one of those “announce to announce” series, yet another camera to add to the camera pollution just to keep the line fresh. Instead of doing something innovative (mirrorless design, EVF, focus peaking, electronic shutter, etc), Nikon adds a pointless touchscreen feature and gets rid of the far more important GPS component. With all this, Nikon increases the price of the D5500 by $100, pushing it towards $900 MSRP.

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