Without a doubt, Sony has been flooding the camera market with camera and lens announcements in the past few years. It has not even been a year since the company announced the Sony A6300 back in February and we already have another iteration of the camera in the form of the Sony A6500. I am not sure what the deal is with skipping iterations, but Sony went from A6000 directly to A6300 (skipping both A6100 and A6200) and it looks like there won’t ever be a Sony A6400 either. So why did Sony announce the A6500 this early? Based on the camera specs, one might think that Sony rushed with the A6300 in the first place, but looking at the price and the list of features, it appears that the A6500 isn’t meant to be a replacement for the A6300, but rather an introduction to a higher-end mirrorless camera. If we had NEX-3, NEX-5 and NEX-7 series cameras before, with a clear difference in features and price, now the higher model number is the indication of a superior camera. At $1,400, the A6500 is priced $400 higher than the A6300, but what exactly does the camera gain in comparison? Let’s take a look at all the new features.
In addition to the A6500 mirrorless camera, Sony has also announced an update to the RX100 and the new iteration is now called Sony RX100 V, as expected. While most of the camera specifications stayed the same (20 MP 1″ sensor and 24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-f/2.8 lens), the new RX100 V gains on-sensor phase-detection system to improve its autofocus performance. With a total of 315 phase-detection autofocus points spreading to over 65% of the frame, the camera snaps into focus almost immediately, at record-breaking 0.05 seconds.
More Photokina announcements are rolling in today and this time it is Sigma, with its headline-grabbing releases of upcoming Art and Sport-series lenses. With stellar lens designs such as the 35mm f/1.4 Art and 50mm f/1.4 Art lenses, we have been waiting for Sigma to release an 85mm f/1.4 Art lens for quite sometime now, so Sigma has finally delivered. The new 85mm f/1.4 Art promises to be a superb lens both in terms of sharpness and bokeh. Although Sigma is yet to provide MTF charts and lens construction images, the fact that there is no aspherical element in the lens design is an indication of the lens being optimized to yield pleasant-looking bokeh without onion rings, something that has plagued other Art-series Sigma lens designs. Its price is a bit steep at $1,199 MSRP, but it is still $400 cheaper than its Nikon counterpart.
Today is a big day for Fuji, because the company unveiled its first digital medium format mirrorless camera with a 51.4 MP sensor, the Fuji GFX 50S. And not only that, but also a total of 6 medium format “G” mount lenses specifically designed for the new GFX 50S: GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR (18mm equiv), GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR (32mm equiv), GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR (50mm equiv), GF 110mm f/2 (87mm equiv), GF 120mm f/4 Macro (95mm equiv) and GF 32-64mm f/4R LM WR (25-51mm equiv) zoom lens. Both the camera and the lenses are in development and they are not finalized yet, but we can expect the company to start shipping the camera with a couple of lenses in early 2017. Although the pricing has not been announced yet, the company promised that the GFX 50S will be well under $10K, which will put it in competition with the Hasselblad X1D-50c. Many would consider this announcement to be groundbreaking and I believe it really is – Fuji decided to skip full-frame mirrorless altogether, focusing heavily on APS-C cameras and now medium format. With Fuji’s ability to design superb lenses with impressive sharpness, color and contrast characteristics, I have no doubt that the GFX 50S will be in demand.
Our readers know how much we love the MIOPS Smart Trigger, which we have previously reviewed and praised for its amazing features and capabilities, including the ability to capture lightnings. Now our Turkish friends are unveiling a smaller brother to the MIOPS Smart Trigger called “MIOPS Mobile”. As the name suggests, it is primarily intended to be used with a mobile device such as your smartphone, in order to capture images with your camera. We are excited about the MIOPS Mobile, because it combines the power of your smartphone with the power of this little device in order to capture those unique moments. Utilizing your phone’s integrated capabilities such as the GPS, MIOPS mobile can take advantage of them by offering specific modes, such as “Roadlapse”, allowing one to capture timelapses from a moving vehicle. The MIOPS engineering team made sure to include all the bells and whistles it could into the MIOPS Mobile, so you will find numerous different modes to fire your camera remotely, such as Vibration, Sound, Motion, Distance and the regular Timelapse modes have also been upgraded to now include HDR Timelapses. The connection between the MIOPS Mobile and the camera is wired (connects to the camera’s shutter release port), just like on the MIOPS Smart Trigger, but the connection between the MIOPS Mobile and your smartphone is wireless (via Bluetooth), which means that you do not have to stand right next to the unit in order to trigger action – everything can be done remotely. The product is being launched via KickStarter and with only one day of funding, it looks like it is getting very close to reaching its funding goal.
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 (1.74x 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.
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.
Update: Our in-depth Nikon 105mm f/1.4E Review has now been posted.
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.