FastRawViewer 1.3: Major Update

Iliah Borg and his team at LibRAW have been working hard on a major update to my favorite image culling software FastRawViewer (FRV). Today, the team released the final 1.3 version of the software and this time the updates are truly exciting! Now FRV sports an awesome grid mode, so that you can quickly go over your images just like you can in Lightroom. In grid mode, you can perform all kinds of file management functions such as copy/move (including move to “Rejected” folder) and image functions such as changing file orientation, setting labels and ratings (you can even set ratings and labels on multiple images at once!). Once you pick an image for viewing, you can double click on it to switch to image view and perform all the functions like zoom in to 1:1 view. There are many new features such as focus peaking, highlights inspection mode and sharpening for display, along with performance improvements and other changes to the core software. Overall, this is a huge update for everyone who has purchased FRV and if you have not tried it already, it is about time for you to take a closer look at FRV!

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The New Nikon DL Line of Premium Compacts – Should You Be Excited?

Lost in all the recent excitement of the Nikon D5/Nikon D500/Canon 1DXMkII/Pentax K-1/Sony a6300 and Fuji X-Pro 2 announcements was Nikon announcement of their new DL “premium compact” camera line-up. The DL line-up consists of three models all sporting fixed lenses, 1.0” 20.8 megapixel sensors and the new EXPEED 6A processor. The Nikon DL18-50 with its 18-50mm equivalent lens is there to tempt the landscape and architecture shooters. Street ‘togs and all-rounders are offered the DL24-85 with a 24-85mm equivalent lens. For nature and wildlife buffs the DL24-500 sports a 21x superzoom 24-500mm equivalent lens.

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Updates on the Lens Database

This week I have been heavily working on keeping our lens database up to date. With so many lens announcements coming out from different manufacturers, keeping the database current has been a challenge, since it takes quite a bit of time to add all the relevant information. Big thanks to everyone who has been sending feedback, requests and recommendations to improve our lens database. We want to make it the best and the most complete database in the world and everything we build today will be hugely beneficial for current and future readers of the site. This is why we need your help today! By letting us know about the missing lenses, errors and inconsistencies, you will be joining our efforts in compiling a great source of public information. But before that, let me first shed some light on some of the changes that we have made to the database.

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Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Announcement

One of the most exciting news from today is Sigma’s announcement of the 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens designed for APS-C sensor cameras like the Nikon D500. That’s another f/1.8 constant aperture zoom lens from Sigma with a groundbreaking design! With an equivalent field of view of 75-150mm, this lens will surely be a popular choice among sports and portrait photographers, especially when working in low-light situations. Thanks to the complex optical design that incorporates 21 elements in 15 groups, the Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art is optimized to yield excellent sharpness at its widest aperture throughout its zoom range. And with its MSRP of $1,099, this looks like a killer offering for cropped sensor cameras. The only downside is its weight – at 1,490 g (3.28 lb), the lens is almost as heavy as the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II! But what did you expect from a constant aperture f/1.8 telephoto zoom lens?

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Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Announcement

Thanks to the CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2016 that is taking place in Japan this week, we have a slew of exciting announcements from different camera manufacturers. Tamron was the first to make a big announcement last night, presenting two brand new lenses designed for full-frame cameras. The first one is a significant release, because it is world’s first image stabilized 85mm f/1.8 lens for full-frame DSLRs, the Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD. This is an important release, because Tamron is now upping its game like Sigma has done with its latest-generation lenses, allowing both lens firmware and AF fine tuning to be performed using an external USB dock.

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Canon 80D Announcement

Canon has just announced its long-awaited update for the existing EOS 70D, the Canon EOS 80D. With a brand new 24.2 MP APS-C sensor, 45-point AF system, built-in Wi-Fi, updated Dual Pixel AF for live view shooting and improved HD video recording features, the 80D seems like a fairly solid incremental update to the popular camera line. While it is not by any means a significant upgrade, there are some important updates that might be worth moving up to, especially for sports and wildlife photographers. The new 45-point AF system with all cross-type focus points is a huge upgrade from the previous-generation AF system on the 70D (which only had 19 AF points), not only because of the bigger number of focus points, but also because of the much larger spread of those focus points in the viewfinder. Additionally, the center focus point on the 80D is now of dual cross-type and sensitive down to -3 EV, which should allow the camera to focus in very low-light environments. The camera will be available sometime in March for an MSRP of $1,199 for the body-only version.

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Pentax K-1 Announcement

Today is a big day for Pentax fans, because the company has finally announced its much anticipated full-frame DSLR, the Pentax K-1. Featuring a 36.4 MP CMOS sensor with a native ISO range of 100-204,800, PRIME IV Image Processor, 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS), 33-point AF system, 3.2″ Cross-Tilt LCD, 4.5 fps continuous shooting, built-in Wi-Fi, built-in GPS, dual SD card slots, a fully weather sealed magnesium alloy body, full HD video recording and a few other extra features like AstroTracer, the K-1 looks like a tool that packs practically every feature a DSLR shooter could think of. And the best part isn’t even the list of features – it is the price! At $1,799, the Pentax K-1 is the cheapest professional-grade DSLR ever made; even Nikon’s entry-level full-frame DSLR, the Nikon D610, had an MSRP of $1,999 when it was launched. Pentax users have every reason to rejoice, because the K-1 is without a doubt, the most feature-rich and value-driven DSLR we have seen to date…

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Sony Announces Three Professional “G Master” Lenses

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.

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Sony A6300 Announcement

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.

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