A really smart AI-based robot, ChatGPT, has recently appeared on the web. You can ask it questions, and it responds with uncanny accuracy (for a robot). I asked it a simple question: “Are cameras with a full-frame sensor better than those with an APS-C sensor when shooting at high ISO?”
Within seconds, I got this answer: “In general, cameras with a full-frame sensor tend to perform better at high ISO settings than cameras with an APS-C sensor. This is because full-frame sensors are larger, which allows them to gather more light and produce less noise at high ISO settings. However, there are many other factors that can affect a camera’s performance at high ISO, such as the quality of the camera’s image processor and the lens being used, so the exact advantages of a full-frame sensor over an APS-C sensor can vary depending on the specific camera model.”
That’s a heck of a thing for a robot to say. (And a heck of a thing to contemplate a robot that writes better than most of Photography Life’s competitors :)
I decided to verify the robot’s claim and took my Birdman into the freezing weather of a mountain forest. How did my experiment – directly comparing the Nikon Z9 and Nikon D500 cameras – turn out? You will find out soon. But for now, you can read what photography news last week brought.
- TTartisan 11mm f/2.8 fisheye: A manual, full-frame lens providing 180° angle of view, originally designed for mirrorless with Nikon Z, Sigma/Lumix/Leica L, Canon EOS-R, Sony E and Fuji GFX-mount. Now, somewhat unexpectedly, it is expanding its range to include DSLR Canon EF and Nikon F mounts. Available for $235.
- TTartisan 50mm f/1.4 Tilt Lens: This all-manual lens, previously only available for the Leica L and Sony E mount, is now also available in versions for Nikon Z, Fuji X, and Canon RF. The price is $199. A tilt function is highly unusual in general, let alone on an f/1.4 lens.
- AstrHori 12mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lens: Another all-manual, full-frame lens, this one with a 185° ultra-wide angle of view. All-metal construction. Available for Nikon Z, Fuji GFX, Leica L, Sony E, and Canon RF. The price is $256.
- AstrHori 18mm F8 Full-frame Wide-angle Shift Lens: An unusually compact, fully-metal lens weighing only 164 g. And this one shifts! Available for Nikon Z, Leica L, Sony E, Canon RF, at a price of $119.
- Meike 25mm f/0.95 APS-C: Also a fully-manual lens, this time for APS-C cameras. It’s available for Canon EOS M, Canon EOS RF, Fujifilm X, Micro 4/3, Nikon Z and Sony E mounts. The lens’s ultra-fast optical design includes 11 elements in 9 groups. The weight is 600g. The price is $369.
- New high-end Hasselblad filters: CPL, ND8 and UV filters designed with the company’s XCD lenses in mind. Of course, they can be used on any lens with a matching filter thread, i.e. 62mm, 67mm, 72mm and 77mm. The price of the ND8 and UV filters starts at $229. For a CPL filter, you’ll pay at least $339.
The Rumor Mill
600mm Z-Mount Zoom Lens – Who will be first?
Nikon has already announced the new super telephoto Nikon Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S. The lens is certainly awesome, no doubt about it. But not many people can afford the gear at the price of a car. If you, like me, are in that group, then you may be waiting for Nikon to introduce the long-awaited 200-600mm zoom. This one has been on the Nikon lens roadmap for some time now, but I still have no reports that it will be introduced any time soon. So it’s quite possible that we’ll see another, relatively affordable lens that ends at the same focal length sooner – the Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports. Sigma already makes a lens in this range, but only for DSLRs and Sigma SA mount.
Sony is changing midrange zoom norms
For years, most midrange zooms (like 24-70mm f/2.8 or 24-120mm f/4 lenses) have started at 24mm. But maybe you’ve run into situations where 24mm wasn’t wide enough. At Sony, they’ve given this some thought, and the result may soon be a lens with an unconventional range: a 20-70mm. Its maximum aperture is not yet known, but rumors suggest a constant f/4. I guess this will be a much sought-after lens, especially for those who like to travel light, and can use it instead of a separate ultra-wide.
Laowa’s wide-angle, zero-distortion endeavors continue
To pair with their existing 15mm ultra-wide lens, Laowa is going to introduce a slightly longer one next week. It will be called the 19mm f/2.8 Laowa Zero-D GFX, which shows that the company is continuing to prioritize lens designs with minimal distortion (note the “Zero-D” in the name). We already know the expected weight of the lens (546 g) and filter size (77mm screw-in filters). Its price is expected to be $999.
Photo Contest Corner
- Topic: Nature photography – land, sky, water, and creatures that surround us.
- Fees: $35 per entry (an entry includes up to 5 photos).
- Prize: Exhibition opportunity at Decode Gallery in Tucson, Arizona.
- Deadline: December 17
- Topic: The theme is “Paths”. Photographs can show anything from the paths of life, imaginary, marked or peripatetic paths; or literal paths that give us the opportunity to discover new landscapes.
- Fees: €10 Revela’T friends / €20 general
- Prize: €1500, €1000 and €500
- Deadline: December 20
Good Deals and New Sales
Do you see yourselves more as photographers of landscape, architecture, portraits or other subjects where top autofocus speed is not critical? If you’re looking for a full-frame camera with high resolution, great dynamic range and a wide range of top-quality lenses, consider the first-generation Nikon Z7. At a price of $1,797 (was $2,797) it still has a lot to offer.
If you’ve ever wanted to grow much taller – and I mean much taller – for the sake of a photo, maybe you should look into a drone instead. They’re not for everyone, but the perspective they can offer for landscape photography is really appealing. The DJI FPV Drone was $1,299 but is now $999.
Canon’s steep lens discounts are still ongoing. My favorite is the $999 price on the great Canon RF 100mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM lens. In addition to macro photography, the lens can also be useful for portraits or landscapes. The current discount on this L-class lens is $400. Are you a Nikon shooter? Well, you can also get a three-digit price on Nikon’s equivalent. The Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro Lens is on sale at the moment for $947 (was $1,047).
Other Pages of Interest
Now that the Artemis I mission is a thing of the (very recent) past, take a look at some of the last images of the Moon captured by cameras on the Orion spacecraft. Who knows, maybe next time the camera will be held by a human crew.
I recently wrote about how wildlife photographers can contribute to the protection of endangered habitats through ecotourism. But nothing is black and white. After all, even in medicine there is often a thin line between cure and poison. Newsweek published an article about how the hunt for a good photo can harm and even threaten the life of the beautiful Snowy Owl.
Lastly, I’ll again bring you a little inspiration from the world of photo contests. This is the perfect time of year to capture breathtaking photos of landscapes illuminated by the Northern Hemisphere’s aurora borealis. Before you head north, check out the best images in The 2022 Northern Lights photographer of the year competition. While you’re at it, you can see the winning images that capture the humor in wildlife photography in the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards gallery.
Until next week, I wish you good luck and good light.