Tomorrow is the 100th year anniversary of Nikon. While we have been patiently waiting for the company to announce something new for this big date, it looks like we will only be seeing a teaser in the form of the Nikon D850 “development announcement”. Unfortunately, aside from the teaser video (see below) that does not reveal much aside from the ability to shoot 4K video and 8K timelapses, no additional information is provided as part of this development announcement, which is quite unfortunate! Perhaps Nikon is still going through some changes to the camera features, or perhaps there are other reasons for not giving us any further details, but it will be a painful few months of waiting for additional details on this highly anticipated camera…
Today Nikon revealed its first pulse motor (AF-P) lens designed specifically for full-frame cameras, the AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR. This is a very interesting release for a number of reasons. First, it improves the already great 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR budget telephoto lens by making it sharper, faster and lighter. Second, it vastly improves the image stabilization system on the lens, capable of compensating up to 4.5 stops when shooting hand-held, in addition to adding a Sport VR mode for panning. Third, the new 70-300mm gains an electronic diaphragm and its new optical design allows to get even closer to subjects with a minimum focus distance of 1.2 meters. And lastly, its $700 price tag puts it just $100 above its predecessor, making it a great choice for budget conscious photographers. Being such a lightweight and compact lens, it seems like an ideal choice for travel photography.
Tamron announced yet another new-generation lens for both Nikon F and Canon EF mounts, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2. The new professional-grade lens sports an impressive optical design, with a total of 17 elements in 12 groups, four of which are aspherical elements, two have extra refractive and three have low dispersion properties. Just like the recent “G2” series lenses from Tamron, the SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 comes with eBAND and BBAR coatings to reduce ghosting and flare, and fluorine coating has been applied to the front element to protect the lens against dust, dirt and smearing. Sporting an advanced image stabilization system, the lens is capable of reducing camera shake by up to 5 stops. Lastly, the lens is weather sealed and is compatible with optional TAP-in Console for fine-tuning the focusing properties of the lens and updating lens firmware. All this technology available at a very appealing price point of $1,199, making the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 even cheaper than the recently introduced Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art. This is a very exciting release and I am looking forward to testing and reviewing the lens later this year, as soon as it becomes available.
Earlier today Canon unveiled the much anticipated Canon 6D Mark II, which offers a number of incremental updates over its predecessor. The new 6D Mark II comes with a slightly higher resolution 26.2 MP full-frame sensor featuring Dual Pixel AF and its image processor has been also bumped up to DIGIC 7. But the more exciting news has to do with the autofocus system – the 6D Mark II comes with a powerful 45-point all-cross-type AF system, which is significantly better than the 11-point center cross-type AF system found on its predecessor. With a native ISO range of 100-40000, a 7560-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, a tilting LCD screen, continuous shooting speed of 6.5 fps and an MSRP of $1,999, the 6D Mark II is aimed as a great all-around camera for Canon shooters.
Today Nikon revealed three new lenses: AF-S Fisheye NIKKOR 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED, AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED and AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR. While the latter 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR is an addition to the DX line-up of lenses, the 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E Fisheye and the 28mm f/1.4E lenses are pro-grade lenses designed specifically for full-frame cameras. Let’s take a look at these three lenses in more detail.
Step aside Canon 1D X Mark II and Nikon D5 – Sony has just announced its A9, a high-end, full-frame sports camera. With a 24 MP stacked CMOS sensor, a whopping 20 fps continuous shooting rate without blackouts, up to 1/32,000 shutter speed (electronic, mechanical up to 1/8000), a 241 RAW image buffer, 693 on-sensor phase detection autofocus points occupying 93% of the viewfinder, AF joystick, full-frame 4K video capture, in-body five-axis image stabilization, fully weather sealed body, larger battery capacity, a built-in Ethernet port and dual SD card slots, the Sony A9 is one serious monster aimed at directly competing with the top-tier DSLR cameras. It is a pricey camera at $4,500 MSRP, but it is still $2K cheaper than the Nikon D5 and offers features the D5 simply cannot compete with. The Sony A9 is a very exciting release for a number of reasons.
A couple of days ago, Synology announced its new DS1517+ and DS1817+ storage arrays that caught my attention. I have been using an 8-bay Synology Network Attached Storage (NAS) device for the past few years and as you have seen from my detailed Synology DS1815+ review, it is a very powerful and robust storage solution that allows me to use it not just as a backup device, but also as my primary storage. And when the DS1815+ is paired up with a fireproof and waterproof ioSafe, one can fully automate the backup process and alleviate the associated pains with potentially losing data due to hard drive or storage failure. However, one of the biggest bottlenecks I have been experiencing with any NAS device is network bottlenecks. Even when using link aggregation with several ports, it is impossible to achieve more than 1 Gbit throughput from the same machine, which means that I am always stuck at roughly 125 MB/sec storage speed, even if my storage unit is capable of handling more load (link aggregation can be very beneficial in a multi-user environment). So I have been anxiously waiting for storage companies to start releasing storage arrays that are capable of handling more network throughput, which is why it is exciting to see the new DS1517+ and DS1817+ units.
Last night Nikon unveiled the new D7500 DSLR camera. The much anticipated update to the D7200 that was announced back in March of 2015 comes with a few updates that puts it close to the Nikon D500 in terms of features and speed – the same 20.9 MP APS-C sensor and EXPEED 5 processor, fast 8 fps continuous shooting (vs 6 fps on the D7200), a larger buffer that can accommodate up to 50 RAW images, the same 180K RGB metering sensor as on the D500 (although the AF system is still the good old 51-point Multi-CAM 3500DX II), a tilting touchscreen, a deeper and improved grip, Bluetooth + WiFi (SnapBridge), improved weather sealing and 4K video recording. In addition, the D7500 also gains some of the firmware functionality of the D500, such as “Auto AF Fine Tune” that allows to automatically calibrate focus on lenses. Overall, it looks like a very welcome update. Except for two disappointing blunders – Nikon dropped the second card slot and took away the ability to use a battery grip on the D7500.
Ever since Sigma decided to revamp its line of lenses with its “Art”, “Contemporary” and “Sport” editions, we have seen a number of innovative lenses from the company, some of which claimed the “world’s first” title. Sigma has been working hard on producing fast, high-performance and durable lenses for Nikon, Canon and Sigma mounts at very attractive price points, allowing the company to quickly grow and establish itself as a reputable lens manufacturer. Today, the company revealed yet another amazing set of lenses in the form of Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art, 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art, 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art and 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary – four lenses designed specifically for full-frame cameras.
After a few delays, Nikon decided to officially cancel the DL Series of premium compact cameras citing profitability concerns. Sadly, despite the strong set of features these cameras offered for their prices, some of us saw this coming. And based on current market conditions and the serious losses incurred by Nikon in the past few years, the situation is not looking particularly good for the company, which has announced that it will let around 1,000 of its 25,000 workers go in order to restructure its workforce during the difficult times…