Do you remember how it used to be with brand and third-party lens manufacturers? Brand lenses were always the high-performers, in all senses of the word. Well built, reliable and great from an optical standpoint. Third-party lenses lacked somewhat in those areas (unless you count such legendary manufacturers as Zeiss), but made up for it with very low price and niche lenses you could not find anywhere else. In recent years, however, the situation has been changing and quite drastically. Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC came out. Sigma 85mm f/1.4 HSM did, too. And the 35mm f/1.4 HSM. And the 18-35mm f/1.8 HSM zoom for APS-C cameras. Need I go on? All of these lenses proved to be well built and very good optically. There is no exaggeration in saying they gave some brand lenses a good beating. So if third-party lenses started doing the “brand” thing, how should Canon, Nikon and the like answer? Well, witness this – Canon has just announced a new lens. It is an ultra wide-angle zoom with focal length range of 11-24mm and maximum aperture of f/4 throughout the range. It is designed for full-frame DSLR cameras and there is nothing else quite like it on the market.
It has been exactly three years since Nikon debuted its high resolution 36.3 MP D800 and D800E cameras in February of 2012. At the time of announcement, Nikon’s highest resolution camera was the super expensive D3X with a 24.5 MP sensor, while the similar class D700 only had a 12.1 MP sensor. So for many, going from either 12.1 MP or 24.5 MP to 36.3 MP on full frame represented a huge jump in resolution. The cameras were truly groundbreaking, thanks to their superb performance, low noise levels and stunning dynamic range. Although Nikon faced a number of issues with quality control in the beginning, particularly when it came to calibrating the autofocus system for the new high resolution cameras, the Nikon D800 / D800E took the market by storm and quickly became Nikon’s best selling professional cameras. For three long years Canon failed to offer a true high resolution competitor, while Nikon already went through another iteration of the 36 MP line with the Nikon D810 camera. This angered many Canon shooters who wanted to get a high resolution camera that offered similar performance benefits and a much wider dynamic range than what Canon had on its existing cameras. The wait is now over, because Canon has just announced record breaking super high resolution 50.6 MP Canon EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R full-frame DSLR cameras. Canon decided not to just bring out a competitor, but hit Nikon hard with something better in terms of resolution.
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…
When Canon announced the 7D Mark II in September of 2014, I got quite intrigued by the camera and really wanted to try it out. Like many others, I have been getting pretty tired of waiting for Nikon’s “Pro DX” refresh to replace the D300S, which came out back in 2009 (almost 6 years ago!), so I wanted to see whether such a tool would still make sense for Nikon to release based on specifications, performance and price. Sporting a high-end autofocus system with 65 cross-type focus points, insanely fast 10 fps continuous shooting speed, dual image processors, -3 EV light sensitivity, magnesium alloy construction and weather sealing, the Canon 7D Mark II is specifically tailored at sports and wildlife photographers. And with its price tag of $1799 MSRP, the 7D Mark II sounds much more appealing to budget-conscious photographers who do not want to pay close to 4x more for the much heavier and bulkier EOS-1D X.
The choice of the first camera system is an exciting one. Why would it not be? You get to pick the first camera to buy, the first lens, and you spend so much time reading reviews, forums and asking friends for advice. I know I did – some eight years ago, I was admiring such cameras as the Canon 30D and 40D, and was seriously eyeing the 400D which was then within the budget of a teenager me. Nikon D200 looked out of this world and the then-announced D300 was a camera of dreams. All of these models, now obsolete from a technological standpoint (much like the D700 I now own and love), were as desirable as any current equipment you can think of. Maybe even more so, since the refresh cycle was longer and digital photography in general not as widespread as it is today.
Yes, the choice of the first camera and lens is a very exciting one. But, inevitably and at some point, a different question arises for just about all of us, and one much less pleasant – should you stick with your first decision or is the grass truly greener somewhere else?
Being a specialized tool for sports and wildlife photography, the recently announced Canon 7D Mark II is a popular choice among many Canon shooters, thanks to its impressive 10 fps continuous shooting speed, a sizable buffer, high-end 65-point AF system and a solid weather-proof build. Along with these pro-level features, the 7D Mark II comes with numerous buttons and a sophisticated menu system that can be pretty overwhelming for even intermediate-level photographers. To help guide our readers through these features and menus, we decided to share the settings our team has been using on the camera during the past 3 months while testing the camera. Please keep in mind that the below information is provided as a guide for those that struggle with the camera. While this particular configuration has been working great for our needs (mostly based on wildlife and landscape photography), it does not mean that it is the only way to properly setup and configure the camera.
Looks like both Nikon and Canon are not very happy with their holiday sales, since the two just announced aggressive price drops on their high-end cameras. The Nikon D810 has been dropped by $300 to $2,996.95 (regularly $3,299) and the already discounted Nikon D610 has been dropped by another $100 to $1,496.95 (regularly $1,999). Full-frame has never been cheaper! And here is the bonus part – these price drops are available with Nikon’s Buy Together and Save promotion, so you can get additional discounts on lenses. The icing on the cake is free expedited shipping, along with plenty of goodies worth up to $120 from B&H.
Although Black Friday is supposed to be “the day” for great deals, I’ll admit that I was not all that impressed with what Nikon had to offer, aside from a couple of fine deals on lower-end cameras. Well, it is Cyber Monday today and things are looking much more interesting, with some great deals from Nikon definitely worth looking at. The Nikon Coolpix A did not sell all that well for $579 on Black Friday, but it seems like Nikon is either releasing a replacement, or just wants to clear off the shelves, since the price has been slashed even more – the Nikon Coolpix A is on sale for $499, for today only until the stock is gone (about 10% of the stock has already been claimed). At this price, the little camera with a large APS-C sensor is a great deal, so if you need a small pocketable travel camera, you might want to check it out! In addition to this, there are a few other deals like the Nikon 1 V2 kit for $499 that I found and picked for our readers. If I find anything else worth posting today, I will update this article.
I had a chance to play with the new Canon 7D Mark II this past weekend and I wanted to provide a little bit of feedback regarding the performance of this speed monster. I received my copy of the camera earlier last week, along with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L lens, so that I could exclusively photograph wildlife with this setup. The Canon 7D Mark II is specifically targeted at sports and wildlife photographers, so I did not think it would make much sense to evaluate the camera for everyday photography needs. With the Canon 6D being in the same price range, it is a given that a full-frame camera would be much more desirable in terms of image quality for other photography needs.
In addition to the 7D Mark II, Canon also announced three new lenses this week at Photokina: EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM, EF 24–105mm f/3.5–5.6 IS STM and EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM. The first two are designed to work on both full-frame and APS-C cameras, while the 24mm f/2.8 is designed to be only used on cropped sensor cameras. The EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM is an update to the first model of the lens that was produced back in 2000, and this time Canon put a lot of new technology into the lens and has updated the lens design. The letters “DO” stand for “Diffractive Optics“, which not only reduce chromatic aberrations thanks to their different light dispersion path, but also allows for much smaller lens design. As a result, the EF 400mm f/4 is significantly smaller and lighter than the regular 400mm f/2.8L lens. In addition to the above benefits, the 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM now has better coatings to reduce ghosting and to improve color balance. Just like the professional “L” lenses, the lens has both dust and water-resistant construction and a 3 mode Image Stabilization system that offers up to four stops of vibration compensation. At $6,899 it is not a cheap lens by any means, but at the size a little bigger than a 70-200mm lens, it is surely an attractive choice for those that want to be able to hand-hold a 400mm lens.