This week is an exciting week for Sony mirrorless fans, because two more lenses have joined the native FE mount in the form of FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM and 85mm f/1.8. While Sony has already brought out the stellar 85mm f/1.4 GM lens last year, it is an expensive pro-grade lens, so there was a gap to fill for an enthusiast-grade lens and that’s what the 85mm f/1.8 is all about. At $599, it is a third of the price of its big GM brother, so it will be an appealing choice for portrait photographers on a tight budget. The Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM joins the ranks of high-end GM lenses that are designed to deliver outstanding contrast, sharpness and other optical characteristics with the latest and greatest technology the company has to offer. Although it has a relatively slow aperture of f/2.8 (for a portrait lens), it is also designed specifically for portrait photography, since it is the first Sony FE lens to feature a sophisticated optical design that incorporates “Smooth Trans Focus” technology that uses apodization filter, similar to the Fuji’s 56mm f/1.2 APD lens. Sony promises very smooth and pleasing bokeh, so it will be interesting to see how the rendering of the lens would compare to its 85mm f/1.4 GM lens.
A number of our readers have been asking our team about our recommendations on different mirrorless cameras. With so many different options on the market today, choosing a mirrorless system can get very confusing. In this particular article, I would like to start off by comparing mirrorless camera systems that are available today from different manufacturers. This below charts will be updated periodically with new / updated information. Please note that the below comparisons are only for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Discontinued systems such as Pentax K-01, Ricoh GXR, Pentax Q and Samsung NX have been removed. The list is sorted alphabetically and had to be split into two parts to fit. Also, please keep in mind that some of the benchmarks presented in this article are very subjective, based on our and our readers’ prior experience using the cameras. I have also published an article comparing mirrorless systems, where I go into a lot more detail about lenses and other important considerations.
We have so many different camera systems available today, that it is getting tougher and tougher to choose between them, especially for those who are just starting out. With mirrorless systems on the rise and advancing at a much faster pace than DSLRs in terms of technology, one might wonder which mirrorless systems are worth a serious consideration. In this article, I want to go over the different mirrorless systems and give my subjective take on each system, stating which ones are the best and the worst, by my order of preference. All of the information presented in the article is based on not only my personal observation and experience, but also the feedback I have been gathering from other sources, including our PL readers.
Camera shake can be a real hassle and pain when shooing off a tripod. Sometimes camera shake can be completely eliminated with a couple of simple steps and other times, it can be quite painful and sometimes even impossible to deal with. How does one reduce camera shake? Are remote shutter releases helpful in reducing camera shake? Is it possible to eliminate it completely? Since I see this issue so often in the field, I decided to write a detailed article that specifically addresses how one can reduce camera shake when shooting on a tripod.
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.
Although Sony has already made the fourth iteration of its RX100 camera, sadly, I have not had a chance to test and review any of the earlier models. After the Sony RX100 IV was announced, I told myself that I had to give this camera a try. Partly because our readers have been asking about it and partly because it looked like a killer camera based on its long list of features. Right before my trip to Death Valley, I was able to obtain this little monster of a camera for a real field test. I am really glad I did, because I have been really impressed by the Sony RX100 IV – it turned out to be the best pocket-friendly point and shoot camera I have used to date. Let’s take a look at this camera in more detail and see what it has to offer in its tiny body.
It is interesting how just a few years back, one way to spark a debate was to talk about Nikon vs Canon. Websites and forums would be filled with endless discussions when someone would dare to post something like “I dumped my Nikon gear and switched to Canon” (and God forbid if you said anything against Pentax, it would be a quick shortcut to get death threats). Today, it seems like the gears have changed – people are much less enthusiastic about talking about DSLR brand differences. The much bigger war it seems like is now between DSLR vs mirrorless. On one side of the fence, we’ve got DSLR shooters who defend their choice with statements like “you will only be able to take my DSLR when you pry it from my cold, dead hands” and on the other side of the fence, we now have people who say things like “mirrorless is the future, it is time for flapping mirrors to go”. Both sides have their points and arguments that make sense, but once mixed with emotions, such discussions often end up being inconclusive and meaningless. And now we have manufacturers engaging in direct attacks against each other. Sony, Fuji and a few others often compare their systems to DSLRs as part of their marketing campaigns, indicating weight / size and other advantages, whereas DSLR manufacturers keep recycling the same AF speed, reliability and system advantages. But one thing for sure – DSLRs are losing market share and interest in mirrorless technology is steadily growing. Let’s revisit the topic of DSLR vs mirrorless one more time and analyze a few more important factors.
Since the original release of the Sony RX100 back in 2012, the company has been pushing updates to the camera and releasing one new iteration every year. Which means that as of today, we have had a total of 5 such releases: RX100, RX100 II, RX100 III, RX100 IV amd RX100 V. Sporting a 1″ sensor and superb optics from Zeiss, these point and shoot cameras have been widely popular among photographers. And thanks to their compact size and low weight, the RX100 series cameras have been highly regarded as very capable, and yet pocket-able cameras that are perfect for such needs as travel photography. Unfortunately, due to the number of the RX100 series cameras, their differences in pricing and features, it has become increasingly difficult for potential buyers to understand the main differences between these cameras. In this article, I will be comparing the key features and specifications of the RX100-series cameras, which will hopefully make it easier to see what has changed between all the releases we have seen so far.
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.