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.
Another day, another headline-grabbing click-bait title we see surfacing all over the Internet on photography blogs and forums. Apparently, Sony overtook Nikon and came second in full-frame sales. And the source of all these titles is none other than Sony itself, who used data from a company called “NPD Group”, which researched the months of January and February to come up with the stats. The company was quick to issue a press release (you can see it below) and as expected, these news were picked up very quickly by many websites. Let’s take a look at these so called “news” and analyze the information in a little more detail.
Fujifilm has just announced yet another set of “Kaizen” firmware updates that will soon be available for the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji X-Pro2 cameras. This is a major firmware upgrade release consisting of a total of 33 (!) updates and new features, which is very exciting. It is nice to be able to go back to a camera and discover new things you can do with it – almost creates a feeling of owning something entirely new. After seeing the announcement (the details of which are provided at the end of the article), I thought about other camera manufacturers and what they could learn from Fuji.
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.