Apr 012014
 

The new Olympus SH-1 compact delivers style and performance for under $400

16MP, TRU PIC VII, 11.5 FPS, FAST AF, ISO 6400, 1080P 60FPS, 25-600 ZOOM, TOUCH SCREEN AND 5-AXIS IS! 

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Available for Pre-Order in SILVER from B&H Photo

Available for Pre-Order in BLACK from B&H Photo

MAN, OLYMPUS IS ON A ROLL! This new SH-1 looks phenomenal and PRICED RIGHT. Look at all of the features packed into this compact beauty:

INFO:

The silver Olympus Stylus SH-1 Digital Camera is a sleek, PEN-styled point-and-shoot featuring a 16MP BSI CMOS sensor and TruePic VII image processor to produce high-resolution imagery with notable low-light sensitivity and quality. The combination of these two technologies form Olympus’ iHS technology, which serves to realize fast performance throughout the camera system, including a full-resolution continuous shooting rate of 11.5 fps and the FAST AF system, while also maintaining low image noise with a native sensitivity of ISO 6400. The sensor and processor also support recording full HD 1080p movies at 60 fps as well as HD 720p movies at up to 120 fps.

Benefitting the imaging capabilities of the SH-1 is an expansive 24x zoom lens, which provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 25-600mm. Counterbalancing this lens’ long reach, as well as aiding this camera’s use in low lighting, is an advanced 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization system that corrects for angular, rotational, and translational types of camera blur.

For image monitoring and review, a 3.0″ 460k-dot touchscreen LCD is incorporated into the camera’s design. Its touchscreen capabilities avail an intuitive means for navigating the menu system and for utilizing a host of camera features, including touch AF control, a built-in intervalometer, and adjustment of Live Guide settings, as well as for accessing the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for seamless sharing of imagery to, and remote control from, a linked mobile device.

16MP BSI CMOS Sensor and TruePic VII Image Processor

A 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ backside-illuminated CMOS sensor and TruePic VII image processor work together to enable iHS (Intelligent High Speed) Technology, which benefits both the overall image quality and performance throughout the SH-1. The BSI design of the image sensor realizes notable sensitivity to ISO 6400 along with reduced noise levels to enhance image quality, especially in regard to working in difficult lighting conditions. Complementing the sensor’s duties is an apt image processor, which benefits both the look and feel of imagery as well as enables a top full-resolution continuous shooting rate of 11.5 fps for working with fast-moving subjects. Furthermore, iHS technology also supports the use of the Intelligent Auto shooting mode, with accelerated scene recognition, as well as an enhanced FAST AF system.

24x Optical Zoom Lens and 5-Axis Image Stabilization

Incorporated into the compact body design is far-reaching 24x optical zoom lens, which provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 25-600mm, covering wide-angle to telephoto perspectives. 2x Super Resolution Zoom and 4x digital zoom can also be utilized to effectively increase the zoom magnification for working with even more distant subjects.

Benefitting this lens’ expansive zoom range is 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization, which minimizes the appearance of yaw, pitch, roll, up and down, and left to right types of camera movement, to realize sharper imagery with slower shutter speeds, longer focal lengths, and during macro shooting. In addition to the 5-axis sensor-shift stabilization, a hybrid 5-axis electronic stabilization system can also be applied for further refinement.

Full HD Movie Recording

Full HD 1920 x 1080p video recording is supported at 60 fps, as well as high-speed 120 fps or 240 fps recording, for slow-motion playback, in the HD 1280 x 720 format or 432 x 324 format, respectively. Beyond straight movie capture, full-resolution photographs can be simultaneously recorded during filming and a dedicated Time-Lapse Movie mode automatically compresses up to 5 hours of interval shooting into a 20 second movie.

Body Design

The SH-1′s PEN-inspired body design incorporates a large 3.0″ 460k-dot touchscreen LCD monitor to allow clear, bright live view monitoring, image playback, and intuitive menu navigation. The touchscreen functionality enables the ability to touch to focus and release the shutter as well as a simple means for navigating controls and settings.

Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity

Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enables seamless sharing of photos and movies from the camera to a linked mobile device for instant sharing online. Utilizing the Olympus Image Share app, you can also remotely control the camera from the smartphone or tablet, including the ability to zoom in or out, adjust exposure and focus, and release the shutter. Additionally, utilizing the location data from a mobile device, you can geotag your imagery for plotting to an interactive map.

Other Camera Features

A built-in electronic level gauge helps to ensure level horizons and plumb verticals when shooting.

Interval shooting allows you to choose between 1-99 frames, with 10 second to 1 hour intervals and up to a 60 minute timer, to create time lapse imagery of slowly moving subjects.

The manual exposure mode permits control over the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings, with the ability to check the results on the LCD prior to shooting.

The intuitive Live Guide settings allow direct adjustment over brightness, color saturation, and color tone settings using an intuitive slider system facilitated by the touchscreen monitor.

Face Detection AF, AF Tracking, Selective AF area (using the touchscreen interface), and AF Lock focus modes are available to suit working with a wide variety of subject types.

Photo Story is a creative mode allowing you to create a multi-perspective narrative within a single image, with multiple templates available to choose from.

Backlight HDR automatically combines multiple exposures within a single frame to realize an extended range of tones with greater shadow and highlight detail than a single exposure can record.

Hand-Held Starlight mode helps to create sharp, blur-free images of nighttime scenes without the use of a tripod.

A built-in Panorama mode allows you to create in-camera panoramic imagery, up to 360° across, by simply panning the camera about the scene.

11 different Art Filters can be applied to creatively enhance imagery: Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Dramatic Tone, Fish Eye, Sparkle, Reflection, and Fragmented.

Three different Picture Modes can be applied to alter the overall quality of imagery: Vivid, Neutral, and Muted.

In-addition to the standard 2 second and 12 second self-timer delays, a custom self-timer can be set to record 1-10 pictures in a 1-3 second interval with a 1-30 second start timer.

In-camera image editing: Resize, Crop, Audio Clip (record 4 sec. audio clip for an image file), Red Eye Fix, Shadow Adjustment, Rotate Image, and e-Portrait (smoothes skin tone for viewing on an HDTV).

In-camera movie editing: In-Movie Image Capture (captures pictures from a movie file) and Movie Trimming (erase unwanted portions from a movie file).

Language support: English, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, German, Italian, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Greek, Slovak, Turkish, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Korean, Simple Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Thai, Arabic, Bulgarian, Romanian, Persian, Indonesian, Hebrew, Malay, Vietnamese, and Japanese.

Available for Pre-Order in SILVER from B&H Photo

Available for Pre-Order in BLACK from B&H Photo

Mar 242014
 

The new Panasonic 15mm 1.7 available for Pre-Order!

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Panasonic is kicking some serious behind in lenses lately. I have been shooting with the new Panasonic/Leica 42.5 f/1.2 Nocticron and it is one of the best lenses I have ever shot with, on any format. Sharp wide open, creamy Bokeh and a sort of Noctilux style rendering, but on M 4/3. It also resembles the $11k Noctilux in design though not nearly as hefty as the Leica counterpart. The Nocticron is a special lens for Micro 4/3 users and even has a manual aperture ring (but this is not usable on Olympus bodies which control aperture with the dial).

In fact, the Nocticron is so good that I am 90% sure I am going to purchase one even though the price is sky-high.

Add to that the new Panasonic/Leica 15mm f1.7 which also has a manual aperture ring and uses a 46mm filter size. This is a duo that will give you a 30mm and 85mm focal length equivalent for your Micro 4/3 body while giving you pro quality color, contrast, detail and bokeh.

The new 15 1.7 comes in at $599 and is available for pre-order NOW in Black or Silver at B&H Photo. It is also available HERE at Amazon. 

The Nocticron is available NOW for $1598 – EXPENSIVE YES but $9500 cheaper than a Leica Noctilux and 85% as good :)  Amazon also sells the Nocticron and it is IN STOCK. 

I am reviewing and using the Nocticron now on an E-M1 and will post my review soon (but it is a light sucker and rocks at night just like the real Noctilux). The 15 will be shipped to me at release for review so will get on that one as soon as I get it! I am telling you..Micro 4/3 just keeps getting better and better for those who are in the system. Pretty exciting stuff IMO as it is the lenses that make the system and no one beats M 4/3 for lenses in the mirror less world.

With these new Leica partnered lenses…makes me wonder if the new and rumored “Leica T” will be a Micro 4/3 body. I HOPE SO. I would much prefer it to be M 4.3  than a new lens mount APS-C. Using a Nocticron and 15 1.7 on a new Leica mirrorless…could be interesting.

Mar 132014
 

The Nikon V3 is here..MINUS the built in EVF!?!

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So the long-awaited Nikon V3 is just about here and what did Nikon go and do? They made is small like a coolpix, took OUT the built-in EVF which made it so enjoyable and once again re-designed a lens. The new 10-30 lens will be released with the camera but for me..I am disappointed in the design and style. Me, I LOVE the look, design and feel of the V1. It is like a mini Leica M in FEEL and design. The V2 was ugly but at least it had a built-in EVF and was a joy to shoot. When many were predicting the demise of the 1 system, I knew there was a V3 on the way many months ago. What I did not know was that they would take out the EVF! Grrrr.

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The V3 has been completely re-designed. Now the camera has the ability to shoot 120FPS HD video in slo-motion at 1280X720 resolution. THIS IS sort of a big deal for some video people. Continuous shooting on the V3 will get you 20 FPS at the full 18 MP resolution or even 60 FPS stills using one focus point. The one thing they kept with the 1 system and improved upon is indeed the SPEED. They also added some sort of quasi image stabilization mode. Not sure what it will be like though.

The GOOD news I guess is that this is an all new Nikon 1. They are not dropping the line but instead they beefed it up for even better video capabilities, speed and also packed it with a tilt EVF and a new 18 MP sensor. You CAN add an external EVF but that always just adds a hump, which these days there is NO reason for. Cameras today are FINALLY getting away from the add-on EVF humps, so why Nikon ditched their internal EVF is a mystery to me.  You can now pre-order the V3 with the new 10-30 PD lens for $1196.95 at B&H Photo using THIS link.

There is not only the new 10-30 at $296 but also the new 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 NIKKOR 1 LENS at just under a grand. This lens with the Nikon 1′s 2.7 crop will give you an astounding 189 to 810mm equivalent with VR. There will also be a new grip for the V3 to add some size for larger hands. 

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For me, the best Nikon 1 lenses are the incredible 32 1.2 and 18.5 1.8. 

So the new V3 is here. Maybe that means there will be a fire sale on the V2? Let’s hope so as it may be the last 1 camera with a built in EVF! When this one is released I will be taking a look because mate it will be just like the V1, the Camera I expected to hate!

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Mar 092014
 

Fujifilm X-T1

A Fujifilm Love Affair – The X-T1 & XF56mmF1.2

by Raymond Hau - http://jkspepper.tumblr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/_dhermes/

The Slow Drawn Out Introduction

Why am I calling this a love affair? Perhaps it’s because this best sums up the experience I have for the Fujifilm devices, both the newly released X-T1 and the aging X-E1 before it. With the titans of the compact mirror-less camera world, the 24MP FF Sony RX1 and the 36MP FF Sony A7R, already comfortably sitting in my bag, how is it that the venerable X-E1 and superfluous X-T1 are sitting there beside them? This is my attempt at a reasonable explanation.

As always it starts at the beginning, when I first picked up the Sony RX1 it forever changed my outlook on photography (you can read my one year in review here…). It also made life difficult if I wanted to shoot anything other than at 35mm, I needed wider but now also wanted small and my old Canon wasn’t cutting the mustard any longer.

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I first explored the idea of using focus extenders and magnifiers on the RX1 but they were frankly rubbish. Enough said. The next logical step was to will Sony into making an RX1 with a wider focal length… I gave up after a few minutes due lack of oxygen to the brain and a resulting headache. I then decided I would need another camera body, something small, light and manageable but with acceptable image quality and flexibility in lenses choices.

The Camera That Wasn’t Meant To Be

I was looking to get the handsome O-MD with its miniature good looks, rave reviews and wide range of lenses. With a freshly formatted SD card I walked into a local camera store to test one out; it was a responsive device and appeared to fit my needs but the store assistant decided to be helpful and offered up some alternative solutions, one of them a Fujifilm X-E1.

Late Night Taxi Ride

It was the first time I had seen the device (X-E1) and whilst it was good looking in an old school way it wasn’t love at first sight, I have grown up with SLR bodies but the rangefinder style intriguing me enough to pop in an SD card a give it a whirl. It was slow as a dog, the electronic viewfinder (EVF) sucked balls and it felt hollow but as I twiddled the loose aperture ring around the lens, it also seemed nice.

At home I reviewed the images and was underwhelmed by the files from the O-MD and pleasantly surprised by those from the X-E1. It wasn’t a win for the X-E1 though as the O-MD was ahead in speed, responsiveness and familiarity; all I knew was that I wanted another set-up to replace the 350D’s aging 8MP sensor. Cutting a long and boring story short, I packed up all my Canon gear and took it down to the local used camera dealer with the view of using the sales money on an O-MD.

Late Night MTR

What happened next was either fate or some sort of blind luck for Fujifilm as the store had just acquired an X-E1; you can probably guess what happened. It was there, it was easy and you get a better deal in part exchange so I left the store with a Fujifilm X-E1 in tow and a pile of extra cash which was put towards buying the XF14mm.

Quite unintentionally, I was now a Fujifilm camera owner.

It Shouldn’t Have Worked

Pitched against the mighty RX1, the X-E1 with its small strange sensor (16MP X-Trans APS-C vs. 24MP FF), hollow plastic body and terrible EVF on paper was always destined to become the poor second cousin to the RX1, only brought out on occasions to mop up the dirty work that the RX1 didn’t want to (or couldn’t) do.

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I could run through the list of things that are wrong with the X-E1 – the crap EVF, the hollow design, the white only focus-peaking which meant you can’t see if anything was in focus, the silly button placements, the way you can’t move the AF point intuitively as you can with any other camera, the auto-focus hunt, the off-center tripod mount, the SD card slot – you get the picture. It’s also one of the cameras that the girlfriend refuses to use; she says it has crap ergonomics that doesn’t fit her hand, the EVF is rubbish and it can’t focus at all. The lady had spoken.

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However that’s not how things turned out, it was becoming very difficult to put the X-E1 down; sure it had its glaring faults, niggles and its why-oh-why-did-Fuji-do-this moments but I was finding more excuses to bring the little Fujifilm out. It had character that developed and matured with every new firmware update and the more I learnt how to process the files coming from the X-Trans sensor, the more I was starting to love it. Even some of the negatives were turning into positives; the hollow body did make this thing extremely lightweight which was perfect for hiking.

The Love Affair

You are probably wondering why I am rambling on about my previous camera instead of the X-T1 but there is a real reason for this and also valid one I hope because my views and the purchase of the X-T1 relates directly to my prior experience with Fujifilm and the X-E1.

I am willing to part with the scrappy little X-E1 if I needed to but I don’t want to part with Fujifilm.

Let me explain.

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The X-E1 is a beautiful device and I love to shoot with it but it is also a rubbish device (IQ not-withstanding). I should sell it because the A7R has replaced the need for it in my bag as it does everything the X-E1 was supposed to do but also much more. If the X-E1 is unnecessary then the X-T1 is doubly superfluous to my needs but I still have them both and the reason is I don’t want to lose Fujifilm as a company, as a camera system.

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From my short experience as a Fujifilm camera owner, I have for one reason or another I can’t really explain found them to be charming devices backed by a company that really appears to listen to camera people. I love that they support obsolete devices by providing firmware updates that not only fix existing issues but add additional functionality, I like their ethos of wanting to create a long-standing consumer relationship at the detriment of short-term sales and I like their transparent lens strategy. Their XF line of lenses cater specifically to everything I would look for in a lens line-up; they have the lengths I want, the speeds I want and are all optically great. They now have all the ‘standard’ primes (21mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm); they have pancakes and all the zooms you could ask for. They also communicate their future lens strategy so you can plan what you need and have confidence in future system. Kudos.

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I don’t want to sound like a fanatic but this is a mere attempt to explain why I have bought an X-T1 and XF56mm lens which I have been shooting for the past couple of weeks, when I already have a Sony RX1, Fujifilm X-E1 and an almost directly comparable Sony A7R with a Zeiss Planar 85mm f/1.4 lens.

It’s got nothing to do with need or a hole in my camera and lens line-up. It has everything to do with Fujifilm – a belief they can deliver and support a product I would love to use.

The First Impression of the X-T1

The X-T1 has been with me on the streets of Hong Kong; on a hike (Dragon’s Back, Shek O Country Park); to a fashion show after party (a dark, smoky underground dive), on a plane to Taiwan, in the rain (I’ve already tested the waterproofing of this and the non-waterproofed XF56mm) and all around Taipei City. I’ve also shot with the XF14mm, XF56mm, Zeiss C Sonnar 50mm and Planar 85mm but mostly the new XF56mm; the 85mm focal length is a new one for me and so I’m forcing myself to shoot exclusively with it.

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If you read my initial Sony A7R first impression you will see I am critical, highlighting the negative aspects of using a camera, it’s easy to highlight because it bothers me. Some commentators were confused as to why I viewed the A7R so highly even after all the negative criticism but it’s all relative; if I want to keep using the camera even with all the issues raised then those issues can’t really be that big of a deal, right?

Turning my eye to the X-T1 and even after only a couple of weeks of use I already know this first impression will be short. Why? Because I’m sitting here finding it extremely difficult to come up with anything really negative without sounding too petty. Sure it has its issues there but overall I’ve enjoyed using this camera so much that I have a feeling if I had to make a choice between the X-T1 and A7R, I’d rather sell the A7R than sell the X-T1. The only saving grace of the A7R compared to the X-T1 is the stellar FE55mm and 36MP combo which evens the field, even though I really (and I mean really!) do not like that it doesn’t have an aperture ring. I have been spoilt by the aperture rings on the RX1 and Fujinon XF line of lenses.

For me, that’s some major testimonial right there.

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There are issues, there always will be and I am not naive enough to expect perfection:

The menu and directional control buttons are too shallow, give no confidence and my first X-T1 broke because of it (video here…)

the EV compensation dial is now too stiff, now it is far more difficult to make quick last minute exposure compensation changes with the EVF to my eye, this is an example of Fujifilm listening to the user based (and they are wrong, I much prefer the dial moving in the bag than not being able to move in use but that’s just me I suppose). Time will tell whether it loosens up

the customisable buttons can’t be customised to how I want them to work (i.e. select any menu item I want – but then this is an issue with ALL cameras I own and therefore classed as a rant)

the ISO button dial lock is annoying, yes it is but doesn’t really stop me from taking shots – the ‘A’ mode can be configured to have auto-ISO extend to 3,200 if I wanted

the EVF is truly great but isn’t oh-my-gawd spectacular as the hype seems to portray (I spent 5 minutes in the store trying to figure out how to turn on the ‘big-picture’ mode only to find out when I got home it was already on that mode)

the mushy M-C-S dial, it’s mushy

the movie button replaced where the Fn button used to be – why?

noise suppression on skin tones can be overly aggressive on JPG outputs but I’m primarily a RAW shooter so for those that rely on JPG, this may be a larger issue

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However, for as long as I’ve been using this camera (which admittedly isn’t very long); I haven’t come across any situation which has caused me to stop in my tracks and reassess. Sure as a new body it takes time to adjust my shooting for the new layout but the greatest complement I can give is that I just forgot about it, I realised at some point that had I stopped evaluating the camera and just started shooting.

The Nice Guy

Breaking away from the norm of focussing on the negative aspects of the camera, I think the X-T1 deserves praise as there are areas that have worked well for Fujifilm.

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The AF is very quick in daylight when paired with the XF14mm to the point that I didn’t trust it at first, I was sure it was missing focus (I was wrong) and I would definitely say it is the fastest I have ever seen a Fujifilm device focus (or any device for that matter). It’s okay fast with the XF56mm but will still hunt and miss focus in less than good light however it is magnitudes better than anything currently in my bag.

The biggest change however is not with the technology of X-T1 AF system but rather my own perception of it; I no longer seem to worry about focus anymore. With my other cameras (the new Sony A7R included), I always have an expectation of AF failure which is one of the reasons why I set my cameras to back button focus and DMF; I never rely on AF and can manually override as necessary. Shooting the X-T1 over the last few weeks I have realised I no longer assess a scene with the same mentality as when I shoot with the RX1, X-E1 or A7R, I haven’t even used MF. I’m not saying it’s perfect or even close to a dedicated PDAF system but it’s definitely more usable in many more situations than before.

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Perhaps I had a more pessimistic view of the X-T1 to begin with, I never did buy into the advertised ‘quickest AF in the world’ spiel, I didn’t expect it to be a panacea and I almost expected more of the same, but in good light, in bad light and even in challenging light, my main action is to flick the power switch ‘ON’, lift the camera to my eye and press the shutter. In one smooth motion. How liberating is that. From a Fuji device of all things too.

I’ve tried to think about why this may be and I’ve come up with my main three reasons:

LCD/EVF power modes– there is a mode to turn off both the EVF and LCD screen thus saving power and the EVF only turns on when you raise it to your eye. There is a delay when the EVF activates but not nearly enough for it to bother me or make me miss a shot; however the absolute best feature is the X-T1 will use the LCD screen when reviewing photos. It’s so simple it hurts and there’s always a dedicated button to switch viewing options if needed – are you listening Sony?

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No more menu digging – I can’t remember a situation in the last couple of weeks where I have had to really delve into the menu, most key functions are physically at hand which can be adjusted before the camera is turned on and there are 6 customisable buttons (although I do wish I could assign them to any function from any menu); for everything else there is the ‘Q’ quick menu.

As an example, whilst watching the Taipei MRT arrive onto the platform it dawned on me to test the tracking ability of the camera so I set the mode to ‘CH” burst, checked the ISO, shutter and aperture dials, made sure spot metering was selected and turned the focus mode to ‘C’ all before even turning the camera on. Then as I raised the camera to my eye, I flicked the ‘ON’ switch and started shooting.

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Obviously it would be much easier if there was only one button to automatically set it to “continually-track-an-oncoming-train-in-an-underground-station-with-difficult-lighting” mode but you would really need to be a bit of a duck to criticise any camera for not having that.

Third point – oh, the IQ is good too.

But mostly I love that I can adjust all the major settings before I even turn the camera on even though I do admit I may miss a snap-shot but there is a remedy for that and I call it an iPhone.

Tracking

I’ve tested it so I will post it. I’ve never used it before and I probably never will again but for all those that are eager to know here are some photos for you to judge for yourself. I must add that I was impressed but what do I know, meh.

This is the Taipei MRT where an underground train is entering the platform. Who knows how fast this thing comes in at but for those that want to know, I was shooting RAW + JPG, CH mode, onto a Sandisk 32GB 30MB/s card – what difference would a 95MB/s card have made? I don’t know because that card sits in my A7R. A total of 20 shots were taken starting at 8:56:33pm and ending at 8:56:36pm where I could tell the last one or two were slowing down.

XF56mmF1.2 R and VG-XT1

Works well, looks good and has a well dampened focus ring. Even better the aperture ring is much stiffer with much better ‘clicks’, how do I get my XF14mm to be like that?

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I will let you judge the quality of the pictures for yourself, there are plenty of examples mostly taken at f/1.2 as I’ve only had time to shoot after work and using natural (low) light but I will say I like it a lot; the speed is good and sharpness wide open is excellent and has also given me reason (with much regret) to let go of the Zeiss Planar 1,4/85 ZF.2 – any takers?

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The grip is very comfortable and is not heavy; I wonder why Fujifilm can’t fit two batteries in the grip and why you need to remove a rubber cover from the camera to attach the grip. I see a growing market for replacement covers. I’m also not going to dwell on this, it works well and is comfortable and that’s all I could ask for. It is also better than the equivalent battery grip for the Sony A7R for handheld comfort and button placement.

The Happily Ever After

This could be a never ending love affair. The X-T1 is fast becoming my go-to body and along with the Sony RX1 is looking like a camera I will not let go of. It’s not perfect (what camera is?) but at the end of the day they pale in comparison to the shooting experience. It doesn’t get in the way, it hasn’t frustrated me and it hasn’t made me want to switch cameras. It seems to just work.

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Feb 272014
 

Fuji X-T1 1st Look Video! Fuji nails it!

If you have watched the video above then you know that the Fuji X-T1 is now the very 1st Fuji body that I REALLY REALLY like. It is the Fuji I had hoped to see when the X-Pro 1 was launched. It is small, solid, tough, fast, responsive, has an amazing EVF experience, amazing manual controls with dials for ISO, Shutter Speed and everything you need is very easily controlled without menu diving. It is sort of like a Mini Nikon Df in the control department, but even a little easier. While not full frame it houses the Fuji 16mp X-Trans APS-C and the out of camera JPEGS look great.

I have only had this in my hands for a day and have used it for only a couple of hours but will be using it and testing it for a full review, which should be up within 2-3 weeks.

Enjoy the video above and congrats to Fuji for improving the AF, speed, handling and everything else that contributes to enjoying the camera. It did not even overexpose like the others I have tested, so it appears that there have been some nice improvements. Looking forward to shooting the one and putting it through its paces!

You can buy the X-T1 at Amazon or B&H Photo.

Steve

FOUR quick JPEGS from today while checking out the camera for the 1st time:

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Feb 192014
 

The Olympus 25 1.8 Lens is in hand, review in about a week!

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Hey hey hey! Just a heads up that I have been shooting the now shipping Olympus 25 1.8 lens and it is a beauty on the Olympus E-M1. Many have been wondering how it stacks up against the Panasonic 25 1.4 and all I can go from is memory right now as I do not have a Panasonic here with me now. I feel the Panasonic may be a TEENY BIT sharper when wide open but do not think most would notice. The Panasonic may be a little more contrasty out of camera. Other than that the Olympus is smaller, focuses faster, is silent and looks sweet on the camera. and is VERY sharp as it is.

Oh, and it is also cheaper than the Panasonic at $399! Amazon has it in stock HERE in black. if you own the Panasonic already I see no need to switch but if you have not picked up a fast 50mm equiv for your Micro 4/3 yet, this is the best bet. It even comes with a lens hood for a change!

The signature of the 25 1.8 is identical to the 45 1.8 from Olympus and they share the same formula. I will be shooting it this weekend at the Valley of Fire workshop so will have my full review up next week sometime. I have a feeling it will be a highly recommended lens though as I already love it. There really is nothing to dislike with this one! Below are a few snaps I shot in the past couple of days. As you can see, it retains the look of the high quality Olympus primes. Oh, and it has a nice close focus distance!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Feb 102014
 

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The new Sigma Dp Quattro – Cutting edge design meets Foveon.

So most of you probably have already seen the new Sigma DP Quattro which came out of left field surprising many with the all original and oddball design. Yep, Sigma is taking their DP series to a new high with a new sensor, higher resolution, faster speeds and an all new body designed to be comfortable to shoot. From the looks of it I have to say that this may be the very 1st Sigma that I buy. I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE this design. It is all original, nothing like it. A+ for that. It looks sleek, slick, and serious. A+ for  that. It houses the amazing Sigma Foveon sensor which will render in a Medium Format kind of way (as we saw in the last series of cameras) with rich color and crazy detail while supplying nice dynamic range and tonality. A+ for that.

But what about the #1 thing that killed the last DP series? SPEED.

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Well, thanks to a new processor Sigma says these new line of Quattro cameras are much faster which means if the AF is fast and the processing is fast then this will be ONE HELL of a camera for travel or anyone wanting high quality in a small nice form.

They are even offering an optical viewfinder for those that want the option.

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If the speed is up, the quality is still there and the battery life is better then this camera will be mine, even if I use it twice a year because I find it beautiful and I love originality. I am sure will find it ugly but some will appreciate the design.

The 1st of the three new Quattro cameras will be released with a 20 MP Foveon X3 sensor, the new faster True III processor and a 30 f/2.8 lens attached. This will be the new DP2 Quattro. The DP1 will come in with a 19mm lens and the DP3 will come equipped with a 50mm lens. There is a new battery for this guy so I am guessing it will offer much better shooting time. I just hope the camera is made well and feels good.

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No price or availability has been announced as of yet but I will keep you all informed as these will be reviewed right here. To see the last Sigma DP review click HERE.

 

Feb 062014
 

The $11,500 Hasselblad HV! Oops, I mean Sony A99! 

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The new Hasselblad HV. A DSLR that offers no compromises with tough as nails build, jaw dropping beauty and is already a proven winner because it is indeed a Sony A99! All for $11,500! Woohoo!

Yes, this was announced 3-4 days ago or so but I had to wrap my head around this one and decide if I even wanted to give it exposure. Then I figured..well..why not, not many, if any, will buy one of these anyway! I mean, restyling a NEX-7 could have been cool as the NEX-7 is a cool camera. Restyling the mighty mite RX100 could also have been cool, as it is one hell of a pocket camera. Hasselblad accomplished to screw both of those up and turned the “could have been” into “Damn..we screwed up”.  The slow selling Lunar and Stellar prove that one.

But fear not, Hasselblad is forging on with the Sony morphs with the new Hasselblad HV 99 mainly because they had to as it has been in the works for a long while already.

I call this new Hasselblad the “HPV 99″ (there really is no 99 in the name, nor a “P”) because it is the Sony A99 with a new coat of paint and cosmetics at an almost $9000 premium, which to me sounds like a big old genital wart on the camera industry. Yep, should be called the HPV 99.

Yes, that is correct… the now older A99 that sells for $2700 can be had for $11,500 featuring the same shape, sensor, image quality, speed, and using the same Sony lenses for $11,500 US. Basically, we get a wooden case and fancy styling for our $9k and nothing more. Oh yea, “tough as nails” build quality.

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Someone at Hasselblad has either lost their minds or they are trying to only sell 50 of these worldwide. 

Like I said, I can see them blinging out the small and cool and capable mirror less cameras. Hell, even I held the Lunar and Stellar and liked the Stellar (RX100) quite a bit but could not bring myself to pay $3500 for a $600 camera, no matter how cool it looked and how good it felt.

The HPV 99 comes with a pelican style case because Hasselblad KNOWS that us photographers always like to carry our camera not in a bag or with a strap, but in a suitcase. 

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But why is Hasselblad giving this treatment to a fat bulky DSLR that will use the same fat bulky Sony DSLR lenses? I mean, who here would pay $11,500 for a Sony A99 with a new coat of paint when you can get a standard black A99 for $2700?!?!? This is not the same as Leica with their special editions as Leica is not taking an OM-D E-M1 that sells for $1600 and pimping it out with a Leica logo, blinging it out and charging $8,000 for it. Leica does not take a Fuji X-E2 and throw a coat on it and charge $7500. Leica takes their own premium M design and puts out a special edition here and there with very few units being made. What they do with Panasonic does not count as even when they give this treatment to the Panasonic P&S cameras they come in at a $200-$300 premium yet offer longer warranty, better software and better aesthetics.

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I am just confused as to what Hasselblad are doing but maybe I am cranky because I did not have my morning cup of coffee. One one hand Hasselblad seem to want to be like Leica yet at the same time they have no clue how to go about it. But I am here to offer my help to them.

Hasselblad..DESIGN YOUR OWN MASTERPIECE OF A CAMERA that lives up to the Hasselblad name. When you do that you will have something special. 

I am sure the HV will be beautiful, solid and extremely well made. But it is still an A99 any way you slice it. My question for you is..who here will be ordering the Hasselblad HV? $11,500 can buy you an amazing camera and a few lenses  - say a Sony A99 with $9k left for glass ;)

Vote in the poll below and feel free to comment!

Steve

Jan 282014
 

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The OM-D E-M10 and 25 1.8 Lens! New Olympus Firecrackers!!

Sweetness! It must be new camera week as just now Olympus officially announced the much talked about and rumored “baby” E-M5, the E-M10 (right after Fuji dropped the HOT X-T1)! This is IMO a $699 firecracker that will allow anyone to get a taste of the fantastic E-M5 at a great price point. The E-M10 is an all metal body full of features and is pretty much the full IQ of the E-M5 and E-M1 in more affordable body that any enthusiast can afford. The OM-D E-M10 will NOT replace the E-M5. Instead the lineup will remain as it is for now - the starter E-M10, the middle of the road E-M5 and the rock n rolling pro, the E-M1. I feel this is a great move as it gives a more affordable option to those wanting the OM-D experience. Same IQ, same solid build, same experience! 

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If anyone has shown that the Olympus M 4/3 offerings can hang with the big boys it is this very website. Guest post after guest post has shown the power of these little Olympus bodies and IMO they can do anything an APS-C can do besides a little bit less performance at high ISO. They are faster, more accurate in the AF, have better lenses, more lenses and better build than just about any comparable mirrorless body. I am a HUGE HUGE fan of the E-M5 and E-M1 and I expect the E-M10 to be just as wonderful with a few dumbed down features such as 3-Axis IS to the 5-Axis of the more expensive brothers.

To see some wonderful examples of what these Micro 4/3 Olympus bodies can do click HERE, HERE and HERE

You can pre-order the new OM-D E-M10 body only in BLACK HERE or SILVER HERE at B&H Photo.

You can also buy them in kit form – BLACK or SILVER. 

Amazon also has the E-M10 for pre-order HERE!

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Below are the quick notes I took at last weeks briefing on the camera:

New 3 Axis IS

8 FPS shooting

Built in WiFi and Flash (first time for flash)

$699 body 0nly

$799 body and kit 14-42 II kit

New Grip – very cool design!

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The New 25 1.8 Lens

I am also VERY excited about the new Olympus 25 1.8 lens even though we already have the amazing Panasonic 25 1.4. I will tell you why: The design is small, high quality and uses the same optical formula as the super sweet 45 1.8, which is a stellar lens. It will be available in black or silver and for $399. It will focus FAST, be silent in Autofocus and I have no doubt it will be an amazing lens. I have my pre-order in! At $399 this is the biggest no brainer for any Micro 4/3 user who has not yet jumped to the Panasonic 25 1.4. I can not tell a lie..I prefer Olympus lenses to Panasonic lenses as I love the design, feel, silence and speed, oh, and the IQ. The lens below is on the silver OM-D E-M10. NICE. For $1100 you can get the E_M10 and the new 25 1.8 (50mm equivalent) so you have your camera and fast 50, all in a small but high performing package.

Of course I will be reviewing the new OM-D E-M10 as soon as I can get one!

You can pre-order the new 25 1.8 Lens at B&H Photo in Black HERE or in Silver HERE. 

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Other new Olympus Cameras and Lenses announced…

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Olympus has also announced a new super zoom, the SP-100 (A 50X $399 camera with EVF) as well as a new TOUGH camera, the TG-850 for $279 with swivel LCD and drop proof, freeze proof, water proof and crush proof all the way (I will review this one). There is a new fisheye lens cap lens and a new pancake version of the 14-42 Kit zoom (that will NOT be the included lens with the E-M10..OLD ONE IS BUNDLED). The new zoom is actually smaller than the older 17 2.8 Pancake!

The new 9mm fisheye lens cap!

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You can read all about the SP-100 HERE and the TOUGH HERE.

The new Kit Zoom is HERE.

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MORE INFO ON THE NEW E-M10!

OLYMPUS EXPANDS OM-D® CAMERA LINE-UP WITH NEW, EXTREMELY COMPACT E-M10 — THE OM-D FOR ALL

The Image Quality and Power of the E-M1 and E-M5 are now Packed into a More Affordable OM-D Body; Two New Lenses Broaden Olympus’s Micro Four Thirds® System

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., January 29, 2014 — Olympus adds to its award-winning OM-D family with the new E-M10, an interchangeable lens camera that combines the outstanding image quality, speed and power of the flagship Olympus® OM-D E-M1 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 into an extremely compact and stylish all-metal body. Featuring the new TruePic VII image processor, the same found in the OM-D E-M1, 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor, Wi-Fi® technology, a large, high-speed electronic viewfinder, 3-axis image stabilization, ultrafast autofocus and a built-in flash, it’s the OM-D for photographers looking for an affordable, yet powerful, system camera they can use every day. The new, super-slim M.ZUIKO® DIGITAL 14-42mm f 3.5-5.6 EZ pancake zoom lens and the super-bright M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm f1.8 expands Olympus Micro Four Thirds line-up to 15 lenses.

Best-In-Class Image Quality
The Olympus OM-D E-M10’s 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor, combined with the TruePic VII image processor and M.ZUIKO lenses, delivers beautiful image quality with high resolution, superior color reproduction and high sensitivity that exceeds other cameras in its class. A maximum sensitivity of ISO 25600 is perfect for shooting dark scenes and indoor shooting locations, and ISO LOW mode (100 equivalent) expands the low-sensitivity end. The sensor’s rich dynamic range makes smooth gradations possible and beautifully depicts high-contrast highlights and shadows. Fine Detail Processing II technology configures the appropriate sharpness processing for each individual lens resulting in natural, high-quality resolution.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10’s in-body 3-axis image stabilization system is derived from the world’s first 5-axis system in the E-M5 and E-M1. The 3-axis version effectively counteracts yaw, roll and pitch with both still shots and HD movies, regardless of the lens attached to the camera yielding great results even in poor lighting conditions or when using an exposure time of 1/15 second or less.

Speed

The on-board FAST AF is Olympus’ fastest-ever AF system and uses 81 target areas that cover the whole image. Small AF Target and Super Spot AF modes make it possible to zoom in and focus accurately on minute sections of the frame. The E-M10 is also capable of capturing high-speed action with 8fps sequential shooting, the fast processor supports continuous capture of up to 20 RAW frames or an unlimited number of JPEG frames*, and the Continuous Auto Focus with Tracking mode accurately tracks and captures moving subject as fast as 3.5 fps.

Beautiful OM-D Design

The ultra-slim, compact and lightweight Olympus OM-D E-M10 body is built with precision-machined metal parts and a premium feel that inspires the user. Two easy-to-reach metal dials give excellent operability and improved control, and the grip is designed to rest comfortably in the user’s hand. Despite its size, the E-M10 is the first OM-D with a built-in flash that is optimized for 1/250 second synchronization, a benefit for daytime flash photography.

High-Speed Creative EVF

The large, 1,440,000-dot electronic high resolution viewfinder (EVF) located on the optical axis of the E-M10 features a 120-fps refresh rate, a 100 percent field of view and maximum 1.15x magnification to help accurately frame shots. An eye sensor seamlessly switches the display between the tilting, 3.0-inch touch-screen monitor and the electronic viewfinder. Camera setting information, such as shutter speed, is displayed at the bottom of the viewfinder and photographers can take full advantage of the EVF’s ability to display the effects of various exposure adjustments, Art Filter effects and Creative Controls like Color Creator, Image Aspect control, Highlight/Shadow control, Live Histogram, Display of five different grid patterns and even a Level Gauge — all without having to remove your eye from the viewfinder.

In-Camera Creativity

New features, including Live Composite Mode and Photo & Movie Capture, expand the user’s creative potential. Live Composite Mode is a tool that offers previews of long exposures in the EVF, a perfect tool for anyone looking to easily capture light trails when shooting a star-filled sky. Photo & Movie Capture lets users shoot high-quality still images without interrupting the video recording. 12 Art Filters, three HDR capture modes and Photo Story support your photographic imagination.

Built-In Wi-Fi

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 includes built-in Wi-Fi, and the setup is simple. By quickly scanning the QR code displayed on the camera’s LCD with a smart device, it syncs with the Wi-Fi network created by the camera. The free Olympus Image Share smartphone app synchronizes a user’s smartphone and E-M10 so the camera’s Live View is effectively displayed on the phone. In this way, the camera can be controlled by touching the smartphone display as if it were the camera itself, and users can send selected images directly to websites and social media.

Two New Micro Four Thirds Lenses

Olympus has also introduced two new Micro Four Thirds lenses to its line-up. The super-slim M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm* f3.5-5.6 EZ pancake zoom lens measures just .9 inches thick, making it the world’s slimmest standard zoom lens.** It has a smooth electric zoom that is suitable for shooting movies, and can also be zoomed in and out remotely using compatible smartphones through the updated Olympus Image Share app. The super-bright, lightweight, high-performance M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm* f1.8 lens has a fixed focal length and is ideal for capturing portraits or close-ups from as little as 9.8 inches away. Both new lenses are sold separately.

New Micro Four Thirds Accessories

A host of new Micro Four Thirds accessories join the Olympus Micro Four Thirds line-up, including the fixed-aperture F8.0 Fish Eye Body Cap lens with a focal length of 9mm (35mm equivalent: 18mm). It’s an ultra-slim accessory for creative wide-angle shooting through its 5-element, 4-group lens construction. The multi-use lens barrier MF lever switches from pan focus shooting to close up 8-inch shooting with a single press of the lever. The ECG-1 matching ergonomic grip is a removable grip exclusively for use with the E-M10. Designed for absolute comfort, the grip is the perfect thickness for resting the ring finger and pinky when holding the camera. A single press of the lever on the bottom of the grip easily removes it, making replacing batteries and memory cards seamless. The MCON-PO2 macro converter is compatible with six Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses and adapts them for close-up shooting. Finally, the Automatic Opening Lens Cap LC-37C is available exclusively for use with the new M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ. When the camera is turned off, this accessory protects the lens from dust and scratches, and when the camera is powered on the lens cap instantly opens for snapshots and quick shooting.

*35mm Equivalent

**As of January 29, 2014. Shortest distance between the mount and the front end of the lens, when retracted. 

Jan 272014
 

The new Fuji X-T1 has landed, pre-order now!

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Expected Ship Date – March 07th, 2014

Pre-order the Fuji X-T1 Body only HERE at B&H Photo – $1299

Pre-order the Fuji X-T1 body and 18-55 kit lens combo HERE at B&H Photo – $1699

PRE-ORDER THE SWEET Fuji 56 1.2 Lens (as seen on the camera above) – $999

You can also pre-order this Fuji at PopFlash.com

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You can pre-order the X-T1 BODY ONLY at Amazon HERE 

You can order the X-T1 KIT LENS COMBO at Amazon HERE

So here it is! The rumored Fuji X-T1 is 100% true and ready to pre-order now at B&H Photo. From the looks, the design, the specs..this may just be the best Fuji X body to date. The design brings me direct to the Olympus E-M1 and Sony A7. I guess Fuji did not want to be left out of the EVF hump party but that hump means a much nicer EVF, so I welcome it. The manual controls on top remind me of the E-M1 and Nikon Df a bit and yes, this is also a good thing. All around this will be the best performing Fuji X body to date. $1299 for the Body only and $1699 for the Body and Kit Lens. I will be reviewing this as soon as I get my hands on one!

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AS MANY OF YOU HERE KNOW…if you WANT this camera then pre-ordering is the way to go. Why? A: You do not get charged until it ships so if you change your mind between now and when it ships you can cancel with no penalty. If you decided you do want it 100%, just keep your pre-order in and you will be one of the 1st to get the camera. This is how I buy all of my new cameras..by pre-ordering. B: If it arrives and you do not like it or it has issues, yes, it is returnable and NO the stores do not resell it as new, they sell it as an open box discount. But the bottom line is pre-ordering is smart if you know that you do want the camera. If undecided then you just wait to read reviews.

I have a feeling this one will be a big seller for Fuji. Some will call it ugly, some will call it beautiful. Some will say it reminds them of old school design and others will say it is going the way of Olympus and Sony. Either way technology moves on my friends and those of us with severe G.A.S. will unfortunately want to try  this out, especially fans of the Fuji rendering style. The Fuji and Mirrorless rumor sites have been buzzing non stop about this one and hyping it to now end. I hope it can live up to the hype!

I am excited to get a hold of this for review..so stay tuned!

Steve

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16.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS II Sensor

A large 16.3MP APS-C CMOS image sensor is integrated into the X-T1 to provide high image quality and detail. Using Fujifilm’s unique X-Trans bespoke pixel array, the sensor is designed with a randomized pixel pattern to eliminate the need of an optical low-pass filter for reducing moiré and aliasing. By removing this filter from the design, higher image sharpness is possible. Lens Modulation Optimizer (LMO) factors are also taken into account using the EXR Processor II, which helps to automatically compensate for aberrations and diffraction blur in order to produce images with the utmost inherent sharpness.

The X-Trans sensor also works to provide highly effective noise reduction and a clean signal-to-noise ratio. This enables smoother-looking imagery that becomes especially apparent when photographing in low-light situations with an expanded sensitivity range of ISO 100-51200. Additionally, a top continuous shooting rate of 8 fps is possible, for up to 47 consecutive frames, to benefit working with moving subject matter.

EXR Processor II

Aside from benefitting low-light performance, the EXR Processor II also provides quick performance throughout the entire camera system. The camera start-up time is about 0.5 seconds, shutter lag is about 0.05 seconds, and the shooting interval time is about 0.5 seconds. A fast autofocus performance speed of 0.08 seconds is also enabled using the advanced Intelligent Hybrid AF system using both contrast- and phase-detection focusing methods.

Intelligent Hybrid AF and Enhanced Manual Focus

Intelligent Hybrid AF is a quick, responsive autofocus system that employs both contrast- and phase-detection methods to acquire focus quickly in a wide variety of lighting conditions and shooting situations. Clear focus can quickly be attained to aid in catching fast-paced movement more easily. Three focus modes are available (AF-S, AF-C, and M) for greater control over how the X-T1 achieves sharp focus. When working with autofocus, the AF area is divided into a 49-point matrix in order to gain clear focus of any type of subject matter. Additionally, a built-in AF assist lamp is available for aiding the focus system when photographing in low-light situations.

When working with manual focus, two additional features can be employed for enhanced critical focusing in a more controllable manner. By using the phase-detection pixels located on the imaging sensor, Digital Split Image technology is able to assist in acquiring precise focus through the implementation of four striped focusing aids; akin to a rangefinder focusing method, once these stripes have been lined up, sharp focus can be ensured. Also contributing to manual focus accuracy, Focus Peak Highlight has been integrated and enables a more objective system of focusing by way of highlighting sharp edges and lines of contrast, using one of three colors, once they are in focus.

Multi Mode Real Time Viewfinder

An advanced electronic viewfinder has been incorporated into the X-T1′s design to support clear eye-level monitoring along with a host of unique viewing features to better support a more efficient overall workflow. The Real Time Viewfinder is comprised of a 2,360k-dot OLED display and features an exceptionally high magnification of 0.77x, along with a 31° angle of view. This perspective is further complemented by the 0.005 sec. lag time, which smoothly and seamlessly renders scenes and moving subjects.

Beyond the technical aspects of the viewfinder, an adaptable graphical user interface has also been designed to increase efficiency during shooting. Four different viewing modes are available:

FULL: This mode takes advantage of the high magnification ratio of the viewfinder and produces an image that fills the majority of the viewfinder in an unobstructed manner. Shooting information is presented at the top and bottom edges and does not interfere with the image frame itself.

NORMAL: This mode enables you to focus on the composition at hand while still having an in-depth understanding of camera settings and shooting conditions.

VERTICAL: When the camera is held in a vertical orientation, the information display automatically rotates so it is facing upright for easier reading of camera settings. When working in this mode, images can also be reviewed in the vertical orientation.

DUAL: Serving to benefit those working with manual focus, this mode presents a split screen view of the scene where you see both a regular view as well as the Focus Assist View (Focus Highlight Peaking and Digital Split Image) at the same time, allowing you to concentrate on the image composition as well as critical focus accuracy.

In addition to the four viewing modes, the shooting information displayed within the viewfinder can also be customized to suit one’s needs. 19 different settings can be toggled on or off depending on preference.

Classic Camera Design

Featuring a body design reminiscent of SLR film cameras, the X-T1 exhibits a meshing of both analog exposure controls along with intelligent automated technologies. The clean and functional body design incorporates physical shutter speed, ISO, drive mode, AF mode, and +/- 3 EV exposure compensation double-deck precision-milled aluminum alloy dials that pair well with the manual aperture rings found on many of the XF lenses for intuitive exposure setting selection. Depending on individual needs, six customizable buttons, dual command dials, and an easily-accessible Q Menu provide an efficient solution for modifying some of the most frequently used camera settings, such as ISO, white balance, and file settings. For more extensive menu navigation, as well as live view monitoring and image review, a 3.0″ 1,040k-dot LCD monitor is available and features a tilting design to better support working from high and low angles.

Furthermore, the magnesium alloy body also features approximately 80 points of weather sealing to protect itself from dust and moisture, as well as temperatures as low as 14°F, for confident use in trying conditions.

Full HD Movie Recording

Full HD 1080p video recording is supported up to 60 fps, with other frame rates and formats also available. Full-time AF tracking is available during recording with subject tracking capabilities for ensured sharpness when either the subject is moving or if the camera is moving, panning, or zooming. +/- 2 EV exposure compensation is available during recording as well as the use of Film Simulation settings.

An HDMI port enables high definition playback of movies to an HDTV and the inclusion of a 2.5mm input supports the use of an optional external microphone for enhanced sound quality.

Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity

Wireless connectivity is built into the camera and allows for instant sharing of images directly to an Android or iOS mobile device. The Fujifilm Camera Remote app allows you to browse the image contents of your camera from your mobile device and transfer both videos and photos, and the entire sharing process is further expedited by simply pressing and holding the dedicated Wi-Fi button to begin transferring immediately. Remote camera control and monitoring is also supported through the use of the app, which enables Touch AF, shutter release, exposure settings adjustment, Film Simulation modes, white balance modes, macro, timer, and flash controls to all be adjusted from the linked mobile device. Location data can also be embedded into image file’s metadata for geotagging.

Film Simulation Mode and Advanced Filters

Taking advantage of Fujifilm’s vast history in traditional film-based photography, the X-T1 integrates several Film Simulation modes to mimic the look and feel of some Fujifilm’s classic film types. Pulling from their line of transparency films, PROVIA offers natural-looking tones for everyday shooting, VELVIA produces a more dramatic and rich tonality with deeper color saturation, and ASTIA gives less contrast for a softer depiction of skin tones. Mimicking their negative films, PRO Neg. Std. gives smooth image tones that are suitable for accurate color renditions, while PRO Neg. Hi produces a more dramatic feel with the ability to draw color out of a variety of lighting conditions. In addition to the colorful benefits of these Film Simulation modes, there are also monochrome modes that simulate the look of traditional yellow, green, and red black and white contrast filters. A sepia mode is also available for producing an inherently nostalgic look.

Eight Advanced Filters are also available to creatively enhance the look of imagery, and include: High Key, Low Key, Soft Focus, Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Color, Dynamic Tone, and Partial Color (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple).

Other Camera Features

An in-camera RAW converter lets you record your images in 14-bit RAW and process them prior to computer-based editing procedures. This process enables you to modify the exposure, white balance, and other controls directly through the menu interface. Additionally, for more thorough processing of files, RAW File Converter software is included for RAW image processing on your computer.

Interval shooting is possible with intervals of 1 second to 24 hours for up to 999 frames.

Compatible with UHS-II memory cards for fast transfer speeds during shooting.

Multiple exposure mode gives you the ability to overlay imagery in-camera. When working in this mode, subsequent exposures can be paired and the final appearance can be previewed on the LCD or in the EVF before making the final exposure.

Motion panorama mode allows you to record expansive views up to 360° wide in a seamless, sweeping manner.

The included EF-X8 shoe-mount flash has a guide number of 26.2′ at ISO 100 and provides additional illumination to imagery for photographing in dark conditions. A sync terminal is also available for use of additional optional external flashes.

Four different auto bracketing modes are available: Dynamic Range, Film Simulation, AE, and ISO Sensitivity.

The included NP-W126 battery enables approximately 350 frames to be recorded per charge.

Jan 202014
 

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Fuji..Finally..Nails It. The X-T1 seems to be “the” Fuji Body to wait for..

Just as I said Sony grew some balls when they designed and released the (now older) NEX-7, it appears Fuji finally did what I have been waiting for them to do. Yes, it appears Fuji finally ditched the hollow and cheaper feeling bodies and decided to design and create and release a truly solid and professional X body. One of the reasons I was so hard inn Fuji since the X-Pro 1 is because I KNEW that they could do better..much better. Sure, they had the color and IQ but everything else was sub par, especially in their “flagship” the X-Pro 1.

I predicted two years ago that Fuji would some day release a truly great X body worthy of their great lenses. The time is just about here :) 

It appears that this X-T1 will also be a SOLID, WEATHER SEALED and MUCH FASTER body with external controls ala Nikon Df and Olympus E-M1. (THIS is a GOOD thing).

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The body is very Olympus E-M1 and A7 like in design. You have the grip and the EVF hump. As for the EVF it should be much larger and nicer than previous EVF’s.

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The EVF will be center mounted with all controls easily accessible. From these leaked images (courtesy of mirrrorless rumors) it appears that yes, Fuji did get it right. The rumored price is said to be $1700 US for the Body only. Add the superb 23 1.4 and you have a $2600 combo, about the same price as a full frame Sony A7 and Zeiss 35 2.8. It appears the competition and new tech just never ever stops!

I can feel it in my bones..this is the Fuji that will be “the one” many have been waiting for from Fuji. Will it be the “no compromise” body? Who knows but the X-E2 was and is a step in the right direction but I am really looking forward to this new one. Let us see what awaits on the 28th!

Jan 162014
 

How about some Canon or Nikon Coffee? Great deals on these LenZcups!

Just noticed that B&H Photo are now selling these famous lens cups/mugs and thermos bottles and at pretty nice prices. If anyone reading this is like me…then these may be something cool to grab (I ordered two t his morning). Every morning I wake up and within 2 minutes am at my machine making my 1st cup of coffee. Being such a photography and camera gear geek I wondered just today why I never picked up one of these cups! Especially since most of these are under $13!

I have seen these in the flesh before and they felt solid and nice. They are more of a conversation starter or for those of you who live to shoot. The thermos? Also very cool as you can bring it along on your photo journeys. Who here has ever left the house at 4Am in search of some nice scenery? I have and having a camera lens thermos would have pepped me up that extra percent :)

In any case these are now for sale and in stock at B&H photo starting at under $13. So click the link here to SEE ALL OF THEM! 

Enjoy!

PS – If you are a Leica shooter, yes, you can get a Leica mug as well – check it out HERE.  (image of Leica directly below)

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and the Canon/Nikon offerings…

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Jan 062014
 

The new Sony NEX? The Alpha 5000 Arrives!

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With CES here many manufacturers are announcing new cameras, lenses and gadgets this week, so this is always fun. Last year was the Fuji X100s, this year is the Fuji X100s black :)

While I did NOT make it to CES this year due to the fact that I was just in a car accident and my car is in the shop for the next 30-45 days (I am fine as the airbags did their job well and yes, I would have driven as Vegas is a 4 hour drive for me). Even so, I do not feel like I lost out too much as the new cameras at CES are usually “in-betweens”. The big announcements are usually just that..BIG announcements (as with the Olympus E-M1 and Sony A7) so I did not expect HUGE news from CES in regards to camera releases.

Nope, not many “super exciting” things being released IMO besides the new Fuji 56 1.2 lens, the black X100s, Panasonic Nocticron F/1.2 lens and now the new Sony A5000 which is being touted as the worlds smallest interchangeable lens camera WITH WiFi capability :) The new Alpha A 5000 looks very similar..as in..it looks just like a NEX body but it is now called an Alpha A instead of a NEX. It is an E-Mount so will use all of the current and past E mount lenses. So if you want a basic “NEX” like upgrade, the A5000 will do the trick, and at a great price. I expect it to be very NEX like with the Alpha and A7 menus.

With a 16-50 Kit Zoom the A5000 comes in at under $600. You can pre-order at B&H Photo or Amazon. 

FEATURES:

20.1 Mp Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor and BIONZ X Image Processor

The 20.1 Mp APS-C-sized Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor work together to produce high-resolution, well-detailed imagery with minimal noise and notable low-light quality and sensitivity to ISO 16000. The processor also contributes to providing a wealth of speed throughout the camera system, including a fast 25-point contrast-detection AF system, top continuous shooting rate of 3.5 fps, and full HD 1080i/p video recording in multiple frame rates.

Full HD Video Recording

Full HD 1080i/p video recording is supported at both 60 and 24 fps frame rates to produce high-resolution movies with a smooth, cinematic look. Videos are recorded using the high-quality AVCHD codec and a built-in stereo microphone records sound in the Dolby Digital AC-3 format. Additionally, 1440 x 1080p, 1280 x 720p, and 640 x 480p formats are also supported in the Internet-friendly MP4 format.

Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity

Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enables the A5000 to instantly share imagery to mobile devices for direct sharing online to social networking, via email, and to cloud storage sites. NFC (Near Field Communication) is also supported, which allows for one-touch connection between the camera and compatible mobile devices; no complex set-up is required.

Tilting LCD Monitor

For live view monitoring, image playback and review, and menu navigation, a 3.0″ 460.8k-dot touchscreen LCD monitor is integrated into the camera body and features a 180° tilting design to promote easier use from low angles as well as in front of the camera.

Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Retractable Zoom Lens

The included 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Retractable Zoom Lens provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-75mm, covering wide-angle to portrait-length perspectives to suit working in a wide variety of situations. It features Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to help minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to four shutter speed steps to greatly benefit working in low-light conditions and with greater zoom magnifications. One extra-low dispersion element and four aspherical elements are integrated into the optical construction to help reduce chromatic aberrations as well as increase clarity, sharpness, and contrast and the Power Zoom electronically-driven zoom mechanism brings greater efficiency to controlling the zoom position of the lens.

Other Camera Features

A built-in pop-up flash is available to provide additional illumination when working in dim lighting.

Auto Object Framing is an intelligent shooting mode that can automatically analyze the scene and subjects within it and determine an aesthetically-pleasing composition. The subsequent imagery will be cropped according to subject matter, resulting in a well-balanced composition that utilizes Face Detection and Tracking Focus to ensure high image quality and sharpness.

Picture Effect modes allow you to apply creative settings and emphasize certain facets of individual images for a richer, more aesthetic picture quality. Posterization (Color/B&W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High-Key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-Tone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, and Illustration modes are available.

The Photo Creativity feature provides quick access to Picture Effects as well as dedicated controls for adjusting Background Defocus, Brightness, Color, and Vividness. Additionally, these effects can be combined for nearly limitless adjustment options

Superior Auto mode is an intelligent automated setting that can quickly identify the current shooting environment and adjust crucial camera settings to deliver optimized results. This mode also utilizes Auto HDR and Hand-held Twilight modes, which employ image compositing techniques to better handle difficult lighting conditions.

Anti-Motion Blur automatically corrects for subject movement in order to deliver clean, sharp imagery in low-light conditions. This is accomplished by recording six sequential frames and compositing portions of each image to ensure overall sharpness.

Hand-held Twilight Mode automatically composites details from six sequentially-recorded images in order to attain higher overall image sharpness when working in low-light conditions.

Face Detection/Smile Shutter can detect and base focus, white balance, and exposure settings on recognized faces. This technology also enables the shutter to be released, based on three sensitivity levels, when a smile is detected in the frame.

Creative Style settings provide control over how the camera processes images based on six different predetermined styles: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, and B&W. Within these settings, contrast, saturation, and sharpness can also be adjusted depending on personal preference.

The Sony E-mount affords compatibility with an extensive number of lenses and lens adapters.

Convenient USB charging allows you to charge the included lithium-ion battery in-camera via USB connection from either an AC outlet or PC source.

The Stamina battery power allows up to approximately 420 shots to be taken on a single charge. The InfoLITHIUM batteries also enable you to see the remaining percentage of battery power left.

PlayMemories Home software is pre-installed on the camera for automatic downloading to a PC when connected to offer support for viewing, organizing, editing, retouching, printing, and sharing imagery.

Jan 062014
 

Fuji releases the X100s in sexy black  - Ships in Feb.

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Woohoo! For all of those waiting for the super sexy black X100s, your wait is almost over. In fact you can pre-order the camera NOW at B&H Photo for $1299, the same cost as the silver version. While not a special edition like the X100 black version was, no need to pay $1500+. So for many, this is a good thing. The X100s will ship in February. You can also pre-order at Amazon HERE. PopFlash has it HERE.

Jan 062014
 

New Fuji 56 1.2 Lens. An 84mm fast portrait prime!

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I have to hand it to Fuji..they sure do know what lenses we want and with the release of their recent 23 1.4 and now upcoming 56 1.2 it is making Fuji even more and more tempting. I am just waiting for the perfect X body before I ever commit to Fuji though they have gotten much better since the original X-Pro 1 was released. Now we have the faster X-E2 and with these new lenses the possibilities are delicious. In my opinion, Fuji has changed the game with their new lens offering, specifically the already mentioned 23 1.4 which will give a 35mm 1.4 equivalent and the new 56. Add in the existing 35 1.4 and you have a perfect set of 35, 50 and 85  - all fast primes that will deliver sharpness, shallow DOF and nice Bokeh.

Now c’mon Fuji..release an X-Pro 2 with a build and responsiveness that it deserves :) 

You can now pre-order the new 56 1.2 lens at B&H Photo HERE at $999. They also sell the 23 1.4 AT $899.

PopFlash.com sells Fuji now and the 23 1.4 is in stock HERE and the 56 1.2 pre-order is HERE as is the 10-24 pre-order.

PS – I will be doing a full review of the X-E2 and 23 1.4 soon and will review the 56 1.2 as soon as it is released. 

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