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2014.12.02

Nikon surprised the world by announced the first video-optimized full-frame DSLR in the form of their D750 in September. This new camera is built around a 24 megapixels CMOS sensor with anti-alias filter and an EXPEED 4 processor. It has a sensitivity range of 100 – 12800, expandable to 50 – 51200, and shares the same image processing pipeline introduced by the high-end D810 in June. Neocamera already reviewed the Nikon D810 here and new brings up an express review of the D750 right here.

Nikon D750

The review covers everything which is different between the D750 and its siblings which were already covered in details. As always, Nikon uses an very consistent and intuitive interface on their professional DSLRs, making usability nearly identical between such models. This leaves the image-quality and performance discussion as the core the the Nikon D750 review.

Interestingly, while Nikon sells the D750 in nearly every market, each place offers it at a similar but distinct price-point. Nikon Index has an article to break this down for you here.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2014.11.27

Today, Sony announced their newest and most ambitious mirrorless digital camera yet. When Sony launched their NEX system, they originally said that image-stabilization could not be implemented in-body due to size constraints. At the time, the system was restricted to APS-C (1.5X FLM) sensors. They later introduced Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless models, also without stabilization.

Now, after a collaboration with Olympus which took sensor-shift stabilization to 5-axis for use in their OM-D E-M5 reviewed here, Sony did it. The new Sony Alpha A7 II is a full-frame E-mount mirrorless digital camera with built-in 5-axis image-stabilization, yet it is not much larger than the original A7. This alone is an incredible technological achievement which unleashed a huge potential for full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Sony Alpha A7 II

The A7 II features a 24 megapixels CMOS sensor with 5-axis in-body image-stabilization and on-sensor 117-point Phase-Detect AF. Although not confirmed by Sony, the A7 II most likely uses an anti-alias filter, just like the original A7. Dare we expect an A7R II soon? And even A7S II? Both are highly likely. The Sony A7S, being one of the most capable low-light cameras on the market, would take an incredible leap forward with 5-axis stabilization.

A refined body which includes triple control-dials, a deeper hang-grip and 5 customizable buttons takes the A7-series to a new level. As its siblings, the A7 II features an incredibly sharp 2.8 megapixels EVF with 100% coverage and 0.71X magnification. The EVF has an Eye-Start sensor and is Exposure-Priority which Sony calls Tru-Finder, making it much more usable than most electronic viewfinders on the market.

This new mirrorless retains the main features of its predecessor, including an ISO 100 – 25600 sensitivity range, expandable to ISO 50 – 51200. The shutter-speed remains at 1/8000s – 30s using a front-curtain electronic-shutter to achieve an extremely short shutter-lag. There is a multi-interface hot-shoe with a flash-sync speed of 1/250s.

Sony Alpha A7 II

The Alpha A7 II is aimed at professional photographers with its large full-frame sensor in a weather-sealed body with a huge number of direct controls, not counting the triple control-dials already mentioned. A traditional mode-dial and dedicated EC dial, marked in 1/3 EV increments, leave all major camera controls within easy reach.

The Sony Alpha A7 II is scheduled to ship next month for a retail price of $1700 USD. This is an impressively low-price for any full-frame digital camera, even more so when considering its 5-axis stabilization which is unique in its class. Adorama and B&H Photo are already accepting pre-orders. Get yours quickly as we expect this model to fly off the shelves!

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2014.11.20

Just now, Fuji unveiled two X-mount Macro Tubes and an unprecedented number of firmware updates for their X-series of digital cameras, including mirrorless and fixed lens models.

Fuji MCEX-11 and MCEX-16 Macro Extension Tubes

The new MCEX-11 and MCEX-16 are the first X-mount extension tubes. Little is known about them but we presume they provide an extension of 11mm and 16mm, respectively. These rings work with an XF or XC lens and forward all electronic contacts, retaining auto-exposure and full control over the attached lens.

Using these tubes, Fuji lenses will resolve to a higher magnification suitable for macro work. The effective magnification depends on the lens used, as always. They will have greater effect on short focal-length lenses. The Fujinon XF60mm F/2.4 R Macro is obviously an ideal candidate for using these extension tubes.

Both Fuji Macro Extension Tubes are scheduled to ship in mid-December this year for $99 USD or $109 CDN each.

Fuji X-T1 Graphite

The recently-announced Fuji X-T1 Graphite and its original black version reviewed here will both receive Firmware 3.0 on December 18, 2014. This will bring both models to par. This includes the 1/32000s electronic-shutter mode of the Graphite version, plus additional customization options:

  • Autofocus Area Direct-Selection – Users can select the focus area with the 4-way controller, without pressing the Fn button first.
  • Switch of the AE-L/AF-L buttons – The currently locked AE-L/AF-L button function will now be interchangeable, depending on the user’s preference.
  • MF Focus Area Sizing – Users will be able to change the focus area in Manual mode during One Push AF with the AF-L button.
  • Macro Direct-Selection – Users will be able to directly turn ON or OFF the Macro function in Auto Focus mode to expand the distance measurement range to the short-distance range. This will be possible without accessing the pop-up menu screen.
  • Q Menu Customization – The update will render the items and layout of the Q Menu, used for quick access of frequently-used items, changeable to the user’s preference.
  • Video Frame Rates – In addition to the existing 60fps and 30fps selections, 50fps and 25fps, as well as a 24fps selection will become available to users. 50fps and 25fps allow video editing in the PAL region, such as Europe and elsewhere, without converting the frame rate. The 24fps will offer movie-like video capture and play back.
  • Video Manual Exposure – Users will be able to select ISO sensitivity prior to shooting videos, as well as adjusting the aperture and shutter speed during video shooting.
  • Phase Detection AF-On – Operated by pressing the AF-L button during manual focusing, the update will enable Phase Detection AF with quicker focusing speeds.
  • Metering and Focus Linking – The update will enable users to interlock the AF area position with the metering area when spot metering is selected.
  • Program Shift Expansion – The update will enable the current Program Shift, in which the low-speed side is 1/4 second, to be shifted to a maximum of 4s.
  • Classic Chrome Film Simulation – Film simulation that delivers muted tones and deep color reproduction.
  • Support for INSTAX Share Printer – Photos can be sent directly to the INSTAX Share Printer for instant prints.
  • Lock Function – Users can lock the camera to prevent unexpected dial and button operations.
  • DMF – Users can half press the shutter to focus, and then make fine adjustments using the manual focus ring.
  • 3 Custom White Balance Memories – Expands number of white balance users can store.
  • Expanded EVF/LCD for Manual Exposure – Users can now customize the way the image is displayed on the EVF or LCD.
  • LCD Brightness and EVF/LCD Adjustment – Users can customize display brightness based on environment.
  • Flash Compensation via Fn Button  – Users can now add Flash Compensation to any of the six custom function buttons.

There will also be a  3.0 firmware version of the Fuji X-E2. This one adds WLAN Remote Control, Interval Timer, Classic Chrome and DMF for all X-mount lenses. Its predecessor, the Fuji X-E1 will receive firmware version 2.4 to add DMF. Finally, the Fuji X30 reviewed here gets an AF-L function with firmware version 1.01.

This is the most massive firmware update any camera maker has announced to date and confirms Fuji’s position to slow down obsolescence among its existing lineup of premium digital cameras.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2014.11.11

Neocamera just published an express review of the Nikon 1 J4 mirrorless. This is Nikon’s latest entry-level mirrorless featuring an 18 megapixels high-speed CMOS sensor with built-in Phase-Detect AF at 105 points and Contrast-Detect AF at 171 points.  The high-speed sensor with electronic-shutter gives the J4 ultra-fast capabilities such as 1/16000s maximum shutter-speed, 60 FPS continuous drive at full resolution and high-speed video up to 1200 FPS, albeit at reduced resolution, compared to the full 1080p HD at 60 FPS which it can also do.

Nikon 1 J4

Along with the J4, Nikon introduced a Nikkor 10-30mm F/3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM VR lens which collapses and is self-capping. It features a smooth fly-by-wire focus ring. Together this keeps the J4 incredibly compact while providing a relatively large 1″ (2.7X crop) sensor, which is much larger than the majority of compacts yet smaller than most mirrorless.

Read on the review to found out how the Nikon 1 J4 balances the compromises of image-quality, speed and size.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2014.11.03

As mirrorless cameras penetrate the market and reach more and more common use by professionals, Think Tank Photo is continuing their support of this new form-factor. They unveiled an entire series of mirrorless backpacks and a new smaller holster for such smaller cameras.

ThinkTank Digital Holster 5

The Digital Holster 5 is a single-camera bag which is worn over the shoulder or attached to a belt. It is the smallest holster and can accommodate a mirorless camera with a standard zoom lens attached. This allows quick access to gear while it remains visible to the wearer at all times. Like all holster-type bags, it provides top-access with a single zipper to open.

This new holster measures 6.3″ x 6.3″ x 4.5″ externally with an interior size of 5.1″ x 5.3″ x 3.5″ which fits something like an Olympus OM-D E-M5 with 12-50mm F/3.5-6.3 lens or a Fuji X-E2 with 18-55mm F/2.8-4. The Digital Holster 5 will be available shortly from the Think Tank website for around of $40.

Think Tank Perception Mirrorless

Think Tank Perception bags are a new series of photo backpacks designed for use with mirrorless cameras. There are 3 different sizes, each available in 2 colors. These ultra-light day-packs offer multiple compartment to carry a mirrorless system, accessories, plus a tablet and even a laptop for the larger model.

The smallest, called Perception Tablet, fits a mirrorless camera with one or two lenses, plus a small 7″ tablet. There is an intermediate size, the Perception 15, which allows for 2 somewhat larger lenses and a large 10″ tablet instead. The Perception Pro is the flagship with, unusually, two computing compartments. One fits a 15″ laptop, while the other fits a 10″ tablet. It allows for up to four lenses, including one attached to the camera.

All the Perception series will be available shortly from Think Tank. They will be priced from $90 to $150, depending on the size.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

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