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2017.07.17

On July 11, 2017, Nikon celebrated their 100th Anniversary. To commemorate this they have introduced Special Edition versions of their professional trinity of full-frame lenses: the AF-S 14-24mm F/2.8G, the AF-S 24-70mm F/2.8E VR and AF-S 70-200mm F/2.8E FL VR, all in a new high-grade metallic-grey finish, plus an new AF-P 70-300mm lens.

Nikon D7500 and Nikkor AF-P 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6E

The new Nikkor AF-P 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6E VR is a full-frame F-mount telephoto lens with built-in silent stepping-motor suitable for video capture. It offers an electromagnetically-controlled aperture with no less than 9 blades for reliable exposure and smooth bokeh.

Like other lenses in the AF-P family, this one is designed with a light-weight and compact construction. Its maximum aperture is necessarily dim to keep size low. Toggles on the side have been redesigned to prevent accidental changes while allowing quick changes between AF and MF or toggle VR. Speaking of, the new Vibration Reduction system in the AF-P 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6E VR is rated at 4.5 stops according to the CIPA standard.

Availability has not been announced yet but it will retail for a suggested price of $750 USD or $1030 CAD. B&H Photo and Adorama are already accepting pre-orders.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2017.06.30

MindShift Gear unveiled a new line up camera slings yesterday morning. The new PhotoCross series starts with 2 models each available in 2 colors. These Slings are unlike any other ones on the market and designed for both comfort and easy of gear access.

Mindshift Gear PhotoCross

PhotoCross slings are designed for outdoor use with waterproof fabrics and protective seam-sealed rain covers for heavy downpours. Like traditional slings, they move from the back to the front of the photographer to provide quick access and get out of the way easily. These new offers from MindShift Gear go one step further by improving comfort while worn as backpack with a 3-point harness and retractable belt.

The PhotoCross comes in two sizes and colors, Orange Ember and Carbon Grey. The PhotoCross 10 fits an ungripped DSLR and one to two lenses, plus a 10” tablet, or a Mirrorless body and three to five lenses, plus a 10” tablet. The PhotoCross 13 fits an ungripped DSLR, two to four lenses, including a 70–200mm f/2.8, and some 13” laptops.

FEATURES AND BENEFITS

  • ? Dedicated, padded pocket fits a tablet or a laptop (10 = 10” tablet, 13 = some 13” laptops)
  • ? Easy rotation for rapid access to gear and accessories
  • ? 3-point harness for stabilization with tuck-away waist belt
  • ? Secure your bag by linking the zipper pulls together
  • ? Water bottle pocket locks in most 1 liter bottles
  • ? Breathable 320G air-mesh back panel keeps your back cool during long days
  • ? Internal zippered pockets for batteries, memory cards or other small accessories
  • ? Easily accessible front pocket for filters, snacks, or a light layer
  • ? T-pulls are easily gripped with or without gloves
  • ? Top and side carry handles
  • ? Fully customizable interior dividers for photo or personal gear
  • ? Seam-sealed rain cover included for downpour conditions

MATERIALS

Exterior: All fabric exterior is treated with a durable water resistant coating while fabric underside is coated with polyurethane for superior water resistance, YKK® weather resistant zippers, 420D high-density nylon, heavy-duty nylon Tarpaulin, 350g air mesh, nylon webbing, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.

Interior: Removable closed-cell foam dividers, P210D liner, polyurethane backed velex liner, 2x polyurethane coated 210T seam-sealed taffeta rain cover, nylon binding tape, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.

PhotoCross 10

  • ? Internal Dimensions: 7.1” W x 12.5” H x 4.8” D (18 x 31.8 x 12.2 cm)
  • ? External Dimensions: 11” W x 15.9” H x 6.3” D (28 x 40.5 x 16 cm)
  • ? Tablet compartment: 8.2” x 11” x 0.6” (20.8 x 27.9 x 1.5 cm)
  • ? Maximum weight (with all accessories): 2.1 lbs (1.0 kg)
  • ? Shoulder strap length: 42.5–62.2” (108–158 cm) (includes length of product)
  • ? Waist belt length: up to 61” (155 cm) (includes length of product)
  • ? Volume: 7.5 liters

PhotoCross 13

  • ? Internal Dimensions: 9.4” W x 14.2” H x 5.5” D (24 x 36 x 14 cm)
  • ? External Dimensions: 12.6” W x 17.7” H x 7.1” D (32 x 45 x 18 cm)
  • ? Laptop compartment: 9.1” x 13” x 1” (23 x 33 x 2.5 cm)
  • ? Maximum weight (with all accessories): 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg)
  • ? Shoulder strap length: 42.5–62.2” (108–158 cm) (includes length of product)
  • ? Waist belt length: up to 63.8” (162 cm) (includes length of product)
  • ? Volume: 11 liters

These new slings are available immediately directly from the MindShift Gear website.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2017.06.30

Coinciding with International Camera Day, Canon has released the successor to two lesser known series of DSLRs.

Canon EOS Rebel SL2

The Canon EOS Rebel SL2, also known as the EOS 200D outside of North America, is a new small-form-factor DSLR which follows the excellent Canon EOS Rebel SL1 reviewed here already over 4 years ago. The SL1 is the smallest APS-C DSLR on the market and the new SL2 is just a few milimetres wider while featuring a completely new imaging pipeline and revised ergonomics.

The new Canon EOS Rebel SL2 is built around a 24 megapixels APS-C (1.6X Crop) CMOS sensor with Dual-Pixel CMOS which can perform Phase-Detect Autofocus at every pixel. This technology, unique to Canon, allows smooth focus transition when using Live-View and video capture. The sensor is paired with the latest Digic 7 processor to handle the larger amount of data from the 24 MP Dual-Pixel sensor and record full 1080p HD video at 60 FPS, up from 30 FPS for the SL1. The new sensor and processor combination allow the SL2 to shoot at 5 FPS instead of 4 FPS and has a full stop more sensitivity, reaching ISO 25600, expandable to 51200.

While the SL2 lost the essential high-start sensor, it gains WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE and NFC capabilities. It also has a versatile but definitely fragile rotating LCD. The optical viewfinder still remains at 0.87X magnification with 95% coverage which is typical for an entry-level DSLR. To see the complete list of specification differences between the SL2 and SL1, use our Digital Camera Compare Tool.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II follows the original 6D launched almost 5 years ago. The Mark II version is extremely similar to its predecessor, even inheriting its fatal flaw which make it unpopular in the first place. Externally, very little has changed other than the removal of the infrared receiving port in favor a 3-pin wired connector and a rotating hinge for the rear LCD. Besides those two changes, it would be extremely hard to tell the 6D Mark II and 6D apart.

Internal changes though are substantial. There is a completely new imaging pipeline starting with an all-new 26 megapixels Dual-Pixel CMOS sensor with Phase-Detect AF at every pixel. Just like the SL2, this lets the 6D Mark II focus smoothly and continuously during Live-View and video capture. The same Digic 7 processor also lets the 6D Mark II record full 1080p HD video at 60 FPS. The new sensor has a standard sensitivity range of 100-40,000, expandable to 50-102400, gaining only a little in the standard range. The 6D Mark II is much faster than its predecessor and can shoot continuously at 6.5 FPS rather than 4.5 FPS.

The dedicated autofocus system has been completely changed too. The 6D Mark II uses a 45-point All-Cross-Type Phase-Detect AF system when shooting with the optical viewfinder. Speaking of the OVF, Canon still cropped it in the Mark II version, albeit with 1% more viewing area, giving it 98% coverage. Still 98% is not 100% and that will certainly keep the 6D Mark II out of the hands of serious photographers. From Canon’s perspective though, this 2% crop will keep serious photographers paying for the more-costly Canon EOS 5D Mark IV which is better in almost every way.

The 6D Mark II, like its predecessor, features a built-in GPS which records position and elevation, but not orientation like the 5D Mark IV. Its body is weatherproof and offers a hot-shoe but not a built-in flash. New to the Canon EOS 6D Mark II is built-in Bluetooth 4.1 LE and NFC.

The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 is expected to ship this August for $600 USD. The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is also expected to ship around the same time, although with a suggested price of $2000 USD.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2017.06.20

Version 3 of Neocamera is entering BETA today. The new 2017 edition features a refined design and dynamic layout to accommodate a greater variety of devices than ever before. As many as 25% of our readers are using mobile devices now, many of them have low resolutions compared to computer and even laptop displays.

The new version is designed to be faster and use less bandwidth than the previously. Last week, we quietly rolled out HTTPS support across servers, so every page is now accessible via SSL for greater privacy and security.

All generic sections of the site now automatically switch between 3 widths of layout and support devices as small as 640 pixels wide. Nothing smaller will be supported as there are not many devices that small being sold anymore, so those are not expected to remain in the market for long. Neocamera BLOG will be transitioned as a secondary priority since it is already less wide than the main site and all important content already fits within screens 640-pixels wide.

It is a BETA. There will be glitches and wide pages still need to be transitioned one at a time which will happen over the next months. Some pages by their nature are infinitely wide and those simply shall remain scrollable sideways just as they always were. This includes all search, comparaison and listing pages.

Note that those who visited Neocamera yesterday will have out-of-date files in their cache. Should things look strange, make sure to refresh your browser. Some require two refreshes or SHIFT-Refresh to update dependent files such as CSS and Javascript.

While this Neocamera BETA has already been tested numerous browser, operating system and device combinations, there are many more out there and if things still look wrong after refreshing your cache, those using HTML 5 capable browsers can report problems. Just fill out the Report Problem form accessible from the BETA label above the Neocamera logo.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2017.06.05

Nearly all digital cameras, including all DSLRs and nearly every mirrorless ever made, show a view recorded through the lens. By definition, DSLRs use an optical viewfinder which makes it the easiest to see subtle changes in the view when using filters such as a polarizer.

A Circular Polarizer, further referred to simply as Polarizer, is a special filter which filters out light with a certain polarization. It is used to diminish the effect for haze and reflection which results in increased saturation when taking photos of nature. When shooting through glass, a polarizer helps see more clearly by reducing surface reflections. Here is an unpolarized shot of the Cotopaxi:

First is to know when to put it on and when not too:

  • It is not advisable to keep a polarizer on constantly, although some people who do that, because usually reduces light by 2 stops. The only exception to this are Hoya HD filters which reduce light by just one stop. This forces the camera to either use a slower shutter-speed, which makes things that move blurry, or higher ISO which makes images more grainy.
  • Polarizers are not useful in dull or diffuse light. They only have an effect when the polarization of light differs sufficiently.
  • They are useful in bright directional light and you should see the effect right away when it is. Even in bright light, their effect is strongest at 90-degrees from the sun. If you are shooting into the sun or directly away, there will be very little difference.
  • Polarizers are not recommended for ultra-wide-angle lenses, due to the previous point. Specifically, if the scene being photographed includes light that is parallel and perpendicular relative to the sun, the polarizer will only affect part of the light and results will look very strange.

Here is the same scene of the Cotopaxi taken with a Hoya HD Circular Polarizer mounted:

Note how details are more visible on the side of the volcano. There are also more details in the snow-covered area which are highly reflective. The biggest difference in this scene though is a change in color. The sky blue is actually caused by light bouncing in the air between water and dust particules. When the polarizer is in effect, a notable proportion of the blue goes away, making vegetation look greener and more saturated.

Second is how to use a polarizer:

  • Looking through the viewfinder, frame your shot, zooming if necessary, then rotate the outer ring of the polarizer. Make sure the filter has been screwed sufficiently tight. Otherwise, you’ll unscrew the whole thing and it can fall to its death.
  • Rotate the ring until you see the most pleasing image. Generally the sky gets darker to a point and then start brightening up. At the darkest point, the effect is maximal but you may not want to go that far if it makes the scene look unnatural, such as the sky being much darker than the foreground.
  • Polarizers also remove reflections. If that is the goal, rotate the ring until you see the least reflection where you want it to go away. It is rare that it disappears entirely unless the surface is completely flat.

Here is the final shot of the Cotopaxi with the Circular Polarizer rotated to maximize its effect:

One can see here that there are more details throughout the image and that colors appear more natural. Another thing to note is that all images are about the same brightness despite the polarizer cutting down light significantly. In all these cases, the camera has set to Aperture Priority mode with the aperture set to F/6.7. Since these were captured using a 250mm lens, the shutter-speed stayed at 1/250s for all shots. Auto ISO was on though, so the camera took the three shots at ISO 200, 400 and 800, respectively. Without Auto ISO the camera would have changed the shutter-speed, potentially causing some blurring. For those shooting in Manual mode, one must change a parameter manually to compensate for the loss of light.

Finally, it is completely worth investing in a quality polarizer. The effect cannot be replicated by software and a poor polarizer can introduce flare. The Hoya HD series not only transmits more light then competitors, it is also made of hardened glass which protects it from impact. They are also coated with a water and grease repellent layer to make cleaning easier. Currently, the Hoya HD3 is the cream-of-the-crop of polarizers. Just make sure to get the right size!

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

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