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Archive for 2020

2020.10.15

In an unsurprising move, Fujifilm is now the latest digital camera company to introduce a mirrorless which favors vlogging and selfies over photography. This morning, the new Fujifilm X-S10 was unveiled, presumably the first in a series of compact mirrorless cameras with greater automation than anything else on the market. A long time ago, when Fujifilm made compact cameras with their unique EXR sensor, they introduced automatic modes which were as close to magic as any digital camera ever made!

Fujifilm X-S10

The core of the new Fujifilm X-S10 is the familiar 26 megapixels X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor which demonstrated exceptional performance in numerous cameras, most recently the excellent Fujifilm X-T4 reviewed here. This sensor uses a 6×6 Pseudo-Random Color-Filter Area to allow critical sharpness by omitting an Anti-Alias Filter without falling prone to moire.  The 4th-generation sensor also includes an incredible 2.1 million Phase-Detect elements with extreme sensitivity to light, reaching an unprecedented ability to autofocus down to -7 EV. Fujifilm also announced that sensitivity will be available retroactively on the X-T4 via a firmware update in the near future!

Smaller and much lighter camera than the flagship X-T4, mostly by omitting weatherproof construction, the X-S10 manages to squeeze in a new 5-axis image-stabilization system, effective to 6-stops which just ½-stops shy of the X-T4.  The lightweight mirrorless camera still manages to pack dual control-dials, an 8-way focus joystick, a builtin EVF with Eye-Start sensor and a builtin flash in a 465g body. This is quite an achievement which allows Fujifilm to emphasize the size-advantage of APS-C cameras, something which cannot be said of their high-end offerings.

The most noteworthy differences between the X-S10 and the compact X-T30 which sports the same 26 MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor are design are automation. The body of this new camera is more curved for added comfort over long periods and its combination of dual control-dials and traditional mode-dial are simpler to handle in different camera orientations. At the back of the camera, a 3″ LCD is mounted on a rotating hinge which allows selfies to be captured and filmed while keeping an eye on framing. This, of course, is cumbersome when capturing images at low and high angles compared to the tilting displays on other X-series mirrrorless.

Automation reaches another level on the X-S10. Additionally to selecting exposure parameters and tuning them according to a computed scene mode, this new mirrorless can adjust nearly every image rendering parameter, including Fujifilm’s own expansive Film Simulation Modes and fine-tuning images with custom tone-curves and clarity determines by scene analysis.

The rest of the specifications from the X-S10 are state-of-the-art and closely match other 4th generation Fujifilm mirrorless digital cameras. The 26 MP sensor creates a virtual 425-Point Phase-Detect AF system and its hybrid shutter can reach speeds of 1/32,000s to freeze extremely fast action. Long Bulb exposures up to an hour are also possible to capture scenes in near-darkness. Full-resolution images can be captured at 20 FPS which rises to 30 FPS with an additional 1.25X crop-factor. Video recording is highly sophisticated with support for cinematic resolutions of 4096×2160 at 30 FPS and 2048×1080 at 60 FPS. Full HD can be captured up to 240 FPS.

It hard to image the Fujifilm X-S10 not being another runaway success when it hits the shelves next month for just $1000 USD or $1350 CAD. We highly recommend those interesting in taking the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor vlogging to preorder soon. Our reputable affiliates are already accepting preorders at no additional cost and will not charge you until the camera ships: Adorama and B&H Photo.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.10.15

During a live presentation this morning, Fujifilm released the long-expected refresh of their first ultra-wide zoom for the X-mount. Shortly after launching their entirely new mirrorless platform with a handful of prime lenses, Fujifilm started expanding the lineup and on the second year, they added the XF 10-24mm F/4R OIS. This ultra-wide zoom delivers exceptional image-quality in very light form-factor but in hindsight missed weather-sealing since Fujifilm had not introduced any weatherproof mirrorless yet.

The X-platform turned into one of the biggest successes among mirrorless and was quickly adopted by professionals which prompted Fujifilm to create  the X-T1, their first weatherproof mirrorless, in early 2014. With almost 2 years of lenses already in the lineup, they produced new lenses at an unprecedented pace. The first weatherproof ultra-wide came as the spectacular and unrivaled XF 8-16mm F/2.8 LM WR which is also huge and heavy for an APS-C lens.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF10-24mm F/4R OIS WR

Today, a revised weatherproof Fujifilm Fujinon XF 10-24mm F/4R WR OIS lens was launched to deliver an ultra-wide field-of-view in a light yet professional-grade lens. Although just 2 letters in the name separate it from its predecessor, the new WR model includes a number of improvements over its predecessor in addition to being fully weatherproof and freezeproof down to -10C. The builtin image-stabilization now provides compensation for 3½-stops of shake, one stop more than the original. Although this number seems low, it was typical almost 7 years ago. Additionally. Fujifilm now started incorporating stabilization into camera bodies which can provide the new XF10-24mm F/4R WR OIS with 6½-stops of stabilization.

Nearly the same dimensions and overall design were kept which is understandable given how successful the original 10-24mm is. Internally though, the optical and mechanical construction has been completely reworked to deliver the level of performance demanded by recent X-series cameras. A new silent motors and mechanics allow the XF10-24mm F/4R WR OIS to be even lighter, at 385g, than its predecessor.

Fujfiilm switched the aperture-ring to one with a marked scale and locking mechanism to avoid accidental mode changes. This lens and its predecessor are among the view ultra-wide zooms which support standard front-mounted filters. Even with all these improvements, the price of the new XF 10-24mm F/4R WR OIS is surprisingly low at $1000 USD or $1350 CAD. It is expected to ship in November.

Reputable Adorama and B&H Photo are already accepting pre-orders for what is a guaranteed success, so pre-orders yours now to get it as soon as it becomes available.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.10.14

Today Nikon unveiled second versions of the two mirrorless cameras that originally launched the Z-platform. Two years ago, Nikon announced their second mirrorless platform. After the short-lived 1-system failed to gain traction due to its small sensor-size, Nikon decided to attack the high-end by announcing a completely new electronic lens mount with a wide diameter and short flange distance to open possibilities for ultra-bright optics with full-frame coverage. That launch saw the release of the flagship Nikon Z7 reviewed here and the exceptional Z6 reviewed here.

Nikon Z7 II

The second version of the original two Z-system cameras launched today refresh the system with twice the processing power and more memory for longer continuous shooting. The new Nikon Z7 II offers the same feature-set as the original with improved performance in multiple areas and an additional SDXC memory-card slot to complement the XQD one.

Specification wise, the Z7 II is built around a 46 megapixels Full-Frame CMOS sensor mounted on a 5-axis built-in image-stabilization system with 5-stops of efficiency. This high-resolution sensor covers an ISO 64-25600 standard sensitivity range which expands to 32-102400. An improved processor increases shooting speed by 10% and buffer-depth 3.5X for up to 82 JPEG images or 60 RAW files at 10 FPS. Video is now possible at 60 FPS in 4K Ultra-HD too.

Nikon Z6 II

Again looking identical to its sibling, the Nikon Z6 II sports a 24 megapixels CMOS sensor, also mounted on a 5-axis image-stabilization system which corrects up to 5-stops of shake, yet with larger pixels. This gives the new Z6 II a standard ISO 100-51200 sensitivity range which expands to 50-204800. Given fewer pixels to move, the Z6 II is faster than the Z7 II, and even faster than the original Z6. Its new processor can handle 14 FPS can sustain this high-speed for 147 JPEG images or 84 12-bit RAW files.  When capturing full 14-bit RAW files, the Z6 II reaches 12 FPS instead.

Nikon Z6 II

Both these models, like their predecessors, are clearly high-end mirrorless cameras with a huge array of features and weatherproof bodies. As expected by this level of camera, there are dual control-dials on each camera and a built-in EVF. The 0.5″ units used by Nikon are extremely sharp at 3.7 megapixels and offer an extra-large 0.8X magnification that provides a wide comfortable view. An essential Eye-Start Sensor automatically switches between the EVF and the rear 2.1 MP 3.2″ LCD screen. A small status display at the top provides an overview of basic camera settings.

The Z6 II and Z7 II have plenty of creative features such as 4K Time-Lapse Capture, an Interval Timer, Focus Bracketing among several bracketing options and Multiple Exposures. The shutter can now be manually set for up to 15 mins of photography in extremely low-light. A new battery adds more power to extend the battery-life of these digital cameras.

Both new models are expected this year. The Z6 II is scheduled to hit the shelves in November, while the Z7 II arrives in December. Here are retail prices and pre-ordering links from our reputable affiliates:

Given that the sensors and ergonomics of these cameras are already proven and that the introduce dual memory-card slots, the biggest criticism faced by the original Z7 and Z6, both are expected to be extremely popular. Preordering ensures to be among the first to receive the new gear but your credit-card will not get charged until cameras are shipped out to you.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.10.14

Today Canon unveiled a second generation entry-level APS-C mirrorless. The new Canon EOS M50 Mark II is built around the same 24 megapixels Dual-Pixel 1.6X-Crop APS-C as its predecessor paired with a modern DIGIC 8 processor to speed up autofocus performance.

Canon EOS M50 Mark II

This compact mirrorless remains virtually identical to its predecessor both externally and internally. The Dual-Pixel CMOS sensor is used to create a virtual 143-Point Phase-Detect AF system with continuous tracking nearly everywhere around the frame. It comes with a speedy mechanical shutter which can capture images at 10 FPS. The M50 Mark II is capable of capturing 4K Ultra-HD video at 24 FPS and 1080p at 60 FPS.

Part of the Canon M-system this mirrorless is highly compact and very light, weighing just 388g. Even being so light, can manages to fit a mid-size 0.39″ EVF with a sharp 2.4 megapixels and builtin Eye-Start Sensor. There is also a 3″ LCD on the rear with 1 megapixels mounted on a rotating hinge to help capture selfies. The interface is simple with just one control-dial.

The new Canon EOS M50 Mark II is expected to ship next month for $700 USD.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.09.30

As reported a few months ago, Olympus is continuing with their plan of selling the imaging business. A press release circulated today ads some more detail about the transactions required for the transfer of this unit to JIP. Essentially, Olympus and JIP each created a new legal corporate entity. Olympus will transfer their imaging to the new company and they will sell 95% of it to a new company created and owned by JIP.

Olympus PEN F

The novel information in this announcement is that Olympus will keep 5% of the imaging business. This small holding is insufficient to exercise control but sufficient to have their voice heard. This is a slightly better outlook than previously speculated. The remainder of the release is there to reassure customers that Olympus Image Products will continue to be developed and supported at the time of the transaction. They cannot make assurances beyond that point, so it is only of minor comfort.

Understandably this news causing more fear in an already battered market. While cellphones started the decline of the camera industry, the global pandemic drove it into the ground and Olympus is too small to withstand this turn of events. JIP is a conglomerate with no imaging experience and is likely to run the company through an optimization process that sorts out profitable products and discontinues the rest. There will probably be Olympus cameras and lenses for some time but expect development to slow down significantly and low-level offers to disappear quickly from the market.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

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