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2020.07.01

Fujifilm GF 30mm F/3.5R WR

Today Fujifilm expanded the GFX system with their second ultra-wide lens for Medium Format. The new Fujinon GF 30mm F/3.5R WR is equivalent to a 24mm prime on Full-Frame, giving the same 84° diagonal angle-of-view. This prime lens is designed to capture over 100 MP of resolution and offers a moderate aperture of F/3.5 which is similar to F/2.8 in 35mm-terms.

As part of a ultra high-end system, the GF 30mm F/3.5R WR is built with exceptional image quality and is both fully weatherproof and freezeproof to -10C.  Although it weighs 0.5kg, this is a relatively light lens in comparison to the rest of the system. A manual aperture-ring controls the aperture from F/3.5 to F/32 or leaves it on Automatic. The iris is made of 9 rounded blades to produce smooth bokeh. This lens can achieve a 0.15X magnification at its closest 32cm focus-distance.

Adorama and B&H Photo are ready to take preorders for this $1700 USD or $2300 CAD lens that is expected to ship by early August. As always, these reputable stores only charger your credit-card when the product ships while ensuring to be among the first to enjoy this new lens.

Simultaneously with the announcement of the new Fujinon GF 30mm F/3.5R WR, Fujifilm announced their most significant firmware update ever. The new 4.0 firmware upgraded the GFX 100 with video output via HDMI. Either 4K Ultra-HD or Cinema 4K, which has a slightly wider 17:9 aspect-ratio than the standard 16:9, can be output in 10-bit over HDMI at 30 FPS for recording by an external device. With this update, the GFX can simultaneously record the same video rendered with the selected Film Simulation, in F-log or HLG to an internal memory-card. Throughput of 100 to 400Mpbs are available while RAW output is supported in 4K Ultra-HD.

This firmware improves photography with new Film SimulationSmooth Skin Effect, Color Chrome Blue and better autofocus performance, including Face/Eye-Detection and Focus-Bracketing. A 2.0 firmware version for the GFX-50S and GFX-50R was also introduced to bring these photographic improvement to their respective cameras.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.06.30

Venus just launched the widest rectilinear lens ever made with full-frame coverage. Their new Laowa 9mm F/5.6 FF RL covers a spectacular 135° angle-of-view which is unmatched by any rectilinear lens on any format. This extremely wide prime lens has a F/5.6 maximum aperture which stops down manually to F/22 for a truly extensive depth-of-field. This lens is entirely manual with a mechanical focus-ring which moves the focusing plane from 12cm to infinity.

The Venus Laowa 9mm F/5.6 FF RL covers the widest-angle-of-view while preserving straight lines to produce images with a previously unseen perspective. The unusually dim maximum aperture for a prime lens allows the optics to be kept light, making the lens weigh just 350g and being only 6.3cm long. Its close-focusing capability allows this 9mm lens to offer a 0.21X magnification.

Venus is producing Sony E, Nikon Z and Leica L versions of this lens for $800 USD plus a Leica M version of $900 USD. While the lens is not threaded for filters to avoid vignetting, there is a compatible 100mm magnetic filter-holder which which Venus is giving for free with the first 100 orders.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.06.26

Just on the heals the the Sony ZV-1 launch, Panasonic introduced their own vlogging digital camera with an entirely different core. The new Panasonic Lumix G100 is a Micro Four-Thirds Mirrorless Digital Camera based around a 20 MP CMOS sensor built into a compact and lightweight body designed for self-directed videos. As a Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless, the G100 gains access to the entirely lineup of native lenses from Panasonic, Olympus and numerous third-party manufacturers. In contrast, the ZV-1 is a fixed-lens camera built around a smaller 1″ CMOS sensor paired with a bright 24 – 70mm F/1.8-2.8 optically-stabilized lens. The Panasonic is thicker and significantly taller, plus its nearly identically-specified weight does not include the lens.

Panasonic G100

The Panasonic Lumix G100 is one of the most compact mirrorless cameras currently on the market.  This is partly due to the smaller sensor-size and lens mount that Micro Four-Thirds affords. Panasonic still managed to make this camera even smaller than most by limiting moving parts to one single-curtain mechanical shutter. Originally used on the tiny GM1, this mechanical shutter allows for maximum shutter-speed of 1/500s and flash synchronization down to 1/50s while shutter-speeds from 1/16000-60s are provided by an electronic shutter. Panasonic unfortunately omitted parts that move the sensor, which includes both image-stabilization and sensor-cleaning that are lacking from the G100 compared to most modern mirrorless cameras.

Given its 20 MP Four-Thirds sensor with no Anti-Alias filter, the Panasonic G100 is guaranteed to produce superior images with great sharpness, at least when paired with a good lens. The native ISO 200-25600 range makes this camera sensitive to low-light and can be expanded down to ISO 100 when shooting in bright light. What makes this a vlogging camera is its rear rotating LCD and grip designed for front operation, plus an exceptional 3D Tracking OZO Microphone that provides directional sound tracked in real-time using information from Face-Detection. Essentially this are the similarities between the two vlogging cameras announced with week, except that the 3-capsule microphone differs.

Panasonic Lumix G100

The large prominent video recording button is easy to operate from the front as well as the front control-dial. A second rear control-dial is also included for photography. Also, and the main design choice difference compared to the Sony ZV-1, the Panasonic G100 features a high-grade 0.5″ EVF with 3.7 MP, extra-large 0.73X magnification, 100% coverage and an essential Eye-Start Sensor. Such a high-end EVF has never been used on a compact mirrorless, making the Panasonic G100 quite suitable for photography.

This camera can record 4K Ultra-HD video at 30 FPS and 1080p Full-HD video at 120 FPS. Sounds may be recorded from the built-in microphone or via an external source connected to the stereo mini-jack input. Panasonic includes plenty of video modes and full manual controls during filming, plus an Interval Timer and Time-Lapse video as well as many unique 4K modes.

The concept of vlogging camera is new and somewhat puzzling since they are basically cameras designed to record video-selfies yet video cameras are already designed for this job and most have an articulating screen already. Perhaps it is due to their lower image-quality but surely improving in that would be easier than trying to twist a photo camera into essentially doing video-selfies.

The Panasonic G100 is scheduled to ship shortly for $700 USD, including a compact collapsible kit-lens. Adorama and B&H Photo are already accepting pre-orders.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.06.24

Having just published our 1000th post, there was bound to be significant news! Although, we were hoping for something truly exciting to coincide with this milestone, current times are wreaking havoc across all industries. Most are expected to fully recover within the next year or two, yet the camera industry was already battered when the pandemic started, so casualties were eminent. Cellphones have been steadily overtaking cameras and chipping away at the camera industry for over 10 years now!

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review

Today, Olympus published a press release announcing the intent to sell their imaging business to JIP, a Japanese Conglomerate. The crucial factor highlighted in the release is that Olympus recorded losses for 3 consecutive quarters. Furthermore, camera sales are currently critically lower compared to those previously-disclosed quarters, so the next one is expected to be in the deep red. It is unusual for a company to announce this type of news with that much advance notice but offers an opportunity for Olympus to say that customer support and some operations are expected to continue, at least immediately after the handover. This is never good news though, so be ready to see most Olympus products phased out during the two years that follow.

It is very sad when a veteran of the industry falls. Olympus has been in the business for 84 years and even seemed to be keeping up the pace better than many of their peers. They co-launched the Micro Four-Thirds platform with Panasonic and a number of other companies that have yet to actually produce any useful cameras. As the longest-living mirrorless platform, Micro Four-Thirds is extremely versatile and delivers the most compact system still in production. Olympus recently updated their high-end OM-D series with third-generation cameras and launched an ultra-high-end Olympus OM-D E-M1X reviewed here last year that brought unprecedented performance to the mirrorless world. They consistently expanded the Zuiko brand of lenses with innovative products that continue to leverage the uniqueness of mirrorless technology.

This is even more worrisome for other brands that produce far fewer than Olympus for much smaller markets. Pentax is clearly the most likely to exist the business next. They lack a current mirrorless strategy and their latest DSLR that has not been refreshed for two years now. The foreshadowing of this came as they added only a few lenses to their lineup and most were rebranded models from low-grade third-party manufacturers. Hasselblad and Leica are producing even less yet they still have originality on their side. Leica in particular has a strong alliance with Panasonic which will help grow the L-system that can stretch the near-term survival of Leica.

For consumers though, having the Micro Four-Thirds platform shared by Panasonic, a much larger company than Olympus, makes it highly likely that the platform will live on and they native lenses will be usable on new bodies as Panasonic introduces new models.

Original article edited for clarity – 2020.06.24 @ 23:40 DST

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.06.19

NOTE – DxOMark revised their ranking of the 1D X Mark III with that seems like a completely different camera. None of the constituent scores match bu the result is a notably improved 91. No idea what happened by the camera now claims 24.2 bit of color, a much improved 14.5 EV of Dynamic-Range and Low-Light score of ISO 3248.

Scoring for the action-oriented professional Canon EOS 1D X Mark III was just published. This dual-grip full-frame DSLR launched this year is built around a 20 MP Dual-Pixel CMOS sensor. Its fast shutter mechanism and powerful processor allows it to continuous capture full-resolution images at 16 FPS for 1000 frames, JPEG images or RAW files. This achievement makes one of the fastest DSLRs every built.

DxO rated the Canon 1D X Mark III at 83 which is above ASP-C DSLRs are one would expect but significantly lower than any modern full-frame. This is likely due to the vast amount of additional circuitry needed to implement a dual-pixel sensor which means much more noise can occur in the system.

The constituents scores are 23.4 bit-depth, 13.4 EV of dynamic-range and a sports score of ISO 2445. While such bit-depth and dynamic-range are good and sufficient for most needs, even decade-old APS-C DSLRs can do better. Dynamic-range below 14 stops is truly disappointing for a camera launched this year!

The 1D X Mark III truly falls down with its paltry ISO 2445 low-light score. Still, it keeps proving that sensor-size is everything when it comes to noise and so this is substantially higher than any score for a camera with a smaller sensor.  Still, there is a huge gab between that level and 3730 which is the highest-score from a full-fame camera, the Sony A7 III. Even restricting ourselves to DSLRs, the Pentax K-1 scores 3280 despite being several years older.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

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