Feb 232016
 

I really got quite excited at first after learning about the new DL-line of compact cameras from Nikon all set to be delivered by June 2016 at comparatively modest prices. One inch sensor technology packed into cool looking compact camera bodies with lenses that sound up to the task and even a touch screen to top things up. Finally Nikon got the message…that was my first reaction. Then I caught up with the news. They left out the built-in EVF on both the Nikon DL24-85 f/1.8-2.8 and the Nikon DL18-50 f/1.8-2.8.

DL18-50_frontDL18-50_back DL18-50_top

 

By golly, it happened again. IMHO otherwise great new cameras have been crippled (without incorporating an EVF) and left to be more or less mediocre compared to products from competing companies. Maybe that is just me. But this will make it easy for Sony to remain in the driving seat. Even more so when they update the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV this year. That well established top-of-the-line professional compact camera already features a swell electronic viewfinder (EVF) that hardly leaves anything left to be desired. Now, if they could only make that LCD a touch screen…But if you ask me – I would gladly sacrifice the touch screen functionality for a decent EVF  – built-in of course and not only available as an accessory. That does not only leave the new Nikon cams a little too expensive for my taste (RRP without optional external EVF ranging from € 769 for the Nikon DL24-85 f/1.8-2.8 to € 959 for the Nikon DL18-50 f/1.8-2.8) but also makes these photo tools much more difficult to handle and above all cumbersome to carry and stow away.

If you have no use for electronic viewfinders and are happy shooting the way you are used to from your smart phone, these two compact Nikon cameras may be what you desire nonetheless. The lenses seem to offer a great package after all and especially the Nikon DL18-50 f/1.8-2.8 is quite unique at this point in time. 4K-video and state of the art auto focus are nice features after all. The new small DL cameras kind of remind me of the old Nikon Coolpix A – but with zoom lenses instead of fixed prime ultra wide. See my article here.

Images: Nikon Corp.

Images: Nikon Corp.

Nikon still seems to fear cannibalism when it comes to their DSLR cameras. But would customers really be put off from buying a Nikon DLSR because of a readily available Nikon compact with built-in EVF? Would there be a stampede killing off all DSLRs driving potential buyers towards mirrorless offerings? Read this if you fear the end is near 😉 .

ARGH…

 

 

Need any more infos? Check out the Nikon press release here.

Feb 052016
 

So you have seen the new press clippings and the new FUJIFILM X-Pro2 seems to be quite a monster of a camera. Should you still need the official news get hold of the link right here. If you are into Fuji stuff at all, this cam might just be the ticket. But wait…isn`t there a follow-up or refresh on the horizon for the great FUJIFILM X-T1? Sure there is!

Being a great fan of the X-T1 myself, I simply cannot get all too excited about the announcement of the X-Pro2. It has a few new features that would be nice to have. But some of these new features will probably make it to the X-T2 as well. The new 24.3MP X-TRans CMOS III sensor (or even a more recent update – see below), the joystick to quickly select AF-points and the dual card slot for SD-cards are most likely all set.

07

It boils down to whether or not you like to rather have the OVF or rather an additional hybrid viewfinder and look through the eye cup without smudging your nose against the screen (X-Pro2) or if you prefer the centered position of the EVF which will probably get updated with even faster refresh rates limiting blackout times after shutter release to a negligible limit (X-T2). It is mostly ergonomics we are talking about. The look and feel – the individual preferences each photographer obviously has.

 

01

 

02

 

But there is one more aspect to consider. The FUJIFILM X-T2 will probably not be released before the fall of 2016. By that time it is not unlikely that Sony will have given other companies access to their brand new 24MP sensor technology (e.g. that can be found in the new Sony Alpha A6300 – see my article here). Should Fuji use and adept this new sensor for the XT-2, this would further boost resolution and high ISO capabilities of the new cam. And of course the FUJIFILM X-T2 should also have a decent 4K video option on board. No doubt in my mind, the X-T2 will become the new FUJIFILM flagship. The X-Pro2 will then still be a good buy for all photographers who prefer the rangefinder experience. In any case, it is nice to have the choice.

 

03

Images: FUJIFILM Corporation

Apr 302014
 

Lupico_140225__FXE4245-2The new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100M3 is going to be even hotter than anticipated. See my earlier post here. Digicameinfo reported on a leaked manual probably showing a significant change in lens design (see this link).

Sonyalpha Rumors also has a current update on all earlier rumors. It seems the new camera will be announced tomorrow May 1. Update: Will be announced at a later date (probably mid of May). According to the rumor site Sony indeed designed the lens with an equivalent of 24mm at the wide end and even managed to make it a lot faster (f/1.8-2.8) at the cost of ending up at 70mm at the long end. See this link to get the details there.

A few things I mentioned in my post end of February seem not to have made it to the finished product though. Whilst the screen will probably be tiltable, there is no mention of a touch functionality. The reason for this is the rumored integrated EVF. If true, this is big news indeed! The previous Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100M2 is a magnificent little camera as it stands. With the EVF included with most other technical specifications left untouched (including body size and sensor), IMHO the competition will be left in the dust.

Sony leaving out the 4K video would be a bit of a disappointment but the rumored XAVC S format is not that bad either.

Another home run for Sony so it seems. But it won’t come cheap. Maybe it is time to get a good deal on a previous version RX100 – if you can resist the temptation of buying the new premium compact camera with the built-in EVF.

Aug 092013
 

_DSC3074

The previous marketing campaign for the “Mini M” was seen as misleading by many Leicaphiles who were hoping for a new kind of Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILC) with some brand new features from Leica. All they got was the Leica X Vario Typ 107. The final unveiling of this camera was a great disappointment (at least to me) and certainly was not what most people were expecting. See my earlier report via this link.

Now there is a bit of hope for all who have patiently waited for a Leica mirrorless camera with better features giving an alternative to the bigger, manual focus Leica M.

Several sites have reported a recent filing of a Leica C (Typ 112) with the Taiwan National Communications Commission (NCC) – see this link at digicame-info if your Japanese is any good at all 😉 .

There are not many infos you can derive from that except that the new camera will have built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. That fact and the tentative preliminary naming “Leica C” does suggest that there will be some kind of camera featuring an M-mount and possibly some other cool features. Maybe this will indeed turn out to be what many Leica followers were expecting the clumsily advertised “Mini M” to be in the first place.

The new camera will probably be announced this fall or next spring. In a recent interview published on Focus Numerique the CEO of Leica Camera AG, Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, almost said as much when he hinted at some new interesting products that would be introduced in this specific time span. Since he also stated that Leica is working on other solutions for the full format, this could even point to a full-frame solution for the Leica C Typ 112. Then again it might turn out to be just another point and shoot Panasonic clone.

 

My personal wish list for a new Leica C:

  • built-in Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) or possibly even hybrid OVF/EVF (but that is too much to hope for…)
  • 24 MP APS-C CMOS sensor without anti-aliasing filter (better still full frame…but let`s not get overexcited 😉 )
  • Auto-Focus
  • M-mount
  • 2 or 3 new zoom and prime AF-lenses to kick off the new line
  • compact camera body dimensions (comparable to Fuji X-E1)
  • body price below €4.500 / $6.000

 

That is about it. If this camera came true, it might entice a lot of photo enthusiasts to buy into this system. Alas, I am not convinced. I am pretty sure, Leica will not endanger their Leica M Typ 240 by introducing a strong competitor with features bettering the professional system. Building up another line of lenses is equally unrealistic. But maybe they should, to keep up with the game.

We shall see what Leica will do in the next few weeks to promote the new camera. I am sure they have learned the painful lesson not to proclaim greatness and then just deliver another perceived mediocre product that tees off a great score of their loyal customers.

 

May 232013
 

Leica today announced that it is going to add a new “family member” to the M line of cameras. They are teasing on their website and on Facebook with the image you can see below. A new Mini M does not come as a complete surprise but the timing of the announcement might have caught a few Leica followers off-guard.

The question is, what will the new camera have to offer? It is slotted right in between the full-frame M and the X2. This new Mini M could well be the highly anticipated APS-C version of an M-mount camera with Live View, maybe even featuring the previously missing built-in EVF (electronic viewfinder).

The OVF (optical viewfinder) would remain available only in the “big M” but all the M glass could still be strapped on. This is the most likely scenario although there are a huge number of Leica fans who would pray for a full-frame version of the “big M” with only the rangefinder removed in favor of a built-in EVF (see my report on the M Typ 240 for details on that). Either way, it should make the Mini M more affordable and it could serve as an ideal backup body for many.

Of course there is also a slight chance of the new Mini M appearing in the dress of the X2 with a fixed lens, APS-C and possibly a built-in EVF. This might not produce cheers all around but nevertheless it might put Leica back on track to counter the sales of cameras such as the Fuji X100s and Sony RX1. If it had the full-frame sensor of the M Typ 240 it too would be very well received (assuming it was priced accordingly). We will find out – in less than 3 weeks time…

Image: Leica Camera AG

Image: Leica Camera AG

May 152013
 


According to Olympus, their newly announced mirrorless E-P5 is an homage to the PEN F which was one of the milestones for the company 50 years ago. Back then the PEN F happened to be one of the smallest portable film cameras with interchangeable lenses and quite affordable compared to bulkier SLR systems at the time.

The E-P5 wants to follow in the footsteps of its great ancestor offering the latest digital camera technology in a retro-design lightweight all-metal body. Indeed, Olympus takes pride in proclaiming the “best-ever image quality achieved by a PEN“.

These are some of the basic specs:

  • seamless full-metal body design with no visible screws
  • 16MP CMOS sensor (same as E-M5)
  • 2 x 2 Dial Control system with 2 metal dials and a switch for full manual control
  • new mechanical shutter allowing speeds up to 1/8000th second
  • up to 9 frames per second burst mode
  • focus peaking
  • 5-axis image stabilization
  • fast auto focus with Super Spot AF and Touch Shutter AF
  • high resolution touch LCD (approx. 1 million dot resolution)
  • built-in flash
  • WiFi with smartphone interactivity
  • priced at € 999 / $ 1.399 body only and available from June 2013
  • bundle with optional viewfinder VF-4 and 17mm f1.8 lens possible

ID: 3586

 

The listed specs show this camera has a lot going for it. When comparing the OM-D E-M5 to this newly announced E-P5 you can`t help but notice the PEN is the technologically more advanced camera. It incorporates WiFi, focus peaking and a higher resolution touch screen. The mechanical shutter with speeds up to 1/8000 will be a good enough reason for many to choose the latest PEN as their go-to camera or as a backup to rival even the latest DSLRs. High speed can be of great benefit when wider apertures need to be used in bright lighting conditions or if motion freeze is of importance (e.g. when shooting sports).

ID: 3554

 

The OM-D has something up its sleeve though: It has the built-in EVF most serious photographers demand. And it has to be considered that the PEN will be a lot less pocketable with the separate viewfinder on top. But for most users the 3“ tilt-angle screen with its 1 million dot resolution will probably be all that is needed to check for composition. Personally I do not fancy cameras without built-in EVF or OVF – but many people just do not care or even see the external viewfinder as an advantage e.g. because it can easily be upgraded to newer versions when they appear on the market.

ID: 3602 ID: 3865

 

The OM-D also has weather sealing and might eventually come a little cheaper than the E-P5 when bought with the additional VF-4. If you want the best of both worlds you will have to hang around for the OM-D successor or the rumored OM-D pro, one of which might appear late 2013 or early next year. That is, if you are into Micro Four Thirds at all and don`t need bigger sensors for even better resolution.

But resolution and pixel peeping is not what Micro Four Thirds is all about. It is more about size and speed and this is where the new EP-5 excels. Apart from the above mentioned shutter speeds this PEN also features incredibly fast contrast detect auto focus. Choosing a very small AF point will enable very high precision focussing with minimal shutter lag. This is very useful when doing macro photography.

Users of Apple or Android smart phones will be able to operate the camera remotely. It will even be possible to embed GPS information using the Olympus Image Share 2.0 software.

The current range of Olympus lenses for Micro Four Thirds

When it comes to lenses for mirrorless systems, there is nothing like Micro Four Thirds. Favorite focal lengths can be picked from a wide pool of more than 40 lenses not only made by Olympus but also produced by Panasonic (who jointly developed Micro Four Thirds with Olympus). Aside from that there are numerous third party lenses available from Tamron, Sigma, Voigtlander and other manufacturers.

 

Manual focus can be a lot more precise with the added Focus Peaking finally also made available in this Olympus camera. Manual control of the camera should be a breeze in general. Olympus uses dual function thumbwheels on the rear and front of the camera. This „2×2 dial control“ also comprises a switch that enables choosing 2 different settings alternately. If you get to know your way around you can easily switch between iso and white balance or aperture and exposure time setting for example.

Shooters that prefer not to do too much in post processing will enjoy the numerous digital art filters or scene modes such as Cross Process and High Key. Not to forget video: H.264 stereo recording with a resolution up to 1920 x 1080 (30p) is possible and should be adequate for most non-professional filming needs.

 

All in all this little cam could be just the ticket for fans of Micro Four Thirds. The stylish metal body design without visible screws (except for on the base of the camera) will appeal to photography enthusiasts that are not easily attracted to more modern looking designs (e.g. Sony NEX) and prefer full manual control and tech features that can usually only be found on much larger DSLRs.

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