Review: Laowa 17mm f1.8 Lens with Micro-Four-Thirds Mount

The post Review: Laowa 17mm f1.8 Lens with Micro-Four-Thirds Mount appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Mark C Hughes.

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The new Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens for MFT

There are a lot of gear reviews for new photography gear. Many focus on technical specifications and others focus on sharpness and precision of the optics. I had a chance to spend a few weeks with the Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens for Micro-Four-Thirds (MFT) mount. This is a bit of a different lens that requires a slightly different approach to a review. I am hoping this approach will help you decide if this is a lens for you.

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The New Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens is a fully manual compact design with metal construction, a small metal hood and clear markings on the barrel

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This lens fits 46mm threaded filters (common for MFT)

Technical Specifications

I will run through the technical specifications of the Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens as they have some interesting but limited impact on this review (aside from the price). As a 17mm lens on an MFT mount, this has a corresponding field of view that corresponds to a 34mm lens on a full-frame (FF) sensor (65 degrees). The lens has nine elements in seven groups with a seven-bladed iris. The filter diameter is 46 mm, and the weight is 172g. It is not weather-sealed, and the MSRP is $149USD.

Image: Works great even in low light conditions

Works great even in low light conditions

Practical details

Aside from the mathematics of technical specifications, I think a lens review should provide more practical details. Details that describe the intangibles about the lens. Things you only realize when you have the lens in your hand or on your camera.

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Perfectly balanced with smaller MFT camera bodies like the Pen F

For starters, this is a completely manual lens with manual focus and manual aperture control.

It is a small but solid – really solid – lens with metal construction and even a small metal lens hood (not much shading from this guy). This lens does not feel plastic-y in any way shape or form. The movement of the aperture ring and focus control feels great, and the aperture ring has quiet click settings (it is not clickless but moves easy) and the markings on the focus ring are clear.

This lens feels like something from the best film era vintage lenses and is well-sized to match the size of smaller MFT camera bodies.

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Works well with the Olympus EM5 MK II

Focal range

At 34mm FF equivalent, the Laowa 17mm f1.8 is a prime lens size that, along with a 50mm FF equivalent, should be in any photographer’s bag. Some famous photographers have operated with only lenses in this range. At a 34mm FF equivalent, it provides a relatively wide field of view and a more forgiving range for focus. Wider lenses tend to be more forgiving when trying to focus them. With the manual focus on this lens, not getting focus perfect can still result in usable images.

Image: Because it has a wide field of view, you can get pretty close.

Because it has a wide field of view, you can get pretty close.

Image: Once the focus is set, the lens performs well.

Once the focus is set, the lens performs well.

Sharpness

As for image quality, the lens does reasonably well. It is not the sharpest (even when you nail focus) and it is clear that when fully wide open, the lens is sharper in the center of the image but softer at the edges. Saying this doesn’t really describe the image results from this lens. The image is sharp where it needs to be and softer where is it okay to be softer. The look from the lens is great. In addition, the seven-bladed iris produces very nice starbursts when closed down for night shots of light sources.

Image: Even with close-ups, there are little problems resolving the images and little vignetting.

Even with close-ups, there are little problems resolving the images and little vignetting.

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The seven-bladed iris allows for very nice starbursts at night

Size

As for size and usability, this Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens fits smaller MFT bodies really well (like a Pen F) and looks a little dwarfed on a bigger body (like an EM1X). Not only does this lens fit well on smaller bodies, but it looks entirely old school like the cameras that are going for that stylistic approach.

I had many people asking me if I was shooting with a film camera when I had this lens on my Pen F. I seemed to reinforce this feeling when I tried to focus and take a photograph and took forever. This is not a run-and-gun lens.

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The lens is small and can seem overly-small on larger MFT bodies

Old-school feel and slow approach to photography

I am old enough to have shot film with manual film cameras. I thought I had left that all behind to use all the technical horsepower in modern cameras to really nail technically-challenging circumstances trying to get the best images. As a consequence, I had forgotten about the slower process of taking photographs when all you had was a split prism and a needle for a light meter.

When you connect a manual lens on an MFT camera, you operate primarily with the histogram/light meter to get a good exposure. You have to think about ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and focus. It takes time.

Image: Fun to experiment with when you have the time

Fun to experiment with when you have the time

Slow photography is like slow food

I remember years ago traveling in Italy and going to a slow food restaurant.

The whole concept with slow food is to make it more of an experience and to take time to savor the flavors and textures. I think shooting with a manual lens is similar. It means that you are shooting slower and have to think way more about your images – no run and gun.

Slow photography is forced on you when you shoot with this type of lens. With cell phones, you pull them out and shoot. You barely focus. There is no thought to the process, and maybe that means that people can focus on the subject matter of their images. However, at other times, it means that you really aren’t thinking much about the images you are taking.

Image: Despite being quite a wide lens, there is little obvious distortion with the Laowa 17mm f1.8...

Despite being quite a wide lens, there is little obvious distortion with the Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens.

Nailing focus

Trying to nail focus with a manual focus lens also means you have to slow down. Back in the old manual focus film camera days, you had split prisms and micro prisms in your viewfinder to help you get your focus right. These tools are not available on modern digital cameras.

However, with mirrorless bodies on MFT cameras, you have other tools at your disposal including magnification and focus peaking. I was able to custom set my camera’s buttons to allow me to set one button for magnification and another for focus peaking. It’s still not fast, but it worked fairly well.

Image: Even for moving subjects, such as from a balloon, once you have your exposure and focus set,...

Even for moving subjects, such as from a balloon, once you have your exposure and focus set, it performs like any other lens.

This magic of this type of lens is that you need to slow down and think about the image you are composing. You need to think about everything from ISO to aperture to shutter speed and finally focus. If any are off, you can instantly see that you have screwed up. If you think back to the film days, it wouldn’t be until you got your images developed that you would know you messed up. When I was using this lens, I knew immediately when I screwed up, even when I thought I had all the settings right.

Image: Limited distortion even for buildings

Limited distortion even for buildings

That process of slowing down and understanding what you are doing was a great deal of fun. The lens was wide enough and fast enough (aperture wise, not in any other way) that I would feel comfortable taking only this lens out to take some shots.

Not for the faint of heart

Slow means you can’t shoot fast. This seems obvious, but when someone says to you, “take our picture, “…they pose and wait for you. This lens will not do that quickly, regardless of how good you are.

You can take portraits, but you need to plan the shots and be ready when the opportunity comes up. An old street photography trick used to be to set your exposure with an intermediate aperture, put your focus at 3 feet, and point and shoot. In practice, this is not quite so simple. Nailing the exposure is a little trickier because you need to be looking through the lens to get the exposure balanced.

Image: This lens is great to travel with because of its width and small size

This lens is great to travel with because of its width and small size

The Results

I really enjoyed the Laowa 17mm f1.8 prime lens. I have other similar prime lenses, but all are equipped with autofocus and electronic apertures. They also feel pretty plastic. They are more expensive, but sharper. This lens feels great, is super-solid, shoots well and needs lots of attention to your images. It forces you to shoot like a photographer. You feel like a photographer. It also makes you look like a photographer.

At $149 USD, the Laowa 17mm f1.8 lens is quite the value. My images turned out great and I fell in love with taking slower pictures again. I had a chance to slow down and smell the roses, or in this case, take more deliberate thoughtful images.

Would you use a lens like this? Share with us in the comments below.

The post Review: Laowa 17mm f1.8 Lens with Micro-Four-Thirds Mount appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Mark C Hughes.

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Used Camera Gear

The post 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Used Camera Gear appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Questions to Ask Before Buying Used Camera Gear

I’ve bought a lot of used gear over the last decade.

Cameras.

Lenses.

Batteries.

And more.

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A lot of those purchases turned out great. Some of them I still use to this day.

But a large chunk of the used purchases I made?

Trash.

In fact, in my more naive years, I was forced to return over 50% of the gear that I purchased. There were just so many problems: sand in focusing rings, stains on the front element, shutter buttons that couldn’t communicate with the shutter. (Oh, and my least favorite: Fungus inside the lens. Doesn’t that just make you shiver?)

And here’s the kicker:

I bought all of this gear through respectable buyers, who described the equipment as in “excellent condition,” “flawless,” “perfect,” “like new,” – you name it.

It got so bad that I considered leaving the used market entirely and just buying new. But I resisted.

Why?

Used camera gear is a real bargain – if you buy carefully. This is why I took all of my negative gear-buying experiences and turned them into a process for making sure I purchased good used gear.

At the core of that process is a series of questions. Questions that I’m going to share with you today. Some of the questions are for you, the buyer. Others should be posed to the seller before you put any cash down.

Are you ready to discover how to buy used gear effectively?

Let’s get started!

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Question 1: Are you buying from a reputable seller with a money-back guarantee?

This is the number one most important thing that you should do when buying used gear.

Purchase from a seller that you trust – and that gives you an enforceable money-back guarantee. You don’t want to purchase a camera online, only to find that it’s full of water damage and sports a cracked LCD.

This means that buying used through Amazon is fine. All of their products are backed by Amazon month-long guarantees.

Buying used through eBay is also fine. Ebay’s buyer protection ensures that you’re not going to get ripped off in such an obvious fashion.

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Used Camera Gear

But this makes most forums (if not all forums) off-limits. If the forum doesn’t have a serious money-back guarantee that’s honored by the site itself, then stay away.

This also makes in-person sales off-limits, such as those done through Craigslist. Sure, you can inspect the item upon receipt, but what are you going to do when you get home, put that lens under a light, and realize it’s filled with an army of fungus?

It’ll be too late, and your seller may not be so receptive to a return.

So just don’t do it. Instead, use sites like Amazon, eBay, B&H, or KEH, which all have clear money-back guarantees.

Question 2: Does the seller include actual pictures of the gear?

Sellers not including pictures is a big warning sign, especially on a website like eBay, where pictures are the norm. It should make you ask: Why doesn’t the seller want to show off their “excellent condition” item? Is there something they’re trying to hide?

Another red flag is only showing a stock photo. These are easy to spot; they look way better than anything that a casual, eBay-selling photographer would have taken, and there tends to be only one or two of them.

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Used Camera Gear

If you like the price and everything else checks out, then go ahead and shoot the seller an email, asking for in-depth pictures of the item. If the seller refuses, then it’s time to look elsewhere.

You might come across some sellers who are offering many units of the same item (e.g., five Canon 7D Mark II’s). In this case, they likely have shown a stock photo, or a photo of one item, because they don’t want to go through the effort of photographing each piece of kit.

In such cases, you should message the seller and ask for pictures of the exact item that you’ll be purchasing. It’s too easy, especially with these big sellers, to end up with an item that you’ll have to send back.

Question 3: How many shutter actuations has the camera fired?

(Note: This section is for buying cameras.)

First things first: A shutter actuation refers to a single shot taken with a camera.

Every camera has a number of actuations its shutter is rated for. Once the shutter has reached around that point, it just…fails. While you can get the shutter replaced, it generally costs enough that you’re probably better off buying a new camera body.

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Used Camera Gear

If you want to know the shutter actuation rating of any particular camera, you can look it up through a quick Google search.

Of course, the shutter rating isn’t a hard and fast rule. There are some cameras that go far beyond their predicted shutter count, and there are some cameras that fail far sooner. The shutter count is just an average.

Now, when you look at camera listings online, you’ll see that shutter actuations are reported about fifty percent of the time.

But the other fifty percent of the time, there will be no mention of them.

This is for three possible reasons:

  1. The seller doesn’t know about the importance of shutter actuations.
  2. The seller can’t figure out how to determine the shutter actuations for their camera.
  3. The seller doesn’t wish to share the shutter count because it won’t help the sale.

I would never buy a camera without knowing its shutter count. Therefore, I recommend reaching out to the seller and asking.

If the seller refuses to share the count, then let the camera go. If the seller claims they don’t know how to view the shutter count, explain that they should be able to find it easily, either within the camera itself or through a website such as https://www.camerashuttercount.com/.

If they still won’t give you the count, then don’t buy. It’s not worth risking it.

Question Four: Does the lens have any blemishes on the glass, fungus, scratches, haze, or problems with the focusing ring?

(Note that this is for purchasing lenses.)

This is a question to ask the seller, and I suggest you do it every single time you make a purchase.

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Used Camera Gear

Yes, the seller may be annoyed by your specific question. But this is a transaction; it’s not about being nice to the seller! And I’ve never had someone refuse to sell to me because I annoyed them with questions.

In fact, what makes this question so valuable is that it often forces sellers to actually consider the equipment they’re selling. Up until this point, the seller may not have really thought about some of these things. So it can act as a bit of a wake-up call and make the seller describe the item beyond “excellent condition.”

When you ask this question, make it clear that you want a detailed description. You genuinely want the seller to check for scratches on the glass, fungus in the lens, problems with the focusing ring, and more. You don’t want a perfunctory examination.

Unfortunately, there will still be some people who don’t do a serious examination, or who lie in the hopes that you won’t notice the issues (or be bothered enough to make a return). But asking the question is the best you can do.

Question Five: Has the seller noticed any issues with the item in the past?

This is another question to ask the seller before you hit the Buy button. It’s meant as a final attempt to determine whether the item has any issues.

In this case, by asking about the item’s past.

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Used Camera Gear

Unfortunately, there will be sellers who have had an item break repeatedly – but, as long as it’s working at the moment they take the photos, they’ll give it the “perfect condition” label. Fortunately, many sellers will still be honest with you. If they’ve had a problem with the item, they’ll say.

So it’s definitely worth asking – just to be safe.

5 Questions to ask before buying used camera gear: Conclusion

Now that you know the five most important questions to ask before buying used camera gear, you’re well equipped to start buying gear online.

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Yes, you’re still going to run into the occasional issue, but if you’re careful, and you think about these crucial questions to ask before buying used camera gear…

…the number of issues will be far, far lower.

And you’ll be able to effectively take advantage of used camera equipment!

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The post 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Used Camera Gear appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Thoughts and Field Test: Leica X-U Underwater Camera

The post Thoughts and Field Test: Leica X-U Underwater Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Suzi Pratt.

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When it comes to waterproof cameras, you’re likely to think of GoPro or a similar action camera first. But what if you wanted a waterproof camera with full manual control? There aren’t many options on the market unless you’re willing to splurge for an underwater housing for a DSLR or mirrorless camera. But there’s a less-known option made by the venerable camera brand, Leica. In 2016, Leica introduced the Leica X-U – a rugged, waterproof compact camera. It didn’t seem to get much fanfare as it was completely unbeknownst to me until I browsed Borrowlenses.com in search of a camera for my upcoming whitewater rafting trip.

So how did it perform? Read on to find out!

Leica XU underwater camera

Technical specs

The Leica X-U is considered a point and shoot camera. It has a 16.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and a fixed Summilux 23mm f/1.7 lens (equivalent to about 35mm in 35mm format). The camera can shoot both RAW and JPG photos and record full HD video (1080p).

Some dials allow you to take full manual control of the camera and set the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. You can even manually focus the lens.

Taking into consideration all of these specs, this is essentially a pro-level camera that has the added benefit of being dustproof, shatterproof, waterproof (up to 15 meters for 60 minutes), and shockproof (from heights of up to 1.22 meters). It has a pro-grade camera price tag retailing at $2,999 USD.

Look and feel

There’s no escaping the fact that the Leica X-U is a chunky camera, especially when compared to other waterproof point-and-shoots on the market. It weighs in at 1.32 lbs and doesn’t float or come with a floating strap. Thus, you’ll want to make sure it is always strapped tight to you, or find a floating strap for it.

The camera exterior, made of anti-slip rubber, feels good in the hands. In front is a manual focus fixed lens with a built-in flash on top. There’s also a hot shoe on top of the camera for adding a larger flash or extra accessories.

Leica also includes a rubber lens cap with a small strap, but it fits very loosely and is prone to falling off. I recommend looping the lens cap strap to the camera for extra security.

Leica XU underwater camera

Ease of use

This was my first time using a Leica camera. Up until this point, all I knew about Leicas was that 1) they were expensive, 2) they’re very solid in construction, and 3) their user interface is relatively simple and straightforward. All of these assumptions are true in the Leica X-U, but it is the third point that I appreciated the most.

The bulk of the camera’s controls are in the top two knobs and the lens’ focus ring. If you’ve used a film camera or Fujifilm mirrorless camera, you’ll feel right at home. Any other camera settings are controlled using buttons on the rear end of the camera, where there is also a large, brightly-lit LCD screen. Buttons were decently responsive, and the LCD was fast and accurate.

The one thing I wish Leica included is a touchscreen LCD. Menus are laid out simply, and it was easy to adjust settings. A rechargeable battery powers the camera, and it easily lasted a full day of shooting.

Leica XU underwater camera

Performance in the field

I extensively researched this camera before renting it for my rafting trip. Unfortunately, most of the camera reviews swayed toward the negative. Many claim the Leica X-U’s autofocus is too slow, and its overall features fall behind when compared to what modern cameras (and smartphones) can achieve.

When shooting with this camera, I brushed off those negative reviews. Shooting with this camera was an absolute joy. I loved the ability to shoot in manual without having to worry about water splashes. And it is very easy to go from shooting still photos to video since the video record button is right next to the shutter.

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Best of all was the ability to shoot photos of the night stars, which was my main reason for wanting this camera. My rafting trip frowned upon bringing non-waterproof cameras, so I didn’t want to risk bringing my expensive mirrorless cameras.

However, we would be spending the night in the pitch-black forests of Southern Oregon with stars shining bright every night, and I wanted the ability to snap photos of them.

With its fast aperture and the ability to shoot in manual focus, the Leica X-U had the capability of pulling off star photography, and it did so pretty well.

Leica XU Underwater Camera

At the end of each day, I reviewed the photos and videos on the camera and marveled at what I was able to capture. Those negative reviews seemed completely wrong – that is until I reviewed everything on my computer.

Image and video quality

It’s a classic mistake to review media content on a tiny device screen and think that everything is working well. The real quality test is to review them on a big screen. Doing this showed that those reviewers were 100% right.

The Leica X-U’s image quality is quite good when shooting a static or slow-moving object. However, the camera absolutely blew the autofocus when shooting anything in movement.

This is an odd shortcoming for a camera that seems built for action, but it happened on a very consistent basis.

Leica XU Underwater Camera

For fast-paced scenarios, the autofocus simply wasn’t fast enough, leading to many unfocused shots like this.

Leica XU Underwater Camera

The video quality was downright atrocious, and I’m ashamed that I put so much trust in this camera when shooting videos. My Samsung Galaxy S10, in its waterproof case, took far better video.

So…should you use this camera?

Handling this camera was an absolute joy, but I can’t commend its photo or video quality.

If you’re seeking a waterproof camera with manual controls, this camera might work for you, but it depends on what you’re shooting. In fast-paced action scenarios, this camera’s autofocus performance won’t keep up. But if you’re shooting static landscapes or astrophotography, this camera will likely meet your needs.

For videography, don’t even bother.

Leica XU Underwater Camera

Leica XU Underwater Camera

Leica XU Underwater Camera

Leica XU Underwater Camera

Leica XU Underwater Camera

Leica XU Underwater Camera

Leica XU Underwater Camera

Leica XU Underwater Camera

Leica XU Underwater Camera

The post Thoughts and Field Test: Leica X-U Underwater Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Suzi Pratt.

Review: Sony A7R IV Mirrorless Camera

The post Review: Sony A7R IV Mirrorless Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

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Having just purchased the Sony A7r III earlier this year, I didn’t expect to add another camera to my collection so quickly. Until… the Sony A7r IV announced it was on pre-order. Typically, I will not invest in yet another body unless something truly monumental comes about, and this was such a situation. The A7r IV is a piece of machinery unlike any other – and I don’t regret a single dime spent. This Sony A7r IV review will explain why.

Mirrorless versus Digital 

Review: Sony A7R IV Mirrorless Camera

By now, 2019, many photographers are well aware of mirrorless cameras invading the digital photography market. Just to refresh on some of the key differences in technology between DSLRs/SLRs and mirrorless cameras… 

Mirrorless cameras, as the name suggests, does not utilize a mirror to reflect the image to the viewfinder. The way that a digital camera works is that a mirror inside the camera reflects the light up to the optical viewfinder. This is also how you see the image before you take it.

In a mirrorless camera, the imaging sensor is exposed to light at all times. This gives you a digital preview of your image either on the rear LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder (EVF). This allows you to see exposure changes in real-time on a mirrorless camera. The lack of a mirror also aids in the camera’s size, allowing the mirrorless model to be smaller and lighter than a traditional DSLR.

DSLR aficionados don’t trust the digital viewfinder portrayal in mirrorless cameras as this is system-based, while the DSLR uses a practical application to show a true-to-life, through-the-lens optical viewfinder system. This uses a series of mirrors to reflect light to your eye. However, as a new mirrorless user, I can testify that the electronic viewfinder display is extremely accurate to the image I create when clicking the shutter button. 

In regards to quality, both can excel in optical quality, image sensors, technical aspects, and adeptness at shooting conditions. Both are equally spectacular, with each model having its own pros and cons (of course). It does come down a lot to personal choice.

Specifications

Sony-A7r-IV-review

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get back to the drool-worthy A7r IV. The specifications of this newest member to the Alpha line is what made me fall out of my seat and need to order this model.

And it has not disappointed.

A true feat of modern technology, it includes the following specs:

  • A whopping 61 MP, 35 mm full-frame Exmor R™ CMOS and enhanced processing system. This produces an image sized at 9504 x 6336. For landscape and commercial photographers, the a7r IV features a 240MP pixel-shift mode.
  • ISO 100–32000 (ISO numbers up from ISO 50 to ISO 102400 can be set as expanded ISO range.)
  • Fast Hybrid AF with Wide (567-points (phase-detection AF), 425-points (contrast-detection AF))/Zone/Center/Flexible Spot (S/M/L)/Expanded Flexible Spot/Tracking (Wide/Zone/Center/Flexible Spot (S/M/L)/Expanded Flexible Spot) The focus modes include AF-A (Automatic AF), AF-S (Single-shot AF), AF-C (Continuous AF), DMF (Direct Manual Focus), Manual Focus.
  • Eye-start AF, Lock-on AF [Still] Human (Right/Left Eye Select)/Animal, [Movie] Human (Right/Left Eye Select), AF micro adjustment, and predictive AF control. 
  • High-speed continuous shooting of up to 10fps12 with AF/AE tracking.
  • 5-axis image stabilization with 5.5-stop exposure advantage20.
  • 4K video in full-width and crop modes.
  • Dual card slots with simultaneous or consecutive recording.
  • Silent Shooting Mode.
  • You can operate the camera via newly supported wireless PC Remote functions via Wi-Fi.

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Much like the other models in the Alpha line, this camera is an E-mount that only accepts E-mount lenses (unless you use an adapter). The awesome thing about E-mount, though, is that many brands (alongside Sony) make lenses for it, including Zeiss, Sigma, and Tamron.

Build 

Sony-A7r-IV-review

I did not expect a redesign of the A7r IV body. Silly me! I expected a perfect replica of the A7r III with more advanced technology. In fact, the A7r IV has improved upon its predecessor’s body and ergonomics. They have changed the design, proving that Sony listened to photographer complaints and suggestions when redesigning this camera.

Firstly, the grip is different. Sony modified the contour, and the grip has deepened – for lack of a better term. I found it to be much more comfortable, and my hand cramped less during prolonged use (photographers, you know what I’m talking about here).

The camera grip reminded me of my large DSLRs rather than a mirrorless, and I liked that a lot. While I have small, feminine hands, I am sure this new grip design will work nicely with larger hands too.

Sony has also redesigned the buttons. They’re softer and “squishier” to the touch. There is also a redesigned joystick and an amended exposure compensation dial that now includes a lock button (thankfully!).

Sony-A7r-IV-review

A big change is the card slot door. The new card door no longer needs a lock lever. Just pull straight back like Canon and Nikon. This provides a much tighter seal as well. Oh, and speaking of cards…Slot 1 is now on the top, not backward like the A7r III (which constantly confused me).

The Sony A7r IV is sized at 5.07 x 3.8 x 3.05″/128.9 x 96.4 x 77.5 mm and 1.46 lb/665 g.

Ease of use 

Sony-A7r-IV-review

In my brain, Sony Alpha and ease-of-use are synonymous phrases. This camera is quick to set up, even simpler to use, and you can run off and play immediately when the battery is charged. The menu and settings are intended for professionals, but if you’ve been doing photography and understand how a camera works, figuring it out is quick.

I’ve heard complaints about the Sony menu, but I’ve personally not had any problems with it. I easily found everything I needed and do all of my adjustments within about 10 minutes.

This is coming from a Canon user that features an entirely different menu. 

I do wish the eye-tracking mode was an actual button on the camera as you can switch between Human subject or Animal subject. It would be convenient to have this as a button rather than having to dig into the menu to change this feature. I find myself continually changing it back and forth (being both a human and a pet photographer).

Autofocus, sharpness, and clarity 

Sony-A7r-IV-review

Just one word: phenomenal. 

I could end the review with just that one word and be satisfied. However, to go into detail…the autofocus is lightning sharp. Definitely the fastest autofocus of all of my cameras – and I have a lot of them! I find the autofocus to be even faster and more accurate than the A7r III – and that’s saying a lot, as the A7r III is very fast as well. 

I’ve captured dogs running – high speed – directly at my camera without even losing focus on their eyes for a second. That is how superb the eye-tracking mode is. I see a lot of use for this camera in sports photography if you have large enough cards to accommodate the 61-megapixels, of course! You can bring the camera down to 24-megapixels if needed, but that’s no fun.

Review: Sony A7R IV Mirrorless Camera

The predictive AI focus has truly revolutionized the way you can photograph subjects moving erratically or quickly, and I am living for it. This has made my job much easier with pets, or little humans that love to run away from mom!

In regards to sharpness and clarity, (while much of the final quality and look comes from the lens), in this case, the camera plays a big role. This is where the Sony mirrorless cameras begin to stand out significantly. The images are extremely sharp and clear. To some, maybe even artificially so. The look is very distinct. Professional photographers can quite easily pick out a Sony mirrorless photograph from the rest. The 61-megapixels show an immense amount of detail, excellent for commercial and detail work. 

Buffering

Review: Sony A7R IV Mirrorless Camera

Despite the enormous amount of megapixels, the A7R IV can still fire up to 10 frames-per-second with autofocus and autoexposure active. That’s impressive! The camera can keep at this for up to 68 compressed raw images.

Color rendering

Review: Sony A7R IV Mirrorless Camera

With vivid, vibrant, and deep colors, there is little editing I need to do with this camera. Even in low light, the colors tend to be quite true. The dynamic range is superb with 15-stops of dynamic range. I have been able to pull incredible details, colors, and information from darker images. 

Low light capability 

Review: Sony A7R IV Mirrorless Camera

The only gripe I have with this model is the low light capability is not improved over its preceding version. That doesn’t mean that the low light capability is bad – it’s just not better. For a camera that has improved in so many ways, I would have liked to see an even better low light sensor in this particular model.

However, the larger megapixel count does allow for significantly more manipulation, and it hasn’t phased me to take care of noise through a quick flick of the Noise slider in Lightroom. Ideally, it would have been nice not to need to do this.

With that said, I have not personally noticed worse noise at the same ISO levels, as some photographers have reported. The autofocus in low light is superb. It’s great for my concert photography endeavors, and even better than the firmware update on my A7r III.

Battery life 

Review: Sony A7R IV Mirrorless Camera

For battery life, my original frame of reference is my many Canon DSLR cameras. The 5D Mark IV, 5D Mark III, 7D Mark II, and 1Dx Mark II are the models I use. In my experience, Sony batteries are not nearly as powerful or long-lasting as Canon batteries. However, this makes sense, as the power necessary to operate a mirrorless tends to be more draining than the DSLRs due to the mirrorless cameras using a digital viewfinder and LCD display. 

When I purchased my first Sony camera, I went ahead and bought a second battery. The battery is the same as the one that the Sony A7r IV uses, so now I have two additional batteries for it. I am glad that I did because the battery does not last me all day like Canon cameras. I seldom end up switching to a second Canon battery. Even after shooting a dog agility trial for eight hours without turning the body off. On the Sony, I found myself switching the battery mid-day on all-day shoots.

It is key to note I am not using a battery grip. With a battery grip, the power lasts significantly longer. 

However, when comparing to Sony itself, the battery in the newer Alpha series cameras are significantly better and far more superb than previous models. The Sony NPFZ100 Z-Series Rechargeable Battery is no joke – far more powerful than the previous batteries used by the company. 

Final thoughts

Review: Sony A7R IV Mirrorless Camera

Do you need the power of the Sony A7r IV? Generally, probably not. For specialty work? Absolutely. The specifications are very much overkill for the average photographer, but for those that have found a use for its tremendous amount of megapixels or the ease in which the AI focuses, this is absolutely a worthy investment.

It’s likely great enough to sell prior pieces of equipment in order to buy the A7r IV.

I work a lot in commercial photography, and this camera allows me to better produce commercial imagery for my corporate clients – something I couldn’t pass up. 

Would you like to own this camera? Why? Or are you lucky enough to have you tried the Sony A7r IV? What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comments! 

The post Review: Sony A7R IV Mirrorless Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

Sigma 45mm f/2.8 Lens for Sony Review

The post Sigma 45mm f/2.8 Lens for Sony Review appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Suzi Pratt.

The Sigma 45mm f/2.8 DG DN (sony, Leica) is the latest addition to Sigma’s Contemporary lens line. Launched in July 2019, this lens is available as Sony E-mount or Leica L-mount. The latter mount is of particular interest as the new L-mount is compatible with Panasonic and Leica full-frame cameras, plus Sigma’s own forthcoming L-mount mirrorless cameras. I got my hands on an E-mount version and tested the lens with my Sony A7RIII. Here are my thoughts.

Sigma 45mm f/2.8 Lens for Sony E Mount

Specs

The Sigma 45mm f/2.8 lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, which may be a disappointment for photographers used to having at least an f/1.8 on their prime lenses. It also is a fairly expensive lens given its $549 price tag. However, this lens makes amends when it comes to size and the build quality.

Size

Compared to other Sigma prime lenses such as the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art (Nikon, Canon, Sony), this lens is significantly smaller and more lightweight. It weighs 7.5 ounces (half of the aforementioned 35mm) and comes in at less than 2-inches long. This makes the 45mm much more portable and discreet when compared to Sigma’s other Art lens primes that all have an f/1.4 aperture, but are significantly larger and heavier.

This compact size is closer to that of the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens. Both were my longtime favorite prime lenses when I shot with Canon DSLRs. The beauty about this size is that it feels very balanced when attached to a full-frame camera, whether it be my old Canon 5D Mark III or my new Sony A7RIII. With that said, this lens puzzles me when I compare it to other similar lenses that I’ve owned.

Sigma 45mm f/2.8 Lens for Sony E Mount

Sigma 45mm f/2.8 (left), Fujifilm 35mm f/2 (center), and Sony 55mm f/1.8 (right).

Build quality

It’s hard to ignore the design of this lens, which is both visually eye-catching and functional. There are two physical rings – the outermost ring controls the focus and the innermost ring selects the aperture, similar to how a Fujifilm lens performs. Choosing the aperture via the lens can take some getting used to, but it’s a wonderful way to interact with your camera. There’s also a switch to toggle autofocus or manual focus. The lens itself is made mostly of metal, and it includes a lens hood that is also made of metal. There is also weather sealing on the mount of the lens to keep dust and dirt at a minimal.

Shooting experience

45mm is an interesting focal length. It sits comfortably between two of the most popular focal lengths out there: the 35mm and 50mm. Not too wide or too narrow, 45mm gives you a range that feels natural, yet intentional. Autofocus on this lens is fast, accurate, and very quiet thanks to a fast-stepping motor.

If you shoot on a Sony full-frame mirrorless camera, you may also be familiar with the feature of flipping between shooting in full-frame and APS-C mode. While the latter does crop and shrink your images, it gives you the ability to shoot at a slightly zoomed-in focal length. This, in turn, gives you at least two focal lengths to shoot from, and it is one of my favorite features of my Sony A7RIII.

Sigma 45mm f/2.8 Lens for Sony E Mount

Image quality

The images captured by the Sigma 45mm f/2.8 lens result in very consistent color, tones, and sharpness. This lens has a rounded seven-blade diaphragm that renders a smooth, shallow depth of field. There is a minimum focusing distance of 9.4 inches, giving this 45mm decent macro capabilities.

In Conclusion

Overall, I had a very positive experience shooting with this Sigma 45mm f/2.8 lens. The compact size complemented the Sony A7RIII perfectly, making it a very portable unit. I usually have a 24-70mm f/2.8 or 55mm f/1.8 glued to my camera when shooting in low lighting scenarios. Thus, the 45mm’s f/2.8 aperture did not hinder me much. However, there is something to be said about having a faster aperture, especially in low light conditions.

If you enjoy shooting with a versatile prime lens that is reasonably fast but very portable, this Sigma 45mm f/2.8 lens might be the lens for you.

What are your first impressions of the Sigma 45mm f/2.8 lens? Would you purchase it? Why or why not?

Sample photo gallery

Sigma 45mm f/2.8 Lens for Sony E Mount

Sigma 45mm f2.8 for Sony E Mount

Sigma 45mm f2.8 for Sony E Mount

Sigma 45mm f2.8 for Sony E Mount

Sigma 45mm f2.8 for Sony E Mount

Sigma 45mm f2.8 for Sony E Mount

Sigma 45mm f/2.8 Lens for Sony E Mount

 

Sigma 45mm f/2.8 Lens for Sony

The post Sigma 45mm f/2.8 Lens for Sony Review appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Suzi Pratt.

Canon 11-24mm F/4L Lens Review

The post Canon 11-24mm F/4L Lens Review appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

Following the release news of the Canon EF 11-24mm F/4L USM Lens, came countless sleepless nights of research and reading reviews. At the end of that process, all I could safely decipher was that it was the new dream lens of the landscape photographer in me.

Canon 11-24 mm F/4L Lens Review

The build

The moment you pick up this lens, the weight surprises you. It’s quite hefty and you notice every ounce of the approximate (just over) two-and-a-half pounds. The entire build of the lens screams quality too. Like other Canon lenses, the manual focus and zoom rings move smoothly and feel natural. Not a lens you want to be cumbersome with, so this was an important feature for me when working with such weight. You can make easy focal adjustments, as the zoom moves through the entire focal range with a small turn. When behind the lens, the AF/MF is also easily accessible.

Canon 11-24mm F/4L Lens Review

The bulbous front element blooms with authority and still makes me nervous enough to cover it almost immediately when not in use. I am not reassured by the presence of the fixed hood that is meant to protect the imposing glass. However, I am glad it is there. The signature red ring around the front always sets expectations of promised image quality and Canon has delivered.

Image: Size comparatives from left to right: Canon 85mm F/1.2 L, Canon 11-24mm F4 L, Canon 135mm F2...

Size comparatives from left to right: Canon 85mm F/1.2 L, Canon 11-24mm F4 L, Canon 135mm F2 L

What works

The Canon EF 11-24mm is benchmarked as the widest ultra-wide rectilinear lens compatible with full-frame DSLRs, since the Sigma 12-24mm F/4.5-5.6 lens. Thus barrel distortion is minimal throughout the range, and straight lines in your subject are not compromised (and appear straight). The most distortion you would find occurs at around 11mm and 12mm and compared to any other lens at this focal range, it is minimal. Of note, distortion seems non-existent between 15-24mm.

Canon 11-24mm F/4L Lens Review

By comparison, yes the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye is wider, but as is the signature of fisheye lenses, it outputs barrel-distorted images and your straight lines curve. The exception is if your line is directly center of your frame.

The lens is quiet and focuses quickly. Most impressively though, it is super sharp, even at the corners! Added to sharp images; the contrast is nice and balanced. If you have used other ultra-wides, you will admire the difference in the output. The image quality is simply amazing!

Canon 11-24mm F/4L Lens Review

The angle of view on a full-frame, coupled with the minimal distortion, makes it great for indoor architectural spaces. The need for a lens like this to be F/2.8 eludes me, as F/4 feels more than adequate.

What could be better

If you are looking at this beauty, the two major drawbacks may reside in price and weight. It is an expensive lens and certainly not in everyone’s price range. However, it’s a great investment if you do professional architectural and landscape photography. In these areas, the minimal distortion works in your favor. There is no other lens that performs like this lens at the wider end.

Canon 11-24 mm F/4L Lens Review

It is a large, heavy lens that will make you think twice before packing it for travel – you know you want it with you, oh but that weight! Even worse, it is front heavy, so you will want to be extra cautious when out in the field.

The front cap feels inadequate, as it struggles to cover the hood. There are also spaces where it clasps (when aligned) that leave room for dust to get into the front. After all the time they spent on this lens, the front cap feels like an afterthought.

Canon 11-24mm F/4L Lens Review

There is also a noticeable amount of vignetting at 11mm and also some color fringing. Both are easy to fix in post-processing, without loss of your image quality. For an ultra-wide lens though, the falloff (or darkened corners) is negligible.

Conclusion

The Canon EF 11-24mm F/4L is a truly magnificent lens for a landscape or architectural photographer. It is well-built, heavy, sharp, quiet and expensive. One thing for certain though, it is the only one of its kind and a signature Canon lens.

Have you used this lens? What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comments.

 

canon-11-24mm-f4-lens-review

The post Canon 11-24mm F/4L Lens Review appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Nisha Ramroop.

The Fujifilm X-Pro 3: Marvellous or Mistake?

The post The Fujifilm X-Pro 3: Marvellous or Mistake? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

Image: A marvelous innovation or a stupid mistake? Whatever your opinion, the new Fuji X-Pro 3 defin...

A marvelous innovation or a stupid mistake? Whatever your opinion, the new Fuji X-Pro 3 definitely has people talking.

Cameras are pretty similar these days. We all want the same things. Better dynamic range, better high ISO performance, and better autofocus. 

Really, if you look at the majority of cameras out there at the moment, there are few things that set them apart. That was until Fuji dropped the X-Pro 3. 

They did what with the screen?

In an incredibly bold move (or stupid, depending on which blogs you read), Fuji has done away with the standard rear LCD screen of the camera. They’ve replaced it with a much smaller screen.

It simply displays the key exposure information, or in a nod to the film cameras of days gone by, an image of the film simulation you are using.

The rear screen is not entirely gone though (although they apparently considered it). Instead, it is hidden from view and accessed via flipping it down from the rear of the camera.

Fuji claim this is to stop photographers spending time “chimping” and spending more time with the viewfinder to their eye instead, concentrating on making images.

Pure photography

Fuji launched the camera at the recent Fuji Summit where the Fujifilm X-Pro 3 was announced with a theory of Pure Photography.

The 3 elements of pure photography are:

Carry and access

You need to carry the camera and access the subject. This stated the camera has to be small, light and discreet. They state the camera should be an extension of your eye. This is then followed by talking about the durability of cameras.

Find and frame

You need to find the subject and frame it to get the best composition. Fuji stated that the viewfinder is the most important part of finding your composition.

Shoot to express

This is simply pressing the shutter and capturing the photograph. You don’t need to check a rear screen or distract yourself, you simply need to press the shutter. 

This concept is definitely summed up in the Fujifilm X-Pro 3. Personally, the idea of removing distraction is appealing, and I’m sure I’m not alone. However, whether this camera has mass-market appeal remains to be seen. Fuji’s X-Pro line (including the x-Pro 1 and X-Pro 2) has always been a favorite of street photographers, and this is how Fujifilm are marketing the camera and the pure photography concept. They are marketing to those who want discretion and to focus purely on making the image.

I can imagine many wedding photographers loving this camera too. Not only for the discretion it offers when shooting, but for the fact that you will be thankful for the lack of a screen every time a tipsy relative asks, “give us a look.” It may even suit travel photographers.

OK, they killed the screen, but what else?

The Fujifilm X-Pro 3 had a couple of other things that are worth mentioning – starting with the choice of materials.

The use of titanium is something that Fuji has surprised many with. Titanium is more durable and lighter than the alloys seen in most modern cameras. Titanium is also notoriously hard material to work with, so we should applaud Fuji by the use of this in the X-Pro 3.

This means that the XPro 3 should stand up to the beating a working professional will give it.

Not only is it made of titanium, but it gives you three color options. You can get the X-Pro 3 in black, DURA black and DURA silver. DURA is a special type of coating that is ten times stronger than stainless steel in terms of scratch resistance.

It feels like Fuji built this camera for war zones.

Image: Available in 3 different finishes, two of which are designed to make the titanium body even m...

Available in 3 different finishes, two of which are designed to make the titanium body even more resistant to wear and tear.

The X-Pro 3 has Fuji’s hybrid viewfinder system. Fuji has upgraded this for the new model. It is set to be clearer, with a wider field of view and less distortion than previous models. The electronic viewfinder is also upgraded (as you would expect) to offer a higher frame rate, higher contrast, and a wider color space – finally, a set of specs that fit into the traditional camera upgrade.

The lack of a screen is something that differentiates the X-Pro 3 in Fuji’s camera lineup. In fact, this differentiates them from the camera market as a whole right now. Fuji has aimed this camera at a specific type of photographer. It remains to be seen whether there are enough of their market to allow this camera success.

If you want to watch the whole of the XSummit announcement, you can view it below. If you’re just interested in the X-Pro 3, skip to about 1:10 or so.

What are your thoughts on the Fujifilm X-Pro 3? Is it something that you are intrigued by? Or, did Fuji just make one hell of a mistake? Let me know in the comments below.

fujifilm-x-pro-3

The post The Fujifilm X-Pro 3: Marvellous or Mistake? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

Nikon to Produce Mirrorless Crop-Sensor Camera and Two Z Lenses

The post Nikon to Produce Mirrorless Crop-Sensor Camera and Two Z Lenses appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

nikon-z50

Up until now, Nikon has stayed out of the mirrorless APS-C (crop-sensor) camera space. They’ve let Sony and Fujifilm take the lead with their respective a6000 and X-T lineups. Even Canon, which stands at the back of the mirrorless pack, has produced its ‘M’ series.

But things are changing in the digital camera world, especially as DSLRs lose ground to mirrorless systems and DSLR lineups get shelved. Nikon, a (relatively) small company surrounded by big players, has pushed innovation, bringing out the full-frame Z6 and Z7 last fall. The Z7 immediately made waves in the mirrorless camera world with its 45.7-megapixel sensor and impressive low light performance.

And now Nikon is trying to do it again.

Recent rumors indicate that Nikon will soon be entering into the APS-C mirrorless world with the Nikon Z50, a mirrorless body with a 20-megapixel sensor.

Other reported specs include a 3-inch LCD, an 11 frame-per-second continuous shooting speed, and an electronic viewfinder.

For Nikon DSLR photographers who have been thinking about moving to mirrorless, this will come as a welcome surprise, especially if you’ve been put off by the high price of the Nikon Z6 and Z7. This new camera is aimed at the enthusiast crowd, with its electronic viewfinder and 11 fps continuous shooting speed putting it a cut above entry-level bodies.

The 20-megapixel sensor is a step down in resolution from competing Canon, Fujifilm, and Sony models, but the camera could impress in terms of autofocus and action shooting, possibilities that are hinted at with the 11 fps continuous shooting speed.

The Nikon Z50 should also give you access to the Nikkor Z lenses. The lineup is currently very heavy on wide and standard lenses, but that’s bound to change as Nikon dedicates more and more resources to its mirrorless engineering. And the Z50 rumors come alongside talk of two new Nikon Z lenses: the Z-Nikkor 16-55mm f/3.5-6.3 DX lens and the Z-Nikkor 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 DX lens.

(Note the ‘DX’ label: Neither of these lenses can be used on full-frame mirrorless bodies.)

These are kit lenses, through and through, and it remains to be seen how they perform. But I have high hopes for Nikon’s mirrorless lineup, especially as it begins to round itself out.

Now it’s your turn: 

What do you think about the Nikon Z50? Is it something you’d be interested in? Or were you hoping to see a Z6/Z7 upgrade? Share your thoughts in the comments!

The post Nikon to Produce Mirrorless Crop-Sensor Camera and Two Z Lenses appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test

The post Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

I have always been an advocate of carrying as little camera equipment as possible. In fact, most people are surprised to hear how little I carry with me on any trip. Besides the obvious weight to carry, it also means more things to lose or have stolen. But whilst carrying less is always better, there are some things that I simply can’t live without. Filters are one of the sets of accessories that I always take with me as they are essential for my photography. So when given four new K&F Concept filters recently, I was very excited to put them to the test.

k&f-concept-filters-put-to-the-test

Why should you use filters?

As advanced as digital cameras are these days, they still occasionally need some help to capture photos the way you want. Often the big issue in photography is light. Too much of it, not enough, too harsh, in the wrong place…if only you could control outdoor light like in a studio.

Filters can help a photographer control light in varied circumstances. There are lots of filters that all fill different objectives. Two of the most common filters are neutral density filters and polarizing filters.

Polarizing filters

Polarizing filters help to remove unwanted reflections from non-metallic surfaces. For example, if you are photographing water or through glass, they can help ensure you keep reflections to a minimum. In addition to this, they also help to boost the saturation in images (especially blues and greens). So, they are very useful for photographing things like waterfalls.

Neutral Density filters

Neutral Density filters help to reduce the amount of light that enters the camera. This allows you to select a slower shutter speed to create motion blur (when photographing water during the day or moving clouds). However, even in day to day photography, you may sometimes find ND filters useful to help avoid overexposure at wide apertures.

k&f-concept-filters-put-to-the-test

Square filters vs screw-on filters

There are two types of filters these days – square filters and screw-on filters.

Square filters are either square or rectangle and attach to a holder attached to your camera. As the name suggests, screw-on filters screw onto your lens directly.

There are pros and cons for using both. Historically, I have always used square filters, so this was a good test to see how I get on with using screw-on filters instead.

Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test

The filters tested

The four filters tested for this article are:

 

Packaging

My first impression of the filters was of the beautiful and secure packaging they arrive in. They come in a hard cardboard box with the filter itself placed in a hard plastic case inside the cardboard box. The filter is further protected inside the plastic box wrapped in a plastic bag and placed on a piece of foam. The plastic box that they come in makes them really easy to get in out to use when needed as the lid flips open. The circular polarizing filter comes in a slightly different plastic box which twists open but is still secure inside due to some rubber ridges. This stops the filter rattling around the case.

I will need to stick some small stickers on the plastic boxes and write the filter on them to make them easier to find – something that is currently lacking on the plastic boxes. Other than that, the packing is very impressive.

k&f-concept-filters-put-to-the-test

k&f-concept-filters-put-to-the-test

Build and ease of use

The frames of all of the filters, except the circular polarizer filter, are made from an aluminum alloy (the polarizer filter has extra-tough magnalium). Even though they are very slim in design, they certainly feel rigid with no real bending even when forced.

The glass itself on all the filters is coated optical glass (to help reduce reflections) that is waterproof and scratch-resistant.

k&f-concept-filters-put-to-the-test

Performance

Overall, all of the filters performed very well. As someone who has always used square filters, I was skeptical about the quality and how they would affect the image. I deliberately headed out during early afternoon as I wanted to test these filters in harsh light. Below are the images taken using these filters.

Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test

Circular Polarizer Filters

I conducted the first test with the circular polarizer. Below are two images taken from the same place only seconds apart. The image on the left was with no filter. In the image on the right, you can see how the reflection from the water has been removed using the K&F Polarizer Filter. In addition, you can see a boost in the blue in the sky a little. There is a very slight vignette on the top left corner, but this is so minor that it can easily be removed in post-production.

Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test

ND2-ND32 Neutral Density

I conducted the next tests with the two ND filters. Both filters easily screwed in and were subsequently easy to remove with no jamming at all. Both filters performed very well with no color casting or vignetting. I also didn’t come across the X cross-issue that might sometimes occur with variable ND filters.

Image: From the left: ND2, ND4, ND8, ND16, ND32

From the left: ND2, ND4, ND8, ND16, ND32

ND8-ND128 Neutral Density

The thing that I found so useful with these variable filters is the ease of transporting them and the amount of space saved in my camera bag. To be able to carry two ND filters that cover such a wide range is definitely something I feel is worth including in my camera bag.

Image: From the left: ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64, ND128

From the left: ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64, ND128

ND2-ND32 Neutral Density and Circular Polarizing

The final filter tested was the ND filter with the circular polarizing filter. Whilst I was really impressed with the other filters, this is the one that I really found useful. Normally in a situation like this, I screw on my circular polarizing filter, then screw in my filter holder ring, put the holder on, and add the filters I need before I’m ready to shoot.

This filter does all of that. You can see below how using the filter gives you a longer shutter speed to achieve smooth water, and also removes much of the reflection as well. This helps bring out the details on the river bed.

Image: No filter on the left, ND16, ND32

No filter on the left, ND16, ND32

Conclusion

As mentioned, I have always been skeptical of using circular or screw-in filters. However, I am thoroughly impressed with the K&F Concept filters I tested out. The image quality is superb and the added benefit of just using one filter and adjusting the gradient without having to stack filters is really useful.

The thing that really impressed me about these filters is how premium they look, feel, and perform. In fact, I did not notice any difference between these K&F Concept filters and my very expensive current square filters.

Another huge benefit of these filters is the cost. For example, at the time of writing the 5-stop variable ND and CPL filter is priced at $89.99. In other words, you are getting six filters for that price. Individually purchasing good quality filters will be a lot more expensive. This will obviously help anyone starting out and wanting to build their accessories up without spending a small fortune. I, for one, will be adding these filters to my collection.

Note: The author was given the K&F Concept filters free of charge to test out. But he is not paid or affiliated with K&F Concept and his review is honest and unbiased and based his personal experience of using the products.

 

k&f-concept-filters

The post Gear Review: 4 New K&F Concept Filters Put to the Test appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

Canon to Produce an 80-Megapixel Mirrorless Camera

The post Canon to Produce an 80-Megapixel Mirrorless Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

 

canon-80mp-cameraIf you’ve been hoping Canon will produce a high-resolution professional mirrorless camera, then you’re in luck.

Rumors that Canon has been working on a 70 or 80-megapixel mirrorless camera have been swirling for months, but several new pieces of information make it more likely than ever.

First, Canon has filed a patent for an 83-megapixel sensor, which may be at the heart of a new mirrorless camera body.

Second, someone claiming to have a prototype of the new camera has just revealed specs, including:

  • An 80-megapixel full-frame sensor
  • A larger viewfinder than the Canon EOS R
  • Dual SD card slots
  • A new joystick
  • A larger size than the Canon EOS R

If these details are accurate, then the new camera (dubbed the Canon EOS RS by Canon Rumors) will likely be a mirrorless replacement to the Canon 5DS/5DS R duo. The two DSLR cameras debuted in February of 2015, and Canon has failed to update them in the years since. Most notable about the two cameras are their sensors: 50.6 megapixels – the largest full-frame sensors in existence at the time.

The dual card slots will be a particularly welcome addition to the Canon EOS RS. Many professional photographers passed over the EOS R based on its single card slot, and it seems Canon got the message. So for photographers who require redundancy in their work, the Canon EOS RS will be a good choice.

And if the Canon EOS RS is truly 80+ megapixels, commercial photographers will appreciate the opportunity to push resolution to its limits.

Such a high-resolution sensor has its drawbacks, however. The larger the files, the faster you’ll fill up space. Plus, a sensor with 80 megapixels will have high pixel density, leading to small pixels. This can be a problem with regard to noise production: the smaller pixels are more likely to produce noise at high ISOs.

Let’s just hope that Canon puts out a high-quality sensor to complement the megapixel count! If you’re a Canon fan looking to make the change to mirrorless, then keep an eye out for news on the Canon EOS RS, which will likely be announced at the start of 2020.

Would you purchase the Canon EOS RS for its 80+ megapixels? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

The post Canon to Produce an 80-Megapixel Mirrorless Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

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