Category Archives: Sample Images

New lens from Fujifilm XF50mm F1 R WR

The FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR will allow you to experience sharpness like you have never seen before. Free from vignetting and the ability to control aberrations, creates precision with extremely creamy bokeh. Auto focus on this F1.0 lens is effortless and the weather resistance removes any concerns that elements can cause. The XF50mmF1.0 R WR is a powerful lens that will change the way you capture the world.

Specifications

TypeXF50mmF1.0 R WR
Lens configuration12 elements in 9 groups
(includes 1 aspherical, 2 ED elements)
Focal lengthf=50mm (76mm)
Angle of view31.7°
Max. apertureF1.0
Min. apertureF16
Aperture control
Number of blades9 (rounded diaphragm opening)
Step size1/3EV (25 steps)
Minimum Object Distance70cm
Max. magnification0.08x
External dimensions : Diameter x Length*1 (approx.)Ø87mm×103.5mm
Weight*2 (approx.)845g
Filter sizeØ77mm

Panasonic releases Lumix DC-S5 — 4K Mirrorless Full-Frame

New Panasonic DMC-S5

Full-frame mirrorless camera LUMIX S5 combines maneuverability with uncompromising still photo and video performance. The 4th model of the LUMIX S Series camera is born. Packing the essence of the conventional S Series camera in a compact, lightweight body, the new hybrid full-frame mirrorless camera LUMIX S5 provides excellent performance in both shooting photos and recording videos for serious, enthusiastic photographers and videographers.

DC-S5KKFeatures

  • LIGHTWEIGHT, POWERFUL HYBRID CAMERA FOR VIBRANT STILL PHOTOGRAPHY AND CINEMATIC VIDEO:Realize your creative vision with a compact hybrid camera that delivers gorgeous, high-sensitivity still photography and extraordinary 4K 60p, 4:2:2 10-bit video recording, offering a FHD 180fps Slow Motion option as well as 4:3 Anamorphic support. The S5 is perfect for use when talking still photos or as a vlog camera.
  • DETAILED PHOTO AND VIDEO THAT WILL DELIGHT ENTHUSIASTS AND EXPERTS ALIKE: The Lumix S5 makes it easy and accessible to capture content in impressive high resolution. 96MP High Resolution Recording mode delivers with clarity and precision. Dual Native ISO minimizes noise in high sensitivity. V-Log/V-Gamut compatibility offers a 14+ stop dynamic range to capture every detail.
  • IMPROVED, HIGH-PRECISION AUTOFOCUS AND POWERFUL IMAGE STABILIZATION:Improved autofocus includes detection of the head as well as eyes, face and body, to capture subjects with ease and precision. 5-axis Dual I.S. 2 enables 6.5-stop slower shutter speed. Also equipped with Double SD memory card slot (UHS-II/UHS-I) for reliability.
  • EXPANDED FEATURES OFFER NEW LEVELS OF CREATIVITY: Use Live View Composite mode to instantly create a stunning image out of several live shots; the shutter releases at designated intervals of exposure time to merge the bright parts into a single image. Useful for shooting fireworks or a starry sky.
  • COMPACT, RESILIENT CAMERA SUSTAINS PROLONGED USE:The S5 has the lightweight portability you expect from LUMIX, and is dust and splash resistant* to withstand tough field use. Optimized heat dispersion ensures a stable, continuous video recording without interruption.

Panasonic LUMIX S5, 4K Mirrorless Full-Frame L-Mount Camera, LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 Lens – (DC-S5KK)DC-S5KK

LUMIX S5 is a high-quality, high-performance hybrid full-frame mirrorless camera designed especially for content creators, helping you bring your ideas forward in breathtaking clarity and color. Still photos and video come alive using the latest advances in image resolution, image stabilization, and autofocus, all in the lightweight, compact, durable body that is the signature of Lumix.

At the heart of the camera, the LUMIX S5 contains a 24.2-megapixel 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor that boasts a wide dynamic range and high sensitivity performance made possible by sufficient light condensation. The LUMIX S5 further realizes recording maximum ISO51200 crystal-clear high sensitivity video with the adoption of the Dual Native ISO technology.

As a pioneer of photo/video hybrid mirrorless cameras, the LUMIX has the largest lineup of cameras that record 4K 10-bit video*2. As the latest member of the family, the LUMIX S5 is capable of 4K 60p/50p 4:2:0 10-bit, and 4K 30p/25p 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording. It is also capable of 4K 60p/50p 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output. For 4K 30p/25p 4:2:0 8-bit internal recording, there is no time limit. Panasonic’s exceptional heat dispersion technology realizes stable, long time video recording. The LUMIX S5 provides 14+ stops of dynamic range, which is as wide as those of cinema cameras, and V-Log / V-Gamut compatibility with popular colorimetry called “VariCam Look”. A variety of recording formats and modes including 4:3 Anamorphic mode, Slow & Quick Motion, 4K/60p interval shooting and 4K HDR are also provided.

The LUMIX S5 boasts high-speed, high-precision AF in both photo shooting and video recording that are made possible with advanced deep-learning technology featuring real-time detection of the subject’s type and parts such as human eye, face, head and body.

Combining the Body I.S. (5-axis) in the camera and the O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer, 2-axis) in the LUMIX S Series lens, the 5-axis Dual I.S.2 compensates for blurring even powerfully, allowing the use of a 6.5-stop*3 slower shutter speed. The splash/dust-resistant* rugged design provides professional photographers with high reliability.

To enhance the photographic experience, the 96-megapixel High Resolution Mode (JPEG/RAW), Live View Composite function and HLG Photo mode are available.

Thanks to the high energy efficiency and a new 2,200mAh high-capacity battery, it can capture approximately 470 pictures (using the LVF) / 1,500 pictures (in Power Save LVF mode). It complies with a USB power charging and power supply. Double SD Card slot (UHS-IIx1 and UHS-I x1), 5GHz/2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity are also supported. The LUMIX S Series full-frame mirrorless camera system adopts the L-Mount system to provide users with a diverse and future-proof range of products from Panasonic, Leica Camera and Sigma.

* Dust and Splash Resistant does not guarantee that damage will not occur if this lens is subjected to direct contact with dust and water.

*2 Of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, as of 2 September, 2020.

*3 Based on the CIPA standard [Yaw/Pitch direction: focusing distance f=200mm when S-E70200 is used. Firmware must be updated to the latest version.

Olympus announces the new OM-D E-M10 Mark IV and M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS new lens.

The new OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is the perfect camera for growing your photography skills. With in-body 5-axis image stabilization, you can take sharp photos and video even in low light. The flip-down touch screen makes navigating the menus easy. Weighing less than a pound, you’ll carry this camera on all of your adventures. Shoot. Share. Inspire.

You’ve started to enjoy photography. Shots from your cell phone aren’t enough anymore, and you’re looking to
get to the next level. The OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is for you. This easy-to-use camera is perfect for developing your
talent and skills. You’ll find features for taking one amazing shot after another. Foolproof technology eliminates
motion blur for super sharp, stunningly bright stills and video — even in dark locations. Take a self-portrait
instantly and share it in seconds. Best of all, it weighs only a pound with the lens. You won’t find a lighter, more
portable camera. The E-M10 Mark IV. Take your photography further.

OM-D E-M10 MARK IV
SHOOT. SHARE. INSPIRE.

Features:
• 20 MP Image Sensor
• Shake-Free 5-Axis Image Stabilization
• 16 Art Filters
• 180° Flip Touch Screen
• Ultra HD 4K Video
• Built-In Wi-Fi
• Built-In Flash

Available Colors: Silver & Black

The body price is $699 available in silver or black, also available as a kit with 14-42 EZ lens is $799.00

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS boasts in-lens image stabilization and weather sealing in a compact and lightweight form. This lens is ideal for wildlife, motorsports, and telephoto macro shooting. Optional teleconverter boosts range to an astounding 1600mm, allowing you to capture details on a bird’s wing from far away!

M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS
THE COMPACT EXTREME ZOOM
A lens with so much telephoto power that’s so compact and lightweight shouldn’t exist.
But it does with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS, and you’ll love the
freedom that comes with it. It packs a full-frame equivalent focusing range of 200mm
to 800mm. An optional teleconverter boosts it to an astounding 1600mm. That’s strong
enough to sharply capture details on a bird’s wing from 100 yards away. It’s an ideal lens
for wildlife, motorsports, and telephoto macro shooting. Don’t worry about the weather; it’s
weather sealed. At just 39.5 ounces, it’s no sweat to carry, hold, and shoot for hours.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS Specifications
Focal Length
35mm Equivalent Focal Length

100-400mm
200-800mm

Primary Genres:

Telephoto Macro
Bird Wildlife

Motor Sports Insect Flower

Lens Construction 21 elements in 15 groups (4 ED lenses, 2 Super HR lenses, 2 HR lenses)
Weatherproofing IEC Standard publication 60529 IPX1

(applies when the lens is used with Olympus splashproof Body) / Dustproof construction

Focusing System High-speed Imager AF (MSC)
Angle of View 12 degrees (Wide) – 3.1 degrees (Tele)
Closest Focusing Distance 1.3m (at all focal lengths)
Maximum Image Magnification
35mm Equivalent Max. Image Magnification

0.09x (wide) / 0.29x (tele)
0.17x (wide) / 0.57x (tele)

Minimum Field Size 202.4 × 152.1mm (wide) / 60.3×45.3mm (tele)
Number of Blades 9 (circular aperture diaphragm)
Maximum Aperture F5.0 (100mm) to F6.3 (400mm)
Minimum Aperture F22
Lens IS Mechanism VCM (voice coil motor)

IS Performance

Lens IS 3 steps*

  • According to CIPA standards. With yaw and pitch applied and focal length set to 400mm.
    Non supported 5-axis Sync IS*
  • IS switch
    ON: The stabilizing function of the lens operates.
    OFF: The stabilizing function of the lens is off. The stabilizing function of the camera operates
    according to the setting on the camera. If you do not want to use the stabilizing function,
    disable the function on both the camera and the lens.

Filter Size Diameter 72mm
Dimensions φ86.4 × 205.7mm
Weight 1,120g (without Tripod Adapter, Lens Cap, Lens Rear Cap, and Lens Hood)
Box Contents LH-76D Lens Hood, LC-72D Lens Cap, LR-2 Lens Rear

Canon N100 Review and Samples

canon n100

Announced earlier this year at CES, and following the innovative design of its predecessor the PowerShot N, the Canon N100 is nice enough camera with a few quirks that might need working around…or just plain understanding.

Shooting with the Canon N100

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Controls and Handling

The Canon N100 looks and feels mostly like a real camera.  Not that square monstrosity that predated it (the Powershot N).  Gone is the weird shutter-release-on-the-lens design.  Gone is the…well, not much else.  But just be thankful they got rid of that lens design, sheesh.

You still get built in WiFi, but now you also have a rear-facing camera.  Taking these features into account, along with creative filters (and even a film-simulation mode), one can tell this camera is meant to be fun, even if that comes at the price of performance.

Despite this relative emphasis on ease-of-use over performance, we can’t write the Canon N100 off completely:  a 1/1.7” sensor puts it just a smidgen above some of the competition out there, and with some nice IS and a decent f/1.8 aperture when the lens is at its widest (a 24mm equivalent).

In other areas, the performance seems a little handicapped, with a relatively low ISO range (80-6400), no outward controls for rapidly changing shooting modes, and that weird screen that only flips up 90 degrees (Why Canon?  WHY?).

Lens

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The lens on this camera is does not offer a lot of zooming power.  Aimed predominantly at people who want to take portraits of their friends and family, this camera doesn’t really need the zoom range that other manufacturers are putting into their products.  However, if you’re looking for some zoom, the Canon N100 has 5x optical and a little digital left over (though I didn’t use it, ’cause who wants to see that eyesore?).  If you’re looking to shoot distant birds, or photograph people from half a block away, there are other cameras out there that might suit you better.

ISO

canon n100

100 ISO

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200 ISO

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400 ISO

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800 ISO

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1600 ISO

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3200 ISO

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6400 ISO

ISO performance on the N100 isn’t terrible, with decent results up to ISO 800.  For dimmer situations necessitating higher sensitivity, I would still try to stay at 3200 or under, as ISO 6400 does show a fair amount of grain.

WiFi

Like most Canon point and shoots with built in WiFi, the N100 is easy to sync to a smartphone using the Canon Camera Window app, which allows transfer to smartphones and tablets, as well as remote shooting and geotagging.  The remote shooting functions were fairly bare-bones with the N100, and silent mode is co-opted by some weird beeping that goes on with the camera when the shutter is triggered.  So, the WiFi isn’t ideally suited for any sort of candid captures, but works great if you just want a basic remote or wish to share photos with smart devices.

Dual View

canon n100

The Canon N100 has a rear-facing camera, so you, the photographer, can still have pictures of yourself when you’re presumably photographing your friends.  I don’t have any friends, but I do love Zeikos camera gear, so I shot that with me making ducklips in the corner of the frame.  CLASSIC.

Filters

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Like almost every point and shoot or compact camera out there these days, the Canon N100 also comes with a plethora of artsy filters.  Now, normally these filters suck on small sensors.  Something just seems off, whether it’s the way the image processor handles them, or some curse that befell all smaller sensors by some sort of full-frame warlock.  At any rate, the 1/1.7” sensor and the Digic 6 Processor seem to work in tandem to deliver moderate results, even when using the Toy Camera filter.  (These images were also shot using the camera’s macro focusing mode, which is quite nice, but not as good as some of the competition.)

Image Quality

canon n100 canon n100 canon n100 canon n100 canon n100Image quality on the N100 is surprising to say the least.  Even though I was working with JPEGs, there was still a little room for tweaking, and I even managed to save one slightly under-exposed photograph.  In general, the automated performance seems intelligent enough to do it’s job, while the hardware (and software) give you images with a teeny bit of leeway.  Colors are very nice, and you won’t find a real need for the Vivid Effect unless that’s really your thing.

Conclusion

The Canon N100 is a decent little camera with enough features, gizmos, and doohickeys to keep younger photographers on top of their passion.  Canon has pushed this camera as a “story camera” and there’s a lot going for it in that niche.  The social inclination of the N100, from the rear-facing camera to the built-in WiFi, speaks to the denizens of Twitter and Facebook.  However, a lack of prosumer features, and the half-implementation of some decent ideas (again, a 90 degree articulating LCD…) means this puppy isn’t going to see the audience that the SX700 will, even though both cameras sit at around the same price.

If you’re in the mood to try something new and fun, or you want to be connected while you shoot with your compact, this camera might just be the One.

Olympus SH-1 Review and Samples

olympus sh1

The first impression you might have pulling the Olympus SH-1 out of the box is how much this camera looks like a Pen Camera.  For better or for worse, it isn’t.  Instead, the SH-1 is decidedly a point and shoot camera with a large zoom range and excellent video.  But what else does the Olympus SH-1 boast?  And is the camera’s price tag a fair indicator of image quality?

Shooting with the Olympus SH-1

So it isn’t a digital Pen, but is it still worth buying?  For some, the Olympus SH-1 will make a big difference in terms of what can be captured, and when it can be captured.  The biggest feature on this small camera is, without a doubt, the 5-axis image stabilization, which is being implemented in compact FULL HD video for the first time (so Olympus says, at least).

At any rate, that IS is really helping out video and Image Quality and long ranges, so it’s safe to say that those looking for a compact megazoom – or a pocketable camera that also delivers excellent video – will find this little runt appealing.

olympus sh1

Controls

Like most compacts, especially Olympus compacts, the controls and their layout are minimalist but functional.  Missing are any dials for shutter and aperture, and between the mode dial on top and the concise menu layout, it’s plain to see that the Olympus SH-1 is an easy-to-use camera streamlined for a more automatic shooting experience.

Built in WiFi is easy enough to sync to your smartphone or tablet, and the relative ease with which one can change shooting modes (set the mode dial, then press the “ok” button to select different options), gives this camera a certain appeal not readily found in other brands.

olympus sh1 olympus sh1 olympus sh1 olympus sh1

Zoom

What can I say, the reach on this sucker is fantastic.  From a 25mm equivalent at it’s widest, to a whopping 600mm equivalent at it’s furthest in, the lens is great.  That 5-axis image stabilization only bolsters the performance.

olympus sh1

“Manual”

Manual Mode on the Olympus SH-1 is a bit of a pain.  Like most compacts, here you’re working with a D-Pad to adjust your settings – from Shutter Speed and Aperture, to ISO.  If you’re working in a location with constantly-changing lighting, it may not be the easiest way to use this camera, but if you can set it and run with it, you won’t be disappointed.

olympus sh1 olympus sh1

Art Modes

As usual, Olympus throws in some nifty art filters for certain effects.  While most might seem gimmicky, I personally like the Grainy Black And White effect, which tends to offer extreme contrast for a love-it-or-hate-it feel.

olympus sh1

Panorama

Panorama mode allows wider images with decent stitching.  It works best with still subjects, and if you wanted a panoramic shot of architecture or landscapes, this feature would prove itself useful.  If you’re looking to capture busy scenes with lots of movement, you may want to look elsewhere, as the stitching software still seems to mar some difficult, moving subjects.

olympus sh1 olympus sh1 olympus sh1 olympus sh1

Image Quality

Image quality is the big bust on the SH-1, and while it might not be perfect, it certainly isn’t abysmal.  As with most small-sensor cameras, the big point one should keep in mind when considering this camera is that you’ll want to get the image right while in-camera.  TRYING TO SAVE A SHOT IN POST IS VERY DIFFICULT.

That being said, I’m still surprised at how this little puppy held up.  I especially enjoyed setting up the WiFi and using my old iPhone as a remote LCD while I held the camera nonchalantly, taking some pretty nice candid shots of people walking by.

Conclusion

It’s no RX-100ii, but the Olympus SH-1 may be the compact to look at.  Generally, it strikes you on paper as being a go to workhorse for stable handheld video, and long-distance lens performance.  With the added WiFi and some minimalist design, however, it could lend itself to almost anyone who wants a basic camera with some decent output.  In general, I would say it performs about as well as – if not better than – Fuji’s X20.  You might lose a viewfinder and a lot of manual controls, but a more portable design will have many right in the Olympus Brand pocket.

Canon PowerShot SX700 HS Review and Samples

sx700

New to the scene in March, the Canon PowerShot SX700 HS may seem a little pricey at $349, but the overall performance of this compact superzoom is worth every penny.

CanonPowerShot SX700 HS:  Superzoom Superstar

These days, it isn’t hard to find cameras that give you a lot of zoom.  However, hunt around for a point and shoot camera offering a range of 25-750mm, and you may not have very many options.  One of those options, though, will be the Canon PowerShot SX700 HS, which not only delivers the range in focal length, but does so with stunning results.

sx700

Of course, there are other features at play here, and not all of them are aimed at the novice.  For seasoned pros, one of the coolest pros to this little camera is a mode dial not unlike those found on DSLRs, with Manual and Auto exposure modes, as well as Aperture- and Shutter-Priority modes.  There’s also a nice video recording mode (with FULL HD), and built-in WiFi (with a dedicated button for syncing to tablets and smartphones).

sx700sx700sx700sx700

For newbies (and even for seasoned enthusiasts like myself), there is is a fairly entertaining “creative shot” feature that makes variations of a single shot, experimenting with filters and crops in the process.

ISO performance is tolerable, and the macro features on this camera are also worthy of note.  To be fair, there are lower-priced options on the market for better macro shots, but the SX700’s big draw is that nifty zoom lens.

sx700

ISO 3200

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ISO 1600

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ISO 800

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ISO 400

So who is the SX700 HS for?  It’s not a beginners camera (too many manual options), and it’s not a professional’s camera (not enough pro features).  Instead, the SX700 is a mid-range compact camera designed at those who don’t need the most serious of camera bodies, but would still like something to learn and grow with (without purchasing any lenses).

sx700

Because of the camera’s overall versatility, this can be accomplished pretty well, and some folks may want to consider this camera as a lightweight option for day trips or casual photography.

Conclusion:  if you need a camera with a great lens and some a full range of manual overrides, seriously consider this camera.  If you’re looking for something casual to grow with and learn through, again this is a prime camera.  Only those looking for the most rudimentary or most professional cameras should dismiss the Canon PowerShot SX700 HS.

Fuji 10-24 F/4 Review and Samples

fuji 10-24

Recently out in stores (since early March), the Fuji 10-24 f/4 R OIS is a lens of great construction with pretty awesome performance.  Is it worth the $999 price tag, though?  Here are some sample images and some personal input on a lens I became addicted to the moment I used it.

Fuji 10-24 f/4:  Classy Camera Companion

fuji 10-24

 

This review’s setup:  the Fuji 10-24 f/4 on the X-T1.

When it comes to wide-angle lenses, I’ve almost always used primes.  I’ve handled some nice Tokina wide angle zooms, and I’ve personally owned the Sigma 10-20, and I’ve sometimes been impressed by the performance I’ve experienced or the samples I’ve seen.  Well, Fuji’s new lens has its hooks in me.  It’s truly a great lens.  It may not be worth the money, though, depending on who you are and what you shoot.

fuji 10-24 fuji 10-24

I found the easiest way to use this lens to be setting the camera to aperture priority mode.  On the X-T1, this simply meant setting shutter speed and ISO to auto, and trying desperately not to fudge the aperture ring too much.

The Aperture Ring

This is the only negative thing I really have to say about the lens:  the aperture ring sucks.  Okay, maybe not sucks.  But it’s just too easy to move inadvertently.  Some basic prep time spent memorizing the position of the three rings – aperture, zoom, and focus, probably would have helped, but I’ve got too short of an attention span for that so I hit the streets and cursed at the camera in my head every time I scrambled to get a shot.  In summation, it’s not so much a deal-breaking flaw as it is something you can learn to work around, or work with.  Just be prepared to drop one or two mental f-bombs.

fuji 10-24 fuji 10-24

The Glass

Astounding glass can be found in this lens.  Maybe it’s the quality of the glass itself, or the coating they’ve put on the glass, or a spell cast by wizard from another dimension, but the performance here is fantastic.  There is some drop in sharpness at the extreme corners of the lens, but when you shoot at f/8 and up, you can kiss that hiccup goodbye.  And given that this lens is primarily aimed at landscape and architecture photographers, I don’t image many people would be shooting at f/4 to begin with.

fuji 10-24 fuji 10-24

Image Quality/Color

Probably having just as much to do with the fact that I’m using the X-T1 as it does the lens, the colors and image quality are still impeccable with this camera.  Given the choice of pairing the Fuji 10-24 with the X-T1, or sticking with the kit lens, I would pick the 10-24.  Mostly because I love shooting wide, and photographing on the street, but also because I personally feel the images that I am getting with the 10-24 maybe be just a little better.

fuji 10-24 fuji 10-24

Weight/Construction

Again, the Fuji 10-24 has some great construction, with a mostly metal exterior and interior (although there is still a little plastic on the front and rear inside barreling).  The heft of the lens is nice, with what I would say is just the right amount of weight.  It may put off some prospective buyers, especially those looking for a lightweight mirrorless setup.  Luckily, most of those people tend to go for Olympus and Panasonic, so this lens shouldn’t be disappointing to them.

fuji 10-24 fuji 10-24

Who It’s For

Generally, I’d recommend this lens to people who love the wide-angle look.  Duh, right?  But that price tag ($999) can be a bit steep for some, and it really is a specialty lens.  Couple this with the fact that you still get a keystone effect in shots of architecture, and it may not be everything Fuji has claimed it to be.  Definitely a high quality beast, but more suiting to people who can live with distortion than those who can’t or just outright abhor it.  Also, as I mentioned above, it isn’t very light, so weight may throw some people off.  I would say this is ideal for street photography and landscapes, but I would definitely suggest you try before you buy.

fuji 10-24

Conclusion

I’m addicted to this lens.  I love the 15mm focal length, I love the weight (it doesn’t feel like it’s another plastic lens with an over-inflated price tag), and I love the image quality.  I still detest the aperture ring, but maybe I’m just becoming a crotchety old man.  Who knows.

fuji 10-24

Just for fun, here’s a Toynbee tile I found while testing the lens.

Canon ELPH 150 IS Review and Samples

canon elph 150 is sample image

It’s not for everyone, and straight out of the box it will disappoint anyone who has already handled anything better.

However, you can still get some great images out of the ELPH 150 IS.

Shooting with the Canon Powershot ELPH 150 IS

Menus and “Ergonomics”

canon elph 150 is sample image

The menus are okay.  You probably won’t need to read the manual if you use cameras fairly often.  Personally, I think Canon has the most intuitive menus for beginners, and this camera is no exception.

I put ergonomics in quotation marks because there are no contours to this camera, really.  It’s a little box that has an on/off button on top, and a shutter release with a scroll for the zoom.  There are some buttons on the back and the thing isn’t as tall or wide as most smartphones, but maybe a little thicker.

Takeaway:  anyone can use this camera.

Lens Performance

canon elph 150 is sample imagecanon elph 150 is sample image canon elph 150 is sample image canon elph 150 is sample image

The lens on the ELPH 150 IS is pretty decent, with relative sharpness at it’s widest focal length (24mm equivalent).  Aperture is automatic, with f/3 at the wide end, and f/6.9 when the zoom is fully extended.  Due to the mostly-automatic nature of the camera, the default ISO of 800 at its 240mm equivalent focal length leads to a fairly grainy picture, but working with decent lighting will allow you to override the ISO in Program Auto mode.  Then you can set your ISO to a clean 100 and get fairly smooth shots.

Takeaway:  the lens is great at the wide end, even in auto.  Zooming way out to the maximum distance will leave you with grainy shots unless you adjust ISO in the menus.

ISO Performance

canon elph 150 is sample image   @ISO 100 canon elph 150 is sample image

@ISO 200

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@ISO 400

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@ISO 800

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@ISO 1600

A little grain is a given when using any camera.  Most of us accept that.  But thanks to a diminutive sensor, and the automatic tendencies of this camera to set ISO to some of the grainier extremes, it’s going to behoove most users to stick with 100 ISO if they don’t want a grainy look.  Personally, I found the image quality at 400 and 800 to be workable, but I would still keep away from 1600 unless I really didn’t care about grain/noise.

Takeaway:  change the camera mode to Program and adjust ISO to 100.  And leave it there.

Exposure Whacking

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I can’t use “exposure control” because that is misleading.  You’re in for a struggle when you want to change shutter speed on this camera.  That’s okay – you can easily adjust exposure compensation, but finding the in-menu controls for shutter speed is tough.  Very tough.

Takeaway:  memorize how to get back to your exposure compensation for quick adjustment when taking photos.

Flash

Well, it’s a fairly simple point and shoot flash.  It does seem to have some nice range on it, but it’s positioned to the left side of the lens.

Takeaway:  good most of the time but forget using it for extreme closeups.

Macro

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Probably the best thing about little point and shoot cameras these days are those stunning macro shots.  In fact, it’s one of the niches that point and shoot and ultra compact cameras still excel at.  The ELPH 150 IS has a close-focusing distance of 1 centimeter (or .39 inches).  Decent, to say the least.

Takeaway:  if you like taking macro shots, shell out $150 for this camera and have some fun.

Creative filters

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Monochrome

I guess this is Canon’s attempt to cash in on the same things Fuji and Olympus are doing so well.  The problem with these effects in a point and shoot body is that they wind up looking far, far, far…far far far worse than the same effects from Fuji or Olympus.  Sorry Canon…but you just can’t do it in a body this small.  There is a grid display that users can enable to see a rule-of-thirds guide, but nothing that will save the this camera from the pitfalls of its creative filters.

Takeaway:  avoid cancer of the retina and don’t use these filters.  The rule-of-thirds grid overlay (hidden in the menus) may actually be of more use to creative photographers.

Video

It’s a compact camera with images stabilization (hence the “IS” in ELPH 150 IS), but it’s a tiny 1/2.3” sensor.  And it is only HD – not FULL HD.  So yeah.  Video is kind of there.  It’s wonderful, I guess, if you want video in your camera.  Otherwise, yeah.

Takeaway:  um, yeah.

All in All

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Final opinion?  Not a bad little camera.  Clearly an automatic package for someone who just wants to “take good pictures” but might not have heard about camera phones yet.

You do get better image quality if you take the ISO down to 100 and utilize the flash a little, and macro is amazing on this camera.  But since most of the people who are buying this camera probably aren’t going to know how to overcome its quirks, I don’t expect it to hear much about it or see it flying off of the store shelves.

In all honesty, it reminds me of the people who used to buy family cameras and let everyone in the family use it to take pictures.  It would probably be nice for a picnic or a family reunion, but even the 10x optical zoom seems to have a hard time grabbing distant subjects with the kind of clarity most can find in marginally more expensive compacts.

It’ll be interesting to see where this camera goes, and if Canon might start making niche macro point and shoot cameras for those of us who would like something small and portable for unexpected situations.

Fujifilm XT1 Review

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Since its announcement and fairly rapid release, the Fujifilm XT1 has been turning heads – and with good reason.  Sporting a solid retro design and cutting-edge technology, this camera has vaulted to the forefront of the mirrorless pantheon.  But how does it perform?

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Shooting with the Fujifilm XT1

First, let me say that I was very hyped to get my mits on a Fujifilm XT1.  Mirrorless has been growing on me as of late, no doubt helped along by the Olympus E-M10 – a stunningly capable camera in a small, lightweight package.  So it stands to reason the that this newcomer from Fuji would have me on tenterhooks, but reason abandoned me when I actually took one out for a test drive.

Truth be told, the Fujifilm is impressive on paper.  The pixelpeepers and gearheads out there know this.  You probably know this.  The full specs are intimidating.  The viewfinder is A-MAZ-ING.  It feels like any camera should.  You get a drive mode dial like on my Nikon D2Xs, complete with a freakin’ double-exposure setting.  There’s two (2!) kinds of focus peaking.  And let’s not forget that mouth-watering APS-C sensor.

But then you might use the Fujifilm XT1, and feel something vanish.

Let me elaborate.

The Lens

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For my review, I used an XT1 with the 18-55 kit lens at f/2.8-4.  I had my misgivings about shooting with the standard kit.  Much more enticing to me was the 27mm f/2.8.  But as most people just getting into Fuji might purchase the whole kit, I decided to review the body and the 18-55 together.

That being said, you’ll be impressed that a camera manufacturer supplies you with a lens that’s reasonably bright when compared to the competition.  Heck, you even get a lens hood.  But when you start to use the kit lens a couple things happen.

First, there’s the finicky fake-feeling “aperture ring” on the barrel of the lens.  It moves when the wind blows.  So you’ll find yourself changing aperture without meaning to, and missing several shots.  I tried putting adjusting aperture with one of the on-body control dials, but despite my menu telling me that’s what the dial was set up for, nothing ever happened.  So, yeah, that sucked.

Having an f/2.8-4 zoom lens is great an all, but with that crappy plastic aperture ring on there, it just sort of ruins the whole experience.  Some people are used to manual aperture rings.  You set the ring, and when you move your lens, the freaking ring should not change.  On this lens, it does.  And it screws you up.  And you just want to use manual lenses again.

Shutter Speed

I talked about control dials.  Now let’s talk about the shutter speed dial.  You set your shutter speed at full stops – 1/250, 1/500, 1/4000 – and then you can use a control dial below on the body to fine-tune that shutter speed to say, 1/300, 1/600, and so on and so forth.  I guess this stems from Nikon’s design faults with the DF, where users could change the top shutter speed dial to 1/250 and then move the control dial on the camera body to a shutter speed of 1/500 (without the top dial registering the change).  That being said, it makes shutter speed clunkier and more annoying to adjust.

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ISO

ISO is great if you’re shooting JPEGs only.  You get a range of 100-51200.  Then if you shoot in RAW, you get a diminished range of 200-6400.  Aside from that, you’ve got your ISO speeds on a dial that locks every time you have to move it.  So it doesn’t change accidentally, but you no longer get to rapidly change your ISO speed, either.

Drive Modes

Here the Fujifilm XT1 has made some nice headway.  You get all the drive modes you would expect, plus a bracketed setting, a double exposure setting, a panorama setting (which stitches quite well), and an “advanced” setting.

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The Viewfinder and LCD

Both of these are phenomenal.  You can get lost in that viewfinder.  It’s big, it’s bright, and it doesn’t let in any extra light.  It makes optical viewfinders look shallow and dark.  The LCD is crisp and bright.  It tilts.  It does everything a good LCD should do these days.

Image Quality

Image quality on the Fujifilm XT1 is what you would expect – sharp and crisp with excellent resolution and astounding color reproduction.  The added film simulator is a joy to play around with – more so than the Olympus art features, which seem aimed at amateurs, not film buffs.

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Film simulation modes include a black and white mode simulating certain filters, like red (used in the two photographs above), blue, green, or yellow.  

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Velvia/vivid film simulation.

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Astia/soft film simulation.  

Menus

Menus are very intuitive, especially for those coming from a Nikon background.

Overall Impressions

The Fujifilm XT1 has some wonderful features going for it – the best EVF on the market, a rather large sensor, and stunning image quality, as well as a love-it-or-hate-it retro design.  For those willing to learn with the camera, and harness the potential of new interfaces for shutter speed and aperture, disappointments will be few and far between.  For the rest of you old codgers out there, you might actually want to go the Olympus or Sony route, when it comes to mirrorless.

Note:  One thing I did not touch upon in this review was low-light performance.  A review specifically aimed at night-shooting with the XT1 will be coming soon.  

UPDATE:  To see how the Fujifilm X-T1 performs with the 10-24 f/4 R OIS, check out this review.

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