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This fully-manual ‘legendary portrait lens’ is a revitalized version based on the original 1936 design by Meyer Optik designer, Paul Schäfter. Meyer Optik Görlitz says this redesigned version has been ‘carefully adapted it to the high standards of digital photography after an intensive development period,’ which included the support of Meyer Optik Görlitz engineer Dr. Wolf-Dieter Prenzel.
Meyer Optik Görlitz says the ‘Primoplan 75 f1.9 II is an enhancement of the Cooke triplet, in which a central dispersion lens is flanked by two groups of lenses, each acting as a converging lens.’ It adds, ‘the rear group consists of a single biconvex converging lens.’
|A low-res sample photo, provided by Meyer Optik Görlitz.|
The lens features an all-metal construction, is hand-assembled and each unit is calibrated and tested. Other features include an aperture range of F1.9 through F16, has 14-blade aperture diaphragm, has a minimum focusing distance of 75cm (2.45ft) and uses a 52mm front filter thread.
|A low-res sample photo, provided by Meyer Optik Görlitz.|
The lens is available to pre-order starting today for Canon EF, Fuji X, Leica M, M42, MFT, Nikon F, Pentax K and Sony E mounts for €973.82 (approximately $1,155) on the Meyer Optik Görlitz online store. The first units are expected to start shipping in January 2021.
As we continue to test Nikon's update of its multimedia full-framer, we've added more of our findings so far on image quality, dynamic range and video quality. Take a look.
In August, we reported that Canon suffered a ransomware attack that, allegedly, saw more than 10TB of data taken from Canon’s servers. At the time, a Canon representative told us the company was ‘investigating the situation,’ but the company never confirmed the attack took place. Now, three months later, Canon has confirmed in a statement that an attack did take place as well as details on exactly what information was taken from its servers.
The notice, first spotted by Canon Watch, states information of past and current employees ‘who were employed by Canon U.S.A., Inc. and certain subsidiaries, predecessors and affiliates from 2005 to 2020’ was taken. This data, which also includes employees’ beneficiaries and dependents when applicable, includes ‘Social Security number, driver’s license number or government-issued identification number, financial account number provided to Canon for direct deposit, electronic signature, and date of birth.’
|A notice originally sent to Canon employees notifying them of the cyberattack.|
Canon says it immediately opened an investigation, hired a cybersecurity firm and contacted law enforcement, who helped to support the investigation.
To assist with those whose information was taken in the attack, Canon is offering a free membership to a credit monitoring service to help ‘detect possible misuse of an individual’s information and provides the individual with identity protection services.’
Canon statement about the ransomware attack:
Notice of Data Security Incident
Canon understands the importance of protecting information. We are informing current and former employees who were employed by Canon U.S.A., Inc. and certain subsidiaries, predecessors, and affiliates1 from 2005 to 2020 and those employees’ beneficiaries and dependents of an incident that involved some of their information. This notice explains the incident, measures we have taken, and steps you can take in response.
We identified a security incident involving ransomware on August 4, 2020. We immediately began to investigate, a cybersecurity firm was engaged, and measures were taken to address the incident and restore operations. We notified law enforcement and worked to support the investigation. We also implemented additional security measures to further enhance the security of our network.
We determined that there was unauthorized activity on our network between July 20, 2020 and August 6, 2020. During that time, there was unauthorized access to files on our file servers. We completed a careful review of the file servers on November 2, 2020 and determined that there were files that contained information about current and former employees from 2005 to 2020 and their beneficiaries and dependents. The information in the files included the individuals’ names and one or more of the following data elements: Social Security number, driver’s license number or government-issued identification number, financial account number provided to Canon for direct deposit, electronic signature, and date of birth.
We wanted to notify our current and former employees and their beneficiaries and dependents of this incident and to assure them that we take it seriously. As a precaution, we have arranged for them to receive a complimentary membership to Experian’s® IdentityWorksSM credit monitoring service. This product helps detect possible misuse of an individual’s information and provides the individual with identity protection services. IdentityWorksSM is completely free to the individual, and enrolling in this program will not hurt the individual’s credit score. If you are a current or former employee, or the beneficiary or dependent of a current or former employee, and would like more information on IdentityWorksSM, including instructions on how to activate your complimentary membership, please call our dedicated call center for this incident at 1-833-960-3574. For information on additional steps you can take in response, please see the additional information provided below.
We regret that this occurred and apologize for any inconvenience. If you have additional questions, please call 1-833-960-3574, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Eastern Time.
1This notice is being provided by or on behalf of Canon U.S.A., Inc. and the following subsidiaries, predecessors, and affiliates: Canon BioMedical, Inc., Canon Business Solutions-Central, Inc., Canon Business Solutions-Mountain West, Inc., Canon Business Solutions-NewCal, Inc., Canon Business Solutions-Tereck, Inc., Canon Business Solutions-West, Inc., Canon Development Americas, Inc., Canon Financial Services, Inc., Canon Information and Imaging Solutions, Inc., Canon Information Technology Systems, Inc., Canon Latin America, Inc., Canon Medical Components U.S.A., Inc., Canon Software America, Inc., Canon Solutions America, Inc., Canon Technology Solutions, Inc., Canon U.S. Life Sciences, Inc., NT-ware USA, Inc., Océ Imaging Supplies, Inc., Océ Imagistics Inc., Océ North America, Inc., Océ Reprographic Technologies Corporation, and Virtual Imaging, Inc.
ADDITIONAL STEPS YOU CAN TAKE
We remind you it is always advisable to be vigilant for incidents of fraud or identity theft by reviewing your account statements and free credit reports for any unauthorized activity. You may obtain a copy of your credit report, free of charge, once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. To order your annual free credit report, please visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll free at 1-877-322-8228. Contact information for the three nationwide credit reporting companies is as follows:
- Equifax, PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374, www.equifax.com, 1-800-685-1111
- Experian, PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion, PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016, www.transunion.com, 1-800-916-8800
If you believe you are the victim of identity theft or have reason to believe your personal information has been misused, you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission and/or the Attorney General’s office in your state. You can obtain information from these sources about steps an individual can take to avoid identity theft as well as information about fraud alerts and security freezes. You should also contact your local law enforcement authorities and file a police report. Obtain a copy of the police report in case you are asked to provide copies to creditors to correct your records. Contact information for the Federal Trade Commission is as follows:
- Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580, 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338), www.ftc.gov/idtheft
Todd Dominey has published a video on his Youtube channel that dives into the interesting history of a film stock ‘with an origin story unlike any other,’ Kodak Aerochrome.
The 11-minute video, which is part one of a two-part series, walks through why the infrared film was developed by Kodak and what the United States military had to do with its inception. From there, Dominey talks about the film’s significance in pop culture — most notably in the late 1960s and early 70s — as well as the film’s discontinuation announcement in 2009 and the striking Aerochrome works of photographer Richard Mosse.
|One of a few albums from the late 1960s and early 1970s that used images captured on Kodak Aerochrome film.|
It’s a fantastic watch for those unfamiliar with the discontinued film and still worth a watch for those familiar with it. Dominey says the second video will focus on digitally recreating the aesthetic of Aerochrome film — something that’s been attempted a few times before in the form of presets.
In Part 1 of my Gear of the Year for 2020 I mentioned that the Fujifilm X100V has been in my hands almost all of this year. This article is about a very different piece of photographic equipment in my collection, which has also seen heavy usage this year. And an item which – while much less practical for the kind of day-to-day documentation to which the X100V is so well-suited – is no less enjoyable (in its own way) to use.
The story of how I ended up with a Reflex-Nikkor 1000mm F11 is a bit complicated, and starts with a very different kind of product: the Coolpix P950, which I reviewed earlier this year, at the height of the Washington state quarantine. Those several weeks of shooting with the P950 turned me on to the potential for a proper super-telephoto photography project, once non-essential travel restrictions were lifted.
And I knew exactly where to start - by the sea.
Re-reading WG.S Sebald's book The Rings of Saturn this summer (yes, sorry, this is going to one of those kinds of articles), one line really resonated with me. It's a description of fishermen on the Norfolk coast, in England. Wondering about their motivation at a time when it is 'almost impossible to catch anything from the beach' Sebald concludes that they 'just want to be in a place where they have the world behind them, and before them nothing but emptiness'.
I've always found it calming to look out at the ocean, and amid the seemingly never-ending chaos of this year, I've been bolting down to the Washington coast whenever time and local regulations allow, to put the world at my back for a little while.
The Reflex-Nikkor 1000mm F11 is a catadioptric lens, which works by 'folding' the light that comes into it using mirrors. This provides a long focal length without the need for a physically long lens barrel. The light travels the same distance inside a mirror lens as it would in a conventional telephoto, it just moves in a zigzag.
The biggest downside to mirror lenses in general is manual focus (in almost all cases - more on that in a minute) and a fixed, slow aperture, usually F8 or F11. This severely reduces the range of conditions in which they can be used. Typically, mirror lenses are also less sharp than conventional lenses, as well as being an absolute pain to focus through an optical viewfinder. They have a tendency to throw off AWB too, and let's not forget the highly distracting 'donut' bokeh, created by the annular mirror.
In a world of high-resolution electronic viewfinders, magnified focus modes and fully electronic shutters, mirror lenses are more practical now than they've ever been
For all that, mirror lenses have a dedicated fanbase (and if you're looking for an inexpensive way to get into lunar photography, look no further). But there are a lot of good reasons why this lens costs $3,200 and this one can be found on the second-hand market for less than $500. And that's an unusually expensive example of the type – most bog-standard 500mm F8 mirror lenses can be picked up used for around $100-200.
|This image is a combination of two exposures taken from the same position, moments apart: one exposed for the moon, and one for the wispy clouds.
F11| ISO 1600 (multi-exposure)
Catadioptric lens technology hasn't evolved significantly in decades (with the honorable exception of the Minolta AF Reflex 500mm F8, which remains unique among mirror lenses for offering autofocus) but camera technology over those decades has come on in leaps and bounds. And it turns out that in a world of high-resolution electronic viewfinders, magnified focus modes and fully electronic shutters, mirror lenses are more practical now than they've ever been. Which is why when a 'Like New -' condition example of the Reflex-Nikkor 1000mm F11 popped up on KEH earlier this year I jumped on it immediately.
That last paragraph, by the way, was going to form the basis of an opinion article I was planning over the summer. Provisionally entitled 'Thanks to Mirrorless Technology, There's Still a Place For Slow Telephoto Lenses', the air was taken out of the idea by Canon's surprise release of the RF 600mm and 800mm F11 STM. But hey – I was right. It turns out that there is a market for lenses like that.
Earlier in this article I implied that the Reflex-Nikkor 1000mm F11 is 'enjoyable' to use. That needs some qualification: I enjoy using it in the same way as I enjoy hiking up really steep hills. It makes me feel good afterwards, but often, when I'm actually engaged in the task, it's a bloody nightmare. Oh, let me count the ways...
The Reflex-Nikkor 1000mm F11 lets me get a perspective that would be impossible with any of my other lenses
First, the massive 108mm filter thread is non-standard, which means that there's no simple replacement option for the fiddly threaded metal (!) cap, which takes ages to get on and off. Then there's the enormously long focus ring. This is both a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, depth of field is so shallow at 1000mm you really do need a good, positive manual focus ring with fine-grained control. On the other hand, if you nudge the barrel of the lens (or the massive integral hood, which rotates with the focusing ring) or breath on it, or look at it wrong, you'll throw off critical focus. And because the focusing ring makes up 70% of the length of the entire barrel (even more when the hood is extended) it's almost impossible not to nudge it when handling or repositioning the lens. Finally, although smaller than a conventional 1000mm F11 would be, it's still a big, fat lump of glass and metal that doesn't fit into a camera bag alongside my other gear.
Ultimately though I don't really care about any of those issues, because the Reflex-Nikkor 1000mm F11 lets me get a perspective that would be impossible with any of my other lenses and, yes, it's a lot of fun.
From my favorite spot near Long Beach, looking out over the Pacific, the horizon line is roughly 10-12 miles away. Twelve miles is the official limit of territorial and international waters.
I shoot my 1000mm F11 lens adapted on a Nikon Z7, with electronic shutter and a cable release, and always clamped to a sturdy tripod with a 10lb weight slung under it. I tried mechanical shutter and electronic first-curtain, but after a lot of experimentation I found that the former can create vibration issues at such a long focal length, and the latter can lead to uneven exposures at the shortest exposures.
With the setup I just described, I can get away with shutter speeds of around 1/200sec in still conditions. If it's breezy, I'll increase the ISO and decrease the exposure time accordingly. If the fully-electronic shutter introduces any distortion, I can't tell. The subject matter would render it unnoticeable anyway.
|Water spouts, created by whales breaching in the Pacific close to sunset. These little puffs of water were invisibly small to my naked eye.
The project I'm currently working on with my 1000mm is a little different to the one I'd originally planned, and a lot more abstract. it's shot mostly from a single overlook about 100 feet up over the Pacific coast near Long Beach WA, looking out roughly 10-12 miles to the clouds and patches of light which line the horizon, approximately at the boundary of International waters. Since I started working on this project I've added a Tamron SP 500mm F8 and a second tripod to my collection for those times when 1000mm is just slightly too long.
Maybe I'll look back at the whole effort in a couple of years and think 'well that was a waste of time' (maybe you think so already - and I'm sure you'll let me know) but if nothing else, turning my back on the world and concentrating on 1.3 degrees of distant, hazy somewhere else for a few days here and there has provided a much-needed exercise in creative meditation.
Next year's post-vaccine project: A closeup look at crowds, all shot on a 14mm lens.
Planning to treat yourself to a new full-frame camera this holiday season? We compare the Canon EOS R6, Nikon Z6 II, Panasonic S5 and Sony a7 III.
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Photokina has announced it will be indefinitely suspending its Cologne-based event due to ‘decreases in the imaging market’ that have ‘force[d] a hard cut.’
In a press release promoted on the Photokina homepage, Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse (the organizing company behind Photokina) says:
‘Unfortunately, at present, the framework conditions in the industry do not provide a viable basis for the leading international trade fair for photography, video and imaging […] This hard cut after a 70-year shared history was very difficult for us. The trend in this industry, with which we have always had a close and trusting partnership, is very painful for us to witness. But we are facing the situation with a clear, honest decision against continuing this event, a decision to which, unfortunately, we have no alternative.’
The press release goes on to explain that even without the global COVID-19 pandemic, ‘the imaging market was already subject to strong upheaval, with annual declines in the double digits.’ Despite efforts to diversify the tradeshow with ‘new exhibitor and visitor segments,’ these changes didn’t ‘fundamentally improve the situation of the event,’ according to Koelnmesse Management Board member and Chief Operating Officer, Oliver Frese. Frese goes on to say:
’While there are more photographs taken today than ever before, the integration of smartphone photography and videography, together with image-based communication, e.g. via social media, was not able to cushion the elimination of large segments of the classic market. As a result, the overall situation is not compatible with the quality standards of photokina as a globally renowned brand representing the highest quality and professionalism in the international imaging market.’
Ultimately, the decision fo indefinitely suspend Photokina was made by Koelnmesse ‘in close coordination’ with the German Photo Industry Association.
While the title of the press release — ’Photokina will be suspended until further notice’ — it’s clear this is a farewell for the annual photo show, which has been taking place in Cologne, Germany since 1950.
A gift guide just for you
It's been a doozy of a year but thankfully, it wasn't all sour grapes. While many aspects of society ground to a halt, manufacturers still had cool and exciting products in their pipelines that they managed to bring to market.
And while opportunities to get and out shoot may be limited at the moment, we can still dream big. And what better way to do that than by 'browser window shopping'. What follows is a rundown of the headiest products of 2020, the ones photographers really want. So pour a tall cold one and get ready to treat yourself!
Canon EOS R5
There's no two ways about it, the gold award-winning Canon EOS R5 is our favorite mirrorless camera over $3000 and perhaps Canon's most impactful full-framer since the 5D Mark II. And while the RF mount is still relatively new, there's no shortage of fast aperture primes and F2.8 zooms available, including 'the holy trinity' of the 15-35mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm.
Well-suited to enthusiasts and professionals alike, the R5 offers outstanding image quality, excellent ergonomics, fast burst shooting and fabulous autofocus performance, not to mention lovely oversampled 4K. In short, if you really want to treat yourself to the best of the best, it's the camera to get.
Of course, not everyone wants or needs an interchangeable lens camera, for some of us, the simplicity and GAS-reducing nature of a fixed lens camera offers greater appeal. Lucky for folks in this camp, two new large-sensor, fixed lens cameras are featured on this year's list including the glorious Fujifilm X100V.
Which begs the question: What do you get when you take a wonderfully designed camera and tweak it over the course of four generations based on user feedback, without straying from the original ethos? Why, the X100V of course. Building on its legacy, the 'V' bring all sorts of lovely refinements to the series including a newly designed lens with better corner/close-up sharpness, an updated sensor and AF system, better build-quality, a tilting touchscreen and more!
Leica Q2 Monochrom
Another fixed-lens, large-sensor camera launched this year is a 'Monochrom' version of the Leica Q2, a staff favorite here at DPR. The camera's B&W-only sensor offers improved dynamic range and noise performance over its color sensor counterpart. Plus, the super sharp 28mm F1.7 lens and moody monochrome output make it the perfect all-in-one option for street photographers, live music shooters and/or anyone who loves shooting after the sun goes down.
And while some may find 28mm a tad too wide, the camera's 47MP full-frame sensor provides ample resolution for cropping. Plus the Q2 Monochrom handles just like the standard Q2, which is to say it's built like a tank and both straightforward and immensely gratifying to shoot with. And immense gratification is what 'treat yourself' is all about.
GoPro Hero9 Black
GoPro's latest flagship, the Hero9 Black, is a seriously impressive piece of kit and easily the most compelling action camera to come out in quite some time. For filmmakers, it can shoot up to 5K/30p, offering room to crop in post, assuming you're outputting 4K, or 4K/60p. And GoPro's Hypersmooth video image stabilization is jaw-droppingly good. On the stills side, resolution has jumped from 12MP on previous models to 20MP on Hero9 Black.
The camera isn't just capable though, it's also well-designed: control/menus are accessed via the rear touchscreen and the whole unit is water/freeze/dust-proof without the need for a case. It also provides improved battery life over predecessors, a front-facing 'live' screen and even the option to attach an accessory wide angle lens. In short, it's the perfect companion for anyone's extreme lifestyle, whether that means leisurely bike rides to the park or free-climbing rock faces. Treat yourself!
iPhone 12 Pro & 12 Pro Max
iPhones, like GoPros, tend to see iterative yearly updates, but occasionally a new model drops with enough advancements that it's impossible to ignore. The iPhone 12 Pro is that model and the ultimate 'treat yourself' device, not just from a photo/video shooting perspective but also when it comes to displaying and viewing your work.
Apple devices have been able to shoot HDR photos and videos for some time, but this new model (like all iPhone 12 models) can now display 10-bit Dolby Vision HDR on a beautiful OLED screen, right from within the photo app: an industry first!
The camera is also impressive. It consists of three 12MP modules, including standard wide-angle (with a 47% larger sensor than its predecessor), an ultra-wide and telephoto options. Additionally, the phone will make use of Apple's new Raw format, ProRaw, in beta now and coming soon. And, as if that's not enough, Apple claims the device has enough processing power to make it 50% faster than any phone currently on the market (not to mention, it's 5G-enabled). Now that's a treat!
Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG DN Art
Everyone needs a good 85mm portrait lens and Sigma's latest 85mm offering for mirrorless full-frame E-mount and L-mount makes a strong case for inclusion in your kit.
One thing that truly sets it apart from others like it, including 2016's Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art, is its compact and lightweight design. However, despite a comparatively smaller footprint, this lens remains optically outstanding, offering really good sharpness at all apertures (including in the corners), minimal chromatic aberrations and well-controlled ghosting and flare.
It's also 'dust and splash proof' and impressively well-built. And at $1200, the Sigma is priced more affordably than the competition, too. Which is to say, it checks all the boxes for what make an outstanding F1.4 portrait lens – a difficult feat and a major treat.
DJI Mavic Air 2
Have you been holding out for the right moment to spread your wings and treat yourself to a drone? Well my friends, the moment is now. DJI's new Mavic Air 2 represents the most lust-worthy enthusiast drone to launch in some time.
The perfect balance of size and capability, Air 2 fits in the palm of your hand but can deliver great stills image quality from its 1/2" 48MP CMOS sensor, including both Raw and JPEGs formats. It can also shoot up to 4K/60p video and offers a variety of accident avoidance technologies as well features like subject tracking, HDR video and a panorama mode. Battery life is a useful 34 minutes and perhaps most importantly, the Mavic Air 2 is easy and enjoyable to fly.
Olympus 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x
I've tried my best to keep this year's 'Treat Yourself' guide somewhat mount-agnostic, but certain new glass is just too darn difficult to ignore. Take, for instance, the new Olympus 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x for Micro Four Thirds bodies. It's not for everyone, but for a certain type of photographer, this is the the ultimate optical treat!
I'm talking of course about nature and wildlife photographers. Olympus' king of tele-s packs a whopping 300-800mm equiv. focal range into a surprisingly well-sized, well-weighted body. But that's not all! A 1.25x built-in teleconverter bumps that reach to an impressive 1000mm (at the cost of 2/3 EV of light). And, as is the case with most high-end Olympus gear, this lens is sealed against dust and moisture, and built to take some punishment – just be sure to protect that big, beautiful 95mm front element!
DJI Pocket 2
The second iteration of DJI's pocket-friendly vlogging machine is a real winner. This little unit is easy-to-use, offers a nice wide 20mm field-of-view (wider than its predecessor) and shoots high quality, super-smooth 4K video. It also features an updated four-way directional in-camera microphone, capable of recording good quality audio without the need for an accessory mic. And did we mention it's pocketable?
Basically, the Pocket 2 is the perfect no-fuss, all-in-one vlogging machine and the right piece of kit for sharing your adventures with the world. And while now might not be a great time to leave your house and embark on any adventures, the Pocket 2 will be waiting for you when it's safe to travel again. So go on and treat yourself to this tiny wonder.
There you have it, our favorite lust-worthy gear of the year. Here's hoping 2021 has even more treats in store. Until next time, Treat yourself!
The new Laowa 15mm F4.5 Shift lens lets you go wide with perspective control. View our sample gallery to see how a bit of shift can change a photo or introduce creative effects.
Apple's iPhones have a front-facing camera for selfies and FaceTime, but the front camera's performance and image quality pales in comparison to the rear cameras. For those wanting a high-quality selfie or to record video content of themselves, your options have long been to use the front-facing camera so you can see your phone's display or to try your luck with the rear-facing camera and hope everything is framed properly. Ulanzi has a new product, the ST-09 Phone Tripod Mount for Apple Watch, designed to solve this exact problem.
By using a paired Apple Watch and the ST-09, you can mount your smartwatch to the ST-09 and clamp it onto your iPhone. With the accompanying Apple Watch app, your Watch's face becomes a live viewfinder mounted to the back of your iPhone.
As Gizmodo says, it may 'seem like a foolish use for the $200+ smartwatch strapped to your wrist. But as you think about it more, you realize the mount solves a problem that many amateur vloggers who rely on their smartphones for all of their productions needs run into: using the back camera to film yourself is all but impossible.' The target audience is somewhat niche, perhaps, but the ST-09 is an inexpensive, simple solution. Provided you already have an Apple Watch, of course.
On the bottom of the mount is a tripod a 1/4" hole for mounting a tripod. On the top of the mount is a cold shoe, which can be used for attaching a fill light, microphone or other accessories.
|Ulanzi ST-09 product details. Image courtesy of Ulanzi. Click to enlarge.|
If you're worried about scratching your devices, Ulanzi states that the product features an anti-scratch silicone pad design for the Watch mount and the clamps which adjust to your phone. Speaking of which, the tension distance is 58-89mm, meaning it will fit most iPhones, including the latest iPhone 12 models. With respect to Apple Watch model compatibility, Ulanzi only mentions the Series 5, so Gizmodo observes that the ST-09 may only be compatible with the Series 5 and Series 6 Apple Watches.
|The Ulanzi ST-09 can adjust from 58mm to 89mm in order to fit a variety of iPhones. Image courtesy of Ulanzi.|
The problem Ulanzi is trying to solve has been tackled by different manufacturers over the years. Gizmodo recalls the DJI Osmo Action, an action camera with a front-facing camera. (You can check out our hands-on with the Osmo Action right here). GoPro followed suit shortly thereafter with the Hero9 action camera. Smartphone manufacturers, on the other hand, have not gone this route. Smartphone displays drain battery and a second display on the rear presents power, engineering and cost concerns.
The Ulanzi ST-09 can be ordered directly from Ulanzi for $19.95 USD. The accessory is current on sale from its regular price of $29.99.
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- The shift lens effect
- Subtle shifts
- Shifting and perspective
- Sample images
- Build and functionality
- Sharpness vs. Canon TS-E 17mm F4
- Who's it for?
Sample gallery for this episode
I wouldn't usually consider myself a fan of long lenses, perhaps as the result of my early digital experiences coming on disappointing superzooms. Once I'd got over the novelty of being able to take pictures of something a long way away, I usually found I could take a better photo by simply getting closer. I've used long telephotos for sports shooting, of course, but in recent years my lenses of choice have been 35 and 85mm equivalents.
The Canon 800mm F11 seemed too interesting to not try, though. And that meant adapting my photography to suit the equipment. This may sound back-to-front: I spend much of my working life looking for cameras that require the least adaptation on the part of the photographer, the ones that just work.
But, restricting yourself to single focal lengths or shooting a mono-only camera can help provide inspiration, so you can push yourself to try something new. And I needed to find something that I could shoot with it.
My first thought was to play around with the compression effects you get from the greater shooting distances encouraged by long lenses. Shooting through the open patio doors, with me at the back of the common room and my subject on the far end of the roof deck, I was able to exaggerate the size of the Space Needle in my photo. Unfortunately, with a fixed F11 aperture, I didn't have the option to stop down further to make it less diffuse.
What's the big deal?
We've seen impressive things done with diffractive/fresnel optics before: Nikon's 300mm F4 PF is an excellent lens, that I'm hoping will be re-created in the Z mount, but the Canon F11 pair is something a little different.
Think of it more like a modern alternative to the mirror lens: restrictive, in that it has a fixed aperture as well as a fixed focal length, but freeing in the sense that you can lift it and, to a much greater extent, afford it. And, unlike mirror lenses, the resultant images aren't marred by strange doughnut-hole bokeh, which I personally find distracting (/revolting).
Add in the retractable design and light weight and the convenience of the package becomes clear. It's not the most solid-feeling lens, by any means, but those weight savings are appreciated if you're carrying it for more than a few hours. Ultimately, though, it's the price of the 800mm that stands out most, to me. At F11 it lets in 1/4 as much light as the EF 800mm F5.6 IS L can, but its list price of $899 is less than 1/14th of the cost.
A (socially distanced) hike around the city suggested a better option. Our walk took us through the Union Bay Natural Area. At first it looked like a piece of low-lying scrubland overshadowed by a college football stadium: a messy adjunct to its gameday parking. But the more I stopped and looked around, the more interesting fauna I saw, and the more photographic opportunities.
So I went back, armed with the Canon 800mm F11, an EOS R5, took my time, wandered around, looking for things to shoot. I make no claims to being a nature photographer, and my first efforts were patchy, at best. But like all the best photography experiences, every half-decent shot I took convinced me that my next one could be better.
The need to get a diverse gallery of images in a short space of time is somewhat at odds with the patience required for good nature photos. Similarly, the diktat that we should keep ISO as low as possible for lens galleries probably left me skirting the line of motion blur, but even with imperfect results, I found myself wanting to go back and have another go. Which is the thing that I enjoyed most about the 800mm: finding myself able to try something new.
I'm not going to claim any of my shots were great, partly as a result of inexperience, partly due to basic moral failure. But I enjoyed myself and the 800mm had helped encourage me to do something I might not otherwise think to try.
You might well argue that the thing I enjoyed was being pushed to try something new, and I'd completely agree. But I think the Canon RF 800mm F11 puts that opportunity to try something new into more people's hands. Hence it's my pick for this year.
|Yes, I should have got up earlier in the day, used faster shutter speeds, but it was an enjoyable experience. Thank you, Mr. Predictable Kingfisher.|
MIOPS, makers of the Smart Trigger and Mobile Remote, is back on Kickstarter with another new product designed to make it easier than ever to capture unique images. The Flex is a 'smart camera gadget' photographers can use to create timelapse videos, capture photos of lightning strikes, breaking glass and more.
Flex attaches to your camera's hot shoe and communicates wirelessly with an accompanying app for iOS and Android. Flex offers many different features and shooting modes, including:
- Camera control
- Lightning sensor
- Sound sensor
- Laser sensor
- HDR bracketing
- Live view framing
- Holy Grail (day to night) timelapse
- Basic timelapse
- Long exposure timelapse
- HDR timelapse
- Time warper
- Cable release
- Press and hold
- Press and lock
- Timed release
- Self timer
- Timed release with self-timer
As you can see, timelapse is an important aspect of Flex's feature set. As MIOPS says, 'Flex is one of the most powerful devices for making timelapse videos.' A large part of what makes Flex such a promising tool for timelapse creation is that the application shows you a live preview of your timelapse video during the shooting process. When capturing a timelapse in changing conditions, Flex can automatically change your camera's settings as well, allowing you to capture a 'holy-grail timelapse,' which is a timelapse with smooth day-to-night and night-to-day transitions. It's a notoriously difficult type of timelapse to create.
|Flex includes many timelapse features, including a live preview function on the Flex app. Image credit: MIOPS|
For high-speed photography, such as capturing lightning strikes or capturing the perfect moment of action, Flex incorporates numerous helpful features. When photographing lightning, Flex automatically captures photos as soon as its sensor detects lightning. For photographing something such as a popping balloon, breaking glass, or a falling object, Flex includes a sound-activated shooting mode and it has a laser sensor that can be tripped to trigger image capture.
|When using Flex, you can remotely control your camera, including adjusting settings and capturing images. Image credit: MIOPS|
Flex includes new features for more traditional photography applications as well. From the Flex app, you can remotely adjust your camera's settings and capture images. MIOPS says, 'Go ahead – put your camera in hard-to-reach places to get that amazing angle.' With customizable shutter speed control, Flex can also be used to capture very long exposure images, beyond what your camera can capture on its own. Further, you can see what your camera sees via live view from your smartphone.
|Flex attaches to your camera's hot shoe and is compatible with many cameras from Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm. Image credit: MIOPS|
Flex is compatible with cameras from Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm, including both DSLR and mirrorless cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony. For the full list of compatible cameras, click here.
Flex has already eclipsed its $50,000 goal with 43 days to go in the Kickstarter campaign. MIOPS expects to ship Flex to backers in June 2021. The Flex is available for $199 USD with the 'Super Early Bird' backer option, a $100 savings compared to the expected MSRP. For full details of the Flex and the various backer options, head to the Flex Kickstarter page. To learn more about MIOPS and its other products, click here.
Disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project. DPReview does its best to share only the projects that look legitimate and come from reliable creators, but as with any crowdfunded campaign, there’s always the risk of the product or service never coming to fruition.
DPReview Awards 2020
How is it nearly the end of the year already? Not that any of us are keen for 2020 to last much longer. To say the least, this has been a strange and difficult few months for people all over the globe, and one that we can't wait to put behind us. The photo industry (like most industries) was impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic this year, but a lot of great products were released nevertheless, even if launch schedules were a little more erratic (and access to samples a lot more disrupted) than normal.
At the end of every year we get together as a team to recognize the standout products of the past 12 months in our annual DPReview Awards. Normally we do that in a room, but hey – contentious multi-participant discussions about which products a bunch of very opinionated professional reviewers like best are what video calls were invented for!
Without further ado, take a look through this article to find out which products made our list of the best gear of 2020.
- Apple iPad Air (2020 version)
- DJI Mavic Air 2
- DJI Pocket 2
- GoPro HERO9 Black
Runner up: GoPro HERO9 Black
'Go big or come home,' is a phrase we can only assume is often spoken (or shouted?) at GoPro HQ. And with the new flagship HERO9 Black, GoPro really did go big.
The HERO9 Black offers up to 5K/30p or 4K/60p video from a new 23.6MP sensor; the former gives room to crop-in in post, assuming you're outputting in 4K. It also features GoPro's impressive HyperSmooth 3.0 video stabilization, which is easily the best in the action camera class.
Still images are captured at 20MP, up from 12MP on the HERO8 Black. And a new accessory wide angle attachment (sold separately) adds increased versatility to the unit. Long gone are days of confusing button combinations: The HERO9 Black offers a rear touchscreen as well as a front-facing 'live' screen. It's also waterproof, without the need for a case and provides 30% improved battery life over its predecessor. That's good enough to make it our runner-up for best accessory of the year.
Winner: DJI Mavic Air 2
The DJI Mavic series has likely done more to popularize drone photography than any other product, but in 2020 DJI really hit the sweet spot with the Mavic Air 2. It's a true Goldilocks product that's not too little or too much – it's just right. In our review we called it 'The best all-round drone for most people'.
While not the smallest drone on the market, the Mavic Air 2 still fits in the palm of your hand. Despite its compact size, it features a camera with a 1/2" CMOS sensor to deliver better image quality than models with smartphone-style sensors. It captures impressive 4K/60p video and photos in JPEG or Raw, includes HDR and panorama modes, and packs useful features like an obstacle avoidance system and impressive subject tracking. Most important, it's fun to fly and makes it easy to capture great photos and videos, earning it our photo accessory of the year award.
Best smartphone camera
- Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
- Google Pixel 5
- Huawei Mate 40 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
Runner up: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
Sitting at the top of Samsung’s Galaxy S20 lineup, the Ultra earns its name in multiple respects, starting with its massive 6.9” OLED screen. But what stands out most to us is its impressive camera hardware. It offers a large 1/1.33" 108MP sensor in its main camera module, complemented by a 12MP ultrawide and depth-sensing time-of-flight sensors. An additional 48MP telephoto camera features a 103mm periscope configuration with an f/3.5 aperture, making it a native 4x optical zoom. A 10x “hybrid optic zoom” mode is offered that combines data from both the 108MP wide and 48 MP telephoto modules, and you can go up to 30x with some software upscaling wizardry. All but the ultrawide module offer phase-detect autofocus.
This phone was announced in February of this year and at the end of 2020 it’s still unrivaled in terms of raw camera specs. It's large main sensor, 8K video, and its Nonacell and Tetracell technologies in the main and tele- modules that allow for higher quality images in low light thanks to hardware binning, to name a few.
In recent history, smartphone camera advancements have largely come from more sophisticated software. To be sure, the S20 Ultra has plenty of software tricks up its sleeves, but Samsung also went big on hardware in this device. For this unique combination of cutting-edge software and hardware, it earns our Best Smartphone runner up.
Winner: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
Apple reserved its most impressive imaging specifications for the iPhone 12 Pro lineup, with telephoto lenses, LiDAR scanners that enable night portrait mode images, and up to 4K/60p Dolby Vision video. In fact, iPhone 12 phones are the only devices in existence that allow you to capture, edit and display video in the 10-bit Dolby Vision HDR format all on the smartphone itself.
But the iPhone 12 Pro Max takes things a step further, introducing a 47% larger sensor with bigger pixels to the device’s main camera, which in conjunction with the F1.6 main lens aperture allows the Pro Max to capture nearly twice as much light as the previous generation phones. Sensor-shift stabilization has also been added to the main camera for the first time in an iPhone, allowing for better night mode photographs.
While this may not sound like a big deal considering the 1/1.33" sensors we've seen in competitors, it's the total package that makes the 12 Pro Max our winner. It's the only smartphone not just capturing but displaying HDR in both stills and video, in more hands than ever before. Yet also doing so also with a large sensor, sensor-shift stabilization and the image processing many have come to know and love of Apple. And seeing HDR photos and videos is believing – it’s one of the next big steps forward in image capture and display, and the 12 Pro Max is going to turn a lot of people into believers. Especially if you set your screen brightness to max!
Best zoom lens
- Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm F2.8 S
- Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm F2.8 VR S
- Olympus 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x
- Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM
Runner-up: Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm F2.8 S
The third and final member of Nikon's Z-mount 'Holy Trinity' is an impressive lens - the Z 14-24mm F2.8 S. This one had a hard act to follow, vying to replace the very well-liked AF-S 14-24mm F2.8 in the kitbags of Nikon mirrorless upgraders.
Instead of simply adapting and re-housing the older optical design for the new Z-mount, Nikon's engineers went back to the drawing board, creating a fast wideangle zoom that manages to be smaller, lighter and more practical than its F-mount predecessor, without sacrificing optical quality and, actually, improving on it. This is a wonderfully sharp lens, and very practical too, weighing in at less than 1.5 lbs, with the option of screw-in filter compatibility via an included hood adapter. This is a lens which – like one of its main competitors this year, Sony's FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM – really shows what optical designers can do with a short flange-back distance.
Joint-winner: Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm F2.8 VR S
A good 70-200mm F2.8 equivalent seems to be essential in any system which wants to be taken seriously. Nikon announced the Z 70-200mm F2.8 VR S way back in January (which feels like years ago) but disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that even now, it's hard to get hold of.
Assuming you're lucky enough to get your hands on one, you'll find a lot to like about the Z 70-200mm F2.8 VR S. Perhaps the sharpest of the current (all very sharp) range of similar lenses for competitive mirrorless systems, this powerful telezoom features a very good minimum focus distance, excellent customization, and the ability to accept teleconverters. While it doesn't have quite the same magic bokeh as the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VR, the cross-frame sharpness and flare-resistance of this native mirrorless lens is superb, making it a very capable companion for users of Nikon's Z-mount, and the joint-winner in this year's DPReview Awards for best zoom lens.
Joint-winner: Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM
In the end we couldn't choose between the Nikon Z 70-200mm F2.8 VR S and this one. The Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM is a very different kind of lens, but equally excellent in its way. Aimed at landscape and astrophotographers alike, it’s a lens that can replace a handful of primes thanks to its optical performance. It’s tack sharp wide open, and three extreme aspherical (XA), two Super ED and three ED (extra low dispersion) elements help the lens achieve little to no lateral or longitudinal chromatic aberration. Stars and city lights are faithfully rendered thanks to minimal coma, and the precision of XA element grinding ensures smooth bokeh with no onion-rings.
The Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM is impressively lightweight at 847g, only 6.5% heavier than the compact Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art lens. It accepts rear-mount gel filters, and is fast to focus thanks to four extreme dynamic (XD) linear motors that allow it to keep up with the 20 fps frame rate of the Sony a9 cameras. A newer Nano anti-reflective coating allows for lower flare and ghosting. Video shooters will be pleased by the linear focus response, lack of focus breathing, focus shift, and axial shift while zooming.
Best prime lens
- Nikon Z 20mm F1.8 S
- Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro
- Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG DN Art
- Sony FE 20mm F1.8G
Runner-up: Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro
Another in a line of excellent 'DN' (Digital Native) lenses from Sigma, the 105mm F2.8 was designed specifically for full-frame mirrorless cameras, and delivers excellent results on the latest Sony E-mount and Panasonic/Leica/Sigma L-mount bodies.
Medium-telephoto macro lenses like this one are excellent for closeup work of smaller animals and plants, where you want to be able to maintain a reasonable camera-subject distance. They're also handy as portrait lenses, where the longer focal length and sharpness wide-open help compensate for the relatively slow maximum aperture compared to a conventional portrait prime. As one of (still) very few native macro options for full-frame mirrorless shooters, the Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro earns its runner-up spot in this year's DPReview Award for best prime lens.
Winner: Sony FE 20mm F1.8G
The Sony 20mm F1.8G takes the top spot in our awards for prime lens of the year thanks to the fact that it's nearly optically flawless. It’s sharp enough wide open to pair with the high-resolution 60MP a7R IV, with nearly no lateral or longitudinal chromatic aberration to speak of - particularly impressive for a lens of this type. Bokeh is smooth with no onion rings or bright edges. Nine aperture blades ensure smooth out-of-focus highlights even as you stop down, and for astrophotographers, there’s minimal sagittal flare or coma.
Autofocus is extremely speedy thanks to XD (extreme dynamic) linear focus actuators. Distortion and vignetting are also well-controlled and easily fixed in post-processing. The only flaw we can find really is a tendency to flare and ghost, but that’s excusable for a lens of this type and considering its lack of other optical aberrations.
As the most well-corrected lenses of this type that we’ve ever seen, the Sony 20mm F1.8G easily wins our prime lens of the year.
Best compact/fixed lens camera
- Fujifilm X100V
- Nikon Coolpix P950
- Sony ZV1
- Zeiss ZX1
Runner-up: Nikon Coolpix P950
In a year with few highlights, testing the Nikon Coolpix P950 was definitely among them. Maybe the perfect camera for shooting during quarantine, if you can't find some interesting photographic perspectives with a 24-2000mm zoom range, it's time to find another hobby.
It's all too easy to sneer at 'big lens, small sensor' cameras like this, but do so at your peril. The Coolpix P900 sold like hotcakes, and the P950 is a better camera, and nicer to use, too (thanks to Raw mode and a better EVF, respectively). If you respect its limits, the P950 will reward you with images that would be near-impossible to get with any other comparably-priced setup. A good camera removes obstacles to creativity, and for that reason the Nikon Coolpix P950 earns its runner-up spot in our category for compact / fixed-lens camera this year.
Winner: Fujifilm X100V
And the Nikon Coolpix P950 would probably have won outright, were it not for this pesky kid. The Fujifilm X100V is the fifth camera in the company's perennially-popular X100 range, and brings far more substantial changes compared to previous iterations. Featuring a new 26MP BSI-CMOS sensor, flip-out, touch-sensitive rear-screen and redesigned lens, the X100V is a significantly better camera than its forebears.
We've always loved the X100-series, and it was very good to see Fujifilm's engineers really grasp the nettle this year and make some bolder updates to the concept. And while some photographers might still consider the X100V's fixed 35mm equivalent lens to be limiting, it's worth noting that the redesigned lens makes the company's wide and tele-converters perform a lot better than they did on some previous X100-series models. For everyday photography the X100V is a reliable and enjoyable companion, and as such it takes the top spot in our 2020 DPReview Award for best compact/fixed-lens camera.
Best stills / video camera
- Canon EOS R6
- Fujifilm X-T4
- Panasonic Lumix DC-S5
- Sony a7S III
Runner up: Canon EOS R6
The EOS R6 risks being overshadowed by the 8K-capable R5 (and the initial concerns about how it recovers from overheating), but its a hugely capable stills / video camera.
The ability to record in 10-bit, either as Log or PQ HDR footage, is impressive, as is the option to shoot 4K/60p, but its appeal goes beyond that. Its stabilization is excellent, its autofocus is reliable and the video and stills settings are kept separate to a good degree, making it easy to switch back and forth. A firmware update that improves recovery times means it's primarily its rolling shutter that counts against it. But even with this taken into account, there are few cameras at the price that make it easier to shoot genuinely excellent video.
Winner: Sony a7S III
Instead of chasing headline specs, Sony told us its priorities for the a7S III centered around reliability. In that spirit, it stuck with a 12MP sensor to capture native 4K, but its an all-new BSI sensor with dual gain architecture and fast rolling shutter performance. As a result, the camera can capture 4K/60p using the full width of its sensor, and up to 4K/120p with a slight (1.1x) crop, all in 4:2:2 10-bit color.
The a7S III also benefits from updated codecs, including a new All-I 'intra-frame' option, 16-bit Raw video output over HDMI, and dual-twin card slots that support both SD and CFexpress Type A. It's also the first a7-series camera to feature a fully articulating screen in addition to Sony's class-leading AF system, and it can record 4-channel audio with a new XLR adapter. the a7S III's biggest drawback is that it's stuck at 12MP for stills. Native 4K may result in slightly less detail than the oversampled video found on competitors, but it's still the most impressive stills/video hybrid we've seen this year unless you really need more than 4K resolution.
Best entry-level ILC
- Canon EOS Rebel T8i
- Fujifilm X-S10
- Fujifilm X-T200
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV
Runner-up: Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV is one of the dark horses of the current photography market. Introduced this year without much fanfare, on the surface the E-M10 IV might look like an iterative update to the venerable E-M10-series, and in some ways of course it is. But iteration is good! With the Mark IV, Olympus has created arguably its most competitive consumer ILC yet.
With a 20MP Micro Four Thirds sensor (an upgrade from the rather long-in-the-tooth 16MP sensor used in the last generation) and built-in IBIS effective for ~4.5EV, the OM-D E-M10 IV is a more powerful tool than its predecessors. It's fairly fast (max shooting with AF is possible up to 4.5fps) and offers a decent electronic viewfinder, a flip-down touchscreen on the back, and 4K video. While its menu system and GUI can be overwhelming at first, the amount of features and technology that Olympus has packed into the E-M10 IV make it an excellent option for a keen beginner.
Winner: Fujifilm X-S10
The Fujifilm X-S10 is one of our favorite cameras of the year (spoiler alert). It uses the same sensor, processor and AF system as the flagship X-T4, and is only the third Fujifilm X-series camera to offer built-in stabilization, using a newly-developed compact IBIS mechanism. Meanwhile the deep handgrip recalls the popular X-H1.
Far from being a 'parts bin' camera, the X-S10 brings something genuinely new to Fujifilm's lineup, offering a more conventional (less dial-driven) interface with a PASM exposure mode control which will be familiar to anyone who has used an entry-level camera from another manufacturer. Its performance, both in terms of autofocus and speed, is excellent, as is image quality in stills and video modes. While just on the cusp of 'midrange' considering its price, if you have the money, the Fujifilm X-S10 is one of the best entry-level ILCs on the market, and takes first place this year in our DPReview Awards.
Best midrange ILC
- Canon EOS R6
- Fujifilm X-T4
- Nikon Z5
- Nikon Z6 II
Runner-up: Fujifilm X-T4
Fujifilm's flagship APS-C format camera, the X-T4 is a model that we find ourselves recommending to friends and family quite often. There was apparently some debate within Fujifilm about whether to call this the 'X-T3S' but it was decided that enough had been changed to justify an entirely new model name.
We tend to agree. While the X-T4 looks a lot like the X-T3 (and the X-T2... and the X-T1...) it's a better and more competitive camera. Now featuring a powerful in-body stabilization system (effective up to an impressive ~6.5EV) and 4K/60p video, the X-T4 is a highly versatile tool. We've seen the 26MP BSI-CMOS sensor before in the X-T3 and X100V, but it's still among the best (if not the best) of its type on the market. Pound for pound and dollar-for-dollar, the Fujifilm X-T4 offers fantastic value, and it's a lot of fun to shoot with, too.
Winner: Canon EOS R6
Now that full-frame mirrorless cameras have joined APS-C models in all market segments, it's harder than ever to divide products up into categories. As you'd expect, the full-frame Canon EOS R6 costs a lot more than the APS-C Fujifilm X-T4, but it's aimed at essentially the same kind of customers: advanced amateurs and enthusiast photographers, and perhaps professional photographers looking for a second, video-capable body.
It's hard to imagine a camera better suited to this constituency of users than the Canon EOS R6. It's fast, powerful and offers excellent autofocus. It's a great stills camera, which produces very nice JPEGs and offers good (while not class-leading) dynamic range in Raw mode. The R6 also provides one of the sharpest and most responsive electronic viewfinders on the market, and offers an impressive video feature-set, in addition to stills. As a 'do everything' camera for enthusiast photographers the Canon EOS R6 is very hard to beat and is likely to remain competitive for a long time. As such, it's a worthy winner of our 2020 DPReview Award for best midrange ILC.
Best high-end ILC
- Canon EOS R5
- Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
- Nikon D6
- Nikon Z7 II
Runner-up: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Announced in early January this year, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III was meant to be Canon's 'Olympics' camera, for the games originally planned in Tokyo this summer. We all know how well that worked out of course, but sports isn't the only thing that the EOS-1D X Mark III is good for. Despite being a 'Mark' update, the Mark III brings a lot of new and impressive technology to Canon's pro market segment. Blazing speed and extreme durability are a given, but in the Mark III, Canon created the nearest thing to a true 'hybrid' camera we've seen to date.
In DSLR mode the EOS-1D X Mark III is a conventional pro camera, albeit an extremely good one. But with the mirror locked up in live view mode, it offers many of the advantages of a high-end mirrorless ILC. These include near full-frame autofocus coverage, sophisticated AF tracking courtesy of an advanced Dual-pixel CMOS autofocus system and silent shooting with a maximum frame-rate of 20fps. Oh, and up to 5.5K/60p Raw video. The vast majority of photographers won't need many of this camera's features, but for those that do, the EOS-1D X Mark III is up there with the best of the pro bodies currently available.
Winner: Canon EOS R5
The R5 is a more costly and pro-focused camera than the R6, and at the time of its announcement, the big news was its unique ability (among cameras of this type) to shoot 8K video. Arguably, though, 8K video is the least of the reasons to be interested in the EOS R5. Much more useful to most photographers is its excellent resolution, highly effective autofocus system (closing the gap substantially with Sony's best-in-class implementation in the a9/II) and photographer-friendly ergonomics. As a stills and video tool for serious professional photography, the EOS R5 has a lot to offer, even if overheating concerns did take the shine off some of its headline video features (something which, to Canon's credit, has been improved via firmware since its release).
It seems strange to talk about any company having 'a good year' given the unmitigated chaos of 2020, but for Canon it's actually kind of true. Alongside the EOS-1D X Mark III and several excellent lenses, this was this year that Canon made its most convincing entry into serious full-frame mirrorless imaging with the winner of our 2020 DPReview Award for best high-end ILC – the EOS R5.
DPReview innovation award
- Canon EOS R5
- Canon RF 600 & 800mm F11 IS STM
- DJI Mavic Air 2
- iPhone 12 Lineup
Runner-up: Canon RF 600/800mm F11 IS STM
While neither of these lenses will challenge more conventional, brighter-aperture telephoto primes for ultimate image quality, they're unique in that they bring true, practical telephoto shooting into range for amateur and enthusiast photographers. Considering their reach, both lenses are relatively small and lightweight, and while F11 can be limiting, autofocus support (including even using the RF 2X converter on the EOS R5 and R6) and built-in image stabilization make them surprisingly versatile.
We've seen collapsing mechanisms in lenses before, and we've seen diffractive optics used to reduce the weight and complexity of telephoto lens designs. It's the combination of the two technologies which makes the Canon RF 600mm and 800mm F11 IS STM so innovative, and so special.
Winner: iPhone 12 Lineup
This year we’re awarding the entire Apple iPhone 12 lineup for our Innovation of the Year award, because it brings HDR to the masses. No, not the overly tone-mapped, flat HDR you’re thinking of. We're talking about high dynamic range (HDR) display of both images and video. Like the previous two generations of iPhones, the iPhone 12 captures a wide dynamic range and tonemaps this large range into the final image. Under SDR viewing conditions (like your web browser) this can lead to high dynamic range images appearing somewhat flat. However, these very images viewed directly on iPhones with OLED displays appear quite the opposite of flat, with very bright brights (skies, clouds, lights) and dark shadows, thanks to HDR playback. HDR playback (like Dolby Vision/HDR10/HLG for video) tries to preserve the contrast between brights and darks to produce more realistic results, so that sunlit grass actually looks radiant compared to grass in the shadows, for example.
This year, down to its cheapest iPhone 12 Mini, Apple has included an HDR OLED display and Dolby Vision video. Apple has been displaying HDR stills since the iPhone X, but this is the first time it’s doing so across its entire lineup, and for video as well with Dolby Vision, a format that optimizes scene dynamic range on a frame-by-frame basis. Add to that the wide P3 color space used for both stills and video, and you have some of the nicest looking imagery from any device. Not to mention one you can carry in your pocket.
DPReview product of the year 2020
- Canon EOS R6
- Fujifilm X100V
- Fujifilm X-S10
- Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM
Runner-up: Fujifilm X-S10
The Fujifilm X-S10 might not bring much to the X-series lineup that's genuinely 'new', but the way that its various features are packaged is extremely impressive – and very appealing. Built around a newly-designed compact IBIS system, the X-S10 breaks with Fujifilm's traditional 'traditional' control layout, offering a slightly more streamlined experience, more in line with competitive models.
These tweaks - plus a large, comfortable grip and a very attractive stills and video feature-set – make the X-S10 a seriously compelling camera for its price. The competition for our 'Product of the Year' award is always very tough, but the Fujifilm X-S10 beats out stiff competition to take the runner-up spot thanks to its uncommonly attractive suite of features, coupled with a great handling experience that make it a pleasure to shoot with.
Winner: Canon EOS R6
The Canon EOS R6 is one of relatively few cameras we've seen over the years which can genuinely be described as 'multi-purpose'. While not class-leading in terms of resolution, 20MP is enough for most applications, especially when paired with such a powerful autofocus system, which rivals or outclasses the best of the R6's competition at this price-point.
Designed as a 'do-everything' camera for both stills and occasional video shooters, the R6 offers a suite of advanced features in both modes. But arguably none of this would matter so much if it weren't such a nice camera to use. The Canon EOS R6 is one of the most photographer (and videographer)-friendly cameras of its type, with performance that means it's equally comfortable shooting sports and wildlife as it is covering weddings and events. It's this combination of features, performance and excellent handling which make the Canon EOS R6 such a compelling camera, and the winner of this year's DPReview Award for product of the year.
Fujifilm has announced a firmware update for its GFX 100 camera that adds Pixel Shift and Multi-Shot functions to its flagship camera, which work alongside Fujifilm’s new Pixel Shift Combiner software to stitch together up to 16 Raw photographs into a single 400MP Raw image.
The new 400MP image capture mode in firmware version 3.00 combines the capabilities of the GFX 100’s 102MP sensor, its in-body image stabilization and the X Processor 4 inside. To achieve this level of resolution, the GFX 100 will first capture a the base shot, before shifting the sensor one pixel left, right and down for a total of four images. The camera will then repeat this process with each of these four images for a total of 16 Raw photographs.
This method ensures each pixel records image data in red, green and blue, which helps to increase color reproduction accuracy with minimal false color. To get the final result, users will need to rely on Fujifilm’s new Pixel Shift Combiner software, which will automatically stitch all 16 Raw images together to create a single 400MP Raw image (DNG), which can then be edited in the program of your choosing. This is a similar approach to Sony's Pixel Shift Muilti-Shooting mode, which requires external software as well.
The high color accuracy and resolution make this an obvious choice for digital archiving and art preservation, but also for commercial photographers who need resolution and accuracy, as showcased with this image of the one-off Koenigsegg Agera RS ‘Draken’ from Dan Kang:
This first image is the standard image as captured by the GFX 100:
|The full-resolution version of this image came in at 51.5MB|
This second image is a 100% crop of a photo captured with the new 400MP Pixel Shift Multi-Shot mode:
|The full-resolution version of this image came in at 204.9MB|
Firmware version 3.00 for the Fujifilm GFX 100 also addresses a few smaller changes. Now, when rating images captured in the [JPEG + Raw] mode, both the JPEG and Raw file will keep the rating. Fujifilm has also fixed an issue that caused its EF-X500 to incorrectly fire other flash groups when using it as a commander in multi-flash scenarios. Eye AF performance has also been improved and a number of smaller bugs have been addressed as well.
Image credit: Photographs used with permission from Koenigsegg and Dan Kang.
You don't need to spend a fortune to buy a camera that's designed for videography. We took a look at the field and selected the Panasonic S1H and GH5 as the best cameras for serious videographers.
|Image shows standard Fujifilm GFX100|
Fujifilm has announced a special version of its 100MP GFX 100, for infrared imaging. Photography is possible at up to 400MP, courtesy of a new 'Pixel Shift Combiner' feature The new camera will be available for special order in early 2021.
Fujifilm Introduces FUJIFILM GFX100 IR (Infrared) Large Format Mirrorless Digital Camera
Valhalla, N.Y., November 25, 2020 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of FUJIFILM GFX100 IR digital camera (GFX100 IR), a uniquely specialized version of its GFX100 large format mirrorless digital camera, now with infrared image-making capabilities, which can be produced upon order for professionals in forensic, scientific, and cultural preservation fields. Infrared images can now be made at 100MP - and even at 400MP through GFX100 IR’s new Pixel Shift Multi-Shot function - to reveal intricate details within a subject or scene that can only normally be seen through the infrared spectrum.
GFX100 IR also includes the ability to:
Make images in the infrared spectrum at an incredible 100MP or 400MP of resolution
Images made of a subject within the infrared spectrum can reveal details that a regular (non-IR) digital camera or the naked eye cannot see. For example, in the field of forensics, this can be an important tool in helping to identify counterfeit documents. For individuals working in cultural preservation, GFX100 IR can be used to analyze pigments in works of art and historical artifacts, even if they have degraded over time. Using the Pixel Shift Multi-Shot feature on GFX100 IR can create 400MP images with incredible detail and little-to-no color fringing.
“Using GFX100 IR with the Pixel Shift Multi-Shot feature is invaluable for cultural research because reviewing images in infrared could lead to unlocking the secrets of some of history's most treasured artifacts,” said Victor Ha, senior director of marketing and product development for FUJIFILM North America Corporation. “It can also be an incredibly powerful tool for researchers using the images to evaluate works of art or pieces of evidence.”
Use special filters to make images within specific wavelengths
Different IR filters in front of the camera lens can be used to make images at various wavelengths, which can reveal different details within a subject. However, using the appropriate IR cut filter will allow GFX100 IR to be used normally (i.e. in the same manner as the standard FUJIFILM GFX100 digital camera) to make regular, color images within the visible spectrum.
Additionally, when the camera is set in a fixed position and paired with Capture One or a similarly compatible software application to engage tethered capture functionality, users can create images with the same angle of view. This enables them to maintain a simple capture to output workflow for maximum efficiency.
Sigma has announced it will be showing off a new Digital Neo (DN) lens on December 1 during its ‘Sigma Stage Online’ livestream.
No further information has been shared about what kind of lens we can expect, but with the livestream just a week out, we won’t have to wait long. The livestream will take place at 7am ET (4am PT) using the below video:
You can subscribe to Sigma’s Youtube channel to keep up to date with the latest news and click the ‘Set reminder’ button on the above video to receive a push notification before the livestream starts.
A thread on Reddit has brought a neat photography documentary from 2017 to our attention. 'One Shot: Photographing the Olympic Games' is a behind the scenes look at how photographers capture the iconic images of the Olympics, including a special focus on photographers setting up to capture the 100m men's final in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 summer games.
Featured photographers include multi-awarded photographers such as Lucy Nicholson, Dave Burnett, Bob Martin, Tim de Waele, and Tsuyoshi Matsumoto. Nicholson had a very specific image in mind for the 100m men's final in Rio. As she sets up her gear, nine hours ahead of the starting gun kicking off what is one of the most exciting 10 seconds in sports, Nicholson talks about how she wants a tight shot of the winner with other sprinters on either side of the winner. 'You only get one chance to take the key shot,' Nicholson says.
|A chart showing Sports Illustrated's plans for photographing the 100m men's final in Rio. Click to enlarge.|
The documentary, seen below, was awarded the Candido Cannavo Award at the World Final of the Milan Sport Film Festival in 2018. About 150 iconic images from nearly 100 different photographers over the last 50 years of Olympic games are featured. An iconic image tells a story for years to come. Long after the medals have been awarded to the victors, and even long after the photographer has passed, the images and the stories they tell remain. Presenter Jonathan Edwards, Olympic gold medalist triple jumper, says it well, 'A story that's taken a lifetime to create, told in one shot. One freeze frame.'
Years of planning are required to create iconic images, and in under a minute, an iconic photo can be sent halfway around the globe. The technology on display in 2016 during the summer games was incredible. Reuters was able to get the first photo of Usain Bolt winning the 100m men's final out to its customers in 58 seconds. It's safe to assume that the technology will have advanced even further when photographers head to Tokyo in 2021. And while the equipment and tools photographers use continue to evolve, photography's importance when telling a story remains unchanged.
'One Shot' was directed and written by Peter Davies and presented by Jonathan Edwards. As pointed out by PetaPixel, the documentary can also be viewed on the Olympic Channel. It's hosted on YouTube by Anthony Edgar, the Head of Media Operations for the International Olympic Committee. Edgar also appears in the video. His channel, linked above, includes a lot of interesting Olympics-related video content.
MonsterAdapter, a relatively new player in the lens adapter game, has revealed the details of the LA-KE1, a new adapter that will make it possible to mount Pentax K-mount glass to Sony E-mount mirrorless camera systems.
There isn’t much information available about MonsterAdapter. The company’s Facebook page, which appears to be its only online presence, was created on May 20, 2020, when the company announced the development of the LA-EA4r, a modified version of Sony’s LA-EA4 adapter that expanded functionality and support. MonsterAdapters has since released another adapter, the LA-VE1, which makes it possible to adapt Minolta Vectis V-mount lenses to Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras.
Now, the company is promoting its forthcoming LA-KE1, which it claims is the ‘first of its kind in the world.’ The adapter offers full autofocus, aperture control and EXIF data transfer for Pentax K-mount lenses (KAF, KAF2, KAF3 and KAF4) to Sony E-mount cameras. The adapter uses a pair of motors for turning the screw-drive autofocus in older K-mount lenses.
This not only brings the ability to shoot with Pentax lenses to Sony E-mount cameras, but also enables many of Sony’s AI-assisted focusing modes to be used with the Pentax lenses, new and old. MonsterAdapter says the exact functionality will vary depending on what camera you’re using — noting a more powerful camera likely means more features — but both Human and Animal Eye-AF focus modes should be able to work on adapted glass.
MonsterAdapter also notes that due to the limits of screw-drive lenses, this adapter is best suited for still photographs—not video. In addition to the images of the prototype adapter in this article, SonyAlphaRumors has also shared a hands-on video demonstration of it in action:
No price is given for the LA-KE1 adapter, but it is set to ‘hit the market within this year,’ according to the company’s announcement post. You can keep up with the latest news on MonsterAdapter’s Facebook page.
Please note: the images in this article are downsized from the original files. A link is provided below to our full samples gallery.
What a year. I thought 2016 was bad, but then 2020 barged in, ripped a room-clearing fart, handed 2016 its beer and went bananas. Hopefully you don't need me to list the many horrors of the last 11 months, because I would prefer not to.
It's surreal looking back now, but in the first six weeks of 2020 I flew roughly 15,000 miles, all of which was for work. The year began with the CES show in Las Vegas, then on to a video shoot in Texas, and another in California, followed by the launch of the Fujifilm X100V, in London. And that's where this story begins...
...I don't know why I did the dot-dot-dot thing there, this article is only one page long.
By early February, the novel coronavirus had been a blip on the outer edge of my mental radar screen for a while. In late January our video crew and I had shared some wry jokes about 'flying now while we still can, ha ha...', but it was the following month, at the launch of the Fujifilm X100V in London, that I started to sense a more general concern. Speaking to Fujifilm executives at the event (and, significantly in retrospect, those unexpectedly not at the event) it was clear that the situation in China (where Fujifilm has some manufacturing) had become grave, and in addition to the tragic human cost in Asia, COVID-19 was having a profound effect on production and supply chain logistics around the world.
|The Fujifilm X100V was launched in February at an event in London. I added a few days to that trip to see family - my last opportunity to do so, as it turned out, for what may still be a long time.
I was in the UK for a week, which included a few days spent with my family in London and the north of England. On the darkened plane back to Seattle, I remember wondering when I would see the old country again. Coincidentally, that was also the last outing for my much-traveled and now-expired European Union GB passport.
By early March things were getting serious all over the world (with DPReview's adopted home state of Washington an early hotspot). Partly to scratch the itch of my own growing panic, I spent a few days researching the impact of COVID-19 on the photo industry. Alongside many reasonable, thoughtful comments on the resulting article are several that have since aged like fine milk.
We all know what happened next. After March 16th 2020, I didn't so much as hug another human being for more than 70 days. Things got weird.
Where does the Fujifilm X100V tie into all of this? Beyond the fateful coincidence of the timing of its launch in early 2020, it's the camera that's been in my hands almost every day for the past ten months.
It was a preproduction X100V that I took on my trip back home to the UK in February, and which I used to take the last (for who knows how long) photographs of my sister, my nephew and my parents. I subsequently bought one, and my personal X100V was with me all through quarantine. I carried it with me on my daily permitted walks and bike rides through Seattle's deserted streets, in that strangest, sunniest of springs, where normally busy neighborhoods looked like Edward Hopper paintings and everyone remarked on the sound of birdsong.
I also took a lot of mirror selfies, although in my defense it was a difficult time.
When I finally ventured out into crowds in late May and early June following protests after the killing of George Floyd, it was with X100V. When Seattle briefly became the focus of global attention following the establishment of the short-lived CHAZ/CHOP zone (a much smaller area than you might have been lead to believe, which began a mere block away from my apartment), I visited several times with the X100V, making sure that I had a personal record of what was going on. Even when the circumference of my world had shrunk to the handful of blocks around my front door, photography helped me feel somewhat connected.
|Protesters gather near Cal Anderson Park in Seattle in early June – one of many protests that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
|Sheer anarchy! Members of the local community paint a mural on the road (now preserved) near the SPD East Precinct, later in June.
The X100V is a near-perfect everyday camera because it's small enough to tuck under a light jacket when I'm out walking or cycling, fast, very simple to use and delivers great pictures. The new lens in the 'V' with its two aspherical elements, is far superior for close work to the original version on the X100/S/T/F and it performs much better with the 28mm wide converter attached. The X100V is one of those rare cameras that does exactly what I need it to, without a lot of fuss. It's as simple at that, really; a reliable companion in a most unsettling season.
For all the documentation that I've done this year with the X100V, I do not describe myself as a documentary photographer. I know several photojournalists personally, and I could never do what they do, especially in the current political climate here in the US, where personal safety is of increasing concern for members of the media. The pictures I take are primarily for me, for the purposes of creative practice, memory and reflection. And while there was much that happened in 2020 that I wish I could forget (and it's not over yet), there was certainly a lot to reflect on...
...I'm doing that dot-dot-dot thing again, which means I should probably stop before this all gets hopelessly introspective. I think we've all had quite enough of that this year.
The Canon EOS Rebel T8i (also known as the EOS 850D or Kiss X10i in some markets) is a 24MP DSLR camera that is compatible with the company's EF and EF-S mount lenses. It has an optical viewfinder, but it also has a usable and responsive touchscreen interface and live view experience that's a match for the company's mirrorless camera options.
For much of the world, shifting consumer preferences towards mirrorless cameras have left DSLRs looking like relics of history, though Europe and the Americas remain holdouts. Last year, Europeans still bought about 1.4 DSLRs for every mirrorless camera sold, while in the Americas the ratio was even higher at 1.7:1.
So why might you consider a DSLR in our increasingly mirrorless world? Some photographers still prefer DSLRs for their crisp, lag-free through-the-lens viewfinders, and there's a much wider array of lenses available to DSLR shooters without the need for adapters.
|ISO 2500 | 1/100 sec | F5 | Canon EF-S 18-55mm @ 44mm|
Yet relatively few manufacturers are left in the consumer DSLR market. Only Canon, Nikon and Ricoh (which makes Pentax-branded DSLRs) remain, making new models few and far between. Among these, Canon's EOS Rebel series are the biggest sellers. The Rebel T8i now sits at the top of that line, replacing 2017's T7i.
Priced at $749.99 body-only or $900 with an EF-S 18-55mm IS STM kit lens, the Canon T8i is available immediately.
- 24-megapixel APS-C image sensor
- EF or EF-S lens compatibility
- ISO 100 to 25,600, extends to 51,200
- 7 fps continuous shooting, or 7.5 fps in live view
- 45 point, all cross-type phase-detect AF
- 0.51x pentamirror viewfinder with 95% coverage
- 3.0" vari-angle touch-screen LCD
- 24p 4K video with 1.6x crop, or full-sensor 1080p60
- 800 shot battery life, or 310 shots with live view
ISO 250 | 1/100 sec | F5.6 | Canon EF-S 18-55mm @ 55mm
What's new and how it compares
|The AF-ON button and rear dial make the T8i a more flexible camera for users to learn and grow with than lesser Rebels.|
Externally, the 24-megapixel Canon T8i looks very similar to its predecessor from most angles, although there are some control tweaks to be found on its rear panel including a new rear control dial and AF-On button. While Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity remain, NFC has been dropped as the constant Bluetooth connection speeds up the connection process the way NFC used to. Lastly, the flash must now be raised manually when needed, as it can no longer pop up by itself. As we'll see later on, this is a good thing.
On the inside, while the sensor resolution and sensitivity range are unchanged, a faster image processor allows a modest increase in burst performance. It's now rated at 7 frames per second through the viewfinder, or 7.5 fps in live view mode, up from 6 fps in the T7i. There's also a somewhat finer-grained 384-zone metering sensor in place of the earlier 315-zone sensor.
|The Rebel T8i uses a familiar 24MP sensor with Dual Pixel AF that offers solid noise performance and resolution.|
Canon has also added support for 4K movie capture, although this comes with several limitations including a significant focal length crop, contrast-detection autofocus (rather than the more reliable Dual Pixel AF you get in lesser Full HD modes) and a fixed 24 fps frame rate. And autofocus algorithms have been refined to add eye detection in live view mode, and face detection when shooting through the viewfinder.
How it compares...
Compared with two of its mirrorless rivals, the Nikon Z50 and Sony a6100, the Canon T8i offers much better battery life, so long as you stick to its optical viewfinder. The T8i is quite a bit bulkier though, despite not offering weather-sealing.
|Canon T8i||Nikon Z50||Sony a6100|
|Sensor||24.1MP APS-C||20.9MP APS-C||24MP APS-C|
|Lens mount||Canon EF / EF-S||Nikon Z||Sony E|
|Viewfinder type||Optical pentamirror SLR||2.36M-dot OLED EVF||1.44M-dot EVF|
|Viewfinder magnif. / coverage||0.51x, 95%||0.68x, 100%||0.71x, 100%|
|LCD||3” fully articulating||3.2” tilting||3” tilting|
|Max. burst||7.0 fps (viewfinder) / 7.5 fps (live view)||5 fps (mechanical) / 11 fps (electronic)||11 fps (mechanical)|
|Video||4K/24p, 1080/24-60p||4K/24-30p, 1080/ 24-120p||4K/24-30p, 1080/ 24-120p|
|4K crop||1.6x||None||1.2x (4K/30p)|
|Battery life (CIPA)||800 shots (OVF); 310 shots (Live View)||320 shots||420 shots|
|Dimensions||131 x 103 x 76mm||127 x 94 x 60mm||120 x 67 x 59mm|
|Weight||515 g||450 g||396 g|
One thing that's hard to capture in a table are the differences between the camera's AF systems. In its optical viewfinder, the T8i's 45 autofocus points are centrally clustered, which can get in the way of creative compositions. Switch into live view and you have autofocus points spread across the frame, the same as the other options give you on their rear screens and their electronic viewfinders.
ISO 500 | 1/60 sec | F4 | Canon EF-S 18-55mm @ 18mm
Compared to the smaller and more affordable Canon Rebel SL3, the T8i offers more sophisticated autofocus through its slightly smaller finder, though the SL3 offers you a third more shots per charge. On the mirrorless side of the equation, the T8i bests the Canon EOS M50 Mark II's 235-shot battery life whether you're using the optical viewfinder or live view, but the mirrorless model is lower-priced, significantly more compact / lightweight and offers faster 10 fps burst capture.
Body, handling and controls
Although its body is plastic, the Canon T8i is very solid in-hand, with no creaks or flexing. It's also pretty light and compact for a DSLR. The main controls are well-placed and easy to locate by touch.
The new AF-On button is ideally situated for quick autofocus adjustments with a slight thumb motion. (And via a custom setting, can be set to AF-Off instead.) The Wi-Fi button and indicator lamp are gone but won't be missed, as you won't need them often. We recommend connecting via Bluetooth, which maintains a constant connection that draws little power, and also makes connecting via Wi-Fi to send images a snap.
ISO 100 | 1/125 sec | F5.6 | Canon EF-S 18-55mm @ 55mm
The new rear control dial is also a nice addition, though since it's integrated with the four-way controller, it can't be reached without adjusting your grip. On the plus side, it's only active when the exposure metering system is brought to life by a half-press of the shutter button or you're in a menu, preventing accidental settings changes.
|There will always be some photographers that prefer an optical viewfinder; the T8i's is serviceable, but it's on the small and dim end of the spectrum.|
Sadly, the pentamirror viewfinder is dim and tunnel-like compared with the electronic finders of mirrorless rivals and even some rival SLRs, such as the less-expensive Pentax K-70 (which has a larger pentaprism design which is brighter than pentamirror designs).
The rear LCD is crisp and easy to see even under sunlight if you turn up the brightness. Its fully-articulated mechanism allows framing from most angles, even for selfies.
|The vari-angle LCD allows selfie-shooting too, but the ergonomics aren't ideal when holding the camera backwards. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 2000 | 1/60 sec | F4 | Canon EF-S 18-55mm @ 18mm
The on-screen UI is standard Canon. It's fairly clear and logically laid-out, and can be navigated with buttons, dials or the very precise touchscreen. Your most-used options can be saved in the My Menu section for quick recall.
Battery life is excellent when shooting stills through the viewfinder, and I never needed a second battery even during lengthy day trips. (I passed 500 frames captured without the charge level indicator dropping even a single bar, which impressed me.) If you shoot a lot of video or use live view frequently, the LCD can burn through power fairly quickly, though. For that reason, the T8i goes to sleep by default after ten seconds unless in menus or live view / playback modes.
|Top plate controls are fairly typical Canon, and the quick switch over to video mode is a nice touch.|
A standalone charger is included in the bundle, so you can leave a second battery charging while using the camera. Unfortunately in-camera charging via USB isn't supported, so you can't share a charger and cable with another device when you want to pack light. As well as USB, there are HDMI, microphone and remote control ports.
With the same sensor resolution and sensitivity range as its predecessor, you might expect similar image quality from the Canon T8i: and you'd be right. As an affordable camera aimed at entry-level photographers, it's good enough but won't win any awards. That's not to say there are no differences, however.
ISO 800 | 1/80 sec | F4.5 | Canon EF-S 18-55mm @ 24mm
Out of camera JPEGs mostly showed pleasing color both outdoors and under artificial light, although I found the latter a little more variable, with some images a tad warm and others a little on the cool side. In both the green fully-automatic mode and program autoexposure, the T8i's metering proved pretty accurate, and at lower sensitivities there was a fair amount of fine detail as well, although I felt the default sharpening was a touch aggressive.
ISO sensitivity in auto mode is limited to a maximum ISO of 6400 by default, and that seems like a good cutoff point. Some noise and loss of saturation starts to become noticeable by ISO 3200, but it's not until you reach ISO 6400 that it really begins to intrude. You're best off avoiding ISO 12800 and above as there's a significant loss of fine detail to noise, and colors can look decidedly washed out.
ISO 3200 | 1/80 sec | F4.5 | Canon EF-S 18-55mm @ 18mm
Of course, shooting in Raw format helps somewhat as you can rely on the greater processing power of your computer to help tame noise while still holding onto color and detail. And there's a fair bit of scope to correct exposure within a couple of stops, as well. Raws can also be processed in-camera, which is a nice touch for making quick adjustments on the go.
|We're honestly pleased to find that the T8i's flash must be manually raised; previous Canon Rebels would often raise their automatically in situations where it actually has a negative impact on your images.|
One notable change is that the Rebel T8i no longer tends to overexpose nearby subjects by raising and firing the flash when it's not really needed, since it can no longer pop up automatically. You need to pay attention to your shutter speeds, though, and either raise the ISO, or lift the flash yourself. Sadly, there's no warning in the viewfinder when shutter speeds stray below the point where exposures can safely be shot hand-held.
The Canon T8i's autofocus system has two distinct operating modes, depending upon whether you're using the optical viewfinder or live view modes. Both systems are capable of locking focus quickly and accurately in good light. In darker conditions, both take a bit longer to achieve a lock, but if I was capable of seeing the subject through the viewfinder, the camera could usually manage to focus on it within a couple of seconds.
|A simplified look at the T8i's optical viewfinder AF system.|
When shooting through the viewfinder there are a total of 45 autofocus points, all of which are cross-type. As you can see in the above illustration, they only cover about two thirds of the frame width and a little over a third of the frame height. For live view mode, almost the entire frame is covered vertically, and significantly more of its width as well.
ISO 500 | 1/60 sec | F4 | Canon EF-S 18-55mm @ 18mm
Live view also offers both face and eye detection and lets you select which face or eye to focus on using the four-way controller or touch-screen. Viewfinder shooting only has face detection, and you can't directly control which face to focus on, although if you aim directly at a particular face before half-pressing the shutter button, the camera will then try to follow that face.
Both systems detect faces pretty well, and the tracking implementation is fairly robust. In testing with my son running and riding a bike directly towards me, the T8i was able to accurately track his location and keep the focus locked on his face most of the time until he was very close to the camera. This isn't by any means a sports shooter, but I think it's more than capable of keeping up with amateur photographers' needs in this respect.
ISO 100 | 1/60 sec | F7.1 | Canon EF-S 18-55mm @ 27mm
Really, my only complaint with autofocus is that it can be confusing if you're frequently switching between live view and viewfinder shooting. Each mode is configured separately, so for example switching one mode to continuous servo AF won't affect the other mode's setup. On the other hand, this separation of settings could be useful if you're switching from shooting stills in the viewfinder and video in live view. Which brings us to...
The addition of 4K video is one of the bigger changes in the Canon T8i, but it's really rather a shame that it comes hobbled by several significant limitations.
First and most importantly, there's that significant 1.6x focal length crop on top of the crop imposed by its APS-C sensor size. In other words, a 2.6x effective crop even before you enable digital IS, which crops in still further. In 4K mode without digital IS, the optional 18-55mm kit lens yields an effective 47-143mm range, so your wide-angle options are seriously limited.
The longer effective focal length also means that even with both optical and digital IS active, the stabilization system can struggle to smooth camera shake in 4K, especially if you're walking.
4K mode comes with a fixed 24 frames per second capture rate, too, and uses contrast-detection autofocus which, compared to phase detection, is slower and has slight but noticeable hunting.
The good news is that if you can put up with those limitations, 4K image quality is fairly good, with lots of crisp detail and pleasing color. And while there's definitely some rolling shutter effect present, causing verticals to lean during subject motion or quick pans, it's far from the worst I've seen.
But I think it's better to look at this as a Full HD camera which can also shoot 4K with more distant subjects and relatively sedate motion in a pinch. In Full HD, where you get phase detection AF and access to frame rates as high as 60 fps, there's less fine detail but focusing is quicker and more confident, and motion is rendered more smoothly. The biggest downside is that Full HD seems more prone to moiré and false color artifacts.
The T8i lacks significant scope for slow-motion video, but does offer a time-lapse movie mode, as well as supporting manual exposure, focus peaking and external audio recording.
At the end of the day, the Canon Rebel T8i leaves me with rather mixed emotions. On the one hand, for fans of DSLRs like myself, there are fewer and fewer choices on offer, and it does pack quite a lot into a fairly compact, lightweight package by DSLR standards.
But on the other hand, it trails its mirrorless camera rivals in terms of both autofocus and burst capture performance. And the feature which differentiates it most clearly from those rivals – that mirror-based optical viewfinder – gives a disappointingly small and dim view of your subject.
ISO 12800 | 1/60 sec | F4 | Canon EF-S 18-55mm @ 18mm
While 4K video capture is finally available in the Rebel T8i, it also comes with some major limitations that make it feel more as if it was added to fill out the spec sheet than for real-world use.
But with all of that said, the T8i does give you pretty good still image quality and usable high-definition video capture. And it does so at a pretty affordable pricetag, as well, and with battery life that's in a totally different ballpark to mirrorless rivals if you tend to rely on the viewfinder.
The Rebel T8i isn't the future for Canon, but it offers plenty of features and good ergonomics at an affordable pricetag.
There's definitely something to be said for the vast range of Canon EF and EF-S mount lenses on offer, too; though keep in mind there isn't a ton of variety in the more affordable EF-S range, and the EF lenses, designed for larger full-frame sensors, are bigger and pricier. And with Canon focusing on its new RF mount, we wouldn't expect a glut of new EF and EF-S lenses to suddenly appear down the line.
ISO 25600 | 1/25 sec | F5.6 | Canon EF-S 18-55mm @ 55mm
So, does the Canon T8i represent the future for Canon? Probably not. But does it offer plenty of camera for the money, particularly for the less experienced photographers at which it's aimed? I'd say so, despite my reservations about its viewfinder and 4K video capabilities.
And I think that makes it a worthwhile buy, especially if you happen to spot it for sale below its list price.
|What we like||What we don't|
Canon EOS Rebel T8i (EOS 850D / EOS Kiss X10i)
Category: Entry Level Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is well-built with comfortable ergonomics and provides solid image quality for users that prefer an optical viewfinder. Unfortunately, its video capabilities aren't that impressive, and the viewfinder autofocus system is a little basic compared to what you get on mirrorless cameras through their electronic finders. Still, if you're in the market for a reasonably affordable DSLR, the EOS Rebel T8i is worth a look.
Please note that this article will be updated over the course of the holiday week. We will make every effort to keep it up to date but we cannot guarantee that all of the deals listed below will be available at the time of reading.
Here in the US, we're looking forward to Thanksgiving. While this year's Turkey Day will be a little unusual thanks to you-know-what, some things remain the same. Holiday season traditionally means shopping season, and the week of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday deals is here.
We've compiled a list of the best offers on cameras, lenses, accessories and software, and we're going to be updating this article regularly as more deals are listed and others are taken down. If you find a nice deal you think we've missed, or you notice one that's expired, please let us know in the comments below.
Do note that the 'SAVE' figures below represent discount from original MSRP and we make no guarantees that the discounts listed will be available across the entire holiday weekend.
We're focusing on deals from major U.S. online retailers in this article, and if you choose to shop via the Amazon links below, you'll be supporting DPReview in a small way.
DxO Software (10/26 -10/30)
Entire store — 25% off (use code ’PACKWEEK20’)
Loupedeck (November 27-30)
Lensrentals (codes expire 11/30)
30% off orders (code: Lensrentals LRBF20)
25% off orders (code: LPTGBF20)
LPTG Orders must arrive by 2/28/21
15% off all LensAuthority orders (code: LABF20)
- Free 2 year extended warranty on lenses
- Free 1 year extended warranty on cameras
One use per customer per code
Peak Design (November 16-30)
Max Macro Bundle — Save $148
$279, usually $427
Ultra Essentials Bundle — Save $60
$130, usually $190
Ultra-Twin Pack — Save $30
$89, usually $119
Max — Save $29
$99, usually $128
502 Bright Full HD On-Camera Monitor — Save $100
$699, usually $799
Entire Store — Save 15%
Entire Store — Save 25% (use code ‘BF25’)
Think Tank Photo
Select camera bags and accessories — Up to 30% off
You can see a full list of Canon’s deals on its dedicated holiday deals page
X-T3 with 18–55mm F2.8–4 lens — Save $500
$1,399, usually $1,899 (B&H)
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Customers have gotten their hands on Apple's latest family of iPhones, including the largest iPhone ever, the iPhone 12 Pro Max. While customers have been enjoying using the new phones, over at iFixit, the team has been busy tearing them apart. They've taken apart the iPhone 12 mini and the two medium-sized iPhone 12s, the 12 and 12 Pro. Over this past weekend, the iFixit crew got to work dismantling the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
|Image courtesy of iFixit and Creative Electron.|
Before diving in, it's worth recapping the iPhone 12 Pro Max's features. It is powered by an Apple A14 Bionic system on chip and includes 6GB of RAM. Internal storage options include 128GB, 256GB and 512GB options. The phone features a 6.7" Super Retina XDR OLED display with a P3 wide color gamut and Apple's True Tone technology. It is the largest display ever in an iPhone, and according to DisplayMate, it's a fantastic display.
|iPhone 12 Pro Max camera modules. Image courtesy of iFixit.|
With respect to photography, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has unique components. It has a 12MP triple camera system like the iPhone 12 Pro, but the Max includes a 47% larger image sensor, a faster F1.6 lens, improved image stabilization, a new 65mm (equivalent) telephoto lens, and improved high ISO performance. If you want to learn more about the performance of the new camera system in the iPhone 12 Pro Max, check out this article: 'Halide's deep dive into why the iPhone 12 Pro Max is made for 'Real Pro Photography'.
After taking apart the iPhone 12 Pro Max's new case construction, iFixit was able to investigate the new camera array. As you can see in the x-ray image above captured by Creative Electron, the standard wide camera (shown bottom left) has a noticeably larger image sensor. You can also see magnets around the sensor, which are being used for the new sensor-shift image stabilization tech found exclusively in the iPhone 12 Pro Max. For those lamenting the lack of the larger sensor in the standard iPhone 12 Pro, iFixit states that 'There's a decent chance this sensor wouldn't fit in the cramped corner of the smaller iPhone 12 Pro without compromises.'
|Close-up image of the standard wide angle camera module in the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Image courtesy of iFixit.|
There's a lot to see inside the iPhone 12 Pro Max. You can head to iFixit's teardown for more photos and information about the different internal components and how they relate to the features of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. You can also see a replay of iFixit's live-streamed teardown of the phone below.
Canon's RF 85mm F2 Macro IS offers EOS R-series shooters an affordable, stabilized and fast-ish portrait prime. Its 'Macro' designation also reflects its close-focusing capabilities and while it falls short of true 1:1 reproduction, its 0.5X magnification gives this lens another layer of versatility. Take a look at how it handles subjects out in the real world.