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One of the most-asked questions Profoto received after releasing its Profoto Camera app for iOS was: ‘when will it be available for Android devices?’ Now, four months after releasing the Profoto Camera app for iOS alongside the release of its B10/B10 Plus strobes, an Android version is here, albeit in beta and limited to a select number of Samsung devices, for now.

As with its iOS counterpart, the Profoto Camera app for Android beta makes it possible for Android users to trigger a number of its strobes, speedlights and compact LED lights using the company’s AirX Smart-TTL technology. Specifically, the app will work with Profoto’s A10, B10, B10 Plus, C1 and C1 Plus flashes, bringing full flash tube sync support.

Click to enlarge.

Getting this support wasn’t easy, says Profoto in its announcement post:

‘One difference in synchronizing external flash to a mobile device compared to traditional capturing devices like DSLR or MILC is that smartphone cameras require a much more flexible flash-length on different shutter speeds. This makes it more difficult to fire the flash at the exact time and duration to light the image. Up until now, attempts to synchronize the two have fallen short, making Profoto the world’s first company to successfully bring the full power of professional flashes to smartphones with their proprietary Profoto AirX technology’

The Profoto Camera app for Android is available for free in the Google Play Store as an ‘early access’ beta starting today for the following Samsung smartphones running Android OS 8 or later:

  • Galaxy S8 line
  • Galaxy S9 line
  • Galaxy S10 line
  • Galaxy S20 line
  • Galaxy Note 9 line
  • Galaxy Note 10 line
  • Galaxy Note 20 line

Profoto doesn’t specify when the app will likely be out of beta, nor when we can expect to see support for other phones. It’s likely going to be a slow-going process, as Profoto needs to create specific algorithms for each device to ensure compatibility with the onboard camera systems—no small feat considering the fragmentation of devices running Android OS.

Posted: December 1, 2020, 6:50 pm

Sony has announced Visual Story, a new iOS application for Sony camera users. The app has been designed with wedding and event photographers in mind and provides users with simplified gallery creation, cloud storage, and web delivery solutions.

Visual Story offers automated image transfer from compatible Sony Alpha cameras to the cloud. From there, users can edit and deliver curated digital albums directly to their clients. To speed up image selection and organization, the app also utilizes AI and reads the metadata of your images.

'The voice of our customer is at the center of everything we do. Today's professional photographers constantly challenge themselves to deliver higher quality content faster than ever to their clients,' said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Sony Imaging Products and Solutions Americas. 'Visual Story allows them to streamline their workflow, ultimately giving them the ability to edit, select and send photo galleries to their clients on the day of the ceremony or event. Sony continues developing innovative hardware and software solutions empowering content creators to capture, communicate and share in ways never before possible.'

With Visual Story, photographers can quickly and easily create, edit, curate and deliver a photo gallery. When your camera is connected to the app, images are automatically transferred from the camera to the connected smartphone or tablet in addition to Sony's cloud service. Images are automatically organized using AI and can be sorted based on metadata, star ratings, shooting timeframe, focus position and additional parameters.

AI can also sort based on different types of images from an event. For example, AI can detect cake and ring ceremony images from a wedding, identify photos of speeches and dances, and more. The app can also detect when a subject's eyes are shut, reducing the number of images you must choose from when creating a gallery.

Visual Story includes auto presets as well. Photographers can automatically apply custom edit presets or utilize built-in fixed presets. You can register an edit preset prior to shooting, such that all transferred images are automatically applied as the images are transferred, ensuring a consistent look across all photos. Additionally, the app includes a variety of editing functions, including controls over exposure, white balance, contrast, hue, saturation, and luminance.

By utilizing cloud storage, images can be synchronized across multiple devices. Further, 'Visual Story also allows wedding photographers to automatically create an online gallery for their clients, which can be delivered instantly on site. This can be offered to their client as an additional service, or complimentary and included in their wedding or event package.' You can also embed a selected logo and social media information directly into the images in the photo gallery, making it easier to market your business when clients share images online.

When creating a photo gallery in the app, your ratings and selections can be saved as an XMP file as well, meaning you can transfer your ratings/selections to your computer for easier processing later.

Visual Story is available now for iOS in the Apple App Store. It is a free download. Your iOS device must be running iOS 13 or newer. Visual Story is compatible with select Sony cameras, including A7C, A7R IV, A7S III, A9, and A9 II. The Sony A7 III will be supported in a planned firmware update in Spring 2021.

Posted: December 1, 2020, 6:09 pm

Chinese manufacturer Yongnuo appears to be working on a modular mirrorless camera. Per Lighting Rumours, Yongnuo has filed a patent for a device combining a 'mobile terminal' and an external lens assembly.

The mobile terminal appears to be similar to a smartphone in its shape and form factor. The device has a large display and a central, exposed image sensor. There aren't specifics about the sensor, but it's worth considering that Yongnuo joined the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) System Standard in February of this year. Further, the company's Android-powered mirrorless camera, the YN450, includes a 16MP 4/3 image sensor.

On the left you can see a mobile terminal and to the right is the external lens apparatus. The patent outlines how the terminal, which includes a large display and an image sensor, attaches to the external lens element.

The external lens assembly appears to incorporate a lens mount although it's unclear what kind of lens mount, a grip and a locking mechanism. Lighting Rumours speculates that you may be able to use the mobile terminal as a standalone phone device, provided that Yongnuo supplies a cap to cover the exposed image sensor when it is not attached to the external lens assembly. Further, the patent illustration shows a retractable zoom lens but mentions possible prime lenses and lenses with image stabilization.

Originally filed by Shenzen Yongnuo Photographic Equipment Co., Ltd. in April and published last month, the patent also outlines why a modular device would be advantageous. It argues that the lenses built into smartphones lack the performance and versatility users demand, which has given rise to external lens solutions. However, Yongnuo claims that these external lens solutions come up short. The patent claims that external lenses can be impractical, flimsy, and not offer high-quality performance. In order to deal with these issues, Yongnuo's new system, including the external lens assembly and mobile terminal, are more convenient to use, fit together precisely, and offer superior performance.

Of course, companies file patents regularly and many patents never result in a commercially viable product. That may be the case here as well, but it's certainly an interesting patent. It's clear what such a product may offer over a traditional smartphone camera design, but it's not necessarily obvious what such a product offers users relative to a standalone compact camera.

In terms of new products, in case you missed it, Yongnuo announced a new full-frame autofocus lens for Sony mirrorless cameras in late October. You can learn more about the new lens and Yongnuo's other products, such as flashes, triggers and more, by visiting Yongnuo USA.

If you're interested in another modular camera concept, you can refer to a modular Fujifilm GFX concept Fujifilm showed off last year. It's quite a different take on a modular camera than what Yongnuo's patent shows.

(Via Lighting Rumours)

Posted: December 1, 2020, 3:01 pm

Sigma has introduced its new I-series of compact, premium full-frame lenses for Sony E-mount and Leica/Panasonic/Sigma's L-mount. The 24mm F3.5, 35mm F2 and 65mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary lenses share similar designs and have weather-sealed metal bodies. All three lenses have aperture rings and by-wire manual focus dials, and are driven by stepping motors.

The 24mm F3.5 DG DN has a total of 10 elements, which include both SLD and aspherical glass. The special elements, along with Sigma's 'Super Multi-Layer coating' help to reduce ghosting and flare. The 24mm F3.5 has a minimum focus distance of 11cm (4.3") and a max magnification of 1:2 (0.5x). The lens weighs in at just 225 grams (7.9 ounces) and includes a petal-type lens hood.

Next up is the 35mm F2 DG DN. It too has 10 elements and uses SLD and aspherical glass as well as the Super Multi-Layer coating. The minimum focus distance is 27cm (11") with the max magnification coming in at 0.18x. The lens is slightly heavier at 325g (11.5oz).

Lastly we have the 65mm F2 DG DN, which bumps the number of elements up to 12, and uses the same special elements and coatings as its shorter siblings. It has a minimum focus distance of 55cm (22") and a maximum magnification of 0.15x. The 65mm weighs in at 405 grams (14.3oz). It comes with a metal tube-style hood.

All three lenses come with both metal lens caps that attach magnetically and with conventional plastic pinch-type lens caps. Sigma will offer a magnetic lens cap holder that's attached to a carabiner.

The 24mm F3.5, 35mm F2 and 65mm F lenses will be available in mid-January for $549, $639 and $699, respectively.

Press release

SIGMA Introduces Full-Frame Mirrorless I series Premium Compact Prime Lenses

New Lenses Offer Outstanding Performance, Superior Build Quality and Elegant Design

Ronkonkoma, NY – December 1, 2020 – Today, SIGMA Corporation introduces the I series of lenses for full-frame mirrorless cameras. Pairing both for exceptional optical performance and stylish, compact design, the three new lenses – the 24mm F3.5 DG DN | Contemporary, 35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, and 65mm DG DN | Contemporary – join the previously released 45mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary to establish a new benchmark in compact performance lenses. Featuring all-metal construction for durability and cutting-edge optical designs, the I series lenses are available in L-Mount and Sony E-mount.

"When it comes to mirrorless cameras, striking the proper balance between performance and size is even more crucial. We believe there is a growing demand for compact, high-performance, high-quality lenses," reports SIGMA America President Mark Amir-Hamzeh. "The introduction of the I series of full-frame mirrorless-exclusive lenses answers this call. The I series represents a new option: premium compact primes that are stylish in appearance with impressive specifications and optical performance."

Built to the mechanical and operational standards of SIGMA Cine lenses, in compact mirrorless form, the I series have outstanding feel and touch in the hand. The well-damped manual focus ring, aperture ring, and autofocus switches embody true functional beauty.

The I series is being announced with 3 new lenses:

  • 24mm F3.5 DG DN | Contemporary (MSRP $549)
  • 35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary (MSRP $639)
  • 65mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary (MSRP $699)

The three new lenses will be available for sale through authorized US retailers in mid-January, 2021.

The 45mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary, available now (MSRP $549), is also part of this series.

Key I series Lens Features:

  • All I series lenses feature an all-metal body, with high-precision metal internal parts, and a metal lens hood. The 24mm F3.5 is a petal-type hood.
  • All I series lenses feature a manual aperture ring and knurled surfaces for an enjoyable tactile experience.
  • The 35mm F2 and 65mm F2 lenses feature a newly-designed arc-type auto/manual focus mode switch.
  • The 24mm F3.5, 35mm F2 and 65mm F2 lenses all feature a dust and splash-proof mount
  • The three new lenses each ship with both a plastic lens cap and a magnetic metallic cap.
  • An optional magnetic cap holder (model CH-11, MSRP $29) features a mini-carabiner for clipping to a camera bag, jacket or belt loop, and has a donut-style center hole to easily remove the cap when it is time to place it back on the lens.

Product Specifications:

SIGMA 24mm F3.5 DG DN | Contemporary

Exceptional compact wide-angle prime | 1:2 close-up magnification | Lovely round bokeh | Stepping motor | Designed to minimize flare and ghosting | Super Multi-Layer Coating

Lens Construction:

10 elements in 8 groups (1 SLD, 3 aspherical)

Autofocus Motor:

STM

No. of Diaphragm Blades:

7 rounded

Min. Focus Distance:

4.3 in. (10.8cm)

Max. magnification ratio 1:2 (half macro)

Filter Size:

55mm

Dimensions (DxL):

L-Mount: 2.5 x 1.9 in. (64 x 48.8mm)
E-Mount: 2.5 x 2.0 in. (64 x 50.8mm)

Weight:

L-Mount: 7.9 oz. (225g)
E-Mount: 8.1 oz. (230g)

SIGMA 35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary

Outstanding image quality and bokeh, compact size, perfect for everyday use.
Stepping motor | Designed to minimize flare and ghosting | Super Multi-Layer Coating

Lens Construction:

10 elements in 9 groups (1 SLD, 3 aspherical)

Autofocus Motor:

STM

No. of Diaphragm Blades:

9 rounded

Min. Focus Distance:

10.6 in. (27cm)

Max. Magnification Ratio:

1:5.7

Filter Size:

58mm

Dimensions (DxL):

L-Mount: 2.8 x 2.6 in. (70 x 65.4mm)
E-Mount: 2.8 x 2.7 in. (70 x 67.4mm)

Weight:

11.5 oz. (325g)

SIGMA 65mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary

Sharp images with beautiful bokeh | High backlight performance with thorough flare & ghosting control | Stepping motor | Designed to minimize flare and ghosting | Super Multi-Layer Coating

Lens Construction:

12 elements in 9 groups (1 SLD, 2 aspherical)

Autofocus Motor:

STM

No. of Diaphragm Blades:

9 rounded

Min. Focus Distance:

21.7 in. (55cm)

Max. Magnification Ratio:

1:6.8

Filter Size:

62mm

Dimensions (DxL):

L-Mount: 2.8 x 2.9 in. (72 x 74.7mm)
E-Mount: 2.8 x 3.0 in. (72 x 76.2mm)

Weight:

14.3 oz. (405g)

Sigma 24mm F3.5 | 35mm F2 | 65mm F2 DG DN specifications

  Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN
Principal specifications
Lens type Prime lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 24 mm 35 mm 65 mm
Image stabilization No
Lens mount L-Mount, Sony FE
Aperture
Maximum aperture F3.5 F2
Minimum aperture F22
Aperture ring Yes
Number of diaphragm blades 7 9
Optics
Elements 10 12
Groups 8 9
Special elements / coatings 1 SLD + 3 aspherical elements, Super Multi-Layer coating 1 SLD + 2 aspherical elements, Super Multi-Layer coating
Focus
Minimum focus 0.11 m (4.33) 0.27 m (10.63) 0.55 m (21.65)
Maximum magnification 0.5× 0.18× 0.15×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Stepper motor
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Internal
Distance scale No
DoF scale No
Focus distance limiter No
Physical
Weight 225 g (0.50 lb) 325 g (0.72 lb) 405 g (0.89 lb)
Diameter 64 mm (2.52) 70 mm (2.76) 72 mm (2.83)
Length 49 mm (1.93) 65 mm (2.56) 75 mm (2.95)
Materials Magnesium alloy
Sealing Yes
Colour Black
Filter thread 55 mm 58 mm 62 mm
Hood supplied Yes
Tripod collar No
Posted: December 1, 2020, 12:30 pm

While they were out shooting their video about Sigma's new lenses, Chris and Jordan filled up a memory card with photos from the 35mm F2 DG DN and Panasonic S5/S1H. Have a look.

Posted: December 1, 2020, 12:30 pm

The Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN is for the photographer who wants a focal length that falls squarely between 50mm and 85mm. Have a look at our initial sample gallery taken on a full-frame Sony body.

Posted: December 1, 2020, 12:30 pm

Chris and Jordan take a look at the new Sigma 35mm F2 and 65mm F2 Contemporary lenses for E- and L-mount. Depending on which system you're in and what your needs are, they might just be the compact, well-priced and impressively sharp little primes you've been looking for.

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Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN sample images

Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN sample images

Posted: December 1, 2020, 12:30 pm

Hands on with new Sigma 35mm and 65mm F2 DG DN | C

Sigma just added three 'I-series' lenses to its Contemporary lineup, in the form of 24mm, 35mm and 65mm primes. Physically somewhat similar to the metal-bodied 45mm F2.8 'C' released alongside the fp, these new primes promise very good performance and light weight when paired with L-mount and Sony E-mount mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.

We've had our hands on the 35mm and 65mm for a few days; read on for pictures, impressions and key specifications.

Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN

'A classic reimagined' is how Sigma describes this lens, which is one of a trio of new 'I-series' primes in Sigma's established 'Contemporary' line. The 'I' lenses are described as compact, high-quality optics for mirrorless cameras, offering an alternative to the often large, heavy lenses we've seen appear for full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Metal construction

Like the quirky 45mm F2.8, these new 'Contemporary' primes are unusual in featuring a metal construction, including the lens hood. Made from 'precision cut' aluminum with a brass mount, the 35mm F2 feels like a premium product. However, at 325g (11.5 oz) it remains relatively lightweight, as well as being (by the standards of most modern mirrorless primes) fairly compact.

On a Sony a7R IV, it feels very well-balanced indeed, with its light weight keeping the combination from feeling front-heavy.

Focus and aperture rings

Knurled focus and aperture rings add to the somewhat retro-inspired design of these new lenses, although both operate of course 'by wire'. The focus ring is buttery-smooth yet well-damped, and the 'clicky' aperture ring is a joy (though it cannot be de-clicked for smooth operation when shooting video).

The accented 'cut-out' between the focus ring and aperture ring is cosmetic (it looks like it should be an annular switch but it isn't) but does provide a little purchase when mounting and dismounting the lens. Unlike the rest of the lens, this ring has a gloss, rather than matte finish, giving it a strange prominence. Both finishes are something of a fingerprint magnet.

Focus speeds aren't lightning quick, but are more than fast enough for almost any subject you'd be shooting with a 35mm prime. The focus motor is, for all intents and purposes, silent, though you may hear a slight whine or hum if you're using onboard microphones to record audio while shooting video.

Optical design

It might be small (only 70mm long, or about 2.7 inches) but the 35mm F2 packs in ten glass elements in nine groups, including one SLD (super low-dispersion) and three molded aspherical elements, all produced in Sigma's factory in Aizu, Japan. This fairly complex design is optimized for excellent control of chromatic aberrations and field curvature. Sigma also claims very good correction of coma, which is good news for fans of low light, wide-aperture shooting.

9-blade rounded aperture (35mm & 65mm only)

Speaking of wide-aperture shooting, the 35mm and 65mm 'C' primes feature a nine-bladed aperture, with rounded blades to help deliver circular bokeh at a wide apertures (the 24mm has seven blades). The 35mm F2 accepts fairly standard 58mm screw-in filters and the included metal lens cap attaches magnetically.

The back of the metal cap has a felt ring to prevent it scraping the lens, and this is something of a dust trap. The lens comes supplied with a conventional plastic pinch cap, too.

Dust and splash-proof

Sigma doesn't make any great claims about the weather-sealing of the new 'I' series, but like all three of the new lenses, the 35mm F2's brass mount is rated as 'dust and splash-proof'. To that end, a slim rubber gasket around the mount helps keep any dirt or moisture from entering the camera.

The Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN will be available in mid-January for $639.

Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN

The 65mm F2 is physically very similar to the 35mm, but a little heavier (405g/14.3oz compared to 325g/11.5oz) and very slightly longer. Optically it comprises 12 elements in nine groups, including one SLD element and two aspherical elements.

Sigma says the 65mm focal length encourages a greater working distance than a conventional 50mm 'normal,' which in turn provides slightly more of a compression effect for the same composition. Its minimum focus distance is 55cm (21.7")

The front filter ring is larger than that of the 35mm F2, and accepts 62mm screw-in filters.

The Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN will be available in mid-January for $699.

Sigma 65mm F2 DG DN

Like the 35mm, the 65mm comes with both a pinch-fit plastic lens cap and a rather smart magnetic metal one. There's also a light, ribbed metal hood with a plastic insert with a clip mechanism that provides smooth and secure attachment to the lens itself.

Despite its extra length and weight, it still balances nicely. We used it on some of Sony's more recent full-frame models, whose larger grips mean the weight is easy to hold. Unlike some recent FF mirrorless lenses, the lens's weight is pretty evenly distributed along its length: there's no extreme front element pulling the front of the lens down.

Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN

Third in the new trilogy of primes (and the only one not available to us at the time of writing) is the lightweight (only 225g/8oz) 24mm F3.5 DG DN. Of the three, this lens is the closest in terms of physical design and handling to the existing 45mm F2.8, but unlike that lens, it promises thoroughly-modern, aberration-free imaging, with 'high resolving power' across the entire frame at all apertures.

Its 10 element in 8 group optical design includes one SLD element and three aspherical elements, and a minimum focus distance of only 10cm (~4") works out to an impressive maximum magnification ratio of 1:2.

The Sigma 24mm F3.5 DG DN will be available in mid-January for $549.

Posted: December 1, 2020, 12:30 pm

Anamorphic lens specialist Vazen has announced its new 65mm T2 1.8x anamorphic lens for the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system will cost $3,250 and is ready to ship immediately. The new lens completes the 1.8x MFT lens lineup, according to the company, alongside its 28mm T2.2 and 40mm T2 counterparts.

When used with the full 4:3 MFT sensor, the lens will produce a 2.39:1 ratio aspect image once the footage is desqueezed. Shooting in the 16:9 ratio, frames will end up 3.2:1 and will probably need cropping, so cameras that can record from the whole sensor work best. On a MFT camera, the horizontal angle of view will give users the width we’d expect using a 72mm lens on a full frame system, so this is the lens to use for portraits and moderately distant subjects.

In common with the other lenses in the series the 65mm T2 uses a front anamorphic design to make the most of oval out-of-focus highlights and the characteristic flare from point light sources. Vazen, however, claims the flare isn’t too saturated or over-powering. Like the 28mm, the 65mm lens does have a thread for filters, and accepts 86mm screw-in sizes or 95mm using the Vazen adapter. As you would expect, the focus and aperture rings are equipped with 0.8mod cine gears for focus pullers, and the focus throw is 300° from the closest position of 1.09m/3.6ft to infinity. The lens weighs 1.68kg/3.7lbs and measures 105x185mm.

These lenses are a good deal less money than models from most other anamorphic producers, such as Cooke, but are also bigger, heavier and more expensive than those offered by Sirui — though the Sirui lenses have a 1.33x squeeze rather than the 1.8x of these Vazen models.

Owners of the existing 28mm or 40mm lenses will be able to get a discount of $400 when they buy this new 65mm lens, and those wanting the whole set of three can buy a kit for $8950 instead of the $9750 cost of buying them individually. For more information see the Vazen website.


Press release:

Vazen launches the 65mm T2 1.8x Anamorphic Lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras

Shenyang China, Nov 30, 2020 – Vazen, a new Chinese cinema lens brand, has announced the pricing and shipping availability of the Vazen 65mm T2 1.8x Anamorphic Lens for Micro Four Thirds (M43) cameras. In addition to the previously launched 28mm and 40mm, the whole Micro Four Thirds 1.8x Anamorphic lens set is now completed.

All the Vazen 1.8x anamorphic lenses feature a front anamorphic design. It delivers a buttery smooth oval bokeh, signature blue but not overly saturated, horizontal flare and the widescreen cinematic look. The lens delivered an outstanding sharpness, even at wide open, which is unmatched by other anamorphic lenses with similar squeeze ratio. Vazen chose to adopt a 1.8x squeeze design to balance the anamorphic characters as well as the resolution of the image. The 1.8x produces a stronger anamorphic character than 1.33x / 1.5x anamorphic lenses. And when it’s paired up with 16:9 sensors, much less data (vs 2X anamorphic lens) is needed to be cropped away to create the desired 2.39:1 ratio.

The Vazen 1.8x works best with 4:3 ratio sensors like Panasonic GH5, Z-CAM E2, Panasonic BGH1 to produce the cinematic 2.39:1 ratio. It also works well with Blackmagic Pocket 4k cinema cameras.

The lens is designed with a 86mm filter thread and 95mm front diameter. Both aperture and focus rings are built with 0.8 mod gears.

Pricing & Availability

The lens is currently available to order from authorized resellers and in Vazen website (http://www.vzlens.com/). It is available to ship immediately.

The retail price in US is USD 3,250/pc. USD 400 discount will be offered to any existing Vazen 40mm / 28mm owners.

Specifications

  • Focal Length 65mm
  • T-stop range T/2 – T/16
  • Angle of View Around 33°
  • Format Compatibility Micro Four Thirds
  • Filter Thread 86mm
  • Front Diameter 95mm
  • Min. Focusing Distance 1.09 m (3.6 feet)
  • Dimensions ? 105 x 185 mm
  • Weight 1.68 kg (3.70 lbs)
  • Mounts Micro Four Thirds


For more information about Vazen, please visit http://www.vzlens.com/

Posted: November 30, 2020, 8:33 pm

Meyer Optik Görlitz, under its new parent company OPC Optics, is bringing yet another lens back to life — the Primoplan 75mm F1.9 II.

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 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.

Posted: November 30, 2020, 6:44 pm

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.

Posted: November 30, 2020, 5:55 pm

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:

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:

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
Posted: November 30, 2020, 4:27 pm

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.

Posted: November 29, 2020, 7:09 pm
Dan Bracaglia

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 long telephoto project I originally had in mind was to be centered on the fishing boats that ply up and down the Washington coast. Unfortunately, it turned out that even with its excellent image stabilization, accurate framing with the Coolpix P950 was too difficult with such distant, bobbing targets, and the 16MP resolution was too unforgiving when it came to cropping. That's where the Reflex-Nikkor 1000mm F11 came in.

The vignetting in this shot, and the others in this article, is optical. I don't mind it (and haven't corrected it) in images like these, but it's one more thing that limits the usefulness of long mirror lenses for more conventional work.

1/2000sec|F11|ISO 800

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.

The British are famous for our sentimental attachment to the coast, maybe just because of its constant proximity – nowhere in the UK are you more than 70 miles from the sea. In the time it takes for me to get to Long Beach Washington from Seattle, I could drive almost the entire length of England.

1/3000sec|F11|ISO 1000

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.

1/1000sec|F11|ISO 3200

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.

1/500sec|F11|ISO 4000

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.

Posted: November 29, 2020, 2:00 pm

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.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get new episodes of DPReview TV every week.

Posted: November 28, 2020, 8:00 am

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.

Posted: November 27, 2020, 2:38 pm

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.

View our Canon EOS R5 sample gallery

Fujifilm X100V

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!

View our Fujifilm X100V sample gallery

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.

View our Leica Q2 Monochrom
sample gallery

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!

View our iPhone 12 sample gallery

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.

Watch our video review of the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG DN Art

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.

Read our DJI Mavic Air 2 review

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!

View our Olympus 150-40mm F4.5 TC1.25x sample gallery

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.

Watch our DJI Pocket 2 video review


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!

Posted: November 27, 2020, 2:00 pm

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.

View the Laowa 15mm F4.5 Zero-D Shift sample gallery

Posted: November 27, 2020, 8:00 am

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.

(Via Gizmodo)

Posted: November 26, 2020, 7:47 pm
Dan Bracaglia

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.

I tried to take photos of variety of subjects, but there were some kingfishers who would return to a number of vantage points, before diving for prey. Their speed made them a challenging subject, but one that would give me multiple opportunities, if I watched closely and waited long enough.

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.
Posted: November 26, 2020, 2:00 pm

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
  • Geotagging
  • Live view framing
  • Holy Grail (day to night) timelapse
  • Basic timelapse
  • Long exposure timelapse
  • HDR timelapse
  • Time warper
  • Stormlapse
  • 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.

Posted: November 25, 2020, 7:00 pm

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.

Best accessory

Shortlist:

  • 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.

Read more about the GoPro Hero9 Black

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.

Read more about the DJI Mavic Air 2

Best smartphone camera

Shortlist:

  • 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.

Read more about the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

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 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!

Read more about Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Best zoom lens

Shortlist:

  • 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.

Read more about the Nikkor Z 14-24mm F2.8 S

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.

Read more about the Nikkor Z 70-200mm F2.8 VR S

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. As the widest, fastest zoom currently available with excellent optical quality, the Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM is our joint-winner in this year's DPReview Awards for best zoom lens.

Read more about the Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM

Best prime lens

Shortlist:

  • 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.

Read more about the Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro

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.

Read more about the Sony FE 20mm F1.8G

Best compact/fixed lens camera

Shortlist:

  • 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.

Read more about the Nikon Coolpix P950

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.

Read more about the Fujifilm X100V

Best stills / video camera

Shortlist:

  • 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.

Read more about the Canon EOS R6

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.

Read more about the Sony a7S III

Best entry-level ILC

Shortlist:

  • 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.

Read more about the Olympus
OM-D E-M10 IV

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.

Read more about the Fujifilm X-S10

Best midrange ILC

Shortlist:

  • 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.

Read more about the Fujifilm X-T4

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.

Read more about Canon's EOS R6

Best high-end ILC

Shortlist:

  • 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.

Read more about the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

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.

Read more about the Canon EOS R5

DPReview innovation award

Shortlist:

  • 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.

Read more about the Canon RF 600mm and 800mm F11 IS STM

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.

Read more about the Apple iPhone 12 line

DPReview product of the year 2020

Shortlist:

  • 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.

Read more about the Fujifilm X-S10

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.

Read more about the Canon EOS R6

Posted: November 25, 2020, 3:00 pm

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.

You can download firmware version 3.00 for the GFX 100 as well as the new Pixel Shift Combiner program (macOS and Windows) on Fujifilm’s website.


Image credit: Photographs used with permission from Koenigsegg and Dan Kang.

Posted: November 25, 2020, 2:35 pm

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.

Posted: November 25, 2020, 1:00 pm

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