Sony a7R III - Early Review vs a7R II

B&H Photo is including a free FAST SD Card with preorder! 

I was part of a small pool of press who received an a7R III for an afternoon and evening of shooting. What follows are my thoughts - an early review of the a7R III and the Sony 24-105 f/4 OSS G Lens.

The Sony a7R II was a warning shot to Canon and Nikon to stop underestimating mirrorless. The a7R II took the lessons learned with the original a7R and provided a high megapixel camera (42.4MP) with enough autofocusing power to easily work with many Canon lenses while offering the best dynamic range in its class, a stabilized sensor, and beautiful 4k video (not cropped)! The result is that over the last two years we have seen Canon and Nikon sales stagnate while Sony has moved into 2nd place, past Nikon. Though the a7R II sold well (and

continues to sell well

) and did entice a noticeable portion of photographers away from their DSLRs, the A7R II was not perfect. It had several drawbacks - poor battery life, a single SD card slot, just 5fps paired with a small buffer that, when full, greatly reduces camera functionality and, with the sacrifices made for the smaller body, a less desirable in-hand feel which lacked a dedicated focus point selector. The menu was a mess too. And, a few more issues that caused pro photographers concern, not directly related to the camera, too many Sony repair center horror stories and a lack of native Sony glass. I can't offer a critique of the repair department at this time except to say that Sony has recently added

Pro level repair centers in New York and LA

and clearly sees this as a priority. And, during the two years since the A7R II was released, Sony has released over a dozen lenses and now offers high-quality glass from wide to telephoto. Though, they are still missing some longer telephoto options and don't have much 3rd party support there either.

Hands-on with the Sony a7R III AF improvements are huge! The a7R II AF does well but it wasn't something I would want to use to photograph any action or sports. Now, with the speed improvements in the a7R III, Sony states the AF is twice as fast as the previous model. This coupled with a greatly improved eye-AF system results in an incredibly capable camera that makes nailing focus easy. Again and again, I watched it accurately track erratically moving dancers and the eye-af worked great for nailing portraits of still or moving subjects - as long as an eye was somewhat visible.  No, it wasn't perfect - I saw AF confusion a few times but overall the AF hit rate was much higher than a comparably priced DSLRs AND the eye-AF made it easy- I don't even need to move the focus point near the eye - the camera just finds it and locks on. The Sony A7R III is now a camera capable of handling real action.

Walking portraits - with eye-af focus was idiot proof and easily locked onto and tracked the eye closest to you.

Improved Ergonomics and Usability

Sony A7RII Focus Point Selector

Sony A7RII Focus Point Selector

Custom buttons on the a7R III

Custom buttons on the a7R III

Sony a7R III Dual Card Slots

Sony a7R III Dual Card Slots

Sony a7R III Battery - Doubles Battery Life

Sony a7R III Battery - Doubles Battery Life

The dedicated joystick (focus point selector) for selecting AF point and a touch to AF LCD screen make this camera MUCH more user-friendly. Along with a dedicated AF-on button as well as an AEL button (that I recommend you assign Eye-AF) greatly increase the usability of this camera.  Overall, the ergonomics of this camera are improved, including the location of the record button. However, if you don't like the small grip size or feel that the space between grip and lens is tight on the a7R II or a9, you will still be disappointed as the a7R III is virtually identical to the a9 and feels the same in my hands. One item I noticed - the customizability of many buttons has been further improved with a huge list of assignable functions.Dual Card Slots! SD, not XQD. One is UHS-II, and I recommend Sony 64GB SF-G Series UHS-II SDXC. You can set the cards up to record RAW to one and JPEG to the other or stills to one and video to the other or simultaneous write (backup) or relay - as one card fills, it switches seamlessly to the other.Battery life has more than doubled from the Sony a7R II. The Sony a7R III uses the new A9 battery, the Sony NP-FZ100, which more than doubles battery life.I shot 1845 photos with the a7R III and 20 minutes of video - that used less than 50% of the battery! And, almost this entire time when I wasn't taking photos, I was playing with the menu and connecting to wifi. We should also see a serious improvement in cold weather performance (I will be testing the A7R III in Alaska in early December). Sony has also added a USB-C 3.1 port and the standard micro USB which means additional charging options while shooting, tethering or connected to a remote trigger or intervalometer. You can also use the a9 battery grip with the a7R III.The 10 FPS makes this a much more versatile camera making it capable of handling sports and action. Having the same speed silently with the electronic shutter is also impressive, though limited, as I do see some rolling shutter issues with moving subjects - this sensor cannot be read-off as fast as the a9 (which exhibits no rolling shutter in silent mode). The buffer and write speed to the card has been improved. In general, this is a much more responsive camera than the a7R II but, when you do fill that buffer up with uncompressed RAWS and shooting simultaneously to two cards, you will be waiting some time. I have only tested with two SD cards so will be reporting on this in more detail in my detailed review. 

10fps of a spinning dancer

Upgraded a7R III Menu - now color coded

Upgraded a7R III Menu - now color coded


 The viewfinder upgrade, now like the a9, is larger with a higher resolution screen and is bright and beautiful. It is a welcomed improvement.Image and video quality do not look drastically different from the already excellent a7R II. I will be testing more with side by side comparisons against the a7R II, Canon 5D Mark IV and Nikon D850 in the near future.The menu is still a bit of a mess, but borrowing from the a6500 and a9 systems it is now color-coded, with more helpful icons and a "my menu" section where you can place your frequently used items.No access to the play memories store - so timelapse fans will need to buy an intervalometer. BUT with the additional USB-C port you can charge the camera while running longer time-lapses. All other apps you may have used on the Sony a7R II or other models is not available in the a7R II. I do not know why they have made this choice.

Should You Buy the Sony a7R III?

I have spent only one day with the camera, but based on my experience, if you have been waiting for a Sony camera that can truly replace your DSLR or you are an a7r or a7ii shooter, this is a camera I can happily recommend. Should a7R II users consider upgrading? I have decided to upgrade based on the increased AF and usability of this camera. I love the a7R II image quality and for landscape or general travel it has been a fantastic camera but anytime I found myself shooting portraits or action (wildlife in Tanzania last year) I was frustrated with the usability of the camera - slow to move focus point, slow to respond after shooting a burst. The upgrades the camera provides in this area are enough for me to make the move. Pair the new Sony a7R III with the new 24-105 f/4 G OSS lens and you have a fantastically versatile camera.Videographers should you buy the Sony a7R III? - No, you should wait and see what the A7S III will bring - hopefully 4k at 60fps.Should you buy the a7R II or the a7R III - With only a slight difference in image quality it comes down to speed and useablity. Do you need the increased speed of AF and do you want a camera that is the more DSLR like in its control and operation? The existing Sony a7R II is still a fantastic camera and an excellent value.I love answering your questions and will be back with more hands-on and answers to your questions in the next couple of weeks. Be sure to watch the linked video and leave your question in the comments.

Preorder the a7R III from B&H Photo 


Bug 3 $130 drone vs DJI Spark $500 drone vs DJI Mavic $999 drone

Bug 3 $130 drone vs DJI Spark $500 drone vs DJI Mavic $999 drone. Which one would you want?

Go Cheap for a First Drone?

I was curious. The DJI Spark at $500 ($699 for the recommended Fly More Combo) is still pretty pricey for someone considering their first drone and I wondered how these much more affordable drones on Amazon compared. So I picked up the Drocon Bug3 on Amazon - $130 bucks, throw in a cheap action camera that does 1080 or even 4K for $60 and you have some significant savings versus the DJI Options - is it worth it?  There is a common misconception that ALL drones are hard to fly and you should practice with something cheaper so crashes aren't as costly. It isn't a bad idea BUT most of the time the cheaper drones ARE much harder to fly. With DJI drones like the Spark and the Mavic you press a button and the drone takes off and hovers at 3 feet, waiting for further instructions. You don't need to do anything. Then press the stick up it goes up. Stop pressing the stick up it stops and hovers. Move it forward toward an obstacle and it will warn you before stopping short of running into the tree/wall etc. Yes, DJI still makes drones you can crash, it's just that they are easy to fly carefully as you practice.The Drocon Bug3 is not like this. The $130 drone does not provide one button take off, altitude hold, GPS, a gimbal for stabilized footage, no way to see what the camera is capturing, no way to control the camera. It does provide a touchy, racing style drone that is fun and challenging to fly. Just know that I crashed it more times on the first day of flying than all the other drones I have ever flown combined!  I do not recommend it as a first drone or a drone to buy if you desire good photos/videos from the air. For aerial photography/videography, the DJI drones have a big advantage AND are much easier to fly.

DJI Spark vs DJI Mavic

I love the portability of both. The Mavic folds small and fits nicely in my camera bag where my 70-200 lens usually sits.  The Spark doesn’t fold up, but still easily fits in my camera bag though it feels a little more awkward. Spark and Mavic Drones in a camera bagThe Spark is lighter, the batteries are smaller and it can charge via USB making it extremely portable. When you sit it next to an unfolded Mavic you realize just how much smaller it is- and that makes the flying fun - I found myself launching this indoors and outdoors in environments that the Mavic just felt too large to comfortably fly in - and that’s pretty cool.Spark vs Mavic Drone Size Comparison You trade off some features for the smaller size of the Spark. While the Mavic is capable of 24 minutes flight time, closer to 30 with the new Platinum. The Spark offers just 16 minutes in ideal conditions and in flying both of these - I am almost always done with getting the shots I need with the Mavic and have plenty of battery left. With the Spark, it feels fairly urgent to get the shots I need in that shorter timeframe. The Mavic is faster and while you can switch the Spark into sports mode I have struggled to get very cinematic looking shots when it that mode, the Mavic in normal mode is fast enough and remains smoothly controllable. You also sacrifice range - the Mavic can be flown nearly 4 miles away, the Spark just over a mile when using the controllers for each- honestly here in the United States, you need to keep them both in sight at all times so the difference doesn’t bother me much. And it’s important to mention that the spark at $500 does not come with a controller - you control with the DJI app on your phone - that range is much more limited, just 100 meters and while the Mavic is capable of this too it’s really not something I recommend. The lack of tactile feedback and trying to keep your eyes on the drone plus the screen that your fingers are partially obscuring just make it awkward.Wifi control of the DI Spark and DJI MavicDifference in the external controllers too with the Mavic providing an LCD screen with some basic info (though everything important is also displayed through the app so you don’t really miss out on info but I find it nice to have my altitude and distance in a dedicated spot), you also have a 5 way configurable stick that is replaced by a simple button on the Spark controller and a few additional customizable buttons on the Mavic controller.Spark vs Mavic ControllersBut of course the Spark can be flown without any controller at all via gesture mode and not something available on the Mavic - it feels a bit gimmicky and at times I struggled to get it to do much other than take off and land on my palm but when it works it is fun to use and certainly impresses your friends.Gesture Control on the DJI SparkBoth cameras share the same sensor though the mavic is capable of shooting RAW stills that gives you more editing capabilities, offers a slightly wider fixed aperture f/2.2 vs f/2.6 in the spark and, shooting 4k video with 3 axis gimbal support vs just 1080 and 2 axis gimbal in the Spark at a lower bit rate. I my testing I certainly see an advantage with the Mavic in stills and video quality, especially in lower light. The spark isn’t bad - it just feels a touch behind what the Mavic provides in quality. I haven’t really noticed a difference between the 2 axis and 3 axis gimbals - the spark video looks just as stable smooth.Spark vs Mavic GimbalsYou do see a noticeable difference in control options for both photos and video in the app - Not only does the Mavic provide the RAW shooting you have color profiles for video and you can customize the speed of the gimbal for very controlled, cinematic looking shots - not possible on the Spark.The Spark is cheaper, lighter, smaller and in some ways more fun to fly but does not provide 4k and its image quality/video quality is decent but not quite as good as the Mavic.The Mavic costs more but offers image and video quality that I love using in my travel videos along with the extended flight time and faster speed while remaining cinematic and still being portable enough to bring along just about everywhere.I think the Spark makes a great first drone but the Mavic has those additional advantages that make it worthwhile for the serious content creators that need to travel.I recommend the Fly More Combo for both drones - the extra batteries are useful and having the multi-charger for both drones makes a big difference in how quickly you can get flying again.  I recommend buying from B&H Photo - no sales tax outside of NY state. 


DJI Spark
DJI Mavic Pro Platinum
Flight Time
16 minutes (no wind at a consistent 12.4 mph (20 km/h)15 minutes (no wind) Hovering
30 minutes (no wind at a consistent 15.5 mph (25 kph)27 minutes (no wind) Hovering
1.2 miles (2 km) (unobstructed, free of interference)
4.3 mi (7 km) (unobstructed, free of interference)
2-axis (pitch, roll)
3-axis (pitch, roll, yaw)
Type: 1.2/3" CMOSEffective Pixels: 12 MP
1/2.3” (CMOS)Effective pixels:12.35 MP
FOV 81.9°Focal Length: 25 mm (35 mm-format equivalent)Aperture: f/2.6Focusing Distance: 6.6' (2 m) to ∞
FOV 78.8°Focal Length: 28 mm (35 mm format equivalent)Aperture: f/2.2Distortion < 1.5% Focus from 0.5 m to ∞
JPEG only
1920 x 1080 (Full HD) at 30p
C4K: 4096×2160 24p4K: 3840×2160 24/25/30p2.7K: 2720x1530 24/25/30pFHD: 1920×1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/96pHD: 1280×720 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p
143 x 143 x 55 mm
Folded: 83 x 83 x 198mmExtended: 335 x 335mm
Cost with Fly More Bundle

Shop all the DJI Spark colors at B&H Photo

Hands-on - NEW Sony Lenses 16-35 f/2.8 and 12-24 f/4

Sony has just announced two new lenses and I have had early access to both, shooting on an a7RII and a9 and have sample photos and thoughts below.

The Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Wide-angle Zoom Lens

This nicely rounds out Sony's f/2.8 offerings (16-35, 24-70, 70-200 - the f/2.8 trinity) and looks to be an excellent lens.  I was impressed with edge to edge sharpness, lack of vignetting and smooth bokeh.   Most lenses in this category have 9 aperture blades, the new FE 16-35 f/2.8 has 11.  This lens is seriously sharp - Sony is designing it with future ultra high resolution sensors in mind. It is dust and moisture resistant too. Below are a few sample photos I shot.   Lens will be available in late August. Price $2,199  PREORDER from B&H Photo[gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" link="file" ids="14849,14848,14847,14846,14845,14844"]I do love the focus hold button included on G Master lenses -  its primary function is to lock focus when recomposing, but you can customize to a number of other functions depending. In addition to Focus Hold, custom functions include: Eye AF, AF On, Aperture Preview, Shot Result Preview or Bright Monitoring.Additional 16-35 f/2.8 Specs -

  • Weather Sealed Design
  • Product weight (oz): 24 oz (680 g.)
  • Product Dimension (L*W) inch: 4.875” x 3.5” (121.6 x 88.5mm)
  • Nano AR Coating
  • ED glass w/ multi‐coating reduces chromatic aberration

Currently the Canon 16-35 f/2.8 III sells for $1,999 - I expect this Sony lens to be sharper when we compare them side by side. Make sure you subscribe to the my Youtube channel to get updated news and comparisons when this lens is released.

The Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Ultra Wide-angle Zoom Lens

Sony surprised us with this small, unassuming ultra wide angle lens.  I can't quite believe how compact and lightweight it is while still providing full frame coverage of 12-24!   Weighing just over a pound and nicely fitting in your hand the 12-24 provides a constant f/4 aperture, focus hold button and integrated/fixed lens hood.   It does have a bulbous front element requiring an adapter to use filters.   While it doesn't seem quite as sharp as the GMaster 16-25 f/2.8 it still provides very good sharpness and nothing else offers this wide a view on full frame at this size and weight unless you go with a prime lens.  You could use an adapter with the Sigma 12-24 but that lens weighs twice as much and is significantly larger.   The lens will be available in Late July for $1,699 PREORDER from B&H Photo[gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" link="file" ids="14854,14853,14852,14851,14850,14860"]Additional 12-24 f/4 G Specs

  • Weather Sealed Design
  • Product weight (oz): 20 oz (680 g.)
  • Product Dimension (L*W) inch: 4.625” x 3.5” (117.4 x 87mm)
  • 7 Bladed Aperture Design
  • Super ED and ED glass w/ multi‐coating reduces chromatic aberration
  • Customizeable Focus Hold button

Canon offers an 11-24 f/4 lens for $2,699 and it is larger and heavier. Sigma offers a slightly cheaper model but as mentioned it too is a good bit heavier and bulkier, also not weather sealed.  Once the lens is released I will make comparisons and publish the results here and on Youtube.Pre-order these lenses at B&H:

Reasons to buy the 80D over the 77D

All the Reasons Why you Should get the 80D instead of the 77D (80D vs 77D)


  • The 80D is a larger camera that feels nicer in hand for most people and balances better with some longer lenses
  • Bigger battery, almost a 1,000 shots per charge - almost double what you get with the 77D
  • 80D offers a pentaprism viewfinder vs the 77Ds pentamirror this means a bigger brighter view of the world, especially helpful in shooting in lower light.
  • 80D offers larger rear dial, slots to assign custom settings on the mode dial and a dedicated AF-On button
  • 80D has a headphone jack
  • 80D is weather sealed.


  • 80D offers a faster top shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second vs 1/4000 on the 77D - This isn’t about photographing hummingbirds - this is about being able to shoot with fast prime lens outside - being able to go above 1/4000 makes it easier. Will you need this? Do you plan to do portraiture with fast primes outside?
  • On the 80D You can also adjust ISO at 1/3 increments vs 1/2 stops on the 77D
  • 80D offers Micro Adjust autofocus - this allows you to calibrate your camera to the lenses you are shooting with to get the most accurate focus and sharpest images
  • 80D shoots +7 fps vs 6fps in the 77D - it’s a small distinction but one that could make the difference in catching the perfect moment when shooting faster action like sports.

To be fair there are a few reasons you may want to buy the 77D

  • 77D(9000D) comes in a smaller, lighter body that you can purchase at a cheaper price
  • 77D(9000D) offers an updated interface that beginners might find useful
  • 77D(9000D) offers electronic stabilization for video - honestly I am not terribly excited about this method of stabilization it is just OK and certainly doesn’t smooth out larger movements like the stabilization offered by Sony, Olympus and Panasonic AND only works during video.
Spec Canon 80D Canon 77D (9000D)
MP 24 24
ISO 100-16,000 100-25600 (expands to 51200)
Processor Digic 6 Digic 7
Number of AF pts 45 (all cross type) 45 (all cross type)
Viewfinder 100% pentaprism 95% pentamirror
Live View AF speed Excellent Excellent
Top Shutter Speed 1/8000 1/4000
Flash Sync Speed 1/250 1/200
FPS 7 (live view 5 with AF) 6
Low Light focusing -3 EV (very good) -3 EV (very good)
Video 1080p60 1080p60
Headphone Jack Yes No
Mic Jack Yes Yes
Connectivity WIFI/NFC WIFI/NFC/Bluetooth
Battery Life 960 shots 600 shots
Weight 730g (1.61 lb / 25.75 oz) 540 g (1.19 lb / 19.05 oz)
Current Price $1499 with 18-135 | $1099 Body $1499 with 18-135 | $899 Body


Buy the Canon 80D from B&H Photo

Buy the Canon 77D from B&H Photo



Available to purchase through 

Canon 80D

Available to pre-order through 

Canon EOS 77D

Available to pre-order through 

Canon EOS M6 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 15-45mm Lens (Black) Canon EVF-DC2 Electronic Viewfinder
18-55mm F/4-5.6IS STM lens

Available to pre-order through 

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens
BR-E1 WirelessRemote Control

Available to pre-order through 

Canon BR-E1

Sony a6500 Sample Images / Early Review

BLACK FRIDAY DEAL: Sony a6300 - $998 with a $100 B&H Photo Gift Card | More Black Friday DealsI spent the last few days shoot with the Sony a6500 -  Also the Sony RX 100 Mark V and the a99 Mark II - more on those cameras soon.  The a6500 is what I want to share more about.   And a quick reminder that I think the a6000/a6300 are awesome cameras - the a6300 low light performance is fantastic and it was the only camera I took to Moab, Utah last April - leaving my heavier full frame camera at home - I had no regrets.   See my original review of the Sony a6300 and my a6300 shooting tips video. few of my favorite Sony a6300 shots from the last year 

A6500 Review -

Remember the a6500 is NOT being positioned as a replacement for the a6300- rather a higher model that offers several advantages over the earlier model.

Advantages of the a6500 over the a6300

  • Stabilization! The sensor in the a6500 is now stabilized like the a7Sii, A7Rii and the new a99ii - this means every lens you attach, even old legacy lenses via adapters, are stabilized. Good for slower shutter speed shooting when using a handheld video or not using a tripod. In my testing, the difference is noticeable and the stabilization is useful.
  • Faster and more responsive. Deeper buffer with internal changes means the a6500 can capture 107 RAW images at 11FPS. The a6300 was limited to just 21 RAWS. And, you can now start to preview images as they are writing to the card. The a6500 also provides an indication of where it is in the writing process with a little meter in the top left corner of the screen. The a6300 does not provide this and, at times, it feels very slow to clear and be ready for any action again. In two days of shooting fast action with the a6500, I found very few frustrating slowdowns. It is a much more responsive camera.
  • The a6500 offers a touchscreen. Unfortunately, it takes some getting used to and is still not at the level of the excellent touchscreen you find on a Canon or the Panasonic GH4 . However, you can use it to touch to focus and, somewhat similar to the Nikon D5500, you can put your eye to the viewfinder and slide your finger around on the touchscreen to change the focus point - this feels a little loose and it wasn't until I found several menu settings that let you adjust this control that I started to understand exactly how it worked. It still isn't great but, better than nothing. Touchscreen does not work for menu navigation or image playback.
  • Slightly deeper grip and an additional customizable button. It does feel a little nicer in hand, especially with longer lenses and I appreciate the VERY large amount of customizability these small cameras offer.
  • A redesigned menu - it is now better organized and colorful :)

Advantages of the a6300 over the a6500

  • Cheaper - a6300 Body Only at B&H Photo $998.00 | a6500 Body Only at B&H Photo $1398.00
    • $400 difference for a more responsive camera, stabilization and a fiddly touchscreen- Worth it to you?
  • Battery life - The touchscreen and the image stabilization do drawn additional power and you get a little less time out of each battery with the a6500.

Clearly the a6500 has advantages over the a6300 - but I do think those advantages apply to fairly narrow audience and most photographers would be better saving money on the a6300 or putting those savings toward a nice prime lens that will get you some awesome results.Support this site - Buy the Sony a6500 from B&H PhotoOr Buy the Sony a6300 and the Sigma 30mm f/1.4  (see my list of recommended Wide angle lenses including sony options)

Sample Images from the Sony a6500

all JPEGS straight out of camera except where noted.

Canon 5D Mark IV - Official

Click for My Full Review of the Canon 5D Mark IV

Below is my earlier video based on specs.The Canon 5D Mark IV has been announced and after all the leaks the most surprising bit of info is how soon it will actually be released - in just two short weeks. Preorder NOW if you want this camera in the first few months as it will likely sell out.

Order from B&H Photo 

The Canon 5D Mark IV

Canon 5D Mark IV Specs

  • 30.4MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC 6+ Image Processor
  • 3.2" 1.62m-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor
  • DCI 4K Video at 30 fps; 8.8MP Still Grab
  • 61-Point High Density Reticular AF
  • Native ISO 32000, Expanded to ISO 102400
  • Dual Pixel RAW; AF Area Select Button
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Movie Servo AF
  • 7 fps Shooting; CF & SD Card Slots
  • Built-In GPS and Wi-Fi with NFC

Canon 5D Mark IV - What you need to know

One of the most anticipated and recently leaked cameras has been officially announced.  The 5D Mark IV follows the widely popular Canon 5D Mark III and looks to offer decent, evolutionary upgrades from its predecessor.

  • 30MP is a good balanced file size that provides plenty of resolution while still offering a responsive 7 frames a second.
  • High ISO of 32,000 with a mention of improved dynamic range - While the 80D, Canon's most recent camera, does offer dynamic range improvements they still appear to be behind the competitors, especially at the higher ISOs - I don't expect to be blown away by the improvements.
  • The LCD is now a touchscreen, this combined with the dual pixel AF will make for very easy video focus and the dual pixel AF is fast enough for use in still shots.  Additionally Movie Servo AF looks to track moving subjects smoothly and capably.  No other DSLR provides such easy and smooth live view focusing.  The LCD is not articulating or even tilting.
  • 4k with a catch - the 5D Mark IV will offer 4k but only at 1.74 crop factor. This means your 24-105 lens becomes a 42mm - 182mm lens, you lose the wide angle.  To be fair the very popular Panasonic GH4, which has been my go to camera for 4K for the last 18 months, offers 4k ONLY at a 2x crop factor BUT and here is the BUT- panasonic offers loads of lenses that make sense at that crop factor, Canon does not.  Also Sony's a7SII and A7RII around the same price point offer full frame 4K (no crop) with additional features the 5D Mark IV is missing (More about that in the Canon 5D Mark IV vs Sony A7R2 / A7S2 post)
  • The photo AF system borrows from the top of the line Canon 1DX Mark II which offers fantastic, mind blowingly fast focus and accuracy.   This is all good.
  • WIF and NFC- Finally. There was some worry that you would need a secondary device but they have included connectivity and remote control (hopefully as good as the 80D - you can focus, switch to MF and start and stop video) AND GPS is included too.  Time to finally sell my GP-E2
  • Dual Pixel RAW - I can't yet tell if this is going to be a gimmick or actually useful- When this feature is enabled you can shift focus slightly using Canon provided software Think of this like an after the fact micro focus adjustment.  as it currently will only work with the DPP software this might be more gimmick but I could certainly see fixing minor focus errors on critical pictures - a few other caveats  - your file size doubles and your frame rate and buffer will slow.
  • Still uses CF and SD card slots - great if you didn't want to buy new expensive cards like CFast or XQD but one of the major complaints about the 5D Mark III was the bottleneck provided by the SD card slot, even with the fastest card in there the write speed to the SD card slot is slow enough to slow the whole camera down - this looks to be true with the 5D Mark IV too.
  • Body styling and button placement is identical to the 5D Mark III with a slight change to the joystick.

Screenshot 2016-08-25 06.35.34Bottom line - the Canon 5D Mark IV offers some noticeable improvements over the 5D Mark III and will represent a decent upgrade for many still photographers and those hybrid shooters who are desperate for easy 4k video should be happy.   It is, however, a crowded market and Sony's year old A7RII may still be a better buy for those that want more serious 4K features - S-Log, focus peaking and better dynamic range. Preorder links - I do think this camera will sell well early on and be difficult to get in the first few weeks, maybe months if you do not preorder now.


Panasonic GX80/85 Review

Dynamic MonochromeThe GX80 now includes a dynamic monochrome picture profile. I normally don't shoot monochrome but I decided to test it out.  Here was the result straight out of camera along with the raw image that I edited in Silver Efex Pro 4. I personally prefer editing my own B&W rather than leaving it up to the camera.P1010393P1010393-Bearbeitet AF SystemThe AF system now sports 49 AF areas – up from the GX7´s 23 area AF. Panasonic has also added Depth from Defocus technology to help it lock onto things with more speed and accuracy. It only works with specific Panasonic lenses however. Nevertheless I have still had it lock onto the background instead of the foreground subject several times. It utilises Contrast Detect Autofocus and is lightning fast in AF-Single.The GX80 now also comes with eye detect AF, which seems to be a very hit and miss affair and even when it works it never quite seems to hit the centre of the eye.  Pinpoint AF is probably going to be the more useful AF mode for portrait shooters.The AF system can focus down to -4 EV which is pretty impressive and the camera also comes with an AF assist lamp on the front.Post FocusPost focus allows you to take a photograph and then select the focus point after the fact. It is limited to 4K resolutions and works by taking a video of the subject and focussing quickly through the range whilst doing so. You can pick the photo you want to save via the camera on screen interface or by editing the 4k video file that is created on your SD card.4K Photo ModesThere are three 4K photo modes: 4K Burst, 4K Burst (S/S) and 4K Pre-Burst. 4K Burst shoots as long as your finger is held down on the shutter button. 4K Burst (S/S) starts and stops the recording when the shutter is pressed. 4K Pre-Burst records all the time and stores a seconds worth of video up until the shutter is pressed. The pre-burst mode comes with a warning that when the camera exceeds the temperature rating it will default to 4K burst!Roll over the image to see 4K Post Focus in action[himage]4k Post Focus 14k Post Focus 2[/himage]BracketingThe GX80 comes with several bracketing options. For focus bracketing (focus stacking) for example you can configure how many images you wish to have and the step size for the focus. This feature seems to work very well when importing into Adobe PhotoShop and using the stacking functionality. The GX80 also offers aperture bracketing and WB bracketing.Viewfinder/Touchscreen DisplayThe electronic viewfinder (EVF) is taken straight from the GX7, however on the GX80 it no longer tilts upwards. It has a diopter setting on the right hand side and is a 2764K high resolution unit with 16:9 aspect ratio and 0.7x magnification. Some people report seeing rainbow patterns due to the field-sequential LCD used in this viewfinder.The rear 3″ display is tiltable as per the GX7 – 90° looking down onto it and about 45° looking upwards. It is not fully articulated, which I personally prefer. It seems better than the one on the GX7, especially in sunlight. The GX80 has a 60 FPS refresh rate which makes LiveView look very smooth, but may come with the cost of reduced battery life.Wi-FiWi-Fi is pretty much unchanged from the GX7 implementation however, the GX80 lacks NFC capability. With Wi-Fi you can connect to your mobile phone, using the Panasonic Image App, or your computer. When using the app you can copy photographs locally to your phone or use it as a remote control for your camera. Performance is pretty good when I tested it with the iPhone 6s Plus. It is also possible to setup a share on your computer and send your photos to it. Using LightRoom it is then possible to monitor this share and emulate tethering functionality – however I found this to be incredibly slow, probably due to the USB 2.0 port on the camera.Battery/ChargingThe GX80 does not come with a charger. You have to charge the battery in camera via the supplied USB cable. If you were thinking of having an external battery pack plugged in then you will be disappointed as you cannot use the camera whilst it is being charged this way. I purchased a couple of extra third party batteries and a charging cradle for about 20€. Whilst I was shooting at this years Comic-Con in Germany I noticed that the camera body had gotten quite warm and the third party battery only lasted for about 50 shots. With the official Lumix battery it was considerably better, however after my previous experience I was being extremely careful and ensuring that I turned off the camera if I wasn´t shooting for any length of time. I also turned down the display brightness and changed its refresh rate to 30 instead of 60.ConclusionThis is a fun little camera with a micro four thirds sensor that has a few niggles, but nothing onerous. It offers really nice image quality for photos and 4K video as well as a whole host of interesting little extras for a very good price. The dual IS system is amazing, easily on par with Olympus´s system and probably a taste of things to come with the GH5. The GX8 has a few advantages over the GX80 – namely the 20MP sensor, weather sealing and a mic input. However in Europe the GX8 is still a fairly expensive camera coming in at over 1000€ body only. The GX80 is currently priced at 699€ with the 12-32mm kit lens and is far better value for money. For me the GX80 features easily make it a better choice over the GX8.Buy from B&H Photo Thanks Heidi for this thorough write up.  You can see more of Heidi's work atInstagram: heidi.harding.photos500px: And Heidi has some real world samples from a recent Comic-Con

Sony a6300 Hands-on Review (Draft)

For the last few days I have been in Miami shoot with the Sony a6300, 24-70 f/2.8 GM series and the 85mm f/1.4 GM.  I will have a full video review soon (subscribe to my Youtube Channel to be notified) - below are some thoughts after spending three solid days with the Sony a6300 and shooting 3,000 photos.Sony a6300 with 24-70 GM f/2.8 Lens - 6 Seconds Sony a6300 Review - The headline features: Redesigned 24MP sensor, Improved AF system (4D Focus) with 425 Phase detection points - almost complete coverage of AF points from corner to corner and improved speed of focus 0.05 seconds. 11fps at high+ mode, 4K including 4k at Super 35mm.01-70 mm_1-1250 sec at f - 4.0_ISO 100a6300 Spoiler Review - This is the best hybrid (photos & video) camera you can buy at this price point: focus is impressive, low light capabilities are some of the best I have seen in a crop sensor and 4K video looks great.   A few small issues hold this camera back from perfection but I would very happy to walk out the door with the Sony a6300 for just about any photo or video task.The Good -Focus system works as advertised, We shot wake boarders, parkour athletes and salsa dancers and I was impressed with the speed and tracking capabilities.  In one example I watched the tracking squares lock on and follow a sprinting, tumbling athlete cross from one corner of the frame to the other. - He moved by people, intersecting objects and it capably tracked him.     When I compare this system to the Sony a7RII or the a6000 I see noticeable improvements and increased intelligence. One of my big complaints about sony is picking the focus point - no touchscreen and no dedicated joystick make it difficult but with the increased smarts the camera selected my subject most of the time and when it didn't a new feature to the a6300 - focus selector, helps.  This allows you to use the directional pad on the back as a joystick to move your focus points without an extra button press.  This does require an extra press to get into the other functions of the directional pad- e.g. ISO, exposure compensation ect. So not perfect but I appreciate the choice.Focus during movies - good, with customizability on speed.  I will have more to say after I send time carefully reviewing all the footage I shot.a6300 Photo Quality - Despite sharing the same MPs (24) as the a6000 they did redesign the sensor, increasing copper blah blah, do you really care. I don't I just want to know the result, and I believe this will be the new king of APS-C low light performance.   I shot 12,800 images that while noise was certainly present it was far below what I expected and I would be happy to deliver those images to a client or bride.100% crop at ISO 6400 - Noise Reduction turned OFF(MORE sample Images from the a6300)Video Quality - Very good - more to say soon.  These are good Codecs with S-Log as an option.Body and Handling - Very similar to the a6000- an additional switch at the AEL button allows a little more customizability.   Still can't assign shutter button to start video :(  Bodies construction is upgraded, honestly not sure I can really tell when I hold but it should be more robust.   The EVF is upgraded - nice rubber cup and it is higher quality with NO lag. With image review off I was tracking and shooting wake boarders without issue. Now with mic jack or you can use Sony's hotshoe mic.  Still no headphone port.Features- I mentioned the focus point selector. It's great! Also new option to magnify live view and focus for ultra precise focusing.  120fps full HD video! And of course 4k and cinema 4K - again, this will be the best performing low light camera for photos or video at this price point and honestly you have to spend significantly more to see improvements.  Custom 1 and 2 on the dial are additional nice touches.   Additional customization options in menu too  but. .The Sony menu system - This isn't particular to the a6300 but as these Sony cameras add additional features it becomes harder and harder to find and set all the variables you need for best performance in certain shooting situations. For example AF options are spread out over multiple tabs and pages and it makes it very difficult to find everything you need.  Additionally no favorites tab or customizable page mean if you want to seriously use this camera you will NEED to spend time memorizing the location of menu items.Anemic Buffer - Sure it can shoot 11 fps but that is a short burst and the camera locks up and is all but useless until it finishes writing to the card - this can be very frustrating in some situations.I will have lots more to say in my video- for now I will repeat the line. This is the best hybrid (photos & video) camera you can buy at this price point: focus is impressive, low light capabilities are some of the best I have seen in a crop sensor and 4K video looks great.I plan to compare the a6300 vs the Gh4, the 70D and 80D and it's big brother the Sony a7RII- but really, is it fair to compare a $1,000 camera vs a $3,200 camera?What else would you like to know or see covered in the review?Sony a6300Sony a6300ORDER the Sony a6300 from Amazon  or B&H Photo. Using my links to purchase is the best way to support my work on this channel- I can't continue to do this without your support. Use the links and visit to learn more.

LCD Viewfinders have several benefits including:

  • Create a shaded view of the LCD in sunny conditions, helpful for judging focus and exposure
  • Magnification of the lcd for greater level of detail and focus
  • Adding a 3rd stability point giving you more options for smoother video while on the go
  • Block out the distractions and allow you to focus on your composition

My Video Review of the Kamerar QV 1 Viewfinder

Buy the Kamerar QV 1 from:

 Kamerar QV 1 Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Quick release system and Manfrotto PL501 compatible plate
  • Quick flip for even easier access to the touchscreen
  • Fit smoothly with easy adjustable range
  • Reversible Eye-cup for left or right eye viewing
  • 2.5x magnification

Kamerara QV 1 Cons:

  • Focusing mechanism feels sticky - this isn't something you should need to adjust
  • No lens cap for eye-piece. Honestly this is something I would toss as soon as it arrived but some like having caps.

Bottom line: for the money this is a well made and excellent option for videographers with DSLRs or mirrorless cameras shooting in conditions that make the LCD difficult to see.   Even in normal conditions the magnification and general benefits of using a viewfinder make this a recommended purchase.  I have even found it useful for manual focusing during macro photo work.Example of Magnification[gallery columns="2" link="file" ids="7686,7687"]Buy the Kamerar QV 1 from:QV 1


A photo posted by Toby (@photorectoby) on

Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 Lens aka the Nifty-Fifty Knock-off

Screenshot 2014-12-17 11.41.00Yongnuo, the company that makes some of my favorite flashes for Canon and Nikon, has recently released their own version of Canon's 50mm f/1.8.  Costing just $30, less than a 1/3 the price of  Canon's already cheap 50mm intrigued reader John Witkowski. Here are his thoughts and some comparisons versus the Canon 40mm f/2.8. YONGNUO 50mm f/1.8 lens for Canon cameras. Initial thoughts so far; it seems to be built just a tad bit better than canons 50mm 1.8, not by much. Mount uses screws instead of canons plastic lock tabs. Quick test shots seem to have accurate color and contrast. Not as sharp as the 40mm 2.8 it is very soft at 1.8 and gets better around f4 - f5. Ok bokeh. Motor noise is similar to the canon 50 1.8. Focusing is ok not to bad to get locked in. With that said It does not work in liveview with my t5i. It has trouble focusing and when it finally does come in focus the camera will not shoot. I noticed if it is in live view with the lens on AF it will not fire. If I change the lens to MF in live view it works. Using the viewfinder the lens works fine. So far for $30 bucks its not bad but not great.  See John's Flickr Photos at

Here are the test shots. I started with canons 40mm stm at 2.8 and the Yongnuo 50mm at 1.8

Canon 40mm f/2.8 at f/2.8 50mm f/1.8 at f/1.8 50mm f/1.8 at f/2.8 comp 40mm f/2.8 @ f/2.8 vs Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 @ f/2.8Yongnuo40vs50 More samples on his Flickr Page - can order the lens via Ebay (price seems to have gone up slightly) Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 Canon Lens or Amazon (price is higher) My quick thoughts - at $30-$40 if offers a workable alternative to Canon's own prime but you are probably better off saving a little more and grabbing the Canon version, especially when you consider the focusing issues John mentioned along with the serious softness at f/1.8.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Review Sigma 24-105 f/4 OS Lens

The new Sigma 24-105 f/4 OS lens from Sigma is exceptionally sharp and offers awesome image stabilization. Are those two features worth the drawbacks to shooting with a lens like this?Watch the Video Review of the Sigma 24-105: 

Sigma 24-105 Pros

  • Exceptionally Sharp across the range from 24-105. You will not find a lens that is as sharp that covers this range.
  • A very useful walk around range for full frame cameras. Useful for crop sensors too but there are other options that make more sense.
  • Excellent Image Stabilization (OS as Sigma calls it) for video or lower light photography

Sigma 24-105 Cons

  • Heavy (about 2 lbs)
  • No weather sealing
  • Image Stabilization (OS) cannot be left on when on a tripod*

*It generally is a good idea to turn Image Stabilization OFF when the camera is on a tripod or stable surface - some IS systems are intelligent enough to detect when on a tripod or stable surface and turn off. Systems like the Sigma 24-105 do not and longer shutter speed images will be ruined if you leave IS on.

Sigma 24-105 vs Canon 24-105

The Sigma is sharper and cheaper* than the Canon.Strengths of the Canon

  • Large focus ring is good for video
  • Weather sealed
  • Cheaper if bought whitebox or used

Strengths of the Sigma

  • SHARP, noticeably sharper than the Canon at most focal lengths
  • Better build quality (except no weather sealing)
  • Better resale value (at this time the Sigma is selling used for almost as much as it sells new - this is due to the build quality but mostly from the scarcity of the lens)

Sigma retails for $899, *Canon retails new for $1149 but can often be found as a whitebox (originally part of a kit now sold separately - legit and full warranty) for $700-800. Used the Canon sells for $600Support my work - Rent from  or Buy from B&H Photo/Video or AmazonJeffrey Friedl's Lightroom Plugin mentioned in this video: [He has a ton more so spend some time looking at all of the options.] Walk around options for owners of Crop sensor cameras - Canon T5i, 70D, Nikon D5300, D7100 etcAs sharp as the Sigma 24-105 is the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Click to see my review and sample images. No IS and significantly less range.The Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4  offers a similar range, very good OS and good image quality/sharpness.[green_message]Source: [/green_message] Follow me on Facebook at

Sony a7r Review & Samples

HOT: Adorama a7/a7R Trade in - ANY working interchangeable lens camera take a chunk off the price of the A7, A7 with 24-70 or A7r.In my search for a lighter travel camera I spent a few weeks with the Sony a7R. My video review is below along with some sample images.I found the a7R to produce gorgeous 36MP images with excellent dynamic range.

Sony a7R Pros:

  • Beautiful 36MP files - Medium format like quality in something that isn't even DSLR sized.
  • No Low pass filter for sharp detail
  • Wonderful Dynamic range- detail in highlights and shadows that can be pulled out is impressive
  • Small and light (A7R weight 1.03 lbs | 5D Mark III weight over 2lbs)
  • Vibrant and tilting screen - rarely felt like I needed to put my eye to viewfinder.
  • Good manual controls with decent customizability
  • Useful focus peaking for manual focus
  • Auto exposure dial works in manual mode when auto ISO is enabled
  • 1080p at 60fps.
  • Fun sony features like sweep panorama (with 36MP images you can make stunning panoramas!)
  • USB Charging - Ability to charge battery in camera or from a USB battery (also a drawback, no charger included)
  • Good Wifi connectivity for sharing and remote control.
  • Ability to add apps in camera - Star trail app for example

Sony a7R Cons:

  • Slow
    • to start up,
    • when new SD card is inserted - needs to create a recovery DB
    • focus
    • to clear buffer - camera locks up when clearing buffer
  • Battery life is short 300-400 shots and without an included charger forced to charge in camera (buy 3rd Party charger & additional batteries)
  • Crashes - I saw this camera crash way more than any other and at times would revet back to settings 15 minutes earlier - some I believe were a result of using the metabones adapter but other times it would just hang. UPDATE: I have heard from a few other A7R users and they don't experience crashes. I might have had a buggy copy.
  • Lens selection - Native lens selection is small and f/4 fastest with a few exceptions that are coming soon.  Most of the weight savings are offset by these lenses - but the quality is awesome and multiple adapters exist to use with Canon, Nikon or other lenses.
  • Loud shutter - with some rumors that causes blurred images at the slower shutter speeds. I didn't see that but for such a small body and mirror less camera it is loud.
  • Video quality is good (why is this a con then? I was hoping it would be noticeably better than my 5D Mark III and I could use this camera for travel photos and video for my channel, but it is only as good as 5D Mark III or a tiny bit better - not the difference you see in photos between the two)


Watch my video review on the Sony A7R

Sony a7R Sample Images

GoPro 4 and the Hero- Crushing the Action Cam Market

GoPro announced updated action cams yesterday.  The Hero 4 Black, Hero 4 Silver and the Hero.  Most people are talking about the new Hero 4 Black that allows 4k recording at 30fps but the real news here is the pricing on the new, numberless model, Hero - just $129.  The action cam market is quite crowded, though you might think there is only GoPro, and up until now one of GoPros weak points was price, with previous models starting at $299. The Hero at just $129 opens up the door for interested buyers who couldn't quite justify the price when they weren't sure the could even justify a need for a camera like this.  Polaroid made news recently with their cute little Cube (we chatted about it on Episode 27 of Photo Mish Mash) and at $99 it looked like a good deal, now that the Hero is here it seems to me to be worth spending $40 more.  Why?Polaroid Cube $99 - Buy from B&HScreenshot 2014-09-30 14.24.42

  • 1.4 inches square (35mm)
  • 1.6 ounces (45.4g)
  • 124° View
  • 1080p 30fps or 720p 30fps
  • 6MP Stills
  • Dust/shock resistant (not waterproof)
  • Video files split into 5 minute chunks
  • 32GB Micro SD card limit
  • Colors - Black, Blue and
  • Cute Mounts available and magnet on bottom for stacking or attaching to metal surfaces

Video quality I have seen is OK - certainly not spectacular.Go Pro Hero $129 - Buy from B&HScreenshot 2014-09-30 14.38.24

  • 3.9 ounces (this includes waterproof/shockproof housing)
  • 171° View
  • 1080p at 30fps or 720p at 60fps
  • 5MP stills
  • Time lapse mode - (every 0.5 seconds)
  • Burst Mode - (5 photos/second)
  • 32GB Micro SD Card Limit
  • Standard GoPro size fits all goPro accessories and mounts

The specs are very similar between the two cameras but the fact that you get a completely waterproof camera(inside the housing it comes with) and the additional modes- like time lapse- makes the GoPro Hero worth the extra money.The updated Hero 4 Black and Hero 4 Silver specs (compared to last year's 3+ Black)

Screenshot 2014-09-30 15.38.38 Screenshot 2014-09-30 15.39.02 Screenshot 2014-09-30 15.40.48
GoPro Hero 4 Black GoPro Hero 4 Silver GoPro Hero 3+ Black
 Resolutions 4K 30fps, 2.7K 50fps and 1080p120fps video 1080p60 and 720p120 video 4k 15FPS 2.7K 30fps and 1080p 60
 MP 12MP and capable of 30 fps bursts 12MP and capable of 30 fps bursts 12MP and capable of 30 fps bursts
 Connectivity Wifi and Bluetooth Connectivity Wifi and Bluetooth Connectivity WiFI Connectivity
 Headline Feature Improved Processor and IQ Built in touch display
 Price $499 $399  Now $349- going out of stock
 BUY B&H photo video | Amazon B&H photo video | Amazon B&H photo video

Recommended GoPro Accessories - Watch my video on the best bag for your GoPro stuff  

Canon 10-18 vs Tokina 11-16 vs Canon 10-22

Battle of the WIDES! Canon 10-18 vs Tokina 11-16 vs Canon 10-22

Canon 10-18 f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

Pros of the 10-18

  • small, lightweight(weighs less than the kit lens) and cheap, $299!
  • Great quality- seriously impressed with how well it handles chromatic aberration (better than the others) and is sharp (though the differences between all is very slight)
  • Image stabilization for handholding seriously low shutter speeds
  • STM - absolutely smooth and silent video and full time manual focus* - half press of shutter required for manually turning the ring to have any effect.  If live view is on focus ring is always active.
  • Close focus abilities - almost macro like!

Cons of the 10-18

  • Slow (small maximum aperture) f/4.5 at 10mm and as soon as you zoom you hit f/5 and then f/5.6 shortly before 18mm
  • No distance indicator - very hard to manually focus in low light (bad for starry sky photos)

Tokia 11-16 f/2.8 DX II

Pros of the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 DX II

  • Constant f/2.8
  • Built like a tank and includes a lens hood
  • Distance indicator
  • Will mount on a full frame camera!

Cons of the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 DX II

  • Chromatic aberration very noticeable at wide apertures.
  • Vingetting also present at wide apertures - also present in other lenses but not quite to the same degree gone by f/5.6
  • I am not a fan of the big ring pull switch for AF/MF.
  • 77mm filter size - getting expensive

Canon 10-22 USM f/3.5-4.5

Pros of the Canon 10-22 USM

  • Big range for wide angle lens.
  • USM with full time manual focus
  • Distance indicator
  • Good build quality

Cons of the Canon 10-22 USM

  • What does it offer that the Canon and Tokina doesn’t?

Sigma 8-16 f/4.5-5.6 HSM (not reviewed in this video)


  • Extremely wide with 8mm
  • HSM for smooth and fast focus


  • Expensive
  • No filters - lens bulges like fisheye