New Sony Camera a99 II 42MP SLT Camera

And I thought the a-mount was dead!?!? Sony's a mount cameras are a blend of mirrorless and traditional DSLR technology - the mirror is still there - just translucent, letting some light through to hit the sensor - this provides an EVF and phase detection autofocus.screenshot-2016-09-19-07-45-36

Sony a99 II Brief Specs

  • Sony a99II,
  • full-frame A-mount camera (yes I was surprised).
  • 42 MP
  • 5-axis stabilization (4 stops)
  • 12 FPS with AF
  • 4K video - full sensor and super 35mm

Sony a99II Price - $3,199 - B&H Product page, Preorder soonOn paper this camera looks to match and possibly beat the TOP end cameras from Nikon and Canon - the ones that cost $5000 and more.   This could be a very interesting matchup.The a mount has a decent lens collection, including the longer telephoto lenses I would love to see brought to the full frame E mount.  Honestly I was really hoping for a more serious high end e-mount, maybe an a9 that has been rumoured announced today. This camera - while I am sure will be excellent is sitting at what is now a pretty small market share.  Sony's a mount series sold well initially, especially outside the US, but they let it languish and many serious photographers have moved on.    What do you think?screenshot-2016-09-19-07-45-44screenshot-2016-09-19-07-45-52

The Canon 5D Mark IV

The Canon 5D Mark IV will be announced in the next few months- despite the huge selection of cameras on the market it remains the professional camera I see most wished for (maybe incorrectly so) and so let's spend a few minutes thinking about what this camera will or won't bring to the table. quick reminder that in partnership with a bunch of wonderful sponsors is giving away an all expenses paid trip to Africa- an awesome photo safari - all the details are at 5D Mark IVSo what will or should the followup to the wildly successful Canon 5D Mark III bring? I am basing some of this from a CanonRumors post in late january - I will link that below. There hasn’t been any real news about the 5D Mark 4 since December.28mp - The 5D Mark 3 offers 22 MP - There were some rumors that they would actually drop the MP below 22 to further improve low light performance but I don’t see Canon doing that - they are still clearly clinging to the megapixels war as evidenced by the 5DS and R with 51 megapixels. I think 28 is a reasonable target.Dynamic range - one place Canon has seemed to really lag is dynamic range - when you compare the 5D Mark 3 to Sony or Nikon’s current cameras - you are not only able to capture a greater dynamic range you can also post process the files to a much greater degree - bringing up the shadows without loads of noise appearing. Earlier reports from the 1DX Mark 2 seem to show a nice improvement in DR and I hope we see something similar in the 5D Mark 4 but i am not holding my breath - I expect improvements but believe they will still be a step behind the competitors. I have the same feelings about high ISO - again the 1DX Mark 2 has a redesigned sensor designed to improve noise at the low ISOs - nothing really about the higher ISOS- again I expect improvements but not at a level that passes Sony or Nikon's current offerings.9fps The 5D Mark 3 offers 6fps. Nine sounds high to me. I don’t need that at weddings or events and for sports I would think Canon would want you want to go with the 1Dx or the 7D Mark 2. I personally think 7fps is a more likely number.61 point AF - Same as existing 5D Mark 3 41 are cross types - this is the same system that is in the original 1DX - so if we look at the 1D X Mark 2 - well Canon stuck to that same system though with some intelligence improvements and improvements at f/8 as we just saw from the 80D. I do think we will see 61 Af points with the same upgrades - no additional features.I do think we will see dual pixel AF in Live view But will we see 4K. I know some of you don’t care at all about 4k or even video- you can see my facebook exclusive video on the canon 80D that touches on this subject, linked below, but in short I don’t think we will see 4K in this camera. What do you think. Will the direct successor to the 5D Mark 3 offer 4K video? Answer in this poll. As others have suggested we might get a split line - a 5D Mark 4 and a 5DC or something that does offer more robust video features. Canon has done this with the 5DS series and th 1DC series that offer more specialized features targeting certain markets... One of the things that made the 5D Mark 3 so great, when it was released no other DSLR did as good a job at was shooting video and stills. While it would be nice to think Canon want’s to continue pushing that envelope, they haven’t made any indication that they will and while the 1D Mark 2 does offer 4K it only does 1080p out via HDMI and has a few other quirks that in my opinion make it less ideal for shooting video. Part of Canon’s problem here is avoiding conflict with their cinema line - They deliberately hold features back.CFast & SD - The 1DX Mark 2 offers Cfast and CF card - It seems that Cfast is mostly designed for the 4k shooters. I will be surprised if this is where Canon decides to be cutting edge and think they will continue to use CF card and SD slots. If I am wrong about 4K- and I very well could be, then there is a much better chance of a Cfast slot in this camera.Touchscreen - I do think you will at least be able to select focus points as in the new 1D X Mark 2 but the screen will be fixed, not articulating - Though I would love to see an articulating screen like the new Nikon or Sony cameras off.Built-in GPS & Wifi - Sure - they did it in the 6D years ago- speaking of that where the heck is the 6D Mark 2, some think we won't see that until 2017! I really don’t know - but I do know the 6D has sold well and I often get asked about its successor.Lighter weight - I suspect it might be a little lighter but the body design will be near identical. When you have a large percentage of Pros you don’t make big changes to body design so pros can upgrade mid season without having to learn a new interface.Price - should be similar to 5D Mark 3 at launch $3500.Leave a comment below - are you excited for this release? Couldn’t care less? 

Pentax Full Frame Camera

Pentax officially announced their first full frame camera.  Packed with technology and teased for the last year we now get an official look, price and release date.Pentax K-1 DSLR Camera - Available April 5 for $1,796.95 - Preorder from B&H PhotoPentax K-1

  • 36.4MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • PRIME IV Image Processor
  • 3.2" Cross-Tilt LCD Monitor (this looks cool- see photo below)
  • Full HD 1080p30 Video Recording (not 1080p60 is a bit disappointing but not a deal breaker)
  • SAFOX 12 33-Point AF Sensor
  • Native ISO 204800; 4.5 fps Shooting
  • 5-Axis In-Body Shake Reduction (excellent)
  • Super Resolution & AstroTracer Modes (Uses the Sensor Stabilization to do COOL stuff)
  • Built-In Wi-Fi & GPS; Dual SD Card Slots
  • Weather-Sealed Magnesium Alloy Body
This camera looks excellent - especially for landscape and astrophotography (star filled skies) Why?   The camera uses the GPS and the in-body camera stabilization system to move the camera’s sensor during lengthy exposures so as to mimic the earth’s rotation and capture celestial objects such as stars and planets as points of light rather than elongated trails.  Typically when photographing the stars you need to follow the 500 rule.  Simply- you need to keep your shutter speed below a certain number to avoid the dots of the stars turning into smears.  Being limited to shorter shutter means you need to raise your ISO and/or use a wide aperture.  And this is all with wide angle lenses. With a telephoto your shutter speed needs to be even shorter - making it difficult to capture detailed celestial objects like the Magellanic clouds.Spinning_Under_Galaxies___500pxDepending on your location in the world you can use the Astrotracer function to beat the 500 rule and shoot for as long as 5 minutes!!An additional trick for higher resolution landscapes - Super Resolution mode that composites multiple images together for maximum sharpness and reduced noise, again using the sensor shift technology to accomplish this!It will also use the in-body IS to help you level the horizon!Pentax has always provided excellent value cameras and while the lenses selection might not be as large as Canon or Nikon they have a decent collection and even this full frame camera has 9 lenses available including what looks to be a nice wide angle 15-30 f/2.8 lens that perfectly compliments the body features that make this camera awesome for shooting starry night skies.So why does Pentax(owned by Ricoh) have such a small market share? About 7% in 2015. I don't know - bad marketing, perceived lack of lenses? If you have better ideas leave the comments below. The end result is while these cameras are often excellent values - providing excellent image quality, feature packed in quality made bodies - the general ecosystem feels much smaller and I think this prevents consumer purchase/market growth.A few additional points- small white LED lighting makes operating this camera in the dark easier - lit buttons and lens mount make me feel like this camera has everything the astrophotographer could want - also happens to be weather sealed and offered with weather sealed lenses.
Are you interested? Let me know in the comments.   It certainly is priced competively and as mentioned above I expect the sensor to produce excellent images.  The first camera I would actually compare this too is the Sony A7II which also offers a full frame stabilized sensor - though none of the neat tricks the Pentax offers.Also announced Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR Lens - Just $499Pentax K-1 DSLR Camera - Available April 5 for $1,796.95 - Preorder from B&H Photo

Sony A7R II - Focus Test with Canon Lenses

Gordon Laing at has had his hands on the Sony A7r II and share with us some focus speed samples with the camera and canon 24mm f/2.8 IS lens attached via Metabones. The results seem impressive.Preorders for this camera are now accepted. Shipping in Late July, Early August.Preorder from B&H Photo Video

Just Announced: Sony's A7 II - faster autofocus and image stabilization

Screenshot 2014-11-20 08.14.25I reviewed the Sony A7 in April of this year - found it to be a lovely camera but suffered from slower AF and a small lens selection, unless you use adapters which causes focus to get even slower.   Since then I have reviewed the Sony a7r (36MP) and the Sony a7s (Amazing low light capabilities) along with the Sony FE mount to EF mount Metabones adapter that will provide access to all of my Canon lenses.    A complaint that is common across these sony A7 bodies and the more DSLR like A77 is lack of lenses - Sony now has something like 5 full frame bodies currently on the market and about 10 lenses that work natively (no adapters needed) with those bodies. Not a good ratio when you compare to Canon or Nikon.  But! the new Sony A7 II offers in body 5-axis image stabilization, this opens up greater possibilities with using older lenses and increases the catalog of lenses.Screenshot 2014-11-20 08.14.42

Sony A7 II Specs (Same as Original)

  • 24MP Full Frame Sony Sensor
  • 117 phase detect and 25 contrast detect points
  • 5fps continuous shots
  • Same Battery providing about 350 shots

Sony A7 II Upgrades:

5-Axis in body image stabilization. This is similar to what Olympus offers in their micro 4/3 series and I love the capabilities. Sony claims up to 4.5 stops of stabilization. Added benefit of making handheld video wonderful with any lensFaster AF - 30% improvement in the a7 II's AF speed and 1.5x better tracking performance than the original Sony A7Screenshot 2014-11-20 08.14.33Slight redesign to the body providing a deeper grip and more DSLR like feel.XVACs codec for video at 50MBPS and support for S-Log2 profile for better grading control of video in post Should be shipping in early December in Japan - not clear when it will be available here in the US.  Sony Product video showing the A7 Mark II Image Stabilization in action -  

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

Nikon D750 Announced and Available for Preorder

Nikon has officially announced the D750 Full Frame camera along with a new battery grip, the MB-D16, a new multimedia flash, the SB-500,  and a new 20mm f/1.8 and magnifying filter size 52mm. All are available for pre-order- links below. I expect this Nikon D750 to sell well, more thoughts after the photos and specs.

 >> My Full Nikon D750 Review is now online <<

Screenshot 2014-09-12 05.45.53 Screenshot 2014-09-12 05.42.34 Screenshot 2014-09-12 05.35.48 Screenshot 2014-09-12 05.35.59 Screenshot 2014-09-12 05.36.04Screenshot 2014-09-12 05.36.10

  • Full frame 24.3 megapixel CMOS image sensor and EXPEED 4 image processor
  • Full HD 60/50/30/25/24p video
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and compatibility with the WT-5a + UT-1 Communication Unit
  • Shoot up to 6.5 fps at full resolution- Higher FPS possible in DX Mode.
  • Pro Video feature set including: Simultaneously record uncompressed and compressed, Manually control ISO, shutter speed and aperture while recording - even use Power Aperture control for smooth iris transitions and Auto ISO for smooth exposure transitions.
  • Compact, lightweight and slim unibody (monocoque) body design with tilting Vari-angle LCD display

Pre-order the NIkon D750 andThe Nikon D750 full frame DSLR camera (price: $2,299.95, $3,239.96 with 24-120mm f/4 lens With all preorders your credit card is not charged until the camera ships.  If you are considering this camera put a preorder in NOW - quantities are going to be limited through the fall. You can always cancel the order- More than once I have hesitated on a preorder and found myself scrambling or paying a premium to avoid waiting months.Nikon D750 body will be available September 23 - Preorder from Amazon | B&H | AdoramaNikon D750 kit will be available September 23 - Preorder from Amazon | B&H | AdoramaNikon MB-D65 Battery Grip will be available in September - Preorder from Amazon | B&H | AdoramaNikkor 20mm f/1.8G will be available September 25- Preorder from Amazon | B&H | AdoramaNikon SB-500 will be available September 25- Preorder from Amazon | B&H | AdoramaNikon 52mm Close-Up Lens will be available September 23- (watch my macro options video, includes a discussion about close up filters) Preorder from  B&H | AdoramaScreenshot 2014-09-12 06.37.48NIkon has quite the full frame (FX) line up now - Nikon D610, Nikon Df, Nikon D810, Nikon D4s. The D750 sits just below the D810, borrowing and actually improving on the AF system with 51 AF points.  It does include a popup flash and all of the video features of the D810 but adds WiFI and a tilty screen.  In this crowded line up the D750 offers lots to love and the body only price point is reasonable for a camera at this level.  I expect that this will be in high demand through fall and into winter. I'd love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below. Support my work. Purchase your gear through the links above.  Screenshot 2014-09-12 06.46.27I recommend PNY SD Cards. The 64GB Card offers 90MB/s and costs just $33. Reliable, fast and plenty of room for all your photos and videos.