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Lens Review: The Lomography Jupiter 3+

Published on April 5, 2016 by in News

Lomography reboots a Soviet classic.

Lomography re-issues a vintage lens, the Jupiter 3+…
 
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 offers 16MP sensor with no AA filter, redesigned shutter mechanism

Published on April 4, 2016 by in News

Panasonic has just announced its Lumix DMC-GX85 (GX80 outside of North America), a less expensive sibling to the Lumix GX8 that features a 16MP Live MOS sensor with no AA filter, a redesigned shutter mechanism, and 5-axis Dual IS. Panasonic claims the removal of the anti-aliasing filter boosts fine detail resolution by 10%, and an electromagnet-driven shutter mechanism aims to reduce blur from shutter shock – an issue we noted when we reviewed the GX8

The GX85 offers 'Dual IS', which combines its 5-axis in-body stabilization with in-lens OIS, offering up to 4.5 stops of shake reduction. That's an update to the GX8's 4-axis in-body system. Naturally, the GX85 carries 4K/UHD 30p video shooting and all of the related photography features, including 4K Photo and Post Focus. Speaking of focus, the GX85 offers the same 'Depth from Defocus' system that really impressed us on the GX8.

The GX85 provides a fixed 2764K-dot equivalent electronic viewfinder, and its 3" 1.04M-dot touch screen monitor tilts up by 80° and downward by 45°. Built-in Wi-Fi and a new L. Monochrome photo style mode are also included.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 will go on sale at the end of May for $799.99 with a 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 collapsible kit zoom. 


Press release:

LUMIX GX85 - High Image Quality and High Performance Packed in a Compact Body

Capture Life on the Move

Newark, NJ (April 5, 2016) – Panasonic is proud to introduce a new Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera, the LUMIX DMC-GX85 (GX85) for camera enthusiasts or anyone looking for an alternative to bulky DSLRs, that delivers lighter, more intelligent, uncompromising results. Nearly half the size of most DSLRs, the GX85 delivers impressive large sensor performance in the most compact camera system ever designed by Panasonic LUMIX. Thanks to the elimination of the low pass filter, its fine detail resolving power is boosted nearly 10% over previous 16-Megapixel sensors. 

The LUMIX GX85 incorporates a new 5-axis Dual I.S. (Image Stabilizer) for more effective suppression of blur. Combining an O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer, 2-axis) and a B.I.S.(Body Image Stabilizer, 5-axis), the 5-axis Dual I.S. compensates for a larger range of movement than ever before. Users can enjoy blur-free photo/video shooting from wide to tele, even in low light situations.

The 16.0-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor without a Low Pass filter and the new Venus Engine combine to achieve crisp, high resolution images in detail with high contrast, impressive color reproduction. The LUMIX GX85 adopts a new electromagnetic drive in the shutter unit. The shock caused by the movement of shutter diaphragm is dramatically reduced and the shutter sound is also minimized. The Contrast AF System features DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology and excels in both speed and accuracy by exchanging the digital signal between the camera and the lens at max. 240 fps, resulting in ultra-fast auto focusing of approx. 0.07 sec*. A variety of extensive AF functions including Face/Eye Detection AF, Pinpoint AF, One-shot AF and advanced Low Light AF enhance usability to comply with wide-ranging shooting situations.

The GX85 integrates a LVF (Live View Finder) with 2764K-dot equivalent high resolution and approx. 100% color reproduction*. This 16:9 Wide Screen LVF boasts approx.1.39x / 0.7x (35mm camera equiv.) magnification and 100% field of view. The new 3.0-inch large, approx.1040K-dot high resolution static-type touch monitor with approx. 100% of field of view tilts up by 80-degrees and down by 45-degrees which enables shooting at either high or low angle even easier.

For even more creative photography, the LUMIX GX85 integrates the new L.Monochrome mode in Photo Style that offers impressive monochrome capture with rich gradation comparable to that of B/W film. Focus Bracket and Aperture Bracket are also new additions to conventional Exposure Bracket and WB Brackets that allow users to choose the best shot later. Thanks to its Wi-Fi® connectivity, users can connect the camera to their smartphone / tablet to expand the flexibility in shooting/storing/sharing images.

1. 4K capability bringing the evolution in videography/photography – 4K video and 4K PHOTO

Taking advantage of the high speed signal readout capability of the sensor and high speed signal processing, the LUMIX GX85 is capable of recording 4K video. Despite its high performance, it boasts superior energy efficiency and the size is kept compact for high mobility. The LUMIX GX85 records stunningly smooth, high-resolution 4K video in 3840 x 2160 at 30p or 24p in addition to the full-HD 1,920 x 1,080 60p (60 Hz) videos with practical full-time AF. 

Thanks to this 4K technology, users can enjoy 4K PHOTO which users can capture the fleeting photo opportunities at 30 fps by extracting the most appealing frame. Three exclusive modes are available to choose from depending on the situation; 4K Burst, 4K Burst (Start/Stop) and 4K Pre-burst. All these function in 4K PHOTO enable saving pictures in 8-megapixel equivalent high resolution.

The LUMIX GX85 comes with the Post Focus function that enables users to select an in-focus area even after shooting. You can get multiple shots with different focus points with a single shutter release to choose from. It is helpful in situations such as macro shooting where severe focusing is required or for changing expressions by changing focused subject. This function has been developed by combining the DFD (Depth From Defocus) auto focus technology that enables measuring the distance to the subject and the 4K technology.  Operation is quite simple and easy – just shoot an image in a Post Focus mode and touch on the point where you want to set focus while playing it back.

In addition, the LUMIX GX85 incorporates the Light Composition function as a new option of 4K PHOTO mode. The camera synthesizes the images by choosing and saving a brighter pixel. This makes it possible to produce a more luxurious, dramatic image of situations such as fireworks or night scenery in camera with ease. 

The LUMIX GX85 also enables 4K Live Cropping in video that yields stable panning or zooming while video recording. In panning shots, you can just set the viewing angle to start and end to get smooth panning imagery without using special equipment such as a slider. When zooming, you can set the after-zoomed viewing angle first, so that the subject can fit perfectly in the frame. Thanks to the digital operation, the imagery of zooming is smooth because it does not physically move the zoom lens. 

* About motion picture recording / 4K Photo recording
- Use a card with SD Speed Class with "Class 4" or higher when recording motion pictures. 
- Use a card with SD Speed Class with "UHS-I UHS Speed Class 3 (U3)" when recording motion pictures with [MP4] in [4K] or [4K PHOTO].
   (SD speed class is the speed standard regarding continuous writing.)
- Recording stops when the continuous recording time exceeds 29 minutes and 59 seconds or the file size exceeds 4GB with [MP4] in [FHD] [HD] [VGA].
- MP4 motion pictures with [MP4] in [4K]:
  - When using an SDHC memory card: You can continue recording without interruption even if the file size exceeds 4 GB, but the motion picture file will be divided and recorded/played back separately.
  - When using an SDXC memory card: You can record a motion picture in a single file.
- When the ambient temperature is high or continuous recording is performed, the camera may stop the recording to protect itself. Wait until the camera cools down.
** For [4K] video output, use an HDMI cable that has the HDMI logo on it, and that is described as"4K compatible".

2. New 5-Axis Dual I.S. (Image Stabilizer) to be free of blur

The LUMIX GX85 incorporates the new 5-axis Dual I.S.(Image Stabilizer) for more effective suppression of blur. Combining an O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer, 2-axis) and a B.I.S.(Body Image Stabilizer, 5-axis), the 5-axis Dual I.S. compensates for larger movement which was conventionally uncontrollable, making it possible to use 4-step slower shutter speed*1. By making the most of both O.I.S and B.I.S., it is highly beneficial not only in wide angle but also in telephoto and in the adverse situations such as at nighttime or with one-hand shooting.

The 5-axis Dual I.S. works in both photo and motion picture recording including 4K video. Panasonic LUMIX G DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) Cameras offer a wide variety of digital interchangeable lenses and most of them will comply with this 5-axis dual I.S. in LUMIX GX85*2 and the B.I.S. compensates for the camera movement even when a lens without O.I.S. is used.

*1 Based on the CIPA standard [Yaw/Pitch direction: focusing distance f=32mm (35mm film camera equivalent f=64mm), when H-FS12032 is used.] 
*2 Firmware update is required for some lenses.

3. The high image quality with real-to-life detail and impressive color reproduction

The LUMIX GX85 lets users shoot vibrant, true-to-life high quality images with excellent resolution, high contrast and impressive color reproduction. Removing the Low Pass Filter, the limiting resolution is improved by approx.10%* while detecting high frequency components to suppress generation of moiré by the Venus Engine, is designed for the GX85.The Venus Engine reproduces vibrant, impressive color such as clear sky by dividing hue, saturation, and luminosity, and finely adjusts them separately. Taking advantage of this fine tuning capability, LUMIX GX85 enables users to choose a preset of contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction as they choose according to the shooting subject in Photo Style. Notably, L Monochrome is a new option added to the Photo Style, making it possible to shoot impressive monochrome photo with deep black and rich gradation like that of B/W film.

The combination of the Digital Live MOS Sensor and the Venus Engine achieves clear image rendering with minimum noise even in low-lit situations and at max. ISO 25,600.

The LUMIX GX85 adopts an electromagnetic drive in the shutter unit. The shock caused by the movement of shutter diaphragm is dramatically reduced by approx.90% in comparison with a conventional spring-powered shutter units. 

4. High speed response and practical AF/MF options

The Contrast AF in theGX85 achieves even higher speed and higher precision focusing with digital signal communication at max. 240 fps. Furthermore, the DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology*1 calculates the distance to the subject by evaluating 2 images with different sharpness level while consulting the data of optical characteristics of the current lens. As a result, the GX85 achieves ultra-high speed AF of approx.0.07 sec*2 and high speed burst shooting at 8 fps (AFS) / 6 fps (AFC) to capture fast moving subject in-focus.

The Low Light AF makes it possible to set focus on the subject more precisely even without AF assist lamp in extremely low-lit situations to -4EV, which is as dark as moonlight. Plus, the GX85 integrates Starlight AF which allows users to shoot a star in the sky at night with auto focus. This can be achieved by accurate calculation of contrast value in a smaller AF zone.

A total of 49 focus detection areas offers more flexible composition together with Custom Multi AF mode in which users can freely select the blocks to focus out of the 49 in the focusing area. In addition to the conventional Face Recognition AF, the GX85 incorporates Face / Eye Detection AF which automatically sets focus right on the eye of human face. With the Pinpoint AF, users can magnify the target area to set precise focus. 

*1 Contrast AF with DFD Technology works only with Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lenses.
*2 In AFS, at wide-end with H-FS14140 (CIPA).

5. Intuitive control for operational comfort

The GX85 integrates a LVF (Live View Finder) with 2764K-dot equivalent high resolution and approx.100% color reproduction*. This 16:9 Wide Screen LVF boasts approx.1.39x / 0.7x (35mm camera equiv.) magnification and 100% field of view. It comes with the Eye Sensor and the Eye Sensor AF and starts auto focusing by just looking into the LVF not to miss the shooting opportunity. 

The 3.0-inch large, approx.1040K-dot high resolution static-type touch monitor has approx. 100% of field of view. It tilts up by 80-degrees and down by 45-degrees which enables shooting in either high or low angle even easier. 

To further enhance the controllability, the GX85 comes with thick, solid grip for stable holding even in one hand. The front/rear dual dial system enables direct setting - for example, users can adjust white balance with a front dial and set ISO with a rear dial while choosing the shutter speed or seeing the noise effect, which is helpful in complex lighting situations. 

6. Other Features

?Exposure / WB / Focus / Aperture Bracket NEW

In the LUMIX GX85, Focus Bracket and Aperture Bracket are new additions to conventional Exposure Bracket and WB Brackets for users to choose the best shot later. In Focus Bracket, max.999 images can be shot with different focus points. The Aperture Bracket lets users have multiple shots with a different depth of field.

?Creative Control in P/A/S/M Mode

The GX85 integrates a variety of artistic functions that adds fun to digital photography. The popular Creative Control mode features a total of 22 filter options. The effect parameter of each mode is also adjustable. Now it is possible to apply one of these filters even in P/A/S/M mode. Users can combine a favorable setting and filter to make specific effect.. Also theGX85 is capable of taking pictures “with” and “without” filter effect simultaneously, so that users can compare them and choose later.

?Easy Wireless Connectivity via Wi-Fi® with Smartphones

The LUMIX GX85 integrates Wi-Fi® connectivity (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) to offer more flexible shooting experience and instant image sharing with easy operation. Once connecting the camera and smartphone/tablet installing Panasonic's dedicated application software Panasonic Image App for iOS / Android, users can shoot / browse / share images remotely. 

?RAW data development in Camera

?AC/USB Power Charging

?Silent Mode

?Multiple Exposure

?Time Lapse Shot / Stop Motion Animation

Optional Accessories
The new compact, lightweight External Flash DMW-FL200L (GN20) is available. The DMW-FL200L offers 90-degree vertical bounce lighting and it can also be used as LED light when video recording. It also features wireless shooting capability.

The LUMIX GX85 will be available at www.shop.panasonic.com  and valued channel partners at the end of May for $799.99 in both silver and black versions with a 12-32 kit lens. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 specifications

Price
MSRP$799
Body type
Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Sensor
Max resolution4592 x 3448
Other resolutions4:3 (3232 x 2424, 2272 x 1704), 3:2 (4592 x 3064, 3232 x 2160, 1824 x 1216), 16:9 (4592 x 2584, 3840 x 2160, 1920 x 1080), 1:1 (3424 x 3424, 2416 x 2416, 1712 x 1712)
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor sizeFour Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorVenus Engine
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 200-25600 (expands down to 100)
Boosted ISO (minimum)100
White balance presets5
Custom white balanceYes (4 slots)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notesDual IS uses sensor and lens-shift (when available)
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, standard
File format
  • JPEG (Exif v2.3)
  • Raw (Panasonic RW2)
  • MPO
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (2x-4x)
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points49
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier2×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification1.39×
Viewfinder resolution2,764,800
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/16000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Shutter priority
  • Aperture priority
  • Manual
Built-in flashYes
Flash range6.00 m (at ISO 200)
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Flash modesAuto, auto w/redeye reduction, forced on, forced on w/redeye reduction, slow sync, slow sync w/redeye reduction, forced off
Flash X sync speed1/160 sec
Continuous drive8.0 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
Resolutions3840 x 2160 (30p, 24p), 1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 30p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)
FormatMPEG-4, AVCHD
Videography notes100Mbps bit rate for 4K
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC card
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n with NFC
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)290
Weight (inc. batteries)426 g (0.94 lb / 15.03 oz)
Dimensions122 x 71 x 44 mm (4.8 x 2.8 x 1.73)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSNone
 
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Small but mighty: hands on with the Panasonic GX85/GX80

Published on April 4, 2016 by in News

Introducing the GX85 / GX80

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 (known as the GX80 outside of North America) is Panasonic's latest mid-range Micro Four Thirds model. It sits in the company's 'GX' series which is used to denote that it's targeted towards dedicated enthusiast photographers but priced as a mid-range model.

It's a 16MP model that's capable of 4K video shooting but features a viewfinder and several features carried-over from the older GX7, including a built-in, bounceable pop-up flash.

As such, it'll sit below the GX8 in the company's lineup but the more budget-conscious user may well find that the GX85 offers a lot of its big brother's capabilities. And, thanks to a redesigned shutter mechanism intended to minimize shutter shock, may even offer some practical advantages.

Body

The GX85's body is noticeably smaller than the GX8's. In fact it looks a little like a GX7 that's been left in the wash and has shrunk a little. This downsizing leaves it with fewer customizable buttons, no focus mode switch and a smaller battery compartment, but most of those changes still leave it as being broadly comparable with the GX7.

Despite the lower price point, it's still a very solid-feeling camera. Unlike the GX8, it's not weather-sealed, but it doesn't feel like corners have been cut, either. The body has a pleasantly dense feeling to it, with no sense of flex or weakness.

The viewfinder is borrowed from the GX7 but it no longer hinges upwards. Its 2.7 million-dot equivalent resolution translates as 1280 x 720 pixels refreshed one color at a time (a process called field sequential update). This is a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is fairly unusual. Like the GX7, the GX85's rear screen tilts up and down, and is touch-sensitive. It's a 3:2 aspect ratio panel with 1.04M-dots, which works out as 700 x 480 pixels.

Stills and video

One of the biggest areas in which economies have been made is in the reversion to using a 16MP Four Thirds sensor. This probably isn't going to be a deal-breaker for many people, and Panasonic has sweetened the pill slightly by doing away with the anti-aliasing filter in front of the chip.

This lack of AA filter should allow it to capture slightly more fine detail (Panasonic claims an improvement of as much as 10%), though comes with a slightly higher risk of moiré when used with a sharp lens. Panasonic says its JPEG engine will detect and remove the false color of moiré when it detects it.

The camera also shoots 4K video at 30p or 24p (25p in the GX80 model outside North America).

Redesigned shutter

The GX85 hasn't simply been assembled from a bin of existing parts, though. It becomes the first Panasonic to use an electromagnetically driven shutter, rather than the motor and spring arrangement used in existing models.

This allows the shutter to be opened and closed in a more controlled manner, reducing the impact of any shutter shock, as well as making the shutter operation quieter. The new design doesn't appear to introduce much in the way of compromise: the maximum mechanical shutter speed is 1/4000 seconds, and the flash sync speed is 1/160th. This is a little bit behind the GX8's 1/8000th mechanical shutter a 1/250th sync speed but is a match for the less expensive G7 model.

Panasonic, rather cautiously, only says that the new shutter reduces shake, not that it eliminates it. We're told that an electronic first-curtain shutter (which obviates the need to open the mechanical shutter to start an exposure, essentially eliminating shutter shock), would require faster sensor read-out.

5-axis image stabilization

Like the GX8, the GX85 offers a Dual IS system which augments two axes of stabilization if you use a lens with built-in stabilization. Unlike the GX8's in-body stabilisation, even without a stabilised lens the GX85 offers 5-axis stabilisation.

Most impressively, Panasonic says that the IS continues to work in all 5 axes when you're shooting 4K video - the first camera we can think of that does this. The digital component of IS used in video requires the camera to read lines off the sensor above and below the standard output region, then use gyro sensors to predict where on the sensor the original framing is now being projected. Most sensors can't read out a large enough section of the sensor fast enough to stabilize 4K video, but the GX85 claims to do so.

Video capabilities

The GX85 continues Panasonic's history of offering high-end video capabilities across much of its range, with this latest camera able to shoot UHD 4K at 30p or 24p. It shoots this 4K footage as MP4s at up to 100Mbps, which is pretty respectable for a consumer-focused model. It can also capture 1080p footage at up to 28Mbps as MP4 or AVCHD.

We say 'consumer-focused' because the GX85 lacks not only the slightly flatter 'CinelikeD' color profile offered by the GH4 but also neglects to include a microphone socket, which will limit anyone with any real video-shooting aspirations. And to think we complained about the non-standard 2.5mm socket on the GX8.

The camera does, however offers the 'Live Cropping' feature first introduced on the ZS100 (and demonstrated in our review of that camera). This lets you specify a start an endpoint to produce 1080p footage that appears to either pan or zoom, but does so from the 4K capture - meaning you can fix the camera on a tripod and not have to worry about how smoothly you can pan or zoom. It's a handy option if you aren't using sophisticated editing software.

Stills from 4K

Off the back of the camera's 4K video capture, Panasonic offers its usual array of clever modes that produce stills from 4K capture.

Top of the heap is the 4K Photo mode in which the camera captures bursts of 8MP images at up to 30 frames per second. More than simple grabs from video, this doesn't have to be in the 16:9 aspect ratio and the camera can be set to continuously record, then present you with the thirty images before and after you choose to hit the shutter button. A handy touchscreen interface lets you choose the perfect shot.

The Post Focus mode is similar, but it racks the camera's focus across the depth range it detects in the scene and shoots 4K video while doing so. Tapping on the point you want in-focus pulls the frame from the video that was focused at the specified point.

Finally, the new Light Composition mode again uses the camera's 30 frames per second 8MP image capability, this time to create a composite image. The mode uses only the brightest value from a series of frames you select, so scenes such as fireworks displays can be created from multiple images.

Other new features

In addition to the upgraded shutter mechanism, the GX85 gains a couple of features that stills shooters might find handy. Rather than limiting itself to exposure and white balance bracketing, the GX85 can also bracket focus or aperture setting across several shots.

There's also an extra monochrome mode (such things having apparently become popular of late). The L Monochrome Photo Style promises 'deep black and rich gradation like that of B/W film.' We've not yet had a chance to put it to much use but we'll make sure to include some more examples in our forthcoming samples gallery.

Wi-Fi

The GX85 features built-in Wi-Fi, which allows remote control of the camera from a smart device, as well as opening up the option to transmit images from the camera. To make full use of this, the GX85 includes in-camera Raw conversion so that pictures can be tweaked and perfected before they're shared with the world.

Like a couple of recent Panasonic models, the initial Wi-Fi connection is established by displaying a QR Code on the back of the camera, which can then be read by the iOS or Android app. It's not clear whether the slightly faster NFC method has been abandoned to keep cost down or because it excludes Apple devices.

Kit options

The GX85 will be available as a kit bundled with the tiny, collapsible 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 zoom that was created for the similarly minuscule GM models. It's not a bad little lens, though you pay for its convenient size through having to accept its modest reach. Panasonic USA says it currently has no plans to sell the camera body-only.

Panasonic's MSRP for this combination is $799, which compares very favorably to the $999 body-only price that Panasonic asked for the very similar GX7 just two and a half years ago. Obviously the cost of technology falls over time, but $799 with a simple lens looks competitive with Fujifilm's $699 X-E2S camera body or Nikon's $899 list price for the D5500 with 18-55mm VR II zoom, not least as none of its immediate peers is capable of shooting 4K video.

Overall

Interestingly the GX85 is called the GX7 Mark II in the Japanese market and, if you place the two side-by-side, that makes some sense: it's not radically different in spec or control layout. That gives a hint about its intentions - it may not have all the GX8's specifications, but it has enough that it could have sat at the top of the lineup just a few years ago.

Most of the omissions compared to the GX7 (tilting viewfinder, AF/MF switch) aren't necessarily essential features. Indeed the retention of the built-in pop-up flash actually gives it an advantage over the more expensive GX8. Sadly, there is one feature that's been removed that we think will be sorely missed: the lack of any microphone input is likely to come as a real blow to anyone wanting a keenly-priced stills/video hybrid.

Overall though, so long as the new shutter mechanism has settled the shutter shock problem, the GX85's capability and price mean it looks to wear both the mid-range and enthusiast labels comfortably.

 
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Look Sharp: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85/GX80 video preview

Published on April 4, 2016 by in News

The Panasonic GX85/GX80 is an impressive mid-range ILC, borrowing many of the features from the company's enthusiast-level GX8 and bringing the size and price down to earth. We've put together a short video so you can see the GX85 in action with your own eyes.

 
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Think Tank Photo launches largest rolling case for lighting

Published on April 4, 2016 by in News

Bag manufacturer Think Tank Photo has introduced a rolling case for lighting kit that it claims is the largest on the market. The Production Manager 50 is designed to hold a pair of studio-style heads with power packs, battery packs, dishes, umbrellas and even lighting stands. The case has internal dimensions of 38 x 125 x 25.4cm / 15.5 x 49.2 x 10in and comes with a collection of adjustable dividers so users can customize the layout of the interior. Zip-up pockets on the inside of the lid are designed to keep cables tidy, and straps on the exterior can be used to attach tripods and larger lighting stands.

The bag is made with ballistic nylon coated with a water-repellent agent that covers a rigid shell, and the shock-absorbing wheels are user replaceable should they get damaged. Think Tank Photo says that the idea of this big case is to make it easier for photographers to transport large amounts of kit in one load, and claims the Production Manager 50 can carry what it would normally require two assistants to manage.

The Think Tank Photo Production Manager 50 costs $599.75/£515. For more information see the Think Tank Photo website.


Press release:

Photographers Can Fit Lighting Equipment and Large Light Modifiers in One Rolling Bag with Think Tank Photo’s New Production Manager 50

Santa Rosa, Calif. – Think Tank Photo has released the largest rolling photography equipment case on the market, the Production Manager 50.  Designed to hold an immense amount of gear, including lighting equipment and large light modifiers, one photographer will now be able to transport what it used to take up to at least two assistants.  It is easy to move, carry, work out of, and stack among other gear.

This large rolling bag features stabilizing, wide-set, shock-absorbing wheels that roll smoothly and hold up under the toughest conditions, the ability to lock the main compartment and secure the bag with the included lock and cable, and a fully customizable interior with dividers to protect small and large lighting equipment including c-stands and large modifiers.

“Pro photographers usually travel by car or van to where they are going to shoot,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank’s CEO and Lead Designer. “Once a shoot is completed the set needs to be torn down and moved to the next location. Often times, there can be a time crunch where all the gear has to be loaded quickly. Carrying these bags up and down stairs and over rough terrain can be very cumbersome and often takes two people.  The Production Manager 50 makes this time-sensitive, cumbersome process easier and quicker.”

KEY ADDITIONAL FEATURES
* Large front zippered pocket for reflectors, umbrellas, extension cords, cables, etc.
* Attachments for lightstands or tripods on both sides (straps included)
* Rigid shell and stiffened dividers ensures gear protection
* Robust handles on four sides for easy loading and unloading by two people
* Heavy-duty aluminum side-frame protects axle from impact
* ID plate can be registered on the Think Tank site that may allow lost or stolen bag to be returned
* YKK RC Fuse zippers, 1680D ballistic nylon, and super-stick velex (interior) contribute to one of the most robust products on the market.
* Large interior mesh pockets for organizing pocket wizards, gels, cords, tape, batteries, and other accessories
* Ergonomic top handle for rolling or carrying by two people.
* Velex wrapped dividers for extra durability and longevity.
* Adjustable lid straps keep bag open and accessible
* Rear skid rails and custom wheel housings allow for loading and unloading from a vehicle with ease
* Business card holder for easy identification on top panel
* User replaceable wheels & hardware
* Seam-sealed rain cover included

MATERIALS
External: All fabric exterior treated with DWR while fabric underside is coated with PU for superior water resistance, 1680D ballistic nylon, YKK® RC Fuse (abrasion resistant) zippers, custom designed extra tall skid plates, replaceable custom-designed wheels, antique nickel plated metal hardware, nylon webbing, 3-ply bonded nylon thread

Internal: 210D silver-toned nylon, PU backed velex liner & dividers, 2x PU coated nylon 210T seam-sealed taffeta rain cover, closed cell foam & PE board stiffened dividers, belly-o mesh pockets, 3-ply bonded nylon thread

PRODUCT DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT 

Exterior Dimensions: 17.3” W x 53.1” H x 12.6” D (44 x 135 x 32 cm)
Interior Dimensions: 15.6” W x 49.2” H x 10” D (39.5 x 125 x 25 cm)
Weight:  20.7 – 29.8 lbs (9.4 – 13.5 kg)

 
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Ricoh puts up 5 million Yen in prizes for Theta developers competition

Published on April 4, 2016 by in News

Ricoh has announced the opening of its latest competition aiming to attract app developers to create new applications for its Theta 360° camera. The company says it is looking for innovative and original apps and devices that are creative, have potential for the future and which have practical value to Theta users. The prize fund for the competition is five million Yen (about $45,000), with one million going to an overall winner who also gets a trip to Japan for the prize-giving ceremony. 

The winner of the 2015 competition was a team called 'bitstars', which developed the desktop application 'holobuilder' that allows 2D and 3D objects, animations and text to be added to Theta 360° virtual tours. The program also allows links to be added to the photospheres so viewers can travel from image to image as if from room to room in a building or navigate an area following directions added to the scene.  

For more information about the competition visit Ricoh's Theta Developers Contest website. The closing date is 31st August 2016. 


Press release:

RICOH Announces the RICOH THETA Developers Contest

RICOH IMAGING EUROPE S.A.S is pleased to announce the second annual developers contest. The competition is looking for new apps and gadgets that utilise the RICOH THETA camera which takes 360-degree, fully spherical images or videos in one capture. Once registered applicants have until 31st August 2016 to submit their final app and gadget designs. 

Part of RICOH’s 80th anniversary celebrations this year, the contest challenges developers to create innovative apps and gadgets that work in conjunction with the RICOH THETA. Winners of the contest will receive a trip to Tokyo, Japan, for the awards ceremony and the first prize winner will be awarded a cash prize of one million Yen.

Applicants will also gain early access to an exciting new platform which has been optimised for cloud-based applications leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT). The new IoT platform makes it possible for developers to efficiently and cost-effectively build cloud-based apps, which typically require significant expertise in cloud services and servers and a longer development time. 

 
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New York Public Library launches interactive Photographers’ Identities Catalog

Published on April 4, 2016 by in News

The New York Public Library has launched a new online tool called Photographers’ Identities Catalog (PIC), an interactive map with biographical data on more than 115,000 photographers, as well as photography dealers, studios and manufacturers. Users are able to filter the data based on several categories, such as region and format, to search for results throughout the entire history of photography.

Each PIC result appears as a colored-coded dot on an interactive globe, and each dot marks a specific individual or entity. Biographical data on photographers includes name, nationality, any relevant locations or dates, and the source of the NYPL’s data. Information on businesses includes addresses and years of operation. In addition to filters, users can zoom in on a specific region to explore its results.

Because of the wide variety of filters, users can perform very specific searches. As one example presented by the NYPL, someone can locate female photographers who worked with specific studios in certain countries. The library advises that some data could be incorrect, however, and those who spot an error can report it for correction. Historians and scholars with relevant data are encouraged to contact the NYPL to help expand the catalog, as well.

Via: New York Public Library

 
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Dual-camera rumored to be reserved for large iPhone variant

Published on April 4, 2016 by in News

We've seen several rumors about the next iPhone generation coming with a dual-lens camera setup. Now it seems that, like image stabilization, this premium imaging feature will be available only in a larger model. Read more

 
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Beta: try out our new ‘light’ color scheme

Published on April 4, 2016 by in News

We've been working behind the scenes for the last few weeks on one of the most-requested changes to DPReview.com - the option to switch to a lighter color scheme with white background. Today we're pleased to be able to launch the first phase of this project as a public beta. It doesn't yet include every page on the site (we've concentrated on the text-heavy articles, news, homepage and reviews sections), but we will continue to work until we have as near to 100% coverage as possible. Please try it out and let us know what you think!

To try the new color scheme simply click on the toggle at the very top of the page (above the main menu bar) - your choice will be remembered until you revert to the old (black) color scheme using a cookie.

As of today the new color scheme has been enabled for the homepage, all news pages, articles and reviews, some index pages and search results, for desktop and mobile 

The new theme has not yet been implemented for several popular sections of the site including Forums, Product Pages, Profile pages, Galleries & Challenges. We will continue to refine the design (some pages are still pretty basic) and to work towards full coverage over the next month or so.

Please try out the new look and let us know what you think, and send us any bugs you find, using the 'report a issue' link at the top of the page.

Note that we will not be retiring the 'classic' (white on black theme) - if you like your color scheme you will be allowed to keep it :)

 
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Power Zoom: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100/TZ100 Review

Published on April 4, 2016 by in News

Key Features

  • 20.1MP 1"-type BSI CMOS sensor
  • F2.8-5.9, 25-250mm equiv. lens
  • Depth from Defocus AF
  • 4K/UHD video capture
  • 3" touchscreen LCD
  • 1.2M-dot equiv. EVF
  • Post Focus / 4K Photo functions
  • Wi-Fi


As the 1"-type enthusiast compact market has grown over the last 2 years, there has been a noticeable gap in the market. There were small, standard zoom (24-70mm) models and long zooms (24-600mm), but nothing in-between for those who want a longer lens without sacrificing body size.

Enter Panasonic, a company with a long history of making travel zoom cameras. In fact, the company made what many would consider the first one: the DMC-TZ1, way back in 2006. Panasonic entered the 1"-type market in 2014 with its DMC-FZ1000, a camera we liked enough to give it a Gold award.

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company announced the DMC-ZS100 (TZ100 outside of North America), which took the guts of the FZ1000 and shrank the body down to the roughly the size of a Sony RX100 IV. Naturally, you can't stuff a fast 25-400mm lens into a compact body, but the ZS100's 25-250mm equiv. F2.8-5.9 lens is nothing to sneeze at, either. The camera uses the same 20.1MP sensor as the FZ1000 which is more than likely the same as the one in the Sony RX100 II and III.

The ZS100 is chock full of features, most notably its Depth from Defocus autofocus system, 4K video capture and electronic viewfinder. It also has a 3", touch-sensitive LCD, Wi-Fi (but, unlike most Panasonic products, no NFC) and useful 4K Photo and Post Focus features.

Why Pay More?

Imagine you're shopping for a compact travel zoom camera, and you're viewing the selection at a Big Box retailer. You reach the Panasonic section and see the DMC-ZS60, which offers a 30X zoom and costs $450, next to the ZS100 which 'only' has a 10X zoom but costs $250 more. It's not a stretch to imagine a camera buyer asking themselves why they should pay more for what seems like less.

While the ZS60 does indeed have a longer lens than the ZS100, there is a trade-off:

Above is a graph showing equivalent aperture vs equivalent focal length, which is described in detail here. The yellow line at the top is the ZS60 (1/2.3" sensor), while the ZS100 (1" sensor) is in blue below it. In terms of equivalent aperture (which takes into account sensor size), the ZS60 is effectively around 2 stops 'slower' than the ZS100.

This means several things. For one, the ZS100 can capture roughly four times the total light at every focal length, if you keep the aperture open and use the same shutter speed. Since the sensor is gathering more light, you get a better signal-to-noise ratio, which in turn leads to higher image quality. This will be especially noticeable in low light, when the ISO needs to go up.

There's another benefit to having a 1" sensor rather than the 1/2.3" one. The lenses used on larger sensors tend to offer more control over depth-of-field, allowing you for blurrier backgrounds in portraits.

The one area in which the ZS60 bests the ZS100 is in terms of zoom, as you can see by how much further the yellow line extends.

Understanding the math behind all of this is a bit confusing, but the end result is the same: the ZS100 will produce better quality images and can produce more background blur than the ZS60, though you'll have to sacrifice both zoom power and money in order to get it.

Compared to its peers

Using what we've learned from above, let's take a look at how the ZS100 fits among its 1" sensor peers:

In this group, which includes cameras from Sony, Canon and Panasonic, you'll notice that the benefit of shorter, faster lenses: their equivalent apertures start low, and stay low. For example, Canon's G7 X I and II, which have focal ranges of 24-100mm equiv., are  2 stops faster than the ZS100.

The Sony RX10 I/II reaches out to 200mm (not far from the 250mm on the ZS100), but since it has a fixed F2.8 lens, its equivalent aperture is over 2 stop faster than the ZS100 at full zoom. That said, the RX10 I and II are also much larger and heavier cameras. The FZ1000 isn't quite as large as the RX10s and even with its F2.8-4 aperture range, it still has a 1+ stop advantage over the ZS100 for much of its zoom range.

So what can you conclude from this chart?

  • Smaller cameras sacrifice focal range to keep size down but can offer fast apertures
  • Long zoom cameras sacrifice size for focal range. This is especially the case with the RX10s. Canon's G3 X strays from the group, with its slower F2.8-5.6 lens.
  • In order to have a 25-250mm equiv. lens in a body that fits in your jacket pocket, Panasonic had to make some compromises. Its lens isn't as long as the large-zoom cameras or as fast as those of the small cameras - instead it's a blend of the two. If the ZS100 had a faster lens like, say, the FZ1000, you'd be looking at a camera nearly as large, which would make the ZS a lot less desirable.

 
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