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Fujifilm X70 Review

Published on April 18, 2016 by in News

The Fujifilm X70 is fixed-lens APS-C compact camera with a 16.3MP X-Trans sensor and a 18.5mm (28mm field of view equivalent) F2.8 Fujinon lens. It shares many design elements and some specifications with Fujifilm's popular X100-series, but omits their hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder - or indeed any kind of built-in viewfinder at all. Instead, the X70's user interface employs a Fujifilm first: a touchscreen. And a tilting one, at that.

What the X70 does share with the X100 lineup is a metal chassis adorned with dials upon dials, putting camera settings exactly where you left them every time. It's a setup that any vintage camera user can appreciate, but one that still makes sense in the digital age. It also represents a completely different approach to this camera's closest competitor, the venerable Ricoh GR (II)*.

Let's see what else the X70 brings to the market:

Fujifilm X70 Features:

  • 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II APS-C sensor
  • Fixed Fujinon 28mm equiv. F2.8 lens
  • 77-point hybrid autofocus system (49 PDAF+CDAF points, plus 28 CDAF)
  • 3" tilting 1.04M dot touchscreen LCD
  • Abundant physical controls, including shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation
  • All-metal build
  • Both mechanical (leaf) and electronic shutter
  • Digital 35mm and 50mm teleconverter with upscaling to full-resolution
  • Wi-Fi

The fixed-lens 28mm camera segment already has quite a few current and defunct members, including the Nikon Coolpix A, Ricoh GR II, Sigma DP1Q and Leica Q. Still, the Fuji has plenty going for it. Of these cameras, the closest competitor is definitely the Ricoh GR II. Let's take a look at its specs against the X70:

  Fujfilm X70 Ricoh GR II
 Effective pixels 16 megapixels 16 megapixels
 ISO Auto, 200-6400 (expandable to 100-51200) Auto, 100-25600
 Aperture F2.8 - F16.0  F2.8 - F16.0
 Autofocus Modes
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
 Focus Range 10 cm (3.94") 30 cm (11.81")
Macro mode: 10 cm (3.94")
 Rear Screen Tilting

Fixed

 Battery Life (CIPA) 330 320
 Weight (inc. batteries) 340 g (0.75 lb / 11.99 oz)
251 g (0.55 lb / 8.85 oz)
 Dimensions 113 x 64 x 44 mm (4.45 x 2.52 x 1.73?)

117 x 63 x 35 mm (4.61 x 2.48 x 1.38?

The X70 and GR II offer very similar feature sets. Both use 16MP APS-C sensors, but the GR is able to beat out the Fujifilm in both size and mass, although that doesn't suddenly make the Fujifilm big. In fact, they're almost the same size.

The similarities to the Ricoh GR II are almost uncanny.

So is the X70 a travel camera? A landscaper's lightweight companion? A street shooter's delight? Come with us to look deeper in to the X70 and to find out just how it fits in (and stands out) in this corner of the market.

* We put the (II) in parentheses because the main hardware differentiation between the 3 year-old Ricoh GR and last year's GR II is the addition of Wi-Fi. The lens, AF, and sensor all remain the same.

 
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The Process of Making Printing Ink Is Wonderfully Mesmerizing

Published on April 18, 2016 by in News
How Ink Is Made Video

Even if you don't print much, it's still fascinating to watch

Who knew the process of making ink was so cool to watch?
 
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The DJI M600 Drone Is Built to Carry Heavy Cinema Camera Rigs

Published on April 18, 2016 by in News
DJI M600 Drone

Meet DJI’s biggest, baddest new UAV

The DJI Matrice 600 can carry up to 13.2-pounds of camera gear into the sky…
 
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In the thick of the action: Nikon D5 real world samples gallery

Published on April 18, 2016 by in News

With a newly designed 20MP full-frame sensor, an advanced autofocus system with 153 phase-detect points, a robust build with full weather sealing and 12 action-freezing frames per second, the Nikon D5 has been getting plenty of attention around the DPReview office over the past couple of weeks. It's a purpose-built machine: we don't think there's a camera in the world that can keep erratically moving subjects in focus during fast bursts like the D5 can. But it's good at a lot else as well.

We've toted it to tennis matches, a rugby match, up and over the Cascade mountains, along the Puget Sound waterfront and even a styled wedding shoot. After all, though the D5's specs may indicate it's geared toward the discerning sports shooter, that doesn't mean Nikon's new flagship wouldn't make a great (though hefty) all-rounder for photographers shooting all day, every day.

 
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Canon aids relief efforts following earthquakes in Kyushu, Japan

 
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Canon celebrates 22nd straight year of Technical Image Press Association awards

 
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A small project: iFixit Samsung NX Mini disassembly guide

Published on April 17, 2016 by in News

iFixit Samsung NX Mini disassembly guide

As far as small cameras go, the Samsung NX Mini is one of the most impressively small we've come across. The Mini manages to fit a 20.9MP 1"-type sensor into a super-slim body that's just 22.5mm thick. It's been discontinued, but when we saw iFixit post a disassembly guide for the littlest NX we just had to see what was inside. See some of the highlights from a safe distance here, and if you're feeling adventurous head over to iFixit and find a step-by-step guide to taking the NX Mini apart.

iFixit Samsung NX Mini disassembly guide

After removing the battery and various screws from the battery compartment and external flash port, you'll be ready to unscrew the lens mount. That teeny, tiny lens mount.

Image courtesy of iFixit

iFixit Samsung NX Mini disassembly guide

Removing a few more screws from the bottom of the camera frees the front housing, revealing the sensor and NFC chip. Relative to the camera body, the 1"-type sensor looks pretty big.

Image courtesy of iFixit

iFixit Samsung NX Mini disassembly guide

The NFC target lives on top of the battery compartment, which can be removed as seen here to reveal the motherboard underneath. The sensor cover has also been removed at this stage, giving a better view of the 20MP chip underneath. And that's the next bit to go...

Image courtesy of iFixit

iFixit Samsung NX Mini disassembly guide

A little spudger action frees the sensor module from the motherboard so it's ready to be carefully removed.

Image courtesy of iFixit

iFixit Samsung NX Mini disassembly guide

There's one more screw to remove to disconnect the motherboard, and just above it is the Wi-Fi antenna. Of course, you'll want to carefully disconnect the ribbon cables connected to the motherboard before it goes anywhere.

Image courtesy of iFixit

iFixit Samsung NX Mini disassembly guide

This step requires some careful spudger work to release the ribbon cables...

Image courtesy of iFixit

iFixit Samsung NX Mini disassembly guide

...and once those have all been removed the motherboard is free.

Image courtesy of iFixit

iFixit Samsung NX Mini disassembly guide

The flash assembly is the last piece to come out of the chassis, and takes with it the Wi-Fi antenna as it's removed.

Image courtesy of iFixit

iFixit Samsung NX Mini disassembly guide

The tilting LCD twists free of the housing and there you have it – one tiny camera in lots of tiny pieces. Check out the whole guide on iFixit for the play-by-play disassembly instructions.

Image courtesy of iFixit

 
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For Everyman and Everywoman: Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag Review

Published on April 16, 2016 by in News

Peak Design Everyday Messenger
$249.95 | peakdesign.com | Buy Now

Peak Design isn't a company that's satisfied with the status quo. The San Francisco-based accessory design firm aims to produce highly functional and stylish photo gear, designing each detail from the ground up. The company has run a number of successful Kickstarter campaigns to help bring their designs into production, and that's exactly how the Peak Design Everyday Messenger bag came to be. With a focus on style, substance and pockets for everything, the bag has been created specifically for photographers but can be used as a messenger bag by anyone with gear to haul.

The company was born out of the founder’s frustrations while traveling the world in 2010 with his camera gear. Peak Design's 're-think the basics' approach carries through in the Everyday Messenger, in ways that are immediately obvious – and some that aren't. From its angular appearance to a proprietary closure system, no detail is too big or small for the company's designers to re-think and re-tool. 

Inside and out, it's obvious Peak Design has put effort into producing a bag that aims to get photographers of all levels through their day, whether they're on a shoot or on the way to work. Take a look at what sets the Everyday Messenger apart, and whether or not its fresh approach indeed translates to a better bag for everyone.

Specifications

  • Empty bag weight: 2.5lbs
  • Average Outer dimensions: 30 x 43 x 18 cm / 12 x 17 x 7 in
  • Colors Available: Charcoal and Heritage Tan

In Use

The Everyday Messenger bag is comfortable to carry. I carried this bag while traveling on a couple of weekend trips, as well as around town for work and for shoots. I found it easy to use and comfortable to wear for the most part. A reversible, seatbelt style adjustable strap distributes the weight whether you decide to wear it as a traditional messenger bag, a low slung messenger bag, pop it on one shoulder or use the stabilizing straps as a waist belt.

Folks who are familiar with Peak Design’s camera straps will be familiar with the quick adjusting aluminum handle conveniently allowing you to adjust the length of the strap with one hand. This is a great feature for photographers who tend to hold their camera in one hand and might need to adjust their bag as they move along.

A patent-pending MagLatch closure system allows you to open and close the bag using one hand, and four latches allow the bag to expand and contract. A magnetic catch will close the bag shut and then a quick pull down on the latch lets you open and close the bag. The closure system did take a little getting used to, and when I filled the bag with my DSLR and a couple of lenses it didn't feel as secure as I'd hoped; I felt the need to double check the latch to make sure it was closed and catching properly. I found when the bag wasn't as wide or full, for example when I was using a mirrorless camera system versus a wider-bodied DSLR, that it became easier to manage. However, having to double-check the latch didn't deter from how much I liked the other features.

The bag does tend to get a bit bulky and cumbersome if filled to maximum capacity, however for someone who over 6' tall that is likely not an issue. 

Thoughtfully designed flexible inserts allow you to configure interior compartments however you want. The Everyday's dividers are unique – while other camera bags offer rectangular foam pads that can be arranged to create space within a camera bag, the Everyday offers three 8-sided inserts. They are pre-folded so you can bend and flex them to your heart's content, configuring custom areas to contain and protect your gear.

One of the bag’s best features is how the inserts fold over to create a box-like area, allowing you to store gear on top of each other. I managed to store an 85mm lens, protected by the folded insert, throw a flash on top of that, with my camera body with a 24-70mm lens right next to it, and then another lens in the next compartment. It became a well-filled bag and I was confident that all was secure and protected.

A convenient waterproof zipper allows access to the interior of the bag while wearing it, making it easy to grab gear on the go. You don't have to take the bag off and put it down to get out your camera or a lens, rather just unzip and you can have your hands on your camera in no time. I did find it easier to pull out my camera body from the center of the bag rather than have it placed over to the side of the bag and wrestle the camera body from there. 

A zippered front pocket has eight color-coded interior mesh pockets: four red, four green, meant to denote which batteries and memory cards are fresh and which are spent. I found this system really user-friendly, and it's just one more thoughtful detail that Peak Design has included for photographers. The front pocket zips all the way open and folds down to access whatever you have stored inside, or you can just zip down the top part and still get to your gear. 

Inside the main compartment is an interior pocket, perfect for passports, travel documents, phones, cash, credit cards, travel papers, small notebooks. This pocket is also conveniently accessed through the top zipper opening.

There is another smaller pocket on the inside flap of the bag but even better, behind that pocket is a built in carry option for most tripods. One of the tripod's legs can slide through the back of the pocket, and with the flap closed the tripod can be carried braced on the front of the bag. This bag really does have hidden features everywhere.

Photo courtesy of Peak Design

The bag's stabilizing straps tuck away into side pockets and behind them are additional pockets – perfect for a lens cap. But of course, there's more: within one of those pockets is a tether with one of Peak Design’s anchor links that can be used to keep track of your keys.

On either side of the bag are anchor straps that can be used in conjunction with Peak Design's quick-release Capture camera clips. As I didn't have one of the clips I wasn't able to test this out, and while it seems like a good idea in theory as someone who is shorter than average this might make the bag slightly unwieldy for me.

A zippered protected compartment holds a 15 inch laptop, and if you need, an additional pocket will hold a tablet or notebook. This bag is not super-flexible and the addition of a 15" laptop makes it less so. Carrying photography gear and a laptop became a near impossibility for me, however, as it became too heavy and cumbersome.

The material is waxed, weather-proofed and looks smart too. I felt totally comfortable that my gear was protected while having to venture out in a downpour.

Summing Up

I enjoyed using this bag with and without my camera gear. It easily fit my DSLR, plus a couple of long lenses, or I’d put my laptop into the back pocket with a portable drive, plus a couple of notebooks and head off to a coffee shop. Where I found the bag worked less well for me was when carrying my laptop and DSLR plus lenses. I did that while traveling and found that carrying all of that gear for too long was just too heavy. 

There is no getting around the fact that the Everyday Messenger bag is big, and just because you can pack it to its limit doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Flexibility of the bag becomes a little more limited with a 15" laptop in the back pocket. When the bag was full, I found myself double checking the Mag-Latch closure system just to make sure it was catching and closing.

The team at Peak Design seems to have thought of almost every detail and while the Everyday Messenger Bag is not cheap, it is certainly possible to use this as your everyday-everything bag, and you will certainly get your money’s worth.

What we like:

  • Comfortable shoulder strap
  • So many pockets make it functional and versatile
  • Sturdy and well-designed
  • Capture Clip anchor points on the sides of the bags
  • Plus Peak Design offers a lifetime guarantee, for fabric, straps or zippers that fail, not for normal wear and tear obviously

What we don't like:

  • Can feel too big if you are smaller or shorter in stature
  • Bag becomes quite cumbersome with both a 15" laptop and DSLR + lenses
  • Having to double check the closure system when the bag was more full

 
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Travels in China: Photographing the landscapes and people of Guilin and XiaPu

Published on April 16, 2016 by in News

A seasoned travel photographer knows that there's hard work involved in getting the best photos from a trip. So when Ken Koskela arrived in China on a 17-day trip, he wasn't exactly planning on a relaxing vacation. He rose at 4 AM each day to get himself into position to photograph sunrise over the rivers, rice terraces and mountains of Guilin and XiaPu. Then, spending his afternoons with a guide, he interacted and photographed residents of the villages in the region, and spent evenings capturing sunset.

He operated on an average of four hours of sleep per night, but his hard work paid of in memorable images that capture the beauty of the region and its people. Take a look at a few images here and head to Resource Travel for the full story. Do you sacrifice sleep for great shots when you're traveling? Let us know in the comments.

 
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Eric Karr Photography – Fitness – Alex

Published on April 15, 2016 by in Fitness

Alex-1

 
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