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First samples from the new Nikon 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VR

Published on February 2, 2017 by in News

ISO 100, 1/400 sec at F4.5. Photo by Dan Bracaglia

The Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VR is the third version of Nikon’s workhorse telezoom. Most of us on staff have spent a bit of time with the previous two versions, and the latest iteratio…

 
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Throwback Thursday: doing the twist with the Nikon Coolpix 950

Published on February 2, 2017 by in News

Few cameras in the early days of consumer digital photography are as legendary as the Nikon Coolpix 950. This graphic pulled from the DPReview archives says it all:

In case you’re wondering, the answer was ‘yes’. It earned a ‘Highly Recommended’ award, with site founder Phil Askey calling it an ‘important camera at an important time for digital photography.’

The thing about the Coolpix 950 that grabbed the most attention was, of course, its rotating lens (or was it the body that rotated?). It wasn’t Nikon’s first camera to use that design: the original Coolpix 900 has that honor. 

The lens was reasonably fast (F2.6-F4), though its equivalent focal length of 38-115mm didn’t make it a great choice for wide-angle shooters (and forget about selfies which, thankfully, didn’t become a fad for another 15 years or so.) Nikon did offer accessory lenses for the 950: a telephoto adapter that doubled the focal length, a wide-angle adapter that dropped it to 24-72mm and a fisheye adapter with a 183° field-of-view.

The CP950 had a whopping 1/2″, 2.1 Megapixel CCD, which saved those 1600 x 1200 images to a CompactFlash card. Nikon made a lot of noise about the camera’s autofocus system, boasting that it had 4,746 steps, allowing it to be ‘unerringly accurate.’ The CP950 could shoot continuously at a speedy 1.5 fps and featured Best Shot Selector, a feature which Nikon cameras offered for many years, which took three shots in a row and picked the sharpest one. Another feature that was a big deal then was automatic file numbering.

The Coolpix 950 had a magnesium-alloy frame and feels as solid as a modern-era enthusiast camera.  As you can see, it had a built-in flash. What you can’t see is that it also had a flash sync terminal, and Nikon sold a flash bracket for off-camera Speedlights.

As with most cameras those days, it had an optical viewfinder along with a 2″, 130k-dot LCD that doesn’t look very good in 2017. The physical controls and menus may have been competitive then, but they’re baffling now.

The CP950 was priced at $899 back in 1999, which is just under $1300 in 2017. That would make this Coolpix one of the most expensive fixed-lens cameras on the market. While it’s hard to imaging paying that now, back in ’99 the Coolpix 950 was definitely worth the price.

Read DPReview’s Coolpix 950 review

 
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Stunning time-lapse captures the seasons of Norway

Published on February 2, 2017 by in News

Norway is an amazing place and this time-lapse by Morten Rustad definitely does the region justice. Morten says that he travelled some 20,000km, took some 200,000 images, filling 20 terabytes worth of hard drive space to put this film together. Sit ba…

 
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Announcing the PDN Gift Guide 2016

Published on November 23, 2016 by in News

Our friends at Photo District News just published their annual Gift Guide, including gift ideas from the reviews team here at DPReview. Alongside our personal recommendations, you’ll find contributions from the team at PDN, and Rangefinder Magaz…

 
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Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art Lens Review

Published on November 22, 2016 by in News

The Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art was first announced September 16th, 2016. This is Sigma’s widest zoom lens offering to date and joins Sigma’s growing list of Art lenses. The lens is priced at just under $1600, which makes it a fierce competitor to Canon’s EF 11-24mm F4L USM lens which is priced at just under $3,000.

The Sigma is available in Canon, Nikon F (FX) and Sigma SA Bayonet mounts and will most likely appeal to landscape and architecture photographers that are looking for an extremely wide field-of-view (12mm gives around a 122° diagonal field of view).

The looming question is: does the extreme difference in price effect the build quality and performance of the Sigma? In this review we will be looking at the Sigma’s performance and just how it stacks up against the Canon 11-24mm F4L.

APS-C

If you’re an APS-C shooter, the Sigma can be utilized on that platform with an equivalent focal length of 19-38mm and an equivalent aperture of F6.4. It’s worth noting however that Sigma already offers a considerably less expensive 10-20mm F3.5 which would be a 16-32mm F5.6 equivalent, which would be a much better wide-angle option. For this reason we’re not going to consider this lens for use on APS-C in this review.

Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art Headline Features

  • 12-24mm focal length
  • F4 maximum aperture
  • Ring-type Ultrasonic Focusing
  • Available in Canon EF, Nikon F (FX) and Sigma mounts

Specifications Compared

  Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art Canon EF 11-24mm F4L USM
Price (MSRP) $1,599.00 $2,999.00
Lens Type Wide-Angle Zoom Wide-Angle Zoom 
Focal Length 12-24mm 11-24mm
Filter Thread  None None (rear insert-type)
Image Stabilization No No
Lens Mount Canon, Nikon F (FX), Sigma SA Bayonet Canon EF
Aperture Ring No No
Maximum Aperture F4  F4 
Minimum Aperture F22 F22
Minimum Focus 0.24 m (9.45″) 0.28m (11″)
Diaphragm Blades   9 (rounded) 9 (rounded)
Elements   16 16
Groups   11 11
Special Elements/Coatings Super Multi-Layer Coating, F-Low Dispersion and aspherical elements, including an 80mm large-diameter molded glass aspherical element

Super UD, UD, and 4 Aspherical Elements, SWC, Air Sphere, and Fluorine Coatings, Rear element fluorine coatings

Autofocus Yes Yes
Motor Type Ring-type Hypersonic Ultrasonic
Full Time Manual Yes Yes
Focus Method Internal Internal
Distance Scale  Yes Yes
DoF Scale No No
Weather Sealing  Dust and Splash Proof Construction with rear rubber gasket Full Weather Sealing
Zoom Method  Rotary (extending) Rotary (internal)
Weight 1151g (2.54 lb) 1180g (2.60 lb)
Dimensions 132mm (5.2″) x 102mm (4.0″) 132 mm (5.2″) x 108 mm (4.25″)
Hood Included Yes (built in) Yes (built in)

The Sigma and the Canon share a rather large number of the same features with respect to lens design. The main differences between the two lenses are highlighted in green. The Canon has a slight edge over the Sigma in terms of build quality with full weather sealing, where the Sigma offers a ‘moisture resistant’ rubber gasket on the lens mount and water-repellent coatings on the front and rear lens elements.

Both lenses are very heavy and are nearly identical in size and shape, and both feature built-in lens hoods. Neither lens accepts standard screw type filters, but the Canon has a slot to accept rear gel filters. The Sigma has that familiar Art build that feels very robust in hand but lacks the same ‘sealed’ feeling that the Canon lens provides due to its water resistant external construction.

The Canon has a slight advantage over the Sigma in terms of the zoom method as the Sigma has an external extending zoom whereas the Canon’s is internal. Being that the Sigma isn’t fully weather sealed this could be a weak point in the design in terms of moisture penetrating the lens during adverse or wet weather conditions. 

With these specifications in mind, we will now be looking at how well the Sigma performs to determine how it fairs in our head-to-head comparison with the Canon 11-24mm F4L. 

 
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Godox launches mini radio flash unit for Sony mirrorless cameras

Published on November 22, 2016 by in News

Flash and accessory manufacturer Godox has announced a new small flash unit that it says is designed to go with the Sony mirrorless range of cameras. The Godox TT350S features 2.4GHz radio control and TTL exposure metering, and offers a guide number of 36m@ISO 100. The company says that the unit is compatible with the Sony a7R II, a7R, as well as the a58 and a77ll SLT cameras. Some RX models are also able to pair with the unit.

The radio controlled system allows the TT350S to work alongside other Godox radio flash units and studio heads, and the flash can operate as a master or slave in multiple-head set-ups. Three groups are programmed into the control system along with 16 channels, while the maximum working range is said to be 30m. High speed sync is provided via an HSS mode that can work with shutter speeds of up to 1/8000 sec, and the unit can be switched from TTL to manual operation to make use of 22 output levels from 1/128th power. An automatically zooming head covers focal lengths of 24-105mm, and a hinge allows the head to tilt but not to swivel.

The TT350S is powered by two AA batteries which the company claims should be good for 210 full power bursts. There is no official pricing yet, but one UK ebay seller is offering pre-orders for £73 and says delivery is expected early January.

For more information about the TT350S visit the Godox website.

 
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Sony a7 II firmware version 3.30 now available

Published on November 22, 2016 by in News

Sony has released firmware version 3.30 for the Sony a7 II camera. The update is a very small one, improving the amount of light at the edge of images taken when using the flash.
The features and improvements added by the previous update, versio…

 
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Mentor Series: Tour De Fort

Published on November 22, 2016 by in News

Mentor Series

Photographer Richard Finn’s striking monochrome interior image.

Richard Finn encountered this exciting and “spooky” interior on a Mentor Series Trek in San Francisco.

 
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Apple’s Phil Schiller explains why the new MacBook Pro doesn’t have an SD card slot

Published on November 3, 2016 by in News

There’s a fair amount of controversy surrounding Apple’s newly unveiled MacBook Pro laptops, with one major criticism from photographers focusing on the removal of the SD card slot. Owners must use an SD-to-USB adapter to physically transfer files from a card to the laptop, otherwise wireless transfer is the only option. When asked about this design decision during an interview with The Independent, Apple’s Phil Schiller explained that SD card slots are ‘cumbersome.’

When asked why the new MacBook Pro laptops don’t have an SD card slot, Schiller explained:

“Because of a couple of things. One, it’s a bit of a cumbersome slot. You’ve got this thing sticking halfway out. Then there are very fine and fast USB card readers, and then you can use CompactFlash as well as SD. So we could never really resolve this – we picked SD because more consumer cameras have SD but you can only pick one. So, that was a bit of a trade-off. And then more and more cameras are starting to build wireless transfer into the camera. That’s proving very useful. So we think there’s a path forward where you can use a physical adaptor if you want, or do wireless transfer.”

During the end of the interview, Schiller admitted that the level of criticism around the new MacBook Pro ‘has been a bit of a surprise.’ He went on to say that he has ‘never seen a great new Apple product that didn’t have its share of early criticism and debate — and that’s cool. We took a bold risk, and of course with every step forward there is also some change to deal with.’

Via: Independent

 
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Huawei Mate 9 comes with next generation Leica dual-cam

Published on November 3, 2016 by in News

Huawei has today launched its latest top-end phablet, the Mate 9. The new device features a large 5.9″ LCD IPS display with 1080p resolution and 1500:1 contrast ratio. In the camera department the Mate 9 comes with a new dual-camera that, like its counterpart in the P9, was co-developed with camera manufacturer Leica.

The new version of the Huawei dual-cam boosts resolution of its monochrome sensor to 20MP (up from 12MP in the P9) with a 12MP color chip. Both lenses feature an F2.2 aperture. There is a new 6-axis optical image stabilization system and a 4-in-1 hybrid AF system that combines, contrast detection, phase detection, laser time-of-flight measurements and depth information. 

As before, image data from both sensors is combined to achieve better image results than conventional cameras. Like on the P9, the dual-camera can also simulate the bokeh of a fast lens on a DSLR, but Huawei says the effect has been improved and is now visible in the live-view image. 

In addition the camera features a new hybrid zoom system, which uses image information from the 20MP monochrome sensor for ‘lossless’ digital zooming of the 12MP standard image output. Huawei says that, thanks to improved compression methods, the camera’s 4K video mode creates smaller file sizes without a loss in image quality. The front camera features an 8MP sensor and F1.9 aperture. 

Android 7.0 and Huawei’s EMUI 5.0 launcher are powered by the in-house Kirin 960 CPU, which, according to Huawei, delivers 180% more performance than the predecessor Kirin 950. Huawei also claims the 4000mAh battery is good for 2.5 days of normal use per charge, or 1.7 days of intensive use. An improved version of Huawei’c quick charging system is on board as well. The Huawei Mate 9 with 4GB RAM, 64GB storage and microSD support will be available in mocha, black, white, gold, space grey and silver and cost €699 in Europe (approximately $775). 

Huawei also introduced a limited Porsche Design edition of the Mate 9. This luxury device comes with 6GB of RAM, 256GB of internal memory and features a 5.5″ curved 2K AMOLED display. Other specifications are identical to the standard Mate 9. The Porsche Edition will be sold exclusively through Porsche Design Stores and set you back a hefty €1395 ($1545).

Related: Huawei P9 Review

 
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