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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…
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.
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…
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…
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.
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
|Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art||Canon EF 11-24mm F4L USM|
|Lens Type||Wide-Angle Zoom||Wide-Angle Zoom|
|Filter Thread||None||None (rear insert-type)|
|Lens Mount||Canon, Nikon F (FX), Sigma SA Bayonet||Canon EF|
|Minimum Focus||0.24 m (9.45″)||0.28m (11″)|
|Diaphragm Blades||9 (rounded)||9 (rounded)|
|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
|Motor Type||Ring-type Hypersonic||Ultrasonic|
|Full Time Manual||Yes||Yes|
|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.
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.
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…
Photographer Richard Finn’s striking monochrome interior image.
Richard Finn encountered this exciting and “spooky” interior on a Mentor Series Trek in San Francisco.
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.’