Cameras and Photography Explained

This page points to all recent articles published on dslrbodies.com, sansmirror.com, gearophile.com, and filmbodies.com, and is updated as new articles appear (most recent on top). For articles from previous months, check the Articles Index Archive. 

bythom INT Africa Bots Chobe 7-2017 D500 18436

This image was taken at very high ISO at Oh Dark Thirty. The sun was not up, this was a shaded area to start with, and a family of hyena were cleaning up the leftovers of an overnight zebra kill by some lions next to our camp. So why does this rendering look like it has lighting? Well, even in the very low light this shot was taken, there is directionality and intensity differences in the little bit of light that was there. Indeed, that bright hair grouping on the back of his front left leg is actually a vehicle light backlighting this hyena; that's his real hair hit with a highlight (which I should probably bring down in tonality). The tricky part is this: when you're dealing with high ISO dynamic range reduction, quantum shot noise, perhaps some underexposure, and more, how the heck do you pull the contrasts apart when all your data bits are pretty much from the midrange down to deep in the shadows? 

I'm going to let you ponder that for a while. Starting sometime next year I'll be posting some post processing thoughts and considerations to help you deal with that problem yourself. It's actually part of Darkroom Basics 101 (Burning and Dodging), but the way we do that and the tremendous control we now have in doing that is both daunting and rewarding. Moreover, there are dozens of ways to get to the same end point, so which do you use? I'll try to give you some answers in 2018. 

Meanwhile, I'm mostly off shooting for the next six weeks. The site will be a little inactive because of that. 

>>> This Week's Articles:

It could get exhausting to elaborate on every special bargain that comes up this holiday season. But I thought I'd at least kick off with some commentary on some of the early specials that are available. As usual, I point out what I think to be good values versus just things on sale.

November 20

Nikon's Black Friday. Commentary on dslrbodies.com
Canon's Black Friday. Commentary on dslrbodies.com
Sigma Art Lenses Black Friday. Commentary on dslrbodies.com
Sony Deal That Won't Last. Commentary on sansmirror.com

Please, if you value this site, may I ask that start your B&H shopping by clicking on any of the B&H links on this site, such as the following one. 

>>> Recent Articles:

November 14

Another New Film SLR. When it rains, it pours. Last week we have a new film SLR, with a modern twist. This week we have another new film SLR hitting Kickstarter, this time with a old twist. Article on filmbodies.com

November 13

Sensor Wars Update. I wrote about the sensor battle earlier this fall. I've gotten some new information and I've done a bit more analysis of the situation from Nikon's point of view. Article on dslrbodies.com

This site's exclusive advertiser, B&H, has a few items already on sale that are great bargains [advertiser link]. The full list of current sale items can be reached at the link just given (then use Filter by Brand to select Nikon, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina). But here are some of the ones I noted that you should seriously consider:

  • Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 for US$369. This is one of my DX recommended lenses at an astonishingly low price.
  • Tamron 45mm f/1.8 for US$399. This is a "normal" lens with vibration control, and it's quite a good lens. I'd recommend this over the Nikkor 50mm's.
  • Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 for US$399. Another of my DX recommended lenses at a good price.
  • Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 for US$1199 with some goodies. This is the bargain lens you buy if you don't want to spring for the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8. 

I'm a little heads down trying to finish up a book or two, so my output may be a bit diminished as I work through that.

November 8

Panasonic announced the G9 camera, a stills-oriented high end competitor to the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, as well as a 200mm f/2.8 lens for m4/3 cameras.

Nikon's First Half Financials. Nikon's first half of their fiscal year results are in. They're not what I'd call good, though Nikon, as usual, puts a positive spin on almost everything. And someone pointed out to me that Nikon doesn't actually mention customers any more in their presentations. Instead, they take time to talk about "management DNA" and shareholder returns, but they just don't mention customers. Article on dslrbodies.com

A New Film SLR Hits the Market. Reflex, a new 35mm film-based SLR, is now out of the bag and approaching reality. Article on filmbodies.com 

November 6

The Return of Capture NX2. DxO just pulled off the coup of the year by picking up the Nik Tools and U-point technology from Google. Google mostly wanted Nik for Snapseed and the things that they could apply to their smartphone images. Why they didn't think U-point was part of that, I don't know; Google does Google-dumb things sometimes. Article on dslrbodies.com

Nikon Lens Rebates Return. NikonUSA's lens discounts are back, and thus so are my detailed commentaries to help you decide if any of these are for you. Article on dslrbodies.com

New Olympus Deals. The buying season has started early this year, likely because the camera companies have stuffed the channels believing that sales will uptick upwards for 2017 (probably true, but the question is how much financial incentive will they have to use to achieve sell through in the channel?). Article on sansmirror.com

The Latest State of Mirrorless. For eight years now I've been using mirrorless cameras, and pretty much testing most variations that have come to market. Indeed, I've published reviews of 44 different mirrorless cameras, and by my count have used 72 different models. Those cameras have been to Africa, South America, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, and on a host of other photographic journeys here in the US and elsewhere during my travels. Each year for the past several I've tried to assess where the state of mirrorless cameras actually is, and it's time to do that once again, though I'm going to go about it a different way this time. Article on sansmirror.com

DxO has acquired the Nik plug-ins from Google. For the moment the plug-ins will remain free, but DxO is pledging to develop a new Nik Collection 2018, and to incorporate U-point technology into other products.

Canon announced their quarterly results. Imaging sales up 9%, Imaging operating profit up 31.1%. They specifically indicated increases in compact camera sales in the GX line (take that Nikon DL ;~). Overall, they believe demand will contract in lower-cost products, but continue strong in higher-cost camera models.

October 26

The Tamron 100-400mm final details have been announced, and the lens should be available to purchase in mid-November.

The final Lightroom 6.13 perpetual license version update has been posted by Adobe, and includes Nikon D850 support.

October 25

Sony Announces the A7R Mark III. Sony starts off the third generation of the FE mirrorless camera line with the A7R Mark III. Overall, this is not the usual Sony "push the tech further than anyone" type of release we've gotten used to, but more of a "round out the issues of the previous version" release. The Mark III picks up a lot of small pieces of tech from previous Sony models. Article on sansmirror.comA7R Mark III data page24-105mm f/4 G OSS data page.

Olympus 17mm f/1.2 PRO and 45mm f/1.2 PRO lenses have been announced.

Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN for m4/3 and Sony E mount was announced.

October 24

Updated Sony A9 review and a couple of lens reviews on sansmirror.com

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens Review. The 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is one of three fast zoom lenses for the FE mount (A7 and A9 cameras in the still realm use FE). These f/2.8 optics came late to the scene, with Sony first releasing a trio of f/4 zooms. So you have a choice: 16-35mm, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm in either high end f/2.8 versions, or in small and trim f/4 versions. Article on sansmirror.com  Full set of Sony FE Recommended lenses

The Latest Fujifilm Retirements. Fujifilm continues to trim and modify their available film stocks. Fortunately, they are giving shooters plenty of warning about when products will be killed. Moreover, this round really seems a bit more about trimming the edges of inventory rather than a shot at the heart of the operation. Article on filmbodies.com

October 22

Deep in the Digital Too Doo. Well, Adobe's done it again. They're stirred up a hornet's nest with their Lightroom announcements. Even my teaching partner was in a tizzy yesterday morning and leveled a long phone tirade at me about what Adobe had done. Article on dslrbodies.com

Nikon's 2017 Annual Report. Nikon last week published their 2017 Annual Report. Only it's no longer called an annual report, it's just a report that's done annually ;~). Article on dslrbodies.com

Fujifilm Deals. Fujifilm has posted discounts on quite a bit of their lineup, including the recent GFX 50S medium format camera and lenses. Article on sansmirror.com

Sony Deals. Sony has a number of discounts now going on with their mirrorless products, all expiring November 3rd. The highlight discount is the A7R Mark II. Article on sansmirror.com

The D850 Blog continues with new posts this week with short XQD card discussion.

Almost forgot I posted the info on the new Zeiss 25mm f/1.4 Milvus

October 18

Lightroom Fragments. Well, it's happened. Lightroom as a standalone, perpetual license product is coming to an end. At Adobe Max the new versions of Lightroom (yes plural) were introduced. Article on dslrbodies.com

October 16

Another Canon APS-C Camera. Canon today announced the PowerShot G1 X Mark III, their high-end compact camera with an APS-C sensor. By all appearances, this is the same dual-pixel 24mp sensor used in the M series, the SL, and in some of the DSLRs. Article on dslrbodies.com

October 11

What Is Happening in Tokyo? Generally I only hear from a couple of reasonably well-placed individuals in Japan about what's happening there, and then often somewhat ambiguously or in ways I have to interpret. Recently, I've gotten an unanticipated and anonymous contact from someone apparently within Nikon HQ who seems to be trying to get an outsider to lobby for something that there is contention about internally. Very strange. Article on dslrbodies.com

The Camera Business is Getting Weird. What a strange day, yesterday. Maybe it was because of the holiday and some sort of alcoholic beverage was consumed by some. Or maybe not. Article on dslrbodies.com 

October 10

Nikon Hits and Misses. We’re coming into the Christmas buying season and a lot of you are thinking about what products you might want to buy. I’m pretty sure that Nikon will be aggressive with discounting here in the US having missed their original launch window for a new camera in the last quarter, but when those discounts start to kick in is currently unknown. Article on dslrbodies.com

Sony A9 Camera Review. Back in the Minolta days of the Alpha mount, the 9 numbered camera was a halo camera: one designed to compete with Canon and Nikon’s highest offerings. The 7 numbered cameras were the workhorses that most people bought. So I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re seeing the same numbering scheme appear in Sony’s lineup. The A9 is certainly a halo camera. Article on sansmirror.com

October 3 

On1 Photo RAW 2018 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018 apparently are ringing in the new model year. See Software News.

October 2

Nikon 28mm f/1.4E Lens Review. The Nikkor 28mm f/1.4E ED is one of what is now an odd group of “fast” Nikon primes. This group has been developed and introduced over a very wide period of years, so you see some oddities, like both G and E designations. Article on dslrbodies.com

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text and images © 2017 Thom Hogan
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