Cameras and Photography Explained

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

Another from the vault (2005, shot with D2x and 12-24mm). Who said we didn't have incredible pixel-level detail 12 years ago?

>>> This Week's Articles:

July 20

New Fujifilm Lenses. Fujifilm had a lot to say about lenses yesterday, introducing the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 and 200mm f/2 lenses that had been on their roadmap. They also updated the roadmap to include three new lenses, including a 35mm f/1 (but only coming in 2020). Article on

Top Quality FE Lens Sets. I've now had a couple of years experience with the Sony FE system, and with quite a few Sony FE cameras (A7, A7m3, A7R, A7Rm2, A7Rm3, and A9). I've also had a chance to use virtually all the Sony lenses and a number of third party ones, so it's time to start thinking about "rationalizing the bag." Article on

July 19

Fujifilm Ups the Ante. Fujifilm appears to be taking on the old Nikon role: re-using sensors and slightly iterating camera designs to proliferate models without taking on much in the way of additional costs. Article on  Black model [advertiser link] Champagne Gold model [advertiser link]

July 16

Reading the Photokina Tea Leaves. Media Preview Day tends to give one an idea about who might have major product announcements at Photokina. Currently, the following companies have big press conferences scheduled the day before the show opens to consumers: Canon, Fujifilm, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, and Panasonic. Article on

More Reader Questions Answered. A continuation of my publishing site reader questions that came to me via email, along with my (edited and/or expanded) responses. Article on

Vello BG-N19-2 Battery Grip Review. An update featuring the revised version of the Vello grip, and pointing out that you can now put together a full 9fps package for a D850 for about US$250 (grip, battery, charger, door). Article on

May I ask that you start your photographic-related shopping by clicking on any of the B&H links on this site, such as the following one. B&H is this site's exclusive advertiser. Starting a purchase at B&H from a link on this site helps support this site.

Some of you probably aren't aware that I've long had a dedicated B&H Landing Page [advertiser link] where the items in each of four different "gear bags" I use lives. We've just updated that page and the underlying pages, as well.


>>> Recent Articles:

July 11

Which Long Telephoto Zoom? Nikon's put a lot of work into this category—and into the 70-200mm zooms that sit below it. We now have: 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E AF-P, 80-400mm f/4-5.6G, 180-400mm f/4E. 200-500mm f/5.6E. Add the older 70-300mm, 80-400mm (non AF-S), and 200-400mm—all of which tend to still be available new—and you've got a lot of choice. But frankly, the choice is simple if quality is what you seek. Article on

The Nikon 1 Discontinuance Continues. Nikon's labyrinthian Web presence hasn't fully caught up with itself. On the Web site, which is primarily the Japanese subsidiary's online presence to home country users, the Nikon 1 cameras, lenses, and accessories have now been removed from the current product list to the "old" (discontinued) list. Article on

July 10

The Tyranny of Math. Today Nikon introduced the Coolpix P1000, the long-expected successor to the Coolpix P900. US$1000, coming in September. As usual, it's the numbers that get people all excited. Article on

Sony Mirrorless Issues. It seems like we get little geysers of Internet worry popping up every now and then about "issues" with various cameras. That seems to be amplified with the Sony models, as there certainly plenty of people that have vested interest in the DSLR duopoly that don't want to admit that the current Sony cameras have closed the gap. If you were to read the hyperbole in many Internet posts, you might be tempted to totally avoid products, particularly recent Sony mirrorless cameras. Article on

July 8

More Reviews Coming Back. I've updated a number of Nikkor reviews, and will continue to do so as I move things off the bythom site to the appropriate other site. Here's the latest I've brought back to life with updates: 16-35mm f/4G50mm f/1.4G17-55mm f/2.8G DX18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G DX85mm f/3.5G DX Micro-Nikkor.

Fujifilm's Summer Sale. Fujifilm USA has just put quite a bit of their mirrorless product lineup on sale, and I thought you should know about it, as a few of those items are on my recommended lists and the savings aren't trivial. Article on

Nikon July Lens Sale. NikonUSA has put a handful of lenses on sale until the end of the month. As always with these lens-only rebates, I offer you my quick opinion on each one. Article on

What's the Entry Point? It seems a lot of you missed the announcement. Okay, there was no official announcement, just a clear trend: the bottom end of dedicated cameras is now 24mp. Moreover, with the likely upcoming mirrorless announcements from Canon and Nikon, the true consumer bottom the big makers really want to establish is 24mp full frame (EF, FE, FX) at a price point of around US$2000 initially. Article on

It appears now that NikonUSA just lowered the official price of the 70-300mm FX lens to US$599 (from US$750 on introduction), which makes it an incredible bargain if your camera supports AF-P. Support this site by purchasing it at this site's exclusive advertiser, B&H [advertiser link]. But, Nikon, why do this without marketing a new lower list price? It's extremely rare that Nikon lowers prices on products, so why they didn't use a bullhorn to announce this, I don't know. Of course, lowering the price put the product out of stock temporarily at quite a few outlets here in the US (I'm told a new supply is coming this week). 

July 5

Some Reviews Coming Back. I've updated a number of Nikkor reviews, and will continue to do so as I move things off the bythom site to the appropriate other site. Here's what's come back so far: 14-24mm f/2.8G40mm f/2.8G Micro-Nikkor DX105mm f/2.8G Micro-Nikkor200mm f/2G400mm f/2.8G, and 500mm f/4G.

July 1

Nikon is Being Managed by Banks. Nikon has updated their stock information information after their final year-end board meeting. It's illustrative of the "problem" Nikon is managing to. Article on

How Do You Test a Lens? This question comes up a lot, particularly when people get paranoid over Internet posts about sample variation and lens faults. So first, a word from our sponsor, the makers of Valium: chillax, digital dude or dudette. Article on

Banks Versus Overall Settings. For a long time now, Nikon has had a dual personality in its DSLR designs. The "pro" cameras (e.g. D500, D850, D5) use Photo Shooting and Custom Setting banks, the "consumer" cameras (e.g. D7500, D610, D750) use Mode Dial U1 and U2 positions to configure the camera. Neither is perfect. Indeed, these represent probably the worst part of Nikon's customization system at the moment. Article on

Sony Can Do. Today Sony announced the 3.0 firmware update for the Sony A9 and it has a new menu option: Write Serial Number. Why we need a menu option for that, I don't know. I suppose some might say being able to leave it off is a privacy option, but I just hear no one asking for that. Also, the 400mm f/2.8 was officially announced. Article on sansmirror.comData page for 400mm f/2.8.

Complete Site Update. Once a year I like to go through a complete page-by-page refresh of each site, checking for various issues, inconsistencies, needed corrections, and improvements that can be made. That takes a bit of time, as this site has grown to about 1500 pages. Article on ( will get a similar update later this month, and old material has now been removed from

ProGrade 64GB Card Review. But to ProGrade's credit, there are plenty of UHS-II cards on the market now that, when you look closely at them, are 150MB/s read, 96MB/s write. ProGrade isn't exactly off the mark here, but don't let them fool you into thinking they're at the top of the heap in speed. Article on

Nikon Camera Hacks. Nikon DSLRs have a plus and minus to having their firmware hacked. The plus is that Nikon is one of the few things around where you can actually go back in firmware by installing an older version. The minus is that Nikon DSLRs can't execute outside of the camera firmware. That's what made the Canon Magic Lantern hacks so popular: you could install them on an SD card and there was no memory limit to how big the hack could be. Article on

June 25

Downsizers. I've written about Samplers, about Leakers, about Last Camera Syndrome folk, but it appears that there are still categories of camera purchasers that I haven't written about. Recently I got an email from someone that reminded me of another category I've wanted to write about: Downsizers. Article on

Best Versus All-Around. I've written many times that the Nikon D850 is the best all-around ILC you can get, and the Sony A7Rm3 is my runner up. I haven't explicitly laid out the case of how I make such a determination. So let me do so today. Article on

I've also updated my Three Mirrorless Camera travel kits article for Summer 2018, including the special B&H bundles that they put together from my travel kit list. Those bundles include an extra B&H discount card in addition to everything else I put in the kits. The Summer 2018 kits are based around the Fujifilm X-T100, the Olympus E-M10m3, and the Sony A6300 and all target approximately a 2.2 pound (1kg) overall travel weight while still retaining photographic quality and diversity.

June 22

Supreme Court Overrules Supreme Court. You can tell when a court isn't itself totally clear about what to do. We have one conservative voting with three liberals, and one liberal joining with three conservative justices. The justice in the middle of those ideological leanings, Anthony Kennedy, once again was the deciding vote. What am I referring to? The case in question is South Dakota v. Wayfair, a case about whether sales tax has to be collected by out-of-state entities. Article on

The Late Spring Collection. Everyone's on a software update schedule for June it seems. Apparently all the software engineers want to go out and have a summer vacation, so they've been coding up a storm. Article on

June 18

Samyang 85mm f/1.4 autofocus lens for Canon EF

The Silence From Nikon. Given Nikon's silence on new camera products for almost a year now, look what's happening with this spring's camera buying. NikonUSA really only has two cameras that are generating any big dollars for the company, and for opposite reasons: the inexpensive and always on sale D3400 and the can't build enough D850. In the UK and Europe, Nikon raised the price of a number of products only to immediately offer cash back sales, which makes it look like they're on sale. Article on

Who Leads, Who Follows, Who Wins? One way to look at the changing landscape of cameras is to look at the "who is leading, and who waited to follow?" question. As it turns out, the true leaders in deploying significant technologies have almost always ended up with higher market share initially. Sometimes the followers caught up and re-asserted themselves, but not always. Article on

June 14

Nikon's Second "New Product" in 2018. Apparently even the crew in Tokyo has decided that Nikon has been too quiet. With only only one announcement so far in 2018—the 180-400mm f/4E lens—and no camera announcement since the D850 late last summer, Nikon has finally made another product announcement. Article on

June 11

Sony A7R Mark III Review. The big news is that the A7Rm3 gets the same new battery and body style pioneered in the A9, and now also present in the A7m3 I reviewed last week. This increases the camera size and weight slightly, but also provides not just a better hand grip, and also much better battery life with the new NP-FZ100 battery (nearly double the previous A7Rm2). Article on

All Show Versus No Show. You might have noticed that Sony announced another camera last week: the US$1200 RX100m6 (Mark VI in Sony's Roman numeral fetishism). You probably couldn't escape noticing. Article on

Samyang 24mm f/2.8 autofocus pancake lens for Sony FE

June 7

Another Problem for the Duopoly. Korean optics manufacturer Samyang and German optics maker Zeiss are starting to show a new problem for the "closed shops." Article on

Nik Collection 2018 by DxO. DxO has today introduced Nik Collection 2018 by DxO, which offers full compatibility with the latest Adobe CC products and both recent macOS and Windows updates and is 64-bit. Article on

Canon introduced new versions of their 70-200mm lenses. 70-200mm f/2.8 III data page70-200mm f/4 II data page.

June 4

The Nikon D750 Versus the Sony A7m3. I’ve just posted my review of the Sony A7 Mark III (which I abbreviate as A7m3). Almost immediately the questions started coming in about whether someone should buy a D750 or an A7m3. Indeed, those questions have been coming into my In Box since the A7m3 was announced. Article on

Sony A7 Mark III Camera Review. I skipped a generation in the A7 body reviews when I didn't review the Mark II. So we need to get up to date here with some of the key differences between the three models. That's particularly true because Sony has been keeping older cameras still available to buy, so I don't expect the A7 Mark II to disappear overnight now that the Mark III is here. Article on

The Nikon Mirrorless Wish List. I’ve been communicating with a lot of Nikon DSLR (and some former) users lately about what Nikon might do with their eventual re-entry into the mirrorless camera market. I’ve become more and more curious about what the Nikon DSLR customer thinks Nikon should be doing in their return to mirrorless. Obviously Nikon will do something, but what do the current Nikon shooters expect them to do? Article on

The Fujifilm X-A5 Gets a Big Brother. Fujifilm today announced the X-T100. This new camera is mostly the X-A5 internals coupled with an EVF and the three-way tilting LCD from the more DSLR-like Fujifilm bodies. Article on sansmirror.comX-T100 Data Page.

June 3

Nikon Adds Some Lenses to Rebates. Nikon's "See, Thom, we do have some DX lenses (unbuzz, unbuzz)" instant rebates are now active. As usual with Nikkor rebates, I'll outline my thoughts on each lens. Article on

All the previous articles for my sites can be found in the Articles Index.

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