July 2020

Wednesday — July 29, 2020

I had a fever dream last night. Nikon took the Z50 image sensor, the D6 focus sensor, and the Z5 battery and created...the D580. That would be a DSLR that would snap heads (as well as any moving subject ;~). Too bad there wouldn't be any lenses for it. Maybe next dream...

Adobe DNG Converter 12.4 beta is out with support for the Canon R5/R6, Nikon Z5, and Sony ZV-1. 

Tuesday — July 28, 2020

As might be expected, Canon reported poorer second quarter financial results today. For the first time, Canon reported an overall quarterly loss, which they mostly attribute to the COVID-19 crisis impacting demand and business activity around the world. Specifically "We saw unexpected events originating from COVID-19 occurring around the world, such as the closure of corporations and retail establishments, the standstill of business negotiation, and the implementation of overseas travel restrictions." Given those circumstances, a decline in sales is not unexpected.

Net camera sales for the quarter were down 53% year to year. Canon expects the global ILC market to drop to 5.4m units this year (it was 8.2m units last year). This is impacting full year estimates, with the Imaging group expected to have a 146b yen drop in net sales. That said, Canon says their view that the overall camera market will eventually stop contracting has not changed. It's just a matter of what unit number it stops at. In the meantime, they're tightening their belts worldwide.

We're going to see this same scenario play out as the other camera makers announce their quarterly results, I think.

Monday — July 27, 2020

Yes, you're seeing some site design changes, though not many here on bythom for the moment. It's that time of year where I look at the site design and code and try to simplify and fix things.

B&H is having a sale on MacBook Pro 13" (mid-2019) models with some very good pricing (US$200-500 off). [Advertiser link]

Friday — July 24, 2020

The zsystemuser site has been very active since I started it with the Z5 release. I posted two more articles today:

If you're into RSS feeds, point yours at zsystemuser.com (some readers may need to be pointed to https://www.zsystemuser.com/nikon-z-system-news-and/). I've also continued adding and correcting information about the Z5 and most recent lenses.

Adobe this week posted critical security updates to Photoshop CC, so make sure to use your Creative Cloud updater to grab those. 

Topaz Labs released Sharpen AI 2.1.0 with new features, including an auto masking capability. The update is free to existing users.

Wednesday — July 22, 2020

Still a lot going on with the Z5 announcement yesterday over zsystemuser.com. I've added four more articles to the news/views, updated specs, updated the Z5 FAQ, and much more. 

Tuesday — July 21, 2020

Surprise, surprise.

Today Nikon introduced the Z5, their new entry-level full frame mirrorless camera. But that's not all that's new. Today I introduce zsystemuser.commy new Web site dedicated to the Nikon Z system cameras. All the information you're looking for on both the latest Nikon additions to the Z system, as well as the Z50, Z6, Z7, and Z lenses, can be found on that new site, which due to the number of things Nikon announced, will be updating throughout the day (I'll eventually post individual links here) And yes, all this information will get added to sansmirror later today, too.

Yeah, there's even more over on zsystemuser.com, but I'll leave you to discover it. I've given you enough of a drink through a fire hose already this morning. 

Monday — July 20, 2020

Hmm. that just announced 12K Ursa Mini Pro is turning out to be more and more interesting. The APS-C sized sensor isn't the traditional 4x4 Bayer pattern, it's a new 6x6 pattern with half the photosites being white (luminance only), the rest being equal numbers of red, green, and blue. Technically, that means it bins perfectly down to a 1080P 17:9 format (2048 x 1080). Blackmagic Design has also chosen ISO 800 as the base (probably a combination of the gain point and the extra light that the "white" photosites is garnering). 

At 8K and 4K outputs you would have to run some sort of new demosaic routine (it only shoots raw video). Once again we have a company claiming no color moire by avoiding Bayer, but the minute we have to interpolate in a demosaic routine, there will be some form of artifacting that occurs. Whether that's visible, let alone annoying, is a story to still be examined. 

Meanwhile, Fujifilm users in the US should note that a new set of instant rebates have gone into effect. The ones that stand out to me are the US$300 discount on the good 10-24mm f/4 lens, and the US$200 discount on the X-A7 with kit lens (only a US$100 discount on the X-T200 if you need an EVF). That latter one, in particular, is a good inexpensive candidate for someone wanting to have a camera converted to IR. Also, the Medium Format GFX50R is US$3500 (US$1000 off) for the body only, putting it into high megapixel full frame pricing.

Friday — July 17, 2020

What have they been drinking, down under? These Bruces are definitely not bludgers. 12,288 x 6480 80mp APS-C (Super35) sensor, is their latest concoction. Yep, Blackmagic Design didn't think 8K was enough, so now we have the 12K Ursa Mini Pro video camera. Pretty insane numbers: 12K/60P, 8K/110P, 4K/110P, or 4K/220P (with additional crop), all in 12-bit raw. Who said the pixel count wars were over? Oh, by the way, you can get it in F-mount (not autofocus, though).

Skylum Luminar 4.3 adds a space shuttle (!?@?), search, D780/Z50/P950 and other recent camera support, improved cropping tool, and the usual stability and performance improvements. 

Thursday — July 16, 2020

It's starting to look like the camera companies are figuring out this Web launch thing. Sony just put up a teaser for the A7S Mark III launch on July 28th (10am EST). No info directly from Sony, but some details have been leaking, some of which is probably intentional leaks (Canon was transparent about that, which is the way you should do it). 

Meanwhile, Leica has taken the M10 and added an R. Okay, that's a little facetious. The new M10-R is a 40mp version of the classic M camera. Basically the M10 Monochrom, only Bayerized.

Pixelmator Pro 1.7 adds one interesting thing for photographers: upscaling raw images (ML Super Resolution).  

Wednesday — July 15, 2020

If you're into the financial analysis side of the camera market, Andriy Blokhin has just written the best overall summary I've yet seen of why Nikon isn't really in trouble on Seeking Alpha. A few comments though.

While I agree with most of his points and calculations, I think he's over-optimistic about where the ILC market will flatten out (he suggests 6.5m units, I think 4m units). That puts things much closer to his worst case scenario for Nikon Imaging, though if Nikon can hold market share, that still leaves them profitable. Blokhin also overstates the Precision story, because he mostly dismisses the market cycles that happen with semiconductors. But again, that fundamentally doesn't change his conclusion, it just lowers the expected future value of Nikon some.

As I've noted many times before, Nikon is fiscally run as a very tight ship. They hoarded cash before needing it. They continue to spend on R&D. Nikon should still be making cameras years from now.

Monday — July 13, 2020

Friday — July 10, 2020

Thursday — July 9, 2020

It's Canon launch day. Lot's of Canon things to talk about:

Due to the great deal of information Canon released and being my own editor on a very tight deadline, expect some of the wording, details to get fixed during the course of the day as I have a chance to double-check things. If you see something that's wrong, let me know via email and I'll put it on my "fix list."

Meanwhile, Fujifilm has release Fujifilm X Raw Studio 1.10.1, Raw File Converter EX 3.0, and has now added Fujifilm X Webcam for macOS.

Tuesday — July 7, 2020

Monday — July 6, 2020

This will be a busy week, but for today, an oldie but goodie returns:

Since I know someone will ask, does this mean I'll be bringing back some of my other older DSLR books? My answer is probably. I started looking through what it will take to get the D3/D3s/D3x Guide available again. It seems like a do-able task, so I've started working on that. No, I have no ETA. It will be work I try to fit into other things I'm doing, so may take awhile. From there, I'd probably only look at the D300/D300s and D700 books as others I might resurrect. 

Thursday — July 2, 2020

Some will be surprised that Olympus just announced a new m4/3 road map. Don't be. We'll likely also see at least another camera from them before the divestiture happens, too. The details: the 150-400mm f/4 Pro will be released in Winter 2020, and a new 8-25mm f/4 Pro lens has been added to the lens road map. Olympus also announced a beta version of software to use the OM-D models as Web cams, albeit only for Windows.

Wednesday — July 1, 2020

Thomas L Friedman nailed it on the head this morning: respect science, respect nature, respect each other. Do your statements and actions really stand up to that advice? If not, how would you defend yourself? Because science shouldn't be ignored, nature does what it's programmed to do and responds to provocation, and if you don't respect others, they won't respect you. While his statement wasn't particularly in support of this idea, note that wearing a face mask while out in public means you're respecting all three things. Just by looking at faces I can now tell that there are way too many people out there that have no respect for science, nature, or others. Until that changes, things aren't going to get better.


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