Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4

In all the buzz around the Canon EOS R full frame mirrorless, almost unnoticed, Canon announced the EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM lens for the EOS M:

Aimed at entry- and enthusiast-level photographers, the EF-M 32mm F/1.4 STM is a small (1.99in/50.5mm long) and light (8.29oz/235g) lens that’s the 35mm-equivalent of a 51mm lens, which provides an angle-of-view that’s similar to the human eye.

It is the fastest lens for the system, an almost equivalent to the 50mm f/1.4 found on the EOS line. If I had an EOS-M, I’d probably get it to supplement the 22mm f/2 (pancake).

But will that system live in parallel from the EOS-R? For how long?

Fujifilm X-T3, third of its name

And third time is a charm. Just yesterday Canon announced their fullframe mirrorless, Fujifilm just announced the third iteration of the Fujifilm X-T series, the X-T3. This is not a revolution in Fujifilm’s lineup: it is not a switch to fullframe as they do not have to do that, but an improvement.

I bought a Fujifilm X-Pro1 in 2012, pre-ordering it. This was the first generation camera of the series with all its quirks, and back then there was only 3 prime lenses. The X-series lineup is very compelling with many excellent quality and reasonably priced lenses, all in a relatively compact package, thanks to the APS-C sensor size.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera
My X-Pro1 setup in February 2017

I haven’t had the chance to see the X-T3 yet. This is based on spec and reviews.

What does the X-T3 brings to the table? It replaces the now 2 years old X-T2, with a wide range of improvements: a newer sensor up to 26Megapixels and a faster processing unit, with faster autofocus. An improved EVF with a faster refresh rate and higher resolution.

New video capabilities make this camera a good contender in the movie camera segment, with native 10bits 4:2:0 internal recording (sadly in HEVC H265), and 4:2:2 on an external recorder. The headphone jack no longer require the battery pack. 4K 30fps no longer crop, only the 60fps is cropped x1.18. The Eterna film simulation found in the X-H1 has been added as well. Sadly the flip out screen found on the X-T100 isn’t part of the upgrade. Fujfilm, pretty please!

Another interesting feature is the sports shooting mode where the captured image is cropped x1.25 allowing the viewfinder can show the outside of the frame, with a burst rate of 30fps.

Hit

  • Added Eterna film profile
  • 1080p at 120fps, 4K in 30fps full frame and 60fps in x1.17 crop
  • new video recording capabilities
  • Mic and headphone jack
  • Two card slots

Miss

  • No flip out screen, unlike the X-T100
  • No in body stabilisation

A welcome update, I’m now holding off to get the X-T3, mainly motivated with my foray into moving pictures.

Cinema5D X-T3 review.

EOS R, Canon strikes back

After all rumors, a week after Nikon, Canon has released the EOS R, that appear to be a 5D MarkIV stuffed into a mirrorless package; some people say it is more like the 6D MarkII. The EOS-R feature the new RF mount, and 4 RF lenses have been announced, as well as 3 EF to RF adapters. At US$ 2,300 body only (CAD 3,000 up North), it is a bit more expensive than its competition.

All of this is based on the specs as I haven’t had the privilege to see one, even less touch one.

  • 30 Megapixels full frame sensor
  • 4K movie mode, not using MJPEG, but crop 1.7x
  • Canon C-log
  • New RF mount 20mm flange that allow a much slimmer design
  • Control ring on the lens
  • Fast dual pixel autofocus with many focus points

Early reviews say the autofocus works fast, whether in stills or movie mode, as well as with adapted EF lenses. This is good news.

Here is the 4 lenses lineup:

  • RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM Macro (CAD 650)
  • RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM (CAD 1,450)
  • RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM (CAD 3,000)
  • RF 28-70mm f/2 L USM (CAD 3,900), it is huge and fast.

Only the two cheapest one have IS.

Now the EF to RF adapters. Plural as there are three. There is the basic one for CAD 130 that just connect the lens, a second one that for CAD 260 provides the control ring that EF lenses are missing, and a third one that provide drop in filters (but no control ring) for much more money depending whether it is a ND filter or a circular polarizer. This is an essential part to convince Canon DSLR users that the don’t lose their heavy investment in lenses.

What is the control ring? It is an extra ring on RF lenses that can be mapped on the camera to perform a specific function. You can use it to change the aperture, the ISO, the shutter speed or other things. And this is the same ring that one of the EF adapter provides so that you have the functionality with EF lenses.

Hit

  • Flip out screen
  • Mic and headphone jack
  • EF adapter
  • Initial lenses appear to be high quality
  • Optional control ring EF adapter
  • The RF 28-70mm L f/2 lens, is that the fastest zoom lens ever?

Miss

  • 4K is x1.7 crop
  • 120 fps is 720p only (they call it HD just to confuse people, while 1080p is FullHD)
  • Battery life
  • No in body image stabilisation
  • Only the 35mm and the kit 24-105mm lenses have IS
  • Limited slow motion to 1080p60
  • One card slot
  • A bit more money than the Nikon or the Sony
  • Initial lens lineup quite pricey

While far from perfect, Canon seems to have released a compelling and capable package. It really feels that they deliberately crippled some features (like the video capabilities) to protect higher end system. With a steep starting price, there is no guarantee that this will have the success they hope given the fierce competition ; with patience it might just become in a few years, the only interchangeable lens camera system sell.

Nikon Z, finally

Nikon finally officially announced the Nikon Z, their new mirrorless digital camera system. Mirrorless is not new for Nikon as they just discontinued the Nikon 1, but this time they are getting serious.

And there is a lot of hate about the Nikon Z, haters are gonna hate.

So let’s review what’s the offer:

The Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7, are the first two mirrorless cameras with a full frame sensor from Nikon, and they use the new Z-mount. Priced at US$2,000 and US$3,400 respectively, they fall in the same proce, the Sony α7III and α7RIII. Both cameras share a lot in their design, handling and appearance. The main differentiator between them is the sensor resolution, maximum ISO, maximum FPS and number of autofocus points, like the two Sony models mentionned.

Note: I haven’t seen it nor touched it – I’m not part of that circle of people. This is a commentary on the specs, you have been warned.

One little distinguishable feature, that you can already find on some of the Fujifilm cameras like the GF50 or the X-H1, is the top LCD screen. A matrix of dots instead of predetermined display: this allow a greater flexibility in what can be displayed.

The controversy comes from the memory card slot. First, there is only one: there is a (relatively small) number of people in that market segment that want two slots, as a safety against losing a shoot when a memory card fails. Second, and that’s probably the worst in my books, is the use of the XQD format. No. Not yet again a format nobody else uses.

Z-mount

Let’s talk about Z-mount a little bit. Since 1959, Nikon has been using the F-mount on their SLR system. Neither autofocus nor digital made them change the lens, even though there are different classes of F-mount depending on the presence of an aperture ring or screw autofocus (ie the autofocusing system is on the body with a mechanical coupling, instead of in the lens). Since Nikon managed to go that far without changing the mount, why doing it now?

As I explained in a previous post, a mirrorless system would allow a shorter flange distance to be able to benefit from a more compact form factor. Since that make the lens incompatible, why not changing the mount? This is were the Z-mount comes. Dropping all the legacy baggage it address some of the issues. One of them is the diameter that has prevented from making very wide aperture lenses. At 55mm, it is probably one of the largest diameter for that size of sensor (or film format), and Nikon already announced a Noct lens: Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 lens.

With a flange distance of 16mm, not only you have a slim body, but you also have more possibilities in term of adapted lenses. And there will be an F-mount adapter priced at US$250 that will allow using F-mount lenses immediately, albeit you lose some of in-body image stabilization efficiency by having only 3-axis VR.

3 lenses will be available in Z-mount at launch, priced a bit over the top:

At least 9 other Nikkor Z lenses are planned until 2020, including Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95

Video

Video isn’t forgotten with the Nikon Z. A range of resolution and frame rates, with 4K HD up to 30 fps, and 1080p HD up to 120 fps for smooth slow motion, mic in, headphone out. A notable omission is the flip out screen, but this is on par with the Sony. The 1080p120 mode is cropped, while all the other modes are full frame.

Caleb Pike from DSLR Video Shooter has some praise for the Z6 on the specs (video):

You can shoot 10-bits N-log 4K in full frame, albeit with an external recorder, with a camera that cost around US$2,000. Something that is usually cost much more. He also believe Nikon colour science is superior to Sony, something that will have to wait to be confirmed.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter

The Nikon Z seems to be a glimpse into what Nikon think is its future in the field of high-end camera. From what I can see, they stroke the balance to be able to satisfied advanced users (professionals or not), both in the area of photo and video, and will be able to handle the transition away from DSLR which I believe is happening.

I wouldn’t call the Nikon Z ground breaking. They don’t seem to do anything that no one else did before, but it looks like they engineered a camera system that seem to have almost all the ingredients to work. While not perfect, and a first generation product, I’m pretty sure the Nikon Z will be damn fine cameras, and their pricing is within the competition.

One more thing

Nikon is sorry that the Z7 is Selling so Quickly… and Canon has an announcement in that area soon.

RIP Nikon 1

Not sure who remembers the Nikon 1 mirrorless ? DPReview informs us tgat Nikon just announced they discontinued the Nikon 1, without a surprise.

The move to kill off the Nikon 1 line shouldn’t come as a surprise. In addition to the rumors flying around, the newest camera in the lineup was launched more than three years ago on April 2, 2015.

In comparison, Canon EOS M seems to have more traction in the market place.

Despite rumors, Nikon still doesn’t have a mirrorless system to replace this. Will they?

Fuji X-H1

The rumored Fuji X-H1 is no longer a rumor. This is the new top of the line Fuji X camera from Fujifilm.

Note: I do not have access to one at the moment.

From the Fujiguys:

In summary from this video (after a quick watch):

  • Same sensor as the X-T2 / X-Pro2. Same film simulations, plus “Eterna” (a motion picture film stock) added.
  • 4K up to 30fps, cinema 4K DCI (4096 x 2160, 17:9 aspect ratio) up to 24fps, f-log 8bits 4:2:0 internal recording , adjustable bitrate up to 200Mbps.
  • Still 1.17 crop factor. 120fps in 1080p for smooth slow motion.
  • AF-C tracking speed adjustable with the face detection in 4K.
  • 5-axis in body IS. 3.5mm headphone jack. Mic in.
  • Body is bigger, has a top LCD like on the GFX50.
  • Tiltable 3 way LCD touch-screen (but not flip).
  • Use the same NPW-126 batteries.

Update: Fujifilm Canada product page.
Update 3: DPReview first impression: USD$1900.

The other videos from the Fujiguys for more official information:

Leica CL

Today, Leica announced their new mirrorless camera for the Leica APS-C System, the Leica CL. Not to be confused with the 1970’s era film rangefinder Leica CL that was developed with Minolta.

This new camera body comes as alternative of the TL2, with the same 24 megapixel sensor and Leica “Maestro II” imaging system. Unlike the TL2, the Leica CL has an EVF built-in, without being bigger. Body only, the camera is at roughly USD$2800, it uses the same lenses as the TL2.

Also introduced today, an 18mm f/2 “pancake” lens (27mm equivalent) that will set you back by USD$1300 ; albeit as a kit lens, the whole camera (body and lens) will be around USD$3800.

This camera plays more in the same field as Fujifilm X-series, albeit at the Leica price tag.

Kai has a hands-on preview:

Also unlike Canon, this camera do 4K video, even though it wouldn’t be my choice for this purpose.

In the mirrorless game, Leica seems to have found their product segemnt: high end quality camera, with a solid lens lineup.

Reflex, a new 35mm film camera design

Petapixel had the news about Reflex, a new 35mm film camera design:

The Reflex combines old, time-tested designs with exciting new ideas to create a brand new concept of what a manual film SLR can be for the modern generation of photographers.

Head over to the kickstarter page that explain it in more details. Here is the summary:

  • Modern mechanical and electronic components.
  • Interchangeable mount, by default with a M42 threaded mount, but optionally K, Nikon F, Canon FD, etc.
  • Interchangeable back: 35mm film magazine.
  • Built-in Flash and continuous LED light.
  • Modular, “open-source” and connectivity (like Bluetooth Low Energy). The intent being to have open specifications for third-parties to provide accessories.
  • Battery with USB charger.

Still at the Kickstarter level, already past half of its funding as I write this, on the first day, Reflex plans to ship in September 2018 with the specifications still subject to change. The pledge that gives the camera body in its barest configuration as a reward is at GBP350 (~CAD$590). You get the M42 mount, no lens. I believe this is reasonably priced.

My thoughts:

It is good to see that there are some people interested in make film cameras, beyond the booming instant photography. Yes there is Japan Camera Hunter’s project of 35mm compact camera project but it seems to be just a project.

The supply in used film camera is nice, with quite many affordable units, but it won’t be eternal. Something fresh is definitely needed for the survival of film photography.

The design is also interesting. It doesn’t try to be too complicated or gimmicky, the two major innovations are the interchangeable lens mounts and the removable film back. The former is a dedication to reusing older lens, without having extra adapters, and the later solve one of the issue of film that we can’t change film type without finishing a roll (or hacking by rewinding the spool, been there, done that). Some would argue that the flash or continuous LED light are gimmicky, but the Bluetooth Low Energy part is interesting. I like geotagging and this seems to be the perfect fit. It would be terrific if we could get the exposure information and DX that way as well.

And with all the comments, Shootfilm has an opinion on the matter.

Is Yashica back?

Usually a question as the headline means a “no” as an answer. This time as well.

Last month, Yashica teased us about their comeback.

Today, they announced the Kickstarter for digiFilm™, already funded in less than 24h.

In both appearance and sensation, YASHICA Y35 recaptures the joy and meaning of analogue-photography but eliminating the time and expense required for film development.

A cheap digital camera (plastic body), 14 megapixel 1/3.2″ sensor, optical viewfinder, 35mm equivalent f2.8 lens, no screen, no edit, with a system called digiFilm™ to load “presets” onto the camera. And to fool you, one has to needlessly “wind” the camera up before starting to shoot. Each of these digiFilm™ cost money (~USD$18) and they provide different ISO, colour, or even aspect ratio.

Looks like a novelty gadget, not something that will make Yashica serious choice like it once was.

Underwhelming.

Polaroid is back!

I wrote a few month back about Polaroid coming full circle.

It seems that today, on the 80th anniversary of the original Polaroid company by Edwin Land, the idea is coming to fruition, as Polaroid Originals is born. Dedicated to instant film photography Polaroid Original offers a new instant film camera, the OneStep 2, and its companion film the i-Type. Along this, they offer film for the vintage 600, Spectra and SX70 Polaroid cameras.

The OneStep 2 looks like a modern version of the Polaroid OneStep with a built in rechargeable battery (via USB).

The i-Type film looks like Polarod 600 film pack, but cheaper. Although the OneStep 2 accepts 600 film packs, but the cheaper i-Type can’t be used in vintage Polaroid 600 cameras.

At USD99, the OneStep 2 is reasonably priced. USD15.99 for an 8 exposures film pack is a bit on the expensive side compared to Instax, but cheaper than Impossible Project film. Also, it seems that the price for the vintage formats has been lowered too. Let’s hope that this be successful to allow the R&D to reduce the cost as they scale up the business.

Impossible Project is no more. Vive Polaroid Originals.