Saturday, September 27, 2014

Nikon D750 Review

Nikon D750 with AF-S 24-120 f/4 VR

  1. The D750 is not an outright action camera.
  2. It is also far better than an entry-level FX camer.
  3. It doesn't solve DX users needs

... With those points out of the way, it's fair to say that the D750 is an extremely capable camera in its own right. Nikon threw the proverbial kitchen sink into the D710. Except for the full metal body and "pro-level" control layout of the D810, the list of features not on this camera is fairly short. Though it's "another 24mp camera" the D750 has broader market appeal than the D810 and ticks off more of the check boxes that enthusiasts watch for than the D610. In other words, it's not as much of an "action camera" as people had hoped for, but it is ostensibly being set up to be a big part of Nikon's FX lineup. In that sense, the D750 is like the middle part of a restaurant menu; it's the option that they think most people will pick. It looks affordable next to the premium option, but it brings in more money that the value option that they hope you will steer away from.

Update 1: Jan 2015: A few words about the flare issue that seems to affect some early units. 
Update 2: Jan 2015: Nikon issues repair advisory

Monday, September 15, 2014

Launch Review: Canon 7D Mark II First Impressions


Canon's 7D Mark II is late to the party. Very late, as in Chinese Democracy late. It's the camera that many people have wanted, but so much time has passed, one wonders if they've moved on to wanting something else by now. The original EOS 7D was announced in September of 2009, making its customers the second-most long suffering group in modern photography. The group that has waited the longest is the audience for the D300s successor; that camera was introduced a month ahead of the 7D. In the ensuing years, both cameras were much beloved by their respective camps. The Canon has arguably aged more gracefully, though that's not saying much since most of the EF-S lineup hasn't evolved as fast as the rest of the industry. The headline specs for the7D Mark II are:




  • Magnesium alloy body
  • 20.2 MP CMOS sensor with Dual-Pixel CMOS AF
  • New 65-point AF, all points cross-type
  • Continuous shooting: 10fps
  • Dual DIGIC6 processors
  • ISO 100-16,000, boosted to 52,000
  • Shutter rated to 200,000 cycles.
  • New RGB+IR new 150,000-pixel metering sensor
  • 1080p video at 60fps
  • Built-in GPS


  • In other words, this is the consumer-level EOS 70D, but in semi-pro working clothes.

    Friday, September 12, 2014

    Launch Review: Nikon D750 First Impressions



    The long wait is over. The D400 is finally here  nowhere to be seen and we now have even starker evidence that Nikon is serious about moving as much of the enthusiast crowd up to full frame as is economically possible. In many ways, the D750 is like the D3s; its a capable camera that few were expecting.The headline specs are:


    • 24 mp sensor with AA filter
    • 51 AF point, MULTI-CAM3500 II
    • AF functional down to -3EV light levels
    • Group AF mode (like D4s and D810)
    • 6.5 fps, does not change with additional battery pack
    • Aperture control during live view and video recording
    • 91k pixel RGB exposure sensor (same as D810)
    • Articulating 3.2" 1.23k-dot screen
    • Built in WiFi 
    • Same video capability as the D810
    • Simultaneous SD card/external video recording

    Nikon threw the proverbial kitchen sink into the D710. Except for the full metal body and "pro-level" control layout of the D810, the list of features not on this camera is fairly short. Though it's "another 24mp camera", it has broader market appeal than the D810 and ticks off more of the check boxes that enthusiasts watch for than the D610. In other words, not as much of an "action camera" as people had hoped for, but it is ostensibly being set up to be a big part of Nikon's FX lineup. 


    Wednesday, September 10, 2014

    Launch Review: Apple iPhone 6 Camera First Impressions



    With every new iPhone release, Apple has placed a greater emphasis on photography. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus seem to be a waning of that trend; though there are improvements the 2014 editions are more iterative than innovative. In many ways, this is a mirror of the dedicated camera market as a whole; the improvements are there but the actual benefit to the consumer diminishes with each gain. The headline specs are:

    • 8mp
    • Larger 1.5 µm photodiodes (iPhone 5s was 1.2µm)
    • f/2.2 aperture
    • Optical image stabilization on the 6 Plus 
    • True Tone flash carried over from iPhone 5s 
    • 240 fps slow-motion at 720p


    There are some interesting things going on, but the sum total isn't overwhelming this time around. Certainly not like the 5s introduction, which is almost as much a camera launch as it was a smartphone launch.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    Olympus OM-D E-M1 Review


    The Olympus OM-D E-M1 on paper looks like a higher-spec version of the well-received E-M5. In real-life use, it is much more like the a shrunk-down semi-pro DSLR than it is a pumped up version of a mirrorless camera. This isn't to say that DSLR's are inherently better than mirrorless cameras, but that too often mirrorless cameras lean on the "consumer electronic" side of the equation rather than being "photographic tools." In your hands, the E-M1 makes you "feel like a photographer" in a way that cameras like the Sony A6000 or Samsung NX300 don't. The headline specs are:

    • 16MP MOS sensor with no low-pass filter
    • On-sensor phase detection
    • '5-axis' image stabilization with automatic panning detection
    • ISO 'LOW' (100 equiv) - ISO 25,600
    • Up to 10fps (6.5 fps shooting with continuous AF)
    • 1.04M-dot 3" LCD touchscreen display
    • Electronic viewfinder: 2.36M-dot LCD, 0.74x magnification
    • Built-in Wi-Fi 
    • Dust, splash and freeze-proof (to -10 °C)

    In almost all aspects, this is as contemporary as a camera can get in terms of a feature list. That says nothing about how well those features actually perform, and what is more important... is how those features work together.