Finally, I had the opportunity to play with some new Sony gear. Yes, it’s the new A7 I’m talking about. Mirrorless and full frame at the same time, A7 is the camera many photographers dreamed about for a long time. Full frame cameras are around for years, but not until recently all of them were either big and heavy DSLR models or insanely expensive Leica. Just around last Christmas, Sony released RX1, a full-frame compact with fixed 35mm F/2 lens. Nothing like this was produced before and it became apparent it is only a matter of time Sony would release full frame mirrorless cameras. So now we have A7 and A7R which are very similar models. A7 has 24 megapixels, 117 phase detect AF points on the main image sensor and can shoot 5fps. A7R has 36 megapixel sensor with AA filter removed, 25 contrast detect AF points, shoots at a bit slower 4fps and has more magnesium parts (dials, back plate…). Both cameras are weather sealed, have tilt LCD, 2.5 million electronic viewfinders, 1/8000 shutter speed and records videos up to 1920 x 1080 @ 60p. Impressive.
Samsung has published the source code for two of its latest mirrorless cameras: NX2000 and NX300. This is first time any major camera manufacturer offered camera firmware to public and opens a whole range of possibilities for users to enhance the camera’s capabilities.
Having in mind how successful Magic Lantern was with theirs firmware upgrade for Canon EOS bodies, this latest move from Samsung is a potential game changer. Possibilities are almost endless: advanced file processing, RAW video, HDR (yuck), time-lapse, focus peaking… programmers imagination becomes the limit.
Source code can be found at this link.
Today is a day for Sony announcements. After RX1 full frame compact, next in line are three new NEX lenses; a wide angle 10-18 f/4, callapsable 16-50 power zoom and a 35mm f/1.8 prime lens. With the latest additions, a popular NEX system has 13 lens options (together with wide and fisheye adapters for 16mm).
Sony prepared a big surprise for us this morning. A camera we’ve been dreaming for years finally is here; compact with 36 x 34 mm (full frame) sensor. For a long time all those who absolutely wanted or needed full frame had to use goliaths like A900 or Nikon and Canon equivalents. Leica has a full frame rangefinder, but at a price point mortals cannot afford. DSC-RX1 at around $ 2800 is not cheap, but at least it is small; at 113 x 65 x 69 mm this is a true compact camera.
Fuji has announced its second mirrorless camera – the X-E1. The camera closely resembles X-Pro 1, with some design and specifications differences. In essence, X-E1 is the slightly smaller X-Pro 1 without the hybrid optical/EVF viewfinder and with higher resolution EVF. Both of them use the same 16 megapixel X-Trans sensor with its unique color filter array, which helps to minimize moiré and false colors without the need for an optical low pass filter, and maximize its resolution.
Sony announced a new member of its growing NEX digital camera family. The model is called NEX-5R, and is replacing NEX-5N model. Basic design remains the same; all the new features are under the hood. Sensor used is a completely new unit, but it has kept the same resolution as previous model; 16MP is a sweet spot for APS-C size. New exciting feature is phase detection via 99 focus points on imaging sensor, which is supposed to work in conjunction with contrast auto focus to deliver fast and precise focusing. From launch, Hybrid AF is supported with four lenses: 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS; 55-210mm F4-6.3 OSS; 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS and 24mm F1.8ZA. Firmware upgrades will expand the range of lenses supporting Fast Hybrid AF.
Photokina is the world’s biggest and most anticipated imaging fair that takes place every two years in a German town of Cologne (Köln). Industry leaders, traders, professionals and amateur photographers will all gather at September 18 to view and try the latest photographic equipment on the market. I have prepared a short list of expected announcements and rumors. Some cameras or lenses might be announced before the show, but the public will be able to see them for the first time at the fair.
As expected, Canon finally announced its first interchangeable lens mirrorless system. It is based around the brand new EOS-M lens mount and features 18 megapixel CMOS sensor. Canon claims it can deliver the same image quality as EOS DSLR cameras, but does it with much smaller body and lens package.