April 23rd 2013 sees us in St Albans at the next Photovision Roadshow. If you're attending, please feel free to pop over and say 'Hi'! We'll have a selection of camera bodies and lenses on show. More details can be found above.
Next Monday sees us jumping on a plane, heading up to Scotland. On Tuesday 26th March, we'll be at the first Photovision Show of the year, held at the Royal Highland Centre round the corner from the airport. Opening hours are 11am to 5pm with seminars starting at 10am.
For more information, click on the image above to download the PDF. Look forward to seeing you there!
Canon have just announced two new SLR's to their line-up - EOS 100D and EOS 700D.
Let's start with the EOS 100D. This becomes the world's smallest and lightest DSLR on the market. Compared to something like the old EOS 650D (now replaced by the EOS 700D), it's 25% smaller and it is nearly 30% lighter.
The EOS 100D contains a new 18mp APS-C Hybrid AF II CMOS sensor which combined with the DIGIC 5 processor is said to give excellent results. ISO range is 100-12,800 (expandable to 25,600) with Canon claiming excellent image quality.
As with the EOS 650D, the EOS 100D has built in phase-detect AF for focusing when in Live View and for Video. I have to say that it wasn't that impressive in the EOS 650D and I am hoping for better things with this new sensor - certainly it was way behind mirrorless sensor cameras such as the Fuji's.
One thing it doesn't have is Wifi which to be honest is a bit of shame. Movie wise, the camera offers 24,25 & 30p at full 1080 with 50p and 60p available at 720. It does have a mic input and we're assuming the HDMI output is not clean.
The creative filters will no doubt appeal to the target audience and include miniature and fish-eye effects.
It's fair to say that this camera is very much aimed at a new SLR user stepping up from a compact and it features good Auto modes and has a built in guide. Because it is so much smaller than a normal SLR, could you consider it as an alternative to a CSC camera? Possibly but do bear in mind that with the EF-S mount, the lenses will still be pretty big in diameter.
Next up is the EOS 700D. The EOS 650D has hardly been with us a year and along comes its successor. So the EOS 700D has the same 18mp Hybrid AF sensor as the EOS 650D along with DIGIC 5 processor which gives an ISO range from 100 to 12,800 (expandable up to 25,600).
To look at it has the same 3in Vari-angle touchscreen. But there are differences. If you stand the cameras side by side, you notice the finish of the body is different - Canon claims it is more robust and durable. The mode dial now rotates 360 degrees and the modes are embossed rather than stuck on the dial.
So what else? You can now preview filters in real time before shooting and just as backup, the camera can also record the original image (the EOS 700D can only capture the altered image).
Everything else, from what we can see, is pretty much the same which is no bad thing as, Hybrid AF notwithstanding, the EOS 650D is a very good camera.
So overall, the EOS 100D is the more significant release with its smaller body and it's a clever move on Canon's part as you might be swayed over by an SLR where you were considering a mirrorless compact. Why anyone would buy a Canon M is beyond us. One thing that is interesting is that the cheaper EOS 100D now has the newer sensor (from what we can read from Canon's release notes) so we'll be interested to see how the Hybrid AF performs and whether it is any better than in the EOS 650D.
The EOS 700D seems to be just a cosmetic update and perhaps a missed opportunity to add features such as Wifi. Quite why the new sensor wasn't put in as well is a mystery (though we do want to confirm this with Canon).
We're back with our famous Easter Offer but as this is our 10th year anniversary, we thought we would make it just that bit more special.
If you pay the normal weekend hire charge, subject to availability, we'll dispatch your goods on either Monday 25th or Tuesday 26th March. We will then pick them up on Tuesday the 2nd April. ALL FOR A WEEKEND'S HIRE CHARGE!!!
But that's not all. Those looking for a real bargain and willing to take a chance might like the next bit. As of 4pm on Tuesday 26th, any equipment still in stock can be booked to be dispatched on Wednesday 27th March for a SINGLE DAY'S HIRE CHARGE. Yes that's 4 DAYS FOR PRICE OF 1!!
We know we get heavily booked (this is our busiest weekend of the year) so if you really want something specific, we would advise booking early and we will send it out as early as we can next week.
Normal courier charges, minimum hire charges, equipment deposits and delivery conditions apply.
We have been supplying bi-colour 1x1 light panels for a while now and very popular they have been too. Back in September we got chatting to those lovely people at Bowens and hatched a plan to expand our lighting in both stills and video to include models from their range.
And here is the first on the video side - the Mosaic Daylight LED panel offering up to 4200 Lux of 5600K daylight. The light is dimmable from 0-100% controlled by an onboard digital control panel.
If you require more lighting, we can also offer a dual light mounting kit linking both together not only physically but in control using the DMX link.
If you need different temperatures, don't worry - we offer two ranges of gels for sale that you can keep going forwards.
The nice people from Octica came in to show us the Konova range of sliders (which we will be shortly stocking. They happened to have one of these skaters to show us and we were impressed by its simplicity. So we bought some! Ideal for using with a small video camera or SLR, they are a great portable solution for tracking shots.
We always knew Sigma had some more CSC lenses coming along and today at the start of the Camera and Photo Imaging Show 2013 in Japan they announced the introduction of not only three new lenses but also a new SLR lens.
Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN
Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN
You will recognise the focal length as Sigma already make the excellent 19mm f/2.8 EX DN lens. This lens is effectively an updated version that has been redesigned with better optical performance. The lenses have a metal exterior and you'll notice that the focus ring is smooth like the rest of the lens. By having a different texture to the surface, it is possible to distinguish between the two parts of the lens in feel.
In line with Sigma's Global Vision, it is now part of their Art range. Along with the other two lenses shown below, the 19mm f/2.8 DN incorporate a tele centric optical design and a linear auto focussing motor that is supposed to ensure accurate and quiet AF for shooting video.
The 19mm f/2.8 DN is a high performance wide-angle lens ideal for indoor photography and landscapes.
Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN
Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN
This again is not a new focal length but features the same updates as the 19mm f/2.8 DN. With a 45mm (35mm equiv) focal length on an E-Mount, this is perfect for portraits and street photography.
Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN
Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN
This is the new focal length, offering a mid-range telephoto lens with an effective focal length (35mm equiv) of 90mm on an E-Mount. Wide open this should provide excellent short depth of field shooting.
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM
This is Sigma's update of an old favourite. The new lens features a bright f/1.4 aperture and should be worthy of the sharpness and excellent characteristics that we have now associated with the new Art line that started with the simply excellent 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM lens. Interestingly this is the first smaller focal length lens to be compatible with Sigma's USB dock, which will enable not only firmware updates but also focusing adjustments.
It's easy to assume that sensor sizes are relative to the size of a camera. Once upon a time, that tended to be the case but now things have changed somewhat. Why is it important? Very simply, the bigger the sensor, the bigger the area for those pixels which should guarantee both better low light performance and resolution.
The standard size by which all is compared to is good old 35mm, quite often now referred to as full frame. In the diagram below, you can see all of the popular sizes of digital sensors.
Next to each description are the dimensions of the sensor and the crop factor. That effectively tells you how much the picture will be cropped when using a comparable focal length for the lens. So a 50mm lens on an APS-C sensored camera would actually be 75mm (50 x 1.5). So not only are the larger sensor cameras going to give you better quality but they will also allow you to shoot wider for any given focal length. This is especially useful if you shoot indoors or landscapes.
So going up in size, we start with 1/2.3. This is predominantly the domain of compact cameras - ideal for their size but clearly with the smallest sensor, they are the most challenged and rely on technology to help as much as possible.
Next up is the 1/1.7. This is actually used by Canon's S95/100/110 compacts which are considered to be about the best portable cameras out there (and having owned one for a while, I can happily vouch for that). Fujifilm use the 2/3rds size sensor - that's what you will find in your X10 or indeed the new X20.
The next jump is to 1" sensors. These are the domain of Nikon's 1 range which are CSC's (compact system cameras with interchangeable lenses). You can still get a compact with this sized sensor and that is the incredible Sony RX100 which delivers frankly astonishing quality for its size and is a marvel of packaging - for the size (i.e pocketable) there is nothing to touch it.
And so we move on to 4/3rds. When Olympus and Panasonic launched the Micro 4/3rds mount, this sensor size's popularity rocketed and today, a very large number of CSC's are Micro 4/3rds using the 4/3rds sensor.
Canon built a brand new sensor for the G1X - it's a curious size and you have to question why they build a new sensor just for one camera (the EOS-M CSC camera has an APS-C sensor) remains an absolute mystery!
You might have thought that APS-C sensors were all the same size but you'd be wrong - Canon have a slightly smaller sensor than the competition. APS-C is a very common size these days. If you're an SLR owner, unless you have full frame or APS-H (Canon 1D), you've got an APS-C sensor. This size also appears in some CSC's such as Fuji's X-Pro 1 and E1 and of course the whole of the Sony NEX range (NEX-5r, NEX-6, NEX-7). We mustn't also forget the lovely Fuji X100 and its successor the X100s.
Fuji X-Pro 1 and E1
Next we move up to a no-longer used size - APS-H. This was used for the Canon 1D series - cameras that were very fast and predominantly used for sports photography. With the arrival of the Canon 1DX, that has now changed as it has gone full frame.
And that's where we end up - Full Frame. Canon now have an expanding range of full frame cameras (6D, 5D Mk II, 5D Mk III, 1DX) and Nikon are not far behind (D600, D800, D4). Sony have recently entered the full frame world with the A99.
You might think that full frame is the preserve of just SLR cameras but you would be wrong. Leica have been building full frame Rangefinder cameras for a while now and have had the market all to themselves with models like the M9-P. That has all changed with the arrival of the incredible Sony RX-1.
Sony DSC-RX1 - the world's first full frame compact
The Sony has redefined what is possible, fitting such an enormous sensor is such a compact body and to make things even better, they have combined with a purpose made fixed Zeiss prime lens. Cynics have shut up - very simply it is one of the best cameras out there.
So what does this mean going forwards? Well, full frame CSC's are not far away - this time next year you may well be able to buy one. Compacts will continue to push the boundaries in terms of packaging. When you couple this together with sensor technology like Fuji's X-Trans technology (this deserves a whole blog post of its own!), cameras can only continue to get better and better, pushing the boundaries of low light performance and dynamic range.
So the speculation is finally over and we have production versions of the new Canon 1DX we can get our hands on! so how have people found it so far?
I happened to bump into Philip Bloom and James Miller last week in Brighton whilst Philip was shooting his review of the camera. it was the first time any of us had seen a production camera - it was literally straight out the box that afternoon.
Whilst the weather was frankly awful and we were getting wetter and colder by the minute, Philip continued with his review going out in the sleet to get some footage (James and i sensibly stayed under cover!).
Below are firstly Philip's review (unfortunately you will be exposed to my ugly mug at one point) and then a video from James, shot over the weekend in London. Please do feel free to click on the Vimeo link on Philip's video to donate via the Vimeo Tip Jar - always greatly appreciated - these reviews take huge amounts of time to compile.
What is clear is that even if you don't want your end result in 4K, by shooting in 4K and then downscaling to 2K, there are definitely benefits to be had in terms of the sharpness and detail in the picture.
James and I will be shooting side by side later this week with the 1DX and the 1DC with identical lenses to test this theory to the full.
So this week started off with 'Blue Monday' and there's no doubting the snow has caused endless disruption for us all. So we thought it was about time to cheer everyone up.
So book today and we'll send out your equipment for delivery before 12pm tomorrow. You can then keep it until we collect next Tuesday 29th January. All for a 1 day hire charge!
AND IT GETS BETTER!
If you would like to keep the equipment until Monday 4th February, we'll only charge you the equivalent of our normal weekend hire charge extra! That's 6 more days for the price of 2!
As always, this offer is on a first come, first served basis so we would advise phoning now. Naturally we can send out tomorrow and the offer will still be valid. The earlier you book, the more days you get for free!
Standard courier charges, minimum hire fees and deposits apply. Please note that this offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other club or loyalty discounts.
So CES in Las Vegas has kicked off for 2013. Annoyingly it clashes with the SWPP Convention in London which means staying in Blighty this year.
So onto the first of the announcements and that's from Fujifilm. The X10 and X100 are frankly brilliant cameras. When the X100 first camera out, everyone stopped and stared. Here was a retro great looking camera with bang up to date tech including that hybrid viewfinder. That was two years ago now (where has time gone) and speculation about a replacement has been around for some time.
So what's new? Well quite a lot, although you'd be hard pushed to tell looking at it. The biggest news is the new X Trans sensor which is based on the same technology as found in the X-E1 and X-Pro1. I have yet to meet anyone who has used one of those cameras not to be blown away by not only the image quality and colours but also the lack of noise at high ISOs. Well the X100s also uses a new EXR Processor II which is claimed delivers 30% less noise too. So we should be expecting very great things from the camera.
The new processor has also given us a far quicker camera, not only in start-up time but also in shooting speeds. Speaking of speed, Fujifilm have massively improved the autofocus and now claim the X100s has the fastest AF of any current compact.
The hybrid viewfinder was always one of the X100's party tricks but resolution has moved on and so it's great to see this has been increased from 1.44m to 2.35m dots.
If you want to focus manually, there's now focus peaking and a great new feature called Digital Split Image which overlays two images and allows you to line them up manually (bit like a Leica rangefinder).
Moving on to the new X20. The premium compact camera market has shot up in the last year or so and you could possibly give Fujifilm a fair pat on the back for driving it along.
The X20 moves the game on from an already very impressive X10. First up is the new optical viewfinder with a Digital Trans Panel at less than 1mm thick, it displays the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focusing area and other shooting info in the viewfinder.
The X20 also benefits from the same X-Trans technology found in its bigger brothers, although the megapixel count is 12mp rather than 16mp (although we suspect for most people it will be more than enough due to the lack of optical low-pass filters). Like the X100s, the new sensor is supposed to improve low light performance by 30% over its predecessor.
Autofocus has been dramatically improved with built-in Phase Detection offering AF in as little as 0.06 seconds. It is also claimed that due to the Back-Side Illuminated sensor structure, the pixels can work in low light conditions, something that does tend to test AF systems.
The lens is a 4x zoom f/2-2.8 manual barrel zoom lens with IS that is claimed to compensate for camera shake by up to 4 stops.
We look forward to getting our hands on both these cameras.
We hope you have all had the most wonderful Christmas and are adjusting to being back at work again! 2012 was a superb year for us at Hireacamera and with 2013 being our 10th anniversary, we are hoping for greater things.
Firstly you'll notice we're back on the case with newsletters - these will be sent out monthly. We will also be launching a separate 'offers' mailing list that will be sent out on Thursday mornings listing the last minute equipment available - if you would like to subscribe, please click on the link below.
We are also introducing 'Gear of the Month'. This will give customers the chance to try different parts of our stock at a reduced hire charge for one month only.
There's more to come but for the moment, may we wish you a very properous New Year!
And so to our first 'Gear of the Month' promotion. The idea is simply to give our customers the chance to sample different ranges of our equipment at the very best price possible - we'll give you 20% off our normal hire rate*.
This month it's Zeiss lenses. Massively popular for video, the ZF.2 and ZE lenses also lend themselves to stills photography, offering an incredibly crisp picture. We think more photographers should try them!
If you've got a Sony E-mount camera or camcorder, why not give a ZM mount lens a try? With their combination of small form factor and exceptional quality, they lend themselves perfectly to be used with a Metabones adaptor.
* The hire period has to commence in January 2013. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, discount or loyalty scheme. Minimum hire charge of £30, normal courier charges and deposits still apply.
If it's January, that can only mean one thing - it's SWPP Convention time. This year sees a change of venue to the Hilton London Metropole on the Edgware Road in London.
You'll find us on Stands K96-100 in the Kings Suite opposite Canon. The Trade Show days are Friday 11th to Sunday 13th January.
There's not much you can say about the RX1 apart from Wow! Yes, it's a lot for a compact but consider it as a full frame camera with a VERY good prime lens and suddenly it doesn't look so bad (honest!).
The camera seems to be at its happiest when shooting at F2, giving stunning depth of field and bokeh. Low light performance is astonishing.
Yes, it's a fixed prime lens but that merely encourages you to think more about composition which surely is good thing, isn't it?
We were quite keen to get out and play with the 6D when it arrived. The results are good and bad - good if you're a photographer and bad if you're into video. For stills it really is up there with the 5D Mk III. Okay its AF and metering aren't as advanced but the quality of the images is stunning.
If you're into video, it's actually remarkably similar to the 5D Mk II with moire issues. So afraid there is no cutting corners over the 5D Mk III for shooting video.
However, and it's a big however, if you just shoot stills, seriously take a look at the 6D as it's brilliant.
Regular customers will already know of our great Christmas and New Year offer and once again it's here!
Well we've gone a little mad this year (must be the weather) and have decided to give our customers the best Christmas present we can, short of giving the equipment away (which sorry we can't do!).
Very simply, you pay only a weekend's hire and get to keep the equipment from at least Friday 14th December until Wednesday 2nd January.*
That's 19 days hire for the price of 2!!!
This offer starts today (Friday 7th December) as of midday so it's now first come, first served!!
Rumours are we are in for some of that festive white stuff later this month - this may force us to send equipment out early to ensure it gets delivered on time. Interlink our courier company have an action plan in place and we will be working with them to ensure equipment does get delivered. If all else fails, we may well fall back on delivering ourselves where we can, like we did in 2010 (Guy did just over 3,000 miles in a week).
* Please note that we will dispatch the goods on Thursday 13th December for delivery before 12pm on Friday 14th December. In the event of a mis-sort or any other courier delays, the equipment would be delivered on Monday 17th December.
This year we are staying open late for both the Monday and Tuesday in the last run up to Christmas. Our last day of dispatch is Wednesday 19th December. Please bear in mind that in the event of adverse conditions, we may have to move this earlier. If we do, we will also move our late nights earlier to give people the chance to ensure they can get their bookings through in time.
Our usual opening times are from Monday to Friday : 8.00am to 6.00pm.
We've been getting quite excited about this camera's arrival. For Canon SLR video shooters, especially those that have been hiring 5D Mk III's, this camera is really a no-brainer. It's only a tiny bit more to hire AND you get all the sound equipment built in so no separate recorder.
It shares the same Super 35mm sensor as its bigger brother, the EOS-C300 so picture quality is a given (love the look the C300 gives you). Yes it records to AVCHD and not at 50mbs but for a lot of applications AVCHD is more than good enough and if it isn't, just bolt a Ninja 2 straight on top!
Demand is already quite high as supply of these EOS-C100's is pretty low so we're getting through stock at a trickle. But we do have it now available for hire. Feel free to find out more about it on our detailed product page!
Canon have this week announced two new IS lenses - the EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM and EF35mm f/2 IS USM. Both lenses use Canon's Image Stabilizer (IS) technology and Ultrasonic Motors for fast AF.
Details of both from Canon are below -
EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM – high performance, high flexibility, Hybrid IS
The EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM is the latest model in Canon’s elite L-series of pro lenses, and expands the range of standard zoom EF lenses available for photographers. Ideal for reportage and wedding photography, the zoom lens combines an essential ‘every day’ focal range with a premium quality L-series construction to deliver consistently sharp, professional-quality stills in a range of different situations. The new macro function optimises the placement of lens groups for macro photography, allowing shooting at a maximum magnification of 0.7x – thus reducing the need to carry a dedicated macro lens.
Its first-class optical system includes two aspherical elements alongside two Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lenses, each with optimised Super Spectra Coatings to minimise chromatic aberration, colour blurring and flare. A constant f/4 aperture throughout the zoom range provides photographers with exceptional creative control, allowing blurring of the background of a scene at all focal lengths. A nine-blade circular iris also assists photographers in making their subjects stand out, delivering beautiful out-of-focus highlights (bokeh) in the background blur to add atmosphere to a shot.
The EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM also features a newly designed IS system, to deliver blur-free images throughout the zoom range. Canon’s advanced optical IS offers a 4-stop light advantage, while Hybrid IS effectively compensates for angular and shift shake during macro shooting for stable close-ups.
Super-fast AF performance is provided by a small, ring-type Ultrasonic Motor (USM). Working in combination with a high-performance CPU and advanced AF algorithms, USM technology enables accurate, silent and ultra-responsive autofocusing. Full-time manual focusing also that ensures adjustments can be made even when AF is engaged.
The EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM zoom has a revised shape to ensure ease-of-use with the focusing and zoom rings designed for easy and optimal operation. The lens has a dust- and drip-proof construction and a lock function stops the lens slipping out when being carried, thus preventing any possible lens barrel damage. Fluorine coating minimises the amount of dust, dirt and fingerprints that adhere to the front and rear lenses – helping to maintain superior image quality and reduce the need for cleaning.
EF35mm f/2 IS USM – a wider look at the world
The new EF35mm f/2 IS USM lens is designed to offer outstanding flexibility – allowing photographers to capture an even broader range of scenes and subjects. It is Canon’s first-ever 35mm prime lens to feature optical Image Stabilizer technology, which combines with high quality optics to offer outstanding performance. The 35mm focal length also provides the ability to capture everything from close-up portraits to landscapes, making it an ideal companion for travel or general reportage photography.
A bright, fixed f/2 aperture also allows photographers to employ a shallow depth-of-field, and optical IS offers users a 4-stop light advantage, allowing the photographer to minimise camera shake when shooting hand-held in low light conditions. Intelligent detection of panning motion is also supported, with the panning IS mode automatically engaged to enable photographers to capture movement with greater accuracy.
Today Sony announced the new PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 cameras and blimey, they have really delivered and thrown down the gauntlet to the competition! The F55 is probably outside of our normal remit but with the success in hire of the Canon EOS-C300 and Sony NEX-FS700, the PMW-F5 most certainly isn't and we can see it being incredibly popular.
So what's it all about? Well, I bumped into Den Lennie from F-Stop Academy this morning at the Sony London Roadshow so out came his NEX-FS100 and we shot an interview with Sony's Sebastien Leske.