Search by Title
The world is ever-changing and the camera industry is no exception. High end compact cameras and interchangeable micro system cameras have moved on at one hell of a rate and now offer not seen before quality. We have vastly expanded our range of these cameras, simply out of requests from customers, and we are determined to continue to offer the most comprehensive range of them in the UK.
Most of our regulars use SLRs for their day jobs because they are the most effective way of doing their job. However, sometimes size can be a factor and there is no doubting the incredible interest in what these smaller cameras can achieve. Let's be honest - who doesn't want to have a play?!
We have decided to give even more people the chance to try these cameras. As of today, anyone who is a Loyalty Card holder (Blue, Silver or Gold) is eligible for a 25% discount off the hire of any cameras in our Compact, Micro System or Rangefinder ranges. We will also apply that discount to lenses in this range - this covers Leica, Zeiss ZM, Sony E Mount, Fuji X Mount and Micro 4/3rds mount. This discount is over and above your Loyalty discount so Gold members will be getting nearly 40% off the normal hire charge!
Why are we doing this? Simply because most of these cameras are not cheap and very hard to justify from a commercial point of view as a photographer. We want to say a big thank you for your loyalty to us and hopefully this should give you more a chance to get your hands on them to try!
We recently added the Zeiss ZM range of manual lenses that can be used with adaptors on a wide range of mounts. Our Leica range is due to expand with the arrival of the M camera early next year and more lenses. For Fuji fans, we have the new X-E1 arriving shortly and will be stocking new lenses as they are launched. Sony have announced the new RX1 which will be available in December - a full frame 35mm sensor in a compact camera - bonkers!
And we're not stopping there. We will continue to expand the range and are currently looking at stocking the Olympus OMD system - we would appreciate customer feedback on this.
So go on, treat yourself. Just promise you'll send them back!
Our next trip was to Fujifilm's stand. Fuji have really moved the game on with their X Series of cameras. If you're not familiar with them, they have a website dedicated to them.
The first new camera we saw was the XF1. This is a stunningly pretty compact using the same sensor as the X10 and featuring a fast f/1.8 lens with a 4x zoom (25-100mm at 35mm.
Whilst it isn't something we will be putting on our hire stock, there is no doubting that all the girls would like one in the office. You can find out more details about the camera in our XF1 blog post.
Fuji just seem to have a knack of producing beautiful products and whilst the selector wall was a bit of fun on the stand, it was also a very clever way of getting feedback about not only what designs people liked but also the reaction to personalising camera exterior design going forward - very smart.
So we move onto our good old friend, the X-Pro 1. It's no secret that we are hugely biased towards this camera as I simply love it. However, it most certainly wasn't perfect with the chief culprit being slow AF (and in fact no AF in poor light conditions). I also found when using the M Mount adaptor with any manual lenses, it was impossible to focus as the expanded focus was so great, you couldn't hold the camera still enough to have a hope of focusing!
During Photokina, Fujifilm announced their Version 2 firmware upgrade. We all knew it was coming but I don't think anyone knew quite how much better it was going to be. I timed the difference between the AF speed before and after firmware update and I'm not joking when I say that it has been cut by half. Secondly the minimum distance for focusing without having to switch to macro has also been reduced. Better still for someone like me that does like using a manual lens or two, the expanded focus has been decreased to a perfectly acceptable scale now. Finally processing has been speeded up as well.
It's turned the X-Pro 1 into an even better camera now and one that really everyone should try. We bought one as customers wanted to try it with a view to having it for 'playtime'. The reality is that I know of two clients that are using them full time now for Pro work along with their SLRs. If you haven't tried one, you really should! You can find out more details on the camera on our detailed product page.
So now the X-Pro 1 has a little brother - the X-E1. This is Fuji's smaller and more affordable offering in the interchangeable X family but don't think for a moment its spec has been compromised.
The sensor is the same 16.3 million pixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor as in the X-Pro 1. I've already mentioned previously how good this sensor is - because it doesn't have an optical low pass filter, the image you get off it is quite beautifiul and low light performance is astonishingly good. Put simply it is as good as some larger full frame sensors.
You will immediately notice that the viewfinder on the X-E1 is different. The X-E1 uses an electronic viewfinder only, rather than the hybrid system on the X-Pro 1. I'm not a huge fan of the electronic viewfinder on the X-Pro 1 - I tend to leave the camera on optical viewfinder unless shooting with manual lenses or in macro - BUT the X-E1 EVF is really good indeed with a 2.36m dot panel (as opposed to 1.44m dot panel on X-Pro 1). Sony really started the trend with OLED EVF's with the A77 and NEX-7. I have heard rumours that it is in fact the same OLED as in the Sony NEX-6 - would make a lot of sense as it's a damn good one. Being a glasses wearer I sometimes struggle to view the whole viewfinder on the X-Pro 1, especially if using the wide 18mm lens. The X-E1 seems to allow me to view the whole EVF without struggling.
Using the X-E1, it seems very slick indeed. As as X-Pro 1 user, all the controls seem very familiar but I watched new users on the stand very quickly get to grips with the controls.
I'm not going to talk about the quality of the photos as naturally they will be the same as the X-Pro 1 and it's clear what my opinion of that already is!
So who will this appeal to? Welll it's a fair chunk cheaper than the X-Pro 1 which I know was just a bit of out most people's range so hopefully should introduce a whole new raft of customers to the X Interchangeable family. Getting access to that sensor for less money can only be good news for everyone. Losing the hybrid viewfinder for most will not be an issue. I love it because I also have a rangefinder Leica camera and so enjoy shooting that way and the extra framing opportunities it gives you but it's not for everyone - I know of a few people that cannot get on with it.
We'll be stocking the X-E1 from the end of October. I really urge people to try it - just be prepared to go and buy one afterwards as you'll miss it once it's gone!
So let's move onto new lenses. Most users will know of the three current lenses available, the 18mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 and 60mm f/2.4 Macro. Each has its own place for me and whilst it was a great launch line-up, Fujifilm have been keen to increase the choices.
First out the blocks is s a new wide angle 14mm f2.8 lens. It doesn't sound that much wider than the 18mm f/2 but it is usually wider (21mm equiv) and I can see people using it for interiors and landscapes. I got to have a play with it and expanding right in on playback on the LCD, it looked pretty sharp.
More interesting for me was the 18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS zoom lens. This gives a 35mm equivalent focal length of 27mm to 84mm, which as anyone who uses a 24-70mm f2.8 lens on Canon or Nikon will tell you, is a very useful range. Having image stablization can only help in more challenging conditions. I love the way the frame changes in size when you're using it on the X-Pro 1 in optical viewfinder mode - just incredibly slick.
We should have both lenses available around the beginning of November.
So next year we have more X lenses on the way from not only Fuji but also Zeiss and indeed SLR Magic were showing two primes that will now bolt on.
This is great news for any X series camera user - 2013 is going to be a very good year!
So the crazyness that is Photokina has now passed and with a weekend behind me, I've had time to reflect on what a manic week it was.
Monday night saw me co-presenting on www.cameradiner.com 's first live broadcast. Camera Diner is a new website set up by ex Sony supremo Paul Genge. What Paul doesn't know about the photo industry isn't worth knowing and whilst, if you cut him in two, you'd probably find an Alpha sign in there somewhere, he's enthusiastic about other makes of cameras as well. He broadcasted every night of Photokina live. Sadly due to work and meetings, I didn't get to see them all.
So off to the show and to Zeiss. It's no secret we have significantly increased our stock of Zeiss lenses recently and there's a very good reason for this - our customers love them! We now stock a comprehensive range in ZF.2, ZE and ZM formats.
We knew Zeiss were going to be announcing some new releases for 2013 and here they are. I was fortunate enough to bump into Dr. Michael Pollman who is the Consumer Lenses Product and Program Manager for the Camera Lenses Division.
First off the blocks and great news for Fuji X and Sony NEX users are the new family of AF lenses for Mirrorless System Cameras. Initially three primes are in development - 12mm f2.8, 32mm f1.8 and 50mm f2.8 macro. Further prime lenses are planned and zoom lenses are still being considered. These lenses are for Sony E mount and Fuji X mount only - there will not be a Micro 4/3rds offering, certainly not initially. Both mounts will be offered with autofocus with slight differences - the E mount lenses will also be offered with manual focus (good news for movie shooting). The X mount lenses will interestingly also come with a manual aperture setting.
Will they be as heavy as existing Zeiss glass? Zeiss say that they have tried to continue the theme of the top end mirrorless system cameras by offering high quality as lightly as possible so where they consider metal not to be needed, it has not been used.
So we then move onto Zeiss' new high-end full frame SLR lens. This is aimed at getting the best out of high resolution full frame SLRs such as the D800. We know only too well that at full resolution the camera is quite capable of showing up any lens flaws and Zeiss claim that by matching that sensor with a much higher quality lens, it is possible to produce performance approaching medium format systems.
This one lens shown, the Distagon T* 1,4/55, will grow into a family of lenses to be offered in both ZE and ZF.2 mounts. Price wise, they won't cheap at around £2,500 but if you can get close to medium format results for under £5k when combined with a D800, as Zeiss claim, then perhaps it is good value. Zeiss are saying the lens will be available around Autumn 2013 but I got the feeling this was a worst case scenario.
Zeiss also announced the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 lens. The longest lens we stock at the moment is the Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2. The Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 is now gives both photographers and movie shooters the extra reach a telephoto lens offers. The lens features eleven elements in eight groups and is built using Zeiss' 'floating elements' design. As the lens is apochromatic (that's the Apo in its name), chromatic aberrations are corrected with elements of special glass materials with anomalous partial dispersion and thus well below defined limits. One thing to note (and anyone that's tried to pull focus on a 70-200mm lens shooting movies will know this), the lens has a large rotation angle of 268 degrees for the focus ring so pulling precise focus is a great deal easier.
If you want to know more about the lens, have a look at Zeiss' own video, showing Michael Schielen, Director of Sales for the Camera Lens Division, explaining the lens is greater detail.
The lens should be available some time around December this year. We have just ordered them in both ZE and ZF.2 mount and will have them up on the website shortly.
So a busy year ahead for Zeiss. We will be stocking the newer lenses as and when they become available.
Well this was no great surprised as details had already been leaked the end of last week but here are the press release details in full.
Building on the prestige of the LUMIX GH2, new LUMIX G addition takes professional videography to the next level in a portable interchangeable lens camera
Print this page
Email to a friend
Sept 17, 2012: Panasonic today launches the LUMIX GH3, its most powerful and versatile Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) interchangeable lens camera yet, featuring incredible video and picture quality in a ruggedly elegant and compact design. Offering expert control for videographers and photographers alike, the state-of-the-art LUMIX GH3 delivers crisp images and videos with a 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor combined with the incredible processing power of Venus Engine in a portable 550 grammes compact body (incl. battery and SD card). With an exceptionally fast and accurate auto-focus, engineered for precision control and professional results in any situation, you’ll always capture the action with absolute detail.
Clarity and control for beautiful video quality:
The new LUMIX GH3, the latest addition to Panasonic’s LUMIX G ecosystem, pushes the boundaries of video quality from an interchangeable lens camera. The LUMIX GH3’s sensor advances mean that you can take complete control of stunningly clear 1080 50p Full HD AVCHD video with a video bitrate of 28 Mbps or you can shoot MOV1 videos with 72Mbps in ALL-I.
Even in low light conditions, you can pick out all the detail to give you breath-taking cinematic quality thanks to an ISO range between ISO 200 to ISO 12800 as standard, or even between ISO 125 to ISO 25600 with an extension function.
Whether you’re filming an interview or an action sequence, multiple high-quality video file outputs - including MP4, MOV and AVCHD - mean you’ll always have the right tools for the task at hand to quickly and conveniently transfer and edit your work. In addition, the all indexed video option without compression means you’ll never need to compromise.
Full-time AF, AF Tracking and Face Recognition AF are all available in video mode, allowing you to ensure the focus stays on a subject or face, even if they move around.
Professional quality on the move:
Ready for adventure, from filming a remote village to shooting insects under the darkness of the jungle canopy, the lightweight and compact LUMIX GH3 is weather sealed and ready to take on the challenges with you – the classically designed and easy-to-grip chassis is both splashproof and dustproof. You’ll always capture beautiful and authentic colours driven by the 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor and enhanced 3DNR (3D Noise Reduction) and MNR (Multi-process Noise Reduction).
The LUMIX GH3 features ultra-high-speed and precise Light Speed AF, making it possible to capture even the most fast-moving subject with utmost clarity and accuracy. Burst shooting – at 6 fps in full resolution and 20 fps in 4-megapixel recording – means professionals can get the perfect shot, even when they’re on the move.
The powerful and versatile LUMIX GH3 is also compatible with all the accessories you would expect. It features a sync socket for studio lighting rigs as well as a range of pro-friendly accessories including noise-reduction directional microphone for exceptionally focused sound which can easily be plugged into the 3.5mm microphone jack. For longevity and even more flexibility, the new LUMIX GH3 battery grip means you can shoot for longer and benefit from the additional weight to get you more stability when you need it. For more creative control, the LUMIX GH3 vertical grip means you can make precise changes and take the perfect shot.
See the world in a different way:
Take shots no-one else can get - the lightweight design means you can comfortably carry the LUMIX GH3 anywhere and still take stunning pictures and videos. Choose how you frame shots - compose the scene with poise and precision using the high resolution 614k pixel 3.0-inch free-angle OLED screen, or use the 1,744K OLED viewfinder for a traditional shooting experience. The LUMIX GH3’s silent shutter means you’ll never be distracted or disturb the scene, and always capture the action just as it was.
GH3 - Product Details
Freedom to shoot and share:
Connecting you to the world, the intelligent built-in Wi-Fi integration gives you shooting freedom and unleashes a new versatility in professional photography and videography. You can collaborate with colleagues instantly as they review shots from moments ago being streamed to your office PCs with remote browsing via your smartphone or tablet. Meanwhile the LUMIX Link smartphone / tablet app for Android and iOS gives you remote control of the camera’s functions including the shutter, enabling you to take photos even when you’re not touching the camera.
Now you don’t have to worry about carrying data transfer cables with you everywhere, as you effortlessly and quickly back-up and share photos to the cloud with LUMIX CLUB Cloud Sync Service. Saving you time and effort after a long day shooting, the LUMIX GH3 can detect trusted Wi-Fi connections, such as your home network, and sync your photos and videos directly to the cloud.
Be part of the LUMIX G microsystem:
Ichiro Kitao, Director Imaging Network Business Unit and head of Panasonic’s global Digital Still Camera business, says: “The LUMIX G ecosystem has constantly pushed the boundaries of innovation and the LUMIX GH3 marks another significant step forward for the industry. The range and depth of features combined with an intuitive user experience make the LUMIX GH3 a powerful and versatile tool for professionals and serious amateurs alike. Those looking for a premium interchangeable lens camera will enjoy using the LUMIX GH3. The video capture is exceptional, and pictures quality is sublime – we’re incredibly proud of the innovation in the LUMIX GH3.”
As part of the LUMIX G system, the LUMIX GH3 will provide you with access to the world’s largest range of Micro Four Thirds lenses (17) and accessories, making sure you have the right set-up to capture every moment. These include Panasonic’s new high-quality weather sealed LUMIX G X series 12-35mm and 35-100mm lenses, offering pinpoint sharpness and F2.8 brightness throughout the zoom ranges, with a premium and rugged design.
LUMIX GH3: Key Features
• Outstanding quality from a DSLM: With a new 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor; the Venus Engine image processor; and high sensitivity image recording even at ISO 12800 or ISO 25600 in extended mode, the LUMIX GH3 delivers incredible video and photo quality, even in low-light situations
• Adaptable and always ready: Weighing just 550 grammes (incl. battery and SD card), the lightweight design means the LUMIX GH3 is highly portable, and the enhanced auto-focus captures action as it unfolds
• Versatile and flexible: The LUMIX GH3 offers 1080 50p Full HD recording in a range of video file formats, with all footage indexed to give you complete control over editing without compromising on quality
• Powerful and easy to use: The LUMIX GH3 features a redesigned and intuitive user interface, making it easier than ever to push your own creativity to new levels and shoot sublime pictures and video. It also provides easy sharing and transferring of content thanks to its built in WIFI functionality
• Stylish yet robust: The sophisticated design of the LUMIX GH3 complements the advanced technology, and is weather sealed so it is always ready for adventure. The LUMIX GH3 offers beautiful craftsmanship without compromising on utility, with a bright and vivid 3.0 inch OLED screen and sockets for professional grade equipment
Whilst this won't interest everyone, I thought I had to post up about this - the new Fujifilm XF1. Fuji have really come on the scene since the introduction of the X100 nearly two years to the day at Photokina in 2010.
You can't help but be impressed by Fuji's ability to produce stunning looking cameras when so many of their competitors seem to produce 'boxes'.
So enter the XF1. If you've used a X10, then it will seem pretty similar. In face it uses the same 12mp 2/3 inch sensor. Fast AF is promised, even in low light conditions.
The XF1 features a fast f/1.8 lens with a 4x zoom (25-100mm - 35mm equiv) which is adjusted by turning the ring on the lens itself.
For the fashion concious, the camera is available in a choice of colours - black, red and brown. I can already see the wife wanting one of these......
We did wonder if Canon would drop in an announcement at Photokina of something to rival Nikon's D600 and here it is - the new Canon EOS-6D.
The 6D features a 20.2 megapixel sensor and DIGIC 5+ image processing to shoot at 4.5fps with ISO sensitivity running from ISO 100 up to 102,400 extended. AF is dealt with by an 11 point system with improved low light performance.
Visibly, the camera is smaller than its bigger brother, the 5D Mk III and is 20 percent lighter, weighing in at just 690g.
Confusingly reports have said that the LCD screen is 3.2" (which would make sense). Canon's own website is saying it's a 3" - we assume that's a typo but will wait to see later today. EDIT - It is 3".
Big news is the inclusion for the first time in an EOS model of WiFi and GPS! Canon have already launched their EOS Remote App which can be downloaded to allows Live View Remote, In-Camera Image Viewer and Image Transferring and Saving.
Video wise, we haven't seen the full specs yet so are not expecting anything different from the 5D MkIII. It doesn't look as though there is headphone socket (although again, this has yet to be confirmed EDIT - now seen the photos and it does not have a headphone socket).
We should have the camera available in November.
Full press release below -
United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, 17 September 2012 – Canon today unveils its latest EOS DSLR for serious photography enthusiasts – the EOS 6D. A similar size and weight to the EOS 60D, the EOS 6D is the world’s lightest DSLR to feature a full-frame CMOS sensor, making it ideal for travel, portrait and landscape photographers. The model creates a new entry point into Canon’s full-frame line-up, and is perfect for those who want greater control over depth of field, or to maximise the impact of shooting with the EOS system’s extensive range of wide-angle EF lenses.
The EOS 6D combines a powerful, full-frame imaging system and superior low-light performance with a compact, robust and lightweight design. For the first time in any EOS model, Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity are included, empowering photographers to capture stunning images on the move, tag them with location information and wirelessly transfer them to a computer, the cloud, or smartphones.
Incredible images in all conditions
Benefiting from 25 years of EOS innovation, the EOS 6D features a newly-designed 20.2 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor that allows photographers to produce poster-sized prints, or to crop into their shots with no compromise in quality. A native ISO range of ISO 100-25,600 (extendable to 50-102,400) also makes capturing crisp, natural shots in near darkness easier than ever before.
A new 11-point AF system also offers the strongest low light performance of any Canon AF system to date. With focusing down to EV-3, the equivalent of moonlight, subjects remain in-focus in even the most challenging lighting conditions – offering the freedom to shoot landscapes or portraits at night and capture the true atmosphere of the scene with minimal noise.
Explore your creativity to the full
The inclusion of a full-frame sensor offers greater control over depth of field in portraits, allowing photographers to easily isolate their subjects with attractive background blur. With the EOS 6D, photographers can now also explore the full potential of their wide-angle EF lenses to capture every detail of a sweeping landscape, with models ranging from 8mm to 800mm. Additionally powerful DIGIC 5+ image processing offers a host of automatic modes and creative shooting features, complementing full manual controls to offer total flexibility to a wide range of users.
The EOS 6D is full of advanced features to assist photographers in capturing outstanding quality landscapes and portraits. HDR mode enables the capture of both highlights and low lights in tricky lighting conditions, while Multiple Exposures allows photographers to combine up to nine separate exposures into a single image in-camera, creating a dramatic effect in the final picture. A silent drive mode offers a more subtle option for shooting candid portraits or weddings, and a single axis electronic level accessed through the viewfinder or via the LCD screen, ensures that horizons are level during image composition.
Built for sharing
The first ever EOS to feature integrated Wi-Fi connectivity, the EOS 6D enables photographers to share their work immediately after shooting. Images can be wirelessly transferred to external storage devices, uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, or printed wirelessly using a Canon Wi-Fi enabled printer. Alternatively, movies and images can be viewed on DLNA-enabled HDTVs – enabling high-quality, big-screen viewing. By wirelessly connecting to a smartphone, photographers can also remotely control the camera, adjusting shooting settings and focus before remotely triggering the shutter and viewing the captured image.
Using the EOS 6D’s integrated GPS, images can be tagged with location data as they are shot. Travellers can also build a more complete record of their trip by using the GPS logger function to track their route, which can be displayed using the supplied Map Utility software
Robust, intuitive design
Measuring just 144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2mm and weighing 770g, the EOS 6D is the most compact full-frame EOS DSLR ever manufactured. Its dust and drip-proof, part-magnesium body offers robust protection and an intuitive button layout for easy control. Photographers can also view their shots in stunning detail and with natural colours on the large, high-resolution 7.7cm (3.0”) Clear View LCD screen, which features an enhanced anti-glare design to permit viewing in bright sunlight and at extreme angles.
A new Battery Grip BG-E13 provides additional power for extended shooting, while also making it easy to shoot both vertically and horizontally. When used with two LP-E6 batteries, the battery grip offers double the number of shots, and it can also be used with AA batteries for added convenience and flexibility.
EOS 6D - key features
Full-frame 20.2 Megapixel sensor
Tough, lightweight construction
Max ISO 25,600 (expandable to ISO 102,400)
11-point AF sensitive down to -3EV
GPS records your location
Wi-Fi file transfer and remote control
Correct at time of issue, according to Canon research (17 September 2012)
Wi-Fi support varies by device and region
GPS use may be restricted in certain countries or regions. Use of GPS should comply with the laws and regulations of the country and area in which it is being operated including any restriction on the use of electronics
In accordance with CIPA guidelines (690g body only)
Well our questions have been finally answered as to when Nikon would launch a cheaper full frame camera with less resolution - enter the D600, Nikon's 'game changing' SLR.
The D600 is noticeably smaller than its bigger (excuse the pun) brother the D800. However it's still resistant to moisture and dust and features magnesium alloy top and rear covers. It weighs 760g so is some 25% lighter than the D800.
The camera uses a 24.3mp CMOS sensor along with the same EXPEED 3 image processor as already found in the D4. That means an ISO range of 100-6400 extendable to 50 to 25,600 and continuous burst shooting at up to 5.5 frames per second.
The autofocus system is all new and offers configurable coverage using up to 39 points and like the D4 should be capable of focusing in very low light. Whilst on the subject of autofocus, you will see that the D600 has the same AF mode button as the D800, making switching between AF modes far easier.
The layout will seem pretty familiar to any Nikon user with a 3.2 in LCD on the rear and a glass prism optical viewfinder offering 100% frame coverage. Controls wise, again it's pretty familiar - you will notice Nikon have included a dedicated Movie Start/Stop button near the shutter release.
Talking of movies, the D600 supports 1080p at 30,25 and 24fps and 720p at 60, 50 and 25fps with a maximum recording time of 29 minutes, 59 seconds. Audio wise, you have ports for headphones and and external mic and the camera has manual gain control (although we have yet to see if it is adjustable whilst recording which strangely the D800 and D4 can't do). As with its bigger brothers, it also has a clean HDMI feed out..
Another big hit for movie makers is the in-built timer offering timelapse capability. Better still it's possible to save those time-lapse images as a movie file.
Media wise, the D600 features dual SDHC card slots. Nikon are also offering an optional WU-1b mobile adaptor which allows WiFi transmission of images directly to an android smartphone or tablet (iPhone and iPad apps are under development).
Nikon have also launched a new MB-D14 battery pack which will no doubt be popular not only for its ability to extend power but also for those looking for more substantial handling of the camera.
The D600 should be available to hire towards the end of October.
The Sony NEX range was started some 2 years ago with the launch of the NEX-5. Demands for a higher powered more professional camera lead to the introduction of the NEX-7 last October, not that anyone really got their hands on one until around February this year due to the dreadful floods in Thailand affecting production.
We've already talked about the new Sony NEX-5R and this, the NEX-6 fits in between the two models.
It has essentially the same 16.1mp sensor as the 5R with ISO sensitivity up to 25600. Again, like the 5R, the NEX-6 offers a new Fast Hybrid AF system that combines phase and contrast detection to give the best focussing possible. Very simply phase detection is used to quickly narrow down the focus range and then contrast detection is used for the last very fine adjustment.
Like the NEX-7, it features a OLED Tru-Finder as well as a 3inch LCD that can be angled up to 90 degrees up or 45 degrees down.
On top of the camera Sony have placed a mode dial allowing quick access to the modes without having to go near a menu. Like the 5R, the NEX-6 also have WiFi built in allowing not only sharing of photos/video out of the camera but also the ability to download Camera Apps such as Time-Lapse and Cinematic Photo.
Movie wise, full HD shooting is available at 50p, 25p and 24p. It's worth noting that unlike the NEX-7, the NEX-6 doesn't have a mic jack input - you can only record on the internal microphone. Until I see it next week, I'm not completely sure if it has Sony's new intelligent hotshoe (I assume it does) - if so, we may well find Sony offering a mic for it.
You can watch the launch video below -
We've always been a big fan of the Sony Alpha a77. It's a cracking camera that has often been overlooked purely down to the fact it's a Sony. To do so seems daft to me and there's a very good reason it's always had good press.
Today Sony has announced its successor the Alpha a99. I was fortunate enough to be asked to give my views on the camera and proposed specs at the beginning of the year and have been so excited waiting for it to finally be launched. I truly believe Sony have come up with a real contender and it was half the reason for our decision to stock a comprehensive range of Sony and Zeiss Alpha lenses.
So to the camera, the sensor is a 24.3 effective megapixel full frame Exmor CMOS sensor. One of my few criticisms of the a77 was it could have been better at low light. The a99 has this covered with an ISO range of 50-25600.
The new BIONZ processor speeds things up a bit - the camera can shoot at full resolution at up to 6 frames per second.
Things have moved on in the focussing department. The 19 point AF system is now complemented by a multi-point focal plane phase detection AF sensor with 102 AF points! This means not only fast AF for shooting stills but also much improved AF for video shooting. The a99 has a new AF-D continuous AF mode that uses both focusing methods to ensure that better tracking focus. This mode will only be supported at launch on the following lenses - SAL2470Z, SAL2875, SAL50F14, SAL300F28G2, SAL70400G and SAL500F4G lenses. More lenses will be supported via future firmware updates.
As with the a77, the a99 gets an XGA OLED Tru-finder with 100% frame coverage and the same superb three way tiltable LCD screen with WhiteMagic technology to boot screen brightness when using outdoors.
Whilst being the lightest 35mm full frame interchangeable lens camera available at present, the a99 features weather-resistant seals to protect against dust and moisture while the controls and buttons have been ruggedized.
So onto video. The a99 supports full 1080 50p, 60p, 25p and 24p recording in AVCHD2 format. Most importantly Sony have offered a clean HDMI output allowing you to connect a Ninja or other 3rd party recorder. If you want to record on-board, dual card slots are available allowing sequential or simultaneous recording.
Sony have added a new multi controller on the front of the camera which allows smooth slient adjustment of various settings.
Audio is the huge departure for this camera and it's a BIGGIE! I was so excited when I found out what Sony were going to do on this front. The hot shoe has now been redesigned and indeed it looks like a conventional shoe now (moving away from the traditional Minolta mount) but it also has a smart connection. This allows the fitment of an XLR adaptor giving you dual XLR inputs. You also have a mic input on the side of the camera if you just want to bolt a Rode mic on top. In both cases, you have complete manual gain control and great news - a headphone socket for monitoring.
Power wise, Sony have announced a new battery grip that allows the existing battery to remain in the camera, giving you 3 battery's worth of power rather than two.
We should have the camera available from early November.
Okay so we'll be honest, we were never great fans on the original NEX-VG10E. Whilst it was the first APS-C sized camcorder to hit the market (it was launched nearly two years to the day at the last Photokina), it really didn't offer the control you needed and frustrated with its controls as much as it pleased with its image.
Things have moved on and VG20E was a step on from the original camera and Sony had finally listened to a great number of the criticisms. That camera was short lived as Sony announced today the launch of the NEX-VG30E. Unfortunately, it has rather had the wind blown out of its sails by the announcement of its new bigger brother - the NEX-VG900E.
This is the first Handycam to use a 35mm full frame sensor to full exploit the range of interchangeable lenses from Sony and Zeiss.
The 24.3 effective megapixel sensor is the same as found in the new Alpha a99 and RX1 - effectively it's almost twice the size of an APS-C sensor.
The camera shoots in AVCHD 2 at full 1080p in 50p, 25p and 24p (can also shoot at 50i). Recording is onto SDHC card.
Interestingly Sony have included Cinema Tone Gamma and Cinema Tone Colour - whether these will be gimmicks or of any genuine gain, we will just have to wait and see.
The camera comes with an EA-3 adaptor as standard allowing you to bolt Alpha mount lenses straight on. With a translucent mirror built into it, it offers contrast and phase AF. If you're just bolting on E mount lenses, you have the same contrast AF you will have already experienced in the current NEX range. Sony have added a rocker switch for zooming on the camera - this will be able to work with the power zoom E mount lenses that have also recently been launched.
Audio wise, it continues the high end consumer theme of offering a Quad Capsule Spatial array microphone for surround sound BUT (and this is a big but) you can also, through the new Multi Interface Shoe, attach an optional XLR adaptor kit.
Controls wise, does it still frustrate? I expect so - we will see as soon as we can get our hands on one. Will Sony Pro bring out their version? We'll just have to wait and see. We'll have a NEX-VG900E available to play with in November.
Sony's RX100 with its 1 inch sensor has already proved a great hit with our pro customers, wanting to find out if it really is the ideal compact back-up. We knew Sony weren't going to be stopping there and finally the camera is announced - the DSC-RX1.
Put simply, the RX1 is a compact camera with a 35mm full frame 24.3 megapixel sensor and Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f2 prime lens. Okay so it's not that cheap (well it wouldn't be, would it) but it has to be up there as one of the most tempting travel and street photography cameras.
The RX1 shares its sensor with the new Alpha 99 with a much expanded ISO range of 100-25600. You can use Multi Frame Noise Reduction which will take your ISO ceiling up to 102400.
The lens' wide f2 9-bladed circular aperture enables great bokeh. If you want to shoot Macro shots, there's a switch on the lens barrel to allow you to instantly focus down to a distance of just 20cm. If you're frustrated about being limited to just 35mm, it's worth remembering that there's also a Smart Teleconverter function that crops the central portion of the image sensor, boosting effective magnification by 1.4x or 2x.
Sony's tried to aim this camera firmly at the pro - focus and aperture are both controlled from the lens. On the top you'll find exposure compensation and mode dials. It's also good to see Sony following Fuji's lead in using a good old fashioned screw in remote trigger.
Clearly this camera will also get a lot of attention from the movie makers. If you want to shoot in manual focus, the camera offers a MF assist function and there's also peaking. An optional electronic viewfinder can also be added for greater precision. You can shoot 50p/60p or 25p/24p at full 1080 using AVCHD2. It also has a stereo mic input on the side, allowing you to put a Rode Mic on top. HDMI feed is there - whether it is clean or not I'm not sure but to be honest, if you're interested in that, the Alpha a99 would probably be the way to go.
Clearly there's a large range of creative styles and picture effects and Sony's also put in their Auto HDR and D-Range Optimizer functions (which we have tried on the RX100 to good effect).
The camera will be available around December and yes, we will be stocking it!
Sitting in a nearly empty but beautiful pub up in Lincolnshire on my way to another roadshow tomorrow with a glass of wine to hand, I can now reflect on what has been a manic but great three days at IBC.
So what's happened this year? Friday was all about scouting around seeing what took my eye and by lunchtime I realised that on the surface there wasn't a huge amount that hit you in face - digging deeper was necessary.
So what of camera releases? Firstly the Canon EOS-C100. Every single time I went to Canon stand, the cameras were strangely not crowded round at all. Either no-one knew they were there or frankly didn't care - most strange. Thing is, I wasn't actually that bowled over when the email came through from Canon with the spec but the more I have had time to handle it and think over it, I'm more sold. With a Zacuto Stiker rig, grip relocator and Z-Finder Pro, it just feels so natural to use. If you're wondering what it can shoot, worry no more.
This evening Sebastien Devaud released his video Just C It! For those that are giving AVCHD and the C100 a hammering, do please have a look at it. Interestingly we bumped into him whilst we were filming Nino Leitner's views on the C100 - as with most filmmakers, what a incredibly nice guy.
I'm looking forward to getting the C100's and do think they will prove really popular with our customers, not least because we've tried to price them as temptingly as we could to 5D Mk III hirers as we could afford!
You would have to be on another planet to have not followed all the buzz about the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera. I finally got a chance to really play with Philip Bloom's one on Saturday evening (diverted his attention with a G 'n T) and it's quite addictive, even if you have to completely re-align all your ideas of how to hold a camera! People have been making a huge thing about the sensor size and I really think they are hugely missing the point. The only real issue is wide shots on using the EF mount and BMD have now addressed this with the announcement they are launching a Micro 4/3rds mount. Having just bought a pile of Leica M mount Leica and Zeiss lenses, this is music to my ears as those lenses with a small adaptor will bolt straight on and still maintain the small form factor and provide what should be incredible images.
One thing that I did realise is that colouring is clearly now essential (and embracing it should be actively encouraged) and a whole new wave of film makers are going to have absolutely no option but to learn to colour. Thankfully my mate Den had the solution to hand - a quick trip to those very nice people at Tangent. If you don't know who Tangent are, you really should if you want to start colouring. Do you really need a tablet? The only kind of analogy I can come up with is to compare it to using the keyboard to do everything rather than the mouse. You can cut corners but your work flow will never flow and it just feels so natural.
We had a long chat with the guys there and are looking at coming up with a Cinema Filming package that would see you hiring the BMCC and then hiring a tablet once the filming is over. Resolve Lite is free and does pretty much everything you would need. I would be really pleased to hear thoughts on this - do you like the idea?
So onto Sony. The PMW-200 was there, as expected, but the PMW-150 was a surprise. Can't see a huge market for it as if I was buying, I'd pay the extra for the 200 but I could be wrong (wouldn't be the first time). I did quite like the XM Pilot option that is available of both allowing you to control the camera via anything that can access an IP address on a browser.
Moving over to the NEX-EX50EH. I really like this camera and funnily enough the first thing I said to Sony boss Bill Drummond was please can you build an FS700 in this form. Sony have really got this one right and I can really see Z1/V1/Z5 owners warming to it when they have previously been apprehensive about interchangeable lens larger sensor cameras. The servo zoom on the new lens works well. As it's a photo lens, it doesn't keep a constant focus and so you'd need to count on the AF to keep this on track. Put simply, I wouldn't try a rapid zoom in but certainly on testing it wasn't that bad and let's be honest, it's way better than anything possible on this format so far. But Sony have got it so right with this camera in its design - you don't need a rig or accessories.
So on to accessories. We have stocked Bebob accessories for a while but until now, I had never met them and what a pleasure that was. Philippe (the owner) and Christophe (sales director) are just the most wonderful people you could ever meet and it was clear to see just why their new cages and rigs are so good. It got better when we saw the new Coco-15 battery with 7.6, 8.4 and 12V outputs and various mouting options. As cameras demand more and varied power demands, this product is right on the money. We hopefully will be stocking both pretty soon.
We had an interesting bump into Erik Widding from Birger Engineering on Saturday. We interviewed him to find out just what has been happening since NAB 2011 - we'll get that posted up very soon - watch this space.
Saturday night saw me firstly at the Sony party to celebrate the Duran Duran film that Den DP'd. Shot with F3's, FS100's and even the little MCR1P minicams - on the big screen it looked superb. A quick change and it was off to the Amsterdam DSLR meetup and it's always great to meet with faces and names alike. What it instantly shows you is what a friendly community the filming one is.
Indeed the industry itself is such and to be honest it's a small old world and one reason why IBC (and NAB) are so great - it's good to catch up with everyone - suppliers, manufacturers and customers.
A huge thanks to great pal Den Lennie for helping with the interviews - he's a natural and a very good friend (and a damn good teacher so check out his courses). Thanks to Phil Bloom for letting me finally get my hands on a BMCC and always good to catch up with him and Sarah over a rather nice curry! Bratwurst next week at Photokina?
Was great to catch up with loads of filmmaker pals - Seb Wiegaertner, Nino Leitner, Phil Artnz (looking forward to his release of Sophie - his first short), Paul Williams and so many others and it was a privilege to have a good chat with Tom Lowe who produced Timescapes (seriously, if you haven't seen it, WATCH IT). This is why I enjoy my job!
Next week does indeed see us at Photokina which will be a HUGE two days. Announcements will be continuing on Wednesday this week with Sony finally making public all the things I can't say!
Sony have kicked off IBC 2012 by revealing the new PMW-150. Not surprisingly it is designed to fit in between the PMW-100 and PMW-200.
Here is the press release -
IBC, Amsterdam, 7 September 2012 (Hall 12, stand 12.A10) – Sony has expanded its XDCAM HD422 product line-up with the PMW-50 SxS Field Gear and the PMW-150 50mbps HD422 handheld camcorder equipped with 3x Full HD 1/3-inch Exmor™ CMOS sensors and a 20x zoom lens. These two new products strengthen a range that has proven ideal in terms of flexibility, performance and image quality for all broadcast HD productions.
The handheld PMW-150 joins a family of popular HD422 SxS camcorders that include the PMW-100, PMW-200 and the shoulder-mount PMW-500, making this the strongest and most versatile HD422 range in the industry.
“With fast file-based operation, codec efficiency and outstanding picture quality, XDCAM HD422 products are ideal for applications such as news gathering, when workflow speed is a key concern. They are equally invaluable when seeking a high-quality HD broadcast image without compromising production costs and efficiencies, for example in the production of TV documentaries and mainstream entertainment programs,” said Bill Drummond, Strategic Marketing Manager, Professional Solutions Europe. “With the development of not just the new PMW-50 field gear, but also the PMW-150 professional camcorder we are offering the most extensive range of broadcast quality HD422 50Mbps acquisition tools on the market today.”
The PMW-150 is equipped with three chip 1/3-inch Exmor™ CMOS sensors and delivers high sensitivity and low noise compared to similar 1/3-inch camcorders available in the market. It comes armed with a 20x zoom lens with a focal length of 29.5-590mm (35mm equiv.) and is capable of shooting wide angle (optional wide converter VCL-HG0872K available) from a distance, making it great for event productions, documentaries and more. The lens is equipped with three independent rings for focus, zoom and iris adjustment with full manual control, plus an image stabilising function.
The PMW-150 is capable of shooting in 1080/50i, 1080/25P, 720/50P, 720/25P or PAL. To meet familiar professional operational and creative shooting needs, this camcorder also features a four-position built-in ND filter switch (Clear, 1: 1/4, 2: 1/16, 3: 1/64) and a powerful Slow & Quick motion function which enables capture at 1 fps to 60 fps in 720p mode, and from 1 fps to 30 fps in 1080p mode. The PMW-150 also comes with an invaluable 15 second cache recording feature: It can use its internal memory to capture content, even before the recording button is pressed (maximum of 15 seconds), allowing users to record important moments that would have otherwise been missed.
Genlock In and Time Code In/Out interfaces make the PMW-150 ideal for multi-camera environments. The camcorder also offers users unrivalled flexibility in recording media choice, operating with Sony’s professional SxS technology as well as other media such as SD, Memory Stick and XQD cards (adaptor required). A Wi-Fi remote control (adaptor required) for the PMW-150 enhances flexibility for studio or on-location use offering white balance and playback controls via compatible mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
Light-weight and mobile, the PMW-150 can be used for a wide variety of applications not just in broadcast and production but also in education, corporate, and event videography.
Today Zeiss issued a press release about their future plans, prior to Photokina in Cologne next week. We have committed to stocking the most comprehensive range of Zeiss camera glass in the UK so it's very exciting news for us.
First off is the announcement of a telephoto lens for SLR cameras which will premiere next week at Photokina and should be available to hire from the end of the year.
Zeiss have also announced a new 55m f/1.4 high performance lens, the first of a new range designed for demanding users. It uses a newly developed optical design that produces performance comparable with medium format systems. The lens should be available in the second half of 2013.
Compact camera systems such as Sony's NEX range have proved hugely popular and we're delighted to say that Zeiss are going to offer a new family of autofocus lenses for these cameras, available mid-2013. Initially fixed focal lengths will be made available in wide angle, standard and macro.
That's not all! Next year Zeiss will launch at least one fast lens for M Mount users which is great news for not only Leica owners but also the growing number of FS100/FS700 video users who use an M Mount adaptor to take advantage of these lenses.
We'll be at Photokina next week so expect to see more details and photos as we get them!
Showing 81 to 100 of 333 Post