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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!).
Anyhow, you can read all about it on Philip's blog. You will also find James has added to this. He has been playing with the camera over the last few days and really spending some time getting to know it.
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.
UP TO 4 DAYS HIRE FOR THE PRICE OF 1!
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.
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.
|Monday 17th December 2012||LATE NIGHT||8.00am to 8.00pm|
|Tuesday 18th December 2012||LATE NIGHT||8.00am to 8.00pm|
|Wednesday 19th December 2012||LAST DAY OF DISPATCH||8.00am to 6.00pm|
|Thursday 20th December 2012||LAST DAY OF DELIVERY||8.00am to 6.00pm|
|Friday 21st December 2012||CLOSED|
|Monday 24th December 2012||CLOSED|
|Tuesday 25th December 2012||CLOSED|
|Wednesday 26th December 2012||CLOSED|
|Thursday 27th December 2012||CLOSED|
|Friday 28th December 2012||CLOSED|
|Monday 31st December 2012||CLOSED|
|Tuesday 1st January 2013||CLOSED|
|Wednesday 2nd January 2013||FIRST DAY OF COLLECTION||8.00am to 6.00pm|
|Thursday 3rd January 2013||FIRST DAY OF DELIVERY||8.00am to 6.00pm|
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.
The Canon EOS-1D X is, we think, a stunning camera but not being able to shoot at f/8 was a massive issue for some and the debate as to why Canon didn't allow the camera to do so has continued to go on. Thankfully this has been fixed with their latest firmware update! They have also illuminated AF points so you now have red blinking again!
More details below from Canon's official release.
Performance redefined - Canon enables auto focus at f/8 for the EOS-1D X with new Firmware 1.1.1
United Kingdom, Republic Of Ireland, 18th October 2012 - Canon today announces a new firmware update for its acclaimed EOS-1D X professional digital SLR is now available, offering new functionality and improved performance to professional photographers. Developed in response to direct feedback from photographers around the world, Firmware v1.1.1 improves the scope and performance of the AF function and introduces minor fixes to offer professional photographers the ability to capture stunning images more easily in all conditions.
New functionality; enhanced performance
During AI Servo AF shooting in low light, viewfinder information is now illuminated, with the AF points blinking intermittently in red, allowing them to be easily confirmed whilst shooting, without affecting the metering of the scene.
Getting closer to the action is also even easier, with the firmware update allowing photographers to use extenders to increase the focal length of their super telephoto lenses, whilst maintaining the use of AF to capture a crisp, clear shot. Enabling the utilisation of telephoto zoom L series lenses plus extender, the centre AF point (one cross-type with four supporting points) can now be used to auto focus at a maximum aperture of f/8.
The firmware update v 1.1.1 is released for cameras with current firmware up to v 1.0.6. Firmware update v 1.1.1 is available to download now from: http://software.canon-europe.com
Canon EOS-1D X Firmware v1.1.1 – new features:
Auto focus with f/8
Illuminated AF points and viewfinder information in AI Servo AF mode
Canon EOS-1D X Firmware v1.1.1– fixes:
Corrects a phenomenon where the metering value of the AE sensor becomes abnormal, affecting the final image
Corrects a phenomenon where Error 70 may occur during AEB shooting
Corrects a phenomenon where the firmware of the lenses cannot be updated normally
Minor corrections to Arabic menu
Canon EOS-1D X – key features:
18.1 MP full frame CMOS sensor
Up to 12fps and 14fps shooting
100-51200 ISO, up to H:204800
61 point AF system
100,000 pixel RGB AE metering with DIGIC 4
Full HD 1080p EOS movie
Dual “DIGIC 5+” processors
Clear View II 8.11 cm (3.2”) 1040k-dot LCD
The Wi-Fi enabled HERO3: Black Edition is the most advanced GoPro, ever. No expense was spared during its development, resulting in a GoPro that is 30% smaller, 25% lighter and 2x more powerful than previous models. Wearable and gear mountable, waterproof to 197' (60m), capable of capturing ultra-wide 1440p 48fps, 1080p 60 fps and 720p 120 fps video and 12MP photos at a rate of 30 photos per second, the HERO3: Black Edition is the world's most versatile camera. Built-in Wi-Fi, GoPro App compatibility and the included Wi-Fi Remote (normally a separate $79.99 accessory) make the HERO3: Black Edition all the more versatile, still.
Weighing in at a scant 2.6 ounces, the HERO3: Black Edition is 25% lighter and 30% smaller than previous models.
2X Faster Video Performance
The HERO3: Black Edition captures professional, cinema-quality video at 2X the resolution and 2X the frame-rate of previous models while delivering 2X better low light performance. Slow-motion aficionados and industry professionals will love the HERO3: Black Edition's 1080p-60, 720p-120, WVGA-240, 960p-100 and 1440p-48 video modes while those desiring a cinematic look will appreciate the ultra-high resolution 2.7kp-24 and 4kp-12 (Protune only) video modes.
3X Faster Photo Performance
The HERO3: Black Edition's photo performance is 3X improved, now boasting 12MP burst capture at a staggering 30 frames per second with 2X better low light performance compared to previous models. Still Photo and Time-lapse Photo modes remain the same but are now joined by a new Continuous Photo mode that captures continuous 12MP stills at a steady 3, 5, or 10 photo-per-second rate, up to 30 photos at a time.
Improved Sharpness, Less Distortion
The HERO3's reduced-distortion, 6-element aspherical lens combines with user-selectable Ultra-wide, Medium and Narrow field-of-views to deliver more perspective-capture options than ever before. Add the totally updated flat-lens waterproof housing that delivers stunning image sharpness both above and below water and you've got one of the most powerful and durable image capture solutions on the planet.
Redesigned Audio System
Understanding that sound quality is as important as image quality, GoPro engineers completely redesigned the HERO3 to be as adept at capturing the subtle, natural sounds of voice and music as it is at capturing the immersive sounds of sport. Also improved is GoPro's already famous wind-noise reduction, ensuring that you'll hear more of your passion, be it your engine or expletives, and less of the wind during high speed activities.
Built-in Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi Remote Included)
The HERO3 Black Edition features built-in Wi-Fi and includes GoPro's Wi-Fi Remote accessory. The Wi-Fi Remote is normally available as a $79.99 accessory but is included with the HERO3: Black Edition. The Wi-Fi Remote is waterproof, wearable and can control up to 50 Wi-Fi-enabled GoPros at a time from a range of 600'. The HERO3's built in Wi-Fi means it can also be controlled by iOS or Android smartphones and tablets running the GoPro App. The GoPro App enables full camera control and live scene preview on any compatible iOS or Android smartphone or tablet.
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!
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