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autofocus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 35mm f1.4 Full Frame E Mount lens first impressions product images (2 of 6)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 2.5

Two years ago, Sony released the full frame E mount cameras along with a handful of lenses. On a personal note, with the way Sony treated most of their Alpha line in the past, I wasn’t expecting much. But wow, was I wrong. Not only has the Alpha A mount line received lots of refreshes with fast primes, but they’re reaching the E mount line now, too.

Sony’s 35mm f1.4 for full frame E mount cameras is currently in our hands for review. When we first took it out of the box, we were amazed by its size. More so than any prime lens that I’ve held for the system, this is a giant lens. In fact, it’s pretty much as large as a 35mm f1.4 lens for a full frame DSLR.

While the large size is a bit off putting, what isn’t so jarring is the image quality.

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Samsung NX500 The Phoblographer lead image

Take most of the great things about an award winning flagship mirrorless camera, strip it down a bit more, put it in a smaller body, and make it more consumer friendly and you’ve got essentially the strategy that Samsung is taking with their new NX500. They’re not alone though: Olympus and Fujifilm do pretty much the same things.

4K video? Got it. Great autofocus? Got it. An upgraded sensor that deals with high ISO noise much better? Got that too. We liked the NX300 last year, and its successor has very little to not like.

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Polaroid SX-70 Sonar One Step

Image by Martin Taylor

We see your Contrast and Phase Detection focusing and now show you what Polaroid had for many years: Sonar focusing. It worked similarly to echolocation does for bats and dolphins. The camera, like this Polaroid SX-70 Sonar One Step, waiting until the user triggered the autofocus system. Then the camera sent out a sonar beam and focused on the first thing that it hit. This was a massive improvement over the manual focusing system that the previous cameras had. Sonar focusing was also ignorant of low light situations, backlighting, etc. As long as nothing was obstructing the distance between you and your subject, then it would focus on said subject.

While it sounds incredible, the Sonar focusing system had its drawbacks. For example, if you wanted to photograph your subject who was behind glass, you couldn’t because the camera would focus on the glass. Instead, you’d need your subject to pancake their face against the glass–which we’re sure makes for the most attractive Polaroid pictures.

After the jump, you’ll find a vintage Polaroid commercial that we found showing off how Sonar autofocus works. Check it out.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Olympus OMD EM5 Mk II first impressions product photos (8 of 10)ISO 1001-30 sec at f - 4.5

When we test cameras, we always try to gauge how the autofocus performance works in various situations. We’ve learned how to get the best autofocusing performance from different camera systems and developed better practices to see how good the focusing really can be.

Now if you want your camera to actually autofocus better, you’ll need to know a couple of things.

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telephoto-zoom-lens-photo

After our standard Pro zoom lens shoot out, we decided to put the telephoto lenses against one another. As mirrorless camera systems have evolved and continue to develop, they’ve had to meet the demands of professional photographers who have picked up their systems. One of the classic zoom lenses that many photographers tend to reach for is the equivalent of a 70-200mm f2.8 lens. These lenses are great for portraits, events, weddings, landscapes and pretty much anything that you can think of due to their versatility.

So with Fujifilm, Samsung, Olympus, and Panasonic all offering their own versions, which one is the best?

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r first impressions (5 of 8)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 4.0

One of the biggest problems with the Sony A7r is the autofocus. In fact, when it comes to autofocusing this camera has to have been the most frustrating camera to work with (in terms of autofocus performance) in the past couple of years. But according to a new blog post on Sony Alpha Rumors, that’s changing.

According to the site, the Sony A7r Mk II will have the same 36MP full frame sensor and enjoy better high ISO performance due to a new processor. Additionally, the autofocus will be improved and there will be 5-axis image stabilization built in. The latter will help a lot with the slightest of camera shake providing the IS is used correctly.

If you hated the very loud shutter on the A7r, then you’ll be happy to know that the site is also claiming that a silent shutter mode is coming to the A7r Mk II. To be honest though, the loud shutter reminds me of a solid medium format camera and the loud thud that happens satisfies the nostalgia buff in me.

This all some great news if it’s true. Not many cameras make us write, “The A7r’s autofocus at times made me want to scream and beg for the bloody murder of kittens, corgis and baby bunnies to the Sony gods to ensure that it would focus.”

And at this rate, it looks like we can expect refreshes every two years.