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Review: Leica XE

by Chris Gampat on 10/09/2014

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Leica XE product images (2 of 10)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 2.5

Leica has long been known as a company that has paved the way for modern photography. But in recent years, they seem to be taking the back seat to many Korean and Japanese manufacturers. Still though, Leica has their core customers and considering economic disparity these days, there are many folks with deep pockets that want all their cameras. But Leica’s X series of cameras haven’t always been a big hit. Sure, they’ve got an APS-C sensor at the heart, a nice size, and beautiful looks–but when you start talking about the price you’ll want to cry a bit and wish that you were a trust fund kid living in Williamsburg.

But recently at Photokina 2014, Leica decided to try again. This time, the Leica XE has a 16.2MP APS-C sensor, a 24mm f2.8 lens, and a 2.7 inch 230 Dot LCD (which actually isn’t too bad in real life practice). But otherwise, the camera is still very much the same. Considering that Leica is slow to innovate, we can only expect so much.

What we didn’t expect, on the other hand, is to be this surprised by the camera.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 7D Mk II first impressions images (1 of 7)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 3.2

The Canon 7D Mk II has been in development for many years now, and the company’s track record of staying conservative sticks true to this latest product. When the first 7D launched, it made waves in the APS-C world with its super fast FPS rate and its complementary features to the 5D Mk II. Canon’s choices to stick to the safe side and make modest improvements isn’t a bad one per se at all–but we’d be telling complete lies to say that we didn’t expect more.

As far as the feature set goes, Canon has a 20.2MP APS-C sensor at the heart of the camera that also shoots at 10fps, houses dual DIGIC 6 processors, 65 cross type AF points, a 100% viewfinder, a magnesium alloy camera body, dust and weather resistance that is said to be 4x better than the original, GPS integration, a CF and SD card slot, ISO ranges from 100-16,000, a custom movie servo mode and much more.

We took a look at the 7D Mk II earlier last month.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 42.5mm f1.2 review product images (7 of 7)ISO 2001-500 sec at f - 1.7

Behold: the Panasonic 42.5mm f1.2. Yes, an f1.2 autofocusing lens is here for the Micro Four Thirds system. Customers have ben dreaming about a lens like this for many years and as the system has grown up, so too have its optics offerings.

We’re very much inclined to say that this portrait lens is something that you’ll never want to let go of. In collaboration with Leica, Panasonic has created something that is sharp, delivers great colors with skin tones, and isn’t too heavy.

And if anything is holding you back, it will really only be the price.

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Review: Nikon D810

by Chris Gampat on 08/17/2014

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D810 review lead product image (1 of 1)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 4.0

The Nikon D810 is the latest flagship DSLR from Nikon without a vertical grip attached. Coming in two years after the D800 and D800E; it is seen as the replacement for both cameras. For the most part, Nikon has given users some very minor upgrades in the same way that Canon didn’t offer too much change from the 5D Mk II to the Mk III. Most notably with the D810 is the modest bump in megapixels with no AA filter, the D4s’ autofocusing system, better high ISO output, and something that Nikon users have been asking for for a very long time: small RAW mode. Indeed, with this camera it is now possible to not fill up your computer’s hard drive after a single professional shooting session.

The Nikon D810 is a heck of a lot of camera that we don’t think that everyone needs at all. And those that would make the best use of it are those that make a living from selling their images. But for many of those people, the upgrade may not be enough.

For others: the Nikon D810 may be the camera that makes you drop your current system and switch over immediately.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic GH4 product lead photo (1 of 1)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

The Panasonic GH4 is a camera that, when announced, was for the most part an incremental upgrade from the GH3–on paper at least. However, the GH3 was also quite a good camera. But if you loved the GH3, then you’ll be amazed by what the GH4 can do. It focuses faster, has better image quality and feels great in the hand. However, this is all really to a certain point.

At its heart, the GH4 houses a 16.05MP Four Thirds sensor, has magnesium alloy construction, 49 autofocus points, 4K video recording, a 3 inch 1,035K dot LCD screen, and a 2,359K-Dot OLED Live View Finder. But is that enough to make you leave your current camera?

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D810 first impressions product images (8 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 3.2

When Nikon announced the D810, we were intrigued to see what they would do to improve the already great camera. For starters, they threw out the AA filter, bumped the megapixel count to 36.3, added the new EXPEED 4 processor, incorporated the D4s’ Multi-Cam 3500-FX AF sensor offering up 15 cross-type and 51 overall focusing points in total as well as the ability to shoot at up to 5fps. But beyond this, they gave the camera a small RAW mode, a 3.2-inch 1229K-dot LCD and expanded the camera’s ISO range to a D4s-esque 64 to 12,800 that’s also expandable to 32 and 51,200. The Nikon D810 can shoot movies in Full-HD 1080p all the way to 60fps. 

So when we first got our review unit from Adorama, we were interested to see if it’s worth the upgrade for many D800 owners.

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