First Impressions: Sony a99 II

chris-gampat-the-phoblographer-sony-a99-ii-first-impressions-product-images-2-of-13iso-16001-60-sec-at-f-2-8

It’s been years since Sony has updated the a99, and at Photokina 2016 the company announced the successor–the Sony a99 II. Chock full of upgrades like a 42.2MP full frame sensor, hybrid autofocus detection, 4K video without pixel binning, 12 fps shooting capabilities in raw with a buffer of up to 56 images, and a new three way tilting LCD screen there is surely a lot to love here.

We got a chance to play with the camera–like 15 minutes if anything. And though we weren’t allowed to take home sample images, we’re quite impressed with what we’ve seen so far.

Continue reading…

First Impressions: Tokina FiRIN 20mm f2 (Sony FE)

chris-gampat-the-phoblographer-tokina-20mm-f2-firin-lens-first-impressions-product-photos-1-of-7iso-4001-80-sec-at-f-2-8

The first new lens in Tokina’s new FiRIN lineup of lenses is a manual focus offering with electronic contacts communicating with the Sony a7 camera bodies it’s designed for: and it’s called the Tokina FiRIN 20mm f2. Odd naming aside from a Japanese company using a Gaelic term, the lens is an all manual focus, manual aperture optic that is well designed from metal and targeted to both photographers and videographers. As a fast, compact, well built prime lens it’s designed from the ground up–and Tokina has done a very good job.

At Photokina 2016, we got the chance to get some personal fondling time with the lens.

Continue reading…

Review: Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR (Fujifilm X Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens review product images (1 of 10)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.0

Compare the Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens to anything else on the APS-C camera market, and you’ll find pretty much no sort of equivalent product. It’s weather sealed, has optical image stabilization, doesn’t change its aperture very much throughout the range, and is built incredibly well. Then tag onto it the fact that it’s made by Fujifilm–one of the best lens makers of all time. Keep moving forward, and consider the fact that you’re putting this glass in front of the company’s excellent X Trans Sensors; designed by Fujifilm but manufactured by Sony. If you’re a sports, photojournalism, wildlife photographer or professional creeper then this lens may indeed by an option that you’ll want to consider.

Announced quite a while back, the Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR may also be the company’s most expensive lens. But if you need something like this, it’s worth every penny.

Continue reading…

Review: Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G OSS (Sony E Mount, Full Frame)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review (1 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

There is very little on the market that can truly be compared to the Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G OSS lens; and for that reason it’s truly considered something unique. Very little, if anything at all, even compares to this lens in the mirrorless camera world.

For a little over $1,000 you’re getting a dust and splash resistant lens with quite a zoom range and a fairly compact size. Sure, it’s not an internal zooming lens but it’s still not too bad. On top of that, it’s designed for full frame mirrorless cameras. Considering Sony’s reputation, you can bet that it’s also going to be pretty darn good.

Continue reading…

Review: Venus Optics Laowa 105mm f2 Smooth Trans Focus Lens (Sony E, Full Frame)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Laowa 105mm f2 lens review product images (7 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

When you look at the landscape of portrait lenses available for the full frame Sony E mount, you’ll see that they’re growing at a high rate–and the Venus Optics Laowa 105mm f2 lens is only one of those options. This lens is very special due to the design incorporating an apodization element to produce images that the company claims will give you “smooth and creamy bokeh while maintaining excellent sharpness at the focal plane.” To that end, it loses some light gathering abilities and has a T rating of T3.2–meaning that the photographer loses more than a full stop of light.

In practice, you indeed do get incredible images. But as with every manual focus telephoto lens, you’ll need to be very careful.

Continue reading…

Review: Leica M-D

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Leica MD product images (7 of 12)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 3.5

The Leica M-D is a crazy idea–seriously, who decides to remove the LCD screen from a camera? It makes no sense, right? Honestly, you’d be amazed at how wrong you are. The Leica M-D is the closest thing that Leica has that fuses both digital and film. Indeed, it’s the true film photographer’s M camera. Scoff all you want at this camera, but after three weeks of time with it and the wonderful 24mm f1.4 Summilux, I genuinely started to understand it. You could indeed call it the Anti-Instagram camera, but I personally see it as one of the most important M cameras that they’ve released since the original M9 and the M Monochrom.

If you’re a true photojournalist or documentary photographer, this could be the only camera you’ll ever need. And before you sit there and hate on all the things about Leica cameras being so expensive, at least hear me out.

Continue reading…

Review (In Progress): Sony 70-200mm f2.8 OSS G Master (Full Frame E Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-200mm f2.8 G Master lens product images review (1 of 13)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 2.8

When you consider a camera system, one of the most important lenses to look out for is a 70-200mm equivalent–and Sony has been working on delivering that in the form of the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 OSS G Master lens for full frame E mount cameras. With weather sealing, a white body, 18 groups with 23 lens elements, and a constant f2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range coupled with a small size overall–there is a lot of love about this lens.

Editor’s Note: In conjunction with the changes we’ve been doing here on the site, we’re once again changing our review format. First impressions reviews will be completely replaced with a fuller and fuller review that will be updated overtime. Readers will be given notifications on when the full review is complete. Each section will also be rated with stars and an overall cumulative rating. Additionally, comparisons will be made. If parts seem incomplete it’s because they’re still being worked on

Continue reading…

Review: Fujifilm X-T2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial product images (5 of 12)ISO 2001-550 sec at f - 2.8

Editor’s Note: In conjunction with the changes we’ve been doing here on the site, we’re once again changing our review format. First impressions reviews will be completely replaced with a fuller and fuller review that will be updated overtime. Readers will be given notifications on when the full review is complete. Each section will also be rated with stars and an overall cumulative rating. Additionally, comparisons will be made. If parts seem incomplete it’s because they’re still being worked on.

“Should someone really upgrade?” is a conversation that I had with a colleague of mine about the Fujifilm X-T2 after getting a chance to look at it for a little while. On paper, the camera seems to have a number of significant advantages over the X Pro 2 such as the addition of 4K video and a heat sink that can do this. Plus there are more autofocus points. Of course, both the X Pro 2 and the X-T2 are better than the X-T1.

When you look at the Fujifilm X-T2 what you see is a camera that essentially looks and functions the same as its predecessor. A few things are beefier like the SD card door for example. The camera’s finish also lends itself to a more solid feel. But otherwise the camera will feel very much at home in the hands of an experienced Fujifilm camera user. However, there isn’t much of a reason for a hobbyist to upgrade–at least from our initial thoughts.

Continue reading…