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Review: Leica Q

by Chris Gampat on 06/10/2015

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Leica Q camera product shots (2 of 13)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Every time I enter a Leica meeting, I always hope and pray for the same thing: a digital Leica CL. After reading none of the rumors around the web, I wondered if Leica had finally done it. “What? Is this a digital CL? I’ve been asking for this for years.”

To my slight dismay, the product I was seeing was the Leica Q–a fixed lens full frame digital camera with a 28mm f1.7 lens and an EVF that is around 3MP is resolution.

Then I got the opportunity to try it for four days–and like almost every product similar to the M series, I liked it. M cameras are very precise instruments that make you incredibly particular about the image that you’re taking–and I’d argue that it forces you to create better and more calculated images. The Q isn’t exactly an M–but it shares lots of the same characteristics. The camera has an EVF, an option to enable frame lines that crop the image automatically, WiFi connectivity, a 28mm f1.7 lens that can be switch into macro mode, and most of all: autofocus capabilities.

Not only can this camera autofocus–but (and I never thought that I’d be typing this) this camera has the fastest focusing capabilities of any Full Frame 35mm mirrorless and point and shoot camera that I’ve ever tested. In fact, the speed is almost to Micro Four Thirds capabilities.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.32.18 AM

Very few programs and plug-ins make me shout “Whoa!” at the top my lungs to the point where the neighbors in my Brooklyn apartment bang on the wall to get me to shut up, but that record has been shattered by MacPhun’s Noiseless Pro. But seriously, what more would you expect from some of the team that created Nik software?

Noiseless is a plug-in for Lightroom, Photoshop, Aperture or a stand alone program that looks at images and finds a way to get rid of the image noise. Sure, Lightroom can do that and so can other programs–but nothing can do it as well as MacPhun’s Noiseless while making the interface both simple and complicated at the same time.

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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.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Olympus OMD EM5 Mk II first impressions product photos (6 of 10)ISO 1001-80 sec at f - 2.8

Hey folks,

Just a quick update to our Olympus OMD EM5 Mk II first impressions. We have added in lots more JPEG samples in addition to lots of high ISO images shot at ISO 5000 (the highest ISO setting that isn’t an extension.)

Go check it out!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The year is 2014, and we as photographers have been bred to believe notions that have come from the film days and early days of digital photography. When film was king, photographers would try to not shoot with film above ISO 400 when publishing their images. And in the earliest days of digital photography, the same thing happened. But then something happened: the high ISO output became better and better. There were articles saying that ISO 1600 is the new 400.

And they were right. But at the same time something else happened. Software manufacturers started to come up with ways for you to fix that high ISO noise or even embrace it to make an image look beautiful.

The year is 2014. And we’re still bitching and complaining about high ISO noise despite the fact that the process of creating an image doesn’t stop when the camera’s shutter clicks and cocks itself back into position. In fact, it never stopped there even back in the film days. The photographer would go into the darkroom and spend time developing, pushing and pulling, or working with the images. And today is no different.

But something else has happened.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 7D MK II review product images (1 of 10)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 4.0

We’ve been waiting many years for it, and this year the Canon 7D MK II has finally come. Canon in years past has been a very conservative company when it comes to new products. Not many changes have been made to many of their previous offerings with the Canon Rebel series being the most obvious amongst these. The 7D Mk II though is a camera surely designed for current Canon customers and users.

With a modest bump in the megapixel count from 18 to 20.9MP, the 7D Mk II also delivers better high ISO results than many of its immediate competitors. And while this can be a huge selling point, there is something holding that back.

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