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As photography becomes more and more accessible to everyone, trends start to shift. It was only a matter of time until selfies became so big that companies started making cameras to make taking them easier. The camera in step with the new trend is the Samsung NX 3000. It is a camera built for self-portraits. It also provides an excellent bridge to help get people off their cell phone and using a real camera.

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We currently have the Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens on a short term loan for review–and so far it’s been making our jaws drop. I’ve been an Olympus shooter for many years; my first DSLR was Olympus. Then I left the system, and came back with Micro Four Thirds. Olympus has always produced stellar glass, but I’d be a complete liar if I said that I wasn’t a bit skeptical about this lens. Then again, I am always very skeptical about zooms because there is just so much that can go wrong during the manufacturing process at each focal length.

At New York Comic Con 2014, I tested it with the Olympus OMD EM5, a Westcott 7 foot parabolic umbrella, PocketWizard Plus IIIs and the Adorama Flashpoint Streaklight 180WS. My biggest complaint has to do with the battery life on the OMD draining so far because I was transferring images via the EyeFi Mobi card and giving them to attendees on the floor. But as far as the lens performance goes, I sincerely believe that every single manufacturer should be quivering in fear.

One of the biggest strengths of Micro Four Thirds has always been their lenses, and that is no more true than with this lens. It’s tack sharp, fast to focus, doesn’t miss my subject at all in fair lighting, is super light, well built with an all metal exterior, and delivers images that I’m incredibly proud of.

Our full review is currently in the works, but here are some extra image samples that have been run through Adobe Lightroom with minimal processing. Granted, these aren’t at all my final edits, but instead minor boosts that typically would be done.

Stay tuned for our full review.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer BounceLite Flash Modifier review (11 of 16)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 1.4

We’ve got great news for you: being a user of flashes doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can be less than the money that you spend on getting a new lens and it can help you get better results in your images. Some of them feature TTL transmission while others are fully manual. But if you want to get serious into Strobism, then that won’t matter anyway.

What you’re pretty much looking for is power output, reliability, build quality, and an affordable price point. And over the years, we’ve reviewed quite a few that meet all of those criteria. Here are some of the Best Camera Flashes Under $500 for you if you’re on a budget.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus product images review (3 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.0

All images by Mike Randolph of the Travel Photography Blog. Used with permission.

Sometimes we see some incredibly crazy comparisons between products. But the most crazy one that we’ve seen thus far has to be the most recent one by Mike Randolph. He dared to put the aging Sony RX100 against the brand new Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus mounted on the Sony A7r. Seems crazy, right? I mean, the the RX100 vs 85mm f1.4 Otus doesn’t really make sense.

For starters, the RX100 has a fixed zoom lens and a 1 inch sensor while the A7r has a full frame sensor with more megapixels and arguably the best 85mm lens attached to it. And the results? Well, they’d surprise you.

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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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Review: Sony A7s

by Chris Gampat on 07/25/2014

Chris Gampat the Phoblographer Sony A7s product images (1 of 8)ISO 16001-50 sec at f - 4.0

The Sony A7s has to be the single camera that will shift the megapixels race to the ISO stage. When it was first announced, it was billed as a low megapixel high ISO territory trailblazing camera. Then tests started to come out that confirmed this. Indeed, Sony’s 12MP full frame sensor is quite capable not only of delivering very clean high ISO results, but also pretty darned good RAW file versatility. But there is so much more to the camera than this.

The A7s also is one of the fastest focusing cameras that we’ve tested on the site–and for that reason its reliability as a tool in your daily life increases. The camera is a dream come true for many photojournalists, concert photographers, and videographers.

On the other hand, still photographers are bound to be disappointed somewhat by fewer megapixels and the lack of detail at lower ISOs.

But Sony delivered some Editor’s Choice award winning products in the A7 and A7r. Is the A7s worthy of the award too?

Editor’s Note: this review is based solely on a photographer’s point of view. We will post another article later on comparing this camera’s video output to the Panasonic GH4.

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