Canon Rumors reports about what could become a new trend in customizing your camera: hardware hacks. In past years, we saw a lot of third-party firmwares that promised to improve image quality and performance of your camera–most notably Magic Lantern, which greatly improved video performance in Canon DSLRs. But Canon compacts weren’t left out, either, and Nikon DSLRs had their own Magic Lantern counterpart. But let’s face it, every trend becomes a fad at some point, and in 2014, software hacks just don’t cut it anymore.
The next big thing coming to a camera near you could be hardware hacks, which, as the name suggests, involve swapping out hardware parts of the camera. It’s not uncommon that photographers tinker with their camera, for example when converting them to infrared or multi-spectrum sensitivity by adding and/or removing filters on top of the sensor. It’s another thing altogether, though to swap the camera’s entire logic bord. Which is exactly what Canon Rumors suggests will soon be offered for Canon DSLRs.
The site has received word that “a certain company” will soon come out with a hardware hack for the EOS 5D Mk III, which will replace the camera’s mainboard with a customized one. The benefit of the operation that will cost around US-$ 1000 will be increased dynamic range as well as better sharpness and performance when recording video. In that regard, the hardware hack promises roughly the same results as Magic Lantern’s custom firmware.
At this point, we have no idea who is doing this, when it’ll be available, how much of an improvement it will yield, and whether other camera models will also receive hardware hacks–though CR is positive the 5D3 won’t stay the only model that can be customized. Firmware hacking is already a risky thing to do, because it can potentially make your camera inoperative, or contain malignant code. But at least it’s free. Would you pay someone a whopping $1000 to tinker with the internals of your DSLR, though?
When Olympus first told us about their 25mm f1.8 lens, we were thrilled that they finally created one. For many years, the scene has been dominated by the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 which is a good lens in its own right, but isn’t the affordable option for many. But just because this lens is affordable doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deliver.
SLRMagic has always been right up there with Rokinon on offering cine lenses at an affordable price. So when they offered us a chance to look at their 17mm T1.6 lens for Micro Four Thirds, we were naturally curious. Many of their previous lenses were quite sharp but in the recent years the company has been trying to take on a higher end audience. And when we got this lens, we were a bit confused by the results that we were getting until we realized that it is a lens that isn’t about the chart numbers.
Nikon recently came out with the AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f1.4G lens. It was released around the same time as the Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4. That was pretty smart, since not everyone can afford the expensive Zeiss glass. If you are a Nikon shooter, you have an option to choose a lens that won’t destroy your bank account. Now, I’m not going to compare the two lenses past this point even though I’ve used them both. Nikon has come out with something new, so let’s see if it’s worth it.
Sometimes an awesome photography moment can happen in an instant. If you are not ready, you will miss a shot. If you are ready and you do get the shot, the question is, “Do you share it or do you polish it up first?” As technology progresses, it’s becoming much easier to share your images quickly. Sometimes getting your photos out fast is a necessity of work. Other times, it’s just sharing on the web. The thing is, when sharing your images so quickly, are you showing your best work? It’s okay to put images out often, but you have to balance the quick images with the polished.
Here are a few tips how to slow down your workflow to produce better images.
“Do whatever you need to,” was the response given to me by the other editors of the Phoblographer when asking about budget for the review of the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus lens. When we were calling it for review, it was also decided that I’d handle it–afterall, this is probably the single most important lens that anyone has created this year (with Sigma’s 18-35mm f1.8 being a close contender.) Then you add in the fact that we only had this lens for 10 days (we usually test a lens for an entire month before publishing a review) and you’ve got one of the most challenging reviews that we’ve ever done.
When Zeiss created this lens, they decided that it shouldn’t have a single compromise on the image quality. It was also designed for high megapixel DSLRs. The image quality is reflected in the price tag–which is just under $4,000. Indeed, it isn’t a lens that we believe everyone will go out and buy.
And while our thoughts on the lens are overwhelmingly positive, we encountered a couple of situational problems that made the lens’s functionality somewhat tough at times.