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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 Sigma dp and 50mm f1.4 product images first impressions (4 of 12)ISO 16001-40 sec at f - 4.0

The Sigma dp2 Quattro is a strange, long APS-C format camera that costs a pretty penny at $999. At this premium price it’s a camera most photographers wouldn’t bat an eyelash at; but now Sigma is offering users a chance to the try the 39 megapixel-equivalent camera for a whole week before they buy it.

The program requires users to request their dp2 Quattro and include their credit card information, which will be charged for the full $999 cost of the camera for the duration of the trial. After the week is over and shooters return the camera to Sigma, users can post their images to a Sigma Quattro test shoot gallery.

The most unique aspect to the dp2 Quattro is its stacked 39MP Foveon X3 Quattro sensor. Not only is it arranged with a multilayered array of color filters, each stack is also its own image sensors. At the top of the heap there’s a 19.5MP matrix of blue capturing pixels. Below that there’s another two smaller 4.9MP image sensor stacks capturing green as well as red light.

On top of rendering better colors, Sigma claims the dp2 Quattro’s new Foveon sensor can output up to two stops ISO improvement—an atypical weak point of these stacked sensors. Otherwise the camera also features a 30mm f2.8 fixed lens. If you’re interested in picking up your own dp2 Quattro, you can do so by requesting it here.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma dp and 50mm f1.4 product images first impressions (4 of 12)ISO 16001-40 sec at f - 4.0

When we first got to play with Sigma’s dp2 Quattro camera, we admitted that they’re some strange looking monstrosities with lots of power at the core. And from what Sigma is announcing today, you’ll be paying a high price for medium format image quality in the palm of your hand (or in this case two hands because the camera are quite massive.) The Sigma dp2 Quattro camera will sell for $999 when they launch in August here in the US.

The dp2 Quattro has a fixed 30mm f2.8 lens–which translates to 45mm due to the APS-C sensor. This further translates into a full frame depth of field equivalency of f4.2 when shooting wide open. In a case like that, you’ll almost find no reason to stop the lens down.

But the biggest draw to the camera is the new Quattro sensor. According to Sigma, “The Quattro sensor is a three-layered, panchromatic silicon chip whose green-sensitive middle and red-sensitive bottom layers each have 4.9 MP and record only color/chrominance information.” They further state that the top blue layer captures chrominance and resolution/luminance information with 19.6 MP, which they claim translates into greater detail capture and resolution capabilities that are higher than the Merrill DP camera line.

Sigma’s Foveon sensors were able to render some of the best colors that we’ve seen along with a ton of resolution–but where they always fell flat is with high ISO output, incompatibility with Adobe Lightroom, and autofocusing speed. But this time around, Sigma is claiming one to two stops of ISO improvement. We will hold our final thoughts for the final review. So stay tuned–in the meanwhile check out our first impressions.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma dp and 50mm f1.4 product images first impressions (7 of 12)ISO 64001-40 sec at f - 4.0

We’ve already heard Sigma was planning to announce two Art-series prime lenses and now it could also have a 85mm f1.4 in the works too. Canon Rumors posts that the Japanese lens company will announce the lens in late August just in time for it to show up in the flesh at Photokina. If the new lens is anything like its Sigma 85mm F/1.4 EX DG HSM predecessor, the Art-series update will have incredible color, sharpness, and contrast. The older lens even gave the Canon 85mm f1.8 some stiff competition with better ergonomics and performance when shooting wide open. We have high hopes the lens will be even better given the company’s recent string of stellar lenses.

At the same September show, Sigma may announce a long 300mm-600mm supertelephoto zoom lens. There aren’t any details on what the lens’ maximum aperture range will be and ultimately it may not come out until 2015. Coupled with the earlier reports of a 24mm f1.4 plus a 135mm f2, and Sigma could have a very busy, but exciting, lineup at Photokina.

The company has come a long way with the inception of their Global Vision marketing strategy that has had them producing award winning glass. We only wonder what the first parties like Canon, Nikon and Sony are thinking about all this.

Via Canon Rumors

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Profoto B1 500 TTL product lead image (1 of 1)ISO 4001-10 sec at f - 2.0

When Profoto first announced the B1 500 TTL light, it rocked the industry. This light is the world’s first monolight that can shoot at full TTL exposure metering with Canon’s DSLRs. The company promises that a Nikon version is coming later on as well as further improvements to the Canon version. This light is capable of not only shooting at full TTL with Canon DSLRs and cameras, but it can also shoot in manual mode. With an interesting design incorporating the battery into the unit itself, it’s also not going to take up more room in your camera bag when you factor in dividers and the like.

Capable of shooting at 500 watt seconds of power, the monolight is pretty much around the output of six speedlights. Those tend to sell for around $500 a pop. And while Profoto’s B1 500 is around the same price (at least according to MAP) you still get the space advantage and much better color consistency. Plus, there is no need for extra batteries for each monolight because they’re integrated in.

But Profoto’s B1 500 TTL is best for wedding photographers and high end portrait/product photographers. However, it could convince others to jump on the bandwagon.

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Sigma Foveon Quattro Comparison

The Sigma DP Quattro is a strange looking little camera but underneath its odd appearance there’s an extremely serious sensor at the heart. In a recent interview with Imaging Resource Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki revealed the Quattro’s underlying Foveon sensor could out-resolve a conventional 36MP chips similar to the those in the Sony A7r and Nikon D800E.

Yamaki showed a resolution-chart to show how much higher-resolution Sigma’s sensor is compared to a Bayer patterned sensor chip cameras are usually made with. Neither of the sensors were equipped with a low-pass filter and we can see that the Quattro can resolve cleaner lines with virtually no moiré compared to the conventional sensor. While we hardly ever look to resolution charts to test sensors, it seems like there’s something to the Foveon technology that lets it resolve even more detail.

Along with the moiré, there’s also a fair bit of color aliasing. While normally photographers will never run into this issue unless they’re shooting really tight wires it may be more subdued because of the color filter arrangement of the Foveon sensors. The new Quattro Foveon sensors are equipped with stacked color filters starting with a small blue panel that a then larger green filter envelops followed by an even larger encompassing a red filter. Bayer sensors on the other hand are fitted with an overlying array of microscopic color filters in a square red, blue, and green pattern.

While it seems that the stacking filter pattern helps reduce color aliasing and moiré, in our experience Foveon sensor have create oddly tinted images. But perhaps this new technology can render a more accurate color spaces as well as resolution.

Via Mirrorless Rumors