Is the New Sony a99 II Too Late to the Photography Game?

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Though Sony was the first to the game with full frame interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras with autofocus, the company has traditionally played catch up in the digital photography world–and there seems to be a bit of that with the Sony a99 II. Granted, they’re now very much the leader in many ways and create understandably fantastic products–but the a99 II’s announcement after around four years or more feels a bit like what Canon and Nikon do. Granted, that makes sense in some ways; but Sony is now mostly known for their mirrorless cameras and that begs the question of whether or not the company is too late with this announcement.

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Photokina Announcements Raise Camera Manufacturers Stocks After Apple iPhone 7 Announcement

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When the Apple iPhone 7 was announced, it was clear that Apple was going after the DSLR and mirrorless cameras in an intention to end their industry. The new camera in the Apple iPhone 7 Plus is said to use a telephoto (though it’s actually a normal) lens and a wide angle to create an image with a blurred background. Apple states that this simulates the same effect of a larger sensor.

Because the world generally doesn’t know any better or understand the importance of ergonomics, lens options, the use of effective off-camera lighting, etc. the headlines of many a tech publication were discussing the death of traditional cameras. As a result, stocks went down. But after Photokina, things seemed to go back up–until we all realized that everyone was making development announcements due to recent earthquakes and natural disasters.

So here’s how the camera companies are doing after Photokina.

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First Impressions: Venus Optics Laowa 15mm f2 (Sony FE)

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If you’ve known anything about Venus Optics and what they’ve been doing for the past couple of years, you’ll know they entered the manual focusing lens world and are promising a zero-distortion 15mm f2 lens to be delivered soon for the Sony full frame E mount. At Photokina 2016, we got a chance to meet with the company to give the lens a bit of a try on the original Sony a7. So far, it seems like they’re holding themselves very closely to their claims.

To be fair, I tested a pre-production unit and our reps tell us that the production version of the lens will be around 30% better.

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First Impressions: Sony a99 II

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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.

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

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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.

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The Sony a99 II Features a 42.4MP Back Illuminated Full Frame Sensor

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At Photokina 2016, Sony has announced their new Sony a99 II; making it the company’s new flagship Alpha camera. It’s about time too, it’s been a number of years now. At the heart there is  42.4 BSI MP full frame sensor that can shoot at 12fps while using tracking AF, hybrid face detection af, 399 AF points, 5 axis stabilization, 4k movie without pixel binning. They’re targeting this camera at professionals and sports shooters and wildlife photographers.

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Profoto’s Air Remote TTL is Finally Coming for Sony Cameras

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Profoto has provided support for the Canon and Nikon camera systems for a while now; and today they announced that their collaborating with Sony. In early 2017, the Profoto Air Remote TTL-S will be available to support the various cameras in the Sony a7 lineup. The remote offers full TTL and HSS capability with Profoto’s Pro-10, D2, B1, and B2 flashes.

Flashes and monolights from Profoto are extremely popular with professional photographers that want consistency. They’re not cheap, but they last, are well built and overall pretty incredible. There surely are more affordable options but none that also have the color consistency that Profoto offers. The B1s are some of their most popular lights.

Review: Zeiss 18mm f2.8 Milvus (Nikon F)

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Along with recent announcement of the 135mm f2 and 15mm f2.8 Milvus lenses, we were also treated to the Zeiss 18mm f2.8 Milvus lens. This lens is the company’s offering in-between their 15mm and 21mm focal lengths that are supposed to deliver architecture, Real Estate, Cityscape and landscape photographers a different experience. Like the others out there, this lens is weather sealed and characterized with the blue ring towards the back of the lens–which aids in weather sealing overall. Additionally, it boasts manual focusing, a rubber focusing ring and an all metal body.

Indeed, it’s one heck of a lens designed for the outdoor photographer.

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