Review: Fujifilm XT100 (Their Most Entry Level Camera Yet)

The Fujifilm XT100 is a nice camera, but there are so many better options in the lineup, and it’s evident.

I had my doubts when the Fujifilm X-T100 was first announced, and throughout my testing I found it to be the company’s most bland, interchangeable lens camera yet. Granted, Fujifilm’s particular flavors still stand out quite a bit from Olympus, Sony and Panasonic in many ways. But I’d liken this comparison to the difference between instant coffee and the freshly ground and roasted stuff you’d get from a proper roaster. And because I’m particularly hungry, I’d make it synonymous to the difference between a New York bagel freshly made vs a Lenders’ or Thomas’ that you’d get from the grocery store. In both situations the Fujifilm X-T100 is the lower hanging fruit (or bagel). With this said, the Fujifilm X-T100 should be bought by someone who feels that they’ll need to upgrade perhaps within a year or so. If you want a more premium product that will last, I strongly encourage you to check out their higher end models.

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Review: Olympus EPL9 (Or, Why and How I Fell Back in Love with Olympus)

The Olympus EPL9 isn’t a camera that should be taken seriously, yet it should inspire you in a different way

When the Olympus EPL9 was announced, I jokingly said to myself that I’d do the entire review taking nothing else but selfies to mock my generation and because much of our initial briefing on the camera was about that. But what I didn’t expect was to fall back in love with the way Olympus does things. You’re most likely saying, “But it’s Micro Four Thirds!” Indeed, I only own Fujifilm and Sony cameras these days due to the way I shoot and for my demands for editing and all. But I’ve always had a genuine appreciation for Olympus though not always a fluid understanding of how they market. Much of their appeal is to those who live in the country. As a city boy who occasionally travels to the land of the Trump voters, I initially thought the Olympus Pen F would have been the camera for me. Indeed, I still thoroughly enjoy that camera, and the Olympus EPL9 makes me believe this camera to be the younger, smaller, not-as-advanced-but-more-stylish little sibling of the Pen F.

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Review: Panasonic GH5s (One of My Favorite Micro Four Thirds Cameras)

The Panasonic GH5s feels like and looks like a DSLR. But it surely isn’t one.

When the Panasonic GH5s was first announced, I wasn’t very sure what to think of it. Sure, Panasonic was going after the video market and the high ISO market in the same way that Sony was. But for years, I wasn’t always too keen about Panasonic’s cameras. Over the past few years though, I’ve grown more of a soft spot for them as their performance has dramatically improved in a number of areas. With the Panasonic GH5s the name of the game is high ISO output. It has a 10.2MP Four Thirds sensor at the heart, weather sealing, dual card slots, touch screen, headphone jacks, microphone jacks, PC sync port, hot shoe, and dials galore that many photographers will love and appreciate. Yet for years still, folks continue to discount Micro Four Thirds systems and what’s possible.

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Review: Canon EOS M50 (Canon EF-M) (Not Bad, But Not Fantastic)

The Canon M50 isn’t that bad of a camera at all. But we still feel it should be packed with more features.

The Canon M50 has to be one of Canon’s best mirrorless camera options yet; but at the moment of writing this review, it still feels like Canon is intentionally holding themselves back for reasons that I genuinely don’t understand. Canon’s sensors are arguably also not as fantastic as those offered by their competitors. However, mirrorless camera sales are starting to outdo DSLRs. So Canon can only hold back for so long. If I were to equate this to anything in their lineup, it would be something akin to a high end Rebel camera. Canon put features in that reviewers have been asking for for a long time now such as 4K video, silent shutter, etc. The camera on its own is pretty darned good. But when you put it next to the competition, it quickly starts to crumble.

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First Impressions: Sony RX100 VI (Sony’s Camera for Street Photographers?)

The Sony RX100 VI is promising a lot of big upgrades

Sony’s latest premium point-and-shoot covers a huge focal range in a compact package, and will surely fit the needs of street photographers looking to be as unobtrusive as possible. During the camera’s announcement day, we had some time to walk around and play with the camera. So far, it seems a bit hit or miss.

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Review: Sony a7 III (What Sony Calls the Basic Camera)

The Sony a7 III surely is a great camera, but who is it really for?

I got the chance to spend time with the Sony a7 III in Las Vegas and then again here in NYC; and after all the time I spent with the camera I am not sure who the customer is that may purchase it. There are three mindsets here: those who need really fantastic high ISO output, those who need high resolution, and those who need a combination of both. All of these are fulfilled by the Sony a7s, Sony a7r and the a9 respectively. But with the Sony a7 III you’ve got a camera that is more or less a very stripped down a9. Sony targets this camera at enthusiasts though it’s more than good enough for professional use providing you’re not taking it into a lot of dust or rain. To get the most from it you’ll need to pair it with some top notch glass. It can make for a solid second body and can surely fulfill all the needs of most photographers. But as I found while being a Sony a7 owner and upgrading to the Sony a7r III, there is a chance that its light isn’t going to shine as bright as the other options in the Sony line up.

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Review: Fujifilm X-H1 (The Perfect Fuji with a Big Problem)

The Fujifilm X-H1 is the company’s most curious camera yet.

When the rumors of the Fujifilm X-H1 were circulating, it seemed as if all were good, at least on paper. The Fujifilm X-H1 is being billed as the flagship X series camera and addresses a number of concerns photographers and users have had for a while. It has 4K video at a number of frame rates and with high quality options including F log and 200MB/second. Then there have been enhancements to the autofocus, weather sealing enhancements, and some ergonomics changes to make the camera more like a DSLR without a mirror and pentaprism. At the heart, it’s using the same 24MP APS-C sensor many of Fuji’s other cameras use. And in truth, the Fujifilm X-H1 is a really excellent camera. But at the same time, this is hands down the camera with the worst ergonomics I’ve ever felt from Fujifilm.

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First Impressions: Hasselblad H6D-400C Multi-Shot (Medium Format)

The Hasselblad H6D-400C Multi-Shot is overkill for most photographers.

I’m starting the first impressions post on the Hasselblad H6D-400C Multi-Shot with this extremely obvious statement and with an emphasis on the fact that complaining about something like this is useless. There’s bound to be someone that’s going to say, “That’s so expensive.” Well, you’re surely not the customer the Hasselblad H6D-400C Multi-Shot is directed at. I mean, do you own a museum? Do you have need to documenting something at a larger than life detail? Do you need a fantastic tethered workflow? Do you even have a tripod designed to hold such a beast? The honest answer for most of us pedestrians is no–we’re not that high up in the food chain of photography. But the MET and other museums like the Smithsonian or the US government surely have a need for a camera like this. To refresh your mind, the Hasselblad H6D-400C Multi-Shot is a 100MP medium format camera back unit. For those that don’t understand, traditional medium format consisted of a camera body, a camera back with the sensor and brains, and the lens. So you’re essentially shelling out a whole lot of money for a sensor and brains.

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Extended First Impressions: Sony a7 III in Las Vegas

I spent a few days with the new Sony a7 III and I came back sort of intrigued.

“Oh dear.” is what I literally said to myself while sick in bed at the W Hotel when Sony announced the Sony a7 III. My expression came from watching Sally Watson’s Live Stream and was more of a commentary on the fact that Sony is calling the Sony a7 III the “Basic” camera. Basic, to me, has never been a really great thing. When I hear the word Basic, I think about some of the worst things that have come about from our society: Bud Light, Instagram stories where you always have cat ears on your head, the Bachelor, tech bros who want to treat chickens well so that they can jack the price up on their eggs, and McDonalds when you’re not piss drunk. Nonetheless, I was very happy to try the camera even though I went into it with treating it almost like Sony’s version of a full frame Canon Rebel DSLR. In hindsight, I was mistaken to do this; it’s still far better than the Canon 6D Mk II in every way. Sony’s strategy of bringing features from the Sony a9 and Sony a7r III down to a simplified and more bareboned device is a great one that enables them to keep the price point down pretty well at $1,998 for the Sony a7 III body only.

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Sony A7 III Initial Impressions and Sample Images

Sony says they are setting a new bar for the ‘basic’ full frame camera with today’s A7 III announcement at WPPI in Las Vegas.

We were somewhat surprised when Sony launched their A7R III back at PPE, mainly because Sony had traditionally announced the standard A7 model before the S and R models. But if you have ever heard the saying ‘good things come to those who wait,’ you will be a very happy camper with today’s A7 III announcement, which shows that Sony isn’t resting on their laurels. It’s also a warning shot to any potential future full frame mirror less competitors: they have some big shoes to fill if they plan to challenge the Sony E Mount lineup at all.

We are here in Vegas covering the launch of the A7 III. Since we have had our hands on the camera, and were allowed to take some shots, we are coming to you here with our (very) initial thoughts on the Sony A7 III. Let’s jump right on in… Continue reading…

First Impressions: Fujifilm X-H1 (The New Flagship)

Fujifilm isn’t messing around; The X-H1 looks like a beast on paper… but how is it in person? Let’s find out.

On Thursday, Fujifilm launched their new flagship X-Series camera, the X-H1. To put it simply this is more than just the new kid on the block. This camera has some serious features and usability improvements over the previous X-Series cameras that will no doubt make the Fujifilm ecosystem even more attractive to both photographers AND videographers. We were invited out to LA for the Fujifilm X-H1 launch event, and as a part of the evening we were able to get our hands on the X-H1 for some initial impressions before we get our actual review unit sometime in the next week or two. Continue reading…

First Impressions: Panasonic GX9 (Micro Four Thirds, Sample Images Included)

There seems to be a lot of promise with the new Panasonic GX9.

Not long ago, rumors abounded on the web of the Panasonic GX9–and admittedly when I was called into Panasonic’s headquarters to see the camera, I didn’t honestly think that I should really believe it to be anything seriously cool at all. But if I’ve learned anything in this industry, I can be pretty difficult on entry level products, and that’s sort of what the Panasonic GX9 seems like in some ways, or at least as it seems targeted to the mid-range consumer. In fact, one of the absolute biggest pushes for the camera has to do not only with the ergonomic changes, but they seem to be taking a page out of Olympus’ book with the Olympus Pen F and their Monochrome mode that delivered images I couldn’t get enough of.

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Review: Leica TL2 (The Camera I Never Thought I’d Like)

The Leica TL2 is more or less like an iPhone with interchangeable lenses. But the tech inside is really quite good.

When the Leica TL2 was offered to me for review, I was a bit on the fence about it. Though I had only spent brief periods of time with it in the past, I genuinely thought of it as something like the Canon Rebel of mirrorless cameras in the Leica lineup. But in truth, I was very wrong. The Leica TL2 is a mirrorless camera designed for rich enthusiasts. I wouldn’t do a job with it, even though I can, due to its quality. But what’s most amazing about the camera is not only its build quality, but the fact that it takes really great images. Part of this is thanks to the fantastic Leica lenses for the system. When you hold the Leica TL2, you begin to realize it is a piece of kit that really shouldn’t be discounted at all.

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Review: Sony a7r III (The Camera So Many of Us Have Been Waiting For)

The Sony a7r III is one of the most perfect Sony cameras to date.

I used to borrow a joke from my buddy David Schloss that Sony got things 80% right 100% of the time; but with the new Sony a7r III I genuinely feel like they’ve done a significantly better job than that. Based on just the specs alone, I had to buy the Sony a7r III from Adorama. When the camera actually got into my hands, I was even more amazed at how great it is. Sony’s cameras have been continually improved over and over again and for the first time, a studio photographer has access to almost everything that they could possibly need with a Sony mirrorless camera. Not only do to have a fantastic 42MP full frame sensor with 15 stops of dynamic range at lower ISO settings, but you’ve got pretty decent autofocus performance, WiFi, weather sealing, better battery life, and that joystick that we’ve been begging for for years now. When you combine this with the fantastic support from Profoto, Godox, and Flashpoint amongst others in the flash system world, then you’ve got a genuinely complete system with a massive selection of lenses.

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Review: Leica CL Digital (Starring the New Leica 18mm f2.8)

The Leica CL digital is finally here; and it performs admirably.

The Leica CL digital is a camera I’ve been waiting a while for; almost 10 years now. But if you rewinded back to the technology world 10 years ago, you saw that mirrorless cameras weren’t even a thing yet, and the Leica M9 hadn’t even launched. Indeed, many photographers have been waiting for a Leica CL digital–something like an M series camera but smaller, more affordable and well built. The newly announced Leica CL digital has design cues harkening back to the original M series cameras but fully embracing the L mount system that is shared between the Leica TL series and the Leica SL series of cameras. With that said, the Leica CL digital houses an APS-C sensor at the heart. So while it isn’t an M mount camera or a full frame camera, it indeed does show Leica has been paying attention to folks.

The Leica CL digital performs very well in most situations; but I think my sentiment is shared with other Leica users that some sort of small M series camera would have been ideal.

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Sample Gallery: Sony a7r III RAW Files Edited in Capture One

The Sony a7r III seems to have a sensor that allows for ultimate versatility

We’re currently in Sedona, Arizona with Sony and a number of other journalists using the Sony a7r III camera along with some of the company’s latest lenses. Additionally, I’ve been testing the Sony a7r III with the Profoto B1 and the Profoto A1. We’ve been shooting a number of landscapes, portraits, sports, and documenting decisive moments with this camera. Thus far, the Sony a7r III seems really fantastic as a mirrorless camera but there are still a few quirks. However, the good far outweighs the bad.

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First Impressions: Polaroid Originals One Step 2

The Polaroid Originals One Step 2 is a throwback to the classic camera.

If you use the Polaroid Originals One Step 2, you’ll probably be really enamored with its retro aesthetics if you’re not put off by its chunky size. But I thought the same thing about the Instax Mini 8 and other cameras; and they sell out really well. While I’d prefer a camera like the SX-70, I can see how and why folks will like the Polaroid Originals One Step 2. If you owned or used the Impossible Project’s I-1 camera, then you should know that the new Polaroid Originals One Step 2 camera has more or less the same type of body. Of course, it isn’t as advanced as the I-1: it doesn’t have wireless connectivity via Bluetooth. But you’ll also not be too worried about the pretty low price tag associated with the camera.

And perhaps most interesting is the claim of a 60 day battery life.

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Review: Fujifilm X-E3

The Fujifilm X-E3 will have what most photographers need in a rangefinder style camera body.

When the Fujifilm X-E3 was announced, I was both hopeful and optimistic. You see, I wasn’t a big fan of the previous iteration: the Fujifilm X-E2s. It was more or less just a Fujifilm X Pro 1 without the OVF option. But with the Fujifilm X-E3 you get a lot of what the Fujifilm X Pro 2 offers without the weather sealing and the OVF. The cameras share the same 24MP APS-C X Trans sensor, autofocus system (for the most part), 4K video (with firmware updates), and functionality. The biggest differences though come with the ergonomics and how those translate into ease of use. The Fujifilm X-E3 is the first ILC camera in Fujifilm’s lineup to really use the touchscreen. I did a video about this feature a while back and even now I find it fairly difficult to use. It isn’t the most responsive and it’s the absolute best and fastest way to access some settings quickly. For example, the Fujifilm X-E3 doesn’t have the X Pro 2’s dual ISO and shutter speed dial, and instead you need to assign it to a function button or use the screen.

While the Fujifilm X-E3 is a solid performer all around though, photographers who prefer the feel and operation of the Fujifilm X Pro 2 will probably not be happy here.

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A Video Walkthrough of the New Sony a7r III

Sony’s Mark Weir walks us through the new Sony a7r III

At Photo Plus Expo, we got a moment to chat with Sony’s very own Mark Weir about their new Sony a7r III. This camera is one of Sony’s latest and greatest and offers up a whole lot of upgrades for the photographer who wants and needs a lot of versatility with their RAW files. It isn’t exactly like the company’s A9, but it takes a lot of features from that camera and brings them to the Sony a7 series.

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Hands on: Phase One IQ3 Trichromatic Sensor Digital Back

We got to get Hands on with the Phase One IQ3 Trichromatic Sensor Digital Back

At the recent Photo Plus East, we got to talk to Doug Peterson from Digital Transitions about the new Phase One IQ3 Trichromatic sensor. Most photographers probably won’t understand what’s so different about it, but if you’re a stickler for color in the same way that I am, then you’ll understand why I’m so incredibly smitten with the idea. Lots of photographers will talk about high ISO and dynamic range–but all of that is easily fixable with today’s software. When you get into color and the fine gradation elements, you start to look at things in a much different way.

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Review: Lomography Simple Use Cameras

The Lomography Simple Use Cameras can easily be mistaken for disposable cameras, but they’re in fact not. Confused? Yeah, I was too the first time that I saw the press release, as when I looked at the cameras themselves, they straight up just looked like disposables. Then I did more digging. Lomography calls them the Simple Use cameras. They’re designed to look and function like disposable cameras but have some extra additions–like the ability to be reloaded and in some cases gels that go right over the flashes. They also cost a bit more than the standard disposable camera out there, but when you consider the fact they’re reloadable and in some cases they come with gels for the flash, then you’re not at all getting a bad deal.

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