Review: Sony A7R IV (The Pound for Pound Resolution King)

The Sony A7R IV is the current pound for pound resolution king when it comes to Full Frame Mirrorless cameras.

Earlier this summer, Sony announced its latest high-resolution flagship Full Frame Mirrorless camera, the Sony A7R IV, which was met with an overwhelmingly positive reception. At the heart of the Sony A7R IV is its brand new, 61MP, backside-illuminated sensor. As of press time, this sensor is the highest resolution sensor available in a Full Frame camera. This takes the A7 series into medium format resolving territory. The Sony A7R IV also packs the company’s latest generation AF technologies under its hood, including Face and Eye AF for Humans and Animals, in addition to Real-time Tracking. The exterior of the A7R IV went under the knife as well, resulting in a slightly larger body that includes a deeper handgrip, better joystick, improved rear dial, a lockable Exposure Compensation dial, and upgraded buttons all around. The excellent Electronic View Finder from the A7R III was also replaced with a higher resolution EVF now capable of refreshing at up to 120 fps. Weather-sealing has been one of Sony’s pain points, but this also saw a major overhaul in the A7R IV. All of these improvements culminate in a camera designed clearly with the professional in mind.

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Review: Sony a6600 (The ‘Lil a9 II with Problems They Refuse to Fix)

The Sony a6600 is made by the industry’s most innovative company that somehow forgets to do many things to make their cameras better.

The Sony a6600 is an excellent camera on paper. With image stabilization, a bigger battery, weather sealing, and the Sony a9’s autofocus system, it’s tough to find any fault with it behind the screen of a computer. But when you experience it in person, you realize there is so much that’s backward with it. The Sony a6600 starts to feel not like a camera at all. Instead, it embraces the criticism that Sony makes a fantastic image taking devices that don’t feel like cameras, but that sort of work like them. For the newer type of photographers who came up with the Instagram generation, you’ll be okay with it. But when you use other camera systems, you realize there is a whole lot wrong here. That’s not to necessarily say Sony didn’t do things right, though. And at $1,398, this camera isn’t that bad.

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Review: Canon EOS M6 Mk II (An Excellent Travel Camera)

Canon’s Color Science proves to be very lovely with the Canon EOS M6 Mk II.

The Canon EOS M6 Mk II is a small mirrorless camera with the most megapixels on an APS-C sensor on the market. Sharing the same sensor with the Canon EOS 90D, I was sort of skeptical of how it would perform. But in real-life testing, I was pleasantly surprised. This camera is targeted at the hobbyist and serious enthusiast. It’s going to shoot great photos. More importantly, you’re going to create fantastic pictures with it. And beyond that, I was also impressed at the JPEG quality. As a photographer that has been leaning more towards getting it right in camera, the Canon M6 Mk II gave me a whole lot to work with.

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Review: Leica SL2 (The Camera for the Photographer That Prints)

The Leica SL2 is the follow up to the Leica SL1 that saved a photojournalist.

Throughout my review of the Leica SL2, I tried to keep in mind who the camera is for. Before you snarkily say that it’s for those with too much money, the Leica SL2 has a lot of merit and value to it. It’s fantastic for printing with its special 47MP full-frame sensor. It handles image noise very well. In fact, the overall image quality is great. This is partly thanks to the stellar lenses for the L mount. But it’s also got autofocus that can’t keep up with the rest of the market. Couple all of this together with the ridiculously amazing weather sealing rating and you’ve got a damned great camera. But then give it a nearly $6,000 wrapper, and you’ll sit there scratching your head. But with all this said, it’s a very solid camera.

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First Impressions: Sigma Fp (Did Sigma Finally Get a Camera Right?)

The Sigma Fp convinced me that Sigma could have finally gotten a camera right, but I’m still not totally convinced.

I’ve been testing Sigma cameras for years, and the culmination of a long list of failures has resulted in the Sigma Fp. For all of those years, I’ve legitimately been in love with the image quality that their Foveon sensors produced at lower ISOs and coupled with their stellar lenses. But I never liked needing to work in their software, their deplorable battery life, the snail’s pace autofocus speed, and don’t forget about the lens mount that no one ever truly cared about despite its analog lineage. With the Sigma Fp, the company joins the L mount alliance and allows photographers to affix Leica and Panasonic glass to the camera in addition to some of their own. Built with weather sealing, much-improved ergonomics, a full-frame sensor, and a small body that is quite obviously aimed at the enthusiast and the cinematographer, the Sigma Fp is still intriguing. Recently, we had five minutes with the camera and found it to be really fascinating.

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First Impressions: Sony A9 II (They Made It Better Than the Original)

The newly announced Sony A9 II improves upon the original flagship with ergonomic changes and a brand new BIONZ X Image Processor.

At the beginning of the month, Sony announced the next iteration of its top tier A9 flagship, the A9 II. The most noticeable changes Sony has made to the A9 II are physical and with the body itself. These include the more pronounced handgrip, the improved buttons on the rear of the camera, and improvements made to the various dials on top of the camera body. While the Sony A9 II retains the same stacked 24.2MP BSI sensor as the original A9, it is now paired with an upgraded BIONZ X image processor. This leads to even faster AF/AE performance and accuracy. As expected, Real-time Eye AF, Real-time Eye AF for animals, and Real-Time Eye AF for video recording are supported. We expect Sony to introduce further improvements down the line with future firmware upgrades. The A9 II’s autofocus system can now track subjects continuously even when shooting at apertures larger than f16. When shooting continuously, the Sony A9 II is capable of capturing images at up to 20 fps when using the electronic shutter, or 10 fps with the mechanical shutter (twice that of the original A9). Both SD card slots are UHS-II compatible as well, which will surely help minimize the amount of time images are stuck in the buffer waiting to be written.

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Instant Camera Review: Canon IVY CLIQ Instant Camera Printer

While instant cameras are great fun at parties, the Canon IVY CLIQ’s ZINK prints will leave you wanting more.

The popularity of instant cameras has seen a resurgence in recent years, and the IVY CLIQ is the Canon’s entry-level product targeted at this market. Fujifilm is currently dominating the instant camera market with their various Instax cameras and printers. Canon is hoping to compete by pricing the IVY CLIQ at just under US $100. Lacking some of the features of the more premium IVY CLIQ+, the IVY CLIQ is a no-thrills instant camera that creates photo prints using Polaroid’s ZINK Zero Ink Technology. The prints have a peel-apart back that turns them into stickers as well. The compact size of the IVY CLIQ allows it to fit into most pants and shirt pockets, making it easy to carry around. Is the Canon IVY CLIQ the right instant camera for you?

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First Impressions: Fujifilm X Pro 3 (We Did Street Photography with It!)

The Fujifilm X Pro 3 is designed to slow you down and make you a more deliberate photographer, and that’s a good thing.

We first learned of the Fujifilm X Pro 3’s development last month. Yesterday afternoon, we got to spend some brief hands-on time shooting with the camera around New York City. The Fujifilm X Pro 3 incorporates the same 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 APS-C sensor and X-Processor 4 Quad-Core Imaging Engine found within the X-T3 into a rangefinder-style body. The most notable design change from the X Pro 2 is that the rear of the camera now features an always-on-but-not-backlit E-Ink display. This is designed to simulate the film box window found on many analog cameras. There’s still a touch screen LCD if you want it, accessible by flipping the back of the camera down.

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First Impression: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III packs the 20 MP Live MOS sensor and TruePic VIII Image Processor from the E-M1 Mark II into a lighter, weather sealed body.

It’s been more than four and a half years since Olympus introduced the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. With baited breath, fans of the Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless camera have been waiting for an eventual successor to be released. As much of the industry is shifting its focus towards Full Frame Mirrorless cameras, it felt that day may never come. This camera inherits the 20 Megapixel Live MOS sensor and the TruePic VIII Image Processor first introduced in Olympus’s top tier E-M1 Mark II. The OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a lightweight, compact, weather sealed, mid-tier M43 option for photographers looking for the right balance between performance and pocketability. With the introduction of the OM-D E-M5 Mark III (and the E-M1X before it back in January of this year), Olympus is making a definitive declaration that they remain dedicated to the Micro Four Thirds ecosystem. We got to spend some time in the literal wild shooting with the OM-D E-M5 Mark III last week in Moab, Utah. Was the E-M5 Mark III worth the long wait? Find out after the jump.

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First Impressions: Fujifilm X-A7 (A Curiously Beautiful Camera)

The Fujifilm X-A7 is a gorgeous camera–but it seems more of a fashion statement than anything.

I can imagine the Fujifilm X-A7 slung around a discerning, fashionable photographer. It’s mated to some sort of beautiful vintage optic or one of Fujifilm’s lust-inducing prime lenses. The stunning leather strap that comes with it is only the icing on top. Everything about the Fujifilm X-A7 tells me it’s designed for a specific crowd. This crowd includes the travel photographer and those accustomed to large phone screens. In the same line of thought, this photographer will like the feeling of the dials, the leatherette cover, and the lack of emphasis on control via the touchscreen. I fully expect these photographers to also use the Auto or Program modes. Best of all, they’ll adore the tilting screen.

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First Impressions: Sony A6100 (Flagship Level AF, Entry Level Price Point)

Real-Time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking make their way into the Sony A6100, the company’s updated entry-level APS-C mirrorless camera.

In addition to launching the A6600 flagship earlier this week, Sony also introduced the entry-level A6100 as well, essentially a refresh of the highly popular A6000, which is now a five-year-old camera. The Sony A6100 shares the same 24.2 Megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor and blazing-fast 0.02 second 425 point Fast Hybrid AF system found in the higher-end A6400 and A6600 models. With a MSRP of US $750 for the camera body alone, the A6100 is now the most affordable camera in Sony’s mirrorless lineup with Real-time Eye AF for both human and animal subjects, as well as Real-time Tracking. To keep costs down, the A6100 utilizes a plastic housing that lacks weather-resistance as opposed to the more robust and weather-resistant magnesium alloy housing used in the flagship A6600. The Sony A6100 also eschews the 5-axis in-camera image stabilization found in the flagship model. Additional cost-saving measures include the A6100 using a lower resolution OLED Electronic Viewfinder than the one found in higher-end Sony mirrorless APS-C cameras (1,440k-dot resolution in the A6100 versus a much higher 2,345k-dot resolution in the A6400/A6600), along with the continued use of the aging NP-FW50 battery as opposed to the newer, longer-lasting NP-FZ100 model that the A6600 is adopting, leading to significantly shorter runtimes. Shortcomings aside, the Sony A6100 is an interesting value proposition that shares much of the performance of the higher tier APS-C models, albeit at almost half the price of the A6600 flagship. We spent some time shooting with a pre-production A6100 unit during the launch event in New York City. You can read all about our first impressions after the jump.

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First Impressions: Sony A6600 (Sony E Mount, APS-C)

The Sony A6600 is the company’s latest flagship mirrorless APS-C camera, adapting the improved Z battery and including weather resistance

Sony announced its latest APS-C flagship A6600 today at their New York headquarters. While the resolution remains at 24.2 Megapixels like the rest of the cameras in the A6xxx series, the A6600 features Sony’s latest-generation BIONZ X image processing engine which it claims to be 1.8x faster than the A6500, and can output 14-bit raw files. Like the A6500, the A6600 has 5-axis image stabilization built-in. The magnesium alloy body is dust and moisture resistant and sports the same flip-up rear LCD that was first introduced with the A6400. The most noticeable change with the A6600 is that it uses the larger and higher capacity NP-FZ100 Lithium-Ion batteries. This is a first for a Sony mirrorless APS-C body, which results in the camera having a larger handgrip. We got to spend some time shooting with the new camera in a variety of different environments. Head on after the jump for our first impressions.

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First Impressions: Canon EOS 90D (Yes, a New APS-C DSLR)

Despite its mirrorless efforts, Canon continues its commitment to DSLRs with the brand new 32.5 Megapixel Crop Sensor Canon EOS 90D.

Canon finally entered the Full Frame Mirrorless market with the EOS R and EOS RP. But the company has reaffirmed its commitment to the DSLR market with the announcement of the Canon EOS 90D. The Canon EOS 90D is the successor to the now three-year-old 80D. The 90D incorporates several notable advancements, including a higher resolution 32.5 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor (up from 24.2 Megapixel in the 80D) along with the company’s latest Digic 8 imaging processor. The Canon 90D also sports a Dual Pixel AF system featuring 45 cross-type AF points, and in Live View mode, it can detect human faces. It’s also capable of capturing up to 11 frames per second in continuous shooting mode using the electronic shutter (10 fps when using the mechanical shutter). Canon generously invited us down to Atlanta last week to spend some hands-on time with the 90D, head on after the jump for our first impressions.

Editor’s Note: Canon paid for this trip and all expenses associated with it. But our coverage is done with full transparency.

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First Impressions: Canon EOS M6 Mark II APS-C Mirrorless Camera

Canon keeps the EF-M mount alive with the introduction of the 32.5 Megapixel Canon EOS M6 Mk II crop sensor mirrorless camera.

The Canon EOS M6 Mk II is the updated version of the Canon EOS M6 that was first announced in February of 2017. While the M6 Mk II features a nearly identical exterior to its predecessor, much of the upgrades are within the camera’s internals. The M6 Mk II’s APS-C sensor receives a significant resolution bump from 24.4 to 32.5 Megapixels. It is powered by Canon’s latest Digic 8 imaging processor. The M6 Mk II’s Dual Pixel AF system features 5,481 manually selectable AF points and includes Eye Detection AF support. Canon claims that this allows for up to 14 frames per second to be captured in continuous shooting mode while maintaining autofocus (up to 30 frames per second when using the RAW Burst Mode).

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First Impressions: Sony RX100 VII (A9 Level Performance in Your Pocket)

Sony crammed much of the company’s latest autofocus advancements into their brand new Sony RX100 VII premium compact point and shoot camera.

While companies tend to introduce their leading-edge technologies with their flagship products, these top-tier advancements will inevitably make their way into more entry-level products. This is thanks to the continued development of said technologies along with the economies of scale, which lower production costs over time. Such is the case with the Sony RX100 VII, Sony’s latest premium compact point and shoot. The RX100 VII promises the performance of the flagship A9 and incorporates the company’s latest autofocus technologies like Real-Time Eye AF and Real-Time Tracking. For reference, Real-Time Eye AF and Real-Time Tracking were first introduced with the Crop Sensor Sony A6400 announced at the beginning of this year. Shortly thereafter, it was patched into the Full Frame flagship Sony A9 along with the widely popular third-generation A7 cameras. Flagship-level performance in a premium compact point and shoot camera is a bold claim. So naturally, we were reasonably skeptical when we were first introduced to the RX100 VII, especially given our lukewarm experience with the previous model. We got to spend some time with the RX100 VII last week while we were in Oregon for Sony’s Kando 3.0 Trip. Head on after the jump to see how the seventh generation RX100 fared.

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Review: Ricoh GR III (An Almost Perfect Street Photography Camera)

The Ricoh GR III is a great camera once you get used to its quirks, but it’s not perfect.

When the Ricoh GR III was announced, I was disappointed to see it was more of an upgrade rather than a brand new camera which would have truly brought it into the modern digital world. I wanted a reason to spend a lot of money for features such as a full frame sensor, weather sealing, improved autofocus, etc. But I felt the Ricoh GR III was a long wait for a few minor updates to the GR II to keep it on par with a number of other products on the market. After spending some time with the Ricoh GR III, I completely understand how a street photographer would want to use it. But if you’re anything outside of this niche then you’re limiting yourself. Arguably, you can reach for cameras with interchangeable lenses that can do more. And phones are very capable these days as street photography cameras. If you’re deeply entrenched into the fad that is modern street photography, then just hope this camera will last you a few years.

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Review: Fujifilm GFX 100 (A Revolution in High Megapixel Imaging)

The sheer power of the Fujifilm GFX 100 and its price point is enough to turn the heads of many, but some issues show there’s more to a camera than its sensor.

Fujifilm shocked the world when they announced the Fujifilm GFX 100. The GFX 100 follows the already impressive GFX 50S and the GFX 50R. There’s already a solid line-up of glass for the platform, so the GFX 100 can hit the ground running. Somehow, Fujifilm has made a camera that breaches the 100 Megapixel mark. Priced at $9,999.95, surely, there has to be a catch! So what do we have with the Fujifilm GFX 100? Well, we have one heck of a sensor. This sensor is paired with one of the most impressive AF systems we have used in recent memory, and it has IBIS. Fujifilm says that the GFX 100 is revolutionary because, for the first time, a Medium Format camera can be used outside a studio setting and off of a tripod, while still recording insanely detailed images. Can the Fujifilm GFX 100 live up to the hype?

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Review: Panasonic S1R (The DSLR Shooter’s Mirrorless Camera)

With the Panasonic S1R photographers are getting another soon to be great camera system that needs to evolve a bit more.

When the Panasonic S1R was announced last year, I was very excited that a company was creating a real professional competitor to Sony. But when I held it in my hand, I grew concerned about its size. It’s big: the antithesis of what mirrorless cameras are supposed to be. When the time came for me to test the camera, I realized the Panasonic S1R reminds me of a world I left behind years ago: the DSLR world. This camera is designed to bring those who love big, beefy DSLRs over to mirrorless. It’s less designed for the Leica M style users (that I relate to much more). What you’re getting from the Panasonic S1R is very good performance, but I’m not sure it justifies the size.

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First Impressions: Sony a7R IV (The 61MP Full Frame Beast)

The Sony a7R IV packs a brand new sensor that resolves a whopping 61 Megapixels.

Sony announced the brand new Sony a7R IV today in New York City and we got to spend some quick hands-on time with it during the press launch event. Slated to be released in September, the A7RIV features a new 61MP sensor, the largest currently available in a Full Frame Interchangeable Lens Camera, and Sony claims to have improved the weather sealing as well. They’re targeting it very much to the professional market, evident in the $3,500 price tag. Beyond this, the new Sony a7R IV has 567 autofocus points that cover 99.7% of the image area vertically and 74% horizontally.

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First Impressions: Hasselblad X1D II (Better in Every Way Possible)

The Hasselblad X1D II has a bigger emphasis on improving many of the problems of the first camera.

Photographers who went ahead and purchased the original Hasselblad X1D will be happy that they bought into the system; because the Hasselblad X1D II is promising to not only be much more affordable but is supposed to best its predecessor in every way possible. Hasselblad admitted to us in our press preview of the camera that they did everything that they could with the hardware. But there are limitations. With the Hasselblad X1D II, the company is looking to up its ante across the field. Still, a camera designed for the photographer on the go that needs medium format quality and performance, one of the coolest things that they’re doing is making a very useful tethering solution via the iPad. This is bound to be useful when on location with a producer/creative director/client over your shoulder. We had under an hour to play with the new Hasselblad X1D II recently, and here are our initial thoughts.

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First Impressions: Fujifilm GFX 100 (And Why It Needed IBIS)

The Fujifilm GFX 100 features a 102MP sensor with image stabilization and backside illumination.

Last week, Fujifilm invited us to a top secret briefing on the west side of Manhattan where they unveiled the long-awaited addition to the company’s Medium Format Mirrorless camera lineup: the Fujifilm GFX 100. We had seen renderings of the GFX100 before and even got to fondle a mockup of it in Las Vegas during WPPI, but this is the first time that we got to spend some hands-on time with the genuine article itself, albeit in pre-production but near-final trim. The star of the Medium Format GFX 100 show is the brand new 102 MP sensor that is not only backside illuminated but also stabilized. In fact, it’s the first medium format digital camera to have image stabilization on the sensor.

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