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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Camera Review: Fujifilm X-T30 (Honey, Fuji Shrunk the X-T3!)

lightweight mirrorless cameras

The Fujifilm X-T30 is a more affordable and shrunken down version of the highly regarded X-T3, albeit with a few caveats

While most of the digital imaging industry has been concentrating their efforts on introducing Full Frame Mirrorless cameras for the better part of the past year, photographers that prefer lighter and more compact Crop Sensor bodies got some new hotness of their very own to lust after in the form of the Fujifilm X-T3 and the Sony A6400. Both flagship APS-C cameras have proven to be massively popular for consumers to professionals alike, but what if you wanted the same level of performance but in an even svelter and more condensed package? As luck would have it, the engineers over at Fujifilm managed to answer that question with the X-T30, the company’s latest compact Crop Sensor Mirrorless camera. Fujifilm managed to incorporate almost all of the best of breed innovations found within the X-T3 into the XT30 while bringing both the size and the cost down. After spending a few short hours with the pre-production sample during the top-secret press briefing when the X-T30 first launched, Fujifilm was kind enough to provide a final production model of the camera to us so that we can evaluate in comprehensively in typical Phoblographer fashion.

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Review: Canon EOS RP (Well Worth the Money for Almost $1,200)

The Canon EOS RP isn’t at all a bad camera; and it’s bound to flood the market during the holiday season.

When I look at and think about the Canon EOS RP, I see the strategy for Canon that they’ve been imparting for many years. Said strategy goes something like this: bundle the camera with a printer and a lens and do an instant rebate with the retailers to simply move the product. Then also add in an adapter for EF mount lenses. Do this around the holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Black Friday. As much as this camera may be designed to flood the market, it honestly isn’t all that bad of a choice. The Canon EOS RP is a good entry level camera and perhaps one that photographers first picking up a dedicated device can grow with for a long time. And for those who ask if there is an auto mode and who don’t want to worry about anything else, you can do that too while the rest of us make horrified faces at you.

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Review: Sony a6400 (The Sony a9 with an APS-C Sensor)

The Sony A6400 packs near-A9 level AF tech into a compact Crop Sensor package.

Up until recently, Sony’s focus seemed to rest with their Full Frame mirrorless cameras, but the Japanese consumer electronics giant reaffirmed their commitment towards APS-C cameras when they announced the A6400 back in January of this year. Featuring the company’s latest advancements in autofocus technologies, the Sony A6400 is positioned interestingly between the existing A6300 and crop sensor flagship A6500. It’s not quite the halo product some were hoping for, but it is certainly no slouch by any measure.

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Review: Leica Q2 (Almost a Perfect Camera, But Still Not There)

The Leica Q2 on paper showed a whole lot of promise; but in real life practice it didn’t surprise as much as its predecessor.

When I first got the Leica Q2 in my hands, I really wondered if Leica had created a perfect full frame point and shoot. And in some ways, I think that they did; but in other ways I believe that it wasn’t thought out fully despite the big deal of it being given some of the best weather sealing on the market. Targeted as a backup camera for professional photographers and as a camera for photographers who want to travel a lot, the Leica Q2 offers a lot. In addition to the tank-like exterior, it boasts a 47.3MP full frame sensor in addition to a high resolution EVF. The focal length is still a 28mm f1.7 lens but this time it is not only weather sealed but offers optical image stabilization. The camera can also shoot at 10fps to help you capture the decisive moment. And while the Leica Q2 delivers beautiful images, I’m still not sure that I can give it a full stamp of approval.

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Review: Pentax K1 Mk II (A Camera That Was Born to be Wild)

gear doesn't matter

The Pentax K1 Mk II is a solid camera, but does it offer enough to make it a viable choice in 2019?

The Pentax K1 Mk II was launched in March of 2018 with little fanfare. Its predecessor the K1 launched in 2016 and made much more of an impact due to the fact that it was Pentax’s first Full Frame DSLR. The camera introduced features that had never been seen before in a DSLR, and the 36 Megapixel sensor was capable of producing beautiful images. So why was there so little excitement in regards to the K1 Mk II? The Pentax K1 Mk II is almost the exact same camera as the K1. The body is the same, the sensor is the same, the main image processing unit is the same; the only changes are an additional processing unit which works in tandem with the main processor, a slightly faster autofocusing system, higher ISO output, and a new handheld pixel shift mode. Are these updates really enough to make it a worthwhile buy over the now cheaper, Pentax K1?
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First Impressions: Leica Q2 (This Could be The Most Perfect Leica Yet)

We should have had the Leica Q2 a long time ago, but we were all traveling and I personally got pretty sick.

Before I begin this first impressions about the Leica Q2, I should apologize. While others have their reviews ready, I was fighting off pneumonia and so as of my writing this first impressions I’ve had the Leica Q2 in my hands for less than a few hours. But given what I’ve seen thus far, there is a lot of promise for a professional photographer who wants a fixed lens camera in the form of the Leica Q2. It’s weather sealed–as you can clearly tell from my product images. There is indeed a massive full frame sensor in there and Leica’s lenses are often second to none. The build quality and size are also top notch–but I’m seeing a few flaws in certain areas.

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First Impressions: Fujifilm X-T30 (Look What They Did to the JoyStick)

The Fujifilm X-T30 features most of the tech from the X-T3 in an even smaller body.

While most of the digital imaging industry has been focusing heavily on full frame mirrorless cameras as of late, Fujifilm has remained firmly committed to their crop sensor mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras–and that’s evident with the Fujifilm X-T30. The company has built up a very loyal following thanks in large part to the excellent build quality, well thought out ergonomics, and overall refined user experience that is core to every Fujifilm camera’s DNA. The fact that Fujifilm has managed to incorporate some of the latest digital imaging innovations into their cameras while keeping them very competitively priced further sweetens the pot. With the newly announced Fujifilm X-T30, Fujifilm incorporated a lot of the advancements found within the much-loved X-T3 that was released last year and crammed them into an even more compact camera body. The XT-30 shares the same 26.1 MP 4th generation X-Trans APS-C CMOS 4 sensor as well as the 4th generation Quad-Core X-Processor 4 CPU as the top of the line X-T3.

We got our hands on the Fujifilm XT30 yesterday during a press briefing, and shot with it briefly in around a rather snowy and wet New York City.

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First Impressions: Canon EOS RP (A $1299 Full Frame Camera)

The Canon EOS RP represents the company’s attempt to win the entry level users over at a $1,299 price point.

Alas, we aren’t being treated to Canon’s high end EOS R camera, but with the Canon EOS RP we’re getting a pretty interesting candidate in the mix. The Canon EOS RP is being aggressively priced at $1,299 and has the same sensor at the heart of the Canon 6D Mk II. That wasn’t always my favorite sensor, but after Tony Northrup’s video on it a while back the internet swooned over it again. My issue is that in Lightroom, we found the highlight recovery to be awful but in Capture One it was quite good. Beyond this are some head scratching features in the Canon EOS RP, like silent shooting mode being a dedicated shooting mode with no manual controls in the same way that you get with the Canon EOS M50. This isn’t the case with the EOS R, which has an option for silent shutter photography. Maybe with the professional level camera, Canon will finally take this feature seriously–and during my time in New Orleans with the camera, I heard many other journalists agree.

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Review: Fujifilm XF10 (A Surprisingly Capable Point and Shoot)

The Fujifilm XF10 is a point and shoot camera that seriously surprised me in so many ways.

When the Fujifilm XF10 was announced, I genuinely felt it to be a very sort of lazy announcement from Fujifilm. It uses their 24MP APS-C sensor, it isn’t X Trans, and it doesn’t have Acros or any of the newer film simulations. Instead, it was pretty much like the X-T1 in some ways but brought into a point and shoot camera and with a higher resolution sensor. For $499.95 though, I’m pretty shocked. This camera proved to me that it is not only incredibly capable, but that it’s also a camera that I’d be happy to bring with me everywhere.

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