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 [amazon_textlink asin=’B079PTRNKK’ text=’Fujifilm X-H1′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’83fd4236-130f-11e8-b56b-a1d8da7a101c’] 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.

 

Editor’s Note: We’ve updated this review based on the new firmware 3.0.

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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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Review: Nikon D7500

Editor’s Note: for the Nikon D7500 review, I thought I’d try something a bit different. Our Kickstarter manager, Justin, was going on a European vacation trip. And so he asked to use the camera. Justin isn’t a photographer; and the people that may buy the Nikon D7500 are probably amateurs who would use it for fun in the same way that he did. So I commissioned Justin to write the review. And so the subheading of this review is “Chris is a very trusting friend.” This review is targeted at photographers who have no idea what they should get. As we know, there are photographers out there who simply just buy the best camera they can afford; which I’ve never found to be a winning strategy.

I came to Chris before a big vacation, and asked a simple question, “Do you have a good quality camera a total novice could use that needs a review?” Twenty minutes later, he handed me the Nikon D7500 and a Nikkor lens, set up a few features, and said, “You’ll want to keep the Fstop to about 4.5. Have fun.” Boy did I. This thing traveled with me to four countries in two weeks, and worked hard. According to some of the wonderful information I read on the Phoblographer (Meta. Cool.), Nikon released this as a “little brother” to the D500. I will fully admit, I have never used the D500, but the D7500 gave me plenty of options as is, and a great deal of power.

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First Impressions: Canon G1X Mark III

The Canon G1X Mark III is a camera that we’re really surprised at

Canon announced the G1X Mark III last week: their high end compact camera that features a large APS-C sensor, built-in EVF, 3x optical zoom lens with an F2.8-5.6 aperture, and weather sealing. In many ways this is a point and shoot sibling to the Canon EOS M5, complete with touch functionality and all that jazz. We had a chance for some hands-on time with the camera during Photo Plus Expo 2017, so we are here with some initial thoughts for you. Continue reading…

First Impressions: Sony A7R III (Sample Images Included)

The Sony a7r III is pretty darned impressive

So as you have no doubt heard, Sony just announced their newest A7 series camera, the A7R III, which features some pretty impressive improvements over the A7R II. Notably, the A7R III retains the same exact 42.4MP sensor as the A7R II but with virtually every other component of the internal hardware of the camera being completely redone. As such, Sony was able to squeeze out every last drop of performance from this sensor. Continue reading…

Review: Nikon D850 (A Fantastic DSLR, But I’m Over DSLRs)

The Nikon D850 surely has to be one of our new favorite DSLRs.

If you look around at various reviews of the Nikon D850 on the web, they’ll most likely rate it as one of the best cameras ever made thus far. In truth, it really does perform very admirably and it absolutely does have a great sensor at the heart. Professional photographers considering making some sort of move since the Nikon D810 hadn’t been updated in awhile have an option that is going to last them a few more years before the industry changes yet again. That statement is more or less the basis of my review. The days of being able to know that your camera won’t be updated for four years are probably gone, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to take great photos with it long after it has been updated by some shiny new thing. The Nikon D850 is a fantastic image taking device and tool in the hands of the right photographer. It has a lot of great technology at the heart, but a part of me is wondering about its futureproofing.

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On Traveling with Film: 5 Reasons Why It’s So Incredible

Having the right camera with you on your travels is a vital step in any successful trip. Perhaps you already choose to travel with one or several trusted film cameras, and have reasons of your own for doing so. I wasn’t always a film camera traveler, but after years of tentative trials, I’ve now come around to the analog adventurer side. If you’re still mostly a digital photographer on the road, but curious about the other option, stick around. I’ve now traded my SD cards in for a bag full of film, and I don’t plan on going back.

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First Impressions: Polaroid Pop (Square Format zINK Paper)

The Polaroid Pop isn’t from the company Polaroid Originals–and that’s absolutely showing in every single way. By all means, this is a digital camera designed to simulate the Polaroid and Instant film experience without using anything nearly close to the original film. The new zINK paper is designed to be more square in format to seem a bit more like what the Impossible Project tried for years to keep alive and that Polaroid Originals now manufactures. So at a recent event here in NYC, I had the chance to play with the Polaroid Pop. I’ve tried some of the company’s other cameras and I simply cannot get behind the idea of zINK. The Polaroid Pop is really no exception.

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First Impressions: Sony RXO Action Camera

The Sony RX0 is the company’s answer to needing a high-end action camera for a number of reasons. Sports shooters will love it. Action shooters will love it. Heck, it’s honestly hard to not like it. There’s a 24mm f4 equivalent lens on the front and a 1 inch sensor behind that. Sony’s sensors have been stellar for years, and now this camera aims to challenge everything else on the market while giving a higher end experience at a fairly affordable price point. The Sony RXO is small, portable, and, once you understand how to use it, not incredibly difficult–though I’ll be the first one to admit that’s quite a hill to climb.

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