Opinion: Some of the Best Lenses Aren’t Made in Japan Anymore

Back in the DSLR days, manufacturers like Samyang/Rokinon represented the low end of the lens market. They were all manual focus and, if we are being honest, the build quality was nothing to write home about. The worst part was that buying one of those sometimes felt like a lottery; performance would be inconsistent from one copy to the next. As such, those lenses would only ever be considered by hobbyists on the lower end of the budget. Thankfully, the landscape changed quite a bit in the photography world. Chinese and Korean manufacturers have stepped up their game and are delivering the goods. And the words “Made in Japan” are starting to lose their appeal.

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A New Pinhole Camera Is Bringing Unheard of Innovations

“The camera is about the size of an Olympus XA,” says James Guerin in an email to The Phoblographer. There isn’t usually a whole lot of uniqueness when it comes to pinhole cameras, but James has made something very special. His new camera shoots a pinhole photo on the front layer of the emulsion as well as a photo on the back. This means that you get both a standard photo and a redscale photo. We wanted to know more, and so James spilled the beans.

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Photographers Need a Hot Shoe Flash with More Power

For over the past decade, every lighting guru has told us to take the flash out of the hot shoe. You’ll probably recognize a few key names if you’ve been around for a while. David Hobby, the Strobist, probably taught all of us how to light. Syl Arena probably taught us all how to shape the light. And Dustin Diaz, the man from Flickr himself, taught us all what’s possible. They all took the hot shoe flash out of the hot shoe and out it onto a light stand. But there are situations where a hot shoe flash is handy in the hot shoe. And overall, they need more power.

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The Most Innovative Cameras We’ve Seen Recently

There are cameras that claim to be innovative, but many are not. And we know most consumers want only the best and the most cutting-edge. So we’re rounding up the most innovative cameras that we’ve used in recent times. These cameras include some pretty exclusive things that make their companies so great. Want to know who’s at the top? Well, you’ll see in this roundup!

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Tamron Is Proving the Photo Industry Needs to Think Differently

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If you look at the lineup of lenses that every manufacturer has, you’ll see a lot are the same, more or less. They’ve all got their focal lengths, and many of them deliver good image quality. But the brands that create totally different focal lengths are the ones that stand out. Tamron has done that. Just last week, they announced two new lenses in development. There’s the Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 Di III VXD. There’s also the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III VXD G2. Both of these lenses are for Sony E mount. They’re providing the variety the already-saturated camera system really needs. Better yet, it doesn’t look like they’re skimping on features.

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An Ode to the Camera That Forever Changed Imaging

The Canon 5D Mk II completely changed the photo industry. 

I can remember when the Canon 5D Mk II was announced. To this day, it’s still one of the most iconic and important cameras of my career. A few other cameras shot video before it, but none did it like the Canon 5D Mk II. And more importantly, none got an important firmware update to make them even more usable. When the Canon 5D Mk II launched, it was a high-resolution camera with great high ISO output. It also happened to shoot cinematic quality video. These days, we’d be shocked if a camera didn’t do that. What this camera did completely changed the way imaging was perceived.

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Why I Think Leica’s Price Increase is Very Justified

Leica announced a price increase recently, and I think that it’s fairly justified.

If you’ve ever owned a Leica, you probably know how wonderful the feeling is. There’s nothing wrong with us rewarding ourselves with something nice. Besides the ecosystem, why do we buy Apple products? Why do we buy top-shelf liquor? Why does someone buy a luxury car? We can sit there geeking out, and it in the same way that all those other genres do. But Leica tends to get a lot of flak that, in recent years, I don’t totally think is deserved. There’s recently been a Leica price increase announced. And quite honestly, I think it’s deserved.

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Crispy Quality. Sigma 35mm F2 DG DN Contemporary Review

The Sigma 35mm f2 DG DN Contemporary is an odd but good lens.

Even as I type this review up, I’m still not totally sure how I feel about the Sigma 35mm f2 DG DN Contemporary lens. It’s an easy lens to appreciate. Sigma is giving us options we’ve needed for years. They now offer three 35mm lenses to customers. And at the same time, they’re eliminating a big need for the 35mm f1.4 Art lens. The Sigma 35mm f2 DG DN Contemporary is small. It also has a solid metal body. Best of all, it’s got a little bit of weather sealing at the mount. But at the same time, I wish Sigma had gone even further with this lens, but it’s nearly perfect so far.

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The Nikon Z9 Might Be Nikon’s Last Chance at Success

The Nikon Z9 is indeed real, but will it be enough for them to come back?

In 12 years of journalism, I really thought Nikon was going to be next. When I first started, Pentax was bought by Hoya. Then they were passed off to Ricoh. And who can forget the Irish goodbye that Samsung gave us! I never expected that from Nikon. But considering the last few years, I think the Nikon Z9 has to be the camera. You know, the one that they’re relying on to open the gates of heaven for them again. And indeed, Nikon is giving the world a bit of hope with a pre-announcement. But let’s dive into this. Believe it or not, we don’t think Nikon makes bad products: they’re just not innovative, and that makes me concerned for their future.

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Camera Lenses That Focus Via Heat Are Here, and They’re Fascinating

camera lenses

The future of camera lenses sounds like something from a Sci-Fi movie.

Camera lenses are incredible. The amount of design and engineering that goes into them will blow your mind. All we see is the outer shell and the front and rear elements, but inside is a complex work of art. Tiny tolerances and margins for error ensure your lens delivers razor-sharp images. It’s really no wonder some camera lenses cost as much as they do. Now, though, a new lens that obtains focus via heat transfer generated by lasers is here. No, this isn’t some far-fetched idea from a movie; this lens is real, and it’s here now. After the break, we’ll talk about this and what it could mean for the future of photography.

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The Sony Stacked Sensor in the a1 Isn’t Being Pushed to Its Limits

The stacked sensor in the Sony a1 is a work of art.

The Sony a1 is a beast of a camera that features a stacked sensor with an incredibly fast read-out. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my hands on the Sony a1 for a little while. It’s mighty impressive. Being able to rattle off 50 Megapixel images at 30 frames per second is nuts. Being able to pan and not have any rolling shutter effect is also incredible. Normally when a new technology is announced, we come across the patents for it. However, Sony managed to keep the patent for this stacked sensor quiet. Now, the patent has emerged, and it shows just how beastly the Sony stacked sensor truly is. We’ve got all the deets after the break.

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An Unbiased Analysis: Is the Sony a1 Worth the Hype?

On the next episode of Pro Camera Reviews, we’re discussing the Sony a1.

Photographers have been on the hunt for a professional camera with innovation. Smartphones are just so good these days. It seems like they’re keeping up with higher end cameras. But, then the Sony a1 came out and changed that in huge ways. It joins a bunch of other cameras that are absolutely fantastic at what they do. Other manufacturers looked on in shock, so is it really worth the hype? And we’re discussing that in our next episode of Pro Camera Reviews.

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The Biggest Innovations for 2020 in Photography Technology

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The year 2020 is coming to a close, and we’ve some cool new things in the photo world. There’s a lot for new photographers and professionals alike. Some of the innovations came in the form of lenses, while others came with cameras. Camera technology itself hasn’t taken a large step forward in 2020, but design leaped forward. With the camera industry in an odd place right now, the next 10 years will be pivotal. The industry needs to evolve. And the industry either needs to be about professional tools, luxury goods, and a cult following. Here are our selections for the most innovative things this year.

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Why Do You Think Camera Manufacturers Aren’t Truly Innovating?

Camera manufacturers aren’t innovating at the pace they should be.

Camera manufacturers have lost the tech game. They’re not really considered big tech anymore, and they’re not doing anything truly exciting. It’s evident in many ways, but the most evident way is with consumer spending. Most folks have no reason to buy a new camera. Even more folks don’t have reasons to buy an actual camera at all. So why have one? Well, we’re wondering the same thing, and we discussed it on our latest episode of Pro Camera Reviews.

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Dear Nikon: You Really Need to Innovate Your Cameras and Lenses

We’re not too sure about the future of Nikon and feel like they really need to innovate.

I’ve been in this industry long enough to remember the times where Nikon users would push their bias into the face of every other photographer. At those times, they rightfully should have. Does anyone remember the Nikon D300 and the fantastic photos it shot of President Obama during his early years? Or the Nikon D700 and the class-leading high ISO output it had? Or what about the more top-end cameras like the D4, the D800, etc.? Nikon has enjoyed a long time of creating cameras that were fantastic in many ways. But in recent years, they’ve fallen off of their horse and created things that only let them catch up to everyone else. For what it’s worth, everything they produce is still good–but they don’t really have an edge that makes someone want to buy their products. They’re a jack of all trades and a master of none. These are times when photographers need a specialized tool and not a Swiss Army Knife. And Nikon isn’t really keeping up.

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This New President Could Be Exactly What the Camera Industry Needs

The camera industry has needed a massive change for many years now, and he could do it.

When I read the press release and it said, “Leica Camera appoints Mike Giannattasio as President of its North American division, effective July 1,” I was very intrigued. Leica, I feel, has gotten back into their groove in the past few years when it comes to cameras. So when any new president takes over, I think it’s fascinating to wonder about how they could steer the industry. And Mr. Giannattasio is perhaps the one Camera Division President I’m most excited about at the moment. It’s my hope that Mr. Giannattasio will do precisely what I’ve been asking the entire camera industry to do for years. Further, I hope he’s successful in changing the minds of Japanese companies who seem to cater to what I feel is maybe 3% of photographers.

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OP ED: This is the Year that Camera Manufacturers are Fighting to Survive

We haven’t seen anything like this from camera manufacturers in years; and it’s insane.

This piece is being written objectively from the point of view of a journalist embedded in the photo industry for over 10 years. At the helm of one of the largest photo blogs in the world, I can tell you with all certainty that it looks like every camera manufacturer is fighting to survive harder than they have in previous years. Not only are we seeing a lot of entries into the world of full-frame mirrorless, but we’re seeing partnerships, innovations, etc. to remind the general public that cameras are still relevant. You and I know better of course; but in a world where everyone is so incredibly satisfied with their phone’s convenience and an ILC camera that shoots in auto mode, I feel like camera manufacturers need to do even more to survive.

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If There Really is a Sony 60MP Full Frame Sensor with 16 Bit Depth Color, It’s Going to Change So Much

portrait lenses

A full frame sensor from Sony at 60MP and 16 color bit depth would be incredible for the industry.

With the web, monitors, Apple, and Google all looking to catch up to the photography world in some way or another (and doing a good job) it’s nice to know there’s a slight possibility that a Sony 60MP 16-Bit sensor could exist. As it is, things like monitor calibration are almost totally consistent across newer monitors and platforms. In addition to that, lots of monitors claim to be able to deliver most of the Adobe RGB and SRGB color spectrums. But if a Sony 60MP 16-Bit sensor is as real as Sony Alpha Rumors is reporting on, then that would mean the entire tech industry would need to find a way to catch up to support that type of color possibility.

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Dear Sony: We Could Use f1.0 Lenses, or a Heck of a Lot More Innovation

Dear Sony: that’s nice that you could make f1.0 lenses, so please do that and a lot more.

I completely understand Sony’s take on the fact that f1.0 lenses won’t sell as well as an f1.2 lens for the Sony FE mount, but I think that this could help push not only Sony but other dedicated camera manufacturers to do something much bigger and better for the industry. I look at what Apple and Google are doing with phones and see that they’re going squarely after Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, etc. But I don’t see the Japanese companies responding in any way and it perplexes me.

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Opinion: Samsung Wasn’t So Bad of a Camera Company; Folks Just Didn’t Give Them a Chance

Samsung exited the photo industry years ago with an Irish goodbye, but I think consumers didn’t give them enough credit.

Does anyone else remember when Samsung did the “Ditch the DSLR” event many years ago in an effort to win market share and convert the world over to mirrorless cameras? I do. At the time I too probably didn’t give them enough credit. But in retrospect, Samsung was an absolutely brilliant acompany when it came to cameras and envisioning the future. The problem was that we as consumers just weren’t ready for it. We were also just not able to get on board with an electronics company with no real major partners besides Schneider giving us cameras.

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Everyone is Making a Good Camera, but No One is Making an Exceptional One

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, there isn’t a single camera out there that isn’t good. They’re all good. They’re all great. They all have loads more megapixels than you need, they all have more than good enough high ISO output for images going on the web, they all have pretty darned good autofocus capabilities, they all have just overall fantastic features, they can all take pictures, they mostly can send images to your phone with ease, and they can all also take better photos than your phone can.

And maybe that’s the problem here.

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