Posts Tagged ‘new product’

Sony unveil the new A6000

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Sony have announced a new compact mirrorless camera to replace the NEX 6&7, the all new Sony Alpha 6000.

The A6000 is all boxy lines and compact form, complete with E-mount for interchangeable lenses.

Sony claims the A6000 delivers the “world’s fastest AF”  with a new 179-point phase-detection autofocus system joining the contrast-detect on-sensor system. It’s quick!

The A6000 utilises a 24.3-megapixel sensor with gapless-on-chip design. This essentially means the on-sensor “pixels” don’t have a space between them and, therefore, can be larger for better light-gathering properties and, in turn, better images. It’s the same technology that Sony has employed in its Alpha A7 flagship model, albeit here on a sensor with a smaller surface area than its full-frame big brother.

Just like the Alpha A7, the A6000 also includes the latest Bionz X processor to ensure top speeds are possible.

Whether using the rear 3-inch, 921k-dot tilt-angle LCD or the built-in 1440k-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) – the latter is aligned to the top-left corner of the screen – the focus and burst speeds remain the same throughout.

Using the Alpha A6000 is relatively easy as there’s a main mode dial sat to the side of a rear thumbwheel. Both look similar, but fall well to the thumb to access the majority of controls – it’s taken the best of both worlds from the earlier NEX-6 and NEX-7 models here. Add to this considerable button customisation options and there’s a lot of user flexibility for advanced shooting. Or just pop it into auto, point and shoot.

Elsewhere the A6000 offers Wi-Fi and NFC compatibility, while the PlayMemories apps section continues to grow.

Coming in around £550, in short the A6000 is like the NEX-6 with an injection of Alpha goodness; given those foundations are already solid, it looks like the latest Alpha will be a cut above.

Fuji release the X-E2 and the all new XQ1

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Fujifilm announces the X-E2 and the XQ1

Not to left out of all the camera released from last week, Fujifilm have released two new cameras.

Fujifilm X-E2 (black version)

Fujifilm has revealed the successor to the X-E1, the all new X-E2.

One of the highlights of the new, 16.3-megapixel X-E2 is the fast AF speed of 0.08 seconds, which, according to Fujifilm’s data, gives the X-E2 the world’s fastest AF – all thanks to doubling the processing speed of the EXR Processor II.

The APS-C sized X-Trans CMOS II Sensor incorporates an original colour filter array, meaning that there’s no low pass filter to limit resolution. The sensor is the same as featured in the Fujifilm X100S.

To maximise the potential of each lens, there’s a Lens Modulation Optimiser to handle the limitations of the optics, thus  dealing with common issues like diffraction.

The exposure compensation dial in the X-E2 now goes to +/-3, as opposed to the +/-2 in the X-E1. The AF tracking in movie mode has been improved and the 2.8-inch LCD monitor of the X-E1 has been taken up to 3.0-inches on the X-E2.

Fujifilm has identified the following features as particular highlights of the X-E2.

Fujifilm X-E2 Key features list:

  • 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II Sensor
  • Original colour filter array to control moiré and false color
  • EXR Processor II
  • FUJIFILM X Lens mount
  • Lens Modulation Optimiser for improved image quality
  • Extra high resolution 2.36 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • ±3 Exposure Compensation dial
  • 3-inch (1.04 million dot) premium clear LCD (High contrast, High Brightness and Wide viewing angle)
  • Built-in pop-up Flash (hotshoe attachment also available for external flash)
  • ISO 200 – 6400, extended ISO 100, 12800, 25600, Auto (max range of ISO400-6400 when using ISO Auto)
  • AF speed 0.08sec
  • Q (quick) button to easily access shooting menu settings
  • In-camera RAW converter
  • Film simulation modes (Velvia, ASTIA, PROVIA, Monochrome, Sepia, Pro Neg.Std & Pro Neg.Hi)
  • Artistic features inc. Multiple exposure, Panoramic shooting, and 8 Art filter effects
  • Selection of  Bracketing functions (AE / ISO / Dynamic Range & Film Simulation)
  • Full HD Movie
  • Microphone/shutter release input (Φ 2.5mm)
  • Approx. 350 shots per battery charge
  • Available in solid Black or two-tone Black and silver

The Fujifilm X-E2 is expected to go on sale at the end of November 2013, for a price of £799.99 for the body only or £1199.99 as a kit with the XF 18-55mm lens.

Fujfilm X-E2 back (silver version)

Fujifilm XQ1

XQ1 front (black version)

Meanwhile, Fujifilm has also announced the XQ1, a premium compact that’s built around a new f1.4 4x zoom lens, which covers the equivalent of 25-100mm, and the the 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II sensor as found in the Fujifilm X20.

A Lens Modulation Optimiser is also included in the camera to get the best possible quality from the lens and the 3-stop optical image stabilisation ensures that sharp shots are possible in a wider variety of lighting conditions.

The camera has been built for speed of response, as it features a ”world’s fastest” autofocus of 0.06 seconds, a shooting interval of 0.3 seconds and shutter lag of 0.015 seconds.

Fujifilm has identified the following as key features of the XQ1.

  • 12 megapixel X-Trans CMOS II Sensor
  • Original colour filter array to control moiré and false colour without an optical low pass filter
  • EXR Processor II
  • F1.8-F4.9 4x optical zoom equivalent to 25-100mm in 35mm format
  • 4x intelligent digital zoom (16x combined with optical zoom)
  • Lens Modulation Optimiser for improved image quality
  • Wireless transfer of images using FUJIFILM Camera Application app
  • 3” 920K-dot premium LCD with 85°vertical and horizontal viewing angle
  • In camera RAW converter
  • ISO 100 – 12800
  • Built-in Super Intelligent Flash
  • Five Film simulation modes (Velvia, ASTIA, PROVIA, Sepia and Monochrome)
  • Eight Advanced Filter Effects: Toy Camera, Miniature, Dynamic Tone, Pop Colour, Soft Focus, High Key, Low Key, and Partial Colour
  • Full HD Movie

The UK price of the new XQ1 from Fujifilm will be £349.99, with availability from November 2013.

Fujifilm XQ1 back (silver version)

Nikon launch the impressive 58mm f/1.4

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Nikon have launched a new fast prime lens, designed to deliver the ultimate in image quality and really showcases what Nikon can do with their lens manufacture.

The AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G is a lens that makes the most of advanced optical design technologies long cultivated by Nikon to achieve high reproduction capability of point light sources even at the maximum aperture, and natural depth of subjects utilising smooth and beautiful bokeh characteristics.

With shooting of distant night landscapes, the lens minimises the sagittal coma flare that makes a point light source look like a bird with its wings spread to render point light sources as sharp points with no distortion or fringes across the entire frame, even at maximum aperture, for clear and crisp night landscape shots.

What’s more, despite being a fast lens, not only is light falloff controlled for natural brightness across the entire frame, even at the maximum aperture of f/1.4, for sharp rendering of objects at infinity, but adoption of Nano Crystal Coat effectively reduces flare and ghost.

It inspires memories of the old Nikon 58mm f/1.2 Noct-NIKKOR from the 70’s as a premium lens when only the very best is good enough.

Coming soon with a RRP of £1599

Nikon announce new SB-300 speedlight

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Versatile, easy-to-use Speedlight for controlling the quality and direction of light. A great way to go beyond the limitations of the camera’s built-in flash, the SB-300 is ideal for novice photographers who want to add a creative touch to images.

Use it to add impact to daylight shots, expose subject detail even in tough backlit situations or soften light by ‘bouncing’ the flash off the ceiling. Compatible with Nikon D-SLRs and COOLPIX cameras equipped with an accessory shoe.

Nikon announce new DX lens 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 VR ED

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Nikon have today announced a new versatile DX-format zoom lens with broad 18-140mm focal range

With a compact and lightweight build, this is a great walkabout lens. Offering wide-angle to telephoto coverage, it’s ideal for entry-level users who want the flexibility to shoot a wide variety of subjects without changing lenses

The Vibration Reduction system minimises the effects of camera shake for blur-free images. Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor enables fast, quiet autofocus

Panasonic announce the GX7

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Change your Perspective with the New LUMIX DMC-GX7 DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless)

Panasonic is pleased to announce a new addition of LUMIX G Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) Camera, the DMC-GX7, featuring high photographic performance and a sleek design which incorporates a tiltable LVF (Live View Finder).

Dressed in magnesium alloy full diecast frame in black and silver the new LUMIX GX7 allows photographers to change their viewing perspective with a newly integrated 90-degree tiltable LVF. The new LVF features 2764K-dot high resolution and 100% color reproduction based on a Field Sequential Color Accuracy method**. This 16:9 Wide Screen LVF boasts approx.1.39x / 0.7x (35mm camera equiv.) magnification and 100% field of view. The tiltable LVF offers extraordinary angle of view with unique shooting style – looking down into the viewfinder to level the camera straight on the subject. It comes with an Eye Sensor that automatically turns ON/OFF according to the photographer’s action. The Eye Sensor AF (Auto Focus) automatically begins to focus when a user looks into the LVF, so no shooting opportunity is missed. An Eye Cup, DMW-EC1GU, made of elastic material is sold separately to enhance comfort in viewing either with the naked eye or glasses.

The LUMIX GX7 is a new breed of digital camera suitable for the Hybrid Photographer. It’s capable of recording full HD 1920 x 1080, 60p (60 Hz) / 50p (50 Hz) smooth, high quality video recording in AVCHD Progressive and MP4 with stereo sound. The practical full-time AF and tracking AF is also available in video recording mode. The cinema-like 24p video with the bit rate of max. 24Mbps or P/A/S/M mode provides richly expressive afterimage with exquisite image quality.  The Digital Live MOS Sensor greatly improves motion picture quality.

The LUMIX GX7 incorporates Creative Panorama, Time Lapse Shot, Stop Motion Animation or Clear Retouch in addition to the popular Creative Control mode with a total of 22 fascinating filter effects

A new in-body Image Stabilizer is nearly as effective as the MEGA O.I.S. found in Panasonic’s conventional DSLM lenses, which makes it easier to take clear photos with mounted non-stabilized and classic lenses. The LUMIX GX7 is also compatible with Focus Peaking for more precise control of focusing. In Silent Mode, the camera switches the shutter from mechanical to electronic and turns all sound (AF operation) off while suppressing emission of AF assist lamp and flash with just a single setting for special shooting occasions. Furthermore, the LUMIX GX7 allows photographers to use a max. 1/8000 shutter speed for more impressive expression with high speed lens options.

Panasonic developed a new 16.00-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor for LUMIX GX7 that achieves both high resolution and high sensitivity image recording with minimum noise by utilizing cutting-edge Semiconductor Fine Technology to improve color saturation by approx. 10% and a redesigned on-chip lens that enhances light condensation to achieve approx. 10% higher sensitivity. Noise generation is minimized in both pixel circuit and digital signal readout circuit for better S/N ratio by approx. 25% and detail reproduction by approx.10% compared to the LUMIX DMC-GX1, making it possible to capture clear images even in low lit situations. The image processor Venus Engine features advanced noise reduction systems, including Multi-process NR (Noise Reduction) and Detail Reproduction Filter Process, which enhances the limit resolution. The combination of the digital Live MOS Sensor and the Venus Engine achieves max. ISO 25,600.

The Contrast AF System of the LUMIX GX7 excels in both speed and accuracy by exchanging digital signals between the camera and the lens at max. 240 fps. A variety of extensive AF functions including Low Light AF (-4EV), Pin-point AF and One-shot AF enhances usability to comply with a wide-range of shooting situations. In Pinpoint AF, picture-in-picture display is available and the magnification ratio of in-frame picture is selectable from 3x to 6x. The One Shot AF function can be allocated to the AF/AE Lock Button (AF/MF Switch Lever) for more flexible control over focusing.

The LUMIX GX7 incorporates high speed response desired for the digital single lens mirrorless camera, taking only approx. 0.5 sec* to get ready to shoot after startup. The LUMIX GX7 also realizes the high speed burst shooting at 5 fps and max. 40 fps using an electronic shutter. Also, AF Tracking enables consecutive shooting to capture moving subject in sharp focus at 4.3 fps.

At the same time, Panasonic designed ease of operation into the LUMIX GX7. Two separate dials on front and back offer direct control over aperture, shutter speed or exposure, which achieves smooth manual shooting. The Live View function is also digitally advanced, making it possible to adjust highlight / shadow separately with the front/rear dial. Three patterns of settings can be customized in addition to three patterns of presets. In addition, the Fn (Function) tab is newly integrated into the menu, which means a total of nine functions can be assigned (five in tab and four with the button).

The LUMIX GX7 integrates Wi-Fi® connectivity (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to offer a more flexible shooting experience and seamless instant image sharing. All of these flexible shooting, browsing, and sharing styles are made possible with the LUMIX GX7 and Panasonic’s dedicated application software and the Panasonic Image App for iOS / Android smartphones/tablets.

DMC-GX7KS (with lens) = http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/DMC-GX7KS
DMC-GX7SBODY (no lens) = http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/DMC-GX7SBODY

* With H-FS1442A, based on the CIPA standard.
**Based on Adobe RGB color space, Panasonic in-house comparison based on the CIE 1931 x, y color space.

Canon LEGRIA mini

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Canon today unveils the latest addition to our LEGRIA camcorder lineup.

LEGRIA mini – Your audience is waiting with a SRP of £269

Get ready to express yourself in new ways. Offering a unique combination of ultra-wide angle lens, vari-angle LCD and built-in stand, the LEGRIA mini with Wi-Fi lets you showcase your passions and interests from a new perspective. The LEGRIA mini targets a new audience compared to existing LEGRIA models, and is the first- ever LEGRIA camcorder designed specifically for self-expression. It provides an ideal way to capture and share passions, hobbies and interests, and to create video blogs (also known as ‘vlogs’).

  • Express your interests from a new perspective with the ultra-wide angle lens.
  • Frame yourself effortlessly with the vari-angle LCD and built-in stand.
  • Switch the field of view from ultra-wide to close-up.
  • Share content and operate remotely with built-in Wi-Fi.
  • Capture stunning Full-HD movies and detailed 12 megapixel photos.
To find out more about the camera watch the video on YouTube.
The LEGRIA will be available from mid-September 2013 with a SRP of £269

Steiner Binoculars; Seeing is Believing

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Never under estimate the power of a good pair of binoculars, especially at Christmas.

When you think about binocular’s odds are you’ll glaze over with images of bird watchers sat in hides whispering to one another. You are pretty much spot on. But there is another way. Binoculars are to photographers what a pair of running shoes are to a cyclist. Get rid of the weight, the gear, the technology and go back to something pure.

I got a pair of binoculars for my father’s last birthday. He had been using the same pair of old german 8×40’s for years and it had got a bit embarrassing come the Bournemouth Air Festival. Low and behold, he picks the new pair up and instantly falls in love with the crisp image, the light weight and excellent optical performance. The best part is, it cost me under £100!

Binoculars can be affordable, well thought out Christmas presents that have a super long life expectancy. None more so than the Steiner range of binoculars. These start from £99 and work there way up, but these bin’s won’t let you down for years to come.

View our full range of binoculars over on the website.

Steiner started producing optics over 60 years ago, making them one of the most devoted companies around. Steiner is unique in that it’s the only company to have invested 100% of it’s time and money into the development and production of optics. With this specialisation comes a unique quality found in Steiner products that you can’t find else where. Sure, Leica have  the red dot and Swarovski have the name, and diamond shop, but Steiner still come up with brilliant pieces of equipment.

Fuji X-E1: Image Comparison

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

New Fuji X-E1 vs Canon EOS 7D.

For roughly £1200 you could have a Fuji X-E1 and 35mm f/1.4 or a Canon EOS 7D and 35mm f/2.

In a rather unscientific test we can guess that these are both very good crop-sensor cameras with portrait-ish lenses. The question is where would that money be best spent. Here are some very quick findings.

Fuji X-E1

Portrait of Luke, Fuji X-E1 and 35mm f/1.4 Lens

A nice quick portrait of Luke, natural light at f/2 (to match the Canon) with good sharp features and distinctive out of focus areas around the ears.

100% Crop from Fuji X-E1

This is a 100% crop from the above image.

Canon EOS 7D

Portrait of Luke taken on the Canon EOS 7D with 35mm f/2

Same deal as above, taken at f/2. Given the Canon’s ever so slightly smaller sensor the crop factor is 1.6x.

100% crop from Canon EOS 7D

Another 100% crop from the EOS 7D.

Conclusion:

Both cameras used the same aperture at f/2 and the same ISO settings, everything else left to auto. These results are pretty subjective, there are preferences you will have to each. The thing is both kits cost around the same money, both are high level cropped cameras with similar sensor sizes and the lenses are very similar. The Canon system is substantial, whilst the Fuji X range is still in its infancy so there isn’t the backup of a huge lens range.

Arguably the lenses aren’t of the same quality, the Fuji 35mm will set you back approximately twice as much as the Canon. This is really here to demonstrate how good Fuji have made something, the quality you get immediately from the camera, with no post processing, is unbelievable when you consider your other options. Sure there isn’t the RAW support for the Fuji yet, and they don’t have the biggest fleet of lenses, but if you’re considering spending over £1000 then the Fuji is certainly worth a look.

Order your Fuji X-E1 from Castle Cameras.

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Fuji X-E1: Hands on Review

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Join the Family

After yesterdays post, where I admitted my love for the Fuji X series, I’m at it again. This time it’s to update you on the Fuji X-E1.

Having used the Fuji X-Pro 1 for a while I was convinced it was perfect. The button layout was spot on, nothing was ever to far and changing setting on the fly was incredibly easy, in no small way thanks to the constant knowledge that the optical viewfinder wouldn’t let me down. To my surprise I picked up the X-E1 and realised a few things I would change on the X-Pro.

Controls:

Fuji X-E1 Back View

Image via Fujifilm

Upon first glance the button layout on the X-E1 is exactly the same as the X-Pro 1, with things ever so slightly closer together thanks to the reduced size. All key elements are there, exposure comp and shutter speed dial on the top plate, fn button hidden next to the shutter, even the curved rear thumb grip holding the Q button remains intact. It was the simplest thing that stunned me. There is no lock on the shutter speed dial on the X-E1, the X-Pro locks at A and you must press the central button to release the wheel. It doesn’t sound like a big thing but when I was changing constantly from aperture priority to manual it did start to wear on my nerves. Something as simple as this omission has actually made this camera better for me. This is a very personal taste, I know some of you will be concerned about shifted settings etc.

Size:

Fuji X-E1 Silver Front View

Image via Fujifilm

The size difference is immediately noticeable. The camera weighs much less and fits my, admittedly girly, hands quite nicely, much in the same way the X100 does. In fact the X-E1 feels like an X100 with the added bonus of the X-Pro grip and button layout. This has got to be a good thing considering the success of the X100. I can’t see anyone being too put out by the smaller form factor, it’s a big decrease in size but rarely have I heard anyone have a problem with the X100 prior to the X-Pro. All in all, we’re good on this front.

The Viewfinder:

I’ll get this out of the way; I don’t mind electronic view finders. The X-E1’s is beautiful. The image is clear, bright and crisp with very little lag noticed. The simple joy is you know exactly what you’re going to get. Gone are the grid lines from the X-Pro and your left with something simple and somewhat elegant. Getting used to the focus system of the X-Pro was somewhat of a learning curve, one that I got on with very well but one that doesn’t suit everyones style. The viewfinder pretty much sums up the X-E1: Simple, elegant and with stunning image quality.

There are of course disadvantages to this EVF. If you really like the X-Pro’s optical finder, like I do, then no, it’s not quite as good. There isn’t that extra special feeling you get when using the X-Pro’s view finder, subconsciously focusing on beautiful grid lines whilst experiencing the world around you. The thing is that not even this can detract from the good points – the quality and the sheer user friendliness of the X series.

Conclusion:

I love it, admittedly I want one of each. The X-Pro’s viewfinder is worth the extra money alone. If, however, you’re after something that looks beautiful and gives you stunning images in return then you can pick the X-E1 and happily shoot away without a care in the world.

This isn’t the most geeked out review you’ll ever read, that’s because I don’t think we can talk about the Fuji X series in the same way we do Canon or Nikon DSLR cameras. Hopefully this will make you consider BOTH X series cameras, pick them up and compare them and make the decision from that. The simple fact is that both cameras are going to produce stunning images in exactly the same ways, the difference in the case is just HOW you get to that moment.

Order your Fuji X-E1 from Castle Cameras.

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