1. Nikon has announced their latest hotshoe mounted speedlight, the new SB-500.  Powered by two AA batteries, the new flash has a 24 m @ 100 ISO guide number for still photos and will take between 100 - 140 shots per battery charge.  If you’re using your Nikon DSLR for video work, you’ve not been left behind; Nikon has included a 3 LED video light that has a brightness of 100 lux.  Head on over to our link below to see full specs, the official press release and additional photos of the new flash.
    [ Nikon SB-500 Official Press Release ]



    Everyone hates Monday’s, but luckily Museum Monday is here to make you hate it a little less.  This week’s feature is this tiny little guy I nearly didn’t even see in our camera museum display, and it turned out to be the Minolta 16 Model-P.  Minolta 16’s were manufactured by Minolta from 1955 to 1974, and were named after the 16mm film format that they used as a medium, resulting in a 10x14 mm negative. 

    Our version of the 16 is known as the P and was released in 1960, and was in production until 1965.  The camera is noteworthy for its small size, and adjustable aperture from f/3.5-16.  The shutter speed on the 16 Model-P was fixed at 1/100 sec, and the lens was a 25mm Rokkor, which is renowned for being particularly sharp despite their small physical dimensions.  Head over to our flickr gallery to see some nice higher-res photos of this nimble little camera.
    [ Minolta 16 Model-P Flickr Gallery ]


  3. With the debut of their D750 camera, Nikon has also announced a new full frame wide-angle prime lens for photographers: The AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 G ED.  The new lens features Nikon’s famed Nano Crystal Lens coating designed to combat flare and ghosting effects, while the new optical design featuring two ED glass elements and two aspherical lens elements will do wonders at minimizing chromatic aberrations.  Head over to our link below for more product shots, spec lists and MTF performance charts.
    [ Nikon 20mm f/1.8G ED Official Press Release ]


  4. Like dominoes, it seems that camera manufacturers cluster their press releases so that when one drops, the others follow suit one by one.  The latest release we’re posting is one that was actually dropped on the weekend, and comes from Nikon who has debuted their latest FX format DSLR: the all new Nikon D750. 

    Coming in with a 24.3 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor and the EXPEED 4 image-processing engine, the camera may not have the massive resolution of the D810, instead opting for each pixel to take up a larger surface area resulting in better low-light performance, definition, depth, tonal gradation and clear color. 

    New to the camera is the addition of a tilt-capable rear LCD screen with a 1.229 million resolution; a first for a full frame camera, and a very useful feature for people who use live view in their photography or DSLR videography. 

    Where the camera really hits its marks is in the nitty-gritty details.  Scene recognition is handled by a 91K-pixel RGB sensor allowing for fast and accurate camera response in relation to AF, AE, i-TTL flash control, and AWB.  The metering system in particular is highlight weighted, meaning that the camera meter will detect the brightest portion of the frame and adjust to ensure as little information lost as possible by exposing for those hotspots. 

    Among other new features are the same weather sealing protection found on the D810, 100% viewfinder coverage, 6.5 fps in RAW format, 51-point AF system, built-in Wi-Fi, a dual SD card slot, built-in time lapse photography, and a built-in pop up flash.  Head over to our website to see the full press release with additional photos, and a full spec sheet.
    [ Official Press Release ]


  5. Canon has announced their long awaited successor to their flagship APS-C camera: the all new EOS 7D Mark II.  As expected, the 7D is very similar in shape and design to its predecessor.  Dimensions appear to be mostly the same; button positioning and other ergonomics follow the blueprints laid down by the 7D, showing Canon’s commitment to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” style of camera design.

    Once you dig past the exterior, the differences between the two cameras become instantly apparent.  Gone is the standard 18 MP sensor that once dominated two-thirds of Canon’s DSLR lineup, and in its place sits a new 20.2 megapixel sensor.  The 7D, already known for its high-speed, accurate AF system has also received its own overhaul, with all 65 AF points now having cross type status (ideal for shooting moving subjects with this cameras top tier capture rate of 10 frames per second), while Canon’s dual pixel AF should have you covered for any video AF functionality you may want to use — features now possible thanks to Canon’s new Digic 6 processor.  The center AF point on the 7D MK II is rated to -3 EV so autofocusing in low-light situation is now not only possible, but also extremely easy.

    While on the subject of low-light, the 7D Mark II now has an ISO sensitivity that extends to 16,000, with an expansion of up to 51,600.  In situations where light may not be necessarily low, but difficult to properly expose, Canon’s new 150,000-pixel RGB+IR 252-zone metering system is there to pick up any slack and ensure your photographs are properly exposed, even when shooting 10 frames per second, up to a maximum of 31 frames in RAW format.  In order to facilitate any shutter bugs who may have a heavy finger, the 7D’s shutter life has been extended to 200,000 shots minimum.

    Creative options have also had their chance to expand, with features from the 5D MK III like high dynamic range and multiple exposure shooting modes finding a home on the 7D.  In order to capture your photos, the 7D Mark II has both an SD and a CF card slot, allowing you to use both simultaneously, or one format or another.  As with most modern releases, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS is now built into the camera, allowing for geotagging, wireless transfer, and control over camera settings via Canon’s remote app.  Head over to our link below to see more photos of the 7D Mark II, specifications, and the official press release.
    [ Official Press Release ]


  6. In the mass of Fujifilm announcements over the last couple days we have have the INSTAX line adding four new cameras to their lineup.  Well, more accurately they introduced one new camera, and three new color schemes for prior models.  The new INSTAX model is known as the Wide 300, and as its moniker suggests uses Wide INSTAX film.  The Wide 300 features an optical viewfinder, a tripod socket and a lens ring that allows for two focusing modes.  

    The flash on the INSTAX Wide 300 has been adapted to have new settings like fill flash, while the flash itself is able to adjust itself automatically based on its distance from its subject.  A new Lighten-Darken control allows for high key and low key lighting effects for snapshots you may be taking, essentially acting as an exposure compensation dial.  A close-up lens adapter has been offered by Fuji giving the lens a minimum focusing distance of 15.5”.  

    Aside from the new Wide 300, Fuji has announced two new colors for their Mini 80 camera: Purple and Grape, and one new color for their Mini 90 Neo Classic: Brown.  Head over to our link below where you can see the full press release and other photos of the new INSTAX models from Fuji.
    [ Fujifilm INSTAX Press Release ]


  7. Rangefinder shooters rejoice!  Fuji has announced their latest X-Series performance point and shoot: the X100T.  Immediately following its arrival, the X100 ushered in a competitive new market where large-sensor cameras, with fast prime lenses and an analog film aesthetic began to take hold.  Now, nearly four years after the announcement of the original X100, Fuji has introduced their third model of the series.

    First among the changes in the X100T is the improvements brought to the hybrid viewfinder: reduced lag time, brightness controls, and Natural Live View shooting displays.  Focus peaking and a split image focusing mode can be triggered on the viewfinder, which now features 92% coverage and an adjustable focus area enlargement.  

    Film simulation has undergone its own change, with the X30’s Classic Chrome making an appearance on the X100T.  The aperture control on the lens is now spaced in 1/3 EV increments, while the exposure compensation dial has been expanded to +/- 3, also at 1/3 EV stops.  The command dial located where the thumb was, has now been switched to a dial, offering more fluid adjustment for when changing settings.

    The hybrid AF system is rated at 0.08 seconds, the startup at 0.5 seconds, a shooting interval of 0.5 seconds and a shutter lag of only 0.01 seconds means this camera is speedy, and responsive.  The electronic shutter is matched to meet this high speed, with a 1/32000 maximum shutter speed.  Inside the camera you’ll also find an ND filter adjustment which can be used to reduce exposure by up to three full stops.  

    HD Video has undergone its own improvements, picking up the X30’s 1080p recording at 60fps, at a respectable 36 Mbps bit rate while also allowing full time manual focusing operation.  If time lapse is your bag, then you’ll enjoy the built-in intervelometer, offering a file up to 999 frames with exposures from 1 second to 24 hours, offering you the opportunity to shoot a time lapse over a maximum duration of nearly three years.  

    As with a lot of new cameras being announced, Wi-Fi compatibility is included in the X100T.  A Fujifilm Camera Remote offers wireless control of your camera via tablet or smartphone, while also allowing reviewing of photos.  The same Wi-Fi setup can be used to transfer photos to your smart device, computer, or Fuji’s Instax printer systems for instant prints on the fly.  Check out the full press release below for more information and pictures of the camera, and don’t forget to stay tuned for our samples and preview of the camera once we get our hands on it.  
    [ Fujifilm X100T Official Press Release
    [ Preorder the X100T Silver ] [ Preorder the X100T Black ]


  8. Fujifilm has announced two new lenses in their ever expanding XF series roadmap: the XD 50-140mm f/2.8 and the 56mm f/1.2 R APD models.  You may recall that Fuji already has a 56mm f/1.2, but without the APD extension.  So what is APD?  Fuji has identified it as Apodization, and it refers to a special filter built into the lens that is intended to create more pleasant bokeh thanks to Fuji’s latest nanotechnology.

    The other lens announced was the 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR.  Equaling somewhere in the vicinity of 70-200 (actually 76-213mm, but we digress), the lens offers pro-level telephoto, with consistent aperture for sports and photojournalist photography.  The LM part of the name stands for Triple Linear Motor, and ensures fast and quiet autofocus performance.  The OIS refers to Optical Image Stabilization which is now controlled with a new image stabilizing algorithm and a brand new high-performance gyro-sensor.  Finally, the WR suffix refers to the weather resistant properties of the lens, offering an extra level of defense when shooting in harsh weather conditions.  In addition to all these new features, the 50-140mm uses a new Nano-GI (Gradient Index) coating technology.

    Both lenses should be hitting stores soon, and we’ll be sure to update you guys with samples and the like.  In the near future, Fujifilm’s roadmap states that we can expect to hear about a new Super Telephoto Zoom lens and a High Speed Wide Angle due to come out around the New Year.  Head to the link below for the official press release and other product photos.
    [ Fuji XF Lens Press Release ]


  9. TUSEDAY | Fujifilm X-Pro1 with XF 35mm f/1.4

    We have something a little more current for this week’s Tuseday post: the still current Fujifilm X-Pro1.  This hybrid rangefinder equipped APS-C camera was Fuji’s flagship model until the introduction of their X-T1 unit.  Aimed at professional photographers looking for a compact sized camera without sacrificing quality, the X-Pro1 has a dedicated shutter dial, exposure compensation wheel, numerous function buttons, and a soft shutter button attachment (not usually included). 

    The XF 35mm f/1.4 is one of my favorite Fuji lenses.  It has an all metal construction and is known for its sharpness, bright aperture, small size (relatively), and lightweight design. 

    Head on down to check out this used model, or try out a new one from our Fuji counter.


  10. Zeiss has announced its all new Otus 85mm f/1.4 Apo Planar T* lens.  The lens is designed to be among the best in class, and if the highly rated 55mm Otus released earlier this year is any indicator, they very well may have met their target.  The lens is available in both Canon and Nikon lens mounts, while Zeiss claim that the optical corrections in the lens have eliminated almost all forms of aberration and distortion, even when used wide open.  Check out the press release enclosed to see the full spec list, and additional photos.
    [ Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 Press Release ]


  11. Museum Monday | Cine-Kodak Model B

    Boy, did we ever dig back into the annals of history for this post.  What you’re looking at up above is the second iteration of Kodak’s legendary Cine-Kodak line.  The Model B was first released in 1925, and brought the process of shooting motion picture to the masses.  The camera takes 16mm film (note: due to the double claw and sprocket system, you are limited to 2R film), and shoots at 16 frames per second with the help of a spring motor.  Our version of the Model B was the third variant to be released, featuring a 25mm f/1.9 lens, and was likely released around 1927, with the fourth variant coming out the following year, allowing for different lenses to be mounted on the body. 

    The camera is actually surprisingly compact given its age, with the dimensions measuring around 8-inches in length and the weight coming in just over 2 kg.  The chassis are completely metal, with a black all-leather external covering giving this camera the durability to survive as long as it has.  According to Downtown Camera legend, our Model B hails from World War II era Germany, where its original owner shot footage of rallies and war-time events occurring around them.  I can neither confirm nor verify this anecdote, but judging by the fact that the inside of the body smells like an 80 year bratwurst, anything is possible. 

    Head over to our flickr page to see all these photos in full resolution, if you are so inclined. 
    [ Flickr Gallery ]