Posts Tagged ‘DSLRs’

Ten Nikon D5 DSLRs will arrive at the International Space Station tomorrow

14 Nov

Back in August, NASA’s love affair with Nikon cameras made the news when the space agency ordered 53 unmodified Nikon D5 DSLRs that it would use on the International Space Station and for ‘training purposes’ here on Earth. Ten of those D5 cameras are scheduled to make it to the ISS this week.

Packed aboard the Orbital ATK OA-8 Space Station Cargo Resupply Mission that took off this Sunday at 7:19am Eastern time, and are scheduled to arrive at the ISS tomorrow morning around 4:50am (you can actually watch live coverage of the rendezvous on NASA TV starting at 3:15am).

Nikon tells us that NASA is “reusing Nikon lenses and accessories previously launch with the Nikon D4 and D2Xs cameras,” and are planning to keep the D5 cameras in circulation for 12-18 months. With any luck, the astronauts aboard the space station will use them to capture more images like these:

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NASA’s relationship with Nikon began in 1971, when the Nikon Photomic FTN (a modified Nikon F) went to the moon with the astronauts of Apollo 15. Fast forward to 2008, and NASA ordered its first digital cameras for use in space, a set of six Nikon D2XS DSLRs, followed by an order for 11 Nikon D3S cameras in 2009, 38 Nikon D4 DSLRs in 2013, and another 10 D4s in 2016.

The only question now, I suppose, is when is the Space Agency going to replace its glass? NASA’s latest order of Nikon glass was placed in 2010, when 64 NIKKOR lenses were delivered to the space agency. If astronaut photographers are anything like us Earth-bound folk, that means they’ve been drooling over ‘better’ lenses than they currently have since about… three days after they got those lenses.

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Vixari is the world’s most portable tripod, but it can still handle DSLRs

10 Nov

A new tripod called Vixari is attempting to launch on Kickstarter, where it is billed as “the world’s most portable tripod.” Vixari has an ultra-portable foldable design that’s only a little bigger than a smartphone, but despite its ultra-compact size, Vixari is still able to handle large cameras, including DSLRs that weigh up to 2kg / 4.4lbs.

Vixari isn’t the first portable tripod, but the team behind it claims that it is the most compact. The tripod features extendable legs that fold into the unit’s body, which itself doubles as a folding case. Each of the three legs have a maximum length of 105cm / 41in, while the body has three mounting options: a slot for smartphones between 6mm and 9mm in thickness, a mount screw, and GoPro tripod mount adapter. And since it can be used to trigger smartphones, it includes a Bluetooth remote shutter that supports Android and iOS.

The tripod body is made from polycarbonate, while the legs are made from aluminum alloy, the combination of which makes it durable and lightweight. The tripod will be offered in black, white, and dark blue colors, assuming it successfully makes it to market. Overall, Vixari measures 19cm x 6.5cm x 3.4cm / 7.4in x 2.5in x 1.33in and weighs 600g / 1.32lbs.

Kickstarter backers are offered the tripod, plus mount screw, mount adapter, remote shutter, and charging cable for pledges of at least £49 / $ 65. Shipping to these early bird backers is expected to start in February 2018.

To learn more or put down a pledge, head over to the Kickstarter campaign.

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DxOMark: DJI Zenmuse X7 outperforms GH5, on par with top-notch APS-C DSLRs

09 Nov

Remember when the DJI Zenmuse X7 drone camera was released, and we said DJI had become a camera company without anybody noticing? You might consider the latest scores out of DxOMark proof of that assertion. The sensor testing company just released its review of the X7, ranking it above the popular Panasonic GH5 and on part with top-scoring APS-C sensors like the Nikon D7500.

Sporting the largest sensor yet for a DJI camera module, the X7 boasts a Super 35/APS-C sized chip that DxO discovered will hold its own against the leaders in that category. In fact, going through the rankings, you’ll find that only two APS-C sensors have ever scored higher than 86. And when you compare it to one of the top-scoring APS-C cameras (the Nikon D7500) and the often-drone-mounted Panasonic GH5, you see that DJI is not playing around:

As DxOMark points out in their conclusion, this is an impressive showing for the drone maker:

Thanks to an increase in its size as much as to technological advancements, the DJI Zenmuse X7’s sensor takes a significant step up in performance from the Zenmuse X5S sensor. In fact, it delivers results that compete closely with those from a high-scoring APS-C format DSLR, despite being housed in a camera that’s mounted in a stabilized gimbal and specifically designed for aerial photography.

Be sure to head over to DxOMark to read their full DJI Zenmuse X7 review. And then check out our own opinion piece about DJI’s transformation from a drone maker, into a full fledged camera company.

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NASA just ordered 53 Nikon D5 DSLRs for the ISS and training purposes

27 Aug

NASA’s relationship with Nikon is as strong as ever, judging by the fact that the space agency just placed a massive order for 53 Nikon D5 DSLRs.

According to Nikon, NASA ordered the cameras as-is (no hardware modifications) and plans to use them for photography on the International Space Station, as well as astronaut training on Earth. The agency might make some changes down the line, but for now there’s no difference between the D5 cameras available to consumers and the ones being shipped to NASA.

This is the latest development in a long-running relationship between NASA and Nikon, which has provided the space agency with camera gear as far back as 1971 for the Apollo 15 space mission.

Most recently, Nikon provided NASA with 38 units of the Nikon D4 DSLR in 2013 and another 10 units of the D4 in 2016. The camera maker didn’t reveal whether NASA received any special discounts on its bulk order, but assuming NASA paid retail price, the cost could have exceeded $ 344,000 USD.

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Sigma warns of aberration bug affecting some of its lenses on Canon DSLRs

11 Aug

Sigma has issued an advisory for five of its lenses over an error that occurs when they’re used with select Canon DSLRs.

The issue crops up when the cameras’ “Lens aberration correction” function is turned on. According to the company, having the lens aberration feature enabled on the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, EOS 9000D (77D), EOS Kiss X9 (EOS Rebel SL2), or the EOS Kiss X9i (EOS Rebel T7i) cameras will result in an error when paired with the following lenses:

  • SIGMA 30mm F1.4 DC HSM | Art
  • SIGMA 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art
  • SIGMA 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM
  • SIGMA 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM
  • SIGMA 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Affected users are advised to keep the lens aberration function disabled until a fix is released.

Full Product Advisory

Dear Canon EOS 6D Mark II, EOS 77D, EOS Rebel T7i, EOS Rebel SL2 Users

Thank you for purchasing and using our products.

We have found that some SIGMA interchangeable lenses for CANON are not fully compatible with EOS 6D Mark II, EOS 77D, EOS Rebel T7i, EOS Rebel SL2.

When certain lenses are attached to these cameras and the “Lens aberration correction” function on these cameras is set to “Enable” for Live View shooting, an error would occur.
Please set the “Lens aberration correction” function of the cameras to “Disable” when using SIGMA’s interchangeable lenses for CANON.

In addition, please also refer to other notice below, related to the usage of EOS mount SIGMA lenses on Canon cameras.

When the lenses listed below are used on EOS 6D Mark II, EOS 77D, EOS Rebel T7i, EOS Rebel SL2 and the “Lens aberration correction” function on the camera is set to “Enable” for Live View shooting, an error would occur.

[Products concerned]

  • SIGMA 30mm F1.4 DC HSM | Art
  • SIGMA 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art
  • SIGMA 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM
  • SIGMA 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM
  • SIGMA 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

[Usage Notice for customers who are using EOS mount SIGMA lenses on CANON cameras]
When using the SIGMA lenses for CANON, “Peripheral illumination correction”, “Chromatic aberration correction”, “Diffraction correction” as well as “Distortion correction” from the “Lens aberration correction” function of the camera are not supported. Therefore, we recommend you to set them to “Disable”.
If those functions are set to “Enable”, the performance of the lenses may not be accurate.

For further information, please contact your nearest authorized SIGMA subsidiary / distributor.

We appreciate your continued support for our company and products.

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Amazon sells an AmazonBasics flash for Canon and Nikon DSLRs for just $28

09 Aug

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If you’re looking to get into artificial lighting for dirt cheap, there’s a new ‘most affordable’ option in town. It turns out Amazon sells what looks to be a clone of the already cheap (~$ 70) Godox VT560 for the rock bottom price of just 28 bucks through the AmazonBasics brand.

PetaPixel spotted the speedlight earlier today, and the response has been pretty positive so far. Sure, the “AmazonBasics Electronic Flash for DSLR Cameras” can’t be radio triggered and doesn’t feature useful options like TTL metering, but at $ 28 nobody in their right mind would expect it to.

Instead, what you’re getting is a Canon and Nikon compatible speedlight with three modes (Manual, Slave 1, Slave 2), PC sync port for firing your flash off-camera without a master, 8 levels of power control, and a guide number of 33. Reviews so far are decent at an average of 3.9 our of 5 stars, with some calling the flash “unbeatable for the money,” although at least one reviewer said the flash failed on-location after working fine at home.

To find out more about the ultra-affordable speedlight, or if you want to pick it up for yourself, click here.

*FULL DISCLOSURE: is a wholly-owned but editorially independent subsidiary of Amazon.

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Entry-level DSLRs compared: Canon EOS Rebel SL2 vs. Nikon D3400

07 Aug

Entry-level DSLRs compared: Canon EOS Rebel SL2 vs. Nikon D3400

The entry-level DSLR segment is traditionally highly competitive, and dominated by two big names: Canon and Nikon. With Canon’s new Rebel EOS SL2 just hitting dealers’ shelves, we’ve compared it against one of its main competitors – the Nikon D3400.

Keep an eye out for our full review of the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 coming soon, and read our previously-published review of the Nikon D3400 here.


Twenty four megapixels is becoming a pretty standard resolution for entry-level and midrange DSLRs, but despite the identical pixel count, the sensors in the Nikon D3400 and Canon EOS Rebel SL2 are quite different. Most significantly, the Canon’s sensor is slightly smaller. This means that it introduces a slightly more aggressive crop factor of 1.6X, compared to 1.5X from the D3400.

Crop Factor

Should you care about this? That depends. We expect image quality from both cameras to be broadly similar for most shooting, but the increased crop factor may be relevant to you, especially if you enjoy shooting with long lenses.

You should be aware that (for example) the new Tamron 18-400mm will offer slightly greater telephoto reach on the SL2 (29-640mm equiv.) than it will on the D3400 (where it will cover an equivalent zoom range of 18-600mm). Likewise, a typical 50-200mm telezoom will reach slightly further on an EOS Rebel SL2 (~320mm) than it will on the D3400 (where it caps out at an equivalent focal length of 300mm). Honestly though, the difference between a 1.5X crop and a 1.6X crop is so minimal at normal focal lengths that shouldn’t be a reason to choose one system over another.

Autofocus (viewfinder)

Entry-level DSLRs are not typically characterized by advanced autofocus systems, and the Nikon D3400 and Canon EOS Rebel SL2 are pretty typical of cameras in this class. Remarkable, the D3400’s 11-point AF system has been around for more than ten years, and the SL2’s 9-point AF system (illustrated above) isn’t much newer. Neither AF system is particularly remarkable, but both are perfectly reliable in normal everyday use.

Where the Nikon scores over the Canon is in AF-C mode, with 3D AF Tracking turned on. Although nowhere near as versatile as the 153-point system in Nikon’s high-end D5 and D500, 3D AF Tracking does work in the D3400, and offers a good solution for casual sports and wildlife photography.

Autofocus (live view / video)

In live view and movie mode, the AF tables are turned. Here, the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 offers a far superior autofocus system, thanks to Canon’s unique Dual Pixel AF, which provides on-sensor phase-detection, covering 80% of the image area (indicated above). As such, the SL2 actually boasts better AF performance in live view mode than it does when used as a conventional DSLR.

General performance

The Nikon D3400 and Canon EOS Rebel SL2 give similar performance overall, when measured by standard features like maximum continuous shooting rate (which is the same, at 5fps for both cameras) and ISO sensitivity span (again, the same, at ISO 100-25,600). Both are capable of capturing great-looking images in most shooting situations, and doing so quickly and without fuss. Both cameras offer an option for quiet/silent shooting, too – which is nice.

The Nikon D3400 does have a couple of tricks up its sleeve though – for one thing, it offers a more generous Raw buffer in continuous shooting, and is capable of capturing 10 Raw files at 5 fps as opposed to 6, from the Canon SL2, before slowing to allow the buffer to clear. The D3400’s 11-point AF system is superior to the 9-point system in the SL2 too, especially when it comes to tracking moving subjects.

Rear screen

The Canon Rebel EOS SL2 has a far better rear screen than the Nikon D3400, in multiple respects. For one thing it’s articulated, rather than being fixed. This is especially helpful for movie shooting and live view work. It’s higher resolution than the D3400’s LCD too, offering 1.04 million-dots compared to 920k.


The difference between 920,000 and 1.04 million dots is modest, but more significant is the addition of touch-sensitivity in the Canon SL2, which can be extremely useful when it comes to setting AF point position in live view and movie modes. And thanks to Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus system, when you set AF by touch on the SL2, you can expect fast, accurate and smooth focus.

Movie mode

As far as video is concerned, these cameras offer a near-identical specification, but very different user experiences. Both the D3400 and Rebel SL2 feature a now-standard (for entry-level DSLRs at any rate) 1080/60p maximum resolution setting, and both can shoot perfectly good looking video. At this level we wouldn’t expect any video-centric extras like zebra highlight warnings or focus peaking, but it’s nice to see that Canon provides a mic socket on the SL2 (pictured above) for users that want to upgrade from the camera’s built-in microphone.

The big differences between the D3400 and SL2’s video modes become obvious when you start shooting. The D3400’s fixed, non touch-sensitive rear LCD and contrast-detection autofocus system provide a pretty clunky experience. You can shoot video on the D3400, and footage looks fine, but it’s not much fun.

The SL2 on the other hand offers a fully articulating, touch-sensitive rear display and Canon’s excellent Dual Pixel autofocus system. This is a no-brainer: if you’re interested in shooting video as well as stills, get the SL2.


Both of these cameras offer built-in connectivity options, but they work in very different ways. Nikon has tried to make things easy with its low-energy Bluetooth ‘Snapbridge’ connectivity suite (see screen-grabs above) but in practice, we have had issues getting it to work reliably, especially when paired with iOS smart devices. And even when it does work, sending files to a smartphone over Bluetooth is a very slow, frustrating experience. If you want Wi-Fi, you’ll have to upgrade to a model higher up in Nikon’s DSLR lineup.

The Canon EOS Rebel SL2, on the other hand, includes built-in WiFi with NFC, plus Bluetooth, and the option to add a GPS receiver. The overall implementation of these features is much more sensible and versatile. It’s also pretty hassle-free.

User interface / handling

As entry-level DSLRs, the D3400 and Rebel SL2 are designed to be as small and light as possible, while remaining easy to use for beginner photographers. Both Canon and Nikon have long experience of designing cameras for this audience, and it shows. The D3400 and SL2 are mature, well-designed products that serve their intended buyers well, offering a range of fully automatic shooting modes, along with manual exposure control for more advanced or aspiring photographers.

In addition, both cameras offer a simplified, more illustrative UI compared to their higher-end stablemates, including the option of a specifically beginner-focused interface, geared towards educating novice DSLR photographers about the best choice of settings for certain subjects, and the effects of different exposure parameters on the final image.

For our money, the D3400’s ‘GUIDE’ mode, which takes the form of a simplified on-screen tutorial, makes it a better DSLR for the absolute beginner.

User interface / handling

Both cameras are very small and light, but impressively, the SL2 offers a fully-articulating, touch-sensitive LCD screen while still feeling very slim. The D3400 is a few grams lighter, but not enough that you’d notice when the two cameras are held side by side.

Battery life

The D3400 offers substantially greater battery life than the Canon EOS Rebel SL2, at a quoted 1,200 shots compared to 650 under CIPA conditions, which includes 50% flash use. Canon quotes a battery life of ~800 when flash is not used at all. We generally expect CIPA estimates to be on the low side, so the SL2’s battery life will probably be better than these figures might suggest in normal use, but it’s clear that the D3400 offers a lot more endurance on a single charge.

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Nikon and Canon both announce delays for upcoming DSLRs

01 Aug

Both Nikon and Canon have warned users that forthcoming DSLRs will be hit by delays: The 100th anniversary edition of the Nikon D5 and the Canon 6D Mark II kit with the EF 24-70mm F4L lens are both going to arrive at your door later than expected.

According to a statement on Nikon’s website, the 100th anniversary edition of Nikon’s D5 has been put back by a couple of weeks from July 28th to ‘early August’ while final adjustments are made. The company promises to inform users of the new release date once it is determined.

More seriously perhaps, Canon has issued a statement letting hopeful shoppers know that demand for the EOS 6D Mark ll kit with the Canon EF 24-70mm F4L IS USM lens has exceeded expectations, and that orders will take some time to fulfill. The kits were supposed to ship on August 4th, but Canon has not revealed when it will be able to satisfy the initial demand.

The EOS 6D ll is also offered body only and as a kit with the 24-105mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, so those desperate to buy the camera do have other options.

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Saramonic unveils VMic series of high-end shotgun microphones for DSLRs

21 Jun

Microphone maker Saramonic has launched the VMic series of high-end shotgun microphones for DSLRs. The top-of-the-range Saramonic VMic Pro is a super directional shotgun microphone that mounts directly onto your camera’s hotshoe. It comes with an integrated shock mount system that features an all-metal construction.

There is a 150 Hz low cut filter and a high frequency boost (+6dB) feature that can be controlled independently. The VMic Pro also comes with three position level control (-10dB, 0dB, +20dB), a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio monitoring, and a low battery LED indicator. The microphone’s frequency response is 35 Hz ~ 20 kHz, signal-to-noise ratio is 75dB, and the microphone has a dynamic range of 120dB. Power is supplied by two AA batteries and the package includes a foam windshield as well as a detachable 3.5mm cable to connect to the camera.

The VMic Recorder model features an integrated flash recorder that can store 16-bit / 48 kHz WAV audio files to a Micro SDHC memory card up to 32GB capacity. It also comes with an LCD monitor and a single-button recording function. The standard VMic model comes with similar specifications to the Pro variant but has to make do with a slightly reduced feature set. It will set you back $ 119.95; the Recorder is $ 199.95. No US pricing has been released yet for the VMiv Pro yet which in the UK will cost you £199.14.

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PocketWizard FlexTT6 Transceiver launched for Canon DSLRs and flashes

31 May

PocketWizard has announced the launch of its FlexTT6 Transceiver compatible with more than 20 Canon DSLRs and flashes, including the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and EOS-1D X Mark II, as well as both the 430 EX III-RT and 600 EX II-RT flashes. PocketWizard calls the Flex TT6 a flagship TTL radio that is ‘future-proof,’ as well as ‘forward, backward and cross-compatible’ with the company’s other wireless radios.

The new FlexTT6 brings with it the same HyperSync technology found in the FlexTT5 model, as well as HSS and TTL while being compatible with newer, faster cameras. The transceiver works on the 340 – 354MHz frequencies and has a range of 366m / 1200ft for basic triggers and 243m / 800ft for TTL. The transceiver is powered by a pair of AA batteries and likewise features a mini USB port.

The PocketWizard FlexTT6 is currently listed as available for preorder on B&H Photo for $ 186. The company says its new transceiver will be available online and in retail stores starting on June 8 in both the US and Canada.

Via: The Phoblographer

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