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Review of the Benro Ranger 400 Pro Backpack

20 May

Ask most photographers and they will tell you that one of the hardest things to find with respect to photography gear is the perfect camera bag. One that will suit your every need. We search and search, but in the end, we all come to the realization there isn’t one bag that will be great for every situation. Though, sometimes you can find one that comes close, for me it was the Benro Ranger 400 Pro backpack.

Review of the Benro Ranger 400 Pro Backpack

Lots of options

One of the things to look for in a bag is one that gives you lots of options when using it. One that can handle most photographic situations that you might encounter.

I was looking for a bag that would hold my camera, my filters and holder, plus up to three lenses. Also ideally one that would take my laptop from time to time. It was also very important that it would hold my tripod.

The Benro 400 Pro backpack is lightweight and has a lot of protective elements. The outside of it measures 14 in (35cm) wide, by 19 in (50cm) high, and 8 in (20cm) in depth. It isn’t a large bag, but it’s big enough for most people. The inside is 12(W) x 17(H)x 6(D) inches, or 30(W) x 42(H) x 15(D) cm.

Review of the Benro Ranger 400 Pro Backpack

Sitting next to the Benro Tripod.

Space in the bag

The bag has three separate ways to enter it. The main zipper, that allows full access to the inside of the bag. There is a side zipper to allow easy removal of the camera with the lens attached. There is also a small zipper on the back near the top to help you get to your lenses faster for quick changes.

Review of the Benro Ranger 400 Pro Backpack

The side entrance to get your camera.

Inside the bag, you can move the dividers around to suit your needs. It is like most camera bags in that respect. It will take the camera, and more importantly large cameras fit easily. There are plenty of sections for your lenses, and  it will also allow you to take up to three others (besides the one on the camera), filters, and other smaller accessories you may need for your trip. You do need to be careful that you don’t carry too much, think of your back.

Review of the Benro Ranger 400 Pro Backpack

The inside of the bag.

The bag is deep and you can put your lenses in length ways, unlike other bags where they need to lay down and take up more room. For most lenses you can put them in this way.

There are also places to keep memory cards and batteries. If you want to carry your laptop it will take up to a 14-inch one. A 13-inch Wacom MobileStudio Pro also fits into it fine.

Review of the Benro Ranger 400 Pro Backpack

The area at the back so you can easily reach your lenses.

Materials

The Benro 400 Pro backpack is made with a black water-resistant nylon. It has a hard bottom, so for a backpack it will stands up really well when you put it down. When moving around you can just place it down and not worry about it falling over as many other bags do. It is very hard and gives the bag a lot of support with the structure of the bag as well.

Comfortable to wear

It is very comfortable to wear and the smaller size makes it a good bag for most people. The straps are thick and provide a lot of padding which make it good to carry on your shoulders. When the bag is full of gear you can carry it with ease.

Review of the Benro Ranger 400 Pro Backpack

The bag sits well on the back and is comfortable.

Waist band strap

It does come with a waist strap that you cannot remove from the bag. The sides that come around your waist to sit on your hips also have small compartments with zips. When you get the bag, one of the pockets holds the strap for the tripod and the other side has the rain cover. You can remove both and use them as pockets for easy access. I use one to store my car keys. The zip means they will be safe there.

Tripod attachment

The strap that is found in the side waist strap pocket is used to put across the front of the bag, and another pocket from down the bottom at the front pulls out so you can attach your tripod. The strap is fiddly and can take a bit to put your tripod on it.  I found it frustrating, and instead, choose to attach it a different way.

Review of the Benro Ranger 400 Pro Backpack

How the tripod fits to the front of the bag.

You can also attach it on the side of the bag as well, There is a strap at the bottom of the side that doesn’t seem to have much purpose, and then the strap that is used to keep the front section to the back section, extra security at the top of the side. You can use them to hold the tripod onto the bag. It is, in some ways, a much easier way to attach it. It is nice that you get a couple of choices.

Review of the Benro Ranger 400 Pro Backpack

The tripod attached to the side.

In the end

Since getting the Benro Ranger 400 Pro Backpack I’ve used it continuously. The only time I change bags is when I want to use one on wheels. It has been to many places and has not let me down so far. It has been comfortable to wear for hours and the tripod is easy to get on and off. For me it is almost the perfect camera bag.

The post Review of the Benro Ranger 400 Pro Backpack by Leanne Cole appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Review of the Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light INT812

20 May

What is a ring light?

Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light

Even if you don’t know what a ring light is, it is probable that you have seen photos made using them. As the name suggest, they are a light source in the shape of a ring, often, your camera is mounted on the light so the lens points through it. This on-axis lighting provides even, shadowless illumination on the front of your subject. It is a very distinct style most often seen in fashion photography.

In the past, ring lights were expensive or required a solid set of DIY skills to build your own.

The effect is not to everyone’s taste, and that’s fair enough. Sometimes, the light can appear flat and lifeless, which puts some people off. Also, a lot of photographers don’t like the distinctive ring-shaped catch-lights. That is also fair. If, however, you do like what can be achieved with a ring light, but you’ve been put off by price in the past, then the Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light may just be for you.

Pros of the Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light

Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light

There are a lot of things to love about the Interfit Flourescent Ring Light. In no particular order, they are:

Cost

At $ 100, the Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light is cheap. No, it’s not a strobe, but when you compare it to, say, Bowens’ dedicated Ringflash Pro (listed for $ 2021 on B&H), the Interfit is close to $ 2000 cheaper. This makes ring lights accessible to almost every photographer who wants to use one.

Weight

The unit itself is quite large, but at 1.3 kg it’s light enough to carry anywhere without much trouble. If you often shoot in a studio or space that isn’t your own, throwing the Interfit ring light in the back of your car is not going to be a logistical issue.

Size

Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light

The ring light itself is rather large. But because you are not attaching the lens to the light, it gives you a lot of space to move around with the camera while still being able to see your subject through the light’s aperture. It also means that you can use a longer lens, such as 200mm while keeping the light really close to your subject.

Continuous

Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light

With the Interfit INT812 being a continuous light source, you gain a few advantages. The first of these being that replacement bulbs are cheap, despite the size, they are only around $ 14 each.

Another is that after being on for about an hour, the bulb never gets particularly hot. This is great if you’re photographing people as you don’t have to worry about that aspect of your subject’s comfort.

Finally, there’s the matter of your subject’s pupils. With strobe lighting, you are usually in dark environments with periodic bursts of bright light. As we all know, our eyes adjust to the dark and our pupils dilate to allow us to see. In bright light, such as this ring light offers, it’s the reverse and your subject’s pupils contract, revealing more of the color in their eyes.

Bendable arm

Thanks to a bendable arm, the Interfit INT812 is able to be put in almost any position, making it a very versatile light.

The real beauty of this light is the bendable arm that it is mounted on. This arm, combined with the fact that the light is not mounted to your camera, means that you are not limited to using it as a traditional ring light. You can use and position it as you would any other light source. It’s also possible to point it straight down, a feat usually reserved for boom arms.

At one point I found myself using it as a hair light, alongside a softbox fitted to a strobe as my key light. The versatility all of this provides is more than worth the price tag, even if you never use it on-axis as a traditional ring light.

Interfit NG-65c ring light

Placed at a 45-degree angle, the narrow edge creates interestingly shaped highlight and shadow areas.

Interfit NG-65c ring light

Positioned straight down and a few inches above, the Interfit Ringlight provided some much-needed fill on an all black subject.

Cons of the Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light

As much as I like this light, it does have a few problems as outlined below.

Build quality

As I’ve mentioned already, the Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light is not an expensive piece of equipment. In terms of build quality, it’s reasonable to not expect too much from it. The entire casing is made out of lightweight plastic and does feel a bit flimsy at the best of times. That said, both the bulb and the bendable arm seem to be of good quality. So far, I’ve used it about a dozen times and I have yet to have an issue.

Low intensity

Because this is a continuous light at the cheaper end of the market, the intensity of the light isn’t exactly the brightest. Because of this, you will be limited to working with large apertures and high ISO settings. Depth of field is unforgiving at apertures like f/1.8, so I would encourage using a tripod and taking your time focusing.

At the other end of the scale, it is very bright to look directly into from less than a foot away. This may be uncomfortable for your subjects if you have them in front of it for a long period of time.

If you’re used to using high powered strobes, you need to keep an eye out for other light sources that may affect your images. As the ring light isn’t very high powered, any ambient light around will add unwanted color casts to your images.

Chromatic aberration

When used on axis, chromatic aberration appears around the catch-lights in almost every photo. This isn’t much of a problem as Lightroom will make short work of the aberrations, but it is important to know about.

Chromatic aberration appears around the catchlight from the Interfit INT812; however, this easily fixed in Lightroom.

Color temperature

In terms of mixing multiple light sources, The Interfit INT812 does pose a few problems. It is not daylight balanced, nor does it match the fluorescent light balance preset in camera or in Lightroom. If this is the only light source present, you can eyeball the sliders in Lightroom or use a simple grey card to solve the problem.

Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light

The Interfit Right Light works well as a fill/hair light, although it does take some time to fix the resulting color casts.

However, when you’re mixing light sources, for example, if you use the ring light in combination with studio strobes, you will have to overcome unwelcome color casts. With the white balance set to flash, the color from the ring light is an unpleasant green. It’s an easy fix with all of the color correction tools in Photoshop and Lightroom, but it’s a problem easily avoided if you’d rather not spend the time correcting it. Of course, you could just use this as an excuse to shoot in black and white.

Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light

Extra equipment

So far, I have only come across one real problem while using the Interfit ring light. Because it is so light, I was happy to put it on one of my cheaper light stands. When I started using the bendable arm to put the light at weird angles, it became top-heavy and off balance and started to fall over. Putting it on a heavy duty light stand solved the problem. However, watching one of your lights start on its way to the floor is not an experience that I recommend anyone replicating.

The problem here is that good quality, heavy-duty light stands can start at around half the price of the ring light. If you don’t already have a good light stand before you consider purchasing the Interfit INT812, please be sure to include that into your pricing considerations.

Overall Impressions

Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light

For $ 100, I love this thing. No, it isn’t perfect, but it does add an awful lot of versatility to my toolkit. I like it so much, that as long as there’s a place to plug it in, I will be going out of my way to take it with me from now on.

It might be obvious, but I do like the ring light effect a lot. However, even if you hate ring lights, the Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light INT812 brings a lot to the table and does so in a price range that doesn’t make it cost prohibitive to give it a try.

The post Review of the Interfit Fluorescent Ring Light INT812 by John McIntire appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Canon EOS M6 Review

16 May

The Canon EOS M6 is a compact 24MP APS-C mirrorless digital camera with twin dial controls and a touch screen interface. Starting at $ 779 for the body, it takes the guts of the EVF-equipped EOS M5 and puts them in an updated version of the M3 body. It sits in Canon’s M lineup between the M3 and M5, and is sold with the 15-45 and 18-150mm lenses as kit options for $ 899 and $ 1,279 respectively.

Key Features:

  • 24MP APS-C sensor with max ISO of 25600
  • Dual Pixel on sensor PDAF
  • Electronic video stabilization combines with in-lens IS to give 5-axis IS
  • 7 fps continuous shooting (9 fps with focus and exposure locked)
  • Wi-Fi with always-connected Bluetooth

As usual, Canon has a different view of the market from everybody else, leaving the M6 as either an expensive, better-built alternative to entry-level mirrorless rivals or as a mid-level/enthusiast model shorn of a viewfinder. Either way, it looks a bit pricey. Its level of build and controls puts it up against the throwback style of the Olympus PEN F, Panasonic’s 4K-capable GX85/80, Sony’s value-tastic a6000 and Fujifilm’s rather aged X-E2s.

It’s also interesting to compare it with Canon’s own Rebel series. With its twin control dials and very similar underlying hardware, the M6 is essentially an EOS 77D but without the bulk/utility of an optical viewfinder and with a smaller choice of lenses (unless you forfeit some of the size benefit and use an adapter). The difference in list price is $ 120 or you can get an M6 kit for the price of a body-only 77D.

  Canon EOS M6 Sony a6000 Panasonic GX85 Canon EOS 77D
MSRP
(base kit lens)
$ 899 $ 599 $ 799 $ 1049
Sensor 24MP APS-C 24MP APS-C 16MP Four Thirds 24MP APS-C
Image stabilization Lens-based Lens-based In-body Lens-based
AF system Dual Pixel AF On-sensor phase-detect Contrast-detect with DFD Dual Pixel AF + phase-detect
LCD type Tilting Tilting Fully articulating Fully articulating
Touchscreen Yes No Yes Yes
Viewfinder No 1.44M dot EVF 2.76M dot equiv. EVF* OVF
Burst rate
(with AF)
7 fps 11 fps 6 fps 6 fps
Mic/headphone
jacks
Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Video 1080/60p 1080/60p UHD 4K @ 30p 1080/60p
Wireless Wi-Fi w/NFC Wi-Fi w/NFC Wi-Fi Wi-Fi w/NFC
Battery life 295 shots 360 shots 290 shots 600 shots (OVF)
Weight (body) 343 g 344 g 426 g 540 g
*Uses field sequential update to give resolution equivalent to 2.76M dots

Years ago, I assisted a fashion and editorial photographer who had preordered the EOS M plus an EF adapter the moment the cyber gates opened. They were excited to have a point and shoot sized APS-C second camera that took up less space than a lens in a camera bag.

In their imagination was a camera with AF capabilities, controls, and image quality similar to a midrange APS-C DSLR, but with the size advantages of a mirrorless system. It was returned immediately after adapting it to one of their existing EF lenses. The slow CDAF system meant it couldn’t come close to being a second body that could be counted on in a pinch.

The EOS M6 comes with great autofocus performance, even in macro mode.
Canon EF-M 28mm F3.5 Macro | ISO 100 | 1/400 sec | F5
Photo by Samuel Spencer

I’m happy to say the camera they were originally hoping for has been released. The $ 780 (body only) Canon M6 may be a bit larger and more upmarket than the original M, but it has the controls, image quality, and AF performance that can keep up with DSLRs in many situations. It is also currently the smallest package in which you can find Canon’s Dual Pixel Autofocus.

In this review we’ll look at the camera through the eyes of a series of potential buyers. To begin, let’s see how the EOS M6 really stacks up as an addition to an established Canon shooter’s larger kit.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Huawei Mate 9 quick review

14 May

The Huawei Mate 9 comes with specifications that are in many ways very similar to the slightly newer P10 model. However, as the Chinese manufacturer’s current flagship phablet, the Mate 9 offers a Full-HD display that is, at 5.9″, quite a lot larger than the P10’s 5.1″ equivalent and is overall a chunkier and heavier device.

Like on all recent Huawei high-end models, the Mate 9’s dual-camera was co-developed with German camera manufacturer Leica. It comes with a 20MP monochrome sensor that is combined with a 12MP RGB chip to achieve better image results than conventional cameras. Both lenses feature an F2.2 aperture, complemented by a 6-axis optical image stabilization system and a 4-in-1 hybrid AF that combines contrast detection, phase detection, laser time-of-flight measurements and depth information. The Mate 9 can also record 4K video and has a front camera features an 8MP sensor and F1.9 aperture.

In terms of imaging features, the Mate 9 offers everything you would expect from a true high-end smartphone. The camera app’s Pro mode gives you manual controls and DNG Raw capture. There are panorama and HDR modes and some dual-cam based features, such as a portrait mode with a simulated shallow depth-of-field effect. 

The Mate 9 camera app allows you to adjust all essential shooting parameters using virtual sliders.

The rest of the specification is all worthy of a flagship model as well. Android 7.0 and Huawei’s EMUI 5.0 launcher are powered by the in-house Kirin 960 chipset and the large 4000mAh battery comes with Huawei’s own quick-charging system.

Key specifications:

  • Dual-cam with 12MP RGB sensor and 20MP monochrome sensor
  • F2.2 apertures on both lenses
  • Optical image stabilization 
  • Hybrid AF with contrast detection, phase detection and laser measurement
  • 4K video
  • Manual control over shutter speed
  • DNG Raw capture
  • 8MP / F1.9 front camera
  • 5.9″ LCD IPS display with 1080p
  • Android 7.0
  • Kirin 960 chipset
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage and microSD-slot
  • 4000mAh battery with quick charging

Image quality in good light

In good light the Mate 9 camera captures images with good exposure and pleasant colors that are vibrant but still natural. The dual-cam setup is also capable of maintaining better highlight detail than many competitors, making the Huawei a good choice for shooting in high-contrast situations. 

The Leica lenses provide very good sharpness across the frame and into the corners. When viewing the Huawei’s low-ISO image output at a 100% there are no artifacts such as chromatic aberrations, color bleeding or moire but blue skies show noticeable luminance noise. Fine low-contrast textures, such as distant vegetation, are a little smeared by noise reduction but overall the Huawei captures very good detail. 

 ISO 50, 1/1751 sec

In the scene below the Mate 9 camera maintains very good highlight detail in the bright sunshine.

 ISO 50, 1/1307 sec

The Huawei Mate 9 colors are vibrant but not quite as punchy and unnaturally saturated as on some competitors.

 ISO 50, 1/1715 sec

In the portrait scene below the camera does a very good job at balancing exposure between in the bright sunlit background and the shaded subject.

 ISO 50, 1/428 sec

Image quality in low light conditions

In low light the Mate 9 camera performs very well across the ISO range. Color response and white balance are good, even in mixed light situations, and the camera produces good exposures down to very low light levels. 

Noise and the effects of noise reduction become more intrusive as the ISO value goes up but the Huawei always maintains a good balance between noise reduction and detail retention. Chroma noise is well under control and grain tends to be fine and less intrusive than on some competitors. Even shots captured in very dark scenes still show some finer textures and decent edge detail. Overall the Mate 9 camera performs very well in low light, letting the Huawei compete with the very best in dim conditions. 

At ISO 100 a very minor reduction of detail is just about noticeable but you have to zoom in to a 100% view to see. Color and exposure are very good. 

 ISO 100, 1/100 sec

The ISO 250 shot below was captured in a tungsten-lit interior. The white balance system is doing a good job at producing a fairly neutral color response that preserves some of the scene’s warm atmosphere. At full-size view luminance noise becomes visible but the grain size is very small and much less intrusive than the smeared ‘noise blobs’ on some other cameras.

 ISO 250, 1/33 sec

The camera does a good job in the difficult light conditions of the indoor scene below. The optical image stabilization usually keep things steady but, like on most smartphone cameras, at slow shutter speeds even minor subject motion leads to slight softness.

 ISO 640, 1/17 sec

For the night scene below the camera’s auto mode selected ISO 1250. In these difficult conditions noise is visible even at smaller image sizes and a lot of fine detail has been eradicated by noise reduction. However, in comparison to many competitors the Mate 9 is still doing a very good job. Some low-contrast textures are preserved and noise levels are comparatively low. The auto exposure system is also doing an excellent job at balancing the bright portions of the scene against the darker elements. 

 ISO 1250, 1/4 sec

Flash

The Mate 9’s dual-LED flash performed well in our testing. When using the flash the camera tends to keep ISO pretty low, allowing for good detail and low noise levels. Exposure is good with subjects across the table but can get a little too dark at slightly longer distances. Auto white balance usually ensures natural skin tones, even in mixed light situations. 

 ISO 320, 1/25 sec

Front camera

The Mate 9’s front camera comes with an 8MP resolution and resolves good detail in bright light. It also offers better dynamic range than most front cameras we have seen and deals very well with bright backlit scenes, such as the one below. As you would expect, image quality starts suffering as light levels get lower but a display flash function allows for self-portraits even in very dark situations.

 Front camera, ISO 50, 1/1427 sec

Panorama mode

The Mate 9’s panorama mode works in the same way as on other recent Huawei high-end models. You can capture both vertical and horizontal panoramas and a guide line helps you keep things as straight as possible during recording. 

At usually just over 10,000 pixels wide the Mate 9’s panorama images are quite a bit smaller than on recent iPhones or Samsung Galaxy models and only cover a 180 degree angle of view. However, image detail is pretty good, there are only minor stitching errors and the mode deals well with moving subjects in the scene. 

Vertical panorama, 11274 x 3072 pixels

DNG Raw capture

When shooting in its Pro mode you can set the Mate 9 camera to save DNG Raw files in addition to JPEG images. 

Out-of-camera JPEG, ISO 50, 1/1000 sec

The Raw sample below was converted in Adobe ACR. We applied some negative digital exposure compensation and slightly lifted the shadow areas for an overall more natural tonal distribution and applied some small-diameter sharpening. If you click through to the full-sized version you can see that by doing so you can achieve noticeably better detail and reduce highlight clipping on some of the brighter elements in the scene (though the better highlight roll-off has as much to do with being able to access ACR’s cleverness as anything the phone is contributing). 

DNG Raw file, converted in Adobe ACR

Video

The Huawei Mate 9 can capture video in up to 4K resolution and 120 fps slow motion clips at 720p. The 1080p Full-HD sample below shows good color and detail but panning is not quite as smooth as the best in class. The quality of the stereo sound recording is good in most situations. 

Conclusion

The Huawei Mate 9 comes with high-end components that are wrapped up in a solid metal body with a premium look and feel, a comprehensive imaging feature set, a well-structured camera app and very good image quality across all light levels. In bright light the Mate 9 camera lags very slightly behind the best in class in terms of image detail and noise but delivers excellent dynamic range, making it a great camera for shooting in high-contrast situations.

In lower light the camera maintains an excellent balance between noise reduction and detail retention at all light levels and even images taken in very low light still show some fine textures, making the Huawei an excellent choice for mobile photographers who like shooting in dim conditions. Panning in video mode is not quite as smooth as on the iPhone or Google Pixel devices but if video is not too high up your list the Huawei Mate 9 is a very powerful tool for mobile photography.

If you prefer smaller smartphones you should have a closer look at the Huawei P10, which offers very similar all-around specifications in a noticeably smaller package. 

Huawei Mate 9 sample gallery

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Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Week in Review: Hungry Birds

13 May

Sony a9 Raw support arrives

We started the week in much the same way as the previous one ended, with more coverage of Sony’s new a9 mirrorless monster. Thanks to a prerelease version of Adobe Camera Raw, we were able to go back and process the a9’s sample photos ‘to taste’. 

You can view our updated gallery, and read some analysis about the IQ, right here.

Interview with Panasonic’s Yosuke Yamane

Recently, Yosuke Yamane, the Director of Panasonic’s imaging business, stopped by the DPReview offices to talk about the GH5, the wonders of 8K, rumors of downsizing and more. Read the full interview.

Olympus firmware updates

If there’s one thing you can say about Olympus it’s that they take care of their customers – even those with cameras now several years old. We saw that with last Monday’s major firmware updates for the E-M1 (original and Mark II), E-M5 II and PEN-F. In addition to adding support for Profoto’s wireless flash system (the TTL-O transmitter is pictured above), improvements ranged from selecting autofocus points to EVF color reproduction. Two lenses, the 12-100 F4 and 300mm F4, also received an update.

Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM gallery

Do you like bird photos? Sure, we all do. DPR’s Sam Spencer drove halfway across the country with the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 lens and sent back some shots of cardinals chowing down at the feeder. Our initial sample gallery is now available for viewing, and look for more photos from the Sigma 100-400 in the days and weeks to come.

Sony 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS gallery

The Sigma 100-400 wasn’t the only telephoto lens gallery this week. We also posted a gallery from Sony’s 100mm F2.8 STF lens, which promised smooth, ‘buttery’ bokeh. According to our own Rishi Sanyal, the bokeh might be a little too smooth for some people. You’ll find our 46-image gallery plus Rishi’s analysis right here.

Panasonic DC-GX850 / GX800 review

There was some sadness in the office last year when it appeared that the Panasonic GM series had been left to die. The good news is that it’s back, mostly, in the form of the GX850/GX800. The bad news? It didn’t knock our socks off. Read the review to find out why.

Throwback Thursday: Eye Control AF

Part of the fun of writing Throwback Thursday articles is going back and finding cameras with some really unusual features. We jumped back to the film era for this one, but we think you’ll agree with Dale Baskin about how clever (though not always reliable) Canon’s Eye Control AF was. You might not agree with Dale’s desire to see it return on modern ILCs (which has a likelihood in the neighborhood of zero).

Jump back to the days of the EOS Elan II E in this week’s TBT.

Budget ILC roundup

Over the last month we’ve been going back and updating our camera roundups. This week we looked at nine interchangeable lens cameras that sell for around $ 500. You might be surprised which cameras offer the most bang for the buck. If you’re looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, then the $ 500 ILC roundup might be a good place to start.

Watch for additional updates to our roundups over the next several weeks!

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Panasonic Lumix DC GX850 review: Lean selfie machine

11 May

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850 (known as the GX800 and GF9 in some regions) is the brand’s most compact interchangeable lens camera (as of Spring 2017) and uses the same 16MP Four Thirds sensor as several of its siblings. Sold kitted with a 12-32mm collapsible zoom, stand-out features include a 180-degree flip-up touch LCD, Panasonic’s excellent Depth-from-Defocus AF and 4K video capture.

At its core the GX850 represents a combining of Panasonic’s style-oriented GF-line with the ultra-compact-oriented GM-line and replaces both the GM5 and GF8. However, its most similar sibling currently on the market is the larger, EVF-sporting GX85.

Key features:

  • 16MP Four Thirds MOS sensor
  • 4K/30/24p video capture
  • 4K Photo mode for 8MP stills at 30 fps
  • 5 fps bursts with continuous AF
  • 3″ 1.04M-dot touch LCD flips ups 180 degrees
  • Wi-Fi

Panasonic’s core customer for this camera is the casual user seeking a carry-everywhere-cam for documenting friends or family. This user is someone who prefers a selfie-screen to an EVF and favors ease-of-use and compactness. Since this ‘lifestyle’ camera buyer is likely to use the camera for a range of different types of photography, we’re going to see how it performs in a range of situations.

The rivals

Though the GX850 is Panasonic’s most entry-level camera, this segment of the mirrorless market has a lot of strong contenders to choose from. We’ve compared it to several of its most direct competitors below:

  Panasonic GX850 Panasonic GX85 Fujifilm X-A3 Fujifilm X-A10 Olympus E-PL8 Canon M10
MSRP w/ kit lens $ 550 $ 800 $ 600 $ 500 $ 650 $ 600
Sensor 16MP Four Thirds 16MP Four Thirds 24.2MP APS-C 16MP APS-C 16MP Four Thirds 18MP APS-C
Image stabilization Lens-only 5-axis in-body + lens Lens-only Lens-only 3-axis in-body + lens Lens-only
AF system Contrast-detect Contrast-detect Contrast-detect Contrast-detect Contrast-detect Hybrid AF
Viewfinder n/a 2.76M-Dot 0.7x n/a n/a n/a n/a
Screen 3″ 1.04M-dot 180° tilting touch 3″ 1.04M-dot tilting touch 3″ 920k-dot 180° tilting touch 3″ 1.04M-dot 180° tilting
(no touch)
3″ 1.04M-dot 180° tilting touch 3″ 1.04M-dot 180° tilting touch
Number of control dials 1 2 2 2 1 1
Hotshoe No Yes Yes No Yes No
Burst rate w/ AF-C 5 fps 6 fps 6 fps 6 fps 3.5 fps 4.6 fps
Video 4K/24/30p 4K/24/30p 1080/60/24p 1080/30/24p 1080/30p 1080/30/24p

CIPA battery life

210 290 410 410 350 255
Dimensions 106.5 x 64.6 x 33.3 mm 122 x 71 x 44 mm 116.9 x 66.9 x 40.4 mm 117 x 67 x 40 mm 115 x 67 x 38 mm 108 x 67 x 35 mm
Weight 269 g 426 g 290 g 331 g 357 g 301 g

As you can see from the chart, the two areas the GX850 has an advantage over its direct competitors include 4K video capture and size/weight.

The number of control dials is definitely a differentiator in this class. The GX850 has just one, located slightly awkwardly on the back. This view also shows its USB-charging and HDMI port.

Social, portrait and pet photography

The camera’s small size, touch capability and selfie screen make it an appealing choice for casually snapping images of friends, family and pets.

The default exposure behavior in its full auto mode, which is called Intelligent Auto (iA), tends to be sensible: the camera tries to maintain a shutter speed that is one over the focal length or greater. However, if the camera senses subject movement in iA mode, it will automatically increase the shutter speed, at the expense of ISO sensitivity. And if the shutter speed drops too low because of a lack of light, the camera will warn you that the shot might have blur due to camera shake. The GX850 never deploys the pop-up flash though, unless the user does. 

‘The default exposure behavior in Intelligent Auto mode tends to be sensible’

When shooting moving subject like kids or pets indoors, the GX850 does not always choose a fast enough mode to freeze the action, even if it senses movement. One way around this is to switch the camera into ‘Sport/Action’ mode, represented by a tiny running figure on the dial. However this mode still won’t always provide a fast enough shutter speed, but should be a better option than any of the other auto settings.

This is a good camera for casual photos of friends. And if you take the time to process the Raw files, as we’ve done here, you can get some great results. Photo by Dan Bracaglia

Face Detection is turned on by default out of the box (when using the iAuto mode) and is quite useful for documenting fellow human beings. In most cases, when Face Detect is engaged, the camera will lock focus on the most prominent person in one’s frame. Of course if the face is too small, obstructed, or there simply is not enough light, this mode will occasionally fail. And if no face is detected, the camera defaults to its 49-point area mode, which tends to focus on the nearest or most central object. 

Most users of this camera will leave it in JPEG mode and be totally satisfied. However to get the most out of the GX850, we recommend shooting Raw. The above image was processed through Adobe Camera Raw and ‘pops’ significantly more than the out of camera JPEG. In general, we found JPEG color to be a tad washed out, and skin tone color can occasionally look a little off.

You want a selfie screen? You’ve got a selfie screen.

Selfie screens are par for the course in this entry level class of camera. By default, when you flip the screen up, the camera uses a 3 sec timer before a photo is taken, and a countdown is displayed to prepare you for the decisive moment (this can be switched off).

There are also several ‘beautifying’ filters that can be applied to make your selfie sing, including a ‘Soft Skin’ and a ‘Slimming Effect’ filter. Both of these are adjusted via sliders ranging from 0-10. There is also a background defocus option that simulates a shallow depth-of-field. These options are fun to try, but mostly pretty silly.

As selfie, with no beautifying effects applied. A selfie with ‘Slimming’ and ‘Soft Skin’ set to 10/10.

Sharing images with the GX850 is also fairly straightforward. There are multiple ways to connect the camera to one’s device (you’ll need to download the Panasonic Image App first), though sadly the camera does not offer NFC to make life easier for Android users.

The first time you connect you’ll need to pull up Wi-Fi in the main menu, located at the bottom of page 1 in the ‘wrench menu,’ and select ‘Wi-Fi Function.’ There you can generate a local Wi-Fi network and connect your smart device. The app also allows you to control the camera remotely.

Sometimes you just have to share that delicious plate of pancakes with the world. The GX850 makes zapping photos from the camera to your smart device fairly painless, once you set up the connection. Photo by Allison Johnson.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Camera Bag Review – The Udee Backpack

29 Apr

As a photographer, amateur or professional, you know the value of good, reliable gear. It is often said that we photographers value good gear more than expensive material things like jewelry, designer watches, and/or expensive clothes. If you don’t agree with me, just ask my husband. He is still perplexed about my choice of buying a 20+-year-old film camera for what it would have cost him to buy an Apple watch for my birthday! But considering that I am the one who works most with my gear, carries it around, and takes care of it, I want to make the best buying decisions when it comes to my photography business. So when I had the opportunity to review the Udee backpack, I was excited to give it a test run.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

Udee Backpack

As a somewhat petite female photographer who is generally lugging about 20+ lbs of gear, I am always on the lookout for a good, sturdy yet comfortable, camera bag that will last me a long time. I had the opportunity to test the Udee bag on several hiking trips with my family last month.

This is where I want a bag that is durable and can last the rough wear and tear I generally put my gear through when I am hiking. For my wedding photography business, I already have a bag that is tried and tested and something that I will likely not change as my needs for that part of my business are very different.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

The Udee bag was really comfortable to carry around while hiking and walking in the mountains.

You can see the individual features of the Udee backpack on their Kickstarter project here.  My personal opinions of the Udee are based on a few factors that I feel are important to me when I am buying a camera bag.

Appearance

I have to say that when I first saw the Udee backpack I was very impressed with the appearance. It’s definitely one of the more stylish looking backpacks I have ever seen. The color combination of the gray flannel-type material with orange accents was attractive, and it appeared to be made of good and sturdy quality fabric. It did not feel like cheap construction and there were no telltale signs of poor workmanship in terms of loose threads, uneven seams, bad zippers, etc., at first glance.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

The material felt strong and sturdy yet light-weight. The padding on the back of the pack also felt thick and soft. I prefer camera bags that don’t look and scream “here is a photographer with several thousand dollars worth of gear on their person” too much. On many occasions, I venture out on my own in a new place and I don’t want to attract too much attention.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

Comfort

As per Udee, their bag touts a weight reduction system by improving weight distribution via an S-shaped buckle, and an X-shaped back support structure. I tested the bag when I went for a family hiking trip to Colorado and completely loved the weight reduction system. I hiked for a good two to three hours and did not feel the discomfort that I normally feel with other traditional backpacks.

The back support made carrying the bag super comfortable and the straps did not dig into my shoulders with the weight of the bag. The combination of the X-shaped back padding and stiff back support made it easy to carry the camera bag for an extended period of time. I did not have any odd shaped gear poking into my back making it unfordable to carry. The bag straps were also wide enough to comfortably fit on my shoulder.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

My seven-year-old son also carried the bag for a short period of time (minus the camera, as I was holding it taking pictures) and he did not complain about the weight. At that time it contained a few snacks, a 50mm prime lens, a 70-200mm and a water bottle.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

Of his own accord, my son volunteered to carry the bag for me…with slight adjustments to the straps, it fit his small frame quite comfortably.

Storage

I used to carry a lot of gear with me during my travels but over time I have narrowed down my options to only carrying lens and gear that I know I will use. I plan out my excursions ahead of time so I know exactly what I will be using and when. The Udee backpack fit the following comfortably:

  • 1 camera body
  • 2 zoom and prime lenses
  • My Canon 70-200mm (with the lens case)
  • Camera battery charger
  • Memory cards
  • 3 camera batteries
  • And a 15in MacBook laptop

I don’t carry additional bodies when I travel most of the time but sometimes I will carry an additional film camera body which is small enough to comfortably fit in the Udee.

Padding

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

The padding inside the bag is thick and soft. I am very particular with my gear and always travel with the lenses in the bags they come in. Sometimes I will put two or more lens in a smaller padded zip bag and then put it in my backpack. It might seem like overkill, but I would rather do this than have damaged gear when I reach my destination.

With the Udee backpack, I felt comfortable enough to just put my lenses in their bags directly into the bag. I did find it a little uncomfortable to fit my 70-200mm with its case in the bottom storage compartment but it fit perfectly in the top compartment. The main compartment of the Udee also had various smaller storage areas that hold traditional things like cards, a wallet, loose change and even had a padded place for sunglasses or eyeglasses.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

On a side note, for those of you who travel on planes with the Udee, the dimensions are within the guidelines of the airlines and it actually fits perfectly in the flight overhead compartment.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

Anti-theft device

I found this to be a very unique and interesting feature of the Udee backpack. Call me paranoid, but I never ever leave my gear unattended. If I am traveling alone, it comes with me wherever I go. If I am with family, then I have someone watch my gear if I have to step away. My gear is what keeps my business afloat and even though I have insurance, I still behave like I don’t when it comes to safety and security with my gear.

When I read about the anti-theft device in the Udee, I was intrigued. This is an interesting feature for travelers especially if you put your camera bag in an overhead rack when using public transportation or need to step away from your gear for a few minutes. The small, built-in combination lock and steel cable are long enough to keep your pack safe and the lock can also be used on some of the pack’s zippers.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

Security pocket and luggage belt

I love bags that have a luggage belt. This small but important feature is invaluable to me as it helps maintain my sanity when I am rushed and traveling through an airport with my kids. Those of you who travel with young ones can likely relate. Somehow you suddenly become the luggage porter just minutes before walking through security. Especially when they swore that they would carry their own bags the whole trip if you just let them take that extra book or that extra game!

The luggage belt allowed me to hook the camera bag onto my carryon bag handle and gave me an extra hand to maneuver my kids through the crowded airport. I liked the security pocket too because it let me store and access my phone easily. However, I don’t see myself using this for anything other than a phone and maybe some money just in case I lose my wallet somewhere. It was easy to access even with both bag straps on my shoulder, which is a big plus in my mind.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

LED Light

I really loved this feature of the bag. I found it particularly useful when I was hiking with my family. We tend to stay out past sunset (generally because I am photographing something and get carried away) and we always carry flashlights with us. We have headlamps, but the fact that the bag could light up and replace my headlamp was particularly impressive.

I can also see this as being very useful for people who walk along roadsides at night. With just the click of a button on each strap, the LED strips either blink slowly, blink quickly, or stay on continuously. The fact that each LED module can be removed from the strap and can be plugged into a standard micro-USB charger is also really practical as there are no batteries to replace.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

Cons of the Udee backpack

But there were a few things about the Udee backpack that I personally did not like. These are just my opinion based on my time with the Udee!

No water bottle pocket

Now I am very conscious of the environment and try to practice sustainability in my everyday life. To that end, I always carry my own water bottle everywhere I go. This is especially important when I am out hiking and camping with my family. This was a huge con in my mind as there is no storage spot for me to keep my water bottle on the Udee bag.

I would have to use an external hook to clip the bottle to the shoulder straps, which I find extremely cumbersome and awkward as the bottle tends to hustle around when I am hiking. The other option would be to put the bottle inside the bag which makes me very nervous – liquid and electronic gear in close proximity is a disaster just waiting to happen!

Accessibility to the bottom storage compartment is difficult

I found accessibility to my camera very difficult when I stored it in the bottom compartment of the Udee backpack. This is the part of the bag that Udee calls the camera storage area. With the bag on both shoulders, it was impossible to reach the zipper of the bottom storage. I had to shift the bag onto one shoulder and even then, it was very challenging to open the zipper and take out the camera.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

My arms could not reach the bottom storage while I was holding the bag. I had to put the bag down, take some stuff out of the top storage and then access the bottom camera storage area!

The bottom storage compartment was stiff and did not open wide enough to take the camera out, especially when there were extra lenses in the top compartment weighing it down. This may not be an issue if you don’t anticipate taking pictures while you are getting to and from your destination. I like to stop and take some pictures along the way when I am hiking and/or walking around town. I don’t necessarily want to have the camera around my neck for easy access.

Safety and security

Especially when I am hiking a difficult terrain, I like to be safe with my expensive gear. I did notice that it is possible to access the lower compartment from the interior of the backpack since the divider has a zipper around it. However, that’s not practical if the upper compartment is also full of stuff.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

But what surprised me was that the bottom storage was accessible easily when the bag was worn on the back. My son wanted to store his jacket (5 minutes into the hike of course) and was easily able to do so. Not so good for the security of camera gear.

Quality of the zipper

Through out my time with the Udee bag, some of the zippers were very difficult to use. Now, this could be just my copy of the bag and not really a problem in general.

The orange zipper which opens to the compartment with the key hook (I kept the car keys and my wallet there) was particularly hard to operate. The key hook kept getting stuck in the zipper and it was hard to open. I had to press down on the front of the bag and then open it. So I could not open the bag and take my keys out super fast. I would have to try a couple of times before being able to get anything out. I did not have a problem with the other zippers so, as I said, it could be just an issue with my copy of the bag.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

Overall thoughts on the Udee backpack

Overall I think the Udee backpack is a very good looking bag that is generally well-built. Its list of features includes some really innovative things like the LED lights, anti-theft device, and portable charging.

However, I feel that it also has some serious misses like the poorly designed lower-compartment in terms of accessibility and lack of beverage storage. I may be tempted to use this bag for light photography use and small day trips where I may not even take my camera or take just a point and shoot. I would not consider taking this on an extensive travel trip where I am constantly on the move, taking a lot of pictures along the way and need to take my camera out multiple times.

Camera Bag Review - The Udee Backpack

P.S. I really want to thank my kids for being such sports and testing out the Udee with me on our trip. The bribe of being photographed for an article really worked in my favor this time around!

The post Camera Bag Review – The Udee Backpack by Karthika Gupta appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Sphere of frustration: Nikon KeyMission 360 review

27 Apr

360-degree capture is still a relatively new concept, and one that can be hard to explain to the casual consumer. But play someone a 360 video and you suddenly have the ability to expand their idea of what photography is. This is especially true when 360 content is viewed with a smartphone that senses its position in space, allowing viewers to explore an entire surrounding area, revealing more – behind, above, and below the viewer – as they move the device around. Where most photography provides a window onto an experience, 360 puts the viewer smack in the middle of a scene.

When Nikon announced the KeyMission 360 more than a year ago it appeared, on paper, to be the category leader. 4K image resolution, a somewhat compact form factor, weather sealing for action sports, dual lenses to capture a full sphere of image data: it was all there.

  • Dual F2.0 lenses for full 360-degree image, each with a 1/2.3″ 21MP CMOS sensor
  • 4K UHD video capture
  • 29MP still capture
  • Shockproof and waterproof housing
  • Removable battery and microSD card
  • Prominent, easy-to-access physical controls

Well…mostly there. When it was finally released in September 2016, the KeyMission 360 arrived with a personality as dual as its opposing lenses. The hardware impresses in many ways, but the software and interaction with mobile devices quickly make you forget about those advantages. Although Nikon is making incremental progress, you may find the urge to test the camera’s shockproof construction by throwing it across the room.

  Nikon KeyMission 360  Ricoh Theta S  360fly 4K  Samsung Gear 360 (2017)
Max Video Resolution

3840 x
2160/24p 

1920 x 1080/30p 2880 x 2880/30p

4096 x 2048/24p

Photo Resolution 7744 x 3872 5376 x 2688 2880 x 2880 5472 x 2736
Waterproof (without a housing) Yes No Yes No
Field of View 360 degrees (dual lenses) 360 degrees (dual lenses) 240 degrees (single lens) 360 degrees (dual lenses)
Storage microSD card 8 GB internal 64 GB internal microSD card
Weight 198 g 125 g 172 g 130 g
MSRP $ 500 $ 350 $ 500 TBD

It’s worth noting a new 4K Ricoh Theta will likely be announced soon. The Nikon KeyMission 360 is available now for a a street price of $ 496.95. 

But let’s start with the overall experience, because shooting in 360 degrees takes a different approach from most cameras.

Handling

When we talk about how a camera handles, we usually mean how it feels in the hand, how much it weighs, and how comfortable it is to shoot using a viewfinder or an LCD. With the KeyMission 360 (and most other 360-degree cameras), the entire surrounding area is recorded as a sphere. Its dual lenses (each backed by a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor) capture two separate images that are stitched together by software, leaving nowhere for a photographer to hide.

The camera itself is compact and solid, with a size and heft a bit larger than a baseball (roughly 6.4cm/2.5in cubed), including the space occupied by the curved lens covers. The KM360 weighs in at around 198g (7oz). If you’re holding the camera, though, your hand and arm dominate much of the field of view. When I asked in the DPReview offices if anyone had a selfie stick I could borrow, I thought I would be knocked over by a concussion wave from eyerolls. And yet, 360 works best when you can get the camera away from yourself, be that on an extended mount, a tripod, or a helmet mount. The KeyMission 360 has a standard 1/4 inch socket at the bottom for attaching almost anything.

Two prominent buttons on the case let you capture video or stills. They’re sized and placed in such a way that you can easily trigger a shot by feel alone: video recording using the rectangular button on top, or still photos using the smaller square button on one side. They’re also large enough that you can initiate a capture if you’re wearing gloves. (The typical way to turn the camera on or off without recording is to press and hold the video-capture button for a few seconds.)

Additionally, pressing a button starts a capture even when the camera is off, an unusual feature for most cameras that, in this case, is often helpful. If the camera is mounted on top of your head, for instance, you don’t want to mess around trying to start recording when it’s time to hurl yourself down a snow-covered mountain. By default, the still photo is on a timer so you don’t capture just your King Kong-looking giant hand. The downside to this feature is that it’s easy to accidentally start a video recording as you’re putting the camera back into a bag (I have the hour-plus videos to prove it), or occasionally capture a still image while opening the interface hatch on the opposite side of the button. I’d like to see a setting or lock switch for toggling this feature on and off.

That exterior hatch reveals one of the KeyMission 360’s strengths: the battery (the EN-EL12, which is also shared by several of Nikon’s Coolpix compact cameras) and microSD memory card can be removed and swapped with others when needed. Many 360-degree cameras have sealed-in batteries and internal memory, requiring you to stop and recharge the battery or offload media when the storage is full (or both). You’ll also find a microUSB port for charging and data transfer, as well as an HDMI micro (type D) connector.

Nikon claims a CIPA battery rating of 230 still shots and about 1 hour and 10 minutes of video capture per battery charge. In my experience, I got a little less than 1 hour of video when shooting continuously until the battery ran out, without controlling the camera via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (which consumes a bit more power). Shooting stills using the exterior button and with minimal interaction from the phone app resulted in an impressive 479 shots, however.

The hatch seals tight when closed with a double-locking door, retaining the camera’s waterproofing down to 30m (98ft). It’s also shockproof from 2m (6.6ft) and freezeproof down to -10°C/+14°F.

The wide-angle lenses sit behind protective plastic lens covers that you’ll want to keep clean from fingerprints and dust. Unlike most 360-degree cameras, the KeyMission’s covers are removable so you can swap in an alternate set of included covers designed for use underwater (to adjust for distortion). Although I could have used the camera without any covers, I didn’t see much difference in the image quality, and would rather pay to replace lens covers than the lenses themselves if the KeyMission took a tumble.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Huawei P10 camera review

23 Apr

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The P10 is Huawei’s latest high-end smartphone in a more compact form factor compared to the company’s Mate 9 phablet. A 5.1″ Full-HD display with very thin bezels allows for a design that easily fits into even small pockets. On the inside, top-end components, including Huawei’s HiSilicon Kirin 960 octa-core chipset and 4GB of RAM, provide top-end performance.

The Leica-branded camera comes with the same specification as its equivalent in the Mate 9 and combines a 12MP color sensor with a 20MP monochrome chip. Both lenses have an F2.2 aperture and the color variant also features optical image stabilization. As before, color and monochrome image information is combined for better image detail, higher dynamic range and lower noise levels. Other features include laser-assisted autofocus, a two-tone LED flash and 4K video recording.

On the software side of things a new ‘Leica-style’ portrait mode uses 3D face detection and applies a combination of fake bokeh, adjustable illumination and ‘beautification’ effects to your portrait subjects. We’ve put the hardware and software through its paces for our full camera review. Read on on the following pages to find out how the P10 performed.

Key Photographic / Video Specifications

  • Leica-branded dual-camera with 12MP color and 20MP monochrome sensors
  • F2.2 aperture
  • OIS on the color sensor
  • 27mm equivalent focal length
  • On-sensor phase detection and laser-assisted AF
  • Dual-tone LED flash
  • 4K video
  • 8MP front camera with F1.9 aperture
  • Manual camera control and DNR Raw capture

Other Specifications

  • 5.1″ IPS display with 1080p resolution
  • Android 7.0
  • HiSilicon Kirin 960 octa-core chipset
  • 4GB RAM and 64GB storage
  • microSD support up to 256GB
  • 3200 mAh battery
  • Stereo speakers
  • Fingerprint reader

DPReview smartphone reviews are written with the needs of photographers in mind. We focus on camera features, performance, and image quality.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Canon EOS 77D Review

18 Apr

Introduction

The Canon EOS 77D (9000D in Japan) is a lightweight 24MP APS-C DSLR that offers impressive Dual Pixel Autofocus, good external controls and WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. It slots between the Rebel T7i and EOS 80D, and can be thought of as the successor to the Rebel T6s; if the name doesn’t make that obvious, the specifications and feature additions over its lower-end Rebel sibling should.

Key specifications

  • 24MP sensor with Dual Pixel autofocus
  • 45-point all-cross-type phase-detect autofocus system
  • Digic 7 processor
  • 3″ fully-articulating touchscreen LCD
  • Top plate LCD for shooting information
  • Dual control dials
  • 6fps continuous shooting
  • 1080/60p video capture with microphone input

So is the EOS 77D more than a fancy Rebel in disguise? Well, not really. The only meaningful differentiators between this model and the Rebel T7i it was announced alongside are the dual control dials, top plate LCD and the addition of an AF ON button. Less meaningful differentiators include an extra eight grams of heft and some general button shuffling. And that’s it. In other words, the same relationship was shared by the Rebel T6s and T6i.

All that said, we have to concede the name ’77D’ sounds a lot more serious than either the well-worn Rebel or XX0D monikers, and after all, this is a fairly well-rounded camera. It borrows an awful lot from its up-market EOS 80D cousin, and yet, comes in at a pretty steep discount. Let’s see how they compare in detail.

Among the many things the EOS 77D inherits from the 80D is its 24MP sensor, which is a huge improvement over the sensors in previous ‘s’ Rebels.
Processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. ISO 100 | 1/640 sec | F8
Photo by Carey Rose

Spec comparison

  Rebel T7i/800D EOS 77D EOS 80D
MSRP (body only) $ 749  $ 899 $ 1199
Sensor 24.2MP APS-C CMOS
Processor Digic 7 Digic 6
ISO range ISO 100-25600
(expands to 51200)
ISO 100-12800
(expands to 25600)
AF system  Dual Pixel + 45-pt all-cross-type
Shutter speed 30 – 1/4000 sec 30 – 1/8000 sec 
X-sync 1/200 sec 1/250 sec
LCD size/type 3″ fully-articulating touchscreen (1.04M-dot) 
Viewfinder mag/coverage 0.82x / 95% 0.95x / 100%
(‘Intelligent’)
Control dials One Two
AF ON button No Yes
Top plate LCD No Yes
Max Continuous 6 fps  7 fps
Video 1920 x 1080 @ 60p/30p/24p
Headphone jack No Yes
Bluetooth Yes No
Battery life (CIPA) 600 shots 960 shots
Battery grip No Optional
Weather-sealing No Yes
Dimensions 131 x 100 x 76mm 131 x 100 x 76mm 139 x 105 x 79mm
Weight (CIPA) 532 g  540 g 730 g

The EOS 77D then will broadly appeal to the same sort of consumer as the T6s/760D; namely, the photographer with enough experience to want a more hands-on approach and who must have an optical viewfinder of some sort. All of the not-insignificant advancements in the EOS 77D and the Rebel T7i make them compelling upgrade choices for users of previous Rebel (and even some X0D) cameras.

Edited to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. ISO 640 | 1/500 sec | F5.6
Photo by Jeff Keller

If you can forego an optical viewfinder, one could easily make an argument for the Fujifilm X-T20 or Sony’s a6300, both of which offer 4K video and much faster burst shooting in smaller packages (though the a6300 lacks the level of direct control the 77D offers), and there’s also the new Canon EOS M6, which shares an awful lot with the 77D under its skin. 

But with the addition of Dual Pixel AF, Live View shooting on the EOS 77D is arguably just as robust (if not more so, in some situations) than either the Fujifilm or Sony mirrorless options. And that gets to the heart of what really makes the EOS 77D so appealing; it may not offer the best of both the DSLR and mirrorless worlds, but it does offer a compelling balance at this price point.

So does the EOS 77D have what it takes to be your next camera? Let’s find out.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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