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Posts Tagged ‘Sony’

Sony announces new flagship guide number 60 HVL-F60RM wireless flash

23 Feb

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Sony just released a new flagship radio-triggered wireless flash for its full-frame E-Mount cameras. The HVL-F60RM has a built in radio receiver, which means it can be triggered simply via a FA-WRC1M Wireless Radio Commander attached to your E-mount body. It’s a powerful unit with a guide number 60m at 200mm, ISO 100. The flash covers a zoom range of 20-200mm and promises to provide “uniform wide-range zoom coverage without shading with continuous shooting up to 220 flashes.”

The HVL-F60RM does not replace the HVL-F60M flash, which remains in Sony’s lineup for A-mount cameras. The RM version is designed specifically for E-mount (though it will work with A-mount, but without AF Assist), but even for A-mount it has the added benefit of not requiring a separate radio receiver mounted to the flash to be triggered wirelessly.

Several improvements have been made to make the RM version worth your money. First, you don’t need a separate radio receiver attached to your flash. Also, heat resistance has been increased by “as much as” 4x, recycle time has been reduced to 1.7 seconds, and a new External Battery Adaptor (the FA-EBA1 seen in the gallery above) can drop that recycle time even further to just 0.6 seconds.

Additional features include non-directional wireless radio communication from up to 30 meters away, support for up to 15 flash units (assigned to up to 5 groups) when the flash is mounted to a compatible camera and used as a transmitter, an LED Light and AF Illuminator, and a dust and moisture resistant design that “allows flash shooting even in challenging environments.” But there’s one important thing to keep in mind…

No truly usable AF Assist

Sony removed the AF assist beam from the original HVL-F60M that projects a red grid upon your subject to quickly help the AF system achieve focus on subject in total darkness, say, on the dance floor at a wedding. This is a huge omission and sad oversight. We have yet to see if any light is triggered – Sony’s claim that there’s an AF illuminator indicates that at least some AF assist light is triggered. But a blinding LED is not what subjects at events in the dark want thrown in their faces. Instead, Sony should’ve built in a an AF assist grid that’s projected onto nearby subjects for quick AF in low light. Since Sony’s AF pixels on most modern a7/a9 bodies actually use blue color filters, a blue AF assist grid would be ideal, and wouldn’t even bother subjects you’re focusing on significant.

We hope Sony develops a radio transmitter that projects a blue grid for AF-assist in the future, for fast AF in total darkness

Sadly, all Sony E-mount cameras will do with this flash is project a bright LED on your subject for focus, making it difficult to shoot professional events in low light. That’s a huge shame, and our last remaining hope is that Sony develops a radio transmitter to be mounted on-camera that projects this AF grid to help achieve focus quickly.

Here’s a quick video intro to this new flash:

To learn more, head over to the Sony product page for either the HVL-F60RM flash or the FA-EBA1 external battery. The HVL-F60RM costs $ 600 USD (€700), while the FA-EBA1 External Battery Adaptor will run you $ 250 USD (€300). Both products will begin shipping in April.

Press Release

Sony Launches New Flagship Guide Number 60 Flash

New HVL-F60RM Combines Overwhelming Continuous Flash Performance with Advanced Operability and Wireless Control

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 22, 2018 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today announced a new flagship addition to its digital imaging range with the launch of the HVL-F60RM Flash.

Addressing the needs of the increasing numbers of professional photographers adopting the Sony ? system, the HVL-F60RM offers high-power flash output, reliable continuous performance and advanced control features with integrated radio control options.

The HVL-F60RM has a guide number of 60[i] and covers illumination angles from 20mm[ii] to 200mm[iii] providing uniform wide-range zoom coverage without shading with continuous shooting up to 220[v] flashes. The use of heat resistant materials and the deployment of new advanced algorithms means that heat resistance has been increased by as much as 4x[iv] compared to the previous model, HVL-F60M.

Further improvements have been made to the recycle time which has been reduced to 1.7 seconds[v] or just 0.6 seconds[v] with the new External Battery Adaptor, product code FA-EBA1. A unique benefit of previous Sony flashes, Quick Shift Bounce is included, allowing the photographers to quickly shift from horizontal to vertical orientation, 90 degrees left or right, upward by up to 150 degrees, and downward by 8 degrees for flexible positioning and optimum lighting for a wide range of scenes.

Independent light output level (LEVEL -/+) buttons allow direct control of output or compensation, supporting an efficient workflow. A comprehensive display facilitates adjustments and flash output level confirmation, and also provides intuitive access to flash output settings for paired wireless flashes.

Functions can be freely assigned to the unit’s four-way controller, center button, and control wheel for easy access when required. Furthermore, TTL flash output can be memorized and recalled in manual mode when needed for immediate use or use after minor adjustment. This is another feature that can simplify manual workflow and save time.

The dust and moisture resistant design[vi] of the HVL-F60RM allows flash shooting even in challenging environments and a new optional Rain Guard[vii], product code FA-RG1, provides added protection to the connection between the flash and camera[viii]. Another example of the complete attention to detail that has gone into the design of the HVL-F60RM, is the metal foot of the Multi Interface Shoe™ connection which has been re-designed for increased rigidity and reliability.

A pre-requisite for leading-edge studio set-ups, the wireless radio communication is non-directional so receiver flash units can be positioned anywhere up to approximately 30 meters[iii] away from the camera, even in situations where reflectors or other obstacles would interfere with optical communication. A HVL-F60RM mounted on a compatible camera[ix] functioning as transmitter can be paired with off-camera units functioning as receivers. Multiple flashes are supported with the user able to use up to 15 flash units, assigned in to up to 5 groups[x] or wireless flash control and the use of a pairing system effectively prevents interference from other electronic devices.

Pricing and Availability

The new HVL-F60RM will be available in North America in April, 2018 priced at approximately $ 600 US or $ 730 CA.

The new FA-EBA1 will be available in North America in April, 2018 priced at approximately $ 250 US or $ 330 CA.

The new FA-RG1 will be available in North America in April, 2018 priced at approximately $ 25 US or $ 30 CA.


[i] 200mm at ISO100 in metres

[ii] 14mm with wide panel

[iii] 35mm full-frame equivalent

[iv] Sony test conditions

[v] With Ni-MH batteries, Sony test conditions

[vi] Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof

[vii] Not to completely protect against water ingress. When the camera is held in the portrait orientation or at a tilt for photographing, in particular, it may fail to protect water ingress

[viii] With this unit attached, the camera may fail to record audio during video shooting, depending on the model. For the camera models to which this precaution applies, visit http://www.sony.net/acc/rg1/.

[ix] Refer to the Sony support page for camera compatibility information. http://www.sony.net/flash/f60rm/

[x] In the Group flash mode. Up to 3 groups in the TTL or Manual flash mode

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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New Sony release cable enables dual-shooting with the RX0

23 Feb

In addition to the new HVL-F60RM wireless flash, Sony also debuted a new release cable that might be of interest to owners of the company’s ultra-compact DSC-RX0 sort-of action cam. The VMC-MM2 cable is Sony’s “convenient dual-camera shooting solution” for users who want to shoot with their Sony ILC and RX0 at the same time.

The cable is used to sync your Sony alpha (or Cyber-shot) camera up with an RX0 enable simultaneous photo/video capture using only the main camera’s release button. To quote Sony:

This form of dual-camera shooting is especially useful for wedding, event and press conference photographers and journalists. It offers the opportunity to capture multiple perspectives using different angles of view that can be edited and packaged into an impactful series of work.

The new VMC-MM2 release cable will be available starting in April for $ 50 USD (or €55).

Press Release

Sony Introduces Dual-camera Shooting Solution for RX0 with Launch of new Release Cable

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 22, 2018 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today announced the latest addition to its family of RX0 solutions with the launch of a new Release Cable, model VMC-MM2.

Helping to break down barriers to shooting style and image expression, the VMC-MM2 is a new solution for convenient dual-camera shooting, freeing the user to capture two different perspectives simultaneously.

The ultra-compact dimensions and superb image quality offered by the RX0 make it the ideal accompaniment to other cameras for dual-camera capture. By mounting an RX0 to the Multi Interface Shoe™ 1 or bracket/rig, users can use the RX0 to shoot high quality images concurrently with their main Sony ?™ or Cyber-shot® camera body2. The VMC-MM2 cable realizes simultaneous photo/movie shooting3 with just a single press of main camera’s release button. This enables the user to capture one moment in two different ways, with a variation of angle of view, depth of view or frame rate. The cable also has a coiled design with a right-angle connector to minimize clutter and keep it clear of the EVF during shooting.

This form of dual-camera shooting is especially useful for wedding, event and press conference photographers and journalists. It offers the opportunity to capture multiple perspectives using different angles of view that can be edited and packaged into an impactful series of work.

Pricing and Availability

The new VMC-MM2 will be available in North America in April, 2018 priced at approximately $ 50 US or $ 60 CA.


1 Shoe Mount not included

2 Refer to the Sony support page for camera compatibility information http://www.sony.net/acc/mm2/

3 To synchronise movie REC/STOP, the main camera must assign “Movie w/ shutter” to its release button

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Tokina unveils the FíRIN 20mm F2.0 FE AF autofocus lens for Sony E-Mount

23 Feb

Well, that didn’t take long. Less than 12 hours after Nokishita shared some leaked photos and specs of the unreleased lens, Tokina has officially announced its latest piece of Sony E-Mount glass: the FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF.

The new lens is only the second prime lens in the FíRIN series of lenses designed specifically for mirrorless cameras, and it’s actually a followup to the first. The original FíRIN 20mm F2 FE was a manual focus lens, and the new AF version uses an identical optical design. But it doesn’t so much replace the old lens as sit next to it in Tokina’s lineup, giving users “two options … to choose [from] according to the purpose and style of shooting.”

Like its predecessor, the FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF boasts 13 lens elements in 11 groups, including two aspherical elements and three Super-low Dispersion elements that promise to do away with as much spherical aberration, distortion, and chromatic aberration as possible.

Unlike the manual focus version, this lens features a ring-type ultrasonic motor coupled with a GMR sensor for fast and silent focusing, and Tokina promises full compatibility with Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF system and all AF function settings, “providing the same AF performance as with common E-mount AF lenses.”

The FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF lens is tentatively scheduled to arrive at the end of April for Japanese customers, and end of May worldwide, but if you happen to be at CP+ next week, you can check out a prototype of the new lens at Tokina’s booth.

No pricing info has been released as of yet.

Press Release

New Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF

February 22nd, 2018 – Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd. is proud to announce the new Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF, the second prime lens in Tokina’s premium lens series “FíRIN” for mirrorless cameras.

Overview

FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF is the long-awaited autofocus version of the existing FíRIN 20mm F2 FE super wide angle lens for full-frame Sony E-mount. Adopting the same optical design as in MF model, now we offer two options for end-users to choose according to the purpose and style of shooting.

Optical performance

Being optimized for full size camera sensors in terms of size and resolving ability, the optical design adopts 2 aspherical elements and 3 lenses molded from Super-low Dispersion glass to significantly reduce any type of aberration including spherical aberration, distortion and chromatic aberration while assuring high resolution and stunning performance even at wideopen aperture.

Functionality

Keeping along with the basic development concept of the previous model FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF is made compatible to autofocus and other functions of the camera providing perfect functionality and usability for the photographer.

Ring-shaped ultrasonic autofocus motor

For AF drive system FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF adopts quick responsive and silent ring-shaped ultrasonic motor. Coupled with GMR sensor AF performs fast and accurate focusing.

Full compatibility to AF system

FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF is fully compatible with Fast Hybrid AF system and all AF function settings, providing the same AF performance as with common E-mount AF lenses. Fine manual focus adjustment is also possible.

MF Assist function

Accurate focusing is supported by compatibility to MF Assist function, when fine focusing adjustment is operated by manual rotation of the focusing ring with the simultaneous interlocking with image enlarging function and bar distance display on the monitor.

Optical correction

Due to the data transmittance ability via electric contacts the camera obtains necessary data from the lens chip to correct shading, distortion and lateral chromatic aberrations. Optical corrections can be done by the camera as well.

Image Stabilization

By transmitting focal length data FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF is able to get maximum use of In-Body Image Stabilization function of the camera.

* When in-built camera flash is used vignetting may occur. Please use external flash.

About sales release:

Sales release in Japan: end of April, 2018 (tentative)
Sales release worldwide: end of May, 2018 (tentative)

A prototype of Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF will be displayed at CP+2018
Kenko Tokina booth location: Exhibition Hall(1F), booth # G-57

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Tamron is working on a 28-75mm F2.8 lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras

22 Feb

Tamron is working on a fast standard zoom lens for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras. Details are thin at this point, but the 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD will offer a minimum focus distance of 19cm/7.5in at wide-angle, will measure 11.7cm/4.6in long and weigh in at 19.4oz/1.2lb. Tamron claims the lens will offer excellent optical performance and high-quality bokeh. An ‘RXD’ stepping motor autofocus unit provides quiet operation for video applications, and the whole thing will be moisture-resistant.

Press Release

Tamron announces the development of a high-speed standard zoom lens for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras

28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A036)

February 22, 2018, Commack, New York – Tamron announces the development of a new high-speed standard zoom lens for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras, the 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A036). This signals Tamron’s plans to further expand and improve its lens lineup for full-frame mirrorless cameras, in addition to its lenses for DSLR and other mirrorless camera formats.

Model A036 delivers superb optical performance, including both outstanding image quality and beautiful background blur effects (bokeh). Photographers may enjoy dynamic wide-angle expressions like never before thanks to a minimum object distance of 7.5 in at the wideangle zoom setting. Usefulness and versatility are enhanced by its compact size and light weight, measuring only 4.6 in and weighing 19.4 oz. Model A036 incorporates an all-new high-speed and precise AF driving system. The RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) stepping motor unit operates with remarkable quietness, making it perfect for video use. The lens also features Moisture-Resistant Construction that is helpful in outdoor photography, plus hydrophobic Fluorine Coating that is highly resistant to fingerprints and debris. In addition, A036 is compatible with the “Direct Manual Focus (DMF)” system feature of Sony cameras, enabling this new zoom to take full advantage of the advanced functions that ensure comfortable user experiences.

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

1. Superb optical performance, including both outstanding image quality and beautiful background blur effects (bokeh), provided by fast F/2.8 aperture.

2. Comfortably light weight (19.4 oz.) and compact (4.6 in).

3. Close-focusing; Minimum Object Distance: 7.5 in at wide-angle setting and 15.3 in at the telephoto position.

4. All-new “RXD” stepping motor AF unit is extremely quiet and therefore perfect for video capture.

5. Exciting next-generation design keeping the brand consistency that is ergonomically superb.

6. Moisture-Resistant Construction and Fluorine Coating for weather protection.

7. Compatible with the “Direct Manual Focus (DMF)” feature that enables Sony cameras to instantly switch between autofocus and manual focus.

* Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. are subject to change without prior notice.

Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD specifications

Principal specifications
Lens type Zoom lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 28–75 mm
Image stabilization No
Lens mount Sony FE
Aperture
Maximum aperture F2.8
Aperture ring No
Optics
Special elements / coatings Fluorine coating
Focus
Minimum focus 0.19 m (7.48)
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Stepper motor
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Internal
Distance scale No
DoF scale No
Physical
Weight 550 g (1.21 lb)
Length 117 mm (4.61)
Sealing Yes
Colour Black
Zoom method Rotary (extending)
Power zoom No
Zoom lock No

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Lensrentals tears down the Sony a7R III in search of better weather sealing

21 Feb

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Our good friend Roger Cicala over at Lensrentals finally got around to tearing down the Sony a7R III, to see if Sony was being honest when it claimed the newest a7R was much better weather sealed than its predecessor. The results? Well, it’s a “good news, bad news” situation. Yes, Sony was being truthful… but it screwed up in one major place.

You can see the full teardown over on the Lensrentals blog—Roger tears the thing all the way down, even giving us a great look a the IBIS system and how far the sensor can travel—but the TL;DR version goes something like this:

Sony weather sealed most of this camera very well, much better than its predecessor. BUT, for some reason, Sony left the bottom of this camera extremely vulnerable to water. You can see just how vulnerable in the gallery above. Or, if you prefer words, here’s Roger’s conclusion:

Sony spoke truly. Except for the bottom this camera has thorough and extensive weather sealing, as good as any camera I’ve seen. (Before you Pentax guys start, I have not taken apart a Pentax so it may be completely sealed in a super glue matrix for all I know.)

That being said, the bottom of the camera is not protected worth a damn. If you’re out in a sprinkle or shower, this probably doesn’t matter; water hits the top first. But if you’re in severe weather, near surf, or might set your camera down where someone might spill something, you need to be aware of that.

To read the full conclusion, scroll through the entire teardown, and see just how many rubber gaskets and foam pieces Sony added to the a7RIII to keep it safe from inclement weather, head over to the Lensrentals blog.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Sensor breakthrough: Sony has developed a backlit CMOS sensor with global shutter

17 Feb

Sony has made something of a breakthrough in sensor development, announcing a new backside-illuminated stacked sensor that can read out every pixel simultaneously to enable global shutter. While the company has only made it work with a 1.46-million-pixel sensor so far, the nascent technology has significant potential.

The sensor is able to read out from every pixel instantly because each pixel has its own analog-to-digital converter (ADC) buried in a ‘bottom chip,’ which is stacked beneath a ‘top chip’ containing the active, photosensitive pixels. This allows all exposed pixels to be read simultaneously, rather than sequentially row-by-row as is done with traditional CMOS sensors containing far fewer ‘column parallel’ ADCs.

This instant read-out avoids the rolling shutter distortion caused by the time delay as each row of pixels is recorded one after the other. In most existing chips, fast-moving objects become warped as they progress across the frame, because the pixels at the top of the sensor were read earlier than those at the bottom. This can also lead to banding under certain types of artificial lighting.

Global shutter—reading out all of the pixels at once—solves both these problems.

Shot with an exposure time of 0.56ms

Sony claims its sensor is the first back-illuminated high-sensitivity CMOS sensor with pixel-parallel ADCs and a pixel-count greater than 1 million.

While one million pixels may not be much good to photographers, this is a big step towards the production of a photographic quality sensor. Chips with ‘global shutter’ need only an electronic shutter to record undistorted action pictures, boast the ability to use short electronic shutter speeds with flash, and are able to work under fluorescent and solid state (LED) lighting without banding.

In the end, a global shutter sensor like this be useful for both still and movie photographers.

It’s also a major improvement over current global shutter CMOS sensors, which have a photosensitive pixel, and then a ‘storage’ pixel that the charge is transferred to after the exposure is made. This storage pixel holds the charge until the column ADCs read out, row by row. The problem with this approach is that your active pixel area now has a bunch of dead space per pixel taken up by the ‘storage pixel’.

By going BSI and stacked, we believe this technology eliminates the need for the storage pixel entirely, because you can read all the pixels at once at the end of your exposure.

The company says it has had to include 1000x more ADCs than it would normally in a 1MP sensor. The extra ADCs would require far more current, so Sony developed low current, compact ADCs for this chip. Additionally, new high speed data transfer construction allows for the fast read and write speeds required to operate all the ADCs in parallel and transfer the digital data.

While it might be some time before one is ready for use in a standard camera, this is a big step forward for global shutter sensor technology, which has traditionally been plagued by higher noise levels and lower dynamic range.

When will we see it scaled up to larger, smaller pixel pitch higher-resolution sensors? Hard to tell, but we’re keeping our fingers and toes crossed.

Press Release

Sony Develops a Back-Illuminated CMOS Image Sensor with Pixel-Parallel A/D Converter That Enables Global Shutter Function

Sony CorporationSony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation Tokyo, Japan – Sony Corporation today announced that it has developed a 1.46 effective megapixel back-illuminated CMOS image sensor equipped with a Global Shutter function*1. The newly developed pixel-parallel analog-to-digital converters provide the function to instantly convert the analog signal from all pixels, simultaneously exposed, to a digital signal in parallel. This new technology was announced at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) on February 11, 2018 in San Francisco in the United States.

CMOS image sensors using the conventional column A/D conversion method*2 read out the photoelectrically converted analog signals from pixels row by row, which results in image distortion (focal plane distortion) caused by the time shift due to the row-by-row readout.

The new Sony sensor comes with newly developed low-current, compact A/D converters positioned beneath each pixel. These A/D converters instantly convert the analog signal from all the simultaneously exposed pixels in parallel to a digital signal to temporarily store it in digital memory. This architecture eliminates focal plane distortion due to readout time shift, making it possible to provide a Global Shutter function*1, an industry-first for a high-sensitivity back-illuminated CMOS sensor with pixel-parallel A/D Converter with more than one megapixel*3.

The inclusion of nearly 1,000 times as many A/D converters compared to the traditional column A/D conversion method*2 means an increased demand for current. Sony addressed this issue by developing a compact 14-bit A/D converter which boasts the industry’s best performance*4 in low-current operation.

Both the A/D converter and digital memory spaces are secured in a stacked configuration with these elements integrated into the bottom chip. The connection between each pixel on the top chip uses Cu-Cu (copper-copper) connection*5, a technology that Sony put into mass production as a world-first in January 2016.

In addition, a newly developed data transfer mechanism is implemented into the sensor to enable the high-speed massively parallel readout data required for the A/D conversion process.

*1:A function that alleviates the image distortion (focal plane distortion) specific to CMOS image sensors that read pixel signals row by row.*2:Method where the A/D converter is provided for each vertical row of pixels in a parallel configuration.*3:As of announcement on February 13, 2018.*4:As of announcement on February 13, 2018. FoM (Figure of Merit): 0.24e-?nJ/step. (power consumption x noise) / {no. of pixels x frame speed x 2^(ADC resolution)}.*5:Technology that provides electrical continuity via connected Cu (copper) pads when stacking the back-illuminated CMOS image sensor section (top chip) and logic circuits (bottom chip). Compared with through-silicon via (TSV) wiring, where the connection is achieved by penetrating electrodes around the circumference of the pixel area, this method gives more freedom in design, improves productivity, allows for a more compact size, and increases performance. Sony announced this technology in December 2016 at the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco.

Main FeaturesGlobal Shutter function*1 achieved in a high-sensitivity back-illuminated CMOS image sensor by using the following key technologies:

Low-current, compact pixel-parallel A/D converter In order to curtail power consumption, the new converter uses comparators that operate with subthreshold currents, resulting in the industry’s best-performing*4, low current, compact 14-bit A/D converter. This overcomes the issue of the increased demand for current due to the inclusion of nearly 1,000 times as many A/D converters in comparison with the traditional column A/D conversion method*2.

Cu-Cu (copper-copper) connection*5 To achieve the parallel A/D conversion for all pixels, Sony has developed a technology which makes it possible to include approximately three million Cu-Cu (copper-copper) connections*5 in one sensor. The Cu-Cu connection provides electrical continuity between the pixel and logic substrate, while securing space for implementing as many as 1.46 million A/D converters, the same number as the effective megapixels, as well as the digital memory.

High-speed data transfer construction Sony has developed a new readout circuit to support the massively parallel digital signal transfer required in the A/D conversion process using 1.46 million A/D converters, making it possible to read and write all the pixel signals at high speed.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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$2,500 Sony a7S II vs $50,000 ARRI Alexa Mini: Can you tell the difference?

07 Feb

Brent Barbano—co-founder of camera rental community ShareGrid—recently took a trip to Flashbox Films in Hollywood to meet up with co-owner Will Kamp and do one of those “affordable camera vs crazy expensive camera” tests the internet seems to love (and hate) oh so much.

So what did they test? They put the $ 2,500 Sony a7S II, an affordable filmmaking favorite, up against the $ 50,000+ ARRI Alexa Mini, a professional-grade filmmaking monster. Here’s how Brent introduces the comparison:

The Sony a7s II has been a game-changer for filmmakers and creatives across the world. Cinematographers and photographers have been creating amazing images with this mirrorless camera that can rival some of the best. So, we thought we’d put it to the test and do a side-by-side comparison of the Sony a7S II and the ARRI Alexa Mini. Can you tell the difference?

Well… can you? Check out the video above to watch the footage, or scroll through the slides in the gallery below:

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Brent and Will were obviously impressed by just how similar the final footage turned out to be, and if you’re curious how you did on this ‘test,’ you’re in luck: ShareGrid was kind enough to give DPReview readers the answer key early.

The initial plan was to update it in the video description on YouTube this Friday, but if you’ve made your picks, you can scroll down and see which slide was which down below.

Answer Key

Some of you may have noticed, others may not, but the cameras didn’t actually switch sides between shots. The Sony was always on one side, and the ARRI was always on the other. But… which was which? It turns out A was Sony, and B was ARRI:

SLIDE 1

A: Sony a7S II

B: ARRI Alexa Mini

SLIDE 2

A: Sony a7S II

B: ARRI Alexa Mini

SLIDE 3

A: Sony a7S II

B: ARRI Alexa Mini

SLIDE 4

A: Sony a7S II

B: ARRI Alexa Mini

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Full-frame showdown: Nikon D850 vs Canon 5D IV vs Sony a7R III

31 Jan

Dan and Sally Watson over at Learning Cameras recently put together a really useful comparison video that pits the Sony, Canon, and Nikon fanboys against each other in a series of real-world tests. Shooting with the Sony a7R III, Canon 5D Mark IV, and Nikon D850, Dan and Sally ran the cameras through a variety of tests that cover everything from skin tones, to low light, to dynamic range, to autofocus tracking and more.

We’ll let you dive into the full 20-minute video if you want to see all of the comparisons for yourself, but one that we found particularly interesting—maybe because it confirmed our own tests—was the autofocus tracking comparison.

The Sony and Canon were shot in Auto AF area mode—Sony at 8 fps with live view, Canon and Nikon at 7 fps—and Dan and Sally found pretty much what we did. At 8 fps live view, the a7R III sometimes just goes out-of-focus then snaps back, Canon’s iTR can be very jumpy, and Nikon’s 3D tracking is more or less perfect. For what it’s worth (since Dan and Sally didn’t test this) in our tests, the Sony performed more consistently at 10fps without live view.

For the full breakdown, check out the video for yourself above—it gets the DPReview stamp of approval for being both entertaining and informative. And if you want to see more from Learning Cameras, you can follow the channel on YouTube, or catch Dan on Facebook and Instagram.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Meike’s new battery grip for the Sony a9 and a7R lll comes with a wireless remote

19 Jan

Accessories manufacturer Meike has released details of a new grip it will be selling for the Sony a9 and a7R lll bodies that can hold two batteries and double as a remote control.

The Meike MK-A9 Pro Battery Grip is designed to make vertical shooting more comfortable, and comes fitted with a shutter release, two custom buttons, an AF button, a joystick and two control wheels as well as its own on/off button. In addition though, the grip functions as a wireless radio remote receiver when it’s used with the remote controller that comes with the kit.

Operating on 2.4GHz radio signals, the grip can be instructed from a distance of up to 100m, and offers functions beyond simple triggering. The unit can also work as a timer, an intervalometer, and as a Bulb trigger for extended exposures.

The grip comes with a two-battery insert, but not the batteries themselves. It will begin shipping on January 31st, and will cost £95/$ 120 on Amazon. For more information, see the Meike website.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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2018 Japan BCN camera rankings: Canon dominates DSLRs, tops Sony in mirrorless

18 Jan
Photo by Mario Calvo

The 2018 Japan BCN camera rankings are in, and they show that (surprise, surprise) Canon is still veritably dominating the DSLR space with 61.1% marketshare, only a slight drop from its previous 63.3% share. More impressive is Canon’s performance in the mirrorless category where Canon took the number 2 position, hitting 21.3% versus Sony’s 20.2%. Olympus beat both to take top slot in mirrorless at 27.7%, though, a small increase over its previous 26.8% marketshare.

According to BCN, Canon also topped the “digital camera with integrated lens” category, holding 27.9% of marketshare over Nikon’s 25.5% and Casio’s 17.2%. The BCN rankings also look at action cameras, which saw GoPro take top slot with 67.2% marketshare (not that this has helped the company’s outlook lately…), as well as digital video cameras, which has Panasonic on top with a 42% marketshare.

When looking at previous figures, the rankings show Nikon growing in DSLR sales while Canon and Ricoh both saw decreases. Olympus, Canon, and Sony all experienced growth in the mirrorless category, while Canon and Nikon both experienced growth in the integrated lens digital camera market.

Notably, Canon continues to show strong growth in Japan’s mirrorless market despite Sony’s recovery from the disruption caused by the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake.

That earthquake had impacted Sony’s nearby image sensors facility, which supplied sensors for both Nikon and Olympus, among others. In its early 2017 fiscal quarterly results, Olympus had noted that the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake had a negative impact on its Imaging Business sales. Likewise, Nikon had revealed its own Imaging Products Business impact during the same time, resulting in downwardly revised forecasts.

However, despite Sony’s facility restoring operations in the many months since the earthquake, Canon is still outpacing Sony in the mirrorless segment.

Though Nikon saw DSLR marketshare growth in 2017, whereas Canon saw a slight decrease, the latter company still trounces its closest competitor at 61.1% versus Nikon’s 34.4%. Whether Canon’s biggest competitors will see any significant 2018 gains on the company in their respective categories is anyone’s guess.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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