Random Thoughts


November 7, 2012 - Nikon announced the D5200 DSLR DX camera. The D5200 features a 24.1MP sensor and the same 39 point AF system of the D7000. The camera has yet to be officially announced in the US, but should be available in the states in early 2013. The D5200 can be used with Nikon's WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adaptor (WiFi). THe MSRP with the 18-55 VR kit lens is £820, €920. At that price point the D7000 is still a better deal to me. But I'm sure the D5200 will be heavily discounted not long after it is released. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

October 24, 2012 -
Nikon announced the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR lens. This is a full frame FX lens, but will work with all Nikon DSLR cameras. The lens features a new VR technology which Nikon claims gives a 5 stop advantage. It has a list price of $1399.95. A tripod collar is not included, but can be bought for an additional $223.95. Given the size of the lens I would guess a tripod collar would not be needed when used with larger DSLRs. Since I shoot DX and already use the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 I really have no interest in this lens. However, if I make the switch to FX I would choose this new lens over either of the existing Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses. The bokeh of the f/2.8 lenses should probably be better, but this new f/4 lens is lighter and cheaper. Plus, the new VR should compensate for the f/4 having one less stop than the f/2.8. You can read more about the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens here.

October 24, 2012 -
Nikon announced the V2 mirrorless camera, the latest entry in the Nikon 1 System. Nikon is touting the V2 as a photographer friendly camera. Compared to the V1 it is. The V2 adds some nice features, including a built in flash. It's not the best looking camera, and it's a little more bulky than the V1 thanks to the addition of a hand grip. Nikon also announced the SB-N7 speedlight. My biggest complaint, as was with the V1, is Nikon's pricing. With the 10-30mm kit lens the V2 will set you back $899. A more realistic price for me would be $550. You can read more about the Nikon 1 V2 here.

September 14, 2012 -
Tamron announced the SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens. It's more compact that any other currently available 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and features a circular aperture diaphragm. If I make the switch to full frame this lens just might end up in my bag. It's scheduled to be released at the end of 2012. Pricing is not available yet. Tamron also announced the 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD lens. This redesigned version of their 90mm macro lens now features image stabilization (VC). Release date and pricing are not available yet.

September 13, 2012 -
Nikon announced the D600, a full frame enthusiast DSLR. Most of the specifications were previously leaked. There were really no surprises except for the list price of $2099 for the body only and $2699 with the 24-85mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. I was really hoping the body only would be around $1699. I was seriously considering buying this camera, but the price is a bit too much. But then again, if I sold my D7000 and my DX lenses I would have more than enough to cover the cost. Hmmm... something to think about. For more info on the D600 see Nikon's press release here.

September 12, 2012 -
Lots of camera news the past few days. Pentax Ricoh announced the Pentax K-5 II and K-5 IIs DSLRs (the s version doesn't have an anti-aliasing filter). On paper they look like nice cameras with a reasonable price. Sony has announced several new products. The one that caught my eye is the DSC RX-1 full frame compact camera. The RX-1 features a fixed Zeiss T* 35mm lens. But the $2800 list price is too steep for me. Also, there is no viewfinder, but for only $600 more you can buy an add on EVF (sigh). Sony also announced the NEX-6, their new mirrorless camera which has Wi-Fi, and the Alpha SLT-A99, their new full frame camera. The A99 has a 24mp sensor and is loaded with features. My only little quibble is that there is no optical view finder, only an EVF. But an EVF isn't really a bad thing anymore. And at least you don't have to pay extra for it.

August 31, 2012 -
Today Sigma announced pricing for the DP1 Merrill camera. Sigma says it will have a street price of $999, which is what they expect it to sell for. I have looked at the sample photos on Sigma's website and I am very impressed. But the lack of a viewfinder to me is unacceptable for a camera of this high quality and in this price range. Maybe the younger generation is comfortable with holding a camera away from them to take a photo. But for me, unless I hold a camera up to my eye I just don't get a "feel" for the photo. For more info see Sigma's press release here.

August 22, 2012 -
Today Nikon announced the Coolpix S800c, a Wi-Fi compact digital camera which also incorporates the Android operating system (v.2.3, Gingerbread). The camera features a 10X, 25-250mm zoom lens and a 16MP BSI CMOS sensor. The Coolpix S800c is a step in the right direction. It would be nice to see Android incorporated into an enthusiast's camera. It will be interesting to see if any developer's create apps specifically for the camera. One thing people want in a camera is phone capability, not just Wi-Fi. But that is not an easy task. How do you go about providing phone service for the camera? Is it linked to one carrier with a set phone or data plan? Most people won't want to pay for an additional plan. It would have to be very cheap. But the problem with this is that the camera manufacturer would have to make deals with hundreds of phone providers and release hundreds of versions of country specific phones. Another way would be to let the user use his/her exisiting phone plan. Sounds simple, but there are problems with this also. Here in the US there are two phone networks, GSM and CDMA. If a camera maker were to take this route they would need to release two versions of the camera, each with a different radio. For GSM users it wouldn't be difficult to use their current phone service on a camera, they would just have to swap their SIM cards. But that would be an annoyance. For CDMA users it's a little different. They would have to do an ESN swap online to switch service from their phone to the camera. But this creates other problems. For instance, Sprint only allows Sprint branded phones on their network. So the camera maker would have to work out some kind of deal with Sprint or any other phone service provider. You can read more about the Nikon Coolpix S800c here.

August 17, 2012 -
Still have a few lens and camera strap reviews that I need to finalize. Also need to update my Fuji X10 review with results from the sensor exchange.

August 09, 2012 -
Nikon announced the J2 mirrorless camera, an upgrade to the existing J1 model. The J2 has a higher resolution LCD screen and an extra position on the mode dial. It's also $100 less than the original price of the J1. Nikon also announced a new Nikon 1 lens, the 11-27.5mm for $190, as well as an underwater housing for the J1 and J2, which is listed at $750. I don't see the point of the J2. Nikon should have just reduced the price of the J1 and released the camera everyone is waiting for, an upgrade to the V1 which has more user controls. As for the new lens I don't see many people choosing this lens over the 10-30mm VR lens, other than people who are on a tight budget. Again, I don't see many people being interested in the housing, especially when it costs more than the camera. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

July 23, 2012 -
Canon announced their mirrorless camera, the EOS M. It's based on the 18MP APS-C sensor of the 650D and features a new EF-M mount. Also announced were two EF-M lenses, an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and a 22mm f/2.0 pancake. Also available is an EF-EOS M lens mount adapter which will let you use any EF lens with the camera. The EOS M has an estimated retail price of $799 and the adapter is $199. The EOS M is being marketed as a bridge camera between point and shoots and DSLRs. But at that price it doesn't make sense to me. I would rather just buy a lower end DSLR. You get more features at a cheaper price, and a viewfinder. The only advantage the EOS M has is it's smaller size, which isn't much of an advantage, especially if you add an EF lens to it. The EOS M is schedueled to be available this October. For more info visit Canon's product page here.

July 18, 2012 -
Panasonic announced the Lumix DMC-LX7 compact camera today. It features an f/1.4-2.3 24-90mm equivalent lens and a 10.1MP 1/1.7 sensor. On paper it looks nice but the 1/1.7 size sensor seems a bit too small to match the other features of the camera. Pricing and availabilty for the Lumix DMC-LX7 have yet to be announced. The camera will be available in black and white. For more info see Panasonic's press release here. Panasonic also announced the Lumix DMC-G5, a mid entry 16MP mirrorless interchangable lens camera. Pricing and availabilty have yet to be announced. It will be available in black, white and silver, with various kit options. For more info on the Lumix DMC-G5 see Panasonic's press release here.

July 17, 2012 -
Samsung's new 12MP EX2F camera looks very interesting, especially with the newly announced lower pirce of $499. But I will still take my Fuji X10 over it.

July 14, 2012 -
Sigma announced that it's APO Macro 180mm F2.8 DG OS HSM lens will be available on July 27th, with a listed street price of $$1699. I don't think I will be buying this one. The price is a little too steep for me. Maybe I will rent one to try out and review though.

July 12, 2012 -
Today Nikon announced that they are developing an 800mm f/5.6 VR lens. Nikon pros should be happy about this. Canon's version of this lens has been around since 2008, so it's about time Nikon added an 800mm to it's lineup. A prototype of the lens will be demonstrated later this month at the Open Championship (golf) in England. A release date and price have yet to be determined. For more info visit Nikon's press release here.

June 20, 2012 -
On an impulse I ordered the new Nikon 18-300mm DX lens. My camera guy informed me that the release date should be June 28th. I'm not sure if that's the actual shipping date to me. I plan on posting a full review with comparisions to the Nikon 18-200mm and 70-300mm lenses.

June 15, 2012 -
Today Sigma announced the 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM lens. This is a new design from the current 18-250mm lens. The new lens features TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) construction, which is designed to minimize barrel expansion or contraction due to extreme temperature variations. At f/6.3 on the long end this lens is a little to slow for my tastes, especially on the heels of Nikon's new 18-300mm superzoom announcement which is f/5.6 @ 300mm. The Sigma will be available for Canon in July, with Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, and Sony mounts to follow. Pricing has yet to be made available.

June 14, 2012 -
Nikon announced two new lenses, the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6g ED VR and the AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR. I wonder how good the optics are in the 18-300mm. If it beats the 18-200mm lens in that range and is good out to 300mm then I may have to pick it up. But where would that leave the 18-200mm. Haven't heard anything about it being discontinued. Only drawback about the 18-300mm is the size and weight. It's supposed to be available this month at a price around $999. The 24-85mm FX lens seems like it will go well with the rumored, but almost confirmed, D600 consumer full frame camera. I could even see them bundled together as a kit. The 24-85mm should also be available this month with a retail price around $599.

June 06, 2012 -
Today Sony announced the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100, a large sensor compact camera for enthusiasts. The DSC-RX100 features a 20MP 1" sensor. I'm guessing sooner rather than later all new compacts will start incorporating larger sensors to sway the casual photographer from the idea that all they need to take good quality photos is a mobile phone. On paper the DSC-RX100 looks like a nice point and shoot camera. It will be available in July for around $650. For more info see Sony's press release here.

May 11, 2012 -
Leica announced several new cameras and a 50mm f/2 lens. The camera that caught my eye is the M-Monochrom black and white 18MP rangefinder. Unfortunately, with a list price of $7,950 it's way out of my price range.

April 27, 2012 -
Just picked up the new Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 OS lens. Should have a review up early next week.

April 26, 2012 -
Looks like it won't be long before Fuji starts replacing the sensors in the X10. Dpreview got their hands on an X10 with the new sensor. I'm still not sure if I'm going to replace mine. It depends on how much of an inconvenience it is and what the turn around time will be.

April 19, 2012 -
Today Nikon announced it's new entry level camera the D3200. It's an upgrade of the D3100. Biggest changes are the 24MP sensor, WiFi connectivity and improved video capability. I can understand Nikon's decision for the increased pixels since many beginners still think more pixels are better, but do entry level photographer's really need 24MP? Probably not. Most won't ever print anything bigger than 8X10 or buy superior lenses to match the resolution of the larger sensor. WiFi is added by attaching an additional unit to the camera which transmits to your phone. It would have been better to have the WiFi built into the camera. Hopefully that will be standard with the next generation and beyond. Still no D400 though. Rumors say September. Nikon also announced the Nikkor AF-S 28mm f/1.8G full frame prime lens. It should compliment the D800 nicely. At a list price of $699 it's probably not worth it for use with a DX camera only.

April 06, 2012 -
After giving Adobe Lightroom 4 a trial run I've decided it's not for me. I prefer the way Capture NX renders RAW files and the editing capabilities of Photoshop Elements. As for photo organization, I developed my own system back in 1998 when I bought my first digital camera. It still works fine for me (the system, not the camera).

March 31, 2012 -
Sigma finally announced the release date and price for their new 50-150mm f/2.8 OS lens (Sigma originally introduced this lens back in Feb., 2011). This lens is a lot bigger and heavier than Sigma's previous 50-150mm f/2.8 lens. I'm still debating if this is a lens I'd want in my bag. With a Nikon DX sensor it has a zoom range of 75-225mm. It would compliment my Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS lens nicely, but overlap the range of my Nikon 70-300mm VR. The lens will be available this April with a street price of $1099. For more info visit Sigma's product page here.

March 10, 2012 -
Giving the newly released Adobe Lightroom 4(sp link) a test run. First time trying Lightroom. I'm guessing it will take me a few weeks to learn what's what, where it is, an how to use it, then another week or two to actually use it and develop a work flow.

March 05, 2012 -
Fujifilm has promised a definitive solution for the Fuji X10 white dot syndrome. They will make a statement on March 12th. The recent firmware update fix failed. If the problem is truly a sensor issue the only definitive solution can be a recall with a refund or a recall for a sensor replacement. Some type of cash back or credit towards a new camera isn't a solution in my eyes. I'm really curious to see what this solution is. In the meantime I'm still content with my X10. I'm not pleased that an occassional photo has white dots in it, but it's a problem I can usually work around. Even with WDS the X10 is a fine camera.

March 02, 2012 -
Canon today announced it's new enthusiast or semi-pro full frame DSLR camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. It features a 22MP full frame sensor. Seems like a lot of Canon shooters are a bit disappointed for what they are getting at a $3500 price tag. On paper it looks like a fine camera to me though. But the Nikon D800, not withstanding the 36MP sensor, appears to have the better overall specifications at a slightly lower list price. But I'm sure both will be great photographic tools. You can read Canon's press release here. The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is available for pre order here.

Feb. 27, 2012 -
The more I use the new Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G the more I like it. Awesome lens. Nokia announced the 808 Pureview, a smartphone which features a 41mp sensor camera with a Carl Zeiss lens. The camera uses oversampling to combine pixels. Sample shots look amazing for a phone camera. You can read more info here.

Feb. 25, 2012 -
Just got my hands on a Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS lens. I'm really liking the image quality. I should have a review done sometime this week along with a comparison of the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 OS Macro lens.

Feb. 12, 2012 -
Sigma announced two new compact cameras, the DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill, named after inventor of the Foven sensor Dick Merrill. Both cameras feature full 46x3MP APS-C sensors (15.4 effective MP). The DP1 features a 19mm f/2.8 lens (28mm equivalent field of view). The DP2 features a 30mm f/2.8 lens (45mm equivalent field of view). The features and specifications of the cameras look really nice. A few things bother me though. First, no viewfinder, optical or electronic. I'm guessing they will be priced and marketed as enthusiast's cameras, not casual. So why no ovf or evf? Second, for fixed lens cameras the lenses are a bit slow. I would rather see f/2.0 or f/1.8 lenses.

Feb. 07, 2012 -
Canon announced three new EF lenses today, a new 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM and two f/2.8 primes, the 24mm and 28mm. Both primes are USM (Ultrasonic Motor), and feature IS (image stabilization). What puzzles me is why Canon didn't include IS with the 24-70mm, the lens which needs it more than the other two. When I think about it if the 24-70mm has IS then the primes might not even be necessary. Makes the newly announce Tamron (see below) a bit more attractive to Canon users. The two primes will be availble in June this year, with the 24mm having an approximate retail price of $849.99 and the 28mm a retail price of $799.99. The new 24-70mm will be available in April with a retail price of $2,299.99. For the Official Canon press release see here.

Feb. 06, 2012 -
Today Tamron announced the first 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to feature image stabilization (Tamron's VC - vibration compensation). No price or release date has been given. I've never been a fan of this range as it's not wide enough on a DX (cropped sensor) camera. I'm still more than happy with my Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 OS Macro lens. Wish it were a constant f/2.8, but I'm guessing it won't be long before before we see a 17-70mm f/2.8 or maybe a 16-85mm f/2.8 lens with image stabilization.

Feb. 03, 2012 -
Fujifilm announced US pricing for the Fuji X-Pro1, MSRP of $1699 for the camera and MSRP of $599-649 for the lenses. I'm sure the actual retail price will come down a bit, but still too rich for my blood. The X-Pro1 specs look great on paper and the retro design looks fantastic, but with that price point most enthusiasts probably won't even consider buying it. I'll stick with my Fuji X10.

Feb. 02, 2012 -
Today Pentax announced the K-01 K-mount mirrorless camera. It can accept K-mount lenses without a adaptor, which makes it the same size as a consumer DSLR. My guess is Canon will release a mirrorless EF mount camera and Nikon will release a mirrorless F mount camera, both sooner than later, perhaps next gen.

Feb. 01, 2012 -
The past few days there have been a slew of camera announcements from Sony, Panasonic, and Nikon. Two cameras that grabbed my eye are the Nikon Coolpix P310 and P510. The P310 looks like a nice compact camera with plenty of user controls while the P510 features a 42X optical zoom. I'm guessing the image quality had to be compromised to produce such a wide range zoom. But having the ability to zoom out to 1000mm can come in handy at times.

Jan 26, 2012 -
Good news for owners of consumer Nikon DSLRs (D3100, 5100, etc.) as Tokina announced a new version of it's 11-16mm lens which will feature a built in motor, along with a new lens coating and aspherical element. The new version looks to have the same specs as the original, except it's 10g lighter. I'll probably pass on this one.

Jan 25, 2012 -
Getting a new camera bag, the Tamrac Velocity10X from B&H. Replacing my old, beat up Velocity 9 bag.

Jan. 22, 2012 -
This looks very interesting. If it can be incorporated into cameras it could be a game changer. Study of the Human Eye Could Lead to More Accurate Focus Technology.

Jan. 10, 2012 -
Lots of new cameras being showcased at CES. Sigma announced two prime lenses for Micro Four Thirds and Sony NEX systems. Sigma also unveiled a 180mm f/2.8 OS HSM Macro lens. Something I'd be interested in. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but I'm guessing it will be out of my price range, at least $1500.

Jan. 07, 2012 -
Just picked up the Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X M100 AF Pro D Macro lens. Can't wait to try it out.

Jan. 06, 2012 -
Nikon's new D4 flagship camera looks great on paper and is probably just as great to photograph with. But is it really worth $6000? Not to me it isn't. Then again, I'm not a professional photographer. If I were then mabye I could justify the cost. I'll be getting the newly announced Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8g prime lens to review.

Jan. 05, 2012 -
Today Fujifilm announced 28 new cameras. That's right, TWENTY EIGHT. I know camera makers try to make different models to please different types of photographers at different price points, but 28? Is it necessary to make the same camera with four different zoom ranges (S4500, etc.)? Why not just make 5 or 6 cameras that combine the best features of all of them? Fuji would still have been able to satisfy every photographer's needs at varying price points. Not all of the cameras are listed on the Fujifilm USA website so I'm guessing some of them will have limited distribution, ie country specific. Fuji's new cameras are the FinePix AX550, FinePix JX700, FinePix JX580, FinePix JX550, FinePix JX520, FinePix JX500, FinePix Z110, FinePix Z1000EXR, FinePix JZ250, FinePix JZ100, FinePix SL300, FinePix SL280, FinePix SL260, FinePix SL240, FinePix S4500, FinePix S4400, FinePix S4300, FinePix S4200, FinePix SP150, FinePix SP100, FinePix SP50, FinePix T400, FinePix T350, FinePix F770EXR, FinePix F750EXR, FinePix F660EXR, FinePix HS30EXR, and the FinePix HS25EXR. You can pre-order the new cameras from Amazon.com here.

Jan. 03, 2012 -
New Year's Resolution - think like a photographer all the time by envisioning everthing I see as a potential photograph.


Random Thoughts 2011