Venus Optics’ Laowa 9mm f/2.8 is the Widest Lens for DJI Cameras/Drones
Venus Optics has just unveiled the Laowa 9mm f/2.8 DL Zero-D. It’s the widest lens ever made for DJI cameras and drones.
The Laowa 9mm f/2.8 was previously released for the Fuji X, Sony E, and Canon EF-M mounts in 2018, and this new version of the lens features the same specs and optical design/performance as its siblings.
Designed for the DJI X7 on Inspire 2 drones, the new lens features a 113-degree field of view (the previous widest DL lens is 80-degrees), covers a Super35-sized sensor, and has close to zero distortion.
Here’s how the Laowa 9mm compares to the DJI 16mm:
“The lens is carefully designed to reduce the optical distortion to a close-to-zero level,” Venus Optics says. “It allows straight lines to be perfectly retained and saves videographers tremendous time in post-processing.”
Other features and specs include a weight of 0.46lbs (210g), a length of 2.36in (60mm), 15 elements in 10 groups, a 49mm filter thread, and a 7-bladed aperture.
Here are some sample photos captured by Song Gu Chun:
Here are some videos with sample footage shot using the lens:
The new Laowa 9mm f/2.8 DL Zero-D is available now with a price tag of $499.
OYAKO is a project by photographer Bruce Osborn that consists of portraits of Japanese parents and their children. The images show differences in things like occupation and fashion between generations.
Note: There’s slight nudity below.
“OYAKO is the Japanese word for parent and child and is the title of a series I have been taking since 1982,” Osborn tells PetaPixel. “It all started with a magazine assignment to photograph punk musicians when I hit on the idea of photographing them with their parents.
“I thought it would be an amusing way to bring out the differences in lifestyles and fashions between the two generations, but what came back was infinitely more. The pictures revealed so much about family relations that it made me want to continue exploring this theme as a way of looking at Japanese society and the changes it goes through from one generation to the next.”
Osborn shot his first photos for the project in 1982, and it has since been an ongoing life-long series. He has done over 7,000 photo shoots thus far.
The Next iPhone Will Have This Huge 3-Camera Bump: Report
2019 may be a year in which the cameras on the backs of phones become bigger and more numerous. Apple is reportedly getting in on the camera count war by increasing the number of rear cameras to three and significantly expanding the size of the module.
OnLeaks has created a couple of 5K renders of the phone based on current design details in the Engineering Validation Test (EVT) stage — in other words, the final design may change between now and when the phone is announced (presumably in September 2019).
“The leaked renders reveal a square camera unit housing three cameras aligned non-linearly,” Digit writes. “There are two cameras aligned vertically, similar to the iPhone XS. The render reveals there will be a third camera placed between the two, on the side. Above that is an LED flash and a microphone on the bottom.”
Apple is said to have three new iPhones it’ll launch this year, and it’s unclear which one these renders show. Digit believes it’s most likely the top-of-the-line iPhone of 2019.
It’s also unclear what the third camera’s purpose will be, but Bloomberg has previously reported that Apple was interested in acquiring 3D camera sensors from Sony. The 3D camera would be able to create 3D depth maps by measuring the time it takes light to bounce off things in a scene.
When Your Photographer Best Friend Shoots Your 336-Month Portrait…
Photographer Stephanie Smith recently shot birthday portraits for her best friend, Nicole Ham. But instead of normal portraits, Ham got swaddled for her 336-month shoot and posed in the style of those infant portraits you find all over social media.
Smith, a Columbia, South Carolina-based photographer who shoots as Southern Stitched Photography, was approached by Ham with the unusual concept for her 28th birthday on December 29, 2018.
After spending about $150 on supplies and props for the shoot, the friends did the shoot at Ham’s parents’ home. Ham’s mom crafted the bow and swaddled her 336-month-old daughter.
The letter board in the frame reads: “336 months old. Loves champagne. Hates dating in 2018. Go Tigers! 12.29.18.”
When she’s not feeding and pooping, Ham is an accountant in Nashville, Tennessee, who cheers for the Clemson Tigers college football team.
This Horror Movie is About a Serial Killer… Camera Drone
The Drone is an upcoming horror movie about a serial killer… who transfers his mind into a DJI camera drone. You can watch the new 2-minute trailer above.
Filmmaker Jordan Rubin first released a parody trailer back in 2015 about a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter that takes on an evil and bloodthirsty mind of its own. That trailer has since been taken down, and this latest trailer looks a lot more polished and worthy of the silver screen.
Here’s the latest synopsis that was posted with the trailer:
A serial killer transfers his consciousness into a consumer drone right before he is killed, then flies off to terrorize newlyweds Rachel (ALEX ESSOE) and Chris (JOHN BROTHERTON). The couple must fight to stop the insidious device before it destroys them both.
No word on if or when The Drone will be available to watch in theaters or via streaming services, but IMDB states that the film is currently in post-production.
Photography is the bastard art. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that everyone owns a smartphone and many of those people are under the mistaken impression that they are “excellent” photographers.
We’ve also been brainwashed by decades of advertising from Canon, Nikon, Sony, and many others with the message that all you have to do is use their camera, lens or printing paper and your images will “look” professional. This is akin to saying “if you buy a Stradivarius violin you will play like Itzhak Perlman.” And as we know, a top-notch camera doesn’t make you a great photographic artist any more than owning the best brushes, paints and canvas makes you a fine painter.
I sometimes question myself for choosing the bastard art for my artistic expression and full-time profession. It can be frustrating at times when the average non-photographer either can’t recognize a great image as being such or if they do, they simply attribute it to the photographer having a fancy camera and Photoshop.
I sold my work on the fine art show circuit for years and some of the comments I heard ranged from amusing to insulting. But I developed a thick skin pretty quickly. There were also many rewards. I had numerous visitors to my shows that had a great appreciation for art, and of course, many of them purchased my artwork. I figure it’s just my and other photographers’ duty to educate and enlighten the unenlightened when it makes sense to do so. Like anything else in life, we need to choose our battles.
“All you need is a pencil”
When I first started shooting photographs with serious intent in the 1970s people would marvel at the fact that my images were razor sharp, well exposed, and possessed a wide range of tones. They may not have known these terms but would say things like “your pictures are so clear.” Of course, these are all merely technical aspects of photography and granted, they may have been more difficult to master with the manual-everything film cameras of several decades ago versus now.
However, today, using their smartphones, virtually anyone can capture a properly exposed, in-focus image with the press of a button. To quote Elliott Erwitt in an interview I heard after he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Center of Photography: “All you need is a pencil and piece of paper to write a novel, don’t you?” and then points out to the interviewer “not even with a very good pencil” will that novel become the next War and Peace.
Of course, photography as an art form isn’t any different from others in that it is both left and right brained. To be a superb painter or sculptor you must be a master of technique as well as employ creativity. Assuming one is both creative and a master of technique, the other critical ingredient is experience. All of these combined form a synergy that allows a photographic artist to “see” a meaningful image in their mind’s eye within the everyday world, capture it and present it in a form that elicits an emotional response from the viewer. Amassing this experience is part of the journey towards mastery of photography as art.
One of the best compliments I received was from a mentor of mine when he said: “Wolfson, you see different.” This really meant something because it signified the next major step in my development as a photographic artist; a recognizable way of communicating through my photographs, distinct from other artists.
What about the billions of photos online?
The number of images created and uploaded to the Internet every day is mind-boggling. But I see the proliferation of online images as both lowering the bar and raising it as well. How so? There may be a plethora of mediocre and lousy images out there but there is also access to the most amazing and creative images. I choose to concentrate on those and challenge myself to raise the bar.
I love seeing images that I’d never think of myself. Unlike when you’re first learning photography, you don’t have to try to recreate those beautiful images to use them for inspiration and ideas for your own work. Although I chose photography as my medium with no desire to be a painter, I still learned about lighting from Rubens and Rembrandt, and about color from Monet, and gesture from Picasso. In the same way, I can use other photographers’ work as creative inspiration.
“You can’t take a bad picture there”
An expression I’ve heard several times when discussing images from various travel destinations is “you can’t take a bad picture there.” Typically, what people actually mean is that they were taken by the beauty of the place and they have never seen anything like it before. Consequently whatever snapshots they took, no matter how bad they actually were, remind them of this beautiful place. And that is all the traveler seeking to remind themselves of what they enjoyed on their trip, needs.
There are too many elements that go into making true fine art photographs to do it justice in one article. In fact, I find even at the end of conducting my multi-day workshops there is always so much more that can be taught and learned. Knowing the technical aspects, direction and quality of light, line, shape, form, texture, color, perspective, rhythm, composition of these, design, focused intent, and presentation are all just scratching the surface of photographic art.
For better or for worse, as photographers, we’re stuck with the bastard art. We might as well focus on the positive aspects of our chosen medium. So the next time someone you know portrays photography as simply pushing the button on a camera, perhaps you can help them “see” it differently!
About the author: Joel Wolfson is an internationally published photographer who loves teaching as much as shooting. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. He shares his 30 years of experience as a working pro with other photographers and enthusiasts by way of his workshops, 1 on 1 training, webinars, articles, blog and speaking engagements. He is one of the pioneers of digital photography, having conducted digital photography seminars for Apple and other corporations starting in the early 90s. This article was also published here.
2018 was an important year for mirrorless. As we kick off the new year, it’s a good time for some reflection on the market. I’ve written quite a bit about where we are now that all the big players are seriously in the mirrorless game. This time I thought I’d write about what I think each company will/should be doing in the coming year+.
Technology is relentless, so unless a company has clear plans that match up with ongoing customer needs and expectations, it’s easy to make a misstep.
I’m tackling this topic in two articles. This article is more detailed and deals with the technology/specifications side (i.e. product) more thoroughly. I also wrote a separate article about what the photography user needs to be seeing and hearing from each company (i.e. more marketing and positioning). That other article is a more concise list of the biggest issues each company needs to fix, whereas this article is more a general discussion.
In other words, if you want the long explanation, read this article. If you want the shorthand, read the other article.
As usual on my sites, we’ll tackle the companies in alphabetical order:
Canon’s biggest problem is that EOS M and EOS R don’t look very compatible, and Canon still has a huge base of EOS EF and EF-S DSLR folk to migrate to mirrorless.
I’ve written before that EOS M now seems dead-endish: you can’t use M lenses on R, EF, or EF-S bodies even with an adapter, so there’s no migration path for folks buying into M. It appears that Canon is thinking somewhat backwards here (migrate EF/EF-S users to mirrorless): we’ve now got a patent that shows that Canon has been tinkering with a so-called Speedbooster converter to allow EF lenses on the EF-M mount.
Speedboosters are a type of inverse teleconverter. Instead of adding focal length and reducing the effective aperture, a booster converter does the opposite: decreases focal length and boosts the effective aperture. The goal of such a converter for EOS M would be: make full frame EF lenses work on EOS M as well or better than on a DSLR. The exact patent would make a 50mm f/1.4 EF lens effectively a 40mm f/1.2 M lens.
I’m not sure that addresses the problem I see with EOS M, which is simple: if I buy into EOS M, there’s no way for me to keep some of the system I buy if I decide to later upgrade to EOS R. The M lenses don’t transition at all. I suppose if I’m using EF-S and EF lenses on a Speedbooster adapter for M that I can continue to use them with yet-another-adapter with R. But that just doesn’t seem like the right approach to me. Even if the number of people who would migrate from M to R is small, it’s a clear negative positioning point versus the competition. Sony can simply market “buy our consumer APS-C camera and you can eventually grow into anything we make; your lenses don’t become paperweights.” Canon product management and marketing are generally smarter than this, not building things that the competition can easily take down with a well-targeted message.
So what’s the real solution? Canon says they’ll continue to introduce M lenses if customers want them (not sure how they’re monitoring that). That still really says M is an end of its own, though: you don’t migrate away from it. Realistically, we need an APS-C R camera, and I’m betting that we’ll eventually get one, probably at the higher end than the lower end (e.g. 7D or 80D level).
Meanwhile, the R is sort of in no-man’s land at the moment. It’s priced and speced a bit between the A7/Z6 and the A7R/Z7, and it’s missing a few bits (like sensor IS). It really needs companions, call them the 1/2R and the 2R. The 1/2R would be the entry consumer full frame mirrorless (24mp or less, US$2000 or less). The 2R would be the A7R/Z7 competitor (lots of pixels, US$3300+).
My guess is that these new R’s are well underway and will appear in 2019, probably at least one in the first quarter of 2019. My question is this: which UI will they have? I’ve already written that the current R feels more like an experiment in UX (user experience) than a refined statement of how the future works in Canon cameras. The R has a strange mix of buttons/controls/locations that don’t really match anything previous, nor do they feel to me like the answer for the future. If the 1/2R and 2R come out with the same UI/UX as the R, I’d expect some pushback from users.
What seems clear is that we’re going to get more R lenses from Canon in 2019. Unlike the rest of the competition, Canon seems reluctant to say what lenses. Even the never-before-have-we-provided-a-road-map Nikon acquiesced on this, but Canon seems to think it’s an advantage to keep potential customers in the dark. It isn’t an advantage, and coupled with the M mistake, this is the first time I’ve seen Canon product management and marketing completely out of sorts. Canon’s mirrorless messaging right now is poor. That has to have an impact on sales.
Chug, chug, chug…
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…
Chug, chug, chug…
Okay, my tongue’s in cheek again (yes, sometimes the inside of my cheeks gets sore from all the tongue action). Somewhere in Fujifilm, a plan was made — it’s been executed, it’s being executed, it will continue to be executed.
That plan was to push APS-C for the masses but compete with the full frame entities by dangling medium format (albeit at market-limiting prices). Unfortunately, the APS-C side now has a clear price ceiling, as the US$2000 full frame cameras aren’t exactly strippers. That’s already caused Fujifilm to lower pricing on the X-T line to look more competitive.
Still, Fujifilm is the only one in mirrorless cameras we can say has a full APS-C line: X-A5, X-T100, X-T20, X-E3, X-T3, X-H1, plus all the older models still in inventory. The trick for Fujifilm is to better rationalize that line and remove that inventory backlog. The X-H1 seems an oddity now with the X-T3 improvements. Does the X-E3 really generate demand that isn’t taken away from the neighboring cameras in the line? Are the buyers of older models doing anything more than sampling? (i.e. if you buy an X-T2 today at clearance prices, are you really going to stay a Fujifilm regular over time?)
Given Fujifilm’s chugging along, it’s not to difficult to predict that an X-E4 and X-T30—or some variations on them—are the next trains out of the station. It’s still too early for an X-Pro3 or X-H2, I think, and those two cameras really need some rethink as to what they’re trying to achieve in the lineup. X-T100, X-T20, X-T3 I understand (even though these are obviously somewhat different generations of designs in the same product line). X-Pro2, X-H1, X-T3 I don’t understand, and I don’t think the Fujifilm faithful really do, either.
In the Medium Format realm, Fujifilm has relatively clear sailing, with only Hasselblad to elbow aside (but don’t count Hassy out now that they’ve partnered with DJI). Sony Semiconductor has already shown the sensor roadmap we’ll see in that sensor size, and Fujifilm has given plenty of warning about 100 and 150mp medium format cameras coming. I suspect we’ll see them in 2019. Chug, chug, chug…
Despite a far less than perfect and sometimes rocky marketing launch, the new Nikon Z system is alive and well. Nikon didn’t do much to focus (pardon the pun) and control the messaging during launch, and it hurt them short term. Longer term, things look more rosy. That’s because the cameras and lenses they shipped actually are quite good. Good enough to hold serve and staunch any sustained flow to Sony from Nikon loyalists.
It’s now time to hunker down and get the iterations/additions/changes right. A healthy round of firmware additions would go a long way to fixing the initial messaging, particularly if they addressed some of the continuous autofocus issues that have arisen. This is not Nikon’s forte, though: other than the D5 type camera, Nikon really hasn’t been known for major firmware update changes in the past. It’s time they changed that, and I hope 2019 shows that they figured this out.
That’s because the Z6 and Z7 have to stay relevant for a couple of years to recover R&D costs. Those two cameras need to keep selling through to 2021, and the best way to do that is to have a message that says “they keep getting better” (e.g. substantive firmware upgrades). It wouldn’t take a lot to create that message, but it will take more than the bug fix updates we’ve seen so far.
Nikon has already given us a roadmap to lenses for 2019, and that looks fine to me. The 14-30mm f/4 is an important lens, as is the 85mm f/1.8. I’m not sure I want the f/2.8 zooms myself, but knowing that they’re right on the horizon line is still comforting information.
Unfortunately, the next lens out will be the manual focus 58mm f/0.95 NOCT, which is more of an arrogant, ego-boosting, design-masturbation statement than anything useful to more than a few customers. Frankly, Nikon needs to tell me why I care about this lens. And no, it’s not because the “mount allows it.”
What’s missing in Nikon’s Z lens lineup—even past 2019—is conspicuous: any telephoto zoom above f/2.8. Whether that’s a 70-200mm f/4 or a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 or something else, we can debate. But basically the message Nikon is sending is “for telephoto use, you’re going to be mounting a big DSLR lens on the FTZ adapter.” Good thing the 300mm f/4 and 500mm f/5.6 PF lenses are entirely appropriate for that (as is the bargain 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E AF-P). But where is the Nikon marketing messaging saying that to customers? I’ve now said that message more times than anyone at Nikon HQ apparently has. Hello? Bueller?
The real 2019 need from Nikon is something completely different, though: what I call DX-M, or I guess would be called something like Z-DX by Nikon. I now know that Nikon more than fiddled with potential crop sensor mirrorless designs: they got to the stage where they had to make a build/cancel/postpone decision. Indeed, the messaging I get from sources within and around Nikon says they went from build to postpone to redesign.
So if we’re in a redesign phase with crop sensor mirrorless, what is that and when does it appear? It’s intriguing that we have 8 blank lens listings for Z mount in 2021. Could any of those be Z-DX? Or is the current Nikon lens roadmap for Z are all full frame and they’d come out with another roadmap for crop sensor? If you can answer that question, then you might be able to better predict when we’ll see a DX Z.
The E-M1X is next and imminent, apparently, and it seems to be a bit of a repeat of what Olympus did with their swan song for 4/3, the E-5: throw the kitchen sink in, promote it as pro, grab as much money as they can. Add some more fast pro lenses like a liberal sprinkling of salt trying to make the meal taste better.
Olympus is in a tough place. After rushing into early m4/3 success, it’s been tough treading lately. The goal a few years back was to hit 600k units a year. Didn’t hit it. Didn’t hit it. Didn’t hit it. Won’t hit it. Indeed, are they even at 500k units a year still? Certainly not without substantial sales at the low end of discounted older models.
The problem for Olympus now is sensors. All that custom work is being done on low volume on a small sensor, while everyone else is doing similar levels of work on large sensors with low volume. It’s hard to eke out an advantage because of the sensor size difference, so Olympus appears now to be completely playing to the m4/3 converted. Yet they’re still maxing out their sensor costs with far smaller volume.
That m4/3 customer wanting smaller/lighter product used to be me, but lately Olympus is losing me. The full frame bodies have come way down in size, and I’m now starting to find lenses that make for a really small kit. Smaller than my m4/3 kit in some cases, with more and better pixels. Olympus is trying to deliver more pixels through the pixel shift arrangement, which helps for totally static subjects, but not for everything. They’re truly in a defensive game here, and they’re no longer fielding a full team.
I can’t see how this ends any way other than a constrained niche for Olympus. The question is whether that niche is big enough to be sustainable. Maybe. The jury is out on that.
2019 is the year Olympus needs to tell us what the future is really like for them. Their partner Panasonic has already taken that step (e.g. adding full frame). And I’m going to argue that the E-M1x is not an answer to that question.
Olympus is now in the back of the pack with Pentax: interesting products, but not mainstream and not producing volume in sales.
I just mentioned that Panasonic has taken a step towards the future. That step is full frame.
Personally I think they got a little anxious and dropped the big announcement too early, at Photokina 2018. They still seemed to be in the design refinement stage on the body, and early prototype stage with lenses. There’s a lot that can still go wrong for them that would push actual delivery out more than currently expected. Panasonic’s latest statement on release is “spring 2019” (previously it was “early 2019” so we’re starting to hear the already vague date slide). I’m betting that Panasonic’s definition of spring and mine don’t match, but I’ll be happy if I’m proven wrong.
The S1 bodies (and lenses) seem to be a little on the chubby side to me (and the existing L lenses are also not exactly svelte). This puts more emphasis on features, performance, and pricing, and that last one is likely to be “above the competition,” which puts even more emphasis on the first two.
Panasonic’s got a lot to prove with the actual S1 launch. Canon, Nikon, and Sony will all have plenty of actual users by the time Panny’s cameras hit the market. There’s a risk the Big Three suctioned up almost the entire full frame user base. Any perception of “not delivering” will relegate Panasonic into a distant fourth position in an already small market. Still, this is far better than having nothing in the space, which is where Olympus and Pentax are.
The S1 also puts pressure on the m4/3 offerings. If the S1 is 4K 60P, why do I want it instead of a GH5/GH5s? Positioning is starting to become everything in the still contracting camera market. With two lines two stops apart—much like Fujifilm—Panasonic needs to have clear messaging telling customers where they should be purchasing and why.
Many are predicting that Panasonic just left the m4/3 world (i.e. won’t be doing a lot there in the future and eventually winding it completely down). I don’t think so. Not at all. Like most of the other players (Canon with APS-C and full frame, Fujifilm with APS-C and medium format, Nikon with APS-C and full frame, and Sony with APS-C and full frame), Panasonic looks to be moving to a two-line approach.
Nothing wrong with that. Indeed, it would be what I’d do if I were running product management for any of the Japanese companies. What Panasonic needs to do in 2019 though is begin to rationalize the two lines and communicate who should buy what and why. I didn’t see that in the Photokina press messaging. I still don’t see it in the subsequent messaging. Indeed, just the opposite (they suggested that the G9, GH5, and GH5s “gained a solid reputation among professionals and amateurs…”; so why do those pros need an S1/S1R? And if they do need an S1/S1R, what’s that say about the G9, GH5, and GH5s?).
Nothing wrong with Panasonic’s product development. Their success in 2019, however, is almost completely dependent upon their marketing and messaging.
Incomplete. Hasn’t showed up to class since 2014, and then only to turn in a revised homework assignment that didn’t change their grade at all.
I’m wondering if Pentax is still a student. Should I put in a missing person’s report?
Less work for me with Pentax absent, I suppose, which is fine.
Sony is all-in with mirrorless and has been for some time now. In the full-frame arena, Sony is now updating/iterating on a regular schedule (basically two-year cycles). The A7s is due for its third cycle, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony penciled in an A9 update in late 2019 given the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. It’s also possible that the A7r gets a late 2019 update, as well, and if it does, it’ll surely get a pixel boost.
In terms of lenses for full frame, Sony’s in pretty good shape in the wide to short telephoto range, with only a 20mm prime being the glaring hole. Personally, I’d really like to see them bring the f/1.8 primes into the wide realm, too, but frankly, Sony has pretty full coverage from 12-85mm in ways I’m completely satisfied with at the moment. It’s above that where we need to see more from them, and I hope that 2019 brings us new optics at the long end. I’m betting on a 200-500mm type of zoom, a fast 200mm or 300mm. Given how good the EF and F lenses are via adapter on the Canon and Nikon full frame mirrorless cameras, Sony needs to plug the telephoto lens gap, ASAP.
It’s the APS-C side of things where Sony seems to have completely stalled. We originally started with NEX-3 and NEX-5 offerings, basically a low and mid consumer product. Those iterated rapidly and many times. That was expanded to include a NEX-6/7 higher-end offering. It looked like that would roll over into A5xxx, A6xxx, and A7xxx models, but after the initial 5xxx and 6xxx offerings, we’ve really only gotten another iteration of the 6xxx.
The A6500 dates back to 2016, the A5100 is a 2014 model. That’s a long time for consumer-pointed models to rot on shelves.
The rumors, of course, say we’ll get an A7000 that’s a mini-A9 next for Sony’s APS-C mirrorless line, probably in early 2019. In other words, high-end crop sensor. That still leaves a big chunk of consumers looking mostly at Canon and Fujifilm cameras, which seems like a mistake to me. Curiouser still, the last E (APS-C) lens we got from Sony last year was the very consumer (18-135mm f/3.5-5.6), not at all high-end. Prior to that, Sony had gone into a crop-sensor lens hibernation much like Canikon’s EF-S/DX. I had to go all the way back to 2013 to find the previous E lens launch. So launching an A7000 without high-end APS-C lens support seems like it has high potential for not hitting the target.
Whether we’ll get anything other than an A7000 in APS-C from Sony last year is questionable, I’d say. It appears that Sony is perfectly happy in selling older A6xxx bodies as long as they can get away with it. Plus Sony now has the Nikon DX disease: just use full frame lenses.
Mirrorless had a big year in 2018, with many full frame entrants (4, or 10% of all cameras introduced), plus some good energy on either side of that size from Fujifilm. Lenses came in droves for mirrorless last year. I count 27 significant mirrorless-only lenses introduced last year (plus things like the Sigma Art series in FE mount adds quite a few more). 2019 is likely to be more of the same: lots of new lenses now that Canon and Nikon have to get their mirrorless foundries up-to-speed to match Sony.
Clearly, all the camera makers—other than Pentax, who’s still wandering around in the woods somewhere seeing if trees make noises when they fall—are going to be executing significantly in the mirrorless realm in the future. We’re now clearly into the DSLR-to-mirrorless transition period. How long that transition will take depends upon how fast the camera makers move.
So on that note:
Canon doesn’t want to move fast. They’ve still got one very large foot completely stuck in the DSLR mud, and don’t want to pull that out any time soon for fear of losing a shoe. Their marketing department keeps noting that they’ll continue iterating DSLR products, and I expect to see them do just that in 2019.
Fujifilm has already made the move and wants people to move from DSLR as fast as possible. That’s part of their chug-chug-chug product iteration strategy. Jump on the train, folks, it’s moving from the station as we speak…
Nikon doesn’t want to move too fast. They seem clearly unprepared to do consumer mirrorless (e.g. crop sensor). And like Canon, they’re trumpeting the fact that they’ll have more DSLR product iterations soon. That said, I’ll bet that Nikon makes the all-mirrorless move before Canon. It just isn’t going to happen any time in the very near future.
Olympus was one of the early movers, but at this point, they’ve been clearly passed by Canon and Sony, and probably will be passed by everyone the way things are going. Which will put them right back where they ended in the film era, and where they ended with their DSLRs. What did Einstein supposedly say about repetition?
Panasonic seems to want to move fast, but they’re still be playing catch up in the full frame arena, and it’s unclear what’s next for them in m4/3. 2019 is a year when we learn a lot more about how well Panasonic can execute in the declining market.
Sony now seems to be easing off the accelerator a bit. They want full-frame to continue to move at a regular pace. That means they have two bodies to iterate this coming year, and two the following year, and two the following year, and so on. Significant innovation on two-year cycles is getting tougher for them to do. The lens side seems to be moving at a fast pace, though, which helps. But APS-C? I have no idea how Sony wants to move and how fast. Right now it looks like they’re as stuck in the mud with the A5xxx/A6xxx/A7xxx as Canon and Nikon are with EF-S and DX DSLRs.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. This article was also published here.
About the author: Thom Hogan has been supporting photographers on the Internet for over 25 years, and updates his DSLR site (dslrbodies.com) and his mirrorless site (sansmirror.com) almost daily with news, information, and reviews. You can follow him on Twitter at @bythom.
I Shot Exactly One Film Photo Every Day for a Year
No matter how it looks, this is the story of the photographs I didn’t make this year. On January 1st, 2018 my colleague, the military photojournalist C.S. Muncy, presented me with a gift: a small, handmade box he’d crafted out of salvaged wood. Muncy, a film lover, had given to me, an unquestioning digital-age professional, a box full of 35mm film.
I had not, when handed that lacquered case, touched a single roll of film once in the fifteen years since I first started working as a little puppy photojournalist at Newsday. At the time, their newsroom was in transition from analog to modernity and my first editor, sighing furtively over my portfolio of chromes, told me that my only choice was more or less going to be digital photography or the mailroom. Having an art degree and thus being largely unable to alphabetize things, I went out and got a digital camera, and that was that.
Fast forward a decade and a half, to an era when film is as nearly extinct as the planet we photograph it with, and I open that box to find twelve rolls of Ilford HP5 black and white negative film: seven of 36 exposures, five of 24, a total of 372 exposures to last me one single run around the sun. One for every day, and a week of wiggle room.
I decided, the very next day, that I had only one choice: not an exercise in photography, but in deliberation. Each day of 2018 I was to make one, and only one, photograph on film. I’d have to pick my moments carefully — there’d be no do-overs, no second chances. I knew that at some point an editor, a curator, or a grumpy internet commenter would demand to see my contact sheets. So, I’d have to go through my each and every day watching every moment — an exhausting effort — while trying to decide if that very one would be my found poem for that particular day.
Now, I’ve never been one to think the world always looks better through a cracked rear view mirror. I’ve no real nostalgia for film. This isn’t a note on longing, this isn’t a parable about a letter from an old friend. After fifteen years of shooting digitally, I didn’t even have a camera for this. I had to start by buying an old 35mm body from one of Manhattan’s two big camera dealers. As I’m closely affiliated with Nikon, I was pleased as punch to find an oldish (circa 2000) Nikon N80, even if it was in terrible, just absolutely terrible, condition.
I paid one hundred dollars for it. Turns out I over-paid by ninety-nine.
Whoever loved the camera before me loved it two times too much; already looking like a toddler had used it to hammer really big building blocks into even bigger building blocks, the camera died on any given day that was even just a little hot or a little cold, and the meter didn’t work for even one second of the year. So I was stuck facing an entire 365-day orbit shooting with a camera where I’d have to augment my manual focus predilection with a necessity to guesstimate exposures. I felt like Fred Flintstone putting his feet through the floor of his car. Yabba. Dabba. Doo.
I decided to try and make all my exposures at 1/350th of a second, whenever possible, so that the entire year’s work would amount to just one mere second out of its 31,557,600 total. Within a month, I discovered that I had been thrown, headlong, into one of the most meaningful and meditative experiences of my life.
Day in and day out, I was forced to take each and every moment and simultaneously savor and weigh it; was this the best my day would offer? Could I, would I bet that something better was coming? Every day, looking closely, something joyful would wander in, either by chance or by appointment. Stalking around subways and restaurants and my regular working shoots looking like a lion slithering through the Serengeti grass on a quest for gazelle, sometimes I’d catch it, sometimes I wouldn’t.
More numerous still were the (true) occasions when I’d, say, photograph two banal construction workers arguing with one another, click, and then just minutes later witness the far more beautiful, far more interesting scene of two ladies parting, their decades-old love and all its hopes dashed, at the café table next to mine, crying all the while. One day, in the middle of a block I came across an old woman dragging behind her on long ropes two clanging milk crates full of all her worldly possessions, scratching along the pavement in the middle of the street behind her. Click. At the end of that block was a little gas station, where a fellow from the Army was pumping gas… into his armored tank.
There’s an apocryphal Mark Twain quip that feels like it’s been floating around the internet more or less since he himself was alive: “the worst things in my life never actually happened.” Perhaps, in reality, the worst things in my life were just never actually photographed.
Late at night, I’d sneak into my old college darkroom at Fordham University, ostensibly to develop film and plan out prints. In the end, I would invariably end up sitting in the red darkness of the room, breathing in those oddly nostalgic chemicals, thinking about all the ones that got away — the pictures I’d missed, of course, but more specifically the times I’d been too quick to decide that some moment was the best I’d come across in a city of seven million people, the occasions when I forgot that the next Best Thing, as almost always in life, was right around the corner.
Looking back over a year of work, tossing out the shots that didn’t make the cut — guessed this exposure wrong, waited a second longer than I should have, this fellow is blinking, oh, there’s a lady in the back waving at my camera, what the heck was I thinking here — I can’t help but notice all the little stories that remained from my mundane life, all the little poems that populated an otherwise low, dishonest year in our world.
I lugged the world’s smallest, most archaic albatross around for 365 days and in the end found out that a year earlier I’d been given not a photographic assignment, but a reminder: to always keep an eye out, and to never overlook the small stories of the oversized people that flit through your lives for one half of one half of one half of one half, of one second.
You can find the 365 film photos of the complete project here.
About the author: B.A. Van Sise is one of the world’s busiest travel photographers and a frequent contributor to the Village Voice and Buzzfeed. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. In addition to being a Nikon/AFAR travel photography ambassador and a travel photography workshop instructor for Atlas Obscura, Van Sise has been a staffer for Newsday and AOL CityGuide, has been featured on both the cover of the New York Times, on PBS NewsHour, the Daily Mail, and on NPR. A number of his portraits of notable American poets are in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian. You can find more of Van Sise’s work on his website and Instagram.
ProGrade Digital Unveils Dual SD Card Reader with Speed of Up To 1.25GB/s
The storage startup ProGrade Digital has announced its latest card reader, the SD Dual Slot USB 3.1 Gen 2 card reader. Files on each card can be transferred simultaneously at speeds of up to 10Gb/s, or 1.25GB/s.
ProGrade Digital now has four different USB 3.1 Gen 2 card readers: the dual SD card one joins the dual microSDXC, Compact Flash and SD, and CFast and SD card readers.
“Many of today’s professional cameras have two SD card slots, so it is only natural that ProGrade Digital’s newest USB 3.1, Gen. 2 workflow reader be a dual-slot for SD cards,” says ProGrade CEO Wes Brewer.
Features and specs of the new reader include UHS-I/UHS-II compatibility, an LED activity indicator, a magnetized bottom that lets the reader attach to laptops, a metal mounting plate, two 18-inch cables (Type A to Type C and Type C to Type C), backward compatibility with USB 3.0 devices, Windows and Mac compatibility, and a 2-year warranty.
The new ProGrade Digital SD Dual Slot USB 3.1 Gen 2 card reader is available now for $80 from the company’s online store and through retailers such as Amazon.
Olympus Teases the OM-D E-M1X Pro-style Mirrorless Camera
Olympus just released this 18-second video teasing an upcoming mirrorless camera that will be announced on January 24th, 2019. From the glimpses we see, it seems clear that it’s the previously leaked OM-D E-M1X camera, which features a pro-style body that has a built-in vertical grip.
The video suggests that the camera is suited for shooting sports, and its use in wet and sandy venues suggests that there will be some solid weather-sealing present in the body.
Here are a few views of the camera teased in the video (as well as an obligatory shadowy outline):
43 Rumors is hearing that the camera will feature a 20MP Four Thirds sensor that shoots 18fps. Rumored specs include 7.5+ stop stabilization, 2 TruePic VIII processors, 2x the processing speed of the E-M1 II, advanced autofocus features, an ~80MP high-res shooting mode at 1/60s, a live electronic ND filter, a larger EVF, and a price tag close to $3,000.
January 24th is only a few weeks away, so stay tuned.