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Nikon is launching a full frame mirrorless

14 Jul

Nikon confirmed they are working on a mirrorless camera. While sometimes news have been blown out of proportion in the photo industry in the past, it seems likely in this case that they really mean they’re working on a new camera system. Nikon is not a company to throw up clickbait.

So how do I know the camera they’re working on is full frame? They said the camera would be Nikon-rashii, or Nikonish. Nikon has never made a medium format camera, so we can safely exclude that. Nikon is now best remembered for the F series, which dominated journalism for a decade or two.

But this is not about reliving the past. This is about competing in the current market. How many mirrorless systems are competing for the APS-C space? Mainly three – Fujifilm, Sony, and old rival Canon. How many are competing for full frame? Really only one – Sony. Nikon knows that there are things it can do better than Sony, ways to compete with Sony. When push comes to shove, maybe Sony won’t give them the sensors they want – maybe they’ll have to turn to Toshiba or Renesas. But for a company with Nikon’s heritage and customer relations, it would be way better to start in the full frame category and gain a following among professional photographers before Sony can fully convince them, than to try to mud-sling it out with Canon in the well-scoured APS-C swamp.

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Pentax full-frame with AstroTracer built in

28 Jan

Ricoh just updated its full-frame camera information. Of particular interest is the phrase, “using the camera’s ASTROTRACER function” under one of the new images (from the D-FA 24-70mm lens). I understand this to mean that the camera itself will provide the AstroTracer, so that no O-GPS1 accessory is needed. Note, however, that one reviewer of the K-3 II has commented that the inbuilt AstroTracer function in that camera was not as reliable as using the O-GPS1 on the K-3. Hopefully, Ricoh will have made improvements in this area.

Rumour: Pentax to level with Olympus on super-resolution

8 Feb

A rumour was published on digicame saying that Ricoh/Pentax would shortly announce that all cameras coming out later in 2015 and beyond will have a sensor-stabilisation based super-resolution mode. This led others to repeat the previously rumoured 144MP figure that could theoretically be obtained from a 36MP Bayer sensor (as may be used in an upcoming Pentax full frame camera) using such technology. The rumour also states that Pentax/Ricoh’s approach is different from Olympus’.

It currently seems the main drawback of Olympus’ technology is that the required series of images takes considerable time to be recorded.

Pentax announces full frame – get all the details

4 Feb

It’s here!

pentax_ff_prototype

Product prototype. Final product design will differ.

Prototype will be shown at CP+ in a few days’ time.

Official release to the buying public will be late 2015 (“autumn” even, according to one source). Scroll down for an update.

The unnamed camera is rumoured to have in-body image stabilisation (IBIS/sensor stabilisation) as the two telezoom lenses announced with it do not come with their own image stabilisation. It’s also almost guaranteed to be weather-sealed.

The camera will also have a crop mode and accommodate DA lenses – it’s still a K-mount camera, after all!

The rendering/photo sent out with the press release suggests a compact body with about the same dimensions as a Pentax K-3, but 20-25% taller, with a large optical viewfinder, larger than competing cameras, so likely a 100% coverage pentaprism with high magnification. The goal may have been to compete with high magnification electronic viewfinders as seen in the Fujfilm X-T1 and Olympus OM-D E-M1.

Size comparison with a Pentax K-5 II

Size comparison with a Pentax K-5 II

One pundit is still hoping that it will have a mirror with adjustable translucency and an EVF/OVF switch as this has been in two recent Ricoh patents. The latter would explain the large prism housing, but it’s equally likely that it’s just a large optical viewfinder.

Rumours say the new Pentax camera will NOT have a Sony 24MP sensor (so probably higher resolution), and it will be “very good in price”.

It’s rumoured that three to four lenses for full frame will be released in 2015 (so perhaps one or two other than the aforementioned), then another “six or eight” in 2016. At least one of them in 2015 should be the kit lens, presumably a 24-70mm zoom or thereabouts.

Update 2015-Feb-06: Launch price is rumoured to be €2000. According to the same source, further details of specs will not arrive until April/May, and general availability is planned for October.

Update 2015-Feb-10: Using components of known size for comparison, I calculated that the size of the new camera would be 131mm x 112mm, which is exactly the width of the K-3. I believe Ricoh set it as a challenge for engineering that the new camera should be the same width as the K-3. Given the price point and crop mode, Ricoh is clearly laying a temptation for customers to pick the FF model regardless of what lenses they own at the time or intend to purchase in the foreseeable future. Ricoh may have just turned the upgrade path on its head.

Canon readying 20-1900mm ultrazoom?

2 Jan

Imaging-Resource (IR) has relayed a rumour based on a patent filing uncovered by Egami along with I’d say pretty well-founded speculation that it could be used in an upcoming Canon PowerShot “SX100”, successor to the SX50.

While IR did not want to muse on the possible equivalent focal lengths this would generate, I have done so here based on the sensor size of the SX50. For reference, the SX50 provides a 24-1200mm equivalent range of focal lengths. It’s unclear whether the lens can support the image circle needed for the SX50 sensor, though, which is why IR is holding off. They also note that aperture drops from f/3.5 to f/9, so much of this focal range may not be usable without a tripod.

To the best of my knowledge, the longest-reach lens built by Canon at this point is the Canon EF 1200mm, which gives a 1920mm equivalent focal length if used with Canon’s version of an APS-C crop body.

That prime lens, however, has a maximally wide aperture of f/5.6, while the newly patented zoom lens tapers down to f/9 at the long end, and would require any wildlife you may wish to photograph at long range to sit rather still. Use of the hypothetical SX100 for sports photography would depend on how quickly the aperture narrows down. Current-generation superzooms are somewhat usable for sports in bright sunshine, although not at full zoom, with the exception of the Panasonic LUMIX FZ200 with its constant f/2.8 aperture and maximum 600mm equivalent zoom. Sports photographers usually favour 400mm lenses.

Nikon readying V3? Feels like long wait.

29 Nov

The Nikon 1 V2 has been with us since late 2012, shortly followed by the S1, which, even though a lower-priced model without viewfinder, offered a sensor with markedly improved dynamic range and colour depth. As a result, the V2, shortly after its introduction, soon became a much less attractive proposition, added to which, there was initially an issue with limitations placed on the available autofocus modes when used with the FT1 L adapter for Nikon F-mount lenses (no AF-C available), which was later resolved with a firmware update.

Now, we hear that a V3 may be finally on the way, but it may have its accessory port removed and replaced with a “legacy” flash hotshoe that will give access to a larger range of existing flash models for DSLR cameras. This would allow Nikon to retreat from providing a separate flash accessory range for the 1 series, a range of cameras that despite its fast and accurate on-chip phase detect autofocus hasn’t been selling very well.

While I personally noticed the 1 series’ slightly unusual design, it doubt this would ever stop a truly revolutionary camera from also being declared a design classic. I, for one, would love to be blown away with a more complete mirrorless vision from Nikon. (Pun noted.)

GoPro’s system-on-a-chip maker offers 4K video, 720p240

22 Sep

Just picking up a quick story from fstoppers, there’s a new SoC in town from the current supplier to GoPro, capable of 4K video at 30 frames per second as well as 1080p at 120 frames per second and 720p at 240 frames. You can read the rest of the specs here. It’s possible this assembly will be the basis of the next GoPro Hero camera iteration.