Nikon cancels DL series

13 Feb

Nikon officially dropped the bombshell that it has pulled the plug on three upcoming premium compact camera models that were announced in the first half of 2016 and initially expected to ship in June 2016. This cancellation therefore comes after months of delays as well as rumours of an imminent shipping date.

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-21-35-30

Nikon DL24-500

Nikon cited electronics hardware problems and low projected profitability in the decision. The cancelled models would have had equivalent focal ranges of 18-50mm, 24-85mm and 24-500mm, making the middle model a direct competitor to Sony’s RX100 line, while the first model covers the focal range of two of Sigma’s DP models (which use prime lenses).

ni-dl-24-85-s-5-500x500

Nikon DL24-85 in silver

Among other things, the cameras would have featured 20fps continuous shooting with autofocus, and in-camera perspective adjustment for architectural photography.

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-22-01-55

Nikon DL18-50

This is the next major cancellation after Samsung’s withdrawal from the dedicated camera market. Nikon has also announced a voluntary retirement program to lay off 1000 workers.

Advertisements

Yongnuo 85/1.8 with better bokeh, less CA and noisier AF than Canon

12 Feb

For full details, see the video by Christopher Frost, below:

 

The breakfastographer’s opinion based on the samples shown is that the bokeh is nicer and the CA much lower in the Yongnuo. Corner sharpness is worse, though, and the autofocus has various issues described in the video. No statement was made about focus throw, but it seems to be okay, so manually focusing is an option. At a price of half the Canon, it’s cheaper than a Samyang/Rokinon/Bower/etc., which would also provide only manual focus.

In spite of the corner softness, it’s sold as a full frame lens, and its value proposition as a portrait lens is hard to beat on that format. If you do want to go cheaper, there are 50/1.8 options for APS-C cameras for just over a 100 eurodollars, but bokeh will be better with the 85/full frame combination – or really 85 on any format!

Pentax KP better at high ISO than K-70, especially after DxO PRIME treatment

11 Feb

Imaging Resource have published RAW samples from the Pentax KP. Since I was able to cheat DxO 11 into processing an ISO 102,400 file, I thought I would post the results of performing PRIME noise reduction on a pair of these at ISO 102,400 – one from the KP and one from a K-70 – click on the image for a 1:1 view of the striking difference (KP on left, K-70 on right):

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-19-48-59

Compare with the out-of-camera JPEG result (KP on left, default in-camera noise reduction on both):

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-06-07-17

The out-of-camera JPEGs retain a little more detail, along with some more noise – probably a matter of personal taste, but I would go with processed raws here.

The Pentax KP features saturation compensation, to stop colours looking washed out at higher sensitivities. The in-camera processing deals with this gracefully, so that no luminance detail is lost (KP on left, K-70 on right, both with default in-camera noise reduction):

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-06-54-49

The current version of DxO OpticsPro does not include a Pentax KP profile, and some loss of luminance detail could be seen in the PRIME processed image. As explained by a commenter over on Imaging Resource, this may be due to the KP using a different white point in its raw output compared to previous Pentax cameras. That being the case, it would be true to say that this will not be an issue once the DxO software is updated to support the Pentax KP.

Pentax cameras offer a lot of configurability of the output, and it’s therefore likely that the saturation compensation can be turned off or on as needed.

Overall, one can’t help but conclude that the KP is a huge advance over the K-70, a remarkable camera in its own right. And after initial reserve over the design of the camera, many now seem to be swayed by its rich features, performance and customisability.

Feel free to head over to Imaging Resource for more samples, or take a look at a comparison of the K-70 and Nikon D500 at ISO 102,400, or the post-processed ISO 800k result from a night-time Pentax KP out-of-camera JPEG. Alternatively, read my overall thoughts on the Pentax KP.

Pentax 645 shutter sounds

9 Feb

I couldn’t fit them all into the previous post, so here they are now:

1) Pentax 645Z

2) Pentax 645D

3) Pentax 645Z vs. 5Ds, D810, OM-D E-M5 II, a6000

And the classic:

4) Pentax 645

Pentax K-70 vs. Nikon D500: high ISO raw IQ

7 Feb

In trying to get a glimpse of how the Pentax KP might compete with the D500, I looked at test scene samples on DPReview. Keep in mind that the D500 retails at about three times the cost of the K-70, or a difference of 1300 to 1350 Eurodollars. That is, choosing the K-70, for the same budget, you could get at least four nice lenses, two great lenses, or one truly stellar lens in addition to the camera – or three bodies instead of one. Or two bodies and two nice lenses.

So is that price difference reflected in the raw output? Are images from the D500 three times as good? Let’s take a look:

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-01-27-24

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-00-56-09

The K-70 has slightly higher resolution – 24 megapixels rather than 20. Differences in pixel dimensions are difficult to compensate for in image quality comparisons. However, I think we can see that at sensitivities of ISO 51200 and 102400, chroma noise is very similar. It seems finer grained and less luminous in the Pentax, but the D500 looks like it has had more sharpening and contrast applied to it – hard to say if this was in-camera and, if not, owed to the default settings of Adobe Camera Raw, which DPR use to generate the above “raw” views.

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-00-23-30crop

Time and again, I found the image quality to be very similar, and I could not decide which camera I would prefer on that basis. Having said that, a camera is more than its image quality, and the D500’s buffer depth, to name just one aspect, far exceeds that of the K-70, but this is useful in a narrow range of shooting situations, primarily in wildlife and sports. Both cameras may be outdated in two years, and there’s no obvious reason to expect the depreciation on the D500 to be less than three times that experienced in choosing the K-70. So to continue our budget thinking, you could pick up a K-70 and two nice lenses now, and save the rest for an upgrade to the next mid-level camera from Pentax in 2019, all for the price of one D500 and a kit lens. If you’re anything but a pro who absolutely needs the capabilities of the D500 for sports or wildlife, or a wealthy amateur, that reasoning is hard to argue with.

By the way, if you’re worried about the disk space raw images will take, the 24 megapixel image from the K-70 was the same size at ISO 104200 as the D500 (20 megapixels), and slightly smaller at ISO 51,200, in spite of having the same bit depth (14 bits). At lower ISOs, the K-70 files are consistently about 20-25% smaller. So if you prefer resolution over other considerations, the K-70 has a slight edge without obvious disadvantages.

For an additional test, I passed both images through DxO’s PRIME noise reduction engine (click through for 1:1 view):

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-08-33-03

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-08-35-38

As before, the Nikon image has more contrast and looks more graded; in terms of noise and detail, after DxO PRIME treatment, both images have edge artefacts at this ISO. It is no surprise that the Pentax retains more detail in black and white areas. In textured areas, the winner is less obvious, and the Pentax image has grainier noise and shows the DxO artefacts more strongly.

Finally, comparing a pixel shift Pentax image with a normal Nikon capture, controlled for total exposure, shows no clear advantage, either:

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-09-24-50

The pixel shift image shows more detail as expected, but having, in the interest of a fair comparison, controlled for total exposure and thus compared Pentax at ISO 102400 to Nikon at 25600, the Nikon shows less noise.

In conclusion, at a technical level we can say that the Nikon D500’s slightly greater resistance to noise justifies its slightly lower resolving power, at 20 megapixels rather than the now ubiquitous 24 megapixels. However, justifying the price differential is an entirely different exercise, and the Pentax K-70 looks an extremely strong challenger. The Pentax KP is expected to build on the low light capabilities of the K-70 and exceed it, and at little over half the price of the Nikon, adds another strong option for the budget-conscious.

Strikingly, having compared the K-70 to Nikon’s other recent APS-C releases, it is obvious that the D500 is currently the only Nikon APS-C camera that’s still competitive with Pentax on image quality, other Nikons having been left in the dust.

And the successor of the Pentax K-3 II is only months away, with an announcement date around September, and will challenge the D500 on a broader set of features, including buffer depth.

Update: I added a comparison of the Pentax KP and K-70 at high ISO.

Did DigitalRev TV foreshadow the KP?

6 Feb

I may have more to say on what’s recently happened to DigitalRev TV on another occasion, but here’s a soundbite from Kai in May 2011, a good five and a half years prior to the announcement of the Pentax KP:

I think if they made something which looked kind of retro and cool, that would be really good. I think I’m jizzing my pants if they made this kind of a silver and black, made it look a bit like your OM-1, that would be great.

That’s a reference to Lok’s father’s OM-1, which Lok showed off in the preceding segment of the video. In a mock charity donation video for Pentax, Kai’s presumably scripted voice-over continues:

help Pentax be a pioneer again … help them think different and create a create a retro cool DSLR that will make the world a better photographic place

They added this photoshopped image:

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-17-57-26

And this is what Pentax came out with:

05_kp_black_2040

And here is an actual OM-1:

my_olympus_om-1_md_28433632671229

Released under CC-BY-2.0 license by Flickr user E Magnuson

Design similarities:

  • Pyramid prism housing, rather than various other shapes used by Pentax over the years
  • Protruding strap attachment points (rather than recessed as used on Pentax’ mid-range models); Ricoh left off the triangular piece for the photo, but it is usually included in the box
  • Control elements on the front and top plate in almost exactly the same places

Oh, and it comes in silver, with all the same parts in silver that would be so on a traditional SLR like the OM-1:

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-18-19-46

Well, what do you make of it? Coincidence? Inevitability? Inspiration?

And would this have been a better design to release in February 2012, less than a year after DRtv’s video, instead of the K-01?

Pentax DSLR shutter sounds, part 2

5 Feb

(May take some time to load due to embedded videos.)

This is a continuation of one of my most popular posts, with the latest models included:

 

 

1) Pentax KP, electronic shutter in Live View

 

 

2) Pentax KP, electronic shutter in conventional mode

 

 

3) Pentax KP vs. Pentax K-3

 

 

4) Pentax KP vs. Pentax K-5 IIs

 

 

5) Pentax KP vs. Pentax K-70

 

 

6) Pentax KP vs. Pentax K-50

 

 

7) Pentax K-1 vs. Pentax K-3

 

 

8) Pentax K-1 vs. Nikon D800

 

 

9) Pentax K-70

 

 

10) Pentax K-3 II, pixel shift mode

 

 

11) Pentax K-3

 

 

12) K-30, K-5, K-3

 

 

13) K-500, K-50, K-5 IIs, Nikon D600

 

 

14) Pentax shutter sound: Z-1P, K10D, K-x and K-5

 

 

15) Pentax shutter sounds: K-x, K-30 and K-5

 

 

16) Pentax K-5 IIs shutter sound

 

 

17) Pentax K-5, K-7, K10D and *istD shutter sounds:

 

 

18) Pentax K-30, K-r, K20D

 

 

Youtube has many more, for instance similar samples from various additional Pentax film cameras, and of course from other manufacturers. Enjoy!