Pentax KP: New APS-C DSLR Announced

Pentax KP DSLR : A Typical Pentax (not a bad thing at all)

Pentax has announced a APS-C compact DSLR the Pentax KP.

Looking a bit like a Nikon Df the new camera packs a new ‘high sensitivity’ 24MP CMOS sensor ( which tops out at ISO 819,200) and internally the camera boasts an improved in-body image stabilization system which promises up to 5-stop of stabilisation.

The camera has an electronic shutter that tops out at 1/24000 sec and a mechanical one which goes to 1/6000 sec.

Like  other Pentax models, the KP supports Pixel Shift Resolution as well as AA Filter Simulation.

The KP uses the same SAFOX 11 autofocus system as the K-3 II, meaning that it has 27 points, 25 of which are cross-type.

The KP’s body is relatively compact in size (its sized like a beafy mirrorless camera which looks like a sort of Nikon Df) and in typical Pentax fashion its sealed against dust and moisture, and functional down to +14F/-10C. It has a pentaprism viewfinder with 95% coverage and a 0.63x (equivalent) magnification (regrettably no 100% coverage), as well as a tilting 3″ touchscreen display with 921K dot resolution.

In typical Pentax fashion you’ll have the ability to change the camera’s grip, with three sizes to choose from, a nice touch.

January 2017

Confirmed: The EM1 II is the best M43 camera

Olympus OM-D EM1 : Worth every penny?

At last cameralabs has completed its in-depth review of the M43 powerhouse which is the Olympus OM-D EM1 II and the article makes a fasinating read.

Basically tye review confirms what every other review has concluded bar none, that the EM1 II is a true and proper powerhouse camera, a genuine high performing “Pro” focussed model that on many levels can and does compete with its bigger APS-C equipped rivals.

Am getting one its just a question when.

Quick Overview of the Olympus OM-D EM1 II

The Olympus OM- EM1 II is the new high -end flagship Micro Four Third ( M43) camera body from Olympus.

The camera is equipped with a brand new 20 Megapixel Live MOS sensor that also has 121-point embedded phase-detect AF points which cover a larger area of the frame than the previous EM1. The phase-detect points are all the sensitive cross-type that work and work alongside a contrast-based system for both Single and Continuous AF. The new beefed up AF system works for Micro as well as older Four Thirds lenses plus Panasonic lenses are supported.

The in-body stabilisation system has been improved to offer a claimed 5.5 stops of compensation or a scarsely believeable 6 to 6,5 stop stabilisation with lenses that support Sync IS (presently only M.Zuiko 300mm telephoto and the new 12-100mm f4 IS PRO zoom)

Impressively the EM1 Mark II will shoot at its full resolution (including RAW) up to 18fps with continuous AF or 60fps with single AF, and deploys a dedicated quad-core processor to AF duties.

The viewfinder still uses an LCD ( as opposed to OLED) and is the same size and resolution as the one in the EM1, but now features a faster 120fps refresh and 6ms response, while the touch-screen has become side-hinged and fully-articulated.

For video joining 1080 video there is 4k UHD and Cinema4k recording at 102 and 237Mbps respectively.

Finally there’s now dual SD memory card slots, a higher capacity battery with quicker charging, and the rugged better sculptured body remains dust, splash and freeze-proof.

All in all one hell of a spec list.

Review From Cameralabs

“Good points
Best-in-class built-in stabilisation for stills and movies.
Tough weather-proof body with twin card slots and great ergonomics.
Effective continuous AF up to 18fps (electronic) or 10fps (mechanical).
High speed bursts up to 60fps, including full-res RAW (48 frames at top speed).
Very good JPEGs from camera; come close to 24MP APSC in resolving power.
Large battery for mirrorless, and quick charging too.
Great quality 4k UHD and C4k video. Flat profile option.
High Res mode generates images up to 50MP under ideal conditions.
Pro Capture mode buffers up to 14 frames prior to shutter press”.

“Bad points
No indication of shots remaining in buffer during burst shooting.
Can’t playback images while buffer is emptying (but can still shoot).
Auto ISO not available above 6400 ISO nor in Movie manual mode.
Autofocus during movies can be hesitant and inconsistent.
Timelapse movies at low frame rates when encoded in 1080p or 4k.
Articulated screen can interfere with mic, headphone and HDMI ports.
No battery charging in-camera over USB.
Sensor output not as clean as larger formats above 6400 ISO in my tests”.

From Cameralabs: Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II final verdict

“The Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II takes the popular weatherproof Mark I, deepens the grip, adds twin memory card slots and employs the most generous battery of any mirrorless camera. It improves the already amazing stabilisation, adds a minor boost in resolution and offers a cunning composite mode which under the right conditions can increase the resolving power up to 50 Megapixels.

The major upgrades though concern video and autofocus. The EM1 Mark II shots great quality 4k and Cinema4k video which work a treat with the stabilisation, while a new embedded AF system can genuinely track moving action at up to 18fps; switch to Single AF and it’ll even shoot up to 48 RAWs at 60fps. It all adds up to a supremely confident and capable camera that can capture images where others can’t, but you’ll really have to need the 4k and or burst capabilities to justify the professional price tag. There’s a lot of very compelling rivals for the same or less money. But if you’ll exploit the feature-set, the EM1 Mark II becomes one of the most powerful and desirable cameras in its class and justifies its asking price regardless of format”.

My Take:

There is VERY little realistically that Olympus could have done to improve on the EM1 II bar maybe a more resolute viewfinder (Like the one in the new Panasonic GH4) and allowing in-camera USB charging?

Image quality is as close to the very best APS-C cameras as to make no real world difference so long as you keep to sub ISO 1600 and even so higher ISO settings are still perfectly useable.

True the EM1 II isn’t cheap but the sort of performance and technolgy it packs was always going to come at a cost.

If your a current M43 user and seek the best take a long hard look at the Olympus OM-D EM1 II

January 2017


Olympus OM-D EM1 II: Another “Gold” award

Olympus OM-D EM1 II : As good as it gets

This weeks Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine has published a full test and review of the Olympus OM-D EM1 II and awarded Olympus’s top-end Micro Four Third (M43) mirrorless camera a “Gold Award”

AP’s verdict was also pretty straight forward:

” Its unarguable that the EM-1 Mark II is the best camera Olympus has ever made, it gives thye impression of being the best camera the firm could possibly make given current technology”

But equally AP conceded that the EM1 II couldn’t quite match the outright image quality of the best APS-C camera’s noting:

“While the EM1 II has very considerable strength, will they be sufficent to pesuade users to accept the Four Third sensor with its inevitable compromises in image quality? Its clear that it can’t match its APS-C peers when compared ISO for ISO

I’d only comment I’d add is  that whilst this is true the image quality from the EM1 II is the best of any M43 camera and in a recent DxO lab test the EM1 II’s sensor only lag that of the very best APS-C sensor but a small margin.

For the vast majority of potential users / buyers the difference is too small to either notice or matter.

And then finally there’s the cost of the EM1 II and this is AP Magazine’s take:

“The EM-1 II isn’t the only recent camera to look expensive, the huge drop in the value of the pound against the Yen in 2016 has seen to that. But as a result tthe EM1 II finds itself in the uncomfortable position of costing more than some very capable competitors, such as the Nikon D500 (APS-C DSLR) , Pentax K1 (Full frame DSLR) or Fuji X-T2 (Mirrorless APS-C). But make no mistake the EM1 is a very fine camera too, and doesn’ feel out of place is such exalted company. Anyone looking for a fast, rugged yet lightweight camera, particularily for sports or action should add it to their shortlist”

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Review Image

My Take:

Personally the main reason I dumped all my Canon APS-C gear and committed myself to the Micro Four Third system were reasons of size, weight and access to some delightful optics.

I’ve always accepted that outright image quality form a M43 camera may never exactly match that from a high end APS-C DSLR or APS-C mirrorless camera but up to say 1600 ISO the difference is to my mind (and eyes) insignificant and not something to be too worried about.

The fact that the the likes of the EM1 II, PEN F and EM5 II have hugely capable  in-body stabilisation and that the M43 system offers many fast primes and zoom lenses means more often than not you can avoid high ISO settings anyway.

All things considered serious M43 shooters and in particular Olympus users will be falling over themselves to get their hands on the new EM1 II whilst others thinking of entering the more serious digital photographic world are probably best advised to put the EM1 II, the Fuji X-T2 and Nikon D500 at the top of their list and go and physically try the cameras out.

The recent Panasonic Lumix GH5 M43 camera in fairness does confuse things a little but probably mostly for people who take video seriously.

For me personally as the owner of a clutch of M.Zuiko “Pro” zooms and a bag full of M.Zuiko fast prime lenses the Olympus OM-D EM1 II is a no brainer even at its high retail price”

Mark Baynham (January 2017)

Fuji gives full details of the Fujifilm GFX 50S

Full details of Fujifilm GFX 50S Announced

Fujfilm GFX 50S : Sub £7 Grand medium format ownership

News image

Fuji has released full details of it up and coming mirrorless medium-format camera, the Fujifilm GFX 50S which may look  a bit like a pumped up X-T2 but in reality will gives users out of this world image quality.

The realitively compact size and weight of the GFX 50S suggests handheld medium format photography will become a whole lot more pratical.

As previously reported the new Fujifilm GFX 50S will use a 51.4MP ‘Fujifilm G Format’ medium-format sensor (which measures 43.8 x 32.9mm), and which offers an area that is some 1.7x larger than that of a normal full-frame sensor.

The lens mount will be known as G-mount and, like all medium-format cameras, it has a ‘reverse’ crop factor of 0.79x, so that new 63mm F2.8 lens is actually equivalent to 50mm.

Fujifilm promises six “G” lenses in 2017, the standard 63mm f2.8 prime (50mm equivalent) and 36-64mm f4 zoom (25-51mm equiv) at launch  followed by the 120mm f4 OIS Macro by mid 2017, then the 45mm f2.8 (35mm equiv), 110mm f2 (87mm equiv) and 23mm f4 (18mm equiv) by the end of the year. All are weather-sealed and employ fly-by-wire electronic focusing like X-mount lenses. Fujifilm also claims they are designed to deliver sufficient resolution for 100 Megapixel sensors in the future.

The camera new camera has a 117-point contrast-detect AF system, and users can set the focus point using the touchscreen or a joystick on the rear plate. Its NP-T125 lithium-ion battery is rated for 400 shots on a single charge.

The weather-sealed body is made of a magnesium alloy and weighs just 825g/43oz with battery and memory card installed a lot less than other medium format cameras.

It has a large 3.2″ dual-tilt touchscreen LCD display plus a 2.36M-dot OLED viewfinder, to which you can add a ’tilt adapter’ allowing it to tilt upward by 90° and rotated left or right by 45°.

On the top plate you will find a small 1.28″ LCD which displays current shooting settings. There are two SD card slots, both of which support high-speed UHS-II media.

It can even capture Full HD video at up to 30p, with a bit rate of 36 Mbps and as usual for medium format cameras it will supports tethered shooting from a PC.

Various optional accessories will be available including a battery grip, H-Mount adapter for use with classic Fujinon HC lenses and a ‘View Camera Adapter G’ that lets you use the GFX as a digital back.

And finally the important bits.

The new camera (and first “G” lenses) will become available at the end of February with the new Fujifilm GFX 50S costing £6199 body only which is a bit of a bargin in the medium formatt world but regrettably means it will be out of the reach of us mere mortals.

January 2017

New 50mm f2 “XF” weather sealed lens by Fuji

Fujinon XF 50mm f2  R WR Announced

Fujifilm has announced a new weather-resistant prime: the Fujinon XF 50mm F2 R WR. The new lens joins the XF 35mm F2 and 23mm F2 as another compact, lightweight yet sturdy lens for the X-system. Offering dust and water resistance, the 50mm F2 is freezeproof to 14°F/-10°C.

On Fujifilm’s APS-C “X” cameras (ie the X-Pro 1-2 / T-T1-2, X-T10-2 & XE2) the 50mm F2 lens will offer a 76mm equivalent view and will be available in black and silver. The lens comprises 9 elements in 7 groups with one aspherical ED element, and uses a stepping motor for autofocus.

January 2015