Canon Powershot G5X: More than a tweak

User Review : Canon PowerShot G5X Compact

Canon PowerShot G5 X

This week I’ve been having a play with the Canon Powershot G5X a 20mp 1″ equipped compact with a useful 25-100mm f1.8-2.8 (equivilent) fixed zoom lens an articulated touch screen and a built in high res EVF.

Canon PowerShot G5 X

Now many (me included) saw or sees the G5X as essentially a Canon Powershot G7X but sporting a built in EVF and as such maybe not that exciting as the G7X has always played second fiddle to the Somny RRX100 III / IV. Its clear that the inclusion of an EVF means the new Canon is designed and intended to go head to head with the 20mp 1″ EVF equipped Sony RX100 IV.

Canon PowerShot G5 X

Well whilst its certain the G5X has the Sony RX100 IV in its sights in real world testing the Canon G5X proved to be a lot more than a simple tweak of the G7X and in fact proved not only to be a far more enjoyable camera to use over the G7X ( a camera I have also tested) but also a more rewarding camera over the Sony RX100 IV which suprised me.

Sure at its cores it has many of the inners of the G7X but that still means excellent image quality, good metering plus a whole raft of features and capacity. No what transforms the user experience is the EVF, its physical position (ie square on top of the camera body) and the presence of an articulated touch screen.

Glass of Beer ( as seen through a window) (London) Cropped Canon PowerShot G5X Compact) (DD)  Beer Pump ( The Harp Pub - Charing Cross) (London) (Canon PowerShot G5X Compact) (DD)

Yes this means the new G5X is physically a litte bigger than  the G7X ( and the RX100IV) but this slight increase in size also allows some button- dial rearrangement / addition and these changes vastly improves the handling experience.

No, the G5X is much more than a simple tweak of the G7X and its an excellent carry any time high end compact that can and does  deliver the goods.

Leaf (Up Close) (Canon PowerShot G5X Compact) (DD)

Better than a Sony RX100 IV? Well if not better its definately better handling and probably ultimately more rewarding?

Street Performer - Westminster) (London) Cross Processs Effect (Canon PowerShot G5X Compact) (DD)

Its true the G5X lacks 4K video and yes its zoom lens is nowhere near as long or extensive as the 1″ compact travel zoom the Panasonic TZ100. Howver for me I prefer a shorter but “faster” lens and I have yet to shoot or embrace 4K video so these are not determining factors. Bottom line the G5X is a very good standalone camera that may well appeal to the more traditional photographers.

Preparing Prawn - Seafood Ouzo (with asparagus & Mushrooms) (High ISO) Canon PowerShot G5X Compact (DD)

So to conclude: If you seek a small high performing compact don’t just automatically turn to the Sony RX100 IV ( as I would have done) take a look at the Canon G5X but more importantly physically play with one because that simple act may just make you change your mind.

Mark Baynham ( July 2016)

 

Fuji X70 User Review

Fujifilm X70: A camera to awaken fond memories
 
Fujifilm X70 Review Image
Last week in a moment of excess but also in a moment of nostalgia I bought a new Fujifilm X70 fixed lens compact, why?
Well whilst clearing out some old boxes the other week I came across not only shed loads of old holiday photo’s and family snaps but also the camera that took them, namely a Ricoh GR 35mm film compact with a 28mm f2.8 lens. Now some pics were good others not so but I remembered how much I Iiked that 35mm compact and how often it accompanied me ( even though I had a film SLR) and that started me thinking.
Fujifilm X70 (12)
 Piccadilly Circus (FujiFilm X70 -  Converted RAW LR6) (DD)
Ricoh – Pentax  do a modern digital equivalent namely the Ricoh GR Digital a camera which has won many plaudits and become a bit of a digital classic especially as a carry anytime street camera. Then last week I read some recent reviews and saw some results from the recent Fujifilm X70, a retro looking “mini” X100T ( minus the view finder) which sports a 16mp Trans-X sensor and 28mm f2.8 equivalent fixed prime lens and I was sold.
 
Highres Fujifilm X70 5
To my eyes the X70 offered superior low light / high ISO performance over the Ricoh GR Digital and having used a number of “X” cameras with the same 16mp APS-C sized Trans X CMOS sensor I knew when paired to a good 28mm f2.8 lens the resulting camera wouldn’t disappoint, and so it has turn out to be.
 Woody (FujiFilm X70 -  Converted RAW LR6) (DD)
Some may not want or appreciate a wide fixed lens but personally I relish both the flexibility and restraint such a lens brings. Its early days but I have found the X70 handles wonderfully ( you can program a number of buttons to suit taste), but best of all  I love its petite dimensions and the optical performance of the small fixed pancake lens, Sure I keep putting it up to my eye and the rear touch screen would be better suited & more flexible if it was properly and fully articulated but  these are minor gripes.  Probably my main issue with the X70 is the lack of lens or in-body stabalisatiion I have become VERY spoilt by the IBIS system of my EM5II and I miss the ability to hand hold shots at 1/10th or even 1/5th of a second. Finally battery life is nothing to write home about but thats an issue with a lot of digital cameras these days.
Titanic Plum Porter (High ISO) The Harp Pub - Charing Cross (FujiFilm X70 Compact ) (DD)
Swiss Clock - Leicester Square (FujiFilm X70 -  Converted RAW LR6) (DD)
Fuji X70
I’ve yet to fully explore the picture effects ( i.e. Velvia & Classic Chrome) but will do so as they are very much part of the appeal of the “X” cameras. And finally there’s the High ISO JPEG rendition, well its simply second to none, Fuji have nailed that side of digital photography and their unique Trans X sensors are noticeably superior to more conventional one found in rival cameras.
London - Piccadilly Circus (FujiFilm X70 -  Converted RAW LR6) (DD) 
So after a week I’ve no regrets whatsoever, the Fuji X70 is great to use and dare I say “fun” to be with.
 Fuji X70
Mark Baynham – March 2015

 

 

Sony RX10 II Test Images

Sony RX10 II Review

 

Last week I spent a few days in Valencia shooting with Sony’s RX10 II a superzoom / bridge camera equipped with Sony’s new 1″ “Stacked” 20mp CMOS sensor a high res EVF and a “fast” (ie f2.8) 24-200mm equivilent Zeiss zoom lens.

 

(DD) Wall Art - Valencian Back-Street) (Sony RX10 II)

(DD) A Quick Expresso (Nibbles Gin Bar) (Valencia ) (Sony RX10 II)

 

The resulting images are posted on my flickr page:

 

Sony RX10 II Album

 

February 2015

Sony RX10 II : User Review

Taking a Picture ( Plaza de La Virgin - Valencia) (High ISO) (Sony RX10 II) (DxO Edited) (DD)

Beer Mat ( Birra & Blues Craft Pub) (Sony RX10 II) (DxO Edited) (DD)

Bowl of Tellinas (Small Clams) Boatella Tapas Bar - Valencia ( Sony RX10 II Super-zoom) (DD)

Sony RX10 II: Fastest Super Zoom in Town

 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 II Review Image

Last week I was very fortunate to spend the entire week using the relatively new Sony RX10 Mk II super zoom / bridge camera. The RX10 II sports the worlds first “stacked” 20mp 1” BSI (back side illuminated) CMOS sensor, whose design confers some impressive ultra fast shooting capacities (i.e. 40X Slow-Mo capture, 4K video and 14fps).
Other core features includes, an impressive Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar 24-200mm f2.8 (equivalent) zoom lens, a highly resolute 2.36 million EFV (with eye sensor), a top plate LCD screen, Wi-Fi, NFC, 3 “ tilting screen ( not fully articulated or with touch capacity), built in flash, a new electronic shutter (in additional to a mechanical one) allowing a top shutter speed of 1/32,000sec, built in ND filter (adds 3 stops), all wrapped up in a robust weather sealed body.
All in all the new RX10 II really wants for little, there are plenty of scene and picture style modes, HDR, Panoramic shooting, PSAM, RAW capture, you name it and the RX 10 II pretty much has it. In fact the RX10 II is undoubtedly the best equipped super zoom / bridge camera on the market, only the Panasonic FZ1000 comes close, but then you’ll pay for the privilege because the RX10 II is the most expensive bridge camera about and by some margin.
So does the presence of new stacked BSI sensor warrant the cost of the RX10 II? Well the answer is both yes and no, it all depends on whether you actually plan to use the raft of fast shooting modes or incorporate video into your work flow.What the 20mp sensor doesn’t deliver is superior image quality to the older 20mp sensor in the original RX10 or FZ1000 for that matter.Image quality is still excellent, top notch (highly detailed with noise creeping in around ISO1000) but overall it is definitely not superior to that produced by non stacked BSI 1” sensors.
 Late Afternoon - Plaza de la Virgin Protest - Valencia (Sony RX10 II) (DD)
Church Santos Juanes (Valencia) (BW) (Sony RX10 II) (DD)
Handling and ergonomics are very good the addition of an aperture ring is welcomed and as expected there plenty of scope to change metering, focus point, white balance, the lot. So to conclude the new RX100 Mk II is simply unrivalled and is currently the best super zoom / bridge camera on the market, all be it a rather expensive one.
 -Ginger- on the fence (Cross Process Effect) (Sony RX100 II)
Fountain - Valencia Metro Carriage (Sony RX10 II) (DD)
Sony RX10 Mk II: Verdict:
Even “better” overall than the original RX10, the new sensor in the RX10 Mk II allows for some impressive but somewhat specialist modes which in truth most users probably won’t utilise anyway. Core capacity (i.e. image quality) is top notch, handling & ergonomics is spot on and as a high end all-in one versatile solution the RX10 II is without few peers. However it’s an expensive purchase and for the price I’d insist on a fully articulated touch screen for a start.
In things considered I’d save a fist full of £’s and opt for the Panasonic FZ1000 as image quality for the two cameras produce near identical image quality and the Panasonic offers a more expansive zoom range ( be it a “slower” lens overall). However if your into video, want to record slow-mo clips and need 14fps shooting capacity the Sony RX10 II is the camera for you, it’s the fastest, best performing and most expensive bridge camera in town.  
Mark Baynham (February 2016)

 

Olympus M.Zuiko 8mm F1.8 Fisheye Review

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Olympus mZuiko 8mm F1.8 Pro Fisheye User Review

 
The other week in a moment of impulse I bought an Olympus mZuiko 8mm F1.8 Pro Fisheye lens to complement my other Micro Four Thirds “Pro” lenses for use on my OMD EM5II.
 
As the worlds fastest weather sealed lens that delivers a proper 180 degree field of view this lens occupies a rather unique niche but such exclusivity does come at a price, but is that price worth it?
 
Well I’ve already accepted that it won’t be my most used “Pro” lens but I do like the fisheye effect and in some circumstances a fast lens with a 180 degree view can prove useful, so I have I am pretty open minded about how much use I’ll get from my new purchase.
 
It so happens that I have an Olympus 9mm F3.5 Fisheye designed for four third cameras in my FT. MFT collection and I’ve used it on an EM5 and my current EM5II. However when used with an adaptor one ends up with a really bulky combo and the resulting AF performance ponderous to say the least so I’ve pretty much lost interest in the older lens.
 
Conclusion:
 
Simple the mZuiko 8mm F1.8 Pro is a cracking lens, optically its tack sharp across the frame even wide open at f1.8 and general AF performance is speedy to say the least.
 
Throw in a robust build and weather sealed body and Olympus’s pricy 8mm fisheye begins to make a bit of sense, honestly. Compared to other MFT optics or indeed other 3rd party fisheye lenses the 8mm Fisheye “Pro” is a little bit bulkier but its not exactly huge and I doubt  that any lens with a similar build and “f” performance would end up being any smaller.
 
The “fast” f1.8 aperture allows plenty of scope when it comes to keeping ISO low even in low light and this performance only increases the 8mm “Pro’s” overall usability.
 
For people who like shooting in low light or want to do handheld video with a fisheye effect this lens is a non-brainer. The new mZuiko 8mm f1.8 “Pro” becomes an even better prospect if you plan to shoot in poor weather, I actually shot this week in rain confident the lens attached to my EM5II and wasn’t fussed in the slightest. Whilst it will not end up adorning my EM5II on a regular basis I have to say I don’t regret my new purchase in the slightest.
 
Olympus mZuiko 8mm f1.8 “Pro” : A specialist list which also happened to be rather special
 
Mark Baynham (January 2016)