Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67959 [post_author] => 47237 [post_date] => 2016-07-29 11:31:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-29 15:31:52 [post_content] => Sebastian Schipper's 2015 film Victoria, in a mix of pulsing strobe lights and gang fights, captures the invincibility of youth when confronted with the inevitability of mortality-all in one take!
Victoria opens with a deeply synthetic, schizophrenic, beat paired with a buzzing reverb that pervades ceaselessly throughout the song. The beat stays steady as the reverb grows more urgent. A subtle sense of panic peels in the opening scene—Victoria dancing in a strobe light lit dance club. She filters in and out of the frame of the camera, and slowly ties up her hair, eyes closed the entire time, never losing sync with the beat, which has grown to be a pulsing phantom limb in the viewers perspective at this time.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nZyRlIgFLYWithin the midst of present day editing advancements, there are certain directors who choose to focus specific projects on negating all the techniques learned about editing. There are films taken in one shot, start to finish, with no camera breaks or lapses in perspective. These films are shot in real time and often improvised in dialogue. Sebastian Schipper’s 2015 drama, Victoria, was shot in this manner. With the whole film done between 4:30 and 7:00 am on a spring day in Berlin, the grittiness of the film becomes very apparent. The camera work was free hand and shaky, the conversation flow, sometimes so brutally awkward that it could only be an honest capture of the hesitant limbo of the initial stages between strangers getting to know each other—maybe love each other. This of course, was also due to the already present chemistry between the two actors who played a grand role in the overarching feel of the film.Victoria follows a Spanish exchange student, Victoria, who, after exiting a hazy night club, intermingles with a group of Berlin young men who playfully induct her into their mischiefs for the night. She soon finds herself in the midst of a crime spree at the hands of the young men she so naively followed. Too late to leave the group, Victoria encounters the Berlin crime scene first hand, experiencing the fatalities and adrenaline in parallel to her growing interest in one of the boys.On the Director Sebastian SchipperMany of Schipper’s financers and others in the peanut gallery did not believe he could tell such a story in one take—let alone such a long one. Even to this day Victoria holds out to be one of the longest one-shot films. What is displayed then, because of the inability to re-do takes and enhance scenes with director’s input, is pure cinema that seizes the honesty and real-time sentiment of the actors.The film itself was not as controlled as the rhythmic beats of the electronic dance music that seem to haunt the entire film, even in moments of silence. Having only minimal dialogue in the film, the actors often had to improvise lines and actions that fit with the mood of the scene. Along with the openness in dialogue, cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grovlen recalls that he “didn’t plan any specific camera movements.” In reference to the set set-up and lighting he states that they weren’t “just trying to catch the dialogue, but also trying to catch poetic moments. [They] did light the film and try to work with colours. But it doesn't feel like something that is put on top of it, it's something integrated."Reading this interview with Schipper is definately worth your time. On the EOS C300 and ‘method camera’There was a wide array of cameras Grovlen could have chosen to shoot Victoria on, but of the many he had worked with he felt most comfortable with the Cannon EOS C300. Trumping the other cameras in being both lightweight and possessing a long battery life, the C300 proved the best camera for Grovlen to use. Pairing that with a duo of 64 GB CompactFlash cards, after the shoot, the editors enhanced the colors and contrast a bit further giving the film a slight edge, and a quality of un-realness that pervades in all good cinema.For the movement scenes, Grovlen did not use the handle that came with the camera rather he DIY’ed a hook that could be pulled out of the handle so that the camera could be steadied in the driving scenes. Because he was so up close with the actors “all the shaky bumpy stuff disappeared a bit, because the camera becomes a part of the movement of the actors.” When the actors sped up, Grovlen had to as well, running in sync with the characters, making sure he was not left behind because playing catch up with the camera would prove tricky—he went on to refer, humorously, to this as “method camera,”—referencing method acting, which was, in part, enforced by all the actors of Victoria.Despite the one take hindrance, Victoria managed to snag the German Film award for best Feature film, director, leading female actress, music and cinematography. Berlin, already a leading city in the new-wave German cinema scene, now is exposed, by the film, for it’s raw and frenetic club culture and the franticness that carries on well into the daylight hours. Truly an exposé on youth culture, Victoria captures the quiet moment when the invincibility of youth is confronted with the inevitability of mortality. [post_title] => Exploring the Cinematics Behind 'Victoria' (2015 film) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => exploring-the-cinematics-behind-victoria-2015-film [to_ping] => [pinged] => http://www.indiewire.com/2016/02/no-one-believed-sebastian-schipper-could-make-victoria-in-one-take-175106/ [post_modified] => 2017-01-31 12:40:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-31 17:40:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=67959 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 68553 [post_author] => 30241 [post_date] => 2016-07-11 09:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-11 13:00:00 [post_content] => This morning Sony sprung the news that they were releasing a new 50mm this summer, and it is one to get excited about. With buttery bokeh (I usually hate using either of those two words, but for this review I'll make an exception), classic and beautiful design as well as a totally fair and affordable price point, the Sony 50mm f/1.4 is going to be one you'll want to pick up if you're a portrait shooter.This might be a bit confusing, as Sony already has an A-mount 50mm f/1.4 Zeiss Planar lens on the market for... basically the same price as this new offering. This was a lens that you could use on the E-Mount system with the A-mount adapter, but now you don't have to go through that rigamarole to get the image quality. Much of this lens is the same specs-wise as the Alpha lens, but there are a few differences. For example, immediately obvious is that they have different body designs, and the new lens has an 11 bladed aperture, while the older one only has 9. There are also other 50mm E-mount options available (like the excellent Touit or the old-school-style Loxia), but this new Zeiss offering should be the new best overall option for fans of the 50mm focal length.[caption id="attachment_68560" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] My friend Ryan Mense rocking the 50mm on his a7R II, being photographed by the 50mm on an a7R II.[/caption]The 50mm is built extremely well, and not just from a "had to break" standpoint, but from an aesthetically pleasing one as well. The 50mm ZA is a beautiful lens, with well-designed features and a "feel" that exudes quality. When you hold it, it feels like a lens that takes great photos. It's weighted well, and keeps the camera balance centered on the lens mount. It's not light, but it's not heavy either. It has just enough weight to it to feel good.The lens has a couple little things that make it just that much more desirable. Firstly, there is an aperture ring on the lens which can be used in lieu of in-camera controls (this feature can be turned on or off via a switch on the outside of the lens). Additionally, this ring can be manually de-clicked via a trigger on the exterior of the lens, which is ideal for any video shooters out there. The lens is also dust resistant but... our recommendation isn't to test that feature super heavily. It's not an all-weather lens by any means.The 11 bladed diaphragm mentioned previously does make for some extremely beautiful out of focus areas, or bokeh, a word I generally avoid because of how pretentious it has become. That aside, the portrait possibilities with this lens are phenomenal because of how beautiful that bokeh is. Subjects are drawn forward in gorgeous sharpness, while the thin blade of focus falls off into buttery smooth bokeh. I can't say I've never seen images that are comparable to these in terms of the quality of that bokeh mixed with the sharpness of the focus point, but I can say it's the best I've seen on this focal length on the E-Mount system.Below you can get an idea of the razor thin plane of focus that the 50mm has.The 50mm doesn't have a particularly close focusing distance, however, at 1.48 feet. So bear that in mind when considering the purchase or composing shots. Sometimes you want to get closer, and the 50mm just isn't built that way.As far as sharpness goes, it's hard to argue with what the 50mm can produce. Any of the photos above should accurately illustrate just how razor sharp this lens is, and it keeps that sharpness at any aperture. In fact, take a look at these two images, one shot wide open, and one shot fully closed down. The following two images have not been modified in any way, and are straight out of camera.The only difference I notice, besides the depth of field of course, is minor vignetting on the wide open shot. As far as maintaining image quality is concerned, they're pretty much equal.This is incredibly impressive. It is very, very uncommon to find a lens that loses next to no quality when looking at sharpness from wide open to fully closed. Seeing the Zeiss 50mm do it is a thing of rare beauty.For a further breakdown of how the lens changes based on aperture, below are a series of images taken across the aperture range. Please pardon me, I am not a portrait photographer.[caption id="attachment_68562" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Sample at f/1.4[/caption][caption id="attachment_68563" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Sample at f/3.5[/caption][caption id="attachment_68564" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Sample at f/6.3[/caption][caption id="attachment_68565" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Sample at f/10[/caption][caption id="attachment_68566" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Sample at f/13[/caption]Looking at these images again as I write this, I am once again impressed. It's an astoundingly consistent optic that manages to produce high-quality results no matter where in the aperture range it might find itself.Autofocus speed and accuracy was less important to me with this focal length, but it still needs to perform. In stark contrast to my experiences with the 70-200mm G Master, I never really found myself using the 50mm in a place where I was missing any shots that I was after. My images were more deliberate, therefore my shooting process slower, and as a result the a7R II was better able to "play ball" with me than when I was trying to shoot action. The lens focused on what I needed it to focus on and did so quickly. I don't recall any point where I fought with the lens or was unable to get the shot I wanted. When I shot with the 50mm, I wasn't thinking about the gear... and that's a good thing.Usually at this point I write about aberration control, and I will: this lens is really, really good at controlling it. Though there can be the typical "fast lens" chromatic aberration that occurs wide open, it's not rampant. The discoloration can occur at high contrast points, and in the image below you can see that along the white line we get a lateral discoloration from green to purple laterally from left to right.[caption id="attachment_68567" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] For a closer look, feel free to download this or any other image in this review and view it at 100% on your computer.[/caption]I don't find this to be a big deal at all, and easily rectified, but it is worth noting.There can also be some vignetting wide open, but this is easily cleaned up and in some cases, desired.
"The new FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens will ship this July for a retail price of $1,500 US and $1,950 CA." Looking at these images and then at the price... I think it's more than a fair asking price for what you get. Native mount, high quality images, extremely consistent performance and an 11 bladed diaphragm that makes for highly sought-after bokeh for $1500 doesn't sound like a bad deal at all. To that end, I find the pricing to be fair. Not asking too much, but it's not a raging deal either.The Zeiss FA 50mm f/1.4 ZA is an astoundingly consistent lens with very few downsides. It's priced higher than those used to, say, Sigma pricing, but for high-quality native optics it is a price I think many will find compelling enough to lean towards. [post_title] => Review: It's Time to Get Excited for the Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Prime Lens [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => review-its-time-to-get-excited-for-the-sony-fe-50mm-f1-4-za-prime-lens [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-11 12:10:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-11 16:10:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=68553 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 5 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 68525 [post_author] => 30241 [post_date] => 2016-07-11 08:59:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-11 12:59:06 [post_content] => When I first shot with the upcoming 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master from Sony a few months ago, I knew it was going to be great. My second experience with it just a couple weeks ago did not change those feelings, and I left my time with the lens feeling like it might be the best zoom lens available for the E-Mount system. It's built exactly like you want it to be, feels great in hand, and captures absolutely beautiful imagery. I'm still not a fan of the "G Master" moniker, but I have to admit... it's rather masterful.NOTE: We noticed later that the polarizing filters provided to us by Sony for use in our testing significantly degraded the quality of the images. You can still gauge sharpness, but it is muddled with noise and edges are less crisp. Bear in mind, the photos provided below are even better quality when using higher quality filters, or none at all.I'll unfold this review like I do with all my others, and start with build quality and handling before delving into optical performance.As far as look, feel and overall handling, the 70-200mm G Master felt so much like... a Canon. Which is a good thing. The lens has that beautiful white finish that Canon has become known for, but once you get it in hand it's undeniably a Sony product. The bright orange "G" is hard to miss as well.Look, there isn't much to say here because Sony took a lesson from those around them and didn't do anything to mess up a good thing. The lens is incredibly balanced, feels amazing to shoot with and, though a tad heavy for those of you who like to go backpacking, it has a pretty understandable and totally expected weight. It's not monstrously heavy, and feels good in hand.Sony did add one little design feature that I think is incredibly smart. On the lens tripod shoe mount, the lens can actually slide in and out of the mount like a flash slides in and out of a hot shoe. Why is this useful? Because you can leave the shoe attached to a tripod and simply slide out the lens if you want to go free hand for some shots. It's a pretty slick little addition, and one that though I didn't use much, can see the value of.Usually this is a pretty straightforward section where I discuss the merits of the lens' focusing, sharpness and aberration control. But... due to the format and the camera I was using, there are some hitches with the first item on that list: lens focusing.The camera that I used pretty much exclusively with this lens was the Sony a7R II, a lens not really renowned for its incredible focusing ability. Now before any Sony fans bite my head off, give me a second here. The Sony is by no means bad at focusing speed, but it's no market leader either. The photo above was taken using the new Sony speedlights and I had anticipation on where she was going to end up in the frame. Even with all this assistance, and the best autofocus modes set up, I was only able to get one shot that was usable from about 15 minutes of solid shooting.This is mostly due to the way the camera focuses, which requires just a hair more time than on conventional DSLRs, as well as how many frames per second the camera is capable of firing. The mixing of both those limitations makes it pretty hard to say if the lens was responsible for any of my missed shots, but I'm pretty sure I can't blame the G Master here. These are the same issues I have had with the otherwise stellar a7R in the past, and it's something Sony is likely actively working on in their next flagship camera.I did notice that the lens is much better at tracking motion left to right than motion moving backwards to forwards, which makes sense. Backwards to forwards or vice versa is incredibly challenging. However... action moves in all directions, and an action lens/camera combo needs to be prepared for that.All that aside, when the 70-200mm G Master hits, it hits home runs (pun, because I was photographing baseball). Photos are tack sharp, beautifully rendered, and colors pop. I adore the photos taken from this camera and it is the first E-Mount lens I have truly fallen in love with.Let's take a look at how the lens performed at all apertures:[caption id="attachment_68531" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Sample at f/22[/caption][caption id="attachment_68530" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Sample at f/16[/caption][caption id="attachment_68529" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Sample at f/14[/caption][caption id="attachment_68528" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Sample at f/9[/caption][caption id="attachment_68527" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Sample at f/5.6[/caption][caption id="attachment_68526" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Sample at f/2.8[/caption]Even wide open at f/2.8, there is very little chromatic aberration (I see none here, and none in any of the images I took), and the image looks basically the same in sharpness up until f/16 when you can see the quality of the image start to degrade. At f/22 it's still usable, but there is a noticeable drop in quality.Also of note are the new teleconverters that, for now, only work with the 70-200mm G Master (due to the way the optics are designed). Good news though: they're awesome. Both the 1.4x and the 2.0x teleconverters maintain excellent image quality while boosting the reach of the lens significantly.
The new 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters (models SEL14TC and SEL20TC) will both be available for $550 US and $700 CA, and will ship in July of 2016. Shooting a very shiny object in direct line of the setting sun was, for me, the best way to test focusing, sharpness and aberration control:The lens did not disappoint, neither did the 2.0x teleconverter used to capture that image.The Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master is a stellar lens that I believe performs better than the cameras currently available to it. It is the kind of optic that is future-proof, outpacing the present but will continue to be a phenomenal lens for years to come. It was challenging to fully evaluate the lens at what it's good at, action and motion capture, due to the limitations of the camera, so we might revisit the lens at a later date. It's a really great lens, and unfortunately the best camera it can currently be used on is the a7R II, a body that wasn't really designed to do what the 70-200 wants to do.As for the price, the 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master will set you back $2600, which is pretty typical of a high end lens of this caliber. Comparatively, it is priced higher than the Canon lens of the same focal length and aperture, if that is to be any sort of guideline.For now though, what we have seen of the 70-200mm G Master is worthy of significant praise. [post_title] => Review: The Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 OSS G Master Lens [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => review-the-sony-fe-70-200mm-f2-8-oss-g-master-lens [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-13 12:08:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-13 16:08:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=68525 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67942 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-06-17 14:44:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-17 18:44:09 [post_content] =>
Earlier this year Tamron added an 85mm to their lineup of SP lenses, and its price point along with its image quality make it an outstanding choice for a classic portrait lens. Tamron had already impressed us with the rest of their SP lineup, including the outstanding 35mm & 45mm, and most recently with the 90mm macro, and the 85mm is no different. After using the lens for a month on a variety of wedding gigs, I can easily recommend it as the best sub-$1000 85mm on the market.
While the most important qualities of a lens are its image quality and speed (especially for wedding work), it's important to speak about the price and construction because Tamron did a great job across the board. Retailing for $749, Tamron positioned the 85mm SP at about half the price of the flagship 85mm lenses from both Canon and Nikon. While a lot of people are huge fans of the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 at $476, the Tamron wins on image quality and speed for just a few hundred bones more. The construction of the lens is also a welcome surprise at the sub-$1000 mark, feeling solid and well-balanced in your hands, and the weather sealing around the mount and switches is something often left out at this price point.
Autofocus was quick to lock on, even in low light, and very accurate. Of course, choosing the right focus mode is an important part of the equation, but even in a darkly lit restaurant setting (see below) I was able to accurately focus throughout parent speeches without missing a beat. The image stabilization offered by the lens, called Vibration Compensation (VC) by Tamron, also helps shoot at lower shutter speeds required in these tricky situations.[caption id="attachment_599" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Even in a restaurant lit only by candles and a string of cafe lights, the Tamron 85mm SP hit the mark again and again. Nikon D750, f/2 1/160 ISO 6400[/caption]
The quality of the bokeh out of this lens is just insane. When you invest in a quality kit of professional lenses, having "pleasing" bokeh is something that you soon forget about because it's almost a given. So while I usually don't fawn over something as simple as bokeh, the quality produced by the Tamron 85mm is just different enough from other lenses that I've used at the same focal length that it requires special mention. If you've ever shot a Petzval lens, there's a bit of a circular, swirling aspect to the defocused areas that almost draw you into the subject like a vortex. While some can be overwhelming and distracting, the Tamron had a beautifully subtle swirl to it that made me take notice.[caption id="attachment_598" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Nikon D4S, f/2.0 1/8000 ISO 100[/caption]
This lens also delivers great image quality, being sharp as a tack when opened up just short of wide open while keeping chromatic aberration under control. I did notice some loss of sharpness when shooting wide open in harsher light, along with a hint of CA coming in while under the same conditions. However the CA is easily fixed in post, and I personally rarely shoot wide open so both minor issues were not enough to give me hesitation to love this lens.[caption id="attachment_601" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Nikon D750, f/2.0 1/1000 ISO 100[/caption][caption id="attachment_605" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] 100% crop of the above[/caption][caption id="attachment_597" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Nikon D4S, f/2.0 1/320 ISO 100[/caption][caption id="attachment_604" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] 100% crop of the above[/caption]
At a classic portrait focal length of 85mm, the lens performed flawlessly for headshot-style portraits, rendering great sharpness and natural defocusing.[caption id="attachment_600" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Nikon D4S, f/2.8 1/400 ISO 400[/caption]
In short, this lens is a steal at $749. If you don't already have a professional 85mm lens in your arsenal I would recommend picking it up immediately. And if you already have one of the flagship 85mm lenses from either Canon or Nikon (like I do), I would replace it with the Tamron 85mm SP as soon as it bites the dust. You'd probably spend more to get your on-brand lens fixed if it's out of warranty anyways. [post_title] => Tamron 85mm f/1.8 VC Lens Delivers Stellar Performance at Great Price [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => tamron-85mm-f1-8-vc-lens-delivers-stellar-performance-at-great-price [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-17 14:44:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-17 18:44:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=67942 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67589 [post_author] => 30241 [post_date] => 2016-06-10 14:21:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-10 18:21:20 [post_content] => One day after a week of testing the camera back a month ago, I said that the Nikon D500 was a welcome focus on "reliable" instead of "revolutionary." I said this because though the D500 did not seem to do anything special on paper, it felt like a camera that was greater than the sum of its parts. In the last five or so years, we have become so focused on "new" or "jaw dropping" from cameras that we had become content with tradeoffs. "You get amazing ISO, but the autofocus is bad and the photos are small," or "The focus is revolutionary, but the quality of the photos is lacking." When we look at those cameras we were willing to look past misgivings in exchange for something shiny, and in retrospect I am left with a sense that... it wasn't worth it. This feeling is expanded upon after using the Nikon D500, a camera that does absolutely everything right and performs exactly like a camera should: like an extension of the shooter's body and lets us get lost in capturing an image, instead of a tool that constantly reminds us that it's there.Build Quality, Features & HandlingFrom a top down look at specs, the D500 is as follows:
These are all really great features, and welcome ones to a sub-$2000 camera. The body takes both XQD as well as SD (one slot for each), but I highly recommend using the XQD. With it, the D500 can fire 10 frames per second continuously for up to 200 frames, and immediately access the images less than a second after taking them. The combination of the EXPEED 5 processor and the incredible 440 MB/s transfer rate of the XQD means there is virtually non waiting time between getting the shot and reviewing it. This is just one example of how the camera gets out of its own way and just lets you shoot and use it.As far as video features go, the video does look good, but there are limited options for anyone used to a cinema camera. No focus peaking, is a real bummer, but I don't think the D500 is supposed to be a video camera. On the contrary, it acts like a still camera that can take great video if you ask it to, and that's just fine with me. I don't plan to make films with the D500, but that is not saying you couldn't.The D500 feels good. It has a deep grip, comfortable controls, familiar interface, and a solid weightiness that doesn't fall over the edge onto heavy. I am not a primarily Nikon shooter, using a mix of Canon and Panasonic for my photography and video production business in San Francisco, but picking up the D500 was easy and un-intimidating.Much like my favorite feature of the D750, the D500 has a wonderful grip to it. It fits into your hand so well that it feels like it's always been there. It's a comfortable camera to hold, a feature that it seems we are becoming less and less focused on in this industry. When you're out on a hike searching for that perfect shot of a bald eagle. or holding the camera for long periods during a sporting event, a camera should not feel cumbersome. The D500 feels right in hand, and it's a benefit of the body design that I cannot understate.The D500 comes equipped with several different autofocus modes for different purposes (more on that later), and they can be quickly accessed and adjusted on the fly with your left, lens-support hand, right beneath the lens connection point. It's a smart design location and lets you quickly manage how your camera is focusing to your environment without taking your eye off your subject.The tilt screen, identical in physical design to the one you would find on the D750, is a welcome addition. Also welcome? The touch screen. It simply makes sense to touch the monitor when you're looking for something in the menu, or wanting to zoom in on a photo to check sharpness. It's a responsive, bright and incredibly sharp monitor that can tilt to match whatever vertical position you find yourself. It can't help you if you wanted horizontal viewpoints, but it's becoming rather common to ignore that on higher end cameras, for whatever reason. Some claim that the vari-angle monitor doesn't "look" professional, so it's left off. Others say it's due to the durability of the vari-angle, but my Panasonic GH4 would like to disagree. Whatever the case may be, the D500 tilt screen is still nice, and the touch features are outstanding.I mentioned the monitor being incredibly sharp, and I do want to hammer that point home: the screen looks really, really good. It's as true to the actual photo as a computer monitor and it's on the back of your camera.If I had to make one gripe, it's one that isn't just about what Nikon is doing, but the whole industry. The way that camera software interfaces are designed makes very little sense in the modern age. With literally hundreds of options and thousands of different ways to customize your camera, the "list" view we get in the Menu is disgraceful. Many of the best features of the camera are hidden in confusingly labeled lists and organized in bizarre ways. When someone does show you where a particular feature is located, it's kind of an "ah ha" moment when you start to question your own intelligence and inability to locate something.But it's not you, it's the menu.Hopefully we'll start to see someone innovate a menu system that makes sense in the modern digital age. Until then, this is a fight that I can't just pick with Nikon, but everyone who makes cameras.Image QualityWhen I first picked up the D500, there was one area I was never concerned with: image quality. After testing, I have to say that opinion has not changed, as the D500 makes for some gorgeous images in all variety of lighting conditions.The sharpness, color rendition and "quality" of images taken with the D500 are exceptional. I can't find anything to complain about here.[caption id="attachment_67622" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] There is no banding in the blue sky here, which is perfect.[/caption][caption id="attachment_67603" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Check out the detail, as you can count every fly buzzing around the cheetah's mouth.[/caption] Let's take a very close look at that first image and examine how the sensor treats shadow gradation, a place where some cameras have a difficult time blending shades of darks into one another.You'll notice that as the shade of black goes from lighter to dark, the transition is smooth and inperceptible. This is exactly what we are looking for here, so the D500 does not disappoint. Though this is some serious pixel peeping, what this kind of smooth gradation translates to for the casual viewer are images that just look better at a glance, with shadows and dynamic lighting effects appearing more realistic both on screen and printed.Note: Feel free to download and compare all the images here if you like, as they are all at original resolution.What is perhaps most surprising is how good the D500 is at highlight recovery. I come into reviews expecting to lament this category, but the D500 shocked me with how well it was able to bring back blown out areas of a shot. For example, below I burned out the highlights to almost destroyed:But bringing everything back to perfect exposure in post was totally painless:The background and blown out areas of the fur all came back, which is not only unexpected, but awesome.Shadow recovery was acceptable, nothing to blow you away, but still manages to do quite well. Here are two images that have underexposed areas: And the recovered versions: You'll notice that the recovery did introduce a fair bit of noise, so keep that in mind when you think you might have to pull shadows. The sensor is clearly able to get detail out of black areas, but it doesn't do so totally flawlessly.Next, let's check out ISO. The D500 surprised me again, offering some really stellar performance despite the DX sensor (I say "despite" because an APS-C sensor still elicits sneers from those who might consider themselves "purists" and scoff at the idea of using a crop sensor; I for one have no problem with smaller sensors). As expected, low ISO up to around 1000 performed as well as one could expect, but it's when we started to get very high that I got excited for the D500.First take a look at what I consider to be pretty spot on, ISO 640. No noise, no pixelation, and no color shifting.We will use that as our baseline of expectation. So let's jump to ISO 6400, with that in mind:[caption id="attachment_67595" align="alignnone" width="1024"] ISO 6400[/caption]Not bad right? Yes, of course there is discernible noise, but it is by no means unacceptable. What's more, is that it doesn't escalate much at all until ISO 16000:[caption id="attachment_67596" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] ISO 8000[/caption][caption id="attachment_67597" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] ISO 12800[/caption][caption id="attachment_67598" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] ISO 16000[/caption][caption id="attachment_67599" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] ISO 20000[/caption][caption id="attachment_67600" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] ISO 32000[/caption][caption id="attachment_67629" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] ISO 51200[/caption]I would say the "ceiling" for ISO performance on this camera is 12800, with a hesitant recommendation that you could go as high as 16000 before the image gets really gross looking.But 12800 is really, really high. That's a spectacular performance for any modern camera, especially one with an APS-C sensor. Absolutely solid performance here from the D500.Auto FocusAs mentioned earlier, the D500 has multiple autofocus options that are designed for use in a variety of situations. The camera has a ridiculous 153-point AF system that forms a wide rectangle across the frame, with minimal spacing between each AF area, including 99 cross-type sensors for improved subject recognition, and 55 of the points are selectable for greater compositional freedom. Benefitting the use of super telephoto lenses and teleconverters, 15 of the points, including 9 selectable points, are compatible with an effective aperture of f/8 and all 153 points support working with effective apertures of f/5.6 or brighter.Two AF Modes:
- 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
- EXPEED 5 Image Processor
- 3.2" 2,539k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
- 4K UHD Video Recording at 30 fps
- Multi-CAM 20K 153-Point AF System
- Native ISO 51200, Extend to ISO 1640000
- 10 fps Shooting for Up to 200 Frames
- Built-In Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC
- 180k-Pixel RGB Sensor and Group Area AF
- In-Camera Time Lapse, Up to 9999 Frames
Five AF-area modes:
- AF-S activates AF servo once to lock-in focus and is recommended for stationary subjects.
- AF-C activates AF servo continuously and is recommended for moving subjects.
Each of these different modes is suited for a specific type of photography. In one case, I used Dynamic Area with great success......but when I tried to move to, say, photographing sports, it failed me. However, swapping over to 3D-tracking immediately rectified the situation and I was nailing every shot. But when I swapped to photographing moving cars, 3D was no longer the right choice, but Group-area was spot on. It's going to take some practice to know what autofocus mode is right for each situation, but once you get the hang of it, understanding where the camera will best perform and quickly switching among the options will result in a camera that can be as dynamic as you.Having an auto focusing system like this felt unbelievably freeing. Not only was it accurate, it was accurate repeatedly and over vastly different situations. No matter what I was shooting, the D500 could adapt and get me the best possible result. To say that I was happy and excited about this is a gross understatement: I'm over the moon about it.Bear in mind, much of this review was performed using any lens I wanted out of the Nikon arsenal, so naturally I was using top-tier glass for just about every shot above. That means that yes, the camera was being tested with the absolute best that Nikon has to offer, and if you use a lower-quality lens your experiences may differ.The Nikon D500 is an exceptional camera that gives you the ability to focus on being a photographer and not have to enter "tech support mode" every few minutes as something hinky goes wrong with one of the features. The D500 does absolutely nothing truly revolutionary, but does pack the best of what is available into a relatively small body that's easy to get into and a joy to use.The D500 is absolutely one of the best DSLRs available today, and is ideal for hobbyists who don't crave full frame as well as professional sports (as a backup body to the D4/5 bodies) and wildlife photographers.All photos copyright Jaron Schneider 2016 and cannot be republished or redistributed without express written consent. [post_title] => Review: The Nikon D500 Does Everything Right in an Age When Tradeoffs are the Norm [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => review-the-nikon-d500-does-everything-right-in-an-age-when-tradeoffs-are-the-norm [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-10 14:59:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-10 18:59:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=67589 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 6 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67442 [post_author] => 30241 [post_date] => 2016-06-08 16:48:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-08 20:48:38 [post_content] => Mount conversion has become a huge part of the camera community since the introduction of mirrorless. Thanks to the minimal flange distance, companies like Metabones (who have really led the pack) have been able to offer "speed boosters" that not only convert something like EF to E, but also increase the maximum aperture beyond what the lens originally was capable- It's been a boon for micro four thirds and E-mount photographers. Specifically for full frame E-Mount, like the Sony a7R II, if you want to use the full size of the sensor, you can't involve the optics that Metabones has become known for. You have to go with their T Smart Adapter, which has no glass but allows full communication with the camera and the lens. It's a $400 investment, so seeing Sigma release their MC-11 Mount Adapter for $250 was a welcome sight. So how did it fare, and which is right for you?ADRESSING COMPATIBILITYFirstly, I want to mention that this is not a full comparison review, and will be focused on the performance of the Sigma MC-11. I mention the Metabones only because it's the elephant in the room that we have to spend at least a little bit of time looking at, because ignoring its existence highlights a pretty important "but" with the MC-11: the Sigma mount adapter only works properly with Sigma lenses, and only Sigma lenses that have properly upgraded firmware at that. The Metabones adapter has no such restrictions, and will work with any EF lens.That is what makes comparison reviews like this one from Tony Northrup a bit disingenuous. Tony is an awesome dude and I greatly respect him, however in this review test, he is not using a Sigma lens which means his results are only interesting at best. Admittedtly he's using a lens that marks a pretty substantial reason to use adapters: there just isn't a good version of the 16-35mm in E-mount to use natively, so adapting is generally the way we photographers get around that. There is an excellent native 35mm in E-Mount, which means even though you might love the Sigma Art 35mm, it's not something that you might feel you absolutely had to use. So Tony is thinking like a photographer here, and expecting his equipment to follow suit.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT013hfcJXsUnfortunately, this is where he's let down by the limitations of the Sigma adapter. Sure, you can use regular Canon EF glass on the Sigma adapter, but don't expect stellar results. You might encounter soft edges, slow focusing and overall poor performance, and Sigma knows this and explicitly states to not use the adapter with anything other than Sigma optics.But that's also a problem for Sigma, since most of us who have been adapting our glass to our mirrorless cameras have been using a wide range of EF optics, from both Canon and Sigma. When purchasing an adapter, unless you primarily use Sigma glass for a large portion of what you're shooting, it might not make sense to buy the Sigma adapter if you also have to buy the Metabones one for the other EF lenses that you might find yourself using.For reference, here is the complete list of compatible lenses with the MC-11 (all Sigma):
- Single point AF: One point, selected by the user
- Dynamic-area AF: adds 9-point, 21-point and 51-point placement. With each option, the selected number of AF points works together to keep detecting moving subjects.
- 3D-tracking: keeps following moving subjects, moving the AF point for you so you can concentrate on composition.
- Auto-area AF: automatically chooses the AF point based on the most appropriate human face using face detection.
- Group-area AF: the camera focuses using a group of five focus points (the center one is not shown when the Group-area AF focus points are illuminated) selected by the user. This reduces the risk of the camera focusing on the background instead of on the main subject. Choose this mode for subjects that are difficult to photograph using a single focus point. If faces are detected in AF-S focus mode, the camera will give priority to portrait subjects; or when no faces are present, focuses on the closest subject to the camera.
Since Tony released the video, Sigma has apparently added a firmware update to the MC-11 that fixed Tony's specific issue mentioned above. I have not tested this, but it does show that Sigma might be willing to update the adapter for some, if not all, Canon lenses.OK... THE ACTUAL REVIEW NOWNow that we have gotten that out of the way, let's talk about the MC-11 as an adapter. Build quality-wise, it's just as nice as anything you would expect out of Sigma these days. Standalone, it's very light weight, with a no-frills design that's perfect for what it is. It's a solid piece of metal with electronics in it, and it's as small and inconspicuous as it can be.The MC-11 maintains full lens performance to the Sony body, including autofocus and auto-exposure, as well as letting the camera operate with its in-camera stabilization. The interior of the adapter is flocked to reduce reflections, and it also retains full EXIF data to benefit post-production and file management. Basically, it makes the lens act like it was designed specifically for E-mount.In the tests I did with the MC-11, I used an fully up to date Sigma 35mm f/1.4 on the Sony a7R II. In both interior and exterior images, the camera performed identically to when I had a native E-mount lens on there.One of the things that I wanted to look at was edge to edge sharpness. The original 35mm f/1.4 is really, really good at keeping consistent sharpness throughout the frame, and I wanted to see what the addition of the adapter would do to the near-perfect performance. First let's look at this photo:It has been downsized for web, so for a 100% crop, let's take a look at the far right side:Specifically in this photo, which was taken at f/6.3, there is no real visible sharpness change from the center to the edge. Everything is about the same, which is exactly what we want. This photo represents one case, where the subject or subjects are beyond the infinity focus point of the lens. To see how it handles when the subject is much closer, we'll look at this image, which I shot at f/5.6 from a few feet away:Unfortunately, here we do see some sharpness falloff, as noted below:It happens pretty far off to the edge, but the falloff is rather dramatic. We go from very sharp at one arrow point, to pretty darn soft at the other. Though disappointing, you're really not going to notice this in too many real world situations. The 35mm f/1.4 is an absolutely amazing portrait lens, and generally speaking you're not going to throw your subject into the far 1/8th corner of the frame and expect it sharp. What this does do is set expectations for you to allow you to know where you stand with your gear.Here is another sample image to take a look at, this time with our focus point at the center of the frame, wide open at f/1.4And 100% crop:As you can see, it's really, really sharp. Plus I'm digging the bokeh. Here are a few other samples to take a look at: As far as how it felt to use the camera and lens combination, the experience was pretty much the same as when I use native glass on the a7R II. It's not amazingly fast to autofocus and it can hunt, but that's an issue with the a7R II, not with the optics. In "Continuous" auto focus mode, the lens felt the best, micro-adjusting quickly.I did notice that the lens is not nearly as quiet as it is on something like a Canon DSLR, though. The auto focusing felt stiffer and choppier, rather than smooth and fluid. This has absolutely no effect on the photos, but it does lead me to believe that the a7R II is not suited to shooting subjects with a lot of motion, and I hold this opinion with this camera both with and without native glass. The Sigma MC-11 and 35mm f/1.4 don't improve the experience with the a7R II, but rather keep it pretty much the same.You might think that using a Sony full frame camera is a way to lighten your load, but I have to disappoint and be the bearer of bad news. Using the Sigma MC-11, the 35mm f/1.4 and the camera all together is absolutely not what I would call "light weight." It's front heavy as well, so bear that in mind when considering the MC-11 for your a7R II. Please note though, this is not unique criticism to just the MC-11, but really any adapter and perhaps to the whole mirrorless system in general.All in all, the MC-11 does exactly what it advertises: it adapts Sigma lenses to Sony E-Mount bodies extremely well, maintaining the experience you already have if you use native E-Mount glass. It's well built, offers the ability to upgrade it as Sigma fine tunes firmware moving forward, is really affordable and is a rather slim package on its own. Unfortunately, it doesn't allow you to use anything other than Sigma optics, and combining the MC-11 with already heavy Sigma glass creates a rather weighty and somewhat cumbersome final product. That said though, really the Sigma MC-11's biggest flaw is that it's so limited. If you're a Sigma shooter and do not own any other types of EF glass, then there is no issue for you here. But even older Sigma lenses and all Canon optics are not going to work that great with the MC-11, meaning you have to decide between a high price with a competitor product, or the limited options of the MC-11. [post_title] => Review: The Sigma MC-11 Mount Converter for Sony Full Frame E-Mount Cameras [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => review-the-sigma-mc-11-mount-converter-for-sony-full-frame-e-mount-cameras [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-08 16:58:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-08 20:58:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=67442 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67053 [post_author] => 47232 [post_date] => 2016-05-31 07:45:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-31 11:45:26 [post_content] => For all of their mediocrity in the traditional DSLR market, there can be no doubts about Sony's mirrorless prowess. While all of the attention is normally aimed at their A7 series of full frame mirrorless cameras, Sony's original APS-C based mirrorless cameras have built a reputation as some of the best available in that segment.The latest in this line of APS-C E-Mount cameras is none other than their new flagship A6300, and while at first glance it looks almost identical to the original A6000, the upgraded internals makes this a camera that demands your attention and consideration.In my initial thoughts on the A6300 I raved about the AF performance and High ISO performance that I have been seeing with the A6300, and that trend continues here today. Simply put, the A6300 has probably the best autofocus of any mirrorless camera that I have had the pleasure of using. I currently shoot primarily with a Fujifilm X-Pro2, and while in a few use cases it can best the A6300, in general, the speed, accuracy, and tracking of the A6300's Autofocus is just better across the board (though the X-Pro 2 is still very formidable).I would think that it is safe to say that a large part of Sony's mirrorless success has had to do with their latest sensors, and the incredible image quality in terms of dynamic range and ISO performance that they provide. In many respects, these are some of, if not the, best sensors on the market right now and the A6300 keeps that trend going.[column size=one_half position=first ]
- 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art, 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art
- 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports, 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports
- 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary
- 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
- 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
- 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM Contemporary
- 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art
- 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM Contemporary
- 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM Contemporary
- 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art, and 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM Art
Sony A6300 Specs
[/column][column size=one_half position=last ][/column]
- 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS Sensor
- XGA Tru-Finder 2.36m-Dot OLED EVF
- 3.0" 921.6k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
- Internal UHD 4K30 & 1080p120 Recording
- Built-In Wi-Fi with NFC
- 4D FOCUS with 425 Phase-Detect Points
- Up to 11 fps Shooting and ISO 51200
- Weather-Sealed Magnesium Alloy Body
Build Quality, Design & Handling If you read my initial thoughts then you would know that I am not a huge fan of the size of this camera. I am in the camp of photographers that would have preferred Sony to improve on the design a little bit, maybe adding a tiny bit of size, spacing the buttons out a little more, and adding another control wheel. That said, even though the size annoyed me at first, I did grow accustomed to shooting with it.I was able to take the A6300 out on several occasions and my opinion is that the camera is built incredibly well. You don't need to worry about build quality issues with this camera at all, it can take a beating and still keep going strong.In regards to the handling, the act of picking up the camera and taking a picture is easy enough. However, the rest will depend on how big your hands are and if you are comfortable wit a camera of this size. People with larger hands or thick fingers may have trouble using the A6300 to its full potential thanks to the small size and cramped buttons. On the flip side though, people with smaller hands and thinner fingers will probably be able to use the A6300 with no problems.Sony's cameras are in general easy to get the hang of with a little bit of trial and error, and the A6300 is no exception. Anyone should be able to pick this camera up and be snapping quality pictures in no time at all.[caption id="attachment_67066" align="aligncenter" width="667"] A6300, FE 35mm F/1.4, Latourelle Falls[/caption]
ISO Performance As I have talked about, the dynamic range and ISO performance on the A6300 is as good as I have seen from an APS-C camera, mirror or not. Not only is there a ton a dynamic range that gives you a lot of leeway when post-producing your images, but the grain and artifacts at higher ISOs are well controlled giving this camera/sensor combination nearly the performance of some full frame cameras currently on the market.That is a big deal, if you ask photographers about why they move from APS-C to Full Frame and you will usually get a couple answers that sound like 'I prefer that Full Frame look," or "I need better low light/high ISO performance". While the APS-C sensor is still a crop, so nothing can be done about that Full Frame look, the performance from this sensor comes close enough, in my opinion, that the difference between it and a full frame shot would be negligible (all things being equal).You can check out the gallery below for some examples:[gallery type="square" link="file" ids="67069,67070,67071,67072,67073,67074"]
Overall Thoughts & Conclusions While I know there are some, most Professionals are likely not going to be ditching their DSLRS for the A6300 simply due to its size. But they may still consider the A6300 as an ideal family or travel camera thanks to its incredible image quality and ‘easy to take with you size.’Sony has shaken up the camera industry, adding features and capabilities to their cameras that industry stalwarts Canon/Nikon refuse to implement, and it has been a big piece to their success. The A6300 incorporates a lot of that technology and functionality, making it an easy camera to use and enjoy. I enjoyed my time with it immensely. It's not a perfect camera, as with any model there are give and takes, but as a whole its an excellent addition to the market.[gallery type="rectangular" link="file" size="large" ids="67080,67081,67083"]For their next round of upgrades, I would love for Sony to consider increasing the size a bit. I really do think that the usability improvements from it would make it well worth it (and still very compact). While I am on the subject of future improvements, some other things that would be nice include a touchscreen (with touch AF capability), an improved LCD tilt mechanism, and bigger or better batteries.It's not a camera for everyone, but for those of you who fit the small compact mirrorless mold, the A6300 is for sure a camera that you should consider. If you are thinking about picking one up make sure to head over to Resource Unbox to find the best deal. [post_title] => A Perfect Blend Of Speed, Quality, And Size - Sony's A6300 Has It All For Under $1000 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => a-perfect-blend-of-speed-quality-and-size-sonys-a6300-has-it-all-for-under-1200 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-01 10:36:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-01 14:36:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=67053 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 66615 [post_author] => 30241 [post_date] => 2016-05-13 12:57:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-13 16:57:34 [post_content] => Without looking at any of the photos I have taken outside of inspecting them on the LCD on the back of the camera, I have extremely good feelings about the Nikon D500. In a time when mirrorless is the cool kid, and big DSLR bodies are looked at by many with mild distaste, the D500 is a shining example of why we should not be quite ready to give up on them yet... or even ever.From a perspective that is as pure as "first impressions" can get (as in, how I felt after holding and shooting with the D500, not yet pixel peeping or judging how good or bad the ISO is), I am wildly impressed with what Nikon has created here. What's most fascinating is that they have given me a camera that feels so good without giving me any single feature that I would categorize as "revolutionary." The camera does absolutely nothing that is particularly shiny or new, but performs as a camera so damn well that it doesn't matter.And I think that right there is exactly what makes for the best kind of camera: one that lets you simply get great photos.It seems like every time we get a new camera there is a flashy new focus algorithm, or a multiple layer sensor, or insane megapixels or outrageous ISO. That's all well and good, but if the final product is not the best possible option in a category for capturing an image reliably... then who cares?The grip, the incredible frames per second, the interface and the reliability of the D500 are all things that cameras, DSLRs and others, have done well independently for many years. Having accurate and reliable autofocus on a DSLR is not new, but it is greatly appreciated. Having a great grip and a camera that feels good in hand is also not new (see the D750 for example), and yet it is welcome here. Speedy frames per second might be new on an APS-C or mid-grade camera, and yet it feels like it is something we should be celebrating on the D500.I think what the D500 does well is simply be a device that doesn't get in its own way. It's intuitive, fast and pleasant in a way that makes me feel good as a photographer. In shooting events or fast-moving subjects, if I missed a shot it's probably my fault, not the camera's.Knowing that the onus is on me to get an image and not really questioning whether the camera can handle a situation is a huge deal for a photographer. If we are going to be let down, we would rather be let down by our own lack of skill and not feel like we were sabotaged by our tools. With many of the cameras I test, I often find myself at odds with some part of the hardware, grumbling to my out of focus image and often finding fault in the device. But not with the D500.It speaks volumes when I am so used to having something "hinky" about a camera become "the norm" and then find myself so impressed by something as humble as the D500. That's a weird, backwards world, but it's the one that we're in. We keep demanding crazy specs out of new cameras, expecting something new and "never before seen" every time a company releases the next iteration of their flagship whatever. And we don't even do this consciously, but in how we reward companies with coverage and pre-orders when they choose to go this route. When we look at the D500, and praise it for being a great, perhaps it means that we should not be expecting "revolutionary" out of every new camera, but instead "reliable," "trustworthy" or even simply just "tested."It does nothing extraordinarily different than anything out there that already does a good job, but it combines the best results from the myriad of options available and packages them neatly into one body.The Nikon D500 is simply a blast to use, and I'm so damn happy about it. [post_title] => Nikon D500 First Impressions: A Welcome Focus on "Reliable" Instead of "Revolutionary" [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => nikon-d500-first-impressions-a-welcome-focus-on-reliable-instead-of-revolutionary [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-13 12:57:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-13 16:57:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=66615 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 66422 [post_author] => 47213 [post_date] => 2016-05-09 17:31:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-09 21:31:45 [post_content] => Gels have never really been my specialty. I love using off camera lighting and work out of a studio for a good majority of my work. But when it comes to gels, it's not something that has ever really had a long term life in my equipment box. And that is because of the very nature of gels.In general, I find gels to just be a messy situation. You buy a set of 8”x10” gels from your preferred store for $25, and in no time, colors go missing, nothing is ever labeled, colors used become bent and beat-up, difficult to use alongside modifiers, and the general experience seems to be more of a hassle than they're worth. You see, I like my equipment and studio space to be clean. More often than not, the process of gelling is taking a piece of gaff tape, and haphazardly taping the gel to your light, and hoping it doesn't fall off mid-shoot. Profoto quietly changed that at WPPI and created an easier solution to gelling your lights, by creating filter system along with a variety of filters that are labeled and custom cut to the system. At $59-$99, you're able to get a nice booklet of gel colors ranging from CTO and cooling gels, to various blues, pinks, and other colors to add creativity to your lighting. But the beauty of this system really lies in its simplicity.For one, each gel is individually labeled, meaning you don't need to double check if you're using a full CTO gel verse a ½ CTO gel. Along with the label of color, you're also given how much of a stop in light the gel will create, so if you're at f/8 when metered bare, the gels will tell you exactly how much light they eat up, assuring your metering stays consistent and correct. These gels will eliminate the guessing game gels tend to bring into the studio, and in an elegant and simple solution.And the book containing the gels is really nicely made. With a magnetic open and shut system, you don't need to worry about gels falling out when in transport. The book also comes with plenty of space for additional gels to be added, and the filter holding system, while made of plastic, is well built and works wonderfully alongside their already popular gridding system.Certainly there are some shortfalls to the system. For one, they only work with Profoto B1 and B2 lighting systems. So while the filter system isn't terribly expensive ($59-$99 for a nice little filter booklet, mounting system, and variety of gels), it will only be useful after you have yourself a somewhat expensive lighting kit in the Profoto B1 or B2 system. However, it works and works with an elegant splendor. The filter system is a nice change to the standard gel solution, and the booklet has plenty of space for all the organization you'd need for gels.However, I've found a nice money saving solution that you can use after already purchasing the Profoto gel system. The gels themselves can easily be traced, allowing you to create your own colors and variations using a popular Roscoe gel kit. While the hassle might be a bit much for most, it does give an option to those who prefer a specific color that Profoto doesn't make. Additionally, you'll find the beginner gel system comes without a red gel, which is a pretty important one in my eyes.The Profoto gel system comes in three different kits, the light correcting system, the color effects pack, and the starter kit system. The light correcting system is much like it sounds, with a variety of CTO and cooling gels to help better mimic natural color temperatures when shooting on-location. The color effects pack is a bunch of bolder colors, used for actual gelling of colors, such as blue, green, pink, yellow and red. The starter kit is sort of a grab bag of each, with some color correcting gels, as well as some more vibrant colors for creative lighting. Currently, I have the starter kit of gels, and they’re great. However, left out of the starter kit is a red gel, which I consider a pretty common gel color. Either way, I’ll be purchasing the Color Effects pack soon.So is the system worth it? If you have Profoto B1s or Profoto B2s, then absolutely. Profoto was able to finally able to create a system that makes sense for gels. I personally recommend the Starter kit, as it has many of the gels you'll need for a one or two light setup. However, with the lack of a Red in the beginner kit, you'll find yourself quickly adding the additional kits to your B&H shopping cart. [post_title] => Profoto Quietly Created the Best Gel System I've Ever Used [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => profoto-quietly-created-the-best-gel-system-ive-ever-used [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-10 13:59:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-10 17:59:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=66422 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 7 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 66364 [post_author] => 30241 [post_date] => 2016-05-09 13:57:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-09 17:57:59 [post_content] => Tamron has turned over a new leaf, and it's a wonderful thing. Recently they blew us away with their insanely high quality 45mm and 35mm f/1.8 lenses, and that train looks to continue rolling after testing their new macro lens, the 90mm f/2.8 VC. Though it isn't flawless, the lens does impress and will serve as an excellent starting point for anyone looking to get into true 1:1 macro work.As always, let's talk about price and build quality right off the bat. Tamron has made a statement with their lens redesign to keep performance high, and cost low. The 90mm f/2.8 is no exception to that statement, coming in at a cool $650, well below what we have come to expect from high-end optics at any focal length. The price is probably one of the biggest selling points of the lens, and something to certainly consider if you're looking to pick up macro.The build quality of the lens incredibly pleasant for a few reasons. Firstly, the lens is very, very light. It might be the lightest macro prime I've ever held, and it manages to do so without feeling cheap. The focusing ring feels quite good, nailing the perfect sweet spot between too loose and too tight. Everything from the lens cap to the lens hood to the way it clicks into the camera feels clean, high-end and professional. These are all excellent features, and the Tamron manages to hit them all quite well.When evaluating optical performance, we prefer to put lenses under real-world stress tests to see how they would actually perform in a real-world situation asking the most out of their design. To do this, I enlisted the help of Oakland and San Francisco food photography experts Dan and Sedona from Flashpoint Collective, since macro/still life are their bread and butter (ha, food photography pun).The camera we used in this test was the Canon 5DS R for maximum resolution for evaluating performance.To test the lens, we chose two different subjects with two different lighting arrangements. To test sharpness, we started with star anise, a spice used in baking and cooking.Sedona and Dan set up a deceptively complex lighting arrangement here, with the goal of not only getting a great photo, but also producing images with which we could test the viability of the lens. Below is a final result, shot at f/9:What we are looking for here firstly is sharpness, and the Tamron did not disappoint: it's VERY sharp. But f/9 is right in the sweet spot of the aperture range, and there we expect it to be sharp. To see how it handles everywhere else, we took a photo at every full stop from wide open to fully closed. Below are 100% center crops from there, and you can see how the lens performs for yourself: The lens seems to stay relatively sharp throughout the range of apertures, even wide open at 2.8. However, sharpness did seem to start falling off a bit by f/16 or so, which is pretty expected of a lot of modern lenses, especially those in this price point. By the time we close down past f/22, the sharpness falls off to such a degree that the photos start to look out of focus. That's really not ideal at all, and we recommend keeping your photography down below f/16 if you plan to pick up the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro.We also used this opportunity to check for any vignetting, and though there was some at the lower apertures, it was slight and easily correctable in post. The lens also did an excellent job controlling any distortion, which we did not notice to any degree when reviewing the photos.Unfortunately it wasn't all roses, as the autofocus left a lot to be desired. In the bright studio with additional controlled lighting, we had issues getting the lens to focus accurately and consistently at this distance to our subject:The Tamron would "hunt" frequently and take us out of the shooting groove, and had clear issues with sensing contrast up close. In the end, we switched to manual focus for this shoot so that we could ensure that the photos came out sharp. We imagine that the lens would work fine for portraiture and the like, but expect it to hunt when you get in close... even in ideal lighting conditions.For aberration control, we looked to a glossier subject in a Cherry, which would reflect more light and show us how the optics handled contrast.Again, the Tamron impressed. In our testing, the lens did well to control all distortion and chromatic aberration, leaving us with beautifully clean images.This lens comes packed with Tamron's best tech: vibration compensation. I spoke to the San Francsico Food Photographer duo regarding any sort of image stabilization.
You wouldn't be hand-holding a macro unless you were shooting really fast. Hand tremors alone can make it blur. Though I can see it being very useful for nature photographers or shooting on the fly. I enjoy it on my 70-200mm when hand holding, though rare.Hand tremors at that close range can kill an image. Many times when I use something past 1:1, I have to control my breathing to get the shot. I can see the usefulness of that in those situations for sure.I will say image stabilization is annoying as hell if you are on a tripod and forget about it. Sometimes that will blur the image. In this case, however, with VC on the whole time our images all came out crisp, so that's good news on the viability of VC here.I remember shooting an eye with canons super macro and wishing I had stabilization. I had my hand on the models face and the lens at the same time to just keep the sharpness. Glad the model was someone I knew! I also asked Dan and Sedona to give me their final opinion of the lens, and where it, to them, stood among the possible choices out there:
For our purposes, we felt that it was just slightly too short for the kind of macro images we normally take. If you wanted an entry-level macro, this could be a good start. While having 1:1 magnification is a plus, we’d personally spend the extra cash and go with a 105mm. That is to say, the only thing they really complained about was the focal length and the autofocus. For many, the former matters for some uses, and the latter is also less of a concern for locked-off macro photography. Where does that leave us? Well, it leaves us with a lens that performs extremely well in normal macro conditions, and at $650 it's an excellent pro-grade entry-level lens for those looking to get sharp, 1:1 macro images.The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 is a very good lens that hits a lot of high notes without being held back by many downsides. With great build quality, excellent sharpness and distortion control with the only real problem being a slightly hinky autofocus, the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 is an great addition to Tamron's new lineup. [post_title] => Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro VC Lens is an Impressive Addition to Their New Lineup [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => tamron-90mm-f2-8-macro-vc-lens-is-an-impressive-addition-to-their-new-lineup [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-31 14:41:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-31 19:41:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=66364 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64939 [post_author] => 47213 [post_date] => 2016-05-06 10:47:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-06 14:47:19 [post_content] => A couple of months ago, Phase One announced and released their new 100mp sensor for medium format cameras. This sensor was met with plenty of press, though much of the information regarding this camera was still unknown. Since then, a few of the systems have trickled out, and have answered a lot of the questions. Among those who got access to the newest system was me, and I was also able to speak with Lau Nørgaard, who was one of those responsible with creating this incredible system.Upon speaking with Lau, I quickly discovered just how much a marvel this new sensor truly is to digital photography. A couple years ago, PhaseOne released the IQ250, the world’s first CMOS sensor in a medium format camera. At 50 megapixels, this sensor was able to handle low light far better than the previous technology found in the CCD sensors. Along with the low light capabilities, the IQ250 was also able to increase the dynamic range up to an incredible 14 stops.Though the IQ250 did have some shortfalls too. For one, it wasn’t true 645 medium format. At 44x33 mm, the IQ250 was 66% larger in size than a standard 35mm full frame sensor, but was considered crop sensor by medium format standards. This left a lot of people wanting more, hoping that someday the technology would reach the point of allowing for a full frame 645 sensor size (at ~53.9 x 40.4 mm).Since early 2014, Phase One has made a lot of changes. Perhaps their biggest change (up until the announcement of their latest sensor) comes in the form of the new XF body system. Moving themselves away from the Mamiya 645+ body system, Phase One was able to adapt their own system from the ground up, allowing for a better autofocusing system, and the ability to add features to the system using a digital firmware upgrade system, a system that has already added features such as Hyperfocal Point Calibration, Seismographic Vibration Delay and more. But with the camera industry changing every few years, it was expected to have a new sensor system in place to really show off the capabilities of the new XF body system released in back in June of 2015.Enter the 100MP IQ3 sensor system from Phase One. Announce and released back in January, the IQ3 100MP sensor gave us everything we wanted in a sensor system, but specs that our computers will likely hate us for. At 100 megapixels, the IQ3 100mp is the largest sensor ever produced on a consumer level, and boasts an incredible 15 stops of dynamic range. But that isn’t all that the 100MP IQ3 has to show off. The system also is ISO 50 native, allowing for incredible clarity at low ISOs and allowing for cleaner files at higher ISOs as well.
Reviewing the Phase One 100MP Sensor Admittedly, when first getting my hands on the Phase One 100MP system, I was overwhelmed. I’ve shot with Medium Format systems in the past, using anything from Hasselblads, Phase One systems, and even the Pentax systems available. Though this one is different. At 100MP, you’re matched with some pretty incredible image quality and resolution. Secondly, the majority of my time spent with medium format has been on the crop sensor as discussed above. Until now, a true 645 medium format sensor wasn’t found in the CMOS realm, meaning you’d have to use the handcuffed CCD sensors, which aren’t able to match the high ISO capabilities of the CMOS sensors.I often have to explain to people what it's like shooting with a medium format system, because it's very different than a mirrorless or DSLR system. The analogy I use most is comparing medium format to a Ferrari. When you want something that blows away the competition, you choose a Ferrari (or in this case, the Phase One system). However, Ferrari isn't the perfect car, and would be a terrible car if you were looking to road trip across the country with your family, or even get groceries. A Phase One system is like that. If you want the best image quality available, you choose a medium format system. But for day to day use, you'll find the Phase One XF system to be slow and clunky to your DSLR, it's much larger in size, and is slower on just about every aspect. But when you get that shot you were aiming for, and pull it up on your computer, oh man.And upon doing just that, I discovered that my computer isn’t really designed to handle multiple 100mp files. Even with a high-end computer system, I was met with some sluggish results. After a few layers, and some various layer masks, my computer would be working hard to keep up. Eventually, I reached out to Pratik Naik of Solstice Retouch, to help handle the retouching of these files. I then asked Pratik, one of the masters in the commercial retouching world to add his insights of retouching images with such high-end resolution power. Pratik writes -
The retouching started off with processing done in Capture One, where I exported shots with a neutral white balance. The retouching focused primarily on removing distractions while highlighting the central elements.
Because of the high dynamic range of the files, I could easily rescue specific details like blown out areas of the hair on one of the images. I exported a copy and layered it in.
For the color toning, we decided to go for a warm feel, to match the scene. Using curves and color balance, we pushed the warmth through the channels in curves, and the mid tones in the color balance.
We changed the clothing to black to match the headpiece and did some subtle liquify work to remove and distracting folds or bumps in the clothing. However, the power of this sensor comes at a pretty hefty cost. At $44,000 for just the sensor (and $49,000 if you want a camera body and 80mm lens with it), the Phase One IQ3 100MP sensor is well beyond most people’s price range. However, Phase One is developed on a platform that many people don’t fully understand. Each Phase One medium format camera system is built on a modular design. By selling the sensor, camera body, and even the viewfinder in pieces, you’re able to upgrade your camera system in pieces, making it last much longer than other systems. While you may find your Canon or Nikon system to be obsolete in a couple years, Phase One systems are designed to stay relevant for years, building on a platform that is upgradeable piece by piece, making the systems justifiably affordable, once you break the bank to buy into the system from the get-go.So how does the system compare to other Phase One, or even Hasselblad systems? It improves on an already incredible platform on just about every single level. The new Phase One XF body is sleek, and innovative, it feels modern compared to it's older system in the DF645+. The sensor is a modern marvel, packing in such a staggering amount of data in every single photograph. But the system is still tied to archaic ways of shooting. The system is too big and powerful to handhold, with any sense of security (when I was handholding it on location, about 20% of the shots were missed focus from just unsteady hands). A tripod is by all accounts, a necessity, and shine from the system really comes from its tethering tools. That said, the new focusing system over the DF645+ bodies is a massive and undeniable improvement.Packed in the system, along with an incredible sensor, is a Seismometer, making sure you get no camera shake when mounting to a tripod. It also pairs seamlessly to Profoto strobes, without the need of a hotshoe trigger. Beyond that, you can find levels, live view, wifi, shooting with iPhones and iPads, and just about every other bell and whistle you've wanted in a camera, but Canon and Nikon haven't been able to provide.So the verdict? This is the best camera in the world today. At 100mp, no camera can compare with the image quality, and the sheer resolution power that this camera possesses. However, will a lifestyle photographer like this system? Probably not. But an advertising or landscape photographer will be in pure bliss. With this system, you're required to be methodical, planning each step with precision. When done right, the work coming out of it is exceptional, but done wrong, and you'll be sitting there wondering what all the fuss is about. Is this system the camera for everyone? Absolutely not...but it doesn't try to be the every man's camera. It finds it purpose, and does it flawlessly. Now, to come up with $44,000... [post_title] => A Comprehensive Review of The Phase One 100MP Sensor [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => a-comprehensive-review-of-the-phase-one-100mp-sensor [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-07 14:45:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-07 18:45:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=64939 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 66250 [post_author] => 47216 [post_date] => 2016-05-03 13:55:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-03 17:55:04 [post_content] => Until recently, I was not a fan of David Bowie. Then, on January 8, 2016 he released the album Blackstar, and on January 10, 2016, he died.Like most of the western world, I feigned long-held fandom to be a part of that iconic moment in music history, listening to the few Bowie songs I knew and liked (Ziggy Stardust, Space Oddity, Under Pressure). Not until I flipped through the pages of the newly released photo book Bowie by famed photographer Steve Schapiro did I begin to appreciate the creative mind that was lost.These photographs in this book, published by powerHouse Books, were taken periodically throughout the mid 70's in the studio and behind the scenes. Most of the studio portraits were shot in a single weekend in 1974, during Bowie's musical revival and outburst of multi-discipline creativity that saw the creation of the alter ego Ziggy Stardust.It's clear from the diverse collection in this book that Shapiro was a tool in the hands of Bowie, who used the shoot to explore the visual embodiments of the multiple personas he was developing. In the book's afterward, he writes, "That day it seemed Bowie was trying out all kinds of characters, costumes, and ideas to see which would work best for future projects. I'm certain he was already well into his thinking about The Man Who Fell to Earth." Bowie's creative experimentation is visible throughout the book.[caption id="attachment_66263" align="aligncenter" width="480"] From the "Lazarus" music video, via Huffington Post.[/caption]The forward, inspired by a Bowie fan's blog post, outlines the clear connection between the photos taken during this pivotal shoot and the music videos made for Blackstar. Not only did Bowie use some of the very same costumes he made for the 1974 shoot in his final creative endeavor, but he also makes subtle references to the shoot throughout the music videos and is clearly revisiting some of the same themes he explored earlier. But Schapiro's '74 shoot with Bowie, which reportedly went straight through the night, is not only notable for its connection with the musician, but also for the intimate quality of the portraits themselves that is proof of the photographer's talent.Schapiro made a name for himself in the 1960's and 70's for his documentary and portrait photographs of icons like Andy Warhol, Muhammad Ali, Bobby Kennedy, MLK, Marlon Brando, Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra... the list goes on and on. It's no surprise that Bowie and his manager chose Schapiro to collaborate on this shoot, which resulted in dozens of recognizable images that were used on magazine covers, album covers, and biography covers for decades to come.The portrait photos included in the book are indicative of the artistic moment within the lives of both Bowie and Schapiro. Images like the one above (taken while on break for The Man Who Fell to Earth) demonstrate a slice of pop culture that Bowie perceived and developed for himself. The image below (taken during the '74 shoot), on the other hand, shows Bowie's artistic take on that same slice of culture, which he reinvents and makes absurd, thereby predicting and creating the pop aesthetic that came in the 80's.The photographs throughout this book show an intimate connection between photographer and subject, one that is only possible through mutual respect and personal bond. The photographic and aesthetic quality of Schapiro's work is obvious to the point of being mundane; every image looks great. But the visible story behind each photograph should be noted as unique and compelling — something every portrait photographer should strive to achieve — and Schapiro and Bowie put on a clinic in this book.One particular story that is spelled out in the afterward is that of an infamous green backdrop. Both the photographer and musician agreed on first sight that it was the worst color imaginable for a magazine cover. So they used it for some close-up portraits, and the image below eventually became a cover shot for People Magazine.Bowie is a photo book, historical record, and glimpse into the mind and creative process of a cultural giant. Each set of images is more compelling than the last, offering multiple views of an extremely complicated person. This book made me a Bowie fan because it's impossible not to respect the artist presented here. Slowly but surely, I'm tracking the creative progression of this phenom album by album and can see the evolution of Bowie's music in the photographs in this book.For any Bowie fan this book is a must, and for any portrait photographer this book is a lesson. Schapiro's skill is palpable in the connection between him and his subject, and seeing these iconic images by this iconic photographer of this iconic artist is an experience that should not be passed up.All photographs by Steve Schapiro, from Bowie, published by powerHouse Books. [post_title] => Inside David Bowie's Most Iconic Photoshoot [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => inside-david-bowies-most-iconic-photoshoot [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-03 14:05:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-03 18:05:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=66250 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65650 [post_author] => 47227 [post_date] => 2016-04-19 16:42:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-19 20:42:02 [post_content] => The Fujifilm 35mm F/2 R WR has grown on me ever since it entered the Resource office. Prior to using it, I was skeptical; always thinking about how it's realistically a "50mm" lens because of the APS-C conversion factor. I love shooting at 35mm, that's why I usually keep my X100S with me all the time. With that said, after just one shot with this lens my initial hesitation disappeared. After feeling the smooth clicks of the on-camera aperture ring and seeing the detailed first shot it produced, I was hooked. It's an amazing lens that I can easily recommend for anyone with a Fujifilm camera.After spending my afternoon shooting in Dumbo with this lens and the fantastic Fuji X-Pro2, I can say that I really enjoyed my time with it. The lens is sharp, especially at smaller apertures. I didn't go as wide as F/2 often because I prefer having as much in focus as possible. The autofocus is what we all want, accurate and fast. Compared to my X100S, it felt a lot more intelligent about what I wanted to be in focus. The speed of the autofocus was also impressive. Roughly estimated, it felt like the lens focused about .5 seconds faster than the X100S. It may seem like a short amount of time but it felt a lot more satisfying when I pressed the trigger and the camera immediately focused and shot. I had no problems walking around for hours with the camera and lens in hand with no straps or support. It felt like I could go on like that for the entire day (which I probably could have done). Regardless of the body you use with the lens, it will never be bothersome or heavy. The lens is small, compact and light. It was unobtrusive, which gave me a sense of comfort when photographing people. When shooting street, my main focus is to try not to be noticed; that's especially hard when you're 6'2''. But having a small camera and even smaller lens helps with that. Despite its compact size, the lens is also weather resistant! Probably not to the point where you can take it through a hurricane, but it definitely can handle a regular rain shower.Being someone that usually shoots with a 35mm full-frame lens, my mind's eye was off on composition for the first fews shots but I adjusted in no time. With the slightly longer focal length, I realized I had a better chance to be unobtrusive while my photos still felt like they had that gritty, street photography feel to them. Compared to it's earlier predecessor, the 35mm F/1.4, this 35mm F/2 R WR has it beat in almost every category. The only drawback is that it's one stop slower; which shouldn't be a huge factor unless you really need that extra stop for low light situations. But the F/2 version's weather sealing and better price easily make up for the slightly smaller aperture range.Speaking of price, the Fujifilm 35mm F/2 R WR is priced at $399, which makes it one of Fuji's cheapest lenses on the market. I was genuinely surprised that it would be priced so low given the high quality of pictures it outputs. It definitely has more bang for your buck than almost any lens I've seen.Overall, I recommend this lens for anyone with a camera that can mount it. A compact, 35mm prime should be in everyone's kit, and if you have a Fujifilm camera this is the first lens you should get.If you're interested in seeing more products that we at Resource Magazine recommend, head over to Resource Unbox. [post_title] => Review: The Fujifilm 35mm F/2 R WR is a Must-Have [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => review-fujifilm-35mm-f2-r-wr-is-a-must-have [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-19 17:22:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-19 21:22:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=65650 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65658 [post_author] => 30241 [post_date] => 2016-04-19 14:00:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-19 18:00:45 [post_content] => Weight is a big deal to me when I travel. I'm not as young as I used to be, and if my masseuse is to be believed, every part of my body is sore or carrying undue tension. Last week I did a project in Texas through my commercial video agency Planet Unicorn, and we had to carry a lot of bags between two people. All that lifting is really doing a number on my back, so when I can, I try and go with the lightest possible carrying situation. That's why I'm so impressed with the Lowepro Highline RL x400 AW: it weighs almost nothing.[caption id="attachment_65686" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] This is a lot of gear for two guys to carry across the country, so I'll take light and easy anywhere I can get it.[/caption]Sure, it's not a photo bag made by a company known for making photo bags. Instead, it's a roller designed for one thing: carrying clothes and living essentials when on the road. But as a traveling photographer, carrying my gear is just as important as carrying the things that make a hotel room feel like home. All of my bags weighed at least 45 pounds (two of them weighed over 60 pounds), but my Highline came in at a cool 11, making it feel like a feather lifting it in and out of cars and airplanes and moving it between locations.The best part about the Highline is it is a really nice rolling bag with a unique style that doesn't try to be more than it is. It carries a laptop and tablet, holds clothes and toiletries, and that's it. I think when bags try to get too clever with what they're doing, with their zipper or interior design or with their looks or integrated tech, you end up with a sort of Frankenstein monster of a product that tries to be everything while only succeeding at being nothing.On the flipside, it's hard to write a review of a product with so few features, but I'm going to try. I've taken this bag on four cross-country flights now, and I think I have been able to form a pretty well informed opinion on this roller.For build quality, the bag is pretty darn perfect. No, it's not a hard-shelled case like I've come to love in my photo bags, but it certainly doesn't require one. The laptop fits neatly in the front pocket, there are plenty of smaller pockets for things like business cards and pens, and the zippers and handle all feel really nice.Sure, you can't sit on it like you can the Echelon, but you never are going to need to. The various handles on the sides and top of the bag make pulling it out of overhead bins and taxis very easy, and nabbing it off the luggage carousel is also a breeze. The Highline manages to fit an impressive amount of clothing as well. Because the sides are a bit flexible and the main zippered compartment can bulge a bit, I am easily able to fit five or more days worth of clothes, an extra pair of shoes and a toiletries bag and never feel like I have to cram anything inside of it. After years of using a bag that I constantly fought with, it's a wonderful change of pace to have a roller that seems to take everything I want to carry along with me in stride.The Highline comes with two interior bags, one for toiletries and the other for your choice of dirty laundry or perhaps socks and underwear or even shoes. The latter is great. It packs down small when not in use and fits nicely back in the bag when full of my dirty clothes. The former is the only downside to this bag: the "ziplock" plastic bag Lowepro included with the Highline is a crushing disappointment. The material doesn't even fully expand to the area of the plastic since the type of plastic they chose is sticky, unresponsive and too thick. It doesn't even zip closed very well. I tried to jam a travel size shaving cream, tooth paste and hair gel into the bag and I couldn't get the tiny shaving cream canister to fit right. I couldn't even get it to go to the bottom of the bag, since it stuck to the sides and refused to go in any further. Not sure how this made it out of QA, as it's a wholly frustrating product.But that's it as far as "things I don't like" goes when it comes to the Highline. Luckily I just threw away the hapless plastic bag and was left with a basically flawless rolling suitcase. Plus, it looks sexy too.One thing worth mentioning is that the interior of the Highline is identical in size to the removable insert in the Whistler backpack. What that means is you can take that insert and place it into the Highline, and suddenly you have a photo rolling bag. That's some pretty nice information for those looking to condense how many bags they have in the house (I really need to do that...).For $300, it might seem a bit high for a bag not designed for anything other than clothes, but nabbing a high equality roller that you can depend on for years is surprisingly expensive. The Highline hits a good price point for a bag that is going to stay by my side for years to come. [post_title] => Lowepro's Foray into Traditional Luggage is the Lightest Roller I've Ever Owned [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => lowepros-foray-into-traditional-luggage-is-the-lightest-roller-ive-ever-owned [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-19 14:00:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-19 18:00:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=65658 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65042 [post_author] => 30241 [post_date] => 2016-04-11 11:00:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-11 15:00:11 [post_content] => I really like the idea of drones, but until recently I had personally done very little flying myself. I wanted to wait and see where the tech was going, how it was evolving and most importantly, I wanted to see how the government reacted to drones. I didn't want to invest in a system to only have it be illegal a few months later. Even though we are far from over in that whole legality department, I decided recently that enough was enough: I was ready to try my hand at droning personally. I started with multiple different drones, worked with pilots flying anything from 3DR Solo through the DJI Inspire, and honed my own skill with the controls. I've seen quite a bit when it comes to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and heard my fair share of horror stories as well as victorious ballads of amazing flights. All this information under my belt, I still wasn't really ready for how amazing the new Phantom 4 looks like it is.I've had the DJI Phantom 4 for just over a week now and I've been really, really impressed with it. My prior drone experience pales in comparison, and the technology that DJI has integrated into the Phantom 4 allows me to nearly completely lose myself in creating beautiful footage instead of fighting wind, limp controls, bad connections and other situations that would otherwise make me uncomfortable.Let me elaborate.WeightHoly smokes this thing is light. Coming most recently from flying a 3DR Solo, the Phantom 4 feels like it's no more than half the weight of that drone and it's quieter, faster to take off, and easier to control. Speaking of control...ControlSo far, the DJI Phantom 4 has been ridiculously amazing in the air. I've struggled with drones that can't handle wind speeds above 10 miles an hour (that is to say, you're fighting to keep them stationary as the wind attempts to move them). On the ground, 10 miles an hour isn't bad, but as you go higher into the sky, that wind speed gets even more aggressive and faster. Add to this the aforementioned low weight of the Phantom 4, and my brain can't really fathom how it's able to do the things it does. In the video above there is a short clip of a lighthouse where you can see the flag poles whipping in the wind. The Phantom 4 flew like a dream, held position beautifully and controlled with wonderful precision.RangeThe Phantom 4 has what I consider to be mind-boggling, ludicrous range (although it's not really any different than the Phantom 3, it's still crazy impressive). As long as there is a clear line of sight, the Phantom 4 is rated to go up to 3.1 miles from the point of control. The battery also lasts a smashing 30-ish minutes (the specific time is 28 on DJI's website). That's 25% better than the previous version. I have noticed that if there are obstructions in the way, the Phantom 4 range can be significantly reduced. However, you probably shouldn't be flying with obstructions in the way anyhow.Sense and AvoidThe ability for the Phantom 4 to sense its surroundings and relay that information back to the controller is really great. I sometimes like to fly low to the ground to get grander, sweeping shots but that means I also am flirting with danger. The Phantom 4 keeps me informed on my distance to the ground right above my video feed, letting me focus on getting my shot while also being able to quickly discern how the drone is flying. If I take my eyes off the visual warnings and something goes amiss, it alerts me by sound quickly and urgently and backup controls kick in (you can turn them off) to help keep my drone from crashing.Camera & GimbalThe camera, as expected, is really quality. Man we've come a long way from the GoPro days. The gimbal is buttery smooth, even in rough winds.What is to come... I have not had a chance to test the "Tapfly" or "ActiveTrack" features (both that are heavily reliant on auto controls and the sense and avoid technology) quite yet, but will do so in the full review. For now, I'm just getting my feet wet with the Phantom 4 and could not be more giddy with the results.Though there are a lot of flight restrictions and rules for flying UAV, I'm still very much excited about the Phantom 4. What a time to be alive. [post_title] => DJI Phantom 4 First Impressions: Holy Sh*t [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => dji-phantom-4-first-impressions-holy-sht [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-10 13:30:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-10 17:30:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=65042 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 4 [filter] => raw ))