Monday, April 17, 2017

Macphun, developers of Luminar, Creative Kit and Aurora HDR, have a special promotion available at the moment.

You get:

  • Luminar, The Supercharged photo editor for Mac that adapts to your skill level.
  • 12 portrait presets created by Scott Kelby - One of the world's most prolific photography authors and educators
  • 1 Month of access to KelbyOne training where you can learn everything you need to know about photography

All this for only $69. The total value is $99. A Savings of 30%.

Right now, however, by using my code below, pricing is just $49 for Macphun users. or $59 for non-Macphun users. To benefit from this offer, click here. Hurry, because the offer ends Weds 3rd May 2017.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Next camera - which to choose?

There comes a time in every photographer's life that the need to upgrade can no longer be ignored. I am at that point right now. For months I have trawled the net, especially review sites, blogs and YouTube etc. I have read or watched so many reviews that my brain is starting to catch fire from all the electrical activity!

As for the short-list, here it is (in no particular order):
  1. Fuji X-T2
  2. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
  3. Panasonic GH5
Now I did look at other cameras (such as Canon ones with Dual-Pixel system AF, as in the 70D and 5D), but for various reason, I rejected them. Cost, was, of course, a factor, but so was features (or lack of them).

Must-haves, for me, include weather sealing, dual SD slots, 4K video and a means to monitor audio (either direct on camera or via an attached battery grip for example).

Now, the three cameras shortlisted above all have excellent features and, of course, their own strengths and weaknesses.  The first thing to say is that the Fuji has the larger sensor, being APS-C, compared to the OM-D E-M1 and GH5 being Micro-four-thirds. Although sensor technology has improved vastly in the past 5 years or so, the Fuji, for me, still has the edge. However, it's not all about pixels alone, but also noise levels, and here the Sony still has the edge, due in most part, to its larger sensor.

However, feature-wise, the Olympus and Panasonic cameras do have a lot to offer. The OM-D-E-M1 Mark II has a size advantage (it's smaller and lighter) over the Panasonic, whilst the Panasonic GH5 has, of course, the best feature set for video, especially it's internal 4K/30p 10-bit 4:2:2 video capture.

Looking in more depth at the feature set of each one on my short-list:

Fujifilm X-T2 Key Features:

  • 24MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor 
  • 325 AF points (169 of which offer phase detection) 
  • AF point selection joystick 
  • 2.36M-dot OLED EVF with 0.005 sec refresh time (60 fps or 100 fps in boost mode) 
  • 3" 1.04M-dot articulating LCD 
  • 4K UHD video at up to 30 fps for up to 10 min (30 min with booster grip) 
  • F-Log flat profile and 4K out over HDMI 
  • 8 fps continuous shooting with AF (11 fps with booster grip) 
  • 5 fps continuous shooting with live view updates between capture 
  • 14 fps continuous shooting with electronic shutter 
  • Dual SD card slots (UHS-II compatible) 
  • USB 3.0 socket

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Key Features:

  • 20MP Live MOS sensor 
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilisation system 
  • 121-pt hybrid AF system 
  • 60 fps burst shooting (18 fps with continuous AF) 
  • Fully articulating 3" LCD display 
  • High-res electronic viewfinder 
  • Cinema (DCI) and UHD 4K video 
  • 50MP High-Res Shot mode 
  • Weather-sealed body 
  • USB 3 (Type-C) 
  • Dual SD (UHS-II/UHS-I)

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Key Features:

  • 20MP Four Thirds sensor (no OLPF) 
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilisation system with 'Dual IS 2' support 
  • All 4K footage taken using full width of sensor (oversampled from 5.1K footage) 
  • Internal 4K/30p 10-bit 4:2:2 video capture 
  • 4K/59.94p and 50p shooting with 10-bit 4:2:2 output or 8-bit, 4:2:0 internal recording 
  • 1080 video at up to 180p, enabling 7.5x slow-motion 
  • 9 fps shooting with continuous autofocus 
  • Advanced DFD autofocus 
  • Dual UHS II card slots (V60 ready) 
  • Autofocus point joystick 
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth 
  • Pre-configurable rack focus mode 
  • Waveform and vectorscope monitors 
  • Paid upgrade to enable V-LogL video capture with LUT-based preview display

From this, you can see that either of these cameras would be a fantastic camera for most photographers. Whether you shoot stills or video, any of them (along with the Nikon 500D and the Sony A6500) would fit the bill for most scenarios. However, after looking at features, weight, price, auto-focus performance, lens choice and factors such as how often the manufacturer updates the firmware (important for sorting out any bugs, shortcomings or just adding new features), I decided on the Fuji X-T2.

So, that is what I intend to buy in the next few weeks and trade in my Sony A6000 two-lens kit at the same time. I do have to point out that I was very attracted to the other two (plus the Nikon and Sony offerings) but, in the end, the Fuji won me over. maybe it is because I am a bit long in the tooth (celebrating my 60th this summer) and am a sucker for the retro looks and handling of the Fuji. Maybe it's because of price-wise it's the cheaper option, especially when you take into account the Fuji offer of an extra £200 trade-in value when part-exchanging my Sony kit. Who knows? At the end of the day, choices like this are down to the heart as much as the mind (and the pocket)!

Once I have made my purchase and tested out the camera and lensesI do buy, I will post images and a review here, so be sure to bookmark my blog. In July I go to my very first F1 Grand Prix (to celebrate my birthday). I will be taking my new camera kit with me and hope to get some amazing images over the weekend.

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