Canon 135mm f2L USM gets DXO Marked, the oldie still holds its own after so many years.

 the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM only ranks 5th for EF mount telephoto primes.

"16 years on from its launch the 135mm f/2L USM is still a solid option for portrait, sport and low-light photography. That said as lens development continues to evolve recent telephoto primes like the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM and Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM do demonstrate notable improvements in Sharpness. Although performing well in all our DxOMark Lens Metric Scores the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM only ranks 5th for EF mount telephoto primes on the EOS 5D Mark II and new in terms of quality to price ratio the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM is noticeably sharper and a . . . read more

Nikon D4 review by Theano Nikitas at Camera Stuff Review: The D4 is a powerhouse camera with amazing video and still image quality.

Nikon D4 test at camera stuff review

"The full-frame DSLR market is highly competitive with solid options from several manufacturers including Nikon, Canon and Sony. And while Canon has had a grasp on those shooting DSLR video since the introduction of the 5D Mark II, Nikon has definitely moved forward with the D4's video features.

But this powerhouse of a camera isn't just for shooting video. Exceptional still images, a feature set that is far too long . . . read more

Canon 40mm EF f/2.8 STM Lens review by Ivo Freriks at Camera Stuff Review: At the time of the review, the Canon 40mm STM is the best of all Canon lenses tested so far in terms of resolution.

The 40mm's stepping AF motor (STM) provides improved AF during live view video.

The Canon 40mm STM pancake lens is perhaps, no, DEFINITIVELY, the sharpest lens south of the $/€/£ 200 line Canon has ever produced. It consistently scores very high on both full frame and cropped cameras, and mounted on a Dslr it looks almost as diminutive as the Olympus body cap lens on a micro 4/3 body, but with excellent optics. CSR tested this little gem mounted on a Canon 1Dx:

"The combination of a very compact and lightweight Canon 40 mm STM lens on a large, heavy professional camera may . . . read more

Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/15 mm lens review at 3D-Kraft.de: It provides exceptional center sharpness already at F2.8 and vignettes at open aperture in a significant degree but correction is just one click away.

Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/15 mm - Ultrawide and Fast!

"The lens has an exceptional haptics and build quality. If you compare the RAW images without any software lens correction to those with a lens correction profile applied correction in post processing (Adobe Lightroom 4.1 and Camera Raw 7.1 already have profiles for that lens), you can see that this lens needs only very little distortion correction. It providies exceptional center sharpness already at F2.8 and vignettes at open aperture in a significant degree but correction is just one click away in many raw processors and not always favored. . . . read more

Nikon D5200 vs Canon t4i/650D, which one should you buy? Carl Spring at Digital Rev compares the two, throws in some high iso tests in the mix.

So which one should you buy? Well this is likely to be the first camera purchase of many and being honest, wherever you place your money you will have made a good choice. The Nikon does feature a better sensor than the Canon offering and the AF system is a better offering. Does that mean it is the better camera?

Well yes, on the spec sheet and beyond the Nikon is the better camera here. It possesses a better AF system and  . . . read more

Iso noise comparison between the Panasonic GH3 and the Canon 5D Mark 2 by Marlene Hielemaat Discover Mirrorless.

"A lot of people think the smaller sensor cameras like the GH3 can’t hold up to the full frame sensor cameras. I’m going to do a live test with no practicing or cheating to see if that’s true. So I’m going to shoot the pictures at the same ISO and exposure settings and then compare on the computer. I shot raw files in this test because I’m a raw shooter. With raw files you can do quick and easy noise reduction using LR, Photoshop or Elements Adobe camera raw controls, but sometimes I don’t like the look that produces. I do a quick demo in the video too." . . . read more

Apparently Nikon recognizes-and fixes the green tint issue on D800 Cameras, (albeit after some nagging) gives AF calibration as a bonus.

Photographer Noah Bershatsky was one of the unlucky few thousands that got a D800 with a greenish tinting lcd screen.
It took a bit of a drama and some wait, but finally Nikon came clean, and were talking about the worst Nikons of all, the dreaded Nikon USA service center:

"There was no communication from Nikon, but out of the blue my D800 was returned today.  It's in good clean condition and the LCD matches my Colormunki Display calibrated monitor!  From the enclosed impersonal letter, you can see that . . . read more

Ultrawide Comparison at 3D-Kraft.de: Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 15 mm f/2.8 vs Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 ED-IF vs Samyang 14mm f/2.8 mounted on Nikon D800E and Sony NEX-7

"o you see that at F5.6 all three candidates deliver very sharp centers, the Nikon zoom shows slightly better contrasts here. As the images from the Zeiss and the Samyang were about 0.5 to 0.8 F-stops overexposed and had to be dimmed in that degree for better comparison, the difference in contrast may also be caused a little bit by that. I recognized quite often that the images with the Nikon zoom were about 0,2 to 0,8 stops shorter exposed which may be caused by the different degree of vignetting. . . . read more

Sony 135mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* AF Lens review by Chris Gampat at the Phoblographer: The Sony 135mm f1.8 couldn’t be a better lens for Sony’s current lineup of cameras. Not only is it super sharp, but it is extremely well built and focuses fast.

"The Sony 135mm f1.8 exhibits some of the sharpest lens performance I’ve seen from any optic at f1.8 (wide open). With that said though, you’ll need to keep in mind a couple of parameters when shooting this wide open:

- Because you’re lens is so long, you’ll need to shoot at a higher shutter speed to compensate for camera shake despite the fact that the A99 has stabilization on the sensor. . . . read more

Canon EOS 6D review by Richard Harrington and Scott Bourne at Photo Focus: Whoever is in charge of naming cameras at Canon should be lashed – 50 times in fact.

"The camera doesn’t feel cheap. I like the button layout much better than on some older Canon models. Everything you need is accessible. The image quality is a close match to that of the 5D MK III and the price is right if you want affordable full-frame. If you match this camera with Canon’s high-end “L” glass you’re going to get amazing image quality.

This camera (in my opinion) makes the 7D obsolete. It lacks the high-speed, highly-adjustable AF of the 5D MK III so it’s . . . read more

Pentax SMC DA 50 mm f/1.8 lens review at Lens Tip: In many categories (chromatic aberration, vignetting, astigmatism, work against bright light or distortion) it actually is the best in its class or at least among the best instruments available.

"When it comes to optics, the Pentax 1.8/50 is a very solid lens which compares favourably with its competitors. It would be difficult to find a flaw here; if only the lens performed a bit better at the maximum relative aperture and had a better coma correction, we would be completely satisfied. However it’s worth emphasizing that none 1.8/50 lens doesn’t fare well at the maximum relative aperture so the Pentax certainly doesn’t lag behind its rivals. In many categories (chromatic aberration, vignetting, astigmatism, work against bright light or distortion) it actually is the best in its class or at least among the best instruments available. . . . read more

Canon Pro Network posts Tips & Tricks for the EOS 6D: how to maintain frame rates at high ISOs, use the smartphone connection via WiFi, and more.

"The EOS 6D features a date/time battery that keeps the internal clock running so you don’t have to reset the date and time regularly. However, unlike the battery found in other EOS models, the EOS 6D has a rechargeable backup battery that recharges from the LP-E6 main cell and will go several months between charges. To ensure it never runs flat, make sure you turn on the EOS 6D with a fully charged LP-E6 battery for a couple of hours every few months, to keep the date/time battery fully charged. Combined with the Auto Update time settings provided by the built-in GPS, the camera’s . . . read more

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L USM Lens review by Ken Rockwell: It's so good, there isn't any room for improvement.

To my astonishment, this Canon 35 1.4 is almost completely devoid of coma.

"There's a reason Canon has never bothered with a -II version of this 35mm lens: it's so good, there isn't any room for improvement. I'm sure Canon will come up with a -II version at twice the price and made of a lot more plastic with virtually identical optical performance one of these days in the interest of cost reduction (for them), but for today, this 35/1.4 is one of the biggest deals in the entire Canon catalog.

I'd use a 72mm B+W 010 MRC UV filter for protection, or the Canon 72mm UV, or an 72mm Hoya Alpha UV. You don't . . . read more

Nikon D800E review at Imaging Resource: If you're a nature or wildlife photographer, this camera is just fine for you. But if you're shooting anything else, there will be moire issues, sometimes in the most unexpected places.

Nikon D800e tested by IR: Moire will show up in the most unexpected places.

"As we said at the outset, this review is more about the single difference between the D800 and D800E: the absence of a low-pass filter and its effects. It's clear from our analysis that both the D800 and D800E have moiré issues, but the D800E's is much more apparent and challenging to address. What we also found was that the D800E indeed captures more detail than the D800, making it uniquely suited to landscape photography, or scientific applications where moiré won't be an issue. . . . read more

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM lens worship at DP Review: If you're after a top quality fast prime at this focal length it should be right at the top of your short list, and it easily earns our top award.

"Sigma has produced some really fine lenses over the past few years, including the 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM (which we liked a lot when we reviewed it in 2008) and the 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM. But the 35mm F1.4 DG HSM may possibly be its best yet. In fact it's one of those rare lenses for which finding any fault seems almost churlish, so good is its overall performance.

Let's start with the optics. It's remarkably sharp, even wide open, outperforming not only its Canon, Nikon and Sony . . . read more

Sea & Sea announces the MDX-D600 Underwater housing for the Nikon D600, to be available from 01/2013

Sea & Sea MDX-D600 Underwater housing for the Nikon D600 Dslr camera

Sea & Sea press release

New product release: MDX-D600

2012/12/20

MDX housing for FX format DSLR camera, Nikon D600

MDX-D600 Housing (Dark blue) (Housing only)
(Product No.06165)
* Ports and strobe connectors are optional (*1)
[Accessories] Housing body cap, camera quick shoe, light-shielding plate and two hex wrenches.
MDX-D600 housing will be available in the middle of January, 2013. . . . read more

Bob Atkins on the Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600 question: In the absence of any special deals and rebates, where both camera bodies have an MSRP of around $2100, I'd probably opt for the Canon EOS 6D

Canon 6d vs Nikon d600 by Bob Atkins

"DxoMark give the Canon EOS 6D a sensor rating of 82, while the Nikon D600 sensor gets a rating of 94. Sounds like a big difference. 12 points or about 14%. But what does that mean and why does the D600 get a higher score? It's worth noting that when discussing sensor performance we're really talking about the performance of the sensor and its associated electronics (readout circuitry, amplifiers etc.), since the two cannot be separated. Even wit a RAW file, the signal has to pass through multiple electronic stages after leaving the sensor before it is encoded into image data. . . . read more

Ken Rockwell updates his Canon 6D review with sample images, ergonomics, Wi-Fi and GPS coverage: The best Canon Dslr to date.

Canon doesn't screw around, the 6D is made as well as the 5D Mark III.

"Ergonomics are great, especially compared to Nikon. The 6D is pretty easy to shoot with one hand, while Nikons, like the D600, demand we always use our second hand to hit PLAY, MENU and other buttons. Yes, the 6D's MENU button is on the left, but I program mine to duplicate the MENU button on the SET button in the middle of the big rear knob.

Oddly, the 8-way thumb controller isn't as good as the 8-way thumb nubbin of most other Canon DSLRs. This is . . . read more

Sony Alpha SLT-A99 review at the Phoblographer: I would buy it, but Canon still has a hold on me, thanks partly to Sigma's new lenses.

the Sony A99 still represents the premium of what Sony currently has to offer

"Overall image quality with the Sony A99 is one of the best that the company has to offer. The 24MP sensor is capable of resolving lots of detail with the right lenses, and the overall feel to the images have a feeling of really good film to them. Tweak the image a little bit one way, and it looks like Portra. Tweak it another way, and it will come out looking like Velvia large format.

Sony did an excellent job on this camera’s sensor; and in the right hands it can create images that not only hold their . . . read more

Pentax K-5 II with DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL DC WR lens review at PhotoRevue: If photography is what you're doing, and you want a very capable Dslr and lens combination that is also weather sealed, this thing is for you. Skip, if you want good video.

Pentax K-5II black, rear.

"Noise was very well controlled and image files shot at the highest sensitivity settings could be considered usable at small output sizes, provided allowances were made for some softening of details and visible granularity. Up to ISO 3200 noise was barely visible. At ISO 6400, slight granularity could be seen when images were enlarged. Granularity became a little more pronounced at ISO 25600, which was when softening became evident. But it wasn't until ISO 51200 that noise and softening made images almost unusable. . . . read more

It is 35mm day (Lens, not Film) at LensRentals: Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L & EF 35mm f/2 IS versus Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM resolution tests by Roger Cicala: No Canon can beat that Sigma.

This is a nice lens with a very nice IS system at a fairly high price

"Looking at the average (mean) for center, average, and corners shows a bit more about the lenses. The old 35mm f/2 does quite well in the center and mid-lens areas, but it’s pretty awful in the corners. The new 35mm f/2 IS and the classic 35mm f/1.4 L do much better in the corners, with the 35 L (stopped down to f/2) clearly better than the new f/2 IS. But the Sigma does better than any of them. . . . read more

Can't afford some descent filters for your Dslr? Then get some crappy ones, how about 18 filters for $40? As a bonus your precious camera will look like someone stuck a hippified telephone dial pad from the seventies on it.

'Crappy' is sometimes also defined as 'artistic' nowadays, so, depending on your viewpoint this may not  be such a bad thing after all. The responsible culprit for turning your mega pixels into mega pixies is once again, Photo Jojo:

"Filters are magic: the right one can take an already good picture and make it ... abracadabra ... great!But what if you want to change filters without fumbling around with color gels and juggling multiple lenses? All you need is the DSLR  . . . read more

Canon EOS 6D and 5D Mark 3 vs the good old 5D Mark 2 Noise Comparison for High-ISO Long Exposures by Don Marcotte: The cheapest of the bunch is the best.

What about the Canon EOS 5D Mark II? It looks obsolete compared to 6D and 5Dmk3.

PetaPixel has the story:

"As much as I would like to believe that my process was rigorous, I am having trouble believing that the 6D is significantly better than the Mk III. But I am very confident that it is a low noise camera. You can tell by the lack of noise when you zoom to 100% pixels. As someone who has worked to remove noise from astro images for the past 5-6 years, I am quite familiar with what noise looks like. . . . read more

Nikon d600 review at Imaging Resource: The Nikon D600 is very much like a D7000 with a full-frame sensor, with better video, but some oil/dust splatter on the sensor issues as well, however, these issues appear to go away after a while.

Dust and oil-spatter problem (may go away with time)

"Put simply, the Nikon D600 is very much like a D7000 with a full-frame sensor. Nikon drew on the extremely popular design when building the D600. Its 24.3-megapixel sensor was the first available for under $2,100 body-only, followed closely by the Canon 6D's 20.2-megapixel design for the same price. Since many balked at the D800's 36.3-megapixel sensor, it makes good sense for Nikon's consumer FX camera to stick with 24.3.

Smaller and lighter than the D800 and D700, the Nikon D600 is still bigger than a D7000. It's hard to hide that large, . . . read more

Sigma 180mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens Review at Ephotozine: Sigma's new line of lenses on on par, if not better than 1st party manufacturers offerings, but so are also the prices.

Superb sharpness, even at maximum aperture, Effective optical stabilization.

"The Sigma 180mm f/2.8 macro lens costs around £1300 and offers optical stabilisation, silent autofocus with full time manual override and life size magnification at its closest focus distance.

If you can live with a slightly shorter focal length then Sigma also offer two 150mm macro lenses with a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture. One version also sports optical stabilisation and is considerably cheaper at around £690. A version without stabilisation is also available for around £600. . . . read more

Canon EOS 6D receives the DXO Mark special: Matches its more expensive siblings, but gets whacked (totally!) by the Nikon D600, and of course every other current full frame Nikon. Ouch.

Straight in at the top of this sector, the Nikon D600 outscores the Canon EOS 6D

"Canon now offers three full-frame CMOS sensor cameras within the EOS range. This could potentially confuse the buying decision; however the prices are very well stratified. So, how does the lowest priced model, the EOS 6D, fair against its more illustrious stable mates?

Interestingly, the overall DxOMark scores for the three models are very similar, with the EOS 6D actually matching the flagship EOS-1D X on a score of 82. Each of the three models has one area in the three testing metrics where it performs . . . read more

Pop Photo camera of the year: Canon 5D Mark III. Runner up(s): Nikon D800 and Sony SLT A-99. Honorably Mentions: Fujifilm X-pro1 and Olympus E-M5.

Since there's no entry in my lexicon for 'camera of the year methodology' will refrain from a rant flood, and pass you on to the article, as the Pop Photo editors explain the why and how of the whole thing:

"2012 proved a truly great year for cameras. In the wake of 2011’s devastating tsunami in Japan and flooding in Thailand, camera manufacturers released nearly two years’ worth of terrific models in 2012, all within a span of eight months.

But our Camera of the Year choice came down to just three real finalists—the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the Nikon D800, . . . read more

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR review underway at Camera Labs: MTF and resolution charts looks very promising.

"These charts show the lens-performance at the largest aperture f4.0. Higher values are better and the closer the dotted and the continuous lines of each color are together the less astigmatism (= resolution depends on the orientation of the test-pattern) the lens has. The x-axis displays the distance from the optical axis (=center of the sensor) in mm. I'll show you the real-life performance at 4 mm (center), 13 mm (DX-corner), and 20 mm (FX-corner) on a D800.

From the charts the new lens should perform on a very high level regarding overall contrast. Sharpness on the long end . . . read more

Sigma DS1 Merrill review at Pblog: Mind bogglingly good files, color rendition and sharpness are spot on. but feature-wise the camera feels old, no video, no liveview, high FPS, nada.

"There are a few underlying issues with the SD1 Merrill that we're disappointed with. The lack of live view was an issue when we were photographing the cars. We wanted a low angle but couldn't get our eye to the viewfinder comfortably and it shows. Live view would have helped us get the framing spot on.

We would love to see what the video capability of the new Foveon sensor is like but alas, the SD1 Merrill doesn't feature it. Our curiosity aside, more and more photographers, especially fashion photographers, are using video to bolster their . . . read more

Canon EOS 6D extensive hands-on review at Tech Radar: It looks like a descent full-frame Dslr, with Wi-fi and GPS added as bonuses.

"All things considered, the Canon EOS 6D looks like a pretty decent DSLR, with the Wi-Fi and GPS technology being nice bonuses for the average photographer. At 20.2MP, the resolution is not a great deal more than that offered by Canon's APS-C format DSLRs, but there should be a significant image quality advantage.

Those upgrading from a Canon EOS 60D should find it pretty straightforward, without any major handling changes. You'll . . . read more

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