Equipment Reviews

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Edited by George Schaub Posted: Mar 22, 2013 Published: Feb 01, 2013 0 comments
The Samsung NX20 is a mirrorless system camera with very high sensor resolution. Just like the Samsung NX200 it uses an APS-C-sized sensor and offers a resolution of 20MP. In contrast to the NX200 it uses an SLR-like body design and an electronic viewfinder with very high resolution. The EVF has 1.44 million RGB dots and offers a very brilliant and sharp image, which makes manual focusing very comfortable. In addition, the NX20 has a large AMOLED swivel screen on the back with a resolution of 614,000 RGB dots.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jan 31, 2014 Published: Dec 01, 2013 1 comments
The NX300 follows the company’s NX210 and updates many features. Its new WLAN system, for example, now supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz systems for better data transfer. (Note: 5GHz systems eliminate interference better than the older 2.4GHz standard.) The free Wi-Fi connection can be used with remote control software on Android or Apple iOS smartphones, for auto backup on the PC, and for various mobile link functions, like sharing images by e-mail or in social networks.
Jack Neubart Posted: Apr 29, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 0 comments
A handheld meter is not just for studio work. Tricky lighting situations, high contrast, and unusual subject tonalities can often pose problems for camera metering systems, as advanced as they are. Beyond that, the camera meter can’t help with studio flash.
The first step toward taking tighter control with a broader range of lighting situations is to use a handheld meter. Enter the new Sekonic LiteMaster Pro L-478DR (PocketWizard version). Out of the box, it measures incident light. This exposure meter will also prove valuable when working with studio (or any manual) flash or a mix of ambient light and flash.
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Joe Farace Posted: Dec 06, 2013 Published: Nov 01, 2013 1 comments
Shortly after I moved into my former home, there was a knock at the door. Standing in front of me was an 8-year-old girl who lived down the street. “I’m selling note cards,” she told me, “I made the pictures.” A second look showed subjects a kid might shoot but others demonstrated that she was thinking about the photographs before making them. I bought several note cards and asked about her camera, which turned out to be borrowed. With her grandmother’s permission I gave her an old, unused digital point-and-shoot. The girl loved the camera and was inspired to keep making photographs and we talked from time to time about her aspirations. Today she’s a young woman with professional ambitions.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Sep 03, 2013 Published: Aug 01, 2013 0 comments
While the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 lens has been out for a good while we decided to take a closer look at one of the most interesting pro-oriented products in their lineup. One of the key selling points in this lens is built-in optical image stabilization (“OS” in Sigma-speak) to aid in achieving camera-shake-free, handheld exposures. Granted, image stabilization in a macro lens is not the be-all and end-all of successful close-ups, though it sure gives added insurance. And because the Sigma 150mm OS macro is optimized for full-frame D-SLRs, it allows for use at the stated focal length with such cameras and provides even greater effective focal length with APS-C-type SLRs.
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Joe Farace Posted: Apr 15, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 0 comments
Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM is part of their DC series of lenses designed for APS-C-sized sensors so the imaging circle is matched to the size of the sensor. For this assignment, I used a Canon EOS 60D with a 22.3x14.9mm sensor, producing an equivalent angle of view of a 28-56mm lens. Shooters of Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, and Sony cameras, the other mounts for which the lens is available, will achieve an angle of view equivalent to 27-52mm. Unlike other lens manufacturers, Sigma priced the different mounts the same ($799) so don’t feel you’re going to be paying a premium for your camera choice. Bucking a trend with camera manufacturers’ lenses, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM includes a lens hood at no extra charge.
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George Schaub Posted: Aug 12, 2013 Published: Jul 01, 2013 0 comments
There’s something about a fixed focal length lens that brings the photographer out in me. It forces me to move in and back from compositions without resorting to a zoom. Yes, there are times when a zoom is most appreciated—especially the fast constant aperture zooms now available—but a prime puts me in a mindset that a zoom has yet to match.
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Steve Bedell Posted: Aug 09, 2012 Published: Jul 01, 2012 1 comments
The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM lens (average price: $969 on various Internet sites) is designed for full-frame cameras; with an APS-C multiply by your usual factor. At about 25 oz, I’d describe the lens as substantial, but not hefty. One of the reasons for the weight is the build—11 elements in eight groups, including the use of SLD glass, Sigma speak for Special Low Dispersion. The big chunk of glass on the end requires a 77mm filter. As to handling, Sigma has gone from their black “crinkle” finish to a smooth black rubberized finish that feels great to the touch. It’s plastic, not metal, but based on my experience with previous Sigma lenses, I’ve found them to be built to professional standards and can take a lot of abuse.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Apr 12, 2013 Published: Mar 01, 2013 0 comments
The Sigma DP2 Merrill is dedicated to Dick Merrill (1949-2008), a photographer and engineer who developed/invented the Foveon sensor technology. The camera is based on former DP compact Sigma cameras, but uses the newest generation of the Foveon X3 sensor. This sensor records all three RGB values for every single pixel and has an image resolution of 4704x3136, or 14.75MP. Because of the multiplication of three RGB layers, the camera gains a “resolution” of 44.25MP. Officially, Sigma specifies the resolution of the sensor even higher: the spec sheet uses the gross resolution with 4800x3200 pixels (x three layers) and therefore indicates that the camera has a resolution of 46MP.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: May 17, 2013 1 comments
The Sigma DP3 Merrill is the latest Sigma camera with the new Foveonsensor.
With this sensor, the camera can capture complete RGB information for every single pixel and doesn’t need to interpolate colors like all other digital cameras with Bayer pattern sensors. The APS-C sized sensor offers a resolution of 14.7MP, referred to by Sigma as equivalent to 45MP resolution of a standard sensor ((4704 x 3136 pixel x 3 RGB data per pixel).
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jan 18, 2013 Published: Dec 01, 2012 19 comments
The Sony (alpha) A57 is based on Sony’s SLT viewfinder system that uses a fixed and semi-translucent mirror. This enables viewing via a live preview on the LCD screen on the back or through the electronic viewfinder. In addition, the mirror reflects the image onto an AF sensor based on the classic phase detection system used by “normal” SLR cameras. The AF sensor works continuously because there is no moving mirror system to cover the sensor when the picture is taken. This aids in continuous shooting speed and when recording videos.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jun 22, 2012 Published: May 01, 2012 13 comments
The Sony A65 is a feature-reduced version of the company’s A77 model. It offers a nominal resolution of 24MP (just like the A77). The A65 uses Sony’s SLT system, which combines a semi-translucent mirror system and an electronic viewfinder. The semi-translucent mirror reflects a part of the light to the Phase Detection AF sensor, which is located in the penta-prism bulge on the top of the body and allows for very fast focusing. At the same time, the image sensor is able to generate a digital live preview for the LCD on the back or on the mini LCD screen of the ELV. Both monitor systems use high-resolution LCDs. The large monitor on the back offers 921,600 RGB dots; the AMOLED ELV offers 2.3 million dots for a brilliant and crisp image.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Apr 18, 2013 Published: Mar 01, 2013 0 comments
The Sony A37 is an SLT system with a fixed and translucent mirror. Because of this setup it is able to produce a Live View image even while recording still images or shooting video. At the same time, the camera is able to use its Phase Detection AF system because the mirror reflects the image onto the AF sensor. This allows the use of the AF system even in continuous shooting mode. The camera offers a high-speed burst mode of up to 7 frames per second, which is a very high result for an entry-level system.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jun 24, 2014 Published: May 01, 2014 0 comments
The Sony A7 and A7R are the first mirrorless system cameras with a full-frame sensor. The A7 offers a sensor size of 35.8x23.9mm and a resolution of 24MP, while the A7R has a slightly larger sensor at 35.9x24.0mm and 36MP resolution. Both cameras use the E-mount lens system that was introduced with Sony’s NEX cameras. Because NEX cameras use APS-C-sized sensors all previous E-mount lenses have smaller image circles, thus the full-frame models require new E-mount lenses, which cover the larger image circle of a full-frame sensor.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jun 14, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 6 comments
The new SLT-A99 is Sony’s first full-frame camera with an electronic viewfinder. While former Sony full-format cameras like the A900 or A850 offered a standard SLR system, the new A99 offers an electronic viewfinder with extremely high resolution (2.3 million RGB dots). Due to the SLT system with fixed mirror, which allows use of a classic AF system based on phase detection, the camera is very fast and can even utilize the AF system while recording videos.

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