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Abandon pier on the Tagus River near Alhandra.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @23mm

- Lee 0.9 GND SE

- Lee BigStopper

Strong winds and gentle currents routinely break up this ice. When the ice reforms it sometimes leaves ridges of fresh jewel like beads.

 

Tech note: Flickr EXIF data lists f/6.3 at 1/250 second for this image. That is correct for the sky exposure. The foreground was captured in six exposures for focus blending at f/11 and 1/25 second.

 

Mourisca, Setúbal, Portugal.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @21mm

- Lee 0.9 GND SE

- Lee BigStopper

 

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

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Larger on white

 

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Spotted at the Eemshaven, Delfzijl, Groningen, the Netherlands.

 

Ship data:

Length: 64.5 (overall)

Breadth: 10 (moulded)

Draught: 4.212

BHP: 1000

Moulded Depth: 4.5

LR/IMO Number: 8604448

Status: In Service/Commission

Official Number: 27004-00B

Callsign: HP9652

Shipname: Fjordtank

Former Names: Triton IV, Yamabishi Maru No. 21

Owner: Fjord Tankers KS

Manager: Fjord Shipping AS

Builder: Marakami Hide Zosen K.K. - Hakata

Shiptype: Chemical Tanker

Year of Build: 1986

Port: Panama, Flag: Panama

Gross Tonnage: 729 (In Accordance with 1969 system)

Net Tonnage: 324

Deadweight: 1245

Class 1: BV, Class 1Status: Classed

 

Fjord Shipping AS

Gate 1, 6700 Måløy, Norway

 

Tech info: f/20, 10 sec, 5 sec, 2.5 sec, ISO 100, 24 mm.

  

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Ursa Beach in Sintra's coastline.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40

- BigStopper

- 0.9 GND SE

 

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

Cais do Sodré, Lisboa, Portugal.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @35mm

- Lee 0.9 GND HE

 

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2014

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Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @24mm

- Lee 0.9 GND SE

- Lee 0.6 GND SE

 

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

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Digital edit on 25 de Abril bridge over Tagus river in Lisbon.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @40mm

- Lee 0.6 GND + BigStopper

 

Follow my work on:

- Flickr: www.flickr.com/fvicentept

- 500px: 500px.com/fvicente

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

Abandoned boat dock

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @19mm

- Lee 0.9 GND HE

- Lee BigStopper

Panoramic view from Castelo de São Jorge of Lisbon city lights at dusk.

  

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @17mm

- Lee 0.6 GND SE

- 6 x vertical shots stiched in PS

  

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

25 de Abril bridge over Tagus river in Lisbon.

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @26mm

- Lee 0.6 GND

 

Follow my work on:

- Flickr: www.flickr.com/fvicentept

- 500px: 500px.com/fvicente

- Facebook: www.facebook.com/FernandoVicentePhoto

 

© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

 

Dusk lights on Parque das Nações, Lisbon.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 24-70 @24mm

- 3 shots merge

 

Follow my work on:

- Flickr: www.flickr.com/fvicentept

- 500px: 500px.com/fvicente

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

 

(Press "L" for larger View). Look like a New Moon but is really call Waxing, to be precise a 10% waxing. Use my 400mm for this shot, on my Canon 7D (a crop sensor camera) the 400mm behave like a 640mm. But no matter what, end up cropping a lot of the image to increase the moon size. That's why most of the time I use my 900mm telescope which is like 1,440mm on my Canon 7D, to fill most of the frame.

(Spanish: Parece una luna Nueva, pero técnicamente es cuarto creciente en un 10%. Use mi 400mm para esta foto, pero me di cuenta que es necesario un 800mm o 1,000mm para obtener un mayor tamaño. Aun con la ventaja del (crop factor) la cual convierte el 400mm en un 640mm, no fue suficiente, ya que tuve que cropear bastante la imagen para obtener un mayor tamaño de la Luna).

Tech Data: Canon 7D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L @ f/11, ISO:100, 1/4 sec, Tripod, 10 second timer, mirror lockup, Edit raw file on Lightroom CC.

Mourisca, Setúbal, Portugal. Tech data: - Canon 5D Mk II - Canon EF 17-40 @21mm - Lee 0.9 GND SE - Lee BigStopper via 500px bit.ly/1a8Ggk9

I used data from 2 different CCD cameras and 2 different telescopes to complete this image of the Rosette Nebula.

 

I captured 10x 5 minute HA frames & 5x5 minute OIII with a QHY23M & 11" Celestron EdgeHD +HyperStar

 

I used SII data from 12/28/13, 3 x20 minutes taken with a AT65EDQ & QHY9M

 

Preprocessed with Deep Sky Stacker .Combined with Nebulosity3. HA data used as Luminance & Green channel. SII as Red & OIII as Blue

 

Ursa Beach in Sintra's coastline.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40

- Lee 0.9 GND

 

Follow my work on:

- Flickr: www.flickr.com/fvicentept

- 500px: 500px.com/fvicente

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

Tech data: Canon EOS 450D, Sigma 17-70, 48mm, F10, 1/8sec, iso100, Hitech 0.9 Soft GND

Ursa Beach in Sintra's coastline.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @17mm

- Lee BigStopper

- Lee 0.9 GND

 

Follow my work on:

- Flickr: www.flickr.com/fvicentept

- 500px: 500px.com/fvicente

- Facebook: www.facebook.com/FernandoVicentePhoto

 

© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

Ursa Beach in Sintra's coastline.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @17mm

- Lee 0.9 GND

 

Follow my work on:

- Flickr: www.flickr.com/fvicentept

- 500px: 500px.com/fvicente

- Facebook: www.facebook.com/FernandoVicentePhoto

 

© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

Cruise sailing off the Lisbon harbour.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @17mm

- Lee 0.9 GND SE

- 2 exposures merge

  

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

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Small castle with a beach view in Estoril.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @34mm

- Lee 0.6 GND SE

New upload of a lith print on ADOX MMC 110 souped in Rollei Vintage

Tech data : 503 CW + 80mm Cfi + ilford pan F 50 + tripod (shooted around f 11 )

Lisbon vessel traffic service control tower on tagus river.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @17mm

- Lee 0.9 GND SE

  

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

Ponta da Piedade (Lagos, PT) lit by this years supermoon.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40

- two exposures merge

 

Follow my work on:

- Flickr: www.flickr.com/fvicentept

- 500px: 500px.com/fvicente

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

Industrial unit in Tagus river near Lisbon.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @20mm

- Lee 0.9 GND SE

This is 16.6 hours of LRGB data I captured from my backyard observatory in Fremont, Michigan, over 2 seasons (2012 and 2013) using my QHY9/AT10 and AT12RC's.

  

The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194) is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy located at a distance of approximately 23 million light-years in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is one of the most famous galaxies in the sky.

The galaxy and its companion (NGC 5195) are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars. The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understanding of galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.

  

Image details

600 min 16 x 600 sec, 8 x 300 sec each RGB bin 1x1

400 min 28 x 600 sec, 24 x 300 sec LUM bin 1x1

Location: DownUnder Observatory, Fremont MI

Date of Shoot 12th,13th,18th and 19th, 26th April 2012, 7th May 2013

Camera: QHY9M monochrome CCD www.astrofactors.com

StarlightXpress Color Filter Wheel

Optics: Astronomy Technologies Astro-Tech 10" and 12" f/8 Ritchey-Chrétien astrograph

Paramount GT-1100S German Equatorial Mount

Image Aquisition software Maxim DL5

Registed, Calibrated and Stacked in CCD Stack

Registered in Registar

Post Processed with Photoshop CS5

  

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Down Under Observatory

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Captured from my backyard observatory in Fremont, Michigan, over 2 seasons (2012 and 2013) using my QHY9/AT10 and AT12RC's for LRGB + H-Alpha data that I have just added to my original LRGB image. www.flickr.com/photos/terryhancock/14214628503/

Total Integration/Exposure 21.1 hours

  

The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194) is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy located at a distance of approximately 23 million light-years in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is one of the most famous galaxies in the sky.

The galaxy and its companion (NGC 5195) are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars. The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understanding of galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.

  

Image details

270 min 18 x 900 sec H-Alpha bin 1x1

600 min 16 x 600 sec, 8 x 300 sec each RGB bin 1x1

400 min 28 x 600 sec, 24 x 300 sec LUM bin 1x1

Location: DownUnder Observatory, Fremont MI

Date of Shoot 12th,13th,18th and 19th, 26th April 2012, 7th May 2013

Camera: QHY9M monochrome CCD www.astrofactors.com

StarlightXpress Color Filter Wheel

Optics: Astronomy Technologies Astro-Tech 10" and 12" f/8 Ritchey-Chrétien astrograph

Paramount GT-1100S German Equatorial Mount

Image Aquisition software Maxim DL5

Registed, Calibrated and Stacked in CCD Stack

Registered in Registar

Post Processed with Photoshop CS5

  

purchase a print

follow me on Facebook

twitter

Down Under Observatory

YouTube

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Another shot from Maori Bay. I like how smooth and creamy the water looks here.

 

View Large On Black

 

Tech data: Canon 40D, Sigma 10-20 @ 10mm, f/11, 5sec, 4-stop GND, 3-stop ND, single exposure

Ursa Beach in Sintra's coastline.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40

- 3 exposure merge

 

Follow my work on:

- Flickr: www.flickr.com/fvicentept

- 500px: 500px.com/fvicente

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

(Press "L" for larger View). This time got my telescope and with the camera adapter is like turning it into a super telephoto lens. Also my crop sensor camera make my 900 mm telescope like a 1,440 mm telephoto. Just crop a little and kept most of the camera resolution. Was able to resolve a 6 miles crater (Posidonious B).

(Spanish:Esta vez utilice mi telescopio adaptado a la cámara, es como convertirlo en un Super telephoto. Y como no use una cámara "full frame", mi alcance fue de 1,400 mm. No tuve que cropear tanto la imagen y no perdí la resolución de la cámara, logrando notar un crater de 6 millas de diámetro).

Tech Data: Canon 7D, Celestron Firstscope 80EQ 900mm f/11 Refractor Telescope, ISO:400, 1/125, Equatorial Mount with wooden Tripod, 10 second timer, mirror lockup, Edit raw file on Lightroom CC.

Note: Didn't change the color generated by the camera.

Tech data: Canon EOS 450D, Canon 70-200 L, 176mm, F10, 1/10sec, iso100

Pulo do Lobo, Mertola - Portugal

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @17mm

- CPL

- Lee 0.9 GND

- Lee 0.6 GND

 

Follow my work on: Flickr || 500px || Facebook

  

© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

The Graphics Processing Unit of a well known console, this chip is capable of taking crystallized data and breathing life into worlds bounded pretty much only by the imaginations and creativity of programmers and artists, and rendering them for the real world to be interacted with.

 

I love the idea that in photography we try and crystallize and capture the real world. I like that the concept that the GPU is kind of the reverse of the camera.

 

Did want to do some tech shots for MacroMondays this week, didnt really get any I liked.

 

Saddly this console was destined for the bin, having expired, I was suprised to see that the major chips, CPU and GPU have a mirror like finish.

 

In shot is the extremly powerful and versitile GPU with its daughter 10 MB eDRAM catching some light on the PCB.

Throne room at Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, Lisboa - Portugal.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40

- 3 shots merge

 

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© Fernando Miguel Vicente, 2013

   

The weather was very bad very windy and raining hard, I had an umbrella with me, so everything in this set were shot with just one hand. Actually, I had to buy 5 umbrellas in just one day, the strong wind broke them every few hours.

  

This specific image was shot with Canon EOS6D handheld, actually one handed since I had my umbrella on my left hand.

 

The 5DMK2 sensor was one of the worst sensors(read noise wise) in digital camera history, and from that crappy banding machine to the Nikon D800E was a huge leap in terms of IQ, but after that?

 

The sad reality we must face if we are at least a bit honest with ourselves and sensor test data is that basically, image quality of so-called fullframe sensor hasn't improved since about 2012. The tech around it has been in stagnation, not any advancing. But according to the DPR,etc the A7R2 is a real game changer, so great that we should even change our own value and standard for system functionality, ergonomics preferences,etc, to get that specific camera. But in reality, as I said, the image quality of the 42.4 mp sensor is basically the same or identical to the old 36 mp sensor first introduced in the D800 in 2012. In fact, if the base ISO image quality is the most important aspect of a camera to you as DPR forced us to believe, then even the venerable D800 would still beat the A7R2. The A6300 is basically a bit more glorified, refined version of the NEX7 from the 2012, nothing more than that, but those so-called reviewers just intentionally dramatize, grandiose the minor difference in the feature set of these 2 APS-C cameras, to call the A6300 a true game changer......before it they did the same to the A6000, which was actually a dumbed-down version of the NEX7.

The OM-D EM5MK2 is the same exactly the same as the ancient EM5 IQ wise and so on. No format is actually getting better in terms of sheer image quality and basic functionality.

  

So are those so-called pro reviewers the worst kind of perpetuators in camera world?

 

1, we have to define what is pro camera for most ? But is there really such a thing as pro camera?

I remember Marissa Mayer of Yahoo,who introduced the current style of Flick two years ago once said: "there is no such thing as professional photographer."

 

I don't actually agree with her, but the opinion out there that shared by many influential, powerful people like her and others can be very influential and strongly affect or even change the courses of thinking or opinion making process of many people. In the photography world, the CEO of the company that owns Flickr is a person whose opinions really have that kind of power, whose opinions can influence many many people, as I said that can or may change opinions of many many people. So we like her opinion or not, it is very very strongly influential.

 

There was the always interesting anecdote from one of those few former CEO's of Phase One, I did not know if it was true or not, though : once we asked Phase people who actually were buying their real high-end cameras? Phase answered was shocking to some,"CEO's of small companies and Dentists." Not so-called "professionals" are usual their customers, but more well heeled guys. I found it extremely interesting, but it may be true. When I asked a few of our main pro customers who mostly shoot architectures about their opinions on the above Phase anecdote, they replied to us,"well, it may be true,we sometimes used Phase One Backs but we never bought them but just rented their amazing products when we actually needed that kind of resolution,we do not consider ourselves professionals, though."

Very interesting, indeed.

 

I'd be willing to bet serious money that an overwhelming majority of A7R2, D810s and 5Ds camera users are just well heeled guys or girls, not shooting anything their "main" income-generating works. I'd put money somewhere around the 80% to 85% of those high end FF users are amatures or part time pros, or just geeks like us.

 

"Professional" (like "prosumer" or "enthusiast") is a marketing word, anyway. When someone from Nikon or Canon or any major camera company tells you that the new D5XS mark 4 is a true "professional" camera, they aren't saying anything meaningful about the camera itself. They're making an advertising pitch to your ego or pride.

Since, right now, most actually "professional" using camera in the Nikon lineup might be the cheap but excellent D5500. Or may even be the refubished D3300? But its AF is primitive! It's plastic! It's not weather sealed! Who cares: the D3300's most "professional" feature is the tiny investment for the amazing IQ it stacks against any profit. Real professionals are stingy people and care about money spent on camera gear much more seriously than well heeled amatures or part time professionals. The D3300 is better than the D300s from 2009 in almost every way,and some even consider it a better camera than the D700 and there are very few clients who wouldn't be thrilled by what comes out of a D700 shot with skill and vision. So in terms of sheer IQ, the D5500 can be considered as a pro camera.

I have many PRO customers shooting a EOS70D or a Nikon D5500 or a D7200 and many of them use a D3300 as a back-up. Not all pros or serious amatures need super fast AF or 4k video, and I think if they need serious 4k, they buy a dedicated 4k pro camera that can record much longer than 29 minutes

a session anyway. It is actually cheaper than buying a half-baked 4k camera like the A7R2 or the GH4 in the long run.

So who needs commercial reviewers brainwashing us what they actually want to sell is the best camera or the actual best selling camera ?

 

2, some die-hard D-SLR loving reviewers always describe the A7X menu system as "inane" or confusing, but which camera has more organized menu system?

I've never understood anyone's criticism of camera menu systems. Because every camera's menu is the same, not exactly the same but identically disorganized. They're categorized lists with nested options. None of them are truly optimized for speed, they all bury (different) critical options, they all require a little practice to build familiarity.

That's why they love Canon or Nikon menu system better, and they do get confused just being more familiar to them with better for all. But I personally prefer the A7X menu better since it is more customizable, and actually I am more used to it than anything else now.

Controlling a camera with a menu is a stupid concept. It was a lazy, terrible idea in 1993 and it remains quite silly and terrible in 2015.

Many many many so-called reviewers are really really confused and forcing us to share the really silly "one menu system is more intuitive than the others" kinda concept.

But again, what they actually saying is they are more used to the one system than the other systems' menu lay-out or just they are too obtuse to understand anything a bit different than what they are used to using.

I guess most of so-called reviewers do not know cameras they think they are testing enough to test it and publish rushed-out reviews, so they never understand how to set up the Sony A7X or even how to shoot it well. If they do understand it, then they should know it is quite customizable and it is less menu-driven than the Canon 5DS or the Nikon D810.

The A7X has 4 dials and you can actually change shutter speed, F number, EV value and ISO without diving into the menu.If they have to dive into the deep menu system all the time, then they do not understand how to set it up or customize the buttons ans the dials of the Sony, and without even understand it properly they rush to pan the menu system hard.

So what do you expect from so-called reviews?

 

3,SONY SONY SONY!!! why are they worshiping for the Sony,especially for the A7R2 and the A7S2 all the time and keep releasing so-called hands-on or reviews every other day ?

 

Well be realistic! Most of die-hard high end Nikon or Canon boys and girls are fanatics and difficult to influence or change; as camera sales swirl down the toilet bowl, so does any review site's readership. Writing about or recommending two-year-old cameras or very old fashioned, 1950th minded big conventional cameras that many of their readers already own doesn't sell anything from their affiliates website. It's that simple.

When did you actually read any review of any camera last time? a decade ago?

Have you ever expected any so-called review pan or even mildly criticize any camera?

Do you actually trust any so-called review? I think all your answer should be no to all the 3 questions above.

They never criticize as I said, even completely lazy, behind-the-curve products like the Fuji X-M1(only 16mp dated sensor), the Canon 7D(remember that terrible banding machine?), the Sony A58 (worst ergonomics in camera world)and the Nikon D3200(truly just announced to be already dated kind of junk) all got decent scores. No so-called reviewers actually pan anything they review, and definitely never say "we hated this product X or Y", or anything like that because their affiliate will stop feeding them if they actually do that.

Meanwhile, actual users of cameras, hate various cameras and lenses all the time. Well, they can't all be unreasonable,obtuse cranks. Then why the views or opinions of real camera users and so-called reviewers are so dramatically different?

Well it is easy all review sites are affiliated with several big online camera sellers, such as Amazon, Adorama, B&H,etc in the USA, Digital Rev, Rakuten, Amazon,etc in Asia. So they cannot do real test such as using cameras in a humid Thailand jungle or testing it in an Icelandic mountain, or anything like that.

They do not even test cameras with Capture One since Adobe is a big sponsor of those junk camera review sites, but most of us who tether cameras or shoot studio portrait prefer Capture One pro to the cranky slow unreliable LR for tethering work.

Well after all, those commercial reviewers never buy any camera with their own money, so they do not get up-set or irritated even if a camera they are reviewing now is a real crap.

We real camera users, on the other hand, actually spend our own money to buy our cameras, so we always complain if they are craps, of course.

  

4, all so-called reviewers usually love the latest and greatest like the Sony A7R2 or theA7S2 or something very gadgetry like the Panasonic GH4 or the Samsung NX1, but none of them actually like Leica or Phase,why?

Well easy, they do not sell well, I mean how many more Leicas will sell if those reviews seriously recommend Leica in their silly so-called reviews? None, since we who like Leica cameras already know why we do love their cameras and we do not need any moron in disguise of a pro(oh well)reviewer to tell us about how good or amazing it is.

As for Phase, it is not their area, they do not understand that kind of real high quality products anyway, what kind of high end commercial photographers whose main cameras are some sort of Phase One or even Mamiya will be interested in moronic reviews' opinion on Phase cameras ? No one. Can those so-called reviewers from commercial sites possibly some how change opinion of the actual Phase users? never.

Well, so-called reviewers are professionals but not photographic pros, they are marketing pros whose main interest is cheating manipulating naive new camera buyers.

All so-called reviews are just poorly designed marketing materials and nothing else, so they just recommend something they can sell with high-margin.

Then, why are almost all so-called pro reviewers recommending Sony, pushing Sony A7R2 so hard to any one reading them now?

Well it is very simple, because it is what their affiliate want to sell and easier to sell because of the user base of that camera is not very narrow-minded like the core user base of the D810 or the 5DS. The potential high-end Sony owners the only kind of high-end camera users that may be willing to listen to so-called reviewers, thus the reviewers think they may be able to manipulate them into buying more of their affiliate pushing products. So they naturally focus on these Sony high-end, high-margin products.

  

And anyway: why shouldn't a high-end camera from 2015 outperform a high-end camera from 2012 ? It should.

But the sad reality is that the latest gear does not outperform the 2012 camera.

The actual(in practical sense )performance is the same or almost identical, no dramatic improvement has made in the sensor design since 2012(the D800E). The D810 is better than the D800E only at the very base ISO albeit the slower exposure time due to the ISO64 vs the SIO100 base sensitivity difference . The A7R2 is only better than the D800E in video department and at very high ISO for a lot more money.

But commercial review sites cannot say it honestly, how can they? if they say it then they cannot sell anything new any more.

 

I just used the Sony A7R2 and the D810 as typical example cases for the kind of products so-called review sites want to hard push to the naive readers, but I know they are actually quite fantastic products, just not as amazing or dramatic game-changers as those silly commercial camera review sites try to make them out to be. But they are good indeed.

 

Do not just listen to the hype too much that just obviously follows the money.

  

Update : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

 

Maybe Sony will be the final loser, not Nikon or Canon?

 

UPDATE 2: today Nikon announced some serious VR related issue with the D5 and the D500. I am not very sure what the real issue is here, their manual is really inanely written and hard for most of people to understand it. Me? I will wait what Thom says on this issue, it is much easier to read his article than annoyingly tedious Nikon manual.

But some Nikon technicians at Nikon Fukuoka warn me not use the VR in all lenses at super high ISO settings due to possible horizontal banding caused by the combination of high ISO plus the VR, I read this issue and many many people actually wondering what this issue really is and how serious it is.

I think Nikon really has some serious problem(probably internal power games in management) and all the current board members of Nikon corp should be replaced. The current president Kimura is terrible and running down the company to the worst possible, he has wasted about 40 percent of its total revenue money for nothing but silly one inch sensor compact business.

 

UPDATE3: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

  

Outfall near Barmston.

12% grey-card used through filter, only slight blue-cast, corrected and

Processed in Lightroom 2

 

Hi-Tech 10-stop nd

Exif data

Exposure 30

Aperture f/13.0

Focal Length 24 mm

ISO Speed 100

冬新年快来了,在新的一年里你有什么愿望

  

The sad reality we must face if we are at least a bit honest with ourselves and sensor test data is that basically, image quality of so-called fullframe sensor hasn't improved since about 2012. The tech around it has been in stagnation, not any advancing. But according to the DPR,etc the A7R2 is a real game changer, so great that we should even change our own value and standard for system functionality, ergonomics preferences,etc, to get that specific camera. But in reality, as I said, the image quality of the 42.4 mp sensor is basically the same or identical to the old 36 mp sensor first introduced in the D800 in 2012. In fact, if the base ISO image quality is the most important aspect of a camera to you as DPR forced us to believe, then even the venerable D800 would still beat the A7R2. The A6300 is basically a bit more glorified, refined version of the NEX7 from the 2012, nothing more than that, but those so-called reviewers just intentionally dramatize, grandiose the minor difference in the feature set of these 2 APS-C cameras, to call the A6300 a true game changer......before it they did the same to the A6000, which was actually a dumbed-down version of the NEX7.

The OM-D EM5MK2 is the same exactly the same as the ancient EM5 IQ wise and so on. No format is actually getting better in terms of sheer image quality and basic functionality.

  

So will Nikon/Canon/Sony still be around in 2020?

I think Canon may survive but Nikon will not be around in this business by 2020(I do not mean it will go bankrupt). They are severely criticized for their slow adaptation of new techs. In Hokkaido, I met many many people still shooting D-SLRs and they were rude and blindedly believing in the ancient semi-analogue 1950th tech of their Canon Nikon cameras the absolute best, it was like a bad religion. But even in D-SLR land, there are not many guys still shooting Nikons any more, I think 8 out of 10 people still using DSLRs today shooting Canon, and they seem to ratiocinating their choice to the better lens selection of Canon, the better support and QC of Canon and Nikon's long neglecting of a proper D300s update. Actually, I was kind of able to relate to some of them if I still had some Nikon glass, I was waiting for a D700 successor in addition to my D810 for a long time, but I got tired of it and moved to Sony.

Now, they can get the D500 but many of them told me it was just too late, they've already bought a couple of EOS7DM2 with more than 10k worth of EF glass.

And Nikon is very very slow adapting to new tech and sudden market changes or environmental changes surrounding this unceasingly contracting stills camera market. How many years did they actually need to produce actual 4k capable consumer grade cameras in the D500 and the D5? How many years did they need to actually make their very first FF camera in the D3?

 

So is Nikon sinking or doing just fine?

The camera companies(especially Nikon) do need to listen to our iPhone generation photographers.

By carefully studying our young gen customers' shooting behaviors I find they do almost never use the OVF when they try out one of our displayed D-SLRs.

They cellphone generation boys always just hold cameras we display at our shops in front of their face with arms stretched out to see the LCD, never looking into the EVF or OVF when they try out any camera we display at our shops.

This means to them DSLR AF feels extremely slow, they always pan the DSLRs as slower than their smartphones in AF. We older people around 30 or older know if they shoot through the VF, the D-SLRs are actually still faster than most of mirrorless cameras out there(at least in C AF mode), maybe the Panasonic GH4, the GX8, maybe also the new GX85 and some latest gen Olympus being rare exceptions. But the young boys/girls almost never shoot through the VF unless they are already pretty well experienced or educated in this very odd hobby or art.

So after trying out a Canon or a Nikon FF D-SLR for about 10 minutes, many of our lovely young customers tell us,"we just gave up on DSLR AF already, it is too slow, just so annoying and we do not have time waiting for it to AF on what we want it to focus on,they are useless ".

 

Well, while I think they have no patience and the problem is obviously themselves not the camera, honestly, even if I were not a mirrorless shooter, I would still likely think very similarly about the D-SLRs and the dated tunnel view OVF since I have been quite used to using LCD and EVF devices since about I was 18y/o. So I definitely have no hard feeling on the EVF and the LCD LV shooting like many of my aged people have on the Sony or Fuji EVF cameras. I actually much prefer the current generation EVF and LCD to any of the current best tunnel view OVF from Canon or Nikon. I think even the 1DXMk2 OVF is not as good as the best EVF on the XT1 or the A7R2 for precise manual focus.

I think camera makers are too narrow-minded and conservative or stupid to ignore those kind of younger after digital era or iPhone gen people, but they should focus on them and they even need to educate them how to use cameras properly.

Many many those who claim themselves pro reviewers think the OVF cameras are faster in AF than the EVF cameras and they still always recommend the DSLRs for action shooters.

But I know many of our customers who are younger than me never use the VF when they try any camera out at our shops, and therefore, they think the DSLRs are actually much slower in AF even in C(action tracking mode), and they are right, the D-SLRs are super slow and unreliable in LV mode. The D-SLRs(especially Nikons) are slow, I mean super slow to the point I consider it is useless in LV mode. In fact, the only 2 D-SLRs I know of to have fast LV AF are the EOS80D and the EOS7DMK2, which I've panned a few times for the poor quality sensor with the terrible conversion noise issue. All the Nikon FX D-SLRs that have a superb sensor with clean base ISO performance have terribly slow, almost useless LV AF, which has never got better since the D7000 era.

Now, we have realized many of our customers telling us something like below after using any of our displayed DSLRs at our shops.

"Well, I still have and enjoy a DSLR, but I think that as a category, "DSLR Auto-focus" is overrated. Can you really put the Canon SL1 in the same boat as the Nikon D4s and generalize that the category is always the best? Why do you guys always compare the best D-SLR AF in the D5 or the 1DX2 vs the average class AF system of the mirrorless type cameras? It is simply wrong". I agree, many many reviewers and camera sales persons compare the D5 or the 1DX2 vs the cheap mirrorless AF performance to pan or even bash the cheap mirrorless as slow or not capable of tracking action. It is not fair.

There are all kinds of problems with the general-comparison-discussion I see on the net.

First: very few people have deep experience with many different systems, so their comparison is actually "camera I have two years, with 50,000 frames of field experience shooting" (DSLR) vs. "camera I tried once in a local camera shop and didn't really understand in the two minutes I held it" (Mirrorless X).

Second: people obnoxiously mix categories to serve their argument. So we see comparisons of the very latest or flagship DLSR bodies (D5, 1Dx2,D810, D750,etc) vs. the very cheapest mirrorless cameras (Fuji X-T10, Sony A6000, Panasonic GX85,etc). When the $500 mirrorless camera can't topple the $6000 pro FX DSLR, mirrorless technology is proclaimed generally insufficient as a category. Scott Kelby and his Canon-schilling cabal favor this approach. Someone asks him if he sees mirrorless as a viable alternative and he starts explaining all the ways an Olympus OM-D E-M10M2 won't get him the decisive shot on an NFL sideline. Um . . . yeah. How honest, sincere ? Why not compare your Canon to the best mirrorless the Sony A6300 or the Panasonic GH4 or the Fuji X-Pro2(in terms of AF)?

Third: people skip camera generations to serve their point. They compare the newest DSLRs ($1700 D750 from 2015) with much older mirrorless technology ($450 Olympus E-M5 from 2012) and, again, when the five-year-old mirrorless camera (that costs 1/4 as much) can't best the year-old DSLR in every possible test, mirrorless as a wholesale category fails. Some of so-called reviewers intentionally compare the D750 to the ORIGINAL A7R with the lamest AF tech to bash the entire Sony system as slow or useless fail in AF department. Why not compare the D750 to the A7M2 or even better to A6300 if you want to be taken seriously?

But we all real A7X shooters know that only the original A7R had slow(but accurate) AF and even that worst AF in the A7X camera history was decent enough for many of us. At least for me it was good enough, and actually I even say the worst AF in the A7X system- the A7R AF system was more accurate than any of the best D-SLRs I have used in my life, therefore, the A7R is better than any DSLRs even in AF department(at least for me). They-DSLR guys should realize not all of us shoot BIF or boring sports, in fact many of us have no interest in sports at all.

Honestly, It'd be easy to reverse these goofy arguments to "justify" an opposing conclusion. Compare an A6300 with a Nikon D3300, and conclude that DSLR autofocus categorically sucks. Voila, right? I guess now you get my point,right?

 

But the D-SLR guys always do this anyway to keep stereotyping all different AF systems and EVF systems of all different brand mirroless systems as though they were all made to be the same lousy.

What we really need to see is tier-to-tier, generation-to-generation comparisons, conducted by photographers who're just curious--folks who aren't interested in jamming a point down the industry's throat. And they must be neutral persons not old farts who have crazy long history of shooting film and SLR type gear with the super analogue tunnel view finder.

My sense, there is that you'd see pretty much even give-and-take in those comparisons. Pit a Sony A6300 against a Nikon D500, and I imagine you'd see that the Sony would win a few of the contests (accuracy / consistency, for sure, given that it uses the focal plane) and the Nikon would win a few (predictive, continuous acquisition speed). Neither victory would be decisive--it'd be give-and-take of a few points, either way,don't you think? And even if the A6300 is a lot worse than the Nikon D500, it is still 1k cheaper than the unreasonably oversized Nikon.

Pit a Fuji X-Pro2 against a Nikon D7200 and the X-P2 is going to come away with some AF victories. So will the D7200. Stack an A7R II up next to a D810 and you'd see the same thing. Neither camera will win all the tests for every subject. They'll be competitive, and some shooters(me included) will favor the mirrorless strengths. There's nothing strange about that. I personally cannot accept the size(not the weight) of the D810 and the inaccurate focus system of it. The AF fine tune thing was really annoying and almost never worked well in real use.

And as we start comparing the LV AF of the 2 different camera types, then the latest mirrorless system(even the cheapest one) is vastly better. In fact, even the current best D-SLRs such as the Nikon D810, the D750 and the Canon 5DS cannot touch the slowest LV AF of the OM-D E-M5 from 2012, let alone the cheapest m43 or Sony A7X of today.

 

As I said a couple of months ago, I really really wanted to buy a new camera system because my 5 A7X cameras died in rain in the last December, and I have been testing many many camera systems that I might buy into. Like many of my young customers, I quickly lost interest in any of the best D-SLR options from Nikon and Pentax as I tested their terribly slow LV AF compared to my ancient Sony NEX5n(not even A6000 that I also owned at the time and now replaced by the A6300).

Honestly, none of current the best DSLRs can keep up with even an ancient primitive mirrorless camera like my 6 year-old NEX5n in LV AF mode shooting down slowly moving people from over my head height. It is just simply embarrassing, how bad the current DSLRs are in terms of LV/video AF. And it is really deplorable to see how conservative Canon Nikon really are, maybe not just conservative but arrogant, not to listen to the young gen photogs?

The D7000,which I shot in 2010-2011 had the same LV AF speed and accuracy as the D750, the D7200 and the D810(which I had in 2014-2015). It is seriously embarrassing that Nikon has not made any progress in LV AF speed in the last 6 years. The D750, the D7200 are the same slow as the ancient D7000 that I owned in 2010-11.

I think as Canon has dual pixel AF tech and already using that in their latest APS-C D-SLRs, they may be able to make the LV AF of their next gen cameras as fast as that of the last gen mirrorless from Sony, Fuji and Panasonic. Hopefully, they will improve their fullframe DSLR LV AF dramatically in the next gen 5D4 and 6D2. But I think Nikon really needs to take this issue seriously to rectify their Dxxx line of D-SLR into more modern hybrid camera system( if they do not want to go serious FX mirrorless route to compete against Sony and Leica/Panasonic).

As I said many times, the iPhone gen people simply ignore cameras having slow AF in LV mode. I emphasize this again " they always shoot it with the LCD monitor, not with the EVF or the OVF when they try any of our displayed cameras at our shops".

Most of boys and girls coming from their smartphones or tablets or even from point and shoot cameras rarely use the OVF and thus, they think the D-SLRs are slower in AF and video mode than anything else including their cheap $99 US Casio. I know it is not the best way to shoot moving things, but like or not they do it anyway, they do use the monitor not the OVF, period. This means Nikon has to up their game in this specific area or they will be ignored to be an irrelevant player. Personally,I shoot most of stills images with the EVF, but there are times I need to shoot or prefer to shoot with the LCD monitor of my A7X camera. When I shoot video, I do not use the EVF because I always use a tripod or stabilizer for video but I sometimes wish if I could shoot handheld snap like easy video with AF. So even some middle aged person like me find the real fast LV AF very important these days. And I am actually thinking I am and our generation might be the last people who actually use any type of VF on any camera.

 

Update : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

 

Maybe Sony will be the final loser, not Nikon or Canon?

 

UPDATE 2: today Nikon announced some serious VR related issue with the D5 and the D500. I am not very sure what the real issue is here, their manual is really inanely written and hard for most of people to understand it. Me? I will wait what Thom says on this issue, it is much easier to read his article than annoyingly tedious Nikon manual.

But some Nikon technicians at Nikon Fukuoka warn me not use the VR in all lenses at super high ISO settings due to possible horizontal banding caused by the combination of high ISO plus the VR, I read this issue and many many people actually wondering what this issue really is and how serious it is.

I think Nikon really has some serious problem(probably internal power games in management) and all the current board members of Nikon corp should be replaced. The current president Kimura is terrible and running down the company to the worst possible, he has wasted about 40 percent of its total revenue money for nothing but silly one inch sensor compact business.

   

After destroying the Centuri base, Cathlyn ,ade her way back to one of the Nova League hide outs. Mostly small storehouses or shady taverns, these locations were used for almost anything. Once accepted into the Nova League one was provided with a basic overview of hideouts in several regions. However, most long term members of the league avoided those hotspots, since they were heavily crowded with newcomers and wannabes all the time. Any proficient bounty hunter or assassin knew of the more special spots to hide in. Cathlyn had even set up some of those hide outs herself. For now, she had relocated to one of the most guarded Nova League facilities, a former Terran bunker on a no longer habited jungle world, which could not be found on many maps. This base was very well equipped with high tech computer systems and even a neural uplink system. And that was exactly was Cathlyn needed right now. The neural uplink, developed by brilliant Terran scientists a few decades ago, was a computer system, which allowed the user to connect his mind with the galactic net. Despite its superiority to normal systems, the neural uplink was only frankly used, since one needed a certain gene sequence to even be able to access it. In addition, a neural access implant was required. That alone cost a fortune, not to speak of the genetic modifications, that beings without the natural gene would need. Cathleen however, was in possession of both, the certain gene, in its natural form and a neural implant.

As she sat down on the uplink chair, her mind immediately connected to the system and suddenly her brain was filled with the whole wisdom of the galactic net. She connected her data pad to the system by blinking a few times and started to scann the net for the information she needed. The data she had stolen from the Centuri servers had given her critical information about Jorik Kavas, the next target on her very own, very special list. She now knew, that he was a General in the Centuri forces and that he would play a crucial role in the upcoming war, if he was not assassinated before. What she needed now was his location and an overview over his forces. On a normal system this search would have taken weeks or even month, but with the help of the neural uplink it only took a few minutes. Browsing the net at thought speed really came in handy. Soon, she had found his location and also saw, that he had a whole fleet under his command. Furthermore it seemed, that he was on a target list of the Terran Empire. In fact there was a reward for his corpse, that would have made a few men kill their mothers with joy. Cathleen downloaded the data to her pad and also stored a backup in her neural interface’s hard drive, giving her an in mind overview of the base and ship movements.She deleted the search history and rebooted the system after disconnecting. Even though there was a code of honor, she did not trust anybody, Nova League or not. This was her target and she could not risk to have the man killed before she had the chance to interrogate him. Now there was only one thing left to do. She had to pay the Terran Empire a visit. Surely this assassination would not go unrewarded.

 

_________________________

 

A little free build preparing my upcoming entry for the first galactic challenge of Struggle for Klegon.

I hope you enjoy this first build of the year. I am currently working on a new Uncertain Ways part by the way and it might even be up this week. Stay tuned !

 

Make sure to also have a look at the cinematic shot !

Sunrise in Estoril.

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 70-200 @127mm

- Lee 0.9 GND SE

This specific image was made with Sony A7R

  

The sad reality we must face if we are at least a bit honest with ourselves and sensor test data is that basically, image quality of so-called fullframe sensor hasn't improved since about 2012. The tech around it has been in stagnation, not any advancing. But according to the DPR,etc the A7R2 is a real game changer, so great that we should even change our own value and standard for system functionality, ergonomics preferences,etc, to get that specific camera. But in reality, as I said, the image quality of the 42.4 mp sensor is basically the same or identical to the old 36 mp sensor first introduced in the D800 in 2012. In fact, if the base ISO image quality is the most important aspect of a camera to you as DPR forced us to believe, then even the venerable D800 would still beat the A7R2. The A6300 is basically a bit more glorified, refined version of the NEX7 from the 2012, nothing more than that, but those so-called reviewers just intentionally dramatize, grandiose the minor difference in the feature set of these 2 APS-C cameras, to call the A6300 a true game changer......before it they did the same to the A6000, which was actually a dumbed-down version of the NEX7.

The OM-D EM5MK2 is the same exactly the same as the ancient EM5 IQ wise and so on. No format is actually getting better in terms of sheer image quality and basic functionality.

  

So will Nikon/Canon/Sony still be around in 2020?

I think Canon may survive but Nikon will not be around in this business by 2020(I do not mean it will go bankrupt). They are severely criticized for their slow adaptation of new techs. In Hokkaido, I met many many people still shooting D-SLRs and they were rude and blindedly believing in the ancient semi-analogue 1950th tech of their Canon Nikon cameras the absolute best, it was like a bad religion. But even in D-SLR land, there are not many guys still shooting Nikons any more, I think 8 out of 10 people still using DSLRs today shooting Canon, and they seem to ratiocinating their choice to the better lens selection of Canon, the better support and QC of Canon and Nikon's long neglecting of a proper D300s update. Actually, I was kind of able to relate to some of them if I still had some Nikon glass, I was waiting for a D700 successor in addition to my D810 for a long time, but I got tired of it and moved to Sony.

Now, they can get the D500 but many of them told me it was just too late, they've already bought a couple of EOS7DM2 with more than 10k worth of EF glass.

And Nikon is very very slow adapting to new tech and sudden market changes or environmental changes surrounding this unceasingly contracting stills camera market. How many years did they actually need to produce actual 4k capable consumer grade cameras in the D500 and the D5? How many years did they need to actually make their very first FF camera in the D3?

 

So is Nikon sinking or doing just fine?

The camera companies(especially Nikon) do need to listen to our iPhone generation photographers.

By carefully studying our young gen customers' shooting behaviors I find they do almost never use the OVF when they try out one of our displayed D-SLRs.

They cellphone generation boys always just hold cameras we display at our shops in front of their face with arms stretched out to see the LCD, never looking into the EVF or OVF when they try out any camera we display at our shops.

This means to them DSLR AF feels extremely slow, they always pan the DSLRs as slower than their smartphones in AF. We older people around 30 or older know if they shoot through the VF, the D-SLRs are actually still faster than most of mirrorless cameras out there(at least in C AF mode), maybe the Panasonic GH4, the GX8, maybe also the new GX85 and some latest gen Olympus being rare exceptions. But the young boys/girls almost never shoot through the VF unless they are already pretty well experienced or educated in this very odd hobby or art.

So after trying out a Canon or a Nikon FF D-SLR for about 10 minutes, many of our lovely young customers tell us,"we just gave up on DSLR AF already, it is too slow, just so annoying and we do not have time waiting for it to AF on what we want it to focus on,they are useless ".

 

Well, while I think they have no patience and the problem is obviously themselves not the camera, honestly, even if I were not a mirrorless shooter, I would still likely think very similarly about the D-SLRs and the dated tunnel view OVF since I have been quite used to using LCD and EVF devices since about I was 18y/o. So I definitely have no hard feeling on the EVF and the LCD LV shooting like many of my aged people have on the Sony or Fuji EVF cameras. I actually much prefer the current generation EVF and LCD to any of the current best tunnel view OVF from Canon or Nikon. I think even the 1DXMk2 OVF is not as good as the best EVF on the XT1 or the A7R2 for precise manual focus.

I think camera makers are too narrow-minded and conservative or stupid to ignore those kind of younger after digital era or iPhone gen people, but they should focus on them and they even need to educate them how to use cameras properly.

Many many those who claim themselves pro reviewers think the OVF cameras are faster in AF than the EVF cameras and they still always recommend the DSLRs for action shooters.

But I know many of our customers who are younger than me never use the VF when they try any camera out at our shops, and therefore, they think the DSLRs are actually much slower in AF even in C(action tracking mode), and they are right, the D-SLRs are super slow and unreliable in LV mode. The D-SLRs(especially Nikons) are slow, I mean super slow to the point I consider it is useless in LV mode. In fact, the only 2 D-SLRs I know of to have fast LV AF are the EOS80D and the EOS7DMK2, which I've panned a few times for the poor quality sensor with the terrible conversion noise issue. All the Nikon FX D-SLRs that have a superb sensor with clean base ISO performance have terribly slow, almost useless LV AF, which has never got better since the D7000 era.

Now, we have realized many of our customers telling us something like below after using any of our displayed DSLRs at our shops.

"Well, I still have and enjoy a DSLR, but I think that as a category, "DSLR Auto-focus" is overrated. Can you really put the Canon SL1 in the same boat as the Nikon D4s and generalize that the category is always the best? Why do you guys always compare the best D-SLR AF in the D5 or the 1DX2 vs the average class AF system of the mirrorless type cameras? It is simply wrong". I agree, many many reviewers and camera sales persons compare the D5 or the 1DX2 vs the cheap mirrorless AF performance to pan or even bash the cheap mirrorless as slow or not capable of tracking action. It is not fair.

There are all kinds of problems with the general-comparison-discussion I see on the net.

First: very few people have deep experience with many different systems, so their comparison is actually "camera I have two years, with 50,000 frames of field experience shooting" (DSLR) vs. "camera I tried once in a local camera shop and didn't really understand in the two minutes I held it" (Mirrorless X).

Second: people obnoxiously mix categories to serve their argument. So we see comparisons of the very latest or flagship DLSR bodies (D5, 1Dx2,D810, D750,etc) vs. the very cheapest mirrorless cameras (Fuji X-T10, Sony A6000, Panasonic GX85,etc). When the $500 mirrorless camera can't topple the $6000 pro FX DSLR, mirrorless technology is proclaimed generally insufficient as a category. Scott Kelby and his Canon-schilling cabal favor this approach. Someone asks him if he sees mirrorless as a viable alternative and he starts explaining all the ways an Olympus OM-D E-M10M2 won't get him the decisive shot on an NFL sideline. Um . . . yeah. How honest, sincere ? Why not compare your Canon to the best mirrorless the Sony A6300 or the Panasonic GH4 or the Fuji X-Pro2(in terms of AF)?

Third: people skip camera generations to serve their point. They compare the newest DSLRs ($1700 D750 from 2015) with much older mirrorless technology ($450 Olympus E-M5 from 2012) and, again, when the five-year-old mirrorless camera (that costs 1/4 as much) can't best the year-old DSLR in every possible test, mirrorless as a wholesale category fails. Some of so-called reviewers intentionally compare the D750 to the ORIGINAL A7R with the lamest AF tech to bash the entire Sony system as slow or useless fail in AF department. Why not compare the D750 to the A7M2 or even better to A6300 if you want to be taken seriously?

But we all real A7X shooters know that only the original A7R had slow(but accurate) AF and even that worst AF in the A7X camera history was decent enough for many of us. At least for me it was good enough, and actually I even say the worst AF in the A7X system- the A7R AF system was more accurate than any of the best D-SLRs I have used in my life, therefore, the A7R is better than any DSLRs even in AF department(at least for me). They-DSLR guys should realize not all of us shoot BIF or boring sports, in fact many of us have no interest in sports at all.

Honestly, It'd be easy to reverse these goofy arguments to "justify" an opposing conclusion. Compare an A6300 with a Nikon D3300, and conclude that DSLR autofocus categorically sucks. Voila, right? I guess now you get my point,right?

 

But the D-SLR guys always do this anyway to keep stereotyping all different AF systems and EVF systems of all different brand mirroless systems as though they were all made to be the same lousy.

What we really need to see is tier-to-tier, generation-to-generation comparisons, conducted by photographers who're just curious--folks who aren't interested in jamming a point down the industry's throat. And they must be neutral persons not old farts who have crazy long history of shooting film and SLR type gear with the super analogue tunnel view finder.

My sense, there is that you'd see pretty much even give-and-take in those comparisons. Pit a Sony A6300 against a Nikon D500, and I imagine you'd see that the Sony would win a few of the contests (accuracy / consistency, for sure, given that it uses the focal plane) and the Nikon would win a few (predictive, continuous acquisition speed). Neither victory would be decisive--it'd be give-and-take of a few points, either way,don't you think? And even if the A6300 is a lot worse than the Nikon D500, it is still 1k cheaper than the unreasonably oversized Nikon.

Pit a Fuji X-Pro2 against a Nikon D7200 and the X-P2 is going to come away with some AF victories. So will the D7200. Stack an A7R II up next to a D810 and you'd see the same thing. Neither camera will win all the tests for every subject. They'll be competitive, and some shooters(me included) will favor the mirrorless strengths. There's nothing strange about that. I personally cannot accept the size(not the weight) of the D810 and the inaccurate focus system of it. The AF fine tune thing was really annoying and almost never worked well in real use.

And as we start comparing the LV AF of the 2 different camera types, then the latest mirrorless system(even the cheapest one) is vastly better. In fact, even the current best D-SLRs such as the Nikon D810, the D750 and the Canon 5DS cannot touch the slowest LV AF of the OM-D E-M5 from 2012, let alone the cheapest m43 or Sony A7X of today.

 

As I said a couple of months ago, I really really wanted to buy a new camera system because my 5 A7X cameras died in rain in the last December, and I have been testing many many camera systems that I might buy into. Like many of my young customers, I quickly lost interest in any of the best D-SLR options from Nikon and Pentax as I tested their terribly slow LV AF compared to my ancient Sony NEX5n(not even A6000 that I also owned at the time and now replaced by the A6300).

Honestly, none of current the best DSLRs can keep up with even an ancient primitive mirrorless camera like my 6 year-old NEX5n in LV AF mode shooting down slowly moving people from over my head height. It is just simply embarrassing, how bad the current DSLRs are in terms of LV/video AF. And it is really deplorable to see how conservative Canon Nikon really are, maybe not just conservative but arrogant, not to listen to the young gen photogs?

The D7000,which I shot in 2010-2011 had the same LV AF speed and accuracy as the D750, the D7200 and the D810(which I had in 2014-2015). It is seriously embarrassing that Nikon has not made any progress in LV AF speed in the last 6 years. The D750, the D7200 are the same slow as the ancient D7000 that I owned in 2010-11.

I think as Canon has dual pixel AF tech and already using that in their latest APS-C D-SLRs, they may be able to make the LV AF of their next gen cameras as fast as that of the last gen mirrorless from Sony, Fuji and Panasonic. Hopefully, they will improve their fullframe DSLR LV AF dramatically in the next gen 5D4 and 6D2. But I think Nikon really needs to take this issue seriously to rectify their Dxxx line of D-SLR into more modern hybrid camera system( if they do not want to go serious FX mirrorless route to compete against Sony and Leica/Panasonic).

As I said many times, the iPhone gen people simply ignore cameras having slow AF in LV mode. I emphasize this again " they always shoot it with the LCD monitor, not with the EVF or the OVF when they try any of our displayed cameras at our shops".

Most of boys and girls coming from their smartphones or tablets or even from point and shoot cameras rarely use the OVF and thus, they think the D-SLRs are slower in AF and video mode than anything else including their cheap $99 US Casio. I know it is not the best way to shoot moving things, but like or not they do it anyway, they do use the monitor not the OVF, period. This means Nikon has to up their game in this specific area or they will be ignored to be an irrelevant player. Personally,I shoot most of stills images with the EVF, but there are times I need to shoot or prefer to shoot with the LCD monitor of my A7X camera. When I shoot video, I do not use the EVF because I always use a tripod or stabilizer for video but I sometimes wish if I could shoot handheld snap like easy video with AF. So even some middle aged person like me find the real fast LV AF very important these days. And I am actually thinking I am and our generation might be the last people who actually use any type of VF on any camera.

 

Update : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

 

Maybe Sony will be the final loser, not Nikon or Canon?

 

UPDATE 2: today Nikon announced some serious VR related issue with the D5 and the D500. I am not very sure what the real issue is here, their manual is really inanely written and hard for most of people to understand it. Me? I will wait what Thom says on this issue, it is much easier to read his article than annoyingly tedious Nikon manual.

But some Nikon technicians at Nikon Fukuoka warn me not use the VR in all lenses at super high ISO settings due to possible horizontal banding caused by the combination of high ISO plus the VR, I read this issue and many many people actually wondering what this issue really is and how serious it is.

I think Nikon really has some serious problem(probably internal power games in management) and all the current board members of Nikon corp should be replaced. The current president Kimura is terrible and running down the company to the worst possible, he has wasted about 40 percent of its total revenue money for nothing but silly one inch sensor compact business.

  

UPDATE3: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

     

.

   

This image was shot with my old EOS6D, but if I used my Canon 5DMK2 or 5DMK3, I would not have gotten this one this clean, the shadow noise of the terrible 5DMK2/MK3 sensor mars every image including dark shadow and bright light source in one frame.

  

The 5DMK2 sensor was probably one of the very worst sensors(read noise wise) in digital camera history, and from that crappy banding machine to the Nikon D800E was a huge leap in terms of IQ, but after that?

 

The sad reality we must face if we are at least a bit honest with ourselves and sensor test data is that basically, image quality of so-called fullframe sensor hasn't improved since about 2012. The tech around it has been in stagnation, not any advancing. But according to the DPR,etc the A7R2 is a real game changer, so great that we should even change our own value and standard for system functionality, ergonomics preferences,etc, to get that specific camera. But in reality, as I said, the image quality of the 42.4 mp sensor is basically the same or identical to the old 36 mp sensor first introduced in the D800 in 2012. In fact, if the base ISO image quality is the most important aspect of a camera to you as DPR forced us to believe, then even the venerable D800 would still beat the A7R2. The A6300 is basically a bit more glorified, refined version of the NEX7 from the 2012, nothing more than that, but those so-called reviewers just intentionally dramatize, grandiose the minor difference in the feature set of these 2 APS-C cameras, to call the A6300 a true game changer......before it they did the same to the A6000, which was actually a dumbed-down version of the NEX7.

The OM-D EM5MK2 is the same exactly the same as the ancient EM5 IQ wise and so on. No format is actually getting better in terms of sheer image quality and basic functionality.

  

So are those so-called pro reviewers the worst kind of perpetuators in camera world?

 

1, we have to define what is pro camera for most ? But is there really such a thing as pro camera?

I remember Marissa Mayer of Yahoo,who introduced the current style of Flick two years ago once said: "there is no such thing as professional photographer."

 

I don't actually agree with her, but the opinion out there that shared by many influential, powerful people like her and others can be very influential and strongly affect or even change the courses of thinking or opinion making process of many people. In the photography world, the CEO of the company that owns Flickr is a person whose opinions really have that kind of power, whose opinions can influence many many people, as I said that can or may change opinions of many many people. So we like her opinion or not, it is very very strongly influential.

 

There was the always interesting anecdote from one of those few former CEO's of Phase One, I did not know if it was true or not, though : once we asked Phase people who actually were buying their real high-end cameras? Phase answered was shocking to some,"CEO's of small companies and Dentists." Not so-called "professionals" are usual their customers, but more well heeled guys. I found it extremely interesting, but it may be true. When I asked a few of our main pro customers who mostly shoot architectures about their opinions on the above Phase anecdote, they replied to us,"well, it may be true,we sometimes used Phase One Backs but we never bought them but just rented their amazing products when we actually needed that kind of resolution,we do not consider ourselves professionals, though."

Very interesting, indeed.

 

I'd be willing to bet serious money that an overwhelming majority of A7R2, D810s and 5Ds camera users are just well heeled guys or girls, not shooting anything their "main" income-generating works. I'd put money somewhere around the 80% to 85% of those high end FF users are amatures or part time pros, or just geeks like us.

 

"Professional" (like "prosumer" or "enthusiast") is a marketing word, anyway. When someone from Nikon or Canon or any major camera company tells you that the new D5XS mark 4 is a true "professional" camera, they aren't saying anything meaningful about the camera itself. They're making an advertising pitch to your ego or pride.

Since, right now, most actually "professional" using camera in the Nikon lineup might be the cheap but excellent D5500. Or may even be the refubished D3300? But its AF is primitive! It's plastic! It's not weather sealed! Who cares: the D3300's most "professional" feature is the tiny investment for the amazing IQ it stacks against any profit. Real professionals are stingy people and care about money spent on camera gear much more seriously than well heeled amatures or part time professionals. The D3300 is better than the D300s from 2009 in almost every way,and some even consider it a better camera than the D700 and there are very few clients who wouldn't be thrilled by what comes out of a D700 shot with skill and vision. So in terms of sheer IQ, the D5500 can be considered as a pro camera.

I have many PRO customers shooting a EOS70D or a Nikon D5500 or a D7200 and many of them use a D3300 as a back-up. Not all pros or serious amatures need super fast AF or 4k video, and I think if they need serious 4k, they buy a dedicated 4k pro camera that can record much longer than 29 minutes

a session anyway. It is actually cheaper than buying a half-baked 4k camera like the A7R2 or the GH4 in the long run.

So who needs commercial reviewers brainwashing us what they actually want to sell is the best camera or the actual best selling camera ?

 

2, some die-hard D-SLR loving reviewers always describe the A7X menu system as "inane" or confusing, but which camera has more organized menu system?

I've never understood anyone's criticism of camera menu systems. Because every camera's menu is the same, not exactly the same but identically disorganized. They're categorized lists with nested options. None of them are truly optimized for speed, they all bury (different) critical options, they all require a little practice to build familiarity.

That's why they love Canon or Nikon menu system better, and they do get confused just being more familiar to them with better for all. But I personally prefer the A7X menu better since it is more customizable, and actually I am more used to it than anything else now.

Controlling a camera with a menu is a stupid concept. It was a lazy, terrible idea in 1993 and it remains quite silly and terrible in 2015.

Many many many so-called reviewers are really really confused and forcing us to share the really silly "one menu system is more intuitive than the others" kinda concept.

But again, what they actually saying is they are more used to the one system than the other systems' menu lay-out or just they are too obtuse to understand anything a bit different than what they are used to using.

I guess most of so-called reviewers do not know cameras they think they are testing enough to test it and publish rushed-out reviews, so they never understand how to set up the Sony A7X or even how to shoot it well. If they do understand it, then they should know it is quite customizable and it is less menu-driven than the Canon 5DS or the Nikon D810.

The A7X has 4 dials and you can actually change shutter speed, F number, EV value and ISO without diving into the menu.If they have to dive into the deep menu system all the time, then they do not understand how to set it up or customize the buttons ans the dials of the Sony, and without even understand it properly they rush to pan the menu system hard.

So what do you expect from so-called reviews?

 

3,SONY SONY SONY!!! why are they worshiping for the Sony,especially for the A7R2 and the A7S2 all the time and keep releasing so-called hands-on or reviews every other day ?

 

Well be realistic! Most of die-hard high end Nikon or Canon boys and girls are fanatics and difficult to influence or change; as camera sales swirl down the toilet bowl, so does any review site's readership. Writing about or recommending two-year-old cameras or very old fashioned, 1950th minded big conventional cameras that many of their readers already own doesn't sell anything from their affiliates website. It's that simple.

When did you actually read any review of any camera last time? a decade ago?

Have you ever expected any so-called review pan or even mildly criticize any camera?

Do you actually trust any so-called review? I think all your answer should be no to all the 3 questions above.

They never criticize as I said, even completely lazy, behind-the-curve products like the Fuji X-M1(only 16mp dated sensor), the Canon 7D(remember that terrible banding machine?), the Sony A58 (worst ergonomics in camera world)and the Nikon D3200(truly just announced to be already dated kind of junk) all got decent scores. No so-called reviewers actually pan anything they review, and definitely never say "we hated this product X or Y", or anything like that because their affiliate will stop feeding them if they actually do that.

Meanwhile, actual users of cameras, hate various cameras and lenses all the time. Well, they can't all be unreasonable,obtuse cranks. Then why the views or opinions of real camera users and so-called reviewers are so dramatically different?

Well it is easy all review sites are affiliated with several big online camera sellers, such as Amazon, Adorama, B&H,etc in the USA, Digital Rev, Rakuten, Amazon,etc in Asia. So they cannot do real test such as using cameras in a humid Thailand jungle or testing it in an Icelandic mountain, or anything like that.

They do not even test cameras with Capture One since Adobe is a big sponsor of those junk camera review sites, but most of us who tether cameras or shoot studio portrait prefer Capture One pro to the cranky slow unreliable LR for tethering work.

Well after all, those commercial reviewers never buy any camera with their own money, so they do not get up-set or irritated even if a camera they are reviewing now is a real crap.

We real camera users, on the other hand, actually spend our own money to buy our cameras, so we always complain if they are craps, of course.

  

4, all so-called reviewers usually love the latest and greatest like the Sony A7R2 or theA7S2 or something very gadgetry like the Panasonic GH4 or the Samsung NX1, but none of them actually like Leica or Phase,why?

Well easy, they do not sell well, I mean how many more Leicas will sell if those reviews seriously recommend Leica in their silly so-called reviews? None, since we who like Leica cameras already know why we do love their cameras and we do not need any moron in disguise of a pro(oh well)reviewer to tell us about how good or amazing it is.

As for Phase, it is not their area, they do not understand that kind of real high quality products anyway, what kind of high end commercial photographers whose main cameras are some sort of Phase One or even Mamiya will be interested in moronic reviews' opinion on Phase cameras ? No one. Can those so-called reviewers from commercial sites possibly some how change opinion of the actual Phase users? never.

Well, so-called reviewers are professionals but not photographic pros, they are marketing pros whose main interest is cheating manipulating naive new camera buyers.

All so-called reviews are just poorly designed marketing materials and nothing else, so they just recommend something they can sell with high-margin.

Then, why are almost all so-called pro reviewers recommending Sony, pushing Sony A7R2 so hard to any one reading them now?

Well it is very simple, because it is what their affiliate want to sell and easier to sell because of the user base of that camera is not very narrow-minded like the core user base of the D810 or the 5DS. The potential high-end Sony owners the only kind of high-end camera users that may be willing to listen to so-called reviewers, thus the reviewers think they may be able to manipulate them into buying more of their affiliate pushing products. So they naturally focus on these Sony high-end, high-margin products.

  

And anyway: why shouldn't a high-end camera from 2015 outperform a high-end camera from 2012 ? It should.

But the sad reality is that the latest gear does not outperform the 2012 camera.

The actual(in practical sense )performance is the same or almost identical, no dramatic improvement has made in the sensor design since 2012(the D800E). The D810 is better than the D800E only at the very base ISO albeit the slower exposure time due to the ISO64 vs the SIO100 base sensitivity difference . The A7R2 is only better than the D800E in video department and at very high ISO for a lot more money.

But commercial review sites cannot say it honestly, how can they? if they say it then they cannot sell anything new any more.

 

I just used the Sony A7R2 and the D810 as typical example cases for the kind of products so-called review sites want to hard push to the naive readers, but I know they are actually quite fantastic products, just not as amazing or dramatic game-changers as those silly commercial camera review sites try to make them out to be. But they are good indeed.

 

Do not just listen to the hype too much that just obviously follows the money.

  

Update : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

 

Maybe Sony will be the final loser, not Nikon or Canon?

 

UPDATE 2: today Nikon announced some serious VR related issue with the D5 and the D500. I am not very sure what the real issue is here, their manual is really inanely written and hard for most of people to understand it. Me? I will wait what Thom says on this issue, it is much easier to read his article than annoyingly tedious Nikon manual.

But some Nikon technicians at Nikon Fukuoka warn me not use the VR in all lenses at super high ISO settings due to possible horizontal banding caused by the combination of high ISO plus the VR, I read this issue and many many people actually wondering what this issue really is and how serious it is.

I think Nikon really has some serious problem(probably internal power games in management) and all the current board members of Nikon corp should be replaced. The current president Kimura is terrible and running down the company to the worst possible, he has wasted about 40 percent of its total revenue money for nothing but silly one inch sensor compact business.

 

UPDATE3: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

  

Matera, Basilicata.

During my recent trip to the south of Italy, I had to stop in this incredible place, almost left as it is since many centuries. With lots of luck and struggle, I also managed to capture the last sunset ray painting its golden light just against the tip of the tower bell of the main church.

 

Tech data: Time 7.17PM, 1/125 sec, f/7.1, 28 mm, ISO 200, EV=-1/3, Canon EOS 550D, EF-S18-135IS

 

L'ultimo raggio di sole

Matera, Basilicata.

Durante il viaggio verso la Puglia, una tappa obbligata è la cittadina di Matera, un luogo incredibile, conservatosi così, immutato da secoli.

Sono anche riuscito, con fortuna e fatica, a catturare l'ultimo raggio di sole che dipingeva di sfumature dorate la punta del campanile del duomo.

 

Dati tecnici: Ora 7.17PM, 1/125 sec, f/7.1, 28 mm, ISO 200, EV=-1/3, Canon EOS 550D, EF-S18-135IS

 

I put my tiny actually pocketable NEX5n on a middle sized gorillapod on the side walk and shot it with a cheap remote.

 

If I used my Canon 5DMK2 or 5DMK3, I would not have gotten this one this clean, the shadow noise of the terrible 5DMK2 sensor mars every image including dark shadow.

 

The 5DMK2 sensor was probably one of the very worst sensors(read noise wise) in digital camera history, and from that crappy banding machine to the Nikon D800E was a huge leap in terms of IQ, but after that?

 

The sad reality we must face if we are at least a bit honest with ourselves and sensor test data is that basically, image quality of so-called fullframe sensor hasn't improved since about 2012. The tech around it has been in stagnation, not any advancing. But according to the DPR,etc the A7R2 is a real game changer, so great that we should even change our own value and standard for system functionality, ergonomics preferences,etc, to get that specific camera. But in reality, as I said, the image quality of the 42.4 mp sensor is basically the same or identical to the old 36 mp sensor first introduced in the D800 in 2012. In fact, if the base ISO image quality is the most important aspect of a camera to you as DPR forced us to believe, then even the venerable D800 would still beat the A7R2. The A6300 is basically a bit more glorified, refined version of the NEX7 from the 2012, nothing more than that, but those so-called reviewers just intentionally dramatize, grandiose the minor difference in the feature set of these 2 APS-C cameras, to call the A6300 a true game changer......before it they did the same to the A6000, which was actually a dumbed-down version of the NEX7.

The OM-D EM5MK2 is the same exactly the same as the ancient EM5 IQ wise and so on. No format is actually getting better in terms of sheer image quality and basic functionality.

  

So are those so-called pro reviewers the worst kind of perpetuators in camera world?

 

1, we have to define what is pro camera for most ? But is there really such a thing as pro camera?

I remember Marissa Mayer of Yahoo,who introduced the current style of Flick two years ago once said: "there is no such thing as professional photographer."

 

I don't actually agree with her, but the opinion out there that shared by many influential, powerful people like her and others can be very influential and strongly affect or even change the courses of thinking or opinion making process of many people. In the photography world, the CEO of the company that owns Flickr is a person whose opinions really have that kind of power, whose opinions can influence many many people, as I said that can or may change opinions of many many people. So we like her opinion or not, it is very very strongly influential.

 

There was the always interesting anecdote from one of those few former CEO's of Phase One, I did not know if it was true or not, though : once we asked Phase people who actually were buying their real high-end cameras? Phase answered was shocking to some,"CEO's of small companies and Dentists." Not so-called "professionals" are usual their customers, but more well heeled guys. I found it extremely interesting, but it may be true. When I asked a few of our main pro customers who mostly shoot architectures about their opinions on the above Phase anecdote, they replied to us,"well, it may be true,we sometimes used Phase One Backs but we never bought them but just rented their amazing products when we actually needed that kind of resolution,we do not consider ourselves professionals, though."

Very interesting, indeed.

 

I'd be willing to bet serious money that an overwhelming majority of A7R2, D810s and 5Ds camera users are just well heeled guys or girls, not shooting anything their "main" income-generating works. I'd put money somewhere around the 80% to 85% of those high end FF users are amatures or part time pros, or just geeks like us.

 

"Professional" (like "prosumer" or "enthusiast") is a marketing word, anyway. When someone from Nikon or Canon or any major camera company tells you that the new D5XS mark 4 is a true "professional" camera, they aren't saying anything meaningful about the camera itself. They're making an advertising pitch to your ego or pride.

Since, right now, most actually "professional" using camera in the Nikon lineup might be the cheap but excellent D5500. Or may even be the refubished D3300? But its AF is primitive! It's plastic! It's not weather sealed! Who cares: the D3300's most "professional" feature is the tiny investment for the amazing IQ it stacks against any profit. Real professionals are stingy people and care about money spent on camera gear much more seriously than well heeled amatures or part time professionals. The D3300 is better than the D300s from 2009 in almost every way,and some even consider it a better camera than the D700 and there are very few clients who wouldn't be thrilled by what comes out of a D700 shot with skill and vision. So in terms of sheer IQ, the D5500 can be considered as a pro camera.

I have many PRO customers shooting a EOS70D or a Nikon D5500 or a D7200 and many of them use a D3300 as a back-up. Not all pros or serious amatures need super fast AF or 4k video, and I think if they need serious 4k, they buy a dedicated 4k pro camera that can record much longer than 29 minutes

a session anyway. It is actually cheaper than buying a half-baked 4k camera like the A7R2 or the GH4 in the long run.

So who needs commercial reviewers brainwashing us what they actually want to sell is the best camera or the actual best selling camera ?

 

2, some die-hard D-SLR loving reviewers always describe the A7X menu system as "inane" or confusing, but which camera has more organized menu system?

I've never understood anyone's criticism of camera menu systems. Because every camera's menu is the same, not exactly the same but identically disorganized. They're categorized lists with nested options. None of them are truly optimized for speed, they all bury (different) critical options, they all require a little practice to build familiarity.

That's why they love Canon or Nikon menu system better, and they do get confused just being more familiar to them with better for all. But I personally prefer the A7X menu better since it is more customizable, and actually I am more used to it than anything else now.

Controlling a camera with a menu is a stupid concept. It was a lazy, terrible idea in 1993 and it remains quite silly and terrible in 2015.

Many many many so-called reviewers are really really confused and forcing us to share the really silly "one menu system is more intuitive than the others" kinda concept.

But again, what they actually saying is they are more used to the one system than the other systems' menu lay-out or just they are too obtuse to understand anything a bit different than what they are used to using.

I guess most of so-called reviewers do not know cameras they think they are testing enough to test it and publish rushed-out reviews, so they never understand how to set up the Sony A7X or even how to shoot it well. If they do understand it, then they should know it is quite customizable and it is less menu-driven than the Canon 5DS or the Nikon D810.

The A7X has 4 dials and you can actually change shutter speed, F number, EV value and ISO without diving into the menu.If they have to dive into the deep menu system all the time, then they do not understand how to set it up or customize the buttons ans the dials of the Sony, and without even understand it properly they rush to pan the menu system hard.

So what do you expect from so-called reviews?

 

3,SONY SONY SONY!!! why are they worshiping for the Sony,especially for the A7R2 and the A7S2 all the time and keep releasing so-called hands-on or reviews every other day ?

 

Well be realistic! Most of die-hard high end Nikon or Canon boys and girls are fanatics and difficult to influence or change; as camera sales swirl down the toilet bowl, so does any review site's readership. Writing about or recommending two-year-old cameras or very old fashioned, 1950th minded big conventional cameras that many of their readers already own doesn't sell anything from their affiliates website. It's that simple.

When did you actually read any review of any camera last time? a decade ago?

Have you ever expected any so-called review pan or even mildly criticize any camera?

Do you actually trust any so-called review? I think all your answer should be no to all the 3 questions above.

They never criticize as I said, even completely lazy, behind-the-curve products like the Fuji X-M1(only 16mp dated sensor), the Canon 7D(remember that terrible banding machine?), the Sony A58 (worst ergonomics in camera world)and the Nikon D3200(truly just announced to be already dated kind of junk) all got decent scores. No so-called reviewers actually pan anything they review, and definitely never say "we hated this product X or Y", or anything like that because their affiliate will stop feeding them if they actually do that.

Meanwhile, actual users of cameras, hate various cameras and lenses all the time. Well, they can't all be unreasonable,obtuse cranks. Then why the views or opinions of real camera users and so-called reviewers are so dramatically different?

Well it is easy all review sites are affiliated with several big online camera sellers, such as Amazon, Adorama, B&H,etc in the USA, Digital Rev, Rakuten, Amazon,etc in Asia. So they cannot do real test such as using cameras in a humid Thailand jungle or testing it in an Icelandic mountain, or anything like that.

They do not even test cameras with Capture One since Adobe is a big sponsor of those junk camera review sites, but most of us who tether cameras or shoot studio portrait prefer Capture One pro to the cranky slow unreliable LR for tethering work.

Well after all, those commercial reviewers never buy any camera with their own money, so they do not get up-set or irritated even if a camera they are reviewing now is a real crap.

We real camera users, on the other hand, actually spend our own money to buy our cameras, so we always complain if they are craps, of course.

  

4, all so-called reviewers usually love the latest and greatest like the Sony A7R2 or theA7S2 or something very gadgetry like the Panasonic GH4 or the Samsung NX1, but none of them actually like Leica or Phase,why?

Well easy, they do not sell well, I mean how many more Leicas will sell if those reviews seriously recommend Leica in their silly so-called reviews? None, since we who like Leica cameras already know why we do love their cameras and we do not need any moron in disguise of a pro(oh well)reviewer to tell us about how good or amazing it is.

As for Phase, it is not their area, they do not understand that kind of real high quality products anyway, what kind of high end commercial photographers whose main cameras are some sort of Phase One or even Mamiya will be interested in moronic reviews' opinion on Phase cameras ? No one. Can those so-called reviewers from commercial sites possibly some how change opinion of the actual Phase users? never.

Well, so-called reviewers are professionals but not photographic pros, they are marketing pros whose main interest is cheating manipulating naive new camera buyers.

All so-called reviews are just poorly designed marketing materials and nothing else, so they just recommend something they can sell with high-margin.

Then, why are almost all so-called pro reviewers recommending Sony, pushing Sony A7R2 so hard to any one reading them now?

Well it is very simple, because it is what their affiliate want to sell and easier to sell because of the user base of that camera is not very narrow-minded like the core user base of the D810 or the 5DS. The potential high-end Sony owners the only kind of high-end camera users that may be willing to listen to so-called reviewers, thus the reviewers think they may be able to manipulate them into buying more of their affiliate pushing products. So they naturally focus on these Sony high-end, high-margin products.

  

And anyway: why shouldn't a high-end camera from 2015 outperform a high-end camera from 2012 ? It should.

But the sad reality is that the latest gear does not outperform the 2012 camera.

The actual(in practical sense )performance is the same or almost identical, no dramatic improvement has made in the sensor design since 2012(the D800E). The D810 is better than the D800E only at the very base ISO albeit the slower exposure time due to the ISO64 vs the SIO100 base sensitivity difference . The A7R2 is only better than the D800E in video department and at very high ISO for a lot more money.

But commercial review sites cannot say it honestly, how can they? if they say it then they cannot sell anything new any more.

 

I just used the Sony A7R2 and the D810 as typical example cases for the kind of products so-called review sites want to hard push to the naive readers, but I know they are actually quite fantastic products, just not as amazing or dramatic game-changers as those silly commercial camera review sites try to make them out to be. But they are good indeed.

 

Do not just listen to the hype too much that just obviously follows the money.

  

Update : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

 

Maybe Sony will be the final loser, not Nikon or Canon?

 

UPDATE 2: today Nikon announced some serious VR related issue with the D5 and the D500. I am not very sure what the real issue is here, their manual is really inanely written and hard for most of people to understand it. Me? I will wait what Thom says on this issue, it is much easier to read his article than annoyingly tedious Nikon manual.

But some Nikon technicians at Nikon Fukuoka warn me not use the VR in all lenses at super high ISO settings due to possible horizontal banding caused by the combination of high ISO plus the VR, I read this issue and many many people actually wondering what this issue really is and how serious it is.

I think Nikon really has some serious problem(probably internal power games in management) and all the current board members of Nikon corp should be replaced. The current president Kimura is terrible and running down the company to the worst possible, he has wasted about 40 percent of its total revenue money for nothing but silly one inch sensor compact business.

 

UPDATE3: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

  

This image was shot with 24-120mm f4 VR lens on my old Nikon D800E handheld.

 

I really miss the 1.2X crop mode of my D800E and D800 these days.

  

The 5DMK2 sensor was probably one of the very worst sensors(read noise wise) in digital camera history, and from that crappy banding machine to the Nikon D800E was a huge leap in terms of IQ, but after that?

 

The sad reality we must face if we are at least a bit honest with ourselves and sensor test data is that basically, image quality of so-called fullframe sensor hasn't improved since about 2012. The tech around it has been in stagnation, not any advancing. But according to the DPR,etc the A7R2 is a real game changer, so great that we should even change our own value and standard for system functionality, ergonomics preferences,etc, to get that specific camera. But in reality, as I said, the image quality of the 42.4 mp sensor is basically the same or identical to the old 36 mp sensor first introduced in the D800 in 2012. In fact, if the base ISO image quality is the most important aspect of a camera to you as DPR forced us to believe, then even the venerable D800 would still beat the A7R2. The A6300 is basically a bit more glorified, refined version of the NEX7 from the 2012, nothing more than that, but those so-called reviewers just intentionally dramatize, grandiose the minor difference in the feature set of these 2 APS-C cameras, to call the A6300 a true game changer......before it they did the same to the A6000, which was actually a dumbed-down version of the NEX7.

The OM-D EM5MK2 is the same exactly the same as the ancient EM5 IQ wise and so on. No format is actually getting better in terms of sheer image quality and basic functionality.

  

So are those so-called pro reviewers the worst kind of perpetuators in camera world?

 

1, we have to define what is pro camera for most ? But is there really such a thing as pro camera?

I remember Marissa Mayer of Yahoo,who introduced the current style of Flick two years ago once said: "there is no such thing as professional photographer."

 

I don't actually agree with her, but the opinion out there that shared by many influential, powerful people like her and others can be very influential and strongly affect or even change the courses of thinking or opinion making process of many people. In the photography world, the CEO of the company that owns Flickr is a person whose opinions really have that kind of power, whose opinions can influence many many people, as I said that can or may change opinions of many many people. So we like her opinion or not, it is very very strongly influential.

 

There was the always interesting anecdote from one of those few former CEO's of Phase One, I did not know if it was true or not, though : once we asked Phase people who actually were buying their real high-end cameras? Phase answered was shocking to some,"CEO's of small companies and Dentists." Not so-called "professionals" are usual their customers, but more well heeled guys. I found it extremely interesting, but it may be true. When I asked a few of our main pro customers who mostly shoot architectures about their opinions on the above Phase anecdote, they replied to us,"well, it may be true,we sometimes used Phase One Backs but we never bought them but just rented their amazing products when we actually needed that kind of resolution,we do not consider ourselves professionals, though."

Very interesting, indeed.

 

I'd be willing to bet serious money that an overwhelming majority of A7R2, D810s and 5Ds camera users are just well heeled guys or girls, not shooting anything their "main" income-generating works. I'd put money somewhere around the 80% to 85% of those high end FF users are amatures or part time pros, or just geeks like us.

 

"Professional" (like "prosumer" or "enthusiast") is a marketing word, anyway. When someone from Nikon or Canon or any major camera company tells you that the new D5XS mark 4 is a true "professional" camera, they aren't saying anything meaningful about the camera itself. They're making an advertising pitch to your ego or pride.

Since, right now, most actually "professional" using camera in the Nikon lineup might be the cheap but excellent D5500. Or may even be the refubished D3300? But its AF is primitive! It's plastic! It's not weather sealed! Who cares: the D3300's most "professional" feature is the tiny investment for the amazing IQ it stacks against any profit. Real professionals are stingy people and care about money spent on camera gear much more seriously than well heeled amatures or part time professionals. The D3300 is better than the D300s from 2009 in almost every way,and some even consider it a better camera than the D700 and there are very few clients who wouldn't be thrilled by what comes out of a D700 shot with skill and vision. So in terms of sheer IQ, the D5500 can be considered as a pro camera.

I have many PRO customers shooting a EOS70D or a Nikon D5500 or a D7200 and many of them use a D3300 as a back-up. Not all pros or serious amatures need super fast AF or 4k video, and I think if they need serious 4k, they buy a dedicated 4k pro camera that can record much longer than 29 minutes

a session anyway. It is actually cheaper than buying a half-baked 4k camera like the A7R2 or the GH4 in the long run.

So who needs commercial reviewers brainwashing us what they actually want to sell is the best camera or the actual best selling camera ?

 

2, some die-hard D-SLR loving reviewers always describe the A7X menu system as "inane" or confusing, but which camera has more organized menu system?

I've never understood anyone's criticism of camera menu systems. Because every camera's menu is the same, not exactly the same but identically disorganized. They're categorized lists with nested options. None of them are truly optimized for speed, they all bury (different) critical options, they all require a little practice to build familiarity.

That's why they love Canon or Nikon menu system better, and they do get confused just being more familiar to them with better for all. But I personally prefer the A7X menu better since it is more customizable, and actually I am more used to it than anything else now.

Controlling a camera with a menu is a stupid concept. It was a lazy, terrible idea in 1993 and it remains quite silly and terrible in 2015.

Many many many so-called reviewers are really really confused and forcing us to share the really silly "one menu system is more intuitive than the others" kinda concept.

But again, what they actually saying is they are more used to the one system than the other systems' menu lay-out or just they are too obtuse to understand anything a bit different than what they are used to using.

I guess most of so-called reviewers do not know cameras they think they are testing enough to test it and publish rushed-out reviews, so they never understand how to set up the Sony A7X or even how to shoot it well. If they do understand it, then they should know it is quite customizable and it is less menu-driven than the Canon 5DS or the Nikon D810.

The A7X has 4 dials and you can actually change shutter speed, F number, EV value and ISO without diving into the menu.If they have to dive into the deep menu system all the time, then they do not understand how to set it up or customize the buttons ans the dials of the Sony, and without even understand it properly they rush to pan the menu system hard.

So what do you expect from so-called reviews?

 

3,SONY SONY SONY!!! why are they worshiping for the Sony,especially for the A7R2 and the A7S2 all the time and keep releasing so-called hands-on or reviews every other day ?

 

Well be realistic! Most of die-hard high end Nikon or Canon boys and girls are fanatics and difficult to influence or change; as camera sales swirl down the toilet bowl, so does any review site's readership. Writing about or recommending two-year-old cameras or very old fashioned, 1950th minded big conventional cameras that many of their readers already own doesn't sell anything from their affiliates website. It's that simple.

When did you actually read any review of any camera last time? a decade ago?

Have you ever expected any so-called review pan or even mildly criticize any camera?

Do you actually trust any so-called review? I think all your answer should be no to all the 3 questions above.

They never criticize as I said, even completely lazy, behind-the-curve products like the Fuji X-M1(only 16mp dated sensor), the Canon 7D(remember that terrible banding machine?), the Sony A58 (worst ergonomics in camera world)and the Nikon D3200(truly just announced to be already dated kind of junk) all got decent scores. No so-called reviewers actually pan anything they review, and definitely never say "we hated this product X or Y", or anything like that because their affiliate will stop feeding them if they actually do that.

Meanwhile, actual users of cameras, hate various cameras and lenses all the time. Well, they can't all be unreasonable,obtuse cranks. Then why the views or opinions of real camera users and so-called reviewers are so dramatically different?

Well it is easy all review sites are affiliated with several big online camera sellers, such as Amazon, Adorama, B&H,etc in the USA, Digital Rev, Rakuten, Amazon,etc in Asia. So they cannot do real test such as using cameras in a humid Thailand jungle or testing it in an Icelandic mountain, or anything like that.

They do not even test cameras with Capture One since Adobe is a big sponsor of those junk camera review sites, but most of us who tether cameras or shoot studio portrait prefer Capture One pro to the cranky slow unreliable LR for tethering work.

Well after all, those commercial reviewers never buy any camera with their own money, so they do not get up-set or irritated even if a camera they are reviewing now is a real crap.

We real camera users, on the other hand, actually spend our own money to buy our cameras, so we always complain if they are craps, of course.

  

4, all so-called reviewers usually love the latest and greatest like the Sony A7R2 or theA7S2 or something very gadgetry like the Panasonic GH4 or the Samsung NX1, but none of them actually like Leica or Phase,why?

Well easy, they do not sell well, I mean how many more Leicas will sell if those reviews seriously recommend Leica in their silly so-called reviews? None, since we who like Leica cameras already know why we do love their cameras and we do not need any moron in disguise of a pro(oh well)reviewer to tell us about how good or amazing it is.

As for Phase, it is not their area, they do not understand that kind of real high quality products anyway, what kind of high end commercial photographers whose main cameras are some sort of Phase One or even Mamiya will be interested in moronic reviews' opinion on Phase cameras ? No one. Can those so-called reviewers from commercial sites possibly some how change opinion of the actual Phase users? never.

Well, so-called reviewers are professionals but not photographic pros, they are marketing pros whose main interest is cheating manipulating naive new camera buyers.

All so-called reviews are just poorly designed marketing materials and nothing else, so they just recommend something they can sell with high-margin.

Then, why are almost all so-called pro reviewers recommending Sony, pushing Sony A7R2 so hard to any one reading them now?

Well it is very simple, because it is what their affiliate want to sell and easier to sell because of the user base of that camera is not very narrow-minded like the core user base of the D810 or the 5DS. The potential high-end Sony owners the only kind of high-end camera users that may be willing to listen to so-called reviewers, thus the reviewers think they may be able to manipulate them into buying more of their affiliate pushing products. So they naturally focus on these Sony high-end, high-margin products.

  

And anyway: why shouldn't a high-end camera from 2015 outperform a high-end camera from 2012 ? It should.

But the sad reality is that the latest gear does not outperform the 2012 camera.

The actual(in practical sense )performance is the same or almost identical, no dramatic improvement has made in the sensor design since 2012(the D800E). The D810 is better than the D800E only at the very base ISO albeit the slower exposure time due to the ISO64 vs the SIO100 base sensitivity difference . The A7R2 is only better than the D800E in video department and at very high ISO for a lot more money.

But commercial review sites cannot say it honestly, how can they? if they say it then they cannot sell anything new any more.

 

I just used the Sony A7R2 and the D810 as typical example cases for the kind of products so-called review sites want to hard push to the naive readers, but I know they are actually quite fantastic products, just not as amazing or dramatic game-changers as those silly commercial camera review sites try to make them out to be. But they are good indeed.

 

Do not just listen to the hype too much that just obviously follows the money.

  

Update : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

 

Maybe Sony will be the final loser, not Nikon or Canon?

 

UPDATE 2: today Nikon announced some serious VR related issue with the D5 and the D500. I am not very sure what the real issue is here, their manual is really inanely written and hard for most of people to understand it. Me? I will wait what Thom says on this issue, it is much easier to read his article than annoyingly tedious Nikon manual.

But some Nikon technicians at Nikon Fukuoka warn me not use the VR in all lenses at super high ISO settings due to possible horizontal banding caused by the combination of high ISO plus the VR, I read this issue and many many people actually wondering what this issue really is and how serious it is.

I think Nikon really has some serious problem(probably internal power games in management) and all the current board members of Nikon corp should be replaced. The current president Kimura is terrible and running down the company to the worst possible, he has wasted about 40 percent of its total revenue money for nothing but silly one inch sensor compact business.

 

UPDATE3: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

  

Dark and beautiful Sapporo Ohdori park

  

The people I met in Hokkaido(especially Abashiri and Asahikawa) were much kinder than the people in my area(Fukuoka), the local people there were much kinder and helpful, also many of them seem to be more relaxed.

I also love the cold and dry air of Hokkaido, I may move to the north island soon.

  

The sad reality we must face if we are at least a bit honest with ourselves and sensor test data is that basically, image quality of so-called fullframe sensor hasn't improved since about 2012. The tech around it has been in stagnation, not any advancing. But according to the DPR,etc the A7R2 is a real game changer, so great that we should even change our own value and standard for system functionality, ergonomics preferences,etc, to get that specific camera. But in reality, as I said, the image quality of the 42.4 mp sensor is basically the same or identical to the old 36 mp sensor first introduced in the D800 in 2012. In fact, if the base ISO image quality is the most important aspect of a camera to you as DPR forced us to believe, then even the venerable D800 would still beat the A7R2. The A6300 is basically a bit more glorified, refined version of the NEX7 from the 2012, nothing more than that, but those so-called reviewers just intentionally dramatize, grandiose the minor difference in the feature set of these 2 APS-C cameras, to call the A6300 a true game changer......before it they did the same to the A6000, which was actually a dumbed-down version of the NEX7.

The OM-D EM5MK2 is the same exactly the same as the ancient EM5 IQ wise and so on. No format is actually getting better in terms of sheer image quality and basic functionality.

  

So will Nikon/Canon/Sony still be around in 2020?

I think Canon may survive but Nikon will not be around in this business by 2020(I do not mean it will go bankrupt). They are severely criticized for their slow adaptation of new techs. In Hokkaido, I met many many people still shooting D-SLRs and they were rude and blindedly believing in the ancient semi-analogue 1950th tech of their Canon Nikon cameras the absolute best, it was like a bad religion. But even in D-SLR land, there are not many guys still shooting Nikons any more, I think 8 out of 10 people still using DSLRs today shooting Canon, and they seem to ratiocinating their choice to the better lens selection of Canon, the better support and QC of Canon and Nikon's long neglecting of a proper D300s update. Actually, I was kind of able to relate to some of them if I still had some Nikon glass, I was waiting for a D700 successor in addition to my D810 for a long time, but I got tired of it and moved to Sony.

Now, they can get the D500 but many of them told me it was just too late, they've already bought a couple of EOS7DM2 with more than 10k worth of EF glass.

And Nikon is very very slow adapting to new tech and sudden market changes or environmental changes surrounding this unceasingly contracting stills camera market. How many years did they actually need to produce actual 4k capable consumer grade cameras in the D500 and the D5? How many years did they need to actually make their very first FF camera in the D3?

 

So is Nikon sinking or doing just fine?

The camera companies(especially Nikon) do need to listen to our iPhone generation photographers.

By carefully studying our young gen customers' shooting behaviors I find they do almost never use the OVF when they try out one of our displayed D-SLRs.

They cellphone generation boys always just hold cameras we display at our shops in front of their face with arms stretched out to see the LCD, never looking into the EVF or OVF when they try out any camera we display at our shops.

This means to them DSLR AF feels extremely slow, they always pan the DSLRs as slower than their smartphones in AF. We older people around 30 or older know if they shoot through the VF, the D-SLRs are actually still faster than most of mirrorless cameras out there(at least in C AF mode), maybe the Panasonic GH4, the GX8, maybe also the new GX85 and some latest gen Olympus being rare exceptions. But the young boys/girls almost never shoot through the VF unless they are already pretty well experienced or educated in this very odd hobby or art.

So after trying out a Canon or a Nikon FF D-SLR for about 10 minutes, many of our lovely young customers tell us,"we just gave up on DSLR AF already, it is too slow, just so annoying and we do not have time waiting for it to AF on what we want it to focus on,they are useless ".

 

Well, while I think they have no patience and the problem is obviously themselves not the camera, honestly, even if I were not a mirrorless shooter, I would still likely think very similarly about the D-SLRs and the dated tunnel view OVF since I have been quite used to using LCD and EVF devices since about I was 18y/o. So I definitely have no hard feeling on the EVF and the LCD LV shooting like many of my aged people have on the Sony or Fuji EVF cameras. I actually much prefer the current generation EVF and LCD to any of the current best tunnel view OVF from Canon or Nikon. I think even the 1DXMk2 OVF is not as good as the best EVF on the XT1 or the A7R2 for precise manual focus.

I think camera makers are too narrow-minded and conservative or stupid to ignore those kind of younger after digital era or iPhone gen people, but they should focus on them and they even need to educate them how to use cameras properly.

Many many those who claim themselves pro reviewers think the OVF cameras are faster in AF than the EVF cameras and they still always recommend the DSLRs for action shooters.

But I know many of our customers who are younger than me never use the VF when they try any camera out at our shops, and therefore, they think the DSLRs are actually much slower in AF even in C(action tracking mode), and they are right, the D-SLRs are super slow and unreliable in LV mode. The D-SLRs(especially Nikons) are slow, I mean super slow to the point I consider it is useless in LV mode. In fact, the only 2 D-SLRs I know of to have fast LV AF are the EOS80D and the EOS7DMK2, which I've panned a few times for the poor quality sensor with the terrible conversion noise issue. All the Nikon FX D-SLRs that have a superb sensor with clean base ISO performance have terribly slow, almost useless LV AF, which has never got better since the D7000 era.

Now, we have realized many of our customers telling us something like below after using any of our displayed DSLRs at our shops.

"Well, I still have and enjoy a DSLR, but I think that as a category, "DSLR Auto-focus" is overrated. Can you really put the Canon SL1 in the same boat as the Nikon D4s and generalize that the category is always the best? Why do you guys always compare the best D-SLR AF in the D5 or the 1DX2 vs the average class AF system of the mirrorless type cameras? It is simply wrong". I agree, many many reviewers and camera sales persons compare the D5 or the 1DX2 vs the cheap mirrorless AF performance to pan or even bash the cheap mirrorless as slow or not capable of tracking action. It is not fair.

There are all kinds of problems with the general-comparison-discussion I see on the net.

First: very few people have deep experience with many different systems, so their comparison is actually "camera I have two years, with 50,000 frames of field experience shooting" (DSLR) vs. "camera I tried once in a local camera shop and didn't really understand in the two minutes I held it" (Mirrorless X).

Second: people obnoxiously mix categories to serve their argument. So we see comparisons of the very latest or flagship DLSR bodies (D5, 1Dx2,D810, D750,etc) vs. the very cheapest mirrorless cameras (Fuji X-T10, Sony A6000, Panasonic GX85,etc). When the $500 mirrorless camera can't topple the $6000 pro FX DSLR, mirrorless technology is proclaimed generally insufficient as a category. Scott Kelby and his Canon-schilling cabal favor this approach. Someone asks him if he sees mirrorless as a viable alternative and he starts explaining all the ways an Olympus OM-D E-M10M2 won't get him the decisive shot on an NFL sideline. Um . . . yeah. How honest, sincere ? Why not compare your Canon to the best mirrorless the Sony A6300 or the Panasonic GH4 or the Fuji X-Pro2(in terms of AF)?

Third: people skip camera generations to serve their point. They compare the newest DSLRs ($1700 D750 from 2015) with much older mirrorless technology ($450 Olympus E-M5 from 2012) and, again, when the five-year-old mirrorless camera (that costs 1/4 as much) can't best the year-old DSLR in every possible test, mirrorless as a wholesale category fails. Some of so-called reviewers intentionally compare the D750 to the ORIGINAL A7R with the lamest AF tech to bash the entire Sony system as slow or useless fail in AF department. Why not compare the D750 to the A7M2 or even better to A6300 if you want to be taken seriously?

But we all real A7X shooters know that only the original A7R had slow(but accurate) AF and even that worst AF in the A7X camera history was decent enough for many of us. At least for me it was good enough, and actually I even say the worst AF in the A7X system- the A7R AF system was more accurate than any of the best D-SLRs I have used in my life, therefore, the A7R is better than any DSLRs even in AF department(at least for me). They-DSLR guys should realize not all of us shoot BIF or boring sports, in fact many of us have no interest in sports at all.

Honestly, It'd be easy to reverse these goofy arguments to "justify" an opposing conclusion. Compare an A6300 with a Nikon D3300, and conclude that DSLR autofocus categorically sucks. Voila, right? I guess now you get my point,right?

 

But the D-SLR guys always do this anyway to keep stereotyping all different AF systems and EVF systems of all different brand mirroless systems as though they were all made to be the same lousy.

What we really need to see is tier-to-tier, generation-to-generation comparisons, conducted by photographers who're just curious--folks who aren't interested in jamming a point down the industry's throat. And they must be neutral persons not old farts who have crazy long history of shooting film and SLR type gear with the super analogue tunnel view finder.

My sense, there is that you'd see pretty much even give-and-take in those comparisons. Pit a Sony A6300 against a Nikon D500, and I imagine you'd see that the Sony would win a few of the contests (accuracy / consistency, for sure, given that it uses the focal plane) and the Nikon would win a few (predictive, continuous acquisition speed). Neither victory would be decisive--it'd be give-and-take of a few points, either way,don't you think? And even if the A6300 is a lot worse than the Nikon D500, it is still 1k cheaper than the unreasonably oversized Nikon.

Pit a Fuji X-Pro2 against a Nikon D7200 and the X-P2 is going to come away with some AF victories. So will the D7200. Stack an A7R II up next to a D810 and you'd see the same thing. Neither camera will win all the tests for every subject. They'll be competitive, and some shooters(me included) will favor the mirrorless strengths. There's nothing strange about that. I personally cannot accept the size(not the weight) of the D810 and the inaccurate focus system of it. The AF fine tune thing was really annoying and almost never worked well in real use.

And as we start comparing the LV AF of the 2 different camera types, then the latest mirrorless system(even the cheapest one) is vastly better. In fact, even the current best D-SLRs such as the Nikon D810, the D750 and the Canon 5DS cannot touch the slowest LV AF of the OM-D E-M5 from 2012, let alone the cheapest m43 or Sony A7X of today.

 

As I said a couple of months ago, I really really wanted to buy a new camera system because my 5 A7X cameras died in rain in the last December, and I have been testing many many camera systems that I might buy into. Like many of my young customers, I quickly lost interest in any of the best D-SLR options from Nikon and Pentax as I tested their terribly slow LV AF compared to my ancient Sony NEX5n(not even A6000 that I also owned at the time and now replaced by the A6300).

Honestly, none of current the best DSLRs can keep up with even an ancient primitive mirrorless camera like my 6 year-old NEX5n in LV AF mode shooting down slowly moving people from over my head height. It is just simply embarrassing, how bad the current DSLRs are in terms of LV/video AF. And it is really deplorable to see how conservative Canon Nikon really are, maybe not just conservative but arrogant, not to listen to the young gen photogs?

The D7000,which I shot in 2010-2011 had the same LV AF speed and accuracy as the D750, the D7200 and the D810(which I had in 2014-2015). It is seriously embarrassing that Nikon has not made any progress in LV AF speed in the last 6 years. The D750, the D7200 are the same slow as the ancient D7000 that I owned in 2010-11.

I think as Canon has dual pixel AF tech and already using that in their latest APS-C D-SLRs, they may be able to make the LV AF of their next gen cameras as fast as that of the last gen mirrorless from Sony, Fuji and Panasonic. Hopefully, they will improve their fullframe DSLR LV AF dramatically in the next gen 5D4 and 6D2. But I think Nikon really needs to take this issue seriously to rectify their Dxxx line of D-SLR into more modern hybrid camera system( if they do not want to go serious FX mirrorless route to compete against Sony and Leica/Panasonic).

As I said many times, the iPhone gen people simply ignore cameras having slow AF in LV mode. I emphasize this again " they always shoot it with the LCD monitor, not with the EVF or the OVF when they try any of our displayed cameras at our shops".

Most of boys and girls coming from their smartphones or tablets or even from point and shoot cameras rarely use the OVF and thus, they think the D-SLRs are slower in AF and video mode than anything else including their cheap $99 US Casio. I know it is not the best way to shoot moving things, but like or not they do it anyway, they do use the monitor not the OVF, period. This means Nikon has to up their game in this specific area or they will be ignored to be an irrelevant player. Personally,I shoot most of stills images with the EVF, but there are times I need to shoot or prefer to shoot with the LCD monitor of my A7X camera. When I shoot video, I do not use the EVF because I always use a tripod or stabilizer for video but I sometimes wish if I could shoot handheld snap like easy video with AF. So even some middle aged person like me find the real fast LV AF very important these days. And I am actually thinking I am and our generation might be the last people who actually use any type of VF on any camera.

 

Update : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

 

Maybe Sony will be the final loser, not Nikon or Canon?

 

UPDATE 2: today Nikon announced some serious VR related issue with the D5 and the D500. I am not very sure what the real issue is here, their manual is really inanely written and hard for most of people to understand it. Me? I will wait what Thom says on this issue, it is much easier to read his article than annoyingly tedious Nikon manual.

But some Nikon technicians at Nikon Fukuoka warn me not use the VR in all lenses at super high ISO settings due to possible horizontal banding caused by the combination of high ISO plus the VR, I read this issue and many many people actually wondering what this issue really is and how serious it is.

I think Nikon really has some serious problem(probably internal power games in management) and all the current board members of Nikon corp should be replaced. The current president Kimura is terrible and running down the company to the worst possible, he has wasted about 40 percent of its total revenue money for nothing but silly one inch sensor compact business.

   

this particular image was shot with Canon EOS6D in 2014

 

www.flickr.com/photos/izumiflowers/8191128946/

the linked image was shot with Olympus EM5 in 2012

 

now, I realize the OFC look of this Canon vs the old Olympus image is quite different, the Olympus seems to produce much warmer color tone than the Canon.

 

This image was shot with my old EOS6D, but if I used my Canon 5DMK2 or 5DMK3, I would not have gotten this one this clean, the shadow noise of the terrible 5DMK2/MK3 sensor mars every image including dark shadow and bright light source in one frame.

  

The 5DMK2 sensor was probably one of the very worst sensors(read noise wise) in digital camera history, and from that crappy banding machine to the Nikon D800E was a huge leap in terms of IQ, but after that?

 

The sad reality we must face if we are at least a bit honest with ourselves and sensor test data is that basically, image quality of so-called fullframe sensor hasn't improved since about 2012. The tech around it has been in stagnation, not any advancing. But according to the DPR,etc the A7R2 is a real game changer, so great that we should even change our own value and standard for system functionality, ergonomics preferences,etc, to get that specific camera. But in reality, as I said, the image quality of the 42.4 mp sensor is basically the same or identical to the old 36 mp sensor first introduced in the D800 in 2012. In fact, if the base ISO image quality is the most important aspect of a camera to you as DPR forced us to believe, then even the venerable D800 would still beat the A7R2. The A6300 is basically a bit more glorified, refined version of the NEX7 from the 2012, nothing more than that, but those so-called reviewers just intentionally dramatize, grandiose the minor difference in the feature set of these 2 APS-C cameras, to call the A6300 a true game changer......before it they did the same to the A6000, which was actually a dumbed-down version of the NEX7.

The OM-D EM5MK2 is the same exactly the same as the ancient EM5 IQ wise and so on. No format is actually getting better in terms of sheer image quality and basic functionality.

  

So are those so-called pro reviewers the worst kind of perpetuators in camera world?

 

1, we have to define what is pro camera for most ? But is there really such a thing as pro camera?

I remember Marissa Mayer of Yahoo,who introduced the current style of Flick two years ago once said: "there is no such thing as professional photographer."

 

I don't actually agree with her, but the opinion out there that shared by many influential, powerful people like her and others can be very influential and strongly affect or even change the courses of thinking or opinion making process of many people. In the photography world, the CEO of the company that owns Flickr is a person whose opinions really have that kind of power, whose opinions can influence many many people, as I said that can or may change opinions of many many people. So we like her opinion or not, it is very very strongly influential.

 

There was the always interesting anecdote from one of those few former CEO's of Phase One, I did not know if it was true or not, though : once we asked Phase people who actually were buying their real high-end cameras? Phase answered was shocking to some,"CEO's of small companies and Dentists." Not so-called "professionals" are usual their customers, but more well heeled guys. I found it extremely interesting, but it may be true. When I asked a few of our main pro customers who mostly shoot architectures about their opinions on the above Phase anecdote, they replied to us,"well, it may be true,we sometimes used Phase One Backs but we never bought them but just rented their amazing products when we actually needed that kind of resolution,we do not consider ourselves professionals, though."

Very interesting, indeed.

 

I'd be willing to bet serious money that an overwhelming majority of A7R2, D810s and 5Ds camera users are just well heeled guys or girls, not shooting anything their "main" income-generating works. I'd put money somewhere around the 80% to 85% of those high end FF users are amatures or part time pros, or just geeks like us.

 

"Professional" (like "prosumer" or "enthusiast") is a marketing word, anyway. When someone from Nikon or Canon or any major camera company tells you that the new D5XS mark 4 is a true "professional" camera, they aren't saying anything meaningful about the camera itself. They're making an advertising pitch to your ego or pride.

Since, right now, most actually "professional" using camera in the Nikon lineup might be the cheap but excellent D5500. Or may even be the refubished D3300? But its AF is primitive! It's plastic! It's not weather sealed! Who cares: the D3300's most "professional" feature is the tiny investment for the amazing IQ it stacks against any profit. Real professionals are stingy people and care about money spent on camera gear much more seriously than well heeled amatures or part time professionals. The D3300 is better than the D300s from 2009 in almost every way,and some even consider it a better camera than the D700 and there are very few clients who wouldn't be thrilled by what comes out of a D700 shot with skill and vision. So in terms of sheer IQ, the D5500 can be considered as a pro camera.

I have many PRO customers shooting a EOS70D or a Nikon D5500 or a D7200 and many of them use a D3300 as a back-up. Not all pros or serious amatures need super fast AF or 4k video, and I think if they need serious 4k, they buy a dedicated 4k pro camera that can record much longer than 29 minutes

a session anyway. It is actually cheaper than buying a half-baked 4k camera like the A7R2 or the GH4 in the long run.

So who needs commercial reviewers brainwashing us what they actually want to sell is the best camera or the actual best selling camera ?

 

2, some die-hard D-SLR loving reviewers always describe the A7X menu system as "inane" or confusing, but which camera has more organized menu system?

I've never understood anyone's criticism of camera menu systems. Because every camera's menu is the same, not exactly the same but identically disorganized. They're categorized lists with nested options. None of them are truly optimized for speed, they all bury (different) critical options, they all require a little practice to build familiarity.

That's why they love Canon or Nikon menu system better, and they do get confused just being more familiar to them with better for all. But I personally prefer the A7X menu better since it is more customizable, and actually I am more used to it than anything else now.

Controlling a camera with a menu is a stupid concept. It was a lazy, terrible idea in 1993 and it remains quite silly and terrible in 2015.

Many many many so-called reviewers are really really confused and forcing us to share the really silly "one menu system is more intuitive than the others" kinda concept.

But again, what they actually saying is they are more used to the one system than the other systems' menu lay-out or just they are too obtuse to understand anything a bit different than what they are used to using.

I guess most of so-called reviewers do not know cameras they think they are testing enough to test it and publish rushed-out reviews, so they never understand how to set up the Sony A7X or even how to shoot it well. If they do understand it, then they should know it is quite customizable and it is less menu-driven than the Canon 5DS or the Nikon D810.

The A7X has 4 dials and you can actually change shutter speed, F number, EV value and ISO without diving into the menu.If they have to dive into the deep menu system all the time, then they do not understand how to set it up or customize the buttons ans the dials of the Sony, and without even understand it properly they rush to pan the menu system hard.

So what do you expect from so-called reviews?

 

3,SONY SONY SONY!!! why are they worshiping for the Sony,especially for the A7R2 and the A7S2 all the time and keep releasing so-called hands-on or reviews every other day ?

 

Well be realistic! Most of die-hard high end Nikon or Canon boys and girls are fanatics and difficult to influence or change; as camera sales swirl down the toilet bowl, so does any review site's readership. Writing about or recommending two-year-old cameras or very old fashioned, 1950th minded big conventional cameras that many of their readers already own doesn't sell anything from their affiliates website. It's that simple.

When did you actually read any review of any camera last time? a decade ago?

Have you ever expected any so-called review pan or even mildly criticize any camera?

Do you actually trust any so-called review? I think all your answer should be no to all the 3 questions above.

They never criticize as I said, even completely lazy, behind-the-curve products like the Fuji X-M1(only 16mp dated sensor), the Canon 7D(remember that terrible banding machine?), the Sony A58 (worst ergonomics in camera world)and the Nikon D3200(truly just announced to be already dated kind of junk) all got decent scores. No so-called reviewers actually pan anything they review, and definitely never say "we hated this product X or Y", or anything like that because their affiliate will stop feeding them if they actually do that.

Meanwhile, actual users of cameras, hate various cameras and lenses all the time. Well, they can't all be unreasonable,obtuse cranks. Then why the views or opinions of real camera users and so-called reviewers are so dramatically different?

Well it is easy all review sites are affiliated with several big online camera sellers, such as Amazon, Adorama, B&H,etc in the USA, Digital Rev, Rakuten, Amazon,etc in Asia. So they cannot do real test such as using cameras in a humid Thailand jungle or testing it in an Icelandic mountain, or anything like that.

They do not even test cameras with Capture One since Adobe is a big sponsor of those junk camera review sites, but most of us who tether cameras or shoot studio portrait prefer Capture One pro to the cranky slow unreliable LR for tethering work.

Well after all, those commercial reviewers never buy any camera with their own money, so they do not get up-set or irritated even if a camera they are reviewing now is a real crap.

We real camera users, on the other hand, actually spend our own money to buy our cameras, so we always complain if they are craps, of course.

  

4, all so-called reviewers usually love the latest and greatest like the Sony A7R2 or theA7S2 or something very gadgetry like the Panasonic GH4 or the Samsung NX1, but none of them actually like Leica or Phase,why?

Well easy, they do not sell well, I mean how many more Leicas will sell if those reviews seriously recommend Leica in their silly so-called reviews? None, since we who like Leica cameras already know why we do love their cameras and we do not need any moron in disguise of a pro(oh well)reviewer to tell us about how good or amazing it is.

As for Phase, it is not their area, they do not understand that kind of real high quality products anyway, what kind of high end commercial photographers whose main cameras are some sort of Phase One or even Mamiya will be interested in moronic reviews' opinion on Phase cameras ? No one. Can those so-called reviewers from commercial sites possibly some how change opinion of the actual Phase users? never.

Well, so-called reviewers are professionals but not photographic pros, they are marketing pros whose main interest is cheating manipulating naive new camera buyers.

All so-called reviews are just poorly designed marketing materials and nothing else, so they just recommend something they can sell with high-margin.

Then, why are almost all so-called pro reviewers recommending Sony, pushing Sony A7R2 so hard to any one reading them now?

Well it is very simple, because it is what their affiliate want to sell and easier to sell because of the user base of that camera is not very narrow-minded like the core user base of the D810 or the 5DS. The potential high-end Sony owners the only kind of high-end camera users that may be willing to listen to so-called reviewers, thus the reviewers think they may be able to manipulate them into buying more of their affiliate pushing products. So they naturally focus on these Sony high-end, high-margin products.

  

And anyway: why shouldn't a high-end camera from 2015 outperform a high-end camera from 2012 ? It should.

But the sad reality is that the latest gear does not outperform the 2012 camera.

The actual(in practical sense )performance is the same or almost identical, no dramatic improvement has made in the sensor design since 2012(the D800E). The D810 is better than the D800E only at the very base ISO albeit the slower exposure time due to the ISO64 vs the SIO100 base sensitivity difference . The A7R2 is only better than the D800E in video department and at very high ISO for a lot more money.

But commercial review sites cannot say it honestly, how can they? if they say it then they cannot sell anything new any more.

 

I just used the Sony A7R2 and the D810 as typical example cases for the kind of products so-called review sites want to hard push to the naive readers, but I know they are actually quite fantastic products, just not as amazing or dramatic game-changers as those silly commercial camera review sites try to make them out to be. But they are good indeed.

 

Do not just listen to the hype too much that just obviously follows the money.

  

Update : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

 

Maybe Sony will be the final loser, not Nikon or Canon?

 

UPDATE 2: today Nikon announced some serious VR related issue with the D5 and the D500. I am not very sure what the real issue is here, their manual is really inanely written and hard for most of people to understand it. Me? I will wait what Thom says on this issue, it is much easier to read his article than annoyingly tedious Nikon manual.

But some Nikon technicians at Nikon Fukuoka warn me not use the VR in all lenses at super high ISO settings due to possible horizontal banding caused by the combination of high ISO plus the VR, I read this issue and many many people actually wondering what this issue really is and how serious it is.

I think Nikon really has some serious problem(probably internal power games in management) and all the current board members of Nikon corp should be replaced. The current president Kimura is terrible and running down the company to the worst possible, he has wasted about 40 percent of its total revenue money for nothing but silly one inch sensor compact business.

 

UPDATE3: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

  

Lisbon subway passenger

 

Tech data:

- Canon 5D Mk II

- Canon EF 17-40 @17mm

This specific image was made with Nikon D600

  

The sad reality we must face if we are at least a bit honest with ourselves and sensor test data is that basically, image quality of so-called fullframe sensor hasn't improved since about 2012. The tech around it has been in stagnation, not any advancing. But according to the DPR,etc the A7R2 is a real game changer, so great that we should even change our own value and standard for system functionality, ergonomics preferences,etc, to get that specific camera. But in reality, as I said, the image quality of the 42.4 mp sensor is basically the same or identical to the old 36 mp sensor first introduced in the D800 in 2012. In fact, if the base ISO image quality is the most important aspect of a camera to you as DPR forced us to believe, then even the venerable D800 would still beat the A7R2. The A6300 is basically a bit more glorified, refined version of the NEX7 from the 2012, nothing more than that, but those so-called reviewers just intentionally dramatize, grandiose the minor difference in the feature set of these 2 APS-C cameras, to call the A6300 a true game changer......before it they did the same to the A6000, which was actually a dumbed-down version of the NEX7.

The OM-D EM5MK2 is the same exactly the same as the ancient EM5 IQ wise and so on. No format is actually getting better in terms of sheer image quality and basic functionality.

  

So will Nikon/Canon/Sony still be around in 2020?

I think Canon may survive but Nikon will not be around in this business by 2020(I do not mean it will go bankrupt). They are severely criticized for their slow adaptation of new techs. In Hokkaido, I met many many people still shooting D-SLRs and they were rude and blindedly believing in the ancient semi-analogue 1950th tech of their Canon Nikon cameras the absolute best, it was like a bad religion. But even in D-SLR land, there are not many guys still shooting Nikons any more, I think 8 out of 10 people still using DSLRs today shooting Canon, and they seem to ratiocinating their choice to the better lens selection of Canon, the better support and QC of Canon and Nikon's long neglecting of a proper D300s update. Actually, I was kind of able to relate to some of them if I still had some Nikon glass, I was waiting for a D700 successor in addition to my D810 for a long time, but I got tired of it and moved to Sony.

Now, they can get the D500 but many of them told me it was just too late, they've already bought a couple of EOS7DM2 with more than 10k worth of EF glass.

And Nikon is very very slow adapting to new tech and sudden market changes or environmental changes surrounding this unceasingly contracting stills camera market. How many years did they actually need to produce actual 4k capable consumer grade cameras in the D500 and the D5? How many years did they need to actually make their very first FF camera in the D3?

 

So is Nikon sinking or doing just fine?

The camera companies(especially Nikon) do need to listen to our iPhone generation photographers.

By carefully studying our young gen customers' shooting behaviors I find they do almost never use the OVF when they try out one of our displayed D-SLRs.

They cellphone generation boys always just hold cameras we display at our shops in front of their face with arms stretched out to see the LCD, never looking into the EVF or OVF when they try out any camera we display at our shops.

This means to them DSLR AF feels extremely slow, they always pan the DSLRs as slower than their smartphones in AF. We older people around 30 or older know if they shoot through the VF, the D-SLRs are actually still faster than most of mirrorless cameras out there(at least in C AF mode), maybe the Panasonic GH4, the GX8, maybe also the new GX85 and some latest gen Olympus being rare exceptions. But the young boys/girls almost never shoot through the VF unless they are already pretty well experienced or educated in this very odd hobby or art.

So after trying out a Canon or a Nikon FF D-SLR for about 10 minutes, many of our lovely young customers tell us,"we just gave up on DSLR AF already, it is too slow, just so annoying and we do not have time waiting for it to AF on what we want it to focus on,they are useless ".

 

Well, while I think they have no patience and the problem is obviously themselves not the camera, honestly, even if I were not a mirrorless shooter, I would still likely think very similarly about the D-SLRs and the dated tunnel view OVF since I have been quite used to using LCD and EVF devices since about I was 18y/o. So I definitely have no hard feeling on the EVF and the LCD LV shooting like many of my aged people have on the Sony or Fuji EVF cameras. I actually much prefer the current generation EVF and LCD to any of the current best tunnel view OVF from Canon or Nikon. I think even the 1DXMk2 OVF is not as good as the best EVF on the XT1 or the A7R2 for precise manual focus.

I think camera makers are too narrow-minded and conservative or stupid to ignore those kind of younger after digital era or iPhone gen people, but they should focus on them and they even need to educate them how to use cameras properly.

Many many those who claim themselves pro reviewers think the OVF cameras are faster in AF than the EVF cameras and they still always recommend the DSLRs for action shooters.

But I know many of our customers who are younger than me never use the VF when they try any camera out at our shops, and therefore, they think the DSLRs are actually much slower in AF even in C(action tracking mode), and they are right, the D-SLRs are super slow and unreliable in LV mode. The D-SLRs(especially Nikons) are slow, I mean super slow to the point I consider it is useless in LV mode. In fact, the only 2 D-SLRs I know of to have fast LV AF are the EOS80D and the EOS7DMK2, which I've panned a few times for the poor quality sensor with the terrible conversion noise issue. All the Nikon FX D-SLRs that have a superb sensor with clean base ISO performance have terribly slow, almost useless LV AF, which has never got better since the D7000 era.

Now, we have realized many of our customers telling us something like below after using any of our displayed DSLRs at our shops.

"Well, I still have and enjoy a DSLR, but I think that as a category, "DSLR Auto-focus" is overrated. Can you really put the Canon SL1 in the same boat as the Nikon D4s and generalize that the category is always the best? Why do you guys always compare the best D-SLR AF in the D5 or the 1DX2 vs the average class AF system of the mirrorless type cameras? It is simply wrong". I agree, many many reviewers and camera sales persons compare the D5 or the 1DX2 vs the cheap mirrorless AF performance to pan or even bash the cheap mirrorless as slow or not capable of tracking action. It is not fair.

There are all kinds of problems with the general-comparison-discussion I see on the net.

First: very few people have deep experience with many different systems, so their comparison is actually "camera I have two years, with 50,000 frames of field experience shooting" (DSLR) vs. "camera I tried once in a local camera shop and didn't really understand in the two minutes I held it" (Mirrorless X).

Second: people obnoxiously mix categories to serve their argument. So we see comparisons of the very latest or flagship DLSR bodies (D5, 1Dx2,D810, D750,etc) vs. the very cheapest mirrorless cameras (Fuji X-T10, Sony A6000, Panasonic GX85,etc). When the $500 mirrorless camera can't topple the $6000 pro FX DSLR, mirrorless technology is proclaimed generally insufficient as a category. Scott Kelby and his Canon-schilling cabal favor this approach. Someone asks him if he sees mirrorless as a viable alternative and he starts explaining all the ways an Olympus OM-D E-M10M2 won't get him the decisive shot on an NFL sideline. Um . . . yeah. How honest, sincere ? Why not compare your Canon to the best mirrorless the Sony A6300 or the Panasonic GH4 or the Fuji X-Pro2(in terms of AF)?

Third: people skip camera generations to serve their point. They compare the newest DSLRs ($1700 D750 from 2015) with much older mirrorless technology ($450 Olympus E-M5 from 2012) and, again, when the five-year-old mirrorless camera (that costs 1/4 as much) can't best the year-old DSLR in every possible test, mirrorless as a wholesale category fails. Some of so-called reviewers intentionally compare the D750 to the ORIGINAL A7R with the lamest AF tech to bash the entire Sony system as slow or useless fail in AF department. Why not compare the D750 to the A7M2 or even better to A6300 if you want to be taken seriously?

But we all real A7X shooters know that only the original A7R had slow(but accurate) AF and even that worst AF in the A7X camera history was decent enough for many of us. At least for me it was good enough, and actually I even say the worst AF in the A7X system- the A7R AF system was more accurate than any of the best D-SLRs I have used in my life, therefore, the A7R is better than any DSLRs even in AF department(at least for me). They-DSLR guys should realize not all of us shoot BIF or boring sports, in fact many of us have no interest in sports at all.

Honestly, It'd be easy to reverse these goofy arguments to "justify" an opposing conclusion. Compare an A6300 with a Nikon D3300, and conclude that DSLR autofocus categorically sucks. Voila, right? I guess now you get my point,right?

 

But the D-SLR guys always do this anyway to keep stereotyping all different AF systems and EVF systems of all different brand mirroless systems as though they were all made to be the same lousy.

What we really need to see is tier-to-tier, generation-to-generation comparisons, conducted by photographers who're just curious--folks who aren't interested in jamming a point down the industry's throat. And they must be neutral persons not old farts who have crazy long history of shooting film and SLR type gear with the super analogue tunnel view finder.

My sense, there is that you'd see pretty much even give-and-take in those comparisons. Pit a Sony A6300 against a Nikon D500, and I imagine you'd see that the Sony would win a few of the contests (accuracy / consistency, for sure, given that it uses the focal plane) and the Nikon would win a few (predictive, continuous acquisition speed). Neither victory would be decisive--it'd be give-and-take of a few points, either way,don't you think? And even if the A6300 is a lot worse than the Nikon D500, it is still 1k cheaper than the unreasonably oversized Nikon.

Pit a Fuji X-Pro2 against a Nikon D7200 and the X-P2 is going to come away with some AF victories. So will the D7200. Stack an A7R II up next to a D810 and you'd see the same thing. Neither camera will win all the tests for every subject. They'll be competitive, and some shooters(me included) will favor the mirrorless strengths. There's nothing strange about that. I personally cannot accept the size(not the weight) of the D810 and the inaccurate focus system of it. The AF fine tune thing was really annoying and almost never worked well in real use.

And as we start comparing the LV AF of the 2 different camera types, then the latest mirrorless system(even the cheapest one) is vastly better. In fact, even the current best D-SLRs such as the Nikon D810, the D750 and the Canon 5DS cannot touch the slowest LV AF of the OM-D E-M5 from 2012, let alone the cheapest m43 or Sony A7X of today.

 

As I said a couple of months ago, I really really wanted to buy a new camera system because my 5 A7X cameras died in rain in the last December, and I have been testing many many camera systems that I might buy into. Like many of my young customers, I quickly lost interest in any of the best D-SLR options from Nikon and Pentax as I tested their terribly slow LV AF compared to my ancient Sony NEX5n(not even A6000 that I also owned at the time and now replaced by the A6300).

Honestly, none of current the best DSLRs can keep up with even an ancient primitive mirrorless camera like my 6 year-old NEX5n in LV AF mode shooting down slowly moving people from over my head height. It is just simply embarrassing, how bad the current DSLRs are in terms of LV/video AF. And it is really deplorable to see how conservative Canon Nikon really are, maybe not just conservative but arrogant, not to listen to the young gen photogs?

The D7000,which I shot in 2010-2011 had the same LV AF speed and accuracy as the D750, the D7200 and the D810(which I had in 2014-2015). It is seriously embarrassing that Nikon has not made any progress in LV AF speed in the last 6 years. The D750, the D7200 are the same slow as the ancient D7000 that I owned in 2010-11.

I think as Canon has dual pixel AF tech and already using that in their latest APS-C D-SLRs, they may be able to make the LV AF of their next gen cameras as fast as that of the last gen mirrorless from Sony, Fuji and Panasonic. Hopefully, they will improve their fullframe DSLR LV AF dramatically in the next gen 5D4 and 6D2. But I think Nikon really needs to take this issue seriously to rectify their Dxxx line of D-SLR into more modern hybrid camera system( if they do not want to go serious FX mirrorless route to compete against Sony and Leica/Panasonic).

As I said many times, the iPhone gen people simply ignore cameras having slow AF in LV mode. I emphasize this again " they always shoot it with the LCD monitor, not with the EVF or the OVF when they try any of our displayed cameras at our shops".

Most of boys and girls coming from their smartphones or tablets or even from point and shoot cameras rarely use the OVF and thus, they think the D-SLRs are slower in AF and video mode than anything else including their cheap $99 US Casio. I know it is not the best way to shoot moving things, but like or not they do it anyway, they do use the monitor not the OVF, period. This means Nikon has to up their game in this specific area or they will be ignored to be an irrelevant player. Personally,I shoot most of stills images with the EVF, but there are times I need to shoot or prefer to shoot with the LCD monitor of my A7X camera. When I shoot video, I do not use the EVF because I always use a tripod or stabilizer for video but I sometimes wish if I could shoot handheld snap like easy video with AF. So even some middle aged person like me find the real fast LV AF very important these days. And I am actually thinking I am and our generation might be the last people who actually use any type of VF on any camera.

 

Update : now, Canon has just announced its new sensor development policy. Canon seems to have built a new sensor plant in Mie prefecture of Japan. It seems like Canon is going on new 65nm process rule and all upcoming Canon sensors will be produced at there.

I think the 1DX2 and the 80D sensors are processed at the new plant.

Sony is still leading the CMOS imaging industry, but giants like Samsung are in close pursuit. Also big players like Panasonic are forming joint ventures with the likes of TowerJazz to offer 12-inch wafer fabrication with state-of-the-art quantum efficiency and dark current performance at 65 nano meters, and additional 45nm digital technology, and added available capacity of approximately 800,000 8-inch wafers per year in three manufacturing plants in Japan, according to TowerJazz.

 

The stakes are huge. The CMOS image sensor market will reached the historic $10 billion milestone in 2015, according to Yale, and with new applications popping up in automotive, medical and surveillance, while smartphones begin adopting high-definition front facing cameras, the industry is likely to hit the $16 billion mark by 2020. So nobody is just sleeping and Sony has to consolidate its position ASAP, or probably Sony will lose it again just like its short-lived TV business.

 

Maybe Sony will be the final loser, not Nikon or Canon?

 

UPDATE 2: today Nikon announced some serious VR related issue with the D5 and the D500. I am not very sure what the real issue is here, their manual is really inanely written and hard for most of people to understand it. Me? I will wait what Thom says on this issue, it is much easier to read his article than annoyingly tedious Nikon manual.

But some Nikon technicians at Nikon Fukuoka warn me not use the VR in all lenses at super high ISO settings due to possible horizontal banding caused by the combination of high ISO plus the VR, I read this issue and many many people actually wondering what this issue really is and how serious it is.

I think Nikon really has some serious problem(probably internal power games in management) and all the current board members of Nikon corp should be replaced. The current president Kimura is terrible and running down the company to the worst possible, he has wasted about 40 percent of its total revenue money for nothing but silly one inch sensor compact business.

  

UPDATE3: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

     

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Tech data: Canon EOS 60D, Canon 70-200/4L, 163mm, F14, 1/4sec, iso100

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