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New Full Frame Ultra Wide Zoom: Tamron 17-35mm F/2.8-4 Di OSD

Tamron has announced new Full Frame Ultra Wide Zoom: The Tamron 17-35mm F/2.8-4 Di OSD for Canon and Nikon DSLR Cameras. This new ultrawide lens features a weatherproof construction and a new fast and silent autofocus system called Optimized Silent Drive (OSD). This lens is also quite small and lightweight, especially when compared to their 15-30mm f/2.8 or the Nikon and Canon similar lenses. It is a little bit smaller than the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L lens. Read more New Full Frame Ultra Wide Zoom: Tamron 17-35mm F/2.8-4 Di OSD

New Sony A7 III Camera Introduced

Sony has announced the new Sony A7 III Full Frame mirrorless digital camera. This camera is very exciting thanks to a lot of tech it inherits from it’s bigger brothers the A9 and the A7R III.

New Sensor

The Sony A7 III offers an all new 24 megapixel sensor, and while the mark II was also 24 megapixels, the newer sensor is back side illuminated (BSI). This allows for larger pixels which increases the camera’s light gathering capabilities.

Improved Auto Focus

It also adds an AF joystick and AF-on button for better auto focus control. Speaking of autofocus, the A7 III also inherits some of the AF tech from the A9. Sony claims the new A7 III focuses twice s fast as the A7 II. It also inherits the amazing eye focus control from the A9 as well. The new A7 III has 693 AF points that offer 93% frame coverage. These are supported by 425 contrast-detection AF points as well.

Faster (and Deeper) Burst mode

The new Sony also offers up to 10fps shooting with continuous autofocus and a buffer that allows up to 177 jpeg images in a burst. Raw performance was not disclosed.

4K Video

the new Sony A7 III offers 4K video and several other video improvements.  It has both S-Log2 and S-Log3 gamma curves for shooting wide dynamic range scenes. It also features Hybrid Log Gamma which allows for playing back directly on high dynamic range displays without post-processing.

Better Battery Life

The new A7 III gets the higher capacity NP-FZ100 battery from the A9 and A7RIII. This provides for a little over double the battery life at 710 shots per charge. This has been one of my biggest complaints with mirrorless cameras. I’m glad to see Sony addressing this.

Touchscreen, Viewfinder More

The Sony A7 III maintains the flip LCD but adds a touchscreen interface.  This should make changing settings even easier. I wish it was a fully articulated LCD screen, but that would add a little bulk to a camera that is designed to be small.

While the actual viewfinder is the same as it’s predecessor, the A7III has new Zeiss T* optics in front of it and increases the magnification to .78x. This makes the viewfinder appear larger when comparing to the older camera.

Another big deal is the addition of a second SD card slot. This is great for shooters who want to separate stills and videos, have a backup card of images or more capacity without buying larger cards.

Price and Availability

the Sony A7 III will be available starting in April. Body only will be $1,999. There will also be a kit with the 28-70 lens, but price for that has not yet been disclosed.

My thoughts

In a word, “wow!”

Sony didn’t hold back on this new full frame mirrorless Camera. While this is technically considered an entry level, this camera is anything but entry level. Many of the initial reactions seemed to be directed at the Canon 6D II with comments such as “This is what the 6DII should have been”. At least in terms of features.

This is a major shot at Canon and Nikon and not even a warning shot at that. This was a direct hit and Canon and Nikon better wake up and pay attention.

I’m seriously considering selling my D750 to get this new body. If I do I will likely opt for the Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 lens instead of the kit lens. I’ve owned my Sony A6000 for over 3 years now, which is the longest I have ever owned a single interchangeable lens camera. While it is not perfect, it is very good, especially in the role of my go everywhere camera.

Luminar January 2018 Update

Macphun (soon to be Skylum) has announced an update to their Luminar photo editing program. Here is a list of the Luminar January 2018 Update changes:

Windows Version

  • Language support: You can now enjoy Luminar in many more languages.
  • Brush Size: Use the left and right bracket keys ([ and ]) to adjust the size of your brush.  Add the shift key (Shift+ [ or ]) to adjust the Softness.  It’s now easier than ever to mask.
  • Curves: The Curves filter is  improved for better results.
  • Merge Layers: Permanently merge two or more layers with Merge layers feature.
  • Improved Sidebar: The sidebar controls are even easier to use and navigate.
  • Cropping improvements: The cropped state of an image is now correctly captured in the native Luminar file.
  • Adobe plug-in improvements: The plugins for Adobe products have been performance tuned.

Mac Version

  • Improved Raw Support: improved RAW Develop support and added Leica Monochrom .DNG , HEIC formats and improved support for Hasselblad and several other cameras.
  • Photos for Mac: Luminar works even better as an extension for Photos for Mac.
  • Adobe plug-in improvements: The plugins for Adobe products have been performance tuned.
  • Improved cross platform files: We’ve fixed issue with Dodge & Burn filter masks for documents created on Windows.

How to Update

If you already have Luminar 2018 these updates are free and very easy to install. In fact, when I launched Luminar on both my iMac and my Windows machine the software prompted that an update was available. If you don’t get the prompt, here is how to update your version:

  • Mac – Please, launch Luminar 2018, on the Top Menu Bar choose Luminar 2018 > Check for updates.
  • Windows  – Please, launch Luminar 2018, on the Top Toolbar choose Help > Check for updates.

I am currently testing Luminar in my quest for a replacement for Adobe Lightroom. As far as image editing goes, Luminar looks VERY promising as that replacement. They are currently working on a DAM (Digital Asset Manager) for organizing images. While it doesn’t quite have everything that Lightoom does (see comparison here), it has almost all and the few things it doesn’t are not the end of the world. You can download a free trial of Luminar and see if it works for you as well.

NEW AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm F/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR

Nikon announced a new 180mm-400mm f/4 lens with a built-in 1.4x teleconverter similar to Canon’s 200-400mm f/4L IS at the 2018 CES show in Las Vegas. Personally I find the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show to be an interesting venue as a $12,400 lens is certainly not a typical consumer product. It is puzzling why Nikon opted to announce it there. (end of rant)

This lens will surely replace the current 200-400mm f/4 VR lens that gets pretty mixed reviews. I had the opportunity to use the 200-400 several years ago and while it was a fun lens to play with for a day, I didn’t feel like it was worth the $6,000 price tag at the time. The highlight of using it was to tell all my friends that I got to use it. With the 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens getting such positive reviews, and the very consumer friendly $1399 price tag, I’m sure that Nikon will sell a heck of a lot more of the 200-500 than the new 180-400mm f/4 lens. This is clearly a lens targeted at working pros and the extra stop of light at 400mm is welcome when shooting wildlife at the edge of day (sunrise/sunset when animals are active).

Press release:


LAS VEGAS — CES BOOTH #14018 (January 8, 2018) – Today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Nikon Inc. announced the new AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR super-telephoto zoom lens, which is ideally suited for photographing sports and wildlife with astounding speed and clarity. This professional level FX-format lens is more versatile than ever, and has been updated with the newest NIKKOR lens technologies including Nikon’s first ever built-in teleconverter and an advanced optical formula to enhance performance and minimize weight.

“This lens is a great example of how Nikon continues to push the boundaries of innovation and what’s possible with pro-level optics and high-end imaging equipment,” said Kosuke Kawaura, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc.

Popular Pro-Level Lens Gets Even More Versatile

This new NIKKOR lens is a professional super-telephoto zoom lens, which is even more versatile with an extended wide range of 180-400mm, and a constant f/4 aperture to easily isolate a subject from the sidelines, even in challenging light. This is also the first NIKKOR lens to include a built-in 1.4X teleconverter, allowing photographers to seamlessly swap to a 252-560mm1 (FX-format) focal range. The teleconverter is engaged at the flick of a switch, and is easily operated with a single finger while looking through the viewfinder. When used on the Nikon D500 and other DX-format DSLRs, the focal length is the equivalent of 270-600mm (378-840mm with teleconverter engaged).

Whether capturing fast-moving winter sports on the slopes or elusive wildlife at a distance, photographers can shoot with confidence from this high performance NIKKOR lens. The new 180-400mm f/4 is optimized for high-speed capture, and features an electromagnetic diaphragm, helping to create smooth and consistent exposures while shooting high-speed bursts of images. What’s more, the AF tracking algorithm controlling the motor drive has been enhanced to increase tracking performance of fast moving subjects. When using cameras equipped with Nikon’s advanced 153-point AF system (D5, D500, D850), the outer row of AF points are activated as cross-type sensors to significantly enhance the AF coverage throughout the frame.2

Enhanced Performance with the Addition of New Technology

The lens now uses a fluorite element, which contributes to improved balance while minimizing weight. To further enhance handling and agility, the lens has adopted a new ball-bearing tripod collar ring to create a seamless transition from shooting horizontal to vertical composition. The VR mechanism offers a normal and sports mode, with up to four stops3 of compensation to help create sharp images, even when handheld.

The lens construction includes the use of durable magnesium alloy for weight reduction, while the lens is also sealed against dust and moisture. A fluorine coating is also used to help repel water droplets and dirt.
The optical formula of the lens uses eight Extra Low Dispersion (ED) elements, doubling the amount of ED elements used by its predecessor, the NIKKOR 200-400mm. These help to provide extremely sharp and detailed images and 4K UHD / 1080p video, and is ideally mated to high resolution Nikon DSLR cameras. Nikon’s exclusive Nano Crystal Coat is used to effectively suppress instances of ghosting and flare.

Price and Availability

The AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR lens will be available in March 2018 for a suggested retail price of $12,399.954. For more information on this NIKKOR lens and other Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

  1. When the built-in or an external teleconverter is used, the focal length may not be displayed correctly in shooting information / Image data.
This feature will be available with a firmware upgrade for the D5, D850 and D500 as of March 2018
  3. Based on CIPA Standard. This value is achieved when FX-format compatible lenses are attached to a FX-format digital SLR camera and zoom lenses are set at the maximum telephoto position.

Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS

Sony has announced a new lens for the APS-C E-Mount camera system. The new lens is the Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS. This lens features a 27-200mm equivalent focal range. It has a max aperture of f/3.5 at the wide end and f/5.6 at the telephoto end. The lens also features a 55m filter thread, making it roughly the same size as the Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 lens. While not quite as wide as the Zeiss, it provides about two times more telephoto reach, making it a great lens for travel and hiking.

This new lens appears to be a great fit with the Sony A6xxx series cameras thanks to it’s small size and great zoom range. Who knows, maybe we will see this offered as a kit with the A6xxx series bodies in the future?


While this lens can be mounted on the FE bodies such as the A7/A9 series cameras, doing so will result in a cropped image. For example, if mounted on the 24 megapixel A7II, instead of 24 megapixel images you will get 15 megapixel images. This is not a fault with the lens or the camera, but a design difference between the E and FE mount system. FE cameras have a sensor that is larger than the projected image from the E-mount lenses. Knowing this, Sony sets the full frame A7/A9 bodies to crop out the areas that are not covered by the lens.

check out the full specifications on my Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens review page.

Jan 16, 2018 Update

DPReview.com has published a sample image gallery for this lens. Looking at the images the lens looks like it is about what I expected. Better than kit lens quality, but not up to the pro/Zeiss level. This makes sense considering the price point and the 7x zoom range. There are several comments that the lens is not very sharp. It is hard to say for certain as depth of field certainly comes into play in real world scenes such as these. Especially when we don’t know exactly where the photographer focused. This lens is intriguing to me as an A6000 owner looking for a more versatile lens for travel and hiking.

Canon Announces Rebel T7i and 77D DSLR Cameras

Canon just announced the anticipated Rebel T7i and Rebel 77D DSLR cameras. The T7i is the next generation of the T6i and the 77D replaces the T6s. The 77D is a new naming schema for the T6s, helping to differentiate it from it’s lower specified sibling. Both cameras also adds an improved autofocus system, placing them closer to the 80D in terms of features. In addition, the EOS 77D also adds a secondary command wheel and a small Top LCD with basic shooting information.

I will be updating the camera database and adding in-depth comparisons between these cameras and the cameras they replace over the next few days.

Both cameras feature the impressive dual-pixel 24 megapixel CMOS sensor that makes focusing in live view and during video very smooth and fast. Both cameras also gain a 45-point (all cross type) auto focus sensor that is sensitive down to -3ev (with an f/2.8 or faster lens).

The key differences between the new T7i and the 77D is the 77D adds a top LCD screen, dual command wheels, dedicated AF-On button, and an interval timer for doing time lapse photos.

Nikon USA Announces the D5600

Nikon USA announced the “new” D5600. I put the quotes around “new” since this is not really a new camera. Nikon introduced the D5600 into other markets last year, but for some reason Nikon USA  was not one of the regions to get them.

In a nutshell, the D5600 is the replacement for the D5500. The biggest difference is the addition of Bluetooth. This is something I thought the camera manufacturers should have done a few years ago. Bluetooth allows the camera to stay connected to the photographers smart phone to transfer images wirelessly. In theory, once set up this should allow a very easy way to shoot high quality images and be able to post them on social media immediately.  This feature was first introduced on the D500, but  that camera’s target market is not likely to be using it very often. It will be interesting to see how well it works in the D5600 since that crowd is more likely to want to use that feature. Using your smartphone will probably still be easier, but this should be better than using WiFi or NFC to get your images to your smartphone to share.

Press Release

January 4, 2017

Ignite the Artist Within: Capture Creatively, Share Easily with the New Nikon D5600

The Nikon D5600 is a Compact Creative Companion that Delivers Stunning Clarity, Impressive Performance and the Ability to Share via Nikon SnapBridge

LAS VEGAS, NV – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the U.S. availability of the compact and lightweight Nikon D5600, a connected DSLR camera for those ready to step up their photography and unleash their inner artist by creating captivating images that deserve to be shared. The 24.2-megapixel D5600 features Nikon SnapBridge1, which allows users to easily and automatically transfer images directly from their camera to a compatible smart device, making it simple to share amazing images with friends and family.“The Nikon D5600 is the latest camera in Nikon’s popular D5000 series — a camera line that represents a stepping stone for photographers who want to further explore their creative boundaries,” said Kosuke Kawaura, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “Now with Nikon SnapBridge, users can easily upload and share images with their friends and family, showcasing what and who they love. With the introduction of Nikon’s D5600, Nikon demonstrates our commitment to providing an attainable and highly capable camera option for photographers of all skill levels.”

The Nikon D5600 offers users the creativity and performance benefits of DSLR photography, including amazing image quality, the ability to isolate foreground from background, full manual controls, incredible low-light performance and a class-leading autofocus (AF) system. For those looking to travel the world or capture their child’s birthday party, the Nikon D5600 offers a full suite of creative effects, robust features and controls, a touchscreen Vari-angle LCD monitor and enhanced video features.

Seamless Connectivity Through Nikon SnapBridge: Nikon SnapBridge makes it easier than ever to share photos wirelessly through Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) technology2. By establishing a constant connection between the Nikon D5600 and a compatible smart device, images can be sent from the camera automatically, ready to share. SnapBridge also makes it possible to seamlessly upload images to the cloud (Nikon Image Space) via compatible smart device. Additionally, SnapBridge connectivity allow users to shoot remotely or easily transfer movies to a compatible smart device by leveraging the camera’s built-in Wi-Fi3 connectivity.

Performance that Keeps Pace with Creativity: The 24.2-megapixel high-resolution CMOS sensor helps deliver excellent image quality and sharp images with color and clarity that blow away images taken with a mobile device, while the EXPEED 4 image processor offers powerful performance and prolongs battery life. Continuous shooting at 5 frames-per-second (fps) and a 39-point autofocus system helps capture fleeting moments and fast moving subjects with ease. The Nikon D5600 is a great companion for those looking to capture and share life’s special moments, especially when combined with the distinct perspective of NIKKOR lenses.

Amazing Low-Light Performance: The Nikon D5600 also provides users the capability to shoot in challenging light with an expanded wide 100-25,600 ISO range. The ability to use higher shutter speeds with minimal illumination gives users the tools to capture brighter, sharper images.

Creative Features: From down to a child’s perspective to a shot above a crowd, it’s easy to compose from any angle with the 3.2-inch 1.037k-dot touchscreen Vari-angle LCD. Various in-camera shooting and special effects modes, manual controls and a new time-lapse mode allow users to take creativity to a new level and help capture a special moment with ease.

Price and Availability

The Nikon D5600 will be available in the U.S. in January 2017 for the suggested retail price (SRP)* of $799.95 with the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens. It will also be available in a two-lens kit option, including the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED lenses, for $1,149.95 SRP*. Additionally, the Nikon D5600 will be sold as a body only for $699.95 SRP* or with a AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens for $1,199.95 SRP*. For more information on the Nikon D5600 as well as the latest Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

Nikon 100 Year Anniversary

Since the company was established in 1917, Nikon has cultivated its status as a pioneer of optical technologies around the world. Guided by a corporate philosophy of “Trustworthiness and Creativity,” Nikon provides a wide range of products and services globally by harnessing advanced opto-electronics and precision technologies. Nikon is proud to celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2017.

About Nikon

Nikon, At the Heart of the Image™. Nikon Inc. is a world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology; globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for an award-winning array of equipment that enables users to tell their stories through amazing photos and videos. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories; the Nikon DL series of premium compacts and COOLPIX® compact digital cameras; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational optics as well as the Nikon 1 compact interchangeable lens camera system and KeyMission line of action cameras. Nikon Corporation, the parent company of Nikon Inc., recently announced the production of 100 million NIKKOR lenses in 2016, creating a new milestone in Nikon’s heritage of superior optics. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-US or visit www.nikonusa.com, which links all levels of photographers to the Web’s most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities. Connect with Nikon and other photographers on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo and Flickr.

# # #

1The SnapBridge app is available for compatible iPhone®, iPad® and/or iPod touch®, and for smart devices running the AndroidTM operating system. The app can be downloaded free of charge from Apple’s App Store® and GooglePlayTM. SnapBridge can be used only with compatible cameras.

2The camera’s built-in Bluetooth® capability can only be used to connect the camera to a compatible smart device running the SnapBridge app, and to take advantage of SnapBridge features.

3This camera’s built-in Wi-Fi® capability can only be used with a compatible iPhone®, iPad®, and/or iPod touch® or smart devices running on the Android™ operating system. The Nikon SnapBridge application must be installed on the device before it can be used with this camera.

Using the SnapBridge App System Requirements:

Android 5.0 or later or 6.0.1 or later

A device with Bluetooth 4.0 or later (i.e., a device that supports Bluetooth Smart Ready/Low Energy) is required.

*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Nikon Corporation is under license.

Wi-Fi and the Wi-Fi logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance. N-Mark is a trademark or registered trademark of NFC Forum, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries

iOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco Systems, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries and is used under license.

Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Android™ and Google Play™ are trademarks of Google Inc.

Specifications, equipment and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.

Kodak Ektachrome Slide Film Makes a Comeback!

Kodak discontinued Extachrome slide film in 2012 citing the declining demand for film. Fast forward a few years and everything old is new again. Kodak is bringing back Extachrome film in the fourth quarter of 2017. For the film die hards this is good news. Ektachrome was a very popular film stock for both still and motion picture applications due to it’s fine grain, colors and contrast characteristics. Of course finding a lab to develop the film may still be a challenge. There are not many left since the chemistry is expensive and has a limited life, not to mention as the equipment breaks down parts are either very expensive or not available at all. Read more Kodak Ektachrome Slide Film Makes a Comeback!

Nikon Announces New 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR & PC 19mm Tilt Shift Lenses

Nikon has announced a new version of the popular 70-200mm f/2.8G lens and a new 19mm Perspective Control lens today. Both of these lenses asre designed for full frame Nikon mount bodies and will work on both full frame and APS-C Bodies. Read more Nikon Announces New 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR & PC 19mm Tilt Shift Lenses

Sony Announces New A6500 Mirrorless camera

Sony has announced a new A6500 Mirrorless camera. This came as a surprise to me since they announced the A6300 a mere 8 months ago. The A6500 does not appear to be a directly replacement for the A6300, but rather a step above by offering in camera 5-axis stabilization (similar to the A7II series bodies), a touchscreen and faster processor for about $400 more than the A6300. Read more Sony Announces New A6500 Mirrorless camera