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Monday, 23 May 2016


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"and for those who shoot telephotos and need the reach"

but not really. Since the aps-c is a crop of the FF - you would get the same "reach" by cropping a FF image down to aps-c size. Otherwise if you wanted "reach" why not shoot with a 1/2.5 sensor.

[Tell me which DSLRs offer 21 MP in crop mode with the same focus speed and throughput as the D500, and I'll agree with you. And of course the problem with fingernail-sized sensors, although they do have much more reach, is IQ and high ISO limitations. --Mike]

The Pentax is an interesting approach, I think. It's very much aimed at the "enthusiast" market, but with a pro quality build and of course lacking a full line-up of modern lenses for now. They have started with the usual zooms (a kit zoom, a 15-30, 24-70 70-200, and 100-450 ) plus a 100mm macro released a while back. The promised new primes will come next year. The Sigma 35 Art lens works now (with one problem that Sigma promised to fix). In some ways it's like an updated Sony A900, but I think the Sony still has a better viewfinder.

I'm been reading Pentaxforums.com for the last month, looking at every posted image from the people who received the first batch of K1's. Lots of very enthusiastic first impressions, but of course such a place has a sample bias.

"The Nikon D500 is a milestone."

But not a game changer ;)

On the A6300 versus A6000, it's nice that Sony does these "refinements", but should be noted that along the way, they do some ... UNrefinements ? The A6000 had a lower res EVF than the NEX-6 and, inexplicably, lacked the "virtual horizon", which seems like one of those intrinsic-to-any-live-view-camera types of features that helps them distinguish themselves from DSLRs. So some of the A6300's refinements are really the restoration of things that were made worse in the previous iteration.

Much of what makes the A6300 more expensive has to do with video. I'd probably upgrade if it were my only camera, but I still think of my A6000 as a "second" camera to my DSLR (even though I probably shoot it more these days).

If there was such a thing as "the best camera" all other cameras would have vanished from the market. Every camera has its own drawbacks, idiotic quirks and pit falls. In the pre-digital age all the cameras were similar, yet distinct. But that was inevitable. Enter digital and the camera design has gone for a toss. So much so the best camera is the one that is in hand. I do not see "the best camera" any where in the horizon or beyond.

The K-1 might look like a remnant from the past, but it is probably the most feature-rich FF camera on the market today (at least for those who concentrate on stills).
I suspect it was designed exclusively for Pentax loyals. Nevertheless, it turns the heads of many, many others (including me). And those Limited gems with their peculiar focal lengths make resisting even harder.

"It's kinda funny that everybody has migrated to FF just as APS-C gets surpassingly good."

Not funny at all.For me,when I put a 35mm lens on my camera, I want to see a 35mm field-of-view. It's not about how improved the APS-C format is...

[ But if the cameramakers would make APS-C primes there wouldn't be a problem. The Fuji 23mm for instance is very close to 35mm on FF. The problem is really that Canikon never made APS-C primes for their cameras. --Mike]

The X-Pro 2 doesn't have 2 UHS-II slots, it has 1x II and 1x I. But yes, very desirable camera indeed!

[Fixed. Thanks Ian. --Mike]

For best lens, get the Sigma 17-50 2.8 OS instead of the much more expensive Nikon.

DxO rated the Sigma as the sharpest standard zoom on the D7100.

I have both the Nikon and Canon versions. I bought the Canon version on eBay recently for $269 new, as an import. Now I just wish I could find an equally low priced, good quality 70-200 2.8 or equivalent to match!

Even Thom Hogan recommend the Sigma over the Nikon, when the Sigma cost $600+. At under $300 it is a steal.

Combine it with a $500 new D5500 (from the Best Buy sale), or a $300 used D5300 and you have an incredible, low cost image machine.

Maybe a thread on great "bottom fishing" cameras under $500, or kits with a zoom and a prime under $1,000? (Add the Nikon 35 1.8G and 50 1.8G, or a Sigma 50 1.4 non-Art for portraits.Great lens, a big chunk of glass. I own that in both Canon and Nikon mount too.)(On the Canon side, the 24 2.8, 40 2.8, and 50 1.8 STM for $350 total refurbished, plus the 85 1.8 at $275. Plus the 17-50, and great 55-250 STM at $110 refurbished.)

I really cringe when I see the latest Fuji body at $1,600. Crazy! I do have a $2,000 used D810, but the D500 is way too expensive for me. My Canon 7DII was $1,050 for a USA body, $950 after selling the printer. Best ergonomics of any camera I have ever used.

I still need a DSLR for low light events wuth the 70-200, and wildlife with a Sigma 150-600 or similar. The Fuji is a lot of money for a second tier kit. :(


Might want to clarify your link to the Pentax limited lenses - many won't work with the K-1

[Fixed, thanks. I always think of the 31/43/77 troika as "the Limited lenses." There are many more now that Pentax has dubbed with that name. --Mike]

I've owned 2 A6000 bodies, one for backup, since late last year. I like the A6000 a lot, with the 35mm/1.8 lens. Down the road I'll consider the A6300 if the price comes down, but I don't see a huge benefit to it given my kind of photography. I also own the 24mm you mention but rarely use it.

I recently bought the X-Pro2 with the 35mm/2 lens and use it almost exclusively. I'm not much for rangefinders, having tried one for a short time, but the Fuji image quality is wonderful, even if Adobe Lightroom still occasionally chokes on X-Trans files. I prefer the ergonomics of the smaller, lighter A6000 but it gives me strange and annoying cyan and/magenta casts on enough images to annoy me, and it's not weather resistant like the Fuji. Plus, the Fuji feels like a veritable tank - in a good way - compared with the A6000.

I'd be lying if I said these are the last cameras I'll ever own; given my history I know better, but for now they seem preferable to me than anything else available.

Lenses? It doesn't make a huge amount of sense, because it's too big and too costly, but if for the dedicated enthusiast, the Zeiss 24mm ƒ/1.8, a lens I owned and still miss, remains a particular recommendation

That Zeiss 24mm is also crazy expensive by the standards of most people (including me). $900? Damn!

The rumors mill claims that Sony may rectify the lens problem: http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sony-is-investigating-the-possibility-to-make-new-fast-f1-8-aps-c-e-mount-primes/. One can only hope. Sony's APS-C system is perpetually "almost:" almost enough lenses, almost enough support. But not quite.

Bit funny the selection done. But fully agree with what Michael said.
However, I do think that the d500 I'd on a bit of an uncomfortable position. Way to expensive for an aps-c camera. And with a small sensor. Market share is on the bigger-is-best, that coming from sensor sizes. That belongs to the 135 sensors. There lays the trick to d610 et all. And the other aps-c fast cameras are more than capable for speedy shooting, such as the d7200, the Canon d80, the Sony Axxxx, K3II, et all. They can be so fast that on fieldwork it is more important the overall responsiveness and how often does the photographer look at the screen not to miss the shot.

Regarding lens line-ups: there comes pentax again. Had the best Aps-c prime line-up ever with the Da limited lenses (which were sweet performers on all the focal lenses). Didn't help a shilling to them. Remember the 35 Macro? Still a gem. As we're the 70 2.4, the I can't believe how tiny it is 40mm. None of this helped.

Funny, I read blogs virtually every day of (mostly professional) photographers who are migrating away from FF, rather than migrating to it (perhaps it's a lot of amateurs who are migrating to FF?). The main reason? Because unlike amateurs who shoot "occasionally" compared to professionals, pros have shot with really big, heavy and cumbersome gear all day, every day, for years. That takes a toll on both mind and body (do I *really* have to haul my 70-200/2.8, 300/2.8 and 500/4 up to the Corkscrew again?) The fact that there are lens systems and and cameras with image quality (and increasingly, performance) fully comparable to FF DSLRs means that many pros have to suffer no longer. As a longtime motorsports PJ, I can tell that my back is a lot happier, and my energy levels stay higher throughout a long race weekend (NASCAR is coming up...) shooting Fuji X than Canon Pro gear. Color me happy. Plus, my PR Directors flat out *love* the image quality.

It seems odd to me that Nikon builds an entire line of excellent APS-C DSLRs and then is so thin in the area of fast wide DX primes.
I suppose they know their customer base better than I do.

Just a couple more comments on today's post...

#1: The inside look David Hobby does such a great job describing is a business best practice called "Voice of the Customer" aka VOC. This a best practice near and dear to my heart because I do it for a living at the biotech company I work for. It's product design based on actually listening to customers about their needs and then, as David points out, actually doing something about it. From the perspective of a professional, I can tell you that Fuji is really, really good at VOC. Canikon, are you listening?

#2: Folks who experience the occasional hiccup with Fuji X-trans files really, really (really) should get a license to Iridient Developer and use that for RAW conversion of their selects. An out-an-back from Lightroom to IRD and back takes all of 30 seconds, and you will clearly (perhaps for the first time) see what the camera is actually capable of delivering. Surely one's images worth some effort in post (there's that word, again) deserves a trip to Iridient Developer.

". . . image quality. That has been significantly improved, and is the leading edge of the wedge as the Fujifilm X-Pro2 garners glowing praise from all over the world."

It's easy to rave about a camera, harder to compare them, especially for intangibles, such as, say 'drawing' quality. The standardized studio test subjects at DPR and IR have their weaknesses, but also the strengths of really direct comparisons of a variety of subjects, textures, repeating patterns, etc.

Take a close look at the DPR X-Pro2 test, image comparison tool.

For starters, select X-Pro2, ISO 200, RAW, and Oly Pen-F*, ISO 200, Normal (as opposed to HiRes). Wander around the image a bit; clicking on a spot brings it into the 100% windows. The 20 MP Oly image is slightly smaller, but almost everywhere I look, I can see slightly more, finer detail than the Fuji.

The Fuji wins on the star moire patterns**, but falls behind on the paint brush bristles and the feathery green stuff. Many subjects just seem identical. On resolution and pixel level clarity, I'd call it almost a dead heat, with the Oly edging a bit ahead for doing better on more of the sample subjects.

Wander off into other ISOs, different Raw converters, and one may never return.***

Color is tougher, as none of the people are real, just photos of photos, but both they and the feathers, pigments, etc. seem a draw to my eye.

I'm not saying that the X-Pro2 isn't a great camera; I'm sure it is. I am suggesting that in the excitement of getting a new camera body, particularly if it's a brand one likes, hyperbole is easy. In the process, phrases like ". . . the leading edge of the wedge . . ." may be , uh, er, um, excessive.

* I'm not touting the Pen-F, not a camera for me. It's about the newest µ4/3 sensor in it and the GX8.

** I assume the Fuji has an AA filter. The Oly does not, cannot, to allow the high Res Mode. The AA filter, while controlling moire, may be losing some superfine detail in non-patterned subjects.

*** I'm also vaguely aware that X-Trans sensors have had some trouble with Raw conversion in ACR. Is that still a thing? Does it make a difference here?

The D500 is a millstone! Especially with that 17-55mm zoom attached. I had that lens with the D300. Great stuff optically, but relatively heavy and the balance of that combination was unpleasant. I traded them in when the D700 came out, so I could use use all my old lenses again.

I have the feeling that the D500 is something like the F100 I had. One of the best of its kind ever, but too late and at the end of an era.

thanks for mentioning the K-1; all K-mount lenses will work on it, just some will invoke the crop-mode or show vignetting...

The D500 would be the camera I would spend $1800 or more on. Would. Would if I thought I needed it. I still have my D300, which is the best overall digital (or film) camera I have owned.

Unfortunately, as everyone knows, Nikon made the D300 and then decided to stop making lenses for it. (Oh, just by a bigger and more expensive full frame small format lens or a consumer grade f4.5 10-950mm) As I do less and less waterfowl and wildlife photography, I have less need for a dSLR and its superior focus on moving objects. The D500 is surely tempting, but not yet that tempting.

Oh, and I may be a sinner, but I haven't the slightest need for full frame and frankly don't see an overwhelming practical advantage in one. Nor is it obvious in most photos I see from FF. As for cropping a full frame to get the extra reach, I could never figure out how I would compose, especially on something like a bird in flight. Shoot a bunch and guess? Then you still have all the added expense of FF lenses and the weight.

I rented the D500 the first week it was available to be second camera to a D810 for a photojournalistic project on a local dance company, and overall it's a good camera, but with some caveats:

1. No DX primes! If Nikon had a Fuji-like lineup of DX lenses, I would overlook every other objection I'm going to name. If they had a 16mm f/1.4, that alone would do it for me. As it was, I had a 24mm on the D810, and a 50 on the D500 to act as a short tele. That 50 BTW is a 1.4D, and the D500 does just fine with screw-drive lenses.

2. Weird corner cutting. The camera is very fast, has good auto focus, and feels great but there are a few things that feel less than thoughtful and finished: the tiny D-pad, the random lockups (happened to me once), the UHS-II SD card incompatibility, the weird battery behavior, and the odd user-interface choices.

For example, the touchscreen is only usable for some things, but not navigating the menus. You can't move the magnifying cursor around in liveview unless you do a hack by switching your lens to MF, and turning on touch-to-focus. Why am I going on about this? Anyone who's used Nikon's liveview cursor knows how slowly that stupid red rectangle moves with the D-pad.

The joystick is great for moving the AF point, but only very few, odd choices of functions can be assigned to its press, and that didn't include centering the cursor. The full-width AF array is great, but navigating it is a chore if you can't quickly and easily center the cursor. Yes, the tiny button in the middle of the tiny D-pad will center the cursor, but my thumb is already on the AF thumbstick. Why should i move it away especially if I'm trying to move the AF point quickly?

That full-width AF array BTW is the main reason I had to check out the camera, and it works great.

There's this great Snapbridge feature too, but they've basically cut off a big chunk of their audience by not having the iOS version of the app available from the beginning. Android users can use it now.

Image quality is almost as good as the D810 at ISO1600 with perhaps a tendency to block up both highlights and shadows a bit sooner. The D810's not great at 1600, but it's still impressive to see a smaller sensor catch up to a not-so-old full-frame sensor.

Anyway, it's a great camera, and if you need it, then none of these objections will matter to you. But it does feel like a camera that's been rushed out of the gate, perhaps so Nikon could present it as a twin to the D5.

I have accumulated all the full frame, K-mount primes I "need" for the K1 (31, 43, 50, 77, 100 macro, 135) over the past 4 years... Now I need to accumulate the cash to buy one (and the 28-105 kit zoom).

I'm happy when folks are thrilled with their new cameras. The excitement can be contagious (ie: I end up spending some more money). Before plonking down serious dough I like to see how things compare. It's instructional, if nothing else.

So... continuing with what "Moose" said, take a look at the Fuji RAW or JPG and compare it to Sony's A6000 on the linked DPReview site. Look particularly in the etching of the family (though the effect is clearly seen elsewhere). The Fuji looks soft to me. Even the in-camera Fuji jpg's (I'm assuming they're sharpened) don't quite compare to Sony's output.


The real milestone in the last year has been the introduction of a professional quality mirrorless camera that replaces the DSLR, all off them. I mean the Leica SL. It is a true revolution. It has everything we have come to expect in the best DSLRs and it does brilliant video. Finally, it uses every Leica lens ever made. I use my M lenses and the M macro adapter on the SL. I am selling my M240.

Flashing through this morning I initially read...

"The Nikon D500 is a millstone..."

Most people I knew with a D300 used it for sports days and nature photography, especially birds. The crop factor and frame rate works very well in this instance.

It's selling well apparently, unlike the D5.

Has it really been so many years?

The D300 is still available new (grey import) from BH... http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/635645-GREY/Nikon_25464_D300s_SLR_Digital_Camera.html

[Nikon D300s was announced July 30th 2009 according to dpreview. --Mike]

Will there be a big price cut / purchase opportunity with the D500 announced?

MIKE -Tell me which DSLRs offer 21 MP in crop mode with the same focus speed and throughput as the D500, and I'll agree with you. And of course the problem with fingernail-sized sensors, although they do have much more reach, is IQ and high ISO limitations.
All your points are well taken and correct - however initially you were ONLY talking about reach. Also 13mp or so from a FF camera cropped to 1.5 isn't too bad a res. A camera such as the 5ds would have 20+ mp cropped. Of course it costs more, but then so does an aps-c camera over a 1/2.5.

[I said, "...its main brief for actual professionals is to serve as a specialty camera for sports-and-action photography and for those who shoot telephotos and need the reach—bird photographers for instance should love the D500. It has a high frame rate, very fast AF using an array of focus points the width of the entire frame...."

How is that "only talking about reach"? --Mike]

For Moose and Christopher:

There is no AA filter on Fuji X-series cameras. This is why the X-Trans sensor was developed, to prevent moire from occurring in the absence of an AA filter.

Regarding DPR reviews of Fuji X-trans cameras:
Gents, you cannot go by the methodology that DPR uses for evaluating acutance (sharpness) of Fuji X-trans RAF files. DPR insists on using ACR/Lightroom for RAW conversion, approaches who underlying demosaicing algorithms have proven time and again to be sub-par and not fit for purpose when demosaicing Fuji RAF files. This has been pointed out to them countless times on DPR forums, but they do not listen. They are not scientists, so IMHO, they do not understand that there is a significant *interaction* between the color filter array design, the RAF file and the demosaicing algorithm that cannot be gotten around, and because of this, making judgements about intrinsic Fuji image quality using ACR/LR is both inaccurate and imprecise. ACR/LR is not the right tool for the right job when it comes to demosaicing X-trans files, it is as simple as that. If you want to see what this sensor and the lenses are truly capable of, one needs to use Capture One Pro or Iridient Developer. Right tool for the right job. If you would like to see example images, have Mike send you my email address, I would be happy to provide examples (though there are many on the Net, as well).

How can you forget the only truly professional Minolta the XK?


If you don't listen to the folks who claim the made in Portugal Leica R series were professional Minoltas.

It's funny, I will be getting the K-1 in a few months after the initial run teething troubles come to light and are ironed out (saying that nothing has come to light on the various Pentax forums) and I have accumulated some nice primes for it to play with. Zeiss 25/2.8, 31/1.8, 43/1.9, 50/1.2, Leitz 60/2.8, 77/1.8, 100/2.8 and I'm trying to hunt down a 135/1.8. I made a mistake in getting the DA* 2.8 zooms (16-50 & 50-135), having too much fun with these and the K-3 to be massively envious of the K-1 buyers right now.
It is a camera designed for its loyal followers, Ricoh have said as much and all the better for it. Licking my lips in anticipation of the new primes due out next year for it. Good times for the 'Pentaxian'.

By all accounts the DSLR market is in big trouble. Why Nikon and Canon still keep flogging DSLR's to non pros beats me. The market for those that actually buy standalone cameras has gone over to mirrorless. The vast majority of images are made with cellphones these days.

I have been shooting Nikon since the mid 70's. Minolta before that. Suffice it to say I have a boat load of FF Nikkor glass. At my advanced years it doesn't make sense for me to sell my Nikkor lenses and move over to the Sony FF mirrorless lineup but I've been tempted. Sony seems to get it, Nikon and Canon don't. Once Nikon makes a FF mirrorless camera that accepts my MF Nikkor and AF Nikkor glass I will finally dump my D700. But not until. The D500 or even the D750 leave me cold. The video codecs in pro and prosumer dslr's suck. If I want to do serious video work I use a real video camera.

I feel there is going to be a real shake out in the next 2 or 3 years. Cameras like the Sony A7 series and m4/3'rds will be the only ones left standing for the prosumer market. Once Sony releases their rumored medium format mirrorless camera you can say goodbye to Nikon and Canon.

That is unless they wake up.

So with a 0.71 magnification viewfinder (allowing for the 1.4x crop factor) the D500 almost equals the D5 (0.72), but lags behind Canon's best effort at 0.76 in the EOS 1D X. Is this the best for an APS camera? I like a large viewfinder, it makes photography fun.

Got the crop factor wrong for Nikon (it's 1.5), so the magnification of the D500 is 0.67. Nowhere near the best full frame cameras, digital or analog!

Mike Jones. That 0.76x for a DSLR full frame magnification viewfinder still lags way behind the all-time film SLR viewfinder, the glorious 0.92x viewfinder of the tiny full frame Olympus OM-1.

Hi goff,
Although you happen to be right on the camera format, I think you are wrong on the model. On that side, the most important camera and system has been by far the Sony poker of A 7 cameras. Nostalgia can be a good thing. But as a business tool proposition, the Leica makes no sense.

This coming from somebody heavily invested on a pentax system. With ecstatic lenses such as the 100 Fa macro (the tank)


I would love to think the k-x cameras to be a pro system. Primes are there. Top notch. Zooms an flash systems, and moreover, service, are not there.

The (I doubt it even exists) quality difference with the a7 makes the Leica not even funny IMHO.

I recently bought the a6000 for the size, price, and focusing speed. Cute little camera that took a bit to get used to. Didn't take long and I felt the controls to be pretty intuitive and quick to learn. I bought the Sigma 30 1.4 and the Zeiss 55 1.8. Both sharp and fun to shoot with. However, enlarging just a bit in Lightroom, the oof areas seemed to me to be plastic ( technical term) and smudged ( another tech term). I couldn't get past that. Maybe on an a7ish body they would work better. No experience there. Long story short, exchanged it all for the Fuji XT1 and 35 f2. Much happier camper with that setup. Both having rebates made it even better. Some controls on the XT1 seem not so well thought out, but I think I can live with it's limitations. No XPro 2 in the budget.

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