Cameras

5 most important announcements from Photokina 2016

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Photokina happens only once every two years, so you can imagine how big it is for camera brands who want to show off their latest products. For reference, the event in 2014 introduced two DSLR cameras still widely used today: the full-frame Nikon D750 and the high-performance Canon EOS 7D Mark II. There’s a lot to cover this year, so here’s a compilation of the biggest announcements made at Photokina 2016, in no particular order.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH5

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Although it’s still under development with no release date or expected price, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH5 is one of the biggest hits at the show because of its 4K video recording at 60 frames per second. That’s amazing for a camera with a relatively small Four Thirds image sensor, and it follows up on the already great GH4 that was released almost two years ago.

There’s also a “6K Photo” mode, but it’s probably not what you think it is. All it can do is extract 18-megapixel stills from burst shots or 8-megapixel photos from the aforementioned 4K footage, which is still quite impressive for such a compact interchangeable-lens camera. The GH5 should be in stores by early 2017.

Fujifilm GFX 50S

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Medium format cameras are a rarity at consumer shows, so it’s nice to see Fujifilm take a crack at it with the GFX 50S. Despite its bland looks, there’s a 51.4-megapixel sensor that’s 1.7 times bigger than a full-frame DSLR’s waiting inside, as well as a brand-spanking new G lens mount system. It’s really light for its kind too, with a mirrorless body that weighs only 800g.

The GFX 50S is going to be crazy expensive, but for early adopters, the selection of lenses is quite good for a fresh system. There’ll be six to choose from, consisting of one 32-64mm f/4 lens and prime lenses spanning 23mm f/4 to 120mm f/4. Rest assured, this is a medium format camera you’d love to have both in a studio and outside your house.

Sony A99 II

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Sony has had enormous success with its full-frame mirrorless A7 series of cameras, making the A99 II announcement a bit of a surprise. If you’re not familiar with the A99 lineup, we can’t blame you; the latest is a full-frame SLT camera just like its predecessor, meaning it uses a translucent mirror instead of a slapping one like in every SLR. Sony continues to believe there’s a market for this, but it comes at a hefty price.

For $3200 (body only), you get a 42.4-megapixel full-frame sensor, continuous shooting at 12 frames per second, and 5-axis in-body image stabilization. The A99 II will be out in November, which is a long four years after the release of the original A99. Time will tell how well an SLT will be received in this day and age.

GoPro Karma

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While it wasn’t technically unveiled at Photokina — GoPro made its announcement simultaneously in the US — the Karma is the most fascinating drone to come out this week. It’s designed to be foldable for easy storage during trips, and is compatible with the Hero 4 and new Hero 5 series.

The package comes with a gamepad-like Karma controller for flying the drone, a Karma grip for smooth handheld shooting on its 3-axis stabilization, and a Karma case for traveling convenience. It’s a fantastic deal when you consider the $799 price tag for the whole set. GoPro also claims that it’s beginner-friendly, so it may be a sweet investment for newbies of flying drones.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

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Just like the Panasonic Lumix GH5, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is still under development and doesn’t have a release window or price yet. What we do know is that it’ll be Olympus’ best mirrorless camera once it’s released. Fast shooting speeds at high resolutions is its strong suit.

With autofocus active, the new E-M1 can shoot 18 frames per second at full resolution; if you’re using manual focus, an amazing 60 shots per second can be achieved, as if you’re shooting a video but with high-resolution photos. Inside, there’s a 20.4-megapixel image sensor capable of 4K movie recording — a first for Olympus. Overall, this shooter is really good at pushing pixels quickly.

Honorable mentions

It’s no surprise that Photokina 2016 has been absolutely packed with big announcements. Aside from the main highlights, SanDisk also announced its 1TB SDXC card, which probably has more storage than your laptop and tablet combined. As mentioned earlier, GoPro also has a new pair of action cameras in the Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session. Lastly, there’s the Leica-lookalike Yi M1 mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera from Xiaoyi, but it won’t be available outside of China for now.

If you’re interested in any of the listed gadgets, let us know in the comments below, and we’ll work on more coverage for them in future articles.

Cameras

Nikon outs the 125x ‘superzoom’ Coolpix P1000

Will sell for US$ 999

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Recently, smartphone photography has started to catch up with the professional photography market. Take, for example, the Huawei P20. As reviews can tell you, Huawei’s latest flagship features a magnificent zoom while maintaining impressive photo quality.

Not to be outdone, the standalone camera market continues to up the ante. Particularly, Nikon is launching a new camera that blows its competition out of the zooming market.

Launching September, the Coolpix P1000 touts a titanic 125x optical zoom lens. That adds up to a 24-3000m focal length equivalent in distance.

On the shorter end of the scale, the lens is wide enough to take stunning landscape shots. Supposedly, the camera also carries a 1cm macro focus, allowing for extreme closeups for minute subjects.

Meanwhile, its beefier side sports a Moon Mode, indicating its capabilities to shoot closeups of the moon. In fact, Nikon already released a sample shot of the moon taken with the Coolpix P1000. On a more practical note, the lens offers unique opportunities for long-distance photography.

Image source: Nikon

Additionally, the camera’s optical zoom can still digitally zoom by up to 250x more with Nikon’s Dynamic Zoom System.

To compensate for this, the Coolpix P1000 decidedly slows down its maximum aperture to just an f/8. Thankfully, the camera also has an advanced form of stabilization which reduces camera shake with accelerometers and other sensors.

Under the hood, the Coolpix P1000 rocks a 1/2.3-inch BSI-CMOS sensor with 16 megapixels. It can conveniently shoot in RAW mode and in 4K UHD.

With its ginormous lens, the Coolpix P1000 weighs in at a tough 1.4kg. It sizes up greater than its predecessor, the Coolpix P900.

Nikon will out the new Coolpix P1000 this September for US$ 999.

SEE ALSO: Awesome Super Blue Blood Moon photos and the tech that captured it

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Cameras

Sony A5100 review: Your next compact vlogging camera

Small and with a selfie screen!

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My needs for a camera are different. While others opt for all the frills and functionalities that come with a full-on camera and shooting rig, there are other things I tend to prioritize when looking for a camera — like it being in a size that my frail arms can actually carry. (Seriously, how do vloggers carry those heavy cameras with just one arm? 😱)

Sure, I want good photos and videos, but I also really need a camera small enough to fit inside my purse.

My grab-and-go vlogging attitude, in tandem with my tinier body frame and the small shoulder bags I bring when I run around, are all considerations when looking for a shooter I plan to use.

These things considered, the Sony A5100 looked like a good contender for being my next vlogging camera. But, was it?

Look and feel

The Sony A5100 is a pretty compact mirrorless camera — one of the smallest in the market. This thing was pretty easy to bring on my trips and events, even without a dedicated camera bag.

I got to play with the white unit, which made for a good camera look. The matte white finish certainly made it stand out from all the bland black cameras in the market.

It’s really the lens that makes up the bulk of this camera’s size — it’s almost as thick as the camera body. But, it’s the price you pay for having interchangeable lenses.

Up top is the shutter button and a dial that lets you zoom in and out. There’s also a movie record button and another button that makes the flash pop out.

You can find most of the controls on the back of the camera. There are dedicated buttons for “Menu,” “Playback,” and “?” — which gives you basic photography tips at the press of a button.

A series of button pressing and dial turning will navigate you through the camera menu and bring up anything you need the camera to do. It might take a while to get familiar with everything; and for those who like tactile camera controls, it might prove to be annoying.

The three-inch screen has touch capabilities but the best thing about it, though, is this:

Yep, not only is it easier to shoot because of the hinge, you can even go as far as entering selfie mode which is a big help for vlogging or composing timer photos on a tripod. Hooray for flippity screens!

Ready, set, shoot!

The A5100 is a good shooter. Focusing is fast and photos are crisp and bright. That bokeh mode effect is achievable with the stock 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens it came with. Here are a few unedited samples:

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I’m definitely a sucker for any camera’s tap to focus capabilities, and this one isn’t an exception. However, I did find that the touchscreen capabilities are limited to this, which is a bummer for menu navigation or even photo and video playback.

Nevertheless, the A5100 was fun to shoot with. It’s light and looks good so I looked great with it. 😉

The big question: Is it a good enough shooter for your Instagram feed?

I sought to answer this question with a mini shoot. I took MJ, our resident IGBFF (that’s Instagram best friend forever, for those who are uninformed), and we did an IG challenge. Armed with this camera, we spent 30 minutes in a random well-lit balcony and the resulting photos are as follow:

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Thanks to MJ and some pretty sick foreground action, I now have photos to post on my IG. I only did a little editing with Photoshop and Lightroom mobile (because that’s the only editing I’m capable of 😅) and I’m pretty happy with them.

Vlogging time!

Most cameras I review, I use to vlog. In my experience, the A5100 is definitely a good fit for novice vloggers such as myself. First of all, it’s pretty small so it was easier to bring it around — which meant more footage as I always had my camera on me. Trust me, it’s easy to get lazy to bring shooting gear when they’re big and bulky.

I especially love that this entry-level camera has a dedicated movie mode, which is something you’d think is pretty basic in 2018, but there are still new releases out there that don’t offer this specific mode. This is a pain if you want to be able to compose and adjust your settings before shooting the actual video. Thankfully, the A5100 offers this and different movie modes that range from fully manual to programmed auto.

Here are a few clips I put together featuring the time I had with the camera. No, I did not edit further after I strung them together and added music and transitions. (Also, no, this isn’t a full vlog because there’s no way I’m editing one in time for this review’s publishing date. 😂)

The camera shoots in 1080/60p or 24p which is just a bunch of numbers to me but know this: Video quality was good and focus was pretty quick. Again, I especially love that you can tap to focus, even while you’re shooting video. Even the stock lens the camera comes with has a good wider angle that’ll allow you to comfortably vlog without a Joby pod.

Unfortunately, there’s no audio jack or a hot shoe mount on this camera, so you won’t be able to add on a mic or even lights. It also doesn’t shoot in 4K, which isn’t as bad as it sounds since a lot of people don’t shoot in 4K (including me) anyway.

Is the Sony A5100 your next vlogging camera?

For my needs, the A5100 fared pretty well. It ticked off things that I prioritized: It was handy enough to bring around everywhere, it has a flippity screen, and content quality did not disappoint.

If you’re the type who loves to point and shoot, whether it be photos or videos, but want a capable entry-level camera that will give you more options when you do need it, the Sony A5100 may be for you.

Sure, it may not be able to do all the fancy shmancy stuff pro cameras can do, but it’s an easy camera to learn on. I found it to be one of the most enjoyable vlogging cameras I’ve tried.

The Sony A5100 retails for US$ 550 in the US and PhP 34,999 in the Philippines.

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Cameras

Instax SQ6 hands-on: What can this instant camera do?

All squares!

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Fujifilm’s newest Instax release is here and it’s looking good. 😎

The SQ6 is the successor to the semi-digital Instax SQ10, but how exactly is it different? Watch this video to find out.

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Read the full review here: Shooting with a Fujifilm Instax SQ6: Walkthrough, review, and sample shots

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