Smartphones have spoiled us. They’re with us wherever we go, are always connected, and best of all, have cameras that constantly get smarter. And yet, dedicated cameras still have their distinct advantages — at least five to be exact.
Interchangeable lenses add a whole new dimension
Let’s get to the biggest advantage first: DSLR and mirrorless cameras are able to accept a ton of compatible lenses that can change the way you shoot. Lock in a fish-eye lens for super-wide photos, insert a telephoto lens to focus on faraway subjects, or go for a do-it-all setup with a zoom lens.
If you’re loyal to one brand, mount adapters allow you to use lenses from other manufacturers; Canon glass can function on a Sony camera and you can even use old film-era lenses on modern-day shooters. Ever-improving optics mean you’ll never be let down by your aging camera body, which also means that…
A dedicated camera has unmatched image quality
Combining high-quality lenses with a dedicated camera’s large image sensor — along with all the accessories you can attach through its ports — guarantees quality that can outperform a smartphone’s setup in most situations. Phones may have quick post-processing for instant Instagram uploads, but only a real camera can be taken to the studio and function with all the lights.
While smartphones have comparable pictures to those of true cameras in daylight, it’s when the sun sets that the difference is more apparent. A dedicated camera can handle higher ISO sensitivities for brighter photos in the dark and reduce noise to comfortable levels.
Full manual control equals greater creative control
All those buttons and dials around a real camera are put to good use when fiddling around with settings. Although you can easily use touch controls on a smartphone to adjust virtually anything, reaching for physical buttons doesn’t need a pair of eyes to input accurately.
Anyone who’s used something like the Sony A9 shown above knows how steep the learning curve can be at first, but practice and doing your research can eventually get you to pro levels through time. There’s nothing like turning a dial to adjust exposure or flipping a switch to change shooting modes without looking.
Dedicated cameras can keep up with any subject
The most frustrating aspect of shooting with smartphones is not being able to keep track a fast-moving subject. And even if you do get a lock-on, a simple camera phone doesn’t have a quick-enough shutter to capture the moment without motion blur, especially when light is scarce.
We were able to take the full-resolution photos above using the Sony A9’s burst rate of 20 frames per second. That’s nearly the speed at which films are shot — minus the motion blur! Having a sports photography-centric camera also means the focus points will stay on your desired target.
A viewfinder is invaluable at times
Another weakness pure smartphone photographers have to deal with is potentially being held back by the touchscreen. Depending on the size of the display and user-friendliness of the interface, navigating through menus can be cumbersome when you’re rushing to get a shot off on time.
Having an optical or electronic viewfinder guarantees you’ll achieve the perfect framing for your shots even under direct sunlight or in dim environments. Combined with the manual dials, you can adjust exposure settings while looking through the viewfinder, giving you full control over compositions.
Canon EOS M100 hands-on: For your vlogging and #OOTD needs?
Compact and capable!
If you’ve read any of my previous camera reviews (here and here), you’d know that I have specific needs for the shooters I use. I mostly use cameras for vlogging and #OOTD purposes so on top of the list of priorities are ease in use and having the perfect compact size that I can bring around hassle-free — again, there’s no way I’m lugging around a camera the size of my head, I’d rather spend that energy thinking up IG poses.
My camera research led me to try Canon’s EOS M100 camera, their entry-level mirrorless shooter that was released in the latter part of last year. I got a little hands-on time with this camera and here are some thoughts on it.
The M100 has a good size and weight, and when I say good size, I mean I’ll be able to fit it in most medium-size purses without trouble. It has a built-in flash, and the unit I got to try came with a 15-45mm lens which just means it’s a pretty versatile kit — and yes, you can achieve that bokeh effect with this.
If you decide to step up your shooting, you can also switch out this stock lens for something more to your liking since it has interchangeable lenses.
Up top is the power button, settings for either shooting photos or videos, a dial, and video record button.
The back sports a 3-inch LCD and more buttons to navigate through the camera menu. There’s also a dedicated button for the menu, camera connectivity, and playback.
Now, back to that screen. I love how it’s fully touchscreen. You can tap to focus, tap to take photos, and even use it to navigate through the camera menu (which isn’t a function that’s available in all cameras). The best part?
It rotates and becomes a flippity screen — perfect for vlogging! It shoots at 1080p and is capable of 60fps for those beautiful slow-mo videos. Unfortunately, there’s no audio jack on this camera so you’re stuck with the built-in mic for your vlogs.
This 24-megapixel shooter is also capable of Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi, meaning it connects to your phone so you’ll be able to control your camera remotely and seamlessly transfer photos which is the perfect setup for your #InstagramGoals. I shot a few quick samples with the camera and here they are in their unedited glory:
Now, I’d have to spend more time with the M100 to be able to comment more on its performance but it’s looking like a real beginner powerhouse.
By the looks of it, the Canon EOS M100 might just be a great option for the casual users like me who’d want to shoot with more than just their smartphones for more on-point content. Priced at US$ 499 in the US, and PhP 41,998 (with two kit lenses included) in the Philippines, it may also be a pretty reasonable choice.
Moments: Mt. Maculot
Seen through the Apeman Camera A80
Mt. Maculot is a popular mountain located in the province of Batangas in the Philippines, overlooking a picturesque view of Taal volcano, the world’s smallest active volcano.
Climbing this mountain means scrambling through rocks and steep obstacles — definitely an adventure you need to try for your next getaway.
See Mt. Maculot through the Apeman Camera A80.
Sony A7 III hands-on review
When the basic model is anything but
The introduction of the A7 III follows last year’s 42-megapixel A7R III. Since this is the basic model, it’s a little cheaper, although nothing about it is basic, and we’ll tell you exactly why.
The A7 III kept the basic compact look with a few but important changes. For one, we feel more confident holding the Sony A7 III now that it has a bigger grip than its predecessor’s. This is thanks to a bigger battery that extends its life significantly. More on battery life in just a bit.
Another thing we’re happy about is the use of a joystick for its autofocus point selection. Instead of using the rotating pad like its predecessor the A7 II, setting the autofocus point is now easier to do even on the fly.
It has dual card slots with one slot rated for faster, high-performance memory cards. Just like the A7R III, the A7 III supports charging through USB-C.
A touchscreen display tilts both ways and works well for when you need a low-angle shot or when you shoot from above. However, it doesn’t flip over for selfies since it’s designed more for professional use.
This compact camera is not only built for photos — videographers are kept in mind just like in the previous series. I personally found the video record button on the previous Mark II a little awkward in the corner, but I’m happy to report that it has now been moved to a place that feels easier and more natural to reach.
So what does the A7 III offer and how does it compare to its predecessor, the A7 II? Well, Sony still implemented the same resolution at 24 megapixels, but the A7 III now has a backside illuminated (BSI) design. This means it should do better in both low and bright lighting conditions compared to its CMOS counterpart. Sony’s 5-axis image stabilization also made its way here.
More importantly, the A7 III now features 693 phase-detection autofocus points that almost cover the entire frame just like on the higher-end Sony A9. For comparison, the previous A7 II only had a 117-point AF system.
With its BIONZ X image processor, the A7 III can shoot images faster. How fast? Its 35mm full-frame sensor can shoot still photos continuously at up to 10 frames per second.
Additionally, the ability to shoot up to 4K UHD makes the A7 III a well-rounded camera. There’s Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth on board for wireless connectivity.
We’ve been using it to shoot both for our travels and work, and we like how its autofocus system is snappy and locks on to subjects quickly. Quality-wise, we’re impressed with its dynamic range maintaining details on both the bright and dark areas. Sony is proud that the A7 III can reach a max ISO of 204800. With that ISO range and the camera’s ability to reduce noise, we get nice photos even with the least amount of lighting.
As mentioned earlier, the A7 III is an all-around shooter. It records at up to 4K resolution at 30fps, and for fans of slowing things down, the full-frame camera shoots up to 120fps at Full HD resolution. If you want more control over your footage, the A7 III can shoot on S-Log profiles just like the higher-end A7R III. In turn, this makes for easier and finer adjustments during post-production.
You can find video samples in our hands-on video embedded at the beginning of this article.
The same battery as the A9 and A7R III’s pumps life into the A7 III. Unlike from the Mark II series, the new battery has twice as much juice. Its updated processor also helps in making the battery more efficient. Sony claims that a single pack can shoot up to 710 shots before needing to be recharged.
In the real world, we were able to use it for more than one shooting session and as long as we start with a fresh pack, we didn’t experience problems running out of juice before our work was done.
Here are the prices for the A7 III in the following countries:
- United States – US$ 2,000 (body only)
- Singapore – SG$ 2,899 (body only)
- Philippines – PhP 115,999 (body only)
It’s half the price of Sony’s high-end A9, US$ 1,000 cheaper than the excellent A7R III, and costs just as much as Panasonic’s popular GH5 which has a much smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
From the time we’ve spent with it, we could definitely say that it excels both in photo and video categories. It’s got a really fast autofocus system which eliminates wasted shots, an option for shooting 4K videos with impressive details, and an improved design that feels more ergonomic to use.
So if you’re looking for a solid all-around performer with a price that’s relatively affordable for what it is and what it does, the Sony A7 III might be for you.
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