Cameras

Polaroid OneStep+ review: Different yet exactly the same

We tried out the new features plus sample photos!

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The Polaroid OneStep+ is finally in my hands! Not to be confused with the Polaroid OneStep 2, the OneStep+ is the latest in Polaroid’s line that pays homage to the original OneStep camera released in the 70s. As a lover of pretty things and Instagrammable cameras, the OneStep cameras were always a treat to review.

This newest Polaroid Originals camera looks (almost) the same, feels the same, but what’s so different about it? Let’s get to it!


Hands-on time

This newest release, dubbed the Polaroid OneStep+, comes in black. Now, it might sound boring but it actually looks pretty classic and fun with the pop of colors from the Polaroid rainbow branding.

It looks as Instagrammable as its predecessor, despite the dark color change. Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it:

The Polaroid OneStep+ looking great at any time of the day

This good-looking camera doesn’t come cheap. It retails for EUR 159 or almost PhP 12,000 in the Philippines.

Up top is a switch that toggles between normal portrait mode and wider-angled photos. The light indicator for your remaining shots is also up here.

On the back is the on/off switch, a micro-USB port for charging, and the flash button — press and hold as you take the photo so the camera won’t flash.

The viewfinder (which looks tinier) is in the same place, on the left-back side.

I think the biggest and most notable change, though, is the fact that you can now attach this camera to a tripod. Built in at the bottom is a tripod screw thread which means that the OneStep+ can be mounted on a tripod. I guarantee you, this is a recipe for better Polaroids.

Getting started

Taking a photo with the OneStep+ is the same process as before: Look through the viewfinder and compose the photo, press the shutter (the red button on the side), and the photo automatically prints on film.

The shape of this camera is reminiscent of old-school cameras. Shooting with it can give you those feels, it’s just a different experience compared to shooting with your smartphone or a point-and-shoot camera.

So, yes. The Polaroid OneStep+ still takes (fun) photos or even selfies…

… and prints them on square format Polaroid film. It works with both 600 film and i-Type film which retail from EUR 16 to EUR 20, depending on the type.

Let me take this opportunity to gush about how cute that purple-pink gradient border is on that frame! It’s so pretty!

But, let’s go back to that photo of me and Chay taking a selfie with the camera. Notice something?

Why is Chay holding her phone in this photo?

No, Chay isn’t overly attached to her phone… it has to do with this camera’s new feature.

You can connect the OneStep+ to your phone via Bluetooth and you’ll be able to control your camera via the Polaroid Originals app.

Pairing is pretty easy, too. After the initial pairing process, the camera will automatically pop up when you open the app which is so convenient! (We all know how having to pair every single time can be annoying. 😅)

So, what can this new app do? Time to try it out!

Test run!

Once connected, there are six shooting modes you can try on the app.

The most basic: A remote function which allows for your phone to act as a trigger for the camera. This is pretty useful for when you want to be in the photo and there’s no one else to take the picture. Take note, however, that the app only acts as a trigger so you can’t preview the photo on your phone. (See photo 2)

Starting from the upper-left photo: 1. Selfie sample, 2. Remote, 3 and 4. Self-timer,  5. Noise trigger, 6. Double exposure, 7. Another light painting attempt, 8. Failed manual mode

The self-timer is a pretty cool feature, though the previous OneStep cameras had that feature even without the app. (See photos 3 and 4)

The same can be said about the double-exposure function. The Noise trigger is a new one, and it’s the coolest thing ever. Basically, you can trigger the camera shutter by creating any sound of a certain loudness. You can set this up on your phone and even change the sound threshold! (See photo 5)

Also included is light painting and manual modes. As you can see in the samples above (see photos 6, 7, and 8), it takes a while and a lot of ruined film to actually get how to take proper photos with these modes.

Our good shots from the second film cartridge

Once you learn how to use the OneStep+, it means a lot of cute Polaroids — and we all want that.

Finishing touches

When you’re all set with your Polaroids, the app offers an added feature to ensure you can show the world your prints. The scan feature automatically detects your photo, fixes it (crops and tilts it, if needed), and you can post or share away.

It’s not perfect, though. The function can be fidgety when it’s not photo-ready bright, which is most real-life circumstances. It’s usually a trial and error process to get the best-looking scan. Also, for some reason, this works best on iPhones. The Android devices we tested with it always had a harder time scanning the photos.

Nonetheless, it’s still pretty useful and it’s a great integration to the app. I see where this feature can go and I’m hoping that later updates will be able to fix these problems.

Another addition to the app is the Discover feature where you can find tips and tricks, or even photo ideas for your next Polaroid project.

You will never run out of things to try with your camera because of this!

Verdict

If you want a Polaroid camera in 2018, this is for you. It’s the same new-old camera (get it? 😎), but now made even better.

Although I would’ve loved a remote preview on my phone, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this addition would’ve changed the whole process of taking Polaroids and destroyed the instant camera experience.

Previous cameras have attempted to merge high technology with the concept of instant cameras. But, we have yet to see an execution that utilizes tech in a way that enhances the shooting without destroying the old-school experience. This might be the right step towards that.

Some will argue that a smartphone could outdo what these instant cameras can do. If you’re one of those who believe so, you’re completely missing the point of these throwback cameras. This line is designed for those who want to enjoy Polaroids in 2018 and the Polaroid Originals OneStep+ just offered another way to do so.

Cameras

Sony A9 II launches, improves speed and durability

Still made for sports photographers

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Sports photographers looking to upgrade their gear have something to look forward to with the announcement of the Sony A9 II.

This second generation camera builds upon the legacy of its predecessor. It maintains high speed performance which include blackout-free continuous shooting at up to 20 frames per second with Auto Focus and Auto Exposure tracking, 60 times per second AF/AE calculations.


The more significant updates are faster connectivity and file delivery, continuous shooting at up to 10 FPS with mechanical shutter, evolved AF performance with newly optimized algorithms, and a re-designed build to enhance durability.

The dust and moisture resistant design has been upgraded to meet the needs of professionals in the most challenging outdoor conditions.Stronger sealing provided at all body seams as well as the battery compartment cover and media slot. There’s also Improved grip configuration for better comfort and a sure hold. It’s compatible with the Sony VG-C4EM vertical grip.

Other features include an upgraded BIONZ X™ image processing engine gains maximum benefit from the sensor’s fast readout speed. Processor works with front-end LSI to enhance speed in AF/AE detection, image processing and, face detection and accuracy.

The Sony Alpha 9 II will be available in selected countries in Asia Pacific starting October 2019. Pricing will be announced at a later time.

SEE ALSO: 24 Hours in Baguio with the Sony A9

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Cameras

Canon finally brings the EOS 90D and M6 Mark II to the Philippines

The Canon refresh we’ve all been waiting for

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It was not too long ago when Canon Philippines announced EOS RP, their second full-frame mirrorless camera at a cheaper price. This time, Canon unveiled not just one, but two cameras — the Canon EOS 90D, successor to the EOS 80D from three years ago, and the EOS M6 Mark II, successor to 2017’s EOS M6.

Don’t confuse yourself

If you are confused with Canon’s camera lineup, here’s how you can differentiate them easily: Four and three-digit Canon DSLRs are for starters. Two-digit units are prosumer APS-C cameras, while one-digit models (except 6D and 7D) are full-frame DSLRs for professionals. 6D and 7D are for professionals too, just with cropped APS-C sensors.


Meanwhile, the M and R-series are Canon’s mirrorless line. In a nutshell, the M-series are shipped with APS-C sensors while the latter are equipped with full-frame sensors.

What’s new?

The Canon EOS 90D and M6 Mark II live up to their midrange powerhouse title by bringing significant upgrades over their predecessors. They both feature a larger 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor (versus 24.2-megapixel sensor) with a newer DIGIC 8 processor.

Another major upgrade is the ability to capture 4K UHD videos. The previous models can only shoot Full HD videos in certain frame rates. The new models can also now shoot in Full HD 120p for slow-motion and/or smoother videos.

Canon has also thought of shooting better in lowlight scenarios. The lowest intensity limit can be lowered down to EV -5, which allows sharper and vivid photographs even in dark scenarios. ISO sensitivity also goes up to 25,600 in stills and 12,800 in videos.

What’s different?

As said earlier, they can both shoot 4K videos, but here’s the catch: The EOS 90D can shoot in 30p or 25p, either cropped or uncropped. The M6 Mark II is limited to 30p with no cropped option in tow.

Canon also highlights faster focus and continuous shooting speeds with these cameras. You can shoot as fast as 1/16000 sec for both cameras via electronic shutter, but only 1/4000 sec in mechanical shutter in M6 Mark II, unlike 90D’s 1/8000 sec.

The 90D has up to 10fps in viewfinder shooting (either fixed AF or AF tracking), 11fps during Live View shooting (but with fixed AF) and 7fps during Live View plus AF tracking. On he M6 Mark II, you can shoot up to 14fps, plus up to 30fps in RAW burst shooting.

Hardware-wise, the EOS 90D brings another multi-controller joystick along with the existing multi-controller to provide better tactile when it comes to selecting points when focusing a subject on screen. The M6 Mark II only relies on touch controls, plus a touch and drag function as well.

Although there is no significant difference with the equipped 3-inch Vari-angle touch LCD monitors, the EOS 90D has a Zero Lag optical viewfinder, while the M6 Mark II has none. You can buy an optional viewfinder separately, just like in the previous M6. The Eye AF (autofocus) also works both on the viewfinder and Live View with the 90D.

Major difference goes to lens choices. You can choose a wide variety of EF-S lenses for the 90D, just like what any other two-digit models can have. The M6 Mark II relies on EF-M lenses, something you can only use for Canon’s mirrorless mount. The EOS R and RP relies on newer RF lenses, while the professional DSLRs are stuck with EF lenses.

What should you get?

These cameras are not built for the same market. The EOS 90D goes for prosumers who would love to take their camera in action. The 90D is built not just for speed, but also for durability. Its dust and drip proofing make this camera a triumphant in build quality.

Canon EOS M6 Mark II

On the other hand, the EOS M6 Mark II is particularly for consumers who would love to get most of the newest camera features without compromising size and heft. It’s a versatile camera in a more stylish and compact form.

Pricing and availability

Both cameras will be available across all authorized Canon Dealers nationwide starting on October 10. The Canon EOS 90D retails for:

  • PhP 74,498 (body only)
  • PhP 81,998 (with 18-55mm IS STM lens); and
  • PhP 94,498 (with 18-135mm IS USM lens)

While the EOS M6 Mark II pricing is as follows:

  • PhP 56,998 (body only)
  • PhP 62,998 (with 15-45mm kit lens); and
  • PhP 81,998 (with 18-150mm kit lens)

Promos will also apply to early buyers from October 4th until the 31st:

  • A free TIMEX Marathon Watch
  • PhP 4,000 discount on EVF-DC2 viewfinder (SRP PhP 11,998) for M6 Mark II buyers
  • PhP 1,000-worth Canon Red App points; and
  • Free pass to Canon PhotoMarathon 2019

Registering through Canon’s Red App will not only give you these promos, but also incentives such as 2-year extended warranty, unlimited CMOS cleaning for one year, free trial of lenses up to 3x, earn points to claim gifts and vouchers, and the ability to join and avail Canon-exclusive programs in the Philippines.

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Cameras

Sony launches the A6600 and the A6100 mirrorless cameras

Can focus on subjects in just 0.02 seconds!

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Even with recent camera launches, Sony is already expanding its camera family once again. Announced today, the company will launch two new APS-C mirrorless cameras. The flagship Alpha A6600 will replace 2016’s popular A6500 model. Meanwhile, the lower-tier Alpha A6100 will succeed the A6000 model.

Like its predecessor, the Alpha A6600 sports a 24.2-megapixel APS-C image sensor. It also comes with in-body 5-axis image stabilization, Real-Time AF tracking, and Real-Time Eye AF tracking. With 425 phase-detect points, the camera can track subjects in real time for both photo and video modes.


More importantly, the Alpha A6600 will feature Sony’s AI-powered Z-Bionz image processing tech. With the new technology, the flagship model can focus on a subject in an astonishing 0.02 seconds. As such, it can shoot in a blazing-fast 11 shots per second. Inside, the camera is also speedy. The new BIONZ X image processing system touts almost twice the processing speed of its predecessor.

The Alpha A6600 is also armed with impressive video-taking capabilities. The camera can take videos in 4K resolution. For ease of use, it comes with a 180-degree rear touch screen and a headphone/microphone jack.

Finally, the camera will have a larger Z-battery inside the package. Supposedly, it will last much longer than the previous A6500. More specifically, the battery will shoot up to 720 shots on just one charge.

The Alpha 6600 will launch in November for US$ 1,400. It also comes in a package with an 18-135mm kit lens for a pricier US$ 1,800.

For the budget conscious, the upcoming Alpha 6100 will pack almost the same features as the Alpha A6600 — except for the headphone jack or the bigger battery. For a lesser package, the camera will retail for US$ 750. Like the flagship model, a packaged variant with a 16-50mm kit lens will retail for US$ 850. Finally, a larger 55-210mm lens package will retail for US$ 1,100.

SEE ALSO: Sony’s A7R IV has a massive 61MP sensor

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