Cameras

Sony A9 mirrorless camera makes its way to the Philippines

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If you want an all-around full-frame mirrorless camera in the smallest package possible, you go for the Sony A7 series. But what if you need more speed — something really fast? You’d have to save up a lot, because the A9 is the next level, but it comes at a heavy cost.

Beginning July 1, Sony Philippines is offering its latest mirrorless camera, the A9, for — get this — PhP 239,999! That’s just a little over the base price of $4,500 in the US. But what sort of technical wizardry justifies such a price tag?

Any serious photographer must already be familiar with the power backing this beast and can stop reading here, but for the less informed, get ready for a large dose of numbers.

The A9 prides itself in having the first full-frame stacked CMOS image sensor. Already confused? Let me explain: By having additional layers of circuitry on the sensor, the A9 can handle image processing and delivery to the memory much faster. It basically allows the system to skip steps in getting the photos to your display.

This leads to a blistering burst of 20 frames per second (FPS) while still being able to autofocus. That’s just four FPS short of cinema-level videos (24fps), so it’s almost like shooting a movie with each frame at a full resolution of 24.2 megapixels! Process that for a moment with your non-stacked brain.

And since this is a mirrorless camera as clearly shown in the photo above, there’s no mirror slapping involved like on a traditional DSLR, meaning there are no distracting and potentially image-ruining vibrations to endure while shooting at max speed.

Sony’s excellent 5-axis image stabilization is once again built in, just in case your hands are too unworthy to handle this monster. And if you’re still unconvinced to splurge on an A9, realize that there’s a grand total of 693 autofocus points covering a remarkable 93 percent of the viewfinder. No cat, dog, or unruly child is going to escape the A9’s sights.

If all else fails, you have an ISO range of 100 to 51200 (expandable from 50 to 204800) to play with, ensuring you’ll always have enough light entering your shots no matter how difficult the lighting situation gets.

My A7 II suddenly looks really stale, but I’m sure owners of every other camera feel the same. That’s how far mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras have come, and the A9 is leading the charge like no other.

SEE ALSO: Sony A7R II Hands-On

Cameras

Canon EOS M100 hands-on: For your vlogging and #OOTD needs?

Compact and capable!

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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:

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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.

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Cameras

Moments: Mt. Maculot

Seen through the Apeman Camera A80

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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.

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Cameras

Sony A7 III hands-on review

When the basic model is anything but

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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.

Design

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.

Features

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.

Image quality

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.

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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.

Battery

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.

Pricing

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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