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

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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Cameras

Learning street photography with the Canon EOS RP

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words

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Street photography has been around for decades — way back in the early years of World War, famine, hunger, and financial crisis. It even sparked several debates whether it’s legal or ethical to do so. Although these questions remain unanswered, a lot of people have been more invested in street photography lately.

It may have started that way but it didn’t stay for long. Today, it’s not just limited to photojournalists, it even hits casual and creative photographers alike. But the real essence of this photography genre is still intact: it is thrilling, challenging, and takes a lot of patience because it should be candid and in perfect timing, not staged.

Canon Philippines gave us an opportunity to learn more about shooting in streets with the guide of popular photojournalist, Jilson Tiu. We roamed around the streets of Intramuros and got a glimpse of life inside the walls.

It hasn’t been long since Canon released the EOS RP in the Philippines. Just a refresher, it is the early successor of the EOS R, which is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera. It is also their second mirrorless camera with a smaller body and introduced other cut-down features to make it (a little bit) cheaper.

Canon has come a long way in making and manufacturing cameras. My first camera is a 60D, which was a prosumer king during its time. My initial hands-on with their newest mirrorless camera felt familiar. They have managed to keep the design language in a smaller form factor.

Enough with the technicals. As someone who has been into photography since high school, I can tell that street photography is specifically not my forte. But this doesn’t mean I won’t challenge myself. I learned so many things during this photo walk — so I’m giving you eight tips when shooting around the streets, together with my EOS RP experience.

1. Learn the basics

They are called “basics” for a reason. You should not go to war without learning how to shoot a gun — the same principle applies in photography. Learning how shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, and aperture work before you shoot is essential because you will not (and should not) rely on Auto Mode, especially that you are going to use DSLR or mirrorless cameras when shooting, which is a lot more versatile than using point-and-shoot cameras.

Other photography jargons such as Depth of Field (DOF), focal lengthwhite balanceexposure bracketing, should follow along the way. Composing shots is also part of the basics, including placing subjects within the frame, exercising Rule of Thirds and/or Golden Ratio, and more. With the existence and vastness of the internet, searching for tutorials shouldn’t be a problem for most.

More over, technicals should come along the way. Even the lens you pick affects the quality of shots you take. Prime, kit, telephoto lenses, you name them. Photography isn’t as easy as it seems, but trust me, knowing the basics will be one of your biggest achievements and advances as an aspiring photographer (or photojournalist).

2. Look for human elements

Imagine walking around the streets without any human element, do you think street photography would still make sense? Human element creates several stories in the shots you capture. Street photography isn’t literally talking about capturing the streets, it’s more about capturing the culture between people and the streets you pass by.

One misconception about street photography is when photographers take their posing models as subjects, and street as a background element — put simply, that’s not street photography.

3. Know one’s story

To whoever is reading this, I would admit that I’m socially awkward. A big chunk of me being an introvert holds me back from talking to people. If you are really focused on doing street photography, this tip is very important in establishing connections and making relationships as you shoot more individuals in the long run.

Once you find at least one (or several) human element/s you want to capture, it shouldn’t stop there. Talk to them. Ask them about life, how is their day going, other questions to follow. These questions may sound simple but it helps in creating a sense of belongingness, even if you are both strangers to each other. It would also feel authentic when you talk to them more, even when you are both focused on the different things you’re doing.

Taking the shot above as an example. Although he is busy with his job as a barber, he still entertained our group because we took the initiative to speak with him. Talking to people contributes to the candidness of the photograph. It did not disrupt the things we all did — he even enjoyed the small talk with our group. Let your single photograph say a thousand words to those who will see it.

4. Respect all things around you

Part of having moral ascendancy is respecting each and everything around you — not limited to life forms such as people, animals, and plants, even non-living things alike.

In this particular shot, an old man got mad at our group for suddenly capturing this dog. After trying to ask for permission, he then decided to let us shoot. There are times when people are not amused seeing cameras pointed at them nor at the things they own. If it happens to you, respect their privacy and decision. You should not argue and you definitely need to walk away before you get yourself in trouble.

5. Stop making poverty an aesthetic

I have seen a lot of street photographers who are making poverty as an aesthetic. In connection to tips two and three, showing one’s respect is not imitating the way they live or how they interact with other people.

Exhibit A: You want to do a staged photoshoot with models pretending they are beggars.

Exhibit B: You were awed when you saw two siblings sleeping along the footbridge. You decided to take photos of them and shared it on Social Media without their consent.

Social Media exposure would raise awareness about their situation, but do you think it would make them happy if they knew they were photographed without consent? If no talk or story-telling happened in between, it is not street photography anymore. The essence of knowing their life nor story never even happened. It is unethical to make one’s living condition a part of your Instagram or Bēhance portfolio — so is exaggerating one’s situation as a staged shoot.

6. Post-processing is normal, #NoFilter shots are not bragging rights

Cameras and lenses are not created equally. Although my experience with the Canon EOS RP is outstanding and its RF 28-70mm f/2L USM lens does the job well, there were times that the shot I took was not aligned to what I wanted the outcome to be.

Post-processing isn’t cheating. There’s nothing wrong with fixing your photography mistake (or worse, a hardware mistake). In fact, it already takes place the moment you press the shutter button on your camera — that is why people should not make #NoFilter shots a big deal. If you are one among the clumsiest users who forgot to set RAW shooting, you have no choice but to stick with your .jpg files.

Let’s say you forgot to adjust the Custom WB (White Balance) while shooting, post-processing apps can help you fix it. You can even do other processing techniques if you want to convey more feelings in your shots. It is a part of experimentation, and the values in each photo you edit are not something that’s always definite.

In this particular photo, I adjusted the curves that helped it achieve a faded look instead of deep shadows, making it feel softer with minimized shadows and contrast. I minimized the highlights because of the harsh sunlight hitting the tile bricks. I also moved the slider to the warmer side for it to look lively. Color science says that photos on the cool side feels melancholic and lifeless.

I suppose not everyone is computer-literate. There are mobile apps you can try when it comes to post-processing your shots — such as VSCO, Snapseed, and Lightroom Mobile, a toned-down version of the PC-based Adobe Lightroom. Take note that mobile apps may have limited functions, especially because they are free.

Reminder: Before all of you use (and abuse) the power of post-processing, you should have already understood the first tip. Not to sound like a broken record but it is about understanding the basics. Nowadays, a lot of people rely on post-processing without knowing the essentials — maybe it’s time to learn them properly.

7. Capture the scenery, too

Imagine you are trying to shoot on top of a building. You peeked at your camera’s viewfinder, adjusted the focal length, and tried fitting human elements within the camera’s frame. Suddenly, you realized that the scenery makes them stand out more — that’s what this tip is for.

Street photography should not be limited to street per se. As long as the background element does not overpower the human element or subject, you are good to go. The lush greenery along this golf course make the golfers stand out more. The differences in their movement make it feel dynamic, candid, and emphasizes their actions of playing golf.

8. Explore unusual elements to shoot

Last but definitely not the least is all about looking for odd elements that will make you and your composition different from others. Staged photographs can be imitated, but not the candid ones. That’s why learning the basics matter, so you can compose shots in a split second — every shot you take makes a lot of difference.

Use juxtaposition when possible in order to convey two contrasting elements in one frame. In the shot above, I was aiming to describe the situation of the Philippines (or other similar nations) today — the biker represents that Filipino citizens are freely moving around, while the window grilles represent that we are restricted to freely express ourselves due to government policies and sanctions (Threat to Press Freedom, anyone?).

I captured more than ten photographs in the same location just to get my desired composition. If you think this goes against the essence of shooting candid photos, it’s not. I do not personally know him nor directed him to pass by. Misconceptions like this can cause trouble among the photography community, and you should avoid that.

Another candid shot I took talks a lot about growing up and getting old. Having the same walking direction between the old man and the children tells us that time is constant. There is nothing that can stop us from accepting more responsibilities and having different kinds of interest as we grow up.

Photography throughout my years

I was born knowing what traditional film cameras look like and how they function. I was even there when VGA, 3-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras in phones made headlines. Photography has come a long way, and they still keep improving. It’s not even limited to professional cameras anymore that newer smartphones with excellent mobile photography prowess can now be considered as contenders.

As I was saying, street photography is not my forte. But from my experience using the Canon EOS RP coupled with a new RF lens system (vs the old EF lens mount), capturing photos still felt like I was using my old 60D because of the familiar feel and function. After using different cameras throughout my creative journey, Canon still lives up to their name for creating a big name in the camera industry.

 

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