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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fuji S1 vs Canon SX50: 8 Reasons to Buy the Fuji Finepix S1 OVER the Canon SX50

Fuji has recently announced the new Fuji Finepix S1, their latest ultrazoom digital camera with a 50X zoom lens, making it a competitor to Canon's SX50 Ultrazoom.

I have the Canon SX50, and I love it.  The really unique and really great thing about the little Canon SX50 with it's 50X zoom lens, is that the lens is very good, both at the wide and the long ends of the lens.  This is not the norm for a ultra zoom camera like the SX50.

Normally, an ultrazoom suffers, either at the one extreme or the other.  Some suffer at both ends of the zoom range, and some just aren't very good anywhere as they have poorly performing lenses.

For the price (currently somewhere South of $400), the Canon SX50 is a great bargain.  You don't normally get this kind of performance for this low a price.  As I point out in my Canon SX50 - Six Reasons to Replace Your Long Lens With the Canon SX50 video, you could actually replace your long lens / lenses with the Canon SX50 and save yourself a pile of dough.

And it wouldn't just be money you're saving!  The Canon SX50 is smaller and lighter which makes it a whole lot easier to travel with and just carry around in general.

Which brings us to the Fuji Finepix S1, the new guy on the block.  The one who looks like he's going to muscle out the old guy, and in fact, as I point out in the above video, there are at least 8 reasons why you or I would want the Fuji S1 OVER the Canon SX50.

First off we have the newer 16 megapixel sensor that is in the Fuji S1 versus the 12 megapixel sensor in the Canon SX50.  Four more megapixels in the Fuji S1, and also the promise of better image quality since the S1's new BSI CMOS sensor is newer and promises to perform as good or better than the rest of Fuji's highly rated sensors.

I'm expecting to see better low-light, high ISO performance and greater detail out of the new Fuji S1 sensor in comparison to the Canon SX50 sensor.  Like the SX50, the new Fuji S1 can shoot RAW, which is a HUGE bonus in comparison to other cameras and puts both the SX50 and the S1 in a league of their own with very few others joining them.

Second up is the lens on the Fuji Finepix S1.  The S1 sports a f2.8 - f5.6 lens which is a fair bit faster than the Canon SX50's f3.4 to f6.5 lens and gives the Fuji S1 the advantage, all else being equal.

Now I need to point out that that last bit, the all else being equal part, remains to be seen.  We don't know yet if the Fuji S1 lens will be as good at both the wide and long ends like the Canon SX50 is, but I'm hoping it is.

Third on the list is the Fuji S1's 5-axis image stabilization.  This is notable, especially when we look at how great the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and E-M1's 5-axis image stabilization is.  Nothing beats those two, and hopefully the Fuji S1's 5-axis image stabilization is as good as the one in the Olympus cameras.  Regardless, being newer, more current technology, the S1 should beat the SX50 in this area.

Fourth is the Fuji S1's ISO 100 - 12,8000 range vs the Canon SX50's 80 to 6400 ISO range.  Increasing the ISO range in the sensor would seem to indicate that Fuji is more comfortable with shooters using the Fuji S1 at higher ISO settings, and past performance of Fuji's sensor has usually been very good at higher ISO settings in comparison to competitors.

While I wouldn't recommend using either the Fuji S1 or the Canon SX50 at the top end of their ISO ranges, I'd be willing to bet that the S1 will beat the SX50 for high ISO noise by a tidy margin.

Fifth on the list is the LCD screen on the Fuji S1.  It's MUCH nicer than the LCD on the Canon SX50.  The Canon SX50's 2.8 in 461k LCD has always seemed like one of the areas where Canon cheaped out, while the new Fuji S1 sports a 3 in 920k LCD making it obviously far superior in resolution and even slightly larger in terms of physical size.

This also brings up another weakness on the Canon SX50 which will likely be another area that the Fuji S1 beats it handily, and that's the EVF.  The electronic viewfinder on the SX50 is just plain awful, and it wouldn't take much for the Fuji S1 to beat it.  The S1 has a 0.2 in 920k EVF according to the specs which is HUGE jump in resolution in comparison to the SX50's 202k EVF.

Sixth is the video quality of the Fuji S1 which sports 1080 at 60fps in comparison to the SX50's 1080 at 24fps.  Not a huge difference, but an advantage none the less for the Fuji S1.

Seventh is the dust and weather resistant body of the Fuji S1.  This is always a welcome feature to any camera, and especially to an ultrazoom which we're more likely to be using outside just because of the very nature of an ultrazoom, the super long lens.  It's nice not to have to worry about damaging our camera if we're caught in a sudden rain shower, and perhaps even more pertinent, with the long racking motion of an ultrazoom, it's nice that it's dust resistant so that any intrusion of dust particles from the sucking motion of the lenses zooming out is minimized or eliminated.

Finally, the eight point on the list is the Fuji S1's built-in wi-fi.  We don't get that on the Canon SX50, and it's a nice addition to get on the Fuji S1.  A lot of newer cameras have this feature, and I think we're fast approaching the point where all cameras will have it simply to be competitive.

All in all, the Fuji Finepix S1 promises a lot, and I'm quite interested in getting my hands on one and shooting it against my Canon SX50.  Providing the S1's lens is as good or better than the Canon SX50's lens, I think the new S1 will be the winner, and you'll probably be seeing me putting my SX50 up for sale.  :-)

Check out Amazon's BEST price on the Fuji Finepix S1

Check out Amazon's BEST price on the Canon SX50

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 - Unboxed and Initial Impressions

So for Christmas, I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 because, well, you know... the best gifts are often the ones you buy yourself.

Click the video above to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 unboxed and my initial observations.

Check BHPhoto's  LOWEST price on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 at

Friday, January 10, 2014

Best NEW Camera of 2013??? Canon 70D Nikon D7100 Olympus E M1 Panasonic GX7 Sony a7 a7R

With 2013 done and gone, the internet has been talking about what was the Best NEW Camera of 2013.

We've got quite a few contenders, but I'll narrow them down to the Canon 70D, Nikon D7100, Olympus E-M1, Panasonic GX7, Sony a7, and the Sony a7r.

So what do you think was the best new camera of 2013?

Click on the video above for my take on it.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nikon D3300 vs Nikon D3200: 7 reasons to buy the Nikon D3300 OVER the NIkon D3200

1) Size and Weight.  The Nikon D3300 430g, while the Nikon D3200 is 505g.  In other words, the Nikon D3300 is 9% lighter than the Nikon D3200.  It's also smaller, but I don't have the Star Trek technology to quickly tell you the % number. :-)

2) New Kit Lens.  The new kit lens, the Nikon 18-55mm VRII is 30% smaller and 25% lighter, plus it retracts to an even smaller state for storage by pressing a a bottom on the zoom ring.  Kind of reminds me a M4/3'd lens.

3) Optional WiFi.  It has since been brought to my attention that this is my bad. :-)  The Nikon D3200 had optional Wifi too, so don't count this one, just count size and weight as two separate points. :-)

4) Expeed 4.  A newer, more current processing engine in the Nikon D3300 than the Nikon D3200 means it's probably a safe bet that the Nikon D3300 has better image quality and high ISO.

5) No Low Pass Filter.  Seems to be a trend in Nikon cameras lately, which is a good thing because removing the low pass filter makes for a sharper, more detailed image.  Low Pass Filters tend to smudge detail.  Kudos to Nikon for continuing the trend in their entry level DSLR!

6) 25,600 High ISO.  The Nikon D3300 has a new max high ISO of 25,600 while the Nikon D3200 has 12,800.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that the top ISO setting on either camera is usable, but it does likely indicate that the Nikon D3300 is usable at a higher ISO setting than the Nikon D3200, with all else being equal.  In other words, if you were comfortable shooting at ISO 1600 on the Nikon D3200 as your highest ISO setting, then you'll probably be ok with ISO 3200 on the Nikon D3300 (or at least a half stop anyway).

7) 5fps.  The Nikon D3300 can shoot at 5 fps while the Nikon D3200 can shoot at 4fps.

So there you have it.  Seven reasons to buy the Nikon D3300 OVER the Nikon D3200.  Now, the seven reasons may mean nothing to you, and that might mean, for you, saving about $120 by buying the Nikon D3200 is the better choice.

I'm not honestly sure which way I'd go if I was in the market for an entry level Nikon DSLR.  Here's the current price difference at BHPhoto at the time of this writing.

Nikon D3300 with kit lens $646.95 (click the link to see the current price at BH)

Nikon D3200 with kit lens $526.95  (click the link to see the current price at BH)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 Digital Camera - Water-/Shock-/Freeze-/Dust-Proof Ultra-Wide 25-100mm zoom - ONLY $99 + FREE SHIPPING

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 Digital Camera - Water-/Shock-/Freeze-/Dust-Proof  Ultra-Wide 25-100mm zoom

Great deal on the Panasonic TS20 at BHPhoto.

Only $99 + FREE SHIPPING for a Water-/Shock-/Freeze-/Dust-Proof  compact digital camera with an Ultra-Wide 25-100mm zoom!

Great for the kids, at the beach, or around the pool, and at $99 with FREE SHIPPING, pretty hard to beat!

Check out the Panasonic TS20 at!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Impressive Nikon D3300 & NEW AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Lens Announced at CES

Nikon D3300 with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Lens

Nikon just announced the Nikon D3300 at CES, the successor to the popular Nikon D3200, and it looks like they've stuffed some new goodies into it, including a new 18-55mm kit lens that Nikon is calling ultra-compact.

Full HD Video at 1080p at 60/50/30/25/24p ... check.

24 Megapixels... check.

3.0" 921k-Dot LCD Monitor... check.

11-Point Multi-CAM 1000 AF Sensor... check.

Continuous Shooting up to 5 fps... check.

Expeed 4 processing engine... check.

ISO 100 - 25,600... check.

Optional wifi with WU-1a wireless adapter... check.

Pretty impressive specs for a DSLR that is ONLY $646.95 MSRP at time of announcement.  Figure you'll be able to get it cheaper than that very shortly, either by rebate or sale, and you've got yourself one heck of a deal. 

I wish my first DSLR, my Nikon D100, was spec'd like this little beauty!!! :-)

Pre-Order your Nikon D3300 at BHPhoto here!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fuji Finepix S1 Digital Camera Announced at CES Available for Pre-Order NOW at BHPhoto

Fuji Finepix S1 Digital Camera

Just announced at CES, the Fuji Finepix S1 Digital Camera looks pretty impressive!  With a 50X zoom, it looks like it may be a good contender for the Ultra Zoom crown, perhaps even toppling my favorite little Canon SX50!

With a 1200mm zoom equivalent, the Fuji S1 can really reach out and touch someone.  I know, because my Canon SX50 has the same zoom range, and it is CRAZY long!!!

Packed with features like a 16.4 Mp 1/2.3" CMOS Sensor, 3" 920k vari-angle LCD monitor, 5 axis optical image stabilization, built-in wifi, and full HD 1080p @ 60fps, this little camera looks like it's got the goods to deliver amazing photo and video performance.

... and oh yeah!  Dust and weather resistant (proof?) body!  This looks quite promising.  Fuji says the S1 has over 70 dust and weatherproof seals on the body, and weather proofing is always a welcome feature!

I'll be very interested to get my hands on one of these and shoot it against my Canon SX50.  Who knows?  Maybe the SX50 will be going on eBay, and the new Fuji S1 will become my new Ultra Zoom darling. :-)

FUJINON 56mm f/1.2 XF LENS Announced at CES Available for Pre-Order NOW at BHPhoto

Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 XF Lens

Great portrait length, crazy fast at f1.2, the Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 XF Lens shows Fuji is REALLY serious about their lens line-up for their X series mirrorless cameras.

With a 35mm equivalent of 85mm, the new Fujinon 56mm f1.2 will be sure to be a favorite of any portrait photographer shooting with the Fuji X series, and the f1.2 aperture just adds icing to the cake. 

Pre-order the Fujinon 56mm f1.2 XF Lens at BHPhoto NOW to make sure you get yours.  These babies will likely be in short supply for some time.

Canon VIXIA HF R52 Full HD Camcorder Announced at CES & Available for Pre-Order NOW at B&H!

Canon VIXIA HF R52 Full HD Camcorder

CES is in full swing, and as always, there's some great new photo and video gear being introduced.  I'll be posting the most interesting stuff that I see, and I'll include pre-order links for you if they're available.

One of the first new pieces of gear that caught my eye from CES is the Canon VIXIA HF R52 Camcorder which looks sweet!  I love my earlier version (HF 200 if memory serves), and I wouldn't mind getting my hands on this new one!

If you're looking for a new camcorder, check out the Canon Vixia HF R52 here at BHPhoto

Sunday, January 5, 2014

DPReview Poll Names Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Camera Of 2013. Here's Why I Disagree.

Sony-a7-Panasonic-GX7-Olympus-E-M1-Fuji-X-E2 Mirrorless Cameras
Sony a7             Panasonic-GX7            Olympus E-M1            Fuji X-E2

So DPReview asked their readers what the best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera of 2013 was, and they responded with an over-whelming vote for the Olympus OM-D E-M1.

The poll showed the Olympus OM-D E-M1 got 34.1% of the vote, and the next closest was the Sony a7R at 21% which is interesting because I would've put the Sony a7R over the Olympus E-M1.

Why you ask?  Well, for two big reasons.  The Sony a7R has a full frame sensor and does better video.  Better image quality and better video quality.  Done deal for me.

But there's more.  The Sony a7 got only 10.3% of the vote, and for me, the Sony a7 wins over BOTH the Olympus E-M1 and the Sony a7R.  It's full frame, does great video, and is a LOT cheaper than it's big a7R brother.

Wait though!  Hold on a sec... there's another contender that I found disproportionately ranked in DPReview's reader poll.  The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 got only 6.8% of the vote, which I found strange because frankly, I'd rank it at least second, if not first place.

The Panasonic GX7 has everything I want in a camera.  It's small and light.  Has great image quality, and even better video quality.  I love the lenses available to the M4/3 system, especially the Olympus 45mm f1.8 which is one of my favorite lenses of all time.  To me, the Panasonic GX7 may be the perfect camera.

Which underlines a very important point.  None of the rankings matter if the camera isn't the right one for you.  Maybe the Fuji X-E2 is more your cup of tea.  Maybe you agree with the poll and the Olympus E-M1 is the best mirrorless for you.  Maybe you're like me and prefer the Panasonic GX7.  Regardless, the important thing is to find the camera that fits best for you!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Best New Camera of 2013? Canon 70D Nikon D7100 Fuji X-E2 Panasonic GX7 Sony a7 Olympus E-M1

The year was 2013.  It was a year of change, it certainly was in the camera industry as well.

We saw a lot of great new entries into the market.

Nikon introduced the Nikon D7100, their shiny new update to the SUPER popular Nikon D7000.

Fuji introduced the Fuji X-E2, a promising update to the much loved Fuji X-E1.

Panasonic rocked the mirrorless world with the Panasonic GX7, a camera so awesome it took a lot of the wind out of the Panasonic flagship's, the Panasonic GH3, sails.

Sony introduced the brothers, the Sony a7 and the Sony a7r, two cameras who made it so hard for photographers to choose between them that many just threw their hands in the air and bought both.

Olympus brought us the Olympus E-M1, the camera many Olympus shooters had been waiting for.

And last but not least, Canon set the DSLR world on fire with their new Canon 70D, a camera revolutionary for it's new Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system.

So which was the best new camera of 2013???

Well, you tell me!  Leave a comment and let us know your vote.

What's that?  You want to know my vote?  But won't that influence yours?  I mean, I don't want to sway you one way or the other now.

Ahhh... OK!  To me, it was a fairly easy choice for the Best New Camera of 2013 crown.  The Canon 70D brought us such revolutionary technology with the Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system that I think there's no question the Canon EOS 70D is the Best New Camera of 2013.

The Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system changed video forever, and every manufacturer out there is scrambling to come up with their own version.  At the moment, there really is no other choice for me when it comes to DSLR video.

If I were buying a new camera today, it would be the Canon 70D, simply because I want that Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system.  I shoot a lot of video these days, as much or more than I do photos, and the Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system is something I wouldn't be without in a new camera.

That said, I'm really looking forward to Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, and Sony catching up and introducing their own version of the Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system!  Come on guys.  Don't leave us hanging. :-)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Go WIDE Young Man, Go Wide! (and FAST!) ONLY $449 Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 Pro DX Autofocus Lens

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 Pro DX Autofocus Lens

When you want to go wide, you need WIDE!  And the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X is a really popular lens for Canon APS-C DSLRs because it's not only WIDE, it's FAST!

This ain't your mother's f5.6 wide angle.  At f2.8, it's as fast as it gets in a zoom.  And the Tokina is highly rated too.  Just check out the ratings at BHPhoto from all the customers who've bought it!

On NOW for ONLY $449 with FREE SHIPPING, but they're not telling me for how long, so get 'em while you can!

$199.99 for the Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 DG OS Lens for Nikon Digital Cameras SAVE $160 (44%) + Free Shipping

Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 DG OS Lens for Nikon Digital Cameras
BH keeps rolling out the deals!  Any of you need a 70-300mm zoom, you can't beat $199.99!

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS Lens for Nikon Digital Cameras

SAVE $160 (44%) + Free Shipping

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top 4 Ways To Be A Better Photographer

Two Warthogs - Canon SX50

1. Practice.  You've heard it before, and I'm reminding you again.  Practice, practice, practice.  Practice makes perfect.  Just like Malcom Gladwell proves in his book Outliers, it's all about the time investment.  10,000 hours baby!  Put the time in, and you will be the best of the best.  

It doesnt matter if you use the best equipment like a Nikon D4 or a Canon 1Dx, or you use a bargain priced Sony NEX-3N or Canon T5i, it's the photographer that makes the photo.  And the skilled photographer, the one who has practiced countless hours and honed their craft, can take a great photo with just about any camera or image making device. 

2. Learn lighting.  Even a single $59 Speedlight used off camera with an inexpensive $40 radio trigger, heck even an old school flash cord, will make all difference in the world to your photo if you know how to light it properly.  

I am constantly amused how many photographers advertise themselves as "natural light" photographers.  Basically they're telling everyone that they don't have a clue how to do lighting, which in effect is saying they aren't really that great a photographer because they haven't taken the time to learn one of the most important aspects of the craft.  

Sure, there are few amazing "natural light" photographers, but they are also the ones who know photography inside and out, are skilled at lighting, and have then chosen to shoot predominantly without artificial lighting.  There are VERY FEW of these photographers out there.  The bulk of photographers who say they shoot with "natural lighting" just don't know how to use artificial lighting, hence they try to make themselves sound artistic by trying to make their ignorance sound like an advantage.

3. Get it right in Camera.  In other words, shoot it properly when you take the picture.  Know your settings.  Know your equipment.  Know your lighting.  Anticipate your subject.  

Poor shooting, and then saying you'll just fix it in post with Photoshop or Lightroom, is lazy and degrades your skills (if you have taken the time to acquire any.  A lot of times when a photo isn't shot right at the time, the photographer did it out of ignorance because they didn't have the skills to begin with.  See #1.)

4. Be prepared.  Extremely critical for the professional photographer, but still very important for the amateur enthusiast photographer, be prepared is a great moto to live by.  There's a reason it's the Scouts' motto! 

Have your gear prepared prior to your shoot, batteries charged, memory cards ready, lenses cleaned, cameras synced.  

If you're going out to shoot a landscape at dawn, know your sunrise times and scope out where your best vantage point is ahead of time. 

If you're going out on an assignment for a tricky client shot, run the scenario through in your head before the big day.  Try setting up a similar shot at home or in your studio and figure out possible problems and solutions ahead of time.