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Reviews and overviews of mid/high segment cameras, software and other photographic stuff.

In this review we will compare in detail two quite similar lenses for Sony mirrorless APS-C, so E-mount: the Sony 50 mm f1.8 OSS and then Sigma 60 mm f2.8 Art.

They are two primes for cameras like A5100, A6000, A6300, NEX series, that, having a sensor with a crop factor of 1.5 with respect to full frame one, makes the equivalent focal lenght longer, respectively 75 mm for the Sony lens and 90 mm for the Sigma one. They are two medium telephoto lenses for portrait, since they have a large maximum aperture (f1.8 and f2.8) that allows for nice blurred backgrounds.

The Sigma lens is also available for micro four-thirds cameras, e.g. the compact mirrorless Olympus, Panasonic and so on with interchangeable optics.

Let's dive into the various aspects on a Sony camera (specifically an A6300).

Yesterday Canon has announced its new flagship DSLR: the full-frame EOS-1D X Mark II, less than a month after the announcement of Nikon of its new full-frame D5 - see our article here.

Let's see in detail the main differences with some comparison with the latest Nikon D5 (label Canon / Nikon when one of the two wins).

In this review, we will deeply analyze the version 4.0 of popular Adobe software Lightroom. It is one of the most complete functional review available on the Web and can also be useful as a guide to the new features. We will not mention support for new cameras that are added at each major and minor Lightroom upgrade.

Let's start!

Canon has announced a new consumer DSLR: the EOS 550D or Rebel T2i (USA) as an evolution of 500D.

Let''s see the main additions and improvements with comments as in the style of LightPoint articles:

  • full HD video recording (1920x1080 progressive) with full manual control of exposure. At full HD resolution, the frame rate can be 30, 25 or 24 fps while there are also a 50 and 60 fps rates but with lower resolutions. Interestingly, there is a movie crop mode that records the center portion of the CMOS sensor (pixel-by-pixel, no interpolation) with a VGA resolution (640x480): since this is a sort of super crop field of view of about 7, it is as the focal length of the lens would be 7 times... To be tried Wink.
  • socket for external microphone - good for doing a bit more serious recording.
  • the new 63-point iFCL metering system that was introduced in the higher class EOS 7D (instead of classical Canon consumer 35 zones metering);
  • a new CMOS sensor with 17.92 Megapixels (the sensor is still an APS-C so not a full frame). The higher pixel count sensor has a negative effect on burst buffer: 34 vs 170 in 500D for JPEGs and 6 vs 9 for RAWs - file size counts against buffer depth Smile.
  • larger LCD with 1040 pixels and an aspect ratio of 3:2 that better fit image size;
  • improved range for exposure compensation (and bracketing): up to +/- 5 EV, finally... Canon for years remained stuck with just +/- 2 EV.
  • other minor improvements like:
    • a new button layout;
    • selectable minimum ISO value for Auto ISO mode;
    • a basic movie crop feature - 1 second step as minimum interval;
    • a new battery that should feed up to 550 shots. We understand that is mainly a commercial policy, but almost a new battery model every new camera model is not a good customer care move to pro photographers that usually have quite a number of spare batteries to throw away...

SD/SDHC and SDXC format memory cards are supported.

Camera weight is 530 g, 50 g more than 500D but almost 300 g less than 7D.

Given all these updates, we are curious to see how Canon might fit a rumoured 60D model between this new consumer camera and the 7D model: 7D basically distinguishes itself for a higher and longer burst rate, AF lens microadjustments and better AF, important features but not so many ones to let another mid-level model enter in between. We will see.

Availability should be from March 2010 with initial price around 800 $ that is quite interesting having some higher-end features.

User manual can be downloaded from this link.

On September 22nd 2009, Adobe has published first beta of Lightroom version 3 (RAW development and photo archiving).

Let''s have a look in detail at this beta.

The good news

Library module

  • restyling of the import module with some more intuitive layout (not a bigh deal) and with import presets that can be defined and reused (and this is good);
  • a new catalog structure to be able to better handle large catalogs (details are not disclosed so far);

On 21st of July Raw Therapee 2.4 has been released.

Raw Therapee (http://www.rawtherapee.com) is an open source (donation are appreciated of course) software for RAW development.

The 2.x versions are a big step forward with respect to version 1.x in terms of usability and some features (already included in version 1.x) are particularly interesting, especially how the RAW data are handled, achieving results in some areas better than most of other RAW converters, included the popular Adobe Camera Raw. Let's see.

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