Sony A850 and A900 Review

Sony A850 and A900

The Sony A850 and A900 are full frame cameras that pack in 24.6-megapixels on that big sensor.  The cameras appear at the top-end of the Alpha system line up.  At first blush, the A850 appears almost identical to the pricier Sony A900.  After delving deeper into the A850, you’ll discover that there’s really not a whole lot of difference between it and the A900.

Because of the similarities between these two cameras and the fact that I reviewed them simultaneous, I decided to publish one review for both cameras rather than than two separate reviews with only minor changes in the text. [Read more...]

Sony A500 and A550 ISO Comparisons

Sony A500 and A550

Recently, I’ve been getting to know the new Sony A500 and A550 DSLRs, which feature 12.3-megapixel and 14.2-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensors, respectively.  Sony has hyped these consumer-grade DSLRs as low-light and low noise shooters thanks to their BIONZ image processing.  Both cameras cover a sensitivity range of ISO 200-12800, which is a pretty bold spec for cameras priced under $1000.  So, I decided to take a closer look at the noise performance of the cameras side-by-side. [Read more...]

Leica X1 Hands-On Review

The Leica X1 is a compact camera with a fixed lens and an APS-C sized sensor. The camera has the largest sensor in it’s class, dwarfing Micro Four Thirds and the Sigma Foveon. I received some personal hands-on time with the camera. While I wasn’t able to put a card in to take samples (I handled a prototype) the short experience with the camera was overall quite positive and, in fact, it may very well be a camera that will put more pressure on other companies to start really developing their technology to do just the same thing.

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Leica M9 Hands-On Review


Since the announcement of the Leica M9, there has been much interest in the powerful but little camera. The main reason for this is the full frame sensor in such a small body. I had the pleasure and opportunity to finally fondle the Leica M9. I previously brought up the issue of really needing a rangefinder for street photography, and while I have not solved that question yet, I can tell you that the M9 has characteristics that surely can help with doing such things even at close range. However, it is not perfect. [Read more...]

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS Lens Hands-on Review

The Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG OS lens is a consumer-oriented lens and is available for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Sigma DSLRs. This lens is one that is relatively compact for its abilities. It feels very light in your hands and should be very enjoyable for amateurs, enthusiasts, etc. Granted, the lens is not an EX (Sigma’s top of the line) and it surely shows it. I received some brief hands-on time with the lens and was able to judge the Canon version’s abilities vs. something like my much older Canon 80-200mm F2.8 L.

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Manfrotto 190XB Tripod and 486RC2 Head Review

Manfrotto 190XB Tripod and 486RC2 Head

The Manfrotto 190XB is a 3-section aluminum tripod that carries a reasonable price tag around $130.  The Manfrotto 486RC2 tripod head is a ball head with a quick release plate that runs about $75.  The 190XB and 486RC2 is an everyman’s kind of combo.  It’s not as light as the Gitzo Traveler 6x carbon fiber tripod; however, it gets the job done almost as smoothly. [Read more...]

Hands-On: Canon 7D and 100mm F2.8 L Macro Hybrid IS

Canon 7D and 100mm F2.8 L Macro Hybrid IS

After some personal fondling time with the Canon 7D and 100mm F2.8 L Macro Hybrid IS lens at Pepcom, I expect that those who pre-ordered the camera will likely not be disappointed – so long as the image quality lives up to the expectations once we see results from a production model.

Right off the bat, it’s clear that the 7D adds a bit of twist in terms of buttons, which may require a bit of a learning curve if you’re used to the 5D Mk II and 50D. However, the buttons are all laid out very well and it just takes a bit more memorization.

On the lens front, the 100mm Macro lens takes some very amazing photos and doubles as an excellent portrait lens, albeit a bit long when paired with the 7D’s APS-C sensor. How does it stack up against the Nikon D300s, a camera that wasn’t too far away from it (as Canon and Nikon always seem to be placed right across from one another at events)?  Keep on reading for more of my hands-on report on the Canon 7D.

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