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Computers

Macs are cheaper than PCs… Change my mind.

Categories
Cameras Lenses Photography

Nikon D780 and Z 70-200 f2.8

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Computers Foldables

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold

I see that the 2019 fold craze isn’t dead yet. This doesn’t look any more promising (or sturdy) than the Galaxy Fold.

I do think that as a concept, a foldable device is something that could take off in the industry. However, as Samsung has shown, execution matters. None of the players in the foldable arena have gotten recipe right yet. I’m not saying it’s not possible, I’m just saying one year in, nobody who is shipping (or close to shipping) a foldable product has produced anything better than a lab quality prototype.

Will Apple jump in to this segment? Possibly. But if they do, I hope they hold their fire until they have a foldable screen that is as reliable and sturdy as a non foldable one. If it isn’t, then what’s the point?

Categories
Photography

Nikon D780 specs and pricing leaked

The Nikon D780, the successor to the popular 2014 D750, has long been rumored to be released in early January. Nikon Rumors just published pics and pricing of the D780 (and two other lenses and a new Coolpix camera) that all but confirm it’s release.

Nikon D780 Specs:

  • 24.5MP sensor
  • 12 fps continuous shooting speed
  • Eye detect AF (presumably in Live view)
  • 51-points AF
  • 273 AF areas in live view (just like the Z6)
  • ISO 100-51,200
  • Shutter speed: 1/8,000 – 900s
  • 3.2-inch 2.36 million dot articulated TFT LCD tilting touchscreen
  • 100% field of view pentaprism
  • 4k/30p video
  • Dual UHS-II SD cards
  • Weight: 840g
  • Battery life: 2260 shots
  • EN-EL15b battery
  • USB-C charging
  • 3.5mm audio input and output interface
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Weight: 840g
  • Release date: January 16th, 2020
  • Price (including tax): body 14,800 RMB, 24-120 kit 18,300 RMB (around $2,000 for the body)

Not content with just releasing a new D750 successor, Nikon is also releasing the long expected AF-S Nikkor 120-300 f/2.8E FL ED SR VR. It’s expected in February of this year for about $10,000. You would kind of expect that this lens would be released alongside the D6, since they are considered to be Nikon’s one-two-punch for the 2020 Olympics, but the D6 release date still hasn’t been tipped.

Additionally, the ‘lost in the lens map roadmap reshuffle’ Nikon 70-200 f2.8 S lens for the Z camera system is revealed as being released in March of this year for about $2600 USD.

Categories
Photography Software

Luminar 4.1 brings new features

Luminar 4.1

A little over a months since the release of Luminar 4, Skylum today announced that Luminar 4.1.0 is now shipping. New features in version 4.1 include:

  • Erase Tool Technology (think Content Aware fill in Photoshop
  • Atmospheric Haze slider for AI Sky Replacement – helps make a swapped in sky adapt to the rest of the photo
  • Portrait enhancer now works with smaller faces
  • 53 bug fixes, 17 memory management improvements
  • Photoshop 2020 support

Luminar 4.1.0 is a free update for Luminar users and can be updated thru the app itself.

Source: Skylum

Categories
Photography Storage

XQD vs CFExpress

Today, I’m going to talk about the differences (and similarities) of XQD and CFExpress.

Now, if you are a Nikon Z shooter or a Sony Camcorder shooter, you already know what XQD cards are. For the rest of you, XQD is a format, developed by Sony, that allows for high speed transfers – 1gb/s to 4gb/s  – and larger storage sizes – theoretically over 2TB (although the largest card you can buy at this time is 240GB).

XQD is designed for professional applications. The card itself is thicker and larger than an SD card, and it’s construction is generally sturdier and more robust as a result. The cards themselves are designed for fast read and write speeds, allowing you to clear the buffer of your camera quickly. For video, they are fast enough to write out full 4K 30 footage without any issues.

XQD cards are used in the Nikon Z6/Z7, D850, D500, D4s, D5, PhaseOne XF IQ4, and some Sony camcorders. 

The XQD format was developed by Sony, but you can find XQD cards manufactured by Sony, Nikon (which are most likely Sony cards rebranded), SanDisk, Delkin, and Prograde. XQD cards tend to be more expensive than SD cards, but that can generally be attributed to their more rugged design, faster speeds, and generally higher reliability than SD cards. 

Now, much has been made about the Nikon Z6/Z7 only having one XQD card slot, and while redundancy is an important tool in a professional setting, the higher quality and lower failure rate of XQD cards means that you shouldn’t need the extra card slot for reliability. Still, some people refuse to trust a camera that doesn’t offer a second card option for redundancy.

So what is CFExpress?

CFExpress is a card format that is physically the same size as XQD, and pin for pin compatible with XQD. Any device that uses XQD should be able to theoretically use CFExpress with a firmware update. CFExpress is not owned by an entity, like XQD is owned by Sony, so there isn’t the issue of licensing royalties that need to be paid when using CFExpress. CFExpress also uses two PCI lanes of PCI Express, which provides twice the throughput of XQD. 


CFExpress cards are just now hitting the market, with cards by Sony, ProGrade and SanDisk being available now, and cards from Delkin, Lexar and Wise coming soon.

So late in 2019, Nikon released the long promised firmware update to allow the Z6/Z7 to use CFExpress cards. The update however, only promised compatibility – for now – with the Sony cards. Additional manufacturer card support is promised in the future, as Nikon has time to test and certify these cards with the cameras. The Nikon D850, D500 and D4s and D5 are still promised the CFExpress update, which should be coming in the near future.

So the obvious question is – if I own a camera that supports XQD cards, and now it also supports CFExpress cards, is there any advantage to switching to CFExpress cards? 

And the answer, right now, is not really.

First of all, the prices for CFExpress cards vs similarly configured CFExpress are nearly identical. 

Second, while CFExpress cards are faster than XQD cards, the camera writing the actual data hasn’t changed, and it can only write that data so fast. So while CFExpress gives you more read/write headroom than XQD, don’t expect your camera to be able to utilize that speed. 

Another consideration in the switch from XQD to CFExpress is with any peripherals you use to read the cards. If you bought an XQD card reader to pull images in to your computer, don’t expect that XQD card reader to be able to read that CFExpress card. Sure, the manufacturer could theoretically provide a firmware update to make it compatible, but there has yet to be any XQD card reader that is getting this type of upgrade. Considering that most XQD card readers cost less than $50, I wouldn’t expect any of them to offer an upgrade path to CFExpress. Instead, they’re expecting that you will shell out another $50 or so for their CFExpress card reader. Such is the price of progress.

So in short, CFExpress is the future. Now that it has arrived, expect it to supplant XQD rather quickly, and when new cameras arrive that take advantage of it, expect it to offer even better read/write speeds than XQD. In existing cameras that have been upgraded to use CFExpress in addition to XQD cards, expect that you get another card options that will work just as well as XQD.

So if you are a XQD user, do you plan to update to CFExpress? Let me know down below in the comments.