If Apple was serious about the photography market, they'd bring Aperture back instead...
Actually...Sony's been a leader in low light autofocus for over 10 years. As far back as 2002, Sony's F707/717 could nail focus in utter complete pitch black darkness. And it allowed you to choose between 2 focusing systems to accomplish this (1.a laser holograph focus assist light and 2. an infrared focus assist light). Amazing -- this is cutting edge stuff in 2015 -- let alone 2002. Combine this with a really state of the art Zeiss lens that started at F2.0 and could maintain F2.4 at almost 200mm.
Numerous dslrs and mirrorless cameras later, it remains the only camera that I use for shooting floral, macro and street photography in total darkness.
As if that wasn't impressive enough, with the simple addition of an infrared filter and a neutral density filter it's easily converted to an infrared camera (yet remains perfectly usable as a normal camera).
Sony has a pretty good track record for making cameras that are ahead of their time.
Just out of curiosity, how does the Panasonic G7 compare in low light auto focus? It's supposed to be able to focus to -4ev even without a focus assist light (Panasonic calls it 'starlight AF').
I have to admit, I used to dismiss the whole Sony/Zeiss thing as pure marketing and nothing else. But years ago, Luminous Landscape did a head to head between the Zeiss lens on Sony's F828 and the equivalent (and much more expensive) focal length with Canon L glass -- it ended up being a tie (even the reviewer seemed somewhat amazed at this).
My own experience has been equally impressive. I've been fortunate to own or use some of the best lenses ever made. But my favorite remains the Zeiss lens on Sony's F717 which was amazing -- I shoot professional portraits with it to this day. Check out DPReview's reviews of the F707/717 -- they seemed to be pretty impressed with the lens as well.
Chris Noble: Strange, begrudging review... An example: One feature that G-class users love is the Q-menu, a button to instantly access your own secondary controls (the primary ones being assigned to the custom buttons). In Butler's convoluted logic, "I'm not sure the camera needs its (increasingly dated looking) Q.Menu, in the light of how many custom buttons are available (though the customizable version can at least be pared-back to only include the features you want access to)."
Richard, the whole point of the Q-Menu is to include only the secondary controls each user wants; and I don't see any references to "increasingly dated" features in DPR's breathless reviews of retro cameras like the Olympus, Fujifilm and Leica nostalgia models. The Q-menu is a sensible and practical innovation that has stood the test of time.
What I'd really like to see is how the G7 compares to its peers and predecessors in shutter-shock sensitivity.
I agree. The lack of a touch screen Q Menu is what steered me away from the otherwise excellent LX100.
J Parker: Just a word of advice -- you owe it to yourself to actually use this camera -- and then draw your conclusions. This camera is phenomenal. Even as a stills only camera, this is one of the best handling and performing cameras I've experienced. Excellent controls and a well thought out touchscreen that adapt to you, not the other way around. The one thing that amazed me most it that there was almost no 'breaking in' period -- the G7 is almost immediately intuitive. An extension of not only the hand, but of the eye and mind. I enjoy shooting with the mirrorless cameras I have from Sony and Olympus -- but this is truly an incredible camera -- literally state of the art.
This camera is as elegant and exceptional as a Steinway Piano (even if you're not a pianist, play a note on a Steinway and you'll see what I mean...). Well done Panasonic.
Rinkos, thanks for your reply. I'm just thankful for living in this era where the cameras we take for granted would have also seemed pretty amazing to photographers like Amsel Adams or Gordon Parks. Continue to develop your photographic knowledge and use whatever camera inspires you to make great images.
Just a word of advice -- you owe it to yourself to actually use this camera -- and then draw your conclusions. This camera is phenomenal. Even as a stills only camera, this is one of the best handling and performing cameras I've experienced. Excellent controls and a well thought out touchscreen that adapt to you, not the other way around. The one thing that amazed me most it that there was almost no 'breaking in' period -- the G7 is almost immediately intuitive. An extension of not only the hand, but of the eye and mind. I enjoy shooting with the mirrorless cameras I have from Sony and Olympus -- but this is truly an incredible camera -- literally state of the art.
What if Sony made a camera that:-used a laser holograph to nail focus-had a built-in infrared nightscope to shoot in pitch black darkness-had a phenomenal Zeiss lens that started at F2.0 and even at 190mm could attain a f2.4 aperture?-didn't have an articulating screen -- but an articulating magnesium alloy body?-had absolutely amazing image quality?
Sony made this amazing camera 14 years ago (the incredible F707/F717).
My point: Sony's been doing the impossible for a long time (and this is coming from someone who shoots Nikon and Fujifilm). When Sony pushes the envelope and other companies are forced to do the same, we all win.
It is an awesome time to be a photographer.
"This ain't a comeback -- I've been here for years..."LL Cool J
To say this camera merely competes with the best out there is an understatement. DPReview could create a new award beyond gold -- platinum -- and this camera would be a deserving first recipient. Even if this camera is not for you, cameras this innovative literally force the other camera companies to become better -- or get left behind -- and we all benefit. Thank you Samsung for having the audacity to bring to the market a truly phenomenal creative tool.
I was a Lensbaby skeptic for years -- and then I actually used one and was hooked. In particular, check out their tilt shift adapter which turns any Nikon lens into a tilt shift lens. If you have not shot with one then you should try their line before being judgmental (of course no lens is for everyone). There really is a genuine aesthetic that these lens give that's beyond what photoshop will do. Sometimes the lensbaby stays mounted for weeks at a time. Combine a Lensbaby with the art modes on most of today's cameras and your camera becomes an even more versatile creative tool.
I've never engaged in this form of photography -- but thank you Nikon for having the guts to make a camera that's not catered to the mass market, but to a select group that might need what this camera offers. We need companies that as Jobs would say, think different (something that Canon and Nikon often seem reluctant to do). There's room in the photography universe for cameras that shoot only in monochrome (Leica, Phase One). Even for cameras that are designed to capture the wonders of the night sky. Some major astronomical discoveries have been made by hobbyist astronomers in their driveways with fairly modest equipment. I'm looking forward to see what people do with this camera.
Ten years from now, the photographic landscape is going to be very interesting. Sony, Samsung, Fuji, Olympus, and Panasonic are simply making amazing cameras. Yes Nikon and Canon are making great cameras too -- they always have. It's just that the other camera makers are not merely making great cameras -- they're making revolutionary cameras. It's not just a DSLR vs. Mirrorless thing either (i.e. the 2007 Fujifilm S5 Pro DSLR still holds highlight detail better than any of my modern cameras, mirrorless or DSLR).
It's about innovation. Look at what Panasonic is doing with 4K. Look at what Sony is doing with full frame. Fuji's X100 is the most emulated camera of the last ten years (and it was of course imitating another well known company...).Combine the above with Nikon's continual refinement of their cameras (the D750 for example).
It's an amazing time for photographers. The Samsung NX1 is without question an incredible indication of this. Competition is a good thing.
I used a manual 135mm f/2 with a Samsung GX1S ( a clone of Pentax *ist DL2), and it was awesome for concert pictures (including Madonna or Tina Turner, have to post photos done with that setting !).
It's great for portraits and impressive in low-light.
And being MF instead MF is not for me a default, because in video you prepare your shoot and the ficus point (or the different focus point), and on stil photography you might be lacking light to have accurante and efficent AF, and if well done (with a great smooth focus ring), it could be a better way to use it!
With a bit of practice, manual focusing can be quick and extremely accurate. As you stated, a lens with a smooth focusing ring is a pure joy to use.
Thanks for your personal impressions of an imperfect, but still incredible camera.
Leica gets a disproportionate share of animosity that I'm still trying to figure out.
Leica introduces an $8,000 monochrome camera and many of us are outraged.But Phase One introduces a monochrome camera that costs 5x the price ($40,000!) and the forums here are silent -- no outrage -- nothing.
It must be a Leica thing...
My auto fanatic friends look forward to the next model by Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Spyker, etc. None of them will ever buy a car that costs $500,000, but they don't whine and complain because Ferrari prices it how they choose. And these vehicles have a several month waiting list if you can get one at all. This is the same crowd that buys Leica. Exotic cars and exotic cameras are marketed to individuals who often do not have the same budget considerations as most of us. Leica has the same right to cater to this market as Ferrari does.
My auto fanatic friends don't stop enjoying their Mustangs when Ferrari puts out a new model. Enjoy the camera you have.
J Parker: Initially I thought this camera was expensive -- then I realized it might be dollar for dollar one of the best camera values around.
If the Zeiss lens is as good or better than the f2.0-2.4 from the days of the Sony F707/717/828, this is tremendous value for the money. Consider the cost of a Canon or Nikon F2.8 24-200mm lens combination -- then ask yourself how much would a Zeiss equivalent would cost.... To add a little more food for thought, years ago, Luminous Landscape did a shoot out between the above mentioned Canon L Glass and the fixed Zeiss lens on the Sony F828. The Canon should have won hands down -- it was a dead heat.
Think about the sum of the parts this camera offers. This camera is worth every dime.
tkbslc, thanks for your response. I agree -- it would be great if the lenses I mentioned were interchangeable.
As to the resale value though, it depends. For example, on the most popular used camera sites, a Sony F828 commands about twice the value of a Nikon D70 in similar condition (both the Sony and Nikon came out in the same year, 2005).
Initially I thought this camera was expensive -- then I realized it might be dollar for dollar one of the best camera values around.
This might be the best interview of this type I've ever read. The fact that Fujifilm draws on the expertise of an engineer who helped develop its Provia and Velvia films is an advantage that very few camera companies can claim (thank you Barnaby for asking that question!).
I use primarily Sony Nex and Panasonic mirrorless cameras -- but for my most important portrait work, the Fujifilms still have no peer. The Fujifilm portraits are the only ones where my clients continuously ask what camera was used to take them. They're the only cameras I have where I've never needed to shoot RAW (or post process at all) to get outstanding images, saving me tons of time to shoot more pictures instead of sitting behind a computer. I ended up giving away two Nikon DSLRs -- the Fujifilm's color rendition is just that good.
Thanks DPReview for the insightful interview.
J Parker: Wow. Just how revolutionary does a camera have to be to get a gold award? If Sony made a camera that walked on water, some of us would complain that the water wasn't wet enough. I respect DPReview's conclusions (let's be honest -- DPReview's reviews are consistently outstanding and worth the wait). But as with any review, actually put the camera through its paces for yourself and decide if its for you or not. The fact is, whether its Fuji, Canon, Nikon, or Sony, etc., cameras of this caliber perform at a level of excellence unheard of even five years ago. The fact that we can with a straight face nitpick about image quality at ISO 12, 800 only shows that we as photographers have it made.
Shawn, thanks for your response. You hit it right on the head -- I find that a camera's ability to inspire me to shoot with it is just as important as its spec sheet. I respect that the reviews have a certain level of subjectivity to them because behind every camera is a real person with his or own expectations about what a camera should accomplish for them. Thanks for the excellent review of a great (but certainly not perfect) camera.
Wow. Just how revolutionary does a camera have to be to get a gold award? If Sony made a camera that walked on water, some of us would complain that the water wasn't wet enough. I respect DPReview's conclusions (let's be honest -- DPReview's reviews are consistently outstanding and worth the wait). But as with any review, actually put the camera through its paces for yourself and decide if its for you or not. The fact is, whether its Fuji, Canon, Nikon, or Sony, etc., cameras of this caliber perform at a level of excellence unheard of even five years ago. The fact that we can with a straight face nitpick about image quality at ISO 12, 800 only shows that we as photographers have it made.