85/1.4L IS image & quick thoughts on the latest offerings
So I had a fun drop in this afternoon at Pro Photo Supply, my local photography store where they had Canon, Nikon and Sony reps with all of the latest products (Canon 85/1.4L IS, Canon M100, Canon G1X Mark III, Nikon D850, Sony 7r Mark III) plus the camera store’s complete system inventory. I got to play with all of the new gear, and grab some shots (RAW + JPEG), including some lens test shots of the new G1X Mark III. The only image attached is from a Canon 5D Mark IV with 85/1.4L IS because the rest are not supported by Lightroom non-CC or aren’t worth posting.
Summary of the experience:
- The Nikon D850 with 105/1.4 is mightily impressive, like instant droll inducing impressive. However, I did manage to get better images from the Canon 5D Mark IV with 85/1.4L IS because IS saved the day in the relatively dark interior. The 85/1.4L IS and 35/1.4L II make for a sweet prime lens pairing, although, I would prefer a 50mm offering of similar caliber (Canon, please hurry up with the long overdue 50 update).
- I was really hoping that Canon would have the new tilt-shift lenses on hand, as they are very much on my future purchase list. I had a good conversation with a Canon engineer rep about the three lenses and why the 90 lacked some of the coatings / glass included in the 50 and 135. He said that all of the lenses are the sharpest of their focal lengths in Canon’s range. He said that the 90 focal length design required the least tech to achieve that exceptional level of image quality, while the 50 and 135 required more advanced coatings and glass. Considering that this same rep was very straight forward about a variety of other topics, I choose to take this as a reasonable design decision.
- The Canon G1X Mark III is a phenomenally well sorted out little camera. As someone who loves small and compact cameras for hiking, backpacking and travel, it is easily the best I have used (and I have owned / used most). The control layout and responsiveness was superb. Weather sealing is a welcome and frankly unexpected addition. It is sooooo light! As noted above, I took a number of lens test shots with the camera placed on a counter with f/5.6 & f/8 aperture priority, ISO 100, and 2-sec timer. I won’t say anything about the results because the conditions were not as controlled as I require to determine whether corner quality meets my standards, but based on first shots I will definitely need to give it another try when there are less people. If the corners are solid, then I would say that they created an excellent camera for daylight stopped-down wide-DOF landscape and cityscape photography (yes, as well established, it is not going to a low-light shallow-DOF camera).
- My main interest was the Canon M100 as a replacement for my beloved M. Except for the lack of flash shoe and that extra solid build quality unique to the M and M2, it was pretty much a straight upgrade with similar size, weight, controls and overall experience. The flippy screen is nice and the phone connectivity is a must, but it’s all about the sensor, as it is just lightyears ahead of the old 18MP of the original M. The wonderful 11-22 IS and 22/2 deserve that new sensor.
- The Sony 7r Mark IIII is without question a power house! However, as much as I love the Sony tech and compact full frame mirrorless setup, I still can’t enjoy the consumer electronics approach in the build and interface compared to the photographic centric approach of the others. I can’t wait to see what Canon and Nikon bring to full frame mirrorless in the few few years. That said, the 7r Mark III with Sony primes is a very, very appealing system, and it's available now.
- Reps were very knowledgeable and I enjoyed talking with all of them. Fujifilm was missed from the mix.
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