Organizer
Gadget news
Fujifilm GFX100S II review – worth switching from full-frame?
11:28 am | May 17, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Fujifilm GFX100S II: two-minute review

Fujifilm has bucked the trend by launching a new camera that is actually cheaper than its predecessor, despite three years of inflation and the improved features on board. There is, therefore, more to the new Fujifilm GFX100S II than its upgraded features – it's priced aggressively to grab the attention of pro photographers teetering between the best full-frame cameras and medium-format. 

Costing around 10% less than the GFX100S was at launch, the GFX100S II is available for $5,000 / £5,000 / AU$8,700, which is a similar price to what you'd pay for comparable full-frame mirrorless cameras – a sensor format Fujifilm isn't making cameras for, but a market it clearly wants a piece of.

And with a whopping 102MP sensor creating high-resolution images exceeding those from any full-frame model, even those shot with the class-leading Sony A7R V, there are plenty of pros who could be better served by the GFX100S II's larger medium-format.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera no lens attached

The grip of the GFX100S II is supremely comfortable. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Not only has Fujifilm priced the GFX100S II aggressively, but it has trickled down some of the most powerful features the format has ever seen from the pricier GFX100 II flagship, including 7fps burst shooting and AI subject detection autofocus.

It might not be quite as fast as the GFX100 II overall, but the GFX100S II is no slouch and goes some way to put to bed the notion that medium-format is simply slow and confined to a small number of scenarios, such as studio portraiture.

During my hands-on time with the GFX100S II, I've taken photos and videos of animals in a wildlife reserve and been super impressed by the details in those images, but also by the overall speed and autofocus performance in what were pretty challenging scenarios, such as shooting through foliage and enclosure fencing.

The question now for pro photographers considering a larger medium-format camera is less about budget and more about needs. Yes, the GFX100S II is still slower in general than a camera like the Sony A7R V, but not by a lot. And with it you get higher-resolution images with true-to-life colors that are noticeable to pros – at times making full-frame camera image quality feel ordinary.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera in the hand

GFX100S II with GF 100-200mm F5.6 lens attached. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

For balance, we do need to consider the system that a camera is part of. Thankfully, there are numerous decent Fujifilm GF lenses for the GFX100S II. However, in general they are pricier and chunkier than full-frame equivalents.

Also, for most users interested in the format, there might not be enough reason to upgrade from the GFX100S II's predecessor, the GFX100S, which despite being phased out is still available to buy and now at cut prices – just $4,399 at B&H Photo or £3,499 at WEX – and with which you still get 102MP photos.

All being said, if you weren't already sure about the sensor format, the GFX100S II is the most compelling case for medium-format yet.

Fujifilm GFX100S II: release date and price

  • Body-only price is $4,999 / £4,999 / AU$8,699
  • Available from June 17
  • Optional metal grip available, but no vertical battery grip
  • Launched alongside the GF 500mm f/5.6 lens, which costs $3,499 / £3,499 / AU$6,099

Fujifilm is clearly going after those teetering between full-frame and medium format, aggressively pricing the GFX100S II. It's actually cheaper than the GFX100S was at launched by around 10%, despite three years of inflation and the improved features added. 

At $4,999 / £4,999 / AU$8,699 in body-only form, the GFX100S II is going up against some of the best full-frame cameras, such as the Nikon Z8 and Sony A7R V, and is a decent alternative for those that need the best image quality over outright speed. 

Unlike the flagship GFX100 II, you can't buy a vertical grip for the GFX100S II, which would improve the ergonomics with larger lenses and increase battery life. However, you can buy a standard metal hand grip for $120 / £135 / AU$245. There's no word on kit bundles yet, but we do know the sales start date, which is June 17. 

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera in the hand no lens attached

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm GFX100S II: design and handling

  • Same body layout as the GFX100S, but with 'bishamon-tex' leather exterior
  • Improved 5.76m-dot non-removable EVF
  • Two-way tilt touchscreen great for shooting at awkward angles

It might look different to the GFX100S, but the GFX100S II has pretty much the same control layout and form factor. The key difference in the looks department is the camera's finish, which is Fujifilm's 'bishamon-tex' leather, as first seen in the GFX100 II (see photo, below). 

The leather finish is a departure from Fujifilm's retro roots and steps into a modern aesthetic that I'm a fan of. Otherwise, it's as you were with its predecessor, meaning a rugged DSLR-style camera with deep and comfortable grip, plus generous displays that include an improved EVF, versatile multi-angle touchscreen and generous top LCD display.

The latest model is actually slightly lighter than the first one, at 1.95lb / 883g, yet remains well-balanced even with Fujifilm's chunkier GF lenses, such as the 100-200mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR and new GF 500mm f/5.6 that I had during my hands-on.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera's textured grip

The bishamon-tex leather finish that is the hallmark of Fujifilm's medium format cameras today.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

The camera is akin to a mid-size full-frame camera such as the mirrorless Nikon Z8 or the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR, and lighter than a sports-style shooter like the Canon EOS R3. With a GF lens attached, it's not the sort of setup you can comfortably carry for hours on end, but it's easy enough to operate.

Fujifilm GFX100S II key specs

Sensor: 102MP medium format CMOS
Image processor: X-Processor 5
AF system: Hybrid with phase-detect
EVF: 5.76-million dot OLED
ISO range: 80 to 12,800 (ISO 40-102,400 extended range)
Video: 4K/30p 4:2:2 10-bit internal
LCD: 3.2-inch multi-direction tilting touchscreen, 2.36m-dots
Max burst: Up to 7fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Weight: 883g (body only)

Fujifilm has been able to improve on the GFX100S without encroaching too closely on the current flagship GFX100 II. For example, the EVF has a decent bump in resolution at 5.76m-dots, with a healthy 0.84x magnification, while the pricier GFX100 II has a 9.44m-dot EVF and 1x magnification, plus its viewfinder can be removed or modified using a tilt adaptor.

While the EVF specs are a step down, the display in the GFX100S II is wonderfully big and bright, though like with a lot of EVFs you get lag in low-light conditions.

What remains the same – and needed no real improvement – is the rear LCD, which is a two-way tilt touchscreen. It can't be flipped around for selfies, but it can be tilted in both vertical and horizontal orientations, making it a breeze to view and to operate from virtually any position.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera in the hand

The large top LCD displays exposure information but can be customized to display other info such as a histogram.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

The backlit top LCD is super-handy, too. It displays exposure information by default, but you can change that to show the histogram among other things. These are the kind of tools that pro photographers appreciate, making the GFX100S II a particularly good landscape photography camera.

For a camera this size, there are relatively few buttons and controls, making each one easy to find, and in general the tactile response of each control is spot on, although the joystick is a little stubborn.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera's rear screen tilted two ways

The two-way tilt touchscreen makes shooting from awkward angles a breeze, though you can't use it for selfies.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

By design, the GFX100S II is a photography-first camera, although there's all the basics to support video recording, including a dedicated stills / movie switch, plus mic input, headphone jack and on-the-go USB-C charging.

We also get twin card slots, although both slots are SD card only. It's another differentiator from the flagship model, which can also hold the faster CFexpress Type B card type to better support powerful features, and we'll get onto those next.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera viewfinder

The viewfinder is fixed, whereas the one in the GFX100 II can be removed.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm GFX100S II: features and performance

  • Decent Hybrid AF with AI subject detection
  • Up to 7fps (electronic) for almost 200 JPEGs
  • Dual SD UHS-II slots but no CFexpress Type B support
  • In-body image stabilization specs are optimistic

Fujifilm upped the bar with the GFX100 II, delivering never-before-seen medium-format performance. We can't expect the same power from the much cheaper GFX100S II, but it's no slouch. 

The same X-Processor 5 engine can process 102MP files at 7fps for up to 184 JPEG images or 30 compressed raw files. Those burst-shooting sequences aren't quite as lengthy as you'll get on the GFX100 II, though if you don't mind dropping to 4.1fps then you'll get a huge bump in the number of frames you can capture. 

A comparable full-frame camera such as the Sony A7R V can shoot at 10fps, but we should remember the huge file sizes that the GFX100S II is creating: the full- resolution raw files are around 200MB a pop and measure 11648x8736 pixels. 

Burst-shooting sequences and buffer performance is compromised because the GFX100S II records on to SD UHS-II cards only, with dual card slots, while the GFX100 II can record to much snappier CFexpress Type B cards.

Bear taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

102MP images at 7fps means you can capture superb detail and the best moment. I've heavily cropped into the full-resolution version of this image, shot through a fence with the 500mm F5.6 lens. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm says in-body image stabilization (IBIS) performance is improved, with up to 8-stops of stabilization depending on the lens in use. IBIS is possibly the single most important feature of a high-resolution camera like this, compensating for camera shake when shooting handheld to ensure sharp detail.

It's IBIS that enables a 102MP camera like the GFX100S II to break free from a tripod and truly be a handheld camera. Frankly, I found 8-stops a tad optimistic. First impressions are that Panasonic's IBIS in the full-frame Lumix S5 II performs better, as does the Hasselblad X2D 100C. With the new GF 500mm F5.6 lens I was reliably getting more like 4-stops stabilization, but in-the-field tests are hardly scientific and I'll run more diverse tests during a full review.

Image 1 of 2

Bear taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

Animal detection autofocus nailed sharp focus on the bear's eye (scroll for closeup) (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 2 of 2

Bear taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

Animal detection autofocus nailed sharp focus on the bear's eye (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

What you do get, though, is the best autofocus performance of any medium-format camera. Of course, being in a wildlife reserve I mainly stuck with the AI animal detection autofocus mode, and on the whole found it to be sticky and reliable, with visual confirmation that the subject's body and eye is being tracked. I have photos of bears with pin-sharp focus on the eyes (see above).

The Sony A7R V's autofocus is quicker and more intelligent, better able to recognize not just subjects but also its posture. In the low light of an enclosure I found the GFX100S II regularly mistook a gorilla's ear for its eye, whereas I'm sure the A7R V would've nailed it. There were also times that it simply couldn't autofocus at all through a fence, but these are challenging situations for any camera.

Gorilla taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

This scenario often tricked the GFX100S II's animal detection autofocus, which often mistook the gorilla's ear for an eye and therefore focused on the ear.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm GFX100S II: image and video quality

  • Incredibly detailed photos
  • ISO 80-12,800 sensitivity range can be expanded to ISO 40-102,400
  • Only 4K / 30p video, but with internal 4:2:2 10-bit
  • Slightly slower sensor readout than the 'HS' sensor in the GFX100 II
  • 20 film simulations

You're buying a 102MP camera like the GFX100 II because detail matters, and you get it in spades – all 11648x8736 pixels of it. Those 4:3 aspect ratio images made with one of Fujifilm's sharp GF lenses are breathtakingly detailed, especially in good light. This camera is an absolute dream for landscape photography.

What's more, such detail gives you immense cropping power, effectively extending your lens, which proved super-handy with the 500mm lens shooting wildlife photography. You can see the full image of a bear in the gallery below and a cropped version of the same image, which would still look great blown up large on screen or print.

Image 1 of 10

Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

I could crop tight on the gorilla from the full scene and still have pixels to spare. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 2 of 10

Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 3 of 10

Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 4 of 10

Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 5 of 10

Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 6 of 10

Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 7 of 10

Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 8 of 10

Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 9 of 10

Bear photo taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II and 500mm F5.6 lens

The full picture. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 10 of 10

Bear photo taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II and 500mm F5.6 lens

The kind of cropping that you can easily do with such a vast number of pixels. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Image quality isn't just about detail – color matters, too, and I'm a fan of Fujifilm's straight-out-of-the-box standard color profile in this sensor format. Of course, it being Fujifilm you also get the full range of Film Simulations – color profiles inspired by Fujifilm's film, such as Astia and Velvia and most recently, Reala Ace.

I'm not sure how good image quality will be in low light, having just a few examples from my day with the camera. Photos of the gorilla in an enclosure (see below), shot at F5.6, 1/500sec and ISO 12,800, gave me the closest indicator, with detail not nearly as clean as when shooting at ISO 1600 or lower.

The GFX100S II has decent lenses to choose from – I've used a fair few GF lenses down the years and have always been impressed by their quality. They're quite capable of resolving intricate detail, but also of superbly controlling distortion and flare. 

Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

At ISO 10,000, contrast is reduced and detail less clean, but for such big files is possible to mitigate the adverse impact of noise. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

We can't expect the GFX100S II to pack all the same features as its pricier sibling the GFX100 II, and filmmakers in particular will feel the compromises the most. Where the flagship model shoots 8K video, the GFX100S II only records 4K up to 30fps, with no slow-motion option. Still, it's not all bad news, because you can record in superior 10-bit 4:2:2 internally, plus output raw video to an external recorder.

Fujifilm told us that the sensor is a variation of the 'HS' sensor used in the GFX100 II, and its sensor readout is a little slower. This means more potential for rolling shutter in video and in fast action photos, which can look ugly. I'll be checking this out more when I get my hands on the camera again.

Image 1 of 5

Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Velvia Vivid Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 2 of 5

Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Reala Ace Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 3 of 5

Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Classic Negative Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 4 of 5

Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Eterna Bleach Bypass Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
Image 5 of 5

Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Acros Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

How we tested the Fujifilm GFX100S II

  • 24 hour period
  • Mostly animal photography in a wildlife reserve
  • Paired with the 100-200mm F5.6 and 500mm F5.6 lenses

I had the Fujifilm GFX100S II for a 24-hour period, during which time it was used extensively in a wildlife reserve taking pictures and videos of exotic animals large and small, out in the open and in enclosures, through foliage and with clear sight. 

The camera was paired with the GF 100-200mm F/5.6 and new GF 500mm F5.6 lenses and various focus modes employed including animal detection autofocus. 

First reviewed May 2024

Fujifilm X-T50 review: putting film simulations at your fingertips
9:00 am | May 16, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Fujifilm X-T50: Two-minute review

There have been two branches to Fujifilm’s X-T line, with the double-digit models like the Fujifilm X-T30 and the X-T30 II being the entry-level ones. So you’d think that the successor to the already excellent Fujifilm X-T30 II would also be an entry-level camera, albeit a bit improved. Fujifilm, however, has shaken things up, with the new X-T50 now more in line with the advanced Fujifilm X-T5. It also might explain why the Japanese camera maker has entirely skipped the T40 moniker.

For starters, the X-T50 uses the same 40.2MP APS-C format sensor and X Processor 5 imaging engine as the X-T5, and it also inherits the same 5-axis in-body image stabilization that’s good for up to 7 stops of compensation. 

Fujifilm X-T50 specs

Sensor: 40.2MP APS-C BSI X-Trans CMOS 5 HR
AF points: 425 points
Video: 6.2K/30p, 4K/60p, 1080/240p video and 4:2:2 10bit internal recording
Viewfinder: 0.39-inch OLED 2.36m-dot
Memory card: Single SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II
Rear display: 3.0-inch tilt type touch LCD, 1.84m-dot
Max burst: 20fps with electronic shutter
Weight: 438g with battery and SD card

The sensor has a better signal-to-noise ratio compared to the X-T30 II, allowing for the base ISO sensitivity to be 125 as opposed to 160 in the older model. Shutter speed is faster too, with the electronic shutter on the X-T50 capable of dropping to 1/180,000 second. There’s improved AI subject detection autofocus with eye tracking which, again, brings it more in line with the X-T5 and makes it a whopper of an upgrade over the X-T30 II. Video specs have also been updated, with the X-T50 now able to capture up to 6.2K/30p clips.

Overall, that’s an impressive list of upgrades that make the X-T50 a remarkable camera, with top-notch image quality, both for stills and video. One physical change to the X-T50, however, indicates it might still be a more beginner-oriented camera rather than an advanced enthusiast offering.

On the X-T50, Fujifilm has decided to repurpose the Drive mode dial on the top panel to instead provide quick and easy access to up to 11 Film Simulations. This is an ingenious move to make the camera more user-friendly for beginners, but I suspect that more serious photographers would have preferred the Drive mode dial to remain where it always has been.

There are other features that also suggest this is more a beginner camera than one for demanding enthusiasts – there’s still no weather sealing on the X-T50, the EVF has been inherited from the X-T30 II, and the rear display remains a tilting type with the same resolution of 1.84 million dots.

While the chassis itself looks identical to that of the X-T30 and X-T30 II, there are changes to the button layout that don’t necessarily affect the handling of the camera. That said, the grip is still small and could be uncomfortable to hold over long periods of time, and the joystick is still awkwardly placed. I’m also not a fan of the quick menu button being beside the thumb rest, but it’s easy enough to reach without taking your eye off the EVF once you've built muscle memory to find it.

Compact and lightweight, I’d say that the X-T50 could easily become one of the best travel cameras on the market, but all its upgrades have come at a steep price, which makes it harder to recommend over the X-T5.

Fujifilm X-T50 kit on a table

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

Fujifilm X-T50 review: release date and price

  • Announced May 16, 2024; release date June 17, 2024
  • Launch price of $1,399 / £1,299 / AU$2,599 body only
  • Kits available with new XF 16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 R LM WR lens

Given the upgrades over the X-T30 II, I’m not at all surprised that the X-T50 is a more expensive camera, with a launch price tag of $1,399 / £1,299 / AU$2,599 body only. What does surprise me is just how much more it costs over its predecessor that had a launch price of $899 / £749 / AU$1,585 a couple of years ago. Even taking inflation and the upgrades into account, that’s a steep markup!

And if you want a kit, you can pick up the bundle that pairs the camera with the new XF 16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 R LM WR lens for $1,799 / £1,649 / AU$3,149.

The X-T50's launch price isn’t too much more than the Fujifilm X-T5’s current price of $1,699 / £1,449 / AU$2,899 for the body alone, which represents better value as you get more advanced features here, including dual card slots. Shop for this camera during a major sale and you could likely get it for less than the X-T50 costs.

Value score: 4 / 5

Fujifilm X-T50 kit sitting on a laptop keyboard

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

Fujifilm X-T50 review: Design

  • Similar body to Fujifilm X-T30 II with minor differences
  • Film Simulation dial on top plate
  • Still no weather sealing

When a camera offers oodles of retro charm, there really isn’t the need to change the design... and at first glance, it seems like the X-T50 inherits the same body as the X-T30 series. Not quite so. There are subtle tweaks to the X-T50 chassis which Fujifilm says makes it easier to hold and use. I disagree. 

It's a slightly more rounded body than the X-T30 series, but the grip still remains small when compared to more robust Fujifilm bodies like the X-T5 and the X-S series. It still handles beautifully, although if you plan to hold on to it all day, that grip is not going to be comfortable.

Fujifilm X-T50 camera body

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

For the first time on a Fujifilm camera, there’s a Film Simulation dial available on the camera body. Now, that dial itself isn’t new – it’s the same Drive mode dial on the left of the top plate that’s been repurposed. There are eight popular Simulations already marked on the dial, plus three more that can be assigned to the FS1, FS2 and FS3 options. There’s one marked ‘C’ which, you would think, stands for ‘custom’ but it’s actually an Auto option. So, essentially, there are only up to 11 out of the current 20 Simulations at your fingertips. And unfortunately, you also can't assign your own simulation recipe to any of the custom FS options on that dial.

In use, I found that it’s necessary to take the camera away from the eye to turn the dial, as there’s just not enough grip on the body to operate the selection single-handed. That said, the simulation selection you make is displayed on the EVF as well as the rear monitor, depending on what you’re using to frame your scene, so you don’t necessarily need to concentrate on the dial itself.

If you’re familiar with the X-T30 or the X-T30 II, you might notice that the rear button layout is slightly different. Firstly, there’s no autofocus lock (AF-L) to the right of the rear control wheel, with the previous exposure lock (AEL) button being replaced with an AF-ON option to trigger autofocus and metering. The AEL button has been moved to just above the joystick.

Image 1 of 4

The Film Simulation dial on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 2 of 4

Branding on the top of the Fujifilm X-T50 body

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 3 of 4

A selected Film Simulation displayed on the rear LCD of the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 4 of 4

The battery compartment under the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

A couple of other minor differences include the View Mode button beside the EVF no longer being labeled as such and there is now a tiny Bluetooth icon below the Display/Back button.

Everything else remains the same on the body, including the pop-up flash, the exposure and shutter speed dials on the top plate, the awkwardly placed joystick and, for me at least, the equally awkward quick menu (Q) button.

Fujifilm hasn’t updated the EVF or the rear display from the X-T30 II, so you’re still getting a 2.36 million-dot OLED EVF and a 3-inch tilt-type touchscreen with a resolution of 1.84 million dots.

There’s still only a single card slot, but it now supports the UHS-II speed devices, which is an improvement over the X-T30 II. It remains located on the bottom of the camera within the battery compartment, which makes it hard to reach if you’re using a tripod. And despite the price hike, there’s disappointingly still no weather sealing.

There are three different colorways to choose from here, with the X-T50 available in black, silver (as tested in this review) and a charcoal chassis.

Design score: 4 / 5

Branding on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

Fujifilm X-T50 review: Features and performance

  • Inherits high-res sensor and faster processor from the Fujifilm X-T5
  • In-body image stabilization with up to 7 stops of compensation
  • Digital teleconverter available for 1.4x and 2x zoom

While its physical changes may not be too far off from its predecessor, the Fujifilm X-T50’s feature set makes it a massive upgrade. It’s now essentially a baby X-T5.

As I’ve already mentioned earlier in this review, it inherits plenty from the X-T5, including the 40.2MP sensor and the processor. That’s flagship specs right there and it definitely helps the X-T50 be a far superior camera than then X-T30 II. For starters, the extra resolution gives you a little headroom to crop images to get closer to the subject without losing too much image quality. 

In fact, the extra resolution has allowed Fujifilm to add a digital teleconverter to the X-T50 that gets you 1.4x and 2x magnification, just like there is on the X-T5 and the Fujifilm X-S20. What I really like about the built-in teleconverter is that you don't lose a stop of light as you would when using a physical one attached to your kit, so it's a better option for indoor use. 

However, you lose some resolution when using the digital teleconverter as it works by applying a crop. That’s not a bad thing as you still get great image quality, but your file size will essentially be halved and limits how much you can crop further into the image when you make edits.

Image 1 of 4

A hand holding the Fujifilm X-T50 with a Film Simulation displayed on the rear monitor

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 2 of 4

The tilting screen on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 3 of 4

The ports on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 4 of 4

The rear control panel and LCD display on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

For the first time there’s in-body image stabilization available in the entry-level Fujifilm X-T cameras, which is an added bonus for both photographers and videographers. Again, it’s the same IBIS from the X-T5 with up to 7 stops of compensation for camera shake. I was sent the new Fujinon XF 16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 R LM WR that doesn’t have built-in optical image stabilization (OIS) and I found the IBIS alone wasn’t sufficient in reducing shake for a video clip while I was walking, but I think it would come into its own when paired with a Fujinon lens with OIS.

Despite inheriting so much from the X-T5, the maximum burst shooting speed the X-T50 can handle is 8fps using the mechanical shutter and up to 20fps with the electronic shutter engaged and no crop. That's identical to the X-T30 II, and while the the 20fps speed is more than enough for several scenarios including wildlife and sports photography, the buffer memory at this speed is very limited, topping out at about only 20 frames during my testing. At 8fps, though, Fujifilm says the camera can save over 1,000 JPEG frames a second. 

The electronic shutter speed, though, is now blistering fast and can drop down to as low as 1/180,000 of a second, same as the X-T5. That's really impressive as more premium pro cameras like the Nikon Z9 top out at 1/32,000 second. This allows you to shoot wide open with a large aperture lens.

A woman descending stairs inside an ornate building

Fujifilm X-T50 + XF16-50mmF2.8-4.8 R LM WR | 1/100 sec at 16mm and f/2.8, ISO 3200 (Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

Photographers looking to capture specific subjects will be glad to know that the X-T50 gets Fujifilm's latest AI-driven autofocus system, with detection for animals, vehicles and more. This works quite well and, during my testing, it quickly picked up boats, birds and people even if they were at a distance. However, as with Fujifilm's autofocus system previously, it's largely lens-dependent and you could struggle a little if you're using older X-series lenses.

The video features here are similar to that of the X-T5, with 6.2K/30p and 4K/60p shooting options available.

All these features are a massive upgrade over the X-T30 II and bring the X-T50 closer to the X-T5. That's where the lines get blurry between what is, on paper, a new addition to Fujifilm's entry-level line but has the specs and price tag of a flagship.

Features and performance score: 5 / 5

The exposure and shutter speed dials on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

Fujifilm X-T50 review: Image and video quality

  • Inherits the 40.2MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor from the X-H2 and X-T5
  • Can shoot videos up to 6.2K/30p
  • Native base ISO is now 125 as compared to ISO 160 on the X-T30 II

We’ve already seen what the X-T5 can do with the same sensor and processor, so it’s no surprise at all that the X-T50 can produce some spectacular results, whether it’s stills or video.

Image 1 of 6

A green and yellow ferry on a river

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 2 of 6

A deisel locomotive in an elevated train track

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 3 of 6

A photo of a cluster of tiny white flowers

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 4 of 6

A stained-glass domed roof of a building

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 5 of 6

People walking inside a building with arches

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 6 of 6

An ornate clock hanging from the roof of a building

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

The camera really benefits from the high resolution and the faster processor, with JPEGs directly out of camera looking stunning, although shooting in RAW will give you more headroom to make adjustments if you need to. I cropped a JPEG of a flower by 38% and, while I did lose a little image quality, it's still perfectly usable.

Of course, the film simulations go a long way in making the images look great as well. My personal favorite is the Eterna Bleach Bypass, but there’s a total of 20 to choose from to help you get creative. And while the C option on the Film Simulation dial is the Auto mode, it seems to default to the Vivid color profile most of the time.

The higher resolution also boosts the ISO performance. Images taken at ISO 3200 are actually quite good as long as you don't have to crop. Noise begins to appear at ISO 4000 in some scenarios, but even those are perfectly usable. I even shot at ISO 6400 and didn't mind the results. Pushing the sensitivity limits, I tested the camera up to ISO 12,800 – while that image wasn't pretty, I think ISO 10,000 will be fine in a pinch but expect to see noise.

Image 1 of 3

A photo of Yellow doors on blue walls

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 2 of 3

A black and white photo of a bridge and a jetty

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
Image 3 of 3

A stained-glass window inside a building

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

I think the X-T50 is a more photo-centric camera, but it can handle video well. You have the option to shoot at up 6.2K at 30fps but that will incur a 1.23x crop, as will the oversampled 4K mode. This is similar to what the X-T5 also offers and the performance is just as good. And Fujifilm's subject-detection autofocus works well in video too.

Handily, there’s a time duration listed for each video shooting mode, but I found the camera starts to heat up long before it can hit its limit. During my testing I was hesitant to push the video clip limits, so I stopped every time the camera got a touch over ‘comfortably warm’. You will also, of course, be restricted by the SD card you use.

Despite the IBIS, I found it difficult to capture relatively stable footage while walking slowly, as can be seen in the sample above of the galahs feeding on a grassy verge. That said, I'm no videographer and have always struggled with stability when capturing moving pictures. I found it a lot easier to pan with the IBIS engaged. 

Sound pickup by the camera’s built-in mic is quite impressive, but if you are a vlogger shooting outdoors, it would be best to use an external mic for clearer sound. Also note that there's no headphone jack here.

Image and video quality score: 4.5 / 5

Fujifilm X-T50 review: score card

Should I buy the Fujifilm X-T50?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If this review of the Fujifilm X-T50 has you mulling over other options, below are three alternatives that could also save you money.

How I tested the Fujifilm X-T50

  • In-depth testing done over two weeks
  • Used it to capture stills indoors and outdoors, plus video clips taken outdoors
  • ISO tests done indoors

Fujifilm X-T50 kit sitting on a laptop keyboard

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

I was sent the Fujifilm X-T50 along with the Fujinon XF16-50mmF2.8-4.8 R LM WR lens that launched alongside it prior to the official announcement. I had the kit for about two weeks, during which I tested the camera in different scenarios, including outdoors in bright sunlight, indoors during the day and indoors at nighttime. I also tested the camera under fluorescent and LED lights.

For stills, I had the camera set to capture JPEG + RAW, but based my image quality opinions solely on the out-of-camera JPEGs. I also only used autofocus, and tested it on different subjects including boats, birds and people.

I also spent some time going through the menu system to see how different the setup is now compared to other Fujifilm cameras and also spent some time to determined how the physical controls on the camera would suit different users.

Read more about how we test

[First reviewed May 2024]

Leica SL3 review – the modern Leica workhorse
5:00 pm | March 7, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Leica might be best-known for its legendary M-series rangefinders, but for the past decade it's also been building a modern full-frame mirrorless system called the SL series – and the new SL3 is its most fully-evolved model so far.

Unlike the Leica M11 and Leica Q3, which are built around a compact, tactile shooting experience, the SL3 is a modern brute that wants to be your professional workhorse. It still has classic Leica hallmarks, like minimalist menus and a design that harks back to the Leica R3 SLR, but it combines all of that with modern all-rounder specs.

The main upgrades from 2019's Leica SL2 include a 60MP full-frame CMOS BSI sensor, a Maestro IV processor, phase-detect autofocus, a tilting touchscreen, 8K video, a CFexpress Type B card slot (alongside an SD UHS II one) and a slightly smaller, lighter body.

Leica says that its 60MP sensor is the same as the one in the Leica M11 and Q3, but is engineered slightly differently – which means it has a base ISO of 50 (going up to 100,000), rather than 64. In other words, the SL3 is like the Q3's bigger brother, with its studio-friendly body giving you access to the dozens of lenses available for its L-mount.

The Leica SL3 sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

But since the original Leica SL arrived in 2015, the full-frame mirrorless camera space has become fiercely competitive. So with incredible cameras like the Nikon Z8, Sony A7R V and Canon EOS R3 all vying for your attention, is the gravitational pull of that red dot still as strong for pro shooters in 2024?

I spent a couple of days with a Leica SL3 in Wetzlar, Germany to find out – as always, the answer depends very much on your priorities (and your bank balance)... 

Leica SL3 release date and price

  • The Leica SL3's body-only price is $6,995 / £5,920 (around AU$11,435)
  • The SL2's launch price was $5,995 / £5,300 / AU$9,900
  • It's available to buy right now at Leica stores and its online store

As always with Leica, the SL3's cost-of-entry is high. And like most cameras, it's quite a bit higher than in 2019, when the SL2 first landed.

The SL3's body-only price is $6,995 / £5,920 (around AU$11,435), which is somewhere between 12%-16% pricier than the SL2's original price, depending on where you live.

Hands holding the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

The SL3 is by no means the most expensive Leica camera around – the Leica M11 Monochrom, for example, costs $9,195 / £8,300 / AU$14,990 (body only) and only shoots in black and white. But this does mean that the SL3 is now much pricier than the Leica Q3 ($5,995 / £5,300 / AU$9,790). 

That's a completely different kind of camera, but the SL3 is also battling for your attention alongside full-frame Nikon Z8 ($3,999 / £3,999 / AU$6,999 body-only), which looks like a comparative bargain.

Leica SL3: design and handling

  • New 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, but no fully-articulating display
  • Leica SL3 design tweaks make it 69g lighter than SL2
  • Still has magnesium alloy body with IP54-rated weather sealing

Leica's SL series have always felt reassuringly expensive in the hand and the SL3 is no different – it feels like could survive a run-in with a Cybertruck. 

It's a bit of a functional brute compared to stablemates like the Leica Q3, but if you need a hybrid workhorse for stills and video, the SL3 is now one of the best camera bodies around.

Leica SL3 key specs

Sensor: 60MP full-frame CMOS sensor
Image processor: Maestro IV
AF system: Hybrid with phase-detect
EVF: 5.76-million dot OLED
ISO range: 50 to 100,000
Video: 8K at 30p, C4K & UHD at 60/50/30/25/24p
LCD: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2.3m dots
Max burst: Up to 15fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Weight: 769g (body only)

Leica has made a few tweaks to the SL series' design in this third-generation, mostly for the better. For a start, it's shaved off some weight – the SL3 is 69g lighter than its predecessor. At 769g, it's still a pretty weighty mirrorless camera, but that puts it somewhere in between a Sony A7 IV and Nikon Z8.

The biggest departure from the SL2 is the arrival of a tilting 3.2-inch touchscreen. Leica hasn't gone as far as adding a fully-articulating display, which it said could have compromised the SL3's bomb-proof build quality.

The top of the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

While videographers might be disappointed about that, the tilting screen is a welcome addition for photographers, giving you the option of shooting from the hip and low angles. It's just a shame it only tilts in landscape orientation, and not when you flip the camera round for portraits.

In the hand, the SL3 is still a satisfyingly solid hunk of metal. Mirrorless cameras don't come built any better than this – the magnesium and aluminum chassis balances nicely with some of Leica's weighty glass (like the Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 I tried it with), and the tweaked grip and its rubberized indent still feel great in the hand.

The SL3 still has IP54-rated weather sealing too, which means it can handle being sprayed or splashed with water. I haven't yet taken one to Antarctica, but there really aren't any weather conditions where you'll have to worry about the SL3.

Two hands holding the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Beyond its new screen and lighter weight, the only other design changes are more minor future-proofing tweaks. There's now a new CFexpress Type B slot (alongside a standard UHS-II SD slot) to support 8K video, plus an HDMI 2.1 Type A port for video shooters. 

Inside, there's also now a larger capacity battery (2,200mAh, compared to 1,860mAh one inside the SL2), but this doesn't translate to more shooting time. In fact, with a CIPA standard rating of 260 shots (compared to 370 shots on the SL2), battery life is one of the SL3's main weaknesses.

In more positive news, the SL3 retains the 5.76-million dot OLED EVF (with 0.78x magnification) from its predecessor, and that certainly hasn't dated. It's still an impressive part of the shooting experience, helping you stay connected to the scene with its clarity, color reproduction and 120fps refresh rate.

The Leica SL3 camera sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

On the top of the SL3, there's a new dial on the left and a very handy 1.28-inch monochrome display for quickly previewing your shooting settings. Round the front of the camera there's arguably the most important design feature of all – the L-mount bayonet. This gives you access to a huge range of lenses from Leica, but also the likes of Panasonic, Sigma and Samyang – in total, there are now 84 lenses to choose from.

One other nice design touch is the new illuminated power button on the back, which replaces the traditional switch. This doesn't serve any great functional purpose other than making the SL3 feel more modern, but it's the kind of attention to detail you don't often get from other manufacturers.

Similarly, the SL3's refined menu system (complete with new icons) is an example for others to follow. It's clean and simple, with nice touches like the separate photo and video modes, and is a stark contrast to Sony's 'kitchen sink' approach to software menus.

Leica SL3: features and performance

  • 60MP CMOS BSI full-frame sensor, like the Leica Q3 and M11
  • New phase-detect AF system, alongside contrast/object detect AF
  • Can now shoot 8K video and ProRes (in 1080p)

Given the Leica SL2 was launched back in 2019, you'd hope that its successor would get a sizable imaging upgrade – and that's certainly the case. 

The SL3 has a 60MP CMOS BSI full-frame sensor, which is a tweaked version of the one inside the Leica Q3 and M11. While that resolution is handy for cropping later, you also get 36MP and 18MP modes to help boost the buffer during continuous shooting and save on memory space.

Leica says this sensor gives you an extra stop of dynamic range compared to the SL2 (15 stops, compared to 14), but a more obvious upgrade is the Maestro IV processor and its improved autofocus system.

The Leica SL3 camera sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

The SL series has never had class-leading autofocus, partly due to Leica's close relationship with Panasonic (which, until last year's Panasonic Lumix S5 II, had refused to embrace phase-detect autofocus). But the SL3 finally offers a hybrid AF system, combining phase-detect AF (good for video and moving subjects) with contrast-detection and object detection. 

In my brief time with the SL3, its subject-detection worked well and reliably locked onto human eyes, producing a good hit-rate. But animal detection was still marked as being in 'beta' on my sample, so this will need more testing – and overall, it's fair to say that Leica is still playing catchup with the likes of Sony for autofocus, rather than surpassing it.

Image 1 of 6

A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 6

A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 6

A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 6

A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 6

A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 6

A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

The other benefit of that Maestro IV processor is that it supports the camera's CFexpress Type B card and, consequently, some video upgrades. The SL2 was already Leica's best ever video camera and the SL3 steps things up with 8K video capture. 

This will be a pretty niche mode, though, as it tops out at 30fps with 4:2:0 10-bit color sampling. More useful will be the SL3's 4K/60p and 4K/120p video modes, which you can shoot with 4:2:2 10-bit color sampling for editing flexibility. Combine that with the camera's full-size HDMI port for external monitors and timecode interface, and you have a powerful, professional video camera – which hasn't been very common in Leica world, until now.

Image 1 of 3

A sample photo of a car taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

A sample photo taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

A sample photo of a car taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Another bonus for shooting handheld video (and stills) is the Leica SL3's five-axis image stabilization system, which gives you five stops of compensation. That's far from the best we've seen – the Sony A7R V's system is good for a claimed eight stops – but it is still an important difference from the original SL, which had no stabilization. It's also ideal if you want to use an SL3 with Leica M glass using the M-L adapter.

In my tests, I was able to shoot handheld down to 1/4s and get usable results, so it's definitely a useful feature, particularly for shooting in low light. Another quality-of-life upgrade are the SL3's speedier wireless transfer speeds, which use a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi MIMO tech to fire full-size DNGs to your phone in only two or three seconds.

That's quite a big jump up from the SL2, which took around 20 seconds to transfer a DNG file, and it worked well in my tests (as you can see above). The Leica Fotos app itself is a suitably premium experience that's a cut above the efforts from most camera manufacturers, and these transfer speeds make it a breeze to get a raw file onto your phone for a quick edit.

The SL3 isn't a sports camera – and despite having a larger buffer capacity than the SL2, its top speeds for continuous shooting have taken a slight dip compared to its predecessor. 

Its top speed is 15fps, which can manage for a few seconds before the buffer fills up, but it can naturally go for longer if you drop down to 9fps or 7fps. You can also get better results by choosing the 36MP or 18MP resolution modes, so there are options – just don't expect it to match a Canon EOS R3.

Hands holding the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

My biggest disappointment with the SL3 was its battery life. I'll need to do some more controlled tests, but during my brief time with the camera I was barely getting above 200 shots (plus some video) per charge. Its official CIPA rating is 260 shots per charge and Leica is rolling out new firmware (version 1.1) soon, so hopefully that might improve things. But prepare to carry around a USB-C charger or spare batteries.

One other strange anomaly is that the SL3 doesn't support Content Credentials, a new industry standard for protecting the authenticity of digital images. That's a little odd considering the older Leica M11-P debuted the feature last year, but Leica told us that "the reason is that the development of the SL3 was already advanced when this technology became mature".

Because Content Credentials requires a dedicated chipset, this also can't be added to the Leica SL3 via a firmware update. But Leica did add that for "future cameras it's our aim to integrate" the AI-combatting tech.

Leica SL3: image and video quality

I took the Leica SL3 for a spin with the Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 lens, which is a sharp, fun partner for the camera. The option of using Leica glass is clearly one of the main draws of the SL3, but whatever you pair it with, you'll get some hallmark Leica character in your images.

Like the Leica Q3, the SL3 captures tons of detail in its 60MP DNGs. I'll need to spend some more time with them to see how far they can be pushed in editing, but the early signs suggest you can recover an impressive amount of shadow detail from the SL3's raw files.

Image 1 of 10

A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 10

A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 10

A sample photo taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 10

A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 10

A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 10

A sample photo of a saxophone player taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 10

A sample photo of a dog taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 8 of 10

A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 9 of 10

A sample photo of a shed taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
Image 10 of 10

A sample photo of a car taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Those files also have bold, vibrant colors, more so than the JPEGs, although they're also a touch noisier than some full-frame rivals. In my early test shots, noise starts to appear from ISO 1600 and is particularly noticeable at ISO 6400. Still, this isn't necessarily a problem – in fact, the grain is frequently attractive (depending on your tastes) and gives the SL3's photos a filmic look.

Video quality looks similarly pin-sharp at lower ISOs, although the SL3's autofocus seemed to struggle a little more with moving subjects in this mode. I'll need to test this more on final firmware, alongside the 8K mode, before making any conclusions. But my early impressions are that the SL3's image and video quality will be comparable to the Leica Q3's, which is certainly no bad thing.

Leica SL3 early verdict

The Leica SL3 camera sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

The full-frame mirrorless camera world has changed a lot since the original Leica SL landed in 2015 – and while the competition is now red-hot between Sony, Canon and Nikon, the Leica SL3 still manages to carve out a unique spot for itself.

While it can't match a Nikon Z8 for outright performance or value, the SL3 is a refined, professional workhorse with incredible build quality. Its simple, clean user interface puts most other cameras to shame and it's now a very competitive – if not class-leading – modern hybrid camera for shooting photos and video.

The special sauce of Leica's distinctive image rendering and lenses are added bonuses, although I hope its disappointing battery life is improved in later firmware updates. Right now, you'll need at least two batteries to last you a full day of intense shooting.

If that isn't a deal-breaker for you, then the SL3 could be the combination of modern mirrorless power and classic Leica minimalism you've been waiting for (even if your bank manager feels very differently). We'll bring you our full review very soon.

Leica SL3: how I tested

  • A day-and-a-half of shooting at Leica Park in Wetzlar, Germany
  • A mix of studio, low light and environmental shooting

I used the Leica SL3 for just over a day continuously during a visit to Leica's HQ in Wetzlar, Germany. I've taken sample photos in raw and DNG formats, although I'll need to spend a bit more time with the latter (on the SL3's final firmware) for our full review. 

I took a variety of handheld shots are different shutter speeds to test the effectiveness of its in-body image stabilization, and also took its new phase-detect autofocus and buffer for a spin during a fashion photo shoot.

My only lens during testing was the Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 lens, which was a great companion if not ideal for all shooting scenarios. I also ran the battery down to empty to test its stamina shooting a mix of photos and videos. 

Panasonic Lumix G9 II review: a promising wildlife camera
5:00 pm | September 12, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

I’m in the back of a safari truck in a wildlife reserve, Panasonic Lumix G9 II with Leica DG Elmarit 200mm F2.8 Power OIS lens in hand, wowed by the giraffes scattered across a bush-filled hillside. It's an unseasonably hot 30C in the UK (that's 86F), and for a moment I’m taken back to my days living in Kenya, where these kinds of trips are the thing you do, if you can afford it. 

On this occasion, however, the camera gear that I have in hand is a whole lot better. There’s a giraffe that's mostly obscured from view by the tree it's feeding from. I lift the G9 II’s 3.69m-dot viewfinder up to my eye and immerse myself in the closer view that the wildlife and sports lens affords me (it has an effective 400mm focal length), and despite the giraffe being mostly obscured, the camera’s animal-detection autofocus locks onto the subject.

I take a photo, not because the moment looks particularly great, but because I’m keen to see if the new tracking autofocus I see in the live view is accurate, despite the super-challenging test. It turns out that it is, and I’m not even using the giraffe-tracking autofocus (I jest; ‘AI-powered’ autofocus has broadened the subjects cameras can recognize, but we’re not quite at 'savannah creatures' just yet). The Lumix G9 II has come on leaps and bounds from its 5-year-old predecessor, the Lumix G9.

Image 1 of 2

Panasonic Lumix G9 II camera on a patterned table with pink flower background

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 2

Panasonic Lumix G9 II camera in the hand with micro four thirds sensor in view

(Image credit: Future)

We’ve gone into more detail about the key G9 II improvements in our Panasonic G9 II revealed: here’s why it’s the dark horse or mirrorless cameras article, but to summarize, in real-world use the new sensor, processor and phase-detection autofocus combine to great effect, particularly for a camera that's so popular with enthusiast wildlife and sports photographers. It’s one heck of a camera (and lens) pairing in my hand, and my first impressions are that the G9 II is up there with the best mirrorless cameras available for this situation.

Panasonic Lumix G9 II: Release date and price

The body-only list price of the G9 II is $1,599 / £1,699, which is pretty reasonable considering what the camera is capable of. It's also available as a kit with the Leica Vario Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 lens for $2,199 / £2,249, or with the standard Panasonic version of the 12-60mm for $1,799 / £1,899. There’s also a new DMW-BG1E vertical grip that's priced at $309 / £309.

Panasonic also announced two redesigned lenses alongside the Lumix G9 II: the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm F4.0-6.3 II ASPH, which costs $1,499 / £1,499, and the Leica DG Vario Elmarit 35-100mm F2.8 Power O.I.S, priced at $1,099 / £1,099. Panasonic did not provide Australia pricing for any of this gear at the time of writing. 

Shipping for all new items is listed as from November 2023. 

Features and performance

  • Phase-detection autofocus with animal eye AF
  • New L2 processor engine
  • Up to 60fps with continuous AF

I’m a fan of Panasonic and OM System (formerly Olympus) Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera systems, especially for wildlife and sports. The half-size system has some exceptionally fast flagship cameras, like the Lumix G9 II, and sharp telephoto lenses that are much smaller and cheaper than full-frame equivalents, which make long stints in the outdoors all the easier, like the 200mm F2.8 I had during a sneak peak of Panasonic’s latest photography-first MFT camera.

The Lumix G9 II has five years of advances on its predecessor, headed by a faster 25.2MP sensor, up from the 20MP in the G9. That extra detail is very welcome, and the minimum I'd expect from a serious camera in 2023. 

There’s also a faster processor – Panasonic says its 2x faster than the previous-gen engine, with less rolling shutter. We don’t have the technical detail beyond that – it’s not information that Panasonic divulges,– but the improvements are particularly welcome for a camera that will often be found in the middle of fast-moving action. 

Image 1 of 8

Giraffe in bright sunlight, shot with Lumix G9 II and 200mm F2.8 lens

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 8

Giraffe in bright sunlight, shot with Lumix G9 II and 200mm F2.8 lens

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 8

Wildlife in bright sunlight, shot with Lumix G9 II and 200mm F2.8 lens

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 8

Baboon in bright sunlight, shot with Lumix G9 II and 200mm F2.8 lens

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 8

Wildlife in bright sunlight, shot with Lumix G9 II and 200mm F2.8 lens

(Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 8

Telephoto wildlife photo made with Lumix G9 II and 200mm F2.8 lens

(Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 8

Expansive vista with wildlife in foreground on a bright sunny day shot with the Lumix G9 II and Leica 12-60mm F2.8-4 lens

(Image credit: Future)
Image 8 of 8

Expansive vista on a bright sunny day shot with the Lumix G9 II and Leica 12-60mm F2.8-4 lens

(Image credit: Future)

For my half-day with the Lumix G9 II, the new phase-detection autofocus and its many subject-tracking modes were my main interest. You can pair animal subject tracking, which includes eye AF, with zonal autofocus areas, customizable to horizontal and vertical coverage. It took a lot of experimentation, and setting the camera up to switch between custom setups quickly in order to respond to the changing subjects, but once you get to grips with what the G9 II is capable of, it feels like no subject or scenario is beyond its reach. That said, I only used the camera in bright daylight, and I'll be interested to see how the system performs in low-light scenarios when testing it for my in-depth review. 

Continuous shooting is up to a blistering 60fps with continuous autofocus, if you use the electronic shutter. This is the shutter type that's susceptible to the adverse effects of rolling shutter, which is especially obvious in images of fast-moving subjects or, or footage captured with extreme camera movement; however the G9 II has a faster sensor with more control over rolling shutter distortions.

I didn’t have enough time with the G9 II to gun it using the high-speed drive mode to see how effectively rolling shutter is controlled, but the mechanical shutter is immune to such distortion, and can shoot at up to an impressive 14fps, sustained for sequences longer than I’ll ever likely need to shoot for.

Image 1 of 3

Panasonic Lumix G9 II camera on a patterned table with pink flower background

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Panasonic Lumix G9 II camera in the hand

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Panasonic Lumix G9 II camera on a patterned table with pink flower background

(Image credit: Future)

Design

  • Lumix S5 II-style body
  • 8-way directional joystick
  • Faster 3.69m-dot EVF

The G9 II is a departure from the MFT Lumix G cameras, instead taking its design cues from the Lumix S5 II – a full-frame Panasonic mirrorless camera from 2023 that I've used quite a lot. It's look and form factor is a little different, with squared-off edges, while its comprehensive custom controls now also include a responsive 8-directional joystick. However, the change in feel and control layout won't be too great a leap for those thinking of upgrading from a Lumix G model.

The G9 II handgrip is particularly comfortable, and I say this having used the camera with the relatively chunky 200mm F2.8 lens, while its DSLR-style dimensions are large for a MFT camera, and the body feels particularly robust.

Viewfinder resolution remains the same as the five-year-old G9, at 3.69m dots, while the LCD touchscreen's resolution has almost doubled to 1.84m dots. For me, more important than viewfinder resolution is the viewfinder refresh rate – it can make all the difference between a laggy real-time view or a heavenly blackout-free experience, and both the viewfinder and monitor are blackout-free during burst shooting.

Image 1 of 3

Panasonic Lumix G9 II camera closeup of the ports

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Panasonic Lumix G9 II camera with memory card door open

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Panasonic Lumix G9 II camera on a patterned table with pink flower background

(Image credit: Future)

Image quality

  • 25.2MP sensor with 100MP High-res multi-shot mode
  • 5.7K / 60p and 4K / 120p video
  • New Leica Monochrome color profile

Single-shot photos in the MFT sensor format can’t quite match the resolution of larger-sensor cameras, but 25.2MP is perfectly adequate, and enough reason for a Lumix G9 user to upgrade. 

The High-res shot mode combines multiple photos into one to increase that resolution to 100MP, and Panasonic says you can now use this mode handheld (without blurring), thanks to the faster engine. I tried the mode out, and the handheld results were usually blurry, but I’m confident that further testing and experimentation with this mode will yield sharp results, with the caveat that it's for still subjects and a steady hand, or a tripod. 

Video recording has been dramatically improved from the G9, and the G9 II offers practically every shooting mode that the GH6 does, and we rate that camera as one of the best video cameras. What you don’t get in a photography-first camera like the G9 II is cooling fans, and so record times are limited by comparison.

Image 1 of 4

Interior or a stately home, shot with the Lumix G9 II and Leica 12-60mm F2.8-4 lens

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 4

Architecture in high contrast light shot with the Lumix G9 II and Leica 12-60mm F2.8-4 lens

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 4

Closeup of grapes on the vine

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 4

Closeup of a lily pad in a pond, shot with the Lumix G9 II and Leica 12-60mm F2.8-4 lens

(Image credit: Future)

There are a bunch of new color profiles too, for both photo and video. We get a new Leica Monochrome profile, V-Log pre-installed (in the past, Panasonic charged a premium for a code to unlock V-Log), and real-time LUTs, where you can upload your own color profiles. Most people associate real-time LUTs with video recording, but this feature can be used for photography, too. For example, you can load a custom Adobe Lightroom color profile directly into the G9 II.

Panasonic Lumix G9 II camera on a patterned table with pink flower background

(Image credit: Future)

Early verdict

Just about every aspect of the G9 II has been improved over the five-year-old G9, giving G9 users plenty of reason to upgrade, while also encouraging non-users to enter the system for the first time, especially if wildlife and sports photography are their thing. Sensor resolution is improved, although it doesn't compete with flagship full-frame alternatives, whereas video recording modes are highly competitive, including 5.7K ProRes raw to an external SSD, supported by a fast processor and Panasonic's most effective phase-detection autofocus. 

I also think the G9 II's sensor format and lens selection is better suited to wildlife and sports photography than full-frame, for most people. Our in-depth review will reveal more about the G9 II in real-world use, especially how it fares in low light. But first impressions from a half-day with the G9 II are highly positive.  

Sony A6700 review: top-spec autofocus in compact packaging
5:00 pm | July 12, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Sony A6700: Two-minute review

By combining a 26MP APS-C sensor with AI-powered subject recognition in a body built for shooting on the move, the Sony A6700 lands as a compelling hybrid for hobbyists who value power and portability in equal parts. We gave its predecessor four stars in our full Sony A6600 review, and the A6700 is a shoo-in for a top spot in our round-up of the best travel cameras.

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)

On a spec sheet peppered with improvements, Real-time Recognition AF is worthy of note. Driven by the same Bionz XR processor seen on the Sony ZV-E1 and Sony A7R V, it’s capable of accurately recognizing and tracking a variety of targets in the real world, including humans, animals and vehicles. 

Paired with a 759-point phase detection array, plus five-axis optical image stabilization, the result is a neatly proportioned camera that can produce sharp, balanced stills in most conditions, even when shooting handheld. 

Noise does begin to creep in at higher ISOs, especially north of ISO 6400, but not enough to be an issue if you’re only sharing on social. The metering system also has a habit of underexposing scenes on overcast days, but that’s something you can manually compensate for.

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)

The A6700 is marketed as a hybrid, and I found that it broadly has the video skills to back up its stills abilities. 4K 60p footage is oversampled from 6K without pixel binning, with 10-bit depth and 4:2:2 color sampling to match its video-focused FX30 and ZV-E1 cousins. The resulting clips are as crisp as you’d expect beneath clear skies.

Less impressive is the 1.6x crop applied to 4K 120p slow-motion footage, and I also found that the in-body image stabilization didn’t eliminate wobble when recording while walking. That said, the availability of subject-recognition AF and auto-framing – which automatically crops to track you – makes it straightforward to capture sharp video.

Image 1 of 3

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 2 of 3

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 3 of 3

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)

The A6700 also benefits from revised handling versus the A6600, including a deeper grip that makes it more comfortable to shoot with for extended periods. I didn’t get to test it with a telephoto lens, but the body strikes a great compromise between size and ergonomics. It feels like a camera you could trust to take a few knocks on your travels.

Direct-access control has been meaningfully improved too, with the addition of a front dial, a dedicated dial for switching between still, movie and S&Q modes, as well as several buttons, all of which can be usefully assigned with custom functions – a win for hobbyists who want the option to switch settings quickly when shooting in the street.

And it’s not just the physical setup that’s changed: Sony has revised the menu system for the A6700, with the aim of making it easier to navigate with the vari-angle touchscreen. While the main interface is generally straightforward enough to use, though, I found that there was still a fairly steep learning curve when it came to locating certain settings within the depths of the menus.

Sony A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)

Sony lent me its tidy 10-20mm F4 wide angle lens for my review of the A6700, which I found a little limiting creatively. But a major benefit for consumers is that the camera uses Sony’s E Mount, an established system with a huge catalogue of compatible glass, including plenty of compact options that would team well with the camera for a travel-friendly setup.

If video is your focus, you’ll likely get better results from something like the Fujifilm X-S20. But if you want a compact APS-C hybrid with a capable sensor and the ability to automate autofocus on the fly, the A6700 is well worth considering.

Sony A6700: Price and release date

  • £1450 body-only ($ / AU$ price TBC)
  • Announced July 2023
  • Available from Sony stores and authorized retailers TBC

Sony announced the Sony A6700 on July 12, alongside a new shotgun microphone. The camera will set you back £1450 body-only, while the mic costs £349. 

That’s essentially the same as what the Sony A6600 cost when it launched in 2019. At that time, we though it was a steep asking price for what the camera offered, but you’re getting a whole lot of upgrades with the A6700, including cutting-edge autofocus and refined handling. Given current inflation, we think that price tag looks more reasonable this time around.

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)

It still hits shelves at a higher price than some of its closest rivals, though. While the Fujifilm X-S20 doesn’t have the class-leading AI skills of the Sony A6700, it has a comparable APS-C sensor and is capable of recording 6K 30p video, yet comes in a good slice cheaper than the A6700.

Slightly closer in price – but still less expensive – is the Canon EOS R7, one of the best mirrorless cameras for stills photography. It doesn’t offer 4K 120p video recording like the Sony A6700, but it does have a higher resolution sensor and dual card slots.

  • Price score: 4.5/5

Sony A6700: Specs

Sony A6700: Design

  • Refined grip is more comfortable in the hand
  • New dials and buttons improve direct-access control
  • Menu system remains confusing for beginners

Like the A6600 before it, the A6700 is a tightly packaged APS-C camera with flat sides and a viewfinder over to the left. It might not win any design awards, but the neat proportions make it a tidy camera to travel with. That’s still true even with its slightly larger dimensions: it’s deeper than the A6600, but this increase doesn’t make it feel bigger in the hand. It helps that the payoff is a deeper, more ergonomic grip, which makes the A6700 a comfortable camera to carry and use for full days of shooting. It’s also a well-built one, with a sturdy feel bolstered by weather sealing.

What further sets the A6700 apart from its predecessor is the addition of new direct-access controls. Beneath the main mode dial now resides a second dial for switching between stills, video and S&Q (for slow-motion and time-lapse shooting). On the front of the grip lives a further control wheel, which takes care of aperture by default. These are joined by a dedicated video record button on the top plate, an AF ON shortcut on the back and a C1 button on the outside of thumb rest. 

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)

Taken together, the updated control array unlocks greater customization options for hands-on hobbyists. Provided you’re prepared to dive into the menu system, each button’s function can be reassigned for swift access to your preferred settings for both stills and video. The more pronounced thumb rest does make the rightmost dial a bit trickier to reach, while the front wheel is a fairly slender thing to scroll with your forefinger. The menu button can also be a stretch to get at with your thumb. Broadly, though, the revamped controls are relatively well laid-out and enhance the camera’s usability.

Sony has also upgraded the touchscreen on the A6700. Slightly sharper at 1.04m dots, it’s now a vari-angle number with a full touchscreen interface, versus the tilt-only display that could only really be used to set AF points on the A6600. On the whole, the screen complements the user experience. Visibility is a little limited in direct sunlight, but the articulating setup offers useful flexibility when framing. 

Image 1 of 3

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 2 of 3

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 3 of 3

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)

The software itself is a mixed bag. You can swipe in and out at the sides of the display to show and hide shortcuts, while swiping up reveals two rows of virtual buttons that can be customized for quick access to your favorite settings. These icons are just about big enough not to feel cramped, but it’s still easy to hit the wrong one when operating in the wild. 

In what feels like a recurring gripe for Sony cameras, though, it’s the menu system that holds the A6700 back. Sony has changed the main menu to a grid layout that’s more accessible at a glance, but you have to scroll or tap across twice to reach it. The overall structure has also been revised into vertical columns, but accessing any settings not listed in the main grid can still feel like a labyrinthine task. Even headline features such as auto-framing are buried several levels deep.

This is a shame, because the A6700 is otherwise a lovely camera to handle and shoot with. Not everyone will love the off-centre position of the OLED EVF, yet it feels like the best way to both frame and review images in the field. The viewfinder has the same 2.36m-dot resolution as before, but benefits from a welcome boost in brightness.

  • Design score: 4/5

Sony A6700: Features & performance

  • AI-powered subject detection and auto-framing
  • Rapid and reliable AF across 759 phase-detection points
  • IBIS works better for handheld stills than video

What its menus might lack in clarity, the Sony Alpha A6700 makes up for with cutting-edge performance. Harnessing the same AI chipset as the Sony ZV-E1 and A7R V, it delivers best-in-class subject tracking. Pre-select a target for Real-time Recognition AF to detect, or tap on the touchscreen to select an object: either way, it will lock on with remarkably sticky precision, even as your subject moves around the frame.

In bright conditions, the system is rapid and reliable. Real-time Recognition only works if you’re framing a subject that features on its list of presets, which includes humans, animals and insects, as well as cars, trains and aircraft. In future, we will surely see cameras that can switch between these targets themselves, based on what you’re aiming at. For now, the abilities of the Sony A6700 are at the forefront of AI-driven autofocus.

It isn’t foolproof, as I found when it ignored a sheep I was photographing. Woolly subjects aside, though, it’s a system you can trust to focus for you, even when you’re shooting fast and from the hip. I found its eye-tracking skills particularly good at locking on, regardless of how much I tried to make it break focus.

Image 1 of 3

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of a bar in Bordeaux

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 2 of 3

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of a bar in Bordeaux

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 3 of 3

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of a bar in Bordeaux

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)

All of this speed and accuracy is deployed across an expanded array of 759 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection points. With both the AF-ON and shutter buttons held down, it will continue tracking subjects around the frame while firing off mechanical bursts at 11fps. The 59-raw-shot buffer fills quicker than you might think, but the A6700 at least offers UHS-II card compatibility for speedier transfer rates – although there’s only one slot.

Helping to net sharp stills is the five-axis image stabilization system. Sony claims that an enhanced algorithm provides up to five stops of stabilization for photography, and I certainly had no issues capturing crisp handheld images with the A6700. Active SteadyShot stabilization is also available for video, although I wasn’t as impressed with the results. It effectively levelled handheld clips when I was stood static, but it’s simply not as good as Sony’s Dynamic stabilization when it comes to counteracting wobble while walking. It might be because I’m heavy-footed, but I wouldn’t use it to replace a gimbal.

What the A6700 might be able to replace, though, is your film crew. Like the Sony ZV-E1, it can automatically crop in while recording to compose the scene around your subject. There are three auto-framing settings, with the most aggressive cropping in the closest. It’s an incredibly useful option for content creators shooting solo, as it effectively replicates the inputs of a real camera operator. Helpfully, the A6700 shows the auto-frame as a moving outline within the wider scene, so you know how much space you have to work with. What you can’t do is use Active SteadyShot and Auto Framing at the same time, so the former will make the most sense with a tripod.

I was also impressed by the battery life of the A6700, which continues the A6600’s legacy of strong longevity. Like the ZV-E1, it uses the same FZ-100 battery as the FX3 and A7S III. Real-world results will depend on your combination of stills and video, but a full tank proved more than enough for a full day of photography, interspersed with a few 4K clips. Helpfully, the cell charges in-camera using USB-C, so you don’t need to add another charger to your travel bag.

  • Features and performance score: 4.5/5

Sony A6700: Image and video quality

  • Crisp, balanced results in most conditions
  • Tendency to underexpose on overcast days
  • Noise can be an issue north of ISO 6400

At 26MP, the APS-C sensor inside the A6700 pretty much matches the benchmark for modern mirrorless cameras. There are rivals with higher resolutions, such as the Canon EOS R7, but most hobbyist cameras hover around the 26MP mark – and that’s plenty for the average enthusiast.

It certainly shoots sharp in use, with no shortage of detail. On the whole, the A6700 produces crisp, balanced results, with decent dynamic range and accurate color reproduction. Like many APS-C cameras, sunny days are when it thrives, delivering rich but realistic images with plenty of depth.

In overcast conditions, the A6700’s metering system does have a habit of slightly underexposing images. You can still pull detail out of the shadows in the edit if you’re using Sony’s lossless compressed RAW format, and it’s worth enabling the Dynamic Range Optimizer to help balance the light and dark parts of a scene. All the same, you’ll want to keep an eye on exposure compensation when shooting on a cloudy day.

Image 1 of 10

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of Bordeaux

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 2 of 10

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of Bordeaux

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 3 of 10

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of Bordeaux

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 4 of 10

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of flowers

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 5 of 10

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of tomatoes at a French market

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 6 of 10

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of a spiral staircase

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 7 of 10

Sample image shot with the Sony Alpha A6700 of architecture in France

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 8 of 10

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of the French countryside

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 9 of 10

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of the beach in Biarritz

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)
Image 10 of 10

Sample image shot using the Sony Alpha A6700 of Biarritz beach

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)

Like the A6600, the A6700 is also a reliable performer after dark. Lower lit scenes come out balanced and sharp, even with multiple light sources in the picture. Improved algorithms also mean it’s more effective at focusing in dim conditions, rarely relying on the illuminator to lock on to subjects.

An expanded ISO range of 50-102400 for photography gives the A6700 useful stills versatility on paper, but crank it anywhere north of ISO 6400 and noise quickly becomes noticeable across the image. This grain will be very evident on larger prints in particular. For sharing low-light shots on social, though, it’s less of an issue. Happily, there’s still plenty of detail beneath the noise, with little of the smoothing that can so often smudge shadows on APS-C cameras.

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)

I’ve covered the limitations of Active SteadyShot stabilization for video above, but it’s not the only factor which restricts recording on the A6700. 4K 120p slow-mo is a fantastic addition, but it’s limited by a 1.6x crop that means you’ll need a wider lens to make the most of it. Super 35mm 4K isn’t completely uncropped either, although the factor is marginal at 1.04x.

Shoot longer clips and you’ll also run into the A6700’s recording limits. You can set the auto power-off temperature to ‘standard’ or ‘high’. With the latter selected, the A6700 displayed an overheating warning after 38 minutes of recording 4K 60p video indoors. For capturing short travel clips and b-roll on the fly, this time cap shouldn’t be a major issue. But without the cooling vents of the ZV-E1, this isn’t a hybrid for serious videographers or vloggers who like to record for longer.

Audio out of the camera is very usable, with more tonal depth than you’d expect from a built-in pickup. When walking and talking outdoors, it clearly captured my voice without too much interference. If you do want a more professional setup, you have the option to use the A6700’s microphone and headphone ports, or stick Sony’s new XX shotgun microphone on top of the camera.

Launched alongside the A6700, this hot-shoe-mounted accessory features eight modes for directional audio pickup, plus noise-suppression settings that effectively minimize the impact of factors like wind. It’s a lightweight, compact tool that I can see appealing to travel vloggers who want a streamlined solution for targeted audio capture.

  • Image and video quality score: 4/5 

Should you buy the Sony A6700?

Sony Alpha A6700 mirrorless camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Chris Rowlands)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Sony A6700: Also consider

If our Sony A6700 has inspired you to think about other options, here are three more cameras to consider…

How I tested the Sony A6700

Because of its credentials as an enthusiast travel camera, I took the Sony Alpha A6700 on a trip to the south of France for testing. It travelled with me for a fortnight, during which I shot hundreds of stills in all sorts of scenarios. These included candid portraits, daylight landscapes and evening street scenes in Bordeaux. I paid particular attention to how well the A6700 detected subjects in busy urban areas, how comfortable it felt in the hand during full days of shooting, and how its battery held up in the real world.

I was also keen to check out the recording chops of the A6700. To do this, I shot tens of videos, including numerous handheld vlog-style clips to assess the effectiveness of the A6700’s image stabilization for video footage. I pushed the camera to its limits in terms of recording times, to see how well it handles heat, and also tested how effectively it works with Sony’s new XX shotgun microphone.

On the whole, the Sony Alpha A6700 performed well throughout these tests – a fact reflected by the score I’ve awarded it. It’s not a perfect camera, but I found it a fundamentally enjoyable one to shoot with.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed July 2023

Sony ZV-1 II review – wider vlogging appeal
5:00 pm | May 29, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Sony ZV-1 II: Two-minute review

It’s no longer the case that people want a camera just to take pictures – we’re all now content creators and potential vloggers, and that means any new camera has to be a hybrid device that can do photo and video equally well. 

Given its tech heritage it was no surprise when Sony launched its pocket sized ZV-1 vlogging camera in 2020, mid-pandemic, and when we were all desperately seeking ways to connect with the outside world without leaving the house.

Now here comes the ZV-1 II, an almost identically pocket-sized, if still rather boxy-looking, refinement of its predecessor. The original model was notable for kicking off a series of ‘video-first’ cameras from Sony aimed primarily at vloggers of varying skill levels. And with some rival manufacturers only now launching their first dedicated vlogging alternatives three years on, this second iteration feels timely.

The obvious question is ‘what’s changed?’ Well, initially at least, the answer is ‘not much’. Despite the three-year gap separating them – a veritable age in tech terms – the core of the ZV-1 II is exactly the same as its predecessor. That means it incorporates a 20.1 megapixel back-illuminated 1-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor twinned with a Bionz X processor. 

Alongside 20MP stills, videographers again get 4K resolution video at 30fps. Maintaining the status quo is perhaps excusable given the intended destination for most users’ videos will be YouTube, and especially so when rivals’ vlogging cameras, such as the also-new Canon PowerShot V10, also feature a one-inch chip and identical video spec.

So why should we be considering the ‘new’ ZV-1 II, and not merely searching out a good deal on an existing ZV-1? To answer that question we spent a few days shooting with the ZV-1 II in advance of the release announcement. So does the newbie deserve to take on its predecessor’s one-time mantle of the best new vlogging camera currently available? Read on to find out.

Sony ZV-1 II camera outside on a wall front with windshield attached over mic

(Image credit: Future)

Sony ZV-1 II: Price and release date

  • $899 / £870 / AU$1,349
  • Available from mid-June 2023

Given all that’s changed globally in the three years since the ZV-1’s launch, it’s unsurprising if disappointing that the Sony ZV-1 II is now a more expensive purchase than its predecessor. 

Pricing for the new camera, which has promised mid-June 2023 availability, is $899 / £870/ AU$1,349, compared with the 2020 launch pricing for the ZV-1, which was a slightly more reasonable $749 / £699 / AU$1,299.

Additionally, Sony tells us there will be a promotional offer around the launch of the ZV-1 II for those who want to buy the directly compatible GP-VPT2BT wireless shooting grip to improve stability, which many will want to do, as there’s no in-body image stabilization here. Just for reference, the same Bluetooth grip controller was offered alongside the ZV-1 for $138 / £170 / AU$249, so we’d expect that pricing to stay the same.

Sony ZV-1 II camera outside on a wall

(Image credit: Future)

We reckon this accessory will prove useful given there’s no stabilization in the camera itself, only Sony’s ‘Active’ electronic stabilization, as found on the ZV-1, which essentially performs a crop so the image appears less shaky. Its manufacturer also – and rather creatively it has to be said – makes the point that since the SV-1 II’s zoom now starts out wider than its predecessor, that should help footage appear a little smoother. The theory is that the wider angle of view should prevent any camera shake from looking as pronounced as it might with a tighter frame.

  • Price score: 3.5/5

Sony ZV-1 II: Specs

Sony ZV-1 II: Design

  • Improved touchscreen operability
  • More flexible microphone performance
  • A bit larger than its predecessor, but lighter at 292g

Broadly the size of a packet of cards, if a little fatter because of its camcorder-style flip-out-and-twist LCD screen at the back, the ZV-1 II sees Sony take the old ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach. 

Sony has given this new model the ‘II’ suffix rather than simply calling it the ZV-2 to underline the connection to the original and popular ZV-1 model, which will continue to be sold for an unspecified time alongside this second iteration.

Feeling reassuringly solid when gripped, the ZV-1 II is only a hair’s breadth larger than its forebear at 105.5 x 60 x 46.7mm, as opposed to the original’s 105.5 x 60 x 43.5mm. At the same time it’s actually marginally lighter at 292g, compared with 294g for the ZV-1. 

Sony ZV-1 II camera on marble table with screen flipped out

(Image credit: Future)

this camera may have only used a smartphone before for capturing stills and video. By comparison with the average camera phone the ZV-1 II is still two or three times the thickness, and too big and bulky for the pocket of a pair of jeans. It does, however, slip conveniently into the pocket of a jacket.

While Sony has packed a lot in here, we missed the likes of an eye-level viewfinder – particularly when taking 20 megapixel stills, and in those instances when bright sunlight renders detail and menu options on LCD screen a little harder to critically ascertain than otherwise.

On top of this we can envisage the Sony GP-VPT2BT wireless shooting grip being a near-essential purchase for those who want greater hands-free flexibility as well as improved stability, particularly when recording pieces to camera while walking, or even just when taking selfies.

  • Design score: 4/5

Sony ZV-1 II: Features & performance

  • Battery is good for only 45 minutes of recording
  • No mains adapter or USB-C cable provided

Most manufacturers have been working hard to improve their cameras’ autofocus performance in recent years, with the goal being to make their systems not only increasingly fast but also increasingly accurate. It’s no surprise, then, that the Sony ZV-1 II’s AF has been tweaked in the interim, although said adjustment is only to enable it to recognise animals when in movie mode, not just the usual of human faces.

Multi-face recognition, as introduced on the ZV-E1, also makes an appearance here, ensuring that the aperture automatically changes to provide a bigger depth of field if someone new enters the frame while recording is in progress, therefore keeping each person sharply in focus.

While such features have been added, rather stingily Sony omits to include a mains adapter for charging, something admittedly it hasn’t included with its cameras for a while, and worse still hasn’t bothered to include the USB-C cable required for charging its slender battery in situ. Given the price of the camera itself, we feel this really is unacceptable. 

Sony ZV-1 II camera outside on a wall with the vari-angle screen out to the side for selfie shooting

(Image credit: Future)

For its part, the manufacturer cites ‘sustainability’, suggesting that USB-C cables are now commonplace, and therefore it’s likely owners will already have one in their homes. We’re not quite sure if we buy that one.

Once you do manage to get it charged, the battery is good for around 45 minutes of recording, or 260 shots, which is adequate if hardly earth shattering. Disappointingly, again, battery life hasn’t been improved over that of the ZV-1.

  • Features and performance score: 4/5

Sony ZV-1 II: Image and video quality

  • 4K video resolution at up to 30fps
  • Improved video AF now recognizes animals 

With the same 20.1 megapixel 1-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor as its predecessor and the same Bionz X processor too, we weren’t expecting a marked difference from the ZV-1 II’s output. A slightly adjusted if limited focal range this time around does allow for different choices when it comes to composition and framing, and while a new ultra-wide 18mm setting introduces the risk of barrel distortion and a fisheye-type effect, happily these don’t appear too pronounced. 

The default aspect ratio for stills is 3:2, though the standard digital camera ratio of 4:3 is also selectable, as are 16:9 and 1:1. The ZV-1 II can record raw files separately or in conjunction with JPEGs, or you can opt for highest-quality Extra Fine JPEGs on their own. While stills are rich in both detail and color in the main, if we’re being picky we did notice occasional instances of purple fringing along high-contrast edges – where the dark branches of a tree meet a featureless sky, for example – though this is only noticeable if you’re actively looking for it. Generally, results aren’t quite as impressive as you’d get from either a DSLR or a mirrorless camera with a larger APS-C or full-frame sensor, although we have to weigh this against this camera’s size and portability, and its positioning as a jack-of-all-trades device.

Image 1 of 7

Low angle closeup photo of a cute dog

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 7

Wideangle photo of church with 18mm lens setting of Sony ZV-1 II

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 7

photo of church with 50mm lens setting of Sony ZV-1 II

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 7

Low angle through long grass of a country house

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 7

Ducks on water on a sunny day

(Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 7

Closeup of pink flowers

(Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 7

Closeup of pink flowers

(Image credit: Future)

While some will bemoan the fact that this second generation model’s video capability of 4K resolution and up to 30 frames per second capture rate, capped at 25fps if shooting in PAL format, hasn’t altered from the original SV-1, this is more than sufficient for the online vlogging community the ZV-1 II is aimed at. Those looking to live-stream content can do so via USB connection to a computer or Sony Xperia smartphone, with Bluetooth connectivity offering the ability to link up with the Sony Creator app and download future software updates.

With the Sony ZV-1 II’s new ability to recognise and track not just human faces, but also animal ones, so we decided to test it out on an excitable dog darting about the frame, and the results were impressive.

Naturally great video is nothing without great sound to accompany it, and while we found the built-in omni-directional microphone located atop the lens to be more than capable, you can additionally attach an external optional ECM-B10 shotgun mic for more professional audio. Otherwise, to prevent breezy conditions from adversely affecting audio capture when shooting outdoors, a ‘dead cat’ style fluffy windshield is included in the box, and slides easily into place via the camera’s vacant hotshoe. There’s no headphone jack on the device for monitoring audio as it’s being captured, though.

We liked how the bright f/1.8 maximum aperture lens allows for some creative shallow depth-of-field effects, with sharp subjects and creamily defocused backgrounds – the so-called ‘bokeh effect’ – enabling the sharpest part of the frame to really pop. The aperture can also be adjusted via the touchscreen. In operation, the zoom is both smooth and silent, so there’s no unsettling jerkiness when altering framing during filming. Likewise, the built-in microphone doesn’t noticeably pick up noise from the zoom mechanics as it adjusts. On a practical note, as the optical zoom is fairly limited in terms of its 18-50mm range, it means you do have to get fairly close to subjects when shooting video or stills. Ultimately the ZV- II is best suited to portraits and group portraits, in catering for the vlogging fraternity.

Videographers should also note that, in terms of differentiation from the ZV-1, the new camera inherits and incorporates a Cinematic Vlog setting from Sony’s ZV-E1. This offers a variety of ‘looks’ including Classic, Clean, more saturated Chic, Fresh and Mono (B&W) settings. A ‘creative look’ color profile is carried over from the existing ZV-E10 too; essentially this provides smartphone filter-like mood-enhancing image processing, with the selectable moods in question here being Auto, Gold, Ocean and Forest.

  • Image and video quality score: 4.5/5 

Should you buy the Sony ZV-1 II?

Sony ZV-1 II camera in the hand

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Sony ZV-1 II: Also consider

If our Sony ZV-1 II review has you considering other options, here are three more cameras to consider...  

How I tested the Sony ZV-1 II

As subsequent iterations of cameras normally add more than a sprinkling of improvements over their predecessors we were very interested in zeroing in on the practical uses for the new features, such as the ZV-1 II’s optical zoom lens starting out wider than the original, but ending slightly shorter at the telephoto end. The best use of the zoom we found was either for landscape type shooting or for pieces directly to the camera. We also wanted to check out the sound quality of the microphone, particularly when ‘walking and talking’ as many vloggers considering this camera will be doing, and outdoors not just inside the studio. A variety of shooting scenarios were therefore undertaken, the camera generally proving itself capable of as a jack-of-all-trades device.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2023

Sony A7C review: Tiny full-frame with compromises
6:00 pm | February 19, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Two minute review

Sony needs little introduction as a major player in the mirrorless camera market. Not only did the company release the first-ever full-frame mirrorless camera with the A7R, it also briefly laid claim to having the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless camera with the Sony A7C when it was announced in September 2020, before that honor was taken by  Sigma with its fp and fp L models. This camera is completely different to other full-frame Sony cameras, with looks and handling more comparable to the A6000 series of APS-C cameras. And while the A7C may not be one of the best cameras available, it could comfortably be one of the best travel cameras currently available.

While from the outside the A7C looks like a slightly larger Sony A6600, the internals are almost identical to those of the Sony A7 III. Much of the performance is identical, and both cameras feature the same 24.2MP full-frame BSI Exmor R CMOS sensor, which is capable of producing excellent image quality. Continuous shooting is available at up to 10fps, which is pretty impressive for a camera that’s aimed at vloggers and content creators.

Sony A7C on top of a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)
Sony A7C Specs:

Sensor: 24.2MP full-frame BSI Exmor R CMOS sensor (35.6 x 23.8mm)
AF points: 693-point hybrid AF
Video: 4K up to 30fps
Viewfinder: 2.35m-dot
Memory cards: SD, SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I/II
LCD: 2.95-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 921k-dot
Max burst: 10fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C
Size: 124.0 x 71.1 x 59.7mm
Weight: 509g (with battery and SD card)

With those users in mind, the A7C is capable of capturing 8-bit 4K video at up to 30fps. While this is sufficient for producing videos for sharing on YouTube, it’s a little underwhelming, and possibly rules the camera out of a professional video workflow. That said, you can capture Full HD video at up to 120fps for slow-motion footage, although this is only going to be attractive if you typically output videos at 1080p.

The A7C is an intriguing option that will likely divide opinion. It may be a couple of years old now, but it can still hold its own against the competition and remains Sony’s smallest and lightest full-frame camera. It’s arguably a bit too expensive for what it is, however, at £1,850.00 / $1,799.99 / AU$2,399.00 body-only. 

Let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer so that you can make up your own mind about whether this is the Sony camera for you.

Sony A7C release date and price

  •  Announced in September 2020 
  •  Costs £1,850.00 / $1,799.99 / AU$2,399.00 
  •  Launched alongside the FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 kit lens 

The Sony A7C was announced in September 2020. The camera body is available with a silver top plate, which was the only option at launch, or in all-black which is arguably the more appealing of the two options.

The price of the A7C has naturally come down since its launch, and it’s now available body-only for £1,850 / $1,799.99 / AU$2,399. The camera shares many features, and indeed its sensor, with the Sony A7 III, which has now been superseded by the A7 IV; the A7 IV isn’t a great deal more expensive than the A7C, but offers much more in terms of performance and handling.

Sony A7C at an angle

(Image credit: Future)

 The A7C was released alongside the FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6, a compact lens that’s the perfect partner for the camera on account of its size and weight; typically for a kit lens it has a variable maximum aperture and a limited focal range, and there are many vastly better FE optics available to be paired with the A7C, although they’re mostly a lot bigger than the 28-60mm. 

Rating: 3 out of 5

Sony A7C: design

  •  Follows the APS-C A6000-series design 
  • Vari-angle LCD screen 
  •  Weighs just 509g body-only with a battery and SD card 

Measuring 124.0 x 71.1 x 59.7mm, and weighing just 509g with a battery and SD card, the A7C was the smallest and lightest full-frame camera at the time of its launch, which is impressive given that the A7C is, to all intents and purposes, a smaller and lighter A7 III. The smallest full-frame mirrorless camera title has since been claimed by the Sigma fp and fp L models, but where the Sony A7C does have the edge is that it features a built-in viewfinder – more on that later.

The small and lightweight body means it’s best to pair the camera with smaller FE lenses that naturally balance well with it. This isn’t a huge compromise, because while you could shoot sport and wildlife with the A7C, it’s more suited towards travel, landscape, portrait, and street photography. For sport and wildlife, there are much more capable models available in the Sony A-series lineup, most notably the Sony A1 and Sony A9 II.

The first thing you notice about the A7C is that it looks like the Sony A6600. This is a rangefinder-style design, with the electronic viewfinder positioned at the top-left of the camera’s rear, the LCD touchscreen below, and several direct-access controls to the right. On the top of the camera, you’ll find the mode dial, exposure compensation dial, video record button, and shutter button on the top of the small grip.

Sony A7C on top of table with flip out screen out to the side

(Image credit: Future)

The overall design, which includes a small and awkward-to-use viewfinder, alongside the 2.95-inch vari-angle touchscreen and top-mounted shutter button, suggests that the A7C is designed more for use with the LCD screen than with the viewfinder. The EVF is clear enough in use, but the display is simply too small for a full-frame camera and is uncomfortable to use. In bright conditions especially, it’s better to have than not, but a larger viewfinder with increased magnification would make a world of difference here.

Conversely, while the 2.95-inch vari-angle touchscreen only has a resolution of 921k dots, it’s comfortable to use for shooting both photos and video. Plus, it can be swung outwards to change the angle, and rotated forwards, making it ideal for vlogging. This is also useful for general video shooting and, of course, for stills, enabling you to comfortably shoot from high or low angles.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 

Sony A7C: features and performance

  •  Real-time AF tracking and Eye AF 
  •  Up to 10fps continuous shooting 
  •  5-axis in-body image stabilization 

While the A7C is undoubtedly a camera that’s capable of producing excellent image quality, the feature set is, on the whole, rather underwhelming. The features on offer can’t be complained about, but there’s nothing that makes this camera stand out or gives it the ‘wow’ factor. To put it bluntly, if the A7C was a car it might be a Toyota Corolla; it’s dependable, and does everything you need it to do, but it’s far from being exciting. 

For the many photographers who make minimal use of all of the bells and whistles their cameras have to offer, this will be ideal. That said, let’s take a look at a few areas where the A7C provides features that even the most demanding photographers would be happy with, and the first is autofocus performance, with 693 hybrid AF points covering approximately 93% of the frame.

Birds eye view of Sony A7C top plate

(Image credit: Future)

Autofocus locks positively onto subjects most of the time thanks to 693 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection AF points; the number of active points is naturally reduced when shooting in APS-C mode. Then there’s Real-time AF tracking, where the camera uses AI to track moving subjects for both photos and video. Another useful AF feature is Real-time Eye AF for both humans and animals, which performs well, and makes shooting portraits at wide apertures incredibly easy.

When it comes to performance, 5-axis in-body image stabilization provides up to five stops of compensation for both photos and video. For stills, you can shoot handheld at shutter speeds of up to five stops slower than you would normally for a given lens/focal length. For video, image stabilization helps to provide smoother footage when shooting handheld.

For photographers who enjoy shooting at high frame rates, the A7C offers up to 10fps continuous shooting. Sony claims that you can capture around 215 continuous shots when shooting in JPEG Extra Fine, or around 45 uncompressed raw files. Another potentially useful feature, and one that’s more commonly found in professional cameras, is wireless tethering to a computer over 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi. This allows you to transfer images for instant viewing and/or editing, which can be useful when shooting in a studio.

  Rating: 3.5 out of 5 

Sony A7C: image and video quality

  •  24.2MP full-frame BSI Exmor R CMOS sensor 
  •  Video features could be better 
  •  Excellent high-ISO handling 

There’s one area where no one is going to be complaining about the A7C, and that’s image quality. Photos can be captured in 14-bit raw, with compressed and uncompressed options available, alongside JPEG. Dynamic range is good, particularly at the base ISO of 100, with the camera able to capture detail throughout reasonably high-contrast scenes. Dynamic range, like all cameras, naturally reduces as ISO levels are increased, with the best results in a wider sense up to ISO 1600.

The native ISO range covers ISO 100-51,200, with an expanded range of ISO 50-204,800. In terms of noise handling, the A7C is a great performer with usable results up to ISO 25,600. ISO 12,800 is markedly better, with the best results at ISO 100-1600, although even up to ISO 6400 images retain impressive levels of detail, with low color and luminance noise.

Back LCD screen of Sony A7C onto of a table

(Image credit: Future)

Video quality is good overall, as you’d expect from a Sony A-series camera, but it’s not breathtaking, and some of the specs in this area are mediocre at best, especially when you consider that the camera is aimed at vloggers and content creators. On the plus side, the A7C offers S-Log2, S-Log3 and HLG modes as well as both microphone and headphone sockets.

As you’d expect, you can shoot video at up to 4K, but this is limited to 8-bit, 30fps at 100Mbps. This is perfectly adequate for producing videos for YouTube, but it wouldn’t stand up in a professional workflow. 10-bit 4K at 60fps or higher would be beneficial, but to put this into perspective even the new Sony A7R V only offers this level of video, which also seems lacking for such a high-end camera. On the plus side, 4K video is oversampled 6K, and you can shoot at up to 120fps in Full HD to capture slow-motion footage.

 Rating: 4 out of 5 

Should I buy the Sony A7C?

Sony A7C on to pf the table with lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if....

Don't buy it if....

 Also consider

Sony A7 IV
The Sony A7 IV will cost you a bit more at £2,399 / $2,498 / AU$3,499, but for your money you get a newer 33MP sensor, and 4K video up to 60fps in 10-bit. It’s a slightly bulkier camera that weighs more, but the onboard technology and the handling are significantly better. Plus, the viewfinder is leagues ahead of the A7C’s, and the vari-angle LCD screen provides the same level of convenience.View Deal

Fujifilm XT-5
If you’re looking for a small and lightweight camera that punches well above its weight, the Fujifilm XT-5 is worth considering for both photography and video. The 40.2MP BSI X-Trans sensor is APS-C, but Fujifilm cameras are well known for being able to match, and in some cases exceed, the performance of full-frame mirrorless cameras. The body-only price is the same as the A7C, but it’s packed with the latest Fujifilm technology. View Deal

How I tested the Sony A7C

I tested the Sony A7C over several days, with a focus on travel and the outdoors, to put the camera through its paces in situations it’s been designed for. I took photos in a variety of lighting conditions in order to test factors such as dynamic range, autofocus, ISO handling and, of course, how easy and comfortable the camera is to use for its intended purpose, alongside more general shooting.

Most shooting was handheld as this fits with the travel aspect of the camera while necessitating the use of a variety of settings to achieve correct exposures. Photos were taken in different shooting modes according to the subject being photographed – for example, Shutter Priority for panning shots and Aperture Priority for general shooting. I used several different lenses to assess how well they balanced with the A7C’s lightweight design.

With nearly 30 years of photographic experience and 15 years working as a photography journalist, I’ve covered almost every conceivable subject, and used many of the cameras that have been released in that time. I’ve also used and reviewed almost every full-frame Sony A-series camera since the launch of the A7R, so I have first-hand experience of the development of the system.

Sony ZV-1F Review: vlogging simplified
12:00 pm | February 5, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Two-minute review

The Sony ZV-1F is designed for anyone who wants to create quality video content, but doesn’t perhaps have the most advanced camera knowledge. It’s neat, fits easily into a pocket, and offers great 4K video footage, making it a brilliant choice for beginner vloggers

It’s ideal for anyone wanting to move away from shooting video on their smartphone, and will absolutely hold its own if you’re wanting to make the move into videography to upload to YouTube or social media. 

Canon EOS R6 II specs

Sensor: 20.1 Megapixel 1" CMOS
AF points: 4,897 point Dual Pixel CMOS AF II, 100% coverage
Video: UHD 4K at 24, 25, 29.97 FPS, HD at 24, 25, , 29.97, 50, 59.94, 100
LCD: 3-inch LCD vari-angle touchscreen, 921,600 Dot
Memory card: Single Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC
Max Burst: Up to 16 fps
Connectivity: Micro-HDMI Output, 1/8" / 3.5 mm TRS Stereo Input, USB-C Input, USB-C (USB 2.0) Data Output (Shared with Power Input), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Size: 105.5 × 60 × 46.4mm
Weight: 256 grams  (Battery and Memory Card)

You can adjust the settings on this camera as little or as much as you’d like; you’ll get fantastic results either way. It features Intelligent Auto modes, which read the scene you’re shooting and makes the decisions for you like how bright the picture is, or you can set it to manual mode where you have control of all the settings and exposure levels.

Photography is possible, but it plays second fiddle to video. If you do want to delve into the menus and you’re new to Sony, be warned that its cameras take getting used to; many users can be overwhelmed and confused by the dense menus. Much of the time it's easier just to set the custom buttons to what you want, then stay out of the menus as much as possible. 

Sony ZV-F1 with flip out screen out placed on a bench

(Image credit: Future)

Other than that this is an incredibly intuitive little camera. It will turn on as soon as you flip the screen open, making it very quick and easy to get recording, and it has three main modes – video, S&Q (Sony’s ‘slow’ and ‘quick’ in-camera modes for videos such as timelapses and slow motion), and photo — all accessible with just the press of a single button on the top of the body.

Image stabilization is super impressive, while the face and eye tracking is second to none, as is standard for Sony cameras.

Sony claims you can easily transfer all your images and videos over to your smartphone or computer using its Imaging Edge smartphone app – but anyone who's actually used this app will tell you it’s… not great. If Sony could put as much effort into its app as it does in its cameras and autofocus, then it would make sharing your images an awful lot easier.

This is definitely a camera for vloggers rather than photographers, though, as it doesn't have raw capture capabilities. Also, its lens isn't interchangeable, and while the 20mm lens is decent for video, it limits your photography options somewhat.

Sony ZV-F1 on a tripod in the middle of a frozen field

(Image credit: Future)

Sony ZV-1F: release date and price

  •  Benefits from optional accessories like the GP-VP2BT grip 
  •  Cheaper in the US 
  •  Accessory bundles not available in all regions 

The Sony ZV-1F was released on October 17 2022, and you can buy it now for £550 / $499 / AU$845. 

An accessory and travel bundle that includes memory cards, a flexible tripod, a pouch to keep your camera safe and dust free, and cleaning supplies is available on Amazon US priced at $598, but it didn’t appear to be available in the UK or Australia at the time of writing.

The handling of a vlogging camera like the Sony ZV-1F is enhanced with optional accessories like the GP-VP2BT grip (£170 / $139.99 / AU$249), which gives more stability when vlogging. This grip can be used both as an extension of your arm and as a mini tripod. 

  • Price Score: 4/5

Sony ZV-F1 showing side connectivity

(Image credit: Future)

Sony ZV-1F: design

  • Small and lightweight at just 256 grams 
  • Optimized for auto rather than manual shooting
  •  You’ll likely need to use a grip if you don’t have small hands 

The Sony ZV-1F probably isn’t going to be the best-designed camera you’ve ever come across, but it does have some great features which lend themselves to the types of shooting you’d likely be doing with this camera. 

Part of the beauty of the Sony ZV-1F is its small size — it weighs just 256 grams and measures 10.5 x 6 x 4.6cm, making it incredibly easy to travel with, or to just stick it in your pocket when you’re out and about and want to access it quickly. 

That said, while nobody wants to lug a heavy camera around all day, its small size could be a disadvantage, depending on the user. It’s a tiny little camera, and it doesn’t have the biggest front grip, meaning it could be fiddly to hold onto if you don’t have small hands. You can alleviate this potential issue by using it with the aforementioned GP-VPT2BT grip, however, that does involve spending more money.

Sony ZV-F1 held in the hand showing back of the camera

(Image credit: Future)

The Sony ZV-1F has been built with partly recycled plastic material as part of Sony’s Road to Zero environmental plan, and the fibers of the windscreen are made exclusively from recycled polyester. 

It’s designed to be dust-proof and moisture-resistant, but it isn’t weather sealed. This does make it a less than ideal proposition for traveling as, obviously, you can’t control the weather, but – unless you’re a storm chaser – you probably won’t be using it much in wetter weather anyway, so it’s not a huge deal breaker for us. Additionally, if you’re looking at this camera after handling some top-of-the-line stills cameras, it’s going to feel plasticky and flimsy in comparison. 

On the top of the camera is a button to switch between photo, video, and S&Q shooting modes, a video record button and a camera shutter button with a zoom toggle, and a Background Defocus button (great for showcasing products). On the back of the camera body there are the standard function, menu, playback and delete buttons, along with a control wheel via which you can access the ISO, timer, drive modes and exposure compensation — although these can all be reprogrammed to perform other functions. 

  • Design 3.5/5

Sony ZV-F1 placed on a countertop showing top plate and windscreen

(Image credit: Future)

Sony ZV-1F: features and performance

  • Decent eye and face tracking for humans and animals 
  • Versatile touch-screen 
  • Impressive SteadyShot

For such a small camera, the Sony ZV-1F can actually do quite a lot once you delve into its settings and features. Although the Intelligent Auto mode works a treat, you can also shoot fully in manual if you want to, as well as in Aperture and Shutter Priority, plus a few other modes. 

There’s also a Background Clear/Defocus button on the top of the camera, which is great for showcasing products or focusing on a certain person in your shot. In photography terms, this is basically a quick and easy way to change your aperture to create a nice bokeh effect. You can also change the aperture manually when the camera is in the right shooting mode, with the available range running from f/2 to f/8. 

When I was out reviewing this camera, I was very impressed and pleasantly surprised with how effective SteadyShot is, particularly when shooting video. When I looked back at the footage it was obvious that I was walking around with the camera, but those movements didn’t ruin the footage and overall it did seem very smooth. Matters would be improved even further if you were to use the camera with a gimbal.

Sony ZV-F1 showing flip out screen

(Image credit: Future)

I’m primarily a stills photographer with little video experience, so I’m very much in the target audience for the ZV-1F. At a Christmas market, I found it’s quick to take out when needed, and switches on as soon as you flip the screen out, so I was able to start shooting almost instantly. 

One frustration every photographer is familiar with: you see something happen that you want to capture, but by the time you’ve got your camera out of your bag, done the bag up again, turned the camera on and selected the right settings, the moment you wanted to shoot is long gone; so this was a nice change. I’m also quite a clunky walker, and I noticed just how good SteadyShot was when the video footage wasn’t going all over the place. 

Even in the dark, Sony’s incredible autofocus was brilliant. One odd limitation of this camera is that it uses an older contrast-detection system, rather a hybrid setup that includes both contrast- and phase-detect technology, which makes it slightly less reliable than its predecessor. 

Having said that, when I was walking around the market I noticed the AF automatically recognizing and tracking people’s faces as they walked across the frame, even when they weren’t looking directly at the camera. There’s animal recognition too, although when I tested this on a couple of camera-shy black cats it didn’t seem to detect and track their faces unless I focused myself by tapping on the screen, so it seems that its effectiveness depends on the lighting, and the color of the animal you’re working with. 

  • Features and performance 4/5

Sony ZV-F1 held in the hand

(Image credit: Future)

Sony ZV-1F: image and video quality

  • Better suited for daytime or well-lit shooting 
  • Can only shoot JPEG images 
  •  Good audio, but you’ll need an external mic for the best results 

While it’s not the most powerful, all-singing all-dancing camera in the world, the Sony ZV-1F does actually produce great image and video quality. It has a 1-inch sensor with 20.1MP resolution which isn’t bad at all, and can record 4K video and slow motion in Full HD with its wide and sharp 20mm lens. 

We found that the ZV-1F performed better during the day than in lower-light situations, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re planning on shooting content at night. Looking at the footage we shot of a Christmas market, overall the camera handled the contrasting light levels pretty well.

Image 1 of 4

Sony ZV-F1

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 4

Sony ZV-F1

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 4

Sony ZV-F1

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 4

Sony Zv-F1

(Image credit: Future)

You can see in our sample images and videos that well-lit subjects and scenes were captured very well, although with the occasional blown highlights; the darker skies had noticeable noise and grain - something we’d expect from a 1-inch sensor.

The ZV-1F is designed to capture your voice clearly, whether you’re shooting inside or outdoors. It’s perfect for recording dialogue, as it features a built-in directional three-capsule microphone. It also comes with a windscreen to eliminate any muffling from winds, which can make or break a video. We found the sound was captured very well for casual day-to-day vlogging, but for anything more professional you’ll definitely need an external mic for better audio quality.

Another thing worth noting is that when it comes to photography, this camera can only shoot JPEGs. While the images that came out of it were very good, you don’t have as much detail, or editing headroom, as you get with raw files. That said, if you just want to snap quick images that you can upload quickly with little or no editing, this camera will be absolutely fine. 

  • Image and video quality 3.5/5

Should I buy the Sony ZV-1F?

Sony ZV-F1

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If our Sony ZV-1F review has you wondering about alternatives, here are three rivals to consider:

Sony  ZV-1F: testing scorecard

First reviewed: January 2023

Canon EOS R6 II review: hybrid just got better
8:00 pm | January 27, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Two-minute review

If you’re buying into Canon’s EOS R mirrorless system, you might well be weighing the do-it-all EOS R6 II against the more expensive and high-powered EOS R5. Plenty chose the original EOS R6 for its price, low-light capability, burst shooting and video features, and the R6 II removes one remaining barrier – the original model’s 20MP resolution. 

The Mark II’s resolution increase will may not make much difference to the detail rendition, but it’s an important psychological bonus which puts the Canon on a par with rivals like the Lumix S5 (and now the S5 II), Nikon Z6 II and Sony A7 III (though not quite the A7 IV).

Canon EOS R6 II camera on a tripod  with no lens and image sensor visible

(Image credit: Future)

The R6 Mark II’s burst mode frame rates are doubled to 40fps with the electronic shutter but stay at 12fps with the mechanical shutter, and while the AI-powered AF subject recognition has been extended with more subject types, the original was pretty good already.

Canon EOS R6 II specs

Sensor: 24.2MP full frame CMOS
AF points: 4,897 point Dual PIxel CMOS AF II, 100% coverage
Video: 4K UHD up to 60p, FHD up to 180p
Viewfinder: OLED 3.69m-dot
LCD: 3-inch vari-angle touch 1.62m-dot
Memory card: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II
Max Burst: 12fps mechanical shutter (1,000+ JPEG, 110 RAW/1,000 CRAW), 40fps electronic shutter (190 JPEG, 75 RAW/140CRAW)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mic, Headphone, HDMI Type D, USB 3.2
Size: 138.4 × 98.4 × 88.4mm
Weight: 670g (inc. battery and SD card)

For video, the original 30-minute recording limit has been scrapped and Canon reckons the R6 II can shoot for over 40 minutes at 4K 60p, and up to 6 hours at 4K 30p. It also has Canon C Log 3 and can capture 6K ProRes RAW over HDMI.

These things are all great, but they are incremental rather than revolutionary improvements, and they make for a pretty expensive camera that’s only worth it if you need everything that it does.

The EOS R6 II is nice to use and captures very attractive stills and video, but the 8-stop IBIS system will not necessarily deliver that in real life and does not have the fluency for smooth camera movements in video. The EOS R6 II feels like one of the better cameras in its class, but not necessarily the best and definitely not the cheapest.

Canon EOS R6 II: release date and price

  • About the same price at launch as the old R6, which is welcome
  • Much more expensive in the UK than the US
  • Seems expensive compared to the Sony A7 IV and Lumix S5 II

New Canon cameras typically arrive with premium price tags relative to the competition and take a while – sometimes a very long while – to move back down to a more competitive price point. Launch price for the Canon EOS R6 II is $2,499.99 / £2,799 / AU$4499 body only, and $3,599.99 / £3,999 / AU$6399 bundled with the RF 24-105mm F4 lens.

It’s no surprise then, that the EOS R6 II immediately looks expensive compared to its rivals. These include the Nikon Z6 II, Sony A7 II and the brand new Panasonic Lumix S5 II, all of which are around $500 cheaper. Indeed, even the 30MP Sony A7 IV currently costs less than the Canon. And if you’re thinking of getting the R6 II and 24-105mm f/4 lens bundle, that’s almost the price of an EOS R5 body.

Canon EOS R6 II in the hand of reviewer

(Image credit: Future)

So is the EOS R6 II good enough to make it worth the extra compared to its direct rivals? At this level, you commit to a system rather than a specific camera, and if you’re starting from scratch you’ll need a lot of trust in the Canon brand to pay the extra for the R6 II. If you’re a Canon shooter, the R6 II might make a logical upgrade for existing kit, but if you already use Sony, Panasonic or Nikon gear, it’s hard to see why you would switch.

  • Price Score: 3.5/5

Canon EOS R6 II: design

  • Curved shapes and smooth materials make it nice to handle
  • Very good EFV and rear display
  • Some minor control niggles

Canon does make very nice-handling cameras. When other makers seem to be favoring hard-edged rectilinear designs, the EOS R6 II has comfortable curved contours and soft, grippy surfaces. Your little finger is still left dangling at the bottom of the grip and it does feel overbalanced by bigger lenses – we tested it with the RF 24-105mm f/4 – but it’s more comfortable than its rivals.

The three-dial control layout does take some learning, since the dial functions depend on the mode and in some modes two dials do the same thing, but it’s all part of learning a sophisticated camera.

Image 1 of 3

Canon EOS R6 II video and photo mode dial close up

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Canon EOS R6 II top plate from above

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Canon EOS R6 II shooting mode dial and controls close up

(Image credit: Future)

It would have been nice to have had dedicated ISO and WB buttons, and why doesn’t the stills/video lever on the far left of the top plate have a continuous shooting option? It’s something this camera is especially good at, so it’s a bit annoying to have to dig around the the interface to find it.

And you might wish there was some quick way to disable the subject-recognition system for when you want to choose the focus point – though you could do that with the C1, C2 and C3 settings on the main mode dial.

It does feels as if Canon has gone away from the idea of a camera that has buttons and dials you can see, to a camera you customize and program yourself.

Image 1 of 4

Canon EOS R6 II in the hands of reviewer

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 4

Reviewer taking a picture with Canon EOS R6 II looking through the viewfinder

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 4

Canon EOS R6 II with memory card door open and SD card

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 4

Canon EOS R6 II ports door held open revealing USB-C and HDMI out ports

(Image credit: Future)

The EVF offers superb clarity, definition and contrast, though it can also be a bit jittery as you move the camera, and while the vari-angle rear screen is equally excellent, could Canon not have stretched to a 3.2-inch display rather than 3-inch?

If you like cameras with power levers around the shutter release, right where your forefinger is, you won’t like the R6 II’s big Off-Lock-On lever further back on the top plate. There must be some ergonomic reason why you should need one hand to hold a camera and another to switch it on and off. Answers on a postcard.

There’s no status panel on the top plate, but the menu system, although extensive, is very clear and easy to navigate. The video record button on the on the top plate looks to be in a random position but it’s actually quite easy to find with your index finger.

  • Design 4/5

Canon EOS R6 II: features and performance

  • Really good AI autofocus and tracking
  • Operation all-round is smooth, responsive and satisfying
  • We didn’t get Canon’s claimed 8-stops of IBIS

Canon’s latest AI autofocus system is very impressive – mostly because you can set its subject-recognition to auto and let it get on with it. Almost always it figures out what your subject is and focuses on it without you having to do a thing. It’s especially effective with animals and humans, but it’s also very good at identifying cars.

If you choose Zone AF or single point AF, it will still show you what it’s recognized in the EVF or on the rear screen, but it will respect your area/point AF choice, which saves you getting into a fight with the camera over what to focus on.

Canon EOS R6 II profile and outside on a tripod

(Image credit: Future)

The eye AF and tracking is very good, and ideal for one-person vlogging crews filming themselves. In our tests it tracked us doggedly as we walked about talking to the camera, and only failed with sudden frame entries for fast and erratic movements. Basically, as long as you’re not deliberately trying to trip it up, it doesn’t put a foot wrong.

It was also excellent for tracking squirrels in our local park. With a squirrel face-on it didn’t quite figure out the eyes, but with the squirrel sideways it got the focus bang on.

Image 1 of 3

Canon EOS R6 II rear screen with subject tracking AF active

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Canon EOS R6 II white balance menu on rear screen

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Canon EOS R6 II subject tracking AF menu on rear screen

(Image credit: Future)

The 8-stop (claimed) IBIS is less convincing. It’s quoted with the RF 24-105mm lens at 105mm, which is just how we tested it. We got an acceptable hit rate at around 4-stops compensation, but pretty poor results after that.

We didn’t find it great for video or long lenses, either. For static filming it’s excellent, but for any kind of camera movement it does too many ‘jump-resets’ for reliable footage in the hands of all but the most skilled operators. We tried it with the RF 800mm f/11 super-telephoto and got the same results – if you can’t keep this lens’s movement under tight control, the stabilizer just jumps from one ‘stable’ position to another, making accurate framing very difficult.

  • Features and performance 4/5

Canon EOS R6 II on a tripod outside with no lens and sensor protector active

(Image credit: Future)

Canon EOS R6 II: image and video quality

  • Very attractive color rendering for both stills and video
  • Excellent high-ISO image quality
  • 24MP resolution enough for most but unremarkable

The JPEGs we got from the R6 II are really attractive. The auto WB seems to judge the lighting and the colors of the scene perfectly, and the evaluative exposure metering seems to know exactly how you would want a scene rendered. We shot both JPEG and raw, but the exposure system and the JPEG rendering proved so effective that the raw files were largely superfluous.

The resolution was no better and no worse than we’d expect from a 24MP full frame camera with an anti-aliasing filter. For resolution, the EOS R6 II is good but utterly unremarkable. At least it’s not at a megapixel disadvantage compared to most rivals, unlike its predecessor.

Image 1 of 7

Canon EOS R6 II gallery seaside town reflected in the ocean on calm sunny day

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 7

canon eos r6 II gallery season toiwn reflected in ocean with overcast weather

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 7

canon eos r6 II gallery dilapidated pier on a sunny day

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 7

canon eos r6 II gallery squirrel in sharp focus

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 7

Canon EOS R6 II wildlife squirrel picture with back focusing

(Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 7

canon eos r6 II gallery close up of colourful graffiti

(Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 7

canon eos r6 II close up of buddhist statue

(Image credit: Future)

The low-light, high-ISO performance is extremely good. We set up a test scene with the same subject shot at a range of ISOs with the camera on a tripod and operated with the self-timer to eliminate any possible shake. The results were very good indeed right up to ISO 6400, when it was possible to start seeing some loss of detail and image smoothing, but it wasn’t until ISO 12,800 when we felt there was any significant quality loss.

This was all done by comparing JPEGs. The danger of comparing raw files is that different raw converters handle noise differently.

Image 1 of 6

Canon EOS R6 II sequence of studio images of a Leicameter this one at ISO 100

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 6

Canon EOS R6 II sequence of studio images of a Leicameter this one at ISO 400

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 6

Canon EOS R6 II sequence of studio images of a Leicameter this one at ISO 1600

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 6

Canon EOS R6 II sequence of studio images of a Leicameter this one at ISO 6400

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 6

Canon EOS R6 II sequence of studio images of a Leicameter this one at ISO 25600

(Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 6

Canon EOS R6 II sequence of studio images of a Leicameter this one at ISO 102400

(Image credit: Future)

The video quality was very impressive too. We shot 4K 30p and 4K 60p in-camera in standard mode (no log flattening) to see what the R6 II could do straight out of the box. Detail was sharp, the color rendition was rich and natural and the exposure – as with stills photography – gave enough dynamic range for most needs and lighting conditions. The AF kept up well too, with smooth shifts for changing subject distances.

The IBIS was less convincing, failing to properly smooth out walking footage and not handling long focal lengths or smooth camera movements (or as smooth as we could make them) particularly well.

The IBIS could get you out of a hole if you’re shooting handheld and you don’t have your tripod or gimbal but, realistically, you need those supports to really get the best from this or any camera.

  • Image and video quality 5/5

Should I buy the Canon EOS R6 II?

Don't buy it if...

Canon EOS R6 II outside on a tripod with 24-105mm lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If our Canon EOS R6 II review has you wondering about alternatives, here are three rivals to consider.

Canon EOS R6 II: testing scorecard

First reviewed: January 2023

Sony A7R V review
4:06 pm | January 16, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: January 2023
• Sony's best AI-powered autofocus performance
• Launch price: $3,899 / £3,999 / AU$5,899 (body only)
• Official price now: $3,199 / £3,699 / AU$5,499 (body only)

Update: February 2024. The full-frame A7R V's max 61MP resolution is only matched by Sony's own A7C R and various Leica cameras including the Q3. Put simply, in this sensor format you won't get better detail in your pictures. Furthermore, it's autofocus is powered by a dedicated AI chip for improved subject detection, and that's still the best AF performance in any Sony camera, now matched by the A9 III. It's one of the best professional cameras that has also dropped in price on Sony's website since its January 2023 launch, making it better value, too. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Sony A7R V: Two-minute review

Sony released the first high-resolution full-frame mirrorless camera – the A7R back in 2013 – and we’ve had an updated model every couple of years since, culminating in the fifth iteration of the series, the A7R V. A lot has changed in the cameras since then in terms of the ergonomics, handling and, of course, the technology employed. But with more rivals on the scene now, the A7R V is up against some stiff competition from the likes of the Canon EOS R5 and Nikon Z 7II.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight from above with lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

Being the newest model on the block, and offering some impressive specs, the A7R V ultimately has little to worry about, despite not providing the highest performance in all areas. Features include a new 61MP sensor and Bionz XR processing engine, up to eight stops of in-body image stabilization, increased burst shooting and AI-powered subject recognition to improve autofocus. Then there’s video capture up to 8K at 24fps and 4K up to 60fps.

Sony A7R V specs

Sensor: 61MP BSI full-frame CMOS
Processor: Bionz XR (with AI processing unit)
Autofocus: 693-point phase-detection
AF subject recognition: human, animal, bird, insects, car, train, automobile
EVF: 9.44-million dot Quad XGA
In-body stabilization: up to eight stops
Continuous shooting: 10fps
Continuous shooting buffer: 184 raw (compressed)
Video: 8K/24p, 4K/60p, 10-bit 4:2:2

Image quality is, as you’d hope, excellent for both photos and video. But with the high-resolution sensor, you’ll need to use Sony’s best lenses in the G and GM ranges with the resolving power to complement the camera. It’s unlikely that you’d be using lower-end lenses if you’re prepared to pay approximately  $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900 for a camera body so it shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re upgrading from a lower-resolution A7 model and already have some cheaper lenses, it’s certainly something to bear in mind.

Sony A7R V: Release date and price

  • Went on sale in December 2022
  • Launched with a list price of approximately $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900
  • Price close to medium format

The A7R V was announced in October 2022, and was available to buy from December 2022, costing approximately $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900. We might have expected a slightly higher price given the launch price of the A7R IV and the consequent rise in camera prices over the last year or two.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight on front

(Image credit: Future)

That said, the cost of the camera is getting close to that of medium-format models. For instance, the Fujifilm GFX 100S costs approximately $6,000 / £4,800 / AU$9,300 body-only. Those shooting faster subjects such as sport and wildlife, and/or video, the A7R V is undoubtedly the better option, but landscape, portrait and studio photographers could benefit from the larger sensor (1.7x) and higher 100MP resolution of the GFX 100S.

  • Price Score: 4/5

Sony A7R V: design

  • Versatile 4-axis articulating touchscreen
  • Moderate 10fps continuous shooting
  • Dual SD/CFexpress Type A card slots

The overall design of the A7R V is extremely similar to that of previous models, with most innovations occurring under the hood, although there are a few design tweaks that improve upon the A7R IV. Current Sony users will almost certainly feel at home, and newcomers should be able to navigate the main settings with little to no problems. 

On the back of the camera is a new 4-axis 3.2-inch articulating touchscreen, which allows the screen to be tilted and flipped out sideways, and twisted to face forwards; perfect for both stills photography and video. This makes the screen slightly bulkier than on the previous two models, which only had a tilting screen, but this doesn’t impact overall handling. The electronic viewfinder is the same one as on the A7S III, and features an excellent 9.44-million dot resolution with 0.9x magnification.

Image 1 of 3

The Sony A7R V on a table from above with screen flipped out

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

The Sony A7R V on a table with dual hinge screen flipped out

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

The Sony A7R V on a table straight on back with screen on

(Image credit: Future)

Moving up to the top of the camera, the exposure compensation dial is now unmarked, and like most of the buttons and dials it can be set to perform another function if users wish, although having it set to exposure compensation is the most convenient option, despite the almost infinite ways in which you can customize Sony cameras. 

Just like previous A7R models, there are two card slots on the side of the grip that can be set to record in several different ways when two cards are installed. On the A7R V, the card slots can take both SD and CFexpress Type A cards, with the latter being the faster of the two options. This is great if you prefer the cost and capacity benefits of SD cards, but to realize the full speed potential of the camera, considerably more expensive CFexpress Type A cards are a must 

The Sony A7R V close up of the ports

(Image credit: Future)

Shooting speed has also been improved, and the buffer is also larger, with a continuous shooting speed of 10fps available. Sony claims that up to 583 compressed raw images can be captured in Hi+ mode with compressed raw files. For testing, we used a 128GB Kingston Canvas React Plus SD card with transfer speeds of up to 300MB/s. This allowed us to separately shoot 170 JPEGs in Fine quality, 100 Compressed raw files and 50 uncompressed raw files before the camera began to stutter. It’s a far cry from the claimed buffer performance, but is still respectable, and more than most photographers would ever need.

This card was absolutely fine for shooting 8K video, and the camera was able to shoot for 30 minutes. The camera body did heat up during recording in a 64.5F / 18C room, which wasn’t an issue, but in warmer temperatures when shooting outdoors this could be problematic. One way to aid heat dissipation in warmer temperatures when shooting video is to open the battery door on the bottom of the camera, although this presents obvious risks. 

  • Design 5/5

Sony A7R V: features and performance

  • Subject-recognition autofocus
  • 8-stop image stabilization
  • Improved Pixel Shift Multi Shooting

While the A7R IV didn’t offer a great deal more to entice A7R III owners to upgrade, the A7R V aims to address the deficiencies of its predecessor, and is a much more well-rounded camera overall. The improvements Sony has implemented, alongside the inclusion of some welcome new features, make it significantly more attractive, whether you’re upgrading from an earlier model or switching to Sony from another brand.

One new feature, which is designed to address sensor dust complaints from A7R IV users, is the ability to have the shutter close when the camera is switched off. This might work, but after only using the camera for a few weeks it’s impossible to test this claim. Although, given that  DSLR shutters close after each shot has been taken, and these cameras still suffer from sensor dust, whether it’ll be effective is questionable. 

The Sony A7R V on a table without a lens

(Image credit: Future)

Image stabilization has been improved, with up to eight stops of compensation available when shooting stills. During testing, it was easy to shoot sharp handheld images with a shutter speed of around 1/8 sec, and with a particularly steady hand it was even possible to shoot as slow as one second. For video, Active Mode image stabilization aids smooth handheld shooting, and can be paired with some lenses that feature optical image stabilization for even smoother video.

Pixel Shift Multi Shooting has also been improved. In this mode the camera captures 16 frames, with the sensor position shifted slightly between each, which can then be merged into a huge 240.8MP image that’s claimed to be better corrected for minor movement in scenes. This requires Sony’s Image Edge Desktop software to be used, but it would be much more convenient if these composite images were merged in-camera.

Image 1 of 3

The Sony A7R V on a table angled front with lens

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

The Sony A7R V on a table straight close up of top controls

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

The Sony A7R V on a table straight from above with lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

The A7R V features 693 AF points and offers Real-time Recognition AF, enabling you to select from Human, Animal/Bird, Animal, Bird, Insect, Car/Train and Airplane. The Human option is much more advanced than simply eye or face detection, and can identify people in wider scenes. The feature generally works well across subjects, but it’s not perfect, and turning off subject recognition requires delving into the camera menu. The best way to switch Real-time Recognition AF on and off is to include this in My Menu, which is the camera’s custom user menu.

My Menu is incredibly useful overall, because Sony cameras are infamous for their labyrinthine menu systems. Another feature worth including here is Bulb Timer Settings. With this, when shooting in Bulb mode you can select any exposure duration from two to 900 seconds, which is incredibly useful when shooting long exposures. With this setting turned on, you can use the self-timer to release the shutter and the camera will time the exposure for you – fantastic when using a Big Stopper.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight on back with screen on

(Image credit: Future)
  • Features and performance 4/5

Sony A7R V: image and video quality

  • New 61MP Exmor R sensor boasts 15 stops dynamic range
  • Impressive ISO handling
  • Sharp video up to 8K video

Image quality in many respects comes down to the optics you attach to the camera, with higher-quality lenses naturally offering the best possible image quality. And with the A7R V, this is certainly the case – you’ll get the best results using higher-quality Sony G lenses such as the 20mm F1.8 and 90mm F2.8 Macro and the flagship G Master lenses. The high-resolution sensor is unforgiving when the camera is paired with cheaper and lower-quality optics, so you do need to avoid these if you want the A7R V to achieve its potential.

With high-quality lenses, image quality for both stills and video is excellent thanks to the new 61MP Exmor R sensor and Bionz XR processing engine. Dynamic range is advertised at 15 stops, and you can certainly increase the exposure of underexposed raw files considerably before image degradation becomes problematic. Photo capture is available in 14-bit raw, compressed raw, HEIF and JPEG, so you’ve got plenty of options.

Image 1 of 4

A long exposure seascape taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 4

Details of a bridge against a sunny sky taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 4

Details of crumbling wall taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 4

A modern building on a sunny day taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)

ISO performance is impressive within the native ISO 100-32,000 range, with the expanded range taking settings from ISO 50-102,400. The best quality comes at settings up to ISO 1600, with images shot at up to 6400 still looking reasonably good, and those taken at up to ISO 25,600 providing usable results. Beyond this, noise and color loss become very evident, leaving images pretty much unusable.

Image 1 of 5

Inside an abandoned building taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 5

Beach homes in the sun taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 5

A river and sunny landscape taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 5

Details of crumbling wall taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 5

A cityscape reflected in water on a sunny day  taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)

Video quality is equally impressive, with 8K video available at 24fps, 4K up to 60fps, and FHD up to 120fps in NTSC or 100fps in PAL, with a 4:2:2 10-bit color depth available. Color profiles include S-Cinetone and S-Log3 among others, so there’s plenty to keep hybrid stills/video shooters happy. Videographers will find the A7S III is a better camera overall for shooting video; you could certainly shoot professional video with the A7R V, but it’s not the best Sony A-series camera for the job.

  • Image and video quality 5/5

Should I buy the Sony A7R V?

The Sony A7R V on a table angled front with lens

(Image credit: Future)

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If our Sony A7R V review has you wondering about alternatives, here are two rivals to consider.

Sony A7R V: testing scorecard

First reviewed: January 2023

Next Page »