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Aujourd’hui — 16 juin 2021News: Digital Photography Review (

DPReview TV: Five best Fujifilm Film Simulation modes

One of our favorite features on Fujifilm cameras is their Film Simulation modes, which let you quickly adjust the color and tone of photographs. The always-opinionated Chris and Jordan have their own favorites, which they cover in this episode of DPReview TV.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get new episodes of DPReview TV every week.

Hier — 15 juin 2021News: Digital Photography Review (

Kosmo Foto launches Kickstarter for a noir-inspired 35mm 400 ISO black-and-white film stock

Kosmo Foto has announced the release of Agent Shadow, a noir-inspired ISO 400 panchromatic black-and-white 35mm film stock currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter.

According to Kosmo Foto, ‘the film is made by one of the most famous names in film production, with nearly 150 years’ experience making film and photographic products.' While the box speed is ISO 400, Kosmo photo shows sample images that have been pushed to ISO 6400 with respectable results.

On the topic of development, Kosmo Foto says any standard black-and-white developer should get the job done and notes there will be an accompanying development table once the film ships. At box speed, Kosmo Foto says the grain is ‘fine.’ When pushed, both contrast and grain increase. As for comparable films, Kosmo Foto says it’s similar to Ilford PAN 400 and Delta 400.

An image of the Agent Shadow Briefcase Box set, available exclusively through the Kickstarter campaign.

‘Agent Shadow is a tried-and-tested emulsion perfectly happy to be shot in lower light, letting you capture life at the dark end of the street,’ says Kosmo Foto. ‘Capture witching-hour cityscapes with glorious grain; shine your lens on night-time escapades without needing the attention-grabbing announcement of a flash. Take portraits in shade and overcast window light. Step into the shadows and find a world in black-and-white just waiting to be documented.’

Below are a collection of sample photos captured with the film:

The film will be available in sets of four, as well as discounted sets of 10 and 20. A €20 (~$24) pledge will secure you an ‘Early Bird’ four-pack. For a €38 (~$46) pledge, you can get an exclusive ‘Agent Shadow Briefcase Box,’ which includes five rolls of Agent Shadow and an exclusive graphic novella titled ‘The 36 Frames’ (illustrated by designer My Mate Does Art), all packaged in a briefcase-inspired box.

You can find out more and make your pledge on the Agent Shadow Kickstarter campaign. The first rolls are expected to ship in October 2021.

Note/disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project before backing it. Pledges to crowdfunding campaigns are not pre-orders. DPReview does not have a relationship with this, or any such campaign, and we publicize only projects that appear legitimate, and which we consider will be of genuine interest to our readers. You can read more about the safeguards Kickstarter has in place on its ‘Trust & Safety’ page.

This photograph illustrates how quickly the International Space Station orbits Earth

The International Space Station (ISS) moves fast. Very fast. The modular space station has an orbital speed of 7.66 kilometers per second, which is roughly 17,100 mph. It takes the ISS a mere 92.68 minutes to orbit Earth, meaning it goes around Earth nearly 16 times per day. It's hard to conceptualize that amount of speed, but French astronaut Thomas Pesquet is aboard the ISS now and wanted to help those of us on terra firma understand the speed at which the ISS moves.

Pesquet has been experimenting with different photographic techniques to show the ISS's speed. He recently shared an image shot with a 30-second exposure that shows ISS stationary in the frame while the Earth's surface streaks behind in the background.

A picture from some tryouts of a photo technique I’ve been experimenting with. It gives the impression of the speed we fly at (28 800 km/h!). This image is one 30-second exposure of Earth at night. The trails you see are stars, and city lights. More to come! 📷🤓 #MissionAlpha

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) June 13, 2021

During the 30 second exposure, the ISS traveled about 235km. Despite the speed of the space station, Pesquet says that the crew doesn't have the impression of moving that quickly due to the orbital path's distance from Earth. The ISS perigee altitude is 418km (259.7mi) and its apogee altitude is 422km (262.2mi).

With the ISS orbiting Earth so many times during the day, there are numerous opportunities to spot the station as it orbits Earth. NASA has set up a dedicated alert system ( to let you know when the ISS is passing overhead. You can view the ISS with the naked eye, no need for a telescope.

Pesquet is very active aboard the ISS and regularly posts new photos on Twitter. You can also stay to date with all the activities on the ISS on Twitter. NASA regularly posts videos from the ISS on YouTube.

Sigma fp L initial review update: Studio scene analysis

Sample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photo

Product shots by Dan Bracaglia

Updated June 15, 2021 with studio scene image quality analysis

The Sigma fp L is a high-resolution development of the company's compact full-frame interchangeable lens camera. It gains a 61MP BSI CMOS sensor, providing a more stills-focused platform than the original fp 24MP L-mount mirrorless camera.

Rather than looking at existing categories of cameras, Sigma says it's aimed to make a user-oriented camera that's designed to be flexible, adaptable and fun to use. The fp L certainly isn't readily comparable to other existing models, but it is the smallest and lightest full-frame interchangeable lens camera on the market.

Jump to:

What's new | How it compares | Body and handling | Initial Impressions | Image quality | Samples | Specifications

Alongside the fp L (literally and figuratively) Sigma has crafted an add-on viewfinder. The EVF-11 connects to the camera's USB and HDMI ports and provides a large, tilting 3.69M dot display. More on this, later.

Key Specifications:

  • 61MP BSI-CMOS full-frame sensor
  • On-sensor phase detection
  • Eye-detect autofocus
  • Compact body with twin control dials
  • Dedicated Stills/Cine switch
  • Full-time silent electronic shutter
  • 8-bit UHD 4K/30p video in MOV or CinemaDNG
  • 4K output as up to 12-bit CinemaDNG to SSD, or Raw to external recorder

The Sigma fp L will be available in mid-April with a list price of $2499. A kit including the EVF-11 viewfinder will retail for around $2999.

What's new

Phase detection autofocus

The fp L also gains on-sensor phase detection autofocus, which the fp lacked. As with all phase detection systems, this allows the camera to calculate how out-of-focus it is, and hence how far it needs to drive the focus. This technology underpins some of the fastest and most reliable AF systems we've encountered from other manufacturers, but isn't a guarantee of either of these things. The Sigma fp L we're using is not yet final, but focus certainly seems improved over the original fp model, showing slightly faster and more decisive focusing, especially with smaller AF points (though there is still a little wobble/hunting at times).

The fp L is the first Sigma camera to offer eye-detection AF
Panasonic Lumix 85mm F1.8 | F2.2 | 1/100 sec | ISO 800
Processed in ACR: WB warmed, exposure, highlights and blacks reduced
Photo: Erin Carey

The fp L also offers eye-detection autofocus, to help achieve perfect focus when shooting portraits and social photos. Our initial impressions are positive, with the Sigma detecting eyes even when they're small in the frame.

The fp L also has a subject tracking AF system, which works within a 7x7 rectangular grid of focus points. We've not tried it for anything serious yet, but from our limited use so far, it seems to work.

Crop zoom

One of the main ways the fp L makes use of its high pixel count sensor is with its crop zoom mode. This provides a series of crops from the sensor to provide a tighter angle of view (effectively digital zoom, if you then view at the same size).

You can set the maximum and minimum region of the sensor the camera will use, from full-frame all the way down to a 'Full HD' (1920 horizontal pixel) crop. These are indicated as 1.0 to 5.0x crops, which take you (for example) from a 24mm field of view up to around a 153mm equivalent, if you have a 24mm lens attached.

Naturally, as you crop in, you use progressively smaller parts of the sensor and, if blown up to the same size, you'll pay an increasing cost in terms of noise for doing so, as well as decreased resolution. Our calculations suggest that the maximum 5.0x zoom will be using a sensor region around the size of a traditional compact camera with 2.4MP resolution, so it's worth considering where to set your limits, and whether you'd prefer to crop in post.

New color modes

Sigma has added two extra color modes to the fp L: Duotone and Power Blue. Duotone imposes one of ten contrasting color gradients on the image, while Power Blue offers a cool, pale tint to the images.

These additional modes mean there are now 15 color profiles. And, so long as you're shooting DNG files, there's an in-camera conversion option to let you experiment with other color profiles, after the fact.

Composite Low ISO Expansion

Perhaps fittingly for a camera that's likely to lend itself well to landscape shooting, the fp L has a series of composite Low ISO settings. These take a series of exposures and combine them to give the effect of longer, lower ISO shooting. There's no motion correction between frames, so you'll need a steady tripod, but it opens up the option of using exposures all the way down to the equivalent of ISO 6.

Movie capture

On the movie side of things, the fp L is well-equipped. It can capture 8-bit MOV or 8-bit CinemaDNG files internally, with resolutions extending up to UHD 4K at up to 30p. It's one of the few cameras to shoot true 24p video, as well as having a 23.97p option.

The amount of care and attention that Sigma has given to video in the fp L is impressive. Alongside focus peaking and zebras, which have become pretty standard, the fp L also has a waveform display, to help assess exposure. Furthermore, it offers the ability to control exposure in terms of shutter angle, rather than just shutter speed.

The fp L also offers its Crop Zoom function in video mode, letting you shoot 4K in any of 19 crops from the full width of the sensor all the way down to a native 3840 x 2160 region (around a 2.5x crop).

Like the fp, where the fp L really comes into its own in terms of video is when you attach external devices to it. If you connect an external SSD you can output 10 or 12-bit CinemaDNG Raw video. Alternatively, you can output a Raw video stream over HDMI that can be encoded as either ProRes RAW or Blackmagic Raw, depending on the external recorder you connect (though this appears to be less detailed than the CinemaDNG footage). Even if you don't want to go down the Raw video shooting route, HDMI output also unlocks the option to output DCI 4K video (the wider, 4096 x 2160 format).

The fp L also expands the number of aspect ratios available in the 'Director's Viewfinder' mode, used to simulate the coverage that various camera systems and their modes will give, were you to use the same lens on those cameras. This allows the use of the fp L as a means of previewing framing for directors using the Sigma alongside pro cinema cameras from Arri, Red or Sony.

Optional EVF-11 viewfinder

The EVF-11 (not to be confused with the LVF-11 loupe-style magnifier for the LCD screen) is an electronic viewfinder that screws into the side of the fp L's body. It requires you to remove the HDMI port cover and hold the USB port door open, then plugs into both ports as you screw it on.

It provides a 3.69M-dot OLED finder with a large, comfortable eyepiece cushion, and it tilts upward at up to 90 degrees. On the side of the finder is a large LCD/EVF switch, which does exactly what you might expect (there's no sensor to auto-switch as you bring the camera to your eye).

Just below this switch is a 1/4-20 (tripod-style) mounting point, which can be used to attach a camera strap and below this are a headphone socket and USB-C passthrough that means you can continue to output data to an external SSD. However, there's no HDMI pass-through. The microphone input remains available since the EVF does not block it.

The rear screen of the camera continues to operate as an AF touchpad when you're using the finder. It uses absolute, rather than relative, positioning so you'll need to tap in the top left corner of the screen to position the AF point at the top left (rather than swiping, relative to the point's current position).

The viewfinder will cost $699 if purchased on its own, but only adds $500 to the cost of the camera when bought as a kit.


The fp L uses the same BP-51 battery as the original fp. It's a 8.7Wh unit that Sigma rates as being good for 240 shots per charge. This isn't a lot, especially if you're shooting video, but thankfully, the fp L can be operated and charged using power over its USB-C connector. This allows use for extended periods if you use an external power source, whether that's for shooting video or using it as a webcam.

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How it compares...

The fp L is a little difficult to compare to anything else. Without a mechanical shutter its high resolution but slow readout sensor ends up being a little limiting in terms of what you can shoot with it (artificial lighting risks banding and any significant movement will be distorted by the rolling shutter effect). These same factors also count against it in terms of its video, even relative to its 24MP sibling.

That said, it's comfortably the smallest, lightest full-frame camera on the market, and priced lower than other cameras with such high resolution output. In situations where that's valuable, there's nothing like it.

Sigma fp L Sony a7R IV Sigma fp Sony a7C
MSRP at launch $2499
($2999 w/ EVF)
$3499 $1899 $1799
Pixel count 61MP 61MP 24MP 24MP
Auto focus Hybrid Hybrid Contrast-detection Hybrid
Shutter type
  • E-Shutter only
  • Mechanical
  • Elec 1st Curtain
  • E-shutter
  • E-Shutter only
  • Elec 1st Curtain
  • E-shutter
Image Stabilization Lens only Yes Lens only Yes
Viewfinder Optional
3.69M-dot OLED, tilting
0.83x mag.
5.76M-dot OLED fixed
0.78x mag.
3.69M-dot OLED, tilting
0.83x mag.
2.36M-dot OLED fixed
3.2" 2.1M dot fixed 3" 1.44M-dot tilting 3.2" 2.1M dot fixed 3" 1.44M-dot tilting
Video internal UHD 4K/30p
FF to 1:1 in 19 steps. 8-bit gamma encoded or Cinema DNG
UHD 4K/30p
FF or S35
8-bit gamma encoded
UHD 4K/30p
FF or S35.
8-bit gamma encoded or Cinema DNG
UHD 4K/24p
FF, 30p with 1.2x crop
8-bit gamma encoded
Video external DCI 4K/24p
Up to 12-bit CinemaDNG
or Raw out to ext. recorder
UHD 4K/30p
4:2:2 8-bit gamma encoded
DCI 4K/24p
Up to 12-bit CinemaDNG
or Raw out to ext. recorder
UHD 4K/24p
4:2:2 8-bit gamma encoded
Battery rating
240/- shots 670/530 shots 280/- shots 740 / 680 shots

113 x 70 x 45 mm

129 x 96 x 78 mm 113 x 70 x 45 mm 124 x 71 x 59 mm
(with finder) 157 x 92 x 56 mm - 157 x 92 x 56 mm -
Weight 427g (15.1oz) 665g (23.5oz) 422g (14.9oz) 509g (18.0oz)

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Body and handling

The fp L has the same diminutive body as its sister model. It's a fairly simple box-shaped design onto which you can attach different accessories, depending on what you're trying to achieve. The new viewfinder module significantly increases the available options.

The design makes a lot of use of a large command dial that encircles the shutter button, a second dial on the rear of the camera and the QS, AEL and Menu buttons above and below it.

The QS menu is a user-customizable quick menu that's navigated by pressing the cardinal points of the rear dial/four-way controller, with settings being changed by turning either dial.

The menus are a rather Canon-style affair with pages arranged in horizontal tabs. Navigating them also uses Canon logic: main dial jumps between tabs and the rear dial scrolls up and down. This starts to break down a little as several menu option have their own sub-menus that are very visually similar to the top-level menu (they still show your position in the main menu structure even though you're off in a sub-menu that you need to hit 'Menu' to back out of).

But, once you've overcome the occasionally fiddly button/dial interactions (when in doubt, try hitting AEL to see if there are more options), the fp L is full of well-thought-out little touches. For instance, video mode not only offers a (tiny) waveform display, it also lets you specify exposure in terms of shutter angle. Similarly there's a good Auto ISO implementation with an 'auto' shutter speed threshold that takes focal length into account and can be adjusted to use faster or slower multiples of focal length.

No manufacturer that lets you pause live view to adjust the highlight and shadow response of the tone curve in one of its cameras can be accused of lacking attention to detail. But a little more thought about how to get to all these options would help. For instance, you can't assign Auto ISO shutter speed threshold to a button, with the result that it takes between six and eleven button presses to access that function.

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Initial impressions

The Sigma fp L certainly doesn't fit into any obvious product category. It's not a wannabe DSLR for landscape shooters but, with its 61MP sensor, neither is it obviously the video/still module that the 24MP fp can be.

You can't fault the fp L for its level of detail capture.
Panasonic Lumix 85mm F1.8 | F8 | 1/160 sec | ISO 100
Image processed in ACR: straightened and cropped, highlights lifted, shadows reduced.
Photo: Richard Butler

That the 61MP sensor isn't as well suited to video as the existing 24MP chip just draws attention to the camera's lack of mechanical shutter. The sensor reads out very slowly (around 1/10th of a second in stills mode), which means the results are very prone to rolling shutter. This ends up having an impact on a lot of what you might want to do with the camera and is likely to end up restricting the ways in which the fp L can be used (you'll see a LOT of banding at fast shutter speeds under any artificial light).

The viewfinder module adds a lot to the fp L's utility, making it much more useable in bright light, especially given the fixed rear screen. The addition of a headphone socket makes it even more usable, and it's nice to see the USB pass-through port that means you can still record CinemaDNG video to an external SSD.

Adding the EVF-11 viewfinder gives the camera a headphone socket, but takes up the HDMI port and stops you charging the camera over USB.

However, this USB passthrough doesn't work for charging or powering the camera, as the one on the camera's body does. Given the camera's rather limited battery life, this could be a problem. Also frustrating, the EVF-11 fills the HDMI port, which means you can't use an external recorder if you prefer ProRes RAW or Blackmagic Raw output but still want to monitor audio using the headphone socket the EVF-11 provides.

It's nice to see that the camera's rear screen still works as a touchpad when you're looking through the viewfinder, but it was a real shock to recognize how much I've become accustomed to eye sensors to activate the viewfinder. Shooting with the fp L left me feeling like I was spending half of my time manually switching back and forth between EVF and LCD. Like the menu system, I'm hoping this is something I'll adapt to once I've spent more time with the camera.

Don't get your hopes up about that 'HDMI' port door. It's just the storage recess for the port door from the camera body: there's nothing behind it.

Overall, the Sigma fp L is a fascinating camera, full of clever ideas, but I can't honestly say I know who or what it's for, yet. I'm hoping this will become clearer as we spend more time shooting with it, but for now, I'm not sure such a slow sensor makes sense in this camera.

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Image quality

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you'll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.


We've put the Sigma fp L up next to the Sony a7R IV first and foremost, since they share a similar sensor design and resolution of 61MP. At first glance, the Sigma looks just slightly softer than the Sony, though looking closely reveals similar levels of fine detail. We ran the files through an MTF analysis and found that this difference is within the realm of the impact of an anti-aliasing filter – and Sigma has chosen to include one on the fp L, while Sony has left one off its a7R IV. For reference, an anti-aliasing filter helps suppress moiré, while leaving one out results in an increase in perceived sharpness. (It's worth noting that the Canon EOS R5 has an anti-aliasing filter while the Nikon Z7 II foregoes one.)

Indeed, when we look at areas where moiré can be problematic, we can see the Sigma controls it a little better than the Sony does. Overall, the Sigma fp L gives you plenty of detail and the files should respond well to a bit of extra sharpening should you so desire.

At higher ISO values, the Sigma continues to perform well, and actually shows less noise than the Sony and similar noise levels to the Nikon by ISO 51200. The very highest setting should really be reserved for emergencies, as with all the other cameras here. However, the Sigma does show some banding (visible along the right edge of the full test chart), due to the interaction of its full-time electronic shutter and the tungsten light we use for this test.


Switching over to JPEG, we can see that the default sharpening isn't terribly strong or particularly fine, though the finest lines of text are still easily readable. The sharpening also looks to be fairly large-radius, which obscures some of the finest detail upon close inspection but may give images a bit more 'punch' at more standard viewing sizes.

JPEG color is a bit mixed. We like the deep yellows and warm greens, but the red patch is a bit too magenta-shifted for our tastes, and the caucasian-skin colored patch at top left skews a bit purple.

Crank up the ISO in JPEG and the Sigma puts up a great showing; color-bleed is well managed, and a truly impressive amount of fine detail and texture is retained. Even low-contrast detail looks good, though some of the noise reduction artifacts may look a little artificial. On the downside, the regular auto white balance under tungsten light turns everything a bit sickly, so consider trying Auto (Lighting Source Priority), or choosing an appropriate custom white balance as light levels drop.

Sample galleries

Please do not reproduce any of these images without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review).

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Razer announces new Blade 14 laptop with AMD Ryzen 9 CPU, up to RTX 3080 GPU and more

Electronics manufacturer Razer has announced its new Razer Blade 14 laptop as well as a forthcoming Razer Raptor 27 monitor set to be released later this year.

Razer Blade 14

The Razer Blade 14 line has made its return, this time with a powerful eight-core AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor (7nm) at the heart of the 14" laptop (3.3GHz base, 4.6GHz ‘Max Boost’). The Blade 14 comes in three distinct models, with the main differentiating factor between the three being the GPU inside: The base model, which will retail for $1,799, comes with an NVIDIA RTX 3060, while the two top-end models feature the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080, and will retail for $2,199 and $2,799, respectively.

Aside from the GPU inside, the only other differentiating factor between the models is the display. The entry-level Blade 14 has a Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixel) display that covers ‘up to’ 100% sRGB while the two higher-end models will use a Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixel) that covers ‘up to’ 100% DCI-P3 and offers 165Hz framerate. All of the laptops support AMD FreeSync Premium.

Built-in storage for all three models is a 1TB PCIe SSD, but it’s user upgradeable. RAM, on the other hand, is soldered in and stuck at 16GB of dual-channel DDR4–3200MHz. Powering all models is a 61.6WHr lithium-ion polymer battery, which Razer claims can hit 12 hours of battery life (although it’s likely limited to less graphics-demanding applications).

Other features include Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, THX Spatial Audio support, a 720p webcam, an IR sensor for Windows Hello facial recognition login, Razer’s signature Chroma RGB keyboard and an array of ports that includes two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, an HDMI 2.1 port and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The laptop measures 16.8mm (.66”) tall by 220mm (8.66”) deep by 319.7mm (12.59”) wide when closed. The new Razer Balde 14 is available starting today at and authorized Razer retailers with the base model starting at $1,799.

Razer Raptor 27

Razer has also announced its Raptor 27, a new 27" 165Hz display with THX Certification. According to Razer, this certification is obtained by passing ‘more than 400 individual tests to ensure color, tone and images are displayed as their creators intended, for a stunning picture quality and level of detail.’

The IPS display offers a Quad HD (2560 x 1440) resolution and supports both AMD FreeSync Premium and NVIDIA G-Sync adaptive sync technology to make the most of the 165Hz refresh rate. The display offers 95% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage as well as HDR400 support.

In typical Razer fashion, the Raptor 27 will have built-in Chroma RGB lighting effects that can be synchronized with other Razer Synapse 3 accessories. The monitor itself features a matte-black finish and is mounted on a forged aluminum base, which includes integrated cable organization.

The Razer Raptor 27 will be available in ‘early Q3 2021’ for $799.99 / €999.99 on Razer’s website and through authorized Razer retailers. There’s also a new Razer VESA Mount Adapter for the Raptor 27 that will be available at the same time for $99.99 / €99.99, except it will only be available on Razer’s website.

À partir d’avant-hierNews: Digital Photography Review (

Full frame mirrorless lens guide 2021

Image of a Nikon lens
The move to mirrorless by some of the industry's biggest players puts the focus on their new lens lineups.

Updated June 11 2021 | Originally published April 2020

In this article, we're going to have a look at Canon, Nikon, Sony and Panasonic/Leica/Sigma full-frame mirrorless systems to see what they offer and where they might yet go. After all, In our look at ~$2000 full frame mirrorless cameras, we said that choosing between them is as much about buying into a lens system as anything else.

This article isn't a question of 'which range is biggest,' it's to help show which lineups have the lenses you might need for your photography.

As well as the lenses currently available, we'll consider the degree of support provided by third-party lens makers and briefly discuss some of the technologies involved.

Note: The lens charts in this article were updated and now reflect the high-end, autofocus lens options for each system as of June 2021 with a focal length range of 14-200mm. Lower-end, variable aperture zooms such as kit lenses are omitted.

Sony E-mount

When it comes to full-frame lenses for mirrorless, Sony has the biggest head start. Sony introduced its full-frame 'FE' range alongside the original a7, back in late 2013, and already had several years experience of making APS-C E-mount lenses by that point.

Sony has also taken the unusual move of allowing third-party lens makers access to its lens mount specifications and communication protocol. This has allowed companies such as Sigma, Tamron and Zeiss to expand the range of available lenses for Sony photographers. In the case of Sigma, these include existing DSLR optical designs as well as new, dedicated optical formulations for mirrorless, denoted 'DG DN'.




Diagram covers autofocus primes and high-end zooms in the 14-200mm range. Lineups correct as of June 2021.

In addition to covering most of these bases, Sony has had time to add specialist lenses, such as 600mm F4, 400mm F2.8, 100-400mm and 200-600mm telephoto options, equivalents to which aren't currently available for other systems.

Starting earlier has given Sony time to provide a wider range of lenses, including less obvious options such as the 135mm F1.8 GM

Sony says that the years it's spent making large lenses for mirrorless camera has allowed it to develop expertise in the types of motors best suited for full-frame mirrorless lenses (the need to drive lenses smoothly for video, as well as quickly means the requirements aren't the same as for DSLRs). However, while it's true that Sony's adoption of technologies such as linear motors and piezoelectric drive provides its more recent lenses with impressively fast, smooth focusing, be aware that some of the company's earlier lenses don't always show this same performance.

Canon RF-mount

Canon's RF lens lineup thus far has shown a distinct focus on the needs of professional users, with many of its first lenses belonging to the premium 'L' range.

Canon hasn't opened up its lens mount to other makers, so there's limited third-party support available at the moment. If the RF mount gains anything like the popularity that the EF mount did, it's extremely likely that other companies will find a way to offer autofocus lenses, but widespread third-party support for RF may be some years away.




Diagram covers autofocus primes and high-end zooms in the 14-200mm range. Lineups correct as of June 2021.

In addition to these lenses (and the variable aperture 'kit' and travel zooms you might expect), Canon has also introduced two interesting and comparatively affordable F11 telephoto prime lenses covering 600mm and 800mm. These use diffractive optics to keep the size and weight down.

Canon currently uses a variety of motors in its RF lenses: primarily using the company's fast, smooth 'Nano USM' technology or the ring-type USM motors that underpin most of its high-end DSLR lenses. The ring-type motors appear to work pretty well with Canon's dual pixel AF system but aren't always the smoothest or fastest, especially given that they tend to be used in the lenses with large, heavy lens elements that need to be moved. We've been impressed by the Nano USM lenses, though.

The RF 35mm F1.8, meanwhile, uses a small stepper motor, which makes it noticeably slower and noisier to focus than the best of Canon's other mirrorless lenses.

Nikon Z-mount

Like Canon, Nikon has not yet opened up the Z-mount to third-parties, which currently limits your autofocus choices to Nikon's own lenses.

However, Nikon's initial build-out strategy looks very different from Canon's: Rather than starting with exotica, Nikon has provided a range of comparatively affordable/portable F1.8 primes, alongside a set of F2.8 and F4 zooms.




Diagram covers autofocus primes and high-end zooms in the 14-200mm range. Lineups correct as of June 2021.

In terms of focus motors, Nikon seems to primarily be relying on the use of small stepper motors for its lenses so far, which offer decent performance but don't appear to match linear motors or Canon's Nano USM technologies for either speed or smoothness. Twin focus groups help to give accurate focus even close-up, in some of Nikon's zoom lenses, which can also improve on the often modest speeds of single-motor designs.

L-mount: Panasonic, Leica and Sigma

Panasonic, along with Sigma, has aligned itself with Leica by adopting the 'L' mount for its full-frame mirrorless cameras. This instantly gives it access to an established lens range (though, like Sony's, one that is built around a mount originally focused on APS-C). Sigma's inclusion in the alliance should ensure a wide range of third-party L-mount lenses become available: it's built L-mount versions of many of its designed-for-DSLR primes and is also introducing 'DG DN' lenses designed specifically for full-frame mirrorless cameras.

All Panasonic cameras so far have been based around the company's Depth-from-Defocus (DFD) AF system and Leica uses a system whose description sounds remarkably similar. We're told all the lenses in the L-mount are compatible with DFD but that they aren't all necessarily optimized for it, in terms of AF drive or how quickly the lenses communicate with camera bodies. For now we wouldn't expect the same consistency across native L-mount lenses that we've seen from the single-maker systems, but we'd expect the three partners to be working to maximize compatibility.




Diagram covers autofocus primes and high-end zooms in the 14-200mm range. Lineups correct as of June 2021.

Panasonic's lenses primarily make use of linear focus motors, but use a combination of linear and stepping motors for lenses such as the 50mm F1.4 and its 70-200s that require more glass to be moved around. Sigma's lenses vary, and we'd expect better performance from its made-for-mirrorless DG DN lenses than from the older DSLR optics.

DSLR lens support

If you already own a selection of DSLR-mount lenses, then you'll find that with the right accessories, you can mount them on any of these camera bodies. Since the mirrorless mounts are all shallower, this leaves plenty of room to put an adapter between the lens and body. The performance you get will vary, though.

Canon frequently bundles one of its EF-to-RF adaptors with its RF-mount cameras, and it makes three variants (a simple pass-through tube, another with a control ring around it and a third that lets you drop a choice of filter between the lens and the camera). The dual pixel AF system, combined with Canon's knowledge of its communication protocol means EF lens users will get probably the best adapted lens experience when using Canon RF-mount bodies. In general we've had roughly DSLR-level performance from the EF lenses we've adapted but it's not necessarily true for every lens.

Unsurprisingly, you tend to get the best adapted performance if you use DSLR lenses on the same brands' mirrorless bodies. Don't assume you'll always get DSLR levels of performance, though.

Various companies also make EF-to-E adaptors, allowing EF-mount lenses to be used on Sony bodies. And, while not quite as consistent as Canon-on-Canon pairings, we've had good experiences with this combination, though generally only with shorter focal lengths. Meanwhile, Sigma makes the MC-21 adapter for using EF lenses with L-mount bodies but, without phase detection AF in most of those cameras, continuous AF is not available.

Nikon also offers kits that include its 'FTZ' F-to-Z mount adaptor with some of its camera bodies. This provides a decent level of support for existing lenses but does not contain a focus drive motor, so can only autofocus lenses with their own motors (AF-S, AF-P and AF-I lenses and their third-party equivalents). F-to-E adapters are available, but performance can vary, lens-to-lens, making it more of a gamble.

Sony also makes several adapters for using A-mount lenses on E-mount cameras. The latest, LA-EA5 adapter includes a focus motor to focus older lenses designed to be driven from the camera body, but this function only works with select high-end Sony cameras.

As you'd probably expect, then, older lenses tend to work most reliably with the cameras made by the same brand. However, they can be used on other systems, so depending on how extensive your existing lens collection is, you may find you can make do with lowered performance, rather than having to sell-up and start again, if you don't want to remain bound to the whims of the maker of your DSLR.


As you'd expect, Sony's nearly five-year head start and openness towards third-party makers has let it build up a significant advantage over its rivals, but all four mounts are already starting to see key holes in their respective lineups being filled.

In the long run, it's likely that all four systems will be extended to offer a range of mid-range, as well as high-end primes and zooms, but it's pretty clear that initially, Nikon and Canon are focusing on different sets of users.

Third-party support provides more options in young lens systems. There's even more to be gained when makers of cameras and lenses become partners in a system, as has happened with the L-mount.

Nikon and Canon's decisions to keep their mounts closed to competitors means they can control the consistency of experience for their users (with less risk of a third-party lens offering sub-standard AF speed or smoothness, for instance), but with the downside that you're entirely dependent on that company's development priorities and pricing, unless you're happy to take your chances with simple manual focus or reverse-engineered options.

It's the third-party makers and their ability and willingness to produce fully-compatible lenses that will be interesting to watch. The adoption rate of Sony E-mount cameras and the availability of the lens protocols is likely to mean most future third-party lenses will be designed around this mount. But with Sigma already joining the L-mount Alliance, other systems are starting to benefit from extra input.

Gitzo takes a battering for lack of communication over Légende tripod delays.

Historic tripod manufacturer Gitzo is taking a beating in the comments section of its Indiegogo campaign page for the Légende tripod over a lack of communication with its customers regarding delays to deliveries. Gitzo cites an issue with packaging being the problem, and has recently revised its expected shipping date to September 2021 – it was originally supposed to arrive in May when announced in March this year.

A comment from the Légende campaign page

Customers are not angry so much about the issue with the product, but about an alleged lack of response to questions posted to the email address the company has provided for the purpose of getting in touch. Those who have had a response complain that the reply was a stock passage of text that doesn’t answer their questions. One customer asked for a refund but received the same reply as those asking about delivery dates:

Thank you for contacting us regarding our Gitzo Légende Tripod.
We are very sorry for the shipping delay and any issues this may have caused.
We are working to find a fast and favorable resolution to this issue.
Please allow us some time to look into a resolution for you.’

The sample Petapixel received for review showed the same damage reported by other users who had received their tripods

The problem seems to be that the packaging of some of the tripods already shipped has allowed, or caused, damage to the locking knob and body of the head, and in some cases scratches on the legs. Gitzo has made the decision to recall already shipped items and to delay shipping new ones for three months until the problem can be resolved, but only posted this news a week ago—a month after shipping began. While it has been responding to questions in the comments section of the campaign page Gitzo is issuing an email address for customers to use but from which people say they get no reply.

Things were going well with just a few commenters upset by damaged tripods but most being pleased with theirs, though since 7th June when Gitzo announced the three month delay things have turned a bit sour. In fairness, Gitzo’s update actually says the delay will be a ‘maximum’ of three months, but customers fear this means their products won’t arrive until the end of the summer. On the Gitzo website though, the Légende is marked as ‘coming soon.’

CIPA's April 2021 data: Shipments are down, but the average price of camera units is steadily increasing

The Camera and Imaging Products Association, better known as CIPA, has released its data for April 2021, detailing the current state of worldwide camera production and shipments.

Usually, we compare CIPA’s statistics to the previous year as a year-over-year (YoY) percentage, but considering 2020 was anything but average (at least from April 2020 onwards) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve decided to look back at CIPA’s data from 2019 to get a better baseline for how the camera market is doing as the world begins the early stages of recovery—financially and otherwise—from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, let’s dig into CIPA’s data for the month of April 2021.

This chart from CIPA shows total digital stills camera shipments in 2019 (purple, circles), 2020 (black, triangles) and 2021 (orange, squares). These numbers include compact cameras with built-in lenses, DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras. Click to enlarge.

If we look at worldwide digital still camera shipments for April 2021, there were 756,155 units shipped at a value of 44.6 billion yen (~$406M). Those numbers are down 50% by volume and 26.8% by value compared to April 2019. If we look at only cameras with interchangeable lenses (includes both DSLR and mirrorless cameras), we see 496,224 units shipped in April 2021 at a value of 37.7B yen (~$343.8M). Compared to April 2019, these numbers are down 40% and 19.9% by volume and value, respectively.

This chart from CIPA shows total shipments for cameras with interchangeable lenses in 2019 (purple, circles), 2020 (black, triangles) and 2021 (orange, squares). Click to enlarge.

If we look exclusively at DSLR cameras, 225,584 units were shipped in April 2021 at a value of 9.86B yen (), down 48.8% by volume and 45.1% by value compared to April 2019. Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, saw 270,640 units shipped in April 2021 at a value of 27,8B yen (), down 29.7% by volume and 3.8% by value compared to 2019.

Having all this data is great, but what do these numbers mean? Truth is, it’s difficult to tell. While the first few months of 2021 showed some stabilization compared to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic started to dramatically effect shipments and purchases of cameras around April 2020, which has skewed the baseline for comparison.

Still, there are a few trends we can pick out from the CIPA data. First, despite fewer interchangeable lens camera units being sold, the value of those units (and therefore revenue for the camera manufacturers) isn’t dropping at an equal pace. This shows the average camera nowadays is selling for much more than the average camera even two years ago.

CIPA’s complete April 2021 breakdown, which shows production and shipment data from January, February, March and April 2021 by camera type and region. Click to enlarge.

This trend is particularly evident in the maturing mirrorless camera market where the value of cameras shipped dropped only around 1/8th the volume. In fact, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that in the near future we could see mirrorless camera volume drop even more while still showing gains in value—particularly as Canon, Nikon and Sony all release their flagship mirrorless cameras, which are likely to retail for >$6,000.

Additionally, we’re continuing to see mirrorless camera shipments outpacing DSLR units. In April 2019, we saw 56,961 more DSLR camera units shipped than mirrorless camera units, whereas in April 2021, there were 45,056 more mirrorless cameras shipped than DSLR camera units. It’s likely this disparity will continue to rise as Canon, Nikon and Sony continue to shift their efforts towards their respective mirrorless lines and away from their respective DSLR lines.

As is always the case with CIPA numbers, they only show camera unit shipments by volume and value. There’s no way to tell whether or not all of those units have sold. That said, CIPA’s data has been historically accurate and proven to be a solid indicator of where the market is at. You can view CIPA’s March 2021 and historical data on the CIPA website.

Interview: Olympus Educators Lisa and Tom Cuchara on how Olympus has transformed their outdoor photography

Lisa and Tom Cuchara are photographers and Olympus Educators, based in Connecticut. Their work covers everything from weddings and infant portraiture, to bird and macro photography.

Over the course of long careers, they've used various types and brands of camera equipment, but these days their core kit is based around Olympus OM-D series cameras and M.Zuiko lenses. In this interview, they explain their background, the various kinds of photography that keep them creatively inspired, and why they chose to make the switch to Olympus's Micro Four Thirds system for their bird and nature work.

What are your favorite photographic subjects?

Lisa: Our favorite subject matter is whatever we're photographing at the moment. So we've been focusing a lot on birds, but once the insects start to come out, we do that. We've published a book on frog photography. We published a book on abandoned photography, urban exploration. So we really do love most subjects.

Tom: Lately we've been doing a lot of bird photography, particularly in the backyard this year, during the pandemic. I'm setting up our backyard for more pleasing backgrounds. I've also been spending time in the Forsythe nature preserve in New Jersey, and we travel around the Hammonasset to photograph some of the birds, like the short-haired owl and the terns and things like that.

Green Heron.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X in Pro Capture ('Low') mode. Tom says: 'Waiting for action, the decisive moment, is one of the best times to use Pro Capture. The Green Heron stood there not moving for many minutes, then snap! It grabbed the prey'.

M.Zuiko 300mm F4.0 IS PRO + MC-14 1.4x Teleconverter (840mm equiv.)
ISO 400 | F5.6

What first drew you to bird photography?

Tom: I think just the nature of a bird, it's fast, there's a lot of them, so you're always interested. There's always something happening. It's a challenge to get the birds in flight, but it's just as challenging to get a nice composition of a bird that's just standing still or doing something interesting, like eating, mating, fighting. And the colors are just wonderful.

The nature of a bird, it's fast, there's a lot of them, so you're always interested

Lisa: Right now ruddy ducks are in their breeding season and they just crack me up. They make me smile when they're going through this mating ritual. Or the Cardinals in the backyard. It doesn't matter what size bird it is, they all seem to have their own unique personality. Trying to capture the particular behaviors unique to that bird is really fun and challenging.

House Finch.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X
M.Zuiko 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS (800mm equiv.)
ISO 3200 | F8

How did you both get started in the world of photography?

Lisa: I got interested in photography as a teenager. When I was 13, my mother asked me what I wanted for my birthday present. I said I wanted a camera. I think in this fast-paced world, photography gives us a chance to slow down and notice things. It gives you a chance to notice the beauty that's all around us, the beauty of every season, the beauty of every subject. At times, it's therapeutic too. Tom and I met in a camera club in 2000.

Photography gives us a chance to slow down and notice things

Tom: My father loved photography and I became enamored with it. I used to work with kids in a psychiatric hospital and I developed a dark room with them. The staff liked my pictures, so they started hiring me to photograph events and picnics and weddings and things like that. It kind of grew once I met Lisa. We started doing weddings, and then we turned to nature, because we find it a lot more engaging and fun.

Lisa: We still have a portrait studio, we'll photograph kids in it, and head shots. But mainly we're using it now for doing hands-on macro photography, light painting, and teaching Photoshop.

Black-capped Chickadee.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X
M.Zuiko 300mm F4.0 IS PRO + MC-14 1.4x Teleconverter (840mm equiv.)
ISO 2500 | F5.6

What makes a good portrait?

Lisa: I think key to taking a good portrait is just being patient. When a child comes in, we might actually not even have them look at the camera for 20 minutes. We'll put out some toys and we might have them just get used to playing. We take some photographs of them just being natural. And then we build into it.

Tom: It's making that emotional connection with people, taking your time and not feel hurried, not let them feel like they have to hurry, relaxing them, having a little bit of fun and then not being in a rush.

Your work is very varied, everything from macros of insects, to portraits, weddings and everything in between. What do you find the most challenging sort of situations as photographers?

Tom: I think bird photography. It's physically challenging to stand out in the wind and the cold, carrying all your gear, and there's a lot of waiting patiently for the bird to do something interesting. The bird's going to go where it wants to go.

Male Wood Duck, with simulated Bird AI Autofocus reticle overlaid. Bird detection in the OM-D E-M1X uses AI-based deep learning to automatically prioritize detection of a bird's eye, allowing the photographer to focus on composition.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X
M.Zuiko 300mm F4.0 IS PRO + MC-14 1.4x Teleconverter (840mm equiv.)
ISO 2000 | F5.6

What's your core equipment right now?

Tom: I've been using the 300mm F4 PRO with a 1.4X converter to photograph birds, alongside the 40-150mm F2.8 PRO. Lisa loves her 60mm macro. So we go from the macro to the longer lenses for birds, but also we can shoot flowers and things like that with a 300mm as well.

Lisa: For cameras, Tom has two OM-D E-M1X bodies and I have two E-M1 Mark III bodies and one E-M1X. My preferred camera is the E-M1 Mark III, but if I'm doing bird photography, I'll use the E-M1X.

Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X
M.Zuiko 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25X IS PRO (1000mm equiv.)
ISO 1000 | F5.6

How has the gear that you use evolved over time?

Lisa: Both Tom and I used DSLRs for decades and we really didn't have too much interest in changing over to something else. And then we were at a workshop and we were photographing a lighthouse in the dark. The workshop participant that standing next to me had the Olympus OM-D E-M1, and he could see what we were photographing in the dark in Live Composite mode. And I'm like, "Wait, what is that? How are you doing that?" And I went home and immediately investigated. It was definitely the computational technology - Live Composite, Live Time, in-camera focus stacking, pro-capture, and so on, along with wide variety of sharp lenses, that drew us to Olympus

We found that the Olympus gear was just light and fast, and the focusing was sharp. We came home and we sold all our DSLR equipment.

We still kept all of our DSLR gear for our bird photography for a while, but on a trip to Florida we decided to try and see if we could shoot everything with our Olympus mirrorless kit. We found that the Olympus gear was just light and fast, and the focusing was sharp. We came home and we sold all our DSLR equipment. We just thought if we brought it all the way down to Florida and didn't use it, there's no point in having it anymore.

Lisa, you're known as 'The Frog Whisperer' - what's your top tip for photographing frogs?

Lisa: Patience. The frog isn't going to do what you want it to do. I got the name frog whisperer because I would put my frog, Pixel, in place and I would talk to it. And I just put my finger up to it. And the frog would sit there. So, that's kind of where I got the frog whisperer nickname.

Gray Tree Frog.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO (80mm equiv.)
ISO 6400 | F8

At one point, I had like 350 frogs. And then Tom finally said, "No more frogs!" So I started coming home with chameleons and a praying mantis and walking sticks. Every once in a while, there'll be something down in the kitchen, and Tom will shout up to me "Lisa, you've got to come and get your critter, it's escaped!"

How has technology changed the way you shoot?

Lisa: Over and over in the past few years we've found ourselves saying again and again how much more fun photography is because the technology has changed, and we're also a lot more productive. A lot of times with our DSLRs, we had to do a lot of work in Photoshop. If you wanted to do star stacking or focus bracketing, we had to bring it all into Photoshop.

I find myself handholding pictures at an eighth of a second thinking, "Wow, these are sharp"

Whereas now, for example, we can do focus stacking in camera. I used to take focus bracketed pictures with my DSLR, but I would say I only processed like 2% of them because I'd rather be out shooting rather than sitting at the computer. Versus now, I get that focus stacked picture right out of the camera.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1X and E-M1 Mark III feature advanced 5-axis image stabilization, which is effective up to 7.5EV with supported lenses, and up to 8EV with the new 150-400mm PRO zoom (CIPA-rating) .

Even the image stabilization with the M.Zuiko lenses – I used to lug my tripod everywhere. I hated the tripod, but I love the pictures I got with it. But now I find myself handholding pictures at an eighth of a second thinking, "Wow, these are sharp." So I think that has helped. And like I said, I think Tom and I both use the word 'fun' quite a bit now with our photography,

Have you been able to use the new 150-400mm PRO lens?

Lisa: We have. We were supposed to be sharing this lens but it's superglued to my camera, so Tom doesn't get to use it much!

I'm using it a lot for bird photography. I love the fact that the varied focal length range lets me capture different behaviors without changing lenses. I've never had a lens with a built-in teleconverter. The TC switch is right there where my thumb is, so when I want to go in close for a bird that's further away or for a headshot, I can just flip it on. It's also lightweight, and fast. Compared to the 500mm lenses we used to shoot with our DSLRs, I can hand-hold this lens all day long.

The M.Zuiko 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25X IS PRO is a powerful telephoto zoom lens, which offers excellent image stabilization and a maximum equivalent focal length of 1,000mm using the built-in teleconverter.

Are there any features that you'd really like to see improved or added in future generations of Olympus cameras?

Lisa: I'd love to have Bird Detection AI Autofocus in a camera more of the size of the E-M1 Mark III. I was just about to sell my E-M1X, actually, because I really was only using the E-M1 Mark III. And then in December last year, Olympus came out with this Bird Detection AF and I was just like, oh, good thing I didn't sell it. That's something I use for birds all the time now.

In Pro Capture mode, with the shutter button half-pressed, Olympus cameras can constantly record images to buffer memory at frame-rates up to 60fps. To capture the perfect moment, simply press the shutter button down fully. At that point, a sequence of full-resolution images taken before and shortly after the shutter actuation will be recorded to your memory card.

Tom does a lot of shooting with Pro Capture mode. I don't do as much, but it really does feel like cheating. You're sitting there waiting and this Green Heron's here and just sitting there and sitting there and sitting there. And then it finally goes for the fish. And by the time that your brain connects to your finger to trip the shutter, normally you'd miss it. With Pro Capture, you capture it every time and that's just amazing.

Click the link below to see more birding and wildlife photography tips from Lisa and Tom and other Olympus photographers:

Olympus education and inspiration

This is sponsored content, created in partnership with OM Digital Solutions. What does this mean?

China's Zhurong rover sends back its first images from the Martian surface, including an adorable selfie

A 'selfie' of the Zhurong rover and Tianwen-1 lander taken by a remote camera.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has released its first batch of images captured by its Zhurong rover, which was sent to the martian surface as part of its Tianwen-1 mission. Included in the series of images is a panoramic view of the landing site as well as a ‘selfie’ captured by a remote camera.

Launched on July 23, 2020, the Tianwen-1 lander, which was carrying the Zhurong rover, entered Martian orbit on February 10, 2021. It made a soft landing on May 14, 2020 and eight days later the Zhurong rover was deployed. Since then, it’s been making its way across Utopia Planitia, the landing site of the Tianwen-1 lander.

The Tianwen-1 lander, as captured by a camera onboard the Zhurong rover after leaving its interplanetary steed.

The objective of the Zhurong rover is to study the topography and geology of its landing site, which includes collecting samples of the Martian surface and analyzing the samples to detect the elements and minerals present in the soil. In addition to collecting samples using its onboard tools, the rover is capturing detailed images of the Martian surface, which it is sending back to Earth for CNSA to analyze and for use to enjoy.

Panoramic view of South Utopia Planitia from Zhurong rover before deployment from the Tianwen-1 lander. Click to enlarge.

One of the first images sent back was a 360-degree panorama photo captured by the navigation terrain camera on the mast of the rover. The image, seen above, shows the landing site of the Tianwen-1 lander, which the Zhurong rover was still sitting atop at the time of capture.

The Zhurong rover also captured a group photo (pictured, top) of itself and the Tianwen-1 lander using a remote camera. According to CNSA’s press release, the remote camera was released from the bottom of the Zhurong rover and has been used to keep an eye on the movement of the rover. Images captured via the remote camera are transferred wirelessly back to the rover and then are relayed back to Earth.

Head to Head: Apple Final Cut Pro vs Adobe Premiere Pro

There are some debates that stand the test of time. Chocolate or vanilla? (Both). Crunchy peanut butter or smooth? (Smooth). Nikon or Canon? (Pentax). But among video editors, especially the ones on YouTube, one scuffle comes up more than any other: Apple Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro?

They both have 'Pro' in the name, so according to Apple nomenclature rules they should both be excellent. But for all the head-to-head editing shootouts and 'why I switched' anecdotes from disgruntled Adobe and/or Apple users, what matters in the end is raw performance.

Jump to:

Tests | Computers | Results | Key takeaways | Final thoughts

The tests

How quickly you can edit a video from start to finish in either Premiere Pro or Final Cut is largely a matter of personal preference and familiarity with each application's quirks. Pure performance, on the other hand, is measurable. So we took an 8K project filmed on the Sony a1, compiled it into two identical 4K timelines with identical effects, scoured the settings to ensure everything was as similar as reasonably possible, and then ran both of these video editors through the same battery of tests.

Note: preview codec, target bitrates, and other settings in Adobe Premiere Pro were based on analyzing the Final Cut Pro files.

Apple Final Cut Pro Adobe Premiere Pro

Render All – 4K ProRes 4:2:2

Render In to Out – 4K ProRes 4:2:2

Export Master File Export Using Sequence Settings
Export H.264 – Better Quality Export H.264 – Target Bitrate 51Mbps
Export HEVC – 8-bit Export H.265 – Target Bitrate 15Mbps
Automatic Stabilization – 15 Second Clip Warp Stabilize – 15 Second Clip

If you're curious, here's the full video.

Coming up with tests that were close to identical was tricky because Final Cut Pro gives you less control over how and what you can render and export unless you also buy Apple's Compressor software. For example, the difference between H.264 'Faster Encode' and H.264 'Higher Quality' isn't explained anywhere in Apple's documentation. It makes only a slight difference in total bitrate, and may be similar to Premiere Pro's option for CBR vs VBR 1-pass vs VBR 2-pass encoding, but we have no way of knowing for sure.

We took 8K footage from a Sony a1, compiled it into two identical timelines with identical effects, scoured the settings to ensure everything was identical, and ran both of these video editors through the same battery of tests.

Similarly, previews for this piece were set by default to 4K ProRes 4:2:2 in Final Cut's Project Settings, with no option to change the resolution of your previews without changing the resolution of the entire project/timeline or going through the additional step of generating proxy media.

To keep things as even as possible, all Final Cut Pro exports were done at 'Better Quality' and all Premiere Pro exports were configured to match the bitrate of the Final Cut File using VBR 1-pass encoding. Previews were rendered with identical settings in both programs, and 'Use Previews' was checked when exporting the master file (i.e. Match Sequence Settings in Premiere), since Final Cut will use the rendered previews by default.

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The computers

All 5 tests were run on 3 different computers: a 13-inch Intel MacBook Pro, a 24-inch M1 iMac, and a Razer Blade 15 Advanced. Specs were essentially maxed out on all three machines (see below), and each computer was fully charged and/or plugged in, with no other programs running in the background to take up memory, CPU, or GPU resources.

Test machine specs:

13" MacBook Pro 24" iMac Razer Blade 15 Advanced

10th-Gen Intel Core i7-1068NG7

Apple Silicon M1

10th-Gen Intel Core i7-10875H


4 cores/8 threads

8 cores

8 cores/16 threads

Clock Speed

2.3GHz Base 4.1GHz Boost

3.2GHz Max

2.3GHz Base 5.1GHz Boost

GPU Intel Iris Plus with


8-core Apple Silicon GPU NVIDIA RTX 3080 with 16GB VRAM
RAM/Memory 32GB 3733MHz LPDDR4X 16GB unified memory 32GB Dual-Channel 2933MHz DDR4
Storage 4TB integrated SSD 512GB integrated SSD 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD

Obviously we couldn't run the Final Cut tests on the Razer laptop, but we felt it was important to include a high-powered Windows machine with an NVIDIA GPU in order to demonstrate the benefits of CUDA hardware acceleration in Premiere Pro. In fact, it's the RTX 3080 laptop GPU inside the Razer Blade that really turned this head-to-head into a fair fight. When set to 'Software Only' encoding, you can expect these same exports and renders to take a brutal 3x to 5x longer.

It was important to include a high-powered Windows machine with an NVIDIA GPU in order to demonstrate the benefits of CUDA hardware acceleration

Unfortunately, we didn't have an AMD laptop on hand to see how a Ryzen CPU or Radeon GPU would have fared compared to the Intel, Apple Silicon, and NVIDIA hardware tested here, but stay tuned because we have more head-to-head comparisons and computer reviews planned for the coming months.

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The results

You can see the full results of our testing in the graphs below. Each time is the average of at least three consecutive runs of every render, export, or stabilization run, with outliers thrown out if the system happened to glitch. Obviously, in this context, shorter bars mean better performance.

The first chart shows Final Cut Pro performance, comparing the MacBook Pro against the iMac:

The second compares Premiere Pro performance across all three machines. Note that the iMac was tested using the Arm-optimized Beta version of Premiere Pro:

The third and final graph shows Premiere Pro vs Final Cut Pro on the same scale, using the Razer as a high water mark for Premiere performance on Windows:

For those who prefer numbers, the table below shows all the benchmarks we ran, with winning times for each task highlighted in green. You may spot a pattern here.

Apple Final Cut Pro Adobe Premiere Pro
MacBook iMac MacBook iMac Razer Blade
Render All 09:57 05:12 25:53 07:40 08:50
Master File 02:07 01:24 00:37 00:16 00:41
H.264 06:55 04:19 26:12 07:28 08:12
H.265 02:59 01:55 25:09 07:16 08:06
Stabilize 00:55 00:25 02:36 02:06 03:13

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The takeaways

You can, of course, draw your own conclusions, but we noticed three major takeaways from these numbers.

1. Nothing beats a well-optimized app

We all hate on Apple's walled garden from time to time, but having such tight integration of hardware and software comes with perks. Not only does Final Cut Pro on the M1 iMac sweep all but one category, just compare the Final Cut results from the relatively meager 13-inch MacBook Pro against the Premiere Pro results from the beefy Razer Blade 15. Even without a discrete GPU and 4 fewer CPU cores, the MacBook Pro running Final Cut still outperformed the Razer running Premiere in several benchmarks.

The MacBook Pro/Final Cut combo was able to export an H.264 file 1 minute and 17 seconds faster than the Razer in Premiere, while the H.265/HEVC export ran a full 5 minutes and 7 seconds faster. The Razer was still able to render previews and produce a master file more quickly, but it's not the massive performance gain you would expect when going from a 4-core CPU and integrated graphics to an 8-core CPU and an RTX 3080.

Even without a discrete GPU and 4 fewer CPU cores, the MacBook Pro/Final Cut still outperformed the Razer/Premiere in several benchmarks.

Word to the wise: if you're using a lower-end Intel-based Mac to do your video editing, and especially if you're using high-resolution source footage, use Final Cut Pro. It will be 3x to 4x faster than Premiere in every category. The difference isn't quite as drastic once you upgrade to Apple Silicon, but even there, you're still looking at a significant bump in performance over Premiere.

2. If you are using Premiere Pro on a Windows machine, you will benefit hugely from a discrete GPU

Our Razer Blade 15 Advanced comes with the latest and greatest NVIDIA RTX 3080 laptop GPU complete with 16GB of dedicated VRAM. That will cost you a pretty penny, but even if you can't afford the newest machine with the latest specs, picking up a laptop with a discrete GPU makes a big difference to both render and export times thanks to CUDA hardware acceleration.

It's one of the main reasons the Intel MacBook Pro fares so badly in Premiere Pro, and we wouldn't expect an equivalent PC with Intel integrated graphics to do any better.

3. When using the Arm-optimized Beta version of Premiere Pro, the M1 iMac was surprisingly fast

Here we see, once again, that Apple have something very special on their hands with the M1 chip. Unfortunately, the Intel version of Premiere Pro (running via Rosetta 2 emulation) was a mess on our M1 iMac: springing memory leaks, crashing, and causing all sorts of headaches. Before you know it, the app has taken up 90+GB of system memory and you have to force quit or the operating system will crash.

Fortunately, the current M1-optimized Beta is surprisingly stable and much faster. So much faster that it allowed the iMac to outperform the much more expensive Razer laptop in every single test. This bodes very well for future Apple Silicon devices already churning around in the rumor mill, as well as Arm-based Windows laptops.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Adobe Premiere Pro
Pros: Pros:
  • Faster than Premiere Pro in most editing and exporting tasks
  • Well optimized for lower spec machines
  • Previews can render in the background while you keep editing
  • Available as one-time purchase
  • Granular control over previews, export files, and more
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows
  • Seamless integration with the rest of Adobe's Creative Cloud library
  • Support for significant GPU acceleration
Cons: Cons:
  • Not compatible with Windows
  • Minimal control over preview and export files
  • Exports proprietary XML file that cannot be used in Premiere Pro
  • Library, Project, and Event system can be confusing to newcomers.
  • Slower than Final Cut when using equivalent hardware
  • Resource intensive, crashes frequently
  • Poorly optimized for lower spec machines
  • Can't render and edit at the same time
  • Subscription model is a drag

Raw performance is never the whole story, as I'm sure several people are busy writing in the comments section right now (hi guys!). Which app you use has just as much to do with the amount of control you demand, the color grading tools you prefer, and which corporation's ethos you would rather subsidize.

In all things Apple, you give up control in exchange for stability, speed, and a seamless experience across MacOS and iOS devices. In all things Adobe, you give a little sanity and a monthly offering of cash or credit in exchange for the features, tools, and granular controls that many working pros demand.

Consider your own needs (and hardware) and choose wisely... or just say 'screw it' and download a copy of DaVinci Resolve.

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Video: A ‘Retro Review’ of the 20-year-old Canon Pro90 IS, Canon’s first digital camera with optical image stabilization

Gordon Laing, Editor of Camera Labs, is back again with another episode of ‘Retro Review.’ In this video, he puts the Canon Pro90 to the test to see how well it holds up two decades after it was released.

At the time of its release, the Canon Pro90 IS was Canon’s flagship PowerShot camera. It retailed for $1,300, used a 3.3MP sensor and had a design similar to its Pro70 predecessor, but featured a 10x zoom lens compared to the 2.5x zoom lens on the Pro70. It was also Canon’s first camera with optical image stabilization.

As impressive as the optics were though, the camera had an interesting design quirk—the image circle of the lens didn’t fully cover the 1/1.8" sensor, so the resulting images were digitally cropped down to just 2.6MP. Incredibly, the camera featured a Raw capture mode though, in addition to JPEG support (with various compression ratios) as well as QVGA (320 x 240 pixel) video recording.

To find out more, set some time aside to watch the entire 12 minute video. To see more Retro Review content and other interesting insights on vintage tech, head over and subscribe to Laing’s Dino Bytes YouTube Channel.

DPReview TV: High-end APS-C mirrorless camera comparison

This week, Chris and Jordan compare four flagship APS-C mirrorless cameras: the Sony a6600, Fujifilm X-T4, Canon M6 Mark II and Nikon Z50. See how these great models stack up against each other.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get new episodes of DPReview TV every week.

Venus Optics' new $549 7.5mm F2 MFT lens now has electronic aperture control

Venus Optics has announced an updated version of its Laowa 7.5mm F2 Micro Four Thirds (MFT) lens that has electronic aperture control and an onboard chip for transferring metadata from the lens to the camera.

The new lens features the same optical construction as its fully-manual predecessor (13 elements in nine groups), but adds an electronically-controlled aperture at the cost of reducing the number of aperture blades to five (there are seven in the manual version).

As for dimensions, the lens comes in at 3mm (.12”) larger in diameter and 7mm shorter (.28”) than the manual version. Also, despite adding the electronic aperture control and onboard CPU chip, Venus Optics managed to reduce the lens’ weight to 150g (5.3oz), down from the 170g (6oz) weight of the manual version.

Below is a video review of the lens from YouTube channel RED35:

The Laowa 7.5mm F2 lens with electronic aperture control is available to order on Venus Optics’ website for $549. You can view a gallery of full-sized sample images on Venus Optics’ Flickr album.

What we know about the new Sony Airpeak drone

What we know about the Airpeak drone

Sony teased its plans to enter the drone market for months, but we had few specifics until recently. Finally, this week, the company revealed several important details about its first model, the Airpeak S1, which gives us a look at the features and design philosophy Sony has prioritized.

The S1’s expected price tag of $8999 (before adding a camera or gimbal) tells us a lot upfront: notably, that it’s not aimed at consumers or even prosumers. However, it’s interesting to look at what Sony has in the works as it can give us hints about its intentions in the drone market.

Target audience

Sony says the Airpeak S1 is a professional drone aimed at creatives like cinematographers or other commercial content creators. In fact, it looks like Airpeak isn’t just a drone, but a drone with support tools aimed at professional users and even fleet managers.

From a competitive standpoint, the S1 falls somewhere between the DJI Inspire 2 and a larger model like the DJI Matrice 600 series. It’s similar in size to the Inspire 2 and X7 camera module, which has a Super35 sensor, but Sony says it has the heavy lifting capacity to compete with the Matrice.

However, Sony calls out five key areas where it believes the Airpeak S1 bests the competition with regard to pro-oriented features: performance, flight stability, camera and lens compatibility, intuitive control and workflow efficiency. We’ll take a look at each of these areas and more on the upcoming slides.


Sony says the Airpeak S1 has the fastest acceleration in the industry, going from 0-80 km/h (0-50 mph) in just 3.5 seconds, compared with 5.0 seconds for the DJI Inspire 2, and has a maximum speed of 90 km/h (56 mph). Notably, Sony cites these numbers with ‘no payload attached’, meaning no cameras or gimbals were attached to the drones. Still, in a side-by-side video the company shared at a press briefing, the S1 easily out-accelerated the Inspire 2.

Sony also claims the S1 can remain stable in winds up to 72 km/h (45 mph), which is impressive. It’s possible to see this in a wind tunnel test (YouTube link) the company performed at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The S1 definitely benefits from its large 17-inch rotors and its ability to pitch up to 55º in flight.

The elephant in the room is flight time. With the gimbal and camera attached, the S1 can only stay in the air for 12 minutes. That may not seem long compared to many consumer models, but in a commercial setting, it may be enough time to get in the air, shoot a take, then return to base while everything gets set up again for the next take – which isn't so bad if you have a bank of batteries on hand to swap out.

Flight stability

The Airpeak S1 draws on Sony’s real-time sensing and imaging technologies, not just from its camera division but also from its experience in other robotics and imaging areas.

The drone includes five sets of stereo cameras and two IR range sensors. When combined with Sony’s image processing technology, the drone creates a 3D map of its position and orientation and any nearby objects to create an obstacle avoidance system that Sony calls a ‘surround obstacle brake’.

Sony claims the system works well enough to provide extremely stable flight, even when indoors and without a GPS signal. When combined with its exceptional wind resistance, it has the potential to provide a very stable platform to shoot from.

Camera and lens support

The Airpeak S1 will support most of Sony’s newer full-frame camera models, specifically the a1, a9 II, a7S III, a7R IV and the FX3. Additionally, it will support Sony E-mount lenses ranging from 14mm to 85mm, though it did not provide a detailed list.

The only part of the Airpeak system that Sony doesn’t make is the gimbal. Sony has opted to partner with Gremsy, a gimbal manufacturer, to make a bespoke gimbal for the Airpeak drone. According to Sony, it’s based on the Gremsy T3, which currently retails for $1750 in the US. Once mounted, a camera will connect to the drone using two interfaces: a USB connection for camera control and an HDMI connection for video.

It’s interesting to compare the design philosophies between Sony and industry-leader DJI in this area. DJI built its Zenmuse X7 camera from the ground up to be a lightweight aerial system, with no external controls and lenses built from carbon fiber. But DJI didn't have a legacy line of cameras to support. In contrast, Sony has a line of existing cameras and lenses and has designed a way to get them into the air.

Both strategies have pros and cons. DJI’s solution is tightly integrated and efficient, though you’re effectively limited to the X7 camera. Sony’s approach is a bit less elegant, but you’ll presumably be able to put any new alpha model that comes out on the Airpeak drone.


The Airpeak's physical controller pairs with an iPad running an app called, appropriately enough, Airpeak Flight. According to Sony, Airpeak Flight will be iOS-only for now, given the iPad’s dominance in the market among professional users. Dual-mode operation is also available, allowing one operator to fly the aircraft using the forward camera while a second operator with a separate controller operates the camera and gimbal.

The hardware on the Airpeak controller doesn’t break any significant new ground, but as we’ll see, the Airpeak Flight app integrates into the workflow for planning flights.


Part of the Airpeak ecosystem is a web app called Airpeak Base. Airpeak Base can be used to pre-program flight paths on a map, including specific latitude, longitude, altitude, gimbal orientation, and video or stills capture, which can then appear in and be executed through the Airpeak Fly app. This could be useful when planning an exact sequence that has to be flown repeatedly, such as on a choreographed shoot.

In addition to flight planning, the Airpeak Base app can also be used to manage a fleet of drones and to view logbooks, which is important to commercial operators.

Finally, Sony says the Airpeak will support automated flight modes, though it didn’t provide specifics.


With a diagonal size of 644mm (25.4 inches), the Airpeak is physically similar in size to the DJI Inspire 2 (pictured above), which is just slightly smaller at 605mm (23.9 inches). However, despite the relatively small difference in dimensions, there are important differences in design.

Whereas the Inspire 2 is designed to lift dedicated, drone-specific cameras (the Zenmuse X7 or X5S), Sony describes the Airpeak as a ‘heavy lifter’ and likes to compare it to the much larger DJI Matrice 600, which is frequently used to fly heavier tools like pro cinema cameras. Sony says the Airpeak has a lift capacity of 2.5kg (5.6 pounds). Of course, the only payloads we know of today that it will carry are its custom Gremsy gimbal and a compatible Sony camera, but that could change in the future.


One of the first questions we get about every new drone is, ‘Does it have geofencing’? According to Sony, the Airpeak will include a geofencing feature similar to other drones, but a spokesperson for the company said, ‘It will likely be a user decision to unlock geofencing if they believe they have permission to fly somewhere.'

We get the impression that Sony is still working out details on some of these things, and that’s not surprising given that a formal product launch is still several months out. So we’ll probably have to wait a bit to find out exactly how Sony’s geofencing system works.

It’s made in Japan

We wouldn’t normally make a point of calling out where a product is manufactured, but in this case, we’re doing it because Sony itself made a point of calling it out.

Sony was very clear that the Airpeak is designed and manufactured in Japan. While not specifically mentioning DJI or its country of origin, this point seems aimed at recent concerns about data privacy and whether one’s drone data may be transmitted, stored, or used in ways an owner might oppose. For what it’s worth, the Pentagon recently cleared DJI’s drones for use after a temporary suspension and review.

Price and availability

The Airpeak S1 is expected to arrive in the fall of 2021, but if you want to fly it, it won’t be cheap. The drone itself will be $8999, to which you’ll need to add a gimbal and a Sony camera. We don’t yet know Sony’s custom gimbal cost for the S1, but the similar Gremsy T3 is $1750, so that’s probably a good guide.

Along with the drone, you’ll get two batteries, a charger and two sets of propellers, but you’ll be on your own for the iPad.

We expect Airpeak will appeal mainly to commercial users who have a business case for using it. However, if you want the ultimate photo drone, it’s one way to put your favorite Sony full-frame camera in the air – at least for short periods of time. What will be interesting to watch is where Sony goes from here, but we hope to see some of this tech trickle down into more consumer-oriented products.

Zhong Yi brings its Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 III lens to Leica L mount camera systems

Zhong Yi Optics has announced it’s released its Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 III lens for Leica L mount camera systems, making it the first-ever F0.95 L mount lens. The L mount version of the lens joins the previously-released Canon RF, Leica M, Nikon Z and Sony E mount versions of the lens.

The Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 III lens mounted on a Sigma fp camera system.

The lens is constructed of 11 elements in eight groups, including five high-refractive index elements, two extra-low dispersion elements and a single ‘Ultra High Refraction’ element. It features an aperture range of F0.95 through F16, uses a nine-blade aperture diaphragm and has a minimum focusing distance of 50cm (20”).

Below is a sample gallery of images, provided by Zhong Yi:

The lens is entirely manual and uses a 67mm front filter thread. It measures 75mm diameter (2.95”) by 88mm (3.46”) long and weighs 675g (1.5lbs). The Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 III for Leica L mount camera systems is available now on Zhong Yi’s website for $799.

Film Fridays: How to shoot, develop and scan 110 film in 2021

Lomography still makes 110 film cartridges. A single color cartridge sells for about $9 (24 exposures).

110 film was first introduced in 1972 as an alternative to 35mm/135 format. A cartridge-based system, 110 film offers a more user-friendly experience than 35mm: The cartridges can only be inserted one way, so they're easier to load. And the design consists of two light-proof containers, one for the unexposed bit of the roll, the other for the exposed portion. This means there's no need to rewind the roll at the end. And if you do make a beginner's mistake and pop open the camera mid-roll, you won't lose any of the shots you've taken.

The tradeoff is 110 film offers a smaller frame size than 35mm at 13x17mm, but it turns out that's the same imaging area of a Four Thirds sensor.

Ultimately, 110 film never saw nearly as much commercial success as 35mm. Lucky for us, there are plenty of 110 film cameras floating around the used market for cheap. And even better, Lomography still makes and sells the format for not too much cash per roll.

Now the less lucky part: actually developing the format is a little tricky and requires a bit of a DIY spirit. Our friends over at 35mmc have an entire primer on the format, including how-to rework a standard developing tank to accept 110 film (they also have plenty of samples). Go on and give it a read, then let the hunt for a Minox sub-miniature camera begin!

Read - 35mmc: 110 film in 2021, a guide to shooting, developing and scanning

About Film Fridays: We recently launched an analog forum and in a continuing effort to promote the fun of the medium, we'll be sharing film-related content on Fridays, including articles from our friends at 35mmc and KosmoFoto.

Video: iFixit shows off the tech (literally) behind the XDR Display inside Apple's 12.9" M1 iPad Pro

The repair gurus at iFixit haven’t completed their entire teardown of Apple’s new M1-powered 12.9” iPad Pro, but they’ve already shared an inside look at Apple’s most powerful tablet to date.

While the four-minute video touches on both the new ultra-wide front-facing camera, as well as the 40.33Wh battery inside the 12.9” M1 iPad Pro, the majority of the video focuses on the XDR Display. Specifically, the iFixit team shows off the mini LED technology used to power the display and provides a helpful illustration to show how Mini LED is different from standard LED backlights.

We’ll inevitably see more details when iFixit releases its entire teardown, but for the time being, it’s still a neat look inside one of the most technologically advanced tablets on the market.

Video: Relaxing shutter sounds from 18 cameras is ASMR for photographers

In the mirrorless age of photography and with the proliferation of electronic shutters, some photographers never get to hear the satisfying sound of a large mechanical shutter opening and closing.

It may sound silly, but for those of us who grew up with film cameras or older DSLRs, something can feel like it's missing when you capture an image with today's quiet cameras. Even mechanical shutters are much quieter. While shutter advancement pays big dividends in terms of overall performance and durability, it's hard not to miss the loud 'click' of some older cameras.

To help bring back some of that lovely camera sound, photographer Sails Chong has published a video featuring the shutter sounds of a wide variety of cameras, from smaller 35mm cameras to large format film cameras.

Featured cameras include a Pentax SP with self-timer, an Olympus OM-1, Rolleiflex 3003 AS-IS (which sounds incredible), Contax 645, and even a large format Sinar DB mount camera.

Sails Chong does much more than record camera shutter sounds. He's a Phase One ambassador and a Broncolor ambassador. Be sure to check out his Instagram to see many great photographs. Also, Chong's YouTube channel is full of behind-the-scenes videos and tutorials. There's a lot of great content there, especially if you want to learn about Phase One cameras, Broncolor lighting or just general photography tips.

If you can't get enough of camera sounds, you're in luck. We've featured other videos showcasing the sights, but mostly sounds, of cameras before.

In 2019, we shared a video from YouTuber Scott Graham in which he memorialized 37 cameras he was selling by recording their shutter sounds. Check out the eclectic mix of cameras and sounds in Graham's video below.

About a year after sharing Graham's video, we wrote about a similar video from photographer Ace Noguera. In Ace's video, he features cameras from as far back as the 1940s.