Review

Fujifilm X-T3 vs X-T2 Which Camera Should You Buy

Fujifilm is one of my favourite camera companies for a number of reasons. They continually develop new and interesting products and the Fuji X-T2 was noted as being one of the best APS-C cameras when it first came out. More recently, Fuji released their update, the Fuji X-T3 which now begs the question, is it a worthy upgrade?

 

In our latest video we compare the X-T2 to the X-T3 and aim to answer this question. Looking at just the spec sheets, one can assume that the X-T3 is simply a minor update. Sure the new camera does boast much better video features like 4k 60p which is incredibly useful. Other then that, it’s difficult to tell what the major improvements are. In the video above we put both cameras through a number of tests to see how good the X-T3 is compared to the older and still a fan favourite the X-T2. Personally I think that just based on the video features alone it may be worth spending that little extra to get the upgrade. Of course, your mileage may vary and if you’re just interested in the photography features then the new camera may not be as appealing as the cheaper older model.

Check out the full video to see how they both compare to one another and let me know what you think.

Formatt-Hitech Firecrest Ultra Filters - The Sharpest Filters I've Used

Over the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to review several high-end filters from various manufacturers. I’ve been able to build a little catalog of test images which I tend to go back to when testing new filters. This allows me to review filters relative to other systems I’ve used and I’m very pleased and a little surprised to say that Formatt-Hitech are the sharpest filters I have used so far.

 

In my latest video I test and review the Firecrest Ultra ND filters and aside from a few minor issues, I highly recommend them. My absolute favourite thing about this systems is the usability. Personally I consider usability to be a major factor when it comes to evaluating any product or system. It really does make a difference when your actually out working and photographing. The Formatt-Hitech filters are such a joy to use due to their super simple design and compact nature. The pouches and carry cases are compact enough in deign to comfortably carry in most messenger bags and set-up time is minimal. When it comes to the actual performance of the filters, I have to say I was very impressed. Although they do have a noticeable colour shift, the way it retains detail is simply incredible. These are without a doubt the sharpest filters I have ever used and that’s really saying something, especially when you consider the other systems I’ve reviewed.

Check out the full video to see how they perform.

You can purchase yours here using the links below.

Holder Kit - https://bhpho.to/2C2qM3R (US Link)

Firecrest Filters - https://bhpho.to/2C5GOtG (US Link)

http://geni.us/firecrest (Amazon Worldwide)

This Is the Best Gimbal You Can Buy: Zhiyun Weebill Lab Review

Previously, I recommended the Feiyu-Tech A1000 as the gimbal to buy if you shoot with a smaller mirrorless set-up. Unfortunately since then, it’s been discontinued and no longer in production. Even B&H no longer stocks it. Fortunately Zhiyun has released a gimbal that’s simply incredible with their new Weebill Lab Gimbal.

 

More and more people are moving over to smaller mirrorless set-ups and companies like Zhiyun have started making gimbals specifically for this market. Having a smaller lighter system can be extremely convenient and it’s how I prefer to shoot in most situations. The Weebill Lab, although imperfect, is in my mind the best gimbal that’s currently available to buy. The compact size means that it can be comfortably carried even in smaller messenger bags with something like the Sony a7R III and a couple of lenses. This is extremely useful because if you’re a run and gun shooter you’re not being held back by huge and heavy equipment.

The Weebill Lab isn’t designed for larger lenses so the major drawback is that if you shoot with something like the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens then this may not be the gimbal for you. Instead, if you’re like me and you’re happier with a small lens like the FE 28mm f/2.0, then this might just be the perfect choice for you.

Check out the full video to find out why this gimbal is simply incredible.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs Sony A7R III Mini Comparison (ft Nokia Lumia 1020)

Smartphones have been advancing quite rapidly over the last few years. Cameras in smartphones have been one of the key things that have been advancing at a very impressive rate. It wasn’t long ago when cameras in mobile tech were considered to be nothing more than a gimmick. In recent years, however, cameras in phones like Huawei Mate 20 Pro have been really pushing the boundaries.

In my latest video, I compare the Mate 20 Pro which has a 40mp rear-facing camera to the Sony a7R III. This is a full frame 42mp camera with incredible features like pixel shift technology, amazing dynamic range and very useful video features. It’s without a doubt one of my favorite cameras and for good reason. On the surface it would seem ridiculous to compare a smartphone to a full frame camera, however, as you may see in the video, the Huawei actually performs really well. Sure the detail isn’t going to as much as the Sony with the 28mm f/2.0 lens, even still, it’s very impressive how well it holds up against the Sony. This video is of course just a very surface level comparison and doesn’t go too much into the details of what each camera is capable of. Nonetheless, I find it quite incredible how far smartphones have come and how they’re able to keep up with much larger sensor cameras in some specific scenarios.

Fujifilm Instax SQ20 vs Instax SQ6 Comparison Review

In the last few years, the popularity of Instax cameras has really soared. As a market segment for Fujifilm, the Instax division it’s now approaching a billion dollars in revenue. This is huge and I can see precisely why that is the case. Instax cameras are a whole heap of fun.

My favorite camera is is the Instax SQ6 because this camera is a true medium format, square film camera, that produces beautiful looking images. Recently, however, Fujifilm sent me their latest flagship the Instax SQ20. Unlike the SQ6 the SQ20 is actually a digital camera that uses a 1/5” sensor to produce the images and then prints on the square format film internally. I was intrigued by this camera when I first saw it at Photokina and wanted to see how it stacked up against the SQ6.

For the most part the SQ20 offers a whole heap of convenience because you have fewer chances of missed shots or wasted film. The internal storage is a fantastic feature because it means even without having any film in the camera you can continue taking pictures. This is brilliant because that way you can review all of the images before you go to print.

Ergonomics were another feature that I thought were much improved over the SQ6. It’s simply much easier to hold and handle compared to the very blocky design of the SQ6. The only issue I found with the ergonomics is the fact that the shutter buttons are placed exactly where my fingers would rest. This meant I was accidentally taking pictures on occasions and if the camera was set to print automatically I would have been wasting film.

The biggest gripe I have with this camera is the fact that the images it produces just aren’t quite as good as the SQ6. I’m aware this may not be a fair criticism because image quality isn’t the main selling point here, however, when you compare it to other Fuji Instax products, the SQ20 just doesn’t hold up for me. Sure, it’s a great camera but I personally believe there are better alternatives available directly from Fujifilm such as the Instax SP-3

Check out the video linked above to see the full comparison.

How To Use The Colour Checker Passport In Capture One

Which software is better, Capture One or Lightroom? Well, this argument may not draw any definitive conclusions however, there is one thing I can confirm, Capture One has much better control and accuracy when it comes to colors. 

For some time now I've been meaning to move away from Lightroom and make Capture one my main RAW processor. Up until recently, there was only one thing that prevented me from making that switch completely and that was the lack of support for the ColorChecker Passport. Colors are extremely important to me and the passport from X-Rite proves very useful to me in many circumstances. Fortunately, Lumariver is a piece of software that allows you to create ICC profiles in Capture one using the CCP. 

The great thing about ICC profiles is that they're more flexible than the profiles you create in Lightroom and are more widely accepted. The profiles in Capture One are also significantly more accurate due to being able to change the curves and remove pre-existing profiles. As you can see from the images below Not only is the image produced in Capture One more accurate but it's also more pleasing to look at. 

FB Before FB After

You will be able to see from the above comparison how the Capture One image has a truer blue in the sky, something you will see at blue hour in the evening. The colours are also more vibrant and the skin tones don't have the sickly green that can be seen in the Lightroom image. 

Check out the full video to see how you can create these profiles. 

 

 

Fuji X100F vs XT-2 with 23mm F2

When it comes to APS-C cameras, Fuji may have some of the best currently available. This is one of the reasons why the X100F from Fuji is so popular. Even now months after its initial release, supply still has not caught up with the demand, the X100 series continues to be very popular. 

Like many Fuji shooters, I was interested in how the lens on the X100F compares against another similar lens, the XF23 mm F2 R WR. For this comparison, my good friend Chloé was kind enough to let me borrow her Fuji XT-2. This is quite obviously an unfair comparison and not at all meant to be used as a way of deciding which camera is better. Both cameras are meant for very different purposes, however, curiosity can be fun. 

Looking at the quick comparison above you can see how soft the X100F is when shot wide open, however, when you stop down to around F5.6 the difference is huge. The image sharpens up by a significant amount. 

When compared to the 23mm on the XT-2, the first thing is the size difference. To some, the smaller lens may be an advantage, although, the ergonomics suffer greatly on the X100F. The manual focus ring is really tricky to use and the aperture ring always seems to be a little out of reach and awkward to find. In comparison, the 23mm lens is a joy to use with its much larger focus ring and an aperture ring that's always easy to find. 

Holding the XT-2 is also much more pleasant with its better grip and button placement. I keep finding myself pressing the 'Q' button on the X100F which is a little frustrating not to mention the difficulty of holding it for long periods of time due to the lack of a proper grip. 

I didn't test the focusing speeds extensively, however, in general, they didn't seem to be very different in performance. The XT-2 did seem a little snappier and nailed focus quicker and more easily. The X100F however, is no slouch and has been vastly improved when compared to the last model. 

Also, the extra card slot on the XT-2 is extremely useful. Some may say it's not a big deal but whilst filming the video below, the SD card I was using in the X100F failed and it meant I lost all of the images that were taken on the day. It's not a huge issue for a camera like this but it's an issue nonetheless.  

Comparing image quality from both lenses up close, the 23mm on the XT-2 is noticeably sharper. The X100F is known to be quite soft wide open and has an almost glowing haze over the image. This haze also means that adding sharpening in post doesn't improvge things very much. 

As you start to stop down, around F4.5 it becomes very difficult to differentiate the two lenses. I might even go as far as to say the X100F could be a little bit sharper around F5.6. All in all both lenses perform incredibly well at most apertures although the X100F suffers quite badly wide open.
Some have suggested that when shooting at distances, the haze on the X100F isn't noticeable meaning both will perform at a similar level even wide open. 

For a more detailed comparison please check out the video below. 

 

 

Canon 5DSR vs 5D Mark IV, which should you buy?

When it comes to buying new cameras, it can sometimes be quite difficult deciding which is best. This seems to be especially true when it comes to deciding between the Mark IV and 5DSR. A number of people have been asking me which of these two would be best to buy and in this review, I aim to answer that question. 

I will quickly mention, before starting this review I thought that this was a tough question, however, as I did more and more comparisons, the decision became much clearer and easier. Also, I was a little conscious about the length of the original video so I have split some of the comparisons into a second unlisted video, available for you to view below. 

To begin with, we started in the studio taking a few images of Amina who is a fantastic model. Considering my lack of experience working with models I decided it would be best to have my friend Imran take over for this section. His experience working in studios and with models meant that he could deliver the results and also express his thoughts. Ultimately he wasn't too bothered about the extra features of the Mark IV and opted to side with the 5DSR. The detail and clarity were what really blew him away. Things to consider are the fact that when shooting with the 5DSR, any issues in your technique will be amplified and the results can be vastly different. The 5DSR is a very unforgiving camera whereas the Mark IV can be far more flexible and forgiving to your techniques.

Dynamic range can be quite an important feature for allot of people and this is where the 5D Mark IV really excels. For any single image taken from each of these cameras the Mark IV images are far more flexible and clean. The amount you can recover safely really make a difference to your workflow, you may not need to take that extra shot you do with the 5DSR increasing time spent and storage costs. Having said that, adding some noise reduction to the 5DSR can really shrink the gap. Also if time and storage costs are not a factor for you then using several layers to create the final image will really increase the difference in image quality. Both have their respective advantages in this area and it depends on your individual requirements. 

Long exposures have similar results in that the 5DSR is much noisier when compared to the 5D Mark IV across the frame. This is going to a much bigger factor to consider if you're shooting at slightly higher ISO, as the amount of noise may start to make the images unusable for many. Noise reduction will still clean up the 5DSR images quite a bit making them very comparable and potentially even more detailed. 

The main areas where the 5DSR can perform really well are colours, sharpness and detail. In controlled environments where you shoot at the lowest ISO, you can achieve some of the absolute best image quality. The colours tend to be more vibrant and accurate based on my testing and the detail is significantly more.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I much prefer the 5DSR, the incredible image quality and detail are very appealing to me. Most of my professional shoots are done using manual lenses, therefore I tend to take my time for each image ensuring I'm getting the best results. I enjoy shooting with more layers and bringing out the extra detail in post, that to me is part of the fun and not at all a chore. 

Before doing this comparison I didn't enjoy using the Mark IV very much at all because to me, it represents a little bit of a middle finger from Canon. Having said that, after doing all of these tests and comparing it to the 5DSR, I now firmly believe that it is one of the best cameras you can buy. For most people, the Mark IV is a much better option, the 5DSR is far too niche of a camera for the majority. Yes, the 5DSR does have better image quality, however, image quality is not really that important when comparing cameras at this level. For that extra detail and resolution, you will be sacrificing far too many useful features to make it worth while. On top of that, the Mark IV will dramatically improve your workflow when compared to the 5DSR. The cleaner and more flexible images straight out of the camera from the Mark IV mean that for most uses it is far more effective.  

I'm still quite disappointed in Canon for releasing a camera with such unnecessary and obvious limits. Even with that, however, I strongly recommend the 5D Mark IV above the 5DSR.  

Please check out my video above and if you're interested in seeing some of the other tests I did please check out the second video below. 

Sony 85mm GM vs Sigma 85mm Art

Sony 85mm GM vs Sigma 85mm Art

In this video, I look at the Sigma 85mm f1.4 art and Sony 85mm f1.4 GM lenses, to determine which one is better. Find out which lens is going to be more suitable for you in this comparison video.

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iPhone 7 plus vs 100mp Hasselblad

When it comes to unfair comparisons, this one probably takes the cake. The thing is, there's something quite interesting about nonsense comparisons and that's why I decided to do this one. 

Check out the video and find out if the iPhone has any chance against the £30,000 medium format camera from Hasselblad. 

Download the images using the link below. 

Is the Sony A7R II innovative?

I've had the pleasure of using the Sony A7R II for a while now and I'm very pleased with what this camera can do. So, the question, is the Sony A7R II an innovative camera? 

in short..., Yes.

Having been a Canon user for my whole photographic life, using the Sony is a big change for the better. I still use the Canon cameras and I do enjoy the familiar feel, the 5DS is more than capable when it comes to high resolution. Having said that there are quite a number of features in the Sony which I think are amazing. 

Touch-less Shutter

I still can't get over how awesome and useful this feature is. To be able to take a picture without touching the camera, or having anything dangling from the camera. This feature comes in especially handy for those long shutter speeds and bulb mode.  

Customization

I love how on this camera I can change pretty much all the buttons to do what I want them to do. I agree with a number of people who claim the Sony menu system is a little awkward and for that reason the custom buttons are so useful. If I'm not mistaken I don't think any of the buttons do their factory function any more, aside from the shutter button of course. 

Built in Remote control

Having the ability to control your camera using a smart phone/tablet opens up so many creative possibilities. I can't think of many (if any) shoots where this feature has not come in handy.  Also the ability to review images on a tablet means you're not all huddled around a small screen to see if the images are any good. 

PlayMemories Apps

I think this feature has been severely underplayed, the fact that these cameras have dedicated app stores is just phenomenal. The store is still in it's early stages and probably not where it needs to be, however it's a huge step in the right direction. We may be looking at the dawn of smart cameras. Currently there aren't many apps available, however the few that are there, I find to be very useful.

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Ultimately, Sony are beginning to develop some real potential in their software for cameras. They've started to use the WiFi feature for more than just transferring images and it's a huge leap forward. When you look at smart phones and what they can do, it's disappointing that not enough camera manufacturers are adopting better software. 

I believe once Sony bring their software to a really high standard, sort out their battery technology and implement a second card slot, the A7 series could be some of the best cameras in the world. 

Travel and photography in Qatar

I probably should have posted this a while ago but better late than never right? 

I'm huge fan of the middle eastern architecture and the new modern buildings are beautiful. I've been fortunate enough to have travelled to a number of countries and I think Qatar is now one of my favourite places to visit. Firstly, the airport, dear god the airport is beautiful. I only wish I wasn't half out of it due to lack of sleep and took some proper pictures of it. 

For this trip I stayed at the Oryx Rotana Hotel, I managed to get a pretty good deal. The hotel interior was amazing and the room I had was stunning. I definitely tip the proverbial hat to the hotel and the staff, to say they were helpful is a severe understatement. 

The reason for my trip was architecture and the country does not disappoint. The Corniche was by far my favourite place to relax in the evening. The view of the city skyline and the National Museum really make this place extraordinary. 

Overall I think the country is beautiful, the buildings are unique and awe inspiring and really make Doha stand out. There are still various under developed areas in the country however I think with the world cup coming in 6 years they have plenty of time to really bring Qatar onto the world stage. 

Anyway that's enough from me, here are some images. 

 

Creams British Luxury Leeds

I'm always looking for an excuse to indulge a little and a new tearoom in Leeds is just too difficult to resist.

Creams British Luxury, recently opened their doors in Leeds city centre and wow is it something. Although I haven't visited their original location in Huddersfield, the new location is very impressive. Upon entering, you can immediately see the attention to detail and how much effort and investment has gone into the place.  A single chandelier costs £20,000, and the piano... well, let's just not get into that, it's safe to say the interior is pretty awesome.

Now considering the fact this is a tearoom/restaurant, let's get down to brass tacks and talk about the food. I've had the pleasure of dining there a number of times and in my humble opinion, it's very good. The presentation has been thought out properly and the cutlery feels premium. There are a number of dishes available from sandwiches to believe it or not, Fish and Chips. The food is reasonably priced and also the portions are far from pretentious. Lastly the tea and desserts are where Creams really excel. They haven't made the classic mistake of making the desserts overly sweet, instead there is a great deal of discernible flavour. My favourite has to be the strawberry scone. They have a large selection of teas available and depending on your mood, I'm confident there's something for mostly everyone. 

There a few things I think could be improved, for instance the physical menu, it feels and looks tacky and not at all like the brand. The food selection also feels a little scattered and lacking identity, some of what's offered seems out of place. Also the location they have in Leeds is almost hidden away and took us a bit of time to find it the first time. Lastly being the photography nerd that I am I think the images they currently have could be improved. As you may be able to tell, I am nitpicking and the negatives I have pointed out, are insignificant when considering the overall experience. 

Even the view compliments the interior. 

My favourite thing about Creams is the fact that the staff are so amazing. I've visited both as a customer and a photographer and on every occasion they've gone above and beyond. I have allot of admiration for the team at Creams and I think with them managing the tearoom, it's in safe hands. 

Overall I definitely recommend Creams, I think they've done a fantastic job. There aren't allot of places like this and it's a very welcomed addition. I understand they're expanding quite rapidly and new locations will be coming soon all across the country and in Dubai too. 

In the meantime click here to check out some of the other images we've taken for Creams.