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  Reviews by: Fred Miranda  

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Sony Alpha a7R Mirrorless Digital Camera

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Review Date: Mar 9, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: 36MP Exmor sensor | Superb EVF | E-mount compatibility with an array of | Sony and other adapted lenses | Compact size and Lightweight | Manual mode with auto-ISO and exposure compensation Weather sealed High quality RAW files with amazing dynamic range
Cons:
Noticeable Shutter Vibration above 100mm focal length in the 1/30s - 1/125s shutter speed range | RAW lossy compression | Slow wake-up time | Low battery life capacity | Unable to toggle the LCD On/Off with a custom button. You can assign a custom function to turn off the LCD but it only blacks out the screen without actually turning it off.

Sony’s full frame A7R catches the eye of Canon shooters with its adaptable mount. This compact, mirrorless body packs in a 36MP Exmor sensor and delivers impressive IQ and dynamic range.

I took it for a spin in Death Valley and Mono Lake and the results may surprise you.

Read my review:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/A7R-review


 
Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* SEL2470Z

Screen_Shot_2013-11-13_at_2_25_05_PM_copy
Review Date: Mar 1, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Well built, image stabilization, color, contrast, small and light.
Cons:
distortion at 24mm and 70mm, extreme edges soft from 24mm until 30mm due to astigmatism.

The FE 24-70 f/4 is very compact comparing to the Canon 24-70 II + adapter so it's a consideration for Canon shooters.
It's also well built and light. However, just like with the FE 35mm and FE 55mm, fly-by-wire focus is smooth but it's a negative for me.

Here are my initial impressions shooting at about 25 feet distance with the A7R:

The FE 24-70 f/4 is plenty sharp wide-open at all focal lengths. Micro contrast improves dramatically by stopping down to f/5.6. However, at the wide range, stepping down further reduces micro-contrast from the center and does not do much for the extreme corners.

From 24mm until around 30mm, the aperture sweet spot is between f/5.6 and f/8 and at 50-70mm performs fine at f/8.

At 24mm, corners are somewhat sharp at f/5.6 but extreme corners do not follow and look very soft. The same happens at 30mm to a lesser degree. There is an improvement at 35mm and at 50mm the lens performs its best. Very sharp center and extreme edges. Sweet spot is f/5.6. At f/8 extreme corners sharpen up even further.

At 70mm, I find the extreme corners sharp when stoping down to f/5.6. At f/8 corners improve further. No changes going to f/11.

So, like many reviewers, I find the FE zoom's achilles heel to be from 24mm until 30mm at the extreme corners. It's not due to field curvature. Focusing on the extreme corners does not improve them probably due to astigmatism.
At 70mm, I found the lens sharp from center to edge when stopping down to f/5.6-f/8.

Comparing to the bigger and more expensive Canon: The Canon 24-70 II has better micro and macro contrast. Color rendition is better on the Canon. Colors are richer and a tad warmer.
Even shooting on a cloudy day, the differences in contrast and color were noticeable. The Canon 24-70 II sweet spot is also f/5.6 but by then the corners and extreme corners are already sharp. Stepping down to f/8 and f/11 improves extreme comers even further.

With respect to distortion, at 24mm barrel distortion is quite high (reminds me on my 24-105L @24mm) but easily fixed in LR. At 70mm, pincushion distortion is moderate.
The 24-70 II distortion is better controlled in comparison.

It's interesting to note that the FE 24-70 f/4 OSS has a slight wider view than the Canon 24-70 II. When corrected for distortion, the field of view become almost identical.

I need to do more shooting to get to know the lens but from my initial test the lens is a keeper but my critical work will be done with the 24-70II.


 
Canon EOS 1D X

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Review Date: Sep 3, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, 12FPS 18mp RAW files, Excellent AF and metering systems.
Cons:
Less pixel dense than predecessor, inability to AF @ f/8

I was very fortunate to have an opportunity to test out and review a production model of this new camera.

If you are curious about the new features or wondering if you should upgrade, you may find the answers to your questions in my review. Read about the pros and the cons and my experience using the EOS 1D X in the field.

Coupled with the 400mm and 500mm series II lenses, I had a blast pushing the limits on Canon's new equipment.

To read my Canon EOS 1D X Review, click below:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/1dx-review

All the best,
Fred


 
Canon EOS 5D Mark III

5DIIIs
Review Date: May 3, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: - Build quality - New AF system - Lower noise at ISO 6400 and above - Better and bigger LCD - 6 FPS - 100% viewfinder
Cons:
- Small resolution change - No sensor improvement at base ISO.

I just had the time of my life testing out two incredible new cameras, the Canon 5D Mark III and the Nikon D800. I took them to Yosemite and Mono Lake for a little over a week and would like to share with you my personal review.
Hope you enjoy it!

Here is the link: http://www.fredmiranda.com/5DIII-D800
All the best,
Fred


 
Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM

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Review Date: Jun 4, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Lightweight for a 400mm f/4 Handles well in a compact design Sharp wide-open Fast AF and effective IS
Cons:
Price Great IQ but not jaw dropping. :)

Many find disappointing that the 400mm f/4 DO IS does not match the optical quality of the 300mm f/2.8L IS with the 1.4x II extender...
To me the obvious difference is in contrast.
However, we are left with other practical considerations, such as weight:
The 400 DO weights about 4.3 pounds
The 300/2.8L IS + 1.4x weights about 6 pounds (That is almost 2 pounds heavier!!)
I found the 400mm f/4 DO IS to be of very high optical quality aside from the lower contrast, yielding nice looking bokeh and great flare protection. When combined with the 1.4x extender, IQ suffers noticeably.

This picture was taking with the original Canon 1Ds + 400mm DO + 1.4II extender @560mm (contrast and sharpening in post)
http://www.fredmiranda.com/hosting/showphoto.php?photo=70&sort=1&cat=500&page=3