Panasonic Lumix S1H Review

The Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H was unveiled at Cinegear earlier this year and the full specifications, pricing, and availability were announced at an event in Hollywood in August. I got to spend a short amount of time with a pre-production version of the camera at that event, but now I have a full production version to … Continued

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Nikon Z50 vs Canon EOS M6 Mark II: midrange mirrorless comparison

Midrange mirrorless comparison – Nikon’s Z50 versus Canon’s EOS M6 Mark II

Nikon’s Z50 and Canon’s EOS M6 Mark II are both built around APS-C sized sensors, mirrorless lens mounts, come with twin-dial controls and are being launched at similar prices. But as much as they have in common, there are plenty of other aspects separating the two as well.

We’ve gotten a chance to use them both and have a ton of details for you about how they compare, but not just on specs alone. We’ll take a closer look at how well they’re each work for common photographic use cases.

Features

First things first, the Canon comes with noticeably more resolution than the Nikon: in fact, at 32.5MP, the M6 Mark II (along with its DSLR sibling, the EOS 90D) comes with the highest-resolution APS-C sensor we’ve yet seen. The Nikon Z50 instead uses a 20.9MP unit that is closely related to the one in the Nikon D500. This will be plenty of megapixels for most people, but some users may want more; and we’ll have more on that in a bit.

Both cameras have sophisticated on-sensor autofocus systems that offer eye-detection and subject tracking, but they differ greatly in both interface and usability. Most notably, the Z50 has an AF joystick for interacting with your AF point, while the M6 II makes do with merely a touchscreen.

Both capture full-width 4K video and offer fast burst speeds, but further differences like ergonomic design and their respective lens lineups will have a big impact on which option is the right one for you.

Landscape photography

Canon EOS M6 Mark II | Canon EF-M 22mm F2 | ISO 100 | 1/160 sec | F7.1
Photo by Richard Butler

Both cameras tick a fair amount of boxes for landscape shooting, albeit different ones. The more compact EOS M6 II is going to be the easier option to pack into a bag for heading out into the elements, though you may want to add on the optional EVF for shooting in bright light.

However, the Nikon Z50’s claimed weather sealing is probably going to help it stand up to those elements better if you’re expecting inclement weather, and its larger grip, buttons and dials will be more easily operable with gloves. You can top them up with USB should battery life run down while you’re off the grid – and they have similar battery life numbers.

If you like to crop, or you want to make the largest prints you can from an APS-C sensor, the M6 II is your best bet

Based on our testing of cameras with similar sensors, we expect both the Z50 and M6 II to have good dynamic range, so that won’t be a big differentiator. But resolution absolutely will be: 32.5MP is a good amount more than 20.9MP. So if you like to crop, or you want to make the largest prints you can from an APS-C sensor, the M6 II is your best bet here.

But we must also consider lenses: from our initial photos, we’ve only seen one native zoom lens that performs well on the high-res M6 II sensor, and that’s the wide-angle 11-22mm F4.5-5.6. There’s a wide suite of primes for the system now, to be sure (more on those later), but for users who work with a more ‘standard’ zoom range, we think Nikon’s Z50 solution may be best.

Of course, you can always adapt lenses from Canon’s EF-S and EF mount DSLRs onto the M6 II, and Nikon’s Z-mount full-frame lenses and F-mount lenses on the Z50. If you’re willing to put up with the extra bulk and cost, either camera will offer you plenty of options.

Travel

Nikon Z50 | Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 | ISO 100 | 1/640 sec | F6.3
Photo by Carey Rose

Both cameras will to be great for travelers, for several reasons. Firstly they’re both reasonably compact and easy to pack. They both offer USB charging (be aware we think the Canon requires USB Power Delivery spec) so you can top up their batteries on-the-go. They each offer solid Wi-Fi connectivity so you can get images onto your phone and onto the web from just about anywhere.

Oh, and we like the pictures out of each of them: even their un-tweaked JPEGs look to offer pleasing color and will be great for quick social posts. And if you do find you want to tweak your files, each allows for user-friendly creative filters as well as more powerful processing of Raw files right on the camera.

For this use, we wouldn’t get too fussed about the standard zooms on either camera – they’re both compact, and the Canon offers good-enough sharpness for web posting. But if you want better low light performance or blurrier backgrounds behind your subjects, we’d recommend the EOS M6 Mark II because it has more native, fast-aperture primes available for reasonable prices.

On the Nikon Z50, you can of course adapt Nikon’s full-frame Z primes, as well as crop-sensor and full-frame Nikon F-mount primes, but that adds a lot of bulk and, potentially, cost. On the M6 II, you have 16mm, 30mm and 56mm F1.4 primes from Sigma as well as Canon’s 22mm F2 and 32mm F1.4, and they’re all available for less than $500 US each.

We found the original EOS M6 with Canon’s 22mm prime was a particularly pleasing combination for travel, and we’d expect the same with the Mark II. But it bears mentioning that if you are shooting in a lot of bright light, you’ll want a viewfinder, so if you get your EOS M6 II with the optional unit, don’t forget to bring it along.

Sports and action

Canon EOS M6 Mark II | Canon EF-M 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 | ISO 100 | 1/250 sec | F9
Photo by Carey Rose

Sports and action shooters eyeing either of these cameras will find that they look awfully capable from their specifications. The Nikon Z50 doesn’t shoot quite as fast as the Canon M6 Mark II, topping out at 11fps with autofocus to the Canon’s 14fps. If you want a live view of images between each of your shots, the Nikon drops to 5fps, which is again slower than the Canon’s 7fps.

And all this is ignoring the Canon’s very fast 30 fps Raw Burst mode, which is just as it sounds: the camera shoots a burst of Raw images at 30 fps for around three seconds. The caveats with this feature include a 1.25x crop, as well as the requirement that you ‘unpack’ the burst using Canon’s proprietary software once you download them to your computer, but Canon edges out the Nikon on absolute speed here.

We generally find we prefer a viewfinder to a rear screen when shooting sports and action, and it’s no different with these cameras. The Nikon Z50’s unit is broadly comparable to the EOS M6 II’s detachable unit, so as long as you get the Canon with a kit that includes the EVF-DC2, you won’t be left wanting.

Both cameras comes with adept on-sensor phase detection systems capable of accurately following subjects very well

But burst speeds are meaningless if none of your images are in focus. Luckily, both cameras comes with adept on-sensor phase detection systems capable of accurately following subjects very well, particularly if you choose a ‘zone’ and keep it over your subject on your own. If you want the camera to track your subject for you around the frame, the Nikon requires a series of button clicks to get there , whereas the Canon requires you to change one menu setting, and thereafter, you only need a half-press of the shutter once you find your intended subject.

Lastly, ergonomics bear mentioning. The Nikon’s AF joystick makes moving your AF point a bit easier than the M6 II’s touchscreen (though the latter isn’t bad by any means), and the Nikon’s larger grip will be more comfortable if you’re adapting larger telephoto zooms. But if you opt for each system’s native, lightweight telephoto zooms (meaning Nikon’s DX Z 50-250 F4.5-6.3 or Canon’s EF-M 55-200mm F4.5-6.3), either camera will balance just fine.

Family and moments

Canon EOS M6 Mark II | Canon EF-M 22mm F2 | ISO 100 | 1/320 sec | F3.2
Photo by Richard Butler

To start, just as both cameras’ autofocus systems are capable with sports and action, they’re quite good at focusing on people as well. Both come with reliable eye-detection autofocus, ensuring focus is exactly where you want it. The M6 II has the edge again here: if for some reason it loses track of your subject, or that person turns away, the camera won’t jump to someone else, as the Nikon Z50 will.

Both kit lenses are going to be great for general outdoor shooting, but if you’re out at a fancy candlelit dinner, you’ll want a fast prime lens for the best images, and Canon simply has better options here, as we covered in the ‘Travel’ section.

Image quality on both cameras is generally superb. This means you will rarely have to tweak images before sending them off to your phone, which you can then easily share with the people around you, in the moment.

Without its viewfinder, the M6 II is a bit easier to throw into a bag than the Z50, but once attached, the size difference between the two is less significant. And since both can be USB charged, you can use the same USB Power-Delivery charger you use for your phone to keep them topped up should you run out of power.

Lifestyle and people

Nikon Z50 | Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 S | ISO 100 | 1/4000 sec | F1.8
Photo by Chris Niccolls

While family and moments is primarily about casual outings, this type of photography is for the social media conscious photographer looking to add some panache to a scene with some posing and creative use of depth-of-field.

To summarize, both cameras are capable of great image quality out-of-camera despite their small size, and each have great eye-detection focus (though we prefer generally the Canon’s). Both let you get your images onto the social web quickly, but you can tweak them on the cameras themselves before getting them to your favorite image-sharing app.

As with a few of the previous categories, it really comes down to lenses here. Between Canon’s own primes and now Sigma’s, the EOS M6 Mark II has a pretty extensive range of fast prime lenses that are both appropriately sized and priced for the camera. Nikon’s only two native Z-mount crop-sensor lenses are currently kit zooms, and their slower variable apertures won’t blur backgrounds as well. Add a full-frame Z mount prime, or any F-mount prime and an adapter, and you’re spending more money and adding more size and weight.

Video

These cameras offer comparable video feature sets. They each provide 4K video from the full width of the sensor and have microphone and micro-HDMI ports, but no headphone port to monitor audio. The tilting touchscreens make it easy to shoot from odd angles, but hand-held footage has to rely on in-lens stabilization as neither has a stabilized sensor in the camera body. Our biggest concern was the lack of 24p video recording from the Canon, but the company says it’s adding it in a firmware update in 2020.

The Nikon gives you more flexibility for configuring a separate i (custom) menu for video mode and they both allow you to set up separate button functions when video shooting.

Additionally, both cameras feature face-and-eye-detect autofocus while shooting video, as well as tap-to-track functionality. In all, they’re both solid options for shooting good-quality, casual video.

The wrap

Throughout this article, there are some themes that have emerged. Both of these cameras are really good cameras that are capable of taking stellar images and video. Both cameras can perform very well with capturing fast action as well as photographing human subjects.

They both handle very well, but differently, and this will come down to personal taste for many people. The larger grip of the Z50 lends itself better to larger lenses, which may be welcome if you’re adapting lenses from the company’s other lens mounts. Which brings us to the largest theme so far.

There are currently more native EF-M zooms and primes available than there are for the Z50

It’s true that vast majority of buyers aren’t likely to move too far beyond the kit lenses on either of these cameras, but the EOS M6 II gives you the most cost-effective and size-conscious options to do so, if you ever decide to. There are currently more native EF-M zooms and primes available than there are for the Z50, and native lens options are likely to be a less confusing path to navigate for new users than deciphering adapters, additional mounts, autofocus motor compatibility, and so on.

Of course, it could be argued that buying full frame Z-mount lenses puts you on a full-frame upgrade path on the Nikon – a path that doesn’t exist for the Canon. But the affordability of the EF-M prime lenses means it might be more cost-effective to choose what you need now rather than compromising in anticipation of a switch you might make at some later date.

But what about you? What do you make of these two cameras and how would you use them? Let us know in the comments.

The 20 Best Western Movies of The 2010s

The Western genre is often thought of as a thing of the past ending with the movies of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. However, in the past decade there have been some truly excellent Westerns that range from straight homages to updated visions for what the genre can be in the modern day. Fans of the genre are sure to see some familiar titles on this list.

 

20. Hostiles

Hostiles sees director Scott Cooper coming off his successful gangster drama Black Mass with a respectable Western that skillfully incorporates many different standards for the Western genre. Hostiles may have been, to some extent, a victim of the times. If its narrative isn’t immediately problematic, it’s certainly not the greatest story that could be released in this era. This certainly contributed to the box office failure of the movie even though it boasted stars like Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike.

Hostiles deserves to be watched outside of political context though. Its narrative may not always achieve perfect balance but it means well and when viewed as a throwback to good, old-fashioned Westerns, it is a very enjoyable movie.

 

19. The Ballad of Lefty Brown

The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017)

Falling very far under the radar, The Ballad of Lefty Brown deserves to be noticed. Providing a great platform for a captivating Bill Pullman, The Ballad of Lefty Brown is an ode to the bygone Western era. Taking all of the conventions of classic Westerns and packaging them into a sustainable whole, director Jared Moshe may sacrifice a bit of his own filmmaking voice in the name of homage but it works to a wildly entertaining degree. Fans of the Sergio Leone-Clint Eastwood features will find plenty to love in this movie and Bill Pullman’s performance in particular.

 

18. Meek’s Cutoff

A more contemplative Western, Meek’s Cutoff aimed to bring the Western genre from its action-packed, thrilling roots to more philosophical and ponderous territory. Choosing to show the grueling reality of obstacles like hunger and diseases that lacked the medical proficiency necessary over shoot-outs and standoffs, Meek’s Cutoff is the atypical Western that will draw fans of more thought-provoking cinema to it. Kelly Reichardt’s assured direction keeps Meek’ Cutoff a quietly captivating feature with plenty for audiences to respect.

 

17. Buffalo Boys

A gritty and violent Western that harkens back to the likes of Sam Peckinpah, Buffalo Boys is a stylized action Western that is sure to thrill audiences looking for a more straight-forward Western viewing. It’s a very entertaining movie that uses the conventions of the Western genre to maximum effect to create a movie that doesn’t fully succumb to homage, retaining a cinematic voice of its own. But Buffalo Boys also succeeds in combining genres and styles. It infuses martial arts in a genre defined by gun fights and shootouts to make for a truly unique Western.

 

16. Logan

Logan set itself apart from other superhero movies by not only being a more mature movie thematically but being done in an entirely different style. Switching the location from the typical Marvel big city environment for a desolate and dry landscape, Logan aimed to be a more grounded superhero movie that wasn’t interested in the distracting humor that exists in most Marvel movies.

It succeeds in doing this by taking on many of the techniques that the John Wayne type Westerns had. Characters willing to get their hands dirty and toiling in the hot sun to get by are ever-present in Logan as they are in the classic American Westerns.

 

15. Deadwood: The Movie

Deadwood: The Movie was a perfect big screen adaptation for fans of the show. It provided all the grit and griminess that the show became known for. As evidenced by the show, the team behind the movie clearly knows how to craft truly compelling Western content and does so to maximum effect with the movie. As with any big screen adaptation of a TV show, it can be hit or miss.

Deadwood fans found themselves on the former side of that prospect, enjoying the fact that the movie brought back the themes that made the show successful but also took risks with making a movie with some more sentimental value than the darkness of the show suggests it would have. While people unfamiliar with the show will find its narrative arc unable to sustain itself outside the context of the show, fans will be more than pleased with how it turned out.

 

14. Sweet Country

A socially conscious, impactful Western, Sweet Country opts to use its genre for more political commentary than the typical straight action of the older Westerns. It’s thought-provoking and relevant and the beautiful cinematography contrasts the pessimistic nature of the film.

Australia has been noted for its uncompromising films and Sweet Country falls right into that category, never feeling that the audience deserves what it wants in the story. As a result, the movie hits hard and it’s rare to see a Western capture such raw emotion. Often times the viewing can be strenuous, but for those willing to stick through its depressing nature, Sweet Country is worth the look.

 

13. The Sisters Brothers

Jacques Audiard’s venture into not only American cinema but the Western genre, was a well-received movie with compliments going largely towards its compelling leads in John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix. Audiard’s style is on full display as the movie seamlessly transitions from comedy to drama to contemplative without ever losing the audience’s interest. While other directors may have played this movie safe in a more mainstream style, Audiard uses the styles of past Westerns to draw fully-defined characters and craft a moral message that is heightened by those styles.

 

12. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Coen brothers clearly have an affinity for the Western genre as this is their second Western of the decade. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is comprised of a number of different tales. As expected, the Coen brothers’ humor is on display ranging from over-the-top goofiness to more nuanced satire.

The Coen’s craft a concept that allows them to show their full range as directors/writers. By having the movie be a compilation of different stories, they give themselves the freedom to do everything from comedy to drama to action and all of those combined. While it may appear to be a minor effort in the grand scheme of the Coen’s filmography, it is nonetheless a unique Western that fans of the Coen’s and the genre should like.

 

11. The Beguiled

The Beguiled may, at first, seem like a stretch to qualify as a Western but it is a Western in its cinematic techniques. The themes, character development, and narrative progression all show signs of having been influenced by the likes of directors like John Ford and Sergio Leone.

Much of the conflict in The Beguiled is driven by silence and the emotions that the characters express. Sergio Leone often employed this tactic to build tension within the scene. No dialogue, but everything was through the looks and physicality. Director Sofia Coppola uses the same tactic to maximum effect in this movie in which the influence of classic Westerns can be easily seen.

10 Great TV Shows That Should Be Made Into Movies

TV shows and movies, as entertainment mediums, are often compared but have some innate differences. By nature of the format, television are episodic, telling a new story every week. While the characters and overarching plot arc are consistent across the series, each episode has its own conflict and resolution. This not only allows for very complex plots but also fleshed out character progression and a stronger connection with the audience.

Based on these characteristics it may seem like almost all stories would be better off as shows than movies but there are several other factors to consider. The simplest reason is that not all stories need to be that long. More doesn’t always mean better, especially in storytelling. Some shows have great concepts but overstay their welcome and eventually grow dull.

Another issue is that, as the series goes on, it can become overly complex and won’t satisfyingly wrap up all the loose ends (*cough cough* Game of Thrones). The biggest drawback to the format, unfortunately, is the financial and organizational structure where the showrunner has to contend with the TV station input and can ultimately be cancelled before the story is over.

Shows have been getting the movie treatment for decades with huge variation in quality. Many of them are simply cash grabs by studios to tap into nostalgia and the existing fanbases. There are numerous of these, Bewitched, CHiPs, Charlie’s Angels, to name a few, that have taken successful series and delivered empty rehashes of the concept. Plenty of them, however, have offered fresh takes on solid concepts, and in some cases have exceeded the reputation of the source show entirely, like the Mission Impossible series.

The following ten shows are some that, for various reasons, would thrive if given the chance at a film incarnation.

 

10. The Six Million Dollar Man (1974 – 1978)

The 1970s had more fun television shows than any other era. Sure, they weren’t always the highest quality but the concepts were intriguing and were full of zany camp and thrilling action. The Six Million Dollar Man is maybe the definitive example of this style of show. Lee Majors stars as Col. Steve Austin, a test pilot who gets in a horrible crash, turned into a cyborg and put to work as a secret agent. Plots often surround kooky technology, political intrigue with Russian baddies and teaming up with the similarly gifted Bionic Woman.

Why it would make a good movie: It’s got all the makings of a modern action success: a great origin story, interesting premise and unlimited possibilities for story. This open slate, similar to the MIssion Impossible franchise, is more appealing to talented directors and writers who can come in and make it their own. The thematic material also allows for deeper exploration into the connection between man and technology a la Robocop or more recently Upgrade. Just maybe the filmmakers should stay a little on the serious side and avoid straying too far into camp, like the Wild Wild West remake.

Dream Directors: Christopher McQuarrie or Alex Garland, depending on if the focus is more on sci-fi or espionage.

 

9. Frisky Dingo (2006 – 2007)

Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, creators of the hit animated series Archer, started their television career on Adult Swim at its inception in 2000 with the hilarious show Sealab 2021.

Sealab was a clever parody of children’s adventure cartoons and after it ran its course they came out with Frisky Dingo, a parody of superheroes. The show revolves around a supervillain, named Killface, a giant bony monster, and his arch-nemesis/sometimes friend AwesomeX, a Batman parody. Like their other shows, Frisky Dingo’s best asset is its clever writing and colorful characters, but also has potential for action and social relevance.

Why it would make a good movie: Superheroes are much more relevant now than when the show aired, giving them much more content to work with. Parodies also tend to work better in shorter stints where the jokes can be boiled down to the best of the bunch. While a similar movie to this has been made already (Megamind), this take would be a more biting satire, similar to the comedy found in Deadpool. Frisky Dingo could fill a cult niche at a very relevant time for it’s subject matter, and with the Reed and Thompson currently writing better than ever, could be a hit

Dream Directors: Adam Reed and Matt Thompson would need to be involved in the writing. Maybe veteran directors of fun superhero films like Matthew Vaughn or James Gunn would be a good fit.

 

8. Nip/Tuck (2003 – 2010)

Medical drama mixed with crime show, Nip/Tuck combines the two most popular TV formats into a unique program. It follows the practice of two hotshot plastic surgeons: Sean McNamara and Christian Troy. McNamara is a family man trying to keep his tumultuous career from shaking up his marriage, while Troy is a brilliant doctor but unpredictable womanizer. Together they not only conduct lots of controversial procedures, but soon get too involved in LA’s seedy underbelly.

Why it would make a good movie: The concept is unique with lots of intriguing paths for the plot to go. The two main characters, while not tremendously original in design, offer decent enough chemistry and, if written correctly, have potential to be interesting studies. The show itself is not incredible, especially when compared to some of its contemporary dark dramas. One of it’s main problems is that it overstays the longevity of such a plot, an issue that wouldn’t be present in a film.

Dream Director: Brian DePalma or Paul Schrader, especially if this was made in the 80s. Although both directors have gone down different paths since then, both are capable of handling thrillers with a modicum of sleeze.

 

7. Fantasy Island (1977 – 1984)

One of the most iconic shows of the era, Fantasy Island is a highly conceptual show, perfect for film adaptation. Ricardo Montalban plays the mysterious Mr. Roarke, proprietor of Fantasy Island. The only other main character across the series is Roarke’s diminutive sidekick Tattoo. For the shows seven season run, there isn’t much in the way of continuity or overarching plot from episode to episode, just a new story each week. The plots are all of the same basic make-up: people come to the island to live out their wildest fantasies. Often, they don’t turn out quite how their dreamers expect.

Why it would make a good movie: Each episode is essentially its own separate story anyway so a film would just be a stretched, more complex, iteration of one, maybe with a brief introductory segment. Finding a suitable Mr. Rourke might be a challenge, but outside of that the writer/director would have free reign to create their own collection of moral tales, perhaps tinged with the supernatural or an O.Henry-esque twist.

Dream Director: It’s such an open ended concept that any strong director could take it and run with it. Steven Spielberg would give a balanced approach. Tim Burton would make it his own dark world. Yorgos Lanthimos might give us something a little deeper/weirder.

 

6. Gargoyles (1994 – 1997)

The 1990s were a golden age for children’s cartoons, with many animators catering as much to kids as they did adults. The high watermark for these was the operatic, noir laced Batman: The Animated Series, but right below it ranks Gargoyles. The show is about a group of gargoyles, mythical beasts from ancient Scotland who find a home on the NYC skyline. When the sun is out they become trapped in stone but at night, mobilize and protect the citizens from crime and evil. Similar in concept to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but less goofy jokes and more Shakespeare.

Why it would make a good movie: There are many aspects of the show that make it more appealing today than when it came out. For one, the market for big budget creature features is bigger than ever, and can even gain critical acclaim. WIth this film’s dramatic literary influences, as well as possibility for big action, not to mention interesting lore, it seems like a home run if put into the right hands.

Dream Directors: The obvious choice is Guillermo Del Toro, whose had more success than anyone in this genre. James Wan would also be good to mix action and horror into a blockbuster.

What is it like to come back to a DSLR after shooting mirrorless?

With the 18-135mm attached, the 90D is a larger camera than I’ve become used to carrying. It didn’t get the way of enjoying my vacation, though.

I’ve been a professional photographer since 2012, when the DSLR reigned supreme. The Canon 5D Mark III was my main body that I used exclusively for photography work. As my personal and professional interests gravitated towards video, I took the plunge and placed an order for the Sony a7R III in February 2018. A year later, I added the Fujifilm X-T3. Slowly but surely, those mirrorless cameras replaced my DSLRs as they better supported my overall vision of being a hybrid photo and video shooter.

However, the 2019 release of the Canon 90D piqued my interest. How was Canon’s DSLR technology faring in a world where many declare the DSLR to be on its way out? I took the 90D on vacation to Hawaii and committed to using it exclusively for a week. Here are my conclusions.

First impressions

The Canon 90D with the 18-135mm kit lens is both bulky and heavy. It’s not a discreet camera by any means. Many people (myself included) gravitate towards mirrorless cameras as they are smaller in size and weight, and the 90D immediately reminded me that the bulk of DSLRs is not something that I miss, especially when I’m on vacation.

There are times and places you don’t want the bulk of a DSLR

One thing I do miss is Canon’s vast DSLR lens library. From fisheyes and tilt shifts to super telephoto lenses, Canon offers some of the best and most versatile lenses that even big mirrorless manufacturers such as Sony aren’t producing yet. But for the sake of this test, I stuck with the kit lens for a full week and found that despite its size, 18-135 is an incredibly useful focal range, especially for travel photography. After a week of schlepping it around, I got used to the size and ultimately appreciated the versatility of the lens.

A little like coming home

After over one year of shooting Sony and Fujifilm mirrorless, the Canon 90D feels like coming home. The ergonomics, dials and controls were all very familiar and easy to use without making lots of custom settings as you often have to with mirrorless cameras such as Sonys and even Canon’s newest EOS R and RP. It was incredibly easy to power on the camera and just start shooting a wide range of subjects, from a wide landscape shot of a beach, to homing in on the green sea turtles that I suddenly spotted swimming close to shore.

While 135mm on a crop sensor gives you a nice amount of reach, the Canon 90D gives you even more flexibility since it produces 32-megapixel images. This allows you more flexibility to crop in on your subject in post production, as I did with this image of a mongoose, and some shots of sea turtles.

Concerns about noise

One feature that I find indispensable in mirrorless cameras is silent shutter. This is key for certain professional shooting moments, such as in auditoriums or at performances where shutter sounds are frowned upon, or when attempting to capture candid moments. On the Canon 90D, there’s the additional sound of mirror slap and its shutter is clunky and loud: once even startling a group of birds that I was attempting to photograph. There is no subtlety or finesse in the shutter sound and, while there is a full-electronic mode, you can’t avoid the sound of the mirror opening for you to get into live view to use it. Even in everyday travel photography scenarios, the shutter sound was distracting not only to me, but also the subjects I was attempting to photograph.

Finding in favor of a finder

The initial familiarity of the Canon DSLR layout was nice at first. However, I quickly became aware that I’d come to find mirrorless cameras offer several key features that make them superior to DSLRs (at least, for my shooting style).

Caption

Firstly, DSLRs are restricted to using only optical viewfinders (OVF) while mirrorless cameras offer electronic viewfinders (EVF). Being forced to use an OVF in Hawaii was painful.

With an EVF, my creative compositions have greatly expanded thanks to the seamless transition between using the LCD and EVF eyepiece to frame my shots. I love the ability to get up high or get down low to compose shots using the LCD. While DSLRs such as the Canon 90D does allow you to enable Live View to shoot still photos with the LCD, it is clunky and isn’t as responsive as LCD shooting on mirrorless cameras. Thus, it felt pointless using the LCD to shoot on the 90D, and I felt like I sacrificed many photo opportunities and creative angles that I would have been able to get with a mirrorless camera.

Conversely, because DSLRs require the mirror to be flipped up when recording video, you are then restricted to only using the LCD. This is very difficult in bright, outdoor lighting and it quickly became frustrating to not be able to seamlessly transition back and forth between the EVF and LCD as you can on mirrorless cameras.

All about the flexibility

Since the Canon 5D series still does not offer tilting or articulating rear screens, I was excited to finally see one on the Canon 90D. As I say, the ability to shoot and compose with a movable LCD on mirrorless cameras has really enhanced my creativity when it comes to image composition.

Now that I’ve spent some time with the fully-articulated screen on the Canon 90D that can face forward for vlogging, I find that it isn’t very useful for shooting photos. For most photo and video needs, it is more efficient to have a two-axis LCD screen that simply pops out and tilts up or down; you truly only need the 90D’s forward-facing flip screen if you intend to vlog or take selfies.

The 90D’s fully articulating screen made it easy to get low enough to take this shot, but a tilting display would have made alignment easier.

In the photo below, I had the camera low to the ground on top of the train tracks and needed to angle the LCD up to compose. It not only took longer to flip the LCD screen out to the left, but it also became hard to center the image since the LCD was so far to one side. This is a case with a simple tilting screen would have worked much better.

On the other hand, I love the Canon 90D’s screen that lets you turn the LCD inward to face the camera, thereby offering screen protection. It would be fantastic to see other camera manufacturers add this feature to their LCDs.

The best touchscreen I’ve ever used

Another thing in favor of the 90D’s screen was that its touch operation is the best I’ve experienced on any DSLR or mirrorless camera. It’s very responsive with no lag, and it allows for multiple functions, from reviewing your images by swiping, selecting quick modes, and (best of all) setting a focus point. I’ve long heard that Canon’s Dual Pixel Autofocus is among the very best, and after trying it on the Canon 90D, I have to agree. When you select a focus point by tapping on the touchscreen, tracking is fast and accurate. This came in handy when shooting this tiny and very fast lizard perched on a sprinkler head. Within seconds of snapping this photo, he took off running.

Within seconds of snapping this photo, tiny (and very fast) lizard took off running, but the 90D’s live view AF was quick enough to capture him, first.

All in all…

After a full week of shooting with the Canon 90D and the kit lens, I’ve adjusted to its size and shooting style. If I had to, I could use this camera comfortably to shoot photos and videos for both fun or professional use. But given the choice, I would still reach for a mirrorless camera instead. It has nothing to do with image quality (I still prefer Canon’s output), or autofocus performance (though Sony still has an edge).

Instead, it comes down to the DSLR’s lack of an electronic viewfinder (EVF). With mirrorless cameras, I’ve become used to constantly (and rapidly) switch between using the rear LCD screen and EVF to compose and shoot both photos and videos. This transition is quick and seamless on a mirrorless camera. Yes, you have an option to enable Live View shooting on a DSLR like the Canon 90D, but the experience is clunky and therefore not practical on a professional shoot, or even a casual vacation.

After 12 years Sony is building a new image sensor fab

Image Sensor World writes: Sony plans to invest 100b yen ($918M) in its budget for the next fiscal year to build a new image sensor fab. The fab is expected to start operation as soon as in the fiscal year…

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