Neptune Photo Newsletter
March 2020 Volume 98
by Steve Zimic
Olympus E-M1 MK III
Although the E-M1 MK II is still available, I imagine the MK III will replace it in the line up pretty soon. In a nutshell they’ve incorporated many of the features of the E-M1X into this model, leaving the weight and size virtually the same as the MK II. The added or improved features are as follows: 7 stops of image stabilization (7.5 stops with an image stabilized lens), shutter rated to 400K cycles, a faster True Pix IX processor, 4 custom settings available on the mode dial, a joystick for moving focus points and perhaps navigating the menus, USB power and charging, bluetooth connectivity, handheld 50MP high resolution shooting, 18 frames per second with AF tracking (up from 15 fps) and live neutral density shooting with 1,2,3,4 and 5 stop values. For astrophotography they’ve added a special auto focus mode that allows the camera to accurately auto focus on stars.
The 20MP sensor is unchanged, however I’ve read that the new processor improves image quality with regard to noise levels. The body is listed as all metal as opposed to the MK II’s metal/plastic, which may have aided in the improved weather sealing. Considering that the MK II version already had more features than any other camera on the market, this is an impressive list of additions and improvements. For owners of the MK II version, the optional battery grip is the same for MK III. The camera should be available this month at $1799. More info on the Olympus website.
This new model has a fully articulated 1.6 MP screen. Other than that the only other external difference is that the metering dial has been replaced with a still/video dial. Perhaps the greatest improvement though is the addition of 5 axis IBIS with up to 6.5 stops of benefit. That IBIS has received excellent reviews when shooting video. On the video front they’ve added 240p at 1080 for super slow motion. There have been some complaints about the removal of the headphone jack, which now requires the use of a USB dongle. If you get the optional 2 battery grip however, the headphone jack is included. The mechanical shutter will shoot up to 15 fps and is rated for 300 activations. There’s a new larger battery that can deliver up to 600 frames. The face and eye AF tracking has been greatly improved for both still and video. The camera will be available this spring for $1700. Considering the price difference compared to the X-T3, I imagine it will remain in the lineup. More info on Fuji’s website.
Sony 20mm f1.8G
Sony has announced that the lens will be available this month for $900. If you’re into astrophotography or any other kind of low light shooting this would be a must have lens. Like all G lenses it’s fully weather sealed and has a function button on the side. At least this lens is reasonably sized compared to the upcoming Nikon version with the same specs, which appears to be 50% longer and with a larger diameter. More info on the Sony Website.
Canon 24-105 f4-7.1 RF
With all the rather pricey lenses coming out for the R cameras, this rather affordable lens is a real welcome. The lens weighs in at a mere 395 grams and uses 67mm filters. If you have or are considering the EOS RP camera, this would be a great companion lens. Yes it is a bit slow at the long end, but then again the lens is image stabilized so that should help considerably with low light shooting. There’s also a control ring which is programmable for various functions. The lens will sell for $400 and is forthcoming, but no immediate release date. More info on the Canon Website.
Nikon Z7 - version 3.0, Z6 version 3.0, Z50 version 1.10 - For the Z6 and Z7 it adds animal detect AF, support for Lexar Prograde CFexpress cards, and improved usability of subject tracking. For the Z50 it adds a focus limit switch.
Leica Q2 - version 2.0 - Adds improvements to the usability of the AF including improvements to the AF tracking. DNG and DNG+jpeg files write to the card much faster. Also adds a new top menu and the option of 60 or 120 fps refresh rate for the EFV.