Ricoh GR III First Impressions Review

The 24-megapixel pocketable APS-C camera

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on May 8, 2019

The Ricoh GR III is an interesting release from Ricoh. Surprisingly popular for a niche product (some stores in Japan listed it as their best-selling camera in March 2019), it has a lot going for it. The GR line has gathered quite a following over the years, and this new addition follows in the tracks of its predecessors.

While we work on an in-depth review of the GR III, today we take a first look at the camera to see whether or not it is worthy of the hype surrounding it.

Pentax K-1 II vs K-1 Autofocus Test

An early but detailed look at autofocus with the K-1 II

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Jul 13, 2018

Continuing our series of "first impressions" hands-on tests with the K-1 II camera, and prior to publishing our complete camera review, today we will take a look at the autofocus performance of the K-1 II.

From the beginning, a lot of emphasis has been put in the K-1 II’s increased ISO range and, even more, on the accelerator unit supposed to improve high ISO handling. However, the K-1 II also offers better AF tracking and general AF speeds, at least according to Ricoh representatives.

This article will look at the K-1 II's AF performance in detail. First, single AF will be studied. We will then evaluate AF-C in a variety of scenarios. In each case, we directly compare the K-1 II to its predecessor, the K-1.

Review of the Photocross 13 Sling Bag by Mindshift Gear

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Jun 18, 2018

Always interested in fleshing out their lineup of bags for active photographers, Mindshift Gear recently released their first sling bag, the Photocross.

While most of the company's products are large bags meant to be used on long outings, allowing the photographer to carry hiking and camping essentials as well as photography equipment, the Photocross is designed for a lighter load. This does not mean the bag is in any way less rugged. The bag uses weather-resistant materials and shows that the company gave a particular thought to the needs of winter photographers.

The bag is available in two sizes, called 10 and 13 (referring to the maximum screen size of the electronics they can carry, and not to the internal volume). We tested the larger version.

Continue on to the Mindshift Photocross Bag Review

Comparing the 3 Pentax FA Limited Primes

What are the strengths and weaknesses of each lens?

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on May 22, 2018

The three FA Limited lenses, often called the Three Princesses or Three Amigos, present many similarities but also a few significant differences. Now that we have completed our in-depth review of each on full frame, we can more easily compare them and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. In this short article, I will give my very personal evaluation of each lens.

In case you missed the recent reviews, here are some quick links:

The similarities between the three lenses relate mostly to those elements which contribute to their reputation. Build quality is superb in a small package. Colors, contrast and general rendering really set the lenses apart from many others. The so-called 3D rendering is consistent among the three models. Colors are rich and, more importantly perhaps, gradations are subtle and gradual, without any harsh transitions. In all cases, center sharpness is excellent at most apertures.

Chromatic aberration and vignetting are the weak points of the three FA Limiteds. Moreover, the 43mm and 77mm show softer corners at wider apertures. Because of this, these two lenses are maybe better suited for portraits or anything requiring subject isolation. On the other hand, the 31mm shows the most consistent sharpness figures.

Celestron AVX Product Review

Accurate Tracking with your 500mm

By K David in Hands-On Tests on May 4, 2018

B&H Photo Video loaned us a Celestron AVX tracking mount specifically to test with a 500mm f/4.5 Takumar telephoto lens. We wanted to get some close-up, tracked galaxy images for the Astrophotography Series, and this mount seemed like the best option for delivering those images. The mount test afforded us an opportunity to provide in-depth information about an uncommon, niche piece of photography equipment largely unknown outside of telescope photography circles. We elected to use a fast 500mm telephoto lens in lieu of a telescope because the process would be more recognizable to photographers not familiar with the specialized language used for describing telescopes. This article discusses the AVX mount with a telephoto lens and some of the incredible advantages it provides, some limitations, and some drawbacks.

Celestron AVX, Takumar 500mm f/4.5, and Pentax MZ-S

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