Zenit is Back! First Look at New 50mm f/0.95, 50mm f/1.2, and 85mm f/1.2

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Zenit is Back! First Look at New 50mm f/0.95, 50mm f/1.2, and 85mm f/1.2
Sep 172017
 

News broke back in February that Russian camera manufacturer Zenit was going to come back and take on Leica in the luxury camera market. But the first Zenit products to see the light of day aren’t cameras, it’s three very fast KMZ/Zenit lenses: the Zenitar 50mm f/0.95, 50mm f/1.2, and 85mm f/1.2.

Photo Rumors initially spotted the lenses last week on Russian photographer Denis Gavrilov’s website (translated link). And when we got in touch with Gavrilov to ask permission to share the images, he was kind enough to upload even more!

So let’s take the new lenses one by one, starting with the fastest of them.

Zenitar 50mm f/0.95

No doubt meant to give mere mortals an affordable alternative to the much lusted-after Noctilux (although, we hope, at a significantly lower price tag), the Zenitar 50mm f/0.95 is meant for Sony’s FE mirrorless cameras.

Sporting 9 elements in 8 groups, the lens’s 14 aperture blades in 2 levels surprised Gavrilov. The lens will supposedly arrive sometime in 2017 and run you close to $500… so yes, just a touch cheaper than the $9,700 Noctilux.

Here are a few more shots of the lens:

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Zenit’s Full Frame Mirrorless Camera to Be a Rebranded Leica SL, Rumor Says

 Gear  Comments Off on Zenit’s Full Frame Mirrorless Camera to Be a Rebranded Leica SL, Rumor Says
Sep 172017
 

The iconic Russian camera brand Zenit caused a flurry of excitement back in February after it announced that it’s relaunching in 2018 with a full frame mirrorless camera that rivals Leica in luxury. But the camera may do more than rival Leica… It may actually be a Leica at its core — a rebranded Leica SL.

USSRPhoto is hearing from a Zenit source working inside the company’s KMZ factory that the innards of the upcoming Zenit camera is presumably the German-made Leica SL, which is a medium format mirrorless camera.

There may be outward modifications to the camera’s style by Zenit, and special lenses for the new camera will be made by KMZ in Russia.

“KMZ is a mechanical and optical factory, so they don’t do electronics at all,” USSRPhoto tells PetaPixel. “Anything [digital/electronic] that is done is outsourced to French and German firms.

“What is a fact is that KMZ is organizing an optical shop within the Zenit factory to start production of lenses for this model.”

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Here’s the First 8K Timelapse Shot with the Nikon D850

 Gear  Comments Off on Here’s the First 8K Timelapse Shot with the Nikon D850
Sep 072017
 

The new Nikon D850 lets you create 8K timelapses using the 45.7-megapixel sensor and the built-in Interval Timer. If you’ve been wanting to see what 8K shot with the camera looks like, today’s your lucky day: we got our hands on the first 8K timelapse short film shot on the D850.

The 2.5-minute video above was captured by photographer and Nikon Ambassador Lucas Gilman in Iceland using a pre-production D850. If you somehow have an 8K-capable screen, be sure to select the 4320p/8K quality option in the video to watch it in its full glory.

Here’s an illustration showing how much more resolution 8K has than 4K, Full HD, and SD:

Gilman says he chose to test the camera’s 8K capabilities in Iceland due to the movements that can be seen everywhere in the landscapes and due to the microclimates that provide a huge amount of visual diversity even in a short amount of time.

The project was challenging though: there’s only a single sunrise and sunset you can capture each day, and each 3-4 second sequence in the video above took hours for Gilman to plan and shoot. He was planning to shoot night scenes as well, but Iceland’s days were 20 hours long while he was in the country.

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Review: The Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D is a Fine Lens at a Fair Price

 Gear  Comments Off on Review: The Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D is a Fine Lens at a Fair Price
Aug 102017
 

A few weeks ago Laowa sent me a copy of their first lens dedicated to Sony’s full frame E-mount system, the 15mm f/2. This lens is meant for landscape and astrophotographers who want to capture as much of the beautiful night sky as possible; which means wide and fast.

Last year, I was able to get a copy of their 12mm f/2.8 for Canon and used it on my Sony a7R II with a Metabones adaptor. I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed the lens. A lot of what was great about that lens can be translated over to this one as well.

First, let’s talk about the physical design and characteristics.

Physical Characteristics

Since it was designed for a mirrorless system, they were able to pack in a very wide lens with a fast aperture into a compact system. They’re able to keep things slim thanks to a shorter flange focal distance and by staying clear from fancier things like autofocus or stabilization. What you’re getting is glass and metal. The 15mm is built like a tank. I don’t feel like I’m using a plastic toy. That does mean that it is a bit on the heavier side, but still pleasant to use (500g or 1.1 lbs).

The aperture ring can click in one stop increments from f/2 to f/22; or can be declicked — great for you video buffs. I did a quick video to show off the smooth transition between exposures as well as to see how things look at f/2. You can certainly see some vignetting going on here but this is wide open on a very wide lens, that’s going to happen with these kinds of specs. The bokeh is actually quite pleasing if you want to get super close to your subject like I did here. That’s not going to happen often, but at least you can see how that turns out.

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Here’s the First 81-Megapixel Photo by the Light L16 16-Camera Camera

 Gear  Comments Off on Here’s the First 81-Megapixel Photo by the Light L16 16-Camera Camera
Aug 102017
 

The camera startup Light began shipping out the first L16 cameras to pre-order customers last month. If you want to see what the 16-camera camera can do, the company has also released a set of full-resolution photos for you to pixel peel.

In case you haven’t been following this camera’s journey, here’s the gist: a startup called Light has created a camera called the L16 that contains 16 separate camera modules on its front surface.

The images captured by these modules are combined into single photos, giving the camera some groundbreaking features. These include 52-megapixel+ photos, 5x optical zoom, ultra-low light performance, depth of field control, and more, all in a relatively small compact camera.

Light just released three full-resolution photos showing what the L16 can do. The first is the largest of the three. It’s a massive 81-megapixel picture of a man in a field holding a machete (you can download the full-res version here).

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The Citograph 35 is a 35mm Pancake Lens That’s Always in Focus, by Will Nicholls

 Gear  Comments Off on The Citograph 35 is a 35mm Pancake Lens That’s Always in Focus, by Will Nicholls
Jul 082017
 

C.P. Goerz has unveiled a new lens called the Citograph 35. It’s a 35mm f/8 lens that promises to “always be in focus”. Cito means spontaneous in Latin, and that’s where the name is derived from. The German start-up behind the Kickstarter campaign wants to bring spontaneity back to photography and Instagram on a more professional level.

So how exactly does this lens work? With a fixed focus set to the hyperfocal distance point, everything at 9 feet or more from the lens is in focus.

The key thing about this lens is how compact it is, weighing only 120 grams. It’s “one of the thinnest lenses in the world,” and looks almost unnoticeable on your camera.

It’ll be available for Nikon, Canon Sony, Leica M, Micro Four Thirds, and Fuji cameras. The creators envision this lens being used on all sorts of DSLR and mirrorless bodies, bringing impulsive photography back to professional cameras.

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RED Unveils a $1,200 Phone That’s a ‘Holographic Media Machine’, by Michael Zhang

 Gear  Comments Off on RED Unveils a $1,200 Phone That’s a ‘Holographic Media Machine’, by Michael Zhang
Jul 082017
 

The cinema camera company RED just made a huge announcement: its first smartphone. The new RED Hydrogen One is an Android OS smartphone that’s being referred to as a “holographic media machine” for viewing and capturing “multi-dimensional” imagery.

The phone features a 5.7-inch “holographic” display that makes bulky glasses obsolete for viewing multi-dimensional content.

“This incredible retina-riveting display advancement features nanotechnology that seamlessly switches between traditional 2D content, holographic multi-view content, 3D content, and interactive games,” RED says.

In addition to displaying content, the RED Hydrogen One will also be a camera for capturing content. A “modular component system,” perhaps similar to what’s found on the Moto Z with its Hasselblad camera add-on, will allow users to use attachments to shoot higher quality still photos and videos, including RED’s new Hydrogen format holographic images.

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This Photographer Uses a Flash Drone to Light Difficult Portraits, by Michael Zhang

 Gear  Comments Off on This Photographer Uses a Flash Drone to Light Difficult Portraits, by Michael Zhang
Jun 152017
 

Want to place an off-camera flash where stands and assistants can’t go? Try mounting it to a drone. That’s what Chinese photographer Fuyan Liu does to light difficult portraits in extreme situations.

WeTalkUAV reports that Liu attached a flash to a DJI Inspire 2 drone for a recent fashion photo shoot on top of a tall building.

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Ingenious ‘FilmLab’ App is the Easiest Way to Turn Negatives Into Digital Files

 Technique  Comments Off on Ingenious ‘FilmLab’ App is the Easiest Way to Turn Negatives Into Digital Files
May 132017
 

Software developer Abe Fettig has a winner on his hands. His newly developed app FilmLab makes it easier than ever to turn film negatives and slides of various sizes into digital files without having to touch a scanner, understand wet mounting, or really do anymore more than point and shoot with your smartphone.

Fettig says he created the app for himself. “When I got into shooting film, I started imagining software that would make it easier and more fun to scan and share my negatives with other people,” he says in the Kickstarter video. “About six months ago I started working on FilmLab as a side project, and now I have a working prototype.”

And that prototype is impressive in its sheer simplicity. It really is as simple as point and shoot. No more difficult than scanning prints with a smartphone app like Google’s Photo Scan. Check out the walkthrough video below to see how it works:

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Sony Unveils Blazing Fast a9: A 24MP Sports Camera that Shoots 20fps

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony Unveils Blazing Fast a9: A 24MP Sports Camera that Shoots 20fps
Apr 202017
 

Holy frames per second Batman! Sony just raised the bar on high-speed sports photography with their latest “groundbreaking” (but actually) camera release. The newly-announced Sony a9 is a 24MP high-end full-frame mirrorless sports camera that can fire off an insane 20fps with no blackout.

Sony is calling this “the most technologically advanced, innovative digital camera that [we have] ever created,” and this descriptor doesn’t miss the mark.

With 20fps blackout-free and distortion-free silent shooting, high-speed tracking with 60 AF/AE calculations per second, a 693-point AF system with 93% frame coverage, a 3,686k-dot EVF that runs at 120fps, and 5-axis in-body stabilization that offers up to 5 stops of shake reduction, the camera is looking to challenge entrenched sports cams like the Canon 1DX Mark II and Nikon D5.

The a9 can also shoot full-frame, full-sensor 4K that is actually downsampled from 6K worth of pixels; it features an Ethernet port for quick file transfer and dual SD card slots for plenty of storage; and the new battery Sony put inside boasts twice the capacity (480 shots per charge) of previous models. If you need even more charge, the optional battery grip holds two of these batteries, for a total of 950 shots.

 

Putting the impressive spec sheet aside, the headline feature is, of course, the sheer speed of this thing. At 20fps for up to 241 RAW or 362 JPEG frames, it makes even the 1DX Mark II and its 14fps seems a bit… clunky.

Sony is able to reach these unheard of continuous shooting speeds thanks to the new stacked CMOS sensor at its core, a chip Sony says is the “first of its kind” and “enables data speed processing at up to 20x faster than previous Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras.” Pair that sensor and its built-in RAM with a brand new BIONZ X engine and you’ve got a camera that screams.

Here are a few videos that offer a closer look at this revolutionary new mirrorless camera and some of its most compelling features:

Promo Video

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Famous B&W Photos Turned into Color by a 21-Year-Old Whiz

 Technique  Comments Off on Famous B&W Photos Turned into Color by a 21-Year-Old Whiz
Apr 162017
 

 

Marina Amaral is a 21-year-old Brazilian retoucher who is receiving widespread acclaim for her work adding color to famous historical B&W photos.

Amaral’s work provides a different and beautiful look at various people and events.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, 1914
Senator John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy, 1953

Each of the works requires a lot of careful research, planning, and retouching — Amaral sometimes spends months working on a single image. All the digital editing is done by hand in Photoshop, and often involves hundreds of different layers of color coming together to form the final look.

Here are some more colorizations Amaral has done so far:

Body of Confederate sharpshooter, 1863

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Camera-Specific Outdoor Packs Suck, Here’s What I Use Instead

 Gear, travel  Comments Off on Camera-Specific Outdoor Packs Suck, Here’s What I Use Instead
Apr 022017
 

If you’ve ever loaded up a large camera backpack (like something from Think Tank Photo or LowePro) and hiked a mountain, you’ll be able to fully appreciate how terrible the experience is… well, except for the views.

The narrow shoulder straps dig deeply into your shoulders and neck. The pack bounces all over, sliding from side to side. The “waist belt”—a piece of bare 2-inch nylon webbing with a buckle—does more harm than good, and executes exactly zero of the functions that a waist belt is supposed to offer. You curse the thing under your breath and mutter that there must be a better way.

And there is!

The solution I found and have been very happy with is to ditch the camera bag and go with a pack that has been developed over decades with engineering designed to handle heavy loads comfortably in all kinds of conditions and terrains: a hiking pack.

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10 Tips and Tricks for Making Difficult Selections in Photoshop

 Technique  Comments Off on 10 Tips and Tricks for Making Difficult Selections in Photoshop
Mar 142017
 

If you’re just starting out in Photoshop and would like to learn the art of making difficult selections to isolate things in photos, check out this great video tutorial by Tutvid. It’s a 37-minute lesson with 10 tips and tricks on methods that range from beginner to advanced.

“Learn to make virtually ANY selection and cut out anything you would even need in Photoshop,” writes Nate Dodson. “We’ll make simple, straight-line selections with the Poly Lasso tool, we’ll select car parts with the Pen Tool and edit the path, we’ll use Calculations to create extremely intricate and difficult selections VERY quickly, we’ll learn to use and work with Select and Mask as well as Refine Edge, we’ll build a selection based on a single channel, and SO much more!”

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Lightroom Mobile Adds Powerful RAW HDR Capture Mode in Latest Update

 HDR Images, HDR Info  Comments Off on Lightroom Mobile Adds Powerful RAW HDR Capture Mode in Latest Update
Mar 142017
 

Adobe released a major update for Lightroom Mobile on both iOS and Android today. And in addition to a few simple features like “speed review” and a notification widget for iOS, and radial & linear selection tools for Android, Adobe dropped a bombshell: RAW HDR capture… on your smartphone.

Smartphone cameras are improving by leaps and bounds, but they still fall far short of bigger-sensor brethren, particularly where dynamic range is concerned. This update, claims Adobe, will change all that, allowing your measly smartphone to capture a wider range of tones than previously possible:

“The new HDR mode works by automatically scanning the scene to determine the correct exposure range and then capturing three DNG files which are then automatically aligned, merged, deghosted, and tonemapped in the app,” explains Adobe. “You get a 32­bit floating point DNG, with all of the benefits of both an HDR and a raw photo, which is processed by the same algorithms with the same quality as the HDR technology built into Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom.”

The new RAW HDR mode in Lightroom Mobile should make a mockery of your phone’s built-in HDR capabilities, which can typically balance out only the harshest of tones by using two JPEGs. In comparison, Lightroom’s Mobile’s three RAW DNGs are orders of magnitude more useful.

To take advantage, you’ll have to have an iPhone 6s or newer, iPhone SE, or iPad Pro 9.7-inch on the iOS side, or a Samsung S7, S7 Edge, Google Pixel, or Pixel XL for Android. Additional Android devices are being developed for “as quickly as possible.”

Here are some sample photos, all of them captured using this new HDR mode:

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Photos of Canon’s Mirrorless M6 and Removable EVF Leaked

 Gear  Comments Off on Photos of Canon’s Mirrorless M6 and Removable EVF Leaked
Feb 082017
 

Photos of Canon’s soon-to-be-announced EOS M6 mirrorless camera have leaked, and unlike the M5, it doesn’t feature an EVF. Instead, Canon is releasing a new removable EVF that has also leaked for your peeping pleasure.

These leaked photos come to us from Digicame-info, who regularly gets their hands on official product shots just days (or sometimes hours) before an official announcement. This time is no different. The M6 is expected to be announced this month before CP+, which starts February 23rd.

Scroll down to see all of the leaked photos of the black and silver M6 and the EVF-DC2 viewfinder, and keep your eyes peeled for an official announcement, probably in the next few days.

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Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art Lens Awarded Highest Score Ever by DxOMark

 Gear  Comments Off on Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art Lens Awarded Highest Score Ever by DxOMark
Feb 022017
 

Sigma is still on a roll when it comes to its high-end Art lenses, and the latest accolade is impressive: DxOMark just awarded the new Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art lens the highest score the benchmarking company has ever given.

The lens beat out a trio of highly regarded Zeiss lenses for the top spot, earning an overall score of 50 while the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/2 received a 48.

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Canon 5D Mark IV vs Nikon D810 vs Sony A7R II: Side-by-Side Comparison

 Gear  Comments Off on Canon 5D Mark IV vs Nikon D810 vs Sony A7R II: Side-by-Side Comparison
Jan 012017
 

If you’re in the market for a high-end full-frame camera, chances are good the Canon 5D Mark IV, Sony A7R II, and Nikon D810 are all contenders. Check out this side-by-side comparison if you’re having a hard time deciding which of the three is best for you.

This comparison was put together by JP Morgan over at The Slanted Lens, who enlisted the help of Kenneth Merrill to put all three of these cameras through their paces using native glass. They tested image quality, autofocus accuracy and tracking, dynamic range, and high ISO/low light performance to see where each camera excelled, or if there’s even a noticeable difference.

You should definitely check out the full video to see the comparison tests and judge the results for yourself, but if you’re in a hurry, you can read our summary below.

fullframeshootout_feat

Image Quality

Canon really fell short here, but then again it’s also the lowest resolution camera of the bunch at just 30.4MP compared to Nikon’s 36.3MP and Sony’s 42MP. Both the Nikon and Sony came out very sharp, but each exposed the scene a little differently, and the lower res Nikon seems to have generated the highest quality image.

Autofocus

Sony won tracking hands down thanks to the plethora of AF points going all the way to the edge of the sensor and its nifty Face Detection mode. As far as accuracy, Nikon seems to hit the mark more accurately than Canon (the Sony had to sit this test out).

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Why I’m Leaving Apple for Microsoft: Switching as a Photographer

 Gear  Comments Off on Why I’m Leaving Apple for Microsoft: Switching as a Photographer
Dec 062016
 

applemicrosoftfeat

iPhones, MacBooks, Mac Pros, heck, even the Apple Watch, it was a good run indeed. However, times have changed, and that beauty that was once your innovation has now been covered up with the makeup that is nice marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am writing this on iMac number three, but like all other Apple products, it will soon be slower and barely usable due to some OS update that, while not mandatory, will show me an “update” banner ruthlessly until I succumb. But as I look back on the good times, I start to see what our relationship really was.

I was young and easily influenced. I didn’t just like Apple products, I looked up to them, for they were what professional photographers used. But now that my career as an advertising photographer is no longer new, I find the “need” that once existed is no longer there. When I get asked by strangers how I can get by as a photographer without having an iPhone, the reality of the relationship is drawn into complete focus.

It all started with a MacBook Air…

I was just out of college, and starting this career that is photography. I didn’t have a lot of money, but knew I wanted an Apple computer since they were made for creatives. Watching the keynote where Steve Jobs pulled the MacBook Air out of an envelope, I was smitten.

Unfortunately for me, I had to wait until I could buy a used one on Craigslist because the price new was too much. Creepy/shady transaction aside, there I stood with my first Apple product. It was perfect in every way, from the battery life, to the size of it, to how it felt to type on it. Over the years, many a blog post would be written on that little laptop and some incredible photo shoots would see their files transferred on its hard drive as I flew home.

However, as time went on, it got slower and slower. Through the latest and greatest OS updates that claimed to make it “faster,” my little MacBook Air would barely run Safari. But not to worry, I had been fortunate to have some success in this career, so I could buy a new MacBook that ran like the old one used to. On top of that, I could get a powerful laptop on which I could do all my editing while on set.

Enter the MacBook Pro…

Immediately upon taking it out of the box I remember thinking, it’s a bit big, but it’s like having a desktop that I can take with me everywhere. This argument fought in my brain, only to be quelled by the words of Jonathan Ive telling us that the fans were not symmetrical in it so it would be quieter. I carried around the MacBook Pro to every shoot for years, even to set with me as recently as last week. However, I have yet to ever edit a file on it, sans a quick resize.

While it may be possible to adjust files from smaller DSLRs, the idea of manipulating a 100 megapixel file on it is humorous at best. In short, my laptop has been what I have always wanted it to be, a file transportation system that I can write blog posts on.

So with that in mind, I began to crave the return of the MacBook Air. It was small, light and easy to chuck files on before getting on a plane. However, what we got was a new laptop that costs more to have less buttons (but at least we can select emojis on the keyboard). Herein lies my concern about Apple and the reason for my change.

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Affinity Photo is Now on Windows: Get the Free Beta

 Technique  Comments Off on Affinity Photo is Now on Windows: Get the Free Beta
Nov 122016
 

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One of the most highly regarded Photoshop alternatives is now available on Windows. Affinity Photo today launched its free public beta for Windows users, allowing anyone to download the popular pro photo editing software.

photo-win-surface

Affinity Photo first launched as a free public beta for Mac back in February 2015, amassing over 230,000 downloads before officially launching in July 2015 with a $50 price tag.

The app was selected as Apple’s “App of the Year” that year, and currently has a 5/5 star rating in the iTunes App Store.

The new Windows version of Affinity Photo is a feature-for-feature clone of the Mac version, so you’ll find all the familiar tools.

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PSA: Apple to Update Retina MacBook Pros This Month, Hold Off Buying One

 Apple  Comments Off on PSA: Apple to Update Retina MacBook Pros This Month, Hold Off Buying One
Oct 042016
 

macbookpro_feat

Apple’s powerful, photographer-friendly line of Retina display MacBook Pros are overdue for an update. But if you’re thinking of getting one anyway, don’t! Reliable reports claim Apple will announce an update to these laptops at the end of the month.

According to MacRumors and Bloomberg, both the 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models are scheduled for an official update at the end of October, possibly at a press event on October 24th.

“Apple plans to introduce completely revamped 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros in the fourth quarter of 2016,” writes MacRumors. “The machines could debut as soon as October, and based on upcoming software release plans for macOS 10.12.1, Apple is aiming to finalize the software with features for the new MacBook Pros on October 7, suggesting a late October launch for the new machines.”

Here’s a quick roundup of “What to expect” that MacRumors posted a couple of months ago:

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