DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101

 Gear  Comments Off on DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101
Nov 202017
 

Last month, we reported that DxOMark had reviewed the Pentax 645Z back in 2015 and given it a highest-ever score of 101 before pausing its medium format camera reviews prior to publishing any. That Pentax 645Z review is finally out, and DxOMark still has glowing things to say about the camera.

DxOMark says the 51.4-megapixel camera has extremely good image quality scores, and the large pixels on the sensor gives the camera the best low-light ISO scores ever recorded up to this point among all cameras.

“It’s clear from our testing that the Pentax 645Z’s sensor is extremely capable, coming within a whisper of matching the performance of the Hasselblad X1D sensor (our highest-scoring sensor to date),” DxOMark says. “The 645Z’s high dynamic range and color sensitivity make it ideally suited for capturing the types of scenes that are traditionally favored by medium-format photographers — landscapes, weddings, portraits, and still lifes (commercial).”

The camera is interesting to compare against the Nikon D850, DxOMark says. The Pentax has a sensor that’s 1.7 times larger, but the D850 is about 3 years newer. The Nikon D850 actually stacks up well against the medium format camera thanks to Sony’s sensor manufacturing prowess.

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FUJIFILM X-E3 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on FUJIFILM X-E3 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions
Nov 132017
 

The new FUJIFILM X-E3 is the latest edition to the ever growing family of FUJIFILM’s X-mount line. This APS-C sensor-sized, mirrorless stills camera, can shoot high quality 4k (UHD) video and, dare I say it, is the best they have produced so far! As a reviewer, I had the chance to work with the X-PRO2, X-T2, X-T20 and the GFX 50S. While all produce nice looking images, the new X-E3 sets itself apart from the crowd by offering greater ease of use (mostly due to the added focus lever and LCD touch screen), enhanced autofocus capabilities and very pleasing video quality. Read on for my FUJIFILM X-E3 review. 

FUJIFILM was kind enough to supply me with a production sample that I could use and explore for a few days; here are my findings from my FUJIFILM X-E3 review:

Ergonomics

The first thing I noticed when taking the camera out of the box was how light-weight it is, to the point of not being sure if FUJIFILM had decided to pull my leg and send me an empty camera shell! In a world where every gram counts, particularly in relation to international travel, this is a big advantage.

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Sony a7R III Announced Along Sony 24-105mm f4 and 400m f2.8

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony a7R III Announced Along Sony 24-105mm f4 and 400m f2.8
Oct 262017
 

Today is a Sony announcement day that sees the unveiling of the Sony a7R III and 24-105mm f4 zoom, and the announcement of an upcoming 400m f2.8 G Master lens.

Sony a7R III

The wait is over: Sony has finally unveiled the first in the new generation of the A7 series. As always, the Sony a7R III comes at the vanguard of the new announcements – ahead of the A7 and S models – and this time brings a host of improvements to existing features and a few new surprises.

As expected, the new Sony a7R III brings a high pixel-count sensor, with its 42.4MP of resolution once again making this the model aimed primarily at professional stills photographers. The camera’s back-illuminated Exmor R and BIONZ X processor make this model capable of capturing 10 still frames per second, for a buffer of 76 continuous compressed RAW or JPEG images. ISO is available from 100-32000, and Sony claims that noise has been reduced by up to a full stop.

All of this with the advanced autofocus capabilities we have come to expect from this line’s R model, thanks to its 399 phase-detection AF points across 68% of the image, in addition to 425 contrast-detection points. Sony also claims that the camera’s Eye AF performance has been improved when the subject is moving, backlit or looking down.

What about video?

Just like with the II, the new Sony a7R III is capable of recording internal 4K in both full-frame and Super 35mm modes. As you may remember from some of our camera tests of the previous generation, the A7R II offered a better 4K image in crop mode, so it remains to be seen whether this will still be the case with the a7R III (take a look at some comparisons here, and our review here). It’s worth mentioning that the camera also supports proxy recording for easier editing of high-resolution videos, particularly useful when dealing with the relatively processor-intensive XAVC codec. Additionally, one of the biggest improvements to the video capabilities of the camera is the ability to achieve an increased resolution of 5K in Super 35mm mode thanks to an oversampling of a 15MP section of the sensor.

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Pre-Order:

Sony a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS E-Mount NEX Camera Lens

Review: The Nikon D850’s Negative Digitizer Isn’t Ready for Prime Time

 Gear  Comments Off on Review: The Nikon D850’s Negative Digitizer Isn’t Ready for Prime Time
Oct 242017
 

 

A couple weeks ago, I got a chance to run the Nikon D850 through its paces as a scanner. The “Negative Digitizer” feature, which can automatically flip negatives to positive got a lot of buzz as the camera was being released, and I was eager to try it out.

I’ve been using digital cameras to scan my negatives since I was first able to put my hands on one. When done properly, it’s possible to digitize very large collections quickly and efficiently.

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A Canon Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera May Arrive in 2018 with New Sensor

 Gear  Comments Off on A Canon Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera May Arrive in 2018 with New Sensor
Oct 082017
 

It looks like Canon and Nikon are now racing to unleash a full frame mirrorless camera on the world of photography. Nikon has given numerous statements in recent days that seem to confirm its development of such a camera, and now more details are emerging of an upcoming Canon full-frame mirrorless camera as well.

Canon Rumors is hearing from a trusted source that Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera will contain its own dedicated CMOS sensor rather than one that’s already being used in Canon’s full frame DSLR cameras (e.g. the 6D Mark II and the 5D Mark IV).

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Nikon D850 Best DSLR Ever, Gets First Full 100 Score at DxOMark

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Nikon D850 Best DSLR Ever, Gets First Full 100 Score at DxOMark
Oct 082017
 

The Nikon D850 was just awarded the first full 100 overall score ever given out to a DSLR by the testing lab DxOMark. The D850 now sits alone in the top spot on the camera leaderboard, with the full-frame mirrorless Sony a7R II sitting at #2 with a score of 98.

This is the first time a full-frame backside-illuminated sensor has appeared in a Nikon camera, and it’s a sensor that “breaks new ground for image quality,” DxOMark says. The D850 has the best color and dynamic range at base ISO among all commercially available cameras tested by the lab — it’s so good it rivals medium format sensors in some aspects.

“At base ISO, the Nikon D850 image quality for color is unrivaled for a DSLR, although the mirrorless Sony A7R II and full frame compact RX1R II comes pretty close,” DxOMark writes. “The D850’s color is on par with the best results we’ve seen on medium-format sensors, such as the Phase One IQ180 digital back, and fractionally ahead of the Phase One P65.”

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iPhone 8 Plus Has the Best Smartphone Camera Ever, DxOMark Says

 Gear  Comments Off on iPhone 8 Plus Has the Best Smartphone Camera Ever, DxOMark Says
Sep 242017
 

The new iPhone 8 Plus has the best smartphone camera ever. That’s the conclusion DxOMark came to after the camera testing lab went hands-on with the new Apple smartphone. With a record score of 94, it’s now the clear leader in the market.

“The Apple iPhone 8 Plus has a main camera system truly worthy of a flagship phone,” DxOMark says in the opening of its newly published review. “[It’s] the best-performing mobile device camera we have ever tested.”

The upgrades given to the cameras — a 12MP main wide-angle camera (with a backside-illuminated (BSI) sensor and f/1.8 lens) and a 12MP telephoto camera (with a f/2.8 lens) — have improved its quality in every single category. The iPhone 8 Plus scores exceptionally high marks in both Zoom image quality and Bokeh quality, two new categories that DxOMark just added to its scoring system.

The score of 94 puts in 2 points ahead of the new iPhone 8 and 4 points ahead of the Google Pixel and HTC U11.

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The New Cmotion cPRO Wireless Hand Unit Offers Ultimate Focus Control

 Gear  Comments Off on The New Cmotion cPRO Wireless Hand Unit Offers Ultimate Focus Control
Sep 212017
 

We took a look at the new Cmotion cPRO lens controller, a feature packed, professional hand unit for professional focus assistance with Camin integration.

We saw a very interesting and affordable low end wireless focus control solution with Tilta’s new $399 Nucleus-N yesterday. Today we’re looking at state of the art high end stuff. Here’s what Cmotion had in store during IBC 2017.

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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:

Zenitar_50_095_1

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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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Canon 6D Mark II Vs. 80D and 7D Mark II In-Depth Review

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Canon 6D Mark II Vs. 80D and 7D Mark II In-Depth Review
Sep 072017
 

The Canon 6D Mark II has not been the most well-received camera thus far. But how does it actually perform, and are the complaints justified?

The initial complaints were around the fact that this camera does not shoot 4K video. Discussions then moved on to its dynamic range and how it underperformed even against APS-C cameras. The most recent complaints are around the fact that its performance at higher ISOs may be worse than the original 6D. Personally, my biggest gripe about this camera is the fact that it only has one storage slot. This one individual point makes it less viable in a professional setting for me, however this may not bring as much concern to shooters upgrading from the original. The 6D Mark II has been referred to as a bigger Canon 80D and for good reason. There are a few minor differences between the two cameras except for the sensor size and price tag. The Canon 7D Mark II sits in between the 80D and 6D Mark II when it comes to the price and for that reason, it’s viable to compare these three to one another.

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Olympus E-M10 III – Sample Footage and Exclusive First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on Olympus E-M10 III – Sample Footage and Exclusive First Impressions
Sep 062017
 

Johnnie had a chance to be one of the first to get his hands on the new Olympus E-M10 III and test its video capabilities.

Finally, a short family summer vacation. It is time to pack, leave work behind and slow down to the point that only the necessary body organs are working (brain excluded). But wait, whom am I kidding? The courier just rang the door bell, bringing a small package containing the shiny new Olympus E-M10 III. Now, as a workaholic, my options are limited: cancel my vacation and risk an immediate divorce, or pack my production bag and search for a story to shoot while on vacation. Knowing from past experience that mixing a family activity and work is a bad idea, I decided to leave behind my ambitions of a big production and scale everything down to the minimum. My simple tourist setup consisted of this small new Micro Four Thirds camera, the extremely cheap Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ pancake kit lens and my trusted Heliopan Vari ND filter. THAT’S IT – no tripod, no slider, no gimbal, just pure simplicity. And enough to be reassured that there is no substitute for having fun when filming with a small camera, no matter how good its bigger brothers may perform.

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Nikon D850 Full Frame 4K!

 Adorama Deals, Cinematography, Gear, News  Comments Off on Nikon D850 Full Frame 4K!
Aug 242017
 

Record 16:9 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) in full frame glory using the total widthof the D850’s back-side illuminated CMOS sensor. Take advantage ofthe large sensor size for clean output at high ISO and for shooting with zerocrop factor with full-frame NIKKOR lenses3, including wide and ultra-wideangle lenses.

 

I think this is just what I need… I have been a Nikon user but switched to Canon a number of years ago. I just may switch back!

Pre-Order Now:

The new Nikon D850 is now available for pre-order. Expected ship date is 09/7/2017

Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Body – $3296.95

New Accessories:
MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack – $396.95
Nikon ES-2 Film Digitalizing Adapter Set for D850 – $139.95
AN-DC18 Strap – $24.95
FH-4 Strip Film Holder $34.95
FH-5 Slide Mount Holder – $24.95

Fstoppers Reviews the Insta360 Air: A Pocket-Sized 360-Degree Streaming Camera

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Reviews the Insta360 Air: A Pocket-Sized 360-Degree Streaming Camera
Aug 172017
 

Live streaming on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook is nothing new in the age of social media. It’s a fantastic tool for marketing or just showing how much fun you’re having on a fun new adventure. What if you were able to completely immerse your viewers in the environment you’re streaming? InstaAir 360 is one such a camera and I was given the opportunity to work with it.

To start I’ll give you the basics. The camera is available for both Android (both Micro USB and USB Type-C) and Apple devices. For lens elements, it has dual 210-degree lenses facing 180-degrees from each other. With a max output of 3K resolution images, and 2K (3K on certain phone models) video. Utilizing real-time stitching, you’re able to stream the views from the camera live on most social media applications. It featured built-in stabilization allowing for smooth operation. In addition, it can be used as a webcam with the included USB adapter.

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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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Fstoppers Reviews The Fujifilm GFX Medium Format Camera

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers Reviews The Fujifilm GFX Medium Format Camera
Jul 272017
 

Fujifilm has made quite the name for themselves in the camera industry. They completely changed the game with the release of the original X100 and have since been turning out great camera after great camera. In a similar fashion, Fujifilm is looking to change the way you view medium format cameras with the recent release of the Fujifilm GFX 50s. This camera is not only smaller and lighter than most comparable cameras, but it also comes in at a cheaper price tag. But does the final product live up to the hype?

To start this review off, let’s talk price. The camera alone without a lens comes in at just under $6,500. Bring in the 63mm prime and that will add another $1,500. Lenses like the 32-64mm will run you $2,300. Want another battery? That will add $120. So by no means is this camera cheap. But, compare all of this to any Hasselblad camera and things start to look a lot more reasonable. Compare the price to a Nikon D5 and now we are playing in the same court.

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Comparison Breakdown: The Lightest, Most Affordable, Professional Full-Frame System

 Gear  Comments Off on Comparison Breakdown: The Lightest, Most Affordable, Professional Full-Frame System
Jul 272017
 

In a world where less than a handful of brands are considered well-established in the professional full-frame camera market and where more than a handful of other brands have done a very healthy share of innovating to wedge their way into the market, where do we stand? If you’re going to buy a new system to start fresh or are just starting out and getting serious, this is for you. Here’s a thorough comparison of the major bodies and lens kits you’ll likely be considering. As long as you’re considering full frame, regardless of budget, here’s a comparison for it.

The DSLR establishment is extremely interested in the possibility of mirrorless cameras, and rightly so. They’re faster, cheaper, lighter, and more compact… or are they? If you’re thinking of Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras, you’d be right. And those might work for you. But for professionals coming from the top DSLR brands, they’ll be lacking in speed, versatility, and sensor size (not to mention ISO performance), as they’re all APS-C-based. But what about the full-frame mirrorless cameras? Of course, we’re now talking about Sony’s a7-series cameras.

YouTuber Duncan Dimanche recently published a video that compared the price and weight of an entry-level full-frame kit from four different brands, including Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony. NikonRumors has a great summary of that video, but there were a few issues in there. First and foremost, none of the combinations of lens kits were anything that any reasonable person would purchase together. It was a good first effort, but with a number of the zoom ranges of the cheap lens kits overlapping and with the results slightly skewed toward Nikon with a few interesting and cheaper not-quite-equivalent options included (and I’m a Nikon fan, even), the video didn’t quite do it for me. Still, it more than piqued my curiosity. Let’s dive into a comparison based on what we’d actually get. Scroll down to the conclusion for the final advice, or read on to get all the details.

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Lots of Canon Lenses Likely Coming at the End of August [Rumor]

 Gear  Comments Off on Lots of Canon Lenses Likely Coming at the End of August [Rumor]
Jul 162017
 

I think few people can argue that Sigma hasn’t been killing it lately, particularly with their 85mm f/1.4 Art and borderline audacious 135mm f/1.8 Art lenses turning in mostly rave reviews. It was only a matter of time before the big manufacturers responded, and from the looks of things, Canon is preparing to do just that.

Our friends over at Canon Rumors are reporting that Canon is preparing to announce the fabled EF 85mm f/1.4L IS lens at the end of August, along with three other lenses. Which mount these additional lenses will be for is unknown at the moment, though with Canon continuing to update their mirrorless models, it’s possible they may be looking to expand the EF-M line. Other lenses getting long in the tooth include the 50mm f/1.4 and 135mm f/2L. The 85mm f/1.4L IS will not replace the legendary 85mm f/1.2L II lens, but if it improves wide-open sharpness over its f/1.2 cousin (bringing it at least near that of the Sigma Art) and adds image stabilization while only giving up a third of a stop, it could be an extremely intriguing lens for Canon users and would complicate the choice for fans of the Sigma lens’ performance. Be sure to check out the full report over at Canon Rumors for more.

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Tamron Announces SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens, by Alex Cooke

 Gear  Comments Off on Tamron Announces SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens, by Alex Cooke
Jul 012017
 

For many photographers, a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens with vibration compensation is a holy grail. Tamron has just introduced their second generation of that exact lens with many improvements and a slick redesign. Check out the new lens!

Specifications

  • New dual Micro-Processing Unit for quicker and more precise AF and improved Vibration Compensation performance
  • Two extra refractive elements, three low dispersion elements, three glass-molded aspherical elements, and one hybrid aspherical element to reduce distortion and aberrations
  • eBAND and BBAR coatings to reduce flare and ghosting
  • USM autofocus motor with full-time manual override
  • Five-stop Vibration Compensation with two modes (normal and panning)
  • Moisture resistance with fluorine-coated front element
  • Minimum focusing distance: 15″
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 1:5
  • 17 elements in 12 groups
  • Nine-blade diaphragm
  • Front element: 82mm
  • Weight: 1.99 lbs. (904 g)
  • Compatible with optional TAP-in Console

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Go Wide with the New Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM and 12-24mm F/4 G, by Adam Plowden

 Gear  Comments Off on Go Wide with the New Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM and 12-24mm F/4 G, by Adam Plowden
May 192017
 

The new Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 GM and 12-24mm F/4 G are the latest additions to the wide-angle end of their lens line-up for full-frame E-mount cameras.

Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 GM

Professional video creators and filmmakers have been eagerly anticipating the release of a wide-angle G Master lens, and the wait is finally over. The Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 GM promises sharpness across the zoom range and throughout apertures, with Sony promoting the extreme aspherical (XA) element – the largest Sony has ever created – to achieve the greatest resolution and lowest image distortion. The Nano AR coating also is supposed to reduce the unwanted flare and ghosting that often plague wide-angle shots.

Eleven aperture blades promise a pleasing circular bokeh, even when shooting at the minimum focus distance of 28cm, where lower-end wide-angle lenses struggle with creating depth and maintaining sharpness.

Two direct drive SSM systems handle the auto-focusing capabilities, working with the floating focus configuration to achieve fast and precise results while remaining quiet in operation, thus catering for both photography and video applications.

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