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Sony Launches the Alpha 9 II

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Sony has announced the launch of Alpha 9 II (model ILCE-9M2), the latest addition to its acclaimed line-up of α (Alpha) full-frame interchangeable lens cameras, that have been created specifically to support working professionals in the fields of sports photography and photojournalism. Building upon the impressive legacy of Alpha 9, the new Alpha 9 II maintains groundbreaking speed performance including blackout-free continuous shooting at up to 20 frames per second[ii] with Auto Focus and Auto Exposure tracking, and 60 times per second AF/AE calculations, while incorporating even more functionality driven directly from the voice of professionals.

Updates include significantly enhanced connectivity and file delivery, continuous shooting at up to 10 fps with mechanical shutter, evolved AF performance with newly optimised algorithms, a re-designed build to enhance durability and operability, and more. “The voice of our customers is absolutely critical to Sony – we are always listening,” said Murat Gebeceli, Head of Digital Imaging, Sony Middle East and Africa. “The Alpha 9 II is the direct result of countless feedback sessions with agency, sports and news photographers that started right after the launch of the original Alpha 9. We’ve added connectivity and network capabilities that drastically improve the professional workflow, while also making subtle adjustments to design, interface and processing power that complete the user experience. Complemented by the company’s E-mount system – with 55 native lenses introduced at this point, including the super-telephoto 600mm and 400mm G Master series lenses – this new camera is a tool unlike any other for professionals either in the field or on the field.”

Raising the bar for built-in connectivity in the professional’s workflow The Alpha 9 II includes an in-built 1000BASE-T Ethernet terminal, enabling gigabit communication for high-speed and stable data transfer operations. Additionally, it supports File Transfer over SSL or TLS encryption (FTPS) for increased data security, and improves PC remote (tether) shooting performance, with decreased release time lag and reduced live view screen delay when using the ‘Remote Camera Tool’ desktop application.

The speed of the camera’s built-in wireless LAN functionality has also been increased, adding a stable and fast 5 GHz (IEEE 802.11ac) band, in addition to the 2.4 GHz provided in the Alpha 9. IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards are all supported. Designed to improve the speed of news agencies’ workflow, the Alpha 9 II features a new Voice Memo function that allows spoken information to be attached to images in the form of voice memos that can be replayed when the images are reviewed.

The voice data can also be included with images sent to an editor, giving them important information needed for effective editing. Alternatively, a field photographer can also use the ‘Transfer & Tagging add-on’ “Imaging Edge” application to transfer voice tags with the images to their mobile device and have the voice memos automatically converted to text and added to the JPEG images in the form of IPTC metadata. All of this can be done automatically or manually, selectable by the photographer.

By combining wireless voice / image transfer and automatic voice to text conversion with the ability to auto transfer images with attached voice memos via FTP, it is possible to shoot and transfer the results to an FTP server without ever having to operate a smartphone. FTP settings within the app can also be sent to a camera via Bluetooth, allowing for faster workflow. The new Alpha 9 II shares the same acclaimed 35mm full-frame stacked 24.2 MP Exmor RS CMOS image sensor with integral memory as the original Alpha 9, giving it the same unmatched speed performance and outstanding image quality.

The new model can shoot continuously and completely silently at 20 fps for up to 361 JPEG images or 239 compressed RAW images[xii], with no viewfinder blackout, allowing the photographer to follow the subject and action with no interruption to the EVF during picture taking. For times when mechanical shutter is preferred or required, the new Alpha 9 II has been improved to shoot at up to 10 fps, about 2x the speed of the Alpha 9. The camera is designed to function whilst continuously calculating Auto Focus and Auto Exposure at up to 60 times per second, thanks to the newly optimised AF algorithms that provide notably enhanced AF precision and performance, ensuring even the most erratic subject motion, often experienced in sports, is captured with high precision.

Making it useful for sporting events, the camera now offers an anti-flicker shooting mode that automatically detects and adjusts for the presence of fluorescent or artificial lighting to maximise image quality. The advanced focusing system in the new Alpha 9 II is comprised of 693 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that covers approximately 93% of the image area, as well as 425 contrast AF points. This Fast Hybrid Auto Focus system achieves extremely fast and accurate performance, ensuring all fast-moving subjects are accurately captured.

Additional notable focusing capabilities include Real-time Eye AF with right eye / left eye selection, Real-time Eye AF for animals – augmented with a new algorithm, Real-Time Eye AF for movie, Real-time Tracking, selectable focus frame colour, Touch Pad focus point control while using the viewfinder, and more. AF can continuously track even when continuous shooting is greater than F16, providing further accuracy for shots that require slower shutter speeds. Other features include:

  • Upgraded BIONZ X image processing engine gains maximum benefit from the sensor’s fast readout speed. The processor works with front-end LSI to enhance speed in AF/AE detection, image processing, face detection and accuracy, and more
  • Upgraded dust and moisture resistant design to meet the needs of professionals in even the most challenging outdoor conditions. Stronger sealing provided at all body seams as well as the battery compartment cover and media slot
  • The latest image-processing algorithm reduces noise in the medium-to-high sensitivity range while improving subjective resolution and image quality · 5-axis optical in-body image stabilisation system provides a shutter speed advantage of 5.5 steps
  • Improved grip configuration for even greater comfort and sure hold. Compatible with Sony VG-C4EM Vertical Grip
  • Improved button design and feel. Increased diameter and feedback of the ‘AF-ON’ button; a refined multi-selector joystick design; an exposure compensation dial lock button and a redesigned shape and new position for the rear dial · Redesigned shutter mechanism to suppress even the slightest movement that can cause image blur.
  • Tested for durability in excess of 500,000 shutter cycles
  • USB Type-C connector supports fast USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer
  • Dual media slots are both compatible with UHS-I and UHS-II SD cards, allowing the higher overall capacity and faster read/write speeds
  • Digital audio interface added to the camera’s Multi Interface Shoe (MI Shoe) enabling the new ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit to be connected directly to the MI Shoe for a cleaner, clearer audio recordings

The Alpha 9 II will be available for pre-order in the UAE from 23rd October 2019 until 10th November at a retail price of AED 18,999. Customers pre-ordering the Alpha 9 II will receive a VG-C4EM Vertical Grip. The Alpha 9 II will be available across all retail stores in the UAE at the end of November 2019.

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Digital Cameras

Sony Launches “World’s Smallest and Lightest” F2.8 Standard Zoom Lens

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Sony Middle East and Africa announced the 67th lens in its mirrorless E-mount lineup – the highly-anticipated, FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II (model SEL2470GM2). Sony developed the world’s lightest F2.8 standard zoom lens1 using its leading lens technology to deliver stunning resolution and beautiful bokeh known to Sony’s “G Master” series. The FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II is one of the most versatile lenses in the line-up and was created for photographers, videographers, and hybrid content creators.

“Six years have passed since Sony released the first 24-70 mm F2.8 G Master and in that time, our customers’ needs have changed,” said Murat Gebeceli, Head of Digital Imaging, Sony Middle East & Africa. “We are always listening to our community and have designed the new FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II around feedback from creators in the region. Knowing the 24-70 mm focal length is extremely popular, it was imperative that we continue improving to bring our most advanced technology to such a critical lens in our customers’ kit. Today, we are thrilled to introduce the world’s smallest and lightest F2.8 standard zoom lens to the Middle East & Africa region.”

The FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II is great for a compact yet versatile setup and allows users to capture extremely sharp, detailed imagery for both stills and video. The new lens features high resolution across the frame—even with the aperture wide open. A completely redesigned optical path features five aspherical elements, including two high-precision XA (extreme aspherical) elements. The FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II also includes two ED (extra-low dispersion) plus two Super ED glass elements. Combined with a new floating focus mechanism, the lens effectively controls chromatic aberration, astigmatism, distortion, and coma so that outstanding resolution is achieved throughout the image area at all zoom and aperture settings.

Even when shooting in challenging lighting conditions, the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II achieves excellent clarity by effectively subduing flare and ghosting. This is thanks to Sony’s original Nano AR Coating II which produces a uniform anti-reflecting coating on the lens surface. The FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II produces stunning bokeh throughout the zoom range with beautiful and almost perfectly circular bokeh with its advanced optical design and a newly developed 11-blade aperture unit.

In this new 24-70 mm design, this lens delivers outstanding close-up performance with a minimum focusing distance of 8.25 inches (0.21 meters) at 24 mm and 12 inches (0.30 meters) at 70 mm, and with a maximum magnification of 0.32x. The FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II achieves reliable focus by using four of Sony’s original XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motors, a floating focus mechanism, and advanced lens control – even when shooting a fast-moving subject. In addition, the lens supports up to 30 fps continuous shooting for stills and 4K 120p video recording with autofocus.

The FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II enables full AF tracking performance even when shooting stills with the aperture stopped down, making it possible to use deeper depth of field to ensure that moving subjects remain in sharp focus when shooting continuously. The lens’ AF tracking performance while zooming is approximately two times better than the previous model.

With its constant F2.8 maximum aperture, astounding AF performance, versatile control, and solid reliability, the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II is designed for all types of video applications. The FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II offers extremely quiet AF operation, thanks to the XD Linear Motors and a newly developed aperture unit. Using the latest lens technology, the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II reduces focus breathing, focus shift, and axial shift when zooming for smooth video footage. This lens also supports the breathing compensation function provided in compatible Alpha series cameras.

As an added benefit for advanced video creation, the newest lens includes Linear Response MF (manual focus) that ensures high repeatability when focusing manually as the focus ring responds directly and repeatedly to subtle control. It also includes an aperture ring making manual aperture/iris control fast, direct, and easy. The dedicated iris ring enables click-less control to achieve the smooth depth of field transitions.

Designed to perfectly pair with Sony’s compact Alpha system E-mount cameras, the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II is the world’s smallest and lightest1 24-70 mm F2.8 zoom in its class and offers unprecedented shooting flexibility and freedom in a wide range of situations. The FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II weighs just 24.6 ounces (695 grams), approximately 20% less (7 ounces) than the original 24-70 mm F2.8 G Master. The lens’ length has been reduced by 16 mm, and overall volume has been reduced by approximately 18%.

The new FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II was developed based on feedback from professionals to offer even better control and usability than preceding models. This model includes:

  • Zoom smoothness switch to adjust zoom ring torque to either Tight or Smooth
  • A newly added aperture ring with click ON/OFF switch and iris lock switch
  • Two customizable focus hold buttons
  • The focus ring responds directly and linearly to subtle control when focusing manually
  • New lens hood design with an opening to control circular polarizing filters (dia. 82mm)
  • The center of gravity back toward the mount for improved handling and operation

An updated dust and moisture resistant design provides extra reliability for outdoor use in challenging conditions. The buttons and switches are fitted with rubber gaskets, and a rubber ring seals the lens mount. The front lens element also features a fluorine coating that repels water, oil, and other contaminants, while making it easier to wipe off any contaminants or fingerprints that become attached to the lens surface.

The new FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II will be available in the Middle East & Africa region from the end May 2022.

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Digital Cameras

Fujifilm Launches Instax Mini Evo Camera

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Fujifilm has unveiled the Instax Mini Evo, its new flagship instant film camera with a premium build, higher resolution than previous models and improved smartphone integration. As with other Instax cameras, you can take photos and instantly develop them to Fujifilm’s credit card-sized Instax Mini film, but it offers a number of features not available on previous models.

As a hybrid camera, you can review photos on the LCD monitor and choose the ones you want to print. However, the new model is the first Instax camera with a print lever and lens/film filter dials. That lets you take a picture then choose among 100 combinations of effects (including “Soft Focus,” “Light Leak,” “Monochrome” and “Retro”) and print the image afterward by pulling the print lever. Fujifilm said the camera also delivers better quality prints as it has twice the exposure resolution of previous models.

The Instax Mini Evo is also effectively a mini-printer for your smartphone. You can transfer images from your phone to the Evo Mini wirelessly, then print them using the “Direct Print” button. And for the first time, you can transfer snaps you take with the Mini Evo back over to your smartphone, complete with the film border. Finally, you can use your smartphone to take pictures remotely with a camera.

Fujifilm also unveiled a new Instax Mini film format called “Stone Grey” with a gray background. The new camera is priced at $200.

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Digital Cameras

Canon Launches a Very Unusually Shaped PowerShot PX Camera

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Canon has launched the PowerShot PX, a small, smart and friendly camera, which automatically captures high-quality 11.7MP images and 60p Full HD video. The PowerShot PX’s smart features such as automatic capture of still imagery and video are set to reimagine how families capture memories. With this clever camera, families can enjoy the moment and still capture it, without having to stay behind the lens.

From family photographers to gadget-lovers, this new intuitive camera incorporates smart functionality to document social events and everyday memories. With automatic capture and priority shooting, the PowerShot PX is an innovative addition to the home that complements photographers’ existing cameras, and a shining example of Canon’s technology algorithm and the forward-thinking features constantly being added to its product line-up.

When you want to capture life’s precious moments and be in the shot, the PowerShot PX is ideal – following the action and framing subjects intelligently to capture natural expressions and reactions. Once switched on, the portable PowerShot PX can be placed anywhere around the home to take candid shots of everyday moments, while voice command capabilities allow complete hands-free control to capture still images or dynamic videos.

Thanks to the simple yet portable design, USB-C charging, and built-in Wi-Fi – which links to smart devices – the compact PowerShot PX can go anywhere. With intelligent facial recognition features, PowerShot PX uses auto-subject searching to keep loved ones in the frame and capture photos that otherwise might have been missed. Its 19-57mm focal length range and flexible pan-and-tilt zoom lens offer a broad field of view of 340˚ horizontally and 110˚ vertically to follow the action.

Look back on a digital scrapbook of candid moments with PowerShot PX’s iOS and Android app and get recommendations from this clever camera on the strongest shots to keep. These cherished photos and videos are then stored on a memory card for easy upload to a computer. Manually control the camera with the app to compose the perfect shot and capture images from a distance, all without the need to run back and forth to check the device. Families can even customise automatic shooting settings, angle the lens to snap pictures in their own style and select familiar faces within the app to increase priority when shooting. The PowerShot PX can also double as a webcam with the use of the PC webcam utility app.

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