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Popular Photography

Popular Photography January 2014

Popular Photography brings you step-by-step secrets of the pros for taking their most amazing shots. You’ll discover the best equipment at the best prices, get comprehensive comparative reports on cameras, lenses, film, digital equipment, printers, scanners, software, accessories and so much more. Get Popular Photography digital magazine subscription today.

United States
Bonnier Corporation
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2 min.
‘pro’ is a state of mind

It happens every year. In the weeks after our January issue, when we showcase the winners of our Annual Readers' Photo Contest, I get a handful of letters asking why we don't have separate categories for professional photographers and amateurs. After all, with the occasional big-name pro such as Peter Lik and Rodney Lough Jr. entering—and winning prizes—what ordinary camera-toting enthusiast stands a chance? Well, this year our winners were anything but ordinary, yet seven of the eight, it turns out, are not professional photographers. Among them you'll find a college student and a retired music teacher, a hedge fund manager, a police officer, and a self-described housewife. Even the winner of the $1,000 Grand Prize is a photo enthusiast, not a pro. Their images stood out among the more than…

1 min.
nikon df

BANKING ON nostalgia, Nikon looked back some 40 years to its classic F line when designing its latest DSLR. Inside the new Df is the same 16.2-megapixel full-frame sensor and processor that's in Nikon's top-of-the-line D4. And the Df promises similarly excellent images, including low-light capability up to ISO 204,800. But what's missing? The Df holds only a single SD card, and its 39-point autofocus system resembles that of Nikon's new D610, rather than the D4's 51-point version. Video also ends up on the cutting-room floor. This is truly an SLR for lovers of Nikon's old school—a collapsible exposure-meter coupling makes it compatible with vintage Nikkor lenses, and the shutter button accepts threaded remote triggers. Get the body only (in all-black or with silver trim), or in a kit with a retro-styled,…

1 min.
mini lumix

PANASONIC'S NEW Lumix GM1 is one of the smallest Micro Four Thirds models we've seen to date, but its 16MP Live MOS sensor and Venus processor are identical to those in the larger, higher-end Lumix GX7. This interchangeable-lens compact weighs just 0.6 pounds with a battery, SD card, and 12–32mm f/3.5–5.6 Pansonic G Vario Mega O.I.S. kit zoom attached. The new lens was designed specifically for the GM1, whose 3.88x2.16x1.20-inch magnesium-alloy body would create an odd balance with bulkier glass. It has no manual-focus ring, so you'll need to get used to focusing manually with a slider on a touchscreen, made easier by the GM1's picture-in-picture magnification and focus-peaking features. The body size is also responsible for the limited speed of the mechanical shutter, which tops out at 1/500 sec. Panasonic Lumix…

1 min.
inside job

FUJIFILM'S LATEST X-mount ILC, the 16MP X-E2, looks almost identical to its predecessor, the X-E1. Its magnesium-alloy body, 2.36-million-dot OLED finder, and most of the buttons remain in the same places as the X-E1. But the X-E2's X-Trans II CMOS sensor and EXR Processor II make their X-mount camera debut here. We first saw the new X-Trans in the fixed-lens X100S, which (with the X20) was the first model to use Fujifilm's Lens Modulation Optimizer (see Inside Tech, right). The X-E2 has built-in Wi-Fi, 1920x1080p60 video at up to 36Mbps, and a new 3-inch, 1.04-million-dot rear LCD. Fujifilm X-E2 $999, street, body only www.fujifilmusa.com…

1 min.

PROFOTO LIGHTS have long been the strobe of pros, and typically they stay put in a studio. But with its new B1 system, Profoto wants you to take the studio on the road, giving you the power of a monolight with the flexibility of a speedlight. Fully wireless, with an operating range of up to 1,000 feet, the B1 supports manual or TTL control of up to three groups. Attaching the optional Air Remote TTL to your camera's hot-shoe gives you through-the-lens point-and-shoot automation of the B1's output. The Canon version of the remote is available now; a Nikon version is on the way. At lower power settings, the battery-powered B1 can fire up to 20 flashes per second. At full power, the B1 will recycle in less than 2 seconds.…

1 min.
coma killer

THE ZEISS Otus has some company. Nikon says that its new 58mm f/1.4G, an update to the AI Noct Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 released in 1977, recreates the classic optic's signature minimization of sagittal coma flare, common when shooting point light sources in dimly lit environments. Nikon claims that its new lens, which has nine elements (two aspherical) in six groups, will control light falloff across the entire frame and retain sharpness, even at maximum aperture. It ditched the aperture ring and added a Silent Wave autofocus motor as well a coating to reduce ghosting and flare. Given a street price approaching $1,700, we hope to see excellent SQF results in our test lab. Nikon 58mm f/1.4G $1,697, street nikonusa.com…