Canon is Dead, but Don’t Blame the iPhone


Canon’s camera business was pronounced dead on August 25, 2016 when they made the official announcement of the Canon 5D Mark IV.

Until that day, there was still some hope that the rumors and leaks weren’t correct, and that Canon might realize that they had to deliver something great for their flagship camera. Instead, the camera world let out a huge collective groan on that day, as Canon released an overpriced, underfeatured dud of a camera.

The reaction from the camera blogs, tech press, and actual users, has been very interesting.

How Tech Blogs Reacted

Tech blogs wrote articles about the announcement that call the 5D Mark IV a worthy successor to the previous 5D, and were generally re-hashes of the specs from the press release. On sites that aren’t photography-specific, the actual reviews have largely been comparing the camera to the Mark III, and finding that the new model is – shockingly – an improvement to a camera from 2012. None of the reviews I’ve seen on tech blogs have really hit the 5D hard,

I think the main reason for this is that these reviewers may be nerds, but they just aren’t camera nerds, and they don’t grasp how far behind the times the 5D Mark IV is. A lot of the reviews are fairly tepid, but I think Canon have gotten away a bit easy on these venues, because of two reasons:

Yi M1 Release Delayed Until Next Week + Unboxing Video


I’ve written several times about the Yi M1, and the post that reviewed the announcement is actually the busiest post on FlatFocus right now.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Amazon pre-order page, and while the release date was marked as October 12 for quite a while, it looks like it’s been pushed back to October 17. This is undoubtedly frustrating for people who’ve already put in pre-orders (which is a decent amount of people according to the sales rankings).

The good news is that this almost certainly can’t be for any ominous reason, like manufacturing problems or anything. I’d guess that that either there was more demand than expected, or there were shipping delays, or something minor like that. The date is simply too close for it to be anything major.

When an Asian company starts doing business in North America/Europe, quite often they don’t have as much information available right away (believe me, few people have ordered as many new camera accessories/etc from China as me), and I’ve recently found out a few things about the Yi M1 that I didn’t realize until now:

Opinion: The new iPhone and the Yi M1 are a Sign of the Inevitable Dominance of Micro Four Thirds


It’s less than a week until the newest Micro Four Thirds camera ships, and when Flat Focus reviewed the Yi M1 announcement, we covered all the basics of the camera itself. I’d like to take some time here to explain why I think this camera demonstrates something very important thing about the Micro Four Thirds system.

When people discuss the Micro Four Thirds (abbreviated as M43 from here in) system, they quite often the talk turns to the size advantages. The ability to carry a camera, and several lenses, in a very small bag is a big win for a lot of photographers, and it makes sense that this is one of the headline features of the system.

This size, however, comes with a price. The reason M43 cameras can use small lenses is because of the smaller sensor. Unfortunately, this sensor is at a disadvantage to APS-C and full frame sensors, as far as shooting at high ISOs and in low light – that’s just the nature of capturing light, physics, etc.

The RX100 V Announcement in Review – Sony Shocks Everyone Part 2.


Note: I posted Part 1 of this story (the SONY a6500 announcement) earlier, click here to read it.

So, in addition to the a6500, SONY also announced the RX100 V today. This is the fifth iteration of the RX100, and this was of particular interest to me, because I’m still using the M2 (second version), which I love dearly. I haven’t had a strong reason to upgrade to version 3 or 4, and they’re not exactly cheap, but I’ve been keeping a close eye out for rumors about the Mark 5. Now that it’s here, I’m going to run over the specs, and also provide some commentary and my thoughts.

The A6500 Announcement in Review – Sony Shocks Everyone Part 1.


The a6300 only came out 7 months ago, but SONY announced the a6500 today, which shocked almost everyone. I believe that I follow camera rumours as closely as any human, and until about 8 hours before the announcement, there was no indication that this camera was going to be coming out anytime soon, much less today.

Some Quick News on the Panasonic GH5 and G80/G85


I was at a trade show this morning, and I spoke to a Panasonic rep (note: Totally different one from my previous post about the GH5 last year). I didn’t get any really amazing information, unfortunately, but I did ask about IBIS and his comment was basically “I would be surprised if the GH5 did not have it – all our other recent cameras do.”

So this was basically what I had said in my recent GH5 announcement in review post, and it’s worth noting that this rep did not act like he had any inside information. At least, though, it’s great news that he didn’t act like he knew it wasn’t coming, or anything like that. And to be honest, a lot of the reason I asked the question was to just add my little contribution to the chorus of people who want IBIS on the GH5. Hopefully, Panasonic will get the point of how crucial this feature will be to GH5 sales – they probably already have.

On another note, I tried out the G85 (aka G80), since they had one on display, and it’s a very nice camera! This isn’t particularly news, but ergonomically, it felt a lot like the GH4, which is a very comfortable camera in my opinion.

Of course, the G80/G85 has a slightly different feature set than the GH4 – it has IBIS and some other features from the GX85, but it’s also missing some more professional video features. Some people will prefer the G80, some will prefer the GH4. Personally, I own both the GH4 and the GX85, and I would trade either of them for the G80 – IBIS is a big feature to me, and the ergonomics of the G80 are much nicer than the GX85, to my hands anyway. But not everyone might have that preference – the GH4 is probably a better camera for people shooting professional footage.

One interesting point was that there was a guy talking to another Panasonic rep who was very eager to buy a G80/G85. Unfortunately for him, they weren’t selling them yet, and he seemed disappointed. I don’t know if this is enough data to say that the camera is a winner, but it probably is at least a good sign. I think the G80 may be quite a big seller when it comes to the M43 world, and probably the camera that people recommend as a good camera with great value – sort of like the SONY a6300, and a6000 before it: A really safe bet that isn’t insanely expensive, and offers pretty much any feature an enthusiast would want.

I also tried out a couple of the new Panasonic lenses. I tried the 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 that will ship as the kit lens on the G80/G85, and it was fine. I actually thought that Panasonic had announced a nice, fast version of this lens at Photokina 2016 a few weeks ago, but upon Googling it, it seems that I was wrong.

I also checked out some new Olympus stuff (2 of their new lenses and the EM1 Mark II), and will write another post shortly about that.

DJI Mavic Pro vs. Phantom4 vs. GoPro Karma – Casey Neistat uhh.. kind of clears it up.


Yesterday, we covered the new DJI Mavic Pro, which was released a couple of days ago. The drone looks amazing on paper – it’s small, foldable, and not insanely expensive. There was one really eye-opening part of the big release though – they gave a demo version to Casey Neistat, and the footage he filmed with it looked soft.

So soft, in fact, that the comments on the video were dominated by multiple threads saying how blurry the video looked. People had a lot of hypotheses, which basically ran down like:

  1. Casey set up the camera wrong.
  2. Casey had bad settings while downsampling the video from 4K to 1080p, and that made the picture soft. As I mentioned in an update (check the bottom of yesterday’s post), when you transcode 4K down to 1080p, it should always make the video much sharper – assuming you do it right – but if you messed up the codec settings enough, you could certainly make the 1080p less detailed.
  3. Maybe Casey left the little sticky plastic lens protector sheet on top of the lens when he unboxed it (that’s how soft the image was).

The comments were so strong on this subject, that Neistat dedicated his entire daily vlog today to testing the drone’s camera in 4K – I think it’s fair to say that the people from DJI were in a huge panic once the original video hit, and if they’re smart, they were probably calling him all day begging him to test the camera again.

So, at the start of the video, he explained his criteria for a good drone, which is that he values convenience/size just as much as picture quality. Then, he tested the Mavic Pro against the Phantom 4, and added the raw footage with no color grading to the video.

I believe that before he filmed, his point was going to be “The Mavic footage is a bit worse than the Phantom but not much” – you could tell because he made a chart at the start of the video where he marked the Mavic as having only slightly less video quality than the Phantom 4.

DJI Mavic Pro in Review – Release Date, Price, vs Karma and Everything Else We Know So Far


Yesterday, DJI unveiled their new drone, the DJI Mavic Pro (Amazon link). Drone fans are going crazy over it, largely because of how small it is. I’m going to summarize all the specs, and some reactions to it, here.

The other day, I reviewed the news of the GoPro Karma drone (and handheld stabilizer system). I knew that DJI were rumored to be releasing a new drone soon, but the Karma system blew me away, so I didn’t really think any new drone would be anywhere as cool (I’ll compare them in this article). I was wrong – the Mavic Pro looks extremely cool.

At first glance, what really stands out, as I mentioned, is the size. The Mavic is about half the size of the DJI Phantom 4 (widely considered one the best drones around, if not the best). What’s more, the controller for the Mavic Pro is much smaller than the huge controller for the Phantom 4 – which by itself was as big as the entire Mavic Pro drone is!

The Panasonic GH5 in Review – Everything We Know Right Now


First: In April, 2015, I announced that I had spoken to a Panasonic rep who told me the GH5 would be announced and released at Photokina 2016. So it turns out, they did announce it at Photokina, but because of manufacturing delays, the camera won’t be released until 2017.

This post will be updated whenever there is new info, and the address will stay the same, so feel free to bookmark it for easy reference.

The Video is Still 4K, but it’s 60fps/50fps

While there were rumors of 6K video coming to the GH5 (see a few points below), it’s actually still limited to 4K – if you can really consider 4K limited in any way.

There are 2 main differences between the GH5 and the GH4 when it comes to video:

The New Xiaomi YI M1 Camera in Review – Everything We Know So Far


A little background on the YI M1: Xiaomi is a big smartphone maker – the 4th largest in the world, in fact. YI Technology (note that’s the letters y and i, not y1) is an arm of Xiaomi.

Xiaomi is very well known in Asia, but relatively unknown outside of there. Their phones aren’t sold by any carrier in North America, but tech savvy Americans (and I imagine Europeans) buy them online, because they’re very cheap considering the great specs packed in.

YI has gained a lot of momentum lately in the American camera market because of it’s extremely well received YI 4K Action Cam, which a ton of Youtube camera bloggers have reviewed. The consensus is that the Action Cam is a much cheaper version of the GoPro Hero 4, but with tons of features not included on that camera. I haven’t tested one of the YI units yet, but the online reviews are consistently fantastic, and the footage I’ve seen on Youtube is great.

Just a few days ago, at Photokina 2016, YI announced that they’re releasing something I don’t think many people expected – an inexpensive Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera, along with 2 lenses. The US Edition just went up for sale on Amazon, and I thought it would be worth summarizing the camera for people who don’t want to search out details from several different sources (like I had to).

The Outward Appearance is Leica-Inspired

Many people have noted that the visual appearance of the M1 closely resembles the Leica T. This is true, and I’m sure somewhat intentional, but to my eyes, it’s not that far removed from a lot of other cameras in this general size, for instance the Panasonic GX85.

The design touch that most people are pointing at is the red YI logo on the front of the camera. It’s inside a rounded square, and people are saying it resemble the red L logo inside a circle that appears on Leica cameras. It does somewhat, but it’s far from a flat-out ripoff or clone. I don’t think YI are trying to trick anyone here, they’re just sort of echoing (and altering the shape of) a design touch that’s very associated with Leica. You be the judge: