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Derek

About Derek

Our resident web guru, Derek graduated from Ball State with a BFA in Visual Communications. When not in the office slaying CSS dragons, jousting social media windmills, or working on the blog, he's also a fine artist, working in oil paints and photography. Derek Martin+

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Derek

Just Added: Nature Photography Class with Rich Clark


Photo by Rich Clark

Photo by Rich Clark

So, how’s everyone liking our new Education & Events department? Did you even notice we had one, filled with way more classes and workshops than we’ve ever done before? if you haven’t taken a look, maybe now’s a good time. We just added a new special workshop we’re doing next month with nature photographer Rich Clark. He’s kind of A Name, especially here in Indy, and he has a lot of really pretty pictures in his portfolio. And, for $49 (plus $3 to get into Eagle Creek Park) you could take a three hour workshop on nature photography with him May 31st from 5-8pm yourself. Neato, right? If you’re interested, you should reserve your seat here.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t help our Canon rep out and point out in our Events section that we have another session of Canon’s popular EOS Discovery Day around the corner to support our equally-upcoming Canon Day shopping event.

DSICOVERY DAY LOGO

 

It’s the sort of event where the Canon tech gurus teach you how to make the most of your EOS camera, and what you can do with flashes and all those settings and features that make Canon what it is. It’s technically a free event, but to keep the powers that be happy and show y’all love you some Canon we charge $25 upfront, and then you’ll get it back at the event in the form of a shiny $25 Roberts gift card. If you’re interested in getting the most from your Canon, follow this link here and sign up: EOS Discovery Day.



Derek

Sony’s Upcoming A7s Has Awesome Lowlight Video


So, earlier this week Sony announced a new A7s counterpart to its other two full-frame mirrorless bodies (the A7 and A7r). Unlike them, the A7s has a constrained 12 megapixels so it can focus on low-light and video performance. It boasts a D4s-rivaling 409,600 ISO  and 4k video (though, it can only pipe it to a separate recording device over HDMI, it cannot actually record 4k video to its own memory). Basically, it sounds like the bees’ knees and kicks the competition in the mirrorless 4k space up a notch.

Anyway, today Sony has released their own official video based off an idea Den Lennie used to show off the high ISO capabilites for an F Stop Academy write-up on the camera. And it is awesome. That is all. Here it is. Enjoy.



Derek

Tamron’s 16-300mm Is a Real Boy Now, Goes Longer Than Pinocchio’s Nose


Tamron 16-300mm Di II VC PZD Macro

 

Remember when Tamron announced their plans to make an insane 16-300mm zoom for crop bodies? Well, today that lens becomes considerably more real, having gotten pricing and availability finally. Officially designated B016, it’s “friendly” name is the 16-300mm Di II VC PZD Macro, which astute readers will notice for once doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the lens. Missing are the maximum apertures, but luckily I can inform you those are f3.5-6.3. So, you have an effective 24-450mm (on Nikon, Sony, and pretty much everyone who isn’t Canon) or a 25.6-480mm (on Canon with their odd 1.6x crop) super zoom with the same apertures as the now-less-impressive 18-270mm. The PZD tells you it has a piezo-electric stepping motor for focusing, providing snappy focus for stills and acceptably smooth focus for video. VC is Tamron’s vibration compensation, which is really top of the line stuff these days and will do exactly what it claims when it says it’ll keep your images shake free. While I can’t in good conscience tell you an 18.8x super-zoom will optically stellar in every aspect, a pretty exotic construction of 16 elements in 12 groups with one ultra-extra (yes, they really call it that) refractive glass element, two low dispersion elements, one regular-ol’ extra refractive element, three molded glass aspherical elements, and one hybrid aspherical element suggest Tamron has gone to some pretty great lengths to assure it has the best image quality it possibly can for the constraints a super-zoom demands.

b016-elements

They gave us some small sample shots to illustrate what can be done with this:

Tamron_B016_Woman in market_©IanPlant

Tamron_B016_Stairs in Morocco_©IanPlant

Tamron_B016_PacificSunset_©IanPlant

Tamron_B016_Man and Camel_©IanPlant

Tamron_B016_JunglePlant_©IanPlant

Tamron_B016_Hiker_©IanPlant

Tamron_B016_Blue Alley in Morocco_©IanPlant

 

Preeeeetty, right?

So, obviously, the 16-300mm is not just redefining how many “x”s of zoom you can shove in a lens, but it has some aspirations for being a darn solid optic to boot. Big range, VC, exotic optical formula, and it even has a pretty darn awesome 15.3″ minimum focusing distance and none-too-shabby 1:2.9 maximum macro reproduction for the cherry on top.

All that was left is to know just how much this monster will run. And now we can tell you: $629. That’s it. $629. Only $180 more than the venerable 18-270mm. And we’re going to start receiving them on May 15th. Which is only like a month away,

So, maybe now would be a good time to remind you that you can get on our preorder list for one right here?

Thought so.



Derek

Worried About Heartbleed?


heartbleed

 

There’s been a lot of talk in the news this week about a nasty computer security exploit called “heartbleed.” And for good reason. Heartbleed is a major security issue that affects most of the web, pretty much any site you use that offers SSL security. You know, when your address bar gets the little green safety indicator:

CapturFiles-201404100_1304

 

Not getting too technical, but the major concern heartbleed presents is that not-nice people could use it to get access to your personal information, regardless of the security put in place on the server.

As soon as Roberts found out about this exploit we went to work fixing it (some of you may have noticed our site down a little while yesterday while we did so). And Roberts has been heartbleed-free as of yesterday morning.

CapturFiles-201404100_1304_1

 

We do not see any evidence that any of your data was affected by this vulnerability, but like everyone else online we would urge you to update your passwords for our site when you get a chance, just to be safe. We do not store any credit card or other financial data on our server, so you’re good there. We will be continuing to put additional measures in place to help protect your data going forward. We want you to always feel safe shopping at Roberts, and will always do our best to be able to protect your data. We leave you now with a comic about it, if for know other reason than to add a bit of levity to what’s proven to be a pretty serious concern for everyone on the internet.

I looked at some of the data dumps from vulnerable sites, and it was ... bad. I saw emails, passwords, password hints. SSL keys and session cookies. Important servers brimming with visitor IPs. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, c-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. I should probably patch OpenSSL.



Derek

Nikon Announces New Android Camera, New 18-300mm


S810c_WH_HighRes.low

Getting our day started today is Nikon, who has “dropped” two new products for us to talk about: the Coolpix S810c, which is a Coolpix, and the AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR, which is different than this lens.

The cooler of the two is the S810c, which updates this model here which was Nikon’s effort to combat smartphones by building a mobile OS right into a camera. Well, it’ll come as no surprise that the S810c is that same idea, so, what you’re peepin’ at is a 16mp BSI-sensor strapped to a 12x optical VR zoom strapped to a full-fledged Wi-Fi enabled Android platform. This time around the Android is much, much better, being Jellybean and not the notably dated Gingerbread build the last one ran (though, I still wouldn’t get your hopes up you’ll ever see Kit Kat. You’ll have your Jellybean and you’ll like it, OK?). But still, Jellybean is no slouch, and they’ve implemented it so the Google Play Store is there from the get go, so yes, pretty much any image sharing, editing, or social app you can think of on your Droid is going to be available to you on this camera too. A hi-rez 3.7″ touchscreen makes using them possible, and you’ll find three dedicated buttons for making working Android a little easier. If you don’t have Wi-fi around but do have a phone Nikon has graced with its “Connect to S810c” app (that’d be iOS or Android, like everything else) you can share them from your camera to your phone and then use your cellular data to thinger them. It’ll come in white or black for $349.95 next month.

Preorder one here

AFS_DX_18_300_3.5_6.3G.low

There’s a little less to say about today’s other announcement. It’s an 18-300mm, it’s for DX crop bodies only, and it doesn’t seem to replace that other 18-300mm Nikon already has. Rather, this is just a slightly slower (f6.3 vs f5.6), shorter, and notably lighter (280g lighter, or 33% lighter than that other 18-300) option. Oh, and it’s cheaper, too. I guess that’s a thing, right? So, if you can live with a third of a stop slower, you can get a smaller, lighter lens for $100 less. Sounds good to me. It’ll also “drop” in May, and run you $899.95.

Preorder one here



Derek

Olympus Announces TG-3, New SH-1 Compacts


Olympus has announced a couple new cameras today for their line-up. The first is the Tough TG-3, and update to last year’s extremely well-received TG-2. The other is a new camera, the SH-1, which is point more at the so-called “enthusiast” end of the market.

TG3 Red Left Front

That one is the TG-3. In case the “Tough” on the side didn’t give it away. Also, those of you who’ve been doing this for a while probably know what’s what with the Tough line, but if you’re new to photo you should know Olympus’ Tough line is pretty much the original waterproof, freezeproof, and crushproof camera line. It more or less invented the entire category, and has quite a long pedigree behind it. Why, way back in 2008 Nick and I did a couple videos showing off the then-new 1050SW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmxwAvJFuFY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myQczisLblY As you can imagine, things have actually only gotten better in the past 5 years and change. Nick and I stopped making videos for one (zing!), but also image quality has gotten a lot better in compacts, and the tough side of the Toughs hasn’t slouched either. The TG-3 is the flagship of the line, featuring a larger than normal 1/2.3″ sensor with backside illumination, which gives it an edge over normal point-and-shoots when it comes to low-light situations. Also helping there is the super-fast f2-4.9 4x lens. The tough specs hold solid at 50ft waterproof, 220 pounds crushproof, and the seriously-when-is-someone-going-to-beat-this-spec 14 degrees F freezeproof. Like its predecessor, it has built-in wifi, GPS, and electronic compass, and has a super-macro mode which, if it lives up to what we’ve seen before, will continue to blow you out of the water: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8Te2ob7164 (thanks Marc!) I don’t have pricing in front of me for the TG-3, but it’ll begin shipping in mid-May.

SH1 Silver Left Front

The other announcement is the SH-1, which is new. Hence the 1. It also borrows its looks from Olympus’ popular OM-D mirrorless line, with the retro-tastic silver and black. In the last couple years I’ve had to call so many cameras “retro” that I’m calling this one the last one. It’s not retro anymore, it’s just the new modern again. Design and fashion trends are like that. So, let’s just say that the SH-1 keeps itself in line with the design language being used by other premium compact lines, including Fuji’s, and move on with life. It has a 24x (25-600mm equiv) optical zoom, though the f3-8.7 aperture range is more disappointing. Olympus does at least try to smooth that over by making the SH-1 their first compact to include their OM-D line’s impressive 5-axis stabilization system that counters not just X and Y shift, but pitch, yaw, and roll movements too. So, slower lens, but better IS. Certainly logic we’ve heard many times before from manufacturers. There’s a 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ BSI sensor in this camera too, and with the same TruePic VII processor as the TG-3 above means it’s probably the same sensor all around. Native ISO tops out at 6400, which is fine on a compact since most of you will probably stop after 1600 anyway given how everyone talks on forums. There’s a mode dial for PASM, but no RAW sadly. Looks like if you need looks like this with RAW you’re still better nabbing an OM-D E-M10. The SH-1 will be available in April, but like the TG-3 I don’t have a price yet. When we do, it’ll be updated on our page for it here:



Derek

Photo Walk TODAY!


photowalk

 

This is TONIGHT! Grab a camera and meet us at the north-east corner of South and Meridian St in Indianapolis tonight at 6pm. Weather? pfft. We ain’t scared. Optech Rain Covers will be available at a special walk price of $4 for 2, or share with a buddy and it’s $2 to keep that camera dry out there (cash only, sadly). Or stop in the store before we close and buy your own and don’t sweat it. Free to attend, but parking’s on you. If you need us, send a tweet to @robertscamera, or email me your contact info before tonight to dmartin@robertscamera.com.

See you there!



Derek

PhotoWalk Returns TOMORROW!


Guess what? Tomorrow is a photo waaaaaaalk!

photowalk

 

Again, the plan is to meet at the northeast corner of South and Meridian St in Indianapolis at 6:00pm. We’ll walk for… some time, then there will be retiring to Ram if anyone wants to tag along. There’s no specific plan, which is good because, we won’t lie, it’s not looking pretty out there:

wp_ss_20140326_0001

 

Mmm-mm cold and rainy! We sure can pick’em. But, that won’t phase Nick and I. This ain’t our first wet and wild rodeo (ew). We’ll pick up some Optech Camera Cond… Rain Sleeves same as we’ve done in the past and trot out there regardless. If you too are unphased by the rain yourself, but, you know, it’s the camera you’re worried about really, then just bring $4 cash and we’ll trade you for your very own “rain sleeve” that’ll keep you safe in normal amounts of Indiana blah.

So, yeah! Tomorrow, 6pm. Bring your fortitude, a towel, a dry shirt, a waterproof camera (or sleeve for your not-waterproof one, or $4). Meet us at South and Meridian. If you are prone to getting lost, email me at dmartin@robertscamera.com and I’ll get you some contact info. Or be prepared to tweet us at @robertscamera. See you tomorrow, oh ye brave souls.



Derek

Nikon Expands 1 System: New V3 Body, 2 New Lenses


Nikon 1 V3 With 10-30mm and Viewfinder

 

Check it. The Nikon 1 system (you know, the weird Nikon mirrorless line with the so-called “CX” mount built around a weird 1″ sensor with a 2.7x crop factor) has grown by three today with a new V3 enthusiast body and 2 less enthusiastic lenses.

The V3, while still suffering from a little bit of an identity complex (at the end of the day, there are still only two CX lenses with apertures you can pretend are enthusiast-oriented, and the price still pits it against the incredibly well-reviewed D3300 and D5300 DSLRs), the V3 does offer some interesting bullet points. Finally the V series has picked up dual command dials (although, as DPReview is quick to point out, you still have to use the 4-way for EV comp), and boy, it’s kinda fast. In addition to even snappier AF, the V3 will trundle along at 20 frames per second with continuous AF. Yeah. That. Sure, it’s not quite as high as the Casio, so, maybe less appealing for analyzing that golf swing, but probably pretty helpful for pray-and-spray approaches to amateur sports. At a full 18MP resolution, to boot. And, since we do Nikon USA, you get the electronic viewfinder and additional optional camera grip in the box. So, hey, there’s that?

10_30_PD_BK_a.low

And, there’re two new lenses to go with it: a new 10-30mm (yes, another one), and a 70-300. The 10-30mm is still a 3.5-5.6 VR, just like the last one, but this one is a “PD” model with power zoom. With that CX crop factor you get an effective 27-81mm lens with smooth power zoom for video use. But no filter thread. Sure. But, it’s pretty tiny, at only 1.1″ as shown there.

VR_70_300_TR_a.low

The 70-300 model is a bit slower still, coming in at f4.5-5.6. It’s also a VR model, which you would probably expect by now out of something that’s an 189-810mm monster of a telephoto. And by “monster” I mean a whole 4″ long closed, and under 20 ounces. Hey, there are advantages to a 1″ sensor, right? A 4″ 800mm f5.6 is one of them.

Also, it has filter rings like a proper god-fearing lens, and takes a 62mm one specifically. So, make that A 4″ 800MM F5.6 with filters you can even afford. Neato.

Preorders for all three below. Availability says April for the V3, but doesn’t actually say that’s the case for the lenses too, so, er, maybe?

Nikon 1 V3 with 10-30mm

1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM

1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 



Derek

Want More Eyeballs on Your Pictures?


As of this past fall we have a newly minted motto here at Roberts: Your Vision. Your Camera Store. And part of our reasoning behind choosing that is we don’t want to just be guys who sell camera gear and that’s that. It’s easy to be about gear. Gear is shiny, gear is cool, and, let’s be honest, gear has a tangible price (and that keeps the bean counter happy). But, truth be told, all the gear in the world actually exists for one purpose: to make pictures. To capture those fleeting moments of life and capture them as photographs, as videos.

Gear’s great, but it’s what you do with it we care about. Your vision. What you see, what you do, and what you capture. We love it. We love seeing it, we love making it happen, and, we love helping you show it to the world.

CapturFiles-20140370_0903

That’s why we have a Flickr group, The Friends of Roberts, and why we show recent photos from that group on our homepage at all times. We may not be those big guys out in New York, but we’re still talking more than a thousand pairs o’ eyeballs a day sort of exposure here, if you’re wondering.

CapturFiles-20140370_0903_1

 

So, if you ever want some extra exposure for yourself, don’t be shy. Getting on the Roberts homepage is easy. You just need a Flickr account (they’re still free, after all), and then you just have to share some photos with our group here. You can submit up to 7 photos a week to it, and as you can see we show the newest 16 on the homepage at any given time. It’s just another way we’re showing our commitment to what you are about, and what your vision is. Gear is great, but what we really love is seeing where you take it, what you do with it, and what it’s like to see what you see. Care to show us your vision?