B&H Photo News Roundup: Week of September 17, 2023

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B&H Photo News Roundup: Week of September 17, 2023

It’s going to be hard to follow up a week of Bild Expo and then IBC, but we can try with a few key announcements. Nikon took a very, very good shot at it with the release of the Zf, a retro-styled full-frame camera that takes the classic looks of the FM2 and combines them with modern imaging tech from the current Z Series mirrorless lineup. Nikon also released a teaser for the mysterious “Plena,” although we will have to wait until next week to see what that will be.

Meanwhile, Microsoft launched a couple Surface products that will be very interesting to creatives looking for a sleek and powerful laptop (that isn’t a MacBook). The Surface Laptop Studio 2 is the real highlight; the Surface Laptop Go 3 is a great everyday option. Lastly, FUJIFILM is having some fun with the INSTAX PAL, an ultra-compact digital camera designed to pair with its INSTAX mobile printers.

Nikon Zf brings together modern full-frame tech and retro style

The Nikon Zf looks good. Unless you absolutely hate that classic film camera look, it’s hard to deny that the Zf is a pretty camera. However, looks aren’t everything, and Nikon seems to have loaded the Zf with some killer tech, like the full-frame 24.5MP sensor found in the Z6 II and the EXPEED 7 processor of the flagship Z9.

If you were around during the film days you might be thinking that it looks similar to that classic FM2, and you would be correct. Inside, you are getting some of the latest and greatest image quality. That 24.5MP sensor is already proven to deliver rich colors with great dynamic range. Now, with the EXPEED 7 processor, its potential can be unlocked.

Using Deep Learning technology, Nikon was able to enhance many features, including adding Subject Recognition with 3D Tracking to the AF system. You’ll be able to shoot at up to 30 fps and have the camera “pre-shoot” at up to that speed to guarantee you won’t miss a shot. This updated sensor will deliver low noise and it has a wide ISO range of ISO 100-64,000 for stills and ISO 100-51,200 for video.

Nikon Zf
Nikon Zf

The revamped VR system will provide up to 8 stops of compensation and it uses a world’s first focus-point stabilization method that will optimize performance, depending on where in your frame you are focusing. This even unlocks 96MP Pixel Shift Shooting.

Video isn’t forgotten either, with 4K 30p oversampled from the full 6K image area. You can enjoy slow motion in 4K up to 60p and Full HD up to 120p, as well. It’ll record internally using H.265 in 10-bit N-Log. These are pro-level specs for a camera that looks like you should be loading it with film.

There’s a lot more to dive into, but the controls are classic and provide a more tactile way of experiencing the camera. Old and new photographers can enjoy the Zf.

Just a few days after the Zf announcement, Nikon released a surprise teaser for the “Plena.” There isn’t much to go on except a mysterious video clip, but it looks like it might be an exciting new lens… Check back next week, on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, to find out more.

Microsoft boosts power with refresh of Surface Laptop lineup

Microsoft has made the Surface line one of the best options for everyday users and creators alike, with a variety of different configurations to choose from. Today we are getting two solid upgrades with the Surface Laptop Studio 2 and Surface Laptop Go 3.

To make a comparison I’d rather not make, if we are looking at Microsoft’s laptops and comparing them to Apple, the Surface Laptop Studio is a good matchup to the MacBook Pro, while the Surface Laptop Go 3 is going up against the MacBook Air. They are very different in many ways, but that should help classify these laptops.

Surface Laptop Studio 2
Surface Laptop Studio 2

The Studio 2 is definitely going after creatives, designers, and developers, with major power upgrades for this model—plus, it keeps the unique screen that puts it front and center for better media consumption and touch functionality. You can now load it with a 13th-Gen Intel® Core™ i7-13700H 14-core processor, up to 64GB LPDDR5X RAM, and choose between an NVIDIA 4050, 4060, or 2000 Ada GPU. That setup will keep your apps running smoothly, including editing the 4K video with effects.

The screen has been given some enhancements. The 14.4" display is still the same size and resolution, at 2400 x 1600 (which is a 3:2 aspect ratio I think more laptop makers should use), but it now has Dolby Vision IQ. This should provide a wider range of color compared to SDR. Plus, it can now hit a 120 Hz refresh rate and is certified for VESA DisplayHDR 400.

Connectivity is even better this go around. A USB-A port and microSD card reader have been added to the two Thunderbolt™ 4 pots and headphone jack of the original. There is a charger for the Surface Slim Pen 2, as well. This sounds like a solid laptop.

Surface Laptop Go 3
Surface Laptop Go 3

If that is a bit more than you need, the Surface Laptop Go 3 might be a better choice. This is a more portable laptop that has a 12.4" PixelSense touchscreen and weighs less than 2.5 lb. Power is a touch more limited, with 12th-Gen CPUs and integrated graphics, although this should be plenty for everyday applications like video conferencing, web browsing, and even some light photo editing.

Microsoft’s Surface line is quite appealing if you want a solid Windows laptop.

FUJIFILM’s INSTAX PAL is a tiny digital camera for its mobile printers

Instant film is having a little moment. Polaroid launched a brand-new I-2 camera and now, FUJIFILM has expanded its INSTAX line. The FUJIFILM INSTAX PAL is a bit of an odd addition because it is not an instant camera. This digital camera is designed specifically to work with the INSTAX Link mobile printers. It’s hoping to add a bit of current-day creativity to your instant-film shoot by starting with a tiny, easy-to-use camera and bringing you into a smartphone app with tons of fun options before you hit print.

It’s tiny and looks cute, so it might be easier to use than your INSTAX MINI. It has custom shutter sounds, filters, stickers, text options, and a color that makes it look and feel like fun.

FUJIFILM INSTAX PAL
FUJIFILM INSTAX PAL

The INSTAX PAL comes as a bundle with the MINI LINK 2 printer, so you can immediately start shooting and printing. It’s definitely a bit of an odd choice, but I could easily see children having a great time with this new camera.

In other news…

Don’t forget, B&H is about to close for the seasonal holidays. Check our holiday schedule here. Be sure to get your orders in soon, when we reopen on Tuesday, September 26, and get them in early next week to make sure you receive your orders before we close.

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