Review: The mystery camera

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A question of orientation

Post-CP+, and in a stunning reversal of recent events, I’ve been given a camera to test. Not just any camera; one that is not even currently available. It is light, portable and sits in a class of its own amongst all cameras I have used. I can’t say yet what this camera is, but I was told I can post a review and images from it so long as I don’t reveal anything about appearance or specifications for the time being. This is obviously a rather unusual state of affairs, but I felt that there were some greater lessons to be learned from such restrictions, so here we go. I’ll start by saying that this is a singular device: it is a professional’s camera ne plus ultra. You must know what you’re doing to get a decent image out of it, and if you do, it’ll reward you in unexpected ways. Read on, if you’re curious.

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Red splash

In the interests of full disclosure, I have been allowed to keep this camera after this review. All images were shot with this camera and processed in Photoshop CC 2014 from JPEG (no raw converter available yet; I’m sure that would increase image quality noticeably).

I am pretty sure none of the usual suspects have used or reviewed this with any degree of seriousness yet, which I suppose probably makes this a world exclusive. But, if they had, we’d have something like this orbiting cyberspace:

Fanboy: This thing is AMAZING! It’s just PRECISELY what we need…even better than last year’s model. Its the right amount of resolution in a really small and lightweight package. It’s so smart I don’t have to think even a little bit! The files don’t need any processing straight from the camera and it has 5x zoom and you can use many different types of batterys. It’s so cheap I’m buying two, so I can always make great photo’s, like these snapshots from the exotic locale the company sent me to at the launch party! I can’t wait for the limited edition version in platinum trimmed with marmoset, it’s gonna be awesome!

Gear snob: It’s not bad, but still not as good as my 50MP Massivflex and f0.95 lenses. And there’s a tiny bit of CA in the corners. It’s too light. It won’t do 15fps. It doesn’t have IBIS or a full frame sensor or 200 PDAF points or 4K video at 240fps. I don’t know how to use any of that and only take photos of my cat and bikini models at launch events, but it doesn’t matter. IT doesn’t have it. The photos I post on Facebook at a tiny portion of the actual size with heavy compression look terrible. I don’t care how it prints, I’m not switching until all my demands are met with a cherry on top.

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Reflection of a dream

With those alternative opinions out of the way, let me start by putting all of this into context: a camera is for making photographs, nothing else. Not posing, not winning forum arguments, not advertising your social status.  It should therefore be considered and evaluated as such. Secondly, this is not something that any of us would normally consider owning; it comes way out of left field. We are so low down the diminishing returns curve, I don’t even think we’re on it.  I was warned not to have any expectations before I was shown the unit, and told to use it with an open mind and give honest feedback thus. Thirdly, an opinion is only as valid as the objectivity and skill in application of its provider. You wouldn’t buy a car based on the proclamations of somebody who cannot drive…

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For a change, it is perhaps the first camera I’ve ever used whose specifications are utterly irrelevant. ‘More than sufficient’ is really the best description, and to a surprisingly wide variety of applications – and not just because I cannot reveal too many of the numbers. There is no need to use it on a tripod, though as always, it helps. Perhaps it is best thought of as a box of perspectives: 28-140mm equivalent. I say equivalent because it is of course not FF35. It is built with simplicity of purpose in mind. It is lighter than it looks and quite compact, and works off a variety of power sources. It looks like it would survive a drop and a little moisture without too much trouble. The curves and edges of the body are soft and comfortable in the hand. There are few but well-placed controls and one or two obvious ones missing or not yet implemented (bearing in mind this is probably not the final evolution of this device) – metering mode control is biggest surprise omission, though it makes up for that by having the first matrix meter I’ve encountered that does a very good job behaving as an ETTR device all the time. Surprisingly, it’s also not just cheap, but very cheap for what it is – much in the same way the 645Z really shook up the MF market, it really redefines the price-performance equation.

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Large scale Lego

It has a sensible pixel count. The lens is fixed, but it has a sensible zoom range. Maximum aperture is f2.7. It will record HD video. Controls are limited, though: your main photographic one is exposure compensation, which is fine, because the camera’s program mode and matrix meter actually seems to make the right choices most of the time. You could post process the files, but why bother? It’s difficult to make them better than what already comes out of the camera. I believe the sensor is a CCD, which accounts for surprisingly tonally rich B&Ws – assuming you convert from color afterwards, not use the in-camera preset (which is far too heavy-handed and turned up to 11, as are all of the presets – but this is to be expected to satisfy the wider consumer audience*). Color is actually accurate if you set your grey point in ACR afterwards; surprisingly little tweaking required to achieve something both pleasing and plausible.

*I was told during the handover meeting that this was included simply because ‘pro’ cameras are sold to moneyed amateurs than pros these days; that’s just a reflection of the commercial photographic industry and who holds the most buying power. If they didn’t accommodate this market, it’s unlikely they’d ever recover the development costs. At least raw files are full fat and losslessly compressed – though not much use at the moment because there’s no software to open them.

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Out of place

There were clearly some optical compromises involved in the lens design – remember we are looking at a 5x moderate-wide to moderate-tele zoom in a very small space – and this is visible at times in the form of chromatic aberration, especially at the wide end of the range (which is also the weaker side of things). There is simply no way you’re going to pack an Otus-grade zoom in here, even if it’s no faster than f4 (nor does such a thing even exist). There is ED glass however to keep the contrast high and maintain color accuracy; you see little evidence of flare. It’s worth noting though that the optical compromises involved have been made in a way that shows some intelligent tradeoffs have been made: the lens is more than adequately matched to the sensor’s resolving power, and the size isn’t silly. Still, it’s worth noting that this lens is resolving somewhere of the order of 300lp/mm in the centre, at least by my estimates. That’s impressive by any stretch of the imagination. Practically, it takes some care to deploy all of this resolving power without encountering camera shake. Still, it’s a testament to the (leaf) shutter design that you can get away with 1/2x most of the time.

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Enshrined glow

I won’t lie: this device has some serious limitations, and a lot of them. (This is one of the reasons there are no documentary images in this review; the other reason is that I’m simply tired of photographing that.) The limitations are no more than a very special-purpose tool has, though – think Sigma Merrill/Quattro or the last generation of medium format. The shooting envelope is very narrow, but that shouldn’t really be an obstacle if you are aware of it and work around its limitations. Again, much like the Quattro, the price point for this thing redefines the cost-to-image-quality equation to the point where you’re willing to take a chance and put up with it to reap the benefits. But in the interests of objectivity, here we go

  • You can really only work in good light. It’s very noisy to the point of being unusable above ISO 400 or so, which rules out low light and indoors most of the time. But remember: 300lp/mm! It is a specific tool, not a Swiss Army Knife.
  • Focusing is slow. Very slow. At least it’s also very precise, though.
  • The LCD panel isn’t the best; it doesn’t reflect the captured information well, and isn’t so much limited in resolution or size as gamut and dynamic range (surprisingly). This makes it very difficult to tell if something is clipped.
  • Battery life is not great. Not Sigma-bad, but not far off. Fortunately you do get a choice of power sources/ capacities, and spares are very cheap, so this is mitigable to some extent. There are even two batteries included in the box.

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Collapsed shade

The spec-chasers will complain. True photographers will just get on with it. It’s a camera, and we know the limitations of its shooting envelope. Granted, we are left with an envelope too small for an address once the stamp is affixed, but it’s better than nothing. I honestly think the shooting envelope is no smaller than 35mm slide film; the results are not much worse, either. Limitations force you to think; they force you to get creative, and getting creative means better images. Not being able to judge exposure is not a problem – this trains your own internal eye-meter. If you can only work in bright sunshine, it’s sunny 16 all the way anyway, and this takes care of noise above base ISO. If focusing is slow, prefocus or work with static subjects. If the monitor is bad, there’s no need to chimp. If power consumption is poor, carry spares or spend more time visualising the composition and less time messing around with the LCD. Lightness of weight and the slight notchiness of the shutter button are going to challenge your shooting discipline.

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I think this camera is best thought of as the ultimate training device; if you can get a compositionally/ aesthetically satisfying image out of this, anything better should be a breeze. Make no mistake: this is not a beginner’s camera; in fact, it’s a murderously unforgiving one. But the attitude to take is not one of limitation, it’s the opposite: ask yourself what it does do well (accurate color in good light, pleasing contrast across the 4-5 principal stops, render everything in focus) and what types of images would benefit from these properties (graphic ones, for starters). And the satisfaction level when you see the results on a good monitor is really quite high; more so because your expectations are kept in check by the cost.

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The camera has rendered these waxy-looking leaves very realistically; they really were wax, I think.

I can’t honestly say I enjoyed shooting with the camera, because from a haptic point of view – this thing really needs some work. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but the hand-feel isn’t quite there yet. It could use some more sticky rubber on the grip, for starters. But I did appreciate the enforced constraints that forced me to get creative and sharpened my focus on light, subject, form, and previsualisation – the latter being especially important because there’s no room for error. This is perhaps the most important part of being a photographer: it is about making images, which in turn boils down to seeing and imagining first, and capture a very distant second. The sharper your vision, the better the image – the rest of it fades away. And as the kind of tool that really forces you to get out of your usual comfort zone, think more, and escape that slight reliance on technology to pick up the slack, this thing is unparalleled. Images that work are entirely on your own merit, and that gives a level of satisfaction that I’ve very rarely experienced from any piece of hardware – perhaps with the exception of mechanical/manual/meterless film cameras.

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Flame surfacing and all that

Carry one of these and nobody will mistake you for being a mere amateur photographer, which is just fine by me: it means I can concentrate on composing and shooting and being creative to work around the limitations of this thing rather than answering questions about my equipment or what people should buy. I suspect in fact its appearance is going to put a lot of people off; think of it as ‘functionally ugly’ – much like the 645Z or R9. In the unlikely event you happen to encounter another person using one of these, it was either an accident or they really know what they’re doing and will at most nod, smile and leave you alone. Perhaps you’ll even have an interesting conversation about the philosophy of photography. Accessibility and supply, not price, are going to be the limiting factors to obtaining one. From now on, if anybody claims they are a photographer, I’m going to hand them this thing to prove it, which makes it a good thing I don’t have to return the review unit. I’ve been instructed to keep it and use it as I please. Free camera aside, the combination of retail price, an independence from status-seekers and most importantly, the camera forcing me to really up my game are enough reasons enough for me to give it a highly, highly recommended rating, and an unconventional prize: this is probably going to be my Camera Of The Year, and will likely remain so even after the year’s releases are all said and done. MT

Coda: I’m a bit bothered by the guessing games that are going on, and it’s probably best if I don’t reply to any of these. I have no idea why everybody seems to think I used a Leica here, either – I’ll say it once and for all: it wasn’t. Final note: don’t judge image quality on web JPEGs. A first generation phone and medium format digital look little different by the time you’ve compressed and downsized to 800 pixels on the long side.

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Red window and overflow


Images from this article are available as prints on request here


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  1. I don’t know and i don’t care because you can make great photography with any kind of shitty camera 🙂

  2. Stephen Scharf says:

    Another thoughtful and insightful post, Ming. It really is about the photography and images that resonate with viewers at the end of the day. I feel like I learned so much when I started photography using an Olympus OM-1, manual focus lenses, and slide film all those years that I did. Working with within limitations is key to developing one’s craft and art.

  3. Corwin Black says:

    So.. 28-140/2.7 .. f2.7 till long end?

    CCD sensor? I thought they dont use them even for PnS today. Maybe Kodak (JK Imaging or how it is) still does, I didnt pay much attention to their cameras apart K-S1 (which is very interesting camera, especially RAW files from it after some PP).

    Considering that shot with sky in it, its probably quite noisy even on base ISO. So sensor is probably really small.

    Not much idea who would make it. Especially CCD part is quite puzzling.

  4. Did I miss it … it says Mystery Camera Revealed?

  5. Has anyone guessed the Konost FF digital rangefinder? Pretty much hits on all points…

  6. Werner Walther says:

    Lacking low light capacities? No thank you! I’m sticking to my wonderful LX7. My maximum publication format is just print DIN A4, I am carrying this camera always (!) – that means at least 23 of 24 hours a day with me, always in the shirt. I have a car mount, then the camera takes 1 picture every 60 seconds, whereever we are. From January 2014 to January 2015 it took 11.000 pictures – I remember not more than 5 or 6 of them being outstanding, and they might be entered in competitions this year. And then, there are 500 or 600 family photos, business photos etc. good enough for the albums. You have to divide by factor 6 or 8, as I am always shooting series (11 pictures per second), so one or two out of 6 or 8 are good (avoiding eye lid closing etc.). I am heading for more LX7s (for my wife, for my son, my daughter, another one to take movies with it etc. – maybe one of the Leica equivalents to participate in Leica competitions), and, I am so convinced of the concept, that the LX100 is now on my birthday wishlist – but it’s slightly more heavy (approx. 400 g instead of 240 g) and bigger – might be too heavy and too big for 24/7 carrying? No DSLR so far, might have one one day, if I discover special needs, but DSLR 24/7 – I have my sad experiences not carrying them with me.

    PS.: Of course, my LX7 is a system, with first of all not less than four batteries and car charger, and tripod (560 Gramm lightweight, and pocket tripod, and table screw, and car mount, and soon a 1,87 meter / 1700 Gramm), and bag – all these things in the car, the camera, however on the neck strap.

    My best regards,

  7. Konost they said

  8. Bryan Gonzalvo says:

    is it the Konost rangefinder?

  9. Jorge Balarin says:

    Very interesting.

  10. Let’s see… Maybe it’s a Yongnuo NeXaS a332i w/ 29-103 6.3, 19mp, 6.4fps that is too big for a pocket, and too small for a camera bag, so you get black pseudo-velvet pouch with it.

  11. From the moment i read your description “more than sufficient”, i knew it was a cheap and cheerful compact kind. I have been following your blog so long to know your point of view that today’s cameras are capable for what most people photograph 90% of the time 🙂

    It’s true, at one of my wife’s corporate gathering, she used Canon A2200 and the images blew me away. This article made me reach the A2200 again. Oh i love the restrain it gives to my shooting discipline.

  12. The next generation from the waterproof Ricoh WG series. A red one.

  13. “True photographers will just get on with it.”–I love this statement, and the bits about the opinions. I’ve seen way too many people who collect equipment but still can’t use it–“I just need that next lens to get that kind of photo.” 😀

    I’ve been thinking about contacting Lytro, in order to try their Illum camera model. Light field photography is so interesting, but the camera is huge and expensive for an experiment. I’m only about 130 km from their offices, but I’m not sure they’ll be receptive.

  14. I think it may be a Nikon Coolpix L25.

  15. This has been an interesting new experience of reading a review. It made me think more than any review I read in a long time. Thank you very much! Keep them coming 🙂

  16. 1inch Nikon

  17. I think it is a drone

  18. Love it! Clearly, by providing us with your thoughts about this camera, and the images you made with it, you have told us more about you and your work than in any other post. Well done! Reading a good joke tells more about the one who tells it than it reveals anything. Please, please, please, more of this 😉

  19. How wonderful it would be if this ‘review’ signalled the death of endless, puerile, wow wow wow, camera reviews.

    I’d much rather read reviews on other photographers and books. Barthes’s ‘La Chambre claire’ or Sontag’s ‘On Photography’ would be a great start !

    • It might from me, but I’m one voice who won’t be able to drown out the masses unfortunately.

      Reviewing other photographers is a slippery slope because there’s too much of an element of judging another person there…

  20. If you were a doctor who specialized in helping people overcome GAS and it’s addictive characteristics, you would lose your license for this despicable display of mystery images. Sure is fun though. The images are compelling, but I agree with one of the comments, “How do we know it’s not just the result of the usual high quality of image processing that Ming always has on exhibit?” And the camera I was thinking about buying will now have to wait just a little bit longer. Just so I can compare the G’s to one more choice. But hey, isn’t that what GAS is all about? Thanks for the preview. Now for the full review.

  21. Wonderful philosphical review/ satire. And funny as hell. I thought it might be a kidizoom or a cheap kodak p & s. It’s really hilarious how some people at photorumours who seem to have thought it was an expensive/ new camera feel so wounded now. I think I’ll take my lx3 out for a walk tomorrow. A wonderful camera, except when I can’t see the display in full sunlight (much better than I am as a photographer tbh).

  22. Too easy.
    The mystery camera is a Nikon L-31
    I could tell by the character of the lens, the specific “pop” that the photos have, and the very specific bokah produced 😉
    My daughter has a L-20. Perhaps she should upgrade.

  23. Hmm, the successor of Coolpix A with a zoom?

  24. Sounds like a Sigma or Ricoh to me. Strong tendency towards Sigma.

  25. William Uzzell says:


  26. I was thinking this must be a new laica, mostly because it has a slow zoom. I suppose most people who guessed laica because of this. My new guess is that it must be a Kodak made in china.

  27. its a phone. tada!

  28. Rosa Michaels says:

    It’s a Nikon L25 .
    You can see that from his Flickr photostream .
    Impressive .

    • Alex Carnes says:

      Impressive indeed. Although you might be less impressed with the critical image quality if you saw them at the original resolution! Of course, the point – which is well made – is that a striking image doesn’t depend on critical image quality. And if you don’t make large prints, pixel peep, shoot in the dark or photograph fast moving subjects, a cheap pocket camera is plenty good enough.

  29. I kinda feel like it is the next generation of RX100 series or LX100 series.

  30. Throughout the essay I felt you were describing the human eye.

  31. Oh my gosh, Ming! You made me laugh so much with the typical reviews we could get for that camera. The fan boy one screeeeeeams Steve Huff with his Sonys!

    • Or Leicas. Or M4/3s. Or…anything! 😉

    • To Steve’s credit, he did at one time make a guess-the-gear post. Many of his ‘regulars’ threw out 10,000$ leica suggestions. Including Leica shooters and collectors.

      The big reveal was a 30$ lens on some throwaday.

      So the example served this same conclusion: it’s the photographer, not the equipment. (Reinforced in his case with the ‘guess’ photos as poor and pointless as his high $ photos)

  32. Congrats on finally getting some love from a camera maker in the form of a free sample! I look forward to your eventual reveal.

  33. Peter Wright says:

    You’re a brave man! I appreciate the article and the excellent pictures, but when you do your ‘revelation’ follow-up, I hope you are moving fast!

  34. Ming,
    Fun and intriguing. I note that you tagged it with Nikon on your home page. Maybe just no other place to put it for now. However, the photos do remind me somewhat of my old D70 which I dearly love (still have it.) Thanks for this one. Great!

  35. michael gent says:

    Im now hoping for Foveon clad, mirror-less, with EVF that takes u4/3 lenses. (although admittedly u4/3 lenses would seem counter productive for Sigma).

  36. Great post Ming. No guesses from me. The make and model is irrelevant. But I *AM* wondering approximately WHEN we might see this announced. Thanks!

  37. You have highlights in the center of your “boomerang” picture.
    A lot of chromatic aberration in the top right corner of the “red splash”.
    ISO noise in the “reflection of a dream” and “‘untitled”.
    Not sure if this camera is that good. Your pictures are.

  38. The fact that it’s a CCD doesn’t tip off its origins; whatever underlies the Foceon and X-Trans sensors matters little as the end result is radically different.

    In any event, going ‘back to the future’ with a CCD vindicates all the voices out there who prefer the ‘dated’ sensor tech despite its high ISO shortcomings (the Leica Monochrom excepted). Also reassuring to see that someone out there is cultivating the niche of a small, ergonomic and stealthy “shooter’s” camera, along the lines of the eminently able Ricoh GR.

  39. The new Lytro zoom?

    • Wouldn’t touch a Lytro because of their draconian user agreement for software, which you are forced to use if you ever want to see your images…

      • Might be draconian but they obviously feel the need to protect their intellectual property as vigorously as someone else I know 😉

        • Well, there’s protection from somebody else deriving value without consideration to the originator, and greed in wanting a bit of everything. It isn’t the same at all.

  40. Heh, just read an update on photorumours. I actually suspected it’s a joke 😉 Now watching all the gearheads and coach photographers complain is quite amusing. Personally, I think this is very refreshing article. The most common question I get after a shoot is what camera I’m using. It’s sickening. Asking about my settings (rarely happens) is just slightly better. I can give you the numbers (1/160 at F/4 ISO 200) – but photography is not about numbers.

    The creative process is far more important than gear or even understanding the “maths” of photography. Good photography has to start with inspiration. And when you look at inspired photographs (popular photos on 500px, works of other great photographers) you’ll see that the idea behind the shot that makes them work, not the specific gear used. For instance, to take a good portrait, there are several things that come first, before gear, before numbers. Getting the right expression, in the right light, the right perspective,the right styling that matches the background – this is where a good portrait starts.

    There are genres that are more gear dependent (sports comes to mind), but if you’re inspired, if you study the works of great photographers (having a good visual literacy is essential) you can take better photos with your iPhone than the guy next you wielding a d800.

    Great post Ming Thein 🙂

    • Thank you. Absolutely, the operator matters more than the hardware – always.

      • There are enough comments similar to Csaba’s to clue the readers in. Is the gear addiction so strong that those comments are ignored?

        “The toys are out there, but please.” “like Imagine back to some amount of time when photography demanded that you actually learn how to take pictures.” Keith Jarrett

  41. these files look great. everything holds like it should. did you touch the files at all?

  42. when do we get the answer and pictures?

  43. Ernot Sanes says:

    Nikon L25?

    • Drew Breunig says:

      I like the idea of committing to an older camera for a period of time, as a bit of training if you feel your craft has gotten sloppy. I still take out my creaking Ricoh GX100. It’s low light performance is terrible and you could grab a coffee in the time it takes to write a RAW file. But it slows me down, forces me to pay attention to good light and not force images. I shoot less, but thoughtfully, and am occasionally rewarded.

      I and when I do get that shot, the files are plenty for web.

      Cloud Gate

      • I agree. I have a few cameras, but most have been purchases where I fell into a deal that I couldn’t refuse, and mostly older “classics”. The only cameras that I have bought new are Merrills, they are reasonably priced. But, 90% of the time my walking around camera is the Olympus E-PL1 with the Panasonic 20mm, both a very small investment used. I like the feel of the camera, it is compact, the lens is compact. My digital version of the Olympus XA. Many would think the combination noisy and not very “stealthy”; but, no one really cares. More importantly, I don’t think about the camera; and, like you, I am occasionally rewarded. Thanks for including the pictures.

      • Thanks for the pics. Is the b & w straight ooc? For some reason, their b & w modes always appealed to me, but I never got a ricoh. Am secretly flirting with the thought of getting a used GXR, though…

  44. Suppose, the camera exists only in Mings phantasy 🙂

  45. My guess is this is Sigma’s Foveon Zoom camera! 🙂

  46. Leontin V. says:

    Small photo size. Excellent quality (by Ming). Only static images. New camera (not RAW conversion). Is OM-D 2??????

  47. You should have waited till April 1st to post this 🙂
    I’m waiting for the DPR boys to post why the birds with the new EM5 on the Hi-Res mode are blurry 🙂

  48. Dear Ming Thein thanks for the review. You should write “nec plus ultra” in french. Best regards.

  49. Hans Joachim Benndorf says:

    I am sure it must be the I Phone 7.

  50. Obsolete but still usable camera, to show pointlessness of gear-head upgrade obsession?

  51. Sigh….I thought you were serious, it being new. Camera makers should make something riskier such a CCD sensor. Though I still commend Sigma and Sony for pushing the industry.

    The mystery camera/answer can be found somewhere on the internet. One of the comments got it correctly since the multiple power source gave it away.

    • This one have terrible shadows though due to the size of the sensor. If it were bigger such as APSC sized and without AA filter, then we have a Leica M9 again in terms of image quality or the same image feel.

      • How can you tell it’s the sensor and not a processing or exposure choice (or consequence of extremely hard light)? Why is the M9 a benchmark when it has pretty poor dynamic range?

        • Right, you have a point there since if I were going to process some these, I would PP the shadows to pure black to hide some of the noise. Since you have chosen to show them (the noise) and I found no detail, I pretty much knew it was the sensor. My Sigma DP2 doesn’t have these kind of shadows in these type of shots despite the poor DR. The M9, MF CCD sensors, and my DP2 have poor dynamic range but I’m particular with the highlights so I value them high in image quality. I don’t think its the lack of AA filter since I rarely view images at 100% and those sensors have the image quality at screen sizes.

          It was good fun though trying to figure it out just by the images.

          The highlights were exposed very well and I almost believed that it is an old Foveon even it had that kind of shadow noise. Yet, it doesn’t have the image quality/punch of the older Foveon sensors and checking the noise of the blue sky in one image made me more confident that it is not.

          I wish you could revisit this post using the older Sigma’s, no Merrills or Quattro.

          • The older Sigmas are still great cameras.

            • Totally agree and they would be perfect for this type of post. Using the SD9 would be a glutton for punishment though. 🙂

          • I didn’t, because crushing the shadows changes the composition since it affects what is visible and what isn’t. I had no choice other than to recover them slightly – and from jpegs – because the light in the tropics at this time of the year is the kind of thing that challenges even the D810 at times…

  52. Gary Morris says:

    Unless I missed the info in your write-up, does this mystery camera have a viewfinder of any sort (optical or EVF) or just a TV screen on the back? Pocketable with the zoom retracted?

  53. 221 comments!! Is this your most popular article ever?

  54. Nobody asked the question before so here it goes: how long do you think the mystery will hold?

  55. Mushy noise, aliasing artifacts, over-sharpening. Can’t wait to pre-order!

  56. Kodak DCS 460?

  57. Some kind of action camera? A new GoPro? A dashcam? Can it do video?

  58. Ricardo Hernandez says:

    Oops, I take back the Sigma possibility (CCD). A P&S is my bet.

  59. Ricardo Hernandez says:

    This is all very funny 🙂 Either a new camera Sigma branded, or something you made up with a new P&S, and you are making a much bigger point than the review 🙂 Either way, great stuff.

  60. Wonderful photos.
    Aps-c something?
    Would love another update on the ricoh GR mark II.

  61. Results look like a Pin Whole Camera


  1. […] the output objectives and skill level of the person wielding it; give a skilled photographer anything and it’s possible to make a compelling image, there is also the recommended gear list, and if […]

  2. […] timing, composition. Notice how none of those are hardware-dependant. I like to use my phone or a basic point and shoot for this exercise. It’s also to make you forget about the execution/technical part and […]

  3. […] under these conditions – in a good way! I also added a new twist to this Masterclass: the mystery camera came along for a ride to provide a little reminder that composition and seeing are really […]

  4. […] the enfant terrible of the photographic blogging community. Last week he tantalised his readers to guess the identity of a mystery camera which, he implied, had been given to him by a manufacturer to review. It was, he claimed, a camera […]

  5. […] seeing the slew of positive, curious, speculative, accurate* and sarcastic reactions to the review/preview of the mystery camera from last week, it’s time for the […]

  6. […] yes, there will be a reveal of the mystery camera at some […]

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