February 10th, 2015

Sigma Releases New 24mm Art Lens, DP Quattro Series Camera

 

 

 

 

 

pphoto_dp0_quattro_side_slanting-large-2Sigma announced the fourth member of its DP Quattro series of digital cameras, plus a new 24mm Art lens in advance of the CP+2015 show in Japan.

The DP0 sports a fixed 14mm F4 lens (21mm, 35mm equivalent). All other features will be identical to the previous models in the lineup.

The DP0 incorporates a 29-megapixel APS-C-sized Foveon X3 Quattro image sensor. The Quattro sensor features a proprietary three-layer design meant to replicate how film emulsions capture red, green and blue light. Working in tandem, these three layers create Sigma’s equivalent of a 39-megapixel image, and Sigma’s True III image processor crunches the data to output an image that the company claims delivers truer-to-life colors and more realistic images than competing sensor designs.

Beyond the sensor, the DP0 delivers 14-bit RAW image capture and a sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 6400. The body design marries a thin, panoramic frame with a prominent grip that extends from the back of the camera, giving the DP0 a particularly distinctive look.

Pricing and availability on the DP0 were not announced.

 

401_24mm_art-150dpi-angledSigma also announced a new member of its Art lens family. The new 24mm F1.4 Art  lens is designed for full-frame DSLRs. It features  nine rounded aperture blades and a maximum magnification of 1:5.3. The  minimum focusing distance is 9.8 inches.

The lens incorporates both “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) glass and Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass in  15 elements in 11 groups. According to Sigma, this construction minimizes chromatic aberration of magnification especially in the edge of the image field.

By placing aspherical elements in the rear of the lens, Sigma said it was able to improve performance when shooting wide open, keeping distortion, flare and chromatic aberration to a minimum.

A full-time manual focusing mechanism lets you switch into manual focusing during autofocus by rotating the lens ring.

Pricing and availability for the new 24mm Art Lens were not announced.

February 5th, 2015

Ricoh Full Frame DSLR to Be Shown at CP+ Show, New Lenses Too

Visitors to the CP+ Show in Japan next week will get a glimpse at a forthcoming Ricoh full frame DSLR.

Details about the new camera were sparse. Ricoh said it would be a K-mount camera compatible with DA-series lenses using a cropping function. We can expect it by the end of this year.

pentax70Ricoh was more forthcoming about a pair of new K-mount telephoto lenses that will hit the market next month.

First up is the HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8ED DC AW, a constant aperture lens that Ricoh claims will offer the highest image quality of any of its lenses thanks to a new optical design. It employs Aero Bright Coating II to minimize reflectance, four super-low dispersion glass elements and two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements.

It also features a pair of new Super ED glass elements to combat chromatic aberration.

The lens is dustproof and uses 13 seals to keep nasty weather at bay. It uses an internal focusing mechanism and an AF limiter switch to improve autofocus response time. You can use a Quick-Shift focus system to dial in focus manually after the lens has autofocused. The system features three modes: QFS/A, QFS/M and MF. Set to QFS/A  and you can switch to manual-focusing only when autofocus is finished. In QFS/M you can manually focus the lens at any time. Finally, in MF mode you can jump into full manual focusing with a twist of the lens ring.

The 70-200mm will cost $2,300.

Next up is the HD PENTAX-D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6ED DC AW, which delivers a 35mm equivalent focal length of 230-690mm. It uses three ED elements and one super-low dispersion glass element to reduce spherical and chromatic aberration.

According to Ricoh, the image circle is optimized to cover even the image size of 35mm film-format SLR cameras. As the result, it will be able to mount to the company’s future full frame DSLR “without modifications.” It employs 21 seals to protect its innards from inclement weather as well as the Quick-Shift focus system detailed above. There are four AF buttons on the lens barrel — one at every 90 degrees — so you can quickly focus no matter what position you’re holding the camera in.

The 150-450mm lens will set you back $2,500 and is available for pre-order now. Have at look at this monster below.

DFA150-450

January 6th, 2015

Fujifilm Intros XF 16-55mm F2.8 Lens at CES

XF16-55mm&X-T1GS[1]Fujifilm used CES 2015 to debut a new all-weather 16-55mm zoom lens for its X-series cameras.

The XF 16-55mm F/2.8 LM WR (24-84mm, 35mm equivalent) is sealed in 14 places to keep dust and moisture out of its innards. The lens features an internal focusing system and a twin linear motor for high-speed autofocus. According to Fujifilm, the lens can autofocus in as little as .06 seconds.

The optical elements are coated using a new Nano GI (Gradient Index) coating that reduces ghosting and flaring by altering the refractive index between the glass and air. The XF 16-55mm employs 17 elements in 12 groups including three aspherical elements and three ED elements.

The lens will ship in February for $1,200. XF16-55mm_Flat

November 13th, 2014

The Hidden History of the Zoom Lens in Films and Movies

What do the zoom lens and atomic bomb have in common? Both have roots in the second World War and both owe their genesis, in part, to qualified engineers fleeing the Nazi regime.

Nick Hall, a researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London composed the following short history of the zoom lens for the Society for the History of Technology’s three minute dissertation contest. It’s a fascinating, if brief, overview of how a once controversial technology permeated U.S. filmmaking.

Via: Studio Daily

November 10th, 2014

Canon’s New 100-400mm Lens Is Steadier Than Ever

HR_EF100-400_45-56L_IS_II_USM_3Q_CL

It’s been 16 years since Canon shooters have seen a new 100-400mm EF lens. The wait is now over.

The second generation EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM lens is official and boasts improved image stabilization, giving it four stops of stabilization versus the 1.5 available on the first generation model. Image stabilization is also now tripod sensitive and will be available in three modes: standard, panning and during exposure only.

The lens has been redesigned from the original “push-pull” zoom to a rotating zoom that Canon says will keep the lens steadier and more precise when zooming. The zoom torque adjustment ring has had its own makeover so you can set your zoom tension more easily.

The optical formula has been revamped as well. There is now one Flourite and one Super UD lens element in the lens as well as newly developed Air Sphere Coating to minimize flaring and ghosting.

The new 100-400mm will be able to focus on objects as close as 3.2 feet away.

The lens will offer Flourine coatings on the front and rear surfaces to keep dusty and water from beading on the lens and will feature a weather resistant magnesium housing to keep it safe from the elements.

It will ship with a new lens hood that will feature a slide window for quick access to lens filters, so you don’t have to pop the hood off to adjust your filter. The tripod mount has also been redesigned so that it’s quickly detachable.

The new 100-400mm will hit retail in December carrying a $2,199 price tag.

October 8th, 2014

New Lens Correction Software Takes Aim at Expensive Lenses with Math

piccure_canon

The German software company Piccure+ is not one to mince words. Calling the prevailing lens making model “ignorant” the company has released lens correction software that it claims can correct lens defects without building a huge bank of profiles. The upshot, they claim, is that you can use inexpensive lenses and still create high quality images that look as if they were snapped through more expensive glass.

Piccure+ uses complex mathematical models to create a point-spread function for each image before applying a deconvolution to correct defects — much like the approach NASA took to fixing the Hubble Telescope’s optics. Among the virtues of this approach is that it can correct what lens profiles can’t, namely deviations in lens manufacturing.

Rather than work off what it thinks is wrong with the lens, Piccure+ tackles the optical defects directly in the RAW image file itself. (The software can also work with JPEG images but the company claims that the already-compressed JPEG files won’t benefit as much from its algorithmic massaging.) This means that it can also correct distortions and aberrations on images without EXIF data and for lenses that don’t have profiles in competitive software like Adobe’s Camera RAW.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 9.49.49 AM

In a blog post announcing the software’s release, the company ambitiously called for a rethink of the entire lens manufacturing paradigm. Rather than invest money in building flawless lenses, the company is arguing that much of the heavy lifting can be done in software. Specifically, their software (of course). Photographers would then be liberated to use less expensive zoom lenses while lens makers could focus on driving their own costs down by relenting on quality control — an argument we have trouble believing is going to find much traction among lens manufacturers.

We’ve just started playing with the software, which you can kick around for free for 14 days. From our initial impressions, it’s clearly easy to use, with a minimalist interface with sliders for optical aberration, sharpness and denoising. However both previewing and processing images on our 2.6GHz dual-core Mac (16GB of RAM) took a fair amount of time (evidently our Mac likes doing complicated math about as much as we do). You can save settings to make your workflow go a bit faster when working in a similar batch of images or you can tell the program (via a slider) to prioritize speed over quality.

Piccure+ will cost $109 and can work as a plugin for Lightroom or as a standalone application.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 9.57.16 AM

Nikon D610; 1/320 @ f/7.1 with 24-84mm Nikkor lens. Original image on left.

September 16th, 2014

Photokina 2014: Ricoh Tips K-Mount Lens Plans

pentax_16_85mm_01

Ricoh didn’t bring much in the way of product launches to Photokina 2014, but they did let it be known that some new K-mount lenses are in the works.

The most detailed of the bunch, set to launch later this year, is the Pentax DA 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6ED DC WR (pictured above). It will have a quiet AF driving motor, “high grade” HD coating and a weather resistant construction.

Two other lenses were tipped with scant details. Ricoh said it had a high magnification super telephoto zoom lens and a large diameter telephoto zoom lens in the works. Design mock ups for both are below, starting with the super telephoto.

Stay tuned.

pentax_photokina_2014_01

 

pentax_photokina_2014_02

 

September 15th, 2014

Photokina 2014: Olympus Intros 40-150mm Pro Lens, Firmware Upgrade for Studio Tethering

Olympus_M.ZUIKO_DIGITAL_ED_40-150mm_PRO_Lens-08dc9ecd-5310-40d2-9992-bd8efbb9939d

Olympus announced today at Photokina that it will bring a new 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro lens to the market in November.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm lens keeps a constant f/2.8 aperture and uses dual linear voice coil motors to keep focusing fast and quiet. Capable of focusing on objects as close as 20 inches away, the lens offers a dedicated function button, manual focus clutch and a sliding protective lens hood. It’s also dust, splash and freeze proof and measures in at a little over 6 inches.

The lens will set you back $1,499. Olympus will also sell a 1.4x teleconverter, the MC-14, for use with the lens in November for $349.

Firming Up

The OM-D E-M1 is also getting a firmware upgrade the will enable several new capabilities including USB tethered shooting using the new Olympus Capture software utility. Capture will display the E-M1′s live view display on a computer monitor and allow for remote controlling the camera from a desktop or laptop.

The firmware will also allow keystone compensation to correct trapezoidal distortion in live view and delivers the Live Composite Mode found on the E-M10 for capturing light trails in a dark sky. There are also two new Art Filters, improved EVF display lag, and a panning scene mode that sets optimal shutter speed to match the movements of your subject.

The new firmware will come pre-installed in a new Silver edition of the E-M1 (shipping this month) and will be available for current E-M1 owners on September 24th.

olympus-om-d-e-m1-silver

September 12th, 2014

Sony Courts Filmmakers with New Full Frame Lens

Sony’s continued its push to make its full frame mirrorless system attractive to filmmakers with the new FE PZ 28-135mm F G OSS, the first full-frame lens with a power zoom for smoother focusing. SELP28135G_A-1200

The new E-mount lens is part of Sony’s effort to boost its full frame cameras among filmmakers by tackling three issues that bedevil still photo lenses during video shoots: changes in angle of view during focusing, focus shifts during zoom and the movement of the optical axis during zooming.

The new lens will combat these maladies with a supersonic wave motor drive and a double linear motor to reduce focus noise.

The FE PZ 28-135 will also have separate control rings for focus, zoom and aperture and features a maximum aperture of f/4. Optical image stabilization is also on hand to keep things steady—it can be switched off via a button on the lens barrel.

The new lens is set to ship in December for $2,499.

May 13th, 2014

Big Guns: Nikon Launches 400mm F/2.8 FL ED VR Super Telephoto Lens and 1.4x Teleconverter

Nikon unleashed a new super telephoto lens and tele extender this morning: the AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens and 1.4x magnifying AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III. Sports photographers and wildlife shooters should find a lot to like here; the Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 features improved autofocus, exposure accuracy and speed, while the teleconverter TC-14E III multiplies the focal length of Nikon lenses by 1.4x with reportedly only a one-stop loss of exposure.

Nikon-AFS_400E_FL_ED_VR_a
Unfortunately for those photographers looking to get their hands on these big guns they don’t go on sale until August 2014 and they won’t be cheap. The the AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens will sell for $12,000, while the AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III will retail for $500.

Read more of this story here.