B&H Photo News Roundup: Week of February 18, 2024

B&H Photo News Roundup: Week of February 18, 2024

It’s been a great week for photography news as brands geared up for CP+. FUJIFILM clearly has a winner on its hands with the X100VI—a follow up to one of the most popular compact cameras of the past few years. Otherwise, we are looking at a lot of glass. Sony went for a unique mid-range offering in the FE 24-50mm f/2.8 G while Panasonic opted for a more all-in-one design with the Lumix S 28-200mm f/4-7.1 Macro O.I.S.. Finally, Sigma joins the mix with 15mm f/1.4 fisheye and 500mm f/5.6 Sports lenses.

FUJIFILM X100VI—a worthy upgrade for the internet’s favorite camera

Immensely popular since the first version was released over a decade ago, the FUJIFILM X100 series has become even more popular in recent years thanks to huge exposure on social media platforms like TikTok and because of its ability to create stunning, publish-ready images using FUJIFILM’s huge set of film simulations. Now, the series is taking another big leap with some major upgrades in the X100VI.

From what we can tell, the X100 became so renowned for a combination of reasons:

  • Image quality is top notch.

  • Film simulations are perfect for instantly posting to social media.

  • The rangefinder-inspired design and control scheme are a joy to use.

  • And it’s simply a good looking camera that can be a stylish accessory as well as a functional tool.

Looking at the camera you won’t see many changes—which is a good thing in this case—though under the hood you’ll find some major improvements. The sensor is now the same as the one on the X-H2 with a 40MP resolution and 6.2K video recording. A huge benefit of the higher resolution sensor is the addition of a digital teleconverter mode that allows you to effectively shoot using a 50mm or 70mm equivalent lens. The AF system has been given a boost and, for the first time in the series, the camera has in-body image stabilization.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves we should talk about some of the classic X100 features that have returned. The camera still packs an APS-C sensor and has a 23mm (equivalent to a 35mm) f/2 lens that makes it a solid camera for everyday shooting and street photography. It also has a hybrid optical/electronic EVF system that is a best-of-both-worlds kind of deal.

There is a lot going on in this compact camera and I can imagine it’ll be among the most popular cameras of 2024.

Sony reinvents mid-range zoom with FE 24-50mm f/2.8 G

Long have we used the 24-70mm as the standard mid-range zoom. It’s versatile, but not always the right pick for everyone. Sony is giving photographers another option with the release of the FE 24-50mm f/2.8 G.

While it might not be something that comes to mind for many photographers, the new 24-50mm does provide an option that could be appealing to many shooters. It sits in a world between Sony’s 20-70mm f/4 and 24-70mm f/2.8. One is compact but slower while the other has some weight to it but gains the f/2.8 aperture. The 24-50mm is smaller than even the 20-70mm but maintains the faster f/2.8 aperture. Perhaps it’s a perfect compromise.

That 24-50mm may feel limiting, but it is quite versatile for everyday carry. Plus, the lens can achieve an excellent close focusing distance of 7.1", providing a magnification ratio of 1:3. It can also serve video well with fast and smooth autofocus and a de-clickable aperture ring.

Sigma hits wide and tele with 15mm fisheye and compact 500mm

Upstaging everyone else, Sigma released two interesting—and very different—lenses this week. These are the 15mm f/1.4 DG DN Fisheye Art Lens and 500mm f/5.6 DG DN OS Sports Lens. Both ends of the spectrum are being covered today.

Fisheye lenses are part of the fun side of ultra-wide-angle photography. This 15mm f/1.4 puts a different spin on the usual fisheye fare with an emphasis on high image quality. This “diagonal” fisheye also covers the full-frame image area as opposed to circular fisheyes that have an aggressive vignette. It’s also shockingly fast at f/1.4, which makes it more versatile (and quite sizable).

Being a fisheye it certainly won’t be for everyone—the 14mm Art would be the “normal” option—but it should do very well in plenty of applications, such as astrophotography, action sports, and landscapes. It’s a fun lens and an interesting addition to Sigma’s lineup.

Going all the way to the super tele range is the new 500mm f/5.6. As you might be able to figure from the f/5.6 aperture this is a bit more conservative than many brands’ top-of-the-line options, but that means this lens is much more manageable in terms of size. This is a handholdable super telephoto optic that won’t be a problem to hike around with or have in your bag for a day of shooting.

It weighs around 3 lb and just over 9" in length, which is similar to a 70-200mm. Optically the lens is great, and Sigma took care to ensure the autofocus is fast and the image stabilization keeps your images tack sharp.

Both lenses are designed for mirrorless and are available for Sony E and L-Mount.

Panasonic adds 28-200mm f/4-7.1 all-in-one zoom

Panasonic has been working on making its lenses among the smallest and lightest in its class and the Lumix S 28-200m f/4-7.1 continues that tradition for the all-in-one zoom. This new full-frame offering for L-Mount cameras is designed to be an ideal walk-around lens that doesn’t weigh you down and offers immense versatility.

The lens features a retractable design to ensure a small footprint when not zoomed out and it weighs less than a pound—great for that wide-angle to telephoto zoom range. It also sports a Macro designation since it can achieve a magnification ratio of 1:2, or half-life size.

This is a fairly straightforward lens so I’ll make the rest of this quick. It features fast autofocus and built-in image stabilization rated to 6.5 stops. It is also weather-resistant and has a fluorine coating. It’s a solid all-in-one for L-Mount.

In other news…

This was a fun week. Check back next week for even more news!