Podcast: New Gear Roundup, Spring 2021


On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome B&H Senior Sales Trainer Kevin Rickert back to the program to discuss the latest cameras and lenses released over the past few months. For today’s episode, we have the support of Audio-Technica and are using its BP40 Large Diaphragm Dynamic Broadcast Microphone.

We start with Sony’s new flagship camera, the Alpha A1 Mirrorless Digital Camera, and discuss its impressive features, as well some of the new lenses Sony has introduced, including the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens. We also talk about the new FUJIFILM GFX 100S Medium Format Mirrorless Camera and the FUJIFILM X-E4 Mirrorless Camera.

The rest of the episode is dedicated to lenses and a quick look back at some camera releases from late 2020. We mention the incredible new Leica M-mount 35mm f/2 lens and the 28mm f/2 SL lens, a trio of Pentax "Limited" lenses, including the tiny 43mm f/1.9 lens, a 15mm Sunstar lens from NiSi, and several others. Cameras from late last year that get a mention are the Nikon Z6 II, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 III, and the Canon PowerShot ZOOM. Join us for this informative chat and start thinking about your spring and summer photography plans!

Guest: Kevin Rickert

Editor’s Note: Since this podcast was recorded, both Pentax and Sigma have announced new cameras. Both are substantial updates to existing models: Pentax announced the new APS-C flagship Pentax K-3 Mark III DSLR and Sigma introduced the modular fp L Mirrorless Digital Camera.

Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera
FUJIFILM GFX 100S Medium Format Mirrorless Camera
FUJIFILM X-E4 Mirrorless Digital Camera
Sigma fp L Mirrorless Digital Camera
Leica APO-Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH. Lens
Pentax HD Pentax-FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited
NiSi 15mm f/4 Sunstar ASPH Lens
Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens
Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary Lens

Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Senior Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner


Greetings podcast team! It was fun to hear what the major camera manufacturers have been up to during this strange, dark winter. I subscribe mostly for your conversations with photographers such as Kesha Lambert—what a dream to have a concert hall as a portrait studio. I use pretty offbeat equipment for my personal and professional work, so the mainstream gear discussions don't directly relate to my photography, but it's still helpful and fun to stay informed about new offerings.

For whatever it's worth, I think it's okay to leave the Pentax discussions to other outlets. Something like "Also, there are some new lenses out from Pentax. That's not a brand we spend much time on here, but we know that some people still use Pentax gear, and they seem to like it. Now, let's talk about this new Sunstar lens from NiSi…"

If you are going to talk about Pentax gear, though, please do a bit more homework? That can be a tall order in this work-from-home world, when you folks might not have access to the showroom or factory reps. But things got a little fuzzy in the Pentax segment of the show:
• Pentax Limited Lenses are not Limited Edition. Pentax has made the 43mm FA Limited since 1996. They'll keep making them for as long as there are buyers. "Limited" signifies compact, all-metal prime lenses with low distortion and (usually) 49mm filter threads.

• The weird focal lengths are a hallmark of the Limited line. Pentax has been making the 31mm, 43mm, and 77mm Limited lenses for over 30 years, so maybe give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they're being intentional.

• FA Limited lenses also work with new Pentax digital cameras, not just with old Pentax film cameras.

• All Pentax lenses are stabilized lenses, because Pentax bodies provide sensor-based shake reduction.

• All Pentax Lenses are shift lenses, because Pentax bodies provide sensor-based shift. (No tilt, sadly.)

• Finally, even though Pentax has put weather-sealing on all of its cameras for years, none of the FA Limited lenses and only one of the DA Limited lenses is weather-sealed, as some landscape photographers learn to their dismay out in the field.

That said, you guys clearly know your stuff. Canon, Sony, Nikon, Sigma, Panasonic, Leica—these companies come out with dozens of bodies and lenses each year. Nobody expects you to ALSO keep tabs on all of the offbeat gear from niche companies. Those of us who shoot with Pentax, or Olympus, or PhaseOne systems already know we'll need to do our own digging to learn about new releases. Honestly, that's part of the fun of shooting with one of the "quirky" lines. So I hope you'll take this as the friendly correction it's meant to be. I can already see a new episode is in my feed with what looks to be an in-depth interview with a working pro, and that's the content I look forward to from you guys at B&H.

Thanks so much for the feedback Artie and its great to hear your thoughts on the photographer conversations we host.  In terms of Pentax, your point is well taken and we need to be more careful. In terms of the "Limited" designation, that is my mistake because I did know they were not "Limited Edition" but it slipped through my edit.  Corrections coming, and please, hold our feet to the fire, as much as we talk Sony, Canon, Nikon, we love and use most the other brands too!  Viva Pentax!

I ditto John's comments! And thanks for the constructive feedback - it's much appreciated!