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Posted 06/28/21
Enter the retro-cool and featured-packed Nikon Z fc camera! Lovers and fans of Nikon are certainly familiar with the company’s rich history, and it is difficult not to get excited when the camera’s design team breaks out a brand-new digital camera with a look and feel that harkens back to the days of the Nikon film photography era and its line of 35mm cameras that set a photographic standard for decades. While it looks like it rolled fresh off of the Nikon FM2 production line, the new Z fc is a DX-sensor (APS-C) digital powerhouse with all of the features and specs you’d expect from a modern digital camera. The Nikon Z fc is the newest member of Nikon’s mirrorless interchangeable-lens Z line of cameras. The Z fc’s APS-C sensor sports 20.9MP and is powered by the Nikon EXPEED 6 processor. ISO range goes from ISO 100-51200 with expandability up to 204800 when needed. Video shooters can enjoy 4K recording at 30 fps using the full sensor—no cropping. Slow-motion videos at 120 fps in HD 1080p are also available, as is 4K time-lapse shooting for up to 8 hours. The Z fc also features 20 creative shooting modes for those looking for some extra fun and magic in their shots, as well as human and animal eye-detect autofocus modes. The Z fc’s USB-C charging and data port allows for tethered shooting, external powering of the camera, and battery charging. This allows you to shoot stills and videos well past your battery life as long as you are plugged into power. Also, the camera is ready to be your next awesome webcam with speedy USB-C data transfer and a built-in microphone jack. The last time Nikon went retro it was with the Nikon Df camera—still available—that paired the D4’s full-frame sensor and processor with a retro design—even down to the non-italicized Nikon logo—a nice touch, and a feature seen on today’s new Z fc, as well. Riding atop the Z fc’s body are separate dials for dialing up shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation. A digital readout shows your selected settings so you can read them all before you bring the camera to your eye. In incorporating the retro look with the Z fc, the DX sensor allowed the package to stay small and easily portable. Weighing only 14 oz, the camera features a 3" Vari-Angle LCD screen that flips out and faces forward for vlogging and selfie fun. The OLED electronic viewfinder clocks in at 2360K pixels, and the camera has a full Wi-Fi feature suite for transferring files or allowing the camera to be controlled remotely. Being released along with the Z fc is a matching silver version of the Nikon Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens, the smallest and lightest Z-mount lens available—weighing just 4.8 oz. Its 24-75mm full-frame equivalent field of view makes it a perfect all-purpose lens. This silver version is also available with the camera as a kit. Another addition to the Z-mount DX lineup is the new Nikon Z DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR —the Z DX version of the “all-in-one-zoom.” With an equivalent focal length of 27-210mm that takes you from wide-angle to telephoto, this is an ideal travel companion to the Z fc and other DX Z system cameras. Also available with the Z fc is a Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 Special Edition lens that is a non-DX lens, suitable for full-frame Z cameras while giving Z fc shooters the normal field of view of a 42mm full-frame lens. With the Z fc, Nikon brings a balance of features and tech to the DX side of the Z-mount system with the added flair of a beautiful retro design. What are your thoughts on the new camera’s design and features? Let us know in the Comments section, below!
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Posted 06/28/21
When it comes to wide-angle photography, pushing the envelope even further, Canon has just released a new versatile wide-angle zoom for its full-frame mirrorless system: the RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM. Compared to more traditional 16-35mm zooms, this lens gains a bit on the wide end for an even broader field of view, while still maintaining a sleek profile, constant f/4 maximum aperture, and the optical and physical design qualities you’d expect from an L-series lens. Canon RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM lens This zoom is an ideal all-in-one option for landscape, nature, and architectural photographers, covering a variety of wide-angle focal lengths to suit various subject types and sizes. The constant f/4 maximum aperture aids this range, too, and contributes to a smaller, lighter-weight design that balances performance and portability. Additionally, somewhat unique among ultra-wides, this 14-35mm lens sports an Optical Image Stabilizer mechanism that compensates for up to 5.5 stops of camera shake, or up to 7 stops when paired with cameras featuring IBIS, for super-stable and sharp images when shooting handheld. As an L-series lens, advanced optical construction is de rigueur, and specialized elements correct for a variety of aberrations to ensure high sharpness and accurate color rendering. Both Sub-Wavelength (SWC) and Air Sphere (ASC) coatings have been applied, too, which reduce flare and ghosting for high contrast and color fidelity when working in strong light. Just like other L-series RF lenses, this zoom incorporates a Nano USM into its workings for smooth, quick, and quiet focusing performance that complements video and photo workflows. A minimum focusing distance of just 7.9" yields a maximum magnification of 0.38x, too, that is ideal for creating unique close-up shots with extended depth of field. The RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM also sports a programmable control ring at its base for settings control, features dust- and weather-resistant construction, and comes with the matching EW-83P lens hood. This lens slots into Canon’s RF lens lineup as a more compact and lighter weight wide-angle zoom option than the impressive RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM. Sure, the slightly older 15-35mm has the obvious advantage of f/2.8 vs. f/4, but the new lens features the slightly wider 14mm vs. 15mm wide-end focal length. In terms of dimensions and weight, the 14-35mm f/4 measures 3.3 x 3.9" and weighs 1.2 lb compared to the 15-35mm f/2.8, which measures 3.5 x 5" and weighs 1.85 lb. The new lens gains a noticeably sleeker profile and slightly wider field of view by sacrificing just one stop of speed. What are your thoughts on Canon’s newest wide-angle zoom? Do you prefer this smaller and wider 14-35mm f/4? Or are you a fan of the speedy 15-35mm f/2.8? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 04/27/21
To some, there’s little that's more perfect than the fast 35mm prime lens. It’s a staple focal length in any lens lineup and a go-to lens for many photographers working in a wide variety of genres. It’s an important lens for Sigma, and the company has just released its latest iteration, with the  35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art lens. Available for L-mount and Sony E mirrorless systems, this lens is a fresh take on the popular focal length, featuring a wholly new optical design, a new focusing mechanism, and a trim, lightweight build. Considering how much Sigma has updated with this lens, you might be hard pressed to believe it’s Sigma’s fourth 35mm lens for mirrorless cameras. It’s been nearly a decade since Sigma reorganized its lens lineup, updated its optical and physical designs, and coined the Global Vision Series. This announcement, in 2012, came with the introduction of the 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens—this fast wide-angle prime was the very first lens of the now-revered Art series of high-end lenses, and is still one of the most popular lenses from Sigma today. No doubt this lens still holds its own, but Sigma has recognized that it’s becoming a bit long in the tooth, specifically because it was designed and released for use with SLR cameras. Now that mirrorless is king, Sigma saw the opportunity to update this flagship of sorts with the all-new, fully revised 35mm f/1.4 DG DN lens. Flowering trees make the perfect subject to show off the shallow depth-of-field control of the f/1.4 lens. So, with this all-new design, what exactly does the new DG DN version of this prized lens bring? The updated optical layout includes two SLD elements, one FLD element, and two aspherical elements—in short, this just means that chromatic and spherical aberrations are well-controlled, sharpness is nothing short of hugely impressive, and colors are accurate, clear, and punchy. A Super Multi-Layer Coating is used, too, which is a technology carried over from the past but, nonetheless, still manages to keep contrast high in various lighting conditions. It also features an 11-rounded-blade diaphragm, for that smooth bokeh you know you want, and a minimum focusing distance of 11.8" for working with close-up subjects. The 35mm focal length is great for spontaneous captures of a couple of curious visitors at the Botanical Gardens. In terms of physical changes from Sigma’s past 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM, this is where the new lens stands on its own. To begin, the DG HSM version was built with SLRs in mind, but later introduced for use on Sony E and L-mount mirrorless cameras by including a mount adapter. It was a working solution but added unwanted length and weight to the lens to make up for the difference in focal flange distances between mirrorless and SLR cameras. This DG DN version of the 35mm f/1.4 has been created specifically for mirrorless cameras (hence the brand-new optics) and no longer has an unnecessarily long or weighty build. Using the lens’s close-focusing capabilities and fast aperture to highlight the punchy colors from spring flowers. Among other differences, this new 35mm lens also sports a stepping AF motor, which moves just a single focusing element, to achieve fast, quiet, and precise focus performance. Compared to an HSM (Hyper-Sonic Motor), the stepping motor is smaller, quieter, and better suited for the smaller dimensions of the lens, as well as the multimedia usage more associated with mirrorless shooters. Additional differences relate to handling, including a manual aperture ring that can be de-clicked, a programmable AFL button, and a smaller and lighter-weight form factor.   Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Sigma 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Aperture Range f/1.4 to f/16 f/1.4 to f/16 f/1.2 to f/16 f/2 to f/22 Optical Design 15 elements, 11 groups (1 FLD, 2 SLD, 2 aspherical) 13 elements, 11 groups (1 FLD, 4 SLD, 2 aspherical) 17 elements, 12 groups (3 SLD, 3 aspherical) 10 elements, 9 groups (1 SLD, 3 aspherical) Focusing System Stepping motor Hyper-Sonic Motor Hyper-Sonic Motor Stepping motor Minimum Focus Distance 11.8" 11.8" 11.8" 10.6" Lens Controls AF/MF switch AFL button Aperture ring with de-click switch AF/MF switch AF/MF switch AFL button Aperture ring with de-click switch AF/MF switch Aperture ring Aperture Blades 11, rounded 9, rounded 11, rounded 9, rounded Filter Size 67mm 67mm 82mm 58mm Dimensions 3 x 4.3" (L-mount) 3 x 4.7" (L-mount) 3.5 x 5.4" (L-mount) 2.8 x 2.6" (L-mount) Weight 1.4 lb (L-mount) 1.7 lb (L-mount) 2.4 lb (L-mount) 11.5 oz (L-mount) You’ll notice the chart isn’t just comparing the new 35mm f/1.4 to the old 35mm f/1.4, and that’s because the 35mm lens is a popular option for Sigma. Oddly enough, the 35mm f/1.4 is the third option specifically designed for mirrorless cameras and is going to sit in the company’s DG DN lineup as the all-arounder 35mm. It’s lighter but slower than the super-fast 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art and a bit heavier but faster and more optically refined than the sleek 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary. In my opinion, the 35mm f/1.4 encapsulates most of the allure of the f/1.2 version, but is a lens that's easier to handle since it’s shaving off a full pound of weight in exchange for being just a third of a stop slower. Compared to the f/2 Contemporary lens, this is a more debatable point for me, and it really boils down to how lightweight you want to keep your kit or how valuable the bright f/1.4 lens is. The f/2 is also an I-series lens, and has the more distinct-looking exterior, whereas the f/1.4 lens has the typical Art build that’s more functional than aesthetic. Using the wide-angle field of view to show off space, distance, and scale. I got to spend a few days with the new 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art and took time to enjoy the spring weather by visiting some of the more scenic areas in the city, as well as the Botanical Garden. Interestingly enough, when I reviewed the 35mm f/1.2, I also took that lens to the Botanical Garden, and when I reviewed the 35mm f/2, I took that to a similar riverside area. With that information in the back of my head, it helped to figure where the in-between f/1.4 version fits into Sigma’s lineup. It’s certainly much more enjoyable to carry around for a day of shooting than the f/1.2, but it does lag a tiny bit in its ability to isolate subjects against busy backgrounds. Compared to the f/2, the f/1.4 lens really feels like a different kind of lens. It puts you in a different mood that is a bit more structured and less off-the-cuff. Borrowing from what I said about the f/1.2, “I found myself wanting to treat this 35mm lens a bit more like an 85mm. Because of its ability to separate subjects from backgrounds quite easily, I started shooting with it in a method where I would pick on very specific elements of a scene and let the rest fall slightly out of focus.” With the 35mm f/2, I seldom used it at f/2; with the 35mm f/1.4, I liked to shoot at f/1.4 because it offers a unique and desirable effect and quality. The 35mm focal length is a flexible focal length for working in tight or cramped spaces, such as beneath a tree, while maintaining a very natural and broad field of view. After using the 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art, I can see why Sigma wanted to make this lens, but it also leaves me wondering and surprised that the company hadn’t done this earlier. It feels like such an important piece in Sigma’s lineup, given the popularity of the HSM version, and is much more built for daily use than the more niche f/1.2 lens. Beyond the comparisons and seeing how it slots right into Sigma’s already well-versed 35mm lineup, this lens offers pretty much everything you’d expect from a 35mm f/1.4. It’s a comfortable wide-angle lens with a fast maximum aperture, advanced optical design, and is weather-sealed. It’s exactly what you want it to be, it has few frills, and it is really just built to be that lens you maybe don’t think is so special but for some reason you keep turning to time and time again because it’s just so good. One more flowering tree shot to show off the sharpness of this lens and the shallow depth of field of an f/1.4 maximum aperture. What are your thoughts on Sigma’s bevy of 35mm lenses? Are you excited for this new Goldilocks f/1.4 version or have you already settled on another version? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 04/13/21
Continuing to round out its full-frame mirrorless system, Canon has just launched a trio of RF-mount prime lenses that contribute to this maturing and expanding system. Focusing on the long end of the focal length spectrum, Canon is introducing a fresh take on the popular 100mm f/2.8 macro option, as well as releasing 400mm and 600mm super-telephoto primes for the sports and wildlife crowd. As might be expected, all three lenses are L Series primes, indicating their optical excellence and durable physical designs. Also, in a surprise move, Canon has revealed the development of the EOS R3 —a brand-new full-frame mirrorless model designed to sit between the R5 and 1D X Mark III. More details on the R3 are coming soon but you can read about what we know right here on Explora. The RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM is the first true macro lens for the RF system and is the natural follow-up to the beloved EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro lens for SLRs. Taking the same short-telephoto focal length but upping the maximum magnification beyond life size, to 1.4x, and shortening the minimum focusing distance to 10.6", this new close-focusing prime also features a unique SA (spherical aberration) Control Ring. Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens A new feature for Canon, this control ring provides the opportunity to fine-tune bokeh rendering: At one end, images have smooth and blurry bokeh and at the other, imagery takes on a more prominent ring-shaped bokeh. Beyond the optics, this lens has been fitted with an Optical Image Stabilizer, which corrects for up to 5 stops of camera shake, or up to 8 stops when used with a compatible camera body featuring IBIS, and the lens also features a Dual Nano USM focusing system for smooth, responsive, and silent AF performance. © Creative Soul © Creative Soul © Dennis Prescott © Dennis Prescott © Rebecca Nichols © Rebecca Nichols Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens sample photos For sports and wildlife shooters, nothing beats a fast and long-reaching telephoto prime, and this is where the RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM fits in. It’s a versatile focal length with an impressively bright design and uses trusted technology and a proven optical design comprised of fluorite and Super UD glass. In fact, if you were a fan of the EF 400mm f/2.8, there’s a lot of similarities between these two lenses; optically, they’re identical, and physically, the lens has just been updated for the RF mount. Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens The Optical Image Stabilizer compensates for up to 5.5 stops of camera shake, and the USM focusing system yields snappy AF performance and works with programmable AF preset buttons for faster performance. It’s compatible with the RF 1.4x and 2x Extenders and works with drop-in 52mm screw-in filters. © Tyler Stableford 2x Extender © Tyler Stableford © Tyler Stableford © Tyler Stableford © Tyler Stableford 1.4 Extender © Tyler Stableford Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens sample photos Even longer is the RF 600mm f/4L IS USM lens, which adds a respectable amount of reach, compared to the 400mm, while being just one stop slower. Cherished for working with smaller or even more distant subjects, this super-telephoto is a choice lens for birders, wildlife shooters, and some sports applications, too. Like the RF 400mm, this 600mm gets its optics from its EF 600mm f/4L predecessor, including the fluorite and Super UD glass that helps it achieve impressive sharpness, clarity, and color accuracy throughout the aperture range. Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM Lens The lens has been updated for the mirrorless RF mount and features an Optical Image Stabilizer to compensate for up to 5.5 stops of camera shake, and the USM focusing system offers quiet and quick focusing performance. Both super-teles also sport a rotating tripod mount with a removable foot, both accept the same 52mm drop-in filters, and this 600mm also has the same dust- and weather-resistant exterior for use in harsh weather. © Zak Noyle © Zak Noyle © Zak Noyle © Zak Noyle © Zak Noyle © Zak Noyle Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM Lens sample photos What are your thoughts on Canon’s latest RF-mount lenses? Have you been waiting for any of these telephoto options for your RF camera? Let us know your thoughts on Canon’s new lenses, in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 04/12/21
Ever the exciting combination, FUJIFILM has announced the latest high-speed, wide-angle prime: the XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens. This 27mm equivalent prime is designed for the APS-C-format X Series and blends the versatile everyday wide field of view with an impressively bright design for working in low light and for controlling depth of field. In typical FUJIFILM fashion, too, the lens also features a compact, weather-resistant exterior, a quick linear AF motor, and intuitive tactile controls. This will be the second 18mm lens in FUJIFILM’s lineup, although it’s a very different type of lens compared to the f/2 pancake version. This 18mm f/1.4 is focused on speed, and the bright f/1.4 aperture is a valuable tool for working in difficult lighting conditions while shooting handheld. Another distinction from the 18mm f/2 is a more advanced optical design; this new f/1.4 version has three aspherical elements and one extra-low dispersion element to correct a variety of aberrations that minimize distortion while boosting sharpness and color accuracy. In terms of focusing, this wide-angle lens features internal focusing, controlled by a linear AF motor, affording quick and quiet performance suitable for stills and video. A minimum focusing distance of 7.9" suits working with close-up subjects, and the lens is also fitted with a manual focus ring and a manual aperture ring for intuitive tactile control. Despite not being quite as small or pancake-shaped as the 18mm f/2, this 18mm f/1.4 is still an impressively sleek lens, measuring 3" long and weighing just about 13 oz. It has a weather-sealed exterior and is also freezeproof for working in temperatures down to 14°F. What are your thoughts on FUJIFILM’s XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR? Are you in need of a fast, general-use wide-angle lens? What types of subjects would you photograph with this lens? Let us know, in the Comments section below.
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Posted 03/23/21
Hot on the heels of its latest G Master lens, Sony has just announced three new compact primes in its G Series lineup: the FE 24mm f/2.8 G, FE 40mm f/2.5 G, and FE 50mm f/2.5 G. Adopting many of the advanced design features of their larger siblings, the trio delivers exceptional optical performance in a form factor perfect for everyday carry. Although created for full-frame E-mount cameras (hence the FE designation), their compact build pairs nicely with APS-C models where the 24mm becomes 36mm, 40mm becomes 60mm, and 50mm becomes 75mm. Priority was given to making these lenses small, so that they won’t take up much space in your camera bag, and light, so they won’t weigh you down while shooting. Consequently, each lens measures only 1.8" in length and weighs between 5.7 and 6.1 ounces, depending on the model. All of the lenses incorporate aspherical elements to combat aberration and distortions, as well as extra-low dispersion glass to reduce color fringing and chromatic aberration. A seven-bladed circular aperture helps achieve smooth, round bokeh. Complementing the versatile focal lengths of the new lenses are minimum focusing distances that benefit close-up capture: The 24mm allows you to get as close as 7.1" (manual focus) / 9.4" (autofocus), the 40mm can get 9.8" (MF) / 11" (AF), and the 50mm can focus as close as 12.2" (MF) / 13.8" (AF). Each lens features two linear motors to provide quick and responsive autofocusing for still capture, and quiet performance when recording video. The physical design of the new lenses incorporates some of the most useful features of Sony’s top-tier lenses. The aperture ring can be adjusted in 1/3-stop increments, or de-clicked via a switch on the side of the lens barrel for video applications. An auto/manual focus mode switch is incorporated for moving quickly between focusing modes or fine-tuning focus. Finally, a customizable focus hold button can be used for its namesake or reassigned, based on user preference. All of the lenses boast a sleek aluminum design that is dust and moisture resistant, adding to their appeal as everyday carry options. Settings are engraved into the lens barrel, presenting both an aesthetically pleasing touch as well as adding to the durability of the lens. What do you think of Sony’s latest G Series lenses? Which of Sony’s mirrorless cameras do you think would pair best with them? Share your thoughts in the Comments section, below!
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Posted 03/16/21
Sony has officially entered the realm of extremely fast glass with its newest addition to the G Master family: the FE 50mm f/1.2 GM lens. Not only does the new lens add one of the most popular prime focal lengths to Sony’s top-tier lineup, but it also becomes Sony’s fastest E-mount lens to date. The flexibility of the 50mm focal length and brightness of an f/1.2 aperture make this lens an ideal candidate for portraiture and fashion, whether working in the studio or out on location. The impressively compact and lightweight build of this lens—its length and weight match that of its ½-stop slower predecessor—should attract street, event, and even landscape photographers looking for a high-performing prime. Sharp Focus and Soft Bokeh To capture exacting images with razor-thin depth of field, the new G Master takes advantage of Sony’s latest advances in lens technology and consists of 14 elements arranged in 10 groups. Three XA (extreme aspherical) elements join forces to combat aberration, maintain corner-to-corner sharpness, and produce smooth out-of-focus areas. A newly developed 11-blade circular aperture further contributes to clean and natural bokeh, whether in the foreground or background of an image. Combine these attributes with a minimum focusing distance of 1.3' and maximum magnification of 0.17x and the lens becomes a solid option for capturing close-up subjects. Fast AF and Intuitive Design The 50mm f/1.2 utilizes four XD (extreme dynamic) motors for fast, precise, and quiet autofocusing. Responsive manual focusing permits quick and smooth adjustments when shooting stills and expanded creative possibilities when recording video. Like other G Master lenses, a focus mode switch is included on the side of the lens barrel for quick toggling between focus modes. New is the addition of a second focus hold button on the lens barrel, which can be customized to your preference. Familiar to G Master veterans is the inclusion of a de-click switch for the aperture, a useful feature when recording video. Built to Last Like past G Master lenses, the 50mm f/1.2 features hybrid metal-and-plastic construction to balance weight and durability while providing protection against dust and moisture. The front element features a fluorine coating to prevent fingerprints, dirt, water, and other contaminants from sticking to its surface. How Does It Compare? The FE 50mm f/1.2 GM is a major upgrade compared to Sony’s Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA lens and a direct competitor to Canon’s RF 50mm f/1.2L USM and Nikon’s NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S lenses. One of the most impressive aspects of the new prime is how Sony was able to maintain the same size and weight as its f/1.4 model while adding 36% more optical surface to achieve an extra ½ stop of brightness. It matches the length and weight of Canon’s f/1.2, making them both lighter and smaller than Nikon’s version. From a usability standpoint, the Sony features more on-lens tactile controls than the Canon, while the Nikon offers a unique OLED display on the barrel of the lens. Model Maximum Aperture Length Weight Optical Construction Diaphragm Blades Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM f/1.2 4.25" 1.7 lb 14 elements, 10 groups 11 Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA f/1.4 4.25" 1.7 lb 12 elements, 9 groups 11 Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM f/1.2 4.25" 2.1 lb 15 elements, 9 groups 10 Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S f/1.2 5.9" 2.4 lb 17 elements, 15 groups 9 Also New from Sony: Camera-Mount Bluetooth Wireless Audio Sony’s announcement of the FE 50mm f/1.2 GM lens follows the release of a pair of audio upgrades aimed at mirrorless video shooters: the ECM-W2BT Camera-Mount Digital Bluetooth Wireless Microphone System and ECM-LV1 Compact Stereo Lavalier Microphone. The ECM-W2BT was designed for vloggers, journalists, and other video content creators seeking an on-camera wireless mic solution. The system consists of a receiver that attaches directly to the MI shoe of compatible Sony cameras and a clip-on transmitter with built-in omnidirectional microphone for quick setup. Each features built-in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that can last up to 9 hours when attached to the MI shoe or 3 hours on their own. Utilizing Bluetooth connectivity, the system can operate up to 650' in good visibility. Microphones are built into the transmitter and receiver, allowing the camera operator and talent to be recorded at the same time. A moisture- and dust-resistant design means you can use the system outdoors with confidence under less-than-ideal conditions. For low-profile audio recording scenarios, the ECM-LV1 lavalier connects with the ECM-W2BT’s transmitter via a 3.3' cable and 3.5mm TRS connector, minimizing the visible footprint of your audio setup. The lav records stereo audio via two omnidirectional capsules. A foam windscreen is included to minimize noise during recording. What do you think of Sony’s latest announcements? Are you itching to shoot with your Sony camera at f/1.2? Ready to incorporate wireless audio into your video setup? Share your thoughts in the Comments section, below!
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Posted 02/24/21
Sigma has announced a fascinating new f/2.8 standard zoom lens as part of its Contemporary lens line, and true to the Contemporary’s core concept, this 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens affords that elusive balance of performance and portability. It is currently the smallest and lightest full-frame f/2.8 standard zoom lens on the market and is available for Sony E-mount and Leica L-mount mirrorless cameras. Based on the optical design of the successful Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art lens, this 28-70mm lens is decidedly lighter and more compact than its slightly faster stablemate. By still maintaining a common and convenient range of focal lengths, along with the bright f/2.8 constant maximum aperture, this lens should entice many photographers looking for a standard zoom that doesn’t overwhelm their smaller size mirrorless camera body. The advanced optical design of the new lens includes three aspherical, two FLD, and two SLD elements, and despite using fewer total elements than the 24-70mm f/2.8 Art lens, the design corrects axial chromatic aberration and sagittal coma aberration for sharp images, from the center to the edges of the frame. Along with its anti-ghosting design, the use of a Super Multi-Layer Coating controls flare for high-contrast results. The lens features a water- and oil-repellent coating on the front element, has a dust- and splash-proof structure only at the mount, and features fewer and smaller switches on the barrel than the Art lens. Each of these design refinements result in the smallest and lightest lens in its class. The new lens also houses just one lightweight focusing element, which keeps the AF unit small, and with a quiet stepping motor, the internal focus system provides near-silent autofocus performance that is useful for both stills and video capture. Sigma continues to evolve its compact lens options while maintaining the optical performance of its most notable lenses. In my experience using Sigma’s Contemporary and Art series lenses, they both are able to withstand the dings of day-to-day use. If anything, the smaller size protects the Contemporary lenses from the heavier bumps and “strap swing” caused by bigger lenses. Not to mention they are often better balanced on the camera, more comfortable on the neck, and have simple control settings. This Contemporary series 28-70mm f/2.8 L-mount lens weighs just 1 lb, compared to the 1.8 lb of the 24-70mm Art lens, and its barrel diameter is 72mm (67mm filter) compared to 88mm (82mm filter). Some photographers may choose to note the slightly wider angle of view and robustness of the Art series lens, but I see this new Contemporary lens as truly leveraging the technological and design attributes of mirrorless cameras to provide a simple, efficient, and—foremost—compact, wide aperture, zoom lens. Let us know your thoughts on the Sigma Contemporary series lenses and your prospective uses for this new 28-70mm f/2.8 lens in the Comments section, below. Previous Pause Next
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Posted 11/03/20
Canon is appealing to serious everyday photographers with the launch of two compact and versatile lenses for its full-frame mirrorless system, along with a new 13" inkjet photo printer. The RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM and RF 50mm f/1.8 STM lenses both represent smaller and lighter-weight alternatives to the top-of-the-line lenses and prioritize sleeker designs for all-day handheld use. And for high-end photo printing from home, the PIXMA PRO-200 is the newest-generation inkjet printer featuring an updated 8-color ink system and a more intuitive interface. RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Characterized by its sleeker design and fine-tuned optics, the RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM is a fresh take on a popular telephoto zoom. It’s slower than the f/2.8 version, sure, but this f/4 makes up for it with an impressively lightweight and compact design, weighing just 1.5 lb and measuring less than 5" long. Its constant f/4 maximum aperture also contributes to the svelte design, and a 5-stop effective Optical Image Stabilizer helps to control camera shake. Additionally, this 70-200mm still retains its L-series designation and is weather sealed for use in harsh conditions. Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens The 70-200mm lens is a popular choice for events, portraiture, and even sports shooting, and it covers an incredibly useful range of telephoto focal lengths for various circumstances. Optically, this 70-200mm doesn’t skimp on specialized glass; featuring four ultra-low-dispersion (UD) elements, chromatic aberrations and color fringing are well controlled for high clarity and color accuracy. An Air Sphere Coating has been applied, too, to suppress flare for greater contrast when working in strong light. Complementing the optics, this zoom also sports a Dual Nano USM focusing system, which promotes fast and quiet focusing performance for photo and video needs. Previous Pause Next Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Sample Photos RF 50mm f/1.8 STM An essential if ever there was one, the RF 50mm f/1.8 STM is Canon’s latest take on the compact and versatile “nifty fifty” lens. Updated for the full-frame mirrorless system, this new normal-length prime features a revised optical design and optimized coatings for high sharpness, clarity, and accurate rendering. An STM autofocus system also promotes fast and quiet performance to suit multimedia needs. Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens The compact 50mm lens has long been one of those go-to lenses for a variety of shooting needs. Its normal focal length suits everything from street shooting to landscape to portraiture, and the f/1.8 maximum aperture strikes an ideal balance between a compact design and being bright enough for available light shooting. Even if you’re primarily a zoom shooter, the 50mm f/1.8 has a place in every bag as the sleeker alternative for fun walkaround photography. Previous Pause Next Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM Sample Photos PIXMA PRO-200 Perfect for the home office or studio, Canon has also released the next-generation PIXMA PRO-200, an update to the immensely popular 13" wireless inkjet photo printer. The PRO-200 utilizes a new 8-color dye-based ink system for rich, vibrant, and accurate color handling that is suitable for fine art printing applications. Borderless printing is possible from 3.5 x 3.5" up to 13 x 19", and custom-size printing up to 13 x 39" is possible for panoramic output. The printer also supports both wired connections, using either Ethernet or USB, or wireless printing over Wi-Fi for easy integration into your home workspace. As a printer designed for at-home use, its small footprint is suitable for desktop placement, and an intuitive 3.0" color LCD is featured on the front of the printer for quickly checking ink levels and printer status messages. Beyond improved quality, the PRO-200 also received a speed boost, and is now capable of outputting bordered 8 x 10" prints in just 53 seconds or bordered A3+ prints in 90 seconds. Also, it’s compatible with Canon’s Professional Print & Layout Software for a seamless printing workflow. What are your thoughts on Canon’s newest releases? Are you looking forward to this new 70-200mm f/4 or are you more of a nifty fifty shooter? And let us know what you think about the new PIXMA PRO-200 inkjet and at-home printing in general, in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 09/02/20
Open wide! FUJIFILM has finally released its fastest lens to date, the XF 50mm f/1 R WR. Perfect for achieving crisp subject–background separation and well equipped to conquer low-light environments, this 76mm-equivalent lens is ideal for portrait, event, and street photographers. The optical construction of the 50mm f/1 consists of 12 elements arranged in nine groups. This includes one aspherical element and two extra-low dispersion (ED) elements, which work together to reduce various distortions and aberrations, producing sharp and accurate images. A Super EBC coating is also featured, to reduce ghosting and flare, as well as to improve contrast when working in challenging lighting environments. Bokeh enthusiasts will appreciate this fast prime’s rounded nine-bladed aperture when shooting wide open. Also, a minimum focusing distance of 2.3 feet ensures you can get close enough for tight portraits. A weather-resistant housing protects against inclement weather, too, so you can work outdoors without fear. Finally, the 50mm f/1 is 1.9 lb so it won’t weigh you down too much. A lens hood is included, and this lens takes 77mm filters. How would you take advantage of FUJIFILM’s fastest lens? Let us know in the Comments section, below.
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