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Posted 06/01/21
Nikon has just announced the first macro lenses to join the Z-mount lineup: the NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S and  NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8. Both lenses allow Nikon mirrorless shooters to achieve a 1:1 magnification ratio with native Z-mount lenses—no need to rely on the FTZ adapter with F-mount lenses or extension tubes. Whether you are photographing flowers, insects, jewelry, portraits, or other creative macro subjects, these lenses promise exacting image rendering with minimal distortion. NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S The 105mm f/2.8 VR S, the newest member of the premium S-series lens family, features a dual motor multi-focus STM system for quick, quiet, and reliable focusing as close as 11.4" (0.29m). A manual focusing ring is also included for fine-tuning focus. At its closest range, the maximum aperture of the lens bumps up to f/4.5. To keep images sharp, the 105mm offers 5stops of vibration reduction and 5-axis stabilization when used with a Z-series camera. Optically, this lens uses Nano Crystal Coat and ARNEO Coating to cut back on distortion for sharp, consistent image rendering. A digital display is incorporated on the lens barrel to keep track of aperture and subject distance easily. For a tailored shooting experience, an L-Fn button can be customized to your needs and a customizable control ring can be set to adjust aperture, exposure compensation, or ISO settings. A focus limiter switch is also included on the lens barrel to speed up focusing. Outdoor photographers will appreciate that this lens is weather sealed and features a fluorine coating on its front element to repel water, dirt, and oil. In addition to eliminating the need for a lens adapter, the lens weighs 625g compared to 720g for its F-mount equivalent, making handheld capture easier. NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 The 50mm f/2.8 serves as an excellent first macro lens capable of capturing a wider field of view than its larger sibling. Weighing just 250g, it serves as one of the lightest Z-series lenses, making it perfect for carrying out into the field. A minimum focusing distance of 6.3" (0.16m) allows you to get extremely close to subjects for creative effect. A manual focusing ring, AF/MF switch, and focus limiter switch are all included on the lens to streamline capture. Film shooters will appreciate that this lens is compatible with Nikon’s ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter for scanning negatives. New Lenses in Development Tagged onto the end of the macro lens announcement is a smaller notice that Nikon has even more Z Series lenses in development. The roadmap has been updated to include the NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 and NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2. These compact and lightweight full-frame lenses will provide Z Series shooters with small, yet sharp and high-quality optics. The 28mm is an ideal pick for everyday use and street while the 40mm is a more natural perspective and bokeh. Both are expected to release in 2021. Which of Nikon’s new 1:1 macro lenses work best for your style of photography? Are the new lenses in development going on your wish list? Share your thoughts 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 02/27/19
A new G Master has arrived. The ninth addition to the series is the FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Lens, a stellar portrait-length prime. Watch here as Jake Estes and a couple of B&H photographers take the lens for a quick spin both in a studio and out on some New York City streets. Be sure to check back in at BandH.com for more informational videos and reviews!
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Posted 10/24/13
We had the chance to speak to Mike Bubolo from Sony about what are arguably the most exciting new products on display at PhotoPlus 2013: the new a7 and a7R digital cameras.
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