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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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Posted 08/03/20
Olympus has announced its latest OM-D series mirrorless camera, the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, which becomes the fourth iteration of this compact Micro Four Thirds camera since the series debuted in 2014. The E-M10 is the sleekest camera in the OM-D lineup and this latest Mark IV is not only lighter than its predecessor, it has improved features, including an upgraded 20MP sensor. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Designed for travelers, enthusiasts, and those who appreciate great image quality from a truly compact interchangeable lens camera, the E-M10 Mark IV features a 20MP Live MOS sensor, which is a resolution boost over the Mark III’s 16MP sensor.  Other welcomed upgrades include a selfie-friendly 180° tilt-down touchscreen LCD, compared to 45° on the Mark III, and the availability of direct USB charging. Continuous shooting with the camera’s mechanical shutter is a bit faster, as well, reaching 8.7 fps, and its in-body 5-axis image stabilization compensates for approximately 4.5 stops of camera shake to improve image quality in low light. There is also UHD 4K video recording, up to 30 fps, along with Full HD 60 fps recording and high-speed HD video at 120 fps. Wireless connectivity was limited to Wi-Fi in previous models but Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are now included for “always-on” connection and background connection via Bluetooth and the OI Share Smartphone app. Also, an Instant Film filter was added to the array of fun and useful in-camera Art Filters. Already known for its palm-size retro good looks and easy handling, this version of the E-M10 managed to shave off a bit of weight, and with its kit-mate attached (the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ), it weighs right around 1.25 lb. It really is an ideal camera with which to “leave the phone in your pocket” and jump into interchangeable-lens photography. Having used several E-M10 models over the past few years, I’ve come to appreciate this series, not simply because of its handling and attractive, compact body, which includes a deep grip enabling easy one-handed shooting and more stability when using a long lens. I like its Digital ESP metering system, the range of focus features, such as Eye Priority and Face Priority, and the Silent Modes available in SCN, AP, P, A, S, M, and ART modes. AP Mode also includes a new Sweep Panorama function. Its 121-point Contrast Detection autofocus provides Super Spot AF when a Micro Four Thirds lens is attached. Manual focus assist functions such as magnification and focus peaking are very helpful, and the 1.04m-dot rear touch control monitor enables touch AF, in addition to shutter release, Wi-Fi connection, and other settings control. Also, catering to social interests, the flip-down 3.0" monitor works in tandem with the camera’s dedicated selfie mode, which turns on automatically when the monitor is flipped down. The rear button layout is also adjusted for simple operation when in selfie mode. 4K and Full HD video are supported, and a multi-mode built-in flash, as well as a hot shoe for external flash, are available. M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm f/5-6.3 IS Lens                                                         Olympus has also announced a new telephoto zoom lens, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm f/5-6.3 IS, which is an ideal match for the new E-M10 Mark IV, given that it is also quite compact for a lens with such long reach. Its 200-800mm equivalent focal length is well suited to bird, wildlife, sports, and other genres of image making that require distance from your subject. When paired with the MC-20 M.Zuiko Digital 2.0x Teleconverter, its equivalent effective focal length reach goes up to 1600mm! Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm f/5-6.3 IS Lens At just 8.1" long and 2.5 lb, its handsome barrel is also dust- and splash-proof, affording a measure of security when working in rain or sub-optimal conditions. In-lens image stabilization adds to the ability to capture sharp images in low light and, when working at extreme telephoto lengths, a focus-limiter switch aids in fast autofocus control. Minimum focus distance is a very respectable 4.3' with 0.57x magnification. The lens has 21 elements in 15 groups, including a series of high refractive index elements and extra-low dispersion glass, and a Zuiko Extra-Low Reflection Optical Coating to minimize unwanted reflections and provide high-resolution telephoto imaging. While this lens is compatible with all of the Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras, it is a fine partner for the new OM-D E-M10 Mark IV mirrorless camera, which is an ideal camera for those looking to step up from their smartphone, improve their photography skills, or just have a palm-size, fully automatic and manual camera as an everyday carry. Please let us know your experiences with the Olympus E-M10 series and ask any questions you may have in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 08/03/20
Sigma has announced a smaller, lighter 85mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens for full-frame L-mount and Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras. Over the years, Sigma’s Art-series lenses have gained a reputation for both their exacting sharpness and hefty weight. The latest portrait lens, redesigned specifically for mirrorless cameras, dramatically slashes the weight of its previous model from 2.49 to 1.39 lb, making it easier to use handheld for extended periods of time. Similarly, its length has been reduced from 4.97 to 3.7", making it a better fit for the mirrorless format. Despite its condensed package, the new lens maintains the optical qualities that have made the Art lenses so popular, and adds the benefits of a de-clickable aperture ring. Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens To ensure the image quality expected of an Art lens, the new 85mm uses the latest high refractive index glass to correct for a variety of aberrations and distortion. Its optical design consists of 15 elements, arranged in 11 groups, and includes five Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements and one aspherical element. Complementing the optics, the fast f/1.4 design also helps to produce the distinctive selective focus and shallow depth-of-field imagery with which the fast 85mm lens is associated. In terms of focusing, the 85mm f/1.4 features a stepping motor that is optimized for phase detection and contrast AF methods and also remains small, lightweight, and has near-silent operation. Like its predecessor, the lens has a focus mode switch to switch easily between manual and AF modes, as well as a customizable AFL button. New to this version is a de-clickable aperture that allows for smooth adjustments when shooting video, as well as a locking switch that prevents accidentally changing settings while shooting. For headshots and other close-focusing situations, it has a minimum focusing distance of 33.5". For outdoor shoots, the new 85mm has a dust- and splash-proof build. It is compatible with the separately available USB Dock for future firmware updates. A lockable hood and soft lens case are included. It takes 77mm filters. Have you shot with any of Sigma’s Art lenses? Share your experiences in the Comments section, below!
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Posted 06/18/20
Sigma is continuing to expand its commitment to full-frame mirrorless, and the L Mount in general, with the launch of the 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary lens. This is the fifth lens from Sigma that has been specifically designed for the shorter flange-back distance of full-frame mirrorless camera systems, as opposed to SLR-intended lenses that have been adapted to mirrorless mounts, and brings with it an especially sleek form factor, lightweight design, and impressive optical qualities to suit the current crop of high-res cameras. While it is available for Sony E-mount cameras as well, the Leica L version of this lens stands out as something unique for the fledgling mount. It's the first super telephoto for the L Mount, which is shared among Sigma, Leica, and Panasonic right now, and opens up new long-range shooting possibilities for these cameras. Despite it being a long-reaching, so-called "super" telephoto, it is also part of Sigma's Contemporary series of lenses, which means it also retains a modest size and weight for walk-around, handheld use. In terms of optics, this 100-400mm has an array of low-dispersion glass that helps to reduce color fringing and chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range, as well as realize accurate color and reduce flaring. Among other features, one of the most welcome will be the inclusion of optical image stabilization, which compensates for up to four stops of camera shake. This OS system can be used in conjunction with camera-based in-body image stabilization, too, for even more robust support to aid making sharp handheld images. In terms of focusing, this lens follows the path laid by the 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN and uses a stepping motor to enable quick and quiet AF performance for both photo and video needs. An integrated AFL button can be programmed to adjust various shooting settings from the lens, and a focus limiter switch also lets you constrain the focusing range for faster focusing within the specified range. Also, when working at the 400mm position, a minimum focusing distance of 5.2' is available for a 1:4.1 magnification ratio that suits headshot and other midrange shooting applications. Other points worth noting: the 100-400mm has a rounded nine-blade diaphragm and a brass bayonet mount, and it is dust  and moisture sealed at the mount to suit working in adverse conditions. Also, it is compatible with the optional TS-111 Tripod Socket if you're looking for a well-balanced means of working with this lens atop a tripod or monopod. Previous Pause Next Sample images taken with the Sigma 100-400mm. Doug Guerra Beyond the lens itself, Sigma is announcing even more goods for L-mount shooters, including a pair of teleconverters and a newly designed USB Dock. The TC-1411 and TC-2011 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, respectively, allow you to extend the effective reach of a lens even further. When paired with the new 100-400mm, the T-1411 turns the lens into an effective 140-560mm f/7-9 and the TC-2011 produces an effective 200-800mm f/10-12.6 range. Both teleconverters fully maintain AF, AE, and OS functions as well as transfer Exif data. And, finally, Sigma is also releasing a UD-11 USB Dock for L-mount only, which will allow you to fine-tune some focusing settings and update the firmware of compatible lenses. Sigma TC-2011 2x Teleconverter & Sigma UD-11 USB Dock What are your thoughts on Sigma's new super tele zoom? What are your thoughts on the L Mount in general? Let us know, in the Comments section, below.
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