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All posts tagged "lenses"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Canon Announces Three New Lenses for EF-mount

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 AM

"Canon has released three EF lenses, including an updated 24-70mm F2.8 II USM. The latest version features what is promised to be a more durable body, despite being a little smaller. In addition to this high-end full-frame standard zoom, there are completely redesigned semi-fast 24mm and 28mm F2.8 primes, both of which feature USM focus motors and image stabilization."

Canon has updated three lenses, including a highly popular one, and leaves me slightly confused. For some strange reason Canon has seen it fit to add IS to light wide angle primes, but thinks the heavier 24-70 with a telephoto end needs it less (which in my opinion, does not). Sometimes you wonder what the camera companies are thinking. In any case, the 24-70/2.8 L II is a new lens, and not just minor update to the previous 24-70/2.8 L. It promises better image quality, and better physical durability. The 24/2.8 and 28/2.8 have small wideangle primes, but now come with IS (which I still find utterly weird), and newly designed optics. No word on pricing or availability.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Olympus Announces M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:30 AM

"Olympus has announced a new 12 - 50 mm Micro Four Thirds lens with some interesting features."

Interesting barely describes it for me. Bizarre is more apt for me. A lens that has pro features like weathersealing (which something the PEN series lacks; perhaps Olympus will have a higher grade PEN camera in the near-future?), coupled with decidedly consumer features like a power zoom and a rather small aperture that becomes even smaller rather quickly at the longer end of the zoom. While the power zoom mechanism can be disabled, I am still wondering why it is even there in the first place. It makes sense on the compact lenses like the Panasonic 14-42 zoom which is aimed at the compact camera upgrader, but this, I am left a little befuddled. Ships in January for US$500. More details at the read link.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nikon Announces Four Lenses for Nikon 1 Cameras

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:59 PM

Nikon has announced the three lenses for the Nikon 1 cameras. The three lenses are the 10-30mm (27-81mm equivalent) f/3.5-5.6, the 10mm (27mm equivalent) f/2.8 pancake, the 30-110mm (81-297mm equivalent) f/3.8-5.6mm telephoto lens, and the 10-100mm (27-270mm equivalent) f/4.5-5.6 VR power zoom lens. Looking at the designs, they will be similar to the Micro Four Thirds lenses, in having purely electronic focusing, with the zooms doing away with a dedicated focus ring altogether. The zooms also appear to be collapsible lenses, like some of the Olympus lenses. More images at the link.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Panasonic Announces Two X-series Lenses for Micro Four Thirds; Makes Sony NEX Lenses Fat in Comparison

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:59 AM

"Anyone who's used Panasonic's 14-42mm Micro Four Thirds zoom lens has probably noticed its relatively bulky design, especially when compared to Olympus's counterpart. Today, the company announced a new lens that offers the same zoom and f/3.5-5.6 aperture range in a housing less than half the size when closed, and still noticeably smaller when extended."

I think the above photo says it all. The new 14-42 X-series lens is something Sony should have done with their NEX cameras to avoid the silly "small camera, huge lens(es)" problem. Both lenses have the exact same specification, that being zoom lenses with 14-42mm focal lengths, and maximum apertures of f/3.5-5.6. The differences come in the handling: The X-series 14-42 has no focus ring, and zooming is motorised, handled by a lever on the left side of the lens. The other difference is the price: The cost of the new lens is US$400, twice that of the larger lens's US$200. The lens will be available in October, and can be purchased as part of a new GF3 kit, called the GF3X, for US$800.

The other lens is a smaller telephoto zoom, the 45-170mm f/4-5.6. Like the 14-42, there is a lever to control the zoom, but there is also a power zoom ring (think Minolta's ill-fated experiments in the early 1990's), as well as a focusing ring. The 45-170mm will cost US$450 and will ship in September. Personally I prefer the older 45-200 at US$350. It might be a bit bigger, but once you reach beyond a certain size, any space savings seems a bit futile. Photos of the 45-170mm and the 14-42mm at the source.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sony Announces Four Lenses and an Adapter

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:41 AM

Pictured is the lens I suspect everyone will be most interested in, because it has the Carl Zeiss moniker on it, and hey, German Glass(tm) is automatically good, is it not? Anyway, the first of the four lenses is the E-mount (ie for NEX) 24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss-branded Sonnar lens. This gives a 36mm equivalent, so it is something of a 35/1.8. Good for those who like the field-of-view that particular focal length gives. Thanks to the branding, it will come with a not-too high price tag of US$1,000. Ships in December.

Next up are two more mundane lenses for the NEX system. The optically stabilised 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 gives a field-of-view similar to a 80-300mm, so that is the budget telephoto zoom covered. Then there is the optically stabilised 50mm f/1.8, which umm, is a bit of an odd length. A 70mm probably will be more popular. The 55-210mm goes for US$350 and will ship in October, while the 50mm goes for US$300 and will ship in December.

The sole Alpha-mount lens is the DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM lens, which gives a field-of-view equivalent to a 24-75mm. Not much to say, other than this type of lens is pretty much a popular one for both enthusiasts and pros alike. What took Sony so long to come up with this, I have no idea. Ships in October for US$700.

Finally, there is the adapter for NEX cameras, the LA-EA2. It features a translucent mirror, a screw-drive motor, and an AF module to allow AF with older lenses when adapting Alpha lenses to the NEX. Since the module at US$400 is not cheap, and with all of the above components, not small (and with SLR lenses, even less small), I wonder who is actually going to get that.

More photos at the source.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nikon Releases AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G Lens

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Talk about an absolute surprise: After releasing the Micro Nikkor 85mm f/3.5, I thought that would be it for DX Micro Nikkors. Today Nikon proves me wrong by releasing a 40mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor. Does Nikon think that DX users lack options for macro lenses? (Hint: They probably don't.) The lens offfers a 1:1 reproduction ratio (meaning it can capture an area equal to that of the sensor, which translates to 24mm by 16mm on a DX camera), but the cost of having such a short focal length results in a 5cm working distance from the front of the lens. The lens will be available from the 25th of August at a fairly low price of US$280, but I wonder if Nikon should concentrate on other lenses. Is anyone interested in this lens at all?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Olympus Announces Two Micro-Zuiko Lenses and Flash; Nearly Makes My Wish Come True

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:15 AM

Olympus also announced two new Micro Four Thirds lenses: The Micro Zuiko 12mm f/2.0 and the Micro Zuiko 45mm f/1.8. I have been wanting to use my own Micro Four Thirds system as a three lens camera, with the three lenses being an ultra-wide, a normal, and a short telephoto. The two lenses almost come close. I say almost, because what I really wanted was something along the lines of a 10mm f/2.8. Still, this is a f/2.0, so it will help with the slightly noisier Micro Four Thirds sensors. Also, the 12mm f/2.0 has something few Micro Four Thirds lenses have: A focusing scale to use hyperfocusing techniques with! The 12mm f/2.0 is shipping now for about US$800 (ouch), and the 45mm f/1.8 will ship in September for about US$400.

Also introduced is a slim compact flash, the FL-300R, which can pivot up and down for various situations. With a guide number of just 19 metres at ISO 100 however, I think bouncing its output is a bad idea. The flash is available now for about US$170. Photos of the 45mm f/1.8 and the flash at the news link.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

PMA/CliQ 2011 Cancelled; Moves to CES 2012

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home News" @ 05:00 PM

"The rumors that flew around cyber-space all day Wednesday are true – the 2011 PMA, recently renamed and re-positioned as CliQ, has been moved from it’s early September, 2011 dates (6-11) to Jan. 10-13 at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, running concurrent with the 2012 International CES."

The PMA trade show is the photography industry's biggest trade show, along with the biannual Photokina. It has been a place where many new camera announcements were made (for example, the Nikon D70 was formally announced at PMA 2004), but it looks like the tsunami in Japan has caused major players like Nikon and Canon to pull out of the 2011 event, and I would not be surprised to see that part of the reason is in the commoditisation of consumer digital cameras. Still, PMA has always been an annual event through its long history, including the film days (yes, you know, before digital cameras came along). I am a little sad to see it get folded into CES, a show that is more consumer than photographer focused. Expect camera announcements to be scattered in September and October as a result.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nikon Announces AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:30 AM

Nikon has updated their 50mm f/1.8 lens with a Silent Wave Motor, but to me, the only advantage this lens has over the incumbent is that it will auto focus with cameras that have no built-in AF motor. It is more expensive by 60%, loses the aperture ring, uses the awkward 58mm filter ring (though that might change), and if the AF-S 50/1.4G is anything to go by, it will focus slower as well. At least this has a focus distance indicator, unlike the AF-S 35/1.8G. Expect this in June for US$220.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Samyang Announces Prototype 7mm Fish Eye for Micro Four Thirds

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

According to DPReview, Samyang has unveiled a prototype 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye lens designed specifically for Micro Four Thirds. A native design has the advantage of smaller lenses, as shown above. Having said that... Why another fish-eye? There's the Panasonic already! First manufacturer to get a good 8/9/10mm f/2.8 out gets my money.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Glass for Less: A Simple Guide to Inexpensive Lenses

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

As more people get into photography as a hobby, a common refrain heard is that it is an expensive hobby. It is not without some truth, as hobbies by their nature can involve spending large outlays of money since it is human nature to delve deeper into our interests, and hobbies that involve any kind of gear will have many opportunities for the hobbyist to spend their hard-earned money on. Not helping is today's world of marketing departments' promises of being better at what you do if you buy their companies' products or services.

Even if you ignore the messages from marketing, you still need some basic gear to take a photo, like a lens, and lenses can be very very expensive. Lenses can range from the popular f/2.8 zooms (as much as US$2,000+) to the super telephoto lenses (too much). Thankfully, there are cheap options out there, some good, some downright awful. So what does a budget (and budding) photographer buy? Well, here's a short roundup of some lenses that can be considered to be not too expensive.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 MEGA OIS Reviewed by PhotographyBLOG

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

"The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 MEGA O.I.S. is a new telephoto lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. With MTF bodies having a crop factor of 2x, it provides an effective focal range of 200-600mm in 35mm terms, yet only weighs just over 500g."

Need a little more reach for your Micro Four Thirds camera? The Panasonic 100-300/4-5.6 is it. I prefer it to the Olympus 75-300/4.8-6.7 for the price (US$550 vs US$900) and the extra half a stop at the long end. It might be a bit larger, but at these sizes I doubt they will make much a difference; the length and weight also means I recommend this for use with a Panasonic G or GH camera for the grip and viewfinder.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tamron Releases 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 with Piezo Electric Motor; Serious Enthusiasts Cry

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:00 AM

So uh, yes. Now the 18-270mm (which translates to 27-405 in 35mm equivalent terms for APS sensors) is updated with a piezo electric motor for its autofocus (like those found in Nikon AFS and Canon USM lenses), you finally can have a lens that is fast enough to track in sports photography! Or maybe not. I am sure this lens will be popular with the casual crowd, and those upgrading from their superzoom compacts, but I suspect most serious amateurs will steer away from this one. If you want one, it will be available in Nikon and Canon mounts from 20th December in Japan, which means rest of the world in January earliest, and in Sony mounts at a later date. No word on a US pricing, but UK price is £650.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gizmodo's List of "Budget" Lenses

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:38 AM

"If you're shopping for a new lens of some sort, you've come to just the right place. Here's ThePhoblographer's list of the best lenses you can get your hands on without breaking the bank."

Defnitely a budget lens: Nikkor DX AF-S 35mm f/1.8G

Alright, I know it's hard to write articles (else I'd do some more myself), but I wish some writers would write more for their target audience than for themselves. While some of the lenses in the list are indeed budget (normal lenses are usually not expensive), they're all prime lenses. I'm thinking a general techblog on this topic should include some budget but quality zooms in the list (Tamron's 17-50 comes to mind). Also, when going through the list, note that there's no distinction between the use of the lens on APS-C-sized and 35mm-sized sensors for Nikon and Canon systems. There's no mention of other systems, but hey, I guess they don't count in today's market.

And really, the Nikkor AF 28mm f/2.8D? The neutered version from the manual focus version that drops two elements and CRC (Close Range Correction System) is hardly what I call legendary. Budget certainly, but not my favourite wide angle Nikkor, which is hardly wide once you mount it on a DX camera; see my point on not making distinctions on sensor sizes when discussing lenses.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Panasonic Releases Three New Micro Four Thirds Lenses

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:37 AM

Along with the Lumix GH2, Panasonic also announced three lenses: 100-300mm f/4-5.6, a 14mm f/2.5 (pictured above), and the 3D lens mentioned a few months back. Expect all three to hit the stores in November.

The most interesting item to photographers would be the 14/2.5, however, it's left me feeling a bit unimpressed. While small, 14mm isn't quite the gap that needs to be filled in the Micro Four Thirds lineup. At 14mm it's fairly close to the Olympus 17mm, and something wider would be more enticing. A 12/2.8 would satisfy a broad range of people, though I would really love a 10/2.8 Please Panasonic, pretty please? The lens will go on sale for US$400.

The 100-300/4-5.6 comes out shortly after Olympus announced the 75-300/4.8-6.7 (though both this and the 14mm have been on the Panasonic roadmap for a while), and personally I think this is the more sensible option. While it is slightly bigger (about half an inch longer and a few mm wider), it is half a stop faster, and at US$600, is cheaper by a third of the Olympus. If telephoto reach is required, a 600/5.6 equivalent in a small lens like this isn't a bad deal.

The one that'll attract the most attention (but unfathomable to me) is the 3D lens. With little separation, and a maximum aperture of f/12 (!), um, well, this should be a toy to most. At US$250 it's certainly not too expensive a toy... Pictures of the other two after the break.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Make Way for Some Expensive, Awesome Glass: The NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G and the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:04 PM

"Mississauga, ON, September 15, 2010 - Nikon Canada today announced the addition of two new pro-level lenses to its legendary NIKKOR line. The new AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G and AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II deliver the performance, reliability and stunning image quality that photographers come to expect from a NIKKOR lens. The AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G and AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II produce sharp results with excellent clarity and colour reproduction whether capturing still images or recording HD video. In 2010, Nikon introduced a total of nine new NIKKOR lenses, reinforcing its role as the world leader in optics."

I've spent some serious green on lenses over the past two years, so I feel like I've got a decent array of lenses to chose from, but Nikon keeps tempting me with interesting lenses. The 35mm f/1.4 looks like a great lens, but the $1999 CAD price tag will keep most people away - never mind the $5999 CAD price tag on the 200mm f/2 lens! Anyway, if you're a fan of great glass and a Nikon shooter, these lenses are worth a look.

Full press release after the break.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pentax K-x Announced with 35mm f/2.4 Lens; Candy Colours Still an Option

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:31 AM

"Pentax has announced the K-r, its latest mid-level DSLR. Initially sitting above the K-x in the range it offers more angular, K-7-esque styling, 6 fps continuous shooting and HD movie recording. It also regains AF-point illumination in the viewfinder. It features a high-res 920k dot (VGA) LCD display and the ability to shoot at up to ISO 25600. "

Today it is Pentax's turn for some announcements, and leading the pack is the budget K-r DSLR. I'm a little unsure if it's meant to replace the K-x, but regardless, this 12 megapixel camera comes with the now standard 3" VGA screen and HD video in the form of 720p at 25 FPS (what's with the PAL frame rate for the US release as well?). More unique to the Pentax lineup is the in-body IS that everyone seems to think is so needed, the ability to use AA batteries as well as a lithium ion rechargeable, in-camera HDR (shudder), and the candy colour of your choice for the camera. Updated for this release is AF point illumination in the viewfinder, so no more mucking around with the rear LCD trying to figure out what AF point is being used, whose omission was quite the glaring flaw in previous entry-level Pentax DSLRs. The camera will go on sale next month at US$800 for just the body, with a basic 18-55mm lens kit at US$850. DPReview has posted a small hands-on.

Also announced is the 35mm f/2.4 DA lens, which at US$220, is a bit more expensive than Nikon's 35mm f/1.8 at US$200, and is about a full stop slower. Pentax claims it is a small lens, but it doesn't seem much smaller than the Nikkor. The lens will go on sale next month as well. Photo of the lens as well as a sample of the available colours for the K-r after the break. Read more...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Olympus Announced "Black" E-P2 Kit and Two Micro Four Thirds Telephoto Lenses

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:30 AM

"Olympus has announced a special "all black" kit for their E-P2 Micro Four Thirds camera, and also released two new lenses while they were at it."

So Olympus has announced what essentially is a vanity kit for their E-P2 camera, and more interestingly, two new lenses. The new all-black kit doesn't come with the detacheable EVF, which I find more important than having all black accessories, but hey, I guess vanity has a price, and in this case it is a grand.

The two new lenses are telephoto zooms; there's the US$300 40-150/4-5.6 (to mimick the now very standard consumer 70-300mm zoom) and the US$900 (!) 75-300/4.8-6.7. While Olympus touts the latter as the smallest "600mm" lens, I can't help but think that for the price and the slow aperture, Olympus has made one too many compromise in making it smaller, but not small; compare Nikon's new 55-300/4-5.6 at 3.1" by 4.84" against the Olympus at 2.76" by 4.57". The Nikkor needs to make space for the VR motors as well as cover a larger imaging circle, and costs less than half the price. This is probably why all manufacturers are scrambling towards mirrorless I guess; potentially cheaper construction yet higher sale prices! Photos of the lenses after the break. Read more...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Canon Announces a Slew of Lenses

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

"MISSISSAUGA, ON., August 26, 2010 – Canon Canada Inc., a leader in digital imaging, rounds out its Summer product introductions with four new L-series lenses and two new accessory extenders for professionals and advanced amateurs. Leading the introductions, the EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens* is the world’s widest fisheye zoom lens, providing professional photographers and cinematographers with a unique optical tool for capturing 180º angle-of-view shots on all EOS Digital SLR cameras. Photographers looking for a broad focal length range with excellent image quality will enjoy the Company’s first L-series 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens, the new EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens*, delivering outstanding sharpness, contrast and colour fidelity in a compact, lightweight form factor."

The most interesting lenses among the lot of the new Canon lenses, are the 8-15/4L and the 70-300/4.5-5.6L. Fisheye lovers, rejoice! An 8 to 15mm zoom fisheye is here, so you can pick all the different ways you can distort the world in your photos.. Also some nice news for Canon users, is a 70-300/4-5.6L zoom lens. The 70-300s have usually been cheap telephoto consumer zoom lenses, but they have been used by pros for their light weight and compact size. Now that there's an L version of the lens, quality should step up, while mostly retaining the size and the weight. What is lost is the cheap price: US$1,500 is almost as much a 70-200/2.8 L USM lens. The other announcements include an update to the f/2.8 superteles; the 300/2.8 and 400/2.8, as well as the 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters. Press release and images of the other lenses after the break.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nikon Releases Four New Nikkor DSLR Lenses

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:01 PM

"Mississauga, ON, August 19, 2010 - Nikon Canada today added four new lenses to the legendary NIKKOR line, meeting the needs of all types of photographers - from those looking for the ideal lens to capture memories of the school play to users who require a pro glass to capture client work in the studio. The new NIKKOR AF-S DX 55-300mm VR II, AF-S 28-300mm VR II, AF-S 24-120mm f/4 VR II and AF-S 85mm f/1.4 deliver optical excellence and stunning image quality. Nikon's engineering experience and devotion to extraordinary standards have contributed to the strength and reputation of the NIKKOR brand. With the addition of these four lenses, 2010 has seen the launch of a total of seven new NIKKOR lenses, reinforcing Nikon's role as the world leader in optics."

Lenses: the true cost of any camera system isn't in the camera body, but the lenses. Digital camera bodies come and go as technology changes, but a good lens will last years. Nikon has brought some interesting lenses to the table - see any that you like? Read more...

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