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All posts tagged "lens"

Friday, June 15, 2012

Nikon Announces AF-S 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR DX and AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR Lenses; Reaches 70 Million Lenses Milestone

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

Well, Nikon just announced that they have produced 70 million lenses, and they are celebrating it by releasing a couple of new lenses! The first is the fairly large AF-S 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens (27-450mm equivalent). I was not expecting anything like this, especially with a f/5.6 aperture at the long end. This means that this is not a small lens, with lens weighing in at 29.3 oz (or 830g) and using a 77mm filter thread. The lens boasts the largest zoom factor, outclassing the previous champ, the Tamron 18-270 lens. Ships in late June for US$1000.

The second lens is an update of an old favourite, which is the AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR. The new lens gains VR, but other looks very similar to the previous lens. The lens will ship in late June for US$600. The privilege of VR is quite a bit, it seems.


Canon Announces EOS Rebel T4i/650D and Two New Lenses; We Have First Impressions

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

Canon last week announced the Rebel T4i/EOS 650D, and while it is one of Canon's famous incremental upgrades, it does make quite a nice package for casual shooters and point-and-shoot upgraders. The main new features are the 18 megapixel sensor with a hybrid design that incorporates phase-detect autofocus around the centre of the frame, promising faster AF in live view and video mode, a new 3" 7240x480 capacitive touchscreen, 9 point cross-type AF points, and 5 FPS continuous still shooting mode. The camera still does 1080p video at 24, 25 or 30 FPS. Ships in late June for US$850 body only, US$950 with the standard 18-55 kit lens, or US$1200 with the new 18-135 STM lens, which I will talk about next.

The two lenses are a special bunch: They are Canon's first "STM" lenses, which incorporates a stepping motor to allow for smooth and quiet autofocus while recording videos. The first is the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM lens, which will ship in late June for US$550. The second is Canon's first pancake, the adorable 40mm f/2.8 STM, which is really small. Priced at US$200, I can imagine they will be quite popular when they appear in stores in late June. More specs at photos of the lenses at the read link, and jump past the break for my first impressions!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Panasonic Announces Premium 12-35mm f/2.8 ASPH Lumix G X Lens; DPReview has a Hands-on look

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

The first of the two rumoured premium lenses has been announced by Panasonic: It is a stabilised 12-35mm f/2.8 lens bearing the X label to denote its status (again with the X; there are 25 other letters to use. I propose J), which basically means this is like a 17-50/2.8 on APS-C cameras or a 24-70/2.8 on 35mm cameras. The size, while being larger than other Micro Four Thirds lenses, is still considerably smaller than a 24-70/2.8. Unfortunately the lens will only be available in August, and there is no pricing information. I suspect it will be north of US$1,000, just like most zooms of its class. Interestingly enough, the lens is weather resistant as well. Is a GH3 coming soon?

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, 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, April 19, 2011

Clean Your Lens Properly - A Tutorial

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 07:30 AM!5792030/lea...slr-camera-lens

Alright, so your camera lenses are dirty, and you don't know how to clean them? Here's a (not so quick) tutorial. Personally I'd think this sort of thing is fairly straightforward (blower to remove dust particles, as pure an alcohol solution as you can find, and a good microfibre cloth), but I guess for the uninitiated, a video helps.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nikon Pulls AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Lens From Website

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

I think we can safely conclude that this is pretty much real. AF-S will be welcomed by those on cameras without the screw drive motor, but I'm not liking the loss of the aperture ring (again) and the 58mm filter thread. Get those old AF-Ds when you still can, because if past trends are any indication, the new lens will cost more and focus slower. More details at the source.

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, 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.

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...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Datacolor Releases SpyderLensCal

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

"Datacolor, a global leader in color management solutions, today announced SpyderLensCal, a reliable method of measuring the focus performance on camera and lens combinations that delivers razor-sharp focusing using modern DSLR autofocus micro-adjustment."

Datacolor, a company who makes a range of solutions for colour workflow purposes, has announced a product to help with calibrating your autofocus DSLR lenses. This is somewhat like the products from LensAlign, but far cheaper: At US$59, it's cheaper than the LensAlign Lite by $20, and more than $100 and $200 less for the regular and long lens kits of the LensAlign. Still, it does look far more simplistic than the LensAlign version, but since I have not tried them, I have no idea if a simpler and cheaper product can do an equally good job here. The SpyderLensCal will ship sometime in the middle of September 2010.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tokina Launches 16-28mm f/2.8 lens for 35mm-sized Sensors

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:45 AM

Did I mention I like Tokina lenses? Out of all the third-party lens makers Tokina is one of my favourites, dating back to their 28-70/2.6-2.8 zoom lens. In addition to being quite a good performer, the thing was built like a pro-grade Nikkor lens - not surprising since the founders were ex-Nikon engineers.

Today they've just announced the availability and pricing of the 16-28mm f/2.8 zoom in Nikon and Canon mounts. I heard about the product development announcement back in PMA 2010 (essentially an announcement of an announcement), and I was expecting a version of the 11-16/2.8 for 35mm sensors. It now appears to be a new optical formula, and comes with Tokina's take on the piezo-electric AF motor, called Silent Drive Motor (SD-M; I guess all the nice names have been taken).

There are two downsides to this lens. The first is that like the Nikkor 14-24/2.8, there is no way to attach filters. While digital photography has rendered a lot of filters obsolete, there are still a few useful filters that I still use, like neutral density filters and the occasional circular polariser. The second is that its announced list price, US$1400, is quite a bit more than the original 11-16/2.8, which was announced at US$800. It is not going to be quite the bargain that the 11-16/2.8 was. That said, if it's anything like the 11-16/2.8 optically, I think it's going to be a very worthy alternative to the even more expensive Nikkor 14-24/2.8. Canon users might still want to stick to their 16-35/2.8s though.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Panasonic Introduces 8mm Fisheye for Micro Four Thirds

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

"Today, Panasonic introduced the LUMIX G Fisheye 8mm/F3.5 lens, the H-F008, with a 35mm camera equivalent 16mm lens, the world’s smallest and lightest* digital interchangeable fisheye lens compatible with the LUMIX G Series, DSL Micro (DSLM) cameras."

Panasonic has announced an 8mm fisheye lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. Being a full-frame fisheye, it'll cover the entire sensor while offering a 180mm degree field of view, which is pretty much the standard ever since Nikon introduced the 16mm fisheye years ago. Now, what I have to say to Panasonic is...what are you thinking? Read more...

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Distorted View? dpreview Looks at In-camera Distortion Correction

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:00 AM

"What's more important, the final image or how it's achieved? Over the past year or so, we've encountered an increasing number of cameras with lenses that capture significantly distorted images which are then corrected using in-camera software. It's a process that has divided the forums, with some arguing passionately that it's cheating and that the lenses aren't really as good as they appear, while others maintain that it's the final results that matter, rather than how they're achieved."

Software correction in this day and age is highly proficient, and correctly done can result in smaller and cheaper lenses with a minimum of image quality loss. Of course, we then get purists screaming bloody murder because said lens doesn't come with two aspherical elements to do the necessary corrections, which is a real pet peeve of mine. dpreview's informal test here shows that the image quality drop off is not as severe as one might think, and that the compromise all but the most critical photographers well.

The matter of the fact is that the while correcting distortion means stretching out the photo by interpolation, optical correction of distortion can also lead to compromises with lens resolution, and potentially introducing other aberrations. I think it's time we stop determining our purchasing decisions for lenses based on specifications, but rather what they produce in the field. Many working professionals never trusted a lens they never had significant shooting time with for that reason!

Monday, March 15, 2010

What Nikon Product is Hiding in the Funky Box?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 01:30 PM

The original post over on Nikon Rumors was focused on what kind of lens is on this camera body, but I think the more interesting question is what kind of camera body is under that box? If it was just about protecting the identity of a lens, some black tape would largely do the trick. There must be a new Nikon camera body under there...any guesses as to what it is? I've heard D700x and D800 bandied about lately - but where's my highly-anticipated D400 at?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Preciousssss Has Arrived: The Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 12:00 PM

After saving my pennies for many months, and re-directing incoming birthday and Christmas presents into the "Lens Fund", I'm thrilled to have finally purchased a lens I've had on my want list for two years: the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR II. It's a beast of a lens, a full 209mm (8.2 inches) long, and weighs in at a hefty 1504 grams (3.4 pounds). I adore my 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and shoot with it 90% of the time, but the occasions when I need more reach mean I have to grab my 18-200 Nikkor lens or my Tamron 28-300mm. In the case of the Tamron, a lens I used earlier this week at an indoor pool where the light was awful, at maximum zoom it's an awful f/6.3. The Nikkor isn't much better at f/5.6. Read more...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nikon's New DX Standard: The 35mm F1.8

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:49 PM

"The majority of lens systems have offered 50mm lenses as the most accessible way for new DSLR users to experiment with fast prime lenses (a legacy from 35mm film cameras on which they acted as 'standard' lenses). Yet Nikon has decided that its new offering should be a 50mm equivalent. Ludovic Drean explains why: "The concept was to give a 50mm equivalent lens on the DX format. A lot of people have bought the 50 1.8 because it was all that was available. It may seem rather late for the APS-C system, but we believed that entry-level users wanted a standard lens."

The release of a 35mm f1.8 lens is is a smart move by Nikon. It does give the entry-level Nikon DSLRs a standard lens to shoot with. I bought the Canon 35mm f2 just for this reason. I bet they sell a ton of these. Shooting at f1.8 with this lens at close distances can be tricky because very little is in focus. The flip side to that is great bokeh (blur).

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