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Posted 09/14/21
The day is finally here! Canon has, at last, unveiled its topflight mirrorless camera, the EOS R3. Combining assets from the EOS R5 and the flagship EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR, the R3 is a high-performance body built for speedy shooting, featuring fast and precise focusing, and sporting a robust, professional-grade body. It's the first 3-Series camera since the film era and introduces a wealth of new tech to Canon's mirrorless system, including an all-new stacked sensor, Eye Control AF, and a built-in vertical grip. Announced alongside the new EOS R3 camera body, Canon is also expanding its lens lineup with the introduction of the RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM and RF 16mm f/2.8 STM lenses. Relatively sleek and lightweight, these two lenses open up the RF lineup with more accessible choices at the wide and telephoto ends of the spectrum. EOS R3 The EOS R3 is Canon's top-tier mirrorless body and currently is positioned between the high-resolution EOS R5 mirrorless body and the professional-grade EOS-1D X Mark III. The R3 combines the best of these two models, taking the speed, reliability, and physical characteristics of the flagship 1D X Mark III along with the technological advancements, mirrorless design, and multimedia prowess of the R5. Canon EOS R3 Mirrorless Digital Camera Sensor and Processor While looking like a mixture of these two cameras, the EOS R3 does stand on its own with a variety of unique technologies, including a brand-new 24.1MP back-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor and an updated DIGIC X image processor. The stacked configuration of the sensor promotes faster readout speeds and reduces rolling shutter distortion to cater better to working with fast-moving subjects, and the BSI design is more efficient when gathering light, leading to cleaner image quality with reduced noise at higher sensitivities. Another key element of this new sensor is its optimization for use with an electronic shutter function; top shooting speeds of 30 fps are possible with a 150-frame buffer, a top shutter speed of 1/64,000 second is available, and flash sync at 1/180 second is even possible. If working with a mechanical shutter, continuous shooting at 12 fps is available with a buffer of more than 1,000 frames, and flash sync is possible up to 1/250 second. In most cases, the electronic shutter will be the go-to function, and can remain a silent shooting option, or you can program an audible noise to accompany each shutter click to make it easier for subjects to recognize when a photo has been taken. Complementing the updated sensor is a revised DIGIC X image processor, which helps to orchestrate many of the performance-oriented processes of the sensor, ranging from the fast continuous shooting to the AF, image stabilization, and video-recording capabilities. The sensor's capabilities also go on to boost the sensitivity range to ISO 100-102400 for working in a wide variety of lighting conditions. In terms of video, the EOS R3 holds its own in the mirrorless realm with 6K 60p raw 12-bit recording and uncropped 4K 120p recording. The 6K and 5.6K recording areas can also be used for oversampled DCI and UHD 4K shooting with improved sharpness, reduced moiré, and lower noise. All 4K recording modes can be used with 60p, 30p, and 24p frame rates, and there is also a choice of HDR PQ and Canon Log 3 settings, depending on post-production workflow needs. Unlimited recording times are possible, too, and the R3 features mic and headphone ports, as well as a micro-HDMI Type-D port for clean output to an external recorder. Autofocus In addition to continuous shooting and readout speed improvements, the new sensor also lends itself to an improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system, which now features 1,053 selectable phase-detection points along with automatic AF zones and enhanced subject detection and tracking. The AF system can now intelligently recognize eyes, faces, heads (including helmets), animals, and vehicles, and tracking will automatically lock onto these subjects and maintain sharp focus throughout burst captures. Something new to EOS digital cameras in general, Canon is also reintroducing Eye Control AF with the R3. This feature was a popular one dating back to the EOS-3 film camera days and has now been refined and tuned to work in conjunction with modern-day AF systems. This feature essentially allows you to use your eye to control where the initial focus point is, and then the camera will take control using subject tracking to keep the subject in focus. This feature will require you to "register" your eyes, and is activated simply by looking through the EVF, but will give shooters an even more intuitive means than a joystick for finding the perfect focus point prior to burst shooting. One final point of the AF system worth noting is that it is sensitive down to-7.5 EV, meaning accurate and responsive AF performance is possible even in nighttime conditions. Coupled with a silent electronic shutter, quick burst shooting, and IBIS, this makes this camera stand out in terms of photographing live music performances and other low-light activities. In-Body Image Stabilization Not a new feature to Canon, but still one worth pointing out, is the In-Body Image Stabilizer (IBIS) that helps correct camera shake when shooting handheld in difficult lighting conditions or with longer lenses. This 5-axis system in the R3 is the same one used in the EOS R5 and R6 and can be used in conjunction with lenses featuring optical image stabilization to compensate for up to 8 stops of camera shake, depending on the specific lens in use. Body Design The new sensor and improved AF are great, of course, but among the most dramatic changes the R3 brings is a wholly new body to Canon's mirrorless lineup. It's the first Canon mirrorless body to sport an integrated vertical grip, which means it has duplicate physical controls for easier shooting in vertical orientation, greater handling comfort all around, and it takes the same large-capacity LP-E19 battery as the EOS-1D X Mark III. Some other similarities to the 1D X Mark III: The R3 has the same dust and drip resistance, with fully sealed buttons, dials, and terminals; it features wired LAN connectivity via an Ethernet port along with standard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity; and there is an integrated GPS module for seamless location tagging. The revised body also houses the impressive 5.76m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder and vari-angle touchscreen LCD. The EVF is the same high-res model found in the R5 and is a bright, clear means for eye-level viewing. This viewfinder is aided by the fast readout speeds of the stacked sensor, too, offers blackout-free viewing when shooting with an electronic shutter, and supports a 120-fps refresh rate for realistic motion portrayal. Conversely, the 3.2" 4.15m-dot vari-angle LCD is perfect for working from high, low, and front-facing angles and sports a touchscreen interface for intuitive settings control. As you'd expect from a professional-grade camera, the R3 has dual memory card slots—one CFexpress Type B slot and one SD UHS-II slot—for file-saving flexibility. The CFexpress slot should be prioritized for 6K recordings and fast continuous shooting, but the SD slot is a convenient alternative for backups or less speed-critical shooting. Dual memory card slots—one CFexpress Type B slot and one SD UHS-II slot Finally, one final new bit of the tech the R3 is bringing to light is the Multi-Function Shoe. This next-gen take on a hot shoe essentially adds a row of pins at the front of the shoe for more intelligent accessory performance and functionality. To go along with the Multi-Function Shoe, Canon is also launching four additional accessories that take advantage of this new design. The ST-E10 Speedlite Transmitter is a compact, lightweight transmitter that controls all five independent groups across up to 15 Speedlites simply by pressing the menu button on the transmitter and then adjusting settings on the camera's LCD. This transmitter is 30% smaller and 50% lighter than the ST-E3-RT II and, since it is digital and is compatible with the Multi-Function Shoe, it is battery-free and uses the camera's own power.   The DM-E1D Stereo Microphone is a shoe-mounted external mic that uses the Multi-Function interface for power and for digitally connecting to the camera, requiring no cabling for sync. It has three directional modes depending on recording needs, including a Shotgun mode for focused recording and 90° and 120° Stereo modes for wide-area recording.   The AD-E1 Multi-Function Shoe Adapter helps you transition from existing hot shoe accessories to the new Multi-Function Shoe; this adapter maintains the weather-sealed features of the camera when using accessories like the Speedlite EL1, Speedlite 600EX II-RT, OC-E3, or other shoe-mounted accessories.   The AD-P1 Smartphone Link Adapter is compatible with Android smartphones and uses the mobile device's data connection and a Mobile File transfer app for seamless and wireless photo, video, and voice memo transferring to FTP/FTPS/SFTP servers directly from the camera. Takeaways That's a lot of information to take in, but let's distill this into some major takeaway points and see how the EOS R3 fits in Canon's growing mirrorless system. New 24.1MP stacked BSI CMOS sensor. The main point here is the stacked sensor configuration, which will greatly impact readout speeds for faster, more reliable continuous shooting and reduced rolling shutter for video and high-speed shooting. The 24.1MP resolution shows you that this camera is built for "working shooters," for lack of a better term; it's not high-res by any means, but a solid choice for those who are publishing their photographs, sharing their work, and need to move their images quickly. If you want high-resolution files, the R5 will still be your ideal choice, but if you want speed, the R3 is where it's at.   Enhanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF II and Eye Control AF. These are two of the most exciting updates to the system since they have a direct impact on the shooting experience. Canon is really going in on intelligent subject detection and tracking, and the Eye Control AF is simply a useful, intuitive tool for quickly acquiring that first focus point.   The video performance is pretty much what one would expect from a camera spec'd out like this; it's very strong but not necessarily groundbreaking. The R3 can handle video tasks in a professional manner and is obviously inspired by Canon's cine line of cameras. This is like the 24MP resolution in a way; not awe inspiring but very solid and exactly what is needed for reliable performance.   In-Body image stabilization is often overlooked and sometimes taken for granted, but it's hard to overstate how cool it is to get 8 stops of shake correction and be able to shoot handheld in truly low-light conditions.   Same EVF as the R5 and a higher-res vari-angle touchscreen LCD. These viewing mechanisms are at the cutting edge of what we're seeing in mirrorless cameras and should impress pretty much anybody, even optical finder diehards.   It's about time we see a mirrorless camera with an integrated vertical grip, and this looks like a strong example of how to blend strong ergonomics, fresh tech, and solid battery life into what's a surprisingly lightweight body. The EOS R3 seems to be just what Canon needed to reinforce its mirrorless system and feels like the right camera body for some of the more recent lens releases, like the RF 400mm f/2.8L and RF 600mm f/4L, which should feel right at home mounted on a camera like this. The R3 technically isn't Canon's "flagship" camera because that title still belongs to the EOS-1D X Mark III, but in the mirrorless world, the R3 is the current king. It's exciting to see Canon weaving the remaining distinctions from its SLR cameras into the up-and-coming mirrorless line, and it's also impressive to see how far mirrorless has come in just a few short years. New RF Lenses Today's announcement isn't all about the professional crowd because Canon is also releasing a pair of more accessible lenses aimed at current EOS R-series shooters. The RF 16mm f/2.8 STM and RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM are both relatively small and lightweight for their respective focal lengths and serve as perfect choices for adding a second or third lens to a growing kit. RF 16mm f/2.8 STM Beginning with the wide lens first, the RF 16mm f/2.8 STM is a special wide-angle prime simply because of its mixture of an ultra-wide focal length, reasonably fast optics, and a super compact form factor. It's important to call out that this lens is not a fisheye, and its rectilinear design will come in handy when photographing architecture, interiors, or broad landscape views. The f/2.8 aperture diaphragm makes it a solid choice for astrophotography applications, too, and it also features a 5.1" minimum focusing distance that is perfect for unique close-up shots with great depth of field. A stepping motor (STM) ensures smooth and quiet focusing performance, which is good for stills and video, and the control ring can be assigned to adjust focus manually or set to control a variety of other shooting settings. Previous Pause Next RF 16mm f/2.8 STM sample photos RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM The second lens being announced is the RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM, a telephoto zoom that seems to be almost diametrically opposed to the 16mm f/2.8, but in actuality is similar in intent. This long-ranging zoom features a modest maximum aperture range that helps to keep the overall size and weight relatively low, making it an ideal partner for day-long shoots or hikes in the wilderness. Similar in stature to the popular EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS II USM for SLRs, this 100-400mm is a fresh take on a versatile everyday zoom. It has longer reach and an updated Nano USM focusing motor for more responsive focusing performance. Also, its Image Stabilizer works with Coordinated IS with EOS R-series bodies for up to 6 stops of shake correction for low-light handheld shooting. Previous Pause Next RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM sample photos Optically, this zoom features an Ultra-Low Dispersion element that reduces color fringing and chromatic aberrations and an aspherical element helps to boost sharpness and minimize distortion. Unique among tele-zooms, this lens also has a 2.9' minimum focusing distance at the 200mm position and 0.4x maximum magnification at the 400mm position, making it a surprisingly solid choice for close-up shooting. Additionally, for even more versatility, this lens is also compatible with the Extender RF 1.4x and RF 2x teleconverters for even greater reach. It's a big day for Canon with the release of a new professional-grade mirrorless body, four new system accessories, new sensor tech, new Multi-Function Shoe, and even the release of two new accessible lenses for the RF system. What items pique your interest most from Canon's huge unveiling? Are you excited about the top-end camera development? Excited to see new features and system tech? Or do these two highly usable lenses have your attention? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 09/09/21
Expanding its lineup of stylish, compact, and modest primes, Sigma has just announced two new I Series lenses: the 90mm f/2.8 DG DN and 24mm f/2 DG DN. Both of these lenses fall under the Contemporary designation and both are available for L and Sony E mirrorless lens mounts. If you look back to last fall, when Sigma debuted the I Series, you’ll remember that this lens designation is all about making lenses that prioritize practicality, aesthetics, and sleekness, rather than pure speed and theoretical performance. This announcement sees Sigma rounding out the I Series, as well as giving shooters a choice at the ultra-wide end. Beyond just bringing two new lenses to light, this announcement also establishes Sigma’s approach to I Series development more clearly. Currently, Sigma is using a two-pronged approach within this designation: Some lenses are deliberately slow to maximize compactness, while other lenses balance speed and portability. Following the “slower and sleeker” route, the new 90mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary joins the 45mm f/2.8 DG DN and 24mm f/3.5 DG DN to create a nice trio of ultra-small, ultra-portable primes. This new portrait-length prime is the longest I Series lens to date and is characterized by its f/2.8 maximum aperture, STM stepping AF motor, and advanced optical design that uses low dispersion and aspherical elements. It’s a unique complement to the 24mm f/3.5 and 45mm f/2.8 because its form factor is nearly identical—sharing the same 64mm diameter and 55mm filter size—but the longer focal length makes it perfect for portraiture, long-range subjects, or other situations when a bit of separation and visual compression are desired. Also, this 90mm f/2.8 has a 1:5 maximum magnification ratio and minimum focusing distance of just 1.6' for working with close-up subjects, too. Sigma 90mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary Lens At the other end of this announcement is the 24mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary, which joins the 35mm f/2 DG DN and 65mm f/2 DG DN lenses to form a tight portfolio of sophisticated and practical f/2 primes. Compared to “slower and sleeker” I Series lenses, these f/2 lenses represent balance and practicality. According to Sigma, they feature the same MTF performance as the f/1.4 Art lenses but have a much more svelte design. This 24mm f/2, specifically, uses FLD, SLD, and aspherical elements to control a variety of aberrations and distortions for high sharpness and accurate rendering from edge to edge. Additionally, these f/2 I Series lenses also have a distinct arc-type AF/MF switch that is a bit more tactilely accessible than the smaller switch on the slower lenses. Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens This announcement indicates Sigma’s desire to have a well-rounded system of lenses that follow a shared ethos, but also shows that Sigma isn’t afraid to give shooters multiple options of the same focal length. Much in the way Sigma has released three unique 35mm DG DN lenses for mirrorless cameras, the announcement of this second 24mm I Series lens is initially a bit of a head scratcher, but begins to make sense after you factor in the reasons for choosing one lens over the other. The 24mm f/3.5 DG DN is a marked lens because of its impressively compact design, as well as its surprisingly slow maximum aperture; the new 24mm f/2 DG DN, on the other hand, is a more balanced approach to an ultra-wide prime and is faster as well as larger. The f/2 lens has better optical performance than the f/3.5 version, and along with its speed, makes it the preferred choice for astrophotography, landscapes, cityscapes, and street shooting, especially in low lighting conditions. The f/3.5, on the other hand, has the smaller size advantage, as well as the unique 1:2 maximum magnification for close-up shooting, compared to the more average 1:6.7 magnification and 9.7" minimum focusing distance of the new f/2 version. The 90mm f/2.8 DG DN and the 24mm f/2 DG DN contribute to making the I Series a more versatile designation within Sigma’s DG DN lens lineup and signal a clear push at making lenses that appeal to a wider range of shooters. Rather than focusing on the fastest and most technically perfect lens designs possible, Sigma is focusing on giving shooters practical choices and usable options that prioritize the experience of shooting. What are your thoughts on the latest I Series releases? Do you have any experiences with Sigma’s other I Series lenses? Are you a fan of these more pragmatic releases or do you favor the all-out f/1.4 and faster lens designs? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 08/04/21
Sigma is breaking new ground once again with the release of the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens. This is the first Sports-series lens built specifically for full-frame mirrorless cameras and is also the longest DG DN lens currently available from Sigma. It’s an ultra-telephoto zoom built with refined optics, updated handling features, and a revised form factor that is lighter and smaller than the past SLR-intended versions of this same lens. As the first lens carrying the Sports moniker, this lens is a statement piece as Sigma sees its lineup transcending the fast and distinct primes the company is best known for; this is a super tele-zoom with the speed and optics required for sports and wildlife shooters. 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens You may be thinking “Sigma already has a 150-600mm lens. Wait, they already have two, and one of them is a sports lens… how’s this one different?” The key is in the DG DN suffix in the lens name, which indicates this lens has been built from the ground up specifically for full-frame mirrorless cameras, namely those with Sony E and Leica L lens mounts. Beyond just some additional letters in a name, though, this lens has a new, more advanced optical configuration that caters to mirrorless designs and higher-resolution sensors and does so in a more compact package. It has a new autofocus system, too, and some updated handling aspects, including zoom torque adjustment and customizable function buttons for more intuitive control. Regarding the optics, this new lens has a denser 25-element/15-group layout that includes six low-dispersion glass elements to suppress color fringing and chromatic aberrations through the zoom range. The glass has also been optimized to maintain sharpness at both ends of the zoom range, and the wide-angle end offers a close minimum focusing distance of 1.9' for more versatility. Sigma also states that bokeh quality was a major concern during the redesign of this lens, and smooth out-of-focus areas with natural compression are a hallmark of the new optical system. Additionally, flare and ghosting are also well-controlled due to a Super Multi-Layer Coating that promotes high-contrast, color-accurate rendering when working in strong light. Beyond the optical improvements, one of the other noteworthy changes this lens brings is an updated autofocus system. Now catering to mirrorless cameras instead of SLRs, this lens’s focusing performance is quieter and smoother to suit photo and video recording needs. The AF system uses a stepping motor in conjunction with a magnetic sensor that helps accurately guide the focusing lens over greater distances to keep up with subject tracking at great working distances. Also helping to achieve sharp imagery is an OS image-stabilization system that compensates for up to 4 stops of camera shake, making it easier to use this lens when shooting handheld. Two different stabilization modes can be selected on the lens barrel, and OS modes can be customized on the L-mount version of the lens, via the optional USB Dock. This USB dock also lets L-mount shooters create customized focusing range limits and assign other functions to the three AFL buttons on the lens barrel. Also unique to L-mount users, this lens is compatible with optional TC-1411 1.4x and TC-2011 2x  teleconverters for extending the zoom reach even farther. Optional USB Dock (left), TC-1411 1.4x (middle) and TC-2011 2x (right) Teleconverters As a Sports-series lens, Sigma clearly intends for this lens to stand up to the tough conditions and fast-paced shooting environments you’d expect while photographing sports or other fast-moving subjects. As such, the lens features a dust- and splash-resistant barrel with rubber seals at the lens mount and around the focusing and zoom rings and the cover connection points. An oil- and water-repellent coating has also been applied to the front element to resist droplets and to make cleaning the lens easier. In terms of handling, the lens has a dual-action zoom design, which lets you change the zoom position either by rotating the zoom ring or by push-pulling the barrel to the desired point. Zoom ring torque can also be adjusted to suit your handling preference or just to lock the ring in place to avoid unwanted creeping. The lens is built from Sigma’s distinct Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) materials and aluminum to present a lightweight-but-durable build, and it’s delivered with the removable Arca-type compatible TS-121 Tripod Socket for direct mounting on tripod heads. The 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports is Sigma’s first Sports lens and is a great example of borrowing from its older SLR designs and updating them for a more contemporary mirrorless workflow. Compared to the 150-600mm Sports lens designed for SLRs, this new DG DN lens is 1.6 lb lighter and more than an inch shorter—pretty impressive for a lens that also contains more sophisticated optics, faster AF performance, and still touts a durable, weather-sealed build. Tech Talk: The NEW Sigma Sport 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Ultra Telephoto Lens The B&H Event Space brings you the latest photography news from Sigma. Sigma Pro photographer Liam Doran and Sigma’s own Aaron Norberg discuss what’s on the horizon in the Sigma lineup and get all your questions answered live by our pro panel. They also discuss the latest Sigma lens, the Sigma Sport 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Ultra Telephoto Lens, perfect for wildlife and sports photography. What are your thoughts on Sigma’s first Sports-series lens? Do you have a need for a long-reaching telephoto zoom for your full-frame mirrorless system? Let us know your thoughts on this new, long lens in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 07/30/21
Introducing the Panasonic Lumix 25-50mm f/1.7 Zoom Lens, designed for Micro Four Thirds cameras. This Panasonic Lumix lens utilizes Leica glass and was created for photographers and videographers. The constant aperture of f/1.7 gives you beautifully compressed close-ups, and the details are crisp from edge to edge. The stepless aperture ring, linear focusing ability, and smooth manual focus make this a great filmmaking lens, as well. Click here to read more about this Panasonic lens, and share your thoughts and questions in the Comments, 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 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 05/27/21
Doug Guerra puts the dynamic Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VXD lens through its paces. This versatile super telephoto zoom is well suited to landscape, wildlife, and street photography. Share your thoughts and questions about this new lens below in the Comments. Will you be adding the Tamron 150-500mm to your kit?
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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 03/25/21
Never afraid to be unique, Sigma has just released the fp L mirrorless camera. The second member of the fp Series of compact, modular, hybrid cameras, the fp L storms in with an all-new, higher-resolution sensor, improved focusing performance, and even brings an accessory electronic viewfinder to the system. When the original fp was released in 2019, it stood out due to its minimal design and distinct feature set that clearly catered more to video applications over stills. The fp L is a revised take on this approach, with more attention given to photography needs, overall speed, and even handling, without giving up its characteristically small stature and customizable ergonomics. Using the 61MP sensor to show off detail and texture. Taken with the 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens. The Top Features What are the new features the fp L brings to the plate? Here’s everything you need to know in quick form. Full-frame 61MP BSI CMOS sensor: Up from the 24MP sensor of the original model, the higher-res sensor boosts detail while still keeping an impressive dynamic range and sensitivity range. Its back-illuminated design also yields an especially clean image with low noise. Phase-detection and contrast-detection AF: Compared to the contrast-detection-only design of the original, the hybrid focusing system of the fp L proves to be faster, better for tracking moving subjects, and more precise in tricky lighting conditions. There’s now an EVF for the system: The EVF-11 Electronic Viewfinder is an accessory component for both the fp L and the fp and is a 3.68m-dot OLED panel with a 90° upward tilting design for low-angle shooting. It’s available in a bundle with the fp L or separately for use with existing bodies. Same exact body design as the original fp: Not necessarily a new feature but, rather, a reaffirmation of the successful design of the compact and portable form factor of the first fp. This also means that all previous accessory grips, cages, the hot shoe unit, and loupe are all compatible with the new model. Continuous power via USB-C: The original fp allowed charging the battery inside the camera while it was turned off. The fp L lets you continuously power the camera via USB-C, which is perfect for time-lapse work, recording longer clips, or for working with the camera in a stationary position, like if using it as a webcam. Improved focusing speeds help catch a quick-moving train. Taken with the 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary lens. A Look Back Before digging more into the new features of the fp L, it’s important to take a look at Sigma’s history of camera design, and why the fp feels like a significant step for the company as a camera manufacturer. Prior to the original fp, Sigma was best known for its use of Foveon sensors, which are still to this day among the most unique sensors available due to their immense color depth and sharpness, albeit with the tradeoffs of reduced sensitivity, dynamic range, and higher noise levels. The fp from 2019 was Sigma’s first camera to adopt the more conventional Bayer array sensor, which offers improved flexibility in terms of dynamic range and sensitivity; as well as benefits video recording capabilities. More than the unique-for-Sigma Bayer sensor, the original fp stood out in the field of mirrorless camera designs for a number of other reasons: It’s still one of the most compact full-frame models available; it doesn’t contain a physical shutter, rather relying on an electronic shutter function; and it’s designed to be modular so each user can build the camera up however they see fit—two different hand grip options are available from Sigma, along with a loupe viewfinder, an accessory hot shoe, compatible third-party cages and grips, and so on. Late afternoon scene mixing harsh, deep shadows with bright, sunlit surfaces. Taken with the 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens. Looking Forward The fp L doesn’t stray from these unique features but does offer a wealth of refinements to push this bold release further, especially with how photographers approach the concept of a modular and multimedia camera. The original fp didn’t quite click with many photographers due to its relatively slow focusing performance, the lack of an electronic viewfinder, and because of the lack of a built-in hot shoe and subsequently cumbersome method for working with flash. Responding to this, Sigma made sure to address most of these points—faster phase-detection focusing and a new accessory EVF—although it still has the electronic shutter only design, and associated 1/15-second flash sync speed, and likely won’t be anyone’s first camera choice for flash photography applications. Conversely, though, the plus side to omitting a physical shutter from a camera’s design is the smaller, lighter-weight design, quiet operation, and theoretically improved durability since there are fewer moving parts. Assuming you’re a photographer who can forgo the need for faster flash sync, then the fp L rewards with the sensor design that includes phase-detection AF for accurate moving subject tracking. In use, this felt like one of the more apparent upgrades over the fp, along with the higher resolution. Focusing is snappier and more accurate, regardless of the type of subject with which you’re working. The 61MP sensor is great for picking out and emphasizing details in ordinary scenes. Taken with the 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens. And then there is the 61MP resolution, which puts the fp L squarely in the realm of an objectively high-resolution camera. In practice, this spec is sometimes a bit too much resolution, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. With the spare resolution, so to speak, Sigma also incorporated a new Crop Zoom feature for “zooming into” the scene by simply cropping in from the full-frame image area. It’s a nice tool to have in-camera, since you can preview the look of a tighter crop while shooting, especially if you’re just working with a single lens that’s a bit too wide for the shot you want. In addition to the major updates, the fp L also received some more minor, but welcomed, additions: There is now a true 24.00 fps frame rate for video recording, Duotone and Powder Blue color modes have been added, custom camera settings can be saved and shared to other cameras via a QR code, you can take screenshots of the camera’s rear LCD, and the Director’s Viewfinder has been updated with new cine cam models and custom frame line options. More emphasis on details with this shot of peeling paint just before sunset. Taken with the 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens. fp L vs fp Comparing the fp L to the original fp, you’ll see the few changes between the models and how they look on paper. The interesting thing about comparing the two cameras, though, is that most of the differences are just an “on paper” matter, since they share the same body design and user interface. On the other hand, this comparison goes to show how just a few changes to a camera’s spec list can truly shake up how one interprets a camera. fp L fp 61MP BSI CMOS 36 x 24mm; Bayer Array Sensor 24.6MP BSI CMOS 35.9 x 23.9mm; Bayer Array UHD 4K up to 30p FHD 1080 up to 120p CinemaDNG 8-bit recording Video (Internal) UHD 4K up to 30p FHD 1080 up to 120p CinemaDNG 8-bit recording DCI 4K at 24p Raw 12-bit recording Video (External) DCI 4K at 24p Raw 12-bit recording Phase-detection and contrast-detection Autofocus Contrast-detection only ISO 100-25600 Expandable ISO 6-102400 Base ISO—Stills: ISO 100/400 Base ISO—CinemaDNG 12-bit and raw output: ISO 100/1250 Base ISO—MOV/CinemaDNG 10-bit, 8-bit: ISO 100/250 ISO Sensitivity ISO 100-25600 Expandable ISO 6-102400 Base ISO—Stills: ISO 100/640 Base ISO—CinemaDNG 12-bit and raw output: ISO 100/3200 Base ISO—MOV/CinemaDNG 10-bit, 8-bit: ISO 100/640 Electronic shutter 1/8000 sec to 30 sec Bulb up to 300 sec Flash sync up to 1/15 sec Shutter Speed Electronic shutter 1/8000 sec to 30 sec Bulb up to 300 sec Flash sync up to 1/30 sec Up to 10 fps Continuous Shooting Up to 18 fps Compatible with EVF-11 EVF Compatible with EVF-11 via future firmware update 3.15" 2.1m-dot touchscreen LCD LCD 3.15" 2.1m-dot touchscreen LCD BP-51 lithium-ion battery Approx. 240 shots/charge Battery BP-51 lithium-ion battery Approx. 280 shots/charge USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C HDMI Type-D 3.5mm Microphone Remote and timecode via microphone port Interface USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C HDMI Type-D 3.5mm Microphone Remote and timecode via microphone port 4.4 x 2.8 x 1.8" Dimensions 4.4 x 2.8 x 1.8" 15.1 oz with battery and SD card Weight 14.9 oz with battery and SD card Who Is the fp L For? When the original fp was released, most of the reviews and debates talked about who the camera was actually designed for. While I got along with it, surprisingly from a photographic perspective, most saw it as a compact cine camera that could handle photo tasks in a pinch. The fp L is clearly setting out to sway this balance back to a 50/50 split of users, welcoming both the photographers who want to shoot video and the cinematographers who want to shoot photos to the user base. I’m much more of a photographer, and I see the fp L as a valuable tool despite its apparent drawbacks. The compact size, quietness, and uniquely customizable design far outweigh the slow flash sync for the type of shooting I mainly do. Landscapes, travel shooting, natural light portraiture and lifestyle imagery, and even product shots and still lifes using constant light are all perfect subjects to tackle with the fp L. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the fp L using phase-detection focusing to keep up with fast-moving distant subjects! Taken with the 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary lens. Another strength of Sigma’s fp-series cameras, too, is their participation in the L-Mount Alliance —a three-way partnership between Sigma, Leica, and Panasonic—that further contributes to it being one of the most adaptable systems out there, which is perfect for shooters who like to dabble between manufacturers. And Then the EVF Directly confronting the many requests for a “real viewfinder” on the original fp, Sigma has responded with the EVF-11 Electronic Viewfinder. In fp system fashion, this finder is an auxiliary EVF and attaches to the side of the camera body, much like the included HU-11 Hot Shoe Unit does. This optional EVF connects via the USB-C port and is secured via the side ¼"-20 mount, and the EVF itself has additional headphone and USB-C ports and another ¼"-20 mount for the strap. The finder has a 90° upward tilting design that suits shooting at low angles, and it has an integrated switch for changing between the EVF and LCD for shooting and reviewing images. While the switch works great for changing, it would have been great to see Sigma incorporate an eye sensor for automatic switching between the body and the finder. Otherwise, this 3.68m-dot OLED is just as good as pretty much any other EVF on the market and felt like it had minimal impact on overall battery life in a regular day of shooting. The EVF-11 is the perfect tool for working in bright and direct light conditions, such as during sunset. Taken with the 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens. It’s no surprise that I am a fan of the original fp, and it goes without saying that the fp L makes even more sense to me from a photographer’s standpoint. It’s still an undeniably quirky camera, but the fp L tames the quirkiness quite a bit and stands as a serious offering for a variety of image-making tasks. What are your thoughts on Sigma’s sophomore L-mount mirrorless effort, the fp L? Are you a fan of the modular design and unique feature set of the fp L? Let us know 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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