Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lenses, Lenses, Lenses!

Sigma announced a few lenses, which include two updated lenses and one brand new lens for Micro Four/Thirds and Sony E-mount, and one updated lens for APS-C digitals.

The two updated MFT/E lenses are the 19mm f/2.8 and the 30mm f/2.8. The first renditions of these two lenses were somewhat under the radar for most photogs, but the people who bought seemed to love them. They had some seriously good image quality. The new lens in this group is the 60mm f/2.8,which is the equivalent to an 120mm lens for MFT and 90mm for the E-mount. With its minimum focusing distance of just under 20 inches, this will make a very nice portrait lens, and like the other two, will be small and portable.

The other lens for Sigma is a new version of their 30mm f/1.4 lens for APS-C digitals, which makes it more or less a normal lens for that format. The previous model was known for its high quality images, especially in its smooth out of focus foregrounds and backgrounds, or bokeh. I'm sure this version will continue this same quality.

Also of interest from Sigma is something called a USB Dock, which attaches to your computer and when you attach the right Sigma lens to it, you can update its firmware and adjust its focusing, in both accuracy and speed. Not all Sigma lenses will work with the USB Dock, but the new 30mm f/1.4 will, once it is available.

And finally from Tokina is a new lens for APS-C cameras, the AT-X 12-28mm f/4 PRO DX lens. It replaces the 12-24mm f/4, which is a lens I owned and used and loved. It was a very fine lens and I'm sure the new version is just as good.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Two New Cameras Introduced

In the next few days, many new cameras will be introduced because of CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, which begins tomorrow on the 8th and ends this Friday, the 11th. A couple of cameras have already surfaced which have captured our interest. The first is the Pentax MX1, a compact digicam that seems to be following the lead of some of Fuji's latest offerings like the X10 and the soon to be announced X20. The MX1 has a 12 MP sensor with a 4X zoom, in 35mm terms from 28mm to 112mm, with a maximum aperture range from f/1.8 to f/2.5. Actual zoom range is 6 - 24mm. The controls and layout are intended to reference older film cameras and the construction also supports this. The camera features brass top and bottom plates with, I assume, a black paint finish, when the camera comes in the all black finish. It's also available in the black and chrome finish. With Pentax's solid history of making user friendly and high performance cameras, I'll be interested in checking this one out.

The other camera is kind of the polar opposite of the Pentax MX1; it is the Canon PowerShot N. This unconventional camera is intended as a supplement to your smart phone, as it can be connected via Wi-Fi to the phone, tablet, or PC of your choice. The square design and tilting touch screen enable the camera to used in any direction, configuration, and orientation, according to Canon. One of the two rings surrounding the lens is the zoom control while the other functions as the shutter release. The idea is that you can carry this highly pocketable camera (3 x 2.4 x 1.2 inches in size when closed) with you and take better quality pictures and videos than you can take on a phone and then be able to upload them to the social media platform of your choice through your phone or tablet. Interesting idea. I'm looking forward to seeing this as well.