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Nikon launched two new full-frame lenses today. One is their widest tilt-shift lens yet and the other is an improved 70-200mm F/2.8 constant-aperture zoom.

Nikkor PC 19mm F/4E

Nikkor PC 19mm F/4E offers an ultra-wide 19mm focal-length, giving a 97° angle of view on a full-frame. This Perspective-Control lens offers shift and tilt movements of ±7.5° and ±12mm, respectively. For the first time on a Nikon Tilt-Shift lens, the lens can be rotated between the tilt and shift mechanism, allowing more creativity than previously possible. This lens is scheduled to ship next month for a suggested price of $3399 USD or $4499 CDN. B&H Photo is already accepting pre-orders.

Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm F/2.8E FL VR

Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm F/2.8E FL VR is newly designed zoom with a maximum F/2.8 constant-aperture. It features built-in image-stabilization, effective to 4 stops with a special Sports mode to improve performance when the photographer is tracking moving subjects. As a professional lens, this one is fully weather-sealed. The AF-S 70-200mm F/2.8E FL VR is also scheduled to ship next month. The suggested retail price is $2799 USD or $3699 CDN. B&H Photo is accepting pre-orders for this lens too.

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Each generation of the Sony RX100 has been a runaway success and showing no signs of slowing down with one new model every year since 2012. All RX100s offers a large 1″ sensor with a bright zoom lens in a highly compact body. The third generation added a built-in EVF which pops up when needed, while the fourth added 4K Ultra-HD video.

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 V

The new Sony Cybershot RX100 V keeps every feature of its predecessor and makes it faster. At its core is a 20 megapixels 1″ high-speed CMOS sensor which can now continuously capture full-resolution images at an outstanding 24 FPS with a buffer for 150 JPEG images. The sensor uses a 1.3X-crop region to record 4K Ultra-HD video and can record full 1080p HD video at up to 1000 FPS! This gives motion video that plays 40X slower than real-time. It can also capture conventional 1080p video at up to 120 FPS.

The new 20 MP sensor adds a 315-point Phase-Detect AF system which is claimed to be the fastest in the world among compact digital cameras. There is still a 0.39″ EVF with 2.4 megapixels, 0.59X magnification and 100% coverage which is very impressive considering its popup design. A 3″ LCD with 1.2 MP is also available for framing. Usability is made relatively efficient for a compact camera with dual control-dials plus a traditional mode-dial.

The Sony RX100 V is expected to arrive in the next few weeks for $1000 USD or $1250 CDN. Preorders are already being accepted at Adorama and B&H Photo.

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In what is bound to be one of the biggest leaps of the year, Sony just unveiled their first APS-C mirrorless with built-in image-stabilization. The new Sony Alpha A6500 looks extremely similar to its predecessor while boasting an all-new 5-axis image stabilization system effective to 5 stops. It also implementes Dual Image Stabilization by letting a stabilized lens handle pitch and yaw movements while the body handles roll plus both horizontal and vertical shift.

Sony Alpha A6500

The Sony Alpha A6500 is built around an all-new 24 megapixels APS-C high-speed CMOS sensor with a 425-point Phase-Detect AF system integrated right into the sensor. The sensor has a standard ISO 100 to 25600 sensitivity range, expandable to ISO 51200. Paired with a powerful BIONZ X processor, the A6500 can capture full-resolution images at 11 FPS, albeit without Live-View. There is an unusually deep buffer for 233 JPEG or 107 RAW images.

In addition to its headline-grabbing 5-axis image stabilization system, this mirrorless offers 4K Ultra-HD video capture at 30 FPS and Full HD at 120 FPS. The compact body of the A6500 is weatherproof and features a 0.39″ EVF with Eye-Start Sensor, 2.4 megapixels, 0.7X magnification and 100% coverage. Dual control-dials plus a number of customizable buttons promise to make this camera highly efficient. Its 425-point on-sensor Phase-Detect AF is billed as one of the fastest in the world. Combined with a broad Contrast-Detect AF system, the A6500 is capable of tracking fast moving subjects around most of the frame.

The big deal is that having 5-axis stabilization in an APS-C mirrorless could take Sony beyond any other manufacturer of cropped-sensor mirrorless when it comes to low-light photography. Sony is already the only manufacturer of stabilized full-frame mirrorless digital cameras. They were already the only one too for APS-C mirrorless cameras with their A-mount SLT-series but now they also have a compact APS-C mirrorless with built-in stabilization. All other stabilized mirrorless use smaller Four-Thirds sensors.

We do not expect the Sony Alpha A6500 to remain in stock long after it arrives next month for a suggested price of $1400 USD or $1750 CDN. Should you want one, Adorama and B&H Photo are already accepting pre-orders.

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DxOMark released today their score for the latest Olympus PEN flagship. The Olympus PEN-F is the top-of-the-line model among compact mirrorless digital cameras from Olympus. It is the only one in the series with a built-in electronic viewfinder and offers the highest resolution digital camera from Olympus, matching the excellent Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 reviewed here.

Olympus PEN-F

The PEN-F boasts a state-of-the-art 5-axis image-stabilization which is effective to 5 stops according the the CIPA standard. Its 2.4 megapixels EVF is moderately-sized at 0.62X magnification. The only reason this is a PEN rather than Professional OM-D is that its body is neither weatherproof nor freezeproof.

DxOMark gave the Olympus PEN-F sensor an overall score of 74, the second highest of any Four-Thirds sensor, just one point shy of the GX8 which has the same resolution, sensor-size and therefore pixel-size. The only sensor difference between these two is that the PEN F does not use an anti-alias filter which lets it produce sharper images but may make noise very slightly more obvious.

The 74 score is achieved with a dynamic-range of 12.4 EV which ties it in fifth place with a number of other Olympus Micro Four-Thirds cameras. It scores in fourth place for  high-ISO noise at 894. As for bit-depth, the PEN F manages third-place just behind the Panasonic GX8 and GH4 at 23.1 bits-per-color. Those are all good numbers, although they show that no significant advancement has been achieved since the introduction of the OM-D E-M4 over 4 years ago.

Those interested in the compactness of the Micro Four-Thirds system should be happy that, despite a 25% increase in resolution, image-quality is extremely well maintained. Other systems have often failed to do so, as seen with the Pentax K-5 IIs / K-5 II which were succeeded by the K-3 with 50% more resolution and noticeably lower image-quality, although not by much.

Among all digital cameras, DxO Scores still show that sensor-size is king. There are 16 APS-C mirrorless which score higher than the PEN-F. The Sony Alpha A6300 reaches an outstanding score of 85 with its predecessors not far behind. Seven full-frame mirrorless score even higher with a top-score of 98 for the Sony Alpha A7R II. Still technology has considerably advanced over the years with the full-frame Canon EOS 1D Mark II introduced in 2009 score a 74 like the PEN-F.

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Cameras and lenses may have built-in image stabilization. Originally they only indicated the inclusion of such a system. As newer generations of image-stabilization systems came to be, manufacturers started making performance claims but these were best-case-scenarios under unknown conditions and so were not comparable. For this reason, CIPA created a standard testing methodology for image stabilization systems. The result of such testing is a standardized and comparable number of stops of stabilization efficiency.

Panasonic LUmix DMC-G85 Dual IS

While most cameras and lenses were not measured according to this standard, already dozens are. The Neocamera Camera and Lens databases have been updated to store that information, when available. The specification pages for Lenses will now include the efficiency computed according to the CIPA standard next to the Stabilization label. It will say, for example, 3.5-Stops, instead of only Built-In. These numbers get compared and highlighted in the Lens Compare Tool and Lens Search Engine.

For cameras with built-in image-stabilization, we have the CIPA stabilization efficiency and the number of correction axes included in specifications. Those models for which the data is not available will still say Built-In. Others will indicated the number of axis and efficiency, for example: 5-Axis, 5-Stops. These numbers get compared and highlighted in the Camera Compare Tool and Camera Search Engine.

This should give a good indicated as to the relative performance of image-stabilization systems. There are additional complexities which are difficult to model such as new Dual IS or Sync IS systems which allow a camera and lens to cooperatively perform image stabilization. For example, the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 features a 5-axis image stabilization system effective to 4 stops yet can reach up to 6 when combined with select stabilized lenses. Also, CIPA numbers are computed with a given methodology and may not represent real-world performance in many cases.

Neocamera Blog © Cybernium



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