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2016.09.20

Sigma started Photokina by unveiling 3 new full-frame lenses designed for digital cameras, labelled with DG. Two for its Art series and one for the Sport series.

Sigma A 85mm F/1.4 DG HSM

The Sigma Art 85mm F/1.4 DG HSM, which is available for Nikon F, Canon EF and Sigma S mounts, has been anticipated for a long time as it replaces the original Sigma 85mm F/1.4 EX GD HSM. This a medium focal-length prime with a very bright F/1.4 maximum aperture ideally suitable for portraits with a smooth background and razor-thin depth-of-field. This is a relatively large and heavy lens, although the exact weight has not been specified by Sigma yet. Expect it to be around 1kg. Follow the mount links if you would like to see pre-order options.

Sigma A 12-24mm F/4 DG HSM

The Sigma A 12-24mm F/4 DG HSM is a surprising and very welcome addition to the Sigma Art lineup. For a long time, Sigma has the most extreme wide-angle rectilinear lens for full-frame cameras but it was a slow variable aperture one. Still, it has no competitors until Nikon introduced their superb AF-S 14-24mm F/2.8G and recently Canon their EF 11-24mm F/4L USM, now the widest of all rectilinear lenses! This left Sigma with neither the widest nor the brightest extreme-angle lens.

This new Art-series lens is now almost as wide as the Canon and matches its constant maximum aperture of F/4. The A 12-24mm F/4 DG HSM covers a maximum angle-of-view of 122° for dramatic images of architecture, interiors and sweeping landscapes. Like all such extremely wide lenses, this one has a bulbous front element protected by a fixed lens hood. Filters are obviously not supported. As a bonus though, the is the first Sigma ultra-wide lens to be weatherproof. It is available again for Canon EF, Nikon F and Sigma S mounts. Follow these links to check pre-order options for the mount you need.

Sigma S 500mm F/4 DG HSM

The final lens in the Photokina 2016 announcement is the Sigma S 500mm F/4 DG HSM. This super-telephoto lens offers a huge 500mm focal-length with relatively wide F/4 maximum aperture. It is features a state-of-the-art image stabilization system, focus-limit, rear gel filter slot and is fully weatherproof. The Sigma S 500mm F/4 DG HSM is available again for Canon EF, Nikon F and Sigma S mounts. There links point to detailed specifications along with pre-order options.

This announcement introduces 3 highly promising lenses while highlight the popular system create more market synergy. Other than Sigma’s own S mount, these new lenses are only available for the two most popular mounts. Pentax K and Sony A cameras, which arguably need such lenses the most due to limited native selection, were left out.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2016.09.19

Panasonic is showing three new digital cameras at Photokina 2016. Each is designed to deliver a substantial advancement among the most popular digital camera segments.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10 boosts the popular LX-series of compact cameras with a 20 megapixels 1″ CMOS sensor that is 4X larger than previous compact LX cameras. The sensor is paired with an ultra-bright 24-72mm F/1.4 – 2.8 lens with built-in stabilization. The LX10 also introduces 4K video to the series.

Like the LX7 which precedes it, the LX10 offers dual control-dials plus a direct aperture-ring. It offers full manual controls as one expects from a premium digital camera. The new 1″ CMOS sensor in this camera lets it offer an expanded ISO 80 – 25600 sensitivity range. A hybrid shutter allows it to take images from 1/16000s to 60s, plus Bulb exposures up to 2 minutes.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10 is scheduled to ship this November for $699 USD or $999 CDN. Amazon, Adorama and B&H Photo are ready to accept pre-orders using these links.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500 is the second Panasonic bridge camera with a 1″ sensor, now pushing the lens to an impressive 20X optical zoom with a 24-480mm F2.8-4.5 lens. The FZ2500 uses the same 20 megapixels 1″ CMOS sensor as its predecessor which we reviewed here. This one is likely the same as in the LX10. It offers an ISO 80 – 25600 expanded sensitivity range.

The FZ2500 has a fast hybrid shutter which can shoot mechanically at 12 FPS or electronically at 50 FPS. Anything above 7 FPS at full-resolution loses Live-Preview and Continuous AF though. This camera is equipped with a deep buffer to capture 80 JPEG or 30 RAW files in a single burst of 20 MP. Panasonic’s own 4K Photo mode allows it to capture 8 MP images at 30 FPS for up to 2 seconds.

Panasonic put a strong emphasis on video for their FZ2500. The camera can record 4K Ultra-HD video at 30 FPS or 1080p Full-HD at 60 FPS. To avoid changes in aperture during filming, this digital camera provides 2 ND filters, a 4X and a 16X one. They can be combined to provide 64X darkening too using a simple slider button on the side of the lens barrel. While the new lens extends when powered-on, its focus and zoom mechanism are internal to provide a better experience while capturing video.

This prosumer ultra-zoom offers a large 2.4 megapixels EVF with Eye-Start sensor and 0.74X magnification. There is a 3″ rotating touchscreen LCD on the back with 1 megapixels. Both EVF and LCD naturally show 100% coverage. As an advanced model, the FZ2500 offers dual control-dials plus no less than 5 customizable function buttons.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500 is scheduled to ship this Novemeber for $1199 USD or $2600 CDN. Amazon, Adorama and B&H Photo are accepting pre-orders. Click on the previous links to order yours.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G80

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 introduces a weatherproof enthusiast mirrorless digital camera with in-body 5-axis image-stabilization and a 2.4 megapixels 0.74X magnification EVF with Eye-Start sensor built-in. Along with dual control-dials and a high number of external controls, the G85 appears to be a compelling offering for advanced photographers looking for a light-weight yet capable interchangeable lens camera.

The G85 is built around a 16 megapixels Four-Thirds CMOS sensor without anti-alias filter. This allows it to maximize lens sharpness. It has a standard ISO 200-25600 sensitivity range which expands down to ISO 100 for longer exposures when needed. There is a hybrid shutter which captures images continuously at 9 FPS with shutter-speeds from 1/16000s to 60s and allows Bulb exposures up to 2 minutes. Unsurprisingly, this mirrorless can record 4K Ultra-HD video at 30 FPS or full 1080p HD video at 60 FPS.

The design of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 appears highly ergonomic and pleasant to look at. Its dual control-dials are comfortably accessible and there is a classic Exposure Mode dial and Drive Mode one. The back of this camera shows its exceptionally large EVF plus a 3″ rotating touchscreen LCD with 1 megapixels.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 is expected to ship next month for $899 USD or $1199 CDN. Get ahead of the wait by pre-ordering this handsome mirrorless camera at Amazon, Adorama or B&H Photo.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2016.09.19

Olympus started off Photokina 2016 with the launch of a new mirrorless digital camera and three unique lenses for its Micro Four-Thirds system. They also announced that they are developing a successor to their flagship mirrorless digital camera. The new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II will feature a new imaging pipeline capable of shooting 20 megapixels images at a whopping 18 FPS even in full-resolution RAW mode. Its sensor will feature 121 cross-type Phase-Detect points to complement the Contrast-Detect AF system used for native lenses.

Cinema 4K and Ultra-HD video at up to 236 Mbps and dual SDXC memory card slots are new to the system. The E-M1 Mark II will keep the best of its predecessor: a 5-axis in-body stabilization in a dustproof, weatherproof and freezeproof body. A new EVF with Eye-Start sensor and 120 FPS refresh rate is said to further improve usability.

Olympus PEN E-PL8

The Olympus PEN E-PL8 is a redesign of the E-PL7. Featuring a revised, more classic, body, the new E-PL8 offers a slightly faster 8.5 FPS drive instead of 8 FPS. Everything else remains the same with a 16 megapixels Four-Thirds sensor capable of full 1080p HD video at 30 FPS.

M.Zuiko 12-100mm F/4 PRO

Olympus unveiled 3 new Micro Four-Thirds lenses, the most impressing being their M.Zuiko 12-100mm F/4 IS PRO. This unique lens has no equivalent in any other system, regardless of sensor-size. It is equivalent a a 24-200mm constant-aperture ultra-wide to telephoto zoom! This lens offers built-in image-stabilization designed to work in combination with 5-axis in-body image-stabilization for an unprecedented 6.5 stops of total stabilization! This would be absolutely amazing, allowing 12mm ultra-wide shots to be taken at lower than 2 seconds! 100mm shots would only need 1/6s to come out sharp!

As part of the PRO series, the new M.Zuiko 12-100mm F/4 IS PRO is fully weathersealed and freezeproof. It features a Manual-Focus clutch system to switch between fly-by-wire and mechanical focus. This lens also offers a 0.3X magnification which gives it one of the highest magnification of any interchangeable zoom lens. All these features makes one of the most versatile lens ever made.

The Olympus M.Zuiko 12-100mm F/4 IS PRO is expected in early November for a price of $1299 USD. Amazon, Adorama and B&H Photo are already accepting pre-orders. Pre-order quickly using these links to be one of the first to get this unique lens.

M.Zuiko 30mm F/3.5 Macro

A second unique lens becomes the second Olympus macro lens for Micro Four-Thirds. The new M.Zuiko 30mm F/3.5 Macro is a short prime which offers 1.25X of magnification. It is the only lens with higher than 1:1 magnification that can focus to infinity. It can focus down to 9.5cm which is a mere 1.5cm from the lens.

The M.Zuiko 30mm F/3.5 Macro is expected to be priced at an affordable $299 USD and will ship later this year. Amazon, Adorama and B&H Photo are all ready to take pre-orders.

M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 PRO

A new M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 PRO becomes the brightest Olympus lens to date. While a handful of other lenses for Micro Four-Thirds have a F/1.2 maximum aperture, the M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 PRO is the widest and the only weatherproof one. This PRO lens is built to withstand adverse weather with cold temperatures down to -10°C. Like the other PRO-series lens, it offers a nice clutch to switch from fly-by-wire to mechanical Manual-Focus. This is particularly crucial for such a bright lens which produces an extremely thin depth-of-field.

The M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 PRO is expected to ship the first week of October, that’s within 3 weeks. Those who have been waiting for such a bright professional lens should pre-order from Amazon, Adorama or B&H Photo using any of these links.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2016.09.19

Photokina 2016 is just about to start and they had an advance Press Release Day today full of exciting news! Given that it only happens every other year, Photokina is always a great avenue for photographic news. This is not to say that this year was unremarkable since it really picked up compared to 2015:

  • Things started when Nikon launched the D5 reviewed here and D500 simultaneously at CES 2016 as new full-frame and APS-C DSLR flagships.
  • Fuji then introduced the long-awaited X-Pro2 to succeed their original mirrorless. Olympus
  • Olympus unveiled the PEN F as top-of-the-line PEN mirrorless, finally adding an EVF to the series.
  • Canon also updated their flagship with the first Full-Frame Dual-Pixel CMOS sensor in their 1D X Mark II.
  • Sony unsassingly added another Alpha APS-C mirrorless,  the A6300, which delivered outstanding performance in an exceptionally compact size.
  • Ricoh finally unveiled their first Full-Frame DSLR, the Pentax K-1 which sports 5-axis image-stabilization, built-in Astrotracer with GPS and Digital Compass in a weatherproof and freezeproof body, unlike no other full-frame on the market.
  • Sigma entered the mirrorless market with the APS-C SD Quattro and APS-H SD Quattro H, bring their unique full-color Foveon sensor to a new market.
  • Nikon launched 3 large-sensor premium cameras that were never to be seen: DL18-50, DL-25-85 and DL24-500.
  • Hasselblad unveiled a completely new mirrorless system with the X1D-50c as the world’s first Medium Format Mirrorless.

In pre-Photokina announcements, Canon introduced their EOS 5D Mark IV to follow their most successful line of DSLRs with a new 30 megapixels Dual-Pixel Full-Frame CMOS sensor. They quickly followed with their first serious mirrorless, the EOS M5 which features a built-in EVF in a freezeproof body.

Fuji GFX-50s

Today, Fuji revealed their development of a completely new Medium Format Mirrorless system, the second after Hasselblad’s, built around a new G-mount with short 26.7mm flange-distance. They announced the first camera in the line to be the 50 megapixels GFX-50s which is to be shipped along with three medium-format lenses that will be followed quickly by another three. All are expected to ship in early 2017.

The platform of the GFX-50s is a 44x33mm sensor with 4:3 aspect-ratio, representing a 0.8X reverse-crop compared to full-frame. The first 50 MP sensor will be paired with a X-Processor Pro processor to deliver outstanding color, tone and resolution from the anti-alias-filter-free sensor. This initial Medium Format Mirroless model supports an attachable EVF with optional tilting adapter for greater flexibility. The GFX-50s will be fully weatherproof and freezeproof down to -10C.

Six GF-lenses are part of this launch:

  • A normal GF 63mm F/2.8R WR, equivalent to 50mm on a full-frame.
  • A wide-angle GF32-64mm F/4R LM WR zoom, equivalent to 25-51mm.
  • A medium GF 120mm F/4R LM OIS WR Macro, equivalent to 95mm.
  • A bright GF 110mm F/2R LM WR, equivalent to 87mm.
  • An ultra-wide GF 23mm F/4R LM WR, equivalent to 18mm.
  • A wide GF 45mm F/2.8R WR, equivalent to 35mm.

All these new Fujinon lenses will feature an aperture ring, with a new C  position on the ring to enable aperture adjustments with a camera control-dial. Each lens will be dust and weather resistant, built to withstand operation at temperatures as low as -10°C to handle challenging weather conditions.

Pricing and exact availability are to be announced at a later date.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2016.09.15

Today DxOMark published their detailed analysis of the 36 megapixels Full-Fame CMOS sensor from the Pentax K-1. Recall that the K-1 is the first and long-awaited full-frame digital camera from Pentax, now under the direction of Ricoh. There are only two other manufacturers still making full-frame DSLRs, Canon and Nikon who mostly split the market evenly between the two and have been producing such cameras for years already.

Pentax K-1

According to DxOMark, the new Pentax K-1 performs extremely closely to top-of-the-line DSLRs with a score of 96, compared to 97 for the Nikon D810 which is the best performing DSLR to date according to this particular metric. This is also just two below the score of 98 from the Sony Alpha A7R II, a full-frame mirrorless boasting a 42 megapixels CMOS sensor. Canon cameras, however, score well below that due to their comparatively low dynamic-range. Only the just-announced Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has begone to catch up with its score of 91, putting it behind in 14th place.

This news is certain to come as a relief to Pentaxians who can be reassured that they are getting a worthy and current performance from the K-1. This particular DSLR is priced below all its competitors and boasts unique features, including built-in 5-axis image stabilization in a weathersealed and freezeproof body. No other full-frame DSLR offers built-in stabilization nor is freezeproof. The built-in GPS and Astrotracer are bonus features on top of that.

The DxOMark score is a weighed-average of three underlying measurements. The Portrait score shows how much color-nuance can be recorded. Larger pixels have a big advantage here and so the leaders are Medium Format cameras. Here the K-1 is in 8th place, right behind the Sony Alpha A7R, Nikon D800E and D810, again.

The Landscape score is simply a measure of dynamic-range. Here the K-1 ties the Nikon D7200 for second place with 14.6 EV, behind the class-leading D810 which delivers a very slightly higher 14.8 EV. Where the Pentax K-1 outshines every other DSLR is with its Sports score which relatives to image-noise and therefore low-light performance. Its score of 3280 just beats the Nikon Df reviewed here yet remains behind that of the Sony A7R II at 3434 and Sony Alpha A7S at a class-leading 3702.

Sadly, this scoring means that the Pentax K-1 does not deliver the best performance in any area other than price. It should give a good run for the money though, particularly in low-light where the 5-axis Shake-Reduction system can pull it ahead of all other DSLRs. Note though that the Sony mirrorless cameras do offer built-in image-stabilization, so the Sony Alpha A7S remains the low-light champion for the time being.

Keep in mind while taking this news that DxOMark scores only describes part of image quality. The processor and noise reduction make a big difference in final output. Also, it is evident that scores are biased towards high-resolution due to the normalization process which creates inflated bit-depth and dynamic-range numbers.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

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