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Archive for the ‘News’ Topic

2020.08.11

Venus Optics just announced today a lens designed for cinematography which is launching a new series of ultra-high-end lenses for video.  This new OOOM series is constructed without compromise to deliver on image-quality and maximum consistency as aperture, focus and focal-length change.

Venus Laowa OOOM 25-100mm T/2.9

The new Laowa OOM 25-100mm T/2.9 offers a 4X optical zoom range that covers a Super-35 imaging-area which is slightly wider than 1.5X APS-C while being less tall due to the 16:9 aspect-ratio. Given that a circle is obviously always circular, this lens is usable on APS-C sensor cameras with the Canon EF and Sony E mount, plus the Arri PL-mount used by professional video cameras. All 3 mounts are interchangeable and included with the lens itself.

With a whopping 20 elements, this huge lens weighs in an astounding 2.5kg. It is a completely mechanical lens with three rings which driven manually or via a gear link for smooth changes required during filming. The front elements support 95mm filters and comes with a step-up ring for 114mm, which we suppose are more common in videography. Venus provided a sample reel filmed with this new and unique lens:

Given its imaging circle, the Laowa 25-100mm T/2.9 is equivalent to a 37-150mm lens which covers a field of view of 60 – 16° which is useful for natural perspective until close-up shots, including the flattering perspectives used for typical portraits. This new lens is available for ordering direct only the Venus Optics site.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.07.28

Sony Alpha A7S III

When Sony introduced the original Alpha A7S, they went in a completely different direct than everyone else. While the market chased ever-increasing megapixels, Sony introduced a 12 megapixels digital camera when most new cameras offered 24 MP. Even Sony was already making the 36 MP Alpha A7R Full-Frame Mirrorless. By launching a 12 MP camera with the same Full-Frame sensor-size, Sony created the most sensitive digital camera on the market. Its 12 MP resolution also allowed it to directly capture 4K video simply by cropping vertically from the native 3:2 aspect-ratio to 16:9.

Today, the third-generation Sony Alpha A7S III was officially launched. This latest models sports a new 12 MP Full-Frame High-Speed BSI-CMOS sensor with a 759-Point Phase-Detect AF system builtin. The sensor is mounted on a revised 5-axis image-stabilization system that can compensate for 5½-stops of camera shake compared to hand-holding. A new active mode allows it dampen sudden changes between frames during video capture. Naturally the sensor can capture 4K Ultra-HD video which is now possible at up to 120 FPS with internal 10-bit recording. RAW video can be output at 16-bits over HDMI for capture using an external device.

The main benefit of having such large pixels which now collect more light due to the BSI design of the sensor, is extreme sensitivity. The native ISO of the Sony Alpha A7S III is 80 and its standard range extends to 102,400. This further extends to an incredible ISO 40-409,600! Such low minimal ISO makes it possible to capture over 15 stops of dynamic-range which is beyond what any other camera can currently do. Photography in near darkness is enabled by ultra-high sensitivities and the AF system can even focus down to -6 EV.

Sony Alpha A7S III

The new Sony Alpha A7S III features a hybrid shutter-system with standard 1/8000-30s shutter-speed range plus support for Bulb exposures of unspecified duration. The mechanical portion of the shutter can operate at 10 FPS and dual BIONZ XR processors make it possible continuously capture over 1000 RAW files or HEIF images. There is no effective limit to the number of JPEG images that can be captured in a single continuous burst, until storage is exhausted.  Regarding storage, this mirrorless offers dual SDXC UHS-II memory-card slots. Both these slots also accommodate faster CFExpress Type A cards that are being launched along with the camera and a card-reader that can handle both SDXC UHS-II and the new format.

Although this going to be an exceptionally capable camera for ultra-low-light photography, Sony is emphasizing video capabilities of the A7S III and even certain choices preferred by videographers to the detriment of photographers. The most obvious is a rotating LCD hinge that is  truly cumbersome to use for framing stills and expands the bulk of the camera when shooting from odd angles, which also puts it in a more precarious position. The display unit is a fairly standard 3″ Touchscreen LCD with 1.4 megapixels.

Video features in this camera are class-leading. The headline 4K Ultra-HD video capture can reach 120 FPS, while 1080p FullHD is available at 240 FPS. New codecs are introduced to maximize the quality of vides from the A7S III. Compressed high-quality video can be saved using XAVC HS or XAVC S-I which is an All-Intra mode that makes video editing immensely more efficient. Stereo sound can be recorded internally, while the Multi-Interface Hot-Shoe supports a 4-channel digital microphone for incredible audio depth.

Sony Alpha A7S III

With an entirely new imaging pipeline, the familiar sony A7-series design is kept mostly intact for the A7S III. Externally, it sports nearly the same controls as the flagship Sony Alpha A7R IV review here. One custom button on the top of grip got replaced by a dedicated Video Record button and the tilting LCD replaced by a rotating hinge. The eye-piece around the viewfinder was changed to accommodate the best electronic viewfinder ever produced. This 0.65″ EVF has a whopping 9.4 megapixels which is far more than the human eye can discern at that size! At 0.9X, it also has the highest magnification of any viewfinder, electronic or optical. This EVF offers a refresh rate of 120Hz, 100% coverage and a new Eye-Start Sensor.

The same professional-level of controls is offered on the A7S III than on the A7R IV. There are triple control-dials, a 8-way joytstick, a traditional mode dial, an exposure-compensation dial and plenty of customizable controls. The body of this mirrorless is fully weatherproof too. A lock on the memory card compartment door was added for extra security.

Sony expects to ship the A7S III this September for $4800 CAD or $3500 USD. A pair of CFExpress Type A cards will be available around the same date. The 80 GB version will be sold for $200 USD or $260 CAD, while the 160GB one will go for $400 USD or $520 CAD.

Photographers and videographers have waited for years for the third A7S and so this is guaranteed to be one of the most in-demand digital cameras around. To secure one, it is highly recommended to preorder from a reputable store such as our affiliates B&H Photo and Adorama. Neither will charge your credit card until the camera is shipped out to you.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.07.24

Venus Optics Leica Mount Lenses

Venus Optics just added L-mount versions of 5 of their most popular lenses:

The Laowa 10-18mm is actually the widest Full-Frame rectilinear zoom lens on the market and greatly expands wide-angle capabilities of the L-mount. Previously the widest angle-of-view came from the Sigma A 14-24mm F/2.8 DG DN which is a premium optic designed from the ground up for mirrorless cameras. Its maximum angle-of-view is 114°, while the Laowa 10-18mm F/4.5-5.6 FE can reach 130° wide.

A pair of Zero-D ultra-wide angle prime lenses, the Laowa 12mm F/2.8 Zero-D and 15mm F/2 Zero-D, are designed to have a rectilinear projections with no optical distortion so that it can perfectly capture architecture both indoors and outdoors. The 12mm is the second widest prime L-mount prime lens but captures 2-stops more light than the Laowa 9mm F/5.6 FF RL.

The 15mm F/4 Macro is a true macro lens and the only ultra-wide one is existence. Its 1X magnification and combined 110° viewing-angle literally captures a unique perspective. This lens is even more unique due to its dual-axis movement that allows shifting the focal-plane by up to 6mm. In fact, this is the only shift lens ever made for L-mount.

Venus Optics has exceptional macro lenses and is currently the only brand to offer comparable magnification to the Canon MP-E 65mm F/28 for EF-mount DSLR. The two macros adapted for L-mount do not quite match that particular Canon lens but surpass macro capabilities offered by all other first-party manufacturers. These are the Laowa 65mm F/2.8 2X Ultra-Macro and the Laowa 100mm F/2.8 2X Ultra-Macro. Both achieve the same 2X magnification while offering slightly different perspectives and working distances.

As with all their lenses, these are completely manual with a wide focus-ring for precise control and a dedicated aperture ring to control the iris. All these new mounts are available directly from Venus Optics.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.07.22

After following the two initial Z-platform mirrorless cameras with an APS-C model, Nikon returned this morning to launch a Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera that slots itself between the Full-Frame Z7 and APS-C Z50 based on their all-electronic wide-diameter Z-mount.

Nikon Z5

The new Nikon Z5 is built around a 24 megapixels Full-Frame CMOS sensor mounted on the same 5-axis image-stabilization system present in the Z6 and flagship Nikon Z7 reviewed here. This is standard Front-Side Illuminated sensor, rather than BSI like in the Z6, which makes the light-sensitive area on each pixel slightly smaller. Still, the new 24 MP sensor has the same standard ISO 100-51200 sensitivity range, although it expands to ISO 50-102400, just one full-stop less than the Z6. Image quality should remain very close and the Z5 does not appear to have an Anti-Alias Filter in front of it.

Nikon built a similar 273-Point Phase-Detect AF system onto the sensor of the Z5 to make it focus quickly. Its accompanying shutter covers a 1/8000-30s shutter-speed range and can operate a 4.5 FPS. This is the most significant performance change compared to the Z6 which lets Nikon offer the Z5 at a much lower price. Nevertheless, this mirrorless can record 4K Ultra-HD video at 30 FPS like its higher-end siblings. Stereo audio can be recorded along with video internally or via a standard mini-jack.

Nikon Z5

This mirrorless boasts a surprising number of high-end features. It offers an integrated 0.5″ EVF with an ultra-sharp 3.7 MP of resolution and a huge 0.8X magnification, the largest among Full-Frame cameras of all types! The viewfinder is paired with an essential Eye-Start Sensor.  This digital camera features dual control-dials, a traditional mode-dial, an 8-way focusing joystick and a direct ISO button. With the control-ring found on some Nikon Z-mount lenses, this camera is certain to be highly efficient to use. Other advanced features include builtin HDR, an Interval-Timer, Time-Lapse video and extensive bracketing options.

Nikon made the Z5 weatherproof and even fitted it with a pair of SDXC memory-card slots, a first for the Z-system. The camera is powered by a proprietary Lithium-Ion battery that can be charged internally via a USB-C port. The slightly lower processing speed allows the Nikon Z5 to offer 20% more  battery-life than the Z6.

Nikon Z 24-50mm F/4-6.3

Along with the new camera, Nikon also introduces an incredibly compact Full-Frame zoom lens. The Nikkor Z 24-50mm F/4-6.3 is available as kit lens with the Z5. This variably aperture zoom weights just 195g while offering a weatherproof construction. Even though it is only 5cm deep, it manages to include a customizable control-ring that can control the internal focusing system or adjust exposure parameters or apply EC.

Nikon expects to ship the Z5 next month for $1400 USD or $2050 CAD. The kit with the new lens will be sold for $1700 USD or $2500 CAD, while the Nikkor Z 24-50mm F/4-6.3 alone is priced at $400 USD or $570 CAD.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2020.07.16

Now that 4K is relatively common, given that it only requires 12 MP for resolution, camera makers have been trying get ahead. Last year, the 6K Panasonic Lumix S1H debuted with the highest video-resolution on the market. Then, just last week, the Canon EOS R5 skipped ahead to 8K which requires a 45 MP sensor to have enough resolution for 8K video.

Today, Black Magic just flew past everyone else with the announcement of the URSA Mini Pro 12K. This professional video camera is dedicated to capturing the most detailed video ever. Its  sensor packs a whopping 80 MP into a wide aspect-ratio 17:9 Super 35 area which is roughly comparable to an APS-C sensor. The sensor outputs an incredible 12288 x 6480 resolution using a symmetric color-filter-array that lets it output oversampled 8K, 6K and 4K video with minimal artifacts. When outputting 4K, it provides full-color data on every pixel since 12K is exactly 3X wider.

This professional-grade camera feature an interchangeable lens-mount, multiple builtin ND-filters and dual CFast and SDXC UHS-II memory-card slots! Using two CFast cards, it can store video at 900 MB/s. While a pair of SDXC cards make it possible to write at 500 MB/s. The resulting files can assembled into a single video stream by computer. It can also record externally via standard USB-C port. An add-on accessory allows the Black Magic URSA Mini Pro 12K to record directly into a standard SATA 2.5″ SSD. By default, the cinema-friendly PF-mount is supplied but that can be swapped out for a Canon EF or Nikon F mount.

A new type of sensor provides 14 EV of dynamic-range starting at its native ISO 800 sensitivity. The throughput of this sensor is simply unbelievable as the video camera can capture 12K video at 60 FPS, 8K at 110 FPS and 4K at 220 FPS, all unprecedented speeds for that resolution. Although it supports multiple codecs with from 5:1 to 18:1 compression, the URSA Mini Pro 12K also provides RAW output, even at 12K @ 60 FPS.

After reading about such ground breaking features, it is surprising that this camera sells for only $10,00 USD. Adorama already is accepting pre-orders.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

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