News / New Cameras & Lenses
Pentax has announced a white version of its WG-3 rugged waterproof camera and an entry-level point-and-shoot compact. The white version of the WG-3 shares all the features with the existing model but comes in a different color scheme (we'll let you guess what that is). We'll be testing the GPS version of the WG-3 as one of our forthcoming waterproof camera tests. Meanwhile, the 'Efina' is an inexpensive 14MP CCD-based camera that's exactly the sort we thought Pentax had stopped making. Still, it comes with decorative patterns on it, which seems to be this season's thing - so that's something. The Efina, announced in Japan in January, will cost around £80, while the white WG-3 will retail for $299/£289.
Roger Cicala of Lensrentals has published a blog post in which he gives his first impressions of the new Carl Zeiss 32mm F1.8 'Touit' lens, in Sony E-mount. Unlike Roger's normal approach, where he exhaustively tests multiple samples of the same lens, he was only able to look at a single example of the 32mm F1.8 on the Sony NEX-7. Click through for some details of his findings, and a link to the full article at the lensrentals blog.
Zeiss has announced that its first two Touit lenses for mirrorless cameras are now available for sale. The 12mm F2.8 wideangle has been designed according to the 'Distagon optical concept', and has an RRP of €920 / US$1,250 excluding VAT. Meanwhile the Planar-type 32mm F1.8 normal lens will cost €670 / US$900 excluding VAT. The lenses will be available to fit Sony NEX and Fujifilm X-system cameras, and include autofocus but lack optical stabilisation. The X-mount versions also feature aperture rings with 1/3 stop detents. The next model in the line, a 50mm F2.8 Macro, is expected to appear at the end of the year.
Canon has announced that it has now produced 90 million EF lenses since the launch of the EOS system in 1987. The proliferation of digital SLRs has seen a rapid increase in lens production in recent years, and the company's 90 millionth lens - an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM - was manufactured on May 23 2013, just over 9 months after its 80 millionth. The company's lens lineup currently consists of no fewer than 84 models, ranging from the inexpensive EF 50mm f/1.8 II to high-end exotica such as the recently-announced EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x - the world's first SLR lens with a built-in switchable teleconverter.
Samsung has published the source code for its NX300 and NX2000 mirrorless cameras - the first attempt we've seen at offering public access to a mainstream camera's operating system. The approach, which the company has previously used with its smartphones, stands in stark contrast to other camera manufacturers, which have not engaged with the community of programmers looking to enhance the capabilities of their cameras.
In a brief note on its Japanese website, Sigma has announced that the Sony and Pentax mount versions of its highly-regarded 35mm F1.4 DG HSM 'Art' lens will go on sale on 31st May. It's also announced that the Nikon-mount version of its 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM 'Sports' telephoto zoom will be available at the same time. We gave the 35mm F1.4 our Gold Award when we reviewed it back in December, for its combination of exceptionally good optics and solid build at a price rather lower than the camera manufacturers' equivalents.
Animated flipbooks have been around for nearly 145 years. With just a little thumb action, these books allowed you to view a few seconds worth of animation. Now, a new concept camera known as the Gifty allows you to record video and print a flipbook instantly. The only problem: you can't buy one yet.
A cover image in the latest issue of the New York Times' monthly style magazine, T, has led to an interesting discussion about the newspaper's policy on photo retouching. While editors forbid any image manipulation beyond, 'minor color-toning and brightness' in news stories, retouches and removal of blemishes are allowed in the style magazine's fashion photography. Does a newspaper risk credibility by allowing retouching on editorially-branded content? Click to read more and share your thoughts.
Adobe has issued a 'release candidates' of Adobe Camera Raw 8.1 and DNG Converter 8.1 on its Adobe Labs site. The release is the first version of ACR designed to work with Photoshop CC but, as promised, is also compatible with Photoshop CS6. CS6 users will only gain camera compatibility, not any of the functions added in ACR 8 (and Lightroom 5), such as the perspective-correcting 'Upright' tool or the advanced healing brush. The latest version brings support for 7 additional cameras along with 16 lens profiles.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Olympus is to cease production of its cheapest V-series point-and-shoot compact digital cameras. This follows a financial report this week which showed a group net profit of 8.02 billion Yen in 2012, driven by the company's medical instrument business, but a loss of 23.07 billion yen for its imaging business. In response, the company has slashed its sales targets for compact cameras from 5.1 million units in 2012 to 2.7 million for the current business year. Click through for more details.
Panasonic has issued a firmware update for its Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Power OIS fast standard zoom for Micro Four Thirds cameras (H-HS12035). Version 1.2 improves the stability of the optical image stabilisation during movie recording. It's available to download now from the LUMIX customer support site - click through for the link.
Nikon has introduced the 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 portrait lens for its 1 System of mirrorless cameras. It will provide the angle of view and depth of field control of an 86mm F3.2 lens for a full-frame system, making it the most enthusiast-friendly optic yet released for the 1 System. The lens, whose development was announced in October 2012, is also the first to use a silent wave motor for focus and to incorporate the company's 'nano crystal coat.' Consistent with these loftier ambitions, Nikon will ask around $900 for the 32mm f/1.2 when it becomes available in June.
Canon has introduced the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x - a top-end telephoto zoom with a built-in switchable teleconverter, whose development was first announced back in February 2011. Simply flicking a lever at the rear of the barrel converts it to a 280-560mm f/5.6 lens. Designed for professional sports and wildlife photographers, it includes an array of top-end features such as Power Focus for movie shooting, and IS 'mode 3' that only applies stabilisation at the point of exposure, aiding panning. It also offers weathersealed construction, 4-stop image stabilisation, and a minimum focus distance of 2m. It will go on sale on 29th May, at an RRP of £11999.99 / €11800.
Olympus has announced the PEN E-P5, the fourth in its range of enthusiast-targeted, rangefinder-style Micro Four Thirds cameras. The E-P5 takes the 16MP sensor that has appeared in the company's other models and adds a five-axis image stabilization system and shutter capable of shooting at 1/8000th of a second amongst a host of tweaks and feature improvements. The camera will available from May at around $1,000/£900/€1000 body only. The company has also announced black versions of its 17mm, 45mm and 75mm F1.8 prime lenses, priced the same as their silver counterparts. There is also a 2.4M dot LCD electronic viewfinder, the VF-4.
Olympus has announced the PEN Lite E-PL6 on its Global Website - an update to the E-PL5 that appears destined for the Asian market only. It adds in several of the features from the E-P5 announced at the same time, including an ISO 100-equivalent LOW setting, short release lag shutter mode, intervalometer and time-lapse movie shooting, and full compatibility with the VF-4 viewfinder. It also gains a dual-axis electronic level. It will come body only, in a kit with the 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R, or in a twin-lens kit also adding the 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R. It's set to be available at the end of June.
Sigma USA has given the price and introduction date of the 60mm F2.8 DN Art lens for mirrorless systems, originally announced at CP+. The 60mm DN will be available in the US for both Micro Four Thirds and Sony E-mount from mid-May at a cost of around $239. It will offer a 90mm equivalent field-of-view when mounted on Sony NEX bodies or 120mm equivalent on Micro Four Thirds cameras. This third lens for mirrorless cameras from Sigma (joining the affordable 19mm F2.8 DN Art and 30mm F2.8 DN Art), will also be available in a choice of black or silver finishes.
Samsung's latest addition to its line of NX mirrorless cameras, the NX2000, adds Wi-Fi and NFC in a bid to make yet another of its mirrorless cameras compatible with the smartphone world. The 20MP camera's Near Field Communication (NFC) technology allows setup of Wi-Fi connections with compatible smartphones and tablets by simply tapping the devices together. It features a large 3.7-inch 1152k-dot touchscreen LCD, offers 8fps continuous shooting and Full HD video recording. Priced around $649.99, the camera will be available as a kit with the 20-50mm lens and a copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, in white, black and pink.
Zeiss has announced more detail on two forthcoming lenses for Sony NEX and Fujifilm X-mount APS-C cameras - the 12mm F2.8 and 32mm F1.8 lenses it unveiled at Photokina last year. The announcement came via the Zeiss blog, which went into detail on how they came to the name for the new series, 'Touit.' Pronounced like the English 'do it,' the new lenses are named after a Latin American band-tailed parrot, which Zeiss describes as 'small and agile,' much like mirrorless cameras are meant to be. Click for more on the new lenses.
As part of our ongoing collaboration with DxOMark we've added more lenses to our test data comparison widget. These include a range of 70-200mm zooms from Canon, Nikon, Tamron and Sigma, and the Nikon-mount version of the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM tested on both the D7000 and D800. Click through for links to view these lenses in our widget, and for the full data on DxOMark.
LensRentals' Roger Cicala has published an interesting comparison of the Zeiss ZE 135mm F2 APO-Sonnar and the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM lens, with both optics mounted on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. While you'd expect nothing less than excellent results from the Zeiss optic, just what advantages can the heavier and much more expensive lens offer compared to Canon's well-regarded prime lens? Click through to read Cicala's findings.