June 2011 news and reviews
Alongside its three PEN bodies, Olympus has announced the M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm F2.0 and M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.8 prime lenses for Micro Four Thirds. The 12mm F2.0 is a metal-bodied 24mm equivalent featuring a unique snap-focus manual focus mode. A snap-back focus ring reveals a traditional depth-of-field scale for 'zone' focusing and offers improved focus 'feel.' Later in the year it will be accompanied by the 45mm F1.8 portrait lens, making Olympus one of the only manufacturers to offer a fast prime at a roughly 100mm equivalent focal length, ideally suited to portraiture. There is also a relatively compact, bouncable and remotely commandable flash, the FL-300R, helping the PEN range look more like a complete system. More details of the 12mm F2.0 are included in our E-P3 preview, along with a gallery of sample images.
Startup company Lytro is claiming to be close to launching a camera that allows any point of focus to be specified after the shot is taken. The concept behind the device, called a light-field, or plenoptic camera has surfaced regularly over the past few years, but now Lytro, founded by Stanford PhD Ren Ng, says it will have a product ready within a year. The concept uses a series of microlenses to split the incoming light rays across multiple sensor pixels, depending on the angle from which it arrived. This additional information about the angle of the arriving light makes it possible to recalculate different focus points after the image has been shot, but at the cost of lower image resolution. The company hasn't, as yet, provided details such as its system's output resolution. (From the New York Times)
Lens rental company Lensrentals has posted an interesting blog post on the subject of filters. Ostensibly side-stepping the issue of whether UV filters are actually beneficial, it illustrates the effect of stacks of UV filters of different qualities. Acknowledging this isn't a real-world application, it does show that, if you are going to use filters, you probably shouldn't try to skimp on them. The post also shows exactly why you should never be tempted to stack more than 49 filters on the front of your lens.