Tag Archives: camera lens

Irix to release 150mm macro lens

22 Sep

Irix have uploaded a video to YouTube showing their new macro lens, likely to become available in Canon, Nikon and Pentax mounts.

Since the video suggests that the size of the front element is about the same as the mount diameter (Canon 54mm, Nikon or Pentax 44mm), the widest aperture of the lens should be f/2.8 (if Canon mount is shown) or about f/3.4 (if Pentax or Nikon mount are shown).

So I’ll go with saying it’s a 150/2.8 as my best guess. It would therefore compete with lenses such as Sigma’s 150/2.8 or the 180/3.5 by Canon or Tamron.

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L-mount now with Sigma-Panasonic-Leica partnership

21 Sep

The three companies have reportedly agreed to jointly develop Leica’s L-mount. Panasonic will release three lenses and two cameras for the mount, which, combined with Leica’s existing six lenses for the system, will bolster the total number of lenses available to nine, and a total of three cameras.

Whether Sigma will give up the SA-mount is currently unconfirmed.

Sony 24mm/1.4 – compact and reasonably priced

21 Sep

Sony has announced its 24mm f/1.4 GM (Gold Master) lens, and, once the shorter focal flange distance of the system is taken into account, it’s quite a compact lens compared to those on competing systems, or by competing manufacturers:

24by1.4compared3

To my mind, lenses with short focal lenses should also be short in build, so that when you squeeze into a corner, you can get the shot, and Sony looks to be the best current choice there:

24mmLensesOnCameras

From left to right: Sony A7 III with 24/1.4, Canon 6D II with 24/1.4 II, Nikon D610 with 24/1.4 and Sigma SD Quattro H (crop factor 1.3) with 24/1.4. Usual caveats about finger space apply.

Four lenses you will end up owning

3 Feb

If you’re looking at what to buy to complete you photography kit, here’s a shortcut. In addition to the kit zoom they started with because it came with the camera, most people will end up owning:

  • A tele zoom
  • A macro
  • A wide angle or fish-eye
  • A large aperture prime

I’m thinking I might do a series, covering each of these in a separate post. Let me know in the comments if this is something you would like to see.

Sigma brings price war to Samyang over 24mm f/1.4

12 Feb

Sigma_24mm_Art

Sigma this week announced its new 24mm lens with f/1.4 as its widest aperture setting. It is part of the Art line, which suggests it will be of a very high optical quality – very sharp, negligible chromatic aberration, possibly low distortion. It was announced to be available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts.

Samyang is the current holder of that spot in the third-party lens landscape, with a manual focus lens that can be found for 514 Euros (it might be cheaper still, I didn’t spend long). Sigma has just confirmed pricing at 849 USD. This is serious pressure on Samyang, as not only does it have less of a reputation with respect to build quality, but its lens also lacks autofocus, which Sigma can offer. The Sigma also looks a little more compact, which is generally desirable, not to mention in a moderate to full wide angle lens (depending on crop factor). On the other hand, the Samyang allows f/22, the Sigma stops at f/16.

It’s clear nonetheless that a few months down the river, with Sigma’s price having dropped to a “street price”, Samyang will have to offer some more serious discounts if it wants to keep selling that lens, since one thing we can be sure of: optically, the Sigma will be competitive.

More details on Pentax’ retractable kit zoom lens

10 Feb

With the release of the Pentax K-S2, Pentax is also releasing a new kit zoom lens, the retractable HD Pentax DA 18-50mm f/4-5.6 DC WR RE. It’s a retractable lens that needs to be manually zoomed forward to its operating distance before you can use it. I suspect in actual operation, this will feel seamless to the user. In exchange, you get the world’s shortest DSLR zoom lens (when it’s stowed away in your bag):

combined

It starts at a sensible f/4, collapses to 1.5 inches (41mm), is weather-sealed, and claimed by Ricoh to be optically superior to its predecessor, the 18-55mm (AL II design) kit zoom. The filter thread is 58mm rather than the 52mm previously used by Pentax. This could be an indication that they are adjusting filter thread sizes on APS-C to be more in line with future full frame lenses. (Previously, 52mm was used on both the 18-55mm and 50-200mm lenses, which were sold together in a dual lens kit with some cameras; the 55-300mm which also exists in a DA-L plastic variant that is exclusive to such bundles (but only available in some localities), always used a 58mm thread.) The front element does not rotate when zooming or focusing. Also, contrary to some rumour, this is not a power zoom lens.

It has a “silent” DC focus motor and HD and SP coatings. Ricoh US customer service told me that the lens must be moved to its extended position manually using the zoom ring, no second motor involved, which presumably helps with both the shortness and longevity of the lens. So everything about this lens is “silent” to the extent that manual operation and DC motors are.

Pentax’ new full-frame lenses

5 Feb

In along with announcing a new full frame camera, Pentax has given details of the two lenses first shown at Photokina that will also support full frame photography.

D-FA* 70-200mm f/2.8

HD Pentax D-FA* 70-200mm f/2.8

The 70-200/2.8 lens is constructed with Aero Bright Coating II in addition to HD coating. According to the press release, this is “a lens-coating nanotechnology that employs a super-low refractive film fabrication process to assure light reflectance lower than that of the conventional Aero Bright Coating”. In addition, it includes a number of sophisticated glass types to minimise aberrations, according to the press release, including “Super ED glass” with properties similar to fluorite.

Wikipedia has this to say about fluorite:

Optical elements made of calcium fluoride, namely of fluorite crystals, are used in some telephoto lenses, to correct color aberration. They are however being replaced with various low dispersion glasses, which have higher refraction index, better dimensional stability, and lower fragility.

Both lenses are weather-sealed to the AW specification (Pentax also maintains the WR label to indicate a lower degree of weather resistance).

Both lenses also have a new kind of focus motor that among other things offers improved quick shift control. Quick shift is Pentax’ name for seamless transitioning from automatic to manual focussing, which is a feature of all ultra/hyper/supersonic drive lenses of any manufacturer (to the best of my knowledge), but in more affordable screwdrive lenses is exclusive to Pentax.

Both of these new lenses are direct current motor driven, and Quick Shift can be set either to ensure autofocus completion, or to allow the user intervention at any point in the autofocus process, leading (if I understand correctly) the autofocus to fade out and relinquish control. Manual focus can also be set as a third alternative – apparently both on the camera body and lens (so MF would have to be disabled both places for any AF to take place).

HD Pentax D-FA 150-450mm f/4.5-5.6

HD Pentax D-FA 150-450mm f/4.5-5.6

Lens prices at launch will be:

  • D-FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 €1999 / $2299.95
  • D-FA 150-450mm f/4.5-5.6 €2199 / $2499.95

hd_lenses_composite2

It’s rumoured that three to four lenses for full frame will be released in 2015 (so perhaps one or two other than the above), then another “six or eight” in 2016.