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Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens ReviewNobody else makes a lens like the Sigma...
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In Focus: March 2014
The new Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD ultratelephoto zoom is compatible with both full-frame and APS-C formats. With a large focal-length-range expansion from the current 200-500mm lens offered, this lens is of particular interest for wildlife photographers who need a little extra length without losing quality (from extenders) or time (by changing lenses). Including Vibration Compensation, a redesigned tripod mount and an Ultrasonic Silent Drive for accurate AF, the lens is set up to shoot sharp images at a long focal length both mounted and handheld. Estimated Street Price: $1,069. Contact: Tamron, www.tamron-usa.com
One year after releasing the D600, Nikon has followed up with the 24.3-megapixel, CMOS-sensor D610, making few, yet significant improvements. The lightweight, full-format HDSLR uses the EXPEED 3 processor, which provides vivid colors and tonal ranges, as well as quick data transfer. Standing out amongst the camera’s features are the new shutter mechanism that captures quick action at 6 fps and the quiet continuous shutter mode, perfect for capturing event and wildlife photography at 3 fps. An improved Auto White Balance makes skin tones and reproduction of artificiaccal light more true to life. The 39-point AF system can be adjusted between single-point, continuous, dynamic and 3D autofocus modes to match your shooting situation. The D610 shoots 1080p HD video in 24p and 30p. List Price: $1,999. Contact: Nikon, www.nikonusa.com.
Sigma has introduced two new lenses in their Global Vision lineup: the 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 II DC OS HSM Contemporary and 50mm ƒ/1.4 DG HSM Art. The 18-200mm is smaller and lighter than its predecessor and improves macro capabilities (it will focus down to 15.4 inches for a 1:3 reproduction ratio), with updated optics including SLD elements to correct chromatic aberration at the telephoto end and aspherical elements (including double-sided ones) to assure compact size and minimize distortion. The 50mm ƒ/1.4 DG HSM is a pro-level performer for full-frame DSLRs, updated with SLD glass and improved large-aperture performance. An optimized autofocus algorithm and a floating focusing system improve AF. The Global Vision line guarantees that every lens is tested with Sigma’s proprietary MTF “A1” measuring system before being shipped. Both lenses provide quiet, high-speed AF thanks to Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) and are compatible with Sigma’s USB Dock and Mount Conversion Service. List Price: TBA. Contact: Sigma, www.sigmaphoto.com.
The 55mm ƒ/1.4 is the first optic in the Zeiss Otus lens line. Named after an owl known for night vision, the Otus line is designed specifically for high-resolution-sensor DSLRs, prioritizing sharpness and high image contrast and reducing chromatic aberrations. The internal, 12-element optical design creates images without color fringe or distortion, while the external metal barrel allows for smooth manual focusing and comfortable operation. Available in F-bayonet and E-bayonet mounts, the Otus line will be growing with additional lens lengths. List Price: $3,990. Contact: Zeiss, lenses.zeiss.com.
The Epson Perfection V550 Photo Scanner makes it quick and easy to scan film, slides, negatives and printed photos. Scanning at a high-quality 6400 dpi resolution, with a 3.4 Dmax and 48-bit depth, you can create enlargements up to 17×22 inches directly from the V550. Easy Photo Fix software provides a quick way to restore faded colors from photos, and DIGITAL ICE technology aids in the removal of scratches, creases or other damage caused by time and wear and tear. Auto-detection allows scanning of multiple images at once while saving each as individual files. Images may be uploaded directly to Facebook, Picasa and other cloud services. List Price: $199. Contact: Epson, www.epson.com.
An ideal travel companion, Novoflex‘s modular tripod, the TrioPod, is available in five different sets. Each part is available individually for maximum flexibility to match your changing needs. The system includes the 0.69-pound TrioPod tripod base, a center column, which extends the stand base height by 3.15 inches, 3- and 4-segment aluminum legs, 3- and 4-segment carbon-fiber legs, mini-tripod legs and a 3-segment hiking stick. List Price: $585 (TrioPod with 3-section aluminum leg set); $657 (TrioPod with 4-section aluminum leg set); $887 (TrioPod with 3-section carbon-fiber leg set); $930 (TrioPod with 4-section carbon-fiber leg set); $709 (TrioPod with Hikingstick II 3-section leg set). Contact: Novoflex (HP Marketing Corp.), www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
The Induro LHD3 panhead provides quick and precise camera positioning from a wide range of angles using a single-lock knob control. The one-lock knob gives full control over the 360º rotation of the panning base while a separate knob controls +90º/-45º front-back tilt movement and +45º/-45º side-to-side tilt. A graduated scale and bubble level aid in accuracy. A double safety lock is incorporated on the Quick Release clamp of the included Arca-Swiss-style top plate. Fits size 2- and 3-series tripods. List Price: $385. Contact: Induro, www.indurogear.com.
For photographers who crave an innovative camera strap alternative, the CapturePRO Camera Clip by Peak Design provides a versatile and secure solution. The aluminum CapturePRO clamp attaches to your backpack, belt or bag. Using a choice of plates for either slim-body cameras or with Arca and Manfrotto compatibility and D-ring connection, your camera slips into the clam and locks. The clamp’s quick-release system can be operated with one hand. This system can also be used as a GoPro mount for capturing POV footage. List Price: $79. Contact: Peak Design, Ltd., peakdesignltd.com.
Fujifilm continues to expand their X-series lens lineup for interchangeable-system cameras with the ultrawide 2.4x XF10-24mm F4 R OIS lens. The 15-36mm equivalent range is optimal for grand landscapes. Fujifilm has designed a new optical system with four high-precision aspherical lenses and three extra-low dispersion glass lenses to match the performance of Fujifilm X-Trans sensors. The lens also features a new coating on the reverse side of the lens, going one step further to reduce ghosting and flare. With a seven-blade aperture diaphragm, the lens has a 24cm minimum macro working distance. The lens will be available in March 2014. List Price: $999. Contact: Fujifilm, www.fujifilmusa.com.
When you’re constantly on the move to get your shot, it’s important to have a camera strap that keeps your camera safe and secure. JOBY has created the Pro Sling Strap, which uses an adjustable-length Speed Cinch pulley system to harness your camera to your body while it’s not in use, then quickly deploys it so you don’t miss a shot. You can use Fast-Cinch mode for a quick release when you know time is of the essence, or Locked mode, to prevent tangles and scuffs while hiking, biking or maneuvering crowded spaces. JOBY has placed as much attention to their materials as they did their product design by creating a custom textile for the strap, providing for flexibility and durability. List Price: $69. Contact: JOBY, www.joby.com.
Everimaging has improved upon their HDR software with the newest version of HDR Darkroom 3. While the software offers additional HDR styles, the real upgrade is in processing power. An improved alignment algorithm consistently corrects any alignment issues that arise between bracketed frames without you needing to intervene. Advanced ghost-reduction technology also removes objects when they differ between frames. HDR Darkroom 3 supports more than 150 cameras, including Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Panasonic models, and is available for Mac and Windows. List Price: $129. Contact: Everimaging, www.everimaging.com.
Samsung‘s new NX30 replaces the NX20 “mini-DSLR”-style model in the company’s mirrorless NX lineup, offering a more powerful image processor, better EVF and external monitor, and improved video and wireless capabilities. The 2359K-dot eye-level EVF tilts up to 80° upward for easy low-angle shooting, while the new 3.0-inch, 1037K-dot Super AMOLED monitor swings 180° horizontally and swivels 270° for easy all-angle shooting. The 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor benefits from a new DRIMeIV processor, providing 9 fps shooting at full resolution, ISO settings from 100-25,600 and 1080/60p full HD video capability. Wi-Fi with NFC connection makes it easy to transfer and share images, and even operate the camera remotely from your smartphone. Dimensions are 5.0×3.8×1.6 inches and 13.2 ounces (body only). Price TBA. Contact: Samsung, www.samsung.com.
The compact Sirui VH-10 Professional Fluid Video Head weighs only 1.98 pounds, yet can support camera/light systems weighing up to 13.2 pounds. A built-in, 4.4-pound counterbalance system helps keep everything level. The Quick Release Platform lets you easily adjust the camera for ideal balance, while the panning resistance is preset to provide smooth 360° pans (and can be locked in position, when desired). Two bubble levels help keep things perfectly aligned. List Price: $199.95. Contact: Argraph, www.argraph.com.
3POD‘s 44mm H4 Magnesium Ballhead uses a hydraulic dampening system with a CNC forged aluminum shell to create smooth movement while supporting up to 33 pounds of equipment. The base pans 360º using a positioning dial while the ball itself is maneuvered with adjustment knobs. A quick-release plate with a ¼” mounting screw is included. List Price: $114. Contact: Adorama, www.adorama.com.
Polaroid has announced three new mountable, high-definition sports-action cameras, all offering shockproof and waterproof technology and ultrawide-angle lenses. The XS1000i features a unique, patented, quick-change mounting system, a 16-megapixel Aptina CMOS sensor and a 170° angle of view. It can do 1080p and 960p video at 30 fps and 720p at 60 fps, as well as still images. The Polaroid C features a square design, a 5-megapixel CMOS sensor and a 120° angle of view, and can do 720p and 640×480 video, as well as 5-megapixel still images. The XS100i provides Wi-Fi with iOS and Android apps and a distortion-free lens with 170° of coverage, and can do 1080p, 960p and 720p video, as well as 16-megapixel still images. List Price: $179.99 (XS100i); TBA (Polaroid C and XS1000i). Contact: Polaroid, www.polaroid.com.