In Focus: May 2016

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In Focus: May 2016

Sigma recently entered the mirrorless camera arena with the sd Quattro and the sd Quattro H. Both are built around Foveon sensors. The sd Quattro utilizes the same APS-C-sized sensor in the dp Quattro that, according to Sigma, delivers the equivalent image quality of a 39-megapixel Bayer-pattern sensor. The “H” model utilizes an APS-H-sized sensor, with equivalent resolution to a 51-megapixel Bayer-pattern-sensor camera. With their magnesium-alloy construction, both cameras are rugged and feature dust- and splash-proof protection. List Price: TBD. Contact: Sigma,

Constructed from a four-way stretch material with a waterproof membrane, Peak Design’s Shell provides a snug fit for most camera-lens combinations while allowing full access to the viewfinder and controls. In addition to protecting gear from the elements, the Shell, which can be cinched closed, protects your cameras and lenses from abrasion when stowed or transported in a backpack or camera bag. Available in three sizes, the Shell is compatible with Peak Design straps and has its own built-in pocket for storage. List Price: $45. Contact: Peak Design,

SIGMA 50-100MM F1.8 AND 30MM F1.4
Two new fast-aperture optics from Sigma are the 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art for APS-C-sized sensors and the 30mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary for Sony E-mount and Micro Four Thirds mounts. The 3.7×6.7-inch, 62.6-ounce 50-100mm lens is impressive, with a constant ƒ/1.8 aperture throughout the zoom range and an enhanced HSM motor for faster AF. At $339, the 30mm model is quite affordable, given its extremely faster aperture, and measures a mere 2.6×2.9 inches. Both lenses are compatible with Sigma’s USB Dock for convenient firmware updates. List Price: $1,099 (50-100mm); $339 (30mm). Contact: Sigma,

Built for adventure, the new Pentax WG-M2 action camera from Ricoh is about 40% smaller than its WG siblings. In addition to its shockproof and freeze-proof ruggedness, the camera is diver-friendly with a depth rating of 65 feet. Equipped with a 1.5-inch LCD and a super-wide-angle 204º lens, the WG-M2 can capture 4K video and, with its new video-orientation feature, ensures that motion shots are properly oriented regardless of how the camera is mounted (even if it’s upside down). Ricoh also offers a variety of mounts and accessories for the camera. List Price: $300. Contact: Ricoh,

Based on the original PEN-F—the world’s first half-frame SLR released by Olympus in 1963—the new digital PEN-F is well equipped, with manual controls, customizable dials and buttons, and 5-axis image stabilization. Measuring a mere 4.9×2.8×1.5 inches, the 20-megapixel camera is good to go whenever you are. Although not weatherproof like Olympus’ OM-D E-M5, the PEN-F is solidly constructed and, in addition to its high-resolution OLED EVF, the camera is equipped with an articulated LCD to more easily capture off-angle shots. Outdoor photographers will want to check out the new Color Profile options, as well as its Monochrome Profile Control. List Price: $1,200. Contact: Olympus,

Tamron has added two new full-frame lenses to its lineup—the SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro and the SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD. Both are image-stabilized and moisture-resistant, and feature a Fluorine coating to prevent condensation and help keep the glass surface free from smudges. Tamron has added XY-Shift compensation to the 90mm lens’ VC functionality and promises improved image stabilization and focus speed. Also new from Tamron is the TAP-in Console, a lens accessory for firmware updates and customizing lens functions. The latter includes, among other options, focus adjustment and focus distance limiter customization via free utility software. All three products are available for Canon and Nikon; Sony-compatible lenses and the TAP-in Console will be launched at a later date. List Price: $649 (90mm); $749 (85mm); TBD (TAP-in Console). Contact: Tamron,

Splash-proof and dustproof, the new LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH Power OIS Micro Four Thirds zoom from Panasonic delivers a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 24mm-120mm. In addition to Panasonic’s excellent power Optical Image Stabilization, the lens is also dual IS-compatible to take advantage of the new technology featured in some of its latest cameras. The lens is equipped with an inner focus drive system and stepping motor for smooth and quiet operation. To limit optical distortion and chromatic aberration, the 12-60mm zoom utilizes three aspherical lenses and an ED (Extra low Dispersion) lens. List Price: $500. Contact: Panasonic,

There are few scenes as stunningly beautiful as panoramic landscapes, but computer monitors rarely do them justice. Now, with Hahnemühle’s new FineArt panoramic-format papers, there’s more motivation than ever before to print your panoramas in color or black-and-white. Choose Photo Rag® 308 for a smooth, matte surface or Photo Rag® Baryta if you prefer a glossy finish. Designed for a wide range of printers, including standard-sized models, sheets measure 8.27×23.38 inches. List Price: $111 (Photo Rag® 308/25-sheet pack); $133 (Photo Rag® Baryta/25-sheet pack). Contact: Hahnemühle,

Voigtländer has announced a new line of prime lenses for Sony E-mount cameras. While this trio may not be the fastest lenses on the market, they’re some of the widest and are ideal for landscape photographers. The first three in the new line include the 10mm F5.6 Hyper-Wide Heliar, 12mm F5.6 Ultra-Wide Heliar and 15mm F4.5 Super-Wide Heliar. Although 12mm and 15mm lenses have been available for Sony E-mount using a VM-mount adapter, the 10mm is new, and all three are out-of-the-box compatible with Sony E-mount cameras. Notable features include EXIF data transfer from lens to camera, a selective aperture control system for silent, stepless operation and 10 aperture blades. The lenses are slated for spring availability. List Price: TBD. Contact: Voigtländer,

NIKON DL24-500
One of three premium compact cameras from Nikon’s new DL line, the DL24-500 ƒ/2.8-5.6 offers outdoor photographers the power and flexibility of a 24-500mm zoom in a 4.9×3.6×5.5-inch, 27.6-ounce body. Built around a new 1-inch BSI CMOS sensor, the DL24-500 provides high-speed hybrid autofocus, Dual Detect Optical VR to steady the camera at telephoto, continuous shooting at up to 20 fps and 4K video capture. In addition to a built-in electronic viewfinder, the DL24-500 features a 3-inch, Vari-angle touch-screen LCD for easy composition, whether you’re shooting overhead or at low angles. Look for it in early summer. List Price: $1,000. Contact: Nikon,

The follow-up to the compact G7X, the Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II delivers improved performance thanks to its DIGIC VII processor. Better tracking, improved AF detection, continuous RAW shooting speeds of up to 8 fps and a one-stop improvement in noise are only a few of the updates you’ll find in this 20-megapixel camera. Built around a 1-inch sensor, the G7X Mark II also provides in-camera RAW conversion and Picture Style options that are familiar to EOS users. Its high-resolution touch screen flips up 180º and 45º down for more easily shooting overhead and low-angle shots. An impressively fast ƒ/1.8-2.8 image-stabilized lens delivers a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 24-100mm. List Price: $700. Contact: Canon,

Designed for the adventurer, the Mountainsmith Descent is a sling bag that can be carried like a backpack, but quickly moves to the front for easy access to gear. The pack can accommodate a pro DSLR or two and up to a 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 telephoto zoom, along with two to four other lenses. It also features a tablet and accessory pocket and two separate pockets for batteries (one labeled green and the other, red, for delineation between charged/depleted). Constructed from waterproof material, the Descent comes with a separate rain cover, as well. List Price: $100. Contact: Mountainsmith,

With its 50x wide-angle lens, the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS provides a 35mm-equivalent reach of 24-1200mm, long enough to capture elusive outdoor subjects. Optical image stabilization helps to keep images sharp, and the camera is equipped with an improved advanced Zoom Framing Assist feature. Built around a new 20-megapixel High Sensitivity CMOS sensor and using a DIGIC 6 processor, the camera promises great low-light performance. A number of other appealing features includes full HD video, WiFi and NFC. List Price: $400. Contact: Canon,

An “all-terrain” portable SSD drive, the new SanDisk Extreme 510 is even tougher than its predecessor. The tiny drive is protected by a rubber bumper and comes with an IP55 rating that keeps the drive sealed from dust and even a bit of rain, too. The drive offers transfer speeds of up to 430 MB/s, and features a USB 3.0 port and security software. List Price: $250. Contact: SanDisk,

Conveniently announced in the same time frame as the Nikon D5 and D500, both of which offer XQD card slot options, Sony’s new M-series XQD and SD cards are built for speed. The XQD-M cards have transfer speeds of up to 440 MB/s (read) and 150 MB/s (write), and can back up 64 GB of data in about three minutes when paired with Sony’s latest card reader. The SF-M-series SD cards, which are UHS-II-supported, clock in at up to 260 MB/s (read) and 100 MB/s (write). A new XQD/SD card reader and XQD adapter also were announced. List Price: From $59 (XQD); TBD (SD). Contact: Sony,

Designed for the great outdoors, the 16-megapixel FinePix XP90 from Fujifilm is waterproof to 50 feet, and since it’s well sealed, dustproof, too. The body is shockproof and freeze-proof, and features a 3-inch LCD, as well as an image-stabilized 28-140mm zoom lens. The XP90 is fast, with continuous shooting speeds of up to 10 fps, and the camera offers WiFi and full HD (and slow-motion) video, along with creative filters, HDR and motion panorama. Other options include interval and time-lapse functions. List Price: $230. Contact: Fujifilm,