Category Archives: Camera

Canon launches EOS 60Da DSLR for Astrophotography

Canon has launched the EOS 60Da, a variant of its 60D DSLR tuned for astrophotography. The camera features a re-worked infra-red filter leaving the camera more sensitive to a specific emission frequency (656nm) of hydrogen, key to capturing images of features such as nebulae (gas clouds) in space. The 18MP camera continues where 2005’s 8MP EOS 20Da left off. It will be available from a limited number of authorized dealers at a price of around $1499.00/£1174.99.

NEW CANON EOS 60Da DSLR CAMERA FOR ASTRONOMY ENTHUSIASTS CAPTURES THE TRUE COLORS OF THE COSMOS

Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today introduced the EOS 60Da Digital SLR Camera, a long-awaited successor to the EOS 20Da that is optimized for astrophotography. This DSLR caters to astronomers and hobbyists who enjoy capturing the beauty of the night sky by offering a modified infrared filter and a low-noise sensor with heightened hydrogen-alpha sensitivity. These modifications allow the camera to capture magnificent photographs of “red hydrogen emission” nebulae and other cosmic phenomena.

“The EOS 60Da is a testament to the constant desire to meet the needs of every customer, including those in specialized fields,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A., “This new camera enables an accurate depiction of a part of our solar system which is hard to achieve with conventional cameras but should be enjoyed and celebrated.”

The Canon EOS 60Da camera packs a powerful 18-megapixel CMOS sensor (APS-C) that produces sharp and high-contrast images of astronomical objects, a major enhancement over the EOS 20Da model’s 8.2-megapixel sensor. The improved infrared-blocking filter is a modification suited specifically toward astronomy enthusiasts to achieve a hydrogen-alpha light sensitivity that is approximately three times higher than that of a normal Canon DSLR camera. This produces a 20-percent higher transmittance of Hydrogen Alpha line, or Hα wavelength, allowing astronomers to capture crisp, clear images of reddish, diffuse nebulae.

Enhanced Features

Crisp images of the stars and planets can be viewed on the EOS 60Da’s improved 3.0-inch Clear View LCD screen with 1,040,000 dots for detailed focusing. The flip-out Vari-angle screen allows photographers to adjust the screen for easy viewing without straining even while the camera is mounted to a telescope via a third-party T-ring adapter. Optimized for stargazing with friends or in an educational setting, astronomy enthusiasts can connect the camera to a TV with the provided AVC-DC400ST Stereo AV Video Cable and display the night sky on a TV monitor using the camera’s Live View mode. Moreover, the EOS 60Da’s Live View mode is equipped with a Silent Shooting feature that eliminates shutter-induced vibration for maximum camera stability when the camera is mounted to a telescope or super-telephoto EF lens.

Enhanced noise reduction on the EOS 60Da sensor offers photographers the ability to experiment with the wide array of ISO settings and increased ISO speeds up to 6400 expandable to 12800. Other features include an intelligent nine-point autofocus system, full manual controls, and RAW, JPEG, and RAW+JPEG image recording capabilities.

Accessories

The EOS 60Da helps capture the wonders of the night sky with its use of Canon’s award-winning EF and EF-S lenses along with other EOS accessories. Additionally, the EOS 60Da is packaged with Canon’s RA-E3 Remote Controller Adapter, providing the ability to connect a Canon Timer Remote Control such as the TC-80N3 (optional accessory). The TC-80N3 is ideal for controlling time exposures longer than 30 seconds as well as capturing a series of consecutive time exposures that can be composited during post-processing for improved image quality. This is especially useful when the camera body is connected to a telescope[i] or an EF super telephoto lens.

Canon has also included an AC adapter kit with the EOS 60Da, allowing the camera to be powered through an AC wall outlet or a battery-powered inverter, ideal for long exposure image or video capture at home or in the field.

Availability

As a specialized product, the EOS 60Da is only available to order from select authorized dealers. The estimated retail price is $1,499.00 and it is expected to be available this month.

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Tamron releases image-stabilized 24-70mm F2.8 zoom

Tamron has announced a 24-70mm F2.8 zoom for full frame cameras that features inbuilt optical stabilisation – a first in this class of lens. The SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD, to give it its full name, also incorporates an Ultrasonic Silent Drive motor for autofocus, which allows full-time manual focus. The lens is moisture-resistant, and features a circular aperture diaphragm for the attractive rendition of background blur. It will be produced in Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts, with price and availability to be confirmed at a later date.

 Tamron develops full-size, high-speed standard zoom with built-in image stabilization – SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (Model A007)

With class-leading resolution and Tamron’s proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation)

Tamron Co., Ltd., a leading manufacturer of optical equipment, announced the development of the SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (Model A007), a full-size high-speed standard zoom lens equipped with VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization and USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive), with resolution at the top of its class.

The price and availability of the SP 24-70mm will be announced at a later date.

Product Features

  1. A full-size, high-speed standard zoom with built-in VC ( Vibration Compensation). Even when shooting in low-light conditions with a slow shutter speed to render sharpness, Tamron’s acclaimed VC allows for stable handheld camera work, to more fully enjoy the benefits of this high-speed zoom lens.
  2. Uses special high-grade glass in the three LD elements, three glass molded aspherical lenses, one hybrid aspherical lens and two XR (Extra Refractive Index) glasses, delivering top-of-the-class quality images suited to this high-grade lens. Using a rounded diaphragm, the lens achieves gorgeous blur effects. This rounded diaphragm retains a nearly circular shape even when taken two stops down from its fully open state.
  3. Features Tamron proprietary USD ( Ultrasonic Silent Drive) to power a speedy AF drive together with a continuous manual mechanism.
  4. This high-speed standard zoom lens has a wide-end focal length of 24mm that expands the photographic area.
  5. The lens adopts the new technology including the latest optical design, VC ( Vibration Compensation) image stabilization and USD ( Ultrasonic Silent Drive), all in a lighter and more compact package.
  6. Moisture-resistant construction helps prevent water from penetrating the lens.

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Canon announces EOS 5D Mark III 22MP full-frame DSLR

Canon has announced the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the latest in its enthusiast full-frame 5D series and successor to the popular EOS 5D Mark II. Based around a 22MP full-frame sensor, it can shoot 6 frames per second and features a 61-point AF system much like the EOS-1D X. It can capture 1080p movies at 24, 25 or 30 fps and offers high quality intraframe (All-I) video compression amongst a host of movie-related improvements. It will be available from the end of March with an MSRP of $3499 / €3299 / £2999.99.

Creativity, redefined – Canon unleashes the EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mk III

Canon today announces the latest addition to its worldfamous EOS range with the launch of the new EOS 5D Mark III. The EOS 5D Mark IIIbuilds on the performance of the legendary EOS 5D Mark II, offering improved speed,greater resolution, enhanced processing power and extended creative options for bothstills and Full HD movies – providing unparalleled artistic freedom for the most demanding photographers.

Incorporating feedback from photographers worldwide, the EOS 5D Mark III offers improved performance in virtually every area. A new 22.3 Megapixel (MP) full-frame sensor offers the ideal balance of resolution for stills and HD movies and up to 6 frames per second (fps) shooting, whilst a 61-point AF system and 63-zone metering provide greater speed, flexibility and accuracy. Powered by the latest DIGIC 5+ processing technology, the EOS 5D Mark III also features enhanced video functions, offeringimproved image quality alongside greater audio control – redefining creative possibilities for photographers and amateur videographers alike.

“The EOS 5D Mark III represents a big step forward for the EOS 5D series” said Kieran Magee, Marketing Director, Professional Imaging, Canon Europe. “The EOS 5D Mark II is an exceptional camera and we’ve listened carefully to feedback from its passionate community of users to improve performance in every area. This camera has been designed to meet virtually any creative challenge – it’s faster, more responsive and features the tools to adapt to everything from studio photography to creative videography, while producing results of the highest quality.”

Enhanced performance

With its comprehensively upgraded specification, the EOS 5D Mark III is the ideal toolfor the growing number of photographers shooting both stills and movies. It incorporates a number of the features launched with Canon’s revolutionary EOS-1D X,providing vastly improved performance, flexibility, handling and durability.

The camera’s newly-developed 22.3MP full-frame sensor provides increased resolution and finer detail, enabling the capture of a wide range of scenes, from sweeping landscapes to beautiful portraits. Higher speed continuous shooting also offers expanded creative possibilities. With an increased 8-channel read out, the camera comfortably handles a maximum full resolution speed of up to 6fps in bursts of 18 RAW images or over 16,000 JPEGs1, without the need for additional accessories. Additionally, the sensor’s advanced architecture offers a huge native ISO range of 100-25,600, expandable to 102,400, making it possible to capture clean, high quality pictures, even in extreme low-light conditions.

The EOS 5D Mark III utilises the same 61-point wide-area AF system as the flagship EOS-1D X, providing exceptional sensitivity, precision and speed. One of the most advanced AF systems currently available, it features an impressive 41 cross-type points and five dual cross-type points, providing unsurpassed accuracy across the frame. The customisable AF pre-sets introduced in the EOS-1D X are also available, helping the capture of traditionally challenging subjects, and providing additional reliability in ituations where subject movement can be unpredictable.

Highly accurate exposures are provided by Canon’s acclaimed iFCL metering system, which incorporates a 63-zone Dual-Layer sensor linked to each point of the AF system. Focus information gathered from the AF system is analysed alongside colour and luminance signals measured by the metering sensor itself, enabling the EOS 5D Mark III to deliver consistently accurate skin tones and excellent results in a wide range of shooting situations.

Creative performance without compromise

The EOS 5D Mark III features Canon’s latest DIGIC 5+ image processor, which powers a range of new functions without affecting the camera’s performance. 14-bit A/D conversion provides smoother tonal gradation and transitions between colours, while in-camera HDR shooting combines three different exposures and allows one of five preset tone maps to be applied, enabling photographers to capture all the detail in high contrast scenes. With in-camera RAW processing and editing capability, photographers also have the option to immediately begin post-processing their images while still on a shoot.

The increased power of DIGIC 5+ also enables a range of tools which contribute to higher image quality. Lens peripheral illumination correction, Lens chromatic aberration correction (lateral and axial) and high ISO noise reduction are all performed in-camera without affecting performance, allowing photographers to continue shooting without any camera lag. Additionally, in-camera image rating via a dedicated button makes it easy for photographers to organise images ahead of post-production.

The EOS 5D Mark III features a new Creative Photo button, which enables users to quickly select Picture Styles and capture multiple exposures, as well as offering direct access to the HDR shooting mode. In playback, pressing the Creative Photo button displays a new comparative playback function, displaying two images side-by-side to allow photographers to view, magnify and compare the quality of different exposures mid-shoot.

For situations where photographers want to avoid being noticed, such as weddings, the EOS 5D Mark III also features a new silent shooting mode that dramatically reduces the sound of the shutter and mirror, ensuring they can work quietly in the background. A continuous silent mode is also available, enabling photographers to capture fastermoving subjects without attracting attention.

Next generation EOS Movies

The EOS 5D Mark III builds on the reputation of the EOS 5D Mark II, with a range of new features introduced following feedback received from photographers to provide even better Full HD video performance. As well as offering the depth-of-field control loved by video professionals, the new full-frame sensor combines with the vast processing power of DIGIC 5+ to improve image quality by virtually eradicating the presence of moiré, false colour and other artefacts. The addition of a movie mode switch and a recording button also offers greater usability, enabling videographers to begin shooting immediately when movie mode is engaged.

Additional movie functions include manual exposure control and an enhanced range of high bit-rate video compression options, with intraframe (ALL-I) and interframe (IPB) methods both supported. Variable frame rates range from 24fps to 60fps, and the addition of SMPTE timecode support provides greater editing flexibility and easier integration into multi-camera shoots. Users can also check and adjust audio during recording via the camera’s Quick Control screen and a headphone socket enables sound level monitoring both during and after shooting. Enhanced processing power provided by DIGIC 5+ also makes it possible to conveniently trim the length of recorded movies in-camera.

Professional build, easy operation

The EOS 5D Mark III has been built to offer photographers easy-handling and robust build quality. Its lightweight, high-grade magnesium body offers advanced weather proofing for protection against the elements, while the construction of the shutter has also been reinforced, with 150,000-cycle durability making it ideal for repeated, everyday use. An enhanced version of the Intelligent Viewfinder featured in the EOS 7D offers approximately 100% coverage, as well as an on-demand grid display via the builtin transparent LCD.

The same reinforced 8.11cm (3.2″) Clear View II LCD screen as used by the EOS-1D X provides high quality framing and playback in all conditions. 1,040k-pixels provide the resolution to accurately check image sharpness and focus, while the gapless structure design introduced with the EOS-1D Mark IV prevents reflections and protects against dust or scratches. A headphone socket and locking mode dial have been included, while the inclusion of a UDMA 7-compatible CF card slot plus an SD card2 slot enables shooting to both cards simultaneously, auto switching when the one in use becomes full and the option to copy images from one card to the other in-camera.

Digital Lens Optimizer – new in Digital Photo Professional v3.11

The EOS 5D Mark III comes complete with the most advanced version of Digital Photo Professional (DPP) yet – Canon’s free, in-box software enabling high-speed, high quality processing of RAW images. New in DPP v3.11 is Digital Lens Optimizer – a revolutionary new tool designed to drastically improve image resolution.

Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO) precisely imitates lens performance, with a series of complex mathematical functions replicating each stage of the journey of light through the optical path. Using this information DLO can correct a range of typical optical aberrations and loss of resolution caused by a camera’s low pass filter, by applying an inverse function to each shot to take the image nearer to how the scene appears to the naked eye. This creates exceptionally detailed, high-quality images with highly manageable file sizes, providing photographers with maximum image quality and greater flexibility.

EOS System compatibility

As part of the EOS System, the EOS 5D Mark III is immediately compatible with over 60 EF Lenses, including the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM – the new, essential wide-angle zoom lens from Canon’s famous L-series. The camera is also compatible with a newlyannounced range of accessories designed to offer extended creativity, including the Speedlite 600EX-RT – a high performance TTL flash with wireless radio connectivity. Additionally, the new Battery Grip BG-E11 offers greater handling flexibility alongside the ability to double the camera’s battery life.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III – Key features:

  • 22.3 Megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 61-point autofocus
  • Up to 6fps continuous shooting
  • Native ISO 100-25,600 sensitivity
  • Full HD video with manual control
  • 14-bit DIGIC 5+ processor
  • Enhanced Weather sealing
  • 8.11cm (3.2-inch) 1,040,000-dot screen
  • HDR mode with presets
Additional images

 

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Canon releases 600EX-RT radio-controlled Speedlite with other accessories

Canon has announced the Speedlite 600EX-RT flash, its first to include wireless radio control, alongside a selection of EOS accessories. A radio frequency transmitter, the Speedlite ST-E3-RT, has also been released and can trigger up to 15 Speedlites at up to 30 meters. Meanwhile, the GP-E2 GPS unit allows for automatic geotagging of images from the latest Canon DSLRs and the WFT-E7 wireless file transmitter can use either a Wi-Fi or Gigabit Ethernet connection to move files from camera to computer or to control the camera. There’s also the BG-E11 dual-slot battery grip for the EOS 5D Mark III.

The radio connectivity is a first for Canon and comes in addition to the infrared triggering found in previous models. Major drawbacks to infrared remote flash control are that it requires a direct line of sight and has a relatively limited transmission range, particularly outdoors. By including built-in radio control, Canon now offers a system that gives its users an alternative to the popular PocketWizard radio transmitters and receivers. The Speedlite ST-E3-RT can trigger up to 15 Speedlites over distances as far as 30m.

The GP-E2 GPS receiver weighs in at under 3oz and offers automatic geo-tagging (via EXIF metadata) of images shot with the EOS-1Dx, 7D (with a firmware update) and the co-announced 5D Mark III. With older EOS cameras the GPS receiver can generate tracklog files at specified time intervals – even with the unit detached from the camera – which users can then manually import into compatible mapping software.

Continuing with the theme of wireless communication, Canon has announced the WFT-E7 wireless file transmitter which can transfer files from the EOS 5D Mark III over a Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) or Gigabit Ethernet connection. For remote camera setups, the transmitter has a server function that allows for camera control via a web-enabled mobile device. Rounding out support for the EOS 5D Mark III is the BG-E11 battery grip which adds dual battery slots and additional external controls for shooting in portrait orientation.

SHOOT WITH FREEDOM – CANON UNVEILS NEW RANGE OF PROFESSIONAL ACCESSORIES

The Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT features wireless radio connectivity.

Canon today extends its range of acclaimed accessories, unveiling a number of new models designed to offer enhanced flexibility and new creative control to its professional and mid-range EOS Digital SLRs.

Sitting at the top of Canon’s range, the Speedlite 600EX-RT is Canon’s first flash unit to feature inbuilt wireless radio connectivity and replaces the advanced Speedlite 580EX II. Partnering with the new Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT , this new model offers enhanced opportunities for photographers wishing to explore creative lighting techniques. In addition, Canon is also launching the BG-E11 battery grip, Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7 and GPS Receiver GP-E2, which complement the newly-announced EOS 5D Mark III – offering increased versatility across a range of shooting situations – from studio portraits to field-based shoots – with a compact lightweight and affordable configuration.

Speedlite 600EX-RT: Taking creative flash further

The Speedlite 600EX-RT is a high-performance TTL flash unit designed to meet the expanding creative needs of modern professionals. Integrated radio frequency triggering, in addition to standard infra-red wireless flash control, allows photographers to achieve exciting results with complex on-and-off-camera lighting set- ups. Using one master 600EX-RT or the new ST-E3-RT radio-frequency wireless Speedlite transmitter, up to 15x 600EX-RT flash units, positioned up to 30m away, can be remotely triggered – offering great potential to experiment with more creative lighting techniques and effects. EOS cameras with a connected Speedlite 600EX-RT can also be triggered remotely by either model, allowing photographers to explore more extreme shooting angles to produce surprising and inspiring creative results.

Subjects over a wide range of distances can be lit creatively or evenly exposed, thanks to an increased guide number of 60m*1 and wide lens coverage of 20 – 200m. For wide- angle shots, a diffuser adapter can also reduce the focal length to 14mm and the bounce-and-swivel flash head creates more flattering, shadowless effects. Ideal for shooting portraits, a catch-light panel produces natural catch-lights in the eyes of a subject when shooting with bounce flash. Additionally, custom flash coverage options provide more creative scope by using guide number priority to light the subject, while creating slightly darker edges to the frame.

Like its predecessor, the Speedlite 600EX-RT communicates white balance settings to the camera through the hot shoe connection. However, to further balance flash and ambient light, a new colour filter adapter and two supplied colour gels can be fitted to balance the temperature of the flash and create a more natural effect when shooting around tungsten or mercury lighting. When shooting in dark conditions, photographers can also employ the AF-assist beam for accurate autofocus with lenses of 28mm or longer, ensuring the subject remains in focus when the flash fires.

Designed for professionals, the Speedlite 600EX-RT and Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT feature a robust, weatherproof design matching that of the EOS-1D X, with a clear LCD display making it easy to select settings and switch between normal flash mode and wireless modes. Powered by four AA/LR6 batteries for added convenience, the Speedlite 600EX-RT offers fast, silent recycle times, allowing photographers to keep shooting and exploring creative lighting effects in all conditions.

WFT-E7: High-speed wireless control

The WFT-E7 is a new wireless file transmitter for a wide range of EOS models. For those who need to transfer their images quickly and easily, for example, photojournalists or sports photographers, the new WFT-E7 provides enhanced versatility through high- speed Wi-Fi and support for wired connectivity over Gigabit Ethernet. Featuring 802.11a/b/g/n support for file transfer speeds of up to 150mbps, and Bluetooth for linking to external GPS units, the WFT-E7 offers super-fast image transfer direct to an FTP server or even to a DLNA*2-enabled HDTV.

When creative shoots or harsh conditions require the photographer to control the camera from a distance, the WFT Server function of the WFT-E7 allows the camera settings and the scene framed in the viewfinder to be accessed and controlled through a web page on any internet-enabled device, such as smartphones, tablets or laptops. Camera settings can also be changed remotely via EOS Utility, allowing photographers to control and trigger the camera over a wired or wireless LAN connection.

The WFT-E7 has a lightweight design and can be attached to the bottom of the camera, to the new bracket AB-E1 or even to the strap. For added versatility, it also supports Linked shooting with up to ten other cameras, with Wireless Time syncing ensuring that the time across all slave devices is aligned with the master camera in order to maintain consistency across multiple units. During Linked shooting, the WFT server function can also be activated to allow easy remote access to the master and slave cameras for even greater creative control of lighting effects during multi-camera shoots.

GP-E2: Geo-tag your images with compact, lightweight GPS

Also launching today is the GPS receiver GP-E2 – a new compact, lightweight, high- performance hot shoe GPS unit which makes it easy for photographers to geo-tag their images. Compatible with the EOS-1D X, EOS 7D*3 and new EOS 5D Mark III, the GP-E2 tags photos with longitude, latitude and altitude data as well as the direction in which the shot was taken, adding information to the EXIF file of the image.

A GPS Logger function also allows photographers to track their route by downloading GPS data at regular intervals, whether the unit is attached to the camera body or stored in its case. Once back in the studio, photographers can tag their images with the GPS data stored in the log files and their route can be displayed using Google Maps or the bundled Map Utility software.

For improved accuracy and precision when recording the time of image capture, photographers can also synchronise the clocks of their cameras with the global atomic clock via UTC information downloaded from the satellite. This is particularly useful for professional photographers shooting with multiple EOS 5D Mark III bodies, who may wish to process all the images together and sort them according to the time each was recorded.

BG-E11: Improved handling for the EOS 5D Mark III

For photographers who want to shoot for longer with the EOS 5D Mark III, the new ergonomic battery grip BG-E11, doubles the battery life with two additional LP-E6 batteries, with the added flexibility of using AA batteries as an emergency back-up. For those who frequently shoot vertically, such as sports or portrait photographers, duplicate AF start, Focus point and AE-lock controls in addition to a second
Multi Controller and Control Dial make shooting vertically more comfortable and intuitive.

In keeping with the premium design of the EOS 5D Mark III, the BG-E11 is made of durable magnesium alloy and offers the same high standard of weather-proofing – ideal for harsher shooting environments.

Speedlite 600EX-RT Key features

• Guide number 60 (m, ISO 100, at 200mm)
• Radio triggering with 30m range
• Use up to 15 units together
• Infra-red wireless functionality
• Remote camera triggering
• Bounce-and-swivel head with zoom control
• White-balance correction filters
• Fast, quiet recycling

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT Key features

• Radio frequency remote flash trigger.
• Fire selected Speedlites from 30m away.
• Controls up to 15 flashguns.
• Remote camera triggering.
• Weather sealed against dust and moisture.

Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7 Key features

• Supports IEEE 802.11n
• Built in Bluetooth
• Versatile design
• Easy Wi-Fi protected Setup
• FTP server transfer
• Remote control functions
• DLNA media server compatible
• Linked shooting

GPS Receiver GP-E2 Key features

• Hotshoe-mounted GPS unit for compatible EOS cameras.
• Embeds location and altitude data into each file’s metadata.
• Digital compass records heading information.
• Data logging mode.
• Portable design, powered by 1xAA battery.
• Accurately set camera’s time using UTC time.

BG-E11 Key features

• Improved handling for EOS 5D Mark III
• Duplicate controls for vertical shooting.
• Larger grip for bigger hands.
• Use two LP-E6 batteries, or four AA/LR6 cells as an alternative.

*1 ISO 100 at 200mm setting
*2 Digital Living Network Alliance
*3 Via firmware update – connection via cable only

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Canon renews full-frame lenses with 24-70mm F2.8 II and stabilized wide-angle primes

Canon has released three EF lenses, including an updated 24-70mm F2.8 II USM. The latest version features what is promised to be a more durable body, despite being a little smaller. In addition to this high-end full-frame standard zoom, there are completely redesigned semi-fast 24mm  and 28mm F2.8 primes, both of which feature USM focus motors and image stabilization.

Ultimately, the most interesting thing about these launches is the fact that Canon feels the need to update various full-frame lenses, almost as if something likely to test the quality of its existing versions was in the offing.

The wide-angle lenses update two of Canon’s oldest primes: both the EF 28mm F2.8 and 24mm F2.8 date back to the late 1980s. The new variants add Canon’s latest 4-stop IS and ring-type USM (complete with full-time manual focus), and look like they should be perfectly nice lenses. We’re just not entirely sure who they’re for; APS-C users have the 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM, and full frame users are more likely to be using the company’s L series optics. It’s also a little unusual to see stabilization added to lenses this wide but that’s the decision Canon has made.

Class-leading performance, unrivalled flexibility – Canon launches three new lenses

Canon today adds to its world-famous EF lens series with the launch of three new lenses for photography professionals and enthusiasts. The new EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM professional zoom lens is an update to the popular EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, while the new EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM and EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM are the world’s first1 wide-angle prime lenses to feature optical Image Stabilizer (IS) technology. All three provide the highest levels of performance for modern digital photographers, combining premium image quality with durable, userfriendly designs.

EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM: the ultra-high performance standard zoom

The new EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM features completely redesigned optics to provide outstanding clarity, image quality and durability. A compact design makes it ideal for carrying on every shoot, and a range of optical enhancements provide improved performance – capturing greater detail across the frame while reducing distortion throughout the entire zoom range, particularly at the maximum 70mm focal length.

With a redesigned optical system that includes two Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) and one Super UD aspheric elements to minimise chromatic aberration and colour blurring, the lens delivers consistently sharp, high-contrast images. Each lens element also features Canon’s optimised Super Spectra coatings to reduce ghosting and flare and ensure excellent colour balance. Additionally, a fluorine coating minimises the amount of dust, dirt and fingerprints that adhere to the front and rear of the lens, helping to maintain superior image quality.

The EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM also enables photographers to capture their subjects up close, with a minimum focusing distance of 0.38m at all focal lengths throughout the zoom range. A ring-type Ultrasonic Motor (USM) works in combination with a highperformance CPU and advanced AF algorithms to ensure accurate, silent and ultraresponsive autofocus. For those who prefer to maintain full control in every shot, fulltime manual focusing allows photographers to precisely tweak or alter the focus of their shot at any time, even when AF is engaged.

Distinguished L-series design

The EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM is the latest lens from the elite L-series to offer Canon’s high-grade and user-focused design enhancements. The mechanical structure of the lens has been improved to offer enhanced zoom durability and greater shake and shock resistance within the lens barrel. The size of the lens has also been reduced by 10mm compared to the previous model, providing enhanced portability and greater convenience in everyday use. A new Zoom Lock lever also enables photographers to lock the zoom position at the extreme wide end to prevent damage to the lens in transit, while a water and dustproof construction2 enables users to continue shooting in harsh conditions.

Introducing the world’s first wide-angle primes with IS

Canon today also launches the new EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM and EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM – the world’s first 24mm and 28mm fixed wide-angle lenses to feature optical IS technology. Ideal for landscape and reportage, both lenses offer outstanding flexibility allowing photographers to shoot an even broader range of scenes and subjects – combining fast apertures with IS to enable sharp results when shooting handheld, even in low light conditions.

Offering an advantage of up to 4-stops over lenses without IS, both lenses are ideal for capturing more of the scene thanks to their wider focal lengths. Both feature a wide f/2.8 aperture, allowing photographers to explore shallow depth of field, or to shoot in lower-light conditions. Wide apertures and IS technology also make each lens ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects, while Canon’s advanced IS technology is able to detect intentional panning movement and automatically switch from Normal IS mode to Panning IS mode – helping users to capture movement with greater accuracy.

Silent, high-speed AF performance is provided by the inclusion of a ring-type USM and additional features including optimized AF control. Full-time manual focusing also ensures adjustments can be made even when AF is engaged, while a minimum focusing distance of 0.20m (EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM) and 0.23m (EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM) allows photographers to get even closer to smaller or more detailed subjects.

Designed to perform

Both the EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM and EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM feature redesigned optics to improve image quality and reduce the need for post-production. An aspherical glass moulded (GMo) lens element is incorporated to correct aberration throughout the optical system, while Canon’s optimised Super Spectra Coatings reduce ghosting and flare for stand-out image quality. Externally, both models also boast a number of design similarities with Canon’s professional L-series lenses, with a similar coating on the barrel and a similar design on the focus ring. A distance scale is also included to assist with landscape photography, while the compact design makes these lenses an unobtrusive addition to any kit bag.

1 According to Canon research as of February 2012
2 Waterproof construction around the lens mount, switch panel, zoom ring, focusing ring and zoom lock.
Weatherproof when used with weatherproof EOS bodies.

Additional images

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM

Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM

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Tamron releases image-stabilized 24-70mm F2.8 zoom

Tamron has announced a 24-70mm F2.8 zoom for full frame cameras that features inbuilt optical stabilisation – a first in this class of lens. The SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD, to give it its full name, also incorporates an Ultrasonic Silent Drive motor for autofocus, which allows full-time manual focus. The lens is moisture-resistant, and features a circular aperture diaphragm for the attractive rendition of background blur. It will be produced in Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts, with price and availability to be confirmed at a later date.

Tamron develops full-size, high-speed standard zoom with built-in image stabilization – SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (Model A007)

With class-leading resolution and Tamron’s proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation)

Tamron Co., Ltd., a leading manufacturer of optical equipment, announced the development of the SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (Model A007), a full-size high-speed standard zoom lens equipped with VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization and USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive), with resolution at the top of its class.

The price and availability of the SP 24-70mm will be announced at a later date.

Product Features

  1. A full-size, high-speed standard zoom with built-in VC ( Vibration Compensation). Even when shooting in low-light conditions with a slow shutter speed to render sharpness, Tamron’s acclaimed VC allows for stable handheld camera work, to more fully enjoy the benefits of this high-speed zoom lens.
  2. Uses special high-grade glass in the three LD elements, three glass molded aspherical lenses, one hybrid aspherical lens and two XR (Extra Refractive Index) glasses, delivering top-of-the-class quality images suited to this high-grade lens. Using a rounded diaphragm, the lens achieves gorgeous blur effects. This rounded diaphragm retains a nearly circular shape even when taken two stops down from its fully open state.
  3. Features Tamron proprietary USD ( Ultrasonic Silent Drive) to power a speedy AF drive together with a continuous manual mechanism.
  4. This high-speed standard zoom lens has a wide-end focal length of 24mm that expands the photographic area.
  5. The lens adopts the new technology including the latest optical design, VC ( Vibration Compensation) image stabilization and USD ( Ultrasonic Silent Drive), all in a lighter and more compact package.
  6. Moisture-resistant construction helps prevent water from penetrating the lens.

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Tokina adds focus motor to create AT-X 116 Pro DX II wide-angle for APS-C DSLRs

Tokina has announced an updated version of its highly-regarded 11-16mm F2.8 wideangle zoom for APS-C SLRs. The AT-X 116 PRO DX II adds a ‘Silent Drive-Module’ (SD-M) focus motor that enables it to autofocus on all Nikon SLRs. The latest version also includes improved surface coatings (which are particularly important for wide-angle lenses) and adds a ‘GMR’ sensor to locate the focus element’s current position, to speed up autofocus – a technology first introduced on the AT-X 16-28 F2.8 PRO FX full-frame wide-angle. US distributor THK Photo tells us the Nikon version should be available around April with a Canon version following around August.

Unlike version 1 of the lens, there is no mention of a Sony version.

Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II F2.8

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Nikon launches AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 G

Nikon has launched the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 G, an updated version of its popular moderate telephoto prime lens. The AF-S version of the lens is a completely new optical design and features a built-in focusing motor to allow it to autofocus on all Nikon DSLRs. The lens features an internal focus design and 7 rounded aperture blades. It can focus down to a distance of 80cm (2.6ft). The lens will be available from March 2012 for a price of around $499.

THE NEW NIKON AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G PRIME LENS COMBINES PRACTICALITY WITH PORTABILITY RESULTING IN A VERSATILE PORTRAIT LENS

New NIKKOR Lens is Ideal for Low-Light, Portraiture and Adding Dramatic Background Blur to Both Photo and Video

Nikon Inc. announced the addition of the new AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G FX-format lens to its legendary line of NIKKOR lenses. The new 85mm is a fast, fixed focal-length lens with medium telephoto capabilities and a large maximum aperture of f/1.8 that is capable of performing a wide variety of imaging tasks with amazing sharpness and clarity.

“Whether a professional photographer who needs extreme sharpness or a photo enthusiast looking for an affordable, lightweight lens with amazing clarity, Nikon photographers appreciate and rely on the vast selection and dependability of NIKKOR lenses for their imaging needs,” said Lisa Osorio, general manager of marketing at Nikon Inc. “The new 85mm f/1.8 is fully optimized for capturing amazing photos and videos, while providing the ability to utilize background blur to compliment the subject of their photo.”

A welcome addition to Nikon’s growing line of versatile prime lenses, the new AF- NIKKOR 85mm is ideal for travel, general photography, low-light, landscape, portraiture and capturing movies with extreme depth of field. The 85mm is designed to capture photos utilizing beautiful image blur achieved due to its large maximum aperture. Furthermore, the lens is lightweight, easy to carry, and provides an equivalent focal length of 127mm when attached to a Nikon DX-format D-SLR camera body.

The construction of the 85mm f/1.8 consists of nine optical elements, with a seven-blade diaphragm which contributes to a substantially more circular bokeh for a natural appearance to out-of-focus background elements. Additionally, instances of lens flare and chromatic aberration are suppressed using Nikon’s exclusive Super Integrated Coatings, which also help ensure vividly accurate color balance.

The new lens also comes equipped with a carefully engineered optical system optimized to deliver superior image quality. The integration of an ultra-compact Silent Wave Motor (SWM) ensures fast, whisper-quiet AF operation, which is essential when recording movies. The 85mm also features two focus modes, M/A (manual-priority autofocus) and M (manual) to further enhance versatility and adapt to a shooters needs. Additionally, Internal Focus (IF) design prevents the front element from rotating, allowing for the use of filters and attachments.

Price and Availability

The lightweight AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G will be available in March 2012 for a SRP* of $499.95. For more information, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

To see the new AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G lens and other new Nikon products, visit Nikon at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at booth # 11039 from January 10-13th, 2012 in Las Vegas, NV.

* Suggested retail price listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

Read more @ dpreview

Nikon D4 Product Tour

Nikon D4 overview

Like its predecessor, the Nikon D4 looks as if it’s going to be an incredibly impressive camera. Nikon has looked to its professional user-base and tried to work out what it needed to add or adjust on a camera that just a couple of years ago represented the best they were capable of. The result is a camera with few big changes but a extensive series of small improvements.

The biggest change is, of course, the improvement in video capabilities. Given the increasing demand for video footage from professional photographers, and the incredible success of Canon’s 5D Mark II in the professional video market, it was inevitable that Nikon’s pro flagship would need to offer a more compelling feature set than the existing models.

Beyond this, the changes to the stills-shooting specifications are relatively modest – there’s a higher-resolution, 16.2MP, full-frame CMOS sensor and the ability to shoot at 10 frames per second with autofocus, but that’s about it. The new chip’s capability has prompted Nikon to offer an ISO range from 100-12,800 that can then be extended to 50 – 204,800 (Hi4). The significant changes, beyond video, are a profusion of smaller tweaks, additions and improvements to what was already a well worked-out camera.

The biggest technical changes are the addition of a 91,000 pixel ‘metering’ sensor, replacing the 1005 pixel example used up until now. This sensor is used for much more than just metering, playing a key role in subject tracking, white balance and ‘Active D-lighting’ (a trick Canon seems impressed with, given the appearance of a similar system in the 1DX). The higher-resolution sensor allows the camera to offer face detection when shooting through the optical viewfinder.

Then there are the ergonomic changes to the camera’s body. Again like Canon’s 1DX, moves have been made to make the ergonomics of portrait-orientation shooting more closely resemble those of shooting in landscape format. The camera no longer features a dedicated AFL button, instead gaining push-button joysticks for both the vertical and landscape shooting orientations. An additional rubberized lump has also been added to provide a better grip in the vertical orientation and an additional function button added next to the vertical shutter button.

Key Specifications:

  • 16.2 effective megapixel, full-frame sensor (16.6MP total)
  • 10fps shooting with AF and AE, 11fps with focus and exposure locked, 24fps 2.5MP grabs
  • 91,000 pixel sensor for metering, white balance, flash exposure, face detection and active d-lighting
  • ISO Range 100-12,800 (extendable from 50 – 204,800)
  • MultiCAM 3500FX Autofocus sensor works in lower light and with smaller apertures
  • Two sub-selector joystick/buttons for shooting orientation
  • 1080p30 HD video at up to 24Mbps with uncompressed video output
  • New EN-EL18 battery (21.6Wh capacity, CIPA-rated at 2600 shots)
  • Twin card slots – one Compact Flash and one XQD

Details:

The D4 has a new autofocus sensor and, while its headline improvement is that it can now focus in lower light, this isn’t the only step forward. The sensor module has also been redesigned to enable it to operate with slower lenses (and lens/teleconverter combinations that give slower effective apertures). As before, with lenses of f5.6 or faster, 15 of its 51 AF points act as cross-type: sensitive to both horizontal and vertical detail. The 9 central focus points will continue as cross type when used with lenses with a maximum aperture of between f5.6 and f8. And, in a step forward for the range, the D4’s central AF point will still operate as a cross-type point with lens or lens/converter combinations with a maximum aperture of f8. In addition 10 AF points retain horizontal sensitivity at this aperture.

Ergonomics

Nikon has made a series of changes to the ergonomics of the D4 – representing some of the biggest changes to the body shape of this series of cameras. The first change many existing Nikon users will spot is that the D4’s shutter button now sits at a different angle, compared to previous models (apparently 35deg is more comfortable than 28deg, for long periods spent shooting).

There are a couple of changes to functions, mainly brought over from more lowly Nikon DSLRs. These include the addition of a button to the AF mode selector switch. Pressing this button and spinning a dial changes the AF area mode. The D4 also loses its metering mode selection switch from the viewfinder hump – it’s now one of the three functions controlled by the cluster on the left-hand shoulder of the camera. There’s also an additional button to the left of the camera’s LCD, with the D4 finally adopting the company’s separate zoom in/zoom out button behavior in live view and playback that has swept across the rest of the range.

 

The biggest changes, however, come for shooters using the camera in the portrait orientation. The ergonomics have been re-worked to better resemble the camera’s primary controls, with an extra (rubberized) lump on the camera’s back, to give more steady support. A function button has also been added, just beside the portrait shutter button, to give quick access to more functions. Most noticeably, though, the portrait orientation also gains a ‘sub-selector’ joystick to make AF point selection as convenient in portrait format shooting as it is with the camera held in landscape orientation.

Auto ISO improvements

Nikon has for a long time offered a degree of control over its Auto ISO settings, allowing the user to specify a minimum shutter speed that the camera should aim to maintain by raising the ISO. However shooters using zoom lenses, or worried about camera shake rather than freezing the action, may prefer a minimum shutter speed that relates to the focal length in use, rather than specifying an absolute figure. This has been resolved on the D4, with an Auto ISO system that detects the lens’ focal length. When this is activated by setting the minimum shutter speed to ‘Auto’, the user can then also bias the program towards using slower shutter speeds and lower ISOs, or faster shutter speeds and higher ISOs, in five steps.

Illuminated buttons

The D4 gains a feature that many D3 and D3S owners are likely to have found themselves hoping for: illuminated controls. Given the D3’s popularity for low-light work, and the further capability that the D3S brought, the ability to see the controls in the extremely low light levels that these cameras could operate in risked becoming an issue. With a maximum sensitivity of ISO 204,800 equivalent, it becomes even more pressing for the D4.

All the buttons immediately around the screen are now illuminated, as are the three on the cluster on the camera’s left-hand shoulder. The white stripe above the mode dial also lights up, though it’s not obvious how well this will illuminate the mode wheel. If it prevents the accidental engagement of Continuous Hi or Self Timer modes when you’re trying to select quiet shutter mode in a theatre or live music venue, that will be extremely welcome. Illumination is activated using the ‘light’ position on the power switch and the camera can be configured so that just the buttons (rather than the buttons and the status LCD panels) light up.

Video

The parallel advances made in sensor technology and Internet video distribution have helped create the ability to capture and broadcast video footage. In turn this has put pressure on many professional photographers to capture clips alongside their stills. In addition, the broadcast and movie industries have adopted the 5D Mark II to a degree that appears to have surprised even Canon. As a result, it’s not surprising that the 4D features more advanced, and better integrated, video capabilities than its predecessor. The immediate giveaway should probably be the inclusion not just of a mic input socket by a headphone output for monitoring the results (both of which have adjustable input/output levels).

The D4 can shoot 1080p movies at 30, 25 or 24 frames per second and at up to 24Mbps. The video is compressed using the B-frame compression section of the H.264 standard, which tries to optimize the capture of motion without hugely inflating the file sizes. It also has manually configurable volume control, including a line-level audio option. However, what may prove to be the camera’s biggest feature is the ability to export its uncompressed video footage via its HDMI port. We suspect that this feature, beyond all others, may help endear the camera to the broadcast and movie crowd. Whether using this for recording the camera’s best quality footage or to use an external monitor as viewfinder, it’s a feature we expect to become increasingly common.

A number of small details show how carefully Nikon has listened to the needs of movie shooters, giving the option to start movies either with a record button or with the shutter button (which, in turn, allows video capture to be started with the 10-pin cable release). Photojournalists meanwhile, get to pick whether pressing the shutter interrupt the video capture to take a still or to take a full-frame 3:2 aspect ratio 2.5MP frame grab.

Movies can also be shot at three different crops from the sensor, which Nikon is describing as FX, DX and 2.7X (native 1920×1080). This makes it easy to vary the field-of-view for grabbing footage, even if you’ve got a prime lens mounted. However, the ‘FX’ size is a significantly cropped version of the full sensor (it’s 91% of the sensor’s width), so the field-of-view will be a little narrower than you’d expect for any given focal length. Also the native 1920×1080 video will be higher quality than the FX and DX versions, since it hasn’t been downsized. This difference is likely to be incredibly small (almost certainly irrelevant for most users), but is a consideration for high-end video users.

The D4 gains improved aperture control in movie mode, with the addition of ‘Power aperture’. This simply means that the user can adjust the aperture while recording video in the A and M exposure modes. It’s also possible to set the aperture much more precisely in video live view mode before recording starts, in 1/8 stop incrementss using the Pv and Fn buttons on the front of the camera. In principle this should allow more exact matching of recording brightness across multiple camera / lens combinations.

XQD Cards

The D4 becomes the first camera to make use of the new XQD cards, created by the Compact Flash Association. The XQD slot sits alongside a conventional CF slot, and the camera retains all its options for writing and backing-up to its two slots. The new format is not only smaller but also potentially faster than conventional CF cards. And, while few people are likely to be delighted by the arrival of another new format, the speed benefits (up to around 125MB/s) should be enough to persuade shooters not to just leave the slot empty.

Image processing features

With the camera’s more powerful processors, the D4 adds more processing options, including a time lapse movie creator. This builds on the camera’s existing interval timer mode, compiling all the frames together into a full HD movie at the end. However, a fixed playback rate (meaning long-interval shoots end up being super sped-up) and its failure to save the individual frames may limit its appeal.

In a feature taken from other models in the range, the D4 gains in-camera HDR processing, with a choice of the number of frames used and a parameter for how gently all that extra data is incorporated.

Upgraded LCD monitor

The D4’s LCD monitor has been upgraded compared to the D3S – it’s a slightly larger 3.2″ 921000 dot unit, but according to Nikon has a substantially expanded colour gamut that’s close to sRGB. It also has a light sensor to detect ambient light levels, and adjust not only the screen brightness, but also the saturation, contrast and gamma as well, in an attempt to give optimized output. The monitor also has a gel resin between the LCD and the cover glass to minimise any risk of fogging when the camera is exposed to rapid changes of temperature.

WT-5 Wireless Transmitter with web-browser camera control interface

With the D4 comes a new WiFi transmitter, the WT-5, which is a neat little unit that screws onto the side of the body and draws it’s power from the camera’s battery. Its real party trick, though, is a built-in web browser-based remote camera control interface that doesn’t require you to download or install a specialized app. Essentially, you can log into your camera (with a username and password) using your laptop, tablet or smartphone and its standard web browser, at which point you’re presented with a camera control panel with live view feed. You can adjust a wide range of parameters – exposure mode, shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, ISO, white balance and so on, and initiate remote shutter release or video recording.

The WT-5 connects to the socket on the lower left of this image. In the center you can see the microphone and headphone sockets. On the lower right is the Ethernet port.

The web interface also allows you to control multiple cameras simultaneously, including the ability to release their shutters simultaneously. You can even autofocus anywhere in the scene, simply by touching your iPhone or iPad’s screen. Because this is all web-based, you don’t have to physically close to the camera either – in principle you could operate it from a different continent.

Nikon has clearly paid attention to professional photographers’ workflow requirements when shooting, and has tried to set the camera up so there’s no need to use a laptop alongside it any more. To this end the D4 allows photographers to add full IPTC data to all of their image files as they shoot, and can store 10 data presets each containing 14 fields. There’s a new network setup wizard to configure the camera for use over wired LAN, or WiFi in FTP and HTTP mode. The camera can even use the GP-1 GPS receiver to automatically set its internal clock, so multiple cameras can easily be synced and specific events from a shoot identified by the time at which they occurred.

Initial impressions:

Nobody would have reasonably expected the D4 to be a radical departure from the D3S – at this ‘the best we can do without the cost becoming incredible’ end of the market, it’s unusual to see huge leaps forward. Equally it’s no great shock that movie capability would be the focus of the biggest changes to the camera. But little touches such as lit buttons and, in theory at least, improved low-light focusing suggest Nikon has tried to make an even better low-light camera than its predecessor. And, as anyone who’s ever shot with a D3S will tell you, that’s a pretty exciting prospect.

Read more @ dpreview

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