June 23, 2015 – Manfrotto, world leader in the photography and imaging equipment and accessories industry, announces the launch of the new XPRO Ball Head. Designed for passionate, advanced hobbyist photographers and experienced professionals, the new XPRO Ball Head completes the XPRO Heads range that is dedicated to the new 190 and 055 tripods.
It ensures three features essential to photographers: extreme precision, thanks to its Triple Locking System; portability, with a hard-wearing magnesium body; simplicity and convenience, thanks to its 200PL and Top Lock camera plates.
PRECISION Introducing a new sphere lock mechanism, and triple locking system, the XPRO Ball Head is a state of the art head in the Manfrotto ball heads range. The triple locking system guarantees the camera position stability and avoids drifting. It consists of three wedges which apply pressure to the sphere to lock it in position, as the ball lock lever is rotated. The new polymer rings mean that photographers can count on extreme accuracy, and together with the sphere’s PTFE treatment the head ensures smooth, accurate and less jerky camera movement. The innovative sprung system means that, should the lever butt against something during the locking movement, it is possible to pull the lever and rotate to avoid any interference and reposition so it is ready for use. Finally, the levelling bubble helps the user level compositions precisely reducing post-production work.
PORTABILITY Its magnesium alloy body, together with the new hollow sphere, enables the XPRO Ball Head to guarantee high payload performance while maintaining an extremely light structure. It weighs a mere 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs), but can support up to 10kg (22 lbs) of payload.
SIMPLICITY & CONVENIENCE To match various needs, the XPRO Ball Head comes in two plate versions, each with a specific plate. The 200PL is the most common Manfrotto plate: its compact size and lightweight aluminium construction allow it to stay constantly attached under the camera – ideal for advanced hobbyists who are looking for a practical, easy to use product. The Top Lock is an innovative solution for experienced professionals, who need to feel totally secure even when using heavy and expensive high-end camera gear. The XPRO Ball Head is available in two versions that are distinguishable by the coloured finish on their magnesium body: the black version comes with the 200PL, while the grey version comes with the safe and rapid Top Lock System, the MSQ6PL (Arca-Swiss compatible) plate. The new XPRO Ball Head’s design follows the iconic new styling that unites Manfrotto’s entire offering for advanced hobbyists and professionals – while boasting groundbreaking technology, further proof of Manfrotto’s commitment to research and development.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY The Manfrotto XPRO Ball Heads are available now from authorized resellers. The Manfrotto MHXPRO-BHQ2 XPRO Ball Head with 200PL Quick-Release System retails for an MSRP of $149.88 while the MHXPRO-BHQ6 XPRO Ball Head with Top Lock Quick-Release System retails for an MSRP of $199.88.
JUNE 23, 2015 – Kenko Tokina USA, Inc. is excited to announce the new Tokina AT-X 24-70mm F/2.8 PRO FX lens designed for use with Canon and Nikon full-frame sensor DSLR cameras.
Tokina’s latest addition to its family gives full-frame photographers a 24mm wide-angle to 70mm moderate telephoto lens with a fast F/2.8 aperture at an affordable price.
The new groundbreaking proprietary optical design uses three precision molded all-glass aspherical lens elements to achieve excellent contrast, sharpness, and corrects for spherical aberrations. One of these elements is very special and difficult to manufacture. G09, is made from Super-Low Dispersion (SD) glass and is a large sized aspherical element.
These lens elements also yield even illumination across the whole image sensor.
The Tokina 24-70MM lens also uses three SD (super-low Dispersion, “FK01” and FK03”) glass elements in the rear groups to control chromatic aberrations.
All these specialized lens elements work in consort to yield maximum resolution to match the 50-megapixel DSLR cameras entering the market.
The fast constant F/2.8 aperture makes viewing and auto focusing possible in very low light situations while keeping some flexibility for setting the shutter speed.
In addition to excellent optics, the lens incorporates a fast moving SDM (Silent Drive-Module) motor to greatly reduce AF noise making it one of Tokina’s quickest and quietest auto-focusing lenses to date.
Tokina’s exclusive One-touch Focus Clutch Mechanism allows the photographer to switch between AF and MF simply by snapping the focus ring forward for AF and back toward the lens mount for manual focusing. The lens is also designed to stand up to the rigors of daily use by photographers in a wide variety of shooting conditions and environments.
The first 1:1 Macro lens with a 110° angle of view. It offers an impactful and unprecendented macro photography experience.
Anhui China, Jun 12, 2015 – Venus Optics, the Chinese camera lenses manufacturer who had launched the world’s first 2:1 Macro Lens in last Sept, has just released the world’s widest Macro lens for full frame cameras, Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide-Angled 1:1 Macro Lens.
The new Laowa 15mm f/4 1:1 Macro lens is the first lens in the market which posseses a ultra wide angle of view and 1:1 Macro ability. This allows photographers from around the world to start experiencing the rather undeveloped field of ‘Wide Angle Macro Photography’ without using an extension tube. Macro Lenses currently in the market tends to have a mid to long focal length and it limits users to take very close-up shots on the insect or flowers, without showing much of the background details like its habitat or environment.
The new Laowa 15mm f/4 1:1 Macro lens features an ultra wide angle of view of 110 degrees with 1:1 maximum magnification. Photographers can focus very close to the subject and let the foreground dominates in the photo but at the same time, have the background telling viewers about where and how the subject lives. You picture will immdiately become very informative and intriguing.
The lens can also serve as an excellent ultra-wide angle lenses with infinity focus for cameras with full frame sensors. A shift mechanism is added at the rear end of the lens with a maximum adjustment of +/- 6mm, which is extremely useful for landscape/architecture photography for distortion correction.
The lens houses with 12 elements in 9 groups with 3 pieces of High Refractive elements and 1 piece of Extra-low dispersion elements to deliver crystal sharpness both in the center and the edge. Barrel Distortion was also carefully controlled. 14 pieces of aperture blades form a close-to-circular aperture, capable of creating creamy shallow depth of view. The enclosure of the lens is made of metal to strengthen its durability. Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony Alpha, Sony FE and Pentax K mounts are available.
Angle of View
110 degrees (FF) 85 degrees (APS-C)
Shift (for APS-C sensors only)
+/- 6 mm
12 elements in 9 groups (High Refractive Elements x 3pcs, Extra-low Disperson Elements x 1pc)
Min. working distance
0.47 cm (1:1)
Min. shooting distance
Max. Magnification Ratio
83.8 x 64.7 mm
Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Pentax K, Sony FE
Pricing and Availability The Laowa 15mm f/4 wide-angle macro lens will be available in late July at authorized resellers. The recommended retail price is at USD $479.00.
Nikon Ambassador, Photographer Joe McNally, revisits Dubai again to dangle on ropes off the side of the amazing Burj Khalifa (The World’s Tallest Building). This time it’s a descent from floor 112 with fearless window washers. For McNally’s story and a wonderful array of photos, check out his blog.
Let's face it – photo gear is expensive. Most gear purchases require a significant amount of planning, saving and consideration before pressing the "Add to Cart" button. However, there are a few pieces of gear that are, in my opinion, worth much more than you pay for them.
Here are five inexpensive (less than $20.00) tools that no photographer should be without:
Giottos Rocket Blaster Dust-Removal Tool ($8.95 - $11.95) – If you own a DSLR and ever change your lens (that includes most of us), this tool is indespensible in keeping your sensor clean. For stubborn stuck-on dust and debris, you'll need to peform a more expensive wet cleaning, but the Rocket Blaster is the best (and cheapest) first line of defense against dust spots showing up in your images. It's also a great tool for cleaning the exterior of cameras and lenses which can lessen the time involved in post-processing product shots (and why Bryan uses this tool substantially more than I do).
Filter Wrench ($4.95 - $8.95) – Have you ever stacked filters on your lens? If so, you may already know how valuable this cheap tool can be. I often stack filters – ND + ND, CPOL + ND – and inevitably, they become stuck together. The problem is especailly bad when using a circular polarizer becaues the area you have to grip is significantly smaller than with other filters. In this case, a filter wrench can save you from the time consuming and frustrating headache induced by trying to separate stuck filters.
Super Clamp ($19.95) – The possible list of uses for this handy little tool would likely equal the text found in a small novel. While this particular tool isn't terribly useful on its own, it expands what's capable when used with other tools (many of which you may may already own). For example, I've used them to put shoe-mount flashes in hard to reach places (using an umbrella swivel). I've used them to help secure a battery pack to a lightstand (using a hook adapter accessory). I've even used them as a camera platform when shooting in urban environments or as an easy way to mount a remote camera as seen in the image above (using a quick release clamp attached to the top). For what it's worth, I like version with the T-handle best (it's easier to pack as it takes up less room). And by the way, don't carelessly throw away the wedge insert (like I did with my first super clamp); it's used to allow the clamp to be easily and safely mounted to flat surfaces.
Microfiber Cloth ($1.59 - $8.95) – I have approximately a dozen of these stuffed into various camera bags and drawers but I'd never complain about having more of them. They are the best tool for keeping your front element/front filter clean. As such, they should never be out of arm's reach.
Gaffer Tape (starting at $1.95) – The beauty of this tape is how well it holds in place and how easily it can be removed without leaving a sticky residue. If the list of uses for a super clamp could fill a small novel, the list of uses for gaffer tape could likely fill the pages of War and Peace. I could not begin to describe all the ways I've used gaffer tape. If you don't currently have a roll in your gear bag, get one now; you won't regret it.
The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce that we are going to introduce the SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art, the world's first large-aperture full-frame wide-angle zoom lens offering F2 brightness throughout the zoom range.
While offering the premier optics of the Art line, this lens covers 24mm, 28mm and 35mm focal lengths. Incredible performance overturns the conventional perception of a zoom lens.
SIGMA was determined to create a zoom lens that offers the same brightness and resolution as a fixed focal length lens: in other words, the highest level of optical performance. The result of this challenge was the SIGMA 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art, the world’s first zoom to offer a fast F1.8 aperture value throughout the zoom range. Building on this concept, SIGMA has developed the new SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art for 35mm full frame sensor. It allows photographers to carry one lens to do the work of three fixed focal length lenses, a 24mm, 28mm and 35mm — with F2 brightness and top optical performance. One package delivers flexible functionality and high convenience. In particular, at the 24mm and 35mm focal lengths, this lens offers the performance that is equivalent to that of two prime lenses in the Art line. Instead of changing one high-performance fixed focal length lens for another, simply zoom. This is a new zoom lens for 35mm full frame sensor SLRs that offers the quality of a fixed focal length lens at various angles of view.
1. The world’s first large-aperture full-frame zoom lens offering a wide open aperture of F2 throughout the zoom range A large-diameter zoom lens covering the full frame image sensor. Optical performance equivalent to a fixed focal length lens throughout the entire zoom range. These are the concepts the SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM embodies. It covers three of the most commonly used prime lenses, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm all in one lens. In order to achieve an attractive bokeh effect at wide aperture, we have developed the world's first zoom lens for the 35mm full frame sensor with an F2 aperture value throughout the zoom range.
2. Outstanding optical performance of the fixed focal length lenses in SIGMA’s Art line The SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM builds on the concept of the SIGMA 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art, the world’s first zoom lens to offer F1.8 brightness throughout the zoom range. Thanks to the outstanding optical performance, the lens provides the quality of high performance fixed focal length lenses in the Art line
3. Covering the range of three fixed focal length wide-angle lenses Delivering excellent functionality and convenience, one lens offers the equivalent quality of three high-performance fixed focal length lenses at F2 brightness: 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. With a minimum focusing distance of 28cm and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.4, this lens is suitable for close-up shooting, portraits with an attractive bokeh and deep-focus landscape photography. Photographers have access to the angle of view equivalent to that of three wide-angle lenses without having to switch them. While achieving the desired background effect can be difficult with a conventional wide-angle lens, the large diameter of this lens allows photographers to open the aperture wide and use the shallow focus to achieve stunning results.
4. Incorporating SIGMA’s latest technologies To realize a large-diameter zoom lens for full frame cameras with F2 brightness, SIGMA designed each and every part with uncompromising care and quality. The lens incorporates large-diameter aspherical lens elements, which require advanced technologies to manufacture, one FLD (“F” Low Dispersion) glass and seven SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements, of which two are aspherical lenses. The advanced optics and optimized lens power distribution minimize spherical aberration, axial chromatic aberration and field curvature, resulting in outstanding optical performance. Even at widest aperture, this lens delivers breathtaking image quality.
5. Convenient handling The inner focusing system eliminates front lens rotation, enhancing the lens' stability and allowing use of Circular Polarizing filters. This specification is particularly convenient for shooting video.
Minimum focusing distance of 28cm With a minimum focusing distance of 28cm and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.4, this lens is excellent for close-up photography.
Designed to minimize flare and ghosting From an early stage in the lens design process, flare and ghosting have been measured to establish an optical design resistant to strong incident light sources such as backlighting. The Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides sharp and high contrast images even in backlit conditions. The included lens hood can be attached to block out extraneous light, which can have a negative effect on rendering performance.
Hyper Sonic Motor ensures High AF Speed The HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) ensures a silent, high-speed AF function. By optimizing the AF algorithm, smoother AF is achieved. Also, this lens offers full-time MF by rotating the focus ring of the lens while auto focusing. Without changing the AF/MF Focus Mode Switch, it allows faster focus adjustment.
Rounded Diaphragm The 9 blade-rounded diaphragm creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas of the image.
Brass bayonet mount This lens incorporates a brass bayonet mount which has both high accuracy and durability. A special treatment to reinforce its strength is applied to the surface giving it greater strength and making it highly resistant to long-term use.
Applicable for the Mount Conversion Service As an experienced lens manufacturer that has been creating a diverse range of interchangeable lenses, we have started the innovative "Mount Conversion Service". With this chargeable service, the mount of your current SIGMA lenses can be changed to another mount of your choice. It gives new life to your favorite lenses when you wish to use them on a different camera body.
Art line delivers high-level artistic expression SIGMA is organizing all its interchangeable lenses into three product lines; Contemporary, Art, and Sports, where each line has a distinctive concept. Designed with a focus on sophisticated optical performance and abundant expressive power, our Art line delivers high-level artistic expression. With the astonishing rendering performance that meets the highest standard, along with landscapes, portraits, still-lifes, close-ups, and general snaps, they are perfect for the kind of photography that unleashes the inner artist. Ideal for studio photography, they offer just as much expressive scope when capturing architecture and starry skies and many other scenes.
Customization and flexible adjustment for convenience or a specific purpose is possible. SIGMA USB DOCK that is designed exclusively for the new lens line-ups. With the optional SIGMA USB DOCK, you can update your lens firmware, adjust focus points and customize Full-time MF function settings as well as the timing to operate the Full-time MF function. By attaching this lens to a SIGMA USB DOCK, which is connected to a computer, the dedicated software "SIGMA Optimization Pro" offers various types of customization and adjustment.
New product lines from SGV concepts that are setting new benchmarks for image quality.
Design Concept With the new product lines, supplied hoods incorporate rubber for the connected part. Lens caps and AF/MF switches are also newly designed in order to improve usability. For the internal parts, various metals and a new material called TSC (Thermally Stable Composite), which works well with metal, are located to achieve products with high accuracy. The lens barrel includes the year of release, engraved for users to recognize when the lens was released.
Evaluation with SIGMA's own MTF measuring system "A1" We used to measure lens performance with an MTF measuring system using conventional sensors. However, we've now developed our own proprietary MTF (modulation transfer function) measuring system (A1) using 46-megapixel Foveon direct image sensors. Even previously undetectable high-frequency details are now within the scope of our quality control inspections. All SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM lenses will all be checked using "A1" before they are shipped.
Made in Japan All SIGMA's manufacturing – right down to molds and parts – with a few exceptions, are carried out under a single integrated production system, entirely in Japan. We are now one of the very few manufacturers whose products are solely "made in Japan". We like to think our products are somehow imbued with the essence of our homeland, blessed as it is with clean air and water, and focused, hard-working people. We pride ourselves on the authentic quality of SIGMA products, born of a marriage between highly attuned expertise and intelligent, advanced technology. Our sophisticated products have satisfied professionals and lovers of photography all over the world, because our manufacturing is based on genuine craftsmanship, underpinned by the passion and pride of our experts.
Specifications Lens Construction: 18 elements in 13 groups | Minimum aperture: F/16 | Filter size: 082mm | Angle of view (35mm): 84.1°-63.4° | Minimum focusing distance: 28cm/11.0in. | Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 087.6mm x 122.7mm/3.4in. x 4.8in. | Number of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded diaphragm) | Maximum magnification ratio: 1:4.4 | Weight: 940g/33.2oz.