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 Friday, February 13, 2015
LensRentals Logo
Roger Cicala performed a teardown of the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM and came away wondering, "Is this the best built lens ever?"
 
From the LensRentals Blog:
"For those two or three of you who don't like a little lens strip-tease I'll give you the quick summary: the build quality on this thing is amazing. I usually laugh when people describe a lens as 'built like a tank' because what I know is the lens they are describing has a thick, heavy outer metal shell filled with tiny delicate pieces that break and wear out with great frequency. But this lens is built like a tank inside and out.
 
...
 
I know I can't really, without showing you dozens of other lenses, do a good job of impressing you with just how robustly engineered this lens is. I will say that the insides look more like what we'd expect to see in a 500mm f/4 or 600mm f/4 lens, rather than a telezoom. It's by far the most heavily engineered zoom lens Aaron and I have ever seen; and we've seen the insides of dozens of lenses in this range.
 
Well done, Canon engineers, well done!"
The fully illustrated article can be found on the LensRentals Blog.
 
B&H carries the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.
Post Date: 2/13/2015 6:42:27 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Tamron Tripod Ring A011TL for 150-600mm VC Lens
From Tamron:
 
A newly designed optional tripod mount ring for SP 150-600mm VC USD extends the base surface of the tripod mount to improve stability and versatility
 
February 13, 2015, Saitama, Japan - Tamron Co., Ltd. (President & CEO: Morio Ono), a leading manufacturer of precision optics, has announced that the company will display samples of a tripod mount ring (long type) for SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD(Model A011)at CP+ 2015, which will be held from February 12 to 15, 2015, in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.
 
Tamron has designed a new tripod mount ring (long type) for its popular SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD (Model A011). Compared to the supplied tripod mount, the new long-type design provides an extended base surface. This extra space not only makes it possible to add a second screw hole for secure mounting, thereby enhancing stability and versatility, but also makes it easier for users to hold the base surface and carry it around. The new mount ring will be sold as a separate accessory.
 
The samples will be on display at CP+ 2015, which will be held from February 12 to 15, 2015 (CP+ booth G-28).
 
Product NameDate of Launch
Tripod mount ring (long type), an optional accessory for the A011 (Model A011TL)To be determined
Category: Tamron News
Post Date: 2/13/2015 6:27:22 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, February 12, 2015
Nikon D4s DSLR Camera
eBay (via GetItDigital) has the Nikon D4s DSLR Camera Body available for $4,772.99 with free shipping. Compare at $6,496.95.
 
Note: This is likely a grey market item and not technically eligible for a Nikon USA warranty or service; however, the seller advertises that a 3-year warranty is included.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 2/12/2015 7:54:53 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
E-Image Two Stage Aluminum Tripod Legs with GH03 Head
For today only, B&H has the E-Image Two Stage Aluminum Tripod Legs with GH03 Head available for $149.95 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $299.95.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Supports Up to 9 Pounds
  • 75mm Ball/Bowl
  • 3-Section Legs with Mono-Lock Design
  • Height Range 26 to 61"
  • Easy Lock Baseplate
  • Fixed Counterbalance
  • Variable Fluid Pan & Tilt Drag
  • 1/4"-20 Threaded Accessory Socket
  • Padded Bag with Shoulder Strap
Post Date: 2/12/2015 6:53:00 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
DJI Ronin 3-Axis Gimbal Stabalizer
For a limited time, Adorama has the DJI Ronin 3-Axis Gimbal Stabalizer available for $2,499.00 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $2,999.00.
Post Date: 2/12/2015 6:17:41 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Tokina Announces Cinema AT-X 50-135mm T3.0 Lens with PL Mount
From Tokina:
 
February 11, 2015 – Kenko Tokina USA, Inc. is pleased to announce the Tokina Cinema AT-X 50-135mm T3.0 lens. Tokina engineers created a lens of this focal length that is Parfocal, has dramatically reduced breathing and image shift, and has a de-clicked, 9-bladed, curved iris for beautiful bokeh and precise exposure control. With its 1M close-focus capability, the lens allows you the freedom to capture tight close-ups while maintaining a comfortable distance from your subject.
 
The Tokina Cinema 50-135mm T3.0 optic is 4K ready and beyond and delivers a highly versatile zoom range in a compact design. The lens has an industry standard 114mm outer front barrel for matt boxes and a 112mm filter threat for mounting filters or other accessories.
 
Features:
 
  • Parfocal lens design allows you to maintain precise focus while using the zoom control.
  • Constant T3.0 throughout the 50mm to 135mm zoom range
  • Reduced breathing so you can focus on the scene and not the lens
  • Smooth, de-clicked, 9-bladed, curved iris for beautiful out-of-focus areas.
  • Virtually no image shift when using the zoom control during filming
  • Aspherical elements and Super-Low Dispersion glass reduce distortion and increase optical performance
  • 4K Image ready
  • Durable, all-metal cine-style housing with geared manual zoom, focus, and aperture rings for use in follow-focus systems.
  • Common 114mm front diameter for use with a wide variety of matte boxes and accessories.
  • Zoom, focus, and iris markings are on both sides of the lens for easy viewing and more mounting/follow-focus options.
  • LDS (Lens Data System) support is possible
  • Available Mounts: PL and EF
Specifications:
 
MountsPL, Canon EF
Focal Length 50-135mm
Maximum Aperture T3.0 Constant
Zoom Ratio2.7
Optical Structure 14 groups /18 elements
Sensor Size Super 35mm
Minimum Focus Distance 1m ( 3.28 ft)
Magnification Ratio00:00.0
Zoom Mode Rotary Zoom
Aperture/Iris Blades9
Depth of Field T3.0 – T22 (F2.8 – F22)
Filter Size 112 mm
Overall Length PL Mount - 159mm (from 142mm mount surface)
EF Mount - 155.5mm (from 150mm mount surface)
Diameter of Front 114mm
Maximum Diameter 123mm
Weight 1.53kg
Price$4,499.00
Availability April 2015

B&H has the Tokina Cinema 50-135mm T3.0 available for preorder.
 
Note: Image above shows the PL mount version of the lens. The EF mount image was not available at the time of this post.
Category: Tokina News
Post Date: 2/11/2015 8:59:40 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens
B&H has the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens available for preorder.
 
Product Highlights:
 
  • Canon EF Lens/Full Frame
  • Aperture Range: f/5-6.3 to 22
  • One FLD and Three SLD Elements
  • Hyper Sonic Motor AF System
  • Optical Stabilizer with Accelerometer
  • Zoom Lock & Manual Override Switches
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 110.2"
  • Splash and Dust Proof Mount
  • Lens Hood & Tripod Collar
  • Compatible with Sigma USB Dock
Category: Preorders
Post Date: 2/11/2015 11:27:56 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, February 10, 2015
AdoramaPix Logo
Through February 13, use coupon code PXLOVEU25 at AdoramaPix to recieve 25% off everything they make!
Post Date: 2/10/2015 12:40:10 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Sigma TS-81 Arca-Swiss Compatible Tripod Foot
From Sigma:
 
We are pleased to announce the development of TRIPOD SOCKET TS-81 that is the optional lens foot which can be attached to the SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports.
 
It is compatible with the Arca Swiss quick release plate and the clamp. The deliberately designed length of its rail provides the flexibility to adjust the center of gravity making it balance perfectly, even while zooming or using accessories, such as a tele converter and battery pack. Consideration has been given to the portability and transportation of the lens when Tripod Socket TS-81 is attached. The lens hood can still be reversed and the lens stored in its original padded case, even with the Tripod Socket TS-81 attached. Incorporated into the Tripod Socket are safety stopper screws to prevent the lens from falling. There are 2 sizes of screw holes, 1/4 and 3/8, making it compatible with tripods other than Arca Swiss, too. When it is compared to the supplied tripod socket, it offers more space between the lens and device, and the change of grip has improved the usage as a handle for carrying.
 
Launch Date & Price: TBD
 
Note: The TS-81 Tripod Foot is not yet available for preorder. We will advise when it becomes available.
Category: Sigma News
Post Date: 2/10/2015 12:33:11 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
From Sigma UK:
 
2015-02-10 09:00:00
 
New Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens
 
The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens. SIGMA has a proven reputation for wide-angle lens design and manufacturing. Drawing on this experience and design know-how, refined through development of the SIGMA 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art and SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art, we have successfully minimized sagittal coma flare, chromatic aberration, distortion and vignetting to achieve exceptional levels of optical performance with almost no aberration or distortion. The Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens is the latest “F1.4” to join the Sigma Art line series which is built with the highest optical performance in its class and perfect for a variety of subjects from cityscapes to a star-filled night sky. It is a new horizon for a large F1.4 maximum aperture wide-angle lens with rendering performance that is at a whole new level.
 
Price TBD
 
Available in SIGMA, Canon and Nikon AF mounts. Sony mount to be announced.
 
Estimated availability for Sigma and Canon mounts in March 2015, Nikon mount in April 2015.
 
I'm sure that "Price TBD" is at least part of the reason B&H and other retailers are not currently accepting preorders. Watch the site's news page closely to be the first to know when the preorder line opens. With a March initial delivery date, the wait shouldn't be long.
Category: Sigma News
Post Date: 2/10/2015 12:14:15 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
EOS M Third Party Batteries
by Sean Setters
 
I've been using various third-party batteries alongside OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) ones in my DSLRs for years (first starting with the Rebel XTi). The price of third-party batteries make them attractive from a consumer's standpoint, but they often deliver lower performance compared to the OEM ones.
 
For example, third-party batteries don't last as long in my 5D Mark III and don't seem to be as efficient at holding a charge over time as their OEM counterparts. And there's an additional inconvenience factor when it comes to third-party batteries – as I noted in late 2013, Canon has redesigned their battery chargers to render them incompatible with third-party batteries. This means you must use a separate battery charger for charging third-party batteries. As a side note, redesigning the LC-E6 charger to be incompatible with third-party batteries led to some unintended consequences, as evidenced by a subsequent Canon product advisory.
 
Even knowing the drawbacks that came with third-party batteries, I continued to use them. Their price seemed fair for their mediocre performance. This weekend, a failure completely changed my perception of the value of third-party batteries.
 
I decided to film a friend's band, Three Penny Nickel, at a local watering hole on Saturday. Up until then, all of their videos had been captured via cell phone by a fan in the audience. I thought I could do better and set out to try.
 
I packed my 5D III into a backpack with a few lenses, my EOS M (with 22mm STM) and a Zoom H2n. I brought along my 7D Mark II with EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM mounted on a Glidecam HD-4000. My plan was to set up two stationary cameras (the 5D III and EOS M) on opposite sides of the band while capturing stabilized, moving video with the 7D II. I knew that a three camera setup was ideal so that when crossing the view of one camera I could always rely on the other stationary camera if the moving video wasn't to my satisfaction. I checked the battery levels in the DSLRs and they were just fine. I replaced the mostly-drained OEM battery in the EOS M with a fully-charged third-party battery that had been sitting on my desk for a time. Seeing that the camera registered the third party battery as full, I didn't pack another battery (big mistake). Then I headed for the venue.
 
I arrived a little early in order to set up my equipment. I propped up the 5D Mark III on a railing with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens attached and pointed at the band. The field of view was just about perfect for capturing the three front band members.
 
I set up the EOS M on the opposite railing and began adjusting the camera's settings. About 30 seconds after turning the camera on, the LCD went blank. Puzzled, I removed the battery and replaced it. Nothing. At the time I wasn't sure if the battery had simply failed or the camera had become inoperable for some reason. After returning home and replacing the third-party battery with a freshly-charged OEM one, identifying the culprit was easy. The camera powered right up as you'd expect with a freshly charged battery.
 
With only minutes before the band was to perform, it didn't matter if the camera had failed or the battery, the effect was the same (at least for the time being) – not having working battery (either primary or backup) meant that I only had two cameras available to me to complete filming. That fact proved quite limiting when cutting the video together the next day in Vegas Pro 13. An additional camera angle would have allowed for a more polished end result, especially considering the challenging shooting conditions.
 
It's true, I should have had a backup battery on hand for the event. However, considering all the drawbacks of third-party batteries – with overall reliability being one of them – I've decided to stick to OEM batteries going forward. And yes, anything can fail (even OEM products). But from my personal experience, I have much less to worry about from OEM products than I do from third-party ones. And that's especially true for batteries.
 
B&H carries Canon batteries.
Post Date: 2/10/2015 10:01:56 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens
B&H began shipping the Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens earlier this month but original stock was very low. However, it seems more orders will be heading out the door today.
 
As such, our lens is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and completing the standardized test results for this lens will be a high priority.
 
Stay tuned...
Post Date: 2/10/2015 8:43:23 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Nikon D810A DSLR Camera
From Nikon:
 
The D810A Provides New Features Specifically for Astrophotography, Nikon Also Announces Availability of D750 Filmmaker’s Kit
 
MELVILLE, NY – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the new D810A, a DSLR optimized for astrophotography and other scientific applications. By modifying the infrared cut filter for the hydrogen alpha wavelength, Nikon has created a camera that gives photographers the ability to capture the diffuse nebulae in the night sky and to create colorful, breathtaking celestial images. The D810A shares its architecture with the powerful and professional high-resolution Nikon D810 DSLR and includes other new features designed uniquely to help capture the cosmos, letting users achieve sharp and vibrant images of the universe.
 
“The Nikon D810A is engineered exclusively to meet the unique demands of professional and hobbyist astrophotographers,” said Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “The camera’s distinctive feature set and powerful imaging capabilities make it an appealing option for those who are ready to discover the fantastic cosmic features that are hidden among the stars.”
 
I AM Star Struck: DSLR Optimized for Astrophotography
The Nikon D810A provides hobbyists as well as professional stargazers with a powerful combination of impressive resolution and features specifically created for astrophotography and scientific applications. The infrared (IR) cut filter has been optimized to allow transmission of the hydrogen alpha spectral line, resulting in four times greater sensitivity of the 656nm wavelength. The resulting images capture the brilliant red hues of diffuse nebulae and constellations in striking detail and fidelity. While not recommended for general photography, the D810A is an excellent option for photographing the universe with either NIKKOR lenses or third-party adaptors for telescopes.
 
In addition to the optimized IR cut filter, the D810A adds other features that are useful for astrophotography applications. A new Long Exposure Manual Mode is implemented, giving users the ability to set shutter speeds from 4, 5, 8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60, 120, 180, 240, 300, 600 or 900 seconds (15 minutes), as well as Bulb and Time settings. Building upon the D810’s excellent low-light capabilities, the ISO range has been optimized from 200 to 12,800 (Hi-2 51,200), for maximum sensitivity with the optimal signal to noise ratio.
 
The D810A also adds a new Virtual Exposure Preview Mode, which displays an estimated preview image and is available when shooting at shutter speeds longer than 30 seconds when in Live View. The brightened preview image represents a 30 second exposure, simplifying focusing and composition.
 
The Best of Both Worlds
The Nikon D810A is based off of the Nikon D810 architecture and retains all of the features that make it a powerful tool for creating images. Users will be able to produce photos of the heavens in super high resolution thanks to the 36.3-megapixel CMOS sensor. The image sensor works in tandem with Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED 4 Image processing engine to deliver images with low noise and a dynamic range that is nothing short of stellar. The D810A also features an Electronic Front Curtain Shutter Mode, letting the electronic front curtain act as a shutter when in live view or first composing through the optical viewfinder in mirror-up mode. This feature minimizes vibrations to attain maximum sharpness when shooting subjects at very slow shutter speeds. The camera also features a durable magnesium alloy body that is sealed against dirt and moisture, giving users peace of mind when getting away from the city lights means a trek off of the beaten path.
 
The Nikon D810A is compatible with a wide range of high quality NIKKOR lenses and accessories, including wireless infrared remotes, cable releases and the new WR-1 wireless remote system. Additionally, Nikon’s Capture NX-D software is available as a free download, and it will feature a new option for Astro Noise Reduction for use with D810A image files.
 
Nikon D750 Filmmaker’s Kit
For users who are looking to take advantage of the Nikon D750’s advanced video capabilities, Nikon is now offering a Filmmaker’s Kit that includes everything needed to get started in the world of cinema. The kit contains three NIKKOR lenses in popular focal lengths, including the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens, the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G lens and the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens; all which provide stunning HD clarity and excellent depth of field control for filmmakers. The kit also contains two additional EN-EL15 batteries, an ME-1 Stereo Microphone, one Atomos Ninja-2 External Recorder, and Tiffen 67mm and 58mm Variable Neutral Density Filters (8-Stops) for superior control of light. In addition, the Nikon D750 Filmmaker’s Kit features custom foam inserts, which are ideally sized for use in a hard case for transporting equipment to your next video production.
 
Price and Availability
The Nikon D810A will be available in late May 2015 and pricing will be announced at a later date. The Nikon D750 Filmmaker’s Kit will be available in late February for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $3,999.95.
 
B&H has the Nikon D810A and D750 Filmmaker's Kit available for preorder.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 2/10/2015 7:57:32 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
Sigma has just announced a lens that closely resembles another highly successful model in their lineup, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens. If these two lenses share similar image quality, the 24 Art is a certain hit.
 
From Sigma:
 
Sigma Corporation of America Introduces New 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens at CP+ Imaging Show
 
Latest Global Vision Art lens offers highest-quality optical performance in its class
 
YOKOHAMA, Japan — February 10, 2015 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of some of the world's most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, today announced the new Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens, the ninth Global Vision lens to join the company’s iconic Art line-up. The announcement comes at the start of the CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show 2015, which begins on Feb. 12 in Yokohama, Japan.
 
The much anticipated 24mm F1.4 Art wide angle lens is designed for full-frame DSLRs, and when used on digital cameras with an APS-C size image sensor, it effectively becomes a 38mm. The lens is ideal for capturing a variety of photography subjects, including cityscapes, mountain ranges, astrophotography and weddings and is great for videography work as well. The 24mm also excels at indoor photography in low illumination thanks to the combination of exceptional focal plane sharpness, and gorgeous bokeh rendered by nine rounded aperture blades. The lens achieves a maximum magnification of 1:5.3 with a minimum focusing distance of 9.8 inches. The 24mm incorporates both "F" Low Dispersion (FLD) glass and Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass in a design of 15 elements in 11 groups to minimize chromatic aberration of magnification especially in the edge of the image field. Moreover, the optimized power layout includes aspherical elements that are positioned in the rear of the lens for improved wide open performance. This helps to ensure minimal distortion through the correction of axial chromatic aberration and sagittal coma flare. The new lens element design also delivers excellent peripheral brightness.
 
“The Sigma Art lenses are recognized by photographers for world-class performance, and the new 24mm F1.4 DG HSM will be a significant contribution to our selection of fast aperture prime lenses which is quickly becoming a strong force in the industry” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “Sigma is redefining the expectations of fast-aperture full-frame prime lens performance, especially wide-open, and the results the 24mm F1.4 will deliver will be up to the exacting standards set by the 35mm F1.4 DG HSM and 50mm F1.4 DG HSM .”
 
Other updates to this lens include a new full-time manual focusing mechanism that switches to manual focusing, simply by rotating the focus ring, even when AF is being used, first introduced on the 50mm Art. This allows the photographer to make focus adjustments quickly and easily. As with all new lenses under the Global Vision categories, every 24mm will be tested using Sigma’s own MTF measuring system, “A1,” in the company’s factory in Japan.
 
Other lenses in the Art line include 35mm F1.4 DG HSM, 30mm F1.4 DC HSM, 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM, 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM, 50mm F1.4 DG HSM, 19mm F2.8 DN, 30mm F2.8 DN and 60mm F2.8 DN.
 
The 24mm F1.4 is compatible with Sigma’s USB dock, allowing photographers to update the lens’ firmware and change focus parameters as well as manual focus over-ride using Sigma's Optimization Pro software. It is also compatible with Sigma’s Mount Conversion Service. The lens will be available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts, and timing, pricing and availability will be announced at a later date.
 
Ordering the Sigma 24 Art Lens
 
Hopefully the fulfillment process for this lens is more expediant than we are currently experiencing with the 150-600 Sports and 24-105 Art lenses. While many lenses are introduced to relatively low demand, my expectation is that this is not one of them.
 
B&H has the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts on their site, but preorders are not currently being accepted.
Category: Sigma News
Post Date: 2/10/2015 12:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, February 9, 2015
Lens Decentering
I mentioned that reviewing the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens was one of my top priorities and a friend came to my rescue by providing a copy of this lens to test. I have good news and bad news to report.
 
I temporarily added image quality results to the review page but have subsequently taken them down. After comparing the results from this lens to the Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II USM Lens and Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens, I was left quite disappointed. Further evaluation revealed a strong likelihood of a decentering issue with this lens.
 
Shown in the image accompanying this post is the near-top-left and the near-top-right crop from one of the test images. The top left crop is obviously very significantly sharper than the top right, which is the crop that shows in the site's image quality tests. A similar difference can be seen over the entire focal length range of this lens.
 
The bad news of course is that such an issue is showing in a lens this nice (and this new). That is very disappointing. However, I expect that Sigma will be able to resolve the problem and that leads to the good news: that top left crop from a 150mm wide open aperture is looking really nice. I remain optimistic that this is a really nice lens overall, with image quality to match the high grade look and feel of this lens.
 
We'll test another copy of this lens as soon as we can get our hands on one.
 
The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens is still not in stock, but is available for preorder B&H.
Post Date: 2/9/2015 9:09:29 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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