COLOGNE, Germany, Sept. 17, 2012 – Sigma Corporation of America (www.sigmaphoto.com), a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider for some of the world's most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, today announced the family-owned and operated company’s Sigma Global Vision from an invite-only event at photokina 2012 in Cologne, Germany.
This announcement explains the restructuring of the Sigma lens lineup into three new categories, the launch of a new lens in each of those categories, the development of a new quality control inspection and measurement system for the lenses, and the design of new software and a USB docking station that will enable photographers to update and adjust their lenses to suit their personal preferences.
“We’re moving in a new direction that simplifies the lens selection process for photographers and helps them realize the full potential of the DSLR system,” said CEO Kazuto Yamaki. “In addition to making it easier for photographers to find the right lens, we’re empowering them with more control over their equipment, while furthering our commitment to them by establishing a higher expectation for the quality of the lenses we produce.”
New lens categories and new lenses
Starting immediately, all newly produced interchangeable lenses from Sigma will be designed for and organized into one of three product categories: Contemporary, Art and Sports. Each line has a clearly defined concept to guide shooters in the selection of the right lens for their photographic interests.
Contemporary – These lenses incorporate the very latest technology and keep size and weight to a minimum, without compromising their advanced optical performance or utility. High-performance, versatile, compact and superbly portable, these lenses will be largely comprised of standard zooms, telephoto zooms and high-magnification zooms for an array of photography, including landscape and travel photography, and casual portraiture.
Art – These lenses are developed with an emphasis on artistic touch and are designed to meet the expectations of users who value a creative, dramatic outcome. Along with landscapes, portraits, still-life, close-up and casual snaps, these lenses are perfect for the kind of photography that unleashes the inner artist. Ideal for studio photography, they offer just as much of an expressive scope when capturing architecture, starry skies, underwater shots and many other scenes. This category will be comprised of many focal lengths and designs, such as large-aperture prime lenses, wide-angle lenses, ultra wide-angle lenses, and macro and fisheye lenses.
Sports - With their high-level optical performance and expressive power, these lenses can capture fast-moving subjects, even at distance. This line also offers a variety of functions to aid the photographer in challenging conditions and scenarios. Besides sports photography, the lenses are also ideal for nature shots featuring birds, wild animals and other creatures, and for the capture of aircraft, trains, race cars and more. The Sports line is also unique in that users can adjust the lenses’ focus speeds and the focus limiters via a button on the lens. The Sports category will be comprised of telephoto lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, super telephoto lenses, super telephoto zoom lenses, and more.
The creation of these new categories comes with the introduction of three new lenses:
17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM – This new Contemporary lens is designed for cameras with an APS-c sensor and covers a range equivalent to 25.5 to 105mm on a 35mm camera. An upgrade to its predecessor, which was released in December 2009, this general purpose lens offers a new design and a more compact build.
35mm F1.4 DG HSM – This Art lens provides photographers with a state-of-the-art alternative to the more conventional 50mm. This lens’ axial chromatic aberration is minimized, which renders a cool and smooth out-of-focus image. At low apertures, it can perform like a wide-angle lens; when opened up to F1.4, it will provide background bokeh and make the subject pop like a mid-range telephoto lens.
120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM – With redesigned mechanics and performance, this Sports lens is an update from its predecessor released in February 2011. This high-performance lens eases difficult shooting conditions by offering a maximum focal length of 300mm and a wide-open aperture of F2.8. This lens, like the other Sports category lenses to come, is dust and moisture resistant, and allows users to adjust the focus speed and the focus limiter via a button on the lens.
New user-control tools and software, and new quality control measures
The new Sigma Optimization Pro software and USB Dock are designed exclusively for the new lenses within the new product lines. They will enable Sigma users to connect their lenses to their computers to update lens firmware and fine-tune focus parameters via easy-to-use, on-screen controls.
All of these new lenses will also be subject to Sigma’s new, proprietary modulation transfer function (MTF) measuring system called “A1.” Named in honor of the company’s sole production base, the Aizu factory in Aizu, Japan, the A1 system will allow inspectors to verify previously undetectable high-frequency details in each lens before it is shipped.
“We used to measure lens performance with a MTF measuring system using conventional sensors, but this new A1 system uses our own 46-megapixel Foveon direct imaging sensors,” said Yamaki. “We view this new method of performance evaluation as being incredibly important, not only because we owe it to our customers, but because we owe it to ourselves. We’ve spent more than 50 years perfecting our design and manufacturing processes, and now we deliver a complete package by closing the loop on that commitment to quality by adopting a more stringent verification process.”
Results from two copies of this lens are presented. Lens sample 1 is very impressively sharp/contrasty wide open from the center into the full frame corners save 70mm where it becomes that at f/4. Lens sample 2 is slightly softer in the corners than sample 1, but it is sharper in the center at 70mm f/2.8.
Note that results for the older 28-70 L will also be available soon.
Many product images including the standard images (useful for comparison) have been added to the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens Review page. Some direct comparisons are available on that page - including a comparison between the 28-70 L and the 24-70 L version 1.
Sekonic Announces LITEMASTER PRO L-478DR and L-478D. These meters are the world’s first and only dedicated color touchscreen light meters.
Ideal for all types of storytellers, the L-478 series offers light measurement and control for photographers and filmmakers alike, plus additional wireless flash triggering and power control in the L-478DR model.
Whether it’s filmmaking or photography, great storytellers use light as a main character and as a method to define the mood, focus and setting. Having a tool that allows you total control over dynamic range and multiple light sources make you confident about the craft while focusing on the art.
Just a few of the groundbreaking features of this new series include:
The world’s first touchscreen photo light meter
The world’s first touchscreen cine light meter
Wireless triggering (L-478DR only)Dynamic range calibration
The Samyang 10mm f/2.8 ED AS UMC CS is an ultra wide-angle prime lens designed for use with cameras that have APS-C / DX sensors. Its extremely short focal length and rectilinear imaging system ensure a wide angle of view, amounting to 110 degrees (~107 degree for Canon version). As a result the lens is a comprehensive tool for architecture and landscape photography. The Samyang 10mm f/2.8 ED AS UMC CS gives an equivalent focal length of 15mm (or 16mm in the case of Canon EOS) in 35mm terms.
All details concerning the optical construction and available mounts will be published at a later date. The lens will be available at the end of 2012.
For Photokina 2012, Arca-Swiss announces redesigned Z1g+ and Z2+ ballheads:
With the Monoball Zg1+ ARCA SWISS has improved the well known ballhead Z1g in all its aspects. The new head incorporates an additional panning top above the ball and its weight is reduced significantly. The Monoball Zg1+ guarantees a smooth, even movement and an accurate positioning of the camera. The MRGC (Motion Related Gravitiy Control), a variable and bi-directional drag is independently operative on both axis: with a horizontal movement the resulting friction remains constant, whereas with vertical movements the friction increases progressively. In all directions the movements are stabilized.
Improved as well, the bigger ballhead Monoball Z2+ is now equipped with a second panning top and additionally, its weight has been reduced considerably. The Z2+ combines the advantages of a ballhead with the features of a multiaxial tripod head. The secret hides in a newly designed ball unit which allows an individual and independent control of the x- and the y-axis, with gravity compensation and separate locks. The upper lever locks the smaller ball in the x-axis ( at 80°; 40°; -40°), whereas the lower lever is locking the bigger ball in the y-axis (at 140°; 90°; -50°).The Monoball Z2+ sports two panning mechanisms, one at the base of the head, the other, a proper panning top for panoramic photography, is located above the ball allowing perfect and leveled panorama stichings. Innovative and ready for all circumstances the ARCA SWISS monoball Z2+ is a clever synthesis of the advantageous ease of a ballhead and the exacting features of a three-way head.