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Panasonic Adds Two New Lenses to m4/3 Lineup

Panasonic today has announced two new Lumix lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, a 42.5mm f1.7 portrait prime and a 30mm f2.8 macro lens with 1:1 reproduction.


The macro lens is properly the Lumix G Macro 30mm f/2.8 ASPH MEGA O.I.S. As mentioned just a moment ago (you didn't forget did you?) it's a true 1:1 macro, and with m4/3's 2x crop factor means it will have the final result of functioning like a 2:1 60mm macro. Not too dang shabby. The MEGA O.I.S. in the name means it has built-in lens-based image stabilization to help you keep things steady (though, if you're buying this to use on many Olympus bodies you'll want to turn it off, since it'll argue with the sensor-shift IS Olympus uses instead). Lens construction is pretty straightforward with 9 elements in 9 groups with just the one aspherical element mentioned in the name as the only exotic. Unlike the Olympus 60mm there's no weather-sealing here, and given the shots of it there'll be a lot less control in terms of focus limits too:


You'll be able to pick one up for $399.99 in April or so, and that means this link right here will be for preorders until then:


The portrait lens is formally known as the Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH POWER O.I.S, and is also a reasonably standard affair. With m4/3's usual 2x crop it's a 50mm f1.7 standard lens, the OIS stabilization has the same caveats as the macro did, with the note that the "POWER" iteration is supposed to be up to twice as effective as the older "MEGA" version. Construction shows 10 elements in 8 groups, and once again just that lone aspherical lens from the name as the exotic. This, too, will run $399.99 but the availability is more like May. The link below will be a preorder until then, but if you're reading this from the future (is it everything we ever dreamed it would be, future citizen?) then it may in fact just go to where you can buy one right now. But at this boring "present" moment, it's a preorder instead.


Canon Updates Stalwart 100-400mm, Drops the Push-Pull And Ups The Sharpness

File this under "well, that took 16 surprising years" but Canon has graced our mornings with a shiny, SHINY new 100-400mm IS today.


Pretty much everything about the lens that could be upgraded has been. The quirky push-pull is gone, replaced with a traditional twisting zoom ring. But the stiffness and response of that zoom ring is still customizable, so, you can tweak how racking your 100-400 out works best for you. It has also switched to internal focusing, giving it yet another touch of the premium the original model was oddly lacking. The optical formula has jumped from 17 elements in 14 groups up to 21 elements in 16 groups, which has added only a few millimeters to the product but a sure-to-be-felt half pound to the weight. The trade-off for the extra time in the gym is a drop in minimum focusing distance from nearly 6 feet to just over 3 feet (bumping the maximum reproduction ratio up to .31x), and MTF charts that promise big, big things:



We'll have to wait and see how those pan out in the real world of course, but Canon is suggesting quite a notable increase in performance across the board at 100mm, with the sorta changes that will lead to it being visibly sharper across the frame. 400mm sees a less dramatic increase in sharpness performance, but should have a cleaner look especially in out of focus areas as they clean up the various astigmatisms on the graph a bit.

If you weren't already suspecting it, a new model with more glass and performance after a period of time long enough for an American child to grow up and start driving does come with a price hike. The new EF 100-400mm f/4-5,6L IS II USM will run $2,199.99 next month when it starts shipping, which is $500 more than the $1,699.99 price the outgoing model is sitting at. But chin up, Canonistas, that's still also $500 less than Nikon's equivalent offering in their camp.

If the price isn't too salty for you, and a better 100-400 is exactly the thing you've been waiting on, we're taking preorders now. No charge to preorder, and we'll call you once we have one for you and arrange payment only at that time. If you choose to or need to decline, you're free to do so and we don't tie up your funds in the interim.

Preorder a new 100-400mm II


Canon Announces New G7 X, Three New Lenses, 2 Other New Powershots

The 7D Mk II wasn't Canon's only new announcement today. Oh no. They've kept me and my minion hopping this morning with a total of 7 new products. Sure, the 7D Mk II is probably the most exciting, but let's just give the others a quick skim here.


Second most exciting is probably the G7 X professional compact. As always representing the high end of Canon's compact line, and aimed at being a support camera for pros, the G7 X sports a 20.2 megapixel Canon-Powershot-first 1" CMOS sensor behind a 24-100mm f1.8-2.8 equivalent zoom lens. The optical viewfinder has gone the way of the dodo still, which'll be a strike against it for a lot of you we know. To make up for it the LCD is a nice 3" mutil-angle touch model, though the usual complaints about daylight visibility we can't speak to from the spec sheet alone. For novelty, it has 4 new scene modes for capturing starry skies, and for actually being useful it has raw file support. Wifi is built in, and of course it does 720p and 1080p video.

It'll set you back a not-unreasonable $699.99 next month, we hope.

Preorder a G7 X




Let's go ahead an knock out the other two PowerShots real quick, because while nice they're a bit more "another year, another camera" than most of today's announcements. The SX60 HS' standout feature is the  65x optical zoom (equivalent to 21-1365mm). It's got a 16mp sensor being piped through a DIGIC 6 processor, built-in GPS, and will run $549.99 next month. The N2 is the update to last year's funky square selfie cam, and, er, yeah. It's still a funky, square selfie cam. Built-in NFC and wifi set it up for quick social sharing, and an 8x zoom helps it, ah, zoom? It'll run $299.99 later this year, in black or white.


Back to more interesting products we have an unexpected update to the 400mm DO IS, called as you might expect the  EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM. If you're not used to the green ring lenses here (and what with there only being a couple of them, and them being specialty as is we won't blame ya) the DO lenses use diffractive optical (DO) elements, which are schmancy exotics that raise the cost but lower the size and weight of the lens. The 400mm DO II will weigh only 4.8lbs, which is still half the weight of the 400mm 2.8 II, so, there's that. If you need a more affordable, lighter telephoto than the 400mm f2.8 II, but still have a bit of money to burn on a premium telephoto this might be worth a look, and will require you to drop $6,899.00 to add to your bag. Preorders while we wait on it to begin shipping are here:

EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM


Also new is a 24-105mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, which is their first full-frame zoom with a stepping motor for smooth AF in video mode. That's actually pretty much the sales pitch, it's a full-frame zoom with STM for smooth video AF though not particularly exciting aperture ranges, and it'll set you back a reasonable $599.99 for the combination.

EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM


And, lastly, how about a 24mm STM pancake prime?


You might notice it says "EFS" on there, so, full-framers need not apply here. But for you APS-C guys (like that new 7D Mk II) who'd enjoy a compact, light 24mm f.8, well, soon enough $149.99 will get you one. And it's STM to boot.

EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM



Photokina's Coming Up All The Lenses I Can't Even.

Nikon's not the only one having fun in the pre-Photokina run up. We're hearing that Sigma, Tamron, and Sony have also been announcing some new lenses, and we figured we should probably drop in and mention a thought or two on them for y'all.


People might argue with me, but for my money the coolest of the bunch is Tamron announcing the development of a 15-30mm f2.8 constant full-frame ultra-wide zoom... with image stabilization! Yup, joining the 24-70 and 70-200 will be a stabilized full-frame zoom on the wide end, completing Tamron's own holy trinity of lenses. Holier, really, once you factor in that theirs are all stabilized, and not just the 70-200. It'll be noted as model A012, and have 18 elements in 13 groups including a so-exotic-I-think-they-made-it-up XGM (eXpanded Glass Moulded aspherical) element. It'll also sport update coatings (including being Tamron's first fluorite coated lens) and a special copy of Silky Pix for working with images shot using the new SP line of Tamron lenses. Though, when it's coming and for how much are anyone's guess.

Preorder a Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 VC

After the Tamron, second most interesting has to be Sigma, who decided that announcing just one lens of a type was for chumps and actually announced two completely different 150-600mm f5-6.3 lenses at the same time. One is in their "Sport" line and is a pro caliber lens with heavier build and superb quality, the other is in their "Contemporary" line and offers a smaller, lighter lens in exchange for some of the quality and cost.

The Sport 150-600mm

The Sport 150-600mm


The "Contemporary" 150-600mm

The "Contemporary" 150-600mm


Both versions offer OS "optical stabilization," which is good because on zooms this big you'll need that unless you travel everywhere with a heavy-duty tripod at hand. The Sport model is splash proof and features 24 elements in 16 groups and takes a jaw-dropping 105mm filter on front. Oh yeah, and 2 of those lenses are FLD and 2 are SLD, so, dispersion ought to be pretty well addressed. The Contemporary model steps back ever so slightly from the ledge, topping out at 20 elements in 14 groups (only 1 FLD, but still 3 SLD), and a 95mm filter thread that doesn't quite manage to be reasonable either. Both lenses are solidly TBA in both the arrival and price categories, so, keep an eye out for more news as it comes.

Sigma 150-600mm Sport

Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary

If you prefer to get your super-telephoto lengths through more conventional means, they've also announced they're making a new 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverter, both of which are splash proof and autofocus up to f8 (so, yanno, not on the leviathans pictured above). If you're guessing that TBA is the trend here too, you're pretty good at this guessing thing then.

1.4x Teleconverter

2.0x Teleconverter

And, to close us out we have Sony, who's turning in the gnarliest looking lens I've seen in a while:


Those of you who this lens is meant for will know already, but those spikey rings everywhere aren't just a defense system or a way of attracting mates. The FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G OSS here is born to be a cinema lens, and all those are the tracks for easier use of cinematic zoom and focus rings, knobs, and other contraptions. Now, the FE designation lets us know this is an E-mount lens of the full-frame variety, meaning it's for use on the A7 family (A7,A7r,A7s) of mirrorless cameras. Care has been put into it to minimize breathing while focusing, and it'll maintain its focus point while zooming like a proper cinema lens. The three rings control the zoom, focus, and iris. All-in-all, a solid show of Sony's commitment to making the A7 family true stand-outs in the hot 4k video space. Availability I don't know, but the price for this bad boy will be around $2500 once we start getting them.

Sony FE PZ 28-135mm


Is Nikon's New D750 the Full Frame You've Been Waiting On?


Well, I must admit I was beginning to think it wasn't going to ever come. But, here it is, on my desk to talk about this morning: the long-awaited successor to Nikon's D700 (which is, disclosure, still my own personal workhorse camera).

The D750, the specs tell me, is a 24.3mp full-frame shooter with EXPEED IV and a native ISO range of 100-12,800 (or 50-51,200 expanded). It has newer Advanced Multi-Cam 3500-FX II 51 point AF sensor (with 15 cross types, 11 of which work down to f1.8 just dandy), and along with that gets the grouped target feature seen on other newer high-end Nikons. Nikon also claims it's their first that can work down to -3ev, so, even better for shooting in the dark. You get the updated 3D Color Matrix III module for metering, and around back the LCD is beefed up to 3.2" with 1,299k dots of resolution and new tilting feature. Full 1080p is on board (this ain't the Df after all), and it marks Nikon's first full-frame to have the WiFi built in (so you don't have to pretend you love the WU-1a anymore). Frames per second actually bumps up, unexpectedly, to 6.5frames per second. Shutter life remains rated at 150,000 frames. So, that's all definitely good news all around there.

Moving on to the more mixed news then. A keyword you'll see time and again for the D750 is "light." This is achieved by switch out some of the magnesium on the front and top for carbon fiber instead, in a 'monocoque' skinning process. The other mixed news is the specs still saying the flash sync is at 1/200 (boo) (but there's another note saying it can go to 1/250 if you want with decreased flash range between 1/200-1/250, which I can live with), and the top shutter speed drops a stop to 1/4000 of a second. So, those are some mixed bag things depending on your needs, and if you're a fan of cheating your sync to 1/320 or shooting at 1/8000 or all magnesium chassis this might not be the right shooter for you.

But I'd like t swing this back up to the brighter tone we started with by mentioning the price tag. The D750 will be available later this very month for just $2,299.95 body only. Or heck, if you're new to full-frame and need a good lens to get you going, get a 24-120mm VR with it for $3,599.95. It'll work with the new MB-D16 battery grip which'll run $485.

AFS_20_1.8G.low SB500_back.low SB500_front34r.low

Alongside the D750, Nikon has added a new AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED, and a new SB-500 flash. The lens is pretty much as it says, a fast wide angle full-frame prime, and is slated to run $799.95 this month. The SB-500 is a simple flash with 100 lux LED video light, 90 degrees bounce and 180 degrees rotation. It runs on just 2 AAs to keep size and weight down. Combined with the low guide number of 24m and the lack of LCD controls makes this appealing to people who just need an occasional flash indoors, but probably less so to your average hobbyist or pro. It'll run a pretty affordable $249.95, however.

Preorders can of course be had for the lot of this, so, I'll give you some links here:

D750 Body Only

D750 with 24-120mm

AF-S 20mm f/1.8G ED



Tamron Announces Two News All-in-Ones For M4/3 and EOS M Mirrorless Cameras

Technically, they've formally announced the new 28-300mm now too, but we already talked about that back when they originally let it slip, slo let's focus on the two new mirrorless super-zooms today.

Up first is one for Micro Four Thirds, the 14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 Di III (Model C001).

Tamron 14-150 Di III (C001_ Blk & Silver

Available in black or silver, the 14-150mm will of course be an effective 28-300mm lens when mounted to any m4/3 body. You'll notice there's no "VC" in the product name, meaning this lens forgoes Tamron's notable vibration compensation system (ie, image stabilization). There are a lot of m4/3 bodies with built-in IS, so this won't be a big deal for a lot of people, but some of them (mostly Panasonic models, since they prefer in-lens IS) do not, so, be forewarned. If you're not sure if your body has IS built-in, this might not be the best lens for you. Image stabilization is going to be your friend on a 300mm equivalent lens.


Tamron 18-200mm Di III (B011)_blk & silver


Did you buy an EOS M? Wait, really? Well, OK, er, congratulations! The other lens today is actually already on the market for Sony E mount, but coming soon you'll be able to pick up an 18-200 Di III VC for your Canon EOS M, too!

The 14-150mm will run $589, the 18-200mm for EOS M will run $499. We're expected to have stock for them by the end of the month.

Want to reserve a 14-150mm of your own? You can preorder it right here.


Nikon Announces New 400mm 2.8, New 1.4x Tele-converter


Think fast: what's the quickest way to save two pounds by spending 3 grand?



If you answered "Nikon's beastly new 400mm f2.8" you were correct. Everyone else, go to the corner and think about what you've done. Go. Shoo. Think.

The rest of you, here's the skinny. The new 400mm's full name is the AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR. Breaking that down into it's components, we'll notice a few things. One, this isn't a "version II" lens, the addition of both an "E" and an "FL" in there spared us that particular confusion. The "E" at the end of the aperture indicates this is using the new electromagnetic diaphragm similar to the 800mm f5.6 and makes things better during high speed shooting, like say with a D4s. The FL is letting you know it has some fluorite lens elements (2, in this case) which help explain both how the lens has lost nearly two pounds, and why it costs 3 grand more (list price is up to $11,999.95 from the already salty $8,999.00. Fluorite lens elements aren't cheap, y'all. But they are nice.

The two fluorite elements are part of the new 16 element, 12 group design that pretty well blows the old version's simpler 14 element, 11 group design out of the water. We have no doubts this will be an excellent lens (we can already hear the thanks of many a wildlife shooter for the lighter packs) for those of you who can pony up to it, and if that happens to be you and you want to get a preorder in you can do so here. If that's not, and you've been on the fence about the now-old 400mm, we still have some in stock here you might want to move on.

Also, look, a new 1.4x tele-converter:



The TC-14E III is one more than the TC-14E II, and is also promising better build quality, better weather sealing, new coatings to aid in repelling water, and better performance all around. With a list price of $499.95 (only about $10 more than the current one) we'd say it's pretty much a no-brainer to wait on the new one if you need a 1.4x and don't have one, but we're pretty sure those of you who own the II probably won't be in any hurry to chuck yours out the window for this one unless you've had some specific problems with build quality this purports to improve on. Either way, you'll find the preorder page for the new 1.4x living right here.


Canon Adds 2 New Wide Angle Zooms, White Rebel for the US



What's small, white, and coming to the US?

Whatever you were thinking of, I'm sure it's wrong. I was talking about the Rebel SL1 above... oh. You were thinking of the Rebel SL1 because I already showed you it, weren't you? Nevermind, carry on then. Be happy in your awareness of it, and how it comes with a matched white 18-55mm for $749 (without any savings programs).

Also, look, two new wide-angle zoom lenses:

20140513_thumbL_ef1635mm_3q 20140513_thumbL_efs1018mm_3q


The top one is the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM, the bottom one is the EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM. Just a quick terminology reminder, EF lenses (red mount dot) will work on full-frame or crop bodies, the EF-S mount (white square) will only work for crop bodies, so, no going and getting ideas about using it on your 5D Mark III, OK? EF-S lenses are also subject to a 1.6x apparent focal length conversion, because of the nature of crop lenses, meaning the new 10-18mm will have the apparent field of view of 16-29mm or so (making the close to the crop equivalent of the other new zoom).

The EF 16-35mm is just as advertised on full-frame, though someone less exciting on crop bodies where it becomes an apparent 26-56mm quasi-standard zoom. It is an L model though, with all the assumed quality that designation and the characteristic red line imply. And, because of the slower F4 aperture there's IS in it, offering up to four stops of help.

The EF 16-35mm will set you back $1,199, and the EF-S 10-18mm will run considerably less at $299.


The New Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art...

You would be surprised how often I get asked what lenses are good lenses to buy for folks either beginner or Professional. It's almost a daily occurrence actually. Not that I mind, because I don't. In fact I'm in middle of a three part series called "the right l ens" that I'm doing for Robert's Camera's blog. (See the first part here, subsequent parts are on the way). It means that people seem to trust my judgment, and I'm honored and humbled by that. I'm especially honored and humbled when someone like Jody Grober calls and says he's got a new lens that everybody's talking about and he wants me to take a couple days to see if it's really all that. In this case he called and said he had the new Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art lens. Now at first you think 50mm F1.4, these have been around for forever what could be so different about this lens? What could be so new about this lens? Also, a Sigma? Yes. Yes, a Sigma. In fact anybody who reads my blog regularly knows that I was asked to do something similar with Sigma's 35mm F1.4 last year when it made all kinds of waves in the Photo world. Sigma's 35mmF1.4 blew me away back then, and in fact to this day is still a lens that I really want. So my big question was how would this 50mm change how I thought about my Nikon 50mm equivalent? Let me just begin by saying DAMN.


(Canon 5D Mark II, 100ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art Lens. 1/5000th@F1.4)

As usual I'll now add in here that I'm not being paid by Roberts Camera or Sigma to write this review. If something is wonky about this lens, I'm going to tell you at the risk of being flamed on the internet. (It's happened) No money is changing hands for this opinion, so good or bad you can take it as far as you trust my judgment.

With that now said I'll say that this 50mm sets a new standard for 50mm F1.4 lenses in my book. This is where things get a bit sticky in my opinion though. I've never shot with the Nikon 58mm F1.4 lens, and I've never shot with the OTUS 55mm F1.4 lens that sets the bar for 50mm lenses (I'm actually not allowed to even see the OTUS due to its expense). I have shot with a Canon 50mm F1.2 and 50mm F1.4 lens, as well as obviously my own Nikon 50mm F1.4. Thing is this. Do I condone spending $4,200 on a 55mm F1.4 lens? Not a chance. Everybody dreams of owning that one lavish silly item. A Zeiss OTUS is not that item for me, and I can imagine very similar for lots of people. What about a Nikon 58mm F1.4? Nah, it's not on my shopping list. If Nikon decided to make me an Ambassador and/or loan me one for a while, I'd probably use the hell out of it, but as far as I know, that's not on the horizon so the $1700 Nikon 58mm will stay at Roberts when it comes to my Camera bag. Wait, I thought this review was about the Sigma Lens.... Why am I mentioning the OTUS and the Nikon 58mm? Because the rumors are that the Sigma 50mm F1.4HSM Art Lens is just as good if not better than those much higher priced competitors. After a few days with the Sigma: I believe them.


First off, the Sigma is much larger than I expected. I think of the 50mm as a Street photography lens, but honestly I didn't feel very inconspicuous with it. In fact, if you look at the above image you can see what I mean in regards to how big it is.... Yea, and that's without the hood. Side note, my Nikon 50mm F1.4 is kind of beat up... I kinda use the crap out of it,so what?. Anyway, I wouldn't be caught with the hood on my Nikon 50mm, but Sigma you wouldn't (and didn't) catch me dead without the hood on it for fear of that large 77mm Front element. The 77mm Filter is amazing though because most of my lenses take 77mm Filters and now that's one less extra filter size I'd have to worry about with the Sigma. In fact the only lens adapter I own for my Formatt HiTech GND filter holder is the 77mm so It meant that I could use those with the Sigma as well. I didn't have the Nikon version of this lens, but instead a Canon version on a Canon 5D Mark II. Just like Sigma's 35mm F1.4 last year, the 50mm didn't really ever hunt for focus even in low light. In the lowest of lights there were slight focus inconsistencies, but there's no telling if that was because of the 5D, the Sigma lens, or because it was darker than I should have been shooting in the first place.


(Canon 5D Mark II, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art lens, 1/160th@F1.4. Nikon SB-900 Zoomed to 200mm shot up into its built in bounce card, set to 1/32nd power from camera right. Speedlight triggered by Pocket Wizard Plus X from in the camera's hot shoe)

I took this photo of my love Shannon at the Light Painting workshop that I gave for Roberts Camera last weekend. The lighting isn't perfect but I was pleased with the image considering I shot it with a bare bulb Nikon SB900 triggered by a Canon Camera with a Pocket Wizard... (In fact you can even see the speedlight a bit in her glasses, but that's what I get for doing it quickly in two frames, as opposed to setting something up). The Bokeh, or out of focus portions of the image were really beautiful. The colors were right, and the edges seemed full with little vignetting. Honestly though, I don't normally keep my subjects at the edge of the frame, so if there's a little vignette or a tiny bit of edge distortion it doesn't bother me. I saw little to no Color fringing or Chromatic Aberrations though, which really impressed me. Even my Nikon 50mm F1.4G on my D4s will have those from time to time, and while minimal and easy to fix; they are still annoying. Most of the time you can only see things like that when zoomed in at 100% though, so a majority of shooters won't even worry about them anyway. Out of focus backgrounds though appeared very pleasing to the eye whether they were intentionally a large part of the image or not.


(Canon 5D Mark II, 800ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art, 1/320th@F1.4)

Most of my time with the Sigma was spent at either F1.4 or F2 because I'm a firm believer in having a lens like this for a purpose. If I wanted to shoot 50mm F8, I'd use my 24-70 at 50mm F8. You'll tell almost no difference in image quality between the twi lenses that way. Same goes for any lens I own that has a F1.4 Aperture. If I wanted to shoot at 85mm F10, I'd use my 70-200. The real reason to buy a lens with a F1.4 Aperture is to shoot at F1.4 or F2. Otherwise known as that place where other lenses can't go. With that I should mention that at those "regular" settings, this lens really shines too.


(Canon 5D Mark II, 2000ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art, 1/60th@F5.6)

Even on a Canon 5D Mark II, I never felt like the new Sigma 50mm F1.4 was going to let me down. There are plenty of occasions where I've not had faith in my Nikon 50mm F1.4, but I've gotten used to the circumstances that cause any trouble I may have and know how to avoid them. With the Sigma, I felt confident across the board. That may be the whole "it's a new toy" syndrome, or the fact that this lens is twice as expensive as my Nikon Counterpart. This may be a good time to address that in fact. Yes. My Nikon 50mm F1.4 is only $490. The Sigma is $1,000. The Sigma is easily twice as good as the Nikon 50mm F1.4 in my opinion. Super sharp, super fast, and very accurate with Sigma's version of the Silent Wave Motor where as the newest Nikon 50mm F1.4G has been tested to be a tiny bit slower than the old Nikon 50mm F1.4D. Do I feel like Canon's 50mm F1.2 is twice as good as the Sigma? Definitely not. What about The Otus? Is it worth 4 times as much? (4 TIMES AS MUCH???). Seriously? Not a chance.


(Canon 5D Mark II, 100ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art, 1/8000th@F1.4)

What Sigma has done here is given "ordinary" folk the ability to own the cream of the crop. While as even a pro I'd love to own a Zeiss OTUS, it'll never happen and that doesn't keep me awake at night. The Sigma however? Absolutely. I'd love to own one. (Not to mention that 35F1.4 that I raved over last year). Not owning the Sigma 50mm doesn't keep me awake at night but I do know that not only would I own it but I'd use it quite a bit. It would most likely end up in the condition of my Current Nikon 50mm lens after not too long and that's fine because these things are meant to see and photograph different things, even if those things mean they get a little dinged up. You should see some of the stuff my 85F1.4 has seen. I know that I am someone who very eagerly awaits an 85mm F1.4 ART lens, especially if it is of this quality. I bought my Nikon 85F1.4D for $700 on ebay about 6 years ago, and the new Nikon 85mm F1.5G costs around $1700..... If anybody from Sigma reads this, call me, or call Jody Grober at Roberts because my money is waiting for a new 85mm F1.4HSM Art Lens.


(Canon 5D Mark II, 250ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art, 1/160th@F2)

AAAAAAND there is the ever so ubiquitous cat photo. What do you expect, there are lots of available subjects, but none are as readily available or as sleepy as the cats. As you can tell, there are very few issues in background bokeh, or on the edges in terms of vignetting. This image is obviously back lit and the lens and camera had very few difficulties with this combination. Even if you may not think of a 5D Mark II as an old camera, it is, and there were no issues here. In fact, as I recall it was a fraction of a second "Auto Levels" in photoshop to achieve that uncropped image above. Could I have done that with my Nikon 50? Taken the photo maybe, but not had as little editing to do. That's what you pay for...


(Canoon 5D Mark II, 100ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art, 1/1600th@F1.4)

So yea, wow. Sigma has once again impressed me beyond belief by what they have produced in a prime fast aperture lens. So much so that as as I said above. Sigma. Call me. My money is ready for a 85F1.4 Art lens. I don't know what made you decide to step up like you have, but you have put Canon and Nikon on a run for their money and I like it. Sigma Nailed this. Nikon and Canon have the camera bodies and Sigma has added a helluva contender to the lineup of lenses to let the photographers shoot the way that THEY want to shoot. When students ask what to buy when the Nikon or Canon equivalent is a bit out of the price range Sigma is now my go to answer. I challenge Tamron and Tokina to prove me wrong. Everything I've touched or seen out of Sigma in the last 2 years has not only met but far surpassed my expectations from not just the Sigma name, but the Nikon or Canon name as well. If you don't own a 50mm lens (and I am a firm believer that everyone should have a 50mm prime of some kind in their bag) then the Sigma is more than just an option; This time it's the cream of the crop.

If you're looking for a Sigma 50mm F1.4 lens, get one HERE at Roberts Camera here in Indy. I buy about 95% of my gear from them. They are good people, whether you're local or not.

Otherwise as usual. More Soon.



Tamron's 16-300mm Is a Real Boy Now, Goes Longer Than Pinocchio's Nose

Tamron 16-300mm Di II VC PZD Macro


Remember when Tamron announced their plans to make an insane 16-300mm zoom for crop bodies? Well, today that lens becomes considerably more real, having gotten pricing and availability finally. Officially designated B016, it's "friendly" name is the 16-300mm Di II VC PZD Macro, which astute readers will notice for once doesn't tell you everything you need to know about the lens. Missing are the maximum apertures, but luckily I can inform you those are f3.5-6.3. So, you have an effective 24-450mm (on Nikon, Sony, and pretty much everyone who isn't Canon) or a 25.6-480mm (on Canon with their odd 1.6x crop) super zoom with the same apertures as the now-less-impressive 18-270mm. The PZD tells you it has a piezo-electric stepping motor for focusing, providing snappy focus for stills and acceptably smooth focus for video. VC is Tamron's vibration compensation, which is really top of the line stuff these days and will do exactly what it claims when it says it'll keep your images shake free. While I can't in good conscience tell you an 18.8x super-zoom will optically stellar in every aspect, a pretty exotic construction of 16 elements in 12 groups with one ultra-extra (yes, they really call it that) refractive glass element, two low dispersion elements, one regular-ol' extra refractive element, three molded glass aspherical elements, and one hybrid aspherical element suggest Tamron has gone to some pretty great lengths to assure it has the best image quality it possibly can for the constraints a super-zoom demands.


They gave us some small sample shots to illustrate what can be done with this:

Tamron_B016_Woman in market_©IanPlant

Tamron_B016_Stairs in Morocco_©IanPlant


Tamron_B016_Man and Camel_©IanPlant



Tamron_B016_Blue Alley in Morocco_©IanPlant


Preeeeetty, right?

So, obviously, the 16-300mm is not just redefining how many "x"s of zoom you can shove in a lens, but it has some aspirations for being a darn solid optic to boot. Big range, VC, exotic optical formula, and it even has a pretty darn awesome 15.3" minimum focusing distance and none-too-shabby 1:2.9 maximum macro reproduction for the cherry on top.

All that was left is to know just how much this monster will run. And now we can tell you: $629. That's it. $629. Only $180 more than the venerable 18-270mm. And we're going to start receiving them on May 15th. Which is only like a month away,

So, maybe now would be a good time to remind you that you can get on our preorder list for one right here?

Thought so.