The Unorthodox Leica

Leica M Edition 60_Left

Most modern camera makers have already embraced the fact that, at this day and age, providing a tool just for photography is not enough. A camera needs to do video, and really rather well at that. Connectivity is also a big deal these days with WiFi being the very least that is asked for. Bluetooth is slowly making its way in, too, and many raised eyebrows appear due to the lack of built-in GPS, something that’s been available on the cheapest of smartphones for years now. No manufacturer is brave (or stupid, or both) enough to go back to their purely photographic roots. The boldest move I’ve seen in recent years was the Nikon Df with all the “pure photography” campaign, and all they did was add some more analogue controls and remove video capability which, I am fairly certain, could be added via a simple firmware update. Not that I want to undermine that camera, far from it. Merely say that it is very much a 21st century product packed with features you may or may not use. No manufacturer is brave enough to go back to the very simplest things that are needed to capture an image and nothing else. Not even Fujifilm – under the gorgeous retro skin of X-mount cameras lies the very latest technology.

Wait. I think I may be wrong when I say there is not one such manufacturer. Leica M Edition 60, anyone?

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Samsung NX1 and 50-150mm f/2.8 S Lens Announcement

Samsung NX1

When Samsung announced their first Android-powered mirrorless camera, I was really rather skeptical. The problem lies within the OS itself – its versatility also brings a whole lot of issues. Yet I feared the Korean manufacturer would keep at it, for better or worse. In a surprise move for me personally, they seem to have decided against it with the newly announced flagship of the NX system, the NX1. This is by far the most impressive camera in the NX line-up. It does away without Android, but Samsung still calls it a “smart” camera thanks to all the connectivity options. On paper, it is every bit as capable as the best in the class and then some.

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Tamron Announces 15-30mm f/2.8 VC Lens Development

Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 VC Lens

Much like its direct competitor, Tamron is releasing one great lens after another. But if the former Japanese manufacturer started its renaissance with prime lenses, Tamron has been focusing on zooms instead. First, it was the rather great 24-70mm f/2.8 stabilized standard zoom. Then, the equally-great stabilized 150-600mm superzoom. Now, they announced a new professional grade lens, or rather – its development. And, if previous releases are of any indication, there is a good chance the new lens will impress.

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Two Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Lenses Announced

Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 OS DG HSM C Lens

Tamron’s new 150-600mm lens created quite a lot of stir. Let’s be honest, it is a cracking lens for its class, and even more so for its price. We covered it in detail in our review. We then covered it again, and again. And… yes, again. And each time, it earned a healthy amount of praise. But someone at Sigma obviously had the same idea, because today they announced not one, but two different 150-600mm lenses. I have a slight feeling they want some of that love their main third party competitor has been receiving lately.

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Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD Announced

Fujinon XF 50-140mm f2.8 R LM OIS WR on Fujifilm X-T1

Just as Fujifilm promised in their latest roadmap, the last quarter of 2014 sees the announcement of their first professional-grade telephoto zoom lens, the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR. The surprise release, however, is the revised version of the already-very-popular XF 56mm f/1.2 lens that features an apodization filter. Let’s take a closer look at the specifications of both lenses.

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Silver Fujifilm X-T1 Announced, Firmware Update on its Way

Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite Silver_Front

Along with the new X100T and a couple of lenses, Fujifilm has also announced a “Graphite Silver” version of their well-received X-T1 mirrorless camera. Unlike other silver/black versions of mirrorless cameras that Fujifilm offers – X-E2 immediately springs to mind – X-T1 has a darker shade body. It is definitely more conspicuous than the black body of the original X-T1, but not as much as a regular silver camera would be. It is also more expensive. And don’t worry, there are indeed some better news that owners of black X-T1’s will find very welcome.

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Fujifilm X100T Announced

Fujifilm X100T Black_Front

Back in 2010 – has it really been that long? – Fujifilm started their Renaissance with the release of X100, a compact camera with a fixed, 35mm equivalent lens and a large APS-C sized image sensor at its heart. It was a camera towards which few remained indifferent. Plagued by Fujifilms quirks, most of which have been attended with most thorough and impressive firmware upgrades since, the camera also had a beautiful design and brilliant, unheard of feature – hybrid EVF/OVF. Whether you liked the original X100 or not, most will agree it was a breath of fresh air in the camera industry where most products were, for the lack of a better word, soulless and slightly boring. Four years later, the mark III version is out – called X100T.

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Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO Planar T* Announcement

Zeiss Otus 85mm f1.4 APO Planar T

Do you remember the bonkers Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 lens? If you’ve forgotten, here’s a quick reminder. With Otus lenses, Zeiss is basically trying to show the legendary brand’s worth. You might find that somewhat bewildering since most current Zeiss lenses for DSLRs are very, very good and worthy of the name. But with Otus, the German manufacturer wants to release simply the best lenses available for DSLRs from an optical standpoint. And so the first lens of the series was extremely big, heavy, complex and expensive, but also rather beautiful and astonishing optically. As anyone could guess, a 55mm lens with a price tag of $4000 is bound to spawn differing opinions, not least because Otus line-up is manual focus only. Suffice to say the new 85mm family member with the same impressive size, performance and a price tag of, as near as makes no difference, $4500 is going to be no different.

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Zeiss Loxia Lenses Introduced

Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2 and 50mm f2

In a recent announcement, Zeiss introduced its new line of full-frame compatible lenses for mirrorless cameras. So far, with only one full-frame system available (not counting Leica M), the Loxia line is best suited to the Sony A7 and A7r, and consists of two prime lenses – the Loxia 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/2. It is interesting to note this line of lenses holds far more in common with ZM (that Zeiss for Leica M) than it does with the other recent lineup for mirrorless cameras, Touit.

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Samyang 50mm f/1.4 UMC Lens Announcement

Samyang 50mm f1.4 UMC

With us moving closer and closer to the announcement madness that is Photokina, we are working on bringing our readers (and ourselves) up to speed. This time we will be taking a closer look at a new lens by (a rather well known by now) South Korean manufacturer, a classic 50mm with a widest aperture setting of f/1.4. Something to get excited about? Let’s see.

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