Today Apple unveiled the brand new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus mobile phones and it looks like a lot of attention has been given to the camera features of the two devices. With the “Shot on iPhone” campaign showing huge billboards featuring iPhone images, it is no wonder that Apple has been spending quite a bit of R&D towards the image capture capabilities of the new iPhone. The keynote presentation was filled with camera verbiage – in fact, the Apple team specifically used such words as “bokeh” to describe the new dual lens design of the iPhone 7 Plus. Speaking of which, it will only be the Plus model that will have two lenses – one wide-angle f/1.8 lens for wide shots and a 56mm equivalent telephoto lens for zooming in and capturing portraits (the regular iPhone 7 will have a single wide angle lens).
Many Photography Life readers already know how much our team likes the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens – we have written a few articles on how amazing the lens is for reach and our detailed review of the Tamron 150-600mm attracted a lot of people, with over 200 comments in the review. Today, Tamron announced a big update to this lens in the form of SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2. This second generation (G2) lens went through a number of changes, including improved image stabilization, faster AF speed and a few other mechanical and design tweaks. The biggest changes, however, are in the updated optical formula and weather sealing – the G2 now features better optical design with improved overall sharpness and a fluorine coated front element, while the lens barrel has been reworked in order to reduce both dust and moisture from entering the lens (which is one of the biggest issues of the previous design). Lastly, the new 150-600mm now joins the list of lenses compatible with Tamron’s TAP-in console, for future firmware upgrades and customization. The lens will retail for $1,399 and it is scheduled to start shipping at the end of this month. In addition to this lens, Tamron has also announced two new 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters, both of which will be compatible with the lens.
Today Canon officially unveiled its update to the popular Canon 5D line, with the much anticipated EOS 5D Mark IV. The new Canon 5D Mark IV comes with a 30.4 MP CMOS sensor (native ISO range of 100-32,000) with on-sensor Dual Pixel AF that allows for phase-detection AF when shooting video and continuous focusing when shooting stills in live view mode. The camera got a few upgrades for shooting video – it now can shoot 4K video (1.64x crop) at up to 30 fps (Motion JPEG format), 1080p at up to 60 fps and 720p at up to 120 fps. One of the biggest improvements is in the AF system: the 5D Mark IV gains the same 61-point AF system as the 1D X Mark II, with 41 cross points, larger AF coverage and better sensitivity (up to -3 EV in low light and -4 EV in live view). Although Canon utilized the current DIGIC 6+ Image Processor, it is still able to yield 7 fps continuous shooting speed, which is quite impressive, considering the resolution of the camera.
Nikon has been on the roll in the past few years, releasing one amazing lens after another. We have seen a refresh of the f/1.8 prime lens line with some amazing optics, but those craving for more have been patiently waiting for a modern replacement of such lenses as the Nikon 105mm f/2 DC and Nikon 135mm f/2 DC, absolutely amazing and beautiful lenses in every way, capable of rendering stunning bokeh for portraiture. Well, the waiting for the first lens replacement is finally over, because today Nikon gave us something truly groundbreaking – the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED. While the de-focus control feature on the previous 105mm f/2 lens allowed one to modify the bokeh rendering of the lens, it would end up changing the field of view and it was a bit hard to get used to utilizing that feature effectively for many photographers. Plus, the maximum aperture of f/2 put it in competition with the superb Nikon 85mm f/1.4G (review soon to be updated), as the latter is a faster lens and has superb rendering capabilities wide open. For these and other reasons, many photographers having been choosing the 85mm f/1.4G over the 105mm f/2 DC for portraiture, while the 135mm f/2 DC remained untouched. Now that the 105mm f/1.4E is out, let’s talk about what is so amazing about this gem and why we can mark today as an important milestone in the history of lens making.
Update: Our in-depth Nikon 105mm f/1.4E Review has now been posted.
Hasselblad today dropped a huge bomb on the photography market by revealing world’s first medium format mirrorless camera, the X1D-50c. With its huge 44x33mm sensor (0.8x crop factor, 4:3 aspect ratio, ISO 100-25600 range), 16-bit color, 14-stop dynamic range, 2.36 MP electronic viewfinder (EVF), 2.3 fps continuous shooting speed, dual SD card slots, 3″ 920k-dot touchscreen LCD, built-in Wi-Fi, built-in GPS, an incredible leaf shutter capable of flash sync up to 1/2000th of a second and a super lightweight construction weighing only 725 grams with a battery. At 150 x 98 x 71mm, this is a very small camera relative to its sensor and its throat diameter – a truly innovative design. And with all these specs, one might think that the camera would be priced in the $30K+ price range like other medium format Hasselblad cameras. But that’s not the case…the Hasselblad X1D-50c will retail for $8,999, which is surprising, considering that the sensor alone costs about half of the price of the camera. With such amazing specs and a powerful 3200mAh battery (which is a lot – the Nikon D5’s EN-EL18a is only 2500mAh in comparison!), this camera is aimed at a variety of photography needs, including landscape, architecture and portrait photography. In addition to the X1D-50c, Hasselblad has also announced two brand new lenses specifically made for this compact medium format camera – a 45mm f/3.5 (~36mm full-frame equivalent) and a 90mm f/4.5 (~72mm full-frame equivalent). Older Hasselblad lenses will have to be coupled with an adapter to work, which according to Hasselblad will be released soon, retaining autofocus capabilities. Hasselblad dubbed the X1D as a “groundbreaking” camera and such words as “game changer” are used in its public announcement for a good reason – there is nothing at the moment on the market that can compete with the above specs at this price range.
Iliah Borg and his team at LibRAW have been working hard on a major update to my favorite image culling software FastRawViewer (FRV). Today, the team released the final 1.3 version of the software and this time the updates are truly exciting! Now FRV sports an awesome grid mode, so that you can quickly go over your images just like you can in Lightroom. In grid mode, you can perform all kinds of file management functions such as copy/move (including move to “Rejected” folder) and image functions such as changing file orientation, setting labels and ratings (you can even set ratings and labels on multiple images at once!). Once you pick an image for viewing, you can double click on it to switch to image view and perform all the functions like zoom in to 1:1 view. There are many new features such as focus peaking, highlights inspection mode and sharpening for display, along with performance improvements and other changes to the core software. Overall, this is a huge update for everyone who has purchased FRV and if you have not tried it already, it is about time for you to take a closer look at FRV!
Lost in all the recent excitement of the Nikon D5/Nikon D500/Canon 1DXMkII/Pentax K-1/Sony a6300 and Fuji X-Pro 2 announcements was Nikon announcement of their new DL “premium compact” camera line-up. The DL line-up consists of three models all sporting fixed lenses, 1.0” 20.8 megapixel sensors and the new EXPEED 6A processor. The Nikon DL18-50 with its 18-50mm equivalent lens is there to tempt the landscape and architecture shooters. Street ‘togs and all-rounders are offered the DL24-85 with a 24-85mm equivalent lens. For nature and wildlife buffs the DL24-500 sports a 21x superzoom 24-500mm equivalent lens.
This week I have been heavily working on keeping our lens database up to date. With so many lens announcements coming out from different manufacturers, keeping the database current has been a challenge, since it takes quite a bit of time to add all the relevant information. Big thanks to everyone who has been sending feedback, requests and recommendations to improve our lens database. We want to make it the best and the most complete database in the world and everything we build today will be hugely beneficial for current and future readers of the site. This is why we need your help today! By letting us know about the missing lenses, errors and inconsistencies, you will be joining our efforts in compiling a great source of public information. But before that, let me first shed some light on some of the changes that we have made to the database.
One of the most exciting news from today is Sigma’s announcement of the 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens designed for APS-C sensor cameras like the Nikon D500. That’s another f/1.8 constant aperture zoom lens from Sigma with a groundbreaking design! With an equivalent field of view of 75-150mm, this lens will surely be a popular choice among sports and portrait photographers, especially when working in low-light situations. Thanks to the complex optical design that incorporates 21 elements in 15 groups, the Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art is optimized to yield excellent sharpness at its widest aperture throughout its zoom range. And with its MSRP of $1,099, this looks like a killer offering for cropped sensor cameras. The only downside is its weight – at 1,490 g (3.28 lb), the lens is almost as heavy as the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II! But what did you expect from a constant aperture f/1.8 telephoto zoom lens?