Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 and 85mm f/1.8 Announcements

Another big announcement from last week was Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 and 85mm f/1.8 lenses for the Sony FE mount. Compared to Zeiss Loxia lenses, the new Batis line offers autofocus capability and has a similar focus-by-wire motor as in native Sony/Zeiss lenses. The exterior look of the lenses appears to be similar to the high-end Zeiss Otus lenses, but there is one major difference – the focus scale on the lens is OLED, the first-ever lens to feature it. While I am personally not as excited about the 25mm f/2 lens due to the fact that Sony has already announced the Sony FE 28mm f/2 lens (which you can convert to either a 16mm or a 21mm lens with a conversion lens), the 85mm f/1.8 is something that I cannot wait to try out. Sony has had a major hole in its lens line with the lack of a fast 85mm prime, so the new AF-capable Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 will definitely satisfy many portrait photographers out there. With its $1,199 price tag and Zeiss quality, this will surely be a popular choice among Sony shooters (the 25mm f/2 will sell for $100 more). Let’s take a closer look at these lenses.

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Pentax K-3 II Announcement

Having been out of town for a few weeks, I am just catching up with some major news, so I decided to post some announcements that I consider to be newsworthy. In this particular case, it is the announcement of the Pentax K-3 II, which I believe deserves a spotlight for the innovation it brings. Sporting in-body image stabilization, high-resolution sensor shift mode, star tracking, anti-aliasing filter simulator, built-in GPS and durable construction, the K-3 II brings some great innovative features which we have never seen on a DSLR before. Looking at this powerful APS-C camera, I am excited to see what Pentax will do with its upcoming full-frame camera. And I hope that both Nikon and Canon are taking notes from Pentax, because such innovation is much needed in the DSLR market to keep it healthy, now that the mirrorless market is steadily growing.

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Lightroom 6 Announcement and Preview

Today adobe rolled out the much anticipated update to its Lightroom photo management and editing software. Two new versions of Lightroom are immediately available for both standalone and Creative Cloud subscribers. Lightroom 6 will be offered as an update to Lightroom 5 for perpetual users (both regular and upgrade licenses are already available) and those who subscribe to the Creative Cloud will get a cloud-specific version called Lightroom CC (which in its core is the same as Lightroom 6). This update is a rather significant one, because it brings very important and much-needed performance improvements, new camera / lens support and a few new notable features. Let’s discuss those in more detail now.

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Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR Announcement

Today is a big day for Fuji, because the company has just announced its first wide angle weather resistant prime lens, the Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR. This is a pretty significant milestone for Fuji, because the lens is equivalent to a 24mm lens in terms of field of view on full-frame, which is a very popular focal length for many different types of photography such as landscapes, architecture and environmental portraiture. Being a fast f/1.4 lens, it is also a great candidate for low-light photography. On top of that, Fuji made this lens weather resistant to withstand both dust and moisture, so it will couple greatly with the Fuji X-T1 and future weather-sealed cameras.

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The Most Stellar Photo Gear Deal of the Millennium

My New Year’s resolution not to buy any new cameras or lenses this year is in serious jeopardy. Longtime friend of Photography Life Mark Fagan alerted me to this MEGADEAL. Yes – Hasselblad has sliced prices 70% on selected models, er I mean model. For those of you new to photography, Hasselblad is one of the most revered names in photography. Put it this way, people who can’t afford Hassies buy Leicas to impress their friends.

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New Sony Lenses and Adapters Announced

Someone at Sony must be finally realizing cameras don’t make a system. As numerous and capable (crippled RAW format notwithstanding) the A7-series cameras are, the real pull of any system is the lens lineup. And so the Japanese manufacturer has announced four new FE lenses for full-frame mirrorless cameras. It is very much worth noting that just one of the lenses is a superzoom with a disappointingly slow aperture of f/6.3 at the long end – the other three are prime lenses of 28mm, 35mm and 90mm focal lengths. On top of that, Sony has also introduced two new lens converters, one for wider angle of view, the other – for fisheye effect. Let’s take a closer look at the new products.

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Nikon D7200 High Resolution Sample Images

The Nikon D7200 has been announced, but full resolution image samples are not yet available at NikonUSA or Nikon Imaging. Below are the images I was able to find through Nikon Japan. At this time there are only 5 full-resolution image samples available, but I will update this article if I find more this week. Sadly, all images below were captured at ISO 100 and there are no high ISO samples to look at yet. Nikon Asia and other regional sites do have more sample images, but none of them are at full size.

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Profoto B2 Off-Camera Flash Announcement

You may remember how we were thoroughly impressed with the Profoto B1 off-camera flash. Its manageable weight, ease of use and dependability were among the largest strong-points, and made the product itself very tempting, even when compared to products from other highly-regarded manufacturers, such as Elinchrom. Now, Profoto has announced a successor (or perhaps a counterpart) to the B1. As good as the “older” system is, even on paper the B2 sounds fantastic.

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Nikon D7200 Announcement

It has been two years since Nikon announced the D7100 and today the company announced its replacement, the Nikon D7200. A number of things have changed / improved from the D7100, most notably: improved 51-point AF system with -3 EV sensitivity, built-in Wi-Fi with NFC, faster EXPEED 4 processor, larger buffer capacity, improved battery life and a slightly modified 24.2 MP APS-C sensor with a larger native ISO range of 100 – 25,600. Looks like Nikon finally addressed the buffer concern with this release, giving a three times larger buffer that can fit 18 14-bit RAW files compared to the D7100. The sensor on the D7200 is probably a tweaked version of the excellent sensor from the D5300 (made by Sony), which should provide pretty clean images at high ISOs. The camera retains the price of its predecessor at $1,199 MSRP. Looks like it is a great update to the already excellent D7100, which we have previously reviewed and praised for its superb performance. Judging by its build / ergonomics and the same continuous shooting speed of 6 fps, the D7200 won’t directly compete with the Canon 7D Mark II, which still leaves room for the potential release of the D400 later this year.

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Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art and Sigma 150-600mm Available for Pre-Order

Just a day after Sigma announced its 24mm f/1.4 Art lens, it has now also announced both pricing and availability of the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art lens. I honestly expected over $1K price for this quality of the lens, so I was a bit shocked to see that the lens will be sold at $849, which is tremendous value if you compare it to Nikon and Canon 24mm f/1.4 counterparts. Another much anticipated lens, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary is also available for pre-order for $1,089, which is priced right around the same as the Tamron 150-600mm which we highly praised in our in-depth review. Both lenses are expected to ship around March 20, 2015.

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