Canon has just announced a number of new products, with a new lens and high-end compact camera among them. The new lens is a replacement for the older, 2011 release of the 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS kit zoom lens for Canon APS-C sensor DSLR cameras. The Powershot G16 enthusiast compact camera is a direct replacement of the Powershot G15. The lens and camera offer minor improvements over their predecessors.
This is a part two to my “why are some lenses so expensive?” article that I wrote yesterday. I already explained the difference between consumer and professional-level lenses in the first post, so now it is time to talk about exotic lenses. With so many exotic lenses on the market today, some of which seem to be in relatively high demand (at least judging by their lack of availability), one might wonder about what makes them so special when compared to everything else. This post is not meant to be technical or basic – I think you can get most of that from the first article. Instead, I want to focus on craftsmanship, price, perceived value and niche marketing – the main drivers behind exotic lenses.
Every once in a while, I get asked why some lenses are so much more expensive compared to others. Interestingly, this question comes from both beginners and advanced photographers, but in different contexts. Beginners want to know why pro-level lenses are a lot more expensive than consumer lenses, while knowledgeable photographers wonder about what makes niche/exotic lenses from companies like Zeiss and Leica so much more expensive than modern professional lenses. These are all interesting and valid questions, so I thought writing a couple of articles to attempt to answer these questions would be useful for our readers. In this article, I want to answer the first beginner question on what makes professional lenses expensive.
Canon has just announced a successor to the popular but aging 60D. The new member of EOS family is called 70D and packs a number of improvements over the rest of the line-up, including the higher-end 7D model. 70D is positioned squarely against Nikon’s D7100 DSLR with virtually identical body-only price and competitive on-paper specifications.
One of our readers, Simon Speich sent me an interesting article that compares Canon and Nikon Telephoto lenses. He created a couple of fun charts that take into account lens weight, maximum aperture and focal length and he came up with a graph that shows which manufacturer offers the best focal length to weight ratio. Give it a read, I thought this was great to share with our readers!
A much more exciting news today is for Canon shooters – the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L with a built-in 1.4x teleconverter has finally been announced. The Canon 200-400mm f/4 was released in response to the highly regarded Nikon 200-400mm f/4G VR, which Nikon has been making for a decade now. Many Canon enthusiasts and pros have been craving badly for such a lens, because it can be invaluable for photographing wildlife. Instead of creating the same lens, Canon took optical design a step further and designed the lens with a built-in 1.4x teleconverter, making it a versatile lens with 200-400mm or 280-560mm focal lengths.
I remember not that long ago there were two types of lenses. Brand lenses, those designed by known manufacturers for their own cameras, such as Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Olympus, and the cheapskate third party lenses you’d buy if you couldn’t afford the first type. Brand lenses were more expensive, but well worth the extra price. Better build quality, better optical capability, better dependability, better compatibility, better autofocus and fewer quality control and manufacturing issues were what you got for your hard-earned cash. Not to mention respectful nods from anyone spotting letters Nikkor or a red ring around the front of that lens barrel. A few years have gone by now and situation seems to be changing, however. Third party manufacturers have moved the game up and started producing some serious alternatives. Sigma is very keen to prove the point with the launch of its latest lens, the new 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM for APS-C DSLR cameras. In this article, I will introduce you to this new lens and give insight as to why it is such an important step forward in current smaller-format lens market.
When my article on field curvature was published a while ago, where I talked about how one could do a quick analysis of lens MTF data and determine if it exhibits any field curvature, some of our readers expressed interest in understanding how to read MTF charts. Since we talk quite a bit about lens performance and MTF data here at Photography Life, I decided to write a detailed article on the subject and do my best to thoroughly explain everything related to MTF curves, charts and all the verbiage that comes with them.
Along with the diminutive 100D, Canon has also announced a replacement for the upper entry-level 650D, the 700D (Rebel T5i). The new 700D, however, isn’t actually all that new, but a mild refresh. Despite Canon’s claims, improvements are as minor as they get. There’s the same 18 megapixel sensor with built-in phase-detect AF points, the same DIGIC 5 processor with the same ISO sensitivity and the same 9-point AF system with cross-type sensors. In fact, almost all the specifications are identical between the two models, except that 700D comes with a slightly different mode dial, has live preview of Creative Filters and a slightly different body finish. Are camera manufacturers taking the habit of announcing cameras for the sake of announcing? In any case, 650D was a popular and likable model. There’s no reason to think 700D will be any different (pun intended). What’s likely more interesting is the renewed kit lens. The EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM now comes with Canon’s stepper AF motor for silent video recording during focusing.
Camera industry has been obsessed with size lately and Canon has moved the standards of small DSLR cameras with the introduction of 100D (Rebel SL1). As of today, this is the smallest and lightest APS-C DSLR camera. At this point, you could say – big deal! Mirrorless cameras are the way to go if you want small. Well, perhaps in most cases. But the 100D is indeed tiny, not just as a DSLR, but even compared to some mirrorless cameras. The Panasonic GH3 – a compact system camera with a smaller sensor – is actually bigger in every dimension. Quite a feat by Canon, I’d say.