Rumours (and even leaked photographs) are all saying that Nikon will soon be introducing the D600, a more affordable FX (full frame) camera.
Allthough not 100% confirmed, I certainly see this as a sensible and welcome newcomer to their line-up. Yesterday Nikon paved the way to the D600’s release with brand new Nikkor 24-85mm F2.5-4.5 VR lens.
On FX, this new lens will perform similarly to a 16-57mm F2.8 VR on DX (APS-C). The closest one gets to those specifications on DX, however, is with the expensive but built-like-a-tank Nikon 17-55mm F2.8, or Sigma/Tamron 17-50mm F2.8. The former lacks optical stabilization, while the latter two lack the Nikon badge, and risk more focussing and quality control issues.Read More»
Today I am comparing two “premium” third-party standard zoom lenses: the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 VC ($650, B&H), and Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 OS ($594, B&H). Both offer a useful 17-50mm with fast F2.8 max aperture (at all focal lengths). Both feature optical stabilization. Both are available for multiple camera mounts (including Canon, Nikon and Sony).
Interestingly the price difference in The Netherlands (where I live) used to be reversed, although recently the Tamron got more expensive and the Sigma much cheaper, so that they currently retail for €419 and
€389 respectively (28 December 2013).
In addition to their similar specifications, these two have very similar size and weight, and compete in the same price range. Direct competitors, therefore. But which one is best?
I got my hands on both of them (Nikon mount), and put them to the test.Read More»
Photozone.de just published their review of Sony’s new stabilized 50mm f/1.8 lens, available for their NEX mirrorless system. The thing that makes this lens special is the fact that it combines a big aperture with optical stabilization. In fact, to my knowledge this is the fastest (lowest f-number) stabilized system lens (of any focal length) ever built!
Large apertures are great in low light situations. It enables you to gather more light, thereby letting you use a lower ISO value or faster shutter speed. Lower ISO means less image noise and better colours.
The “problem” with traditional 50mm primes (like those of Canon, Nikon) is that when you’re shooting hand-held you have to use a fast shutter speed (e.g. < 1/80) because they lack stabilization. If you had stabilization and were shooting a static subject you could probably have gone down to 1/10 and have used an ISO value 8 times lower.
The large f/1.8 aperture gives about 3 stops extra light compared to a 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 “kit zoom”, but you lose the 3-stop advantage you would have gotten with the kit zoom’s image stabilization. Since the advantages cancel out you instead have to use the same ISO value for either lens at its minimum usable hand-held shutter speed. But with the new Sony you can choose to apply that large aperture either for low ISO (useful for static subjects) or for fast shutter speeds (useful for moving subjects). In one word: versatility!
The advantages of a “nifty fifty” go further than being able to use fast shutter speeds. These lenses are almost always sharp (at smaller apertures), small, light, and can render backgrounds with beautiful shallow depth of field blurring, known as “bokeh”. By also being affordable (often < $300) you will find one in the bag, or on the camera, of every serious photographer.
For the reasons stated above a “nifty fifty” works nicely as a portrait lens on cropped sensor DSLRs. For a great example, see this photo by Ana Santos :
Reading the review we see that this new Sony lens has nothing to be ashamed of, and at $300 (available for pre-order at B&H) it is good value for money, too! It is not the sharpest lens at large apertures, but renders beautiful out-of-focus background “bokeh”. If you want sharpness you just have to stop it down. And, it is stabilized!
Conclusion: a very harmonious offering. The unique double advantages of a classical fast 50mm prime and image stabilization. Sony NEX users can count themselves privileged.
The news is out! Nikon indeed came with a big announcement at midnight yesterday, and it is indeed a whole new system.
- 2.7 crop factor called “Nikon CX” (a 10mm lens is equivalent to 27mm in traditional full-frame/film)
- Very fast shooting rates – up to 60 fps full-resolution photographs
- Advanced video capability
- Lots of accessories, already including 4 lenses, speedlight flash, GPS, external microphone and F-mount adapter.
To give you a sense of scale, this is the new V1 in hand:
Nikon, I hate to be so blunt, but you are fat. And no, it’s not just your lens, it’s your body too.
The two biggest players in the Digital SLR market are Canon and Nikon. These two giants offer similar equipment ranges. But how do they weigh up against each other… literally? I’ve handled them, and I’ve looked at the numbers. Nikon, you’ve got a weight problem. Shame on you.Read More»