Tuesday, October 8, 2013


The best new optics for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras

Labels: LensesGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom

Canon ef 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x superzoom with built-in teleconverter

Lensmakers are busier than ever, delivering unparalleled image quality in increasingly compact and feature-rich packages. Whatever camera system you're using, from compact mirrorless models to full-frame DSLRs, here are the newest lenses to consider for your kit.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
Canon's EF 200-400mm ƒ/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x is the first DSLR superzoom with a built-in teleconverter. Targeted at the high end of the sports and wildlife market, with the flip of a switch, the zoom tops out at 560mm. Other features like Power Focus are built to aid the lens in video, and optical image stabilization adds up to four-stops of additional handholdability—although with a lens this big, handholding isn't generally recommended. The price is weighty, too. Estimated street price: $11,799.

With the introduction of the EOS Rebel SL1, Canon also unveiled an affordable kit lens. The EF-S 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS STM fills a popular wide-to-normal range, and while it fits any Canon APS-C DSLR, it's designed specifically for the Hybrid AF focusing systems of the SL1 and T5i cameras. The linear stepper motor is ideal for video, and built-in IS up to four stops of added stability. Estimated street price: $249.

The Fuji X system added a number of new lenses to its lineup in 2013. Newly announced (but not yet available) is the 50-230mm ƒ/4.5-6.7 OIS, which joins the 16-50mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 OIS to form the affordable XC lineup. The two lenses combine to cover a focal range from 16-230mm, or a whopping 24-350mm equivalent. Although they're inexpensive, each lens features all-glass elements and optical image stabilization. Estimated street prices: $399 (16-50mm); TBA (50-230mm).

Fujifilm XF 27mm f/2.8; Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f/2.5-4.8 R LM OIS telephoto zoom
At the higher end of the X system are two new lenses from Fujifilm, one prime and one tele-zoom. The XF 27mm ƒ/2.8 is a pancake lens that weighs less than three ounces and protrudes from the camera less than an inch. That leaves no room for a manually adjustable aperture ring, so Fuji recommends X-Pro1 and X-E1 owners update their firmware to allow for aperture adjustment in-camera.

For a larger lens, consider the new XF 55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS telephoto zoom. With an equivalent focal length of 84-305mm, it's perfect for everything from portraiture to sports and wildlife photography. Dual linear focus motors provide fast, quiet autofocus for video, and optical image stabilization adds up to 4.5 stops of steadiness. Estimated street prices: $449 (27mm); $699 (55-200mm).


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