Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lenses

The best new optics for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras

Labels: LensesGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom
M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II
OLYMPUS
Olympus updated its 75-300mm lens for the Micro Four Thirds camera system. The new M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm ƒ/4.8-6.7 II boasts lighter weight and a smaller footprint, while delivering the same 150-600mm super-telephoto equivalent and improved optics, thanks to new ZERO (Zuiko Extra-Low Reflection Optical) coatings. Near-silent autofocus makes the lens good for video, and it's now a better aesthetic match for the retro styling of OM-D and PEN cameras. Estimated street price: $549.

Lumix G20mm f/1.7 II ASPH; Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Power O.I.S
PANASONIC
The Lumix line received three new additions this year, with a fourth coming soon. The pancake prime 20mm has been popular for Micro Four Thirds cameras, and it has been updated in a smaller and lighter package. The Lumix G 20mm ƒ/1.7 II ASPH produces an equivalent focal length of a 40mm normal prime, and the wide maximum aperture enables shallow depth of field.

The Lumix G Vario 14-42mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 II ASPH Mega O.I.S. is the newest revision to the popular wide-to-normal kit lens. Smaller in size thanks to the addition of aspherical elements, the updated lens features seven aperture blades for better bokeh and improved stepping motor autofocus for better focus while recording video. Mega O.I.S. image stabilization adds to the lens' versatility in low light.

For those who like the 14-42mm kit lens but wish it had more range, consider the new Lumix G Vario 14-140mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 ASPH Power O.I.S. superzoom. Another update to an existing lens, this one comes in a smaller and lighter package with a lower price, making the 10X zoom more attainable than ever. Like the kit lens, the 14-140 also includes optical image stabilization and a stepper motor for better low light and video performance.

Soon to hit the market is the Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm ƒ/1.2 prime. At ƒ/1.2, it's the fastest lens ever made for the Lumix system—perfect for low light and portrait photographers wanting beautiful bokeh. Estimated street prices: $429 (20mm); $239 (14-42mm); $699 (14-140mm); TBA (42.5mm).


Pentax DA 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 ED SDM superzoom
PENTAX
Pentax K-mount bodies gained two new high-end lenses this year. The first, and most versatile, is the Pentax DA 18-270mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 ED SDM superzoom. It covers a whopping 15X zoom range from the equivalent of 28mm to 414mm. The SDM motor offers smooth and quiet autofocus when used with compatible cameras, and it's small enough to become a go-everywhere, do-everything lens.

HD Pentax DA 560mm f/5.6 ED
The second new lens is the HD Pentax DA 560mm ƒ/5.6 ED. This super-telephoto prime is perfect for sports and wildlife photographers, with a drop-in polarizer both are sure to love. This new lens is also the first with Panasonic's new HD coating. Equivalent to an almost 900mm lens, it's also built with "telescope-type" optics that include fewer elements to deliver equivalent magnification. This keeps weight and cost to a minimum—though both remain substantial. Estimated street prices: $799 (18-270mm); $6,999 (560mm).

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