Tuesday, October 8, 2013


The best new optics for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras

Labels: LensesGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom

Samsung 10mm f/3.5 NX Lens
Samsung has announced it will be bringing a 180-degree fisheye to the NX mirrorless system. The 10mm ƒ/3.5 lens measures only about one inch from front to back, and weighs just 2.5 ounces. It's a full-frame fisheye, so the image area covers the entire sensor. This is also an "i-Function" lens. A button on the barrel can enable manual changes to camera functions, including shutter speed, aperture and more. Price is TBA.

Samsung 45mm f/1.8 NX Lens
Samsung has also updated its 45mm ƒ/1.8 NX lens to be compatible with a unique feature of the NX300 camera: 3D photography. Functional for stills and movies, the 3D lens has two built-in shutters that open and close 60 times per second to produce separate images on each half of the sensor. The camera then processes the images into a 3D composite. When you simply want to take advantage of the shallow depth of field of this fast lens, flip a switch to remove the shutters and use the lens in 2D mode as normal. Estimated street price: $459.

Sigma recently reorganized its lens offerings into three categories: Contemporary, Art and Sports. Contemporary lenses offer high-tech features and high-quality optics in compact packages. Art lenses tend to have wide apertures (delivering shallow depth of field) and/or wide angles of view (for dramatic compositions). Sports lenses are telephoto and super-telephoto primes and zooms.

Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN
There are five new art lenses—four primes and a zoom. The first three are built for compact mirrorless cameras that use the Sony E and Micro Four Thirds mounts: the 19mm ƒ/2.8 DN, 30mm ƒ/2.8 DN and the 60mm ƒ/2.8 DN. These lenses have a 1.5x crop factor on Sony E mounts (28mm, 45mm and 90mm equivalents), and the focal length is doubled on Micro Four Thirds cameras (becoming 38mm, 60mm and 120mm). That's three primes to cover wide, normal and telephoto—everything you need at an affordable total price. Estimated street prices: $199 (19mm); $199 (30mm); $239 (60mm).

There's another 30mm lens in the Sigma Art lineup, and this one's built for APS-C DSLRs. The Sigma 30mm ƒ/1.4 DC HSM is an updated version of an existing prime lens, delivering an angle of view equivalent to 45mm on APS-C cameras. Available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts, the 30mm prime offers upgraded optics and rounded aperture blades for improved sharpness and more pleasing bokeh. Optimized power distribution minimizes curvature of the focal plane, improving sharpness from edge to edge. Estimated street price: $499.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
Truly fast zooms don't come around often, so Sigma's 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM is notable as the world's first constant ƒ/1.8 zoom. In fact, the company claims it to be the fastest zoom ever made for an SLR. Built to fit APS-C sensors (on which the focal range equates to 27-53mm) and in mounts for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony and Sigma, low-light photographers are sure to love this lens. Better still, this fast zoom carries a fairly affordable price tag. Estimated street price: $799.


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