New Gear: April/May 2016

FLASHPOINT STREAKLIGHT TTL

The 360-ws bare-bulb Flashpoint StreakLight TTL strobe works just as well off-camera as it does when mounted on a Nikon or Canon camera. Its versatility extends to the ability to use it as a Master or Slave, in addition to shooting high-speed sync, utilizing remote manual control and exposure bracketing, as well as remote manual control, and more. Better yet, the StreakLight TTL comes with an internal R2 transmitter that enables additional features such as group and ratio controls. With a reach of 300-plus feet, you won’t have any problems triggering lights in a large space. List Price: $490. Contact: Adorama, adorama.com.

PHOTTIX ODIN II

Phottix Odin II, the updated flash trigger originally announced in September 2014, is finally shipping with a number of major improvements. Now with five groups and 32 channels versus the original model’s three groups/four channels, the Odin II has seriously extended its usability. Operation is more convenient thanks to updates like a new quick-access button and an AF assist lamp on the transmitter. Other features include TTL power control from +/- 3 EV, manual power control from 1/1 to 1/128 power, flash zoom control and a 332-foot range. List Price: $160. Contact: Phottix, phottix.com.


SONY a6300

The new Sony a6300, the successor to the wildly popular a6000, is a real speed demon and features a number of updates that certainly will entice a wide range of photographers, including a6000 owners. In addition to an innovative new 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, the a6300 offers a record-breaking 425 phase-detection AF points across the frame. Add 4D focus, shooting speeds of up to 11 fps with continuous AF and exposure tracking, and 4K video, and you have one helluva camera. List Price: $1,000 (body only). Contact: Sony, store.sony.com.


PENTAX K-1 FULL-FRAME DSLR

The K-1 is Pentax’s first full-frame DSLR and offers benefits that extend far beyond its AA-filterless 36.4-megapixel sensor. This weatherproof camera’s more interesting features revolve around the sensor, with an ISO range up to 204,800, and an updated 5-axis shake-reduction mechanism that offers up to 5 steps of image stabilization. And, because the image sensor can be tilted in all directions, image composition can be fine-tuned in-camera. Also of note is its Astro Tracer tracking function for astrophotography. Lens compatibility has always been one of Pentax’s strong points, and the K-1’s multiple image area modes will accommodate full-frame and APS-C lenses. Pentax also has introduced two new lenses—the HD Pentax-D FA 15-30mm F2.8ED SDM WR and the HD Pentax-D FA 28-105mm F3.5-5.6ED DC WR—bringing the number of lens choices to an even dozen. A new battery grip was introduced, as well. List Price: $1,800 (K-1, body only); $1,500 (15-30mm); $500 (28-105mm); $200 (battery grip). Contact: Ricoh, us.ricoh-imaging.com.


CANON EOS 80D

The update to Canon’s popular EOS 70D APS-C DSLR, the new EOS 80D’s improvements are impressive and will make even current 70D users seriously consider upgrading. The camera is built around a new 24-megapixel Dual Pixel CMOS sensor. With 45 AF points (versus the 70D’s 19 AF points) and ƒ/8 compatibility at 27 different AF points—even for long lenses with tele-extenders—the 80D provides broader coverage. You’ll also find large zone AF adjustment, AF point auto switching and a large improvement in metering capabilities. Trickle-down features from higher-end EOS bodies include anti-flicker and a mirror vibration control system à la the EOS 5DS/R to help prevent vibration when the mirror flips up. On the video front, the 80D is now equipped with a headphone jack for monitoring sound, and Canon promises more accurate AF in movie mode, as well. Pair the new Canon EF-S 18-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS USM kit lens with the companion Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E1 for super-smooth zooming and adjustable zoom speed. Add the first Canon-branded DM-E1 external microphone, and you’re on your way to some awesome filmmaking. List Price: $1,199 (body only); $1,799 (with 18-135mm kit lens). Contact: Canon, usa.canon.com.


CANON POWERSHOT G7X MARK II

Compact, yet sophisticated, the 20-megapixel Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II retains much of what we liked about the G7X, but takes its performance and features up a notch. The first PowerShot to utilize Canon’s DIGIC VII processor, the G7X Mark II shines, with better tracking, improved AF detection and a one-stop improvement in noise levels. Capable of capturing up to 8 fps in RAW, the G7X Mark II is speedy, as well. EOS DSLR features like the ability to set a picture style has trickled down to this compact camera. You’ll also find in-camera RAW conversion, a time-lapse movie feature, WiFi/NFC and adjustable auto light optimization. The G7X Mark II is equipped with a fast (ƒ/1.8-2.8) 24-100mm image-stabilized lens and a touch-screen LCD, and is slated to ship in May. List Price: $700. Contact: Canon, usa.canon.com.


FUJIFILM X70 COMPACT CAMERA

If you like the retro look, the 16-megapixel Fujifilm X70 offers the rangefinder style that street photographers love. It’s equipped with a fast ƒ/2.8, 18.5mm fixed lens that delivers a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 28mm. The first X-Series camera to feature a touch screen, this one rotates 180º for easy off-angle shooting. A new AF system offers new options, and its electronic shutter delivers speeds of up to 1/32,000 sec. Check out our Hands-On Review in this issue. List Price: $700. Contact: Fujifilm, fujifilmusa.com.


OLYMPUS PEN-F COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA

The 20-megapixel PEN-F from Olympus is retro in style only. The new compact system camera offers plenty of options, ranging from manual controls to special monochrome modes and Olympus Art Filters, as well as a long list of advanced and easy-to-use features. A high-resolution OLED electronic viewfinder complements its articulated LCD, and the PEN-F’s 5-axis image stabilization almost guarantees sharp images, even at slower shutter speeds. With multiple customizable dials and buttons and a take-anywhere size (4.9×2.8×1.5 inches), the PEN-F is certain to find its way into the hands of photography enthusiasts, especially those who love street photography. List Price: $1,200. Contact: Olympus, getolympus.com.


OLYMPUS M. ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 300MM F4.0 IS PRO

This prime lens is the latest addition to the Olympus PRO line. The M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm F4.0 IS PRO is surprisingly lightweight at 2.8 pounds, given that it delivers an effective 600mm focal range. Equally as impressive is the six steps of image stabilization you’ll get when the lens is paired with one of the Olympus 5-axis IS cameras (up to 4 steps with other camera bodies using the in-lens stabilization mechanism). Like the OM-D E-M1 and E-M5 II, the lens is sealed against the elements, too, making it the perfect combination for a total weatherproof system. List Price: $2,500. Contact: Olympus, getolympus.com.


FUJINON XF100-400MM F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Sealed against the elements, the Fujinon XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR is the perfect match with the X-Pro2. Fujifilm promises up to five stops of image stabilization for handheld shooting. Also notable are twin linear motors that enable fast autofocus. Adding to the appeal of the XF100-400mm, a fluorine coating helps keep the front lens element free from water and dirt. The lens is compatible with the XF1.4X TC WR teleconverter to extend the focal range to 140-560mm. List Price: $1,900. Contact: Fujifilm, fujifilmusa.com.


PANASONIC LUMIX G 100-400MM LEICA DG VARIO-ELMAR

With a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 200-800mm, the Panasonic LUMIX G 100-400mm Leica DG Vario-Elmar is currently the longest focal length for Micro Four Thirds cameras. Its Power OIS (optical image stabilization) system helps keep images free from camera-shake blur, a common problem with telephotos. The lens is dual-image-stabilization-compatible, is weather sealed against the elements, features a 240 fps AF motor for fast autofocus and offers silent zooming for video. An adjustable lens tripod mount makes it easy to switch between landscape and portrait, as well. No worries about losing the lens hood thanks to its integrated, hideaway hood. List Price: $1,800. Contact: Panasonic, shop.panasonic.com.


LENSBABY EDGE 50 OPTIC

Previously available in combination with the Composer Pro II lens body, the Lensbaby Edge 50 Optic now can be purchased separately. Compatible with Optic Swap System-compatible lenses in Lensbaby’s Composer and Muse series, the Edge 50 is a 50mm ƒ/3.2 optic that—like all of Lensbaby’s products—lets you create selective-focus images, with a beautiful bokeh, thanks, in part, to its 9-bladed aperture. Focusing distance ranges from 8 inches to infinity. List Price: $225. Contact: Lensbaby, lensbaby.com.


ZEISS LENSES FOR MOBILE PHONES

Zeiss, in collaboration with ExoLens, has launched a trio of accessory lenses for mobile phones. Billed as ExoLens with optics by Zeiss, the current options (scheduled to be released in the second quarter of 2016) include wide-angle, telephoto and macro models. Interestingly, the macro lens offers a zooming function, which should make it easier to compose close-up shots. Price: TBD. Contact: ExoLens, exolens.com.


LEXAR PORTABLE SSD

The tiny Portable SSD drive from Lexar promises transfer speeds of up to 450 MB/s and write speeds as fast as 245 MB/s. A half-dozen LEDs on the face of the drive track capacity levels so you know when you’re running low on space. The drive comes with a USB 3.0 cable, but also works perfectly with Lexar’s Professional Workflow hub—just pop it into one of the four slots and you’re good to go. It’s available in 256 GB and 512 GB capacities. List Price: $150 (256 GB); $250 (512 GB). Contact: Lexar, lexar.com.


SANDISK EXTREME 510 PORTABLE SSD

The rugged, “all-terrain” SanDisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD is even tougher than its predecessor. The diminutive drive is protected by a rubber bumper and comes with an IP55 rating that keeps the drive sealed from dust and even a bit of rain, too, so it’s a great option for your next outdoor adventure, but, of course, it’s equally as useful in the comfort of home. The drive offers transfer speeds of up to 430 MB/s and features a USB 3.0 port and security software. List Price: $250. Contact: SanDisk, sandisk.com.


SIHL MASTERCLASS INKJET PAPERS

Sihl, a company with a long history of papermaking and coating, has launched its Masterclass photo and fine-art inkjet papers in North America. The eight-product line includes a variety of surfaces, ranging from Metallic Pearl High Gloss and High Gloss Photo to Lustre (also available in double-sided paper), Satin Baryta and several matte options. Papers are available in 25-sheet boxes sized 8½x11 and 13×19 inches and in 24- and 44-inch-wide rolls. List Price: $13 (sample pack); individual paper types start at $20. Contact: Sihl, sihlmasterclass.com.


SEAGATE BACKUP PLUS ULTRA SLIM

At 9.6mm (0.37 inches), the Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim hard drive is exceedingly thin and even more slender than its Backup Plus “Slim” sibling—perfectly suited for sliding into a camera bag or backpack. This newly designed hard drive features USB 3.0 connectivity. It’s available in 1 TB and 2 TB capacities, and comes with 200 GB of Microsoft One Drive cloud storage and Lyve software. You also have your choice of gold or platinum color finishes. List Price: $70 (1 TB); $100 (2 TB). Contact: Seagate, seagate.com.

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