If you’re looking to buy a new lens with the latest optical technology, you’re in luck. Manufacturers have spent 2012 introducing many new models from which to choose. Whether you’re shopping for an extreme zoom for your mirrorless camera or a superfast wide-angle prime for your DSLR, there’s literally something for everyone. Here’s a breakdown of the new glass each manufacturer has introduced since last year’s Buyer’s Guide.
Canon has been busy since last fall, introducing three new prime lenses, a superzoom and an update to one of its most popular pro-series "L" lenses for DSLRs. And don’t forget the EF-M-mount lenses introduced for the new EOS M mirrorless compact camera. The three primes—the EF 24mm, EF 28mm and EF 40mm—are all moderately fast ƒ/2.8 maximum apertures, the wider pair actually offering image stabilization and ultrasonic motors for fast autofocusing.
The EF 40mm is an ultracompact pancake lens that works on full-frame and APS-C sensors, and features a stepping motor for quiet and accurate autofocus while shooting video. That’s the same focusing motor as the EF-S 18-135mm zoom, which is designed for APS-C cameras—on which it performs more like a 28-200mm lens—and includes optical image stabilization to make sharper images while handholding.
The updated EF 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 L II USM zoom is a smaller and more rugged version of the company’s popular standard zoom, incorporating several optical enhancements to produce sharper images across the focal range, but especially at the telephoto end.
The lenses currently available for the new EOS M are the fast 22mm ƒ/2 STM lens, which is built for smooth and quiet autofocusing while shooting video, and the 18-55mm image-stabilized zoom (also optimized for video), which performs equivalent to a 29-88mm lens—a very versatile wide-to-tele-zoom range.
Estimated Street Price: 24-70mm ($2,299); 24mm ($849); 28mm ($799); 40mm ($199); 18-135mm ($549); 22mm/kit with EOS M body ($799); 18-55mm ($299).
Fujifilm started shipping three new XR prime lenses earlier this year to accompany its new X-Pro1 digital rangefinder, and it’s beefing up the line with two new lenses—including a zoom—this fall.
The Fujinon XF18mm F2 R, XF35mm F2.4 R and XF60mm F2.4 R Macro are fairly fast primes built for the APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor size, and along with fast maximum apertures, they include some interesting features to make sharper, better-looking pictures. In pursuit of better bokeh, Fujifilm has rounded the aperture blades so they remain circular at all sizes. Even more, though, the manufacturer cuts the blade edges in a shaped fashion for improved sharpness across the ƒ-stop range.
This same technology is included in the new XF14mm F2.8 R wide-angle prime and the first zoom for the X mount, the XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R.
Estimated Street Price: 18mm ($599); 35mm ($599); 60mm ($699); 14mm and 18-55mm (TBD).