New Gear: September/October 2015

THREE NEW NIKKOR LENSES

Nikon has introduced three new lenses, all featuring Nikon’s electromagnetic diaphragm for consistent exposures during high-speed shooting. For DX (APS-C) Nikon DSLR users, there’s the AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm ƒ/2.8-4E ED VR (equivalent in field of view to 24-120mm on a full-frame camera), which provides focal lengths ideal for everything from landscapes to portraits and travel photography. The lens can focus down to 1.2 feet at all focal lengths, for a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.22X at 80mm. It measures 3.1×3.3 inches and weighs 16.1 ounces, and lists for $1,069.95.

AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm ƒ/2.8-4E ED VR

AF-S Nikkor 600mm ƒ/4E ED VR

For all Nikon DSLRs, DX and full-frame FX, the new AF-S Nikkor 500mm ƒ/4E ED VR and 600mm ƒ/4E ED VR telephotos are optimized for today’s high-resolution sensors and high-speed DSLRs, and cut weight considerably over their predecessors (the new 500mm ƒ/4E weighs 6.8 pounds vs. 8.5 for the 500mm ƒ/4G; the 600mm ƒ/4E 8.3 pounds vs. 11.5 for the 500mm ƒ/4G). Both also feature improved AF tracking performance. List prices are $10,299.95 and $12,299.95, respectively. Contact: Nikon, www.nikonusa.com.

GOPRO HERO4 SESSION

GoPro‘s latest action cam is the company’s smallest, lightest and easiest to use. The new HERO4 Session is 50 percent smaller than other GoPro HERO4 cameras and weighs just 2.6 ounces, but can deliver 1080p video at up to 60 fps, as well as 8-megapixel still images up to 10 fps and time-lapse at intervals of 0.5-60 seconds. The unit is rugged and waterproof to 10 meters/33 feet—no housing required. The built-in battery delivers up to two hours of shooting per charge. Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth provide wireless connection to the free GoPro App, with which you can control the camera via your smartphone or tablet. An optional Smart Remote lets you operate multiple cameras from up to 182 meters/600 feet away. The Session comes with mounts and mounting buckles and hardware, and is compatible with all GoPro mounts. Estimated Street Price: $399.99. Contact: GoPro, shop.gopro.com.

SIGMA 24-35mm ƒ/2 DG HSM | A

Designed specifically for full-frame sensors (but also excellent with APS-C DSLRs), Sigma‘s latest Global Vision Art lens, the 24-35mm ƒ/2 DG HSM | A provides three popular focal lengths (24mm, 28mm and 35mm) with prime-lens image quality, plus the ability to change focal lengths at the twist of a wrist, and no need to carry three lenses into the field. A difficult-to-produce large-diameter aspherical element, an FLD element (equivalent in performance to fluorite) and seven SLD elements minimize field curvature and spherical and axial chromatic aberrations. An HSM AF motor and new AF algorithm deliver quick, smooth AF, along with full-time manual focusing when desired. The lens measures 3.4×4.8 inches and weighs 33.2 ounces, and takes 82mm filters. It will be available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma SA mounts. List Price: $999. Contact: Sigma, www.sigmaphoto.com.

CANON POWERSHOT G3 X

The flagship G-series Canon compact camera is the most rugged of the G-series, with dust and weather sealing about equal to that of the EOS 70D. It has a built-in 24-600mm (equivalent) ƒ/2.8-5.6 zoom, which can cover everything from landscapes to distant wildlife. Built-in intelligent image stabilization helps keep things sharper at all focal lengths. The PowerShot G3 X features EOS-like control (a first for the G-series) and can shoot 5.9 fps with CAF. The 20.2-megapixel one-inch CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 processor optimize image quality at ISO settings to 12800. The 3.2-inch 1.62M-dot LCD monitor can be supplemented with an optional 2.36-megapixel EVF (recommended for handheld shooting at longer focal lengths). The G3 X does 1080p video at 60, 20 and 24 fps (with external mic and headphone jacks), and built-in WiFi with NFC add versatility. Star Trail and Star Time-Lapse Movie modes will delight fans of night sky photography. Dimensions are 4.9×3.0x4.2 inches; weight is 24.0 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $999.99. Contact: Canon, www.usa.canon.com.

DxO ONE CAMERA

DxO, best known for its advanced image-processing technologies (and DxOMark.com sensor ratings), has introduced its first camera. The DxO ONE connects to an iPhone or iPad via the Lightning connector, and uses the smart device’s screen as the camera monitor. Featuring a 20.2-megapixel one-inch backside-illuminated CMOS sensor, the ONE delivers good performance in dim light (ISO range 100-51200), while its 32mm (equivalent) ƒ/1.8 lens can produce shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh for portraits. The camera can also do 1080/30p and 720/120p video. SuperRAW mode shoots four images in rapid succession and merges them (when connected to your Mac or PC) using the latest in spatial and temporal noise reduction for even better image quality. The ONE is 2.65 inches tall and weighs 3.8 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $599, including (for a limited time) free licenses for DxO OpticsPro ELITE and FilmPack ELITE software. Contact: DxO, www.dxo.com.

SONY RX100 IV

Sony‘s RX100 cameras have been hot sellers from the start, combining good image quality with a pocketable package. The RX100 IV continues that, and then some. The new 20.1-megapixel one-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor features a stacked configuration, with the pixel area on top, the high-speed signal processing circuitry below, and an on-chip DRAM memory chip below that. The 5X faster readout made possible by this provides 16 fps full-res still shooting with no blackout (but focus fixed at the first frame), a top shutter speed of 1/32000 and 4K video in-camera at 30p, super slow-motion up to 960 fps (40x) at 800×270 and full-pixel readout video with no binning or line-skipping. The tilting three-inch 1229K-dot external monitor is complemented by a 2.35M EVF. AF performance has also been sped up. Dimensions: 4.0×2.3×1.5 inches. Weight: 9.6 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $1,000. Contact: Sony, store.sony.com.

MINDSHIFT FIRSTLIGHT BACKPACKS

MindShift Gear‘s FirstLight backpacks were designed to hold large lenses yet meet airline carry-on specs. The 4.4-pound FirstLight 20L can hold a standard DSLR body and four to six standard zoom lenses, two m
irrorless bodies and five to seven lenses, a 200-400mm zoom detached or a 300mm ƒ/2.8 lens attached to a camera body. The 5.4-pound 30L can hold a gripped DSLR body with six to eight standard zoom lenses and a flash unit, a detached 500mm ƒ/4 super telephoto or a 400mm ƒ/2.8 attached to a body. The six-pound 40L can hold two gripped DSLR bodies with six to eight standard zoom lenses and a flash unit, a 600mm ƒ/4 or a 500mm ƒ/4 with body attached. The FirstLight backpacks feature comfortable designs with 11 adjustment points, and exterior fabric is treated with waterproof coating. The packs also come with a seamless rain cover that can also serve as a ground cloth, and ballistic nylon bottoms for durability. Prices to be announced. Contact: MindShift Gear, www.mindshiftgear.com.

TAMRAC ANVIL BACKPACK

Inspired by thunderstorm clouds and blacksmith tools, Tamrac‘s new Anvil backpacks are tough units designed and manufactured to carry your gear safely on tough treks. The packs feature a comfortable airflow harness, Cordura fabric, Duraflex buckles and YKK zippers, and come in six sizes. The largest will accommodate a pro DSLR with up to 600mm lens attached. The belt is removable, so if you have an Anvil backpack, you also have a belt unit. Quick-release straps can carry a tripod. Estimated Street Price: $229.95-$329.95. Contact: Tamrac, www.tamrac.com.

TOKINA AT-X 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 FULL-FRAME ZOOM

With DSLR megapixel counts hitting remarkable levels, Tokina has introduced the AT-X 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 high-performance zoom lens, designed for high-pixel-count full-frame sensors. Among its 15 elements in 11 groups are three precision-molded all-glass aspherical elements (one of Super Low Dispersion glass) to control spherical aberrations plus three SD elements in the rear groups to minimize chromatic aberrations. The lens can focus down to 1.2 feet (0.21X maximum magnification), and features an SDM (Silent Drive Module) AF motor for quick, quiet autofocusing. It also features Tokina’s One-touch focus Clutch mechanism, and allows you to switch between auto and manual focus simply by pushing the focusing ring forward (for AF) or pulling it rearward (for MF). The lens measures 3.5×4.2 inches and weighs 2.2 pounds. It’s available in mounts for Canon and Nikon full-frame DSLRs (it can also be used on APS-C cameras). Estimated Street Price: $999. Contact: Kenko Tokina USA, www.kenkotokinausa.com.

RICOH GR II

Ricoh has added built-in WiFi with easy NFC connection to its flagship compact model. The new GR II retains its predecessor’s compact dimensions (4.6×2.5×1.4 inches, 7.8 ounces), 16.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor with no AA filter and 28mm (equivalent) ƒ/2.8 lens (with 9-blade diaphragm for natural bokeh). Seventeen effects include a new HDR Tone one. There’s a built-in flash unit, plus the ability to control certain Pentax flash units wirelessly off-camera. A web-based app lets you control camera settings via almost any browser. The GR II can shoot up to 10 fps (4 fps with AF), as well as 1080/30p video. The 3.0-inch 1230K-dot LCD monitor can be supplemented with an optional shoe-mount optical finder. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Ricoh Imaging, www.us.ricoh-imaging.com.

LAOWA 15MM ƒ/4 WIDE-ANGLE 1:1 MACRO LENS

There are lots of wide-angle lenses on the market, and quite a few macro lenses. Now we have the world’s widest-angle 1:1 macro lens: The Laowa 15mm ƒ/4 takes in a 110° angle of view on a full-frame camera (85° on an APS-C camera), and will focus down to 4.7 inches (0.2-inch working distance), close enough to deliver a 1:1 magnification at the image plane. Superwide-angle macro photography opens up lots of photo ops for flower and small-critter photographers. The manual-focus lens is available in mounts for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony A and FE digital cameras. Estimated Street Price: $479. Contact: Venus Optics, www.venuslens.net.

COTTON CARRIER ENDEAVOR BELT

Cotton Carrier‘s Endeavor Belt makes it easy to carry your DSLR or mirrorless camera, comfortably and with hands free. It holds the camera securely, yet provides easy access. Made of durable 1680 denier polypropylene and fitted with a Lexan camera receptacle, the device includes a shoulder strap with siding safety tether and a small pocket for a wallet, cell phone or extra lens. Estimated Street Price: $89. Contact: Cotton Carrier, www.cottoncarrier.com.

THINK TANK PHOTO TRIFECTA 10 DSLR BACKPACK

Think Tank Photo‘s Trifecta 10 DSLR Backpack can hold your DSLR with the three workhorse zooms (ultrawide, normal, tele), for example, a Nikon D810 with 70-200mm ƒ/2.8, 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 and 14-24mm ƒ/2.8—plus an iPad. And you can access them easily without removing the pack, via the left side, right side or rear panel. DWR coating protects against the elements, while the contoured design helps you move through brush. Estimated Street Price: $159.95. Contact: Think Tank Photo, www.thinktankphoto.com.

PANASONIC DMC-CM1 COMMUNICATION CAMERA

The world’s only one-inch-sensor camera with Android OS and unlocked GSM smartphone functionality, Panasonic‘s DMC-CM1 features a 20.1-megapixel one-inch high-sensitivity MOS sensor, a 28mm (equivalent) ƒ/2.8 Leica DC lens and a huge 4.7-inch 6220K-dot rear monitor. Aside from full auto and manual camera features, the CM1 can do 3840×2160/15p 4K video and 1080/30p Full HD, and shoot stills at 5 fps with live view, 10 fps without live view and 50 fps at 5-megapixel resolution. It has built-in Wi-Fi with NFC, Bluetooth and high-speed LTE technology, as well as GPS. It measures 5.3×2.7×0.8 inches and weighs 7.2 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $999.99. Contact: Panasonic, shop.panasonic.com.

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