Monday, 26 May 2014

Canon News: Pair of wide-angle lenses announced

In what has been billed by Canon as the 'year of the lens' (we're still waiting, but perhaps another reason to look forward to the World Cup!), Canon have announced two new wide angle lenses into their extensive line-up of EF lenses for EOS DLSRs.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

  • High performance L-series ultra-wide zoom lens in a compact design and Optical Image Stabilizer for up to four stops of correction*.
  • Three aspheric lens elements, including a large-diameter aspheric lens, help correct aberration.
  • Two UD lens elements help reduce chromatic aberration from the center to the periphery throughout the entire zoom range for excellent image quality with high resolution and contrast.
  • Optimized lens coatings help provide excellent color balance while also helping to minimize ghosting.
  • Highly resistant to dust and water intrusion, enabling shooting even in harsh conditions**.
  • Inner focusing and ring USM for silent, fast and accurate autofocusing.
  • Circular aperture (9 blades) delivers beautiful, soft backgrounds.
  • Minimum focusing distance of 0.92 ft/0.28m across entire zoom range.
  • Full-time manual focus allows manual focus adjustment while in AF Mode.

    * Based on CIPS (Camera & Imaging Products Association) standards. Testing performed using EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera at focal length of 35mm (35mm equivalent).
    ** Requires a Canon PROTECT filter (sold separately) to be mounted.

I'm lucky enough to have the f/2.8 version of this lens (which doesn't have image stabilisation), and found it a really useful focal range - 35mm is useful as a walkaround lens, and 16mm really does give an impressively wide persepctive (on a full-frame body, at least).

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

Designed only for cameras with the APS-C sensor (cropped), this lens creates an incredibly wide perspective.

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

  • EF-S ultra wide zoom lens with an impressive starting focal length (16mm in 35mm equivalence).
  • Compact design made possible by a new 4 group zoom optical system.
  • A stepping motor (STM) and newly-designed focus mechanism support the Canon EOS Movie Servo AF function to provide smooth and quiet continuous AF during video recording, as well as when shooting photos.
  • A large diameter element and an aspherical lens element help correct aberration to achieve higher image quality
  • One UD lens element helps reduce chromatic aberration throughout the zoom range for excellent image quality with high resolution and contrast.
  • Optical Image Stabilizer for up to four stops of correction*.
  • Enhanced lens coatings help ensure outstanding color balance while minimizing ghosting and flare.
  • Circular aperture (7 blades) creates beautiful, soft backgrounds.
  • Rear focusing system, high-speed CPU and improved AF algorithm allow high speed autofocus.
  • Full-time manual focus allows manual focus adjustment while in AF Mode.

    *Based on CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) standards. Testing performed using the EOS 7D Digital SLR camera at a focal length of 18mm (29mm in 35mm equivalence).

Canon News: EOS-1D X Firmware v.2.0.3

In the battle of the flagship DSLRs between Canon and Nikon, in January 2014, Canon released updated firmware for their 1D-X, up to version 2.0.3.
Canon EOS 1D-X

The firmware contains a series of updates, with input from professional photographers, and includes:

  • Improves AF accuracy in low-light situations and enhances user control of AF shooting parameters
  • More control of exposure by incorporating wider ISO ranges in automated shooting modes
  • More precise user customization for faster, more intuitive and adaptable performance

Canon USA have created a dedicated series of pages which bring all the enhancements to life a little more.  Check it out here.

UK Cashback

Until the end of June 2014, Canon UK are offering £400 cashback on a  new 1D-X from selected dealers, if you trade-in selected Canon or Nikon bodies.  More information here.

Nikon News: Flagship D4S

In February 2014, Nikon announced a new flagship DSLR, the D4S.  Below, you'll find a little more information about this technological beast.  Their press release says it accommodates the needs of "...professional photographers who sometimes find themselves working under quite severe conditions".  Just to clarify, as an amateur photographer, we too also sometimes find ourselves working under quite severe conditions, e.g. in the last year I've been photographing Snow Leopards at altitude in the Himalayas, and the Northern Lights in the middle of a frozen lake at midnight.  Both were colder than -25 degrees Celsius at times!  Anyway, back to the camera!

Nikon D4S

Key for any wildlife or sports photographer is autofocus behaving quickly, and predictably, even if the subject isn't!  The D4S has enhancements compared to its D4 predecessor, with faster initiation, plus a new 'Group Area AF', using five autofocus points, one specified by the photographer.

Image processing

"The new EXPEED 4 image-processing engine, a new Nikon FX-format CMOS image sensor, and an effective pixel count of 16.2-million pixels...", accompanied by an ISO range from 100-25,600 (extendable to a massive range of 50-409,600) ensure that image you capture is processed quickly and accurately.

Movie recording

The D4S supports a "frame size of 1920 x 1080 with a frame rate of 50p or 60p", with various enhancements to improve the quality of the recording.

Additionally, there are improvements to LAN connectivity, a redesigned grip and a 12-bit RAW format.

You'll find a lot more information here.

Nikon News: 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR and TC-14E III Teleconverter annonuced

Nikon have recently announced a new fast telephoto lens, alongside an upgraded teleconverter.


AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

 Key Features:
  • A super-telephoto fixed focal length (prime) lens with a focal length of 400mm*1 and a maximum aperture of f/2.8 compatible with Nikon FX-format digital SLR cameras
  • Superior optical performance from a new optical design with which fluorite lens elements (2), ED lens elements (2), and Nano Crystal Coat have been adopted
  • A lighter weight from the adoption of fluorite lens elements and components made of a magnesium alloy
  • Adoption of a tripod collar ring utilizing bearings
  • Equipped with an electro-magnetic aperture mechanism for more stable auto-exposure with high-speed continuous shooting
  • Equipped with a vibration reduction (VR) function for camera shake compensation equivalent to a 4.0-stop*2 increase in shutter speed
  • Adoption of SPORT VR mode
  • Adoption of meniscus protective glass with a fluorine coat, produced using a process exclusive to Nikon for greater durability and superior resistance to water and oils, for the extreme front lens element
*1When used with a Nikon DX-format digital SLR camera, the effective angle of view is equivalent to that of a lens with a 600mm focal length in 35mm [135] format. 
*2NORMAL mode; measured in accordance with CIPA standards.


AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III
  • A 1.4x teleconverter capable of rendering performance close to that of the master lens with shooting at maximum aperture
  • Adoption of a fluorine coat, produced with a process exclusive to Nikon, for the extreme front and rear lens surfaces