Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Product news

We have seen some interesting new photo products recently:

Samyang


Samyang is a South Korean third party lens manufacturer. They specialize in classic manual focus lenses, and try to fill holes in system camera makers portfolios by mostly making very wide and very fast lenses at a reasonable cost. They are often marketed under other names like Rokinon or Walimex.

Only fairly recently have they been making lenses especially for mirrorless cameras. With the shorter register distance of mirrorless cameras, wide lenses can be made more compact.

Their two most recent lenses are made especially for mirrorless cameras, and hence, are quite compact and light:

Samyang 21mm f/1.4Samyang 50mm f/1.2

These are good for photographers who enjoy classic manual focus lenses with a metal construction. Their focus and aperture rings are usually well dampened and a joy to use.

Considering the speed of these lenses, f/1.4 for the 21mm lens, and f/1.2 for the 50mm lens, they are very compact, and also quite competitively priced. A 50mm f/1.2 lens is something you either have to buy second hand, or at an extremely high price new. Until this lens launch.

Already, they have a very good fisheye lens for Micro Four Thirds, the Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 (my review), which is one of the true gems for M4/3: Very good optical quality at a competitive price.

Also look out for the Samyang 12mm f/2 (my review), which can be had at around US$300 these days, and is a well performing wide angle manual lens.

Sony


A surprise announcement from Sony today, the RX1 II fixes the two major flaws of the original Sony RX1 fullframe compact camera: The lack of an electronic viewfinder (EVF), and the slow focus speed.


The new camera will retail at around US$3300 in November, and features the same 42MP sensor as found in the Sony a7R II. The sensor has on-chip Phase-Detection Autofocus sensors (PDAF), which are designed for faster and more accurate autofocus, especially for moving objects.

Unlike the a7R II, though, the RX1 Mark II does not have in-body image stabilization (IBIS). Given that the camera has a fixed 35mm f/2 lens, IBIS could have been very useful.

Canon


Having seen that the premium large sensor compact market is where the margins are, Canon are launching more of them. Both the Canon G5 X and Canon G9 X contain the Sony one inch 20MP sensor, a sensor size also used in the Nikon 1 mirrorless line, and compact cameras from Sony and Panasonic.

Canon G5 XCanon G9 X

The Canon G5 X is obviously targeted towards serious enthusiasts, with the built in EVF, and fully articulated LCD screen. It has a 24-120mm equivalent lens with a very fast f/1.8-f/2.8 aperture range.

It is natural to compare it with the Sony RX100 IV, which uses the same sensor. The Sony lens costs much more, though, at US$950, while the Canon G5 X costs US$800. I guess it comes down to compactness: If you want the most compact camera, get the Sony RX100 IV at a higher cost. However, if you want the best ergonomics, in a somewhat larger package, get the Canon G5 X.

The Canon G9 X is relatively cheaper, with a more modest 28-84mm equivalent lens, with an aperture range of "only" f/2-f/4.9. But then again, it is truly pocketable. It is a good choice for those who want a pocketable camera at a reasonable cost.

Canon also appears to want to restart their EOS M mirrorless line, by launching a completely new camera kit, the Canon EOS M10 with 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3. Both the camera and kit zoom lens appears to be intended to be as small as possible.

The camera does, however, contain the relative large APS-C sensor with hybrid CDAF and PDAF focus system, promising better focus performance than the original EOS M camera. I think the lens is sensible. Starting at 15mm, you get a true wide angle at 24mm equivalent. I think more basic kit zoom lenses should start at 24mm.

Canon still needs to launch more lenses for their EOS M line to make sense. So far, they have been taking their time, with only five lenses in total, whereof the 11-22mm wide angle zoom lens is only available in Japan.

Pentax


Pentax is gearing up towards their upcoming fullframe DSLR, which will probably become the smallest weatherprotected FF DSLR on the market.

To complement their upcoming premium DSLR, they have launched the lenses to go with it, the D FA* 24-70mm f/2.8 and the existing D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8, making up the typical professional standard zoom lenses.

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