It seems that every passing month brings a new compact camera to the market, featuring a large sensor and the promise of higher image quality than its peers. However, while the sensor is often the star of the show, the lens is just as important and can make or break the performance of the camera. The Nikon Coolpix A is one of this new breed of large sensor compact cameras, and just a few years ago it would have seemed a most unlikely proposition. However, as technology has improved, costs have come down and it is now possible to fit large sensors in small cameras at a reasonable cost, but this does mean the lenses have to improve in tandem or they risk damaging the great work done by the sensor engineers.
Announced only in February this year alongside the Sony made Zeiss branded 50mm f/1.4 ZA SSM, the 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II lens is an upgrade to the original silver finish model introduced in 2009. This new lens is said to boast up to 4x increase in AF operation and an improved optical performance (not to mention a new white exterior). Read on to see how well it performs in our labs.
When zoom lenses were first beginning to be viable alternatives to a bagful of prime lenses back in the 1980’s there were two focal length ranges that were dominant, 35-70 and 70-200: the ‘standard zoom’ and the ‘tele zoom’. Well this ‘old’ approach seems to be back, Panasonic’s 35-100 for their Lumix range exactly matches the 70-200 range while their 12-35 that we reviewed recently fills the ‘standard’ slot.
Launched in February 2011, the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC APO OS HSM is a trans-standard zoom lens aimed at APS-C camera users. On these APS-C models, the crop factor of the sensor (1.5x on Nikon and 1.6x on Canon) makes it comparable to the 70-200mm focal length on a full frame camera, but arguably with an even more versatile length as they reach a little longer (225mm on Nikon and 240mm on Canon). Featuring a raft of specification acronyms, it promises high performance in a well-priced package, but does the reality live up to the billing?
Replacing the 650D the 700D becomes the new flagship DSLR in their ‘EOS for Beginners’ range. Continuing to feature a 18-megapixel APS-C ‘Hybrid CMOS’ sensor, 100 - 25,600 ISO range, 5fps burst shooting and 9-point AF the new model is almost identical however. Costing $1099 it’s up against stiff competition, with rivals such as the Nikon D5200 and Sony Alpha 58 packing more resolution for less money.
Most manufacturers have a lens that gets bundled with their cameras to make a ‘Kit’, and Nikon is no exception, but when its full frame cameras are beginning to be accessible to the consumer market, the kit lens needs both coverage and quality to be an appropriate partner to the likes of a Nikon D600.
Sony seems to have a liking for doing things differently to other makers: hybrid cameras with bigger sensors, compact cameras with serious, professional attitude and single lens reflex cameras with fixed, translucent mirrors. Its new SLT Alpha 58 camera shows just how good a strategy this is, close to the quality of their Alpha 77 at half the price!
Launched in July 2012, the Fujifilm FinePix F800EXR is the latest in a line of cameras from Fuji, featuring an EXRCMOS sensor. Aimed at the upper end of the compact camera market, it offers features suitable for more advanced users and a lens focal range that is the equivalent of a 25-500mm lens in 35mm camera terms. So is this camera all things to all people?
Launched in February 2012 the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD is a ‘fast’ standard zoom available in Nikon, Sony and Canon lens mounts. On full frame DSLRs its wide-angle through to short telephoto focal range is ideal for general use photography, and featuring Tamron’s VC image stabilisation system, as well as a fixed f/2.8 maximum aperture, its low-light credentials are pretty hot, too.
A battle rages in the hybrid camera sector between the Sony NEX Range with their APS-C sensors and the Micro Four-Thirds cameras. With interchangeable lenses for each the quality is not necessarily fixed when you buy your camera, you can upgrade the optics. In this first look at Sony E mount lenses, we are looking at their most recent additions, but we will look at others too, let us know which are most important to you.
The last in our four-part series on choosing the best lenses for your Canon EOS 5D Mk III concentrates on wide-angle zooms and primes. Mounted on the 22.3 Mpix EOS 5D Mk III, we’ve tested 23 different models covering moderately wide- to ultra-wide angle lenses ranging from 35mm to 12mm. Read on to see which of these perform best on the EOS 5D Mk III
There are only a small proportion of photographers who can really justify buying a lens that costs the same as a small car, but if you really need a 400mm f2.8 lens then the chances are that you are going to get yourself one. To stick with the motoring analogy: Canon’s EF 400mm f2.8L IS II USM is not at all like a small car, it is rather more like a Formula 1 Racing car.
The third of our four-part series on choosing the best lenses for your Canon EOS 5D Mk III concentrates on fixed focal length telephotos and super- zooms up to 300mm. Mounted to the 22.3 Mpix EOS 5D Mk III, we’ve assessed 26 different models covering various budgets from so-called ‘kit’ lenses to high-end telephotos. Read on to see which of those perform optimally and those that, if you’re in the process of buying perhaps, are best avoided.
DxO Optics Pro v8.1.5 now offers support for the Nikon D7100 expert DSLR. DxO Optics Pro v8.1.5 integrates many powerful tools for processing RAW and JPEG images, including the best tool for automatically adjusting contrast and light, along with precise color management. Its unrivaled performance and intuitive interface provide a quick and smooth workflow.
Introduced in 2007 alongside the AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED and Nikon’s first full-frame DSLR – the 12-megapixel Nikon D3 – this lens was a first of its kind and set new standards for image quality for ultra-wide angle lenses. How does this lens perform on demanding high-resolution bodies, such as the 36-MPix Nikon D800? DxOMark has the answer.
In this final section of the Nikon D800 lens test review, we’ll be looking at the wide-angle lenses. For clarity, we are classing any lens with a focal length up to 35mm as wide-angle. Within this we have broken lenses down into the ultra-wides with focal lengths below 21mm, wide-angle between 21mm and 35mm and zoom wide-angles with a focal length up to 35mm.
This is the second part of the Canon EOS 5D Mk III and lens feature, where we’ll be looking at how the camera performs with standard, fixed focal length lenses and zooms. We’ve measured 35 different models in combination with the 22.3 Mpix EOS 5D Mk III, to see which of those lenses are the most suited to the sensor in terms of image quality using our DxOMark Score.
For shooting high quality landscape, architectural or interior photos, a “fast” wide-angle prime is a must. They offer significantly improved optical performance over many zooms that, while versatile, often suffer distortion and edge softness at wide focal lengths and maximum apertures. Let’s take a closer look at the Carl Zeiss 25mm f/2 wide-angle prime for Nikon and Canon lens mounts to see what it has to offer.
The Micro 4:3 market is full of technology, each new generation apparently having some new enhancement, with a new, more superlative name. Panasonic is no different, but this new Lumix G VARIO 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II Asph. Mega OIS carries neither the ‘Power Zoom’, or the ‘Power O.I.S’; there are aspheric elements but no ED glass. Without all the latest refinements is it worth having at all? Yes, it is: well priced and punches above its weight.