Thursday 24 October 2013

Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Art first thoughts, mistake

The new Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Art should compete against the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR and the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. Lets see how the Sigma comes out based on first impression.

If Sigma has to win against Nikon and Canon it has to be better and cheaper otherwise most people (including me) will go for the factory option as it is known that this will give you the least problems.

The construction of the Sigma lens is bigger and more heavy than the Nikon and Canon counterparts and in a world where everything gets small and lighter this is an issue. It is over 200 grams more heavy than the Canon lens and almost 200 grams over the Nikon lens. The amount of glass that Sigma has put into this lens the the reason why and Sigma is hoping that the extra amount of glass will have an impact on the optically performance of the lens.

The biggest issue with the Sigma lens is that it uses 82mm filters in a world where almost every lens is 77mm filter size or smaller. If you already have a great investment in filters and are using them then this is a deal breaker for a lot of photographers. That is a major mistake by Sigma and it will cost them a lot on the sales of the lens.

What Sigma can counting on is that the performance of the lens is a lot better than the Nikon and Canon lens and there are a hope for them. Both the Canon and Nikon lens haven't scored that well in reviews on the Internet. The average rating for the Nikon lens is 76% and the average rating for the Canon lens is 78%. 

The price is still unknown but it has to be lower than the Nikon at $1300 and the Canon $1150. I think it has to hit a price around $1000 to have any chance of being a hit.

There are two reasons why I wouldn't be buying this lens. One is the filter size and the other is that the lens expands when it zooms. I know that Nikon and Canon are doing the same, so wouldn't be buying them either. If I had to choose between the brand version and the Sigma version I would go for the brand version as they uses the most common filter size of 77mm.

Follow the Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Art at Sigma Index

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (SEL35F28Z) first thoughts, inspired by Zeiss C Biogon T* 2,8/35 ZM?

The new Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (SEL35F28Z) is one of the two prime lenses that were introduced together with the Sony A7 and Sony A7r and is one of the standard prime lenses that many photographers have in their bag.

One of the interesting things about this lens is that it shares some of its features from one of Zeiss other lenses, so maybe Zeiss have used the optically formula from this lens in this new lens.

If you look at the optically formula that are used in the two lenses they are as follows:
So they share the same amount of lens elements. At this time it isn't possible to verify if this is true as it is only the older lens where it possible to see the how the lens elements are put together in the lens.

The construction of the two lenses is different as the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (SEL35F28Z) is smaller but uses a bigger filter size.

The price of the two lenses are very close to each other, where the new lens costs around $800 and the old lens costs around $860. Maybe time will tell if these two lenses share the same optically formula and are close to each other in optically performance.

Follow the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (SEL35F28Z) at Zeiss Index.

Monday 14 October 2013

Nikon D610 first thought, second edition/clean up the mess

Last autumn I was wondering if I should get the Nikon D600 or the Nikon D800. At the time it was known that the Nikon D800 had some autofocus issues, but it was still early in the Nikon D600 life cycle and only few rumours were available to indicate that the Nikon D600 had a oil/dust issue. Lucky I went with the Nikon D800.

It is interesting that Nikon decided to have to different approaches to fixing the issues that were in these two cameras. The left autofocus issue in the Nikon D800 were fixed in in the production line and through the repair site. The story is different with the Nikon D600. You can still get it fixed by the repair site, but every new camera has the potential to have a "broken" shutter which might lead to dust/oil in the sensor.

Nikon apparently decided that it was to expensive or impossible in the current design to replace the shutter in the production line with the one in the Nikon D610 as this would have been the best choice. Do like the Nikon D800 fix the cameras that comes in for repair and make sure that new items wasn't exposed to the issue. That would have been the best marketing approach that Nikon could have done.

I think it all came down to economics. Nikon decided that it was impossible/to expensive to clean up the mess that the Nikon D600 had done, so they made some small changes and introduced the new Nikon D610, which is just the second edition of the Nikon D600. I am sure that the marketing department wasn't happy about this decision.

The new Nikon D610 will come under very close inspections when it starts to ship to the customers and just a small fraction of dust/oil rumours could be the worst marketing nightmare that Nikon can dream of, so if Nikon has done its homework this camera and shutter have been under heavy testing to make sure that there isn't any dust/oil issues.

I wouldn't worry about buying the Nikon D610 as I am sure that Nikon has done its homework in regard to the dust/oil issue. If I had a Nikon D600 I would start to test the camera to make sure that the camera didn't have the issue. Thom Hogan has provided with a simple method to do this here.

Follow the Nikon D610 at Nikon Index.

Thursday 10 October 2013

Pentax K-3 first thoughts, a machine gun camera

One of the strong features of the Pentax K-03 is how many pictures that it can take per second and how long the camera is able to keep up with this. This is important if you are taking pictures of action, sport or wildlife, where you have to use continuous shooting to capture just the right frame from your sons soccer game, the daughter jumping at a horse show or a bird flight.

So how do the Pentax K-3 compare with the other major cameras that have some of the same features. In the price range $1000 to $1600 for a camera body you will find the following options. If you want something that is faster then you have to get a professional SLR camera like the Nikon D4.
  • Nikon D300s (from 2009), 7 fps, 30 raw buffer which gives a burst length of 4,3 seconds. Current price about $1600
  • Canon 7D (from 2009), 8 fps, 25 raw buffer which gives a burst length of 3,1 seconds. Current price about $1500
  • Pentax K-3 (from 2013), 8,3 fps, 23 raw buffer which gives a burst length of 2,8 seconds. Current price about $1300
  • Canon 70D (from 2013), 7 fps, 16 raw buffer which gives a burst length of 2,3 seconds. Current price about $1200
  • Nikon D7100 (from 2013), 5 fps, 6 raw buffer which gives a burst length of 1,2 seconds. Current price about $1200
  • Sony Alpha A77 (from 2011), 12 fps, 13 raw buffer which gives a burst length of 1,1 seconds. Current price about $1100
Looking at the list above it the Pentax isn't on top of this list, but it is only topped by 4 year old cameras and if you care a little bit about your camera equipment then you wouldn't buy a camera that is 4 year old since it was introduced. This makes the Pentax K-3 the best wildlife/action camera that you can/should buy today.

This might be a big change if you already have an investment in lenses from other companies, which might make you want to wait for what Sony, Canon and Nikon comes up with. If you are a Canon user then the new Canon 70D could be a serious alternative, which just a little bit slow than the Pentax K-03. Otherwise the Pentax K-03 is the perfect camera for you that want to capture great action moments.

We can hope that this will press Sony, Canon and Nikon to come out with new cameras that are better take many pictures in a short period of time.

Follow the Pentax K-03 at Pentax Index.

Monday 7 October 2013

Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 first thoughts, what a monster

It is any secret that Zeiss have been working on the "perfect" standard lens and today (7th of October 2013) the day came, when the lens were announced.

Looking at the lens it isn't a standard lens that comes to mind, but one would think that it might be a medium telephoto lens that is attached to the Nikon or Canon camera. This tells you something about the size and weight of this lens. It is a monster compared to almost any of the other standard lenses that is available today.

The only lens that comes close to this lens is the Canon EF 50mm f/1L USM, which isn't produced anymore. Any of the other standard lenses looks like very small. Lets look at some key facts:
Looking at this list it is clear how big a monster this new lens is. If you want perfection then the Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 is the way to go, but you have to pay with a huge price.

Follow the Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 at Zeiss Index.