Sigma’s new m4/3rd lenses tested

This months What Digital Camera Magazine tested the two new wonderfully small Sigma primes lenses designed for the Panasonic “G” series m4/3rd cameras, Olympus’s PEN system  and Sony NEX compact camera system.The lenses were tested on a m4/3rd camera body.The Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN and Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN shows just how well Panasonic / Olympus’s m4/3rd system is developing.There are now a large number of high quality optics to complement the most recent m4/3rd camera bodies.

The results? REALLY impressive. Not only are both lenses wonderfully petite but the MTF (i.e. sharpness) figures are wonderful, especially for the 19mm lens which gives pin sharp results right across the frame.Now throw into the mix that they are both available for well under £200 and they begin to look like a real bargin.

The Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN equates to 38mm on a “G” series micro 4/3rd body like the Panasonic G3 or GX1,whilst the 30mm becomes a useful reasonable “fast”  60mm short telephoto, perfect for street photography.I’ve been so impressed I’ve ordered the 30mm myself and only the fact I already own the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 stops be getting the 19mm Sigma.

Mark Baynham (June 2012)

Sony HX200V Review

Photography blog have reviewed the new Sony superzoom / bridge camera the Sony HX200V which has an unbelievable X30 optical zoom (27-810mm equivalent), and a 18Mp 1 2/3″ CMOS sensor.

This camera is intended to take on the probably market leader, the Panasonic FZ150.Now I have tested the Sony HX100V last year and was mighty impressed with it, so does the HX200V continue in the same vein. Well here’s photography blog’s conclusion:

From photography Blog:
“Undoubtedly the biggest recommendation we have with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V is that, by daylight, we were able to achieve sharp results shooting handheld with it with greater consistency than we have been able to achieve with pretty much any super zoom camera to date. The hand-held twilight mode selectable from within the scene modes also comes in very useful by night. Simply put, if you line up a trick-sy shot there is more chance of you actually pulling it off with this Sony, which many would agree is worth the admission price alone.

Why such an expensive m4/3rd Lens: The Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8

Some questions have been raised in cyber space as to the logic of the new m4/3rd 12-35mm F2.8 lens from Panasonic. Why so expensive and what would you twin with it?

Well you can have several pints that the soon to be announced GH3 will sport a weather sealed body to match this new high quality optic. You can also be confident that if twinned with the new Olympus OMD EM5 that the end results will be top notch (I hope so as I’ve just bought a EM5 to repace my old EP1).

The m4/3rd family of cameras have really matured into viable and serious photographic tools. Some of the prime m4/3rd lenses produced by Panasonic and Olympus are seriously good (ie Panasonic 25mm F1.4, 14mm F2.5, 20mm F1.7 & Olympus 12mm F2 and 45mm F1.8).

This new high quality zoom from Panasonic will be the perfect complement to the current GH2, future GH3, the new Panasonic GX1, or even the soon to be announced G5 (replacement/update to the current G3). Its production shows Panasonic is serious about the m4/3rd system and that can be no bad thing. Fingers crossed Olympus produced a similar lens (maybe even “faster”). Just imagine something like a Zuiko m4/3rd 10mm – 30mm F2 10mm on front of an EM5?

So for now this Panasonic is as good as it gets for m4/3rd zooms but am confident it means there are plenty of m4/3rd surprises in the pipeline and some not that far away

Nikon D800 (A medium format alternative?)

The Nikon D700 was a fantastic camera and even with me being a Canon DSLR owner I had to admit to a healthy respect for the D700. Well Nikon’s update is a truly potential ground breaking camera because the Nikon D800 offers a hardly believeable 36Mp full frame sensor which potentially puts it on a collision course with hugely expensive medium format cameras. The spec’s of the Nikon D800 are a studio photographers dream.

Dpreview conducted one of their very extensive tests and came up with an impressive conclusion.

“The D800 combines swift operation and well-designed controls with outstanding image quality that is particularly impressive at high ISO settings. Expanded video capabilities hold appeal those who need to produce both stills and video while on assignment. The camera’s 36MP sensor allows for class-leading resolution in a 35mm format camera…if you’re prepared to hold your technique and equipment to the highest standards”.

Even I can appreciate the Nikon D800 opens up new avenues for both loyal Nikon owners as well as new full frame wannabes.

Canon Powershot SX240 /260HS Compact Travel Zoom (The new king?)

Its no secret that the Panasonic TZ range of compact travel zooms have lead the way for some time. I tested a Panasonic TZ30 the other month and concluded it was probably still the best in class. Well Canon’s latest offering the SX240 HS and SX260HS travel compacts may just be about to change that.

Two full tests by Dpreview and photography blog have both suggetsed that the new SX models may just edge the Panasonic TZ range.

A comment from Dpreview:

“All things considered, the PowerShot SX260 HS is a solid choice for those looking for a travel zoom camera. It’s not particularly fast (especially in the AF department), nor is it loaded with bells and whistles like landmark databases. The bottom line is that the SX260 gets the job done in nearly all situations, and produces photos of higher quality than competitive models”.

Am hoping to test a SX240/260 HS in the near future and look forward to the the result. One thing is for sure if your in the market for a pocketable travel compact zoom there’s a couple of excellent models to choose from.