Sony Alpha 77 SLT Online reviews.

A number of internet sites have posted reviews of Sony’s top end SLT (Single Lens Translucent i.e. a fixed mirror with EVF), the Sony Alpha A77.

From Techradar:

“The Sony Alpha A77 is an excellent addition to Sony’s single lens translucent range. As the flagship model within the range it’s extremely well specified and flexible camera with a generous range of features that will appeal to serious photography enthusiasts. While it’s 12fps continuous shooting speed will certainly appeal to those who regularly shoot fast-moving action, there’s a lot more to like about the A77, not least the speedy AF performance, excellent range of movie recording options and high standard of image quality”

 From Dpreview:

“The A77 is a well-designed camera which spans the mid-range and semi-professional categories. Its headline features – high pixel count and blazingly fast continuous shooting – will attract a lot of interest, but of greater utility in day to day use are its effective ergonomics, reliable systems and excellent full-time live view system and full-time AF”.

Canon’s new EF 40mm F2.8 Pancake lens tested

A recent announcement by Canon which sort of slipped under the radar was the announcement of a new EF 40mm F2.8 “Pancake” lens, I believe am correct in saying Canon’s first EF pancake lens.Now the announcement was curious. Why introduce a tiny pancake lens into the EF range of lenses? Well there’s probably two answers, video (the lens has been optimized for fast, quiet autofocus) and possibly (according to rumours) as maybe a preclude to a mirrorless camera body.

Anyway there has been some lab testing of this new lens posted via Dpreview and the results are very impressive for a “pancake” design. Then you realise that this little gem will be coming in around the £240 mark so it starts to become an interesting proposition. On an APS-C body (i.e. 7D, 60D or new 650D) the 40mm focal lenght comes out as around 60mm (35 mm equivalent) quite handy as a short telephoto and well suited to street photography possibly even sometimes doubling as portrait lens. Canon’s blah upon its release talked about the lenses compactness and its  certainly looks that, its tiny.

The new Canon EF 40mm F2.8 lens looks a real gem, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a popular lens choice for Canon owners, its small, appears to have great optical qualities and is really good value, a no brainer really?

Mark Baynham (June 2012)

Internet Review of the Canon G1X

Dpreview posted a very detailed review of the Canon G1X High End Compact a camera with with I spent a week with the other month and that impressed me hugely.

Dpreview conclusions:
“Overall, the G1 X is an excellent camera for some but not for everyone. If you are aware of its shortcomings, such as the sluggish AF, limited close-focusing capability or lack of manual control in video, and think you can live with them, the Canon gives you great image quality and a versatile zoom range in a small package and without the need to carry a stack of lenses.

Canon deserves some praise for finally matching the G-series’ excellent body and UI design with a large sensor and for launching something genuinely different in the otherwise rather uniform mirrorless and compact camera markets. There is some room for improvement for the 2nd generation of this product but for those photographers who can work around its limitations it can be a powerful photographic tool and therefore earns itself our silver award”.

Panasonic “G” X 12-35mm F2.8 Lens Test.

Photography blog have posted a review / test of Panasonic latest “fast” premier  m4/3rd lens the Lumix G “X” 12-35mm F2.8 zoom lens for use with Panasonic “G” series cameras like the G3 or GX1.

Here’s the conclusion:

“The LUMIX G VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH standard zoom offers a versatile focal range and a fast maximum aperture in a relatively small package, backed-up by excellent image quality throughout the focal range, the best build quality of any Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lens yet released, a tactile manual focusing system and impressively fast and quiet autofocusing. It is a little soft at F2.8 though, so it’s best used stopped down to F4 for the best results, and the asking price of £999 / $999 makes it more expensive than most Micro Four Thirds bodies.

This lens is very small and quite lightweight considering the zoom range on offer, making it well suited to life as a walk-around lens. It’s also extremely fast to focus on the DMC-GF3 camera that we tested it with and also virtually silent too, making it well-suited to candid stills and video work. Build quality is fantastic, with the metal manual focusing barrel an unusual touch.

Optically the lens is a great performer. At all focal lengths, it’s best to stop it down by one f-stop for optimum results – at F2.8 the center and edge sharpness is less acceptable. Chromatic aberrations are only noticeable by their almost complete absence, while distortions are automatically corrected on both Olympus and Panasonic bodies”.

Fuji’s “XF” prime lenses tested

The respected website photozone has tested all three of the “XF” series prime lenses designed to be twinned with the fabulous Fuji X Pro 1.Two of the three lenses the 35mm F1.4 and 60mm F2.4 macro came in for some particular praise:

35mm F1.4 “Fuji XF” Lens

“The center quality is breathtaking even at max. aperture whereas the outer image field is a bit soft here. From a real world perspective this is surely acceptable because you are rarely really after edge-to-edge sharpness when shooting at f/1.4. The quality is fine from f/2.8 and great across the image field between f/5.6 and f/11.”

60mm F2.4″ Fuji XF” Lens

“The Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R macro is the best of the three initial lenses for the X-mount. The image quality is already very good at f/2.4 and bitingly sharp around f/4. The resolution remains impressive till about f/11. If you are into macro photography f/16 may be an option but better avoid f/22 due to heavy diffraction effects”

18mm F2 “Fuji XF” Lens

“The Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R is certainly a cool little lens for the Fujifilm X-Pro mirrorless system. After all small is beautiful these days. However, performance-wise it is a bit of a mixed bag. The center performance is great throughout the mainstream apertures and the border quality is also very decent. However, the corner quality leaves something to be desired at f/2 and f/2.8”.

My Take:

Fuji will be adding more high quality “fast” lenses both prime and zoom to the “XF” system by the end of the year to complement the Fuji X Pro 1 so  its all looking rather wonderful if you want a stylish, high quality, high performing mirrorless system that comes very close to matching full frame DSLR’s in optical performance.

(June 2012)