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.

Sony announce a high end compact with a large sensor: The Sony RX100

In a surprise move Sony have announced a new high end compact that contains an impressive 20Mp 1″ CMOS sensor like the Nikon 1 series.

The RX100 is petite to say the least (it will fit  into a shirt / coat pocket) but boasts a “fast” F1.8 – 4.9 (28mm – 100mm equivilent) lens.

What is sure to stir up the high end compact market is the inclusion of the 1″ CMOS sensor one that is almost twice as large as the main rivals (ie Panasonic LX5, Canon G12 and Olympus ZX1). This does promises much improved image quality although 20Mp does seem a tad ambitious to my mind for such a sensor. even if it is bigger than most.

What is certain is that the RX100 won’t be cheap. If its suggested retail price is correct it is in danger of coming close to Canon G1X which has an even larger sensor and is a terrific camera, not to mention several compact camera systems.

What adavantage the Sony RX100 does have is its size, its TINY.

Rumours  are hinting that the Panasonic LX5 replacement may also house a similar 1″ sensor, although one would hope that if true this sensor will have a more sensible pixel density (ie 12-14Mp?).

Either way this new tiny Sony compact that not much bigger than the excellent Canon S100 (but promising superior image quality?) is an interesting development.

Canon EOS 650D Mid Range DSLR Announced

Canon have announced an upgrade – replacement to the 600D in the form of the logically named Canon EOS 650D. The new camera features some quite interesting developments.

A  very brief list or highlights of some of the spec’s would include:

Improved AF which seems to be designed to improve both live view capture and video capacity.

All cross type focus points (9 in all)

A new  3″ articulated rear touch screen.

In camera HDR and multi shot noise reduction capture.

An improved frame rate (it’s now 5fps)

Improved metering

An all the above are powered by the new DIGIC5 processor

Therefore whilst it may look very similar on the outside to the 600D, Canon are most definately showing their true colours with the 650D.For Canon it would appear the future is not a pixel war with the likes of Nikon and Sony but enhanced AF, improved video capture and a low noise quest which to my mind is no bad thing.

Dpreview have posted an informative preview of this new mid entry DSLR from Canon.