Zeiss Batis 135mm f2.8: As Good as it gets

Zeiss Batis 135mm f2.8 Prime

image of Zeiss 135mm f/2.8 Batis 2.8/135

This weeks Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine has a real world testing and lab testing of thee new Zeiss Batis 135mm f2.8 designed for use on Sony’s full frame E-mount Alpha models like the Alpha 7-II & 7R -II.

135mm is ideal for head and shoulder portrait shots as well as representing a useful mid range focal length for general photography or maybe even concert and wedding photography.

Although the new Batis lens isn’t as “fast” as Sigma’s 135mm f1.8 DG Art lens and is very expensive (ie around £1750 mark) it has a very complex optical formula which promises much.

And reading AP’s review this new lens ceretainly delivers, to quote:

“your luck is in because the Batis 135mm isn’t just good, its astonishing. Indeed in almost a decade of reviewing lenses I’ve seen few that come anywhere this close to perfection”

No wonder AP awarded the lens a “Gold” 5 Star award

Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 Review Image

April 2017


New wide zoom for Micro Four Thirds

Panasonic -Leica 8-18mm f2.8-4 wide zoom announced

Panasonic has announced its new Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm F2.8-4 ASPH Micro Four Thirds lens. It’s one of a series of F2.8-4 lenses that the company teased when it released the Leica 12-60mm with a 50-200mm being next in line.

The 8-18mm focal range is equivalent to 16-36mm when mounted on Micro Four Thirds bodies.

The lens has 15 elements, which include ED and UHR glass and four aspherics (one of which is made from ED glass). The lens also has a Nano Surface coating to reduce flare and ghosting. It’s also designed to work with high-speed contrast-detect autofocus systems like those found on modern Panasonic cameras, and its internal STM motor keeps focusing quiet and smooth. Panasonic claims that its optical design reduces ‘image shift’ and improves tracking performance while zooming.

The 8-18mm F2.8-4 is fully weather-sealed and freezeproof to -10C/+14F.

April 2017

New FE Lens Announced

Along with the new full frame a9, Sony introduced a new G Master lens, the FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 GM OSS. It features a double linear motor and Direct Drive Super Sonic wave Motor for precise and quiet operation for still and video shooting. Sony also claims that it has ‘edge to edge’ sharpness. The lens has a minimum focus distance of 98cm/3.2 feet and weighs in at a ‘lightweight’ 1.4kg/49 oz.

April 2017

Full Frame Sony a9 Announced

Best mirrorless camera yet produced : The new Sony a9 

Its been long rumoured but finally the Sony a9 a professional high end full frame mirrorless camera has broken cover.

The a9 has a full frame 24MP, stacked CMOS sensor (a world’s first) for super-fast readout, and allowing a completely silent electronic shutter. It can shoot at an amazing 20 frames per second for more 241 compressed Raw frames, that is some performance.

The new camera can perform AF/AE calculations at 60 fps, all while providing a 60 fps live feed which means no more EVF blackout during bursts. Sony claims improved subject tracking and Eye AF speeds, and focus down to -3 EV with F2 lens which is whole stop better than the a7R II.

The camera primarily uses an electronic shutter but also features a mechanical shutter mechanism to allowa flash sync speed of up to 1/250th of a second.

The camera features 693 on-sensor phase detection points (yes 693) that cover 93% of the frame. It also sports an effective five-axis image stabilization that offers 5 stops of correction.

The a9 uses anew high res EVF which  has a 1280 x 960 (QuadVGA) resolution  running at 120 fps with very low latency.

It has twin SD card slots (one of which supports UHS-II cards) and Sony says the battery has twice the capacity of previous models.

Useful features such as an AF joystick have been added to the body as well as a higher capacity battery.

All in all the new camera is a real powerhouse and probably the best mirrorless camera yet released?

And how much for this amazing camera? Apparantly £4500 body only… Ouch

April 2017


Nikon D7500 APS-C DSLR Announced

Nikon D7500 Announced

Nikon has announces its new mid-range APS-C the D7500 DSLR. The new camera inherits some features from Nikon’s flagship APS-C DSLR the D500. It uses the same 20.9MP APS-C sensor, Expeed 5 processor and 180k-pixel RGB metering sensor, and is capable of 4K video capture.

The D7500 looks very similar to the D7200 although it’s a bit lighter, and the grip has been deepened. Nikon also says that weather-sealing has been improved. While the LCD remains at 3.2″ in size, it’s now tilting and touch-enabled. Unlike the D7200 the new D7500 has only one SD slot which does not support UHS-II media, unlike on the D500. The D7500 includes a new battery, known as the EN-EL15a, but battery life is about 15% lower than on the D7200, at 950 shots per charge.

The new camera uses the same sensor, image processor and metering system as the D500. The sensor and image processor have allowed the ISO range to be increased by a full stop compared to the D7200, with a native range of 100-51200, which expands to 50-1.64 million. The autofocus module is the same as the D7200, meaning that it has 51 points, 15 of which are cross-type, with the center point sensitive down to -3EV, but now with input from the 90-times higher-res 180k-pixel RGB metering sensor. That means credible face detect AF even in OVF shooting (in Auto area mode), and remarkably precise subject tracking to maintain focus on subjects that move around the frame. For lenses that need micro-adjustment, you can now do that quickly in live view using ‘Auto AF Fine Tune’.

Burst shooting has been improved, with a top rate of 8 fps (up from 6 fps). The buffer is much deeper, as well, with the D7500 able to take up to 50 14-bit uncompressed Raws in a single burst, rather than 18. Speaking of which, the D7500 has gained the ability to batch process Raw images – handy for when you want to send a bunch of them to your smartphone.

As with the D500, the D7500 can capture UHD 4K video at a bit rate of 144Mbps, albeit with a 1.5x crop . If users drop down to 1080p they gain 3-axis digital IS and Active D-Lighting, and also lose the crop factor. Power Aperture has been added, allowing for more precise control over exposure. Other video-related feature include 4K output over HDMI, a flat picture profile (similar to log gamma), zebra pattern and Auto ISO. As you’d expect, the D7500 has both microphone and headphone jacks.

The D7500 has Nikon’s ‘SnapBridge’ wireless system, that uses Bluetooth for both remote capture and keeping a constant connection plus Wi-Fi for large file transfer. NFC, which was found on the D7200, has been dropped.

April 2017