The New Sigma 24-35 f/2: The Fastest Zoom Lens EVER

by JamesNYCJune 29. 2015 21:21

Sigma has just released their latest in the Art series of lenses, and it’s touting the title of, “fastest zoom lens ever made.” The Sigma 24-35 f/2 Art Lens is indeed the fastest zoom lens ever made to cover a full-frame body. Their previous lens, the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 had people impressed, but it was only made to cover APS-C sized sensors. Unfortunately, that leaves out a wide swath of shooters that would otherwise be using Sigma lenses.

Now that they’ve released a lens of such a caliber, I have a question: Who is this lens for?

Well, it’s for the shooter that would like to use the popular 24mm and 35mm primes that Sigma has, but either not want to buy multiple lenses, or they want the convenience of one lens.

The follow-up to that is, are there that many prime shooters out there that are willing to transition to a zoom? I would love to believe so. Often I have found that prime shooters are rather set in their ways. If Sigma is to be believed, this 24-35 f/2 matches the sharpness and quality of their primes. Could this be the straw that breaks the prime shooting lifer’s back?

The weight is at 2lbs, making it slightly heavier than its APS-C sized brother. I love good solid build and weight on a lens, but considering the length, this could sometimes be difficult to handle. I’m still left wondering when lens manufacturers will start making E-Mount glass.

Those small critiques aside, Sigma’s quality record over the past few years has been stellar, and many of their customers (me included) trust their word. If they say it’s sharp, it’s gotta be sharp. Right?

We’ll know plenty more once we see tests when it’s released. On paper this looks like a fantastic lens, with the capability of replacing two or more lenses in your bag.

No word yet on price, however you can expect this to be in the $750 to $1,250 range. Availability slated for July 2015. Hope you’ve been saving your pennies.

Sigma‘s New 24-35mm f/2 is the Fastest Full-Frame Zoom Lens Ever Made

 

Sigma is once again proving that even smaller lens companies can innovate.

Adding to their impressive lineup of zooms and primes, they’ve announced the 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art lens, the very first zoom capable of covering full-frame sensors and maintaining a constant f/2 aperture. This zoom is the newest in their Art series of lenses, which aim to give tremendous performance at affordable prices. Though they’ve already got a full-frame lens in the Art series that covers this range (the 24-105mm), that lens is an f/4 throughout — a full two stops slower. It’s certainly nothing to scoff at, but it does put the speed of the 24-35mm into perspective. Essentially, Sigma has set out to create a zoom that can replace primes in the 24 to 35mm range, with image quality that’s just as good and an aperture that’s nearly as fast.

Here are the specs:

  • Focal Length: 24 – 35mm (Comparable 35mm Equivalent on APS-C Format Focal Length: 38.4 – 56 mm)
  • Aperture: f/2-f/16
  • Mounts: Canon, Nikon, Sigma
  • Angle of View: 84.1° 63.4′
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 11″ (27.94 cm)
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1:4.4
  • Elements/Groups: 18/13
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9, Rounded
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • Tripod Collar: No
  • Filter Thread: 82 mm
  • Dimensions: 3.4 x 4.8″ (8.64 x 12.19 cm)
  • Weight: 2.075 lbs. (941 g)
  • Availability: July 2015
  • Price: TBA

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RØDE RØDELink Filmmaker Kit

by JamesNYCJune 22. 2015 21:11

For still photographers getting into filmmaking, audio has been a difficult production skill to master  even in the best circumstances.

When you’re a one-man production team (or even two), you just don’t want to spend the time looking for a clear frequency, and then find half-way through a shot you have to change it again anyway – often my experience with the EW100 G2.

In comes the RØDELink, with virtually no setup; constant frequency hopping; no external antennae to bend; quality I already know; and a price – $399 – roughly half the price of a comparable Sennheiser kit.

RØDE: please add an external mic module.

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Samsung boosts storage of high-capacity SSDs to a hefty 2 TB

by JamesNYCJune 6. 2015 09:26

Samsung looked to usher in the consumer adoption of solid state drives (SSDs) back in 2013 with the launch of its speedy EVO series. It continues to forge ahead with its high-capacity vision for consumer-oriented, flash memory storage solutions with the addition of a pair of 2TB SSDs to its lineup.

The newest members of Samsung's SSD family are powered by the company's proprietary 3D Vertical NAND (V-NAND) technology, which it first unveiled in 2013. This brings the total range of products in its SSD lineup to 20, ranging in capacity from 120 GB up to the whopping new 2 TB options.

The drives are housed in the same 7 mm, 2.5-in aluminum casing as previous models and comprise 32 layers of 128 GB 3D V-NAND flash chips and an improved MHX controller to better support the 2 TB format. Also inside are four 20 nanometer-class 4Gb LPDDR3 DRAM chips.

Samsung has launched two versions, the 2 TB 850 EVO and 2 TB 850 PRO. The PRO variants have traditionally promised slightly better read/write speeds and reliability. Though Samsung is yet to release technical details on the new drives, it is guaranteeing the PRO model for 10 years or 300 TB written, and the EVO model for five years or 150 TB written.

The 2 TB 850 EVO is expected to cost US$800 and the 2 TB 850 PRO $1,000. There's no official release date yet, but they will be available to buy in 50 countries. Samsung also says that it has plans to extend the 3D V-NAND SSD lineups to include mSATA and M.2 form factors.

 

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Elle Australia Puts a Breastfeeding Model on Its Cover

by JamesNYCMay 22. 2015 08:43

Magazine dares to display Real-Life Moment

Breastfeeding moms are not a new thing when it comes to magazine covers, but Elle Australia apparently took advantage of a real-life moment when producing its June 2015 cover going out to its subscribers. The cover features new mom and model Nicole Trunfio breastfeeding her baby son Zion Clark. The shot, apparently, wasn't originally part of the magazine's plan. Ms. Trunfio was already booked for the shoot with photographer Georges Antoni. She brought her son along and started to feed him during a break, but the scene was so moving that the mag's team jumped on the opportunity to capture it on film.

"This wasn't a contrived situation: Zion needed a feed, Nicole gave it to him, and when we saw how beautiful they looked we simply moved her onto the set," Elle's editor-in-chief Justine Cullen said on the Elle Australia site. "It was a completely natural moment that resulted in a powerful picture."

Ms. Trunfio's reaction? "When I saw the [subscriber] cover of me breastfeeding, which was unplanned and just natural, I teared up and thought, 'Wow, this is such a special moment where my worlds have collided'," she told Elle.

 

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Rankin creates an Orgy of Surreal Erotica for Coco de Mer (NSFW)

by JamesNYCMay 20. 2015 23:18

Coco de Mer: X from TBWA\London on Vimeo.

U.K. erotic lingerie brand Coco de Mer is known for its risque ads, and in its latest, it goes for full-on erotic bombardment, albeit in a surreal style. The brand teamed up with photographer Rankin and TBWA/London to conceive the film, which will run in cinemas as well as online. It takes the viewer on a rollercoaster ride of sexual images (some definitely NSFW, but they're so brief you might miss them) mingled with seemingly random vignettes of other stuff -- from fighter jets to owls -- as it builds up to a climax and reminds us how often we think about sex. It was shot by an ensemble of directors including Rankin himself, Vicky Lawton, David Allain, Damien Fry, Joe Hunt, Trisha Ward and Bronwyn Parker-Rhodes.

Coco de Mer: This is Not a Rehearsal from TBWA\London on Vimeo.

Coco de Mer: This is Not a Rehearsal

Coco de Mer: Girls & Their Toys from TBWA\London on Vimeo.

Coco de Mer: Girls & Their Toys

 

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Straight talk from Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1958

by JamesNYCMay 20. 2015 14:31

Brilliant insights from a true legend.

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Fujifilm announces the enthusiast-friendly X-T10 camera

by JamesNYCMay 18. 2015 14:50

The Fujifilm X-T10 is the latest addition to the X-series line-up, and a little sibling to the high-end Fujifilm X-T1. As such the new mirror-less camera has a lot in common with its bigger brother, including a 16.3 megapixel X-Trans CMOS II sensor, a 2.36 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder and the recently announced new autofocus modes. However, to reduce the intimidation factor for less experienced photographers, the camera is smaller and more accessible, with an Auto Mode Switch lever for accessing the fully-automatic Advanced SR Auto mode.

The core photographic specification of the Fujifilm X-T10 may well look familiar to those who have previously looked at the X-T1. A 16.3-megapixel APS-C (23.6 x 15.6 mm) X-Trans CMOS II sensor is paired with an EXR Processor II. This allows a wide ISO range up to an extended ISO 51,200 and burst speed shooting at 8 frames per second (fps) for approximately eight JPEG frames. While that top speed matches the X-T1 it's worth noting that the higher-end camera has a bigger buffer and can maintain this speed for 47 frames.

Autofocus is dealt with by a hybrid system which combines contrast and phase detection points to achieve fast and accurate focusing. Out-of-the-box the camera offers the standard 49-point Single Point mode along with the new Zone and Wide/Tracking modes that use a larger 77-point area when shooting moving subjects, which were recently announced for the X-T1 in an upcoming firmware update. It also has Eye Detection AF and an Auto Macro mode. Full HD 1080p video recording is possible at 60/50/30/25/24 fps, and a high bit rate of 36Mbps enables high quality footage.

 

Physically the X-T10 keeps the stylish retro look of the X-T1, but is smaller and lighter. It comes in at 118.4 x 82.8 x 40.8 mm (4.7 x 3.3 x 1.6 in) and weighs 381 g (13.4 oz) with a battery and memory card, but without a Fujifilm X mount lens attached. Around back there's a 0.39-in 2.36 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder which allows the composition of images even in bright conditions, has a quick response time with a lag of just 0.005 seconds, and can display the effects of settings as you are shooting. Under this is a tilting three-inch LCD monitor with 920K-dots.

As we've come to expect from Fujifilm X-series cameras, there are plenty of physical controls and dials and to keep advanced photographers happy, though the X-T10 only has three top dials to the five of the X-T1. However, in a bid to be more accessible than the model it's based on, there's also an Auto Mode Switch lever on the top of the camera which can be used to quickly shift into a fully-automatic Advanced SR Auto mode for easy shooting. Here the camera will choose the optimum settings from 58 preset scenes. Another big change from the X-T1 is the inclusion of a pop-up flash.

The new camera also features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for sharing images and video, or using a smart device running the Fujifilm Camera Remote app to remotely focus using a live display and "Touch AF" and then trigger the camera release. For those who like to process their images in-camera, there are a number of film simulation options, as well as the usual array of filters.

The Fujifilm X-T10 is expected to be available in silver or black from June, and will cost US$800 body-only.

You can check out a promo video for the X-T10 below. 

Product page: Fujifilm X-T10

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Leica Monochrom DNG Bug Can Wipe Out Your Apple Photos Library

by JamesNYCMay 13. 2015 23:40

Leica has discovered a serious bug that owners of the new Monochrom (Typ 246) need to be aware of. The camera’s DNG files have been found to be incompatible with Apple’s new Photos app. It’s not just that they can’t be opened: the files could corrupt your library and cause you to lose your entire photo collection.

 

In a product advisory first published over at Red Dot Forum, Leica says that loading Monochrom DNG files will cause Apple Photos to “crash continuously on loading.”

“This may cause the Apple Photos library to be destroyed. This means that pictures previously taken with any other camera will be lost,” Leica writes. “As such, Leica Camera does not recommend using the Apple ‘Photos’ App for DNG files from the new Monochrom (Typ 246) until further notice.”

Leica goes on to say that it’s working with Apple to “resolve this issue and develop a solution.” The fix will likely be on Apple’s end though, as Leica says that the next software update for Apple Photos should be free of this bug.

Apple’s new Photos app is the successor to iPhoto and Aperture, so there are undoubtedly a large number of photographers out there who are using the software for photo management and editing. For those who don’t have additional copies of photos outside of Photos, this could be a disastrous bug to learn of through personal experience.

 

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Watch a Video Walkthrough of the Canon XC10

by JamesNYCMay 8. 2015 13:19

Canon XC10 is a compact form-factor camera with a 1” sensor that shoots 4K UHD to Cfast and 1920×1080 HD to SD cards in Canon's new XFAVC codec.

There's a built-in 24-240mm equivalent lens with a manual zoom and face detection when shooting video. It runs on LP-E6 batteries, offers a 3.5mm jack microphone input and has a maximum ISO of 20,000.

Intriguingly it's also useable as a stills camera and has a mechanical shutter for taking 12MP stills in photo mode. There's also an articulating attachment for the rear screen that turns it into a viewfinder for judging focus when shooting handheld.

Canon plans to ship the camera in June for $2,499.

Canon's Paul McAniff gives rather lack luster run down on the new Canon XC10. We can only imagine how much more informative this video could have been IF Canon had properly informed and trained there sales rep.

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SanDisk targets enterprise customers with world's first 4 TB 2.5-inch SSD

by JamesNYCMay 5. 2015 09:22

Flash-based solid state drives (SSDs) have historically been the poor cousins to platter-based HDDs in terms of storage capacity, making them a poorer option for enterprise applications. But SanDisk is looking to change things with its new Optimus MAX SSD, the world's first 2.5-inch Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) SSD packing 4 TB of storage capacity.

Touting the new drive as the first true replacement for legacy mission-critical data center SAS HDDs, SanDisk claims the 4 TB Optimus MAX SSD allows enterprises to maintain their current SAS storage infrastructures, while providing improved, cost-effective performance, and generating less heat and consuming less power than HDDs.

Just exactly how cost effective the new drive is remains to be seen as SanDisk hasn't revealed pricing details, but it is claiming sequential read/write speeds of up to 400/400 MB/s and random read/write speeds of up to 75,000/15,000 Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) for the drive via its SAS 6 Gb/s interface.

Although the thought of slotting a 4 TB SSD into your laptop might sound appealing, SanDisk is targeting the drive at read-intensive applications with typical workloads made up of a read/write ratio of 90/10. This includes data warehousing, media streaming, web servers, video on demand (VOD), and web-based applications.

"Customers have been looking for a way to transition their data centers from HDDs to NAND flash, but have been forced to decide between cost and performance, or give up important functionality," says John Scaramuzzo, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise Storage Solutions at SanDisk. "We believe that the Optimus MAX will be a disruptive force within the storage industry, catalyzing many organizations to make the switch from their HDD-prominent data center infrastructures to SSDs."

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