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Transcend’s newest SD cards can handle more harsh environments than you

The Transcend UHS-II U3 memory card lineup is built from the ground up to be as robust and weather-proof as possible. The cards are waterproof for 30 minutes at one meter (IS IPX 7 equivalent test), can operate at extreme temperatures (as low as –25C/–13F, and as high as 85C/185F), resist electrostatic charges compliant with the EMC IEC61000–4–2 certification, remain unaffected by X-rays, particularly those at airports (ISO7816–1 compliant) and offer shock resistance for those times when you might accidentally run over your memory card a few times with your car tire (don’t ask how…crap happens).

 

A 64GB capacity card will set you back roughly US$90, while a 32GB comes to approximately US$50. You can find out more information on the cards by heading over to Transcend’s website.

 

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Memory card manufacturer Transcend has announced a new lineup of SD memory cards capable of operating in some of the most extreme environments you could ever imagine subjecting a memory card to.

 

 

DxO One goes on sale in Europe

The DxO One, which was previously launched in the US, is now also available to purchase in the Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, with further European territories to follow in the coming months. It can be bought for £449 via their online store, or from one of their dedicated resellers.

 

In this issue Mark Littlejohn explains why front-to-back sharpness isn’t everything in landscapes, plus we test the 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye and review the Zeiss Milvus range of lenses

 

APOY 2015 round 8: Shades of Grey Please visit the APOY 2015 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY ENTRY EMAIL ADDRESS and the…

 

The DxO One features a high performance prime lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, it has a 20.2 MP 1″ sensor, a top shutter speeds of 1/8000 of a second, and is capable of Raw image capture. It is designed to be small enough to fit into a pocket or purse, and attaches easily to your iPhone whenever you need to take images.

 

 

Olympus Japan says sales of OM-D E-M10 Mark II will start back up in November

Today, Japan announced sales of OM-D E-M10 Mark II cameras will start back up in November 2015, roughly two months after the initial service advisory was announced.

 

In the announcement, Olympus ensures that anyone who has already purchased an OM-D E-M10 Mark II with a defective lens mount pin is still eligible for a free repair. To see if your could possibly be affected by this issue, head on over to our original post.

 

If you have additional questions you can contact Olympus Customer Care at 1–800–622–6372 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. Or you can click here for more information.

 

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Earlier this month, Olympus issued a service advisory for OM-D E-M10 Mark II owners whose cameras were affected by a lens mount locking pin issue that caused plastic mount lenses to not secure properly to the camera body. As a result, Olympus also announced it was pausing the sales of all E-M10 II until the issue was fixed for all units in transit or sitting on shelves.

 

 

World’s ‘lightest’ f/0.95 lens for micro four thirds cameras unveiled

Shenyang China, Sept 17, 2015 – Zhongyi Optics (ZY Optics) has unveiled the world’s lightest f/0.95 lens, Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. This new member in the Mitakon Speedmaster family is a ultra-fast prime lens which provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 50mm in the Micro Four Thirds system. A maximum aperture of f/0.95 makes it extremely convenient to shoot at a low light conditions without flash and.

 

Most importnatly, this lens weigh merely 0.51 pounds and 1.8 inches long. The compact size and fast aperture make it an ideal companion of your for everyday shooting in a wide variety of conditions.

 

Despite the extreme light weight, the lens incorporates a 11 elements in 9 groups optical design, including 1pc of Extra-low disperson elements, 4 pcs of Extra-high Refractive Index elements and 2pcs of High Refractive index elements. This structure effectively controls the chromatic abberations and deliver excellent image sharpness even at f/0.95. The lens also features a 11 pieces of aperture blades to form a close-to-circle aperture for a creamy depth of field. Optimized lens coatings also help to suppress lens flare and ghosting.

 

Manual focus design and a click-less, silent aperture ring promote smooth handling and are especially well-suited to video applications. The lens is built in metallic enclosure with additional protective process and finest finishing, which gives extra durability and aesthetic.

 

Pricing & Availability Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 will be available to ship in mid/late October at ZY Optics authorized resellers and at the official website (http://www.zyoptics.net/). Sample Lens will be available in the ZY Optics booth (Booth#) in Photoplus Expo New York during 22-24 Oct 2015.

 

Pre-order has been commenced through our official website. The Recommended Retail price is USD 399. Free shipping & Stocks priority will be offered to those pre-ordered in our website.

 

APOY 2015 round 7: Lie of the Land Please visit the APOY 2015 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY ENTRY EMAIL ADDRESS…

 

Zhongyi Optics has revealed what it trumpets as the world’s lightest f/0.95 lens for micro four thirds cameras, the 25mm Mitakon Speedmaster. Delivering the 35mm viewing angle equivalent of a 50mm lens, the manual focus Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 weighs 230g and is 45mm long. The 11-elements-in-9-groups lens, which features 11 diaphragm blades, is due to be shipped towards the end of next month. There is as yet no word on UK pricing or availability. In the US, it will cost $399, according to Zhongyi Optics which is based in China. For more details visit http://www.zyoptics.net

 

 

Firmware Friday: Update news aplenty from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Ricoh and Sony

In a typical week, that would be plenty enough for our Firmware Friday roundup, but even having already told you about all of that this week, we’re still left with a whole lot to discuss. We have news of updates for two DSLRs, two DSLRs, two business-oriented Ricoh rugged cameras and an action from Chinese brand XiaoYi.

 

We’ll start with Canon, whose updates for the EOS-1D X and EOS-1D C DSLRs landed a couple of days ago. In both cases, the updates fix the exact same issue: The autofocus drive continuing to operate intermittently with a shutter button half-press, even when the custom functions had been set to activate metering only on a half-press.

 

Canon EOS-1D X owners can download the firmware version 2.0.8 update from Canon’s website and install it themselves. Canon EOS-1D C, owners, however, will have to return their camera to Canon to have the firmware version 1.4.0 update installed, and may have to pay for shipping and handling.

 

Next up, we have Nikon’s updates for the D5200 and D7100 DSLRs. Both updates aim to resolve a problem with camera lockup when the “Clean image sensor” function has been activated, as well as horizontal banding in HD (1,280 x 720 pixel) movies shot at 50p or 60p frame rates.

 

For the D7100 only, there are also fixes for a problem with camera lockups during menu scrolling in some languages, as well as an issue that caused the screen to darken during image review if the playback button was pressed. An unspecified problem with the viewfinder virtual horizon has also been corrected.

 

Next up this week, we have new firmware for the Ricoh G800 and G800SE. These rugged cameras are aimed at business and industrial use, and differ in the latter’s Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and bar code scanning capabilities. (Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are built-in, while the other functions require optional accessories.)

 

New firmware for the Ricoh G800SE and G800 resolves an issue with connection to PictBridge-compliant printers. For the G800, that’s the only change, but the G800SE also gets some other tweaks. A problem that prevented image transfer when using the date folder option has been fixed, and support added for more 802.1x certificates. These include certificates that expire after the year 2038, chained certificates, and PEAP with EAP-MSCHAP v2 certificates (but only with an EAP-TLS certificate key of 2,048 bit or less.)

 

And finally, we come to the XiaoYi action camera, for which firmware version 1.2.12 landed earlier this week. Here, there have been tweaks to power-saving mode for greater battery life, and to sounds and status lights for better status indication. Behavior in time-lapse, burst mode and loop video recording has also been changed. Problems with app connectivity and live view have also been fixed, as well as issues with image reversal and clip length in time-lapse shooting. You can download the XiaoYi action camera firmware version 1.2.12 here.

 

And that brings us to the end of a rather action-packed week on the firmware front. Enjoy your weekend, and be sure to check back next time for more Firmware Friday news!

 

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We’ve already told you about a pair of upcoming updates from and Sony earlier in the week. Firstly, Olympus will be updating both the E-M1 and E-M5 II mirrorless cameras in a couple of months, adding a raft of new features to both. And then we have Sony’s plans for uncompressed raw support in the Alpha A7S II and A7R II mirrorless cameras, a plan that may possibly spread over time to bring other A7-series firmware updates.

 

 

Hands-on with the new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens

There was widespread excitement among photographers last week when announced a follow-up to the most widely-used zoom in its professional lineup – the 24-70mm.

 

Adding a new Vibration Reduction system to reduce image blur from -shake, the new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR also incorporates a Silent Wave Motor that should give it AF speeds up to 1.5-times faster than those of its predecessor, the 24-70mm f/2.8G.

 

Nikon Ambassador Kate Hopewell-Smith was invited to try out the lens for a month before release, and we managed to secure some time with her for a chat about her first impressions. Scroll down for out interview and to see some more of Kate’s images taken with the new lens.

 

Kate Hopewell-Smith: My two main bodies are a Nikon D4S and a D3S, and I have quite a bunch of lenses. Before this, in terms of portraiture, my favourite would probably be 70-200mm. I love the 85mm and I’d have probably said, to be honest, something like a 35mm prime would be the wider angle or focal length lens that I’d take out to portrait shoot.

 

KH-S: I got contacted directly from Tokyo, as they were looking for two photographers to work with the prototypes – there are only two prototypes and they chose a landscape photographer in New Zealand and me, which is pretty scary! The prototype they sent me was the D810 and the 24-70mm VR.

 

KH-S: When they first contacted me about it, I told them it’s not my favourite lens at all. But when it arrived and I got it out of the box I was like, ‘Wow!’ I wasn’t prepared for the weight and the size; it’s heavier and bigger than the original and so, in that sense alone, it’s a significantly different lens. I had it for about a month and the most important things they wanted me to test was shooting with it wide open, at f/2.8, at both the 24mm and the 70mm end and then to test the VR functionality with slow shutter speeds.

 

KH-S: It was pretty remarkable; I’ve had a complete renaissance – and I’m not just saying this because I’m a Nikon Ambassador! I got asked in an interview on Wednesday what lens I’d take with me on a desert island, and before I’d never have said the 24-70mm. But now having spent a month with it, and having photographed everything from headshots to environmental portraiture, I think it’s an incredible lens. I’d still miss the compression that you get from longer focal lengths, but in terms of having one lens that can deliver massive versatility, I was amazed! It’s an incredibly smooth lens to work with and very sharp, with a very noticeable difference in edge-to-edge sharpness.

 

KH-S: It was fantastic, but generally Nikon lenses are. It was honestly a pleasure to work with. It was heavy, although not as heavy as the 70-200mm, but it’s quite a comfortable weight. I didn’t have a problem with it.

 

KH-S: It’s not something I actively noticed. It didn’t make me shoot or feel any differently. I was able to shoot the way I shoot. At f/2.8 it was incredibly sharp. I also did some work on slow shutter speeds, shooting some horses at f/10 and it produced some incredible quality images. I was actually gutted to send it back to Japan! I shot two weddings within a week of sending the lens back and I’m now shooting wider focal lengths more frequently than I did before. I got in the habit of doing that because I had to shoot at the 24mm end a lot more, and I really enjoyed the results.

 

KH-S: Definitely! It’ll be an upgrade for me. Globally it’s Nikon’s best-selling lens – most pros have one and I can imagine people who’ve had their lenses and have worked them very hard for a while will definitely consider the upgrade. Also, the VR is obviously very helpful for wedding photography – if you’re a low-light photographer then it has a lot of benefits!

 

I part disagree with Simon. Nikon’s VR detects panning so it works when following action at 90 degrees to the pan direction. I understand no other system does this. Extra smooth backgrounds are possible combining panning and Nikon VR. Nikon’s VR can also stabilise the main subject at perhaps 1/10 while allowing blur in say hand movement. Some photographers might want to use this for creative effect. The 24-70 range is not as commonly used for moving subjects as 70-200. Nikon’s VR, like any lens aid, has limitations some of the time but makes possible more creative effects than any other f2.8 24-70 lens.

 

One thing everyone seems to forget about VR (or its equivalent) is that although it’s very good at dealing with camera movement, it does nothing at all for subject movement…. So great if you’re photographing an inanimate object at 1/10th sec, not so great if you’re photographing a subject who is talking, walking or moving their hands,

 

In this issue, Jeremy Walker explains how to shoot dramatic contre-jour landscapes – plus we test the Canon PowerShot G3 X and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV

 

We chat to Nikon Ambassador Kate Hopewell-Smith, who has had a chance to try out the new version of Nikon’s most popular zoom lens. Find out how she got on

 

 

Nikon has officially produced its 95-millionth Nikkor lens

The milestone comes eight months after announced it had produced its 90-millionth lens, keeping with roughly the same production rate from the previous five milestones (Nikon announces milestones at each 5 million mark.

 

Unlike , Nikon doesn’t tell what lens was the 95-millionth produced. Instead Nikon’s press release announcing the milestone focuses on mentioning a number of new technologies and lenses that have made an appearance over the past year or so.

 

Most notably, Nikon mentions new coating technologies, its Phase Fresnal technology, its use of lighter and smaller fluorite elements and more. A few of the lens mentioned include Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR, AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR, and its AF-S DX NIKKOR 16–80mm f/2.8–4E ED VR, all three of which we covered earlier this month.

 

Considering Nikon’s current pace, it looks like May or June of 2016 will be the centennial mark in terms of millions of lenses sold. We’ll be sure to keep you updated. To see the full press release, head on over to Nikon Rumors’ post by clicking here.

 

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Earlier this month Canon announced it had produced it’s 110-millionth EF lens. Today, Nikon reached a similar milestone, announcing the Tokyo-based company has produced its 95-millionth Nikkor lens.

 

 

Kenko releases new 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters for Canon EF/EF-S lenses

The Kenko Teleplus 1.4x HD DGX is made up of three elements in 2 groups and weighs in at 110g with a 25mm barrel length. It offers full autofocus operation on lenses with an maximum aperture of f/4 or brighter, with the exception of ’s EF 50mm f/1.8. Exposure is adjusted by one stop and aperture diaphragm coupling is fully automatic. The Teleplus 1.4x HD DGX Teleconverter is set to go on sale for £219 ($340 USD).

The Kenko Teleplus 2.0x HD DGX is made up of 5 elements in 3 groups and weighs in at 157g with a 35.8mm barrel length. The 2.0x HD DGX improves upon its 1.4x counterpart by offering full autofocus operation for lenses with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or brighter, with the same exception for Canon’s 50mm f/1.8. Naturally, the 2.0x HD DGX reduces exposure by two stops. The Teleplus 2.0x HD DGX Teleconverter is set to go on sale for £219 ($340 USD)

Keno provides a helpful document to check whether your and lens combination are compatible with its latest teleconverters, which you can find by clicking here.

Kaili Optronics Kelda 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review

This manual focus telephoto lens offers a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture for a price of around £136, which seems very good value for a lens of this type. So what’s the catch?

Kaili Kelda are a Chinese company who produce a variety of budget-orientated basic manual focus lenses. This lens is available to and SLRs. In this review, we’ll take a look at how it performs.

Given the price of this lens, you’d be forgiven for having low expectations of almost every aspect of this lens. A mix of high-quality plastics with a lightly textured finish and metal have been used for much of the lens barrel, with a red ring placed near the front end of the optic. This lens isn’t overly heavy for one sporting a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture either, tipping the scales at 385g. As a result it balances well with the Nikon D600 body used for testing.

The manual focus ring feels a little gritty in operation, although there is enough resistance in the mechanism to help with applying fine focus adjustments. Closest focus is 85cm, which is fairly typical for a lens of this focal length and aperture. 72mm filters can be attached to the deep circular hood supplied with this lens, or 55mm filters can be attached directly to the lens. The filter thread does not rotate, which makes it ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters.

This lens has no electronic or mechanical coupling with the camera, so stop down metering has to be used when shooting. The aperture ring has values marked at seemingly arbitrary values, with the distance between stops getting less as the lens is stopped down more. The values marked on the aperture ring don’t quite line up with the click stops either, which may cause confusion when using smaller apertures.

Surprisingly, this lens isn’t a bad performer. At maximum aperture, sharpness is very good in the centre of the frame and fairly good towards the edges. Stopping down improves performance with outstanding sharpness being achieved in the centre at f/4.5 and excellent sharpness towards the edges at f/6.

Chromatic aberrations are kept under control, hovering at around half a pixel width towards the edges of the frame for most aperture settings. These low levels of fringing should be difficult to spot, even in very large prints, or harsh crops from the edges of the frame.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is typical for a lens of this focal length and aperture. The corners are 1.3 stops darker than the image centre at f/1.8 and visually uniform illumination isn’t achieved until the aperture is stopped down to f/3.5 or beyond.

Imatest only detected 0.13% pincushion distortion, which is an extremely low amount and should very rarely need correction in image editing software afterwards.

The supplied circular hood does a good job of shielding the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues with flare, however, shooting into the light does result in a noticeable loss of contrast.

With a price of only £136, this lens is very inexpensive indeed. The closest equivalent currently available Samyang’s manual focus 85mm f/1.4 lens, which is available for around £211 and sports a faster maximum aperture and overall better build and handling. Nikon’s 85mm f/1.8G costs around £350 and Canon’s EF 85mm USM can be picked up for £240.

With a price of only £136, you’d be forgiven for having poor expectations of this lens. As far as build quality and handling are concerned, you can see where corners have been cut with the gritty manual focus ring, bizarre range of apertures and an aperture ring that doesn’t line up properly with the printed markings.

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

Chromatic aberration is the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

This month, 10 members have the chance to have 1000 photos scanned for free by Vintage Photo Lab! Vintage Photo Lab specialise in bulk scanning for your old photo…

 

 

Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM announced

Sigma has today announced the pricing and availability for its Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM. The lens is priced at £949.99 and is available from the end of July in a Sigma and mount, with the mount to be announced at a later date.

The lens is the manufacturer’s premium ‘Art’ series, featuring a world-first combination of a fixed maximum aperture of f/2 across a traditional wide-angle zoom range.

As Sigma points out, this combination covers the range of three of their stand-alone optics – the 24mm, 28mm and 35mm – offering the f/2 maximum aperture at each of these focal lengths.

The 24-35mm features a minimum focusing distance of 28cm and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.4, making it useful for close-up shooting, portraits with an attractive Bokeh, and deep-focus landscape photography.