Ladies and gentlemen, the king of lenses has been crowned. DxOMark has announced their test results for the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art lens, and it’s the lens with the highest score ever. It won 51 when mounted on a Nikon D800E and left Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 eat its dust.
Modern cameras allow photographers to remove and change the lens fast, using only one hand. Unfortunately, it also makes it easier for thieves to steal the lenses directly off the camera. This is why photographer Rutger Geerling created Mark’s Lens Safe. It’s an accessory that protects the release button of your camera, making it impossible to remove the lens with one hand. He created it as an open source design for 3D printers, so everyone can download and print it for their camera.
In the past, the thought of making your own lens would probably seem like a fairly impossible mission. For most of us, it still seems pretty out of reach. Not for determined photographer and weird lens master, Mathieu Stern, though, who created his own 3D printed lens.
Making your own 135mm f/1.8 has to come with a pretty huge sense of accomplishment already. Upon first using it and seeing the results, though, you can’t really fail to be impressed. Obviously, the lens is manual focus, and doesn’t feature any fancy features like image stabilisation, but I think we can let that slide.
The Philosophy of Nikkor is a series of videos which Nikon started to release in April of last year. Every so often a new video is released containing insight into the creation of their Nikkor lenses. There are interviews with everybody from the designers and product managers right down to those making the individual components.
In the latest video, Volume 6 released recently, we hear from those who make the optical glass. As part of the Nikon Group, Hikari Glass produces the optical glass that will eventually go into the Nikkor lenses you mount to your camera. The current Hikari Glass plant was built in 1975 in Akita, Japan. It’s a fascinating look at how our lenses begin their life.
It’s been rumoured for while now that Canon would start introducing LCDs into their lenses. Last week, we even saw some suggestions as to what they might display, thanks to a couple of newly released patents. Well, now, all the guesswork is over. Canon have officially announced the EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS II USM lens.
Like its predecessor, it is a full frame autofocus lens with image stabilisation. The lens is slightly larger than the one it replaces. It weights a little more and the filter thread size has been increased. So has the diaphragm blade count, creeping up from 8 to 9, which may provide slightly more circular “bokeh”. Then there’s the obvious change. It has an LCD screen.
Super fast primes are a handy thing to have. But they’re not cheap. Their price puts them out of reach for many photographers. Even if funds aren’t an issue it can still be difficult to justify spending that much on one prime lens. But what other options are there?
Well, if you’re Mathieu Stern, one option is to breath new life into a $20 Bell & Howell 50mm f/1.2 projector lens. In his latest video, Mathieu shows us just how simple it is to start using one of these with your DSLR or mirrorless camera.
Samyang have today announced two new lenses to start their Premium range. An 85mm f/1.2 and 14mm f/2.4. These new lenses, Samyang say, offer “unprecedented resolving power”, built for 50MP stills and up to 8K video productions. Also known as Rokinon, Samyang has become quite a formidable competitor lately.
Both of the new lenses are full frame manual focus lenses. This may disappoint some folks who were hoping for autofocus. Though, personally, I don’t see it as a problem. Lenses as wide as 14mm are typically manually focused anyway. When everything a few inches past your lens is in focus anyway, it’s not an issue. For the 85mm.. Well, given the notoriously slow AF on Canon’s 85mm f/1.2, you might as well manual focus anyway.
Long known throughout the world for quality, Zeiss are the first name many think of when it comes to luxury lenses. Today, Zeiss have announced three new lenses; 15mm f/2.8, 18mm f/2.8 and 135mm f/2 for both Nikon and Canon. These lenses are part of Zeiss’s Milvus line, designed to “fulfill the requirements of today’s powerful digital cameras and those of the future thanks to their high imaging performance”.
As with the other members of the Milvus family, the three new lenses contain what Zeiss calls “harmonious bokeh”. This is essentially a floating element design which compensates for errors at different distance settings. They also claim excellent flare and ghosting control thanks to the T* anti-reflective coatings.
Canon’s EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II announcement is expected to happen quite soon. Rumour has it that this lens will be the first to feature its own built in LCD display. Up until now, nobody’s really known what for. Digicame-info, however, seem to have stumbled across a couple of patents which show what information may appear on the LCD.
Set to replace the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM released in 2005, the new lens should carry all the usual updates we see with new lens announcements. Things like new coatings more resistant to dust and flaring, A little extra latitude with the image stabilisation. The LCD display, though, is something completely new.
It seems that these days, 3rd party lens manufacturers are doing everything they can to try to upstage everybody else. After Nikon’s recent introduction of the 105mm f/1.4E, Tamron have now filed a patent for a 115mm f/1.4 VC lens. If they make it, this would make it the longest f/1.4 autofocus* lens out there, taking Nikon’s recent crown.
What’s even more interesting than the slightly longer focal length is the fact that this lens comes with VC (their version of VR/IS). The Nikon 105mm f/1.4 doesn’t have any kind of built in stabilisation at all. If this becomes more than just a patent, that single feature alone could see it winning out for Nikon shooters. Assuming the optical quality stands up to demands.