Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G Review

September 18th, 2010 76 Comments   Posted in SLR Lenses

Nikon today announces a completely new, fast-aperture Nikkor lens – the AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G. This is the third f/1.4 prime NIKKOR lens to be developed in the past six months further extending creative opportunities for professional photographers.

Zurab Kiknadze, Product Manager Lenses, Accessories & Software, Nikon Europe says: “The AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G sets a new benchmark for reportage and news photographers. It combines amazing contrast and resolution with brilliant low-light performance. Seen alongside the 24mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 lenses announced recently, this new lens underlines Nikon’s ongoing drive to deliver the ultimate range of optics for photographers.”

Award winning photojournalist Kadir van Lohuizen of photo agency NOOR was amongst the first to view the new AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G. He said: “The 35mm is the standard ‘street’ lens for many of us at NOOR and we are really excited about this new version, it’s amazing. This fast prime lens will make it possible to shoot at almost every light condition at the highest-quality possible.” He added: “It’s going to take our documentary projects to a new level for sure.”

Light Command
The AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G has been developed to deliver stunning images in all situations. An entirely new optical design with ten elements in seven groups (including one aspherical glass element) and a rounded, nine-blade diaphragm enables the photographer to make full use of the shallow depth of field that f/1.4 aperture lenses offer. Crystal sharp detail with super smooth bokeh separation sets your subject in the spotlight and offers a different look from images taken with the professional f/2.8 zoom lenses.

Night Photography
The optical construction incorporates Nano Crystal Coat and minimises reflections and sagittal blur, which means this lens renders point light sources and shadows with natural clarity, ideal for night scenes and astrophotography. The fast aperture also provides a bright viewfinder and is great for exploring the creative potential that the shallow depth of field can bring to the work of fine-art photographers and photojournalists.

Streetwise
The AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G is built to work as hard as you do and is a robust and reliable performer wherever your photography might take you. The dedicated Silent Wave Motor (SWM) ensures discreet but accurate autofocus. It operates with smooth gearing and has a broad focus ring for fine manual focus accuracy down to the minimum focusing distance of 30cm. The tough magnesium construction features subtle grooves to assist a left-hand grip as well as rubber mount and switch sealing to deter dust and moisture. Weighing in at a solid 600g, it is designed to balance well with FX format DSLRs such as the D700 and D3 series.

The lens is supplied with a HB-59 hood, and a soft pouch.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G

Canon Powershot G12 Review

September 18th, 2010 148 Comments   Posted in Digital Compact Cameras

Canon announces the PowerShot G12 today, an update to the advanced G series, alongside the PowerShot SX30 IS packing a wallop with a 35x optical zoom lens. These cameras offer enthusiast-focused features like RAW shooting and manual exposure modes.

The HS System: Premium Canon image quality, even in low light
The PowerShot G12 is the first G-series model to feature Canon’s HS System – a powerful combination of a high-sensitivity 10.0 Megapixel CCD sensor and high-performance DIGIC 4 processor designed to provide outstanding image quality in all lighting conditions, including low light.

The inclusion of the HS System allows shooting at higher ISOs with excellent image quality – enabling users to capture exceptional images in all conditions. This extended ISO range allows users to shoot darker scenes without engaging the flash or using a tripod – capturing correctly-exposed images using only the available light. In situations when use of the flash is necessary, a higher ISO will enable users to extend its effective range and illuminate the subject more effectively. Higher ISOs also enable users to utilise faster shutter speeds – freezing motion to capture moving subjects with a reduced risk of blur.

Allowing users precise control over the ISO level, the dedicated ISO dial now allows adjustments in 1/3 stop increments.  In addition to this, a new Auto ISO level adjustment feature allows users to pre-configure the maximum ISO setting they wish to use during shooting and specify how the camera selects the ISO to obtain the best balance between image quality and shutter speed.

In very dark situations, Low Light mode can be used to extend the ISO range up to ISO 12800, with the ability for users to control ISO and white balance to accurately capture the ambience of a dimly-lit environment. Users can also capture fast-moving action with the ability to shoot at up to 4.2 shots per second.

Genuine Canon Lens with Hybrid IS
The PowerShot G12 features a premium 28mm wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens, allowing users to capture sweeping landscapes and get closer to distant subjects during shooting. Benefiting from Canon’s extensive heritage in lens design, the lens has been developed using the same processes and quality standards employed to manufacture Canon’s range of EF lenses, ensuring the capture of sharp, detailed shots while still having a compact size so the lens can retract completely into the camera body when not in use.

Counteracting camera shake and enabling photographers to capture shots in darker conditions, the PowerShot G12’s optical Image Stabilizer allows shooting at shutter speeds approximately 4-stops slower than would be otherwise necessary to achieve a sharp shot. Also included in the PowerShot G12 is Canon’s Hybrid IS technology to increase the effectiveness of the optical Image Stabilizer when shooting macro subjects. The PowerShot G12 can focus as close as 1cm to a subject, and the slightest lateral movement of the photographer can negatively affect image quality, making it difficult to capture blur-free shots without the assistance of a tripod. Hybrid IS counteracts unintentional shift and angular movement – two kinds of camera shake that become particularly pronounced as image magnification increases.

Flexible shooting
Flexible shooting and playback is provided by the PowerShot G12’s 7.0cm (2.8”) high-resolution Vari-Angle PureColor II VA LCD screen. The rotating Vari-Angle design offers easy framing from a range of angles, such as when shooting at ground level or overhead. To accommodate a range of shooting styles, the PowerShot G12 also features an optical viewfinder (OVF) with diopter adjustment, allowing users to match the OVF to their vision. After image capture, photographers can also utilise the newly integrated RGB histogram during playback, allowing them to instantly check the exposure of a shot in detail.

Take complete control
As well as offering Full Manual control and a range of semi-automatic modes, the addition of a new Front Dial provides swift and convenient access to settings during shooting. Users can either prioritise the Front Dial or the rear Multi-Control Dial as the main way of controlling the camera, or use a combination of both. For example, the Front Dial can be set to control aperture in AV mode while the Multi-Control Dial controls white balance or shooting aspect ratio, or it can be used independently, with the rear Multi-Control Dial disabled to prevent accidental changes to settings.

For advanced amateurs and professionals, the PowerShot G12 also shoots uncompressed RAW images and includes Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software, providing the ability to edit images after capture. Sharing the same post-editing environment as the EOS system, the PowerShot G12 fits seamlessly into a photographer’s existing workflow.

Canon Powershot G12

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens Review

September 4th, 2010 181 Comments   Posted in SLR Lenses

Fixed Flexibility
The AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR covers a NIKKOR exclusive zoom range of 24mm to 120mm, ideal for events and travel photography. The fixed f/4 aperture ensures consistent exposure settings across the zoom range; whatever the subject, from expansive landscapes to isolating portraits, the AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR does it with ease.

Hold Still
The AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR is equipped with Nikon’s second generation Vibration Reduction system (VR II) which offers compensation for camera movement the equivalent to a shutter speed of approximately four stops faster, and couples well with the f/4 fixed aperture under low light conditions.

Brilliant quality across the zoom range
The complex optical design uses Nano Crystal coat, two ED glass elements and no less than three aspherical lens elements to maintain bright, high contrast images under a wide variety of light conditions. Ghosting, flare and aberrations are minimised whilst the nine bladed diaphragm generates subtle bokeh effect in out of focus areas.

Smooth performer
The Silent Wave Motor (SWM) was specifically developed for the unique characteristics of this lens. It offers very discreet autofocus performance with instant Manual override possible in M/A mode. The zoom gearing and switch placement has been carefully designed for intuitive (blind) operation when looking through the viewfinder. The lens balances well with D-SLRs like the D700 and the barrel features a subtle indentation to assist grip when in use.

Built to move
The large zoom range is achieved in a very compact and tough construction, ideal for the adventure and travel photographer. Through extensive use of magnesium and Super Engineering Plastic components the lens is built to handle the knocks of everyday use, and rubber sealing around switches and lens mount mean moist or dusty conditions are not a problem.

The AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR takes the ‘standard zoom’ concept to another level to meet the demands of today’s high resolution FX format D-SLRs while maintaining excellent price/performance ratio.

The lens is supplied with a dedicated hood HB-53 and a soft pouch.

Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6L IS USM Lens Review

September 4th, 2010 105 Comments   Posted in SLR Lenses

The push/pull zoom mechanism is possibly the most noticeable physical feature of this lens. While it works smoothly, it took me some time to get used to it. There is a ring on the back of the manual focus ring that adjusts the tension on the zoom part of the lens. That is a nice feature, but I find myself constantly adjusting the tension to get it just right for the moment. The ring also gets in the way of the manual focus ring – when making a manual focus adjustment, I often inadvertently change the zoom friction ring as well. Set the zoom friction too light and the lens extends by itself when pointed downward – fast and hard if set really loose. Set the friction too tight and zooming becomes difficult. So, it works as it is supposed to. Some prefer the push/pull design.

As an L-series lens, Canon’s brand new 70-300mm IS includes Canon’s high quality materials. The 70-300m lens includes two Ultra-Low Dispersion (UD) elements, Super Spectra coatings, Canon latest optical image stabilizer (IS), 8 bladed for beautiful out-of-focus backgrounds & USM AF motor. High quality lenses, means high optical quality and therefore, high resolution. Many of today’s latest Canon DSLRs, includes high resolution CMOS sensors. In order to take advantage of this high resolution sensors, Canon keep enhancing the optical quality of its lenses every year.

Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6L IS USM Lens