Lensbaby Scout With Fisheye Optic Review

May 28th, 2011 101 Comments   Posted in SLR Lenses

Scout, the first Lensbaby lens that does not bend, features the Fisheye Optic, which delivers an ultra-wide 12mm focal length capable of capturing a 160 degree angle of view from infinity all the way down to 1/2 inch from the front of the lens. The Fisheye Optic can also create unique flare effects in an image.

“The Scout is for adventurous photographers wanting an easy to use fisheye lens combined with the creative freedom of the Lensbaby Optic Swap System,” said Craig Strong, Lensbaby president and co-founder. “We chose to combine the straight-shooting, non-bending Scout with our 12mm Fisheye Optic so that Lensbaby users could have a simple, affordable, and fun way to play with the Fisheye’s creative flare and eye-opening close focus.”

Due to the extremely wide angle of view of the Fisheye Optic, full frame shooters will generally see a black circle around almost the entire image, and APS-sized sensor shooters will see black at the corners of their images. With Scout, the Fisheye image is always ideally situated in the center of the frame.

Sigma SD1 Digital SLR Camera Review

May 28th, 2011 142 Comments   Posted in Digital SLR Cameras

In standard digital SLR terms, the SD1 is a 15.3-megapixel camera. Still, the Foveon sensor does set the SD1 apart and Sigma is using that to go after photographers who value image quality above all else.

For those who don’t already know about the Foveon sensor, here’s a little background. Most digital cameras use what’s called a “Bayer sensor array,” which uses side-by-side red, green and blue elements to create each pixel. The Foveon sensor, on the other hand, uses transparent red, green and blue layers. Sigma and Foveon claim that their three-layer sensor design delivers images with less noise and no moiré patterns. Images made with a Foveon sensor are arguably cleaner, with smoother color blends and less noise than their Bayer sensor counterparts. However, the SD1 is not a 46-megapixel camera. Ultimately, you end up with the same number of pixels with the Sigma as you would with a comparable digital SLR – you just arrive there via a different strategy. The Foveon sensor does it with layers and everyone else does it with three, adjacent color-imaging sites.

The new SD1 is a big leap over Sigma’s previous digital SLR, the 4.7-megapixel SD15 (they also multiplied the resolution of the SD15 by 3, calling it a 14-megapixel camera). Price aside, the SD1′s larger, higher resolution sensor makes the camera much more competitive with current prosumer digital SLRs. The larger sensor changes the focal length multiplier from 1.7x to the prosumer standard of 1.5x and also offers better depth-of-field control. The SD1 is also faster (5 frames-per-second vs. 3 frames-per-second for the SD15) and it has a much better auto focus  system.

The SIGMA SD1 is Sigma’s flagship digital SLR model, adopting a lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy for its body and O-ring sealing connections to make Sigma’s splash proof design throughout for use in harsh conditions.

The SIGMA SD1 incorporates a 23.5×15.7mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor and dual “TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II” image processing engines. The combination of the 46 megapixel (4,800×3,200×3 layers) sensor and dual TRUE II processing engines ensure the high resolution images are processed quickly with high definition and a smooth and subtle graduation of colour.”