A special limited edition set of three Nikon f/1.4 lenses is being sold in certain European countries (currently Belgium and Sweden). Limited to only 100 sets, each set includes a Nikkor AF-S 24mm, 35mm and 85mm.
What’s strange is that unlike what you typically see with limited edition gear, these sets are actually selling for considerably less than if you purchased each lens separately. In Belgium the set is priced at €4,899, or about €1,000 (~$1,370) less than the sum of the individual lens prices on Amazon. No word on whether we’ll ever see this kind of thing in the US.
Luxury Box f/1.4 (via Nikon Rumors)
The soft cases that are often bundled with higher-end lenses are good for preventing minor scrapes and bruises, but offer little when it comes to protecting your glass against harsher dangers. The BETA Shell line of SLR lens cases are designed to guard your lens against most things extreme environments can throw at them, offering protection from water, impacts, and extreme temperatures.
The cases range in price from $45 to $84 depending on the size of your lens, and are available through the official website.
BETA Shell (via PDN)
Flickr member scenery_and_fish found a Kowa 65mm f/0.75 x-ray lens, and mounted it to a Nikon D90 by using macro extension tubes and epoxy. The lens is fixed focus, lacks an iris, and is one beastly piece of glass.
The Pinwide is a new pinhole cap by Wanderlust Cameras that takes advantage of the mirrorless nature of Micro Four Thirds cameras by recessing the cap into the body of the camera, achieving a wide field of view and strong natural vignetting. The “lens” is the equivalent of a 22mm on a 35mm camera, and boasts a perfectly round pinhole “made with the same precision etching technology used to manufacture semicoductors” to ensure sharpness.
Sample photos after the break
Owners of Sony’s NEX line of EVIL cameras can now autofocus A-mount lenses that are used with Alpha DSLRs. Previously A-mount lenses attached to NEX cameras via the $200 LA-EA1 adapter could only be manually focused, but with the firmware update Sony released today they can be autofocused for single shots at the blazing speed of 2 to 7 seconds per autofocus.
Yes, apparently users may have to wait up to seven seconds for your camera to lock onto a subject. You might want to stick with that manual focus after all. The new firmware can be download here.
In addition to the new 60D, Canon also made its lens lineup longer today with the announcement of four new L lenses and two new extenders. The lenses are the EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye, EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS, EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II, and EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II. The extenders are the Extender EF 1.4x III and Extender EF 2x III.
The 8-15mm is obviously incredibly wide, giving a ridiculous 180° field of view. Previously, the widest you could go on a Canon zoom lens was 16mm on the 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens. This new lens even beats the widest prime: the 14mm f/2.8 L. On the new 60D this lens is the equivalent of a 13-24mm lens. This lens will be available in January 2011 for $1,400.
The new 70-300mm is interesting not because Canon upgraded its 70-300mm lens, but because they decided to turn it into an L lens. Various reviews online have said that the old 70-300mm IS had L quality glass, and now Canon decided that it officially does. The older 70-300mm lenses offered 3 stops of image stabilization, while this new one supposedly offers 4. Too bad the lens still has a variable maximum aperture. It’ll be available in October for $1,500 (seems too high).
The 300mm and 400mm lenses and extenders are a bit less interesting to us. They’ve mostly received standard improvements such as less weight, better optics, superior image stabilization, faster focusing, etc… The 300mm and 400mm lenses will be out in December for a cool $7,000 and $11,000, respectively. The extenders offer better focusing and optics, and will be available in December as well for $500 each.
What are your thoughts on these new lenses?
After an eternity of rumors and leaks, Nikon has just officially announced the D3100, an entry-level DX format DSLR replacement to the D3000. The main selling point is 1080p video recording at 24fps in h.264 with continuous autofocus, a new feature for DSLR cameras. The 14.2 megapixel camera has 11 autofocus points, a 3-inch LCD screen, an ISO range of 100 to 3200 (can be expanded to 12,800), and 3 FPS shooting. The camera will be out in September at the price of $699, bundled with a 18-55mm VR kit lens.
Nikon and NASA are showcasing some amazing photos taken aboard the International Space Station with Nikon equipment. According to Nikon, NASA took over 700,000 photos with the Nikon gear kept on board, which includes one Nikon D3S DSLR, eight Nikon D2XS cameras, 36 NIKKOR lenses including three teleconverters, seven SB-800 Speedlights, and other gear. Nikon notes that the D3S is unmodified, and is the same quality as available on the consumer market.
Nikon has a long history with NASA since sending a Nikon F camera with Apollo 15 in 1971. Since then, Nikon’s enjoyed exposure while helping NASA get image exposures. Most recently, the D3S that is currently on board was delivered to the ISS via the Space Shuttle Discovery, launched April 10, 2010. NASA says each shuttle launch costs approximately $450 million — that is one expensive delivery! Here are more images from the International Space Station taken with Nikon gear:
Rayqual, a Japanese manufacturer with a Geocities-esque website, recently announced a new line of adapters that will allow you to use Canon, Nikon, and Leica lenses on the Sony NEX line of EVIL cameras. While using your existing glass on the cameras might be nifty and buy you some image quality, what you lose is the ability to autofocus. Another downside is that these adapters aren’t exactly cheap – they will cost between ¥19,950 and ¥25,200 (roughly $220 and $275).
Nikon has a couple neat interactive tools that make it easy to explore and compare lenses. Their lens simulator lets you see what resulting photographs might look like with any lens and camera combination, while their new lens positioning map displays the NIKKOR lineup on a grid with aperture and focal length as the two axes.
Once you’ve found lenses or combinations you like, you can save them for future reference.
(via Digital Journal of Photography)