This week has started with a bang in terms of new announcements regarding optics. Two new impressive sounding prime lenses have been announced with very interesting specs: the Samyang 35mm f1.2, and the Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8. These have certainly been busy times for Samyang, with a new XEEN as well as the introduction of the first autofocus lenses to their catalogue (which you can read about here and here). Well, they just keep on going, as they have just announced their new 35mm f/1.2 prime. Although it is a faster lens than their previous 35mm f/1.4, this new f/1.2 is designed for APS-C sized sensors, meaning it will vignette heavily if you use it on a full-frame camera or want to use it with a Speedbooster. The lens has been designed with mirrorless cameras in mind, with available mounts consisting of Sony E mount, Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm X and Canon M. In good Samyang tradition, the lens will be available in 2 configurations: either as a fully manual photo lens, or as a cine lens (meaning probably a declicked aperture and gears for a follow focus). And, also following the Samyang/Rokinon/Walimex tradition, this lens will be quite affordable, with an RRP of 449 and 499 Euros for the photo and cine versions respectively. Below you can find the Samyang 35mm f/1.2 spec sheet: Another quite interesting announcement that took place this week is Venus Optics’ new Laowa 12mm f/2.8. This lens ticks quite a few boxes that certainly make it one to look out for, not the least of which is its size. It’s tiny! With a 12mm full-frame(!) coverage, this lens is very wide indeed. The manufacturer claims that the lens boasts close-to-zero optical distortion, maintaining rectilinear characteristics rather than being a fisheye lens. I’m personally a big fan of the the full frame ultra wide angle aesthetic. This 12mm lens will allow you to capture images like the one below: Ultra wide angle lenses like these tend to be slower. However, it looks like the Laowa 12mm will be also usable in low light, and a maximum aperture of f/2.8 means the Laowa can lay claim to being the world’s fastest 12mm lens for full frame for now. With mounts available for Canon EF, Sony E and Alpha, Nikon F and Pentax K, this gives you the possibility of using a Speedbooster on a crop sensor camera for even faster wide angle shots. One would maybe expect a lens with such extreme qualities to be incredibly expensive, but the Laowa 12mm may surprise you. Although its Kickstarter campaign had some sweet deals (like the opportunity to get the lens for $1), you may still find there are a few lenses available for preorder at a discount from the $949 retail price. Below is the spec sheet for the Laowa 12mm f/2.8: Venus Optics also announced two useful accessories for their new prime lens. A common trade-off of ultra wide angle lenses is the lack of a frontal filter thread, which the manufacturer has solved with their filter holder for 2x 100mm filters and 1x circular polariser. Venus Optics has also announced a Shift Converter that expands the image circle by 10mm at the expense of some light. The result? A 17mm f/4 lens with a +/- 10mm shift capability with no vignetting. These will go for $50 and $300 respectively. Click here for more info on these products, and make sure to check out people’s first impressions of this lens here and here. Do any of these primes tickle your fancy? Let us know in the comments below!Read more
Here’s a list of all the co-branded Samyang lenses and how to get the best deals on them. These lenses are a good choice for filmmakers on a budget who are looking to shoot with prime lenses that are somewhat cine-worthy.Read more
Samyang will present a new lens at Photokina; the Samyang 12mm is an f/2.8 fish eye that covers the full frame image area. This is the first fish eye from Samyang to cover the full frame 24 x 36mm format. The lens optics consists of 12 elements in 8 groups, this includes 3 elements made of low dispersion ED glass and 2 aspherical lens elements to help reduce chromatic aberration and sustain image depth. The full name of the lens is the Samyang 12mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Fish-eye; NCS tells us that this (like 2 other wide angle lenses from Samyang) features the new nanocrystal coating to help with contrast and anti-reflection. Like the newer revisions of their other fish eyes, the 12mm fish eye will feature a removable hood. There’s limited competition in the full frame fish eye class, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and likely price tag the Samyang 12mm fish eye it’s likely to become a popular choice. Currently Canon only produce one fish eye lens, the 8-15mm f/4 L. It’s a stunning lens (I own one myself) but does carry a price tag that may put some off considering it’s a specialist lens. Like all current Samyang stills lenses, this lens is manual focus only, it does not have auto focus; for this is a feature you’d have to turn to the more expensive Canon 8-15mm (or Nikon counterparts if you’re that way inclined), however some may overlook this feature as the fish eye look lends itself widely to deep depth of field shots, lessening the need for autofocus. Like all of these many-brand lenses, keep an eye out for the 12mm f/2.8 to appear under other brands such as Rokinon or Bower. I’d also expect a cine version to be released, which would offer a T stop rating, de-clicked aperture and focus gear. The Samyang 12mm fish eye will premiere at Photokina from the 16th September, if you’re attending be sure to check it out alongside their exciting new 50mm f/1.4.Read more
Blackmagic’s Cinema Camera tester John Brawley has uploaded some shots of the MFT (micro four thirds mount) version of the camera with two ultra highspeed lenses.Read more
If you’ve been following the news about the Panasonic GH2 hack, you might be among the people who are thinking about a switch to Panasonic cameras. (Wow, this time is all about switching, switching software, switching cameras.) Well if you’re a switcher, or if you’ve been using the GH1, GH2 or another micro four thirds camera you probably know that there’s not a huge number of lenses to choose from, so new lenses is good news. The lenses we’re looking at areRead more
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