At Photokina, Chinese lens manufacturer Venus Optics, who sell lenses by the name Laowa and specialise in niche glass for various cameras, announced two new fast wide angle lenses: After their 12mm f/2.8 E-Mount which we reported about in August, they now also offer a new 15mm f/2 for E-Mount, which is very fast for such a wide angle lens. It covers the full frame 35mm sensor of Sony A7 series E-Mount cameras and is fully manual with hard stops and manual aperture. It features a filter thread which isn’t a given on all wide angle lenses at 15mm. No info on pricing yet. Their other new lens is a fully manual 7.5mm f/2 prime for Micro Four Thirds cameras. It will feature a comparable wide angle field-of-view given the 2x crop factor of MFT sensors compared to 35mm full frame cameras. What’s particularly noteworthy about this lens is its tiny size and weight which, when combined with the wide angle field-of-view and the staggering f/2 maximum aperture, make it an ideal choice for drone operators flying a GH4 (or GH5 in the future) on their multicopter. There is no word on pricing on this lens either, but they promise to be “competitive”, which has usually been the case with their lenses so far indeed. We also have their 12mm f/2.8 E-Mount for testing here and will work on a review to be posted in the coming weeks. Thanks to Stefan Haselgruber behind the camera for helping us shoot this interview.Read more
The Leica Lumix 100-400mm f4-6.3 — Panasonic’s latest addition to their micro 4/3’s line of lenses — will be the first super telephoto zoom of its kind when it starts shipping in a couple of months. With release scheduled for March 2016, the Panasonic LUMIX G 100-400mm LEICA DG VARIO-ELMAR will offer the longest focal length native to the MFT system. The 100-400mm translates to a full frame equivalent of a whopping 200-800mm! Coming in at just under a kilo, the lens is relatively small and compact, in line with the micro four-thirds philosophy. As a quick comparison: the Sigma 300-800mm is over 5kg, as well as over 4 times the price! The high-quality, Leica-designed optics include 20 elements in 13 groups including 1 aspherical, 1 UED, and 2 ED elements. Panasonic promises fast autofocus thanks to the 240 fps AF Drive housed within the metal body, which will feature a retractable lens hood, weather-sealing, and a rotary tripod mount with built-in lens switches. Thanks to this, no matter how you orient the tripod foot, the controls will remain in the same position relative to the camera. The switches include controls for auto/manual focus, as well as autofocus limiting to ensure even faster AF performance. The third switch activates Power Optical Image Stabilisation – quite necessary when shooting at these focal lengths. The IS works in tandem with Lumix bodies with in-body IS, such as the Panasonic GX8, resulting in Panasonic’s Dual Image Stabilization. The 9 blade diaphragm will be capable of a variable aperture of f4-6.4. As a result, those action-stopping wildlife and sports shots the Lumix Leica 100-400mm is clearly intended for better happen in bright daylight. Of course, a faster maximum aperture at the tele end would have been nicer, as the smaller sensor size of the MFT system needs all the light it can get. This shortcoming may be especially evident, considering you may be paying a premium for the Leica design. But we need to remember: building a zoom of these characteristics and features while keeping it light and portable is no small feat! Due to its relatively affordable price and features—and no longer needing to use a third-party lens plus adapter for these focal lengths—this first true super telephoto zoom native to the micro four-thirds system certainly looks like a serious contender in its field. Its practical features and dimensions make it an ideal choice for shooters heavily invested in the micro four-thirds system. The Leica Lumix 100-400mm is available for pre-order from B&H using the link below. Wildlife photographer Daniel J. Cox had a chance to use an early version of the Leica Lumix 100-400mm lens on a test shoot recently and shared his thoughts via this video and in an extensive blog post that you can read here.Read more
For their new DJI Inspire 1 and X5 RAW quadcopters DJI introduces a new drone follow focus system that is also compatible with the DJI Ronin. Just two weeks ago we reported about the new DJI Inspire 1 Pro, X5R Drone, one of the most advanced affordable camera drones that are equipped with a micro four thirds camera and RAW capabilities. Here’s DJI’s drone follow focus that integrates with their existing remotes and allows accurate focusing on Inspire drones and also the DJI Ronin and Ronin-M. The Focus features a handheld remote controller (transmitter) with a focussing knob to give you the feel of a traditional mechanical follow focus. The wireless system sports a range of up to 330′ line-of-sight with a delay of 14ms. The DJI Wireless Follow Focus System uses the existing wireless connection of Zenmuse Z5 series of camera/gimbals systems, thus it is also compatible with the DJI Ronin and Ronin-M handheld gimbal stabilizers and comes a a kit with a motor for those. The system including the motor is $1,999 and is said to be available in October (LINK) The standalone drone follow focus (hand-unit only) will connect to the DJI Inspire 1 remote and cost $999 (LINK)Read more
Metabones has announced a new Speedbooster adaptor specifically for the Panasonic GH4 that will convert its micro four thirds sensor into super35mm in 4K mode, and APS-H in 1080 mode. Metabones original Speedbooster announcement was revolutionary, breathing new life into smaller sensors by increasing their field of view, light sensitivity and sharpness. 0.71x was the magic number, this level of magnification increases super35mm cameras like the FS100 and FS700 into full frame, opening a whole world of new opportunities including sub f/1.2 apertures and for the first time, Full Frame 4K video. Towards the end of 2013 Metabones advanced further with Speedboosters specific to the Blackmagic Cinema Cameras. These provided much wider fields of view on both Pocket and Cinema version of the Blackmagic cameras. It was the first time Metabones included a new magnification increase in their speedboosters; 0.58x and 0.64x respectively. Move to present day and Metabones has announced a new Speedbooster specifically for the Panasonic GH4. It to benefits from a 0.64x magnification, providing the flagship mirrorless camera with a very attractive x1.5 crop factor at 4K. This brings the GH4 right inline with super35mm; the original x2 crop factor* was a stumbling block for many, as negotiating a completely new lens line or crop factor for current collection was both frustrating and expensive. *Crop factor of x2 applying to 1080 mode on the GH4, not 4K. As many well know, the Panasonic GH4 has two crop modes, one for 1080 and one for 4K, which are x2 and x2.34 respectively. Whilst the new Speedbooster provides 4K mode with a super35mm crop factor, it goes one further in 1080 mode offering a near APS-H crop factor of x1.28 (Canon 1D territory). As expected from a new Metabones adaptor, the GH4 EF Speedbooster XL needs no additional power, carries focus, zoom and aperture information, as well as powering Image Stabilization for compatible lenses; like many (if not all) new Metabones adaptors it uses high quality patent pending Caldwell Photographic Optics. Speaking of optics: “The Speed Booster XL 0.64x uses an advanced 6-element optical design to achieve extraordinary optical performance at apertures up to an incredible f/0.80, a new record for Micro Four Thirds format.” The 1.33x stop increase is highly impressive; it will convert an f/1.2 prime into an astounding f/0.80. To calculate the new field of view of your lenses, simply multiply the focal length by the new crop factors in each respective GH4 mode (1.28 in 1080, 1.5 in 4K). For example, a 50mm lens will become 64mm in 1080 mode, and 75mm in 4K mode. Here is the specification list of the GH4 Speedbooster XL Magnification: 0.64x Crop Factor for Full Micro Four Thirds format: 1.28x Crop Factor with GH4 in Cinema 4k (4096 x 2160) Video Mode: 1.5x Maximum Output Aperture: f/0.80 (with f/1.2 lens attached) Rectilinear Distortion: < 0.8% Lens Elements/Groups: 6/4 Length Reduction: 6.2 mm Camera Mount: Micro Four Thirds Lens Mount: Canon EF (EF-S not compatible) Image Format: 17.3 mm x 13.0 mm (full Micro Four Thirds format) Despite the Speedbooster XL being marketed as an adaptor for the GH4, it will fit a host of other mirrorless cameras, the table below highlights fully compatible cameras in green: Metabones state that others (including some of the above listed in red) may work, the physical connection between adaptor and camera will always mate if your camera has a Micro Four Thirds lens mount. However only the above listed in green will be compatible without any mechanical clashing of the adaptor and shutter/shutter cover. By opening up the sensor to super35mm size and increasing the light sensitivity by 1 and 1/3 stop, the Metabones Speedbooster XL really makes the GH4 a whole different camera. Users migrating from other cameras with a large EF lens collection have a much simpler transition, and super35mm users now have another credible option as a B or C camera that isn’t worlds apart in terms of crop factor or light sensitivity. The GH4 Speedbooster XL is priced like many popular, new Metabones adaptors at $649.Read more
You might have heard about that JVC has now also entered the large sensor market. And that this intriguing little camera covers super35mm on an MFT mount, which makes no sense. Oh but it does make sense, and the looks of this camera are truly noteworthy, so read on for all the details. As Edgar Shane from JVC put it this lens mount is MFT and many people rightfully say that MFT lenses shouldn’t cover its super35mmm sized sensor. But apparently there are quite a few lenses that will cover it very well and the Olympus models Edgar mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg. Some examples of lenses that cover super35 or more include the famous Samyang cine lenses, most of which have been adapted to MFT and will cover a full frame sensor. If you’re into cine-glass, there’s the whole range of Zeiss’ lovely CP.2 primes with interchangeable lensmount that can all be equipped with their respective MFT base. Add to that any other lens you might want to use with the numerous adapters from MFT to any other lens mount system. If you’re into using a zoom rocker again, there are even lenses by Panasonic like this one that incorporate internal zoom electronics and will be activated by the JVC’s zoom rocker. In terms of specs the JVC GY-LSX2 has some really intriguing figures to offer. Not only is it very small and looks very ergonomic to handle, but it offers 4K with frame rates up to 30p as well as a slow motion feature at 2K resolution that will go up to 240fps. The footage is being recorded internally with an h.264 kind of codec. Given JVC’s history in sensor design one can expect the lowlight capabilities to be at least acceptable. The quality of the footage itself looked very impressive. There was a 4K screen nearby that showed helicopter footage with great detail. While the brilliance of other 4K footage recorded by a RED camera on a second screen also nearby couldn’t be matched, the results were quite remarkable. This footage is yet to hit the internet. The JVC GY-LSX2 is announced with a price point “under $6000” and to come at the end of 2014. The bigger brother, called GY-LSX1 will feature a higher framerate (60p) at 4K resolution, offer a shoulder-mount form factor and seems to come in at around twice the price of the small one. There might be other features to justify the higher price point as well.Read more
Panasonic just announced the new iteration of its highly popular interchangeable lens camera series, the GH4. Rumors have been swirling around the web for over a month, but now it’s confirmed: Panasonic GH4K The 4 in GH4 stands for 4K indeed. In a similarly small form factor users have become used to since the original GH1, the Panasonic GH4 amazes with incredible specs: “real” cinematic 4K at 4096×2160 pixels at 24p is the highest video resolution it can offer (unfortunately no 25p), and UltraHD at 3840×2160 pixels in all frame rate varieties: 24p, 25p, 30p, and even 50p and 60p (interlaced too, but who needs that?). Plus, you can choose whether if you want that 4K goodness in a MOV or MP4 container. Unfortunately, all the 4K varieties are 100MBps only (IPB frame order), while you can record up to 200MBps (ALL-Intra frames) in every 1080p Full HD variety. Full HD video can be recorded in up to 96 fps (at 24p playback), which should be great for some amazing 4 x slow motion footage. And of course, 1080p can also be recorded in the mediocre AVCHD codec, if you really still need that … Shot with the GH4 in 4K by Bryan Harvey Shot with the GH4 in 4K by Bryan Harvey But there’s more … Attachable XLR and video output unit Along with the GH4, Panasonic announced an optional “professional 4K video interface unit” with the elegant name AG-YAGHG (rolls easily off the tongue, doesn’t it?). It’s an attachment to the camera which provides 2 XLR ports with manual audio controls as well as a full-size HDMI port on one side and a full 3G-SDI terminal with 4K2K 4:2:2 10 bit output on the other side. I will only believe this when I see it, but that sounds like an impressive technological feat by Panasonic! Something entirely unexpected from a camera like this – Panasonic seems to be listening very closely to its users, closer than most of the competition, and we all couldn’t be happier about that! It even has professional timecode features. No word on pricing and availability yet. But we should know about prices soon – B&H already lists the camera and the Interface XLR unit in its store: Panasonic DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Camera BODY Panasonic DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Camera with Interface Unit XLR inputs HDMI – Time Code Panasonic YAGH Interface Unit XLR inputs HDMI – Time Code for GH4 Camera Of course there are loads of other new features in the Panasonic GH4, head over to the next page to read the press release and click here to see the official spec list in PDF form. Full Press text from Panasonic on page 2! GO TO PAGE 2 → Panasonic LUMIX GH4 Shooting Impression by Daniel Berehulak Panasonic LUMIX GH4 Shooting Impression by Bence Máté Panasonic LUMIX GH4 Shooting Impression by Takehito Miyatake Our friend Dan Chung from newsshooter.com had a chance to talk to one of the lucky few who had a hands-on with the GH4 already – watch his half hour interview here: Full Press text from Panasonic on page 2! GO TO PAGE 2 →Read more
Samyang has extended its line with release of a new lens designed for the APS-C format. The 10mm f2.8 is a rectilinear lens, becoming the widest none fish-eye lens Samyang currently produce.Read more
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