Archive for the ‘Photography news’ Category

Sony G Master Lenses

Friday, February 5th, 2016

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Sony today launched an entirely new brand of interchangeable lenses: the G Master. This line will represent the best of what Sony has to offer in terms of optics.

The brand will launch with 3 new E-mount lenses: the 24-70mm f/2.8, 85mm f/1.4, and 70-200mm f/2.8.

“The new G Master brand represents the finest and most impressive group of lenses that Sony has ever brought to market,” says Sony VP Neal Manowitz. “With our knowledge of what the future will bring for digital imaging, we have designed these lenses and can ensure that the G Master brand will inspire and ‘wow’ photographers and videographers for years to come.”

The 24-70mm f/2.8 features special elements for reducing aberrations and increasing resolution, a 9-bladed aperture, special coatings for reduced reflections, a direct drive SSM (Super Sonic Wave Motor) for fast and quiet focusing, dust and moisture resistance, and a compact design

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The 85mm f/1.4 lens has an 11 blade circular aperture (the most offered in an α lens) for smooth bokeh, Nano AR coating for reducing flare and ghosting, a ring drive SSM motor, dust and moisture resistance, and an aperture ring with on/off switchable click stops (for smooth adjustments during video recording).

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The new 70-200mm f/2.8 features special coatings (Nano AR and fluorine), a floating focusing system (the first in an α zoom lens) for improved AF performance, a minimum focusing distance of just 0.96m (~3.15ft), a SSM and dual linear motors, Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, dust and moisture resistance, a focus hold button, and a focal range limiter.

Finally, Sony has also announced 1.4x and 2x teleconverters as part of the new lineup.

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The 24-70mm and 85mm will be available in March 2016 for £1,800 and £1,500, respectively. The 70-200mm and the teleconverters will be available in June 2016, but pricing has yet to be announced.

Sony α6300

Friday, February 5th, 2016

 

 

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Sony has announced its new flagship APS-C camera, the new a6300. It is a mirrorless camera with the world’s fastest autofocus speed and the world’s highest number of autofocus points.

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A new 4D Focus system can lock onto a subject in as little as 0.05 seconds, which sets a new record among interchangeable lens cameras with APS-C sensors.

The camera also has an almost unbelievable 425 phase detection AF points — the world’s highest number among interchangeable lens cameras — that are densely placed across the entire frame (it’s 7.5x more dense than in the α6000).

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These points help the camera perform fast and accurate continuous autofocusing while shooting at 11fps, and the enhanced tracking and AF are also compatible with A-mount lenses connected via adapter — a first for a Sony APS-C camera. This AF system makes it an absolute weapon for sports or wildlife photographers.

Inside the a6300 is a 24.2 megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 100 to 51200. “The new image sensor employs copper wiring in its structure,” Sony says, “which improves light collection efficiency and significantly accelerates readout speed.”

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On the back of the camera is a beautiful XGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder with 2.4 million dots and a 120fps framerate mode for smooth subject tracking. Below it is a tilting LCD screen.

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The magnesium alloy body is resistant to dust and moisture, and has 9 customizable buttons that can be used to operate 64 different functions.

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Now for the really exciting stuff! Video, increasingly so very important, the a6300 can capture 4K with full pixel readout and no pixel binning in Super 35mm — another first for a non-full-frame Sony camera, bringing professional level video recording to APS-C.

It will also do Full HD at 120fps, S-Log gamma recording (with approximately a 14-stop latitude), S-Gamut for a wider color space, Gamma Display Assist for monitoring images and checking focus while recording, and enhanced Zebra functionality.


Other features and specs of the camera include silent shooting, a microphone line input, Wi-Fi, and NFC.

The new Sony a6300 will be available from Castle Cameras in March 2016 with a RRP of £900 for the body only or £1000 when paired with a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Pre-order yours now

Canon announce G9X, G5X and M10

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

The best things in life are free, or come in three’s, or come in small packages or something like that! Anyway however the saying goes, Canon have today hit us with three new gorgeous small form factor cameras.

First up, two more additions to the GxX line. Canon’s G line of cameras offer better quality and controls than the typical cheap point and shoot. With two new members of the family, the G9X and the G5X, you have whole lot of options, depending just how much camera you want to carry.

Last year with the G7X Canon introduced a very nice 20 megapixel one-inch sensor into a pocket-size camera. This year’s G3X housed the same sensor but with a huge zoom lens attached. These new cameras are similar beasts. They have the same one-inch sensor, which means they’ll have very similar image quality. The big differences are their size and external features.

G5X – £629

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The G5X is the beefier of the new cams, and it is mostly so because it features a built-in 2.36 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder. Yay!

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EVFs have been growing steadily in performance and popularity, and Canon has stubbornly refused to include one in its cameras until now. Electronic viewfinders makes it easier to shoot in bright light and add stability when holding the camera to your face so it is a very welcome addition.

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The lens is the same 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 equivalent glas, used on the G7X. The camera inherits the Digic 6 processor as well inside. Additions include a hot-shoe for a microphone or flash, as well as an extra dial on the front for controlling exposure more easily. The camera aslo adds an LCD that flip-outs fully rotates.

G9X – £399

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Smallest possible footprint is the approach with the G9X. It’s about the size of Canon’s older Powershot cameras like the S120 and S100. You’ll have no problem fitting this one in your trouser pocket. It too has the same sensor and processor as its latest G-series brethren.

PowerShot G9 X BK Top Lens out

What you’re giving up with the small size is the tilting LCD—the G5X has a completely flat and fixed display, and some zoom range. Instead of a 24-100mm lens, the G9X has a 24-70mm f/2.8-4.9.

Of course, there are also fewer buttons and dials. You’ll be forced to rely on Canon’s touch interface for most settings changes—which isn’t the end of the world! Canon has pretty well-designed touch menu functionality. There is also a control ring around the lens, which performs different functions depending on the mode and settings.

The M10 – £399

Coming hot on the heels of the M3 released earlier this year, the EOS M10 has the same 18-megapixel resolution as the old EOS M, but it has Canon’s faster 49-point Hybrid AF II autofocus system (though not the Hybrid AF III system in the EOS M3).

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The EOS M10 also has a DIGIC 6 processor, Canon’s most advanced to date, compared to the DIGIC 5 processor in the original EOS M, and while this has little impact on the continuous shooting speed (up from 4.3fps in the EOS M to 4.6fps) or ISO range (still ISO 100-12,800), it does seem to make a big difference to the EOS M10’s buffer capacity. It can’t store many raw files before the buffer fills up (just 7) but Canon says the EOS M10 can capture up to 1,000 JPEG images in a burst.

The M10, G5X and the G9X will all ship early November, look out for our pre-ordering, coming soon!

The Big Butterfly Count Photo Competition Winners

Friday, September 18th, 2015

During the summer we were delighted to sponsor the photo competition for this years Big Butterfly Count in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation.

David Attenborough launched the count on the 17th July and people from all over the UK went out into the wild to record sightings of our nation’s butterflies. During the count the photo competition took place with people entering their images to the count’s Flickr photo pool.

Three winning images were picked from the many wonder entries and are as follows:

1st Place
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Samantha Batty’s delicately beautiful shot of a Common Blue claimed the crown for this year’s Big Butterfly Count photo competition. Horticulturist Samantha from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, took the picture in her wildlife-friendly garden. She said: “There are a number of Common Blues in the meadow area and I noticed this male on a Gaura flower looking stunning with its blue wings contrasting with the white petals.”

2nd Place

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Nick Hatton’s vibrant and striking shot of a Green-veined White nestled amongst saxifrage, claimed second place. Nick, a welder from Sandbach, Cheshire, who has been photographing butterflies for many years, captured the image in his garden.

3rd Place

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Wildlife enthusiast Allen Holmes needed an early start to get his stunning shot of two dew-soaked Marbled Whites. Warehouse operative Allen from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, arrived at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Brockadale Reserve early in the morning to photograph the soggy butterflies before the sun dried them out.

The judges were once again spoilt for choice with nearly 2,000 photos entered for consideration. Thanks again to everyone who took part. The three winners will receive vouchers donated by us, Castle Cameras www.castlecameras.co.uk

Nikon announce new 16-80mm f/2.8-f/4 DX lens

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

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Nikon’s latest DX-format lens is its most interesting and promising yet. Covering a 24-120mm full-frame-equivalent focal length, the lightweight 16-80mm f/2.8-4E features relatively fast apertures, an incredibly useful and dynamic focal length range (already proven with the popular full-frame 24-120mm f/4G ED VR), and professional treatments such as nano coating, an electromagnetic diaphragm, and even a fluorine coating on the front element.

While the electromagnetic diaphragm (a first for the DX format) helps give accurate and effective auto-exposure during high-speed exposure sequences (i.e. on “Continuous High” for action shots), full-fledged vibration reduction helps keep shots steady in the potentially shaky hands of any photographer.

The fluorine coat repels water, dirt, and oils on the front element and is a happy trickle-down addition that I didn’t expect would make it quite so soon to lenses for the mid-sized sensor format.

Finally, Nikon’s “Nano Crystal Coat” is the first of its kind in a DX lens as well and comes from a heritage of providing world-class ghost and flare control on Nikon’s most prestigious line of professional, full-frame lenses (for those without experience with such a lens, it’s actually difficult to get lens flare even when pointed directly into the sun thanks to the nano coat).

What may at first sound like a mess of features turns out to be the recipe for what will likely and easily become Nikon’s most versatile and impressive DX lens. While it won’t come cheap, the 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR is, in fact, a bit of a bargain considering it could easily replace three lenses in any kit.

Fujifilm make X-T1 firmware version 4.0 available

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Fujifilm made its previous announced firmware version 4.0 for the X-T1 available today.

The firmware offers a big step up in the AF performance of the X-T1, fixing previous issues with tracking moving subjects and enhancing low contrast AF performance. Groups of AF points in 3×3, 5×3 or 5×5 blocks ensure your subject is always held in focus.

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Eye detection AF is now in place, offering precise and accurate focusing in portrait scenarios, especially useful with Fuji’s fast primes like the 56mm f/1.2 where depth of field is very shallow.

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Macro focusing also becomes automatic, with the camera able to focus right down to minimum focus distance without the need to turn on the macro mode using the button. The macro button can now be assigned to another purpose making using the camera even more flexible.

 

To download this latest firmware, head to Fujifilm’s support page now.

 

New Nikon COOLPIX range

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Hot on the heels of the D810A announcement, Nikon follows up with an expansion to its popular COOLPIX compact camera range with a number of exciting new products.

Bridge range

Two new additions to the Nikon COOLPIX bridge line-up are announced today, bringing exceptional performance for recording life in exquisite detail.

COOLPIX P610

The 16-megapixel COOLPIX P610 offers new possibilities in everything from night shoots to nature photography, with an astonishing 60x optical zoom, extendable to 120x Dynamic Fine Zoom. An electronic viewfinder and large high resolution 921k-dot vari-angle screen with bright RGBW technology inspire creative framing, plus sharing is instant with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC support – as simple as tapping the camera to a smart device. Built-in GPS and GLONASS track shooting locations, while Dual Detect Optical VR (vibration reduction) keeps the camera stable for sharp details even at full zoom or when shooting one-touch Full HD movies (1080/60p).

COOLPIX P610: £339.99  – Available 19th February 2015

COOLPIX L840

It’s easy to zoom in on life’s special moments with the 16-megapixel L840. Capture landscapes and wildlife or take amazing close-ups at family celebrations with the 38x optical zoom, extendable to 76x Dynamic Fine Zoom. Taking detailed shots of the moon or wildlife are made simple with Scene auto selector, plus you can create a unique viewpoint with the large LCD tilt screen and shoot Full HD movies (1080/60i) at the touch of a button. Favourite images can be shared instantly with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC support.

COOLPIX L840: £209.99 – Available 26th February 2015

SuperZoom range

Two new high zoom cameras with instant sharing are announced today – the vari-angle COOLPIX S9900 and the slimline S7000.

COOLPIX S9900

The 16-megapixel COOLPIX S9900 makes it easy to find your own unique perspective. This high performance camera gives you the freedom to frame images creatively with the large vari-angle LCD screen whilst the powerful 30x optical zoom, extendable to 60x Dynamic Fine Zoom, allows you to get close to the action. Share instantly with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC support – it’s as easy as tapping the camera to a smart device – and record shooting locations with built-in GPS and GLONASS. Track up to 30 locations on a built-in world map, shoot Full HD movies (1080/60p) or create impressive time-lapse movies easily in-camera too. The mode dial gives easy access to exposure modes (P/S/A/M) to give your images the personal touch.

COOLPIX S9900: £279.99 – Available 26th February 2015

COOLPIX S7000


The 16-megapixel COOLPIX S7000 a 20x optical zoom into a very slimline body, for catching all the action – near or far. It’s simple to be social, sharing photos easily with NFC support just by tapping the camera to a smart device, or using the dedicated Wi-Fi button. Full HD movies (1080/60p) come at the touch of a button, time-lapse movies are easy to make and stunning travel scenes are captured effortlessly with easy panorama.

COOLPIX S7000: £169.99 – Available 26th February 2015

All weather range

Nikon today announced two new additions to its all-weather camera range, the adventure-proof COOLPIX AW130 and the go-anywhere COOLPIX S33, make it easier to capture all your outdoor explorations and fun in the sun with stunning photos and Full HD movies.

COOLPIX AW130


The 16-megapixel COOLPIX AW130 fits your active lifestyle like a glove. Wherever you go, it can go with you – as deep as 30m underwater, equivalent to Advanced Open Water certification, plus it’s resistant to -10oC, dustproofand shockproof to 2m. It’s a social camera too, with NFC support and built-in Wi-Fi, so images can be shared instantly just by tapping it to an NFC-enabled smart device, or using the dedicated Wi-Fi button.

COOLPIX AW130: £279.99 – Available 26th February 2015

COOLPIX S33


The 13-megapixel COOLPIX S33 makes holidays and daily life even more memorable. It’s ultra-tough, simple to use and can easily keep up with even the most adventurous of travel plans. Swim with it at up to 10m depth or use underwater face framing to detect faces without having to get in the water at all. It’s shockproof to 1.5m, resistant to -10 oC and dustproof too, so it can take anything life throws at it.

COOLPIX S33: £89.99 – Available 5TH March 2015

New lenses from Nikon including compact 300mm f/4

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Nikon has announced two new lenses today including an exciting compact 300mm f/4 with a Fresnel element.

AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR

Overview

Close the distance with this FX-format 300 mm lens. As the first F-mount NIKKOR to be equipped with a phase Fresnel element, it offers the ultimate balance of compact build, telephoto reach, and high image quality.

Ideal for sports and wildlife photography as well as travel shots and tight, detail-oriented portraiture, this lens is the smart choice when you want to fill the frame but not your bag.

The combination of f/4 maximum aperture, 300 mm focal length, and impressive VR technology enables superb results in diverse conditions. The phase Fresnel lens element significantly reduces size and weight, and a fluorine coating repels water, dust, and dirt for enhanced durability.

Lens release date and pricing information to follow shortly.

Key Features

High-performance telephoto lens: offers 300 mm focal length and f/4 maximum aperture. (450 mm focal length when used with a Nikon DX-format SLR.)

Phase Fresnel element: this telephoto lens delivers great optical performance and boasts a remarkably compact build. Use of a phase Fresnel (PF) lens element noticeably reduces the weight, without degrading image quality.

Vibration Reduction (VR): with SPORT mode. VR minimises the effects of camera shake and lets you shoot at shutter speeds up to 4.5 stops slower.¹ SPORT VR mode delivers a stable viewfinder image when shooting high-speed movement, and allows a continuous shooting frame rate with reduced release time lag, similar to those that are possible when VR is turned off.

Advanced optical performance: Nano Crystal Coat effectively reduces ghost and flare, increasing the clarity and contrast of images. An ED (extra-low dispersion) glass element minimises chromatic aberration.

Electromagnetic diaphragm: enables consistent, more precise exposures, especially when shooting at high frame rates.

Fluorine coating: actively repels water, dust, and dirt without compromising image quality. The coating enhances durability and makes it easier to clean the glass without damaging the surface.

Minimum focus distance: 1.4 m.

RT-1 tripod collar ring (optional accessory): enables the lens to be rotated freely for smooth transition between vertical and horizontal orientation.

AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II

An all new DX-format telephoto lens that boasts a serious size advantage. With a versatile 55–200mm focal range and an ultra-compact design, this telephoto is the perfect partner for smaller DX-format D-SLR cameras.

Compact, light, and easy-to-handle, this lens is great for close-ups of distant subjects, travel shots, sporting adventures, and amateur wildlife photography. The compact design ensures comfortable handheld shooting, and the retractable lens mechanism enables superior portability. Autofocus is fast, precise, and super-quiet, and Nikon’s Vibration Reduction system enables blur-free images.

Lens release date and pricing information to follow shortly.

Key Features

Portable telephoto zoom lens: covers a versatile 55–200mm focal length range (35mm equivalent: 82.5–300mm). Great for travel shots, distant subjects, sporting adventures, and amateur wildlife photography.

Retractable lens mechanism: retract the lens when it’s not in use for superior portability.

Ultra-compact and lightweight: weighing just 300 g, this lens is a mere 83 mm long when retracted.

Vibration Reduction (VR) system: delivers clear, blur-free images. Enables more stable handheld shooting and lets you shoot at up to four stops slower. VR operation is quiet, even when filming.

Nikon quality images: this lens produces beautifully sharp photos and videos, even when shooting handheld. One extra-low dispersion glass element helps minimise chromatic aberration for high-contrast images.

SWM (Silent Wave Motor): for fast, precise, and super-quiet operation.

Minimum focus distance: 1.1 m throughout the zoom range.

Small system: with its streamlined design, this telephoto lens offers great versatility and portability. By combining it with a small Nikon D-SLR camera body and the NIKKOR 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6G VR II zoom lens, you’ll have a powerful double zoom kit that won’t weigh down your bag.

Fujifilm announce the X30

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

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After many a rumor and photo leak, Fujifilm has officially released the followup to its popular X20 premium compact. Appropriately dubbed the X30, this is no meager update, sporting an EVF, build-in WiFi, a better LCD, better battery and more.

Changes on the outside are minor. You’ll notice a redesigned grip, a second control ring on the lens and a slightly “sleeker” look, but the aesthetics are mostly left alone. The major updates came on the internals; specifically the interface.

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While the sensor and lens are unchanged — still a 12-megapixel 2/3-inch X-Trans II CMOS sensor and 4x 28-112mm equivalent f/2.0-2.8 lens — the entire interface has been overhauled. WiFi is now built in; the LCD has been updated to 3-inches, 920K-dots and is now tiltable; and instead of an optical viewfinder you’ll find a 0.65 magnification, 2.36M-dot OLED viewfinder with a 0.005-second lag time.

Fuji has also added a “Classic Chrome” film simulation mode that promises “muted tones and deep color reproduction,” and greatly improved the camera’s battery life thanks to a new battery pack that charges in-camera.

Here’s a closer look at the X30:

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The Fuji X30 is set to arrive in store in September in your choice of black or silver/black for £479.

Nikon launch the D810

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Today Nikon launch what they claim to be in their own words a camera featuring “The Highest Image Quality in Nikon’s History” the D810.

Yesterday we were able to get hands on with the new D810 in London with acclaimed Nikon Ambassador John Wright.

John talked us through the new features of the D810 including its newly designed 36.3-megapixel sensor designed from the ground up with no optical low pass filter for supreme detail and sharpness. The ISO range is now a staggering native 64 – 12800 with this new low base giving exceptionally detailed and defined images in bright light and is even extendable to 32 to 51200 ISO equivalent.

Equipped with the Expeed 4 processor, the same processor as used in the flagship D4S, overall performance gets a boost with image rendering improved for both stills and video and allowing movies to be shot in 1080p at 50/60p.

Designed to be ready to tackle any situation the D810 features the flagship Multi-CAM 3500FX 51-point AF system allowing it to capture anything that moves, firing at up to 5 fps in FX mode and 7 fps in DX crop mode. Nikon’s new Group Area AF mode also features along with an all-new shutter mechanism that is quieter, reduces shake and even has the option for an electronic front curtain shutter for shake free images.

Other new features include a small RAW setting which is half the size of a normal RAW file, Highlight Weighted Metering, Exposure Zebras in movie mode, a new easier to hold grip, a split screen live view display, simultaneous internal and external movie recording and a new flat picture profile for post production friendly video grading.

Overall we felt the D810 offers a solid list of improvements over the D800/E taking an already very accomplished camera and turning it into surely on of the best Nikon has ever made.

Available to pre-order shortly here and due to ship from the 17th July for £2699.