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What's New 2013

December 13, 2013 - Tamron announced availability for the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens. It will be released in Japan on December 19th, and on January 17th in the US. This will be for the Canon version only. Nikon and Canon versions will be released at a later date. Official pricing has yet to be released, but it's rumored to be $1,069 US. If that is the actual price it will be interesting to see how it performs. For more info see Tamron's press release here.

December 6, 2013 -
Samyang has announced the 10mm 1:2 ED AS NCS CS wide angle lens for APS-C cameras (DX). This is a manual focus prime lens. It's the first lens from Samyang to have a nano crystal coating to help reduce flare. It will be available for all current SLR and mirrorless systems and will go on sale the end of January 2014. For more info see Samyang's press release here.

November 7, 2013 -
Tamron has announced that they are developing a 150-600mm f/5-6.3 full frame (FX) lens. It can also be used with APS-C sensor cameras (DX). The lens will feature a 9 blade circular diaphragm, 20 elements in 13 groups, and image stabilization (VC - Vibration Compensation). Pricing and availability have not yet been announced. It looks interesting, but probably won't be useful for fast moving subjects because of the small aperture. For more info see Tamron's press release here.

November 5, 2013 -
Today Nikon officially announced the Nikon Df, a full frame DSLR. On the outside the Df has the look of Nikon's F series film cameras, while inside it has the same sensor used in the D4 and same focus system used in the D610. It has a hefty list price of $2,749.95 for the body only or $2,999.95 with a special edition 50mm f/1.8 lens. I guess Nikon is appealing to the old film crowd with this camera. I'm sure it will take great pics, but if I didn't already own a D600 I would much prefer to get a D610 than the Df. The D610 has more bang for less buck. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

October 25, 2013 -
Sigma announced pricing and availabilty for the 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM lens today. It will be available next month with a retail price of $899. I will probably try this lens, but unless the images it produces are incredibly outstanding I don't think it will replace my current walk around lens, the Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR. I really like the size and weight of the 24-85mm.

October 17, 2013 -
Today Nikon announced the D5300 DSLR DX camera. This is a slight upgrade from the camera it replaces, the D5200. Most noticable changes include built in GPS and WiFi and the ommision of an AA filter for the sensor. The D5300 will be available later this month with the AF-S 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens with a sugested retail price of $1,399.95, and will be available in three colors, black, red or gray. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

October 17, 2013 -
Nikon announced the AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G full frame lens. Although not officially named a Noct lens, Nikon is touting it as such. It is optimized for low light performance. It can also be used on Nikon DX cameras where the effective field of view will be 87mm. It's expensive with a list price of $1,699.95. It will be available the end of October. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

October 16, 2013 -
Today Sony announced the A7 and AR7, the world's first full frame mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. I think it's only a matter of time before all DSLRs are replaced by mirrorless cameras. I'm surprised Canon or Nikon haven't produced any mirrorless DSLR like cameras yet. I envision a larger Nikon 1 V2 with a full frame or APS-C sensor and a few extra buttons for more control. Maybe the long awaited D400 or the next consumer model, the D3300 will start the trend. For more info see Sony's press release here.

October 16, 2013 -
Sigma announced the 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM lens today. This is a full frame (FX) lens, and is an art series lens, which is designed for high image quality. It's compatible with Sigma's USB Dock. If it's anything like the other Art series lenses then image quality should be quite impressive. Price and availability have yet to be released. For more info see Sigma's press release here.

October 8, 2013 -
Nikon announced the D610 full frame DSLR camera. The only differences from the D600 are improved white balance, a quiet continuous shooting mode, and slightly faster shooting (6 fps as compared to 5.5 fps). The D610 also has a new shutter mechanism which is supposed to correct the problem some D600s have of collecting oil on the sensor. Based on the minor upgrades it appears that the D610 was released for the sole purpose of correcting the oil problem of the D600. Nikon never actually admitted there was a problem though. Instead of releasing a new model I think it would have been in Nikon's best interest to pull the current inventory of D600s, replace the shutters, and issue a voluntary recall for existing D600 owners. Personally, I have a few oil spots on my D600 sensor but they don't show up in real world photos. Hopefully it will remain that way. The D610 should be available later this month. The body only has a retail price of $1999. Three different kits will also be available. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

September 19, 2013 -
Today Nikon announced the 1 AW1, the world's first waterproof, rugged mirrorless interchangable lens camera. Also announced for the 1 AW1 are 10mm f/2.8 and 11-25.5 f/3.5-5.6 lenses. It's an interesting addition to the Nikon 1 line. The 1 AW1 is very similar to the J3 except that it is waterproof and shockproof. I'm not sure how popular this camera will be with divers and those who want underwater shots. But I would think the 1 AW1 will attract great interest from the outdoor crowd, ie hikers, bikers, and rafters. But as with all Nikon 1 cameras I think the original price is a bit too high. The 1 AW1 with the 11-25.5mm lens has a suggested retail price (SRP) of $799.95. Also available will be a two lens kit which will also include the 10mm f/2.8, which has an SRP of $999.95. Both kits will be available this October. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

September 5, 2013 -
Nikon announced the Coolpix P7800. This replaces the P7700. The biggest change is the addition of an electronic viewfinder ( EVF ). The P7800 features a 12MP CMOS sensor and a 28-200mm equivalent f/2-4 zoom lens. The camera should be available this month with a suggested retail price of $549.95. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

August 28, 2013 -
Added a review of the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G prime FX lens.

August 8, 2013 -
Nikon has announced that it is revising it's plan for it's 1 System due to poor sales. Personally I never thought the 1 System was bad, although I thought it could use a larger sensor. I think the main problem was Nikon's pricing. 1 System cameras should have been initially priced half of what they were, or less. I bought my V1 only after it was greatly discounted. For more info see Nikon's Financial Results for the First Quarter of the Year Ending March 31, 2014 here (bottom of page 15).

August 6, 2013 -
Nikon made four product announcements today, the Coolpix S6600 (non US), the Coolpix L620, the SB-300 Speedlight, and a 18-140mm DX VR lens. I found nothing really exciting about any of these new products. Neither Coolpix camera adds anything worth while to the Coolpix line. The S6600 has a swivel screen, but that's about it. The SB-300 flash might be a nice addition for Coolpix cameras, but the SB-400 is cheaper and has a higher flash rating. There is speculation that the 18-140mm DX VR lens will be the kit lens for the hopefully soon to be announced D400. But I would think D400 users would want something faster, optically better, and more durable. As for current DX users they already have the 18-105mm VR and the 18-200mm VR to choose from. For more info see Nikon's press releases here and here.

August 1, 2013 -
Sigma has announced a mount conversion service for any of it's newer lenses. The cost will be between $80-250, depending on the lens, plus shipping. The idea behind it is that if you decide to switch camera systems, ie Nikon to Canon, you won't need new lenses. Instead you can keep your existing Sigma lenses and switch the mounts. In theory it sounds like a good idea, but it might be cheaper to just sell the lens and buy a new one. For more info see Sigma's press release here.

August 1, 2013 -
Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-GX7. This is Panasonic's first micro four thirds mirrorless camera to feature in-body image stabilization. The GX7 also features a 16MP sensor and a tilting EVF (Electronic View Finder). Finally, an m4/3 camera that has all the features I want in a camera, a built in VF and flash, and enough external controls that allow me to make quick adjustments without having to dig into the menus. I have never been very interested in the m4/3 system before, but I just might have to give the GX7 and some lenses a good workout. It will be available this September with a list price of $999 US for the body only or $1099 with the 14-42mm kit lens. For more info see Panasonic's press release here.

July 11, 2013 -
Today Nokia announced the Lumia 1020, it's new Windows Phone 8 flagship that features a 41mp sensor camera. The camera features a 6 element Zeiss lens and redesigned image stabilization. The camera creates two images at once, one at full resolution and one at 5mp which is social media friendly. Also available will be a snap on camera grip which features a tripod socket, shutter release, and sculpted hand grip. If the Lumina 1020 lives up to it's specs and hype I can see it easily competing (and winning) with low to mid level compact cameras. But it will initially only be available from AT&T later this month with a list price of $299.99. If Nokia were to expand this camera technology to other phones using the Andriod OS and to all carriers in the US I could see them putting a big dent in the compact camera market. For more info see the Windows blog here.

July 9, 2013 -
Added a review for the Tokina AT-X 17-35mm F4 Pro FX full frame lens.

June 14, 2013 -
Today Sigma announced pricing for the 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens at $799 US. This is much cheaper than everyone was expecting. It changes my opinion on the lens (see April 18th news). I would still prefer a bit longer reach for a mid range zoom, but add a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens to the mix and you've got mid range covered. Image stabilization would be nice though . If I were using it mainly for low light photography I still might choose the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 DC OS lens.

May 30, 2013 -
I've been neglecting the site lately, but I will have a few lens and camera strap reviews in the next several weeks.

April 18, 2013 -
Sigma has announced the 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens for APS-C DSLR cameras (DX, cropped sensor). This is the first constant f/1.8 zoom ever produced. On cropped sensors it has an equivalent range of 27-52.5mm and an equivalent depth of field of f/2.7 on full frame cameras. This is a big, heavy lens, with a length of 4.76 inches (121mm), and weighing 1.79 pounds (810g). No price has been mentioned but I would guess it would be close to the $2000 mark. It's nice to see Sigma making a high end zoom for APS-C cameras, but the size of the lens sort of defeats the purpose of the cropped sensor kit, which is lighter and smaller gear. Personally, if I wanted to achieve shallow depth of field I would spend my money on a good prime lens or two. I would also probably choose the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 DC OS lens over this new one. Although the 18-35mm will be undoubtedly sharper with a smaller aperture, the 17-50mm has OS, image stabilization, which means I would probably be able to use it at lower shutter speeds. And it's fairly sharp wide open at f/2.8. For more info see Sigma's press release here.

April 2, 2013 -
Nikon has issued updated firmware for the D3200, D7000, D600, D3, D3s, D3x, D800, and D4 DSLR cameras. All of the updates include support for the new AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens. The D3200, D600, D800, and D4 get additional updates and bug fixes. The updates can be found on Nikon's Support page here.

March 5, 2013 -
Nikon announced the Nikkor AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens. This is an upgrade to the existing 80-400mm zoom. New features include improved image stablization, a silent wave focus motor (SWM), instant manual override, and closer focusing distance. It's also heavier, longer and with a MSRP of $2699.95, much more expensive. This is a full frame (FX) lens. When used with a DX camera the effective field of view is 120-600mm. Unless the price drops considerably I won't even consider getting this lens. I would think for most amateur photographers it's out of their price range, and the pros will stick with the primes, so I'm not sure who Nikon intended this lens for. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

Nikon also announced the Coolpix A, a 16MP DX compact camera. It features a 28mm equivalent f/2.8 fixed lens. This is Nikon's first compact with an APS-C CMOS sensor. The Coolpix A has a list price of $1099.95. For that price you get no built in flash or viewfinder. But for an extra $449.96 you can buy an add on optical viewfinder. Just like the Nikon V1, the Coolpix A is way overpriced for what it is. You can get more camera and glass by buying a D5200 and some lenses for the same price. The only advantage the Coolpix A would have is size. Along with the Coolpix A Nikon announced the Coolpix P330, an update of the P310. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

February 28, 2013 -
I updated my photo gear page to reflect my switch to the FX format.

February 22, 2013 -
Nikon issued a service advisory concerning the D600 and the random dust on the sensor. The advisory only mentions dust, but the photography forums are full of complaints that it's oil or lubricant. So far I haven't any problems, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. You can read the advisory here.

February 21, 2013 -
Nikon has officially announced the D7100 DX camera. This is the replacement for the D7000. New features include a 24MP sensor, no anti-alias filter, a 51 point AF sensor, 1.3X crop mode, 1080p30 video, stereo mics, a spot white balance feature, and a few other additions/upgrades. Personally, if I didn't already make the switch to FX I probably wouldn't have upgraded my D7000 for this new offering. I'm sure it will be a great camera though. There is some speculation that the D7100 is also the replacement for the D300s. Whether there will be a D400 remains to be seen, but I would think the D7100 leaves current D300s users wanting more. Nikon also announced a new wireless remote control, the WR-1 Transceiver, and yet another battery grip, the MB-D15. The D7100 will be available in March for $1199.95, body only, or with the 18-105mm VR kit lens for $1599.95. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

February 13, 2013 -
Added a review of the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR full frame (FX) lens.

January 29, 2013 -
Nikon announced two new FX (full frame) lenses, the Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED along with the official announcement of the Nikkor 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens. The 800mm lens comes with it's own 1.25x teleconverter, making it a 1000mm f/7.1 lens. The 18-35mm looks like a nice wide angle consumer lens, but I can't understand why Nikon didn't add VR (image stabilization) to it. Not everyone uses wide angles on tripods, so VR can come in handy at times. The 800mm is big, heavy, and way out of my price range. I'm sure it would be fun to shoot with but I doubt I would ever rent one unless I really needed it. The 18-35mm will be available in March with a suggested retail price of $749.95, while the 800mm will be available in April with an SRP of $17,899.95. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

January 29, 2013 -
Tokina announced the exhibit of two lenses soon to be released. The first is the AT-X 70-200mm F4 Pro FX VCM-S full frame (FX) lens which can also be used with APS-C cameras. This will be the first Tokina lens to feature image stabilization (Yeah! It's about time Tokina). I am seriously considering getting the new Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens, but now I guess I will have to wait a while to see how this Tokina lens performs. I'm guessing the image stabilization will work fine, but since it's new for Tokina I'd rather see some reviews first before trying it myself. The other new Tokina lens is the AT-X 12-28 F4 Pro DX. This lens is made exclusively for APS-C cameras (cropped sensors), and has an equivalent range of 18-42mm on Nikon DX cameras. It replaces the current 12-24mm f/4 lens. I would have loved to have this range when I shot DX and may even have replaced my Sigma 17-50mm with this lens. Pricing and availablity have yet to be announced.

January 29, 2013 -
Nikon has announced eight cameras today. The Coolpix S5200 is a 16MP compact camera with a 28-140mm equivalent zoom. The Coolpix L28 is a 20MP compact camera and features a 26-130mm equivalent zoom. The Coolpix S31 and AW110 are waterproof cameras. The S31 has a 10MP sensor, a 29-87mm equivalent zoom lens, and is water proof to 16.5 feet (5m), and shockproof from a height of 3.6 feet (1.2m). The AW110 has a 16MP sensor, is waterproof to 59 feet (18m), and shock proof from a height of 6.7 feet (2m). Also announced were the Coolpix P520 with an 18.1MP sensor and a 24-1000mm equivalent zoom, the L820 which features a 16MP sensor and a 23-675mm equivalent zoom, the S9500 which has an 18.1MP sensor and a 22-550mm equivalent zoom, and finally the S6500, with a 16MP sensor and a 25-300mm equivalent zoom.

January 8, 2012 -
Nikon announced two new cameras to their Nikon 1 mirrorless system. The first is the 14MP J3, which has minor changes from the J2. Most notably the mode dial was moved to the top of the camera. Also announced is the 10MP S1. The S1 is smaller, has less features, and is a basic point and shoot camera. Two new mirrorless lenses have also been announced, the 1 Nikkor VR 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 wide angle (SRP $499.95) and the 1 Nikkor VR 10-100mm f/4-5.6 (SRP $599.95). All new products will be available this February. The J3 with the 10-30mm lens will have an SRP of $599.95, while the S1 with the 11-27.5mm lens will have an SRP on $499.95. For more info see Nikon's press release here.

January 8, 2013 -
Nikon announced the US launch of the D5200 24MP DSLR camera. It will be available in late January and have a suggested retail price of $899.95 with the AFS- DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens.

January 7-8, 2013 -
A multitude of new cameras have been announced by Fuji, Samsung, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, and Canon at this year's CES in Las Vegas. As I commented last year I wish the manufactures would only release one or two models with combined features, instead of five or six models that only have one outstanding feature. So many different models make it, I think, more confusing for the average comsumer, and even a photography enthusiast like myself.

January 7, 2013 -
Fujifilm announced the X20 enthusiasts compact camera, an upgrade to the existing Fuji X10. The major changes of the X20 include an X-TRANS CMOS II sensor and an added LCD to the viewfinder which displays shooting information. I'm expecting this camera to be even better than the X10, which I love to shoot with. But I don't think I'll be upgrading to the X20. I'm overhauling my entire camera inventory (more on that in a few days). The X20 is expected to be available in February with a list price of $599.99. For more info see Fujifilm's press release here.

ujifilm also announced the X100S, the successor to the X100. Some of the changes found in the X100S include an APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor, EXR Processor II, built-in phase detection, and a split image manual focus system. The Fuji X100S has a list price of $1,299.99. Release date is pending. For more info see Fujifilm's press release here.

January 7, 2013 -
Panasonic announced their new compact camera lineup at CES. There are five new cameras for the offering, the LUMIX ZS30, the LUMIX TS5, the LUMIX LZ30, the LUMIX XS1, and the LUMIX DSC-SZ3. For more info see Panasonic's press release here.

January 7, 2013 -
Canon updated it's line of Powershot cameras, with the ELPH 130 IS, A2600, and A1400. You can read more about them in Canon's press release here.

January 7, 2013 -
Canon announced the Powershot N, a new type of compact camera which is being billed and a smartphone companion. The Powershot N features a Creative Shot mode which can enhance a scene or show the image from a different creative angle. It has intergrated WiFi for easy upload to mobile devices. I must say I am intrigued by the design and features of the camera, but the idea of carrying two devices still isn't what the "instant upload" crowd wants. But at least Canon is trying. The Powershot N should be available in April this year with a list price of $299.99. For more info see Canon's press release here.

January 3, 2013 -
Samsung announced the NX300, a 20MP APS-C mirrorless camera. The NX300 features phase detection focusing and the ability to take 3D photos when using a new 3D version of the 45mm f/1.8 NX lens. The new version can also be used as a conventional lens but can only be used in 3D mode with the NX300. I personally could care less about 3D. The only time I've used the 3D feature on my Nikon Coolpix P510 was for test shots. But if it helps Samsung sell a few more cameras then I won't knock it. The NX300 will have a list price of around $749.99, while the 3D version of the 45mm f/1.8 will cost $499. For more info visit Samsung's site here.

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