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Sigma 500mm Sport

Photokina 2016 Highlights: Lenses and Accessories

From brand new lenses to recently announced products on display, here’s are the lenses and accessories that caught our eye at this year’s Photokina show.


Leica bolsters SL range with new 50mm f/1.4 lens

Leica has added to its SL range of optics with the Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH – the first prime lens in the series.

Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ApshThe lens joins the existing Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm fƒ/2.8-4 ASPH and APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 mm fƒ/2.8-4 that were announced alongside the first camera in the series, the Leica SL. Development of the Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH was also announced at the same time.

Set to arrive before the year’s end, the new lens has been designed with an internal focus system and an optical construction that features anomalous partital dispersion and aspherical elements, all inside a dust- and moisture-resistant barrel.

“The imaging performance of the lens fulfils the most stringent standards,” claims Leica in the press release for the new optic. “Particularly when shooting at maximum aperture, the combination of its resolving power and soft bokeh in unsharp areas clearly isolates subjects from their surroundings. Thanks to uniform contrast rendition throughout the focusing range, this applies at all distance settings”.

Leica has also released a roadmap of lenses currently in development for the one-year-old system. 2017 will first welcome the APO-Summicron-SL 75mm fƒ/2 ASPH, before the APO-Summicron-SLR 90mm fƒ/2 ASPH and Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH are made available later in the year. A further Summicron-SL 35mm fƒ/2 ASPH is set to arrive in 2018, bringing the total number of SL optics to seven.


Sigma broadens Art and Sport lens lines

Sigma took this year’s Photokina as an opportunity to debut three full-frame lenses, including the 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sport.

Sigma 500mm f/4 Sport

The new telephoto lens makes use of magnesium-alloy components and carbon fibre for its hood, with dust and splashproof casing and a front element that’s said to be resistant to oil and water.

Optically, the lens makes use of two FDL and one SLD elements, and also employs a two-mode Optical Stabiliser system to benefit sharpness.

This is joined by the 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art (below), whose re-engineered AF system is said to deliver 1.3x the torque of its predecessor’s, with Special Low Dispersion and anomalous partial dispersion glass on the inside to maintain image quality.

Sigma 85mm Art

A further lens, the 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM, features “the largest aspherical glass mold in the industry”, which should help to combat aberrations such as curvilinear distortion. Like the 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art it also features a revamped AF system, as well as Sigma’s FLD (“F” Low Dispersion) glass, which is said to match calcium fluorite for performance.

All three lenses are set to be available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma fittings, and will start to arrive in October.


Zeiss exhibits new Loxia lens for Sony FE mount

Zeiss Loxia 2.4/85German lens manufacturer Zeiss had its latest lens designed for Sony’s full-frame models on display at this year’s event, the Loxia 2.4/85.

The 85mm fƒ/2.4 lens sees a seven-element, seven-group construction, with four of these elements designed with anomalous partial dispersion glass. Zeiss claims that this configuration is virtually free from distortion.

Although the lens has been designed with traditional metal aperture and focusing rings, it’s possible to de-click the aperture with a supplied tool, thus making it more suited to video recording.

The lens is the first telephoto option in the Loxia range and the fourth to join the series, following the previously announced 2.8ƒ/21, 2/35 and 2/50 options.

The Loxia 2.4/85 will be available from December.



Sandisk 1TB SDXC card confirmed by Western Digital

Memory specialist Western Digital, owner of memory card manufacturer Sandisk, has confirmed the world’s first 1TB SDXC card currently in development.

Sandisk 1TB SDXC

A prototype of the card was on display at this year’s Photokina show, although Western Digital hasn’t confirmed exactly when it will be made available, nor any specifications past its capacity.

Western Digital cites 4K, 8K, VR, 360-degree video and video surveillance as applications for the card. The theoretical limit of the SDXC format is 2TB, although this is the first time an SDXC card with a capacity larger than 512GB has been confirmed as being in development.

The announcement comes sixteen years after Sandisk launched the first 64MB SD card, and two years after the launch of its current highest-capacity card, the SanDisk 512GB Extreme Pro SDXC Class 3 UHS-I 95MB/s Class 10.

That card, which currently retails for around £300, has since been joined by rival 512GB SDXC cards from Lexar and Kingston.



Techart Pro Adapter on show

Something else that caught our attention at this year’s event was the Techart Pro adapter, said to be the world’s first autofocus adapter for manual focus lenses.

The adapter, which was officially confirmed in February, is currently available in a Leica M to Sony E fitting. This allows older Leica M-series optics to be used on both full-frame and APS-C bodies, such as the consumer-focused A6300 to the pro-oriented, full-frame A7R II.

Techart Pro

When used in conjunction with additional adapters, however, the company promises that other manual-focus lenses such as Leica R or C/Y-mount options can be used in the same way. Support for three-axis image stabilisation for up to ten lenses is also provided, as are additional adapters for more modern optics such as those in Canon’s EF and Nikon’s F ranges.

The adapter features a motor that physically shifts the entire lens along its optical axis until focus is achieved. Techart claims that focusing generally takes less than a second, and that the camera is compatible with both the AF-S and AF-C modes, the latter allowing for continuous focus.

Furthermore, as the adapter positions the lens further away from the sensor than where it would normally be, lenses can focus closer to the subject than usual.

The adapter is available now via the Techart website.


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