In earlier posts, I have covered some of the new releases and updates from Canon, Nikon, and Sony. Q4 has started out with a bang and a lot of the smaller camera players have hit the market with some new items – Panasonic, Sigma, and Tamron to name a few. I want to go over some of those new releases and get caught up with the market. Mainly so all of you out there have a well-rounded approach to the holidays…if you know what I mean!
Sigma Releases New fp Mirrorless Digital Camera – $1,899.00
Sigma has announced its first full-frame mirrorless camera – the fp. It will be the lightest and most compact full-frame mirrorless camera on the market at 14.9 oz. Sigma decided to leave out a mechanical shutter, meaning the fp is powered by an electronic shutter for fast and silent shooting (it can do 18 fps).
The fp has a 24.6MP full-frame BSI Bayer CMOS sensor to deliver high-quality RAW and JPG files at 6000 x 4000. Sigma has packed the camera with features – 14-bit color depth, image stabilization, a fully electronic shutter, a shooting rate of 18 fps, and an autofocus system that features eye detection, face detection and focus peaking. It features an L-mount lens interface, which is specifically a mount by Leica. Sigma has clearly wanted to make video an important aspect of the fp. It has recording capabilities that allow for UHD 4K recording up to 30p and 12-bit CinemaDNG external recording is supported.
Per Sigma – the camera features a “Teal and Orange” mode, which is inspired by the color grading techniques of professional cinematographers and creates a high contrast between orange colors, which are found in human skin tones, and teals (cyan blue), which are their complement. How will this camera stack up in a very competitive market, it is hard to say with this being Sigma’s first full-frame camera, but we will report back.
Sigma Releases New L and E-Mount 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Lens
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens
Sigma has announced the 24-70mm f/2.8 Art lens for Sony E-mount and Leica L-mount (Sigma, Panasonic and Leica full-frame cameras). This is a really exciting release, which should especially excite Sony users out there. Sigma’s Art line has become its flagship line, and the Art lenses are lauded for being top quality. The Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 Art is spectacular, and this lens will slide in as the second in the Sigma ‘trinity’, it is also Sigma’s second E/L-Mount lens. The lens should be available for pre-order soon.
Leica SL2 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only) – $5,995.00
Expected Release of November 22, 2019
Leica made a splash when they announced an upgrade to their flagship camera – the Leica SL2. It is slated for a late November release and has the specs to be one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market. The SL2 is a vast upgrade and Leica seems to have hit a home run. The most noticeable upgrade starts with the sensor, the SL2 has a new 47.3 MP CMOS sensor with a Maestro III Image Processor.
The sensor has minimal glass surfaces and does away with the low-pass filter, which allows for greater sharpness. The Maestro III Image Processor is truly a strong point of the SL2. The SL2 has 14 stops of dynamic range (which is fantastic), a sensitivity range of ISO 50-50000, and the ability to shoot at speeds of 20 fps. Autofocus has been enhanced from the old model, with 225 contrast-detect fields and Leica Object Detection which makes calculations at 480 fps for tracking extremely fast-moving subjects. It has both an electronic and mechanical shutter.
The SL2 also gets in-body stabilization via a 5-axis system, a big upgrade by my standards. It also has a pixel shift mode Leica calls, Multishot Mode. This mode takes eight images and combines them to create a final image with an ultra-resolution of 187 MP.
Ergonomically, the camera feels and looks great. It is sleek, simple, and stylish. Buttons are intuitively placed and the SL2 feels great in the hands. New body construction was used versus the old model, and the result is a die-cast housing of machined magnesium and aluminum top and bottom…it will be able to withstand the toughest conditions.
It has an upgraded EyeRes OLED Viewfinder with a 5.76m-dot resolution and 120 fps refresh rate for and the rear 3.2” touchscreen has a 2.1m-dot resolution. On top, there is a 1.28” monochrome LCD for quick viewing current settings.
Video users will enjoy the impressive features that have made their way into the Sl2. To name a few, there is internal DCI 4K video at 10-bit using the full width of the image sensor, a new 5K mode at up to 30 fps also, and recording options of Long GOP or All-I compression at up to 400 Mb/s. Top it all off with some improvements made to the menu system and user interface, and Leica has produced a really strong full-frame mirrorless camera.
Firmware Updates for S Series, GH5, GH5s, and G9
The S-series, Panasonic’s full-frame mirrorless got a big boost with newly available firmware, version 1.3. The update includes CFexpress support, which has been promised. I am still waiting for Nikon to drop an update to allow compatibility. CFexpress are some of the fastest storage devices on the planet for cameras and it is exciting to see Panasonic’s full-frame line allow compatibility. CFexpress cards are 300% faster than XQD cards but have the same form and interface. The update also brings compatibility with the Profoto Air Remote TTL-O/P and Connect-O/P for wireless flash setups. Here’s a host of other features brought with version 1.3 – improved AF performance so that AF+MF can now be used in AFC mode and it is possible to set continuous AF on the live view screen in Creative Video or other video recording modes, and the ability for users to now set exposure manually in High-Speed Video. If you have an S1 or S1R, download this firmware update right away…and go out and buy some new CFexpress cards!
The most notable improvement with the new G9 firmware update is the inclusion of 10-bit 4:2:2 in 4K, both internally and externally. The G9 has now become a 10-bit video camera with the version 2 firmware. Variable Frame Rate and HDR were also added, and you can grab the optional DMW-SFU1 Software Upgrade Key to unlock V-Log L and Waveform Monitor now. These next updates are for the G9, but also included with the firmware update for the GH5 and GH5S – compatibility with the Profoto Air Remote TTL-O/P and Connect-O/P, improved AF performance, and Animal Detect.
Panasonic Adds Two New Lenses to S-Series
Panasonic has released two impressive lenses to its S series for L-Mount full-frame mirrorless cameras: the LUMIX S PRO 16-35mm f/4 and LUMIX S PRO 70-200mm f/2.8 O.I.S.
Panasonic Lumix S PRO 16-35mm f/4 Lens – $1497.99
Landscape photographers using a Panasonic S-series camera should be excited about this one. The 16-35mm f/4 should be a compact, high-quality, professional lenses, which is the perfect focal range for wide-angle landscape work. It has a great balance between image quality and portability.
Panasonic Lumix S PRO 70-200mm f/2.8 O.I.S. Lens – $2,597.99
The new Panasonic 70-200mm f/2.8 will be a great addition for both landscape and wildlife photographers. The lens has 22 elements arranged in 17 groups, two Ultra Extra-low Dispersion (UED) lenses, three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) lenses, and an aspherical lens, the build guarantees the utmost quality. A big pro of the Panasonic system is the collaboration of in-body and in-lens stabilization. Attach this to your camera and the systems work in tandem, providing up to 7 stops of stabilization…most mirrorless setups are only able to get you 4-5 stops.
Lastly, Tamron has released three new lenses for the Sony E-mount, a 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2, 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2, and 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2. These wide angle primes could be a great addition for landscape photographers, as a 20mm or 24mm prime can be an extremely useful lens to have (and the quality of prime lenses is hard to argue).
The new lenses allow users to get close to their subjects, with minimum focusing distances of less than six inches and magnification ratio up to 1:2. Autofocus is fast and quiet, and they integrate with many of the impressive Sony AF features, like Fast Hybrid AF and Eye AF.
All three are moisture resistant and have a fluorine coating for extra protection while shooting in the elements. Take a look if you enjoy shooting with primes and you are a Sony user.
That sums up the latest releases from around the industry. The most exciting to me is Leica’s new full-frame camera, the new Sigma Art lens, and the firmware update for the Panasonic S-Series. I think Panasonic has a really solid professional camera line in the S-series, and the firmware update continues to push them forward. I am still waiting for Nikon to introduce CFexpress support. I am also interested in the Sigma fp, and if any of you end up buying one, please let me know how you like it. Like Panasonic and Leica, Sigma is making quality cameras, but they float under the radar due to the big 3 dominating the market (Canon, Nikon, Sony). Stay tuned throughout the holidays. I doubt we will see a lot of new releases before the new year, but I will be sure to aggregate some of the top sales going around during this Holiday season – it could be a great time of year to pick up that camera or lens you have been waiting for.