Spring 2007 New Lens Roundup
A lot of great glass has been introduced over the first three months of the year, including an increasing number of stabilized lenses. Here's a look at what's new for 2007.
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Among the biggest head-turners at PMA 2007 was the gigantic Sigma APO 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG supertelephoto zoom lens. Estimated at over 35 pounds, this monster lens should cost a pretty penny. But with a fast, constant maximum aperture, and a dedicated 2x Tx as part of the package, you’ve got two lenses in one, the 200-500mm f/2.8, and the equally ridiculously impressive 400-1000mm f/5.6! No price has been set yet, but we predict it to be a tad south of $10,000.
Olympus added several pieces of glass to their lineup, ranging from economical kit zooms to high-end zooms. The kit lenses will ship with the E-410 and E-510 packages. The first kit zoom is a Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, and the second is the Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6. Remember that the Olympus Four Thirds system doubles the effective focal length, so these are equivalent to 28-84mm and 80-300mm zooms on the 35mm standard. The Standard series will gain the Zuiko Digital ED 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6, which has a focal-length range with the same angle of view as a 140mm-600mm lens on a 35mm film camera.
Olympus has also announced a number of new premium lenses. The Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 SWD will be part of Olympus’s High-Grade (HG) series. It has a focal-length range with the same angle of view as a 24mm-120mm lens on a 35mm film camera. Also an addition to the HG line, the Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD has a focal-length range with the same angle of view as a 100mm-400mm lens on a 35mm film camera. The Zuiko Digital ED 14-35mm f/2.0 SWD will be added to the Super High Grade (SHG) series and, as its name indicates, maintains an f/2.0 maximum aperture throughout its zoom range. It offers a focal-length range with the same angle of view as a 28mm-70mm lens on a 35mm film camera.
Pentax continues its up-market growth with the addition of two smc DA* lenses, the smc Pentax-DA* 200mm F2.8ED[IF]SDM, which offers an angle of view equivalent to that of a 306mm lens on a 35mm film camera, and the smc Pentax-DA* 300mm F4ED[IF]SDM, which offers an angle of view equivalent to that of a 460mm lens on a 35mm film camera. Both use Pentax’s SDM supersonic motor to provide fast, quiet autofocus. They are scheduled to become available in September 2007. No prices have been announced.
Additionally, there’s a new Pentax limited lens, the smc Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited, which offers an angle of view equivalent to that of a 53.5mm lens on a 35mm film camera. According to Pentax, the Limited line will offer optics with outstanding image description performance. No date or price is yet available.
Nikon introduced one new zoom, with optical image stabilization and a silent wave motor, the 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor, made exclusively for Nikon digital SLRs that use the company’s DX sensor format. This looks like a lot of lens for the $249 MSRP.
Canon, on the other hand, introduced a top-of-the-line, second generation superwide zoom, the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, which is digitally optimized with anti-ghosting elements, aspherics, and Ultra-low dispersion elements. The L-line glass does not have a list price, but we’ll bet it streets around $1450 at introduction later this spring.
Leica and Panasonic have announced two new Four Thirds lenses: the Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-150mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S. is an optically stabilized lens with a 35mm equivalent range of 28-300mm. The Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH is equivalent to a 50mm on the 35mm standard, and should be a very sharp standard lens for the Four Thirds system cameras. No price or date yet available for these lenses.
Tamron rounds out this wrap-up with two interesting offerings for this company, a 70-200mm f/2.8 DI LD MACRO, which appears built to pro-level expectations. It also has macro capabilities to 1:3.1, which is unusual in this class. No date or price is yet available on this one. Tamron has also introduced the company’s first optically stabilized lens, the Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR DI VC LD. The VC stands for “Vibration Compensation”, and it is described as “triaxial.” It is a full-frame lens, so it will work on a Canon 5D DSLR, or any film-based 35mm DLSR. No price or date yet available.
And, because of requests from medium format shooters, Lensbabies has released the Mamiya 645 LB3G, an 80mm f/3.4-39 optic, and the Pentax 67 LB3G, a 100mm f/4-45 lens.
The addition of medium format LB3Gs allows medium-format studio, advertising, and landscape photographers to create images with the distinctive Lensbaby look that will meet client demands for large files and negatives, and opens up the Lensbaby world-view to a whole new breed of photographers. We think this is a daring move by Lensbabies, and we expect to start seeing more and more bent and twisted Lensbabies shots showing up in brochures and ad campaigns in the later part of the year.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for full test reports on these lenses and more from the Pop Photo Lab.