This time of year there are always a number of announcements. As usual I won’t hit them all because I don’t care about all of them, but I’m covering those that interest me. Instead of posting them separately I’ll try to consolidate them as much as possible. This is also a good way to maintain activity here since I haven’t had much time to shoot lately . That should hopefully be changing soon.
Canon’s heavy hitter
The new EOS 7D takes aim squarely at the D300s or as one Nikon toting friend put it, “it was awful nice of Canon to release the D400 for Nikon.” There’s a lot to like about this new model: The new AF system, exposure system, the dual DIGIC and high framerate, the viewfinder LCD overlay (one of several features copied from Nikon) and the revamped video controls all suggest Canon has been listening closely to its users. Unfortunately while it was clear Canon was listening when it lowered resolution for the G11 I’m not sure what to make of the bump to 18 megapixels. The 50D received a bit of a lashing for overdoing the megapixels, resulting in noise, dynamic range issues as well as lower per-pixel sharpness according to some reviews (dpreview being one such source). While they liked the 50D overall the 7D’s boost to 18 megapixels is certainly cause for concern and whether or not the supposedly newfangled sensor will deliver the goods (dual DIGICs will only do so much… garbage in, garbage out as they say) isn’t clear yet. I’d love to see many of these new features in a full frame body with the same sensor as the 5D Mark II, but I don’t see that happening soon.
Canon popped out a few new lenses including the new 15-85 IS and 18-135 IS which sound like great choices for those looking for economical zooms. Why Canon is still including the 28-135 IS as a kit lens, especially for the new 7D, escapes me. Either of the new lenses would offer a much more useful focal length range for the majority of users. Sometimes I wonder if Canon is just trying to clear up a massive stockpile of the 28-135. The third new lens is the 100 2.8L USM IS macro which will sell alongside the existing 100 2.8 USM macro. I’m curious how the new Hybrid IS will perform since Canon claims it offers a two stop improvement when working close-up and up to 4 stops at non-close-up focusing distances.
That’s enough shameless posting of my B&H affiliate link for now, time for some Panasonic news…
The Panasonic GF1 is probably better than the Olympus E-P1
Perhaps it’s too soon to tell, but the GF1 looks to be ready to take the “coolest micro-4/3rds rangefinder-y camera” crown away from Olympus’ E-P1. Overall I like the simpler design of the Panasonic (black only, please) and it sports a better LCD than the strangely lousy one Olympus fitted the premium priced E-P1 with. In addition to the nicer screen they also incorporated a pop-up flash. While it’s true that the Panasonic lacks the in-body IS the Olympus has and dpreview points out it hasn’t got the nicer dual-control dial arrangement, the nicer screen is a big factor (in my opinion) for a camera like this where that screen is the thing you’ll probably spend most of your time looking at. The continued movement in this rangefinder-y camera category is good for everyone and hopefully more products like them will come soon enough, eventually I might even find myself wanting one of them!
Panasonic also brought out the new 20mm f/1.7 and Leica MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm f/2.8 stabilized macro lenses for the micro four-thirds mount.
And not to forget Tamron
Canon’s 17-55 2.8 IS has been a hugely popular lens combining a useful focal length range, reasonably fast optic, fast focusing and IS in a lens which isn’t too absurdly expensive. Nikon also has a similar lens, but their 17-55 2.8 costs more and doesn’t have stabilization although it is built a bit tougher. Tamron has now upgraded their already very nice 17-50 2.8 by adding a stabilization system to it which they call VC (vibration compensation). Some initial prices floating around suggest it will sell for around $650, a very competitive price compared to the Canon 17-55 2.8 IS and Nikon 17-55 2.8, which sell for over $1000 and $1200 respectively. The Canon and Nikon lenses do offer one notable feature not found on the Tamron: high speed, quiet focusing motors (USM for Canon, AF-S for Nikon). If that doesn’t matter to you then you can save quite a bit of money with the Tamron. Although I have no direct interest in this lens I have helped a number of friends choose between the different options and I’m sure I’ll suggest this new Tamron more than once.
No link for this lens yet but I’ll hopefully remember to add it when it is listed at B&H. Gotta pay for this site somehow!