New gear

Here’s what’s caugh­toureyethis month…

NPhoto - - Contents - £650/$TBA www.tam­ron.com £1680/$1600 www.sigma-global.com £TBA/$TBA www.tam­ron.com

In­tro­duc­ing Tam­ron’s stun­ning 18-400mm ul­tra­zoom, plus other mar­vels

Tam­ron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

When it comes to su­per­zoom lenses, max­i­mum fo­cal range grabs head­lines, and Tam­ron now has some se­ri­ous brag­ging rights with this new king of DX su­per­zooms. For­get the al­ready-im­pres­sive Tam­ron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD with its 18.75x zoom; the 18-400mm boasts a whop­ping 22.2x zoom, and an ef­fec­tive max­i­mum fo­cal length of 600mm on a DX-for­mat Nikon. That makes it quite the travel com­pan­ion, as you can ditch a typ­i­cal 18-55mm and 55-300mm lens pair­ing and get even greater ver­sa­til­ity from a sin­gle lens that’s just 121.4mm long and tips the scales at barely no­tice­able 705g.

This phe­nom­e­nal fo­cal flex­i­bil­ity is made pos­si­ble by a new lens bar­rel de­sign that in­cor­po­rates three ex­ten­sion sec­tions for smooth zoom­ing through­out the fo­cal range. In­side, a 16-el­e­ment stack in­cludes Low Dis­per­sion and as­pher­i­cal glass to help re­duce aber­ra­tions and dis­tor­tion. Aut­o­fo­cus is achieved us­ing Tam­ron’s HLD (High/Low torque Drive) mo­tor that boasts im­proved speed, ac­cu­racy and quiet­ness, while be­ing phys­i­cally smaller to help re­duce the over­all lens size. The bar­rel also con­ceals an elec­tro­mag­netic di­aphragm for more pre­cise di­aphragm and aper­ture con­trol via elec­tronic pulse sig­nals.

Vi­bra­tion Com­pen­sa­tion is a must in a 400mm op­tic, and though present here, the sys­tem only pro­vides a 2.5-stop ben­e­fit, which isn’t par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive on pa­per. At least you get weath­er­proof seals for added go-any­where ap­peal, and the lens can even dou­ble as a tele-macro op­tic, with a 1:2.9 max­i­mum mag­ni­fi­ca­tion ra­tio.

First im­pres­sions_

A do-it-all lens is un­likely to win any sharp­ness awards, but when you need to travel light and main­tain max­i­mum fo­cal length flex­i­bil­ity, this is the new the bench­mark for ver­sa­til­ity.

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art

The first ul­tra-wide lens with an aper­ture larger than f/2 fea­tures three FLD (‘F’ Low Dis­per­sion) el­e­ments and four SLD (Su­per Low Dis­per­sion) el­e­ments to min­i­mize trans­verse chro­matic aber­ra­tion, while up front a large 80mm pre­ci­sion-moulded as­pher­i­cal el­e­ment re­duces dis­tor­tion and vi­gnetting while main­tain­ing max­i­mum sharp­ness.

A large hy­per­sonic mo­tor with an op­ti­mized AF al­go­rithm of­fers im­proved AF speed and ac­cu­racy. You also get the en­hanced aper­ture con­trol of an elec­tro­mag­netic di­aphragm, plus a mois­ture-re­pelling front el­e­ment coat­ing. First im­pres­sions_ This lens of­fers some­thing fun­da­men­tally new, and we hope that im­age qual­ity will re­main high even when shoot­ing wide open.

Tam­ron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2

Tam­ron’s new 24-70mm G2 fea­tures dual mi­cro­pro­cess­ing units that de­liver faster and more pre­cise aut­o­fo­cus­ing. Its Vi­bra­tion Com­pen­sa­tion sys­tem has also been over­hauled, and is now ca­pa­ble of a five-stop shut­ter speed ad­van­tage, which Tam­ron claims is the high­est com­pen­sa­tion fac­tor in its class. Op­ti­cally, the lens fea­tures two XR (Ex­tra Re­frac­tive In­dex) el­e­ments, three Low Dis­per­sion el­e­ments, and mul­ti­ple as­pher­i­cal el­e­ments to coun­ter­act aber­ra­tions and dis­tor­tion. Tam­ron’s eBAND (Ex­tended Band­width & An­gu­lar-Depen­dency) coat­ing min­i­mizes ghost­ing and flare, while the front el­e­ment boasts a Flu­o­rine coat­ing for en­hanced wa­ter and oil re­sis­tance. First im­pres­sions_ Tak­ing on Nikon’s 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR is no easy task, but re­cent G2 lenses show that Tam­ron is on top form. Well worth a look.

Man­frotto Pro Light Bum­ble­bee col­lec­tion From £110/$130 www.man­frotto.com

Man­frotto has re­designed its Bum­ble­bee back­packs to help re­duce stress and heat in your shoul­ders, neck and lower back. This is achieved via its breath­able AirSup­port straps, har­ness and back panel, along with a shaped hip sup­port. The 230 PL is big enough to stash a D5 with 70-200mm f/2.8 at­tached, plus up to 10 ad­di­tional lenses and a 17in lap­top. The more com­pact 130 PL in­cludes the same ex­tra-thick pad­ding, and will house a sim­i­lar cam­era/lens combo and up to eight ex­tra lenses. A pair of re­freshed mes­sen­ger bags, mean­while, will ac­com­mo­date a D810/70-200mm f/2.8 combo and up to three lenses.

First im­pres­sions_ Bum­ble­bee bags have long been a solid choice; these de­sign tweaks look set to fur­ther en­hance their rep­u­ta­tion.

MPB Har­rier Car­bon Tri­pod £125/$158 www.mpb.com

Car­bon tripods can of­ten cost an arm and a leg, but not these legs. The car­bon con­struc­tion trans­lates to a feath­er­weight 1kg de­sign that sup­ports 13kg of gear. The four-sec­tion legs and cen­tre col­umn top out at 146cm, with the legs able to flip up to sur­round the head for trans­porta­tion, re­sult­ing in a com­pact 43cm packed length. Ver­sa­til­ity is en­hanced by a mono­pod con­ver­sion fea­ture, where one leg can be un­screwed and at­tached di­rectly to the cen­tre col­umn. The bar­gain price doesn’t in­clude a head, but MPB has you cov­ered with a choice of three com­pact, vari­able fric­tion ball heads start­ing at £55.

First im­pres­sions_ If you need light legs that are also light on your pocket, this su­per-solid sup­port could be just the ticket.

Lee Fil­ters ProGlass IRND Fil­ters From £158/$204 www.leefilters.com

Orig­i­nally de­signed for the ul­tra-de­mand­ing film in­dus­try, these ND fil­ters are claimed to be com­pletely free of colour casts, with ex­tremely ac­cu­rate stop val­ues en­sur­ing ab­so­lute con­sis­tency and pre­ci­sion when ex­pos­ing images. As the name sug­gests, the fil­ters also block in­frared and ul­travi­o­let pol­lu­tion, re­sult­ing in deeper blacks and crisper whites. Each fil­ter is man­u­fac­tured from 2mm-thick, op­ti­cally flat glass, with den­si­ties rang­ing from 0.6ND through to a 15-stop 4.5ND ver­sion that’s ideal for su­per-long ex­po­sures and in­cor­po­rates a foam seal to pre­vent light leaks. Three size op­tions are avail­able, fit­ting Lee’s Seven5, 100mm and 150mm sys­tems.

First im­pres­sions_ Lee fil­ters have long been a bench­mark for qual­ity, and these look set to raise the bar even higher.

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