You won’t be able to see Leica “stealth” camera

We had to use a picture of the regular Typ 246 Leica because the “Stealth Edition” model is just too . . . well, stealthy . . . to show up in pictures.

Don’t go looking for the Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) ‘Stealth Edition’ camera. You won’t be able to find it. Make whatever stealth aircraft jokes you want, the reason why this Leica will be invisible is because only 125 will be available – worldwide.

The Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) ‘Stealth Edition’ camera sports a Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 ASPH. lens . . . and fluorescent highlights.

The camera has a special, particularly scratch-resistant, matte paint finish for the camera and lens. Made from extremely smooth full-grain cowhide, the camera’s matching leather trim is jet-black.

As a visual counterpoint, the most important engravings on both camera and lens are picked out with a special fluorescent paint that glows in the dark. Leica says this enables faster setting of the aperture or distance on the lens in low-light situations.

In all other aspects, the technical specs of the camera and lens are identical to those of the standard models.

The Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) ‘Stealth Edition’ will be on sale from March 20. Each will bear a special serial number. The set includes a black fabric carrying strap, a metal front cap for the lens and a certificate of authenticity.


SanDisk 400GB micro card is “fastest”

Western Digital, owner of the SanDisk brand, has taken the wraps off what it’s claiming to be the world’s fastest UHS-I flash memory card, the 400GB SanDisk Extreme UHS-I microSDXC card.

With a read speed of 160MB/s (up to 90MB/s write speed), the new card is claimed to be more than 50 percent faster than current SanDisk Extreme UHS-I microSD cards.

Tokina Opera 50 mm lens here mid-year

The Tokina Opera 50 mm f/1.4 FF is described by the company as a premium full frame lens for high-end DSLRs. In fact, the lens is the first in a new series of lenses from the company.

Opera series lenses are designed to “perfectly match” recent high-spec full-frame DSLR cameras, says Tokina.

The 50 mm lens adopts a ring-shaped ultrasonic motor for autofocusing. Weather sealing prevents dust and moisture from entering, the company notes.

For the first time in a Tokina lens the Nikon mount model incorporates an electric diaphragm mechanism. The lens also will be available in a Canon mount.

The Tokina Opera 50 mm f/1.4 FF is scheduled for summer availability.

Sigma unveils 70 mm and 105 mm Art lenses

70 mm

Sigma has unveiled two Art prime lenses, the 70 mm f/2.8 DG Macro and 105 mm f/1.4 DG HSM.

The 70 mm lens, according to the company, is designed to prioritize optical performance, not autofocus speed, delivering “stunning” resolution and “incredible” clarity that “greatly exceed” expectations for a macro lens.

The coreless DC motor further enhances image quality, while an optimized algorithm helps offer extremely smooth autofocus performance for a weightier, high-performance lens.

Sigma says this new lens is the old Macro 70 mm f/2.8 EX DG in a new, updated form.

The lens features an extending, floating, two-group focus mechanism. This configuration minimizes aberration to produce optimal results at any focus distance, says the company. To minimize axial chromatic aberration, the optical system incorporates two FLD glass elements, two SLD glass elements, and one element with a high rate of anomalous partial dispersion and a high index of refraction. In addition, two aspherical lens elements help increase resolution at close shooting distances.

Sigma says this optical system makes possible a razor-sharp in-focus area contrasted with a bokeh area free of colour streaking.

The focus-by-wire system eliminates the direct mechanical connection between the focus ring and the focus drive system. Controlled by a new algorithm, a newly developed coreless DC motor adjusts focus with optimal speed and low noise. Full-time manual focus is available even during autofocus. In addition, the focus ring’s large angle of rotation helps the photographer achieve the extremely precise focusing required for effective macro photography, notes Sigma

The version of this lens compatible with Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras contains the same optical system as for DSLRs. Sigma’s Mount Converter MC-11 is not required, as the lens performs the same functions as the converter, including in-camera image stabilization and in-camera lens aberration correction. In addition, the lens is compatible with Sony’s Continuous AF, which is not addressed by the MC-11.

The Canon mount lens is compatible with the Canon Lens Aberration Correction function. Matching the optical characteristics of the lens, this function performs in-camera corrections of peripheral illumination, chromatic aberrations, distortion, and more, further enhancing image quality. [Sigma does note this function is not available on all Canon camerasm and corrections may vary by Canon camera model.]

The 65 mm Macro Flash Adapter makes the lens compatible with the EM-140 Macro flash.

The lens has a 72 mm filter thread, and weighs 515 g / 18.2 oz.

Pricing and availability for the Sigma 70 mm f/2.8 DG Macro / Art have not yet been announced.

105 mm

The second new lens from Sigma is the 105 mm f/1.4 DG HSM / Art lens.

The company says it has designed the lens to offer minimal optical aberration and deliver “incredible” resolution and “stunning” contrast.

The lens is claimed to combine “outstanding” resolution with a beautiful bokeh effect, with great care taken to ensure both the in-focus and out-of-focus areas of the photograph are equally satisfying to the eye.

This lens incorporates 17 optical elements in 12 groups. By including three FLD glass elements, two SLD glass elements, and one aspherical lens element, the optical system minimizes axial chromatic aberration to deliver extremely high resolution along with ample peripheral light volume, says the company.

The area in focus is said to be extremely sharp, while the area out of focus features a beautiful bokeh effect with highly natural colours. The optical system is said to also minimize sagittal coma flare, good for capturing starry skies.

There’s a big chunk of glass on the front of this lens, for a 105 mm filter size. This, notes Sigma, delivers a significantly greater volume of peripheral light than other lenses in its class.

The Sony E-mount version of this lens is compatible with Sony mirrorless cameras and contains the same optical system as the versions for other mounts. The Sogma Mount Converter MC-11 is not required, as the lens performs the same functions as the converter, including in-camera image stabilization and in-camera lens aberration correction. In addition, the lens is compatible with Sony’s Continuous AF.
The Canon mount version of this lens is compatible with the Canon Lens Aberration Correction function. Matching the optical characteristics of the lens, this function performs in-camera corrections of peripheral illumination, chromatic aberrations, distortion.

The lens weighs 1645 g / 58.0 oz.

Pricing and availability for the Sigma 105 mm f/1.4 DG HSM / Art have not been announced.

Sigma launching seven Art primes for E-mount

Sigma has given us a heads-up on the upcoming launch of seven interchangeable Art prime lenses for Sony E-mount cameras with full-frame sensors, ranging from 14 mm to 135 mm.

The Sony E-mount models will feature a newly developed control algorithm that optimizes the autofocus drive and maximizes the data transmission speed. In addition, these lenses will be compatible with Sony’s Continuous AF (AF-C) and high-speed autofocus, which are not addressed by the Sigma MC-11 Mount Converter. Like the MC-11, the lenses will be compatible with in-camera image stabilization and in-camera lens aberration correction, which includes corrections for peripheral illumination, chromatic aberrations, and distortion.

Sony alpha 7R III arrives in November

Sony has added to its full-frame mirrorless camera lineup by introducing the alpha 7R III. The camera combines a high-resolution 42.4-megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with shooting speeds at up to 10 fps with full AF/AE tracking, as well as 4K video quality, 15-stop dynamic range, and high sensitivity with noise reduction of almost a full stop.

The image sensor utilizes a gapless on-chip lens design and AR (anti-reflective) coating on the surface of the sensor’s seal glass to “dramatically” improve light collection efficiency, says the company, resulting in high sensitivity with low-noise performance and wide dynamic range.

The camera also features a new front-end LSI that effectively doubles the readout speed of the image sensor, as well as an updated BIONZ X processing-engine that boosts processing speed by approximately 1.8 times compared to the 7R II, Sony notes.

These components work together to allow the camera to shoot at faster speeds while also enabling its ISO range of 100 – 32000 (expandable to ISO 50 – 102400 for still images) and 15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivity settings.

This new full-frame model was built without an optical low pass filter to maximize resolution, while also having the ability to output 14 bit RAW format even when shooting in silent or continuous mode.

The camera is equipped with a 5-axis optical image stabilization system that has been fine-tuned to support its high-resolution shooting capacity, resulting in a claimed 5.5 step shutter speed advantage, said to be the world’s highest compensation performance for an image stabilization system.

There’s also a new low-vibration shutter that reduces vibration and image blur in all modes, including the high speed 10 fps shooting, as well as several advancements in accurate colour reproductions of skin tones.

At 10 fps, the camera is said to deliver continuous, accurate AF/AE tracking for up to 76 JPEG / RAW images or 28 uncompressed RAW images. This high speed 10 fps mode is available with either a mechanical shutter or completely silent shooting. The camera can also shoot continuously at up to 8 fps in live view mode with minimal lag in the viewfinder or LCD screen, Sony says.

While large groups of burst images are being written to the memory card, many of the cameras key functions are operable, including access to the ‘Fn’ (Function) and ‘Menu’ buttons, image playback and several other menus and parameters including image rating and other functions that facilitate on-location image sorting.

Additionally, if there is fluorescent or artificial lighting present in a shooting environment, users can activate the Anti-flicker function to allow the 7R III to automatically detect frequency of the lighting and time the shutter to minimize its effect on images being captured.

The upgraded focusing system is comprised of 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 68 percent of the image area in both the horizontal and vertical directions. There are also 425 contrast AF points, an increase of 400 points compared to the 7R II. This is said to deliver AF acquisition in about half the time as the 7R II in low-light conditions, with tracking that is approximately twice as accurate as well. The Eye AF feature is also approximately twice as effective, and is available when utilizing Sony’s A-mount lenses with an adapter.

Additional improvements in focusing flexibility include AF availability in Focus Magnifier mode, focal-plane phase-detection AF support when using A-mount lenses, an ‘AF On’ button, a multi-selector or ‘joystick’ for moving focusing points quickly, and flexible touch focus functionality.

Sony says the 7R III is “exceptionally capable” as a video camera, offering 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor. When shooting in Super 35 mm format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.

A new HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) is available on the camera to support an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TVs to playback 4K HDR imagery. Further, both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are available for increased colour grading flexibility. The camera can also record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, allowing footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.

There are two media slots, with support in one slot for UHS-II type SD memory cards. Users have a variety of options for storing their content, including separate JPEG / RAW recording, separate still image / movie recording, and relay recording.

Battery life has been greatly extended as well, as the new camera utilizes Sony’s Z series battery that has approximately 2.2 times the capacity of the W series battery utilized in the 7R II.

The 7R III features an upgraded high-resolution, high-luminance Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder with approximately 3,686k dots for what Sony calls extremely accurate, true-to-life detail reproduction. The Tru-Finder, also found in the alpha 9 camera, utilizes a Zeiss T* Coating to greatly reduce reflections, and has a fluorine coating on the outer lens that repels dirt. It also has a customizable frame rate, with options of either 60 fps or 120 fps.

The LCD screen has been upgraded as well, with a resolution of 1.44M dots and WhiteMagic technology that improves viewing in bright, outdoor conditions. “Standard” or “High” display quality settings are also available for both the viewfinder and monitor as well. “High” takes advantage of the large amount of data read from the sensor to provide extra fine viewfinder and monitor displays for a more natural view.  The new camera also offers a multi-selector joystick that provides a fast, efficient way to shift focus points, as well as an ‘AF ON’ button to activate autofocus when shooting stills or movies.

The 7R III allows for transfer of files to a smartphone, tablet, computer or FTP server via Wi-Fi, while also including a sync terminal, enabling external flash units and cables to be connected directly for convenient flash sync. A SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) USB Type-C Terminal is also available for increased flexibility in power supply or connected accessories, as well as a faster image transfer speed when connected to a PC.

New with the 7R III is a software suite called “Imaging Edge” that extends the creative capabilities of the entire shooting process – from pre-processing to post-processing. Imaging Edge provides three PC applications called ‘Remote’, ‘Viewer’ and ‘Edit’, available for free download, which support live-view PC remote shooting and RAW development.

Also making its debut on the 7R III is a new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, which takes full advantage of the advanced 5-axis optical in-body stabilization to create super-high resolution composite images. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in 1-pixel increments to capture four separate pixel-shifted images containing a total of approximately 169.6-megapixels of image data. These four images can be composited together and processed utilizing the new Imaging Edge software.

The Sony alpha 7R III will ship this November for about $4,000.

Canon Rebel T7 is successor to T6

The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is the latest addition to the Rebel line of entry-level DSLRs, with an upgraded CMOS sensor to deliver sharp, high-resolution images, says the company.

The camera, featuring a 24.1-megapixel resolution sensor, is the successor to the Rebel T6. Offering easy sharing of high-quality photos and videos on social media sites, the EOS Rebel T7 provides continuous shooting up to 3.0 frames per second (fps), a nine-point autofocus system and a three-inch LCD monitor.

Additional features include built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity; Scene Intelligent Auto Mode; and an optical viewfinder.

The EOS Rebel T7 is scheduled to be available in April, and will be sold as a lens-and-body kit with the EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II for an estimated retail price of $549.99.