PMA 2010 cameras, lenses, other new stuff
I visited PMA 2010 as press today, which got me free wireless, coffee and bagels. I also checked out some new cameras and lenses. Here's a quick run-down of the stops I made and what I saw:
I played with the Fuji F80, which was a nice camera with full manual controls, although the aperture control only had two settings, which made be wonder if it was using a simulated aperture and a neutral density filter like some cheaper Canon cameras. It also seemed to have good macro ability. This could be a great underwater camera, although the 10x zoom may limit wet lens options.
Fuji f80 Quick specs:
sensor: 12 megapixels
Focal length: 27mm-270mm
ISO: 100 - 12,800
Video: 1280x720, 24fps
LCD: 3 inches
Played with the nikon P100, which had a 26x zoom (27mm-678mm) and 10 megapixel sensor. Way too big of a zoom. They seemed to have a couple dozen consumer models out.
Took some shots with the new Nikon 16-35mm F4 VR lens, it had great auto-focus, a fairly large lens but not too heavy, color and contrast looked great. Can't really say it blew me away though, didn't feel like a $1300 lens. It's probably more impressive on a full-frame camera, where it is much wider - I tried it on a Nikon D300.
Olympus Micro four thirds cameras & underwater housings
I spent some time trying out Olympus's new four thirds camera and underwater housing. Read my article about the Olympus E-PL1 camera and underwater housing.
Panasonic has not yet replaced it's top of the line camera, the Lumix LX3, but I did try some new compact cameras - the DMC-ZS5 and the more expensive ZS7. Both were very small and compact, and have hi-res video and full manual controls, and a 12x zoom, 25mm-300mm. I liked the cameras, and I was told underwater housings will be available, although I doubt if there will be any wet lens options. Still, the ZS5 could be a decent inexpensive choice for an underwater camera.
DMC-ZS5 quick specs:
12 megapixel sensor
25mm-300mm focal length
1280x720 movies at 30fps
Macro focusing at 3cm
Full manual controls
I tried out Kenko's new 1.4x sp-pro teleconverter. Optically it is exactly the same as the old version, but it has circuitry that will transmit the aperture to the camera. Kenko also confirmed what I had already reported in this guide, which is the tamron pro 1.4x teleconverter is identical to the Kenko. In case you didn't know, Kenko owns both Tokina and Slik, and is the US distributor for Hoya.
Tamron has 3 new lenses out - the 60mm F2 macro, 70-200mm F2.8, and the 10-24mm F3.5-4.5. I took some shots with the 60mm F2 macro, it seems ok but nothing spectacular. The Bokeh at F2 seemed decent but nothing great. Same with the Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5.
Tokina tells me that the 10-17mm fisheye is not discontinued, but simply having production issues with the canon mount. I also tried out the Tokina 100mm macro lens, which seemed like a good lens. One interesting feature is that as it approaches one to one magnification, it extends out 2-3 extra inches, so a port much be chosen carefully.
Tokina 100mm macro
Pleasant Bokeh from the Tokina 100mm at F2.8
Sigma announced the ultra-wide angle Sigma 8-16mm lens.
I met with Intova, who showed me some new underwater cameras, strobes, torches and video lights. Intova is dedicated to making entry-level equipment affordable to any diver.
Near gear from Intova
Sony & Samsung Booths
Sony and Samsung both seemed to have a thousand small compact cameras on display, with many of them shockproof, waterproof to 10 feet, and nuclear-proof.
Sony had a mock-up of a new hybrid camera, in-between a compact and a dSLR, but it is basically vaporware at this time. It is a similar concept to Olympus's four thirds cameras. Surprisely this announcement is getting all the press, even though Sony really didn't show us anything.
Samsung's most interesting new camera was the Samsung TL500, with a fast F1.8 lens, fairly wide at 24mm, 10megapixels, full manual controls, RAW support, 640x480 video. This camera will possibly compete with the Canon S90, but it's unclear if anyone will make an underwater housing for it.
Phottix, which makes a great radio remote shutter release that I use for my Nikon D300, had a new product that transmits the live view from a dSLR to a remote screen over radio waves, allowing you to watch the live view remotely, and activate the shutter when something interesting steps into view. Great for wildlife photographers! And for spying.
Delkin had a new universal charger, which can charge AA's, Canon and Nikon batteries. It also had a new compact flash card that is dust-proof, water-proof, shock-proof, etc - and it comes in a very cool looking case. The card is called a "Combat flash" card.