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Nocticron vs Olympus 45mm DxOMark

Some people think that when there’s a Leica badge on a lens or camera, it must be good. Others claim that anything carrying the famous red dot is really just overpriced technology from yesterday. The truth is somewhere in the middle. On one hand, Leica does invest a lot into the development of its lenses. On the other hand, its rebranded Panasonic cameras really aren’t worth the premium price by a long shot. But what about the Leica branded Micro Four Thirds lenses?

Those as well are made by Panasonic, but are officially sanctioned by Leica to bear their name. While the DG Elmarit 45mm f2.8 macro didn’t get a lot of people excited, the DG Summilux 25mm f1.4 was an instant hit. Reviewers all over the web praised for its great image quality. Just recently, DxOMark tested the new DG Summilux 15mm f1.7, and it turned out to be a rather mediocre lens despite the Leica badge.

But now they also tested the new DG Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2, and here it seems we finally have another lens deserving of the Leica branding. The Nocticron showed one of the best performances of all Micro Four Thirds lenses ever tested by DxOMark, and is seconded only by the brilliant M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8. With an initial aperture of f1.2, the Nocticron is a super-fast portrait lens, and one that begs to be shot wide open.

DxOMark’s sharpness test does indeed confirm that the Nocticron performs very well even at its widest aperture, which is what you’d expect from a lens that costs over one and a half grand. But it also fares very well in terms of distortion and vignetting, and only in chromatic aberration it is slightly behind the M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8. We would’ve loved to see how the lens holds up to the Voigtländer Nokton 42.5mm f0.95 in DxOMark’s comparison, but unfortunately they didn’t test that lens.

So, if you were eyeing this lens for portaiture work, don’t worry. From what it appears, you won’t regret the purchase. That is, provided you can afford the lens in the first place, without selling your family into slavery …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When the Phase One IQ250 was announced, it was expected to outdo every DSLR in terms of image quality out there because of the large CMOS sensor. But when you get to the medium format level, you’re only as good as the body and the lenses. The IQ250 can output great images; but it isn’t without its drawbacks.

Or at least that what we’re finding so far…

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DxOMark is announcing their Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art lens findings today. According to what they did in the lab, the company concludes that the lens is outperformed by the 55mm f1.4 Zeiss Otus lens only in terms of light transmission, distortion control, and vignetting control. Otherwise, they’re basically exactly spot on when it comes to sharpness numbers. The even more fascinating news is that they both wipe the floor with Canon’s f1.2 L offering–and hopefully will dispel the myth that someone should only go for all L glass when building their Canon kit.

The company didn’t test the lens on the Nikon D800E and we figure that this is mostly because the units going around right now are Canon mount.

More findings are after the jump.

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Korean astro-photographer Kwon, O Chul has been photographing the night sky for years. His star-spangled work has grazed several books and been featured on different exhibits in South Korea and Malaysia. He’s also created and published a number beautiful timelapse videos over the years, traveling to the best locations South Korea has to offer.

As a culmination of his five years worth of work with the cosmos, Kwon has released a four-minute timelapse video of epic proportions, shot with Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Mark III. Cosmos Odyssey: The Journeys of an AstroPhotographer is a stunning, star-filled short that takes us through the glorious landscapes of South Korea, Tanzania, Australia, and Canada, all bedecked with shimmering night skies as far as the eye can see.

Light displays, star trails, and the Milky Way make cameo appearances in this awesome video and it’s a gorgeous synopsis of a talented photographer’s work. Watch it in its entirety after the jump.

For more of Kwon’s timelapses, check out his Vimeo page.

Via Canon Watch

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 Kodak Hawkeye II DSLR NASA

Did you know that one of the first digital SLRs was actually used by NASA back in 1991? Neither did we. It was in fact the very first camera that qualifies to be called a DSLR. However, back then, that meant something entirely different from what it means now. In 1991, Kodak retrofitted a Nikon F3 SLR body (yes, one of those old-school cameras that ran on this ‘film’ stuff) with a digital back that contained a tiny CCD sensor. In order to get the image information out of the camera, you needed a separate processing and storage unit that you’d carry over your shoulder.

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julius motal the phoblographer sony a7 product image

When Sony’s full-frame E-mount system was first launched last year, it comprised four dedicated lenses for the A7 and A7R cameras. These were the two primes, the FE 35mm f2.8 and FE 55mm f1.8, and the two zooms, the FE 24-70mm f4 and the FE 28-70mm f3.5-5.6. An FE 70-200mm was also announced along the cameras, and will be available soon. While five lenses is quite a solid setup for a brand-new photographic system, these particular ones offer too little choice for demanding photographers.

The good news is, though, that Sony has been promising more lenses for the system, including a wide-angle zoom, another fast prime lens and a macro lens. Zeiss also announced that they are working on new lenses for the full-frame E-mount system, and theirs will be manual primes just like they made for various DSLR systems in the past. Another fast, manual prime lens has recently been announced by Chinese manufacturer Mitakon and should also soon be available.

Sony Alpha Rumors now heard from an anonymous source that over the course of this year, a total of fourteen lenses for Sony’s full-frame E-mount system will become available. This means that in addition to the five lens previously announced by Sony, there will be nine more coming this year including the ones from Sony and Zeiss that we mentioned above. Together with the Mitakon lens, these will make for a total of 15 lenses.

That’s actually not too bad for a system that by the end of the year will be just over a year old. Also, among these 15 lenses, there should be enough choice for most photographers that are contemplating switching to the A7, A7S or A7R. And let’s not forget, because these cameras are mirrorless E-mount cameras, you can adapt almost any full-frame lens to these cameras, and even use autofocus with some when you have the right adapter. So overall, the lens choice for these cameras is already pretty huge.