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Wait, what? When Sony first introduced its SLT series of A-mount cameras sporting a translucent mirror, the whole idea was–or so we thought–that the mirror wouldn’t have to flip up because, you know, it being translucent and all. But now it seems that Sony decided combining classical SLR flip-up mirror tech with a translucent mirror would be an even better idea. And we actually have to agree.

The problem with the SLT technology is, that the mirror isn’t actually tranclucent, but only semi-translucent. That means that part of the incoming light gets deflected towards the AF sensor, while the majority passes through the mirror and hits the sensor. The technology is pretty clever because it allows for permanent live-view while providing phase-detection AF at the same time, but whith it comes a slight loss of light because the semi-translucent mirror is fixed in position and doesn’t flip up during exposure like that of a regular DSLR.

With a semi-translucent mirror that actually flips up during the exposure, Sony could solve the light-loss problem, and still have phase-detection AF and live-view at the same time. Realistically, though, Sony probably won’t ever put this technology into one of its A-mount cameras, and the reason for that is fairly simple: they already have sensors that sporting phase-detection pixels, namely those of the A7 and A6000 E-mount cameras.

So instead of further developing its SLT technology, our bet is that in its next generation of A-mount cameras, Sony will dump the mirror once and for all, and instead rely on its on-sensor phase-detection AF. Technically, this would mean that all future A-mount cameras would essentially become mirrorless, but with a much longer flange-back distance compared to the E-mount system, and with a more traditional DSLR look compared to the styling of the majority of Sony’s E-mount cameras.

As always, this is just speculation at this point and to be taken with a grain of salt. However, the way Sony has been innovating lately, the above scenario seems rather probably to us.

Via Sony Alpha Rumors

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma dp and 50mm f1.4 product images first impressions (7 of 12)ISO 64001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Sigma has been knocking it out of the ballpark with its prime lenses and next up it could announce a 24mm f1.4 Art lens at Photokina. Sony Alpha Rumors claims the lens will arrive later this September and October priced above Sigma’s 50mm f1.4 Art lens.

For all types of sensor-size cameras, the Sigma 24mm f1.4 will be an extremely popular prime lens since it affords such a wide focal length with a giant aperture. While Nikon and Canon have their respective high-end, full-frame 24mm lenses, Sony shooter will really appreciate the new alternative. Currently photographers shooting Sony have a few choices between Sony’s 24mm f1.8 for e-mount cameras and the Rokinon 24mm f1.4 designed for full-size Sony Alpha models.

Previously we heard early reports Sigma would also launch a 135mm f2 DG OS lens complete with a long focal length and built-in optical stabilization. There’s a still a chance we will see this tight portrait lens at the German photo show as Sigma is prone to introduce more than one lens at these big events.

Via Sony Alpha Rumors

lenscap-FB-AdLooking to give its customers a bit more protection LensRentals has revamped its damage waiver program to help customers from having to pay the full bill for stolen and broken equipment. LensRentals announced it has added two optional protection plans called Lenscap and Lenscap+.

The standard Lenscap plan adds protection from drops, spills, and most importantly, bear attacks—all basic things photographers have to contend with on a daily basis. It will also limit your liability to the lesser of the cost to repair the equipment or 10% of the replacement cost. The underlying note of all of this you’ll never have to fork over more than 10% of the replacement cost of the damaged equipment, no matter how expensive the repair actually is. Of course that does not give you license to be a jerk throw your camera at a bear.

Additionally Lenscap+ add coverage for even more scenarios including fire, lightening, being sucked into a tornado, and in case it falls from an aircraft. Most importantly Lenscap+ is a more robust plan that photographers some insurance in case of theft and other situations where it’s impossible to return the rented equipment.

Prior to the Lenscap and Lenscap+ plans, LensRentals offered a flat $10 protection waiver. However, with the new plans pricing is variable with the standard Lenscap plan adding a fee that hovers around 15% of the rental cost of each equipment piece. Lenscap+, meanwhile, adds an average additional 25% cost to the rental. But it’s always better to pay out a few bucks upfront rather than pay for a bear mauled Zeiss lens in full.

Check past the break for a detailed breakdown of the Lenscap+ plan

Via Canon Rumors

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Yesterday, we reported about the éclat caused by American alternative band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, after they had used a photograph taken during one of their gigs without the photographer’s permission. Not only wasn’t the photographer properly credited when the band uploaded the picture to its Facebook page, the image was also cropped so as not to show the photographer’s watermark, and it was heavily edited. All of this combines to one grave case of copyright infringement.

However, instead of acknowledging their wrongdoing, the band instead publicly shamed the photographer for asking them to either pay a licensing fee, or take the image down. In the end, their attempt at bullying a photographer out of his legal rights failed miserably, and the band was forced to publicly apologize to the photographer. But instead of realizing what they had done wrong, they went on to state that they believe “most forms of DIGITAL art should be FREE!”

Photographers’ copyrights not being respected, and their work not being valued, is an old story and sadly a recurring theme, and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus weren’t the first to display such an arrogant and neglectful behaviour. Unfortunately, they also weren’t (and won’t be) the last. In what seems to be a direct reaction to the RJA incident, the tour manager of the rock band Three Days Grace, Shawn Hamm, now also weighed in on the matter, again downplaying the role of the photographer in concert photography.

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Lytro Illum

Two years ago Lytro introduced a camera that promised to change photography forever using a light-field sensor to let shooters take a picture and then change the focus afterwards. Its first camera was little more than a webcam in a baton but today the company is doing things over with a higher-resolution camera in a much more familiar hybrid-styled body.

Meet the Illum–it’s Lytro’s monstrously large new camera aimed at creative pioneers. It’s equipped with a new “40 megaray” that does more than shoot square photos. On paper the Illum is a big step up from the original Lytro camera’s 11-megaray images, however, the Illum still only manages to eke out a four-megapixel shot once all the focus points are flattened out.

Lytro has also improved the optics by giving the Illum an 8x optical zoom range lens with a constant f2.0 aperture. The lens is integrated with the camera and features a strange tire tread pattern but it provides a wide focal length range going from an equivalent 30mm to 250mm. Another bit of unique (or weird) design is the angled 4-inch back LCD that slopes down. Luckily the screen it comes attached to an articulating arm so the camera is good for more than shooting photos below eye-level.

On top of all the new body, Lytro says it has revamped its Light Field Engine to a 2.0 spec. The new engine help users compose their photos by display a visual representation of the focus range right alongside the regular histogram. The Illum also has a form of focus peaking that highlights objects in focus with green outlines.

The camera is a beast and it comes with an equally large $1,599 price tag. Early adopters will be able to pick up the camera starting July 2014 for a special introductory price of $1,499. We’ll have to get this camera in for ourselves to try before we can say this camera is the real deal. Until then check past the break for more images and specs on the Lytro Illum.

Via ePhotoZine

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Samyang 35mm f1.4 for Canon with electronic contacts

Samyang, the South Korean company whose lenses are sold under the Rokinon brand name in the US, have recently teased a new product announcement for April 28th. Thanks to a video report from the Photo & Imaging Show that has been held in Seoul over Easter, we now have a pretty good idea of what is going to be announced that day.

Besides two new cine lenses, Samyang will very likely announce a new 35mm f1.4 for Canon EF-mount which, for the first time, will sport electronic contacts that allow the use of auto-exposure modes such as program and shutter priority mode. The two other lenses that Samyang is said to announce are a cine version of the 7.5mm f3.5 fisheye lens for Micro Four Thirds, sporting a T3.8 speed rating, as well as a cine version of the recently announced 12mm f2 lens for APS-C mirrorless systems.

Unfortunately, despite many customers asking for it, Samyang will not introduce any autofocus lenses soon, according to an interview with the website DicaHub. This is mainly due to licensing issues, but also the amount of information available on each camera system’s AF. Our guess is that the major player such as Canon and Nikon won’t just give away for free all the secrets of how their respective AF systems work.

Considering the lenses mentioned above have been shown off at the P&I show recently, it is safe to assume that they’ll be officially announced soon. Whether or not one or all of these will be announced next Monday, April the 28th, remains to be seen. Stay tuned!

Via Canon Watch