Neptune Photo Newsletter
April 2019 Volume 87
by Steve Zimic
Olympus 150-400mm f4.5 + 1.25X IS
If you’re a micro 4/3 user, I wouldn’t get too excited about getting this lens because it’s not coming for a while. It was supposed to be released along with the Olympus E-M1X this past January, at least that was the rumor, but it appears now that you’ll have to wait until next year. What this lens does do is confirm how serious Olympus is at sticking with the micro 4/3 format, should it come to fruition, of which I have no doubt. So here you’ll have an image stabilized, hand holdable, full frame equivalent lens of 300mm to 800mm with a fixed f4.5 aperture, plus a 1.25x teleconverter built in. Now that is something I imagine many serious wildlife photographers would clamor over, especially those photographers that are not shy about braving the elements. Even though Olympus cameras are nowhere near the top when it comes to image quality, they are king when it comes to resisting the elements of nature, as do their lenses. Whether or not that will be enough for the serious wildlife or sports photographer to grab one of these lenses remains to be seen.
The Race for even more Pixels
Sony just announced a 100 megapixel full frame sensor for consumer cameras also capable of 6K video resolution. No doubt Sony wouldn’t have spent the money on this had their research not shown there was a market for it - right? Or maybe they did it simply because they could, and then having bragging rights. After all Sony now has a huge share of the interchangeable lens camera market and must be reaping significant dollars, so they can afford to indulge. Personally though I don’t get it. But then I don’t get the desire people have for the latest 45 megapixel plus cameras that are on the market now, so what do I know. Well, I do know that I can make a beautiful 16x20 inch print from that little 3 year old camera that sits in my pocket that doubles as a phone. I doubt many of you have tried that with a phone image, but if you shoot in RAW using Lightroom Mobile, you’d be amazed at the quality you can get. The point I’m making here is that it’s not the camera that makes great images, it’s the user. There are no bad cameras on the market today, only ones that have more features and higher megapixel counts. A great image is about light and composition period and that can be done with virtually any camera that’s on the market today, even a phone. So if you’re in the market for a camera, forget the number of megapixels and concentrate on what feels good in your hands and what features it offers. The money you save by staying away from the top of the line camera can be spent on quality lenses. And one other thing to remember, lenses hold their value while cameras do not.
Sigma 60-600mm f4.5-6.3 IS
Sigma’s latest super telephoto lens now has an amazing 10X zoom range. The Sigma 150-600 has been on the market for quite some time now and with its relatively low price of $1999, has become the most popular lens among wildlife photographers. The extended range of this new lens certainly makes it more versatile, and from the reports I’ve read, matches the quality of the older version which is exceptional. At 6 pounds it’s no light weight, but with the built in image stabilization the occasional hand held shot is certainly doable. One really neat feature is that full-time manual focusing is available simply by rotating the focusing ring. The lens is availbable now in EF, F and SA mounts for $1999 but demand is a bit high so you may have to wait a while to get one. In the meantime you can read all the good stuff on Sigma’s website.
Sony A9 - version 5.0 - A major update that uses artificial intelligence to vastly improve AF tracking, plus menu changes to improve the user interface.