Neptune Photo Newsletter
December 2018 Volume 83
by Steve Zimic
Happy Holidays to All
Lastolite Halo Compact Reflector
This is one of the most innovative and clever designs for a portable reflector I’ve ever seen. The frame is constructed of lightweight aluminum sections with a thin bungee cord tying them together, just like the ones used for tent poles. The fabric has plastic clips that easily snap onto the frame, and the handle has a 1/4 inch threaded brass socket for mounting to a light stand or any other device with a 1/4 inch male threaded stud. Currently it’s only available in 32” but the company is considering other sizes. Broken down it fits into a supplied case which looks to be about 11” long, easily fitting into even a compact camera bag or backpack. Even though setting it up takes a bit longer than conventional collapsible reflectors, this would be a great option for those of you that have trouble collapsing the conventional kind or if you just need something more compact when stored. I suspect that with the tubular frame it will be more resistant to flexing on windy days. Two flavors are available, a silver/ white or a translucent 2 stop version, priced at $80. Either fabric is available separately for $35. Currently only sold in the UK but it should become available in the US sometime this month. More info can be found on the UK Manfrotto site.
Sigma 56mm f1.4 DC DN
This latest addition completes Sigma’s trio of f1.4 lenses available for both Sony E (APS-C) and micro 4/3 cameras. On micro 4/3 you’ll get a 112mm FF equivalent, while on Sony the equivalent FF will be around 85mm, both great portrait focal lengths. The wide f1.4 aperture and rounded 9 blade aperture is sure to yield a very pleasing bokeh. The lens weighs in at around 10 ounces and is weather sealed. Both Olympus and Sony offer similar focal lengths in 1.8 versions but neither have 9 aperture blades or weather sealing. The Sony version is available now while you’ll have to wait a bit longer for the micro 4/3 version. Both are priced at $479 and come with a bayoneting lens hood. More info on Sigma’s website.
There have been some pretty reliable rumors about a new Olympus E-M1X coming in January. Image quality is purported to be as good as the best APS-C camera, so there’s most likely a brand new sensor, although it remains at 20MP. AF performance will be greatly improved over the E-M1 MKII along with adaptive AF, where the camera’s AF focus area will automatically adapt to the shape of the subject. Hand held Hi-Res shooting (80MP) will be possible at 1/60 sec. I imagine the Hi-Res feature will attract lots of folks still clamoring for larger files. The body will be larger than the MKII and will have the grip built in, using the same batteries as the MKII. Also rumored to be announced in January is a new 150-400mm f4.0 or f4.5 constant aperture lens, along with a new 1.2X converter. Olympus has stated that they are fully committed to the µ4/3 system, so it will be interesting to see how well this new camera does against all the new full frame mirrorless cameras hitting the market. The camera is being marketed towards sports and wildlife photography so to be successful they need to have a big improvement in high ISO performance. For that to happen, I’m guessing a new back side illuminated (BSI) sensor will be the order of the day, or even better, one of the the organic sensors being developed by Fuji and Panasonic. If it’s the later, that alone would justify the estimated $3000 price tag. I guess we’ll just all have to wait another couple of months to find out. In the meantime, if you’re interested in following micro 4/3 news you can do it here on the
four thirds rumors website.
Tamron - Updates the following lenses to be compatible with the Nikon Z6 & Z7 using the FTZ adapter: SP 70-200 2.8 Di VC US DG2, SP 150-600 Di VC US DG2, 17-35 2.8 Di OS D, SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2, SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2, 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Use the Tamron TAP-in console or send to Tamron directly.
Nikon Z7 - version 1.02 - Fixes a flickering display during playback, fixes crashing of Nikon Capture NXD and View NXi, corrects improper operation of auto ISO in movie mode.
New firmware due soon for the GFX (version 3.3) and XT-3 (version 2.0). Check the firmware page here..