Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – August Edition

Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – August Edition

Nikon has Irish twins, Sigma goes wide and fast (and so does Olympus), and Sony decides to get Macro on us. It’s that time of the month again folks: here’s the August edition of all the fresh, new gear at BorrowLenses!

Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR Lens and Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR Lens

Our own Jo Deguzman cradles the Nikon babies.

Our own Jo Deguzman cradles the Nikon babies.

Nikon’s old 500mm and 600mm f/4 lenses were excellent bits of glass (though calling them “bits” is an understatement). But what’s good can always be improved and Nikon has done just that with this pair. By incorporating flourite elements into the design, they’ve made them between 20% and 25% lighter, which makes these two the lightest lenses in their focal length/aperture in the world. Nikon has also incorporated magnesium into the the barrel for more weight savings and has improved the Vibration Reduction, giving you a total of 4 stops of VR.

There’s also a Sport VR mode specifically for stabilizing the lenses through tracking objects that move unpredictably and rapidly. In addition, the Autofocus performance of the lenses has also improved. This, combined with an electromagnetic diaphragm, is intended to provide superior focus and exposure stability when tracking those aforementioned fast-moving objects.

Obviously, I’ll, um, need to test all these. For, say, a week. With a Nikon D4s and a gimbal head on a nice, heavy-duty tripod.

BL West Coast: I’ll pick this order up next weekend, mmkay?

Better make it two weeks. You know, for thoroughness.

Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8

The Olympus 7-14mm f2.8

The Olympus 7-14mm f2.8

Micro Four Thirds shooters often have to suffer the false impression that wide-angle lenses aren’t really available on the platform due to the 2x crop factor of the sensor. This hasn’t been true for some time; you have, for example, the Panasonic 8mm f/3.5, the excellent Olympus 12mm prime, and even the Panasonic version of this Olympus lens, the 7-14mm f/4 ASPH. Now, Olympus has introduced the same focal length (7-14mm) but in a dust-proof and splash-proof body that will compliment the the weather-resistant OM-D E-M1 beautifully.

Furthermore, Olympus has one-upped Panasonic’s lens by giving us a constant aperture of f/2.8, a full stop faster than the Panny. Top that with the fact that this lens has an MSC (Movie and Stills Compatible) motor for quick and silent autofocus that video shooters will appreciate and you have a lens that’s sure to be a hit in the M43 ecosystem.

Sigma 24-35mm f/2 in Canon

Sigma 24-35mm f2

Sigma 24-35mm f2

If you’ve followed the news of this lens’ release and the subsequent reviews, you’ll know that that Sigma has yet another hit on its hands. The fastest zoom available for full-frame cameras, the Sigma 24-35mm f/2 zoom gives you a wide-to-almost-standard zoom at a wide-open constant aperture of f/2. The zoom range is limited, but falls into that near-perfect range that prevents you from carrying a couple of primes (the 24mm and 35mm) without compromising on aperture too much.

The reviews on it tout its sharpness and general image quality, which we’ve now sort of come to expect from Sigma’s Art series of lenses. Frankly, this company can’t seem to make a truly crappy lens and their Art lenses are simply fantastic.

Now, Sigma, those 85mm f/1.4 and 135mm f/2 Art lenses we know you’ve got in development? Let’s get those soon, k?

Nikon 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR Lens

Nikon 16-80mm f2.8-4E ED VR Lens

Nikon 16-80mm f2.8-4E ED VR Lens

Admittedly, Nikon’s 16-80mm f/2.8-4 zoom isn’t the sexiest announcement out there (I think Nikon fulfilled its “exciting news” quote with the super-teles above), but this lens deserves a second look. Built for DX (APS-C) cameras, it covers a 24-120mm zoom range, while only closing down to a very respectable f/4 on the long end of the zoom. That’s actually pretty cool and gives APS-C Nikon shooters a focal length covered by Nikon’s 24-120mm f/4G lens, which is darn near ideal for everything from portraits to landscapes. If you’re going to travel and want just one lens to take with you (and want to keep the size respectable), this 5X zoom is your first option.

Nikon Coolpix P900 Digital Camera

Nikon Coolpix P900 Digital Camera

Nikon Coolpix P900 Digital Camera

This is one of those cameras that you look at and go, “Wait. Is that a typ0?”

No, it’s not. This camera DOES have an 83x zoom lens, giving you the equivalent of a 24-2000mm [sic] lens. Again, not a typo. 2000mm. Throw in digital zoom, which this camera will do up to another 4x of the max optical zoom and you get a – again, NOT a typo – 8000mm lens.

That’s just… I don’t even… yeah. So that happened.

The sensor isn’t huge – it’s 1/2.3″ in size (not unlike what you’d find in most point-and-shoots) and there is lens-shift Vibration Reduction for both stills and video, which it can shoot at Full HD up to 60 fps. You can shoot up to 120 fps at a much-reduced resolution of 480p. In video mode, you also have access to electronic stabilization. The viewfinder is electronic, as is the adjustable 3″ screen on the back.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 G OSS Macro Lens

Sony FE 90mm f2.8 G OSS Macro Lens

Sony FE 90mm f2.8 G OSS Macro Lens

It’s a new gear post, which honestly feels like it wouldn’t be complete without a Sony mention. Since a Macro lens has been missing from the lineup of glass made for its full-frame mirrorless “FE” mount cameras (which include all members of the a7 series) and Sony has been on a tear to fill those gaps, we present to you the 90mm f/2.8 G OSS Macro.

OSS is Sony’s Optical Steady Shot, or image stabilization system. The lens uses linear motors derived from Sony’s higher-end camcorders, which makes image stabilization a quiet affair. Autofocus is similarly quiet; the use of a Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF Motor makes AF super-silent. Video shooters will appreciate that, along with a sliding focus ring that easily switches from auto to manual focus.

The lens also ships with a bunch of other macro-friendly features: focus range limiter, a focus hold button that keeps the AF from hunting too much, 1:1 magnification, and internal focusing elements, which means the lens doesn’t change size when you focus. Given Sony’s recent high-res camera releases (the a7II and the a7RII), the inclusion of a native Macro lens will be very welcomed.


That’s it for this edition of the Latest Gear at BorrowLenses. Check out these other months’ latest gear lists:

September 2015
July 2015
• June 2015
May 2015

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Sohail Mamdani is a writer, filmmaker, and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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