Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – October Edition

Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – October Edition

Zeiss expands its lineup for Canon and Nikon mounts, gimbals get even smaller, and in a shocking move, Sony reveals new gear! It’s that time of the month again folks: here’s the latest edition of all the fresh, new gear that arrived at BorrowLenses in October!


DJI Osmo Handheld 4K Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal

DJI Osmo Handheld 4K Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal

DJI Osmo Handheld 4K Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal

Look, I’d really like you guys to stop renting this handheld 4K camera on a 3-axis gimbal. Really. I have not been able to check it out myself from the moment we got it (as of writing this, it’s still out till November 23!) and I really want to. Traditionally known for making the Phantom and Inspire series of drones, DJI have been expanding into other photo and video gear as well. This diminutive handheld gimbal stabilizes a small, bulbous 4K-capable camera on 3 axes, providing panning over a 320° range, downward tilt up to 35°, and upward up to 135°. The handle is detachable, as is the included phone holder, which you can use to attach your smartphone and remotely view and control the Osmo’s camera from up to 85’ away.

Now please, quit booking it up so I can play with it. Thanks.

Zeiss Milvus Collection in EF and F Mounts

Milvus Collection Set

Milvus Collection Set

Zeiss have been on something of a tear recently, introducing its Batis and Loxia lenses for Sony. Now they add some love to the Nikon and Canon mounts as well, providing a wide range of focal lengths from 21mm to 100mm. The lineup includes some very fast lenses, including a 50mm f/1.4, a 85mm f/1.4, and a 100mm f/2. It takes some design cues from its tremendously successful Otus line of lenses, with a rubberized focus ring and an all-metal barrel. The Nikon version also includes a separate aperture ring that can be de-clicked for smooth iris transitions, and all lenses include weather sealing. The lenses look primed to replace the aging Zeiss ZF and ZE lenses for Nikon and Canon that are now end-of-life.

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens

Canon 35mm f/1.4 Mark II

Canon 35mm f/1.4 Mark II

The bar has been set pretty high for spectacular performance in this focal length and aperture class, with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens taking top honors for a while. The Mark II version of this venerable lens is Canon’s answer to the Sigma and any other challengers in the EF mount category, and it looks like a strong contender. It features better optical performance over its predecessor and is constructed with Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics, which refracts shorter wavelengths of the visible spectrum (blue light) in order to significantly reduce chromatic aberrations and color fringing. Like all “L” series lenses, this lens is also weather-sealed and Canon says it has built it specifically for high-resolution cameras like the Canon 5Ds/5Ds R bodies.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Mirrorless Micro 4/3 Digital Camera

Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Mirrorless Micro 4/3 Digital Camera

Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Mirrorless Micro 4/3 Digital Camera

Olympus keep on churning out their OM-D series of cameras, introducing the Mark II version of the E-M10, the smallest in that lineup. This has been a very successful series for Oly, and with good reason. These cameras have lightning-fast autofocus, in-body 5-axis image stabilization, HD shooting up to 60 frames per second at 1080p, and a burst rate of 8 frames per second. The E-M10 also includes built-in WiFi, as well as focus peaking and manual asist functions to be able to use lenses like the gorgeous Voigtlander 45mm f/0.95.

Sony a7S II

Sony A7S II

Sony a7S II

It just wouldn’t be a “Latest Gear” post without something from Sony. This one though, is a doozy; the Mark II version of Sony’s tremendously popular a7S camera.

So – what’s new? Well, the number one feature that was missing from the Mark I edition was internal 4K, and Sony have delivered on that with the a7S. Featuring up to 100MBS bit rate at 4K when recording to the X-AVCS codec, the a7S II is also the first camera that records at 120 frames per second at 1080p. The 4K file is a full-pixel-readout of the sensor, so aliasing and moire are reduced, while noise control and dynamic range are better as well. You can expect to see 1-2 stops of improvement in noise, while dynamic range also appears to have tweaked. Most importantly for those shooting people with the a7S II is that the color science has also gone through some reworking and initial reports indicate that the a7S II does not have the same green cast on some skin tones that the Mark I model did.

Three other big improvements make this camera one of Sony’s best so far. The a7S II now has the same in-body, 5-axis image stabilization that the a7 II and the a7R II, which means that even your old F-mount lenses from the 70s and 80s can now be stabilized. The a7S also includes S-LOG3, a flatter image profile that can be found on many of its high-end cameras. And, finally, this is the first camera in Sony’s a7 lineup that has uncompressed RAW files in stills mode. This is major, and has led Sony to release firmware patches for the other two cameras in its a7 Mark II series to include this as well.


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

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

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