Holy cow. No, I am not talking about the 16-35mm f/4. Though has IS and will leave many tempted to get an ultrawide L that is better than the 17-40 without spending too much, my reaction is for the smaller lens: The EF-S 10-18mm. Not because it’s remarkable, but the pricing for it is, which comes in at US$300. That has to be the cheapest ultra-wide ever for a major lens mount. That’s barely S$400! For a 16-29mm equivalent lens! Even if the aperture is slower than the current 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 by about one stop, the IS can help with static subjects, so it is not a total loss either. The only other lenses that come close to this pricing are the mirrorless ultra-wide zooms for Nikon and Canon’s systems, which both did not sell well and are thus unlikely to have the same sales impact. If the performance is even decent, nevermind good, watch the lens get snapped up real quick. Heck, that might even push a few DSLRs, even with Canon’s ageing sensors.
Something to ponder: You can assemble a pretty complete system from Canon for cheap now, and it will cover 16 to 400mm in 35mm equivalent terms. This is Canon’s answer to the mirrorless tide it seems: Just undercut them with superior pricing based on economies of scale, using light lenses and small DSLRs to mitigate the size and weight difference. Continue reading Canon Announces EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM and EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lenses
Minolta lovers, Sony’s still not totally given up on the Alpha mount yet, and while the A77 II does not add much, the changes are likely to be welcome. The sensor is now a 24 megapixel sensor that will probably be best-in-class if not for the “translucent” mirror robbing about half a stop of light, thus making the sensor having to work that little bit harder. The autofocus is improved now, and features a 79 point autofocus sensor with 15 cross type sensors with additional options. I remember when having more than one autofocus point was something great, and now we have 79! Will we break 100 before 2020?
Other upgrades include a new LCD, which uses Sony’s newfangled “White Magic” screen that adds another bunch of white sub-pixels (resolution should still be VGA), and there is also Wi-Fi now, though GPS was lost in the process. The rest of the camera is still pretty much the same, including that rather nice EVF. It is not a bad upgrade, but I still think the overall concept is flawed; giving up half a stop of light hitting the sensor just for live view. Half a stop might not seem like much, but that means you are getting dangerously close to Micro Four Thirds level performance, while Canon and Nikon pull away with their more traditional designs.
The A77 II will be available in June for a body-only price of US$1200.