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This week in the news: Sony announced the new Alpha A6000 mirrorless camera (and several other photographic things); Canon announced the new PowerShot G1 X Mark II, EOS Rebel T5 DSLR, (and several other photographic things); Sigma announced the dp Quattro compact camera; Blackmagic shipped the Production Camera 4K and dropped its price by $1000; and Roland announced the Aira series.
This is your B&H Gear News Roundup for February 14, 2014. Follow us on Twitter for the latest news as it breaks.
Sony released a bevy of cameras this week, and the most notable of the pack is the new Alpha A6000. This model replaces the NEX-6, and offers a big upgrade in resolution and speed, with its redesigned 24.3-megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor, and BIONZ X image processor (the same processor found in the new A7 and A7R full-frame mirrorless cameras), making the A6000 twice as fast as the NEX-6. As far as auto-focus is concerned, Sony is claiming the A6000 as the world's fastest. It features hybrid AF, with both phase and contrast detection, and can lock focus in 0.06 seconds.
When a major camera manufacturer simultaneously announces a new interchangeable-lens camera body and a premiere lens, it's natural to assume that the two would be made for one another, but that's not the case here. The new FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS lens from Sony was designed for the recently released a7 and a7R full-frame mirrorless cameras. It features an E-mount, Sony's G series glass, image stabilization, weather sealing, and nice touches—like a focus-hold button. More details are provided in the linked article at the bottom of this section.
Sony's "Cyber-shot" family grew in size this week with the announcement of several new models. There are three new Cyber-shot compact zoom cameras. The most capable is the HX400, which features the speedy BIONZ X processor, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC. Also equipped with the BIONZ X processor is the new WX350 point-and-shoot camera, which has a compact form factor, and a 18.2-megapixel 1/2.3" Exmor R CMOS sensor.
Get the full details on all of the new Sony gear in this B&H blog post.
The new Canon T5 is the only true DLSR among the stampede of new cameras announced this week. First and foremost, this new Rebel is compact, lightweight, and attractively priced. It ships with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens, and it's compatible with the full library of Canon EF and EF-S lenses. Under the hood is an APS-C format, 18-megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGI 4 image processor. The T5 can be set up to operate as a fully-automatic point-and-shoot camera, or you can choose to go fully manual. The full story on the new EOS Rebel T5 is provided in the link at the bottom of this section.
The quest for the most capable high-performance pocket camera continues, and the new PowerShot G1 X Mark II is Canon's latest and most compelling option to date. The new Mark II version of this camera offers an upgraded DIGIC 6 image processor (last year's model has a DIGIC 5), a "downgraded" 12.8-megapixel large 1.5" CMOS sensor (last year's model was 14.3-megapixels), and a fast maximum aperture of f/2 (last year's model was f/2.8). The new G1 X Mark II is also a little bit smaller and lighter, and in this already-compact form factor, a little goes a long way. Read more about the new G1 X Mark II in the article linked below.
In addition to these new shooters, Canon also released five more point-and-shoot cameras this week, including the GPS-empowered, water- and shock-proof PowerShot D30. Canon also announced the MRF-14EX II Marco Ring Lite, which offers additional custom functions, shorter recycling times, and an agile, twin-tube design. It enables you to get your camera as close to the subject as possible while fully lighting it, while offering creative and flexible options.
Get the full story on all of the new photographic tools from Canon in this B&H blog post.
Convinced all compact cameras essentially look the same? The new Sigma dp Quattro will certainly challenge this notion. This new camera's elongated, and somewhat bare design is striking, yet it offers an ergonomic form factor. It's fashion with function. Beyond the unconventional shell lies a similarly unconventional sensor: the newly-redesigned Foveon X3 Quattro, which utilizes three layers of photodiodes over the entire sensor, negating the need for a low-pass filter, and providing excellent image-capturing performance.
Take a deep look at the new dp Quattro and see full specs in this B&H blog post.
The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K was originally announced nearly a year ago at NAB 2013, and the highly-anticipated cinema camera didn't ship until this week. Blackmagic has had a difficult time getting cameras to market in the past, but they deserve a lot of credit for sticking it out and delivering the goods. To sweeten the news of the availability of the BMPC 4K, the manufacturer dropped its price by $1000, instantly making it a truly compelling option for those looking to shoot ultra-high definition video, with 12 stops of dynamic range on a body with a Canon EF mount.
The B&H Gear News Roundup is published early on Fridays, and the news of the Roland Aira series being officially announced took place in the wee hours of Friday morning, but it's too big of an announcement to pass up. The new Aira TR-8 is a digital drum machine that recreates the sound of the circuitry of the classic and much-loved TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines. Before you scoff, in early reports, the people that have heard it say that they are really impressed with its sound quality. It lacks a display, and behaves like a true stand-alone machine, but also features a USB port.
The series also includes the System-1, which is a 25-key synthesizer that reinvents the beloved SH-101. The new Aira TB-3 is a recreation of the universe-altering TB-303 bass synthesizer, and it features a pressure-sensitive touch pad for serious programming or just playing around. Last in the lineup is the Aira VT-3, which is a vocoder that transforms vocals into robot voices, synth sounds, and lo-fi noise. All in all, this is a very welcome new direction for Roland, and I, for one, am looking forward to checking these boxes out.
And that's your news for February 14, 2014. Happy Valentine's Day!