B&H Gear News Roundup: January 31, 2014

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This week in the news: Following their well-publicized teaser image last week, Fujifilm officially announced the compelling new X-T1 mirrorless camera; Olympus came out with a new mirrorless of their own—the O-MD E-M10—in addition to new lenses, the TG-850 "tough" camera and the Stylus SP-100 long zoom camera; and a company called Zoom released a new audio recorder called the H5.

This is your B&H Gear News Roundup for January 31, 2014. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest news as it breaks.

The New Fujifilm X-T1

The new X-T1 from Fujifilm shares a number of characteristics with the X-E2, which was announced in October of last year, but this new body also treads into compelling new terrain. The X-T1 doesn't stick to Fujifilm's classic rangefinder body style, but instead opts for the lines of an SLR, with its centrally-positioned and well-outfitted 2,360k-dot electronic viewfinder. The EVF offers two key innovative features: the ability to switch the orientation of the on-screen mode and metering information when you turn the camera from landscape to portrait, and a feature where you can see the entire frame, with a smaller portion of the screen that's dedicated to displaying a magnified view, so that you can also check focus.

The X-T1 features the same 16.3-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor and advanced HD video specs as the X-E2, with expanded ISO and faster continuous-shooting mode capabilities. A tilting 3-inch, 1,040k-dot LCD is provided, in addition to advanced focusing capabilities, weather sealing, built-in Wi-Fi, and a generous amount of hardware controls and dials, all in a mirrorless body that's exceptionally compact.

For a detailed look at the new X-T1 and full specs, check out this B&H blog post.

The New O-MD E-M10, Lenses and More from Olympus

If you're a child of the 1980's, the initials "OMD" will forever be associated with the seminal British new wave group; however, if you're into digital photography, you also associate the same three letters with a standout Micro Four Thirds camera series. A new member of the O-MD line arrived this week with the introduction of the mirrorless Olympus OM-D E-M10.

If you've been tempted by the top-of-the-line OM-D E-M1 in the past, the new E-M10 is an enticing option, because it offers many of the same features and capabilities, in an all-metal body that weighs less and is noticeably more compact in every dimension. The sensor is a 16.1-megapixel Live MOS, and the camera features an ISO range of 100-25600. It's outfitted with 3-axis in-body image stabilization, the ability to shoot 8 frames per second in continuous mode, an 81-point auto focus system and built-in Wi-Fi, and it's the first O-MD camera equipped with a pop-up flash. You can frame and review shots with the tilting 3-inch touchscreen LCD or the 1.44-million-dot electronic viewfinder. It records 1080p HD video, and you can shoot stills while you're making movies. The new OM-D E-M1 offers a lot of camera in a small package, with an attractive price tag.

Olympus also debuted several new lenses this week. The shortest one in the image above is the new BCL-0980. BCL stands for "Body Cap Lens," meaning that it's a body cap that has a small lens element incorporated, so you can always shoot. The new BCL-0980 is a fisheye lens, with a 9mm focal length (18mm equivalent for Micro Four Thirds). If you like the body cap lens concept, you should also check out the BCL-1580.

The next new lens from Olympus is the slightly-larger M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ. It's got the classic pancake form factor (while the BCL-0980 is decidedly more of a crepe); however, when in use, the new 14-42mm EZ extends and retracts. The "EZ" in its model name stands for Electronic Zoom, which you can control from the attached camera body. Zooming and auto focusing are intentionally quiet, to enable the capture of clean sounding video.

Last in the new lens lineup pictured above is the M.ZUIKO Digital 25mm f/1.8. With the crop factor of Micro Four Thirds applied, the focal length of this lens is equivalent to 50mm, making it a classic, fast nifty fifty prime. The auto focus is nice and quiet for shooting video, and the overall size is compact, which will make it pair well with compact mirrorless cameras. 

It was a busy week in regard to new gear from Olympus, as they also announced the new Stylus SP-100 digital camera, which features a 50x optical zoom, and a unique "dot sight" that's incorporated into its pop-up flash, which acts a quasi-rifle scope for aiming the camera. Also new this week was the TG-850 "tough" camera, which is waterproof, crush-proof, shock-proof and cold-proof, and it features a tilting 3-inch LCD display that flips forward for "tough" selfies.

All of the details on the new cameras, lenses and accessories from Olympus are available in this B&H blog post.

The New Zoom H5

Zoom, makers of the popular H4n portable audio recorder, announced the new H5 Handy Recorder this week. Like the H4n and the Zoom H6, the new H5 features dual combo XLR inputs at its base. It also shares the H6's interchangeable input port that's found at the top of the unit, which enables you to swap out different kinds of microphones and input modules. A brand new microphone module ships with the H5, which features shock-mounted condenser microphones in an XY stereo configuration. The new H5 can record four channels of audio, and features hardware dials to control the input levels. The price and availability of the H5 is not known at this time.

Additional information about the new Zoom H5 is available in this B&H blog post.

More news:

  • Zeiss announced a new 50mm f/2.8 lens for E-Mount and X-Mount. Learn more about it over at Fstoppers.
  • Sony updated the firmware of the QX10 and QX100 clip-on cameras to expand their ISO and HD video resolution capabilities. More info and download links are available at Engadget
  • Apple applied for a patent for new kinds of lenses for iPhone. Read more about it at PopPhoto.
  • Phottix released a Mitros+ TTL transceiver flash for Nikon. Get the full scoop over at Photography Bay.

    And that's your news for January 31, 2014.