B&H Gear News Roundup: November 21, 2014

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When did it decide to get so cold? The planet has tilted away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere and that means that it is holiday-shopping time! This week in the news, Sony rolled out the Alpha a7II, Zacuto announced the Gratical HD Micro OLED EVF, and you can pre-order your Parrot BeBop Drone Quadcopter.

Sony a7II Mirrorless Camera and 70-33mm G SSM II A-Mount Lens

It seems like the ink just dried on B&H's extensive review of the Sony a7 series of mirrorless cameras, but Sony Japan has created quite a stir in the photo world, with the unveiling of the new a7II camera.

The new camera makes several big-time improvements over its older a7 brethren. First among these is the first-ever full-frame 5-axis in-body image stabilization system. Yep, I had to look up what the heck the 5-axes are, as I first thought this camera provided stabilization in the time and the theoretical 5th dimension. Super cool. But, alas, I was disappointed to learn that beyond the three spatial dimensions (pitch, roll, and yaw), there are two more tangible movements of a camera sensor: horizontal and vertical translation. The new a7II allows up to 4.5 stops of stabilization.

For those of you keeping score at home, "5-axis" is a bit of misnomer.

Anyway, sorry for the digression. Back to your regularly scheduled program...

The a7II has the same 24MP sensor and BIONZ processor as the a7, with a few improvements made to the autofocus system and video performance. It also features a re-designed handgrip and some modifications to the interface.

Joining the announcement, Sony Japan also announced the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G SSM II A-mount lens. This is an updated version of the long-reach zoom that features a new nano AR coating and autofocus motor.

Check out our take on the new Sony gear in this B&H article.

Zacuto Gratical HD Micro OLED EVF

Moviemakers rejoice! Zacuto has unveiled its newest electronic viewfinder for digital cine work. The Gratical HD Micro OLED EVF contains a tiny OLED panel that is packed with 5.4 million pixels to provide your eye with a true HD video display.

The extreme 10,000:1 contrast ratio helps in focusing by giving the image a remarkable range and true blacks. It's also weather resistant and features a versatile mounting system.

For more information on the Zacuto, check out this B&H report.

Parrot BeBop Drone

Last week I voiced my objection to the use of the word "drone" when describing unmanned aerial vehicles. I probably need to get off that soap box, as UAV manufacturers are now using the name to describe their own products.

Case in point: the new Parrot BeBop Drone is available for pre-order and it is packed with features that help it compete well against its competition in the rapidly crowding drone market. The BeBop features a unique image stabilization system for its 180-degree fisheye 14MP onboard camera, and the capability to pair with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headgear. Um, very cool.

If the marketing image at the top of this B&H article does not make you want one for the holidays, I am not sure what will!

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... and that's your gear news for the week of November 17th, 2014.