B&H Gear News Update for March 21, 2014

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This Week in the News:

  • Samsung announced the NX Mini, the world's most pocket-friendly mirrorless camera system
  • Rokinon unveiled an entire fleet of new still photo and cine lenses 
  • The Apple iPad 2 was finally discontinued, and the iPad 4 was reintroduced
  • The Sony Alpha a7, a7R, and the Nikon D4 all received firmware updates

The New Samsung NX Mini and NX-M Lenses

A smaller form factor is a big part of the appeal that mirrorless camera systems provide; however, even with slim pancake lenses attached, these cameras still don't fit into your pockets. This week, Samsung made it known that they are fully committed to solving this problem. The Korean manufacturer announced the new NX Mini, which is the most compact mirrorless digital camera system to date. One major component that enabled this camera to be shrunk down to its petite size of 4.3 x 2.4 x 0.9", with a feather weight of 5.6 ounces, is its lens mount—the newly designed NX-M mount, for which there are presently two lenses available.

The two lenses in question are the ultra-slim 9mm f/3.5, and the 9-27mm f/3.5-5.6. Both lenses are bundled together with the NX Mini in separate kits, and all are available in a range of colors. The NX Mini touts some impressive specs for such a svelte package, such as its 13.2 x 8.8mm 20.5MP BSI CMOS image sensor, its maximum shutter speed of 1/16,000-second, 35 autofocus points, built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and a good deal more.

The full details on the Samsung NX Mini and the new NX-mount lenses are available in this B&H Explora post

Rokinon Announces a Fleet of New Still Photo and Cine Lenses

At the stroke of midnight on March 21, Rokinon announced an entire fleet of new lenses, a bunch of which are designed for photography, with a healthy smattering of cine lenses in the mix as well. The new glass is available for many varieties of lens mounts, sensor sizes, and camera systems. Below, you will find a quick breakdown of the new offerings from Rokinon.

Photo Lenses:

  • 8mm f/2.8 UMC Fish-Eye II: for APS-C, available for Canon M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, and Sony E
  • 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS: for APS-C and Micro Four Thirds, available for Canon M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Sony E, and Mirco Four Thirds
  • 10mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS CS for APS-C and Micro Four Thirds, available for Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K, Sony A, Canon M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Sony E, and Mirco Four Thirds
  • 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC: for APS-C and Micro Four Thirds, available for Sony E, and Micro Four Thirds
  • 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC for APS-C and Micro Four Thirds, available for Sony E, and Micro Four Thirds
  • 8mm f/3.5 UMC Fish-Eye CS II for Micro Four Thirds, available for Micro Four Thirds

Cine Lenses:

  • 8mm T3.1 Cine UMC Fish-Eye II: for APS-C, available for Canon M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, and Sony E
  • 8mm T3.8 Cine UMC Fish-Eye CS II: for Micro Four Thirds, available for Micro Four Thirds
  • 14mm T3.1 Cine ED AS IF UMC: for Micro Four Thirds, available for Micro Four Thirds
  • 24mm T1.5 Cine ED AS IF UMC: for Micro Four Thirds, available for Micro Four Thirds
  • 35mm T1.5 Cine AS UMC: for Micro Four Thirds, available for Micro Four Thirds
  • 85mm T1.5 Cine AS IF UMC for Micro Four Thirds, available for Micro Four Thirds

Learn all about the new lenses from Rokinon in this B&H Explora post.

After a Long Run, the Apple iPad 2 is Gone, and the iPad 4 is Back

After being officially announced on March 2, 2011, by Steve Jobs himself, the Apple iPad 2 was officially discontinued this week. In today's fast-paced world of high-tech gadgetry, where it isn't uncommon for a product to have a life span of six short months, the iPad 2 enjoyed an exceptionally long three-year run. While it's unusual for a tablet to have such a lengthy shelf life, it's also unusual for a previously discontinued product to suddenly be reintroduced to the market, a phenomenon that also took place this week. Filling the void left behind by the late iPad 2 is the iPad with Retina display, which is also known as the iPad 4. This slab was first introduced on September 12, 2012, and what's nice about this announcement is that the $399 entry-level price for a full-sized 9.7" screen iPad gets you a lot more bang for your buck: a Retina display, an Apple A6X processor, a 5MP iSight camera, a FaceTime HD camera, the ability to shoot 1080p HD video, and more.

New Firmware Updates for the Sony Alpha A7, A7R, and the Nikon D4

It was quite a week for the Sony A7 and A7R, the world's only full-frame mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras. On Tuesday, B&H hosted a live-event webcast that featured a panel of experts discussing the merits of this camera system. If you missed the live broadcast, you can watch the recorded version of the show at this link. Later in the week, Sony released new firmware for both the A7 and A7R. Version 1.2 of the new firmware offers improved image quality in speed continuous mode, Live-view Grading. Smooth Reflection tools were added to the Play Memories Camera app, and the Timelapse app now features improved AE tracking. The update also speeds up the start-up time when you turn on the cameras.

Here are links to download the new Sony A7 firmware for Windows or Mac.

Here are links to download the new Sony A7R firmware for Windows or Mac.

Nikon updated the firmware of the D4 DSLR. This update enables the camera to support CompactFlash cards with capacities greater than 128GB, and makes it possible to assign a custom setting of f17 to the remote Fn button, as well as correcting several minor issues.

Download the new Nikon D4 firmware here.

More news:

  • Sony announced two new wireless speaker systems, the SRS-X7 and the SRS-X5. Read more about it at Engadget.
  • Sonos refreshed its Android app. Read the details over at Gizmodo.

... and that's your news update for the fourth week of March, 2014. 

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Thanks,

Gerry Goodstein