Lensbaby goes mirror-less

Lensbaby Composer Pro

If mirror-less camera owners were a bit peeved that it was dSLR users who were getting all the fun with Lensbaby lenses, they need feel hard done-by no longer. Lensbaby Composer Pro lenses are now available with a heap of mirror-less camera-compatible mounts. From Lumix G-series cameras to Olympus PENs, via Sony NEX and Samsung NX, they can all enjoy some tasty tilt-shift-tasticness.

The Composer Pro ships with the 50mm Double Glass Optic installed; it creates a sweet spot that's in sharp focus, and you get to decide where by playing around with the tilting and swivelling lens body. However, the Composer Pro is compatible with all of the optics in the Lensbaby Optics Swap System, including the Edge 80, the Sweet 35, and the Fisheye, so opportunities abound for getting creative with your images.

If you're wondering about the aperture on a Lensbaby lens, the Double Glass Optic has a maximum aperture of f/2.0. By removing and inserting different sized aperture disks, you can change to f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6, f/8.0. f/11, f/16, and f/22.

Time to go buy one? They're retailing around $300 and are available from authorised Lensbaby retailers and their own online store.

Nikon don't need no mirror-less camera

Nikon P7100 front

It didn’t happen last week. The hugely anticpated mirror-less camera from Nikon didn’t materialise amongst all of its other high-end compact, rugged, and more fun point-and-shoot cameras that were announced on Wednesday. There were some very disappointed people about; the rumours have been swirling for over a year, there have been patent leaks galore, there have been name suggestions, and there have been theories that it’ll resurrect the F-mount. So where is this evil creation that has everyone guessing?

Well, according to James Loader, Nikon’s Product Manager for Consumer Products, Nikon isn’t interested in the mirror-less market; he reckons that Nikon has its bases covered and Nikon customers really aren’t looking for a mirror-less camera. He told the guys from TechRadar: ‘When we were at Focus last year, it didn’t get asked for. It’s really only the press that constantly wants to know.’

For Nikon, the P7100 is the perfect camera for someone who isn’t quite ready to make the leap to a dSLR, or as the second shooter for a dSLR user. Why do they need to embroil themselves in the battle for the mirror-less ground, which is already churned up by Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, and Samsung? Far better to concentrate on the devil it knows.

It seems as if Nikon has identified its market and is sticking with it. If that changes, then they’ll think about altering their strategy accordingly: ‘We’re watching the market, the same as everyone else is, we’d be foolish to ignore what’s happening,’ said Loader.

So, no Nikon mirror-less. For now, anyway.

(Headsup to TechRadar)

Panasonic launches the Lumix GF3

Just five days after Sony launched its diminutive NEX-C3, claiming it to be the smallest, lightest camera in its class (so that’d be without a mirror but with interchangeable lenses), Panasonic has wheeled out the Micro Four Thirds mount Lumix GF3 to wrest from it the crown of tininess. The camera doesn’t look that bad, either.

It comes with just about everything that you’d expect from a shiny new camera now. There’s a touch screen that allows you to pick your point of focus with the tap of a finger; there’s full HD video (1080i at 25 frames per second) that comes with full-time auto-focus and auto-focus tracking; there’s a range of in-camera editing facilities, such as retro and high-key; and of course there’s the all-singing, all-dancing intelligent auto plus function. The camera will choose the right mode for the picture, there’s anti-blur technology a-plenty, and a face recognition doo-dad.

If you want to have a go at 3D photography, there’s a lens for that, too.

At 12 megapixels, it seems as if Panasonic might be calling a truce in that particular arms race. Okay, so things might’ve switched to how small they can make things now, and it might get old pretty quickly, but for now it’s more fun.

Want one? They’re available in four different colours for £499 (US$599.99) with a 14-42mm kit lens from mid-July.

More details available from Panasonic.