Archive for the ‘Lens’ Category

Huawei & Leica Camera establish new research & innovation center

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

The ‘Max Berek Innovation Lab’ will conduct R&D in the fields of new optical systems, computational imaging, virtual reality and augmented reality.

Ren Zhengfei, CEO of Huawei (right) and Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, majority shareholder and chairman of the advisory board of Leica Camera AG (left), signing the agreement on the establishment of the ‘Max Berek Innovation Lab’

Ren Zhengfei, CEO of Huawei (right) and Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, majority shareholder and chairman of the advisory board of Leica Camera AG (left), signing the agreement on the establishment of the ‘Max Berek Innovation Lab’. Photo source: Huawei.

Huawei and Leica Camera AG today announced they have expanded their strategic collaboration with the establishment of a jointly operated research and innovation center.

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Olympus unveils new cameras & lenses at Photokina 2016

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Some new cameras and lenses from Olympus that we can look forward to in the coming months. Most of the prices and availability are yet to be announced.

The flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II with battery grip, being flanked by three PEN E-PL8 compact mirrorless cameras.

The flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II with battery grip, being flanked by three PEN E-PL8 compact mirrorless cameras.

The list of new cameras and lenses include the following.

  • OM-D E-M1 Mark II flagship mirrorless camera
  • PEN E-PL8 compact mirrorless camera
  • M.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 IS PRO lens
  • M.Zuiko 25MM F1.2 PRO lens
  • M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro lens
  • FL-900R external flash

A quick summary of each is included below.

OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Olympus announced the development of the new flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II, with a 121-point all cross-type On-chip Phase Detection AF, and an 18 fps high-speed sequential shooting in AF/AE tracking.

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New arrival: Essilor launches Varilux 3 progressive lenses in Singapore

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The new Varilux 3 series includes the Physio 3.0 (S$540), Comfort 3.0 (S$420) and Liberty 3.0 (S$300).

Presbyopia is set to be an increasing concern as Singapore’s population’s median age hits 40.

Presbyopia is set to be an increasing concern as Singapore’s population’s median age hits 40.

The entry-level Varilux Liberty 3.0 offers “effortless sharp vision at a competitive price”.

The mid-tier Varilux Comfort 3.0 promises “effortless, sharp and natural vision no matter the distance or lighting condition”.

The top-end Varilux Physio 3.0 boasts – on top of that – “the ability to easily change focus from something near to another at a distance”.

A photo posted by John Tan (@tech4tea) on

Essilor launched the new Varilux 3.0 in Singapore at the South Beach Hotel this morning.

Below are more details from the press release.

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Happy New Year 2015

Friday, January 1st, 2016

A new dawn to a new day. A new year for a new beginning.

I hope this sunrise is symbolic of the hope that the new year brings to those looking for a new beginning in their lives. Taken handheld using a Nikon D750 with AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

I hope this sunrise is symbolic of the hope that the new year brings to those looking for a new beginning in their lives. Taken handheld using a Nikon D750 with AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

Here’s wishing everyone a fantastic 2016, a new year that will bring new aspirations and immense fulfillment.

About the photo

Snapped this shot while strolling on the beach in Thailand a few weeks ago in pre-dawn darkness.

It was a rare shot for me in that the horizon was clear of the usual haze and layer of clouds so the rising sun could be seen emerging from the horizon itself.

It was breathtaking how the nascent sun lit up the sky with golden and red hues as it tore itself from the horizon.

New arrivals: Leica SL mirrorless system camera in Singapore

Friday, October 30th, 2015

The Leica SL (Type 601) body will be available in Singapore from 16 November 2015. The body is priced at S$11,000 while the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90 mm f/2.8–4 ASPH zoom lens will retail for S$6,850.

The Leica SL was first unveiled in Wetzlar, Germany on 20 October, 2015 and launched in Singapore on 30 October.

The Leica SL was first unveiled in Wetzlar, Germany on 20 October, 2015 and launched in Singapore on 30 October.

The Leica APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 1:2,8-4/90-280mm ASPH lens will be available Q2/2016, and the Leica Summilux-SL 1:1,4/50mm ASPH will be available Q4/2016.

Those interested can now pre-order their SL from all Leica Stores and Boutiques located at ION Orchard, Raffles Hotel Arcade and Mandarin Gallery, as well as authorised Leica dealers.

Below are more details from the press release.

The LEICA SL mirrorless system camera sets new standards in terms of speed, picture quality and versatility

Wetzlar, 20 October 2015 – The Leica SL system marks the beginning of a new era of professional photography made in Germany.

The Leica SL mirrorless system camera is impressive on account of its innovations in exceptional Leica quality. Its 24 MP full-frame CMOS sensor and perfectly matched components – from superiorquality lenses to its electronic viewfinder – guarantee exceptional imaging performance.

EyeRes viewfinder and touchscreen display for total control of every picture

Developed especially for the Leica SL, this electronic viewfinder is the first of its kind to feature Leica EyeRes technology.

With a latency time below the threshold of perception, an impressive resolution of 4.4 million pixels and a magnification reminiscent of a medium format camera, this electronic viewfinder offers an entirely new visual experience and numerous advantages.

The EyeRes viewfinder is activated simply by looking through it.

The EyeRes viewfinder is activated simply by looking through it.

The final image is visible in the viewfinder before the shutter release is pressed, which enables optimum control over the final picture in any situation.

In addition, the Leica SL also features a 2.95″ back panel display with a viewing angle of up to 170° that enables reliable viewing of pictures and efficient touchscreen menu navigation.

Maestro II processor for maximum performance

The high-performance Maestro II series processor guarantees that photographers never miss even the fastest-moving subjects and that the camera responds instantaneously to all commands.

Together with 2 GB of buffer memory, the processor makes it possible to capture consecutive exposures at rates of up to 11 frames per second at full 24 MP resolution and 4K video with a frame rate of 30 frames per second.

Pictures can be saved simultaneously to an SD memory card as both a JPEG and DNG in line with the fast UHS II standard.

Pictures can be saved simultaneously to an SD memory card as both a JPEG and DNG in line with the fast UHS II standard.

Thanks to its Maestro II series processor, the Leica SL achieves the best performance currently possible in the professional camera class and underlines the innovative character of the camera.

24 MP CMOS sensor for exceptional picture quality in 35 mm full-frame format

The 24 MP CMOS full-frame sensor guarantees impressive dynamic range, excellent contrast rendition, exceptional sharpness, the highest resolution, and noise-free images in almost all lighting conditions.

The shutter provides speeds from 30 minutes to 1/8000 sec.

The shutter provides speeds from 30 minutes to 1/8000 sec.

The sensor reveals its full potential in combination with Leica SL lenses, especially in available-light situations, and captivates users with atmospheric exposures in superior quality at ISO settings up to a maximum of 50,000.

What’s more, it is optimised for use with Leica M-Lenses and, in addition to supporting all their functions, delivers the excellent picture quality with which Leica has been synonymous for more than 100 years.

The new movie star: professional video in cinematic resolution

The Leica SL is much more than a professional still-picture camera with video recording capability: it fulfils even the most stringent demands of moviemakers as a fully-fledged video camera.

Thanks to its 24 MP CMOS sensor and highperformance Maestro II series processor, the Leica SL enables the production of professional videos in 4K resolution.

“This milestone for Leica Camera is a testament of Leica Camera’s commitment towards innovation. The Leica SL is the perfect tool for professional photographers; with the fastest autofocus in the professional full frame camera class,” says Sunil Kaul, Managing Director for Leica Asia Pacific.

Videos can be recorded in UHD at 30 frames per second or even in Cine4K at 24 frames per second.

In full HD, the Leica SL records video at up to 120 frames per second and makes use of the entire sensor area.

Here, the logical and intuitive handling concept of the camera makes a clear distinction between still- and motion-picture recording.

As soon as the camera is in video mode, the display shows only relevant information for video recording, such as safe area, aspect ratio, zebra function or the recording level of the microphone.

An optional audio adapter allows you to connect an external microphone and the audio recording level can be set without accessing the menu.

Videos can be output in 4:2:2 10-bit format in 4K resolution over HDMI 1.4.

Aluminium body for robust performance in everyday photography

From the beginning, resilience and robustness were at the focus of the Leica SL’s development.

Body components machined from solid aluminium and precisely engineered seals around controls and in the lenses provide optimum protection against dust, moisture and splashes for the sensitive technology inside.

“I’m confident this camera will befit photographers from all disciplines to make this their tool of choice. You have to try it for yourself,” Kaul adds.

At the same time, integrated ultrasonic sensor cleaning removes dust and dirt from the sensor.

The glass covering the back panel display is extremely scratch-resistant and features an anti-reflex coating.

All these properties make the camera an ideal tool for use in the rough, everyday conditions faced by professional photographers.

In the interplay between its equally classic and functional design and its distinctive lines, the Leica SL is another example of Leica’s fine art of engineering.

A new generation of lenses for excellent picture quality

The combination of outstanding imaging performance and the fastest autofocus currently possible makes working with the Leica SL an entirely new experience and enables photographers to produce images in a quality never before seen in 35 mm format.

True to Leica’s principles, the new lenses specific to the Leica SL are distinguished by superior optical and mechanical precision.

Leica SL body with three new lenses specifically designed for the camera.

Leica SL body with three new lenses specifically designed for the camera.

With its wide range of focal lengths and high speed, the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90 mm f/2.8–4 ASPH is the ideal standard zoom lens in the Leica SL-System portfolio.

The zoom range of the fast Leica APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 mm f/2.8–4 follows on directly from this and the current lens portfolio is rounded off by the Leica Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH, the new reference lens for this focal length.

Further Leica SL lenses will follow.

What’s more, the exceptional compatibility of the Leica SL-System grants photographers access to almost all Leica lenses ever made.

For instance, all lenses for the Leica T camera can be used without an adapter.

In addition, appropriate adapters allow Leica S, M, and R system lenses and lenses from other manufacturers to be mounted on the Leica SL.

Olympus firmware updates for OM-D E-M1 & E-M5 Mark II cameras

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Olympus will release – in November 2015 – v4.0 firmware update for OM-D E-M1 and v2.0 firmware update for OM-D E-M5 Mark II cameras.

v4.0 firmware update for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 (left) and v2.0 firmware update for OM-D E-m5 Mark II (right) cameras will be available in November 2015. Exact availability dates will be subsequently announced.

v4.0 firmware update for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 (left) and v2.0 firmware update for OM-D E-m5 Mark II (right) cameras will be available in November 2015. Exact availability dates will be subsequently announced.

The v4.0 firmware update for OM-D E-M1 (left) professional camera brings 18 new feature enhancements to video recording, macro photography and stealth shooting capabilities.

The v2.0 firmware update for OM-D E-M5 Mark II enthusiast camera will bring 9 new feature enhancements with the introduction of video specific enhancements for professional use.

More details of the updates are in the press release below.

E-M1 firmware v4.0

The fourth iteration of the OM-D E-M1 camera firmware (v4.0) introduces an extensive number of new or improved features that significantly broaden its imaging capabilities.

For video recording, 24 and 25P frame rates have been added to the camera’s existing Full HD video recording capability.

The video stabilisation algorithm has been completely revised to deliver a much higher level of dynamic image stability in handheld operations.

Two powerful new focus stacking and focus bracketing modes assist to improve depth of field for close-up imaging.

A new silent electronic shutter mode provides stealth shooting operation in delicate wildlife, concert and stage photography environments.

Other new feature highlights include 4K time-lapsed video recording, and a simulated optical viewfinder (S-OVF) mode that uses high-dynamic range technology for a traditional SLR viewfinder experience.

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POTD: Stairs to heaven at Masjid Abdul Gafoor in Singapore

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

The Abdul Gafoor Mosque is in Little India off Jalan Besar in Singapore. * The information in this article was derived from Wikipedia’s article on the mosque.

The rear facade of the Masjid Abdul Gafoor is actually two stairs that ascend to the cupola at its rooftop. Photo taken using a Canon EOS 5Ds and EF 50mm F1.4 USM prime lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

The rear facade of the Masjid Abdul Gafoor is actually two stairs that ascend to the cupola at its rooftop. Photo taken using a Canon EOS 5Ds and EF 50mm F1.4 USM prime lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

The area in which Masjid Abdul Gafoor was built is also known as Kampung Kapor, which was a centre of business activity for Indian merchants.

The mosque also served Muslims who worked at the old race course at Farrer Park.

The predecessor to the Masjid Abdul Gafoor at the location was an earlier mosque named Masjid Al-Abrar which was built in 1846 for the South Indian Muslim merchants and Baweanese syces and horse trainers living in the area.

The name of the mosque at the entrance. According to Wikipedia, “In 1881, a deed of assignment dated 14 November 1881 created the Dunlop Street Mosque Endowment or wakaf. The two trustees were Ismail Mansor and Shaik Abdul Gaffoor bin Shaik Hydert. Abdul Gaffoor was the chief clerk at a legal firm. The wakaf was created for the building of a mosque for the Muslim community in Singapore. The deed of assignment also placed in trust several other properties including a Muslim burial ground and a house in Race Course Road. The burial ground was closed in 1921.” Photo taken using a Canon EOS 5Ds and EF 50mm F1.4 USM prime lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

The name of the mosque at the entrance. According to Wikipedia, “In 1881, a deed of assignment dated 14 November 1881 created the Dunlop Street Mosque Endowment or wakaf. The two trustees were Ismail Mansor and Shaik Abdul Gaffoor bin Shaik Hydert. Abdul Gaffoor was the chief clerk at a legal firm. The wakaf was created for the building of a mosque for the Muslim community in Singapore. The deed of assignment also placed in trust several other properties including a Muslim burial ground and a house in Race Course Road. The burial ground was closed in 1921.” Photo taken using a Canon EOS 5Ds and EF 50mm F1.4 USM prime lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

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POTD: Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2015

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Here’s wishing all Muslim friends: “Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri”!

Hari Raya ornaments for the home, on sale at the night bazaar prior to the actual day. Photo taken with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. It was so crowded you’ve got to keep moving. The fast 65-point autofocus of the 7D Mark II enabled many shots to be taken sharp despite the hurry. Photo credit: John Tan.

Hari Raya ornaments for the home, on sale at the night bazaar prior to the actual day. Photo taken with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. It was so crowded you’ve got to keep moving. The fast 65-point autofocus of the 7D Mark II enabled many shots to be taken sharp despite the hurry. Photo credit: John Tan.

It’s Hari Raya Puasa today.

After a whole month of fasting during Ramadan, today is the day that our Muslim friends have been looking forward to.

A traditional henna tattoo being done on the hands of a gracious lady who accented to letting me capture the beautiful design on her hand. Photo taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

A traditional henna tattoo being done on the hands of a gracious lady who accented to letting me capture the beautiful design on her hand. Photo taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

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POTD: Who designed & built Eiffel Tower in Paris, France?

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

Photo of the Day: The Eiffel Tower is named after engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. His company designed and built the landmark in Paris in 1889.

View of the Trocadéro framed by the bottom of the Eiffel Tower. Taken with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

View of the Trocadéro framed by the bottom of the Eiffel Tower. Taken with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

According to Wikipedia, “the design of the Eiffel Tower was originated by Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, two senior engineers who worked for the Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel”.

This was the dude who brought the Eiffel Tower into this world - Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923). The bust was unveiled in 1929 and is now at the base of the Northern leg of the Tower. Taken with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

This was the dude who brought the Eiffel Tower into this world – Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923). The bust was unveiled in 1929 and is now at the base of the Northern leg of the Tower. Taken with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

The tower was to serve as a centrepiece for the Exposition Universelle to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution.

Incidentally, the first time I visited the Eiffel Tower was in 1989, smack in the middle of the bicentennial celebrations of the French Revolution.

Gustave Eiffel bought the rights to the patent for the design which the original designers had taken out and eventually saw the Tower to completion in time.

As with all things new, the design met with opposition and criticism right from design stage till after completion – but history has proven that the design is technically robust and aesthetically appealing.

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POTD: 3rd time lucky at Chambord Chateau in Loire Valley, France

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

After having twice turned back from visiting Chateau Chambord when I’d already reached its gates, I decided to make my third and final attempt at visiting this biggest and most majestic of the numerous fabulous chateaus in the beautiful Loire Valley.

The frontal facade of the Chambord Chateau, with the moat in the foreground. The architecture is what one expects of a typical castle - an inner keep surrounded by corners and a moat. Taken with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

The frontal facade of the Chambord Chateau, with the moat in the foreground. The architecture is what one expects of a typical castle – an inner keep surrounded by corner towers and a moat. Taken with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

Why two unsuccessful attempts?

Well, my first attempt at visiting Château de Chambord was during the summer holidays back in school when I cycled 16km from Blois only to suffer an accident right in front of the castle.

One of many beautiful chandeliers in Chambord Chateau. Taken with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

One of many beautiful chandeliers in Chambord Chateau. Taken with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

I had to satisfy myself with some quick snapshots of the front of the Chateau before bidding goodbye to the chateau.

Decades later, I brought my family with two kids on a self-drive vacation to the chateaus in the Loire Valley.

By the end of the week and more than half a dozen chateaus later, we arrived again at the gates of the Chambord Chateau in the mid afternoon.

By then, the kids were so tired out from our earlier exertions of that day that they were so totally knackered we couldn’t bear to wake them from their sleep in the car.

And to be honest, my wife and I were up to our ears in chateaus by that time.

So my wife and I snapped the obligatory snapshots of each other posing with the (equally majestic) rear facade of the chateau within a stone’s throw of where our car was parked.

Enjoy a horse carriage ride on the extensive grounds of the Chambord Chateau. Horse lovers can also watch twice daily equestrian shows at the chateau. Taken with an Olympus OMD-EM5 Mark II with M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

Enjoy a horse carriage ride on the extensive grounds of the Chambord Chateau. Horse lovers can also watch twice daily equestrian shows at the chateau. Taken with an Olympus OMD-EM5 Mark II with M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens. Photo credit: KoolKat.

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