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Useful features include a One-Touch focus clutch that allows for manual override in Autofocus mode plus fast internal focusing and non-rotating barrel. As expected from a Pro-series Tokina lens, the optical construction includes two aspherical elements, low dispersion glass plus a Super Low Disperson element. Although its f/4 maximum aperture requires optical elements of wide diameter, this zoom is surprisingly affordable. (Street price: $549 in Canon or Nikon mount.)

Somewhat unusual in this era of zoom lenses, the new Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM is a super fast "normal" lens available for Canon, Nikon, and Sigma digital SLRs. It incorporates two SLD elements to correct "magnification chromatic aberration" at wide apertures plus one glass-molded aspherical element to reduce color aberration; the combination should produce fine image quality with high contrast. As an HSM lens, the 30mm f/1.4 EX DC provides fast/silent focusing, full-time manual focus override, and 15.7" close focusing. Quite compact (2.3" long; 62mm filter size), this exceptionally fast lens will be ideal for low-light photography and for making images with shallow depth of field. (Estimated street price: $259.)

Sigma APO 80-400mm

Longer Lenses
Canon's first EF-S series Macro lens was designed for use exclusively with the EOS 20D and the EOS Digital Rebel bodies. (Many future digital EOS bodies will also accept the small EF-S series lenses.) The EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro (96mm equivalent) provides a true 1x (or life-size) magnification at the minimum focus distance of 7.9". A wide aperture lens great for low-light focusing, this one also includes a fast, nearly silent Ultra Sonic focusing motor, plus 12-element construction with internal focusing for crisp, high-contrast corner to corner detail. The use of special Super Spectra lens coatings suppresses flare and ghosting and produces superior color balance. (A lens hood is optional, however.) This Macro lens is compatible with the (optional) extension tubes EF 12 II and EF 25 II for even closer focusing and larger than life images. (List price: $449.)

The 28-300mm zooms have been best sellers for several years because they cover 80 percent of the most popular focal lengths when used with a 35mm camera. Two companies now offer similar lenses exclusively for digital SLR owners with full digital optimization technology. The Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC is compact and lightweight (3.1" long; 62mm filter size; 14.4 oz) and employs a conventional focus motor with internal focusing for a non-rotating barrel plus close focusing to 17.7". The two SLD glass elements plus two hybrid aspherical elements should provide high image quality at all focal lengths. This affordable zoom is available for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sigma cameras and should become a best seller in the DC line. (Estimated street price: $349.)

Tamron's AF18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro boasts an impressive design with XR (Extra Refractive Index) glass, three hybrid aspherical plus two LD (Low Dispersion) elements to correct all types of aberrations. This zoom is highly desirable due to its small size (3.3" long; 62mm filter size; 14.9 oz), close focusing to 17.7", and a zoom lock that prevents unwanted barrel extension when carrying the lens/camera combination. It is available in Canon AF, Konica Minolta AF-D, Nikon AF-D, and Pentax AF mounts. (Estimated street price: $399.)

Tokina AF 12-24mm

The latest zoom designed exclusively for the Pentax *ist D cameras, the new SMC Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED (76.5-306mm equivalent), features a "Quick-Shift Focus System" that allows for instantly switching from auto to manual focus with a slight twist of the focus ring. An Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass lens element and two aspherical lens elements should provide fine image quality, while the SMC multilayered coatings will minimize flare and ghosting. The new design also contributes to a drastic reduction in size (2.6" long; 52mm filter), weight (9.2 oz), and production cost for greater portability and affordability. (Estimated street price: $299.)

Continuing to expand its line of pro-grade zooms for the E-1 and EVOLT, Olympus has announced the "fastest lenses ever designed for digital photography." The new Zuiko Digital ED 14-35mm f/2.0 (28-70mm equivalent), ED 35-100mm f/2.0 (70-200mm equivalent), and the ED 90-250mm f/2.8 (180-500mm equivalent) were designed to meet professional specifications. They employ Super ED or ED (low dispersion) elements to eliminate chromatic aberration, essential in such fast lenses, and are said to deliver excellent color fidelity as well as superior edge to edge sharpness and definition. These rugged splashproof units are large and heavy as you might expect; all include separate zoom and focus rings for great convenience. Since these Zuiko Digital zooms will not be shipping until October, prices have not yet been set and photos are not available.

Manufacturers/Distributors' addresses can be found on page 176.

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