photokina Special Coverage; New Lenses For 35mm And Digital SLR Cameras: The D-SLR Lens Ship Comes In Page 2

Lenses For Samsung D-SLRs
Now that Samsung is marketing three D-SLR cameras (with Pentax AF mount) the company is increasing the number of new lenses for their system. Five new digital-only products will be available by the time you read this: the 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 ED fisheye, the Schneider 12-24mm f/4 ED AL ultra-wide, the wide angle 16-45mm f/4 ED AL, and the Schneider 35mm f/2 AL, plus a Macro lens, the Schneider D-Xenon 100mm f/2.8. Although these models bear the Schneider-KREUZNACH or the Samsung logo, all are similar to existing Pentax lenses in many respects. That's not a complaint at all, since the comparable lenses are among some of the best in the Pentax line, featuring ED (Extra low Dispersion) and/or AL (Aspherical) elements and extensive multilayered coatings for flare control.

Samsung 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 ED

Samsung 12-24mm f/4 ED AL

Samsung 16-45mm f/4 ED AL

Pentax Ultrasonic Series
Following a trend that is common in several other brands, Pentax will be manufacturing some lenses with a fast/silent ultrasonic focus motor. Designated as the DA* series, these lenses will be sealed to resist dust and water to match the similarly sealed Pentax K10D. Do note, however, that the Ultrasonic series is compatible only with the K10D (and presumably, with the Samsung Digimax GX-10) as well as future cameras. The first group, to be available in March 2007, will include the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL [IF], DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED [IF], and the DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF]. Prices and specifications for these zooms were not yet available at our press time, but they will be high-grade lenses as suggested by the wide maximum apertures as well as the ED (Extra low Dispersion), AL (Aspherical), and IF (Internal Focus) designations.

Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED [IF]

Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF]

Pentax DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL [IF]

Zeiss Lenses For Nikon
Expanding its line of Nikon manual focus (AIS) lenses, Zeiss has introduced four new ZF-series models with high-grade T* multilayered coatings and all-metal barrels. They are suitable for use with either 35mm or digital Nikon SLRs. However, do note that most recent Nikon cameras disengage light metering unless an AF or AI-P series lens is used; for compatibility with AI lenses, check the Nikon web page for each specific D-SLR model. A wide angle duo, the Zeiss Distagon T* 25mm f/2.8 ZF and 35mm f/2 ZF ($824, each, list) are said to provide exceptional image quality.

The other two Zeiss products are macro lenses, with a maximum magnification of 0.5x, boasting incredibly wide maximum apertures, ideal for low-light focusing and shooting. The Makro-Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZF ($1124, list) employs a "floating element" optical system intended for very high image quality over the entire focusing range. And the 100mm f/2 ZF ($1749, list) features an optical design originally developed for a "cine" lens for optimal image quality even at f/2. Zeiss does not publish specifics about the types of glass employed, but historically, the company has had an enviable reputation for superior optical quality.

Zeiss Distagon T* 25mm f/2.8 ZF

Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2 ZF

All-Purpose Zooms
Back when most of us were shooting with 35mm SLR cameras, the 28-200mm and 28-300mm zooms were the best sellers in many brands. Now that D-SLR cameras are far more popular, the 18-200mm zooms have become more common. But Tamron has gone a step beyond those models with the new digital-only AF18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro lens, a compact (62mm filter size) lightweight (15.2 oz) that's ideal when you want to carry only a single lens. Although the price will fall into the affordable category (price not yet set) this zoom is loaded with great features: an LD (Low Dispersion) and an AD (Anomalous Dispersion) element to control aberrations, close focusing to 17.7" at all focal lengths plus multilayered coatings. (Available mounts: Canon, Nikon D, Pentax, and Sony/Maxxum.)

Sigma's new 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS digital-only zoom is particularly desirable because it incorporates an Optical Image Stabilizer that compensates for the effects of camera shake. This device allows for shooting at longer shutter speeds without a tripod, with less need to use high ISO levels that can degrade image quality. Two pieces of SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass plus two hybrid aspherical lenses should provide fine image quality with this compact (62mm filter size) and relatively lightweight (14.3 oz) zoom. The use of new multilayered coatings is said to reduce flare and ghosting, a common problem with D-SLR's highly reflective sensors, while providing optimum color balance. (Available mounts: Canon, Sigma, Nikon, and Pentax.)

Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZF

Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 ZF

Tamron AF18-250mm f/3.5-6.3

Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS