Sigma surprised pretty much everyone by announcing a new zoom lens for APS-C digital cameras, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM lens. This represents a new milestone in zoom lenses, as no one has ever made a constant aperture f/1.8 zoom lens for this format before now. Professional-class zoom lenses have topped out at f/2.8 for most manufacturers until this introduction, although Olympus made some high quality zoom lenses for the standard 4/3s format with an aperture of f/2. With the new Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, the range is somewhat limited (in 35mm equivalent terms, this is a 27-52.5mm lens), but this lens will reach new heights in limited depth of field for a zoom lens and could conceivably replace several lens in a photographer's bag. This is also part of Sigma's "A" series lenses, which stands for "Art," so we can expect smooth bokeh and high resolution. The lens features 17 elements in 12 groups, a fairly complicated design, with 4 glass-molded aspherical elements and 5 Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements. Lately, Sigma has been on a roll and this is a lens to look forward to. Kudos to Sigma! Makes you wonder what else they have up their sleeves.
[Update: The dye transfer sale sold out after a few hours. And that, as they say, is that!]
The blog known as The Online Photographer will be hosting another print sale and this time, it will be something different and special. Photographer and writer Ctein will be selling off the last of his dye transfer prints and The Online Photographer is hosting this event. Ctein (pronounced "kuh-tine") is a prolific writer, having written more than 2000 articles on photography over the years for magazines like Darkroom Techniques and two books, PostExposure and Digital Photo Restoration, and he is one of the last and best photographers and printmakers to work in the demanding and now mostly lost art of the dye transfer print.
A dye transfer print was made by taking a transparency or color negative and creating three negatives that separated out the colors into cyan, magenta, and yellow for printing, and then soaking each of the negatives in dye (cyan, magenta, and yellow dyes) and separately pressing each of the dye-soaked negatives onto the print in perfect register to make a full color print. Done right, a dye transfer print is one of the best looking color prints that have ever been made. I own one of Ctein's original dye transfers and it is indeed one of my favorites in my collection. However, Kodak stopped making the supplies for this process many years ago in 1993, but Ctein mortgaged his house to buy what he thought was a lifetime supply of the dyes, matirix films, and print paper. And now, he is at the end of those supplies.
So Ctein and Mike Johnston will sell off the remaining prints that Ctein can make, which is around 160 16x20-inch prints. After these are made and sold, Ctein will be out of supplies for good and will close down his wet darkroom. Of course, he will continue to work in digital and with ink jet printers. These dye transfer prints will sell for $575 each, which is about 1/3 of his regular price. You'll be able to see what images he will offer for this last printing today at The Online Photographer. The sale will last for 5 days or until the 160 prints are sold. If you can spare the cash, this is an opportunity that you will not get a second chance to buy.
Blackmagic Designs from Australia have announced a new Micro 4/3s based point-and-shoot camera designed for movie making, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. The specs are impressive: Super 16 sensor size, dynamic range of 13 stops, SD card recording, choice of ProRez 422 or lossless CinemaDNG recording formats, uses the Micro 4/3s lens mount, and records in 1080HD resolution at either 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97 or 30 fps. This pocket-sized movie camera is designed to go where a full-sized camera cannot fit and promises to deliver nearly the same image quality. And the price will be around $995 for the body! Not bad at all.
They've also announced an updated version of their regular cinema camera, to be called the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, that will have full 4K resolution, has a Canon EF compatible lens mount, and will sell for $3,995 (body alone). Considering the cost of a RED camera, that's pretty good.