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Leaked: Tokina to announce Opera 50mm F1.4 FF and FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF lenses

by on Feb.22, 2018, under Reviews

It seems Tokina is preparing to release two new lenses at CP+, and thanks to some last-minute photo and spec leaks courtesy of Nokishita, we get a peek ahead of schedule. The leaked lenses are the Opera 50mm F1.4 FF for Canon EF and Nikon F mount, and the FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF for Sony E-Mount.

Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF

According to the leaked specs, the Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF will be dust and weather resistant and features an ultrasonic motor, a focus ring that rotates the same direction as that of a genuine Canon or Nikon lens, and an electromagnetic iris system for Nikon shooters (a first for Tokina).

No pricing info has been leaked, but the Opera 50mm F1.4 FF is allegedly scheduled for announcement on February 28th, and will ship in September of 2018.

Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF

Meanwhile, the new Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF will replace the FíRIN 20mm F2 FE MF lens released in September of 2016, and judging by the name alone, you can bet the new lens will add autofocus capability to its 1.5-year-old manual focus predecessor.

Leaked specs indicate this lens will be largely unchanged from the 2016 version otherwise. Identical specs include: 13 lens elements in 11 groups, 62mm filter thread, minimum focus of 0.28m, and a 9-blade aperture. Somehow they’ve managed to trim the weight down from 490g to 464g, but we’ll have to wait for official specs to confirm that (and our assumption about the addition of autofocus).

We don’t have any pricing info on this one either, but the new FíRIN 20mm F2 will allegedly be announced officially within 24 hours, and ships at the end of April.

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The Chroma is a lightweight, affordable, easy-to-use 5×4 field camera

by on Feb.21, 2018, under Reviews

A UK photographer and custom-built camera maker has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a new 5×4-inch field camera that he intends to be lightweight, easy-to-use, unique, affordable and upgradable… as well as a bit funky. To that end, the Chroma will be made from brightly colored sheets of acrylic, laser-cut for accuracy.

Steve Lloyd has spent fifteen years creating custom cameras as one-offs, but decided to make a production 5×4 camera using modern materials and technologies.

The 3mm and 5mm acrylic sheets he uses allow cameras to be made in a range of colors—including Red, Pink, Blue, White, Green, Matte Black, Glossy Black, Purple and Yellow—while the lightweight nature of the material means the Chroma will weigh much less than a traditional wooden model. Even with the ground glass screen, the camera weighs just 1592g.

Here’s a quick intro to the colorful Chroma camera:

Lloyd has designed Chroma to provide a good range of movements in both the front and rear standards, with 40mm of rise and fall when both standards are in operation, and 30mm of shift in either direction at the front. Both standards allow 45° of tilt forwards and backwards, and Lloyd claims swing is limited only by the coverage of the lens in use and the ability of the bellows to flex.

The camera uses a clever back that is fixed with magnets built into the body, so it can be lifted off and rotated in seconds. The back is designed for standard 5×4 double dark slides, and Lloyd says he is working on designs for roll film and Graflok backs, as well as one for wet plate holders.

When fully extended the Chroma can stretch its bellows to 300mm, and it can be used with focal lengths from 65mm to 280mm. In the extended pose the camera measures 180x330x235mm, but it folds away to just 210x180x117mm.

The camera comes with a ground glass screen and a pin-hole lens to get new 5×4 photographers started. Users can choose Copal 0, 1 or 3 sized holes in a Linhof/Wista-style lens board, and those with existing Linhof/Wista boards will be able to fit them.

The Chroma starts at £250 (approx $350) for Kickstarter backers, and Lloyd says he expects to deliver between June and November 2018 according to the pledge you choose. Of course, no crowdfunding campaign is a guarantee, but given he’s already raised over $40K on a $13K goal, Lloyd is well on his way to a successful delivery.

For more information or if you want to put down a pledge and pick up a Chroma for yourself, visit the camera’s Kickstarter page.

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Drone may have caused helicopter crash in South Carolina

by on Feb.20, 2018, under Reviews

Officials are investigating whether a recent helicopter crash near Charleston, South Carolina, was caused by a civilian drone operated nearby. The accident, which happened last Wednesday, involved a Robinson Helicopter Co. R22 helicopter carrying an instructor pilot and student.

The two are reporting that a small UAV flew directly in their path, forcing the instructor to perform evasive action. That evasive action, unfortunately, caused the helicopter’s tail to hit a tree, which sent the helicopter into a crash landing, according to Bloomberg. Sources speaking to the publication report that the helicopter’s tail was severely damaged; fortunately, neither person was injured.

A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman confirmed to Bloomberg that it is looking into initial reports claiming a drone contributed to the crash. Assuming that’s true, this would be the first time that a drone has caused an aircraft crash in the US. The FAA hasn’t commented on the possibly of a drone’s involvement.

Reports of drones being operated illegally, near-misses with aircraft, and even possible collisions are increasing. In recent days, a video surfaced of a drone being operated directly above a commercial passenger jet in Las Vegas. Following that, more recent reports claim a drone struck a tour helicopter in Hawaii. Canadian officials also recently released a report detailing a collision between a drone and a small plane.

Though the drone model hasn’t been stated (and may not be known), Chinese drone maker DJI has preemptively released a statement on the matter, saying:

DJI is trying to learn more about this incident and stands ready to assist investigators. While we cannot comment on what may have happened here, DJI is the industry leader in developing educational and technological solutions to help drone pilots steer clear of traditional aircraft.

Last year, DJI introduced a system called AeroScope that helps law enforcement and airport officials identify drones being operated in restricted airspace.

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