Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 Lens Now Available

sigma 17-50mm lens for picture-soup.com news itemYesterday, Sigma Corporation announced the release of its new 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM lens. The lens was first introduced at the PMA show earlier this year. The lens is designed for DSLRs that utilize the smaller APS-C sized image sensor.

The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 11-inches throughout the entire zoom range and a maximum magnification of 1:5. It is currently available only in the Canon mount, with Nikon, Sigma, Sony, and Pentax mounts becoming available in the coming weeks.

For Sony and Pentax shooters who are using cameras that offer in-camera stabilization, they can utilize the anti-shake system of the lens or camera body.

MSRP for the 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM lens is $980.

For more details, visit www.sigmaphoto.com.

— D.B.

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Book Review: Camera, A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital

By Diane Berkenfeld

Camera, A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital, (ISBN 9781402756566) is an impressive volume tracing photography from the earliest cameras through present day digitals. The book is written by Todd Gustavson, the technology curator for the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, and published by Sterling Innovation, an imprint of Sterling Publishing (www.sterlingpublishing.com). The book, which spans a timeline of almost 200 years, includes photographs of over 350 cameras from the collection, as well as more than 100 historic photos, ads, and drawings, and tops out at 368 pages.

The George Eastman House is the oldest photography museum in the world. The museum’s collections include 400,000 photographs from 9,000 photographers; more than 20,000 items of camera technology; and one of the world’s most comprehensive library of photographic books, manuscripts, and journals. Author Todd Gustavson has been working with the museum’s technology collection of 20,000+ artifacts, for more than 20 years.

“Each camera represents an insight—some by a single inventor, others by a team of scientists and engineers—that there was a way to do things better,” writes Gustavson in the book’s introduction, to the reasoning behind those cameras included. In addition to the history of cameras, from the very first known photograph through modern day, special cameras from the George Eastman House collections that were owned by renowned photographers were also included as well as some of the most iconic imagery by these photographers, using those cameras that are now part of the Eastman House collection.

“While choosing collection items for the book, it was continually exciting to access the Eastman House archives, which feature both the images and the cameras that together tell the story of the history of photography,” said Gustavson. “This is the first time a book has showcased photographic history in this way, illustrating a photograph next to the camera that took the image, either the exact model or in most cases the actual camera.”

The book features the first faint image caught by Niepce’s camera obscura in 1826, Joe Rosenthal’s Speed Graphic, which took the Pulitzer Prize-winning image of the flag raising at Iwo Jima; and two cameras owned and used by Alfred Stieglitz that created his famed photographs of New York City and wife, Georgia O’Keefe.

Camera also features artifacts such as the Giroux daguerreotype camera from 1839, signed by Daguerre; an 1840 full-plate daguerreotype camera owned by Samuel A. Bemis, one of the first cameras sold in the United States; an 1860 sliding-box camera from Mathew Brady’s studio; a 1884 Racetrack camera owned by Eadweard Muybridge; the earliest-known Kodak camera, no. 6 off the line in 1888; and a 1900 Brownie from the first month of production. Also included in the book are Ansel Adams’ own Brownie and Kodak Vest Pocket cameras; the pre-production model from the O-Series Leica; a NASA Lunar Orbiter from 1966; and the first digital camera, created by Kodak’s Steve Sasson in1975, along with an image it created.

Also included are Deardoff and the Sinar P2 large format cameras; Hasselblad, Mamiya and Rolleiflex medium format cameras, Pentax, Minox, Nikon, Canon, Olympus, and Minolta cameras are also included, among other less known brands; Edwin Land’s Polaroid cameras including the popular SX-70; and the Kodak Handle Instant Camera, which was an instant camera introduced in 1977, but was short lived when Kodak lost a patent suit to Polaroid. Early Fuji Quicksnap, the first one-time-use camera is included too.

I think Camera is a wonderful treasure trove of photographic history, however I feel it ends too abruptly in the digital age. Early cameras—both Kodak branded and those made by others—are featured in great length. But when the book reaches film cameras of the late twentieth century and modern-day digitals, I can think of at least a dozen additional cameras that might have been included.

(I will preface the following list by saying I don’t know if these cameras are part of the Eastman House collection.) These include: APS or Advanced Photo System film cameras; the Ricoh RDC-1, an early digital with direct modem access; the Minolta Dimage V, which had a lens that could be removed from the body and attached via a yard-long cable for shooting; the Kodak EasyShare V570 with its dual lenses, and the Sigma SD9, the first camera to utilize the Foveon X3 image sensor. I would even go so far as to say the Polaroid 20×24 camera should have been included.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the early miniature and spy cameras of the 1800s. I also enjoyed seeing the actual cameras (in most cases) that were used to capture some of the most famous images. I wonder if the Eastman House collection includes more of these camera/photograph combinations. Also interesting was the included essays by Steve Sasson, the father of the digital camera. For the average digital camera/photography enthusiast, who may have never heard of Sasson, the expanded coverage is a treat.

Camera, A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital would be a great addition to the library of any camera enthusiast or photographer. With the price of $45, the book is well worth the investment.

For more information about the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, go to www.eastmanhouse.org.

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Product Review: Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS Lens

Article & Images By Diane Berkenfeld

The Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS telephoto zoom lens is the second lens from Sigma that I’ve tested out, and have to say it is a nice piece of glass. The lens, which incorporates an Optical Stabilizer, is compatible with Nikon, Canon, Sony/Minolta, and Pentax mount bodies.

Minimum focusing distance is 59.1-inches, and the lens uses a 62mm filter. The lens offers a 34.3 degree angle of view at the wide 70mm end and 8.2 degrees of view zoomed in at 300mm. Aperture range is f/4-5.6 through f/22. For a lens with such a wide zoom range, it’s not extremely heavy, weighing in at only 610 grams. The lens has a nine blade diaphragm, and although it isn’t an f/2.8 lens, it does offer a nice out of focus blur at f/4.

Designed for use with DSLRs that incorporate full frame image sensors, the lens can also be used with camera bodies that use the smaller APS-C sized sensors. When used on a camera with an APS-C sensor, the lens effectively becomes a 100-450mm lens.

According to Sigma, for the Sony and Pentax mount lenses, you can use the optical stabilizer even if the camera body has a built-in anti-shake function.

The 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS lens uses Special Low Dispersion glass elements. The Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting, providing high contrast throughout the entire focal range.

While shooting an outdoor concert by the band Finally Balanced, I zoomed in to 300mm, on the drummers gear.

Bringing the image into Adobe Lightroom, and zooming in, you can clearly make out the lettering on the medallion on the drum.

I’ve been using the lens on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II body, and found it to be quick to focus, producing sharp images. Canon’s 5D Mark II has a full frame image sensor, so the lens was accurate at the 70-300mm zoom range. The images from this lens were as sharp as I’ve seen with Canon brand lenses.

As I mentioned in the review of the Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle zoom, posted on Picture-soup.com last summer, there are folks who don’t think third-party lenses are as good as those made by the camera maker. From my experience using Sigma lenses I think they’re definitely worth the money. The money you save by buying a Sigma lens doesn’t come with degradation in quality.

Singer/guitarist Dave Christian, of the band Finally Balanced. At its widest aperture of f/4, the lens provides a nice blur to the background.

These images were taken during a family portrait shoot. They were converted to B&W in Lightroom, and saved as a four-up for printing.

MSRP of the lens is $599.00. For more information, check out the website at www.sigmaphoto.com.

To read the Picture-soup.com review of the Sigma 10-20mm f/3-5 EX DC HSM lens, click here.

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Industry Volunteerism: PMDA Soldiers' Angels Portraits of Love Project Serves Families of Armed Forces Serving Abroad

PMDA soldiersangels logo

The PMDA Soldiers’ Angels Portraits of Love project is a great volunteer program within the photo industry that we here at Picture Soup wanted to share with our visitors. The PMDA (Photo Manufacturers and Distributors Association) has partnered with the Soldiers’ Angels volunteer organization to create the PMDA Soldiers’ Angels Portraits of Love Project, with the goal of taking the portraits of 10,000 families of service men and women who are serving abroad this September and send both the families and the service men and women a print by the holiday season—at no cost to the families.

You can find out more about this great volunteer effort within the photo industry by going to the website www.pmdaportraitsoflove.com. You can also sign up to volunteer as a photographer via the website; or as a military family, you can find a participating photographer.

As an industry we think this is a great way that photographers can share their talents while bringing families of those serving in our armed forces around the world a little closer for the holidays.

Along with PMDA, Fujifilm, SeeHere.com, Independent Photo Imagers (IPI), Nikon, Canon, Tamron, Samsung, Pentax, Olympus, Microsoft, HP, GE, Casio, ArcSoft, National Geographic Magazine, Cameo Style, Popular Photography magazine, Photo Industry Reporter, Tiffen, and American Photo magazine are also sponsoring this program.

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