Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The explosion of new mirrorless lenses leaves DSLRs in the dust

This week’s spate of new commercials for mirrorless camera lenses from Sigma, Tamron, and 7Artisans. This shows that the camera world is recovering from the pandemic downturn – accelerating the growing gap between mirrors and DSLRs.

Within days we saw exciting new lenses from Sigma, Tamron, and 7Artisans for all major mirrorless tripods. And now Canon has joined the battle (unofficially at least) with some new patents held by Canon News for some modest f/1.4s. Which promises the number for its RF mount has revealed.

There is no doubt that the effects of the pandemic on supply chains and production have slowed the rapid development of new mirrorless lenses for Canon and Nikon. Nikon was forced to formally deny that its Z-mount lenses had been impacted by the delay in May of last year.
But this week has shown that innovative mirrorless lenses, even if some are called “development messages”, are in the works. What about DSLRs? The latest news is just the opposite. Sony has officially ceased selling its A-mount DSLRs in the United States. While Canon EF-mount and Nikon F-mount DSLR lenses are experiencing a series of disruptions.

On the other hand, Sony’s cameraless camera is the undisputed winner this week. The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2/8 for E-Mount is a very attractive new option for all those who need a highly flexible focus area combined with a bright maximum aperture in a relatively small case.

The announcement of the Sigma 150-600mm 1: 5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports (below) is equally exciting for owners of Sony, Panasonic or Leica cameras. Based on the lenses of older and equivalent Sigma DSLR cameras. This lens offers a very large magnification range for the relatively low price of $1,499 / £1,199. While it will not be available as soon as Tamron’s latest announcement, pre-orders have already begun.
But it’s not just full-frame SLRs that get all the bang for the buck this week. Lenses for Sony, Fujifilm, Canon and Nikon APS-C cameras, as well as Micro Four Thirds housings from Olympus and Panasonic. These are all available from China-based company 7Artisans.

And in perhaps the most symbolic fuse change, the Nikon Zfc – which is actually the mirror arm of the Nikon FM2 SLR. Thanks to the TArtisan f.50 mm lens. Their first third-party Z-mount lens in a matching retro/1.2, 35mm f/1.4 and 17mm f/1.4 style offering. The only real question with all this news is how quickly it can be produced to meet demand.

Glass Ruler

The arrival of a wide variety of mirrorless lenses this week doesn’t deny that DSLR cameras are still ahead of the curve with the sheer number of lenses available. But the quality and innovation of the new mirror lenses are truly impressive. And it also make 2021 a possible turning point in camera history.

This week we tested two great new macro options for Nikon and Canon mirrorless cameras. The Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S and the Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM (spoiler, gets five stars). And while there are still gaps in the camera giant’s mirrorless composition. Most of them are filled or will be finished by the end of the year.

In addition, almost every new first-hand mirrorless lens offers a significant leap in quality compared to equivalent DSLRs. This is understandable because the mirror designs of lenses are more complex. Which allows them to take edge-to-edge sharpness to a new level and control lens distortion at large apertures.

All of this is, of course, just a continuation of the 2020 trend, which CIPA says is the first year of more SLR shipments. And that certainly doesn’t mean DSLRs are bad cameras or not worth considering right now. In terms of value, they’re hard to beat given the market forces used for DSLRs and lenses.

But the recent craze for the Nikon Z9 and Canon EOS R3 at the Olympics – where two full-frame SLRs seem to compete as fiercely as athletes. And a spate of new lens announcements this week suggest that mirrorless is now the only game in the world. World City is for the new camera. And by the end of 2021, they may have ruined the chance to see a new DSLR.

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