Canon Announces the EOS Ra, Its First Mirrorless Astrophotography Camera

The post Canon Announces the EOS Ra, Its First Mirrorless Astrophotography Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Canon eos raCanon has announced its first astrophotography camera since the Canon 60Da, which is also its first-ever mirrorless astrophotography camera:

The Canon EOS Ra.

The EOS Ra isn’t a particularly flashy camera; it’s the Canon EOS R, along with a few special features designed for astrophotographers. But if you’re looking to take photos of the night sky, the Canon EOS Ra may be exactly what you need.

Canon eos ra

What makes this camera special?

First, Canon has added a special IR filter in front of the sensor, one that promises to increase transmission of the H-alpha wavelength by approximately four times the amount of the standard EOS R. Most cameras include an IR filter that reduces H-alpha wavelength transmission. But the H-alpha wavelength features heavily in celestial phenomena such as diffuse nebulae; the enhanced transmission should make for clearer, sharper images of these astronomical objects.

And second, Canon added enhanced EVF and LCD viewing. You can zoom in to 5x or 30x magnification using either the LCD or the electronic viewfinder, which allows you to focus on celestial objects with increased precision.

Canon Announces the EOS Ra, Its First Mirrorless Astrophotography Camera

Note that the Canon EOS Ra offers all the other features of the EOS R, including a 30.3 MP sensor, the DIGIC 8 processor, continuous shooting at 8 frames per second, and Canon’s amazing Dual Pixel autofocus.

So who should get the Canon EOS Ra? And how does it perform when shooting subjects other than the night sky?

The Canon EOS Ra is designed for astrophotographers, and I recommend you keep it that way. While all the EOS R features are present, the altered IR filter may cause issues when photographing non-celestial subjects. Plus, the EOS Ra has a few hundred dollars added to its price tag, selling for $2499 USD compared to the $1799 USD Canon EOS R. For non-astrophotographers, purchasing the EOS Ra will be throwing away unnecessary dollars.

But for astrophotographers, the Canon EOS Ra is a fantastic option.

The camera is currently available for preorder and should debut in mid-December 2019.

What do you think about the Canon EOS Ra? And for all the astrophotographers out there: Will you be using it for astrophotography?

The post Canon Announces the EOS Ra, Its First Mirrorless Astrophotography Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Nikon Announces the Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, it’s fastest lens ever!

The post Nikon Announces the Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, it’s fastest lens ever! appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 NoctNikon has just announced its latest Z-mount lens:

The Nikkor Z 58mm S Noct lens, which includes a whopping f/0.95 maximum aperture. The lens is slated to hit the shelves on October 31st, and it will debut with considerable hype, having snagged the designation as the fastest Nikkor lens ever made.

For those of us who have been waiting for Nikon to make good on its claims that the Z-mount’s 55mm diameter allows for the production of better optics, this new lens should give us a hint of what’s to come. But while the f/0.95 maximum aperture is eye-catching, is it actually useful? And will photographers actually be interested in this lens?

Let’s take a closer look.

While lenses with ultra-wide apertures are rarely small, the Nikkor 58mm f/0.95 sits on the other extreme, with a weight of nearly 4.5 lbs (2 kg). This comes from its aperture, the 17 lens elements, and a magnesium alloy construction. Of course, there are real benefits to all these features, such as higher optical quality and increased ruggedness. But is it worth the cost? For many, a huge benefit of mirrorless setups is the decreased size and weight. Yet this lens won’t be at all convenient to carry around. Plus, all that glass takes up a lot of space, which is why it’s packed into a 6-inch (15.3 cm) body.

Note also that an f/0.95 aperture will provide a very small plane of focus. And given that this lens only focuses manually to begin with, you may struggle somewhat to lock onto your subjects with speed.

The lens is primarily designed for astrophotographers and other night shooters (hence the ‘Noct’ designation). And for astrophotographers, the shallow depth of field won’t be a problem, as they rarely need to think about depth of field anyway. But ambitious portrait photographers may find themselves frustrated by the combination of a shallow plane of focus at f/0.95 and a manual focus lens, and anyone who tries to lock on subjects other than the night sky may come away from shoots without much luck.

Now, don’t get me wrong:

The Nikon 58mm f/0.95 is most likely an incredible lens, optically speaking. Nikon is promising amazing sharpness, and I expect this will be borne out in tests. I’m also impressed by the wide aperture, which will allow for unprecedented shooting in low light and at night. Astrophotographers, in particular, will like this lens, regardless of its size.

But at the same time, it’s hard not to wonder whether many other photographers will be interested. Especially because Nikon’s MSRP for this new lens is an incredible $7999.95 USD.

So now I’d like to ask you:

What do you think? Would you be interested in this lens? Will anyone buy it? Is there anything you would’ve preferred Nikon scrap or modify?

Let me know in the comments!

The post Nikon Announces the Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, it’s fastest lens ever! appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Five Foot Lens and 3.2 Gigapixel Camera Produced for Night Sky Photos

The post Five Foot Lens and 3.2 Gigapixel Camera Produced for Night Sky Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Image: L1 Lens of the camera polished and coated with a broadband antireflective coating by Safran-R...

L1 Lens of the camera polished and coated with a broadband antireflective coating by Safran-Reosc. LSST Project/NSF/AURA.

Last month, engineers packaged up the largest optical lens ever created, before shipping it 17 hours from Tuscon, Arizona to the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in central California.

The lens is five feet in diameter and four inches thick; it required a truck to transport it. It was attached to an additional (3.9 foot) lens element when shipped, and it will soon be followed by another.

Together, these three lens elements will be mounted to a camera that, when finished, will be the largest digital camera in existence. And the camera-lens duo will ultimately be attached to a telescope: the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which is over ten years in the making.

Note that the camera itself is constructed out of 189 sensors which, when combined, will create pictures of an astonishing size: 3.2 gigapixels. It’s still in production at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, but will likely be finished in 2021. The cost of the camera alone is a whopping $168 million dollars.

The purpose of this huge setup is to capture detailed photos of the night sky. The full telescope will be placed on Cherro Pachon mountain in Chile, where the camera will take exposures at 20-second intervals.

As explained in a press release by one of the laboratories involved in the lens construction:

This data will help researchers better understand dark matter and dark energy, which together make up 95 percent of the universe, but whose makeup remains unknown, as well as study the formation of galaxies, track potentially hazardous asteroids and observe exploding stars.

We recently reported on Xiaomi’s 108-megapixel smartphone, with its wrap-around screen, but a 3.2-gigapixel camera blows this out of the water. Even a recently announced security camera, which made waves when it was unveiled at the China International Industry Fair, topped out at 500 megapixels. Equipped with facial recognition technology, there are major privacy concerns when it comes to how this may be used in a country that already heavily monitors its citizens.

But, the high resolution of these cameras does bring to light something that is conveniently forgotten by tech advertisers: More megapixels will only produce greater detail if you have a lens that can resolve that detail. If your lens can only resolve 12 megapixels worth of detail, then you’re not going to gain from slapping a 108-megapixel sensor onto the camera. That’s why the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope requires ultra-precise optics if scientists want to gather meaningful data.

Of course, you don’t need a lens costing millions of dollars to produce highly-detailed 108-megapixel photos. But my suspicion is that the current optics used by smartphones (Xiaomi, but also Huawei, Apple, and Google) just aren’t up to the task of generating 108-megapixel photos.

So don’t fall prey to the megapixel myth. And keep your eye out for photos from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope!

What are your thoughts on these new lenses and cameras? Share with us in the comments!

The post Five Foot Lens and 3.2 Gigapixel Camera Produced for Night Sky Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

tfttf684 – The Q&A Episode

Let Chris take you to the rim of a live volcano as he interviews PHow hard is it to focus your camera at night? Or on a white sheet of paper? Find out how to find or create the required contrast to help your camera do it. Or switch to manual mode and use a … Continue reading tfttf684 – The Q&A Episode

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