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Lenses

The Lensbaby Velvet 56 is a manual focus lens which produces dreamlike portrait images whe...

The Velvet 56 is a new lens from Lensbaby which promises to deliver dreamlike, glowing portrait images when shot wide open. The 56-mm F1.6 lens, which will come in a variety of mounts for DSLR and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, is said to feature the build and look of classic mid-20th century portrait lenses. With a minimum focusing distance of just 13 cm (5 in) the Velvet 56 can also be used to capture macro images.  Read More

Sony has given its line-up of FE full frame E-mount lenses a significant boost with four n...

While Sony's full frame mirrorless cameras like the A7 II and A7S have impressed us with what they are capable of, there's no disputing the lack of lenses designed for the system has been a major draw-back. Sony is now addressing this with the launch of four new FE full frame E-mount lenses including two wide angles, a telephoto macro, and a travel-focused zoom.  Read More

MACS J1149.6+2223 and the images of the supernova

A team of astronomers led by the Australian National University (ANU) has discovered a lens of galactic proportions. Using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the scientists saw a supernova not once, but four times by using the gravity of a distant cluster of galaxies to act as a natural lens that magnified and quadrupled the image of the exploding star.  Read More

The new flat lens is capable of focusing multiple wavelengths of light at the same point (...

Ultra-thin flat lenses suitable for photography are one step closer after a team of researchers at Harvard University made a major leap forward with its prototype wafer-thin flat lens. The new lens builds on the original prototype, which we first heard about in 2012, by using an achromatic metasurface to focus different wavelengths of light at the same point.  Read More

The Nikon D5500 has a 3.2-inch vari-angle LCD touchscreen with 1,037k dots

Nikon has revealed its first DSLR to feature touchscreen capabilities, the entry-level D5500. While its predecessor, the D5300, was the first Nikon DSLR to boast built-in Wi-Fi, it's the D5500 which finally adds the option of touchscreen operation to the firm's DSLR line-up. A couple of new lenses were also announced, the affordable 55-200-mm F4.5-F5.6G ED VR II, and the surprisingly compact 300-mm F4E PF ED VR.  Read More

The RAZAR riflescope allows shooters to change focus without distraction

In combat, seconds count and a moment’s hesitation or distraction can mean the difference between life and death. So it's no small problem that modern riflescopes often require soldiers to look away from their targets or take their hands off their rifles in order to change magnification. Sandia National Laboratories’ Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR) riflescope is capable of switching between high and low zoom magnifications at the touch of a button, allowing soldiers to concentrate on the battle rather than their scopes.  Read More

The Canon CN20x50 cine-servo lens is an ultra-telephoto zoom

Canon has added to its cine-servo lens line-up with the CN20x50, an ultra-telephoto whopper. The 4K-friendly lens, which is aimed at sport and wildlife TV production, boasts a massive native focal length range of 50-1000-mm for getting close to the action. Should this not be enough, it also features a built-in 1.5x extender to expand that to a monstrous 75-1500-mm.  Read More

University of Rochester researchers have developed a simple four-lens cloaking system that...

Two scientists at the University of Rochester have taken invisibility cloaking back to basics. Their novel arrangement of four standard, off-the-shelf lenses keeps an object hidden (and the background undisturbed) as the viewer moves up to several degrees away from the optimal viewing angle.  Read More

The smartphone microscope, in use at the PNNL lab

Suppose you were a first responder, who got called out to investigate a suspicious substance found in a public place. Instead of having to transport that material back to the lab, wouldn't it be better if you could just take a microscope image of it with your smartphone, email that image off to a remote lab, then receive the analysis within just a few minutes while you were still on location? Thanks to a very inexpensive new phone attachment developed at the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), that could soon be possible.  Read More

The IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 claims the title as the fastest volume production lens in the world

Mirrorless camera owners in search of fast glass and razor-thin depth of field have a new king of wide-aperture lenses to drool over in the form of the Handevision IBELUX 40mm f/0.85. It's the fastest volume production lens in the world, and the manufacturer claims it'll give you an image similar to an f/1.2 lens on a full frame camera.  Read More

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