New lens round-up: The latest lenses from Canon, Venus Optics, Tokina and Tamron


posted Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 2:32 PM EDT


With the 2019 Photoplus Expo kicking off this week in New York, camera and lens manufacturers alike are busy announcing their latest products. New lenses have been announced from companies including Canon, Venus Optics, Tokina and Tamron. Let's take a look at the latest new product offerings in a quick round-up.

Canon continues to expand their RF lens lineup by introducing a pair of new RF lenses for the EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera system, announcing the RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM telephoto zoom lens and RF 85mm f/1.2L DS portrait prime. Both lenses are sure to be popular with enthusiast and professional photographers alike.

The RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM zoom lens features a constant f/2.8 aperture and is lighter and more compact than the equivalent lens for the EF mount. In fact, the RF 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is 27 percent shorter and 28 percent lighter than its EF counterpart. Further, to ensure good balance with the smaller and lighter EOS R camera system, Canon engineers have put a large portion of the lens' elements near the camera body. In total, the lens features 17 elements in 13 groups, including a pair of aspherical elements, a super UD lens and four UD lenses. The built-in image stabilization system is rated for five stops of image stabilization and includes three different IS modes. Like other RF lenses, the 70-200mm f/2.8 has a customizable control ring that can be used to control exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture or ISO. The weather-resistant professional zoom lens will be available in late November for $2,699 USD.

The new Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM zoom lens is 27 percent shorter and 28 percent lighter than its EF-mount counterpart.

The fast RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS prime lens is yet another in a 40-year tradition of Canon f/1.2 lenses. However, it's not just the same old story with the latest edition, as the RF 85mm f/1.2 introduces a new Defocus Smoothing lens coating. This coating is designed to enhance the appearance of bokeh. The DS coating is vapor-deposited to the front and rear surfaces of specific lens elements to "allow off-axis flux to pass through the periphery of the lens that gradually decreases the transmittance of light, which results in images with beautifully blurred backgrounds." In addition to the new DS coating, the lens also includes an aspherical lens, a UD lens and BR optics to help reduce chromatic aberration. The 85mm focal length is very popular with portrait photographers, so ensuring beautiful bokeh is particularly important. The lens has a minimum focus distance of 2.79 feet (0.85 meters) and like the 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom, includes a customizable control ring. The RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS lens will be available in December at an estimated retail price of $2,999 USD.

The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS lens features a brand-new Defocus Smoothing (DS) lens coating designed to enhance the bokeh performance of the lens.

Venus Optics has introduced the Laowa 17mm f/1.8 lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. This 34mm equivalent lens is the company's fourth wide-angle lens for MFT mirrorless cameras and joins the wider 4mm f/2.8 fisheye, 7.5mm f/2 and 9mm f/2 prime lenses. The new 17mm f/1.8 lens comprises nine elements across seven groups, including one extra-low dispersion (ED) element. The lens has been designed to be lightweight and compact, weighing only 6 ounces (172 grams). In addition to being suitable for wide-angle photography with Micro Four Thirds cameras, the Laowa 17mm f/1.8 MFT is also drone-friendly and includes Frog Eye Coating (FEC) to repel water and airborne pollutants from sticking to the lens and reducing image quality, even when shooting outdoors. The Laowa 17mm f/1.8 MFT is available for preorder now for $149 USD and Venus Optics expects shipment to begin later this month.

Venus Optics' Laowa 17mm f/2.8 MFT lens

Tokina has also announced a new wide-angle lens, although their latest lens is an ultra-wide angle zoom lens designed for APS-C DSLR cameras. The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 ATX-i CF is designed for capturing high-quality images in a variety of situations, including landscapes, interior shots, nightscapes and group portraits. Available in Canon and Nikon mounts, the lens is well-suited for still photography or shooting video, including considerations for minimizing focus breathing. The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens includes a pair of aspherical glass elements and two Super-Low Dispersion glass elements to minimize aberrations and astigmatism while maintaining sharpness across the frame. The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 ATX-i CF lens will be released on November 8 for $449 USD. Preorders are available now.

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 ATX-i CF wide-angle zoom lens for APS-C DSLR cameras

Working our way up in sensor size, next are a trio of new prime lenses from Tamron, all designed for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras and each one capable of close-focus photography. Each lens maintains the same overall styling and 67mm filter thread as Tamron's existing 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD and 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD zoom lenses for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras. The lenses are compatible with Sony's latest in-camera features, such as Fast Hybrid AF, Eye AF, Direct Manual Focus and in-camera lens corrections. Further, the three new lenses will retail for $349 USD upon their release.

The widest new prime is the Tamron 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 lens. The minimum object distance of the lens is only 4.3 inches (0.11 meters), resulting in a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2. The compact and lightweight lens is only 2.5 inches (64 millimeters) long and weighs 7.8 ounces (220 grams). The Tamron 20mm f/2.8 comprises 10 lens elements across 9 groups, including low dispersion and glass molded aspherical lens elements. The Tamron 20mm f/2.8 lens will be available in January of 2020.

Tamron 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 prime lens. All three of the new Tamron prime lenses for Sony full-frame E-mount cameras feature nearly identical sizes and weighs and include 67mm filter threads.

The next lens is slightly longer, the Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2. This lens has a minimum object distance of 4.7 inches (0.12 meters) and weighs 7.6 ounces (215 grams). It has the same length of 2.5 in. (64mm) as the 20mm f/2.8 prime lens. The Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III lens will be available on November 20.

Finally, the Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 lens is designed for many types of photography, including environmental portraiture, photographing food and capturing images of nature. Like the 20mm and 24mm lenses, the 35mm f/2.8 weighs just over seven ounces (210g) and is 2.5 in. (64mm) long. Unlike the other two lenses, however, which featured 10 elements in 9 groups, the 35mm f/2.8 includes 9 elements in 8 groups. The Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III lens will be available on November 20.

In addition to the new trio of new prime lenses for Sony E-mount, Tamron has also announced the development of the 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD telephoto zoom lens. This lens will be available in spring of 2020.

Tamron also announced the development of a fourth new lens for Sony E-mount full-frame cameras, the 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD. This lens is anticipated to launch next spring and is designed to deliver a user-friendly high-speed zoom experience. Like the three prime lenses arriving this fall and winter, the 70-180mm f/2.8 lens will feature a short 33.5-inch (0.85 meters) Minimum Object Distance. Further, it incorporates Tamron's newly developed Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive (VXD) linear focus motor, for quick and quiet focusing performance. The third f/2.8 lens Tamron has designed for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras, the lens will be 5.9 inches (149 millimeters) long with a weight of 28.7 ounces (815 grams). Pricing and full specifications are not yet available for this lens.