Gear doesn’t make the photo. But gear can be fun and inspirational, and with that in mind, we’re starting a new column to celebrate the coolest photo products of the month. So without further ado, and in no particular order:
Filson + Magnum Collaboration
Some women have handbag fetishes, and some photographers can’t get enough camera bags. Venerable bag maker Filson approached two legends from Magnum Photos – Steve McCurry and David Alan Harvey – to create the “Magnum” camera bag. Weather resistant, lots of pockets, and designed with the input from the self-professed bag horder, David Alan Harvey. There’s no ballistic nylon, no waterproof pouch, but there is undeniable cool.
Sony Alpha a7s
Sony’s initial foray into pro camera territory following the acquisition of Konica Minolta was met with some derision among industry old timers. But innovation is in the company’s DNA, and the past few years has brought about a flurry of innovative camera options from the a99 to the RX1 and now the a7. The newest member of the family is the a7s, which now features 4k video in a very compact body along with an interchangeable lens system and electronic viewfinder that might bring a tear to your eye.
35mm is cool, but medium format is cooler, right? In the world of digital, medium format has been prohibitively expensive, but Pentax is hoping to buck the trend of $30,000 systems with the introduction of the $8,500 645Z. The 51MP CMOS-based sensor is the same Sony sensor that is found in the much more expensive Hasselblad and Phase One versions. Do you need it? Probably not. Do you want it? Yes, please.
Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG HSM
At some point in recent history, Sigma decided to stop playing the role of “cheap option to Canon/Nikon.” The result is the Art line of lenses exemplified by the 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM, which outperformed the Nikon and Canon options according to DxOMark. Their new 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM is the newest addition to the line. At a retail price of $949, it’s not exactly cheap, but it gives you performance that nearly rivals the $4000 Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T*. Higher end digital sensors are now exceeding the resolution of the last generation of lenses, so if you want to take advantage of that D800, you might want to add this cool number to your Filson bag.
Now that the New55 Film project has been funded, you’ll probably need to (re)-add a 4×5 to your camera bag. Sure, you can blow a lot of coin on a camera with a large bellows and movements, or you could get the nearly pocketable Wanderlust. It’s not going to necessarily make shooting 4×5 any easier, but it might just make it more fun. And the coolest part? The $149 price.
Hey, watch a little snipped from our “I Love Photography” podcast in which we discuss all this cool gear!