Gear of the Month | June 2023

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Given how many new cameras were released in May, it’s perhaps no surprise that June has been a little quieter for photo gear. Lenses have been the focus (pun semi-intended) this month, with some interesting new optics for Nikon Z-mount users, as well as a premium astrophotography lens for Sony E and L-mount from Sigma. 

We’ve seen some new accessories from Manfrotto too, with a stylish new range of shoulder bags suited to the professional or enthusiast videographer/photographer. We’ve got the full lowdown on all the new kit coming your way – and much of it is already in stock for immediate dispatch! Read on for everything you need to know.

 

Sigma 14mm f1.4 DG DN Art Lens for Sony E

£1,399.00 View

Sigma 14mm f1.4 DG DN Art Lens for L-Mount

£1,399.00 View

Your new favourite astro lens? The new Sigma 14mm f1.4 DG DN Art lens is a record-setter – it’s the world’s first 14mm lens to launch with an f1.4 aperture. This pairing of an ultra-wide field of view with a nice big aperture for letting in lots of light makes it an excellent choice for astrophotography, and Sigma is clearly pitching it to L-mount and Sony E-mount users with this in mind.

Boasting a premium optical construction, the Sigma 14mm f1.4 DG DN Art features 19 elements in 15 groups, including SLD and FLD (different types of low-dispersion) elements, as well as four aspherical elements. All this adds up to a lens that does a superb job of controlling for chromatic aberration and coma flare, delivering superb sharpness and clarity right to the edges of the frame.

With its 14mm angle of view, the lens provides a wider perspective than many of the popular astrophotography lenses for E-mount and L-mount such as the Sony FE 24mm f1.4 G Master, the Sony FE 16-35mm f2.8 G Master or Sigma’s own 20mm f1.4 DG DN Art. This means you can pack the frame full of more of the night sky than ever before, producing dazzling star-studded vistas. Plus, its durable build is designed for outdoor work – perfect for those long nights spent with the camera pointing up at the night sky. 

Of course, astro isn’t the only thing this lens can do. Elsewhere on the lens, you’ve got a collection of premium features. The eleven-bladed aperture ensures that you can create silky-smooth bokeh when shooting wide open, and the High-response Linear Actuator autofocus motor is fast and silent. 

We’ve already taken this lens out for a spin in the streets of London to see what it can do for ourselves. Watch the video review below to see the team’s take on the lens and how it performs, as well as a few sample images:


 

Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR Lens

£1,799.00 View

With its big telephoto zoom range and rugged sealed construction, the Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR is no doubt designed to tempt wildlife and sports photographers – perhaps a few of those who couldn’t resist putting in an order for a shiny new Nikon Z8 upon its announcement last month. 

Designed to provide pin-sharp detail at distance, the Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR features a high-end construction of 25 glass elements in 17 groups. For help keeping things steady at the telephoto end, users can take advantage of the in-lens Vibration Reduction (VR) stabilisation system. This provides 5.5 stops of effective compensation, making it possible to use slower shutter speeds without compromising on image sharpness. It also aids the dedicated SPORT mode, which keeps the viewfinder image steady for easier composition.

If you need to reach further, the Nikon Z 180-600mm f5.6-6.3 VR is compatible with the Nikon Z 2x and 1.4x teleconverters. The lens also balances nicely, with an internal zoom mechanism that means you don’t get too front-heavy when you push in to 600mm.

 

Nikon Z 70-180mm f2.8 Lens

£1,119.00 View

Another lens that was clearly designed with Nikon Z8 users in mind, this agile telephoto is good for doing a bit of everything. Its constant aperture of f2.8 means you can keep working away in low light without having to remind yourself not to zoom in too far, and the high-speed STM ensures autofocus is acquired quickly and quietly.

Nikon has optimised this lens for video as well as stills, including a focus breathing suppression system that ensures the angle of view doesn’t drift when tracking subjects as they move towards or away from the lens. It’s a nice and light lens too – weighing in at 795g – and handling has been beautifully engineered, with a knurled zoom ring that’s easy to get a grip on.

This is an outdoorsy lens, as befitting its focal range. Nikon has added an antifouling coating to the front element, meaning it resists dust and contaminants and is easier to clean. The barrel has also been sealed to prevent ingress of dust and water droplets, so you can feel free to keep shooting even in poor weather conditions.

 

Manfrotto Pro Light Cineloaders

Manfrotto Pro Light Cineloader Large

£249.00 View

Manfrotto Pro Light Cineloader Medium

£219.00 View

Manfrotto Pro Light Cineloader Small

£184.00 View

This new range of stylish shoulder bags from Manfrotto has been designed with pros and serious enthusiasts in mind. The Pro Light Cineloader bags have been constructed from durable, water-repellent materials, and all the bags in the range feature an EVA thermoformed lid for solid protection. As is standard fare in camera bags, the interiors of each bag feature removable modular dividers that can be shaped around the specific contours of the user’s kit.

The Manfrotto Pro Light Cineloader bags are available in Small, Medium and Large sizes, with capacities of 10kg, 15kg and 25kg respectively.

How do we decide?


Our in-house photography experts, store staff and partners all work collaboratively to pour over these guides. The cameras and equipment recommended in our guides are based on their personal opinion, empirical experience and of course, feedback from our customers. We way up price, features, quality and the all-important 'je ne sais quoi' to make sure we recommend products that will delight and inspire. 

If you would like more advice on any purchase our contact centre staff are here to help. Alternatively, you can reach us via email or social media. And don't forget. If you were to purchase anything based on our recommendations you'll be covered by our full returns policy