Gear of the Month | September 2023

TOP.jpg

September has been another exciting month for new releases in the photo and video world, with both cameras and lenses hitting the market. Probably the most buzz has been generated by the arrival of the Nikon Zf, a retro-style mirrorless camera with a full-frame sensor. However, with a new Lumix G Micro Four Thirds camera arriving from Panasonic and a 100MP medium-format GFX camera from Fujifilm, there’s plenty more to grab the attention.

It’s also been an exciting month for adventure-junkies, with not just a new GoPro Hero flagship camera arriving, but also another tough TG waterproof compact from OM SYSTEM (the manufacturer formerly known as Olympus). And with new Sony E-mount lenses from Tamron and GFX tilt-shift lenses from Fujifilm too, it’s a month full of exciting kit. Here’s what you need to know…


 

Nikon Zf Digital Camera Body

£2,149.00 View

A stunning marriage of old and new, the Nikon Zf caused quite a stir at the Wex offices when it was announced earlier this month. It’s a Z-mount full-frame mirrorless camera that’s styled after one of Nikon’s classic FM film SLRs from decades gone by – and thanks to the ability to use F-mount lenses with the FTZ adapter, you can create a truly retro shooting experience.

Essentially, it’s a bigger brother to the similarly retro Nikon Z fc, which uses an APS-C sensor. The Zf uses a full-frame 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor which delivers superb image quality, even at higher sensitivities thanks to its backlit design. The edge-to-edge autofocus coverage benefits from 3D tracking, deep-learning AI and subject-recognition technology.

The Zf is looking like it’ll be a beast in low light, largely thanks to the implementation of the new Expeed 7 processor. It has a native iSO range up to 64,000, which can be expanded to a maximum ceiling of 204,600. This is aided by context-sensitive noise reduction, which smooths out images taken at higher sensitivities.

The body design of the Zf is pure retro class, with SLR-style control dials. The dedicated monochrome picture profiles are also a welcome addition, encouraging users to explore and embrace black & white photography. We can’t wait to get our hands on this camera for a full, proper test.


 

Nikon Z 135mm f1.8 S Plena Lens

£2,469.00 View

Along with the impressive Zf, Nikon has also taken the wraps off an exciting new prime telephoto that promises to deliver fearsome sharpness for portrait shooters. The Nikon Z 135mm f1.8 S Plena is part of Nikon’s prestigious “S-line” of lenses, which is the name the firm gives to its top-tier lenses for the Z-mount.

Constructed of 16 elements in 14 groups, the Z 135mm f1.8 S Plena uses an 11-blade aperture diaphragm to ensure it can produce beautifully circular bokeh in the defocused areas of images. It’s designed to completely minimise reflections for superior light-gathering capability – to that end, Nikon has included two anti-reflective coatings.

You may well be wondering what exactly “Plena” means here. According to Nikon, it’s derived from the Latin term “plenum”, which refers to a space that is full, which “reflect[s] the lens’ ability to support the user’s creative vision with beautiful, well-rounded bokeh of outstanding sharpness and clarity.” It’s not the first Z-mount lens to come bearing an unusual name, following in the footsteps of the Nikon Z 58mm f0.95 S Noct.

With exquisite rendering from edge to edge and that f/1.8 maximum aperture, the Nikon Z 135mm f1.8 S Plena will no doubt prove popular among portrait shooters using the Z system

 

GoPro HERO12 Black

£299.00 View

Extreme sports shooters rejoice – the GoPro HERO12 Black has arrived. With double the battery life and better-than-ever HyperSmooth stabilisation, this rugged little shooter delivers the kind of quality we’ve come to expect from GoPro. It shoots 27MP stills and video at up to 5.3K. There’s up to 8x slow-motion for those truly dramatic moments, and once again you have that 8:7 aspect ratio on the sensor, making it easy to crop into footage in vertical format for sharing on TikTok and similar platforms.

We’ve already taken the HERO12 Black out for a test. You can see how it fared in the video below from our YouTube channel, complete with our team’s first impressions and some dog POV footage for good measure.

OM SYSTEM Tough TG-7 Digital Camera - Black

£499.00 View

 

The TG series of tough compacts from Olympus and OM System have long been regarded as some of the best you can buy. As such, we’re immensely excited to see the release of the OM SYSTEM Tough TG-7, a waterproof compact with a 25-100mm equivalent f2 optical zoom lens. Producing highly detailed and vibrant 12MP images, the TG-7 also offers dedicated macro shooting modes, as well as the ability to create time-lapse footage in 4K.

The team took the Tough TG-7 down to Brighton beach to see what it can do – watch below to see footage and stills from the camera, as well as Luke and Jade’s first impressions.

 

Panasonic Lumix G9 II Digital Camera Body

£1,689.00 View

This stunning mirrorless camera from Panasonic takes the best of the full-frame Lumix S line and puts it in a Micro Four Thirds body. The Lumix G9 II resembles the fabulous Lumix S5 II both inside and out. It’s got a very similar body design, including an 8-way AF joystick, and also benefits from a powerful phase-detection autofocus, complete with sophisticated subject tracking and the must-have feature on any serious new camera from the past couple of years – AI-powered subject-detection.

To put the Lumix G9 II through its paces, we handed it over to pro Andy McGovern and packed him off to the Cairngorms in Scotland to get some test footage. You can watch the results on our YouTube channel below.

 

Fujifilm GFX 100 II Medium Format Camera Body

£6,999.00 View

Equipped with an upgraded 102MP CMOS II HS sensor, the Fujifilm GFX100 II pushes mirrorless medium format further than ever before. Not only does it produce dazzling images, but the GFX100 II can now shoot at up to 8fps, and for those times when staggering levels of detail are needed, it also has the 400MP multi-shot mode we’ve seen on previous GFX cameras.

Thanks to the X Processor 5 engine, the GFX 100 II can also produce 4K 60p video, 8K 30p video and Full HD 120p video, all in 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording. Faster and more fully equipped than ever before, this is a powerful tool for professional shooters.

To see the Fujifilm GFX100 II in action, check out our video below where Jon puts it through its paces in Stockholm, Sweden.

 

Fujifilm GF 30mm f5.6 T/S Lens

£3,899.00 View

Fujifilm GF 110mm F5.6 T/S Macro Lens

£3,499.00 View

In addition to the GFX100 II, Fujifilm has also fully taken the wraps off some previously announced tilt-shift lenses for the GFX system. These specialist lenses still offer the same kind of peerless optical quality we’ve come to expect from this lens mount, only now with perspective control – dual tilt and shift mechanisms.. This enables users to shoot distortion-free architectural images of tall buildings, as well as highly precise focus control that enables the creation of images with extremely small focus points.


 

Fujifilm GF 55mm f1.7 R WR Lens

£2,249.00 View

This gorgeous prime lens is designed to deliver exceptionally high-quality images with stunning bokeh, thanks to the 11-blade aperture diaphragm. Constructed of 14 glass elements in 10 groups, this lens delivers an equivalent focal length of 44mm in full-frame terms, so is a good candidate for general-purpose photography. And, thanks to the ever-increasing speed of the GFX cameras, you could even try your hand at medium format street photography!


 

Tamron 17-50mm f4 Di III VXD Lens for Sony E

£719.00 View

For Sony E-mount, this wide-to-standard zoom lens from Tamron sports a constant f4 aperture right the way through its zoom range. The premium optical construction of 15 elements in 13 groups includes three low dispersion, one glass-moulded aspherical, and two hybrid aspherical elements, all of which ensure that distortion and chromatic aberration are effectively suppressed. This flexible lens also has a short close focusing distance – 30cm at the tele end, and just 19cm at the wide end – meaning you can fill the frame with your subjects.

 

Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens for Sony E

£1,029.00 View

Normally, telephotos around the 70-200mm range with an f2.8 constant aperture err on the expensive side, as they are tools for professionals. The Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens for Sony E is substantially more affordable, and represents fantastic savings for any Sony E user looking for a workhorse lens. According to Tamron, this is the world’s smallest and lightest telezoom lens, and given that it weighs just 855g, they might just be right.

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