The BORG at CP+ 2014
The BORG at CP+ 2014 Camera and Photo Imaging Tech Show
[ALL CP+ 2014 COVERAGE HERE]
The iconic Star Trek villains did spring to mind upon seeing the name of this Takara Tomy owned optics company (who also made the original Transformers, JSYK). While these lenses won’t be trekking across the stars turning sentient beings into cybernetic organisms, they do have a connection to the stars: BORG makes telescopes. Initially, their foray into photography was simply to mount their astronomy glass to cameras so customers could capture what they saw with their existing camera equipment. Successes with that eventually led to developing lenses specifically for photography.
Depending on the lens series, focal lengths range from 50mm to 800mm. While some of the smaller focal lengths were designed to be used with mirrorless camera systems, the longer reach lenses can be used on all the major film and digital mounts. That said, the system really shines on smaller sensor systems. The 800mm, for example, becomes a scandalously long-ranged 1600mm on micro four thirds, and a truly astronomical 2160mm on the Nikon 1 system.
Even more shocking than the ranges is the size of the system. The lenses are tiny compared to the multi-glass autofocus monsters that one associates with extreme telephoto ranges. They are also much lighter because they are built like telescopes with one large diameter lens placed a set distance away from the sensor. The lack of glass and simplicity of the builds also makes for spectacularly sharp images as there is less for the light to pass through on it’s trip to the camera’s sensor; this also makes the lenses far lighter than they appear. Their CP+ reps assured us that many of their customers were shooting them handheld, and we believe them.
Of course, the one drawback is the manual focus, which, unless one has the focus-pulling skills of a Vietnam War photographer, does limit their usage to more static subject matter. It is, however, a small price to pay for such crisp quality and long reach.
BORG lens systems are modular and can therefore be as simple or as complex as a customer’s budget allows. In their simplest form, lenses ar paired with basic mount adapters depending on the camera system being used. Thereafter, aperture (iris) adapters, tripod mounts, focal length multipliers and filters can be added on. And because everything is modular, customers who want to get lenses with different focal lengths in that series can simply buy the lens itself and reuse their existing adapters and accessories.
For these BORG, resistance isn’t futile. But again, given the image quality and reach, it would be foolish.
Take a look:
...or if the high-res is more your thing: