The 10 Most Rewatchable Cult Movies of The 21st Century

best genre movies 2014

Any diehard movie fan will tell you that cult films are alive and well in the new century, two decades now which have seen a wealth of memorable midnight movies, eccentric oddities, sleeper stoner comedies, and other “out there” genre films.

The following list looks at “rewatchable” cult films from the 21st century––and by “rewatchable” improve with age, that holdup and often enrich their audiences with repeat viewings––these are movies that foster unhealthy obsession, stylish strangeness, and offer feelings of connection and deep appreciation for the bravest or most eccentric viewers amongst us.

 

10. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Cult comedies often hold up well with repeat viewings; running gags are more apparent, some jokes land better with a deeper understanding of where it’s all going, and the necessary acquired taste, once established, is easier accrued the second time around, as is certainly the case with this absurdist comic goldmine from 2001. It’s the last day at Camp Firewood for the sticky hot summer season of 1981 in director David Wain’s charming, cheeky, and delightfully dirty-minded Wet Hot American Summer.

Written by Wain and co-star Michael Showalter, this crass comedy pays loving tribute to the American teen exploitation films of the late ’70s and early ’80s, and more specifically the sub-genre of summer camp films (think 1979’s Meatballs, 1980’s Little Darlings, and 1982’s Porky’s). And in keeping with these adolescent, hormones-raging comedies, the cast of teen camp counselors are deliberately played by actors in their 30s (amongst the gifted comic actors in the cast are Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, and Amy Poehler).

A cult film phenomenon that rewards repeated viewings, Wet Hot Summer possesses that je ne sais quoi that mark many a niche picture; like Airplane! (1980), it’s self-aware, breaking the fourth wall to get a good laugh, and it romps with an absurdist angle, often visiting the trashy nabe you’d expect from a John Waters film.

In recent years the Wet Hot American Summer clique has been well rewarded with comedicaly brilliant prequel and sequel series on Netflix, reuniting Wain and his game cast, as well as introducing many new characters, and outlandish scenarios. But it all started with this multi-episodic comedic home run, highlighted by sensational non sequiturs, ample slapstick, gratuitous makeout sessions, funny, and endearing characters, and not to mention one honey of a talent show. Spend some time at Camp Nowhere and you’ll be a happy camper, too.

 

9. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

As with the vast majority of cult classics, it took awhile for horror fans to flock around this first-rate anthology film from writer-director Michael Dougherty (Krampus [2015]), though that is largely owing to the lack of a proper theatrical release for this deftly crafted Halloween tribute, Trick ‘r Treat.

The film is custom made to be a perennial October classic, alongside films like John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), which horror fans trot out every autumn to embrace the blood-flecked and pumpkin-scented spirit of the season.

A genre film for genre fans, Trick ‘r Treat energetically embraces the best time of year with old fashion fun and freaked-out uncertainty as it weaves together overlapping tales of terror unfolding on the same Halloween night.

All of these sinister tales, which include a strong cast with the likes of Dylan Baker, Leslie Bibb, Brian Cox, and Anna Paquin amongst them, are loosely tied via a now iconic new character to the horror canon; Sam (short for “Samhain”). Portrayed by Quinn Lord, Sam is a mysterious and macabre child trick-or-treater, cloaked in a burlap sack over footie pjs, he unleashes a cruel authority over all of those who break with established Halloween traditions (such as snuffing out the candle of a Jack-o-Lantern before the stroke of midnight).

Creepy, funny, suspenseful, and well-executed, Trick ‘r Treat is that rarest of anthology films that doesn’t have a stinker in the bunch, and so few films really capture the look, feel, and frightening atmosphere that Halloween can provide. This is a film you really should seek out every autumn, as the leaves change, the nights grow chill, and a few good scares accumulate and exciten.

 

8. Idiocracy (2006)

In the years since Mike Judge’s magnificently undervalued sci-fi satire Idiocracy was released, many have noted that Trump’s America is far too familiar after having seen this unknowingly prophetic dystopian glance at an idiotic future United States.

Idiocracy opens in the year 2005 where we meet the extremely average US Army librarian, Corporal Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson). Joe is chosen to participate in a hush hush military experiment that places him in hibernation for a year, along with another subject, a woman named Rita (Maya Rudolph).

After a series of snafus that has both Joe and Rita’s project mothballed and forgotten, they are mistakenly left in suspended animation until 2505, when they are accidentally revived. It is here that the two discover a future world of moronic imbeciles, the human stock having dwindled ginormously, leaving a race of idiots wherein our very average Joe is suddenly considered a brainiac, and quite possibly the smartest man in the world.

Without giving too many of the gags away, one of Idiocracy’s great pleasures derives from Terry Crews’ hilarious performance as the imbecilic but personable President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, who desperately needs Joe as an advisor to overcome the country’s numerous and many difficulties, all spurned by stupid self-interest and debilitating incompetence.

Idiocracy may just be the smartest stupid comedy around, and if you can watch it without wincing too badly, you might be able to navigate POTUS Trump’s toxic term with the ability to roll with the punches, or at least laugh a little bit in self-defense.

 

7. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

Bruce Campbell in Bubba Ho-Tep

Cult king Don Coscarelli, the mastermind behind the Phantasm series (1979 – 2016), and The Beastmaster (1982) had a blast with Bubba Ho-Tep, a film custom built to amass adoration from midnight movie audiences. Set in an East Texas nursing home, the Shady Rest, and starring Bruce Campbell as an aging Elvis Presley, recently revived from a coma following a hip gyrating-related fluke accident and now befriended with an aging African-American eccentric (Ossie Davis), who claims to be former POTUS, John F. Kennedy (“They dyed my skin black!), things get even weirder.

Playfully adapted from the 1994 novella by Joe R. Lansdale, Bubba Ho-Tep gets its strange sobriquet from the eponymous evil Ancient Egyptian mummy (Bob Ivy), who seems to delight in terrorizing the retirement home where Elvis and JFK do dwell, and they’ll put a stop to it, you betcha!

A clever, cheeky, and even occasionally poignant picture, with a long gestating sequel apparently in the works, Bubba Ho-Tep is silly, sensational, and sneakily awesome little film, and one that also manages to make, amid the toilet humor and gore, a profound statement about growing old, and the fool notions of fame and celebrity.

 

6. Donnie Darko (2001)

donnie-darko

Donnie Darko may well be writer-director Richard Kelly’s Citizen Kane, and is that really such a bad thing? Filled with emotion, humor, and mind-bending undertakings in the suburbs of America (Middlesex, Virginia, to be more exact) in the late 1980s, titular teenager Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) has somehow survived a freak accident. Now occasionally giving audience to a supremely sinister rabbit named Frank (James Duval) –– who really wants him to try out time travelling –– Donnie also navel gazes at existence, falls in love, and flirts with secret knowledge of enticing potential to affect not only time, but fate as well.

The 80s-era soundtrack adds to the appeal, as do the then comeback turns from cast members Katharine Ross and Patrick Swayze (RIP). Also excellent in their supporting roles are Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Jena Malone and some quick cameos by producer Drew Barrymore, Seth Rogen, and Noah Wyle.

Unjustly ignored on its initial release –– it came out shortly after the 9/11 tragedy and features an alarming plane crash that was too fluky and unintentionally upsetting at the time –– a cult following soon embraced this eerie, intelligent, and exciting psychological sci-fi fable. And as much of the plot is askew due to time-looped logic, repeat views are a must to clarify some of the intriguing puzzles that Kelly leaves out for us to assemble.

Fujifilm X-H1: Has-Been or Awesome Deal?

Fujifilm X-H1: Has-Been or Awesome Deal?

Technology in the video world is moving at a blistering pace. With new features being released seemingly every month, once-hyped cameras are being tossed by the wayside faster than ever in favor of the next big thing. Although this trend of rapid obsolescence could be seen as a negative, it often results in just-shy of cutting edge technology rapidly coming down to a price point that is affordable for the masses. This could be the case with the Fujifilm X-H1!

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Venice Film Festival 2019: Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat

Steven Soderbergh’s most persistently recurring subject is economic inequality, attacked from a number of angles: lone dispossessed protagonist vs. powerful corporation (Erin Brockovich), the ways in which minimum-wage employees are demeaned by employers (Bubble), capitalism as sex work against the backdrop of the last recession (The Girlfriend Experience), white collar crime (The Informant!), attacks on pharmaceutical companies (Side Effects) and private health insurance (Unsane), a general emphasis on stratification and the bottom rung of the ladder (Magic Mike and Logan Lucky, the proletarian Ocean’s Eleven, in which a heist doubles as praxis redistribution). Che speaks for itself, and this year there are two […]

How I Shot This Using Rear Curtain Sync and Mixing Strobe With LED Continuous Light

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A to Z of Photography: Von Wong (Interview) and Vivitar

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This week we continue the A to Z of Photography with an interview with contemporary photographer Benjamin von Wong, renowned for his attention grabbing, fantastical images. We follow this with a history of Vivitar, a camera and lens manufacturer that didn’t make cameras or lenses!

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The 10 Best Films About The Nature of Truth

the hunt

“Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second” – Jean-Luc Godard

From Akira Kurosawa to Sidney Lumet, many directors have managed to create great movies illustrating the nature of truth. Here is a list of some exquisite works of art on this subject.

 

10. Oleanna (1994)

Written and directed by the prolific filmmaker David Mamet, Oleanna is an intense drama with only two characters. This criminally underrated film, which is based on Mamet’s play of the same name, is a social critique of the educational system.

To be more specific, the film follows the intellectual conversation between Carol (Debra Eisenstadt), a young college student, and her professor John (William H. Macy). Carol is a young female student who can’t understand her professor’s book about modern education. The professor, who is about to be granted tenure and buy a new house, offers to help her understand his lesson and promises to give her an “A” if she comes back for some extra sessions. Unfortunately, John’s career and personal life is at stake, when he is being falsely accused by Carol of sexual harassment.

It is quite obvious that “Oleanna” is David Mamet’s contribution to the controversial debate about sexual harassment. The film depicts the danger of the extreme application of feminism, language manipulation and human hypocrisy. David Mamet also addresses ethical dilemmas about political correctness and freedom of speech. Additionally, the film reveals the difference between facts and the nature of the truth.

All in all, “Oleanna” is an underappreciated drama with powerful performances and great dialogues.

 

9. Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014)

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

“Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” is a hypnotizing tale about dreams and desires. Inspired by the Lewis Carroll’s story “Alice in the Wonderland and the Coen brothers film “Fargo”, the film mixes surreal elements with dark humour. It is a symbolic tale that depicts how dreams affect our own reality.

The film is loosely based on the “Takako Konishi” story, the film continues the urban legend of a young Japanese girl who is destined to find a hidden treasure. Kumiko (“Rinko Kikuchi”) is an introvert Japanese girl who finds a VHS tape of the critically acclaimed movie the “Fargo”. When she plays the VHS tape, she immediately becomes obsessed with the idea that there is a hidden treasure in the Fargo snow. Thus, Kumiko embarks on a spiritual adventure through the cold valleys of North Dakota to discover the buried treasure. Although she doesn’t speak english, she is determined to find the hidden treasure and fulfil her dream.

It goes without saying that “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” depicts the illusion of truth and whether truth can be subjective or objective. The film portrays excellently a troubled character who seeks desperately to find the life’s true meaning. Although she believes that something is true when it’s not, she is determined to defend her beliefs.

Despite the fact that the “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” received mixed reviews upon its release, it is a deeply moving story with philosophical subtexture. This would definitely be a pleasant surprise for all the lovers of cult cinema.

 

8. La Vérité (1960)

The legendary French filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot (“Les Diaboliques”, “The Wages of Fear”) creates another intense courtroom drama about deception and betrayal. “La Vérité” (aka “The Truth”) is Clouzot’s effort to discover the nature the truth.

Brigitte Bardot stars as Dominique, a gorgeous young girl who has left her parents to live a liberated life with her sister in a small apartment in Paris. Although Dominique is every man’s desire, she is a troubled young girl with suicidal tendencies. When she meets Gilbert, her sister’s boyfriend, she seduces him and he falls in love with her. Eventually, they become lovers and decide to live together. Everything goes out of hand when Gilbert is found dead and Dominique is accused of murder. Dominique who is faced with the death penalty, has to prove that this was a crime of passion.

‘La Vérité” is Henri-Georges Clouzot’s view of the conflict between truth and social justice. This powerful drama depicts that sometimes is difficult to judge the truth of a statement.

Despite the fact that “La Vérité” is a subtle commentary of the bourgeoisie lifestyle and conservatism, it was criticized by the directors of the New Wave. However, this powerful drama was nominated for an Oscar Award for the “Best Foreign Language Film”. In addition, Brigitte Bardot delivers one the best performances of her career as a breathtaking femme fatale.

To sum up, “La Vérité” is an overlooked film of the French cinema that deserves more love and attention.

 

7. The Hunt (2012)

Thomas Vinterberg (“Festen”), who co-founded along with Lars Von Trier the Dogme 95 movement, creates another emotionally demanding drama. “The Hunt” (aka “Jagten”) is a disturbing tale about lies and social injustice.

Set in a small Danish town in Christmas, the film follows the unsettling story of a kindergarten teacher, Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) who is falsely accused by a little girl of sexual harassment. Eventually, Lucas becomes the target (the black sheep) of the whole town receiving multiple threats on his life. Lucas struggles not only to prove his innocence, but also to get his son’s custody. His life is torn apart by a little white lie and there is no one that can save him from this nightmare. Thus, Lucas has to prove to each member of this local community that he is not either a paedophile or a sexual predator.

It goes without saying that the Danish filmmaker manages to create a bleak depiction of the danger of mass hysteria. In addition, the film depicts how a little innocent lie can destroy a man’s life and ruin human relationships. The film stands out as an academic examination of human hypocrisy as well as a subtle commentary of social injustice.

On the other hand, the spellbinding performance by Mads Mikkelsen, the gorgeous cinematography and the exceptional direction create a tense atmosphere.

This powerful drama was not only applauded by the critics upon its release, it was also nominated for the “Best Foreign Language Film” at the 86th Academy Awards.

 

6. The Offence (1973)

The Offence (1973)

“The Offence” is undoubtedly one of the most underrated movies of Sidney Lumet’s filmography. This hidden gem isn’t just a great character study, but also a magnificent psychological thriller about police brutality.

Based on the 1968 stage play “This Story of Yours” by John Hopkins, the film follows the story of police detective Johnson (Sean Connery), who has been on the Force for twenty years. Johnson is deeply affected by the various crimes (murders and sex crimes) he has investigated. Now, he is a psychologically and emotionally unstable detective who is investigating the disappearance of a schoolgirl.

When the girl is found dead, Johnson believes that the suspect of the murder is Kenneth Baxter. However, Johnson is suspended since he has brutally beaten Baxter to death in a rage while interrogating him. Then Johnson is interviewed by the detective Cartwright about that tragic night. What follows is a series of flashbacks and thoughts about what really happened.

Overshadowed by Sidney Lumet’s other great works such as “The Network” or “12 Angry Men”, “The Offence” is a disturbing thriller about power, corruption and lies. The film stands out as a realistic portrait of a deranged character who has to face the moment of truth. Sean Connery absolutely shines as a violent police officer delivering a breathtaking performance.

Overall, “The Offence” is a tense psychological thriller that will definitely stay with you for a while. A criminally underrated film that is now ripe for discovery.

Canon EOS M6 Mark II and 90D sample galleries from DPReview TV

Our DPReview TV team had a chance to shoot the new EOS M6 II and EOS 90D for a couple days at Canon’s launch event in Atlanta. Take a look – their sample galleries include Raw files from both cameras.

Get new episodes of DPReview TV every week by subscribing to our YouTube channel!

EOS M6 Mark II sample gallery from DPReview TV

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Review: Mikme Pocket wireless microphone with audio-sync

Mikme Pocket
From $387 | mikme.com

The Mikme Pocket Pro and App, a simple high quality wireless audio for your smartphone?

There are a lot of lapel microphones out there, and a lot of recorders to plug them into, so any new product designed to compete in this space either needs to have standout performance or do something unique. In the case of the Mikme Pocket, it does a bit of each.

A common challenge with wireless microphones is signal dropout, usually as a result of moving out of range or working in areas with a lot of radio congestion. This is where the Pocket has a trick up its sleeve. It uses Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone (using your phone as the receiver/recorder) and records to both the phone and its own internal memory. If you experience a dropped connection during recording, the Pocket automatically syncs and uploads any missing audio as soon as it comes back within range.

It works with a companion app which allows quick and easy setup. However, you can use the main functions of the Pocket without the app. (At the time of writing it’s only available for iOS; an Android version is promised for later in the year.)

The company is squarely targeting video shooters who use smartphones as their camera, although because it records internally it can also be used with mirrorless cameras and DSLRs to sync audio in post production.

The Pocket is available in two versions: a more expensive Pro variant that includes a higher quality microphone and lifetime subscription to its PRO app ($719) as well as a less expensive version with a standard microphone and no app subscription ($387). Mikme initially launched the Pocket on Kickstarter, and after a successful campaign have launched on Indiegogo as well (where discounted crowd-funding prices remain in effect).

Key Features

  • Simultaneous internal and wireless audio recording via Bluetooth
  • Automatic wireless sync of audio if the connection is dropped
  • Lapel microphone with locking connection
  • Choice of app or direct device control
  • Auto or manual audio level control
  • 16GB internal storage for 30+ hours of recording
The large central button enables multiple functions and encompasses a multi color status LED.

The Mikme Pocket offers features I’ve not seen before and I was keen to test it out. This little box, measuring 78 x 66 x 22 mm, includes a lapel mic. The pre-production version of the Pocket Pro I tested included the somewhat smaller pro mic option.

The unit I had for testing records .m4a files (at 44.1Khz) or uncompressed .wav files (44.1, 48 or 96Khz at 24bit) to its built-in 16 GB storage. At the highest quality this allows just over 30 hours of audio to be stored. The higher quality WAV files are only available if you’re using it with with a device that doesn’t have Bluetooth. If you’re using a smartphone you are limited to m4a files.

The mic connection is via a locking mini XLR

When using the Pocket with a smartphone over Bluetooth the auto sync function is enabled. This ensures that even if you manage to move out of range (approximately 10 m, or 30 ft.), the audio will automatically be downloaded and synchronized when the connection is re-established. This feature means that transmission range is not a problem as it is with traditional wireless mics, although you do lose the ability to monitor the audio on your phone when the Pocket is out of range.

The bottom edge houses most of the controls (not final labeling).

As with a lot of things these days it’s an app based product. However, I was pleased to see that you could achieve some functionality without the need to use the app all the time. The main button on the body of the pocket serves several functions. You can use it to start and stop recording, start playback of the last recorded file and switch between auto and manual audio levels. It houses a multi-color status LED that blinks when the audio level is clipping so that you can adjust it, which is achieved either using the 2 buttons on the body of the pocket itself or in the app. The body of the pocket also has a built in 3.5mm headphone jack for monitoring.

If you experience a dropped connection during recording, the Pocket automatically syncs and uploads any missing audio as soon as it comes back within range

The preferable way to control the unit is with its associated app as it adds a lot more functionality. You can select 3 recording modes: audio, video or remote. You can use it to select sample rate and set recording levels. It also lets you monitor battery life and remaining storage capacity, which is updated live as you record.

It’s early days for the app and I’ve been using the Pro version in beta that includes some extra functionality that will only be available by subscription. This will include the ability to use more than one Pocket at the same time as well as the ability to add pre- and post-roll videos and watermarks. It will also offer movable windows to select areas used for exposure metering and auto focus points as well as some other features.

There is also basic version of the app which includes what you would need for day to day operation, missing out on some of the extras above.

The included mic and adapter protrude quite a bit, which might cause issues when worn next to the body.

Recording Quality

When I tested audio quality I was pleasantly surprised; the sound of the included microphone in the pro package was very good. It’s an omni directional mic with a drop in high frequency sensitivity to the rear (cable entry side), which is to be expected, and very useful for inverted mounting to reduce sibilance and plosives.

It’s not quite up to one of the industry standard Sanken Cos-11 mics, but to have something like this included for the price was a real bonus. The mic itself uses a Micon to mini 3 pin XLR adapter to connect to the Pocket and the main body connection is a mini 3 pin XLR.

I’m pleased to say that the killer function of this mic – the auto sync function – worked perfectly every time I tried it

Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to give you accurate figures for the noise floor of this microphone as my anechoic chamber is only in the planning stages. My room tone currently bottoms out around -56 dB and the self noise was not evident above this level (this is without any filtering). The self noise seems to be below about 180Hz and a configurable high pass filter will tame it. Mikme told me that this is something that will be selectable in a future version of the app. The low end response is great for some vocals but will prove a problem with wind noise if the capsule isn’t properly protected. It may also cause issues when used in vehicles due to subsonic resonances.

All this is subject to change, however, as the final version of the hardware and software has not yet been confirmed.

The included pro lapel mic is high quality and a lot smaller than some of it’s competitors.

I’m pleased to say that the killer function of this mic – the auto sync function – worked perfectly every time I tried it. Not only that, but the audio syncs faster than real time, although I would think that if you are in a high traffic area for wireless signals this might slow things down a bit.

When recording, I thought I’d spotted a bug with the audio while I was testing. If I stopped a recording using the button on the pocket I would end up loosing about 0.2 seconds off the end. Not a big issue but I did report it, and it turns out that this is deliberate so that the mic itself doesn’t record the click of the physical button. Nice thinking.

The supplied Pro lavalier mic uses a Micon to XLR adapter.

The Pocket also has some wider appeal as it offers the ability to offload the files via USB. It can even be used as a USB microphone if required. It was immediately detected in Windows once the Pocket had been switched into USB Audio device mode by a combination of connecting it without the Bluetooth transmitter enabled.

The Pocket can even be used as a USB microphone if required

It takes about three hours to charge the built-in battery via micro USB and a full charge lasts approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes in my tests. This was with Bluetooth switched on; without it you can get around an additional 15 minutes, but then you loose the key selling point of this mic. I’d really like to see longer battery life, although you can use it while charging with an external battery pack.

Minor issues

I encountered a few niggles in testing, which is to be expected with pre-production units. There’s a small issue with the fact that the included foam wind shield does not locate snugly onto the microphone capsule itself and it’s sure to go missing while shooting. I also saw a little bug in the app regarding the update rate for the amount of storage left on the device. It was not updating as quickly as I would like, causing some alarm when it reported 0% and I had only been recording for 20 minutes.

I contacted Mikme about these test results, and I’m assured that most, if not all, of my observations are being looked at – after all, that’s what beta testing is designed for.

Conclusion

Having a wireless lav mic that records to itself is not new, and that function has been available for a few years, albeit at different price points and feature sets with products from Zaxcom and Sennheiser.

What Mikme has achieved with the Pocket is the integration of a number of useful features not seen before in a single product. The internal recording together with auto-syncing of audio, manual and auto level control and the additional app functions all work well together. This makes recording good wireless audio much easier than with traditional products, especially with a smartphone or tablet.

What we like

  • Easy to use
  • Audio syncing prevents audio loss that sometimes occurs on lavalier mics
  • Included high quality mic (Pro version)
  • Comprehensive control via app (not always required)
  • USB microphone function
  • Headphone monitoring on device and on smartphone

What we’d like to see improved before shipping

  • Improved reporting of remaining memory
  • Addition of a switchable high pass filter
  • Addition of level control in app in Remote mode
  • Addition of strain relief to mic capsule
  • Lower profile connection between mic and body

(Based on a pre-production model)


Disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project. DPReview does its best to share only the projects that look legitimate and come from reliable creators, but as with any crowdfunded campaign, there’s always the risk of the product or service never coming to fruition.

7Artisans has announced this new 35mm f/1.4 full frame E mount lens

7Artisans announced this new 35mm f/1.4 full frame E mount lens. You find all 7Artisans E-mount lenses for sale on those pages at Amazon US, Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon IT and Amazon ES. Here is a presentation…

The post 7Artisans has announced this new 35mm f/1.4 full frame E mount lens appeared first on sonyalpharumors.