Lens Reviews

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Stan Trzoniec  |  Jun 03, 2016  |  0 comments

For Canon lens fans, the wait finally ended when the company took the wraps off the new EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, a relatively compact super-telephoto zoom that has been hotly anticipated and frequently rumored about for years.

Dan Havlik  |  May 26, 2016  |  0 comments

Our favorite weird lens guru Mathieu Stern has been testing out some unusual Soviet-era Russian lens and the results have been surprisingly impressive. In fact, in the below video, Stern pairs the Jupiter-9 85mm F/2 portrait lens on a Sony A7 II mirrorless camera and some of his still photos and video are actually quite amazing.

Steve Meltzer  |  May 05, 2016  |  0 comments

The decisive moment had decisively passed and I missed another great shot: While framing and reframing my zoom lens the scene changed, the sun slid behind a cloud, and people in the shot moved. I finally realized I was missing shots because I had too much gear. 

Ron Leach  |  May 04, 2016  |  0 comments

Here’s a little something for those of you who can’t afford the new $6000 Leica M–D: Four quirky lenses you can get for under 30 bucks from Weird Lens Guru Mathieu Stern, whose passion is discovering odd optics you can adapt to your mirrorless camera to capture both still images and video. In this video Stern describes a quartet of lenses you can get for less than the cost of two decent cocktails in Paris.

Stan Trzoniec  |  Apr 12, 2016  |  0 comments

Like many photographers, when Nikon introduced their 20-35mm f/2.8 lens I just had to have one. Being a commercial photographer, the ability to carry a zoom that would cover this field of view was very handy, especially for assignments that involved shooting in buildings or offices for public relations clients. While the lens was exciting, the best images were captured at around f/5.6 to f/8 when the corners started to match the sharpness of dead center. Following that was the Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8, which was more commonly known as the “beast” in photographic circles because it gave us more breathing room at the long end, complete with AF-S focusing. Although it weighed in at two pounds, it was a sharp lens!

Patrick Sweeney  |  Apr 11, 2016  |  0 comments

Sometimes you want to capture expansive vistas without resorting to post-capture tricks like stitching multiple frames together; like on my latest excursion to Antarctica when I wanted a wider perspective than I achieved on an earlier visit with a 24mm lens (which transformed into a 38mm on my crop-body camera). The question I asked myself was ”how wide is “wide enough?”

Jack Neubart  |  Apr 04, 2016  |  0 comments

I’ve always preferred longer focal-length macro lenses in the 90-100mm range because they give you more breathing room between the camera and skittish subjects than does standard (50/60mm) macros. No wonder, then, that one of my earliest lenses was the original Vivitar Series 1 90mm f/2.5 macro, which I first paired with a Minolta SR-T 102. I burned plenty of Kodachrome with that glass.

Joe Farace  |  Mar 25, 2016  |  0 comments

Every company that makes lenses usually designs a few that are ideal for portraiture. The trend these days for studio and boudoir portraits is toward fast prime lenses, while zooms remain popular for location and wedding photography. Wide-angle lenses may get you closer to the subject but perspective distortion exaggerates a subject’s nose and ears.

Stan Trzoniec  |  Mar 21, 2016  |  0 comments

I really can’t recall the last time I became so emotionally involved with a lens. This affordable Nikkor telephoto zoom is sharp, easy to hold, and at under $1400 you simply cannot go wrong. If I sound excited, I am! 

Jack Neubart  |  Mar 08, 2016  |  0 comments

Back in the day when fixed-focal-length optics reigned supreme, the 35mm lens, along with its wider cousin, the 28mm, was known as the lens a portrait or wedding photographer would use for group or full-length portraits or, especially if it had a fast aperture, the photojournalist would use to grab street candids. Today, with our wide zooms we’re often happy enough with an f/4 maximum aperture and we tend to overlook what faster fixed-focal-length lenses could do to help our photography.

Joe Farace  |  Feb 26, 2016  |  0 comments

Here are some tips I discovered when researching this month’s column. One was from my wife who uses this technique all the time—smile! And you know what, people smile back, making you appear friendly and non-threatening. The other was from Michael Archambault, who suggests you “acknowledge that street photography is not perfect.” Or as my grandfather once told me, “If you spend your whole life looking for happiness, it’ll make you miserable.”

Stan Trzoniec  |  Feb 08, 2016  |  0 comments

When I was a cub photographer in high school, I was very proud of my Kodak Signet 40 camera. With the attached flash unit, even if I did not look like a professional, I felt like one. Later, thanks to my obsession with large aperture lenses, I moved up to a Heiland H2 Pentax camera complete with its awesome Auto Takumar 50mm f/2 lens that I carried throughout Europe and later for the local newspaper.

Jack Neubart  |  Jan 06, 2016  |  0 comments

Call them what you will – ultra-wides or super-wides – I love ‘em. By covering a breathtaking expanse, these types of extreme wide-angle lenses are not only capable of capturing most landscapes, they also help sweep you into that landscape, making you feel a part of the scene in the process.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Nov 26, 2015  |  0 comments

As a lover of all things unsharp, I was eager to get my mitts on a Petzval 85mm portrait lens. When I saw it at Photo Plus Expo here in New York, it was under glass, gleaming like a gilded idol. The fine folks at Lomography were kind enough to loan me a sample. What follows is my report. 

Stan Trzoniec  |  Nov 05, 2015  |  0 comments

Chances are if you take a poll of what photographers picked for their first telephoto lens, it would be the 300mm. For one thing, it’s a good choice for those starting out in wildlife or sports photography and, given the nature of millimeters, it’s relatively inexpensive as compared to the big guns like the 400, 500 or 600mm lenses. 

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