Lens Reviews

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Dan Havlik  |  May 27, 2015  |  0 comments

I got a lot of feedback – mostly positive but with a few spirited rejoiners – to last month’s editorial “Smartphones (Still) Can’t Compete with Great Camera Gear,” that I feel I should “double down.” Again, this isn’t a knock against using smartphones for shooting images. As I mentioned last month, I do it all the time with some pretty decent results. And many serious photographers are constantly turning to that little phone in their pockets and have produced many spectacular photos.

Henry Posner  |  May 21, 2015  |  1 comments

It’s been my experience that there are a handful of special objects in the world that have developed cachet or “mojo” and are emotionally appealing to people in various fields. Some of these unique items engage our interest because they’re otherwise unassuming objects which have become associated with unusual people or events. I think of the track shoes Roger Bannister wore on May 6, 1954 when he ran the world’s first sub-4 minute mile. I think of “Brownie” and “Blackie,” two of Eric Clapton’s Fender Stratocasters. The console Sam Phillips used in Sun Studios to record Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison must drip with “mojo,” as does Pete Seeger’s banjo, no doubt.

Jack Neubart  |  May 20, 2015  |  0 comments

There was a time when I’d avoid a zoom lens as much as I’d avoid a swarm of midges. But in the digital age, the zoom lens has taken on new purpose, at least for me. Midges, however, are still a pest that is best avoided—especially when you’re changing lenses. And if you’re out in a marsh shooting spectacular scenic views, the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens gives you the needed range of focal lengths so you can reign supreme over any landscape, as you avoid changing lenses while sidestepping concern that those midges will infiltrate your camera.

Jack Neubart  |  May 13, 2015  |  0 comments

I thought that Tamron had outdone itself first with its 70-300mm lens and then with the 24-70mm f/2.8  and 90mm f/2.8 Macro lenses: all bearing the SP (super performance), VC (vibration compensation), Di (digitally integrated primarily for full-frame sensors), and USD (ultrasonic silent drive) monikers. There are of course other noteworthy lenses in the lineup, but these are the ones I tested for Shutterbug. Now comes the impressive Tamron SP15-30mm f/2.8 Di FC USD, which the company first previewed way back at photokina 2014. With this lens Tamron has created a near-flawless masterpiece in optics that simply blew me away!

Joe Farace  |  May 06, 2015  |  0 comments

I’ve been writing about and playing with—emphasis on play—Lensbaby lenses since they were introduced in 2004 and ten years later they’re still coming up with new ideas. All their products, including the Medium Format 3G with "Marvin the Martian"-like antennae, have been interesting and the new Lensbaby Velvet 56 portrait lens not only looks like fun but appears to be the most practical Lensbaby product ever.

Joe Farace  |  May 01, 2015  |  0 comments

The reality is you can make portraits using any lens but most photographers will tell you the ideal portrait lens has a focal length in the range of 85-135mm. The first dedicated portrait lens was the 150mm f/3.3 Petzval developed in 1840, which had a 30-degree angle of view and was considerably faster than lenses of the period. It was so legendary that Lomography recently produced a new version for Canon EF- and Nikon F-mount cameras that costs $599.

Joe Farace  |  Dec 30, 2014  |  0 comments

Tamron’s 14-150mm Di III is the company’s first lens designed for the mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera system. When originally announced, this lens was supposed to feature built-in VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization but over the course of its development—there’s lots of in-body stabilization in this format—this feature was removed.

George Schaub  |  Dec 26, 2014  |  0 comments

The adage, “To get a fresh point of view in your photography, try a new lens,” was never truer than when applied to so-called fisheyes. I do not presume to know how a fish sees, but that’s irrelevant because lenses of this ilk get their moniker from the bulbous convexity of the front element, not from any inspection of the image going to the piscine brain.

Joe Farace  |  Dec 03, 2014  |  0 comments

Tamron is a pioneer in all-in-one, do-everything lenses. Their new 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di PZD lens is designed for Canon, Nikon and Sony shooters and I tested the Canon EF version using an EOS 5D Mark I and an EOS 50D, which changes the lens’ angle-of-view to that of a 45-480mm lens.

Dan Havlik  |  Sep 25, 2014  |  0 comments

Here’s a little more photo gear news we didn’t fully get to in our comprehensive photokina coverage last week. Third-party lens manufacturers Sigma and Tamron both made waves at the show by announcing intriguing new zoom lenses.

Dan Havlik  |  Sep 17, 2014  |  0 comments

Fujifilm was showing off its new toys at photokina today and we got some hands-on time with these latest X-series cameras and lenses. Initially announced on September 10th, the Fujifilm X100T and XT-1 Graphite Silver cameras, and Fujinon XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR and XF56mm F1.2 R APD lenses continue to build on Fuji’s compact and retro-style (Fuji would say “classic" style) X-Series line.

George Schaub  |  Aug 15, 2014  |  0 comments

Being in general a wide to moderate tele-zoom kind of guy, I have found myself occasionally frustrated by lacking a long zoom or tele prime when shooting in the great outdoors. There are some scenes and places that cry out for a longer focal length, and it’s not from laziness but more accessibility that creates the need.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Jul 27, 2014  |  0 comments

Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera systems promised us lenses that are more compact but fully featured. That promise has finally been fulfilled—and it took Tamron, the master of the All-in-One Zoom, to make it happen.

Stan Trzoniec  |  Jul 18, 2014  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2014  |  0 comments

Considering that this opticis only a tad slower than the Nikkor 200-400mm f/4, with a drop of a stop when you zoom out, has a 5x zoom range, is lighter, and costs about half of the near $7000 price tag of the 200-400mm f/4, it is certainly worthy of consideration for those who can appreciate what it has to offer in both range and versatility.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Jun 25, 2014  |  0 comments

Beauty is as beauty does. A Leica M with a 50mm APO Summicron attached is the iconic archetype of modern digital cameras with retro design. Using it is a prodigious experience comparable to, let’s say, playing a concert Steinway grand piano, or maybe setting the hands on a Patek Philippe timepiece. I’m only guessing here, ‘cause I’ve done neither. But I did use a Leica M and 50mm APO Summicron for a week. Did they perform? Read on…

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