Lens Reviews

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Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Jun 19, 2014  |  0 comments

If a visitor from another planet arrived on Earth and asked to see the perfect specimen of what a digital camera and lens should look like, this combination might be the best choice. In terms of design and construction, fit and feel, the Leica M with 50mm APO Summicron is nearly perfect.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  May 25, 2014  |  0 comments

Misprint? No. The latest “all-in-one” zoom lens from Tamron ranges from 16mm to 300mm, the equivalent of 24mm to 450mm on my Nikon D300s (with APS-C size sensor). Add Vibration Compensation (VC), excellent Macro focusing and PZD Piezo Drive for quiet and blazing-fast autofocus and you’ve got “Lensational.”

Joe Farace  |  Apr 15, 2014  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2014  |  0 comments

Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM is part of their DC series of lenses designed for APS-C-sized sensors so the imaging circle is matched to the size of the sensor. For this assignment, I used a Canon EOS 60D with a 22.3x14.9mm sensor, producing an equivalent angle of view of a 28-56mm lens. Shooters of Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, and Sony cameras, the other mounts for which the lens is available, will achieve an angle of view equivalent to 27-52mm. Unlike other lens manufacturers, Sigma priced the different mounts the same ($799) so don’t feel you’re going to be paying a premium for your camera choice. Bucking a trend with camera manufacturers’ lenses, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM includes a lens hood at no extra charge.

Jack Neubart  |  Mar 17, 2014  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2014  |  0 comments

When my fascination with macro began all my work was done by available light. Getting sharp images at life-size magnification took all the resolve I could muster, especially when dealing with heat and humidity or frigid conditions. It’s tough to hold a camera steady in those situations. What I wouldn’t have given for image stabilization!

George Schaub  |  Feb 21, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2014  |  0 comments

A tilt-shift lens can be thought of as a flexible visual tool in the many ways it allows you to image the world. Unlike a standard lens, even a zoom, with a set point of view enforced by stance, elevation, focal length, and, within certain limits, depth of field, the tilt-shift lens opens visual doors a “fixed” lens will not. By tilting the lens within the mount you can enhance or greatly diminish depth of field beyond the “normal” abilities of the focal length and aperture setting. By shifting the lens you can “fix” perspective distortion or exaggerate it for “trick” effects.

George Schaub  |  Dec 17, 2013  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2013  |  1 comments

The 70-200mm focal length has been the standard tele-zoom choice for many years, offering near normal to a good tele range that suits many practical purposes. Yet, quite a few stock-in-trade 70-200mm lenses had been slow or lost significant aperture as soon as you left the shortest zoom setting, making them a real challenge for handheld, low-light, or even max focal length shooting. Certainly, improvements in sensors and processors in terms of the high ISO/image quality ratio have helped. If you’re too slow on shutter speed with a variable aperture zoom you can always jack up the sensitivity. But that’s not always a great choice and it seems to force you to compromise image quality just to make up for the lens losing “speed” just when you need it most.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Nov 24, 2013  |  0 comments

Lensbaby Spark lets your camera color outside the lines. It mounts directly on your Canon or Nikon and focuses manually when you squeeze it toward the rear while watching the sharp, sweet spot move around in the viewfinder. The affordable Lensbaby Spark deserves a spot on every photographer’s holiday wish list.

Edited by George Schaub  |  Sep 13, 2013  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Every year member magazines from the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) gather to consider and vote on the top products of the year in 40 categories, ranging from cameras to tripods to software and printers. This year’s selections represent technological sophistication along with features and functionality that make them leaders in their respective categories.

Jack Neubart  |  Sep 03, 2013  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2013  |  1 comments

While the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 lens has been out for a good while we decided to take a closer look at one of the most interesting pro-oriented products in their lineup. One of the key selling points in this lens is built-in optical image stabilization (“OS” in Sigma-speak) to aid in achieving camera-shake-free, handheld exposures. Granted, image stabilization in a macro lens is not the be-all and end-all of successful close-ups, though it sure gives added insurance. And because the Sigma 150mm OS macro is optimized for full-frame D-SLRs, it allows for use at the stated focal length with such cameras and provides even greater effective focal length with APS-C-type SLRs.

Jack Neubart  |  Aug 16, 2013  |  1 comments

There are two types of fisheye: circular and diagonal. The Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 Aspherical Fisheye Lens is of the diagonal type, delivering a rectangular image with cropped-sensor lenses. The lens I worked with is designed for the Nikon DX (APS-C/cropped) sensor. The APS-C version provides a 180-degree field of view. Other versions are available for other “cropped-sensor” interchangeable-lens cameras, including Micro Four Thirds. My tests were conducted using the Nikon D300.

George Schaub  |  Aug 12, 2013  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2013  |  4 comments

There’s something about a fixed focal length lens that brings the photographer out in me. It forces me to move in and back from compositions without resorting to a zoom. Yes, there are times when a zoom is most appreciated—especially the fast constant aperture zooms now available—but a prime puts me in a mindset that a zoom has yet to match.

Jack Neubart  |  Aug 06, 2013  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2013  |  2 comments

There are a number of new lenses, including those for “full-frame,” Micro Four Thirds, and “mirrorless” compact system cameras debuting this year, listed in alphabetical order. Here’s a sampler, with a sprinkling of filters thrown in for good measure. We’ve shown prices when available at press time—if not, check the websites of the companies for updates.

Jack Neubart  |  May 06, 2013  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2013  |  3 comments

The difference between a “constant” aperture zoom and other standard zooms is that when you increase the focal length on the standard zoom the maximum aperture narrows. This might make the difference between being able to hand hold or not when zooming in, and may indeed force the use of higher ISOs. Known as “fast” lenses, constant aperture zooms are pricier and bulkier than their variable-aperture counterparts. And to sweeten the pot, we’ve seen more and more fast lenses with built-in image stabilization, which gets you even more low light and steady shot capability.

Edited by George Schaub  |  Sep 18, 2012  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2012  |  4 comments

Every year the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA), a worldwide association of photo and imaging magazine editors, meets to pick the Best of Class in a wide range of photo categories. As the sole US member of the association, Shutterbug joins editors from Europe, Asia, and Africa in the nominating, judging, and selection process. One of the most exciting aspects of photography today is the constant advancement of technology and design, and this year’s Top Products reflect that spirit and those accomplishments, including new categories of Video D-SLR and Mobile App. Editor George Schaub joins all fellow TIPA members in congratulating those selected to receive the prestigious TIPA award. (To learn more about TIPA, please visit the website at: www.tipa.com.)

Steve Bedell  |  Aug 09, 2012  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2012  |  1 comments

The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM lens (average price: $969 on various Internet sites) is designed for full-frame cameras; with an APS-C multiply by your usual factor. At about 25 oz, I’d describe the lens as substantial, but not hefty. One of the reasons for the weight is the build—11 elements in eight groups, including the use of SLD glass, Sigma speak for Special Low Dispersion. The big chunk of glass on the end requires a 77mm filter. As to handling, Sigma has gone from their black “crinkle” finish to a smooth black rubberized finish that feels great to the touch. It’s plastic, not metal, but based on my experience with previous Sigma lenses, I’ve found them to be built to professional standards and can take a lot of abuse.

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