Review: Canon 16-35mm f2.8 L III USM (Canon EF)

For years, the saying used to go something like “You go to Canon for the glass, and you go to Nikon for the cameras.” But as technology has progressed, it’s debatable that both companies are making solid products if that whole statement isn’t swapped. While Canon’s lenses don’t score the highest numbers at DXOMark (except in sharpness where they take a big lead), you can’t exactly sit here and fault a lens like the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 L III USM. Websites around the world can sit here and measure things like sharpness, distortion, vignetting, etc. But they can’t measure things like bokeh or pure character that a lens like this can deliver. As the third update to the popular Canon lens, it begs the question as to why Canon hasn’t decided to go wider to properly compete with the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 G option. Instead, you get some overlap with the 16-35mm, 24-70mm, and the 70-200mm lenses. Even if you went with something like the 11-24mm, you’re going down to f4 instead of f2.8.

Then you remember something: photography isn’t always all about the numbers.

But with weather sealing, some incredible sharpness, and overall great quality to the lens, Canon is showing the new school of photographers that they’re not going to go down without a fight to the likes of Sony.

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Review: Zeiss 18mm f2.8 Milvus (Nikon F)

Along with recent announcement of the 135mm f2 and 15mm f2.8 Milvus lenses, we were also treated to the Zeiss 18mm f2.8 Milvus lens. This lens is the company’s offering in-between their 15mm and 21mm focal lengths that are supposed to deliver architecture, Real Estate, Cityscape and landscape photographers a different experience. Like the others out there, this lens is weather sealed and characterized with the blue ring towards the back of the lens–which aids in weather sealing overall. Additionally, it boasts manual focusing, a rubber focusing ring and an all metal body.

Indeed, it’s one heck of a lens designed for the outdoor photographer.

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Review (Complete): Sony Zeiss 50mm f1.4 (Full Frame E Mount)

The release of the Sony Zeiss 50mm f1.4 for full frame E mount cameras begs the question “just how many 50mm lenses does one need?” In truth, just one–but the strategy is a smart one for the company. You see, years ago camera manufacturers used to offer loads of different lens options. You’d get a 50mm f1.8, f1.4, f2, etc. Leica still does this and to some degree, Zeiss does too. But with Sony, you’re getting something different.

This new lens isn’t part of the company’s G Master series of optics and instead it’s a lens that was created in collaboration with Zeiss. It boasts dust/moisture resistance, 11 aperture blades, and other cool features including Zeiss T* coatings that are bound to give you that Zeiss-like look though probably not as clear as their Milvus lineup of lenses.

Editor’s note: this review is now complete

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Review: Lensbaby Twist 60 f2.5 (Canon EF)

Additional reporting done by Chris Gampat

Lensbaby has always been a company that does things just a bit different from the rest. Such is the case with the company’s Twist 60mm f2.5 lens. It’s well built and in the right situations can deliver beautiful photos that will really make your jaw drop. At the same time though, it’s not for everyone. This lens is based off of the old Petzval schematics–and you should be willing to embrace that with this lens.

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Review: Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master (Sony E Mount)

It was only a matter of time until Sony announced their 24-70mm f2.8 lens that put it more squarely in the eyes of professionals. This lens is part of the company’s G Master lineup: which despite the hilarious name is also very capable of helping you shoot and gain a ton of excitement (I had to, sorry.)

Unlike some of Sony’s other lenses, this one has weather sealing at the mount and resistance built in all around the lens. Plus it focuses quickly, is pretty well built overall, and is pretty compact for a 24-70mm lens.

It’s meant for the professional, and the price really reflects that.

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Review: Nikon 24mm f1.8 G (Nikon F Mount)

Nikon has created an incredible lineup of f1.8 lenses for those of us who can’t afford some of the higher end products. We’ve been waiting a while for the 24mm f1.8–and thankfully it doesn’t disappoint. Nikon’s lenses have always been stellar, and when you use the 24mm f1.8, you don’t really think that you’re using a typical f1.8 lens.

With seven aperture blades, 12 elements in 9 groups and a weight of 12.6 oz, you’ll probably never want to take it off of your camera.

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Review: Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens

It’s not often that Lomography calls the press in before an announcement of theirs, but the new Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat 64mm f2.9 Art lens demands it. This is a first for Lomo: a lens designed on the daguerreotype methods vs the Petzval style. Like many of the company’s other lenses, this one isn’t about the sharpness, the pixel peeping, the MTF curve charts or any of that crap that doesn’t necessarily matter to the actual content of a photo. Instead, it’s about the look and the creative vision that you can create with it.

Call it hipster, go ahead: but that probably means that this lens isn’t for you. This is a lens for the majority of the photography world– those that care more about capturing and creating an incredible moment.

So what’s so cool about this lens? Besides the uber-retro look and feel, Lomography decided to take the Waterhouse aperture system even further. You’ll get lots of normal apertures and a ton of specially spaced ones that change the look of the bokeh accordingly. This is super cool for video shooters and for still shooters doing studio portrait work, you’re bound to have fun with manual studio strobes.

Today, the company’s Kickstarter for the Achromat lens launches. For the past week, I’ve been working with the lens.

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Review: Lomography Jupiter 3+ 50mm f1.5 (M39 Screwmount/Leica M)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography 50mm f1.5 Helios Zenit product photos (9 of 9)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

While photographers who have used Helios lenses for years scoffed at the pricing of the Lomography 50mm f1.5, they didn’t take a lot of the new factors into consideration. This lens has an absolutely incredible build quality, smooth clickless aperture, absolutely wonderful colors, and it includes an adapter for Leica M cameras.

This lens is a manual focus optic with an f1.5 aperture, a small body size, and rangefinder coupling. If I haven’t said it enough already, it also has some of the absolute best build quality I’ve felt in years from a modern lens.

It’s fun–and for sure an excellent portrait lens. Despite its great image quality and fun uses, I’m still not sure that it’s a lens for everyone; much like most of Lomo’s products.

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