Review: Venus Optics Laowa 105mm f2 Smooth Trans Focus Lens (Sony E, Full Frame)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Laowa 105mm f2 lens review product images (7 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

When you look at the landscape of portrait lenses available for the full frame Sony E mount, you’ll see that they’re growing at a high rate–and the Venus Optics Laowa 105mm f2 lens is only one of those options. This lens is very special due to the design incorporating an apodization element to produce images that the company claims will give you “smooth and creamy bokeh while maintaining excellent sharpness at the focal plane.” To that end, it loses some light gathering abilities and has a T rating of T3.2–meaning that the photographer loses more than a full stop of light.

In practice, you indeed do get incredible images. But as with every manual focus telephoto lens, you’ll need to be very careful.

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Review: Sony 50mm f1.8 (Sony E Mount, Full Frame)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm f1.8 FE review images product photos final review (1 of 5)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Sony’s 50mm f1.8 for the full frame E mount cameras is one of the lenses that photographers waited for for a while. When it was launched, it made everyone ecstatic. The system finally had its nifty 50 and would make loads of photographers very happy. As the first lens full frame 50mm lens designed for mirrorless cameras with autofocus, it’s bound to be exciting.

So how is it? If you’re a Sony user, you’ll probably want to get one.

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

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony Zeiss 50mm f1.4 FE product images review (3 of 8)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 2.8

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: Nikon D500

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D500 product images (2 of 10)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.5

For years now, Nikon has said that the higher end lineup of the Dxxxx series of cameras were the replacement for the old D300s. But then they admitted that that wasn’t true, and like a rare find in the lands of Ancient Egypt, photographers got excited all over again with the announcement of the Nikon D500. Indeed, they have great reasons to.

The Nikon D500 is a camera that packs a punch–enough of one to fulfill the needs of both pros and high end enthusiasts. With a beefy build quality, fantastic autofocus, highly revamped ergonomics and a touchscreen on the back, there’s a whole lot that can be accomplished with this camera.

Editor’s Note: we’re trying a brand new review format. Each section will be individually evaluated and then added up for a tally. From there an evaluation will be given. Additionally, we will be making comparisons in each section.

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Sigma’s Biggest Lens Dwarfs its Smallest By Far

SigmaLensComparison-2015-F

Graphic used with permission from Sigma USA

Sigma shared on their blog today a special chart comparing the sizes of all their lenses. The smallest are the lenses designed for mirrorless cameras while the biggest is the company’s 200-500mm f2.8 lens.

To celebrate the end of the year, Sigma is also giving away weather resistant circular polarizers in a new contest. The rules can be found here.

Which One? Fujifilm 35mm f2 R WR vs 35mm f1.4 R

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 35mm f2 WR vs Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 Comparison post images (1 of 5)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 2.8

Of any comparison of lenses that the Phoblographer has done, this one seems to be the most neck in neck. Lots of readers have been requesting a comparison of the Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 and the Fujifilm 35mm f2 R WR lenses. The f1.4 version has been around for years now, but it’s highly regarded amongst Fujifilm users as a favorite. With the company’s latest announcement of the f2 version, there comes extra features such as weather sealing, a smaller body, and arguably the fastest focusing speed of any Fujifilm lens made as of the publication of this blog post.

But to be very honest, they’re not really that different from one another in terms of image quality.

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Comparison: 50mm vs 85mm Lenses on a Full Frame Camera for Portraits

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 50mm f1.8 STM lens review product images (1 of 2)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.8

We’ve answered this question many times when it comes to technicalities, but there is so much more to photography than just being technical.

The folks over at Weekly Imogen recently published a video doing just that. They compare the Canon 50mm f1.8 and the Canon 85mm f1.8–both are great lenses. Their technical problems aside, there are lots of reasons why you’d use the 85mm lens over a 50mm lens when ti comes to using a full frame camera. 85mm lenses render less distortion, compress bulging parts and tend to throw a lot of the scene out of focus. That means that when you’re photographing a subject, you can make the scene really just focus on them.

Their video is after the jump, but if you’re interested in more then check out our comparison featuring the 50mm f1.4 vs the 85mm f1.8, Weekly Imogen’s own debate on the two, and our field test comparison of the Sigma versions of the 50mm vs 85mm lenses.

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Digital Rev Compares the Autofocus of the Nikon D7200, Canon 7D Mk II and Canon 70D

Screenshot taken from the video

Screenshot taken from the video

Digital Rev recently compared the Canon 70D against the Nikon D7200 and Canon 7D Mk II. Why two Canon cameras? Because the Nikon D7200 is pretty much designed to take on both of them with the 7D Mk II targeting the higher end and the 70D going a bit lower end in some ways.

The hosts play a ridiculous game to test the autofocus system and mention specifics when it comes to the intricacies of the focusing system. It involves playing with the cameras FPS or paintball style where headshots count. This is a creative and fun way of doing it; and eventually it seems like the 7D Mk II and Nikon D7200 are the top contenders.

Check out who wins in the Canon 70D vs Nikon D7200 vs Canon 7D Mk II comparison after the jump.

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