Review: Rokinon 20mm f1.8 (Sony E Mount, FE)

Rokinon has for a while been the maker of affordable lenses capable of delivering very high quality photos–and the new Rokinon 20mm f1.8 continues to hold the company to that very tradition. Like many of the company’s other optics, you can expect some incredibly sharpness from this lens. For many years though, Rokinon lenses have had a special character to them that I feel is lacking here. The image quality that it is capable of outputting feels like something very standard and clinical–and in some ways that’s how I feel it differentiates itself from the likes of both Sigma and Zeiss.

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Review: Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Loxia (Sony E Mount, FE)

The first time  I handled the Zeiss Loxia lenses I didn’t truly understand them considering they also have the Batis lineup. But after using the Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Loxia lens I’ve begun to understand it a bit more. Think about the system as a Leica M camera: you’ve got small, high quality glass that is manual focus and well built with great image quality. That’s what the Loxia lineup is, and considering what the Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Loxia lens is capable of there is very little to complain about aside from the price point.

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Review: Canon EOS M5

Years ago, I never believed that Canon would ever build at least a serious attempt at mirrorless cameras. But now, we’ve got one in the form of the Canon M5–and the company has created a really impressive camera overall. Essentially: think of it as being the 80D; except, well, it’s not. It’s significantly smaller, more lightweight, has an EVF, and uses the EF-M mount vs the EF mount.

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Review: Sony a99 II

In some ways, it perplexes me that Sony still has the a99 and Alpha series of cameras. Sure, they’re from the Minolta days and have a heritage behind them, but admittedly the company doesn’t push them anywhere as hard as they do their E mount lineup. I wish they did though–Minolta was at one time one of the most important camera companies in the world. So if you look at the Sony a99 II and trace its evolution, you honestly won’t see a whole lot of that heritage sans the mount. But this could arguably also be said for the original a99 with the new hot shoe. In all honesty though, that choice was for the better.

The Sony a99 II is a camera packed to the brim with technology. If you’re not convinced by the high megapixel full frame sensor, then you’ll be shocked to know it’s also capable of shooting sports and fast motion very well with its highly improved autofocus system. Indeed, this is the best that Sony can deliver.

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Review: Sony RX100 V

For a really long time, I’ve never truly been a fan of the Sony RX100 series of cameras, but then earlier this year Sony launched their Sony RX100 V–and somehow or another things changed. The company has been making steady improvements to the camera over the years with a better aperture value through the zoom range, the addition of an EVF, improved battery life, improved autofocus, better video, and better image quality. At the same time, I’ve become more and more enamored with point and shoots. The good ones with a fixed lens, a fast aperture, fast autofocus, small size, and solid image quality just make it all that much more worth investing into one.

In my personal collection, my Hexar AF has taken the place of SLRs and others just because it’s so small, lightweight, quiet, and has fantastic image quality. Digital point and shoots have been there for a while now, but nothing has impressed quite like what the Sony RX100 V has been capable of in terms of image quality from a 1 inch sensor.

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Review: Pentax 28-105mm f3.5-5.6 ED DC WR (Pentax K Mount)

If you were to choose one walkabout zoom lens for the Pentax K-1, it would most likely need to be the Pentax 28-105mm f3.5-5.6 ED DC WR. This lens has a very versatile zoom range and despite its variable aperture, is still highly capable of doing quite a bit for any photographer who holds it in their hands. Designed as a general use lens for many photographers, this lens can prove great in the hands of portrait photographers, landscape photographers, and so many more that choose to buy into Pentax’s full frame camera system. Then combine the fact that you’ve got weather sealing designed into the lens, plus the great sensor at the heart of the Pentax K-1, and this lens could be the only single zoom lens you’ll need if you’re the type to stick to all prime lenses.

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Review: Pentax 15-30mm f2.8 ED SDM WR (Pentax F)

The Pentax K-1 is probably the greatest thing to happen to many Pentax users in a while; and when you consider some fantastic lenses like the company’s Pentax 15-30mm f2.8 you start to see more and more how someone could almost want to switch systems. The Pentax 15-30mm f2.8 is a weather sealed beast of a lens that works very well with the Pentax K-1 and is designed for landscape, architecture, and Real Estate photographers. But it’s also a generally great walkaround lens if you’re the type that enjoys shooting wide. Like all wides, it can also be used to deliver a very unique perspective when shooting portraits.

With 9 aperture blades in its design and HD coatings to render even more details, there’s a lot to love here.

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First Impressions: Hasselblad X1D

Editor’s note: With this post, we’re testing a new offering from our current redesign: full screen blog posts. Please let us know your feedback as we’re eager to keep building a better Phoblographer for you all.

If you think about any of the companies who have contributed much to the world of photography gear, there shouldn’t be a doubt in your mind that Hasselblad is on that list. With the company’s new X1D announced earlier today, I’ve got no doubt in my mind that they’ve reached out and touched the millennial generation of photographers in the digital world in the same way that the 500C has touched them.

The Hasselblad X1D features a 50MP cropped 645 format sensor–that is to say that it isn’t a full frame 645 sensor but instead still larger than a 35mm sensor. The camera also incorporates the use of leaf shutter lenses that let you shoot with a flash to 1/2000th with full sync, autofocus, an EVF, a touchscreen LCD, and interesting features such as a mode dial that locks and unlocks by simply pressing it up and down.

But even more amazing: it’s pretty small–honestly if you could imagine a Sony a6000 series camera, put a big sensor in it and make it around the height of some DSLRs then reduce the weight and depth significantly, you’ve got this camera.

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