Review: Leica M10

The Leica M10 has to be one of the worst kept secrets from Leica in a while. Perhaps it’s because it generated a whole lot of excitement, and indeed it’s worth the hype. For the purist photographer, this is bound to be a tool that they’ll closely look at. With a 24MP CMOS full frame sensor, this camera is the company’s smallest M digital camera and this was done by creating a camera that more or less is super densely packed. It’s around the same size as the company’s film M cameras.

We’ve been playing with the Leica M10 for a while now, and in truth, we really like it.

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Vintage Camera Review: Mamiya RB67 Pro-S (6×7 Format)

A few years ago, I was told that a Hasselblad digital camera was going to kill the 120 format of film. At the time, I was absolutely astounded. For many years, I believed it to a certain point. 645 digital is good; in fact, it’s very good. But very few pieces of work out there have really delivered to me what I feel is that true medium format look. It’s what so many photographers strive for. But if you’re working with a camera like the Mamiya RB67 Pro-S, it’s impossible to not get that look you’re craving. A true workhorse camera for a portrait or landscape photographer, this camera has been in my arsenal for a fair amount of time now and I’ve often considered it to be my crown jewel.

If anything, it’s proven that 645 digital is close to the larger formats of 120 film, but it still isn’t totally there to me.

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First Impressions: Irix 11mm f4 Lens

One of the latest companies to hit the scene is Irix. They’ve been around for a few years, but the Swedish company is gaining more and more recognition for some carefully thought out new features and attention to details. Their manual focus lenses are focused on the DSLR customer, but they state that offerings for mirrorless cameras are on their way.

Recently, we had the chance to play with the company’s new 11mm f4–and there is a whole lot here that everyone should be paying attention to.

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Tutorial: Zone Focusing With Super Wide Angle Lenses

One of the biggest strengths of manual focus lenses and the reason why so many photographers love using them has to do with a process called zone focusing–and Zeiss Milvus lenses like the 18mm f2.8 and 15mm f2.8 lens themselves well to this. For years the methods around zone focusing are what has allowed many photographers to outdo the fastest focusing autofocus cameras and lenses. Street photographers, landscape photographers, and many others have used the technique to ensure that they get sharp photos. When film photography was king, lots of photographers did this to ensure they got “the shot.” Digital photography and its inherent nature requires photographers to get even sharper photos.

When you’re shooting landscapes and architecture, you really want the best you can get. With manual focus lenses, sometimes the best thing to do is to use zone focusing.

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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: Zeiss 135mm f2 Milvus (Canon EF)

If you had to think about some of the greatest lenses out there on the market right now, you’ll most likely think of Zeiss; and today the company is upgrading one of their best lenses to date in the form of the Zeiss 135mm f2 Milvus. Like the rest of the Milvus lineup of glass, this lens offers weather sealing, a solid metal exterior, a large rubber focusing ring, and above all else is promising, class leading optical quality. With 11 elements in 8 groups, this lens has a lot to prove to justify a $2,199 price tag for Canon and Nikon DSLR shooters.

But the big question is whether or not it really is worth the upgrade over their already fantastic 135mm f2. To this day, that is still one of my favorite portrait lenses.

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

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: Leica M-D

The Leica M-D is a crazy idea–seriously, who decides to remove the LCD screen from a camera? It makes no sense, right? Honestly, you’d be amazed at how wrong you are. The Leica M-D is the closest thing that Leica has that fuses both digital and film. Indeed, it’s the true film photographer’s M camera. Scoff all you want at this camera, but after three weeks of time with it and the wonderful 24mm f1.4 Summilux, I genuinely started to understand it. You could indeed call it the Anti-Instagram camera, but I personally see it as one of the most important M cameras that they’ve released since the original M9 and the M Monochrom.

If you’re a true photojournalist or documentary photographer, this could be the only camera you’ll ever need. And before you sit there and hate on all the things about Leica cameras being so expensive, at least hear me out.

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