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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 35mm f2 Loxia review product lead images (1 of 2)ISO 64001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Our introductions to lenses tend to bit a bit of a nice padding to our reviews, but in this case we’re going to get straight to the point in an analogy.

Imagine if you will for a second that you think that you’ve met the love of your life. Though both of you may not know it yet, you’re perfect for one another. At the time that you two meet and mingle and do the whole dating thing, one of you needs to break it off. Years later though, you find one another again–and after a very passionate and wonderful moment, you truly find one another.

This is what the current Zeiss and Sony relationship is like: except in this case it’s Zeiss that’s perfect and Sony that still has some self-discovery to do.

The Zeiss 35mm f2 Loxia lens is in many ways the one for Sony–the absolutely most perfect 35mm lens designed for mirrorless cameras that we’ve ever come across. For shooters like us, using it is very much like second nature. It takes some of the best of external designs like those of Zeiss classic and modern Fujifilm to create a lens that is one that you’d be stupid not to go after.

And again, it’s not Zeiss that has us in a fit about using the lens. A problem with Sony full frame cameras that has been around for a while is what’s breaking our hearts.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 35mm f2 Loxia first impressions product images (9 of 9)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 5.0

Late last year, Zeiss announced two lenses for the Sony full frame E-mount cameras, which created the Loxia lineup. These lenses were designed to cover a full frame sensor area for mirrorless cameras like the Sony A7 series. The lenses are manual focus only–which is one of Zeiss’s fortes and has been for years due to their reputation in the manufacturing world. They also have a manual aperture and fully working depth of field scale. And like their more popular lens options, these lenses don’t have a rubber focusing ring.

We’ve been spending some time with the Zeiss 35mm f2 Loxia so far, and like many manual focus lenses on a full frame camera, it isn’t simple to work with.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography LCA 120 product photos (1 of 7)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 4.0

Earlier this year, Lomography announced the smallest 120 film camera with automatic metering ever made: the LCA 120. Traditionally, no photographer that uses 120 film on a regular basis has ever consistently wanted to shoot with a fully automatic mode. This is why many of these cameras have interchangeable backs, lenses, and various settings. There were also various medium format rangefinders, but those are another story.

The LCA 120 is a medium format (6×6) automatic metering camera with the only variable being ISO control. Focusing involves flipping a switch for zone control. Otherwise, this camera is also the most straightforward and simple medium format camera that I’ve ever touched.

This makes the LCA 120 arguably one of the best cameras that the Phoblographer has tested for street photography.

So what’s the problem?

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Rokinon Sigma 85mm f1.4 three way comparison (2 of 3)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 3.5

Your lenses are much more important than your camera is. They do a big job of helping to determine what kind of image quality comes out of the camera. And in the same way that you’d treat your camera with lots of care, you should be treating your lenses even better. You know some of the basics already–or at least you think you do.

To get the most from your lenses, you’ll need to understand how they work.

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Over the years, I’ve been doing more and more portraiture in attempts to get better and to make people feel genuinely more confident about themselves. It takes time, understanding, and a lot of hard work. But when giving the images to my subjects, all that is ever heard is genuine love for the portraits not only from my subjects but their loved ones, friends, and colleagues. It’s wonderful.

And shooting film has taught me something even more important.

The tradition in portraiture is to always focus on the eyes. It’s said over and over again all the time. But to be honest, I think that it’s about time to break that rule in certain situations.


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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Leica M60 review images product photos (2 of 6)ISO 6401-80 sec at f - 2.8

The Leica M60–some may argue that it’s it’s overpriced; actually, everyone would argue that. The camera was announced at Photokina 2014, and it’s quite the unconventional offering. It comes with the very expensive and wonderful Leica 35mm f1.4–the new version announced only a couple of years ago. The entire kit itself comes up to around $16,000. Yes, that’s a lot of money and there are only around 600 of these cameras being made. It is the ultimate special edition and collectors camera.

But in all honesty, the Leica M Edition 60 is the camera that every digital Leica should be. Why? Take it from a guy who was trained on and cut his teeth in the photo industry on their cameras. The philosophy behind shooting with a Leica in the streets has to do with ease of use, speed, and relying on your own knowledge. You’re more or less a master. It doesn’t involve sitting there chimping an LCD screen and hoping that you got the shot.

No, this camera is for the master of the streets. And in the one hour that I had with the camera, I’ve never been captivated by a single digital image taking device in my career yet.

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