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For many of those photographers who only got into the hobby a few years ago with the advent of digital SLRs and the like, large format photography seems like a strange ancient rite whose ins and outs are totally divorced from the camera they use everyday. I certainly felt that way before I bought my 4×5 on eBay about 7 years ago.

The thing is, the physics of the two are the same and the elements of the camera are the same. It’s just a matter of mechanics, and that I can explain.

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chris gampat the phoblographer m9p street photography (1 of 1)

A friend of mine once said that there are around seven great street photographers in the modern time with everyone else just being a troll. To help you get better, we’re listing a couple of tips for you.

And one of them is to stop being such a troll.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus product photos (5 of 5)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

“Do whatever you need to,” was the response given to me by the other editors of the Phoblographer when asking about budget for the review of the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus lens. When we were calling it for review, it was also decided that I’d handle it–afterall, this is probably the single most important lens that anyone has created this year (with Sigma’s 18-35mm f1.8 being a close contender.) Then you add in the fact that we only had this lens for 10 days (we usually test a lens for an entire month before publishing a review) and you’ve got one of the most challenging reviews that we’ve ever done.

When Zeiss created this lens, they decided that it shouldn’t have a single compromise on the image quality. It was also designed for high megapixel DSLRs. The image quality is reflected in the price tag–which is just under $4,000. Indeed, it isn’t a lens that we believe everyone will go out and buy.

And while our thoughts on the lens are overwhelmingly positive, we encountered a couple of situational problems that made the lens’s functionality somewhat tough at times.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7 and 35mm f2.8 image samples lead image (1 of 1)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 1.8

We’ve been in Nashville, TN for a couple of days now playing with the Sony A7 and A7r. And in all honesty, these are indeed the cameras that many photographers have been waiting for for a very, very long time. However, the cameras have a couple of issues that we believe that Sony will try to work on in some way or another. After using the cameras and talking with loads of other journalists on the trip (many of them being friends of mine) we’re glad to know that we’re not the only ones experiencing these problems.

So what’s wrong with the cameras?

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 135mm f2 review images products (2 of 7)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 4.0

“You’re not going to want to send it back,” said PCMag.com’s Jim Fisher, a good friend and colleague of mine who remarked about the Zeiss 135mm f2 when I told him that I got it in for review. Though Jim and I are different types of shooters, I didn’t realize just how correct he would be when I first twisted the luxury optic onto my Canon 5D Mk II.

Despite the fact that we’ve still tested pricier lenses on this site, Zeiss’s 135mm f2 exudes an aura of absolute allure and lust. With an all metal exterior build, uber smooth manual focus ring, Zeiss micro contrast, bokeh worth biting your lip to, and the feel of a real professional lens–the only thing that you’ll need to sell for it is your soul, a kidney, maybe a finger, and perhaps a couple vials of blood.


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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials The Urban Explorer (3 of 11)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 2.8

Samyang’s 16mm f2 is the company’s second lens dedicated to APS-C DSLRs. That doesn’t mean that you can’t mount them on a full frame camera though–you’ll just get a lot of vignetting. The lens is characterized by some sweet and smooth manual focusing, a manual aperture ring, and a functional distance scale just like most other lenses from Samyang and Rokinon. And like all of the others, we don’t recommend them for the person that shoots with their DSLR in auto mode.

This lens is priced very affordably, and because of its APS-C sized sensor design, we also believe that its cinema version, the 16mm T2.2 might just be the best damned wide angle prime that someone can spring for when using the Black Magic Cinema Camera.

Editor’s Note: Want more from Samyang and Rokinon? Check out our guide to their lenses.



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