The title of this piece can almost make you say, “Duh” depending on what school of thought you’re coming from. Whether we choose to believe it or not, the iPhone is one of the most popular street photography cameras not only due to its small size and reliability, but for the fact that it has such a small sensor that it’s tough to not get a subject in focus. The sensor is indeed so small that it is tough to get something not in focus–so the photographer is forced to have compelling subject matter without relying on tricks like bokeh.
And by going on a similar train of thought, one can argue that smaller sensors indeed make street photography easier.
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Before you even get into reading this piece, know that we’re talking about an actual lens focal length, not equivalent to field of view. Look at it this way: you like taking photos with a 50mm lens, right? Let’s say you’re working with Micro Four Thirds camera options. In order to get a 50mm field of view, you need to slap a 25mm lens on your camera. But guess what? That 25mm lens will still act like a 25mm lens. It will be just as distorted and even though you’re still using the center area of the lens more or less you’ll still get all the problems that a lens like that faces. To get rid of that distortion, you’ll need a longer focal length. I found this out the hard way when working with a subject of larger stature. Though I felt the images looked great, she didn’t–and the only thing that really could have helped would have been a longer lens.
To eliminate that distortion to begin with, you’ll need to work with longer focal lengths. The generally accepted portrait focal length is an 85mm or longer. Now again, I’m not talking about an 85mm equivalent field of view on Micro Four Thirds. I’m saying that I need at least an 85mm focal length. Yes, the M43 coalition does a great job with making sure that their lenses are superb, but if you’re going to do portraits then you should eliminate any sort of distortion problems from the start.
Moving up to larger formats like APS-C or Full Frame, we think that the 85mm to the 135mm range is a great area to start working. Remember, the main thing that you’ll need to do is keep the distortion down to begin with.
Fresh from Zeiss’s factory come two new lenses for Sony’s full-frame E-mount line of cameras: the Loxia 35mm f2 and the Loxia 50mm f2. Each lens is solely manual focus and has a clickless aperture ring and a depth of field scale. True to Zeiss’ tradition, the lenses have a metal body, and to meet the demands of the A7/R/S, they’re weather-sealed, too. They’ll get their first display at Photokina in two weeks.
Based on the tech specs, these lenses will be a boon for street photographers and photojournalists, and we bet that the 50mm in particular will work well for portrait photographers both outside and in the studio.
The 50mm f2 will be available in October for $949.99, and the 35mm f2 will be available towards the end of the year for $1299.99. Once we get the lenses in, we’ll be sure to review them for you.
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Years ago, Leica introduced the Leica MP. Back then, it was a film rangefinder–and many could call it the creme-de-la-creme of the rangefinder camera world. Now, Leica has brought in a new camera to the fore with the old Leica MP name; except that this one is digital.
According to Petapixel, the camera houses a 24MP Full Frame sensor, has a 2GB memory buffer, comes in black and silver, has a 3inch 920K dot LCD screen (which is antiquated in today’s day and age) and will set you back around $8,000.
We’re waiting for more details, but we will update when we get them.
You can check availability at B&H Photo.
It was at a party a few weeks ago here in Istanbul that I asked a working photojournalist what she shoots with. Given that she’s worked in conflict zones, I was curious about her equipment. “Canon,” she told me. I pushed the line of inquiry a bit further and asked, “5D Mark II? Mark III?” She replied, “Yeah, 5D.” That essentially ended the conversation, and it wasn’t the first time a photographer’s given me a vague answer about gear. On many occasions, I’ve heard that it’s not about the camera, it’s about the person holding the camera, and that’s true. Yet, without the camera, we would all just be folks with an eye for composition and a natural sense of light, and the visual record of the past 150 years or so would be virtually nonexistent. The subtext underlying the resistance to talking about gear seems to be that it’s somehow amateurish and unimportant, and that notion is hogwash.
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This nifty diagram shows how the Leica M Monochrom can deliver greater sharpness than other cameras that shoot in color, and Sony may have a stronger answer to Leica’s $8,000 monochromatic wunderkind. According to a level 3 rumor on Sony Alpha Rumors, Sony may be working on a full-frame black and white sensor for the RX line of compact cameras. Think RX1, but in black-and-white.
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