Is the New Sony a99 II Too Late to the Photography Game?

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Though Sony was the first to the game with full frame interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras with autofocus, the company has traditionally played catch up in the digital photography world–and there seems to be a bit of that with the Sony a99 II. Granted, they’re now very much the leader in many ways and create understandably fantastic products–but the a99 II’s announcement after around four years or more feels a bit like what Canon and Nikon do. Granted, that makes sense in some ways; but Sony is now mostly known for their mirrorless cameras and that begs the question of whether or not the company is too late with this announcement.

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First Impressions: Venus Optics Laowa 15mm f2 (Sony FE)

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If you’ve known anything about Venus Optics and what they’ve been doing for the past couple of years, you’ll know they entered the manual focusing lens world and are promising a zero-distortion 15mm f2 lens to be delivered soon for the Sony full frame E mount. At Photokina 2016, we got a chance to meet with the company to give the lens a bit of a try on the original Sony a7. So far, it seems like they’re holding themselves very closely to their claims.

To be fair, I tested a pre-production unit and our reps tell us that the production version of the lens will be around 30% better.

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First Impressions: Sony a99 II

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It’s been years since Sony has updated the a99, and at Photokina 2016 the company announced the successor–the Sony a99 II. Chock full of upgrades like a 42.2MP full frame sensor, hybrid autofocus detection, 4K video without pixel binning, 12 fps shooting capabilities in raw with a buffer of up to 56 images, and a new three way tilting LCD screen there is surely a lot to love here.

We got a chance to play with the camera–like 15 minutes if anything. And though we weren’t allowed to take home sample images, we’re quite impressed with what we’ve seen so far.

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Review: Zeiss 15mm f2.8 Milvus (Nikon F)

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When you look at a Zeiss lens, it’s very common to feel gear lust–and that’s what the Zeiss 15mm f2.8 Milvus lens will create in you. As the company’s widest lens and one of the newest additions to the Milvus lineup, it’s also one that will inspire you quite a bit due to its gorgeous way of rendering the world around you. Those that will really love this lens are landscape, architecture and real estate photographers. These shooters will also most likely be ones that wok professionally especially as they’re some of the few that will be able to justify the purchase to themselves.

But if you can get your hands on one, you’ll never want to go back to anything else.

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Review: Zeiss 18mm f2.8 Milvus (Nikon F)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Milvus 18mm f2.8 product images (1 of 6)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.0

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: Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR (Fujifilm X Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens review product images (1 of 10)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.0

Compare the Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens to anything else on the APS-C camera market, and you’ll find pretty much no sort of equivalent product. It’s weather sealed, has optical image stabilization, doesn’t change its aperture very much throughout the range, and is built incredibly well. Then tag onto it the fact that it’s made by Fujifilm–one of the best lens makers of all time. Keep moving forward, and consider the fact that you’re putting this glass in front of the company’s excellent X Trans Sensors; designed by Fujifilm but manufactured by Sony. If you’re a sports, photojournalism, wildlife photographer or professional creeper then this lens may indeed by an option that you’ll want to consider.

Announced quite a while back, the Fujifilm 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR may also be the company’s most expensive lens. But if you need something like this, it’s worth every penny.

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Review: Zeiss 135mm f2 Milvus (Canon EF)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Milvus 135mm f2 product images (1 of 6)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.0

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: Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G OSS (Sony E Mount, Full Frame)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 FE lens review (1 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

There is very little on the market that can truly be compared to the Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G OSS lens; and for that reason it’s truly considered something unique. Very little, if anything at all, even compares to this lens in the mirrorless camera world.

For a little over $1,000 you’re getting a dust and splash resistant lens with quite a zoom range and a fairly compact size. Sure, it’s not an internal zooming lens but it’s still not too bad. On top of that, it’s designed for full frame mirrorless cameras. Considering Sony’s reputation, you can bet that it’s also going to be pretty darn good.

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