Review: Sigma 19mm and 30mm f2.8 DN Lenses (Micro Four Thirds, Version 2)

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At CES 2012, Sigma announced that they were going to throw their hat into the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) lens game with their 19mm f2.8 and 30mm F2.8 lenses. These lenses were an inexpensive alternative to those offered by Olympus and Panasonic. The build quality was lacking compared to other MFT lenses as the inner components rattled around in the lens and with a max aperture of F2.8, the lenses are far from being speed demons. Thankfully, most users found the image quality of these lenses greatly outweighed any of the negative qualities. We tested the lenses shortly after they were released and were generally happy with their performance, especially for the price.

So, has Sigma been able to rectify the problems while still keeping the excellent optical quality with these new lenses? Let’s find out.

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Review: Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro

Canon lists six lenses on their site under the macro section and Nikon lists 10, so is it even worth looking into 3rd party companies like Sigma? In the recent past, the popular answer was no, but as time keeps on ticking, the 3rd party companies are really upping their game. Sigma’s new 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens is one of  lenses that hopes to draw people from the “big” companies. Continue on to see how it stacks up.

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Review: Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ZE

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If you’re a Canon or Nikon shooter, you have a pretty vast selection of lenses to choose from. Most people tend to gravitate towards lenses that are made by the same manufacturer as their body. When I first started shooting, I looked like a walking advertisement for Canon…they should have been paying me. Over time, I found that third party products can be just as good or better than the “brand name” products. Over the past year or so, I’ve developed a curiosity with Zeiss optics. I love the build quality and the attention to detail. The Distagon 35mm f/1.4 is truly a wonderful lens, but it’s out of most hobbyist’s price range. Luckily, Zeiss’ Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 is less than half of the price of its 35mm cousin.

So can the 50mm hang with the rest of Zeiss’ products? Let’s find out.

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Long Term Review: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L

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A wide-angle lens definitely has its place in most photographers bag. They have many possible uses. Although their primary use is for landscapes as you generally want the camera to see as much of the scene as possible, they can also be used for some very creative portrait work in the right setting. If we’re talking about current Canon, standard (non-fish-eye) wide-angle, EF lenses, then you’ll probably be looking at two different lenses. The Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM and the (much more expensive) Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM. Maybe you’ve been thinking about picking one of these little numbers up but have been torn on which one to purchase. In this article, we’ll look at the former; what it can do for you and what you can expect out of it.

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Long Term Review: Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L

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We all love a 50mm lens. It’s the closest field of view to what the human eye sees therefore we can relate to the images it creates much more than any other lens. Heck, we like them so much, Canon has made 3 different ones to choose from. You’ve got the baby bear EF 50mm f/1.8 II, momma bear EF 50mm f1.4 USM, and then there’s the big daddy 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens, the pièce de résistance of Canon’s 50mm lens lineup. With there being such a drastic difference in price, is the big daddy version really worth it? Continue on and we’ll find out.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog posting by Travis Lawton, the Lawtographer

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Field Review: Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm F/1.4 ZE (Day 2 – Getting to Know the Lens)

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Canon 5D with Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 - Shot at ISO 100, f/2.0, 1/8000 sec

When I’m testing a product for The Phoblographer, I like to take at least a day or two to familiarize myself with the product before I really start shooting. I guess you could equate it to test driving a car. You want to make sure you know how everything works before you make any decisions. In this post I’ll be sharing some photos and my thoughts after using the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm F/1.4 ZE for a few days.

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Field Review: Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm F/1.4 ZE (Day 1 – Initial Thoughts)

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Zeiss products have always interested me. How does a company that produces manual focus (along with some AF) lenses survive in today’s world of bigger, better, faster? Most major camera companies manufacture lenses that can focus in a split second while producing stunning results. So why would I ever want to buy a lens that costs more and takes even longer to focus than Canon’s 35mm F/1.4L?  Honestly, I don’t know but thousands of people do every year when they purchase a Zeiss lens. There has to be something special about these lenses. So what is it? I intend to find out by testing the Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm F/1.4 ZE.

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