How to Choose Your First Lenses for Your SmartPhone Camera

These days it’s not so much of a stretch to say that while you are our traveling or just going about your daily life the camera you have with you is likely the one built into your phone. Additionally, the image quality from these tiny devices is just getting better and better in almost every respect. The limiting factor for a lot of these phones though is they are stuck with a single lens, with your only way of changing your view being an image quality destroying digital zoom. Some newer higher end phones are now coming with two rear cameras, one with a wider lens and one a more telephoto – but even these are extremely limiting compared to what we as photographers are used to with our interchangeable lens cameras.

The solution here is accessory lens systems for your smart phone. These are the very things that many of us scoffed at in the recent past, but as mobile photography has become more popular and with more people wanting to be serious about it – the quality of these add-on lenses as grown significantly. But what should you be thinking about when you are looking to buy these accessory lenses? You know how to consider camera lenses, but phone add-on lenses?

Have no fear – We’ve got you covered.

Continue reading…

Which Zeiss Milvus Lens is Best for You? We’ve Updated Our Guide

We’ve updated our recent lens guide to the Zeiss Milvus lineup of glass. Are they pricey? Sure, but when you consider what you’re getting with the quality of an optic that Zeiss offers, you’re realizing you’re getting a great investment. Zeiss lenses combine both great optics with some of the best build quality of any lens on the market, in addition to an approach that makes you concentrate harder and create better images.

At the moment, there are 12 Zeiss Milvus lenses and we’ve just added to this guide our 35mm f1.4 Milvus review. This is a semi-wide angle lens that Zeiss is saying is great for portraiture. That hasn’t really been done before in the past, and so it’s quite a claim for any lens company out there. But as we saw in our review, the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus lens is fantastic for portraiture. We went a step further this time around and decided to try it out on film too. The colors, sharpness, and overall look to the images is something that’s bound to “wow” many photographers. Part of this is due to the 3D look it renders with the micro-contrast built in. It’s tough to get that from any other manufacturer’s offerings.

If you’re looking to get the absolute best, then check out the Zeiss Milvus lens guide.

The 7 Best 35mm Lenses for Portrait Photography

While the 35mm focal length isn’t always considered to be prime (pun not intended) for portraiture, it’s still fairly popular and a very versatile focal length. In fact, because it’s got a field of view that is the way that so many photographers see, it’s bound to be a favorite focal length. Luckily, over the years a number of those lenses have improved to simply just become better. So if you’re looking for a 35mm lens for portraiture, look no further than our favorites in this list.

Continue reading…

Vintage Camera Review: Pentax Spotmatic (M42 Screwmount)

Pentax has has a number of great cameras over the years, but if you’re going to get something cheap and reliable, one of the best options has to be the Pentax Spotmatic. The little camera is one of the first options to offer a TTL (through the lens) light meter though otherwise is completely mechanical. With that said, it still truthfully doesn’t need a battery or the light meter to operate–which is a lot light many Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander rangefinders. That means that even if the battery dies, you can still shoot and get perfectly usable photos if you’ve got just a bit of light metering knowledge. The Pentax Spotmatic was designed during a time when folks typically shot photos in full shutter speeds vs 1/3rd options of today. So with that said, you’ll want to pay close attention to the film that you’re loading up and your own intentions when it comes to shooting.

Continue reading…

Sample Image Gallery: Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus (Canon 6D)

Hey folks,

I got the brand new Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus lens in and I’ve had it for probably less than eight hours from my publishing this post. But within these few hours that I’ve spent with it, it’s easily becoming one of my favorite 35mm lenses ever made. I really like the Sigma 35mm f1.4, the Canon 35mm f1.4 and the Sony 35mm f1.4, but there’s something about a Zeiss lens that produces absolute magic. Perhaps it’s the fact that one needs to manually focus and then put extra work into actually creating and paying attention to a photo before putting it out there in the world.

The Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus lens was just announced yesterday though and here are a few image samples I’ve done thus far on the Canon 6D.

Continue reading…

The New Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus Lens Is Being Targeted at Portrait Photographers

Today, Zeiss is bringing out a long awaited lens for their Milvus lineup: the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus. We’ve reviewed every single one of the Zeiss Milvus lenses and of any of them, this is the lens that I’ve personally been anticipating the most. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of this new lens if that they’re specifically using language that targets it at portrait photographers due to the shallow depth of field.

Like every other Milvus lens out there, the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus is being offered in both Canon EF and Nikon F DSLR mounts. The lenses all have weather sealing and this one has no exception. OF course, it’s also manual focus–which means you’ll be using the AF confirmation system with Canon or the very good Nikon rangefinder system if you’re a photographer.

Craziest of all: the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus lens is going to cost Euro 1,999 when it hits the stores in July 2017. But perhaps it’s not that crazy considering that it’s the only all metal build, high performance 35mm f1.4 lens on the market. Even Sony isn’t doing that! More specs and the press release are after the jump.

Continue reading…

Review: Bitplay 18mm HD Wide Angle Lens (Apple iPhone)

Though many of the more traditional photographers don’t really take the iPhone seriously, it’s very fair to say that lens options like the Bitplay 18mm HD Wide Angle lens for the Apple iPhone are options that can really change the way you shoot. Bitplay has a load of excellent lens optics for their SNAP! Pro case, which we’ve reviewed previously and they’ve updated. But this newest addition is promising incredibly low distortion. So if you’re an adventure photographer, landscape photographer, street photographer, or cityscape shooter, then there is very little reason why you wouldn’t want a lens like this. In the same way that Moment and Zeiss have been changing the way that photographers shoot with the iPhone, this new lens offering from Bitplay is very similar.

Continue reading…

The Best Cameras for Vacations and Travel: Point and Shoots (2017 Edition)

The best camera for a vacation: what could it be? Some folks will tell you the best camera is the one that you’ve got on you; but sometimes you may not want to risk bringing your phone with you even if your connection won’t work and your battery life will therefore work even better. Now, the best cameras can arguably be point and shoots. But we’re not talking about some regular, ordinary point and shoots. We’re talking about the really fantastic and top notch ones. Heck, call them a fixed lens camera more than anything else.

Here are a bunch of our favorites along with sample images.

Continue reading…