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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 58mm f2 Biotar images (4 of 4)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 8.0

While lots of us tend to geek out about how amazing many modern day lenses are, videographers love the look of vintage glass–especially for the bokeh. There’s a great reason for it besides how they tend to work with the sensor. But many years ago, I purchased a Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f2 with an adapter to Micro Four Thirds. On the old Panasonic GH2, it rendered results that looked beautiful. But that’s a Four Thirds sensor, and just yesterday I purchased an adapter for the lens to mount onto a Sony E Mount Full Frame camera.

This lens is an Exacta mount lens and still works very well. But one of the best things about the lens is the 17 or so aperture blades that it has.


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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography Petzval Lens review images samples (10 of 24)ISO 4001-320 sec

The term bokeh colloquially refers to the quality of the out of focus area in an image. But over the years, it has come to be more associated with the whole out of focus area to begin with. In fact, it’s something that many photographers, enthusiasts and others become obsessed with. To get it, you need lenses with wide apertures and generally longer focal length lenses–though some wider options can do a great job too.

In our tests over the years, we’ve run across lenses from different manufacturers that exhibit some incredible bokeh. Here are some of our favorite lenses with the best bokeh.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus product images review (3 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.0

All images by Mike Randolph of the Travel Photography Blog. Used with permission.

Sometimes we see some incredibly crazy comparisons between products. But the most crazy one that we’ve seen thus far has to be the most recent one by Mike Randolph. He dared to put the aging Sony RX100 against the brand new Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus mounted on the Sony A7r. Seems crazy, right? I mean, the the RX100 vs 85mm f1.4 Otus doesn’t really make sense.

For starters, the RX100 has a fixed zoom lens and a 1 inch sensor while the A7r has a full frame sensor with more megapixels and arguably the best 85mm lens attached to it. And the results? Well, they’d surprise you.

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Original Edit

Original Edit

When shooting portraits, we invest loads of money into lighting and lenses in order to get the image as close to perfect as we can. We also tend to put a lot of emphasis on the eyes. But there are ways to make the eyes pop even more if you didn’t get them right the first time. The key to doing it all has to do with subtle corrections, using the spot editing tool in Adobe Lightroom and being moderate. And in the end, it all has to do with contrast.

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The new ZEISS Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM for professional reportage photography Das neue ZEISS Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM für die Profi-Reportagefotografie

There were rumors of a new Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Otus lens floating around the web, and if you’re a forum lurker hoping to bite your lip and close your eyes to the chart readings then you’ll probably be a bit disappointed. The reason for that is because the new Zeiss 35mm f1.4 ZM lens was designed for Leica M mount cameras. It has been unveiled today at Photokina 2014.

As it is though, 35mm f1.4 lenses are very highly sought after in the M mount world with Leica releasing a redesign of theirs a couple of years ago. The new Zeiss 35mm f1.4 ZM lens features a T* anti-reflective lens coasting, 10 blade aperture, 1/3 stop adjustment, and ergonomic finger rest,

We’re very curious about how this will perform on cameras like the Sony A7r or the Fujifilm XT1. But at $2,290 this is a bit more than we can swallow. Tech specs are after the jump.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Rokinon Sigma 85mm f1.4 three way comparison (1 of 3)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 3.5

With Zeiss’s new 85mm f1.4 Otus reviewed, we took it upon ourselves to do an informal comparison of two of its biggest and closest competitors: the Rokinon 85mm f1.4 and the Sigma 85mm f1.4. Now granted, neither of these lenses are said to be targeted at the higher end photographer. But with Sigma’s offering being a couple of years old and Rokinon’s not being so old either, we decided that it would be great to see just how the three perform against one another.

Editor’s Note: Again we are saying that this is an informal comparison to see how the three stack up against one another. We’d like to remind our readers though that each offering is pretty darn solid, but if anything this is more of a measure of how the technology has progressed.

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