The Big Reason Why You Should Just Get an F2.8 Zoom Instead of the F4

For more stories like this, subscribe to the Phoblographer.

There are loads of articles helping you figure out whether or not you should get an f2.8 or an f4 zoom lens. We’ve written articles about it too! The articles all say that it really depends on what you need. And that’s not a wrong answer at all. Some of us may need one thing over another. But in 2021, I feel like modern lenses and cameras have become very advanced. In fact, they’re so good now that the answer to this question has really changed. More importantly, we think that the answer is pretty obvious.

Continue reading…

Get a Little Closer Now: Nikon Z MC 105mm F2.8 VR S First Impressions

It’s a little bigger than its F mount equivalent but feels considerably lighter. It also improves on the optical performance a bit.

I have to admit, I like the performance of the new Nikon Z MC 105mm f2.8 VR S a little more than what the F-Mount VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8G IF-ED version offers. I immediately noticed the difference in weight when I first held the two lenses together (22.3 oz / 630 g vs 25.4 oz / 720 g). The other key factor is the absolute lack of chromatic aberration, especially purple fringing. This issue was prevalent in images taken on my 105 macro AF-S lens, and it was a constant headache for me to edit out. Unlike the improvements in the Z mount 50mm 1.8s over F mount equivalent, the differences aren’t night and day between the 105mm macros. But some improvements might make you pick this lens over using an F-mount version with an FTZ adapter.

Continue reading…

The Great Debate: 85mm vs 135mm for Portrait Photography

We’re streaming daily on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherPocket Casts, and Spotify! You can also listen to it right here on The Phoblographer.

The photographers who debate and care about this idea don’t really wonder about image quality. Indeed, if you’re wondering about 85mm vs. 135mm for portrait photography, they’re both very good. But they’re very different focal lengths. Luckily, we’ve reviewed loads of 85mm lenses over the years. And we’ve reviewed pretty much every 135mm lens made in the past decade. So we’re pooling information that we’ve written along with some selections.

Continue reading…

The Leica 24-70mm F2.8 ASPH SL Addresses a Big Concern

We’re told that the Leica 24-70mm f2.8 ASPH SL will even say “Made in Japan.”

I guess it was inevitable that Leica would use Sigma lenses to boost their lens lineup. And that’s sort of what’s happening with the Leica 24-70mm f2.8 ASPH SL. This lens is for the Leica L mount. It uses Sigma optics and rehouses them in a more rugged metal body. Sigma tends to use something they call carbon-composite. It makes their lenses lighter, even though their Art lineup is still pretty heavy. With this Leica, we’re told it’s still under 2lbs. That’s a bit reassuring, considering that many of Leica’s L mount lenses require you to lift weights. But, when you realize the image quality, internal construction, and build quality, it becomes a bit more understandable. 

Continue reading…

Comparison: Tamron 70-180mm F2.8 vs Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G Master

Would you trade 20mms of max zoom range and stabilization for US $1,400 in savings? Let’s compare Tamron’s 70-180mm f2.8 against Sony’s 70-200mm f2.8 G Master

It should come as no surprise that Tamron launched their 70-180mm f2.8 lens as a competitor to Sony’s native 70-200mm f2.8 G Master. This is an interesting move on Tamron’s part: Sony owns 12.06% stakes in the third party lens manufacturer. Fundamental differences in focal range and lens design contribute to the Tamron offering’s lower price point. Let’s compare the two telephoto zooms and see whether the Tamron’s cost savings can outweigh the added functionally of the Sony G Master.

Continue reading…

Great Colors for Portraits or Landscapes: Fujifilm GF 45-100mm F4 Review

The Fujifilm GF 45-100mm f4 R LM OIS WR is a stabilized and weather-resistant standard zoom lens for Fujifilm’s GFX Medium Format Mirrorless cameras.

Announced in January of this year, the Fujifilm GF 45-100mm f4 R LM OIS WR is a standard zoom lens for the Fujifilm GFX Medium Format Mirrorless system. It’s weather-resistant and features five stops of optical image stabilization with a focal range equivalent to 36-79mm on Full Frame cameras. The GF 45-100mm features a maximum aperture of f4 and can be stopped all the way down to f32. The lens boasts 16 elements arranged into 12 groups and includes three aspherical elements, one Super ED element, and one ED element. We had the opportunity to test a final production copy of the Fujifilm GF 45-100mm f4 in the wild prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Our full review is after the jump.

Continue reading…

The Best 24-70mm F2.8 Lenses We’ve Tested, and Why They’re Great

When it comes to lenses that offer extreme versatility, you can’t help but think of 24-70mm f2.8 lenses.

If you went up to any working photographer and asked if there was one lens they couldn’t live without, or if they could only carry one lens with them, chances are, they would quickly say 24-70mm f2.8 lenses. This focal range is loved by many thanks to the sheer amount of versatility, and when you throw a fast aperture of f2.8 into the mix, you can start to understand why these lenses are adored by many. 24-70mm f2.8 lenses are perfect for event photographers, documentarians, portrait photographers, landscape photographers, photojournalists, and so many more. Join us after the break to take a quick look at a few of our favorite 24-70mm f2.8 lenses.

Continue reading…

Review: Tokina 16-28mm F2.8 OPERA (Canon EF)

The Tokina 16-28mm f2.8 OPERA is an affordable, constant aperture, zoom lens that can render gorgeous bokeh in the right situation.

Reviewing the Tokina 16-28mm f2.8 OPERA lens was a bit of an odd thing; it goes against much of what I really want in a modern lens these days. While the focal lengths are limited in their range, the price point is kept below $1,000. It was disheartening that I couldn’t take it into very rainy situations due to the lack of weather sealing, but this comes with a lower price point. Though it may seem like a way of cheaping-out the customer, they’re not. The Tokina 16-28mm f2.8 OPERA has beautiful image quality that will satisfy many photographers. With some very sharp optics inside this lens, I was pleased to see it deliver images with pleasing bokeh. At the same time, I really wish Tokina didn’t hold back at all.

Continue reading…

Review: Fujifilm 16mm F2.8 R WR (The Adventurer’s Lens)

The Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR is a pretty great lens, but I still prefer the f1.4 version.

The Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 R WR lens is something I wasn’t expecting from the company; they already had a very good 16mm f1.4 R WR lens. However, considering the company’s philosophy of bringing things down to a more elementary audience in a more affordable, weather sealed form, it played out into being right in line with what they do. This is a lens that isn’t all that bad, but if you own the Fujifilm 16mm f1.4 R WR, you don’t need this. I’ll preface the review that way, but also note the very affordable price point of this lens.

Continue reading…

Do I Need an F2.8 or an F4 Zoom Lens? An Analysis

Advancements in technology have happened, and we’re revisiting an age old questions.

One of the oldest questions photographers tend to ask themselves at some point is whether they should go for an f2.8 zoom lens or an f4 zoom lens. Both have their advantages. Most f4 zoom lenses, like a 24-70mm f4, can offer a lightweight experience for the photographer casually photo walking while giving them solid image quality at an affordable price. On the other hand, f2.8 zoom lenses can give photographers better image quality, build quality, and the much needed ability to shoot in less light with a faster shutter speed. Both options also have their own disadvantages. So to explore this, we’re invoking an older article that we published with some critical updates.

Continue reading…

Review: Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR (Fujifilm X Mount)

The wide angle zoom that many of us have always wanted for the X series system is here in the form of the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R WR.

When using the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR on the Fujifilm X-T3, I was both enthused and confused. In some ways, it feels like a massive prime lens as the zooming mechanic is almost completely internal. But at the same time, it’s big. At f2.8 and with a ton of weather sealing, I can understand why though. This lens is designed for the photographer who needs the ability to shoot super but also access some zoom capabilities. If you’re the type of photographer who prefers prime lenses then you’ll be perhaps more delighted with a lens like their very good 16mm f1.4 R WR. However, I must admit that the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR is an incredibly fun lens to use.

Continue reading…

Cheap Photo: $400 Off Tamron’s 24-70mm F2.8

The original Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 VC is a crazy good deal right now!

Tamron’s 24-70mm F2.8 with image stabilization was a game changing lens when it was released, being not only one of the first 24-70mm F2.8 lenses to have stabilization, but it was also one of the most affordable. It is still, to this day, an excellent performer, despite the newer [amazon_textlink asin=’B072YRPS8Y’ text=’G2 version from Tamron’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0ed8211d-2dac-11e8-86dc-1d545500384f’] now being on the market. But you know what that means: pricedrops and the current price on the older Tamron model makes it almost a no brainer if you are on a budget.

There are some great deals on the docket this week, so lets have a look at what the gear deal gods have in store…

  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B019Y5UBT6′ text=’Fujifilm XF 100-400mm’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9fbf9d15-261a-11e8-b387-6b0b4f221529′] – ~$300 Savings
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B00WGP8414′ text=’Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e4f5f755-261a-11e8-baf6-071ae5e2c0f7′] – ~$300 Savings
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B00NEWZDRG’ text=’Canon 7D Mark II’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’80c81a88-261b-11e8-97df-ffe081723982′] – ~$600 Off
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B00JQ7TD2E’ text=’Tamron 16-300 F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b4244b1a-261b-11e8-a251-5d5c6c8fe79b’] – ~$50 Off
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B004X1SG12′ text=’Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 Lens’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f8ec2c43-261b-11e8-9159-8b2cfffbe73e’] – $~70 Off
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B007SNP02K’ text=’Tamron SP 24-70mm Di VC USD’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’508e71e9-2dab-11e8-9c2d-3547ee2a84a6′] – ~$400 Off

and as usual, there are more savings to be had below!

Continue reading…

Review: Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR (Fujifilm GF)

With the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR, many photographers who love primes could have a favorite lens.

When Fujifilm announced the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR, I was incredibly excited. While most folks would think of this lens and something closer to the normal range, one needs to remember that this is medium format. It’s something closer to my beloved 35mm field of view. In the older days of medium format, lots of photographers reached for primes like this. With modern Fujifilm’s glass, coatings, and designs you can be sure the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR is quite a performer. This is a lens that will easily find its way in the hands of professional photographers. Then you consider the weather sealing, the 35mm f2 equivalency with the compression of a 45mm lens, the feel, the relatively small size, and the overall lightweight system that the Fujifilm GFX is and you get yourself a fantastic option.

Continue reading…

Review: Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2 (Canon EF)

The Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 is a winner in so many ways!

What pretty much every photographer seems to aim for is a 24-70mm lens of some sort, and the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 may be just the thing that many photographers really need. There are professional features to a lens like this such as a metal exterior, weather sealing, and solid image quality that embraces a more saturated look. Plus it has vibration compensation which keeps the camera shake down. More and more options like this are appearing on the market with Sigma and Nikon both putting image stabilization into their lens offerings. Indeed, it’s a feature that photographers have been asking for for the better part of 10 years. And arguably, it took way too long to get to us.

But Tamron is surely one of those companies looking to change things.

Continue reading…

Similar but Different, the 28mm vs 35mm Debate


It is a question you may have found yourself asking at some point over the years: 28mm or 35mm? These are two focal lengths that render somewhat similar fields of view, have similar distortion characteristics and are generally around the same size. So, what is the point? Why would one choose to go with 35mm over 28mm, or 28mm over 35mm? That is what we are here to discuss today! Continue reading…

50mm vs 35mm Lenses: a Visual Guide for Portrait Photography


With wider angle lenses becoming better and better, photographers are bound to ask the question of 50mm vs 35mm lenses and how they relate to portraiture. For years now, it was never recommended that photographers use something like a 35mm or a 50mm lenses. In fact, the shortest focal length recommended was an 85mm–to some degree that’s still true. But in many situations, a 35mm and 50mm lens can be awesome. Photographers who perhaps come from a street background or prefer to work physically closer to their subjects may like the 50mm and 35mm lens options. So in this post, we’re going to explore why you’d choose one over the other.

Continue reading…

Review: Sony 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 G Master FE (Sony E Mount, Full Frame)

There are few lenses that have the extra versatility that something like the Sony 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 G Master FE does–it’s a decent option for wildlife, landscapes, outdoor sports, and a variety of other applications that really need longer focal lengths. Though at the same time, I don’t expect it to be one of Sony’s most popular lenses. Why? Well, the 70-200mm f2.8 with teleconverters provide photographers with a fair amount more versatility. But in addition to that, I just don’t see most photographers using it vs something like the 70-200mm f2.8 G Master. That’s an obviously given fact. And with all that in mind, that doesn’t at all mean that the Sony 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 G Master FE is a bad lens. In fact, it’s fantastic!

But at the same time, its release was a curious one. The Sony 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 G Master FE was released with the Sony a9. In terms of the sports world, that makes sense; but where are Sony’s long telephoto fast primes for this type of photography? At the time of publishing this review, they’re nowhere to be seen.

Continue reading…

Review: Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS USM II (Canon EF Mount)

Canon has always been a company that is a bit slower to change things, and so when the Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS USM II was announced, I was pleased to see that they did a number to fix many issues with the previous lens. With that said though, years have passed now and the Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS USM II more or less looks like every other option on the market. Some of the new welcome additions are the prevention of lens creep incorporated into the design, a lock to keep the lens locked in at 24mm, better weather sealing, faster autofocus, and less issues with image quality. For years, the previous version of the lens was my bread and butter option. While many photographers reach for the 24-70mm f2.8 lenses, I tend to go for the longer focal range option.

For only $1,099 you’re getting one of the best bang for your buck L lenses that Canon offers. At a more expensive price point than Sigma’s 24-105mm f4 DG OS HSM, you’re paying for weather sealing and the ability to lock the lens at 24mm to prevent it from extending when in your camera bag. that and less contrast in the images. But the Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS USM II’s main strength is in the versatility it offers the photographer.

Continue reading…

Lens Review: Fujifilm 120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro (Fujifilm G Format)

The Fujifilm 120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro is one of the first lens offerings from the G Format lineup, and it’s a pretty decent lens overall. In fact, there isn’t a single major problem with it besides maybe its large size. But when it comes to performance, it’s very sharp, focuses quickly, has image stabilization built in, and beautiful bokeh. What more could a photographer want?

Continue reading…

All Around Prime Lenses: 35mm vs 50mm. Our Favorite Choices

One of the questions that is asked all the time as photographers are considering upgrading their lenses has to do with 35mm and 50mm primes, and great general all around lenses. Traditionally both 35mm and 50mm have been recommended as general purpose lenses for everything from travel and street photography to portraiture.

But what is the better all around lens for today’s digital photographer? The answer to that question really lies in which sensor size your camera utilizes, and what sort of photography you enjoy on the most regular basis. Both 35mm and 50mm are fairly versatile focal lengths that can be used for a variety of purposes, which is partly why this post is even a thing. Continue reading…