An Obvious, Easy Choice. Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 G2 Review

In the long run, I sincerely think Tamron played a much smarter game than any other third-party company. While Sigma will create lenses that can compete with everyone else, Tamron doesn’t do that. The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III VXD G2 is a perfect example. At an $879 price point, the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 is far more affordable than Sony’s 24-70mm, and a more attractive option than what Sigma offers. It focuses much faster than Sigma’s products too. Plus, there’s weather sealing and even innovations here. How do you beat it? Honestly, I’m not sure you can unless you’re dead-set on getting a G Master lens.

Continue reading…

An Innovative Standard. Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD Review

Tamron has cranked up the innovation game really high this time around. The Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 Di III VXD does so much that I’m sure other brands will need to study it. While Sigma creates the same things and fumbles around with anything but image quality, Tamron is killing it. This is the world’s only 35-150mm that starts at f2 and ends at f2.8. It’s weather-sealed, and so too is the USB port built into it for updating the firmware. If you’re a Sony shooter, this could honestly be the only lens you need in your camera bag. This statement is coming from a long-time “prime lens only” photographer. Tamron is seriously making me think differently here.

Continue reading…

Nikon’s Affordable Gem! Nikon 40mm F2 Z Review!

Let it be known, we’re not fans of most of Nikon’s kit lenses. But the Nikon 40mm f2 Z should replace every single one of them. First off, it’s just under $300. It’s small, has beautiful image quality, impressive weather sealing, and packs the performance you’d want from a lens like this. And even if it isn’t a kit lens, there’s good reason to buy into the Nikon system just for this lens alone. Combine this with the promising firmware updates Nikon has made to improve their autofocus, and the Nikon Z system is really starting to spread its wings.

Continue reading…

Hope for a New Pen F? OM System 20mm f1.4 Review

Over what seemed to be an AOL 9.0 internet connection, the folks at OM Digital solutions briefed the press on the new OM-System 20mm f1.4. Typically, I’m respectful and sit through the entire thing. But I knew that as soon as I saw the lens that I didn’t need to sit, though. My eyes brightened. The nostalgia of the early mirrorless camera era coursed through me. Could it really be? Is the new OM Digital solutions company really going to find a way to diversify its portfolio again? Rendering the visual equivalent of a 40mm f2.8 on a Micro Four Thirds sensor, the OM System 20mm f1.4 is a fantastic lens. And quite honestly, it’s probably one of my favorite lenses to be released this year.

Continue reading…

One of The Best. Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 R WR LM Review

The Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 R WR LM is a lens that I had mixed feelings about when it was announced. Fujifilm’s reps flat out told us that this lens isn’t designed with the same character as the 35mm. That lens has a Sonnar design. Instead, the Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 R WR LM is designed for faster focus for photography and video both. It’s also weather sealed, slightly larger, and very sharp! If you liked the Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 R WR LM, then know that the Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 R WR LM has a similar design. We’ve reviewed nearly every Fujifilm X mount lens. and this is honestly one of the most essential purchases we can recommend to a Fuji user.

Continue reading…

It Looks Like a Kit on Steroids: Tamron 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di III Review

Kit lenses are affordable ways to get started in photography, but limited in their versatility. The new Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III, however, feels like a kit lens on steroids. To be clear, it’s not a kit lens for either Fujifilm or Sony, although it probably should be. It has some of the same downfalls, but reaches much farther, shoots much closer, and doesn’t cost or weigh too much. For $699, it’s going to tempt photographers who like their kit lens but want something that shoots farther. It may even entice some to go body only, with this in the shopping cart instead of the kit.

Continue reading…

Nikon’s Most Unique Lens Yet? Nikon 40mm F2 Z First Impressions

There isn’t much that is really, truly exciting in the lens world. Mostly, companies just try to make their own versions of something else. But that’s not the case with the Nikon 40mm f2 Z. There aren’t many 40mm lenses on the market with autofocus. And this one is checking off all the right marks. It’s small, has autofocus, and boasts beautiful image quality. But perhaps best of all is that it’s only $299.95. Quite honestly, it’s an impulse buy. And it’s the best lens outside of a nifty 50 you can get for that price.

Continue reading…

New Life for Fuji! Tamron 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di III-A2 VC VXD First Look

The day has come. Fujifilm is finally game for working with third-party lens manufacturers. And Tamron is the first to do it The Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III-A2 VC VXD is the first lens to come to the system and fills a much-needed niche. And of course, Tamron didn’t skimp on quality. This lens is lightweight, reliably fast to focus, and delivers darned good image quality. We’re doing our full review of the lens on the Sony system, but we called one in for the Fujifilm system too. Here’s what we’re finding.

Continue reading…

Improved and Really Fantastic: Sony 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II Review

As other manufacturers have only recently introduced their first 70-200mm mirrorless workhorses, Sony is upgrading the five-year-old 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS. And Sony-tographers are going to be pleased. The Sony 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II has a Mark II in the name, but many of the updates feel more significant than that. The lens is significantly lighter and the autofocus now has four motors and a lower close-up limit. Oh, and there’s a dedicated aperture ring too.

Continue reading…

The Best Nifty 50 Made! Panasonic 50mm F1.8 S Review

I’m a huge fan of Panasonic’s smaller lenses. And I think Panasonic has a lot to teach the rest of the photo industry. A case in point is the Panasonic 50mm f1.8 S. It checks off all the needs one could have and does so at an affordable price. What’s even more exciting is that it does this better than any other brand on the market. And if you’re going to buy any lens for the L-mount, this is the absolutely essential one. In fact, it could probably be the lens that makes you swap systems.

Continue reading…

Great Sharpness! Nikon 50mm F2.8 Z Lens Review

Nikon is continuing to add more focal lengths to its newest Z-system lineup. Among those is the newest Nikon 50mm f2.8 Z lens. It’s lightweight, compact, and weather-sealed. It’s moderately priced for a nifty fifty. Is the simplistic design with macro capabilities truly one size fits all? Or is it more of a monotone one-hit wonder?

Continue reading…

Beautiful, Yet Gigantic: Panasonic 70-200mm F2.8 Lumix S Pro Review

The 70-200mm f2.8 is revered among photographers for its versatile yet bright design. The mid-to-telephoto workhorse, however, is often heavy. The Panasonic 70-200mm f2.8 Lumix S Pro is the epitome of both the category’s versatility and weight. With up to seven stops of stabilization when combined with in-body stabilization, the lens delivers steady shots even at the telephoto end. But, at almost 3.5 pounds, it’s also heavier than mirrorless options from Canon, Sony, and Nikon.

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…

It’s Wonderful! Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 R LM WR Lens Review

For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phoblographer.

It’s easy to see why photographers keep making the switch to Fujifilm. The X-System brings nostalgic joy back to photography. Their film simulations let photographers be photographers again, and their lens roadmap keeps expanding. The new Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 LM WR lens provides the classic 28mm equivalent focal length paired with a fast aperture. It’s an ideal focal length and is speedy enough to take anywhere, making the system even more enticing.

Continue reading…

A Pleasant Surprise. Meyer Optik 58mm F1.9 II Review

For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phoblographer.

I’ve tested several Meyer Optik lenses. And they’ve never been easy to work with. Meyer Optik has also made perplexing decisions, but the 58mm f1.9 II is mostly different. It’s easy to get it sharp wide open. It’s also got beautiful colors in addition to its bokeh. In many ways, it’s my favorite lens from Meyer Optik. But for the price point, I’d expect more. For example, why isn’t this lens weather resistant? And why aren’t there autofocus contacts?

Continue reading…

This 50 Is Both Tank and Treasure: Leica SL 50mm F2 Summicron Review

For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phoblographer.

Leica lenses are known for a durable, all-metal build. But, of course, metal weighs more than plastic. The Leica SL 50mm f2 Summicron is designed to be a lighter, more compact alternative to the Leica SL 50mm f1.4 Summilux. Of course, the term lighter is relative; I wouldn’t call a metal lens a lightweight. Yet it’s still lighter than the Panasonic Lumix S Pro 50mm f1.4 and Leica’s f1.4, and feels almost perfectly balanced with the Panasonic S5 body.

Continue reading…

Get Lost in the Bokeh. Mitakon 50mm f0.95 III Review (Speedmaster)

For more stories like this, please subscribe to the Phoblographer.

Before you read our Mitakon 50mm f0.95 III review, I want to ground you and bring you to reality. Take all the hype you have about beautiful bokeh, the f0.95 aperture, and beautiful images. Now realize a very, very big fact of life: nothing comes without hard work, or smart work. Apply that to your hobby as a photographer. Let that sink in, because that’s the reality with the Mitakon 50mm f0.95 III. You’re going to work for the shot and each one you get perfectly will be that much more meaningful to you. This is a lens that you have to do everything manually with. And more than anything, it’s a great reminder about the challenges of life. 

Continue reading…

So Much Amazing Character. Leica 16-35mm F3.5-4.5 SL Review

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

Wide-angle lenses are enjoyable! The team likes them because you get a much different perspective. And that’s the case with the Leica 16-35mm f3.5-4.5 SL lens. This lens initially confused us because we wondered why Leica didn’t just make an f2.8 lens? In contrast to the Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 Art DG DN, it’s got a lot more character. It’s also lighter, better built, and can actually accept a front filter. But of course, it’s also pretty pricey. We spent some time with the Leica 16-35mm f3.5-4.5 SL and seriously enjoyed it.

Continue reading…

An Outstanding Portrait Lens! Leica 90mm F2 SL Review

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

There aren’t many 90mm lenses on the market, but the Leica 90mm f2 SL is surely worth looking at. Leica doesn’t make an 85mm: they opt for a 75mm and a 90mm. The Leica 90mm f2 SL is small, lightweight, fast to focus, has a metal build, and produces beautiful image quality. Then there’s the autofocus, which is also damned good in most situations. It’s all a winning combo. But then you look at the near $6,000 price tag and wonder if it’s worth it. Is it expensive? Yes. However, it’s also one of the most perfect portrait lenses I’ve used. Years ago, Zeiss tried to make a no-compromise lens lineup called the Otus lenses. The Leica 90mm f2 SL is worthy of outdoing those lenses by far.

Continue reading…

The L Mount Really Needed This. Panasonic 85mm F1.8 Review

For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phoblographer.

The Panasonic 85mm f1.8 is the lens the system really, really needed. The L-Mount alliance likes to tout that they’re the second full-frame mirrorless camera system to hit the market. But they’ve needed more lenses to fill in gaps. Yet, at the same time, the systems don’t need to step on each other’s toes. They have three 24-70mm f2.8 lenses. Sigma also has an 85mm f1.4 Art lens, but it’s larger than the 85mm f1.8. And at this point, I honestly trust Panasonic to make the better lens. As it turns out, I wasn’t disappointed.

Continue reading…