First Impressions: Fujifilm XF 16mm f2.8 R WR (A $399.95 Beast)

The Fujifilm XF 16mm f2.8 R WR is a fast ultrawide housed within a compact and lightweight body

In addition to introducing the brand new Fujifilm X-T30, Fujifilm also showcased the new Fujifilm XF 16mm f2.8 R WR, a fast aperture ultrawide angle lens that is so compact and lightweight that you can fit it inside one of the pockets in your pants. With 10 lens elements arranged into 8 groups (2 of which are aspherical), the Fuji XF 16mm f2.8 is designed to take advantage of the increased resolving power of Fujifilm’s own 4th generation 26.1 MP X-Trans CMOS 4 Sensor and promises to produce images with edge-to-edge sharpness. We had the opportunity to personally fondle the lens, and here’s what we think so far.

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First Impressions: Panasonic 24-105mm f4 Lumix S Pro (Panasonic L Mount)

The near equivalent of a kit lens, the Panasonic 24-105mm f4 is the mount’s most versatile lens at the moment. 

The Panasonic 24-105mm f4 is a lens that will probably not be considered anything special by a number of photographers out there, but for anyone that knows just how wonderful it can be to have a versatile zoom lens, you’ll look at this option with glee. A 24-105mm f4 lens used to be my bread and butter–it quite literally helped me build this site and with us nearing 10 years, I’m happy that this piece of glass is an option.

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First Impressions: Panasonic 50mm f1.4 Lumix S Pro (Panasonic L Mount)

With the Panasonic 50mm f1.4, the company is creating what they call an absolutely no compromise lens.

The last time we heard of a no compromise lens of any sort, it was with Zeiss–but the Panasonic 50mm f1.4 S Pro is looking to do what Zeiss did and vastly improve. For starters, Zeiss didn’t give the user autofocus and those lenses didn’t have weather resistance. For what they charged, I was always shocked at this. With the Panasonic 50mm f1.4 S Pro though, the company hasn’t only created a massive 50mm f1.4 lens, but they’ve given it autofocus capabilities, a clutch to bring it back to manual focus, an aperture ring, hard stops on the focusing ring, weather sealing, and a nice feel. Best of all, they’re not doing it at the Zeiss price of well over $5,000. Instead, the Panasonic 50mm f1.4 S Pro is going for $2,299. That’s still pricey for a 50mm lens, but it’s promising to be a very special one.

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Review: Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM Art (What The 35mm Should’ve Been)

The Sigma 28mm f1.4 DG HSM Art is a fantastic lens in so many ways.

After reviewing the Sigma 40mm f1.4 lens, the Sigma 28mm f1.4 DG HSM Art was a relief to handle. A smaller lens in almost every way, 28mm is also one of my favorite focal lengths. Photographers who often reach for this focal length are street photographers, travelers, and even those looking to photograph just for fun. It is an incredibly useful focal length and works well in the documentary process. The Sigma 28mm f1.4 DG HSM Art is weather sealed, fast to focus, and delivers beautiful image quality. I’d like to call the image quality that we get here “cinematic.”

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Review: Leica 35mm f2 ASPH Summicron (Leica M Mount)

With the Leica 35mm f2 ASPH Summicron lens photographers are getting a bokeh render that they’re bound to appreciate.

Though I’ll admit that I’m more partial to the Summilux series of lenses, the Leica 35mm f2 ASPH Summicron is surely an option that many photographers using Leica or other cameras will want to consider in part due to its pretty darned affordable price point. Introduced just a few years ago, the Leica 35mm f2 ASPH Summicron and in general the 35mm f2 lenses from Leica have been a favorite of many photographers for the bokeh. But if you ask me, I’d like to think that the Leica 35mm f2 ASPH Summicron isn’t better than the Summilux version and that this option is really just for the film photographer that wants something on the more affordable side. It’s a nice lens for sure; but at the same time, it’s also, well, boring. By that, I mean that I don’t see or feel the magic of this lens that I have with many of the company’s other optics.

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First Impressions: Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM (Canon EF)

The Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM is probably our favorite workhorse prime lens from Sigma.

After reviewing their mammoth 40mm f1.4, we got the Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM in and were able to relax a bit while understanding that it won’t be quite as heavy overall. The company’s newest wide angle lens is perhaps being looked at with great curiosity by street photographers, documentary shooters, and photojournalists. Arguably, 28mm is one of the focal lengths that emulates the look of the human eye. With weather sealing, a fairly lightweight body, and pretty fast focusing in a package that also exhibits beautiful image quality, there isn’t a whole lot that we’re finding we need to complain about with the Sigma 28mm f1.4 Art DG HSM.

If anything, this lens is everything that the 35mm f1.4 Art lens should have been.

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Review: Sigma 40mm f1.4 DG HSM Art (Do YOU Even Lift, Bruh?)

The Sigma 40mm f1.4 DG HSM Art lens has some of the best image quality we’ve seen; but oh jeez is it heavy!

When I held the Sigma 40mm f1.4 DG HSM Art lens in my hands the first time around, I thought that it was massive. But it was only when it came in for the full review that I realized just how large it is. This lens is a special one from Sigma, it was designed first and foremost for cinema then photo second. As a result, the images from it are amongst some of the most muted that I’ve seen from a Sigma lens. In some ways, it reminds me of certain negative film stocks. Combine this with the weather sealing and fairly fast focusing abilities and you’ve got a winner, right? Well, if you don’t mind barely every pulling the lens out unless you need it because it’s so large and heavy, then sure.

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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.

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Review: Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 Di OSD (Canon EF)

The Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 Di OSD is a lens that just didn’t do it for me.

When the Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 Di OSD was offered to us for review, I have to say that with all honesty I wasn’t all that excited. Zoom lenses are very useful, but primes are where my heart is. Tamron’s zoom lenses have traditionally been very good since their rework a few years ago to include the silver mount ring, but a zoom lens with a variable aperture and that isn’t a telephoto zoom lens to the nigh equivalent of going on a date with someone that you’re not all that excited about but do instead just to see if you can give it a shot. The first thing that you’re thinking is “Who the hell does that?”

And the answer: A reviewer whose job it is to review lenses. Like most of modern dating, it just seems like this isn’t the one for me despite just how good it really is.

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Review: Fujifilm XF 200mm F2 OIS WR (Fujifilm X Mount)

Wildlife photographers using the Fujifilm XF 200mm f2 OIS WR are bound to be very happy with the results.

The Fujifilm XF 200mm f2 OIS WR is currently the company’s longest telephoto prime lens and also, by far, their largest. Designed for wildlife photography (and sports to some degree), this lens is arguably best used in the hands of a wildlife photographer. Though we were sent the lens with the company’s teleconverter, we felt it better to test it without that so we could keep the test as pure as possible. With some amazingly close focusing distances, weather sealing, optical image stabilization, and the ability to use a film simulation of some of the world’s greatest emulsions, you’re going to get a product that is going to deliver jaw dropping photos.

But of course, you’re paying quite the price.

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First Impressions: Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art DG HSM (Sample Images)

The Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art DG HSM has to be one of the largest wide angle lenses that we’ve used in a long time.

I saw the Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art DG HSM originally at Photokina 2018 this year, held it, and thought to myself about just how massive it is. But it wasn’t until getting it back in for review that I truly embraced the idea. The Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art DG HSM is a special lens–it was designed first for cinema and then Sigma decided that they might as well create a stills version too. The company packed everything into here: good glass, color that has a specific look to it, weather sealing, etc. Considering that it is part of the Art lineup of lenses, then we really just have to assume that it’s going to be great. Pretty much every lens that we’ve tested thus far in the Art Lineup has been mostly flawless.

For the week or so that we’ve been using the Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art DG HSM, we’ve been embracing its very token color rendition and look.

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Review: Sony 24mm F1.4 G Master (Sony FE Mount)

The Sony 24mm f1.4 G Master combines affordability with versatility in a lightweight, compact package

Announced back in September of this year, the Sony 24mm f1.4 G Master is the latest entry joining Sony’s premium G Master lens lineup. At press time, it also happens to be the lightest and most compact G Master lens as well, barely tipping the scales at a mere 15.7 oz (445 g). Exceptionally sharp from corner to corner even when shooting wide open thanks to a pair of extreme aspherical glass elements, the Sony 24mm f1.4 G Master is also capable of producing some truly dreamy bokeh courtesy of its circular aperture design that incorporates 11 blades. This combination makes this lens one of the most versatile, wide angle, native lenses available for Sony E mount, with lots to love for landscape shooters, astrophotographers, street shooters, and environmental portraitists alike. Since we only got to spend a few hours with the 24mm G Master in San Francisco back when it was first unveiled during a behind closed doors media briefing, we were excited to finally get our review unit in so that we can put the lens through more exhaustive testing on our own terms.

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Review: Canon RF 24-105mm f4 L IS USM (Canon RF)

The Canon RF 24-105mm f4 L IS USM is the quintessential walkaround lens for Canon EOS R owners.

As a former Canon DSLR owner, I’ve always had a complicated relationship with lenses like the Canon RF 24-105mm f4 L IS USM; but this latest version has proven itself to be useful in many situations. The first version of this lens for their DSLRs had a slew of problems that were improved on with the second version. And with this version for their RF lineup of cameras, photographers are treated to some fantastic image stabilization and an industry standard size. For those that want a walkaround lens, it’s hard to beat this one and it even comes close to Sony’s in terms of sharpness and image rendition. And when the situation calls for it, the image stabilization is what I’d call class leading.

At the same time that I’m giving this lens all the praise in the world, I genuinely still feel like Canon could have and should have pushed harder.

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First Impressions: IRIX 150mm F2.8 Dragonfly Macro Lens (Nikon F)

The IRIX 150mm f2.8 Dragonfly Macro Lens takes the best of their high end Blackstone options and makes it more affordable.

At Photokina, the IRIX 150mm f2.8 Dragonfly Macro Lens was announced amongst the sea of other things, and if you don’t know a whole lot about IRIX it would be easy to miss them. They’re a company based in Europe and, according to the last I heard, their lenses are made in Korea. They create manual focus lenses that are high quality, have weather sealing, and include features in them many other folks don’t incorporate. And with their new IRIX 150mm f2.8 Dragonfly Macro Lens, they’ve included 11 aperture blades for super creamy bokeh.

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First Impressions: Viltrox PFU RBMH 20mm f1.8 ASPH (Sony FE)

Chinese photography accessories maker Viltrox is expanding their portfolio with brand new camera lenses

When Viltrox extended an invitation for us to check out their brand new line of lenses at this year’s Photo Plus Expo, our interest was certainly piqued. Up until this point, China-based Viltrox’s focus has been on the manufacturing of photography accessories like lens mount adapters, external monitors, speedlights, and LED lighting. We were quite eager to see how they fared with their first foray into lens manufacturing. As of right now, all of the lenses that Viltrox is working on are designed for Fujifilm and Sony mirrorless camera systems, which includes the Viltrox PFU RBMH 20mm f1.8 ASPH (Sony FE, manual only), Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f1.8 (Sony FE, manual only), and the Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f1.8 STM (Fuji X and Sony FE, autofocus).

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First Impressions: Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm F1.8 (Sony FE)

Chinese photography accessories maker Viltrox is expanding their portfolio with brand new camera lenses.

When Viltrox extended an invitation for us to check out their brand new line of lenses at this year’s Photo Plus Expo, our interest was certainly piqued. Up until this point, China-based Viltrox’s focus has been on the manufacturing of photography accessories like lens mount adapters, external monitors, speedlights, and LED lighting. We were quite eager to see how they fared with their first foray into lens manufacturing. As of right now, all of the lenses Viltrox is working on are designed for Fujifilm and Sony mirrorless camera systems, which includes the Viltrox PFU RBMH 20mm f1.8 ASPH (Sony FE, manual only), Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f1.8 (Sony FE, manual only), and the Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f1.8 STM (Fuji X and Sony FE, autofocus). At their booth at Photo Plus, Viltrox had both the 20mm and 85mm Sony FE manual lenses as well as the Fuji X mount version of the autofocus 85mm STM lens on display, with the manual lenses being the only functional prototypes.

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Review: Sigma 105mm F1.4 DG HSM Art “Bokeh Master” (Nikon F Mount)

Portrait photographers will love the Sigma 105mm f1.4 DG HSM Art lens, and not just for the bokeh!

Marketed by Sigma as the “Bokeh Master,” the Sigma 105mm f1.4 DG HSM Art lens is one the latest additions to the Japanese optics manufacturer’s Art series of lenses. The ninth lens in Sigma’s Art series to feature a wide aperture of f1.4 (six for Full Frame, three for APS-C), it is also the longest focal length currently available in the series. Bokeh addicts will sing songs of praise about the Sigma 105mm f1.4 DG HSM Art lens, provided that they’ve got the adequate arm strength to wield it.

So with that said, start doing those arm curls–because you’re gonna need it.

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First Impressions: Tokina 50mm F1.4 Opera (Canon EF)

The Tokina 50mm f1.4 Opera thus far seems to be the best bang for your buck 50mm f1.4 lens on the market.

One of my biggest criticisms of Tokina was their lack of weather sealed glass, but the new Tokina 50mm f1.4 Opera offers it and a number of other great things. Tokina and Hoya, who provide the literal glass in the lenses for most of the industry, are very experienced lens makers and when you look at what the Tokina 50mm f1.4 Opera really is, you start to realize that the ‘bigger is better’ trend is really imperative to creating better lenses. But in comparison to many others on the market, the Tokina 50mm f1.4 Opera offers not only weather sealing but gorgeous bokeh, sharp optics, and an autofocus fast enough to track moving subjects in low light (tested on a Canon 5D Mk IV) for under $1,000.

Seriously, what’s not to like?

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Lens Review: Tokina 20mm F2 FiRIN AF (Sony FE)

The Tokina 20mm f2 FiRIN AF takes the great qualities of the manual focus version and adds autofocus.

When the Tokina 20mm f2 FiRIN AF was announced, I was a tad confused as to why they’d create it. I mean, the manual focus version was and still is great. They essentially just took it, gave it autofocus, and didn’t do any other major upgrades, not even weather sealing! So as I went through my review process, I kept all of this in mind. The way I see it, I really want to understand why they didn’t just go for the autofocus version to begin with. To me, that didn’t make sense. Essentially, the Tokina 20mm f2 FiRIN AF is the same lens as the manual focus version. It is still a lens with sharp optics. Still at f2. Still fairly small and lightweight; and at the same time this lens is still relatively affordable. But I’m still scratching my head.

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Review: IRIX 15mm F2.4 FireFly (Canon EF, Used on Sony FE)

The IRIX 15mm f2.4 FireFly has lots of the benefits of its bigger brother with very few drawbacks.

Earlier on, we reviewed the IRIX 15mm f2.4 BlackStone, which is considered to be the higher end option to the IRIX 15mm f2.4 FireFly. That lens was great, and in our findings we recently found the IRIX 15mm f2.4 FireFly to be pretty much just as great. Both lenses have weather sealing, both are manual focus, both can lock their focus and they have innovative features compared to many other options on the market. Of course, they both have fantastic optics. The major advantage of the Blackstone? A metal body, slightly better image quality (though noticeable), and a special, black light-illuminated material in the ink on the lens. But if you don’t care for any of that, the IRIX 15mm f2.4 FireFly survived with us through rainstorms.

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Lens Review: Rokinon 21mm F1.4 (Fujifilm X Mount)

Affordable manual focus lenses like the Rokinon 21mm f1.4 are a great way for a photographer to try out a new focal length, or to add capabilities to their kit without breaking the bank.

The Rokinon 21mm f1.4 is a fast, wide angle (30mm FF equivalent) lens capable of being used in a wide variety of purposes from travel, street, portraiture, and even landscapes. But is this lens worthy of investing in, or is it just worth it to save a little longer in order to purchase a native Fujifilm lens like the 23mm f2 or the 23mm f1.4? Let’s have a look…

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