It’s Not a Summilux: Leica 28mm F2 Summicron ASPH Review

The Leica 28mm f2 Summicron is a beautiful lens, but if you’ve used their f1.4 Summilux, then you can’t go back to the f2.

When I got the Leica 28mm f2 Summicron ASPH, I was pretty excited. I’ve always loved the feeling of the company’s small Summicron lenses. In hand, they just feel right and perfectly mated to the Leica M bodies they attach to. Indeed, the Leica 28mm f2 Summicron ASPH is very much a tactile experience as it is a godsend of image quality for some. If you’re a fan of muted colors and a cinematic look, then you’ll adore the Leica 28mm f2 Summicron ASPH. But if you want more resolution, you’re best off mating this lens to a third-party camera. If you want colors that pop, you should probably reach for their f1.4 variant. And if you’re going to stop this lens down a lot, then it may be even better for you to reach for a more affordable, slower aperture lens.

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Sharp and Stable: Olympus 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS First Impressions

Many photographers have been waiting a long time for the Olympus 100-400mm f5-6.3, and so far, it seems like the wait has been worth it.

Fans of Olympus have been waiting a long time for the Olympus 100-400mm f5-6.3 IS, and we’re pleased to say that today, Olympus has officially unveiled their new tele to super-telephoto lens that will appeal to wildlife and nature photographers the world over. Instead of just offering a boring news post, we have instead put together a first impressions post that will give you a glimpse of the new glass. We have had the lens on hand for a short while, and we have been putting it to work, so pull up a chair and see what we have found out so far (yes, there are sample images) after the break.

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Great for a Sony a7 Series Camera: Samyang 45mm F1.8 Review

The Samyang 45mm f1.8 lens provides a unique experience for the Sony a7 camera system.

Contrast–that’s one of the things I think of when we talk about Samyang lenses. The Samyang 45mm f1.8 is no exception here. For a super affordable price point, you’re getting character in a lens. It doesn’t have some of the features that licensed companies have, but with the addition of the Samyang Lens Dock, you can make your own additions and adjustments. If you’re a hobbyist, you’re going to love this lens. Most of those folks care just about image quality, bokeh, and having a fast aperture. In fact, this is the closest thing to an alternative nifty 50 on Sony. If you want something in between a 35mm and 50mm field of view, the Samyang 45mm f1.8 could be exactly what you’re looking for.

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I Love This Lens: Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD Review

The Tamron 28-200mm f2.8-5.6 Di III RXD is quite a fun lens to use, but it’s not perfect.

I’ve learned something over the years; if anyone knows how to make a superzoom lens, it’s Tamron. They’ve made a few that were great in the past decade. And with the Tamron 28-200mm f2.8-5.6 Di III RXD, I’m impressed on a level I didn’t expect to be. Typically with superzooms like this, you sacrifice on image quality. But in Capture One 20, we couldn’t find any significant issues with distortion sharpness, etc. Throw in the fact that this lens is weather-sealed, lightweight, and small. Seems like a perfect lens, right? On top of all this, consider the fact that there’s only a two-stop difference between the wide end and the telephoto end. The focal length range with the apertures is very usable indeed. Despite all this, there’s one big problem that you’ll need to find a way past.

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Ultra-Wide, Ultra-Sharp, and Ultra-Pricey: Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM Review

The world’s fastest and widest Full Frame lens in this category is the Sony 12-24mm f2.8 GM, but it comes with a worldie of a price tag.

The Sony 12-24mm f4 has been a staple in the camera bags of landscape shooters for a while, and so it should be: it’s a great lens. But there has been a clamoring for a faster G Master version. If you’re a photographer who has a need for speed, you’ll be pleased to know that your wait for a faster, ultra-wide-angle lens from Sony is over; the Sony 12-24mm f2.8 GM is finally here. It joins at a time when others such as Sigma and Tamron, have already released their fast ultra-wides. However, Sony has pushed the envelope with their offering. The Sony 12-24mm f2.8 GM is the world’s widest fast 12-24mm f2.8 lens on any Full Frame platform, but does it warrant its eye-watering price tag? Find out in our full review.

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One Zoom to Rule Them All? Fujifilm 16-80mm F4 Lens Review

The Fujifilm XF 16-80mm f4 combines a huge zoom range, constant maximum aperture, weather sealing, and optical image stabilization in a compact package.

Until recently, Fujifilm’s 16-55mm f2.8 R LM WR and 18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS lenses were the only options available for X mount cameras when it came to standard 24-70mm zooms (35mm Full Frame equivalent). With the introduction of the Fujifilm XF 16-80mm f4 R OIS WR, Fujifilm shooters finally have a third option. With a focal range spanning the 35mm Full Frame equivalent of 24-120mm, the Fujifilm XF 16-80mm f4 is essentially a 24-105mm standard zoom for the X Mount (with an extra 15mm of coverage at the long end). As its name indicates, the XF 16-80mm f4 is a weather-resistant and optically image-stabilized zoom lens featuring a dedicated aperture control ring. Weighing in at just 0.97 lbs / 440 g, it’s pretty lightweight as well. If you’re a Fujifilm X Mount shooter, the 16-80mm f4 could be the right lens for you.

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A New Wide-Angle Lens Appears: Fujifilm GF 30mm F3.5 First Impressions

The Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR is an excellent wide-angle prime lens for photographers shooting with Fujifilm Medium Format cameras.

Photographers shooting with Fujifilm Medium Format cameras are getting a new wide-angle prime option today. The Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR is the eighth prime to join the company’s G mount lens lineup. It covers a 30mm focal length, which is roughly equivalent to 24mm in 35mm Full Frame. It’s also got a reasonably bright maximum aperture of f3.5 (which equates to approximate f2.8 in 35mm Full Frame). The GF 30mm f3.5 is also weather-sealed like the rest of the lenses in Fujifilm’s Medium Format G Mount. It’s relatively lightweight and feels very well balanced when paired with one of the GFX camera bodies (we tested it with the GFX 100). We recently got to spend some time with a pre-production prototype of the Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR ahead of today’s announcement. Head on after the jump for our first impressions.

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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.

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Do the Extra 20mm Really Matter? The Tamron 70-180mm F2.8 Review

The Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 Di III VXD zoom lens is an affordable alternative to traditional 70-200 zooms for Sony E Mount cameras.

The Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 is a weather-resistant telephoto zoom lens designed to be an affordable, compact, and lightweight alternative to Sony’s own 70-200mm f2.8 G Master lens. It joins the Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 and the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 to complete the third-party lens manufacturer’s “Holy Trinity” zoom lens lineup for Sony E mount. The 70-180mm features many of the same design elements found in Tamron’s other E mount offerings. These include moisture-resistant construction, accurate and quiet VXD linear focusing motor, and the same 67mm front filter thread.

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Macro On the Cheap: ProMaster Close-Up Lens Review

Interested in macro photography but can’t afford a macro lens? The ProMaster Achromatic Close-Up Lens lets you turn an existing lens into a macro easily.

Most of us are stuck at home right now thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, macro photography generally doesn’t require you to be out and about or to have to interact with others. Many photographers have turned to it as a creative outlet while sheltering in place. Macro photography typically requires you to get up close to the objects you’re shooting. Normally, dedicated macro lenses are needed, as most non-macro lenses lack the minimum focusing distances required for macro work. But not everyone owns a macro lens, and purchasing one during these uncertain times can be a hard decision to justify. This is where the ProMaster Close-Up Lenses comes in. They are diopters that allow your lens to focus up close like a macro lens, making macro photography possible with your existing lenses. ProMaster sent over a pair of their Close-Up Lenses for us to check out. Let’s see how they fared in real world use.

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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.

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What Every Phone Photographer Needs: Wolffilms Lenses Review

If you want to get more out of the already great cameras on your smartphone, you might want to check out these Wolffilms lenses.

Smartphone or mobile photography is becoming even more popular these days thanks to new devices that not only have pretty powerful cameras in them but also because of AI features as well. No matter how good the cameras are, though, you are usually stuck with whatever lenses the manufacturer decided to stick on the phone. Additional lenses for smartphones that clip over the base lenses aren’t new, but the quality of these lenses has been improving. We recently received some Wolffilms lenses to review, and we decided to put them to the test on one of the lastest smartphones to hit the market. How will they do? Find out in our full review after the break.

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The Quickest Way to Do In-Camera Paintings: Lensbaby Velvet 28 Review

The blur is worth embracing with the Lensbaby Velvet 28.

As this piece is being written, it’s becoming more difficult to drown out the cries of anger from photographers bound to misunderstand the Lensbaby Velvet 28. I didn’t get it either until I really started applying it to my own photography. This has to be Lensbaby’s softest and more blurry lens yet. And in fact, it’s very much designed to be that way. With an f2.5 aperture, photographers will be happy to know that the quirks about this lens allow it to be opened up slightly beyond that. I’m not going to call it a one-trick pony as it can become pretty sharp when stopped down. But, this lens is designed for a photographer that wants to embrace the world in a specific way. How often do you want the world to look like a Monet painting, though? Well, if you like long exposures, the painting method, or being experimental, then you’ll love the Lensbaby Velvet 28; this is a lens for an artist. However, you should know that this is very much a specialty tool.

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Bokeh for Days! The Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM DS Review

The Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM DS lens sports brand new Defocus Smoothing coatings to deliver even creamier bokeh than the original RF 85mm f1.2.

In an interesting move, Canon announced the RF 85mm f1.2 L USM DS less than six months after first introducing the original RF 85mm f1.2. The DS is essentially a Special Edition of the original RF 85mm f1.2 portrait lens. What sets the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM DS apart is the new Defocus Smoothing coating incorporated into the new lens, and the $2,999 price tag. This lens coating is designed to reduce the amount of light passing through the lens gradually from the center towards the periphery. The resulting bokeh appears smoother and more pleasing. We found a lot to love about the original RF 85mm f1.2. Does the additional Defocus Smoothing coating deliver and help improve upon the well regarded original?

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A Fantastic Portrait Lens: The Leica SL 50mm F1.4 Summilux Review

The Leica SL 50mm f1.4 Summilux performs admirably, but it’s chunky and held back by a slow focusing camera system.

I need to begin this review by telling you all how long I’d been lusting to test the Leica SL 50mm f1.4 Summilux. Three years ago, I wrote this article about Jarle Hagan’s documentary portraiture of Norway’s Sami – a protected indigenous people and the most northern dwelling indigenous people in Europe. When I saw his images, I was incredibly inspired in a way I haven’t been by a marketing campaign for years. His pictures, lighting, and the humanity he presents is the stuff of legends. But beyond that, it also meant the Leica SL 50mm f1.4 Summilux survived a super harsh environment.

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The Big City Lens: The Panasonic 16-35mm F4 PRO Review

The Panasonic 16-35mm f4 PRO is very nice, but it’s not outdoing Sigma’s 14-24mm f2.8.

When we called the Panasonic 16-35mm f4 PRO lens in for review, we were pretty excited. Panasonic has done a positively stellar job of designing lenses for the L mount system. But when looking at prices, I was scratching my head. One would think the Panasonic 16-35mm f4 PRO would be the affordable wide-angle zoom amongst the lineup. But the truth is it isn’t. Sigma’s 14-24mm f2.8 is a bigger lens that lets more light hit the sensor, and it’s more affordable than the Panasonic 16-35mm f4 PRO. As I sit in my office typing that sentence, I’m still perplexed as to why. The Panasonic is an excellent lens in every single respect, but I would sooner reach for an f2.8 lens if I could. That’s also not to say that the Panasonic 16-35mm f4 PRO isn’t a great performer. In fact, it’s exceptional.

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Did Sigma Do Better? The Panasonic 24-70mm F2.8 LUMIX Pro Review

With the Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 LUMIX Pro, photographers are getting a lens that’s high quality but held back by the system’s autofocus.

For the past year, I feel like I’ve been singing the same song about the L mount alliance’s glass offerings, and the Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 LUMIX Pro is no different. Panasonic has engineered a top-notch lens in almost every way, but the issue has more to do with the camera system. While readers have said the L mount system is pretty fast, we haven’t had the same experiences at all. Everyone else has managed to pull ahead of the L mount alliance for autofocus speed and performance. I’d like to believe this issue will be fixed one day, but until then, the Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 LUMIX Pro is still a solid investment into the system. From an image quality standpoint, it’s one of the best 24-70mm lenses we’ve tested–even if it is big, costly, and married to a system that desperately needs to improve their autofocus.

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Did Sony Get It Right? The Sony 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS Review

The Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS is great for photographers who want a lightweight lens for wildlife, sports, nature, and portraits that won’t break the bank.

With the release of several new APS-C camera bodies last year, Sony finally thought it was about time to release APS-C specific lenses to go with them. Photographers who have been using Sony’s APS-C cameras have been crying for a super-telephoto zoom that they can call their own for the longest time, and now Sony has answered those calls with the Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS. Has the wait for this super-telephoto lens been worth it? Let’s find out in our review.

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Review: Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art (The Perfect Zoom for Sony FE?)

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG DN Art is one of the perfect zoom lenses made for the Sony FE camera lineup.

This is the first time in a long time that I’ve been pleasantly surprised, and the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG DN Art is the reason. I’ve known that Sigma’s quality has been top-notch: there’s no denying that. But for the first time, I genuinely believe they’ve achieved top-notch quality in a small lens. The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG DN Art is really not that large. It’s also pretty lightweight. These two things have eluded Sigma’s designers for a long time. And while this lens is very capable and fantastic in many ways, there’s one thing that annoys me just a bit. But for newer photographers who haven’t yet learned how to properly hold a camera or a lens, they’re bound to clamor for image stabilization in a lens like this. That’s when the cult of Sony will come out and scream at Sigma loyalists about Sony’s built-in image stabilization. But with my own two eyes, I’ve seen this isn’t enough for some people.

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Review: Nikon 24mm F1.8 Z (One of My Favorite Lenses for the System)

Nikon did a great job on the 24mm f1.8 Z lens.

Would you shell out almost $1,000 for the Nikon 24mm f1.8 Z? If you were judging it by just the lens itself, it would probably make sense. This lens is fantastic in a variety of ways. It’s sharp, it focuses pretty fast, and it’s very well built. Most importantly, the small size embraces the ideals of Mirrorless camera systems. Landscape photographers would especially love this lens. This all sounds fantastic, but there are a few pretty big problems.

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Review: Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM (A Legend Is Reborn)

The Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8 L IS USM is one of the most versatile RF mount lenses you can get your hands on.

The Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 L lens became one of the most beloved of Canon lenses thanks to stunning image quality, superior build quality, versatility, and just how fun they were to use. Canon is hoping to replicate that success on its new Mirrorless RF mount platform with the Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8 L IS USM. This new lens has some big shoes to fill, and many photographers who fell in love with the old EF models are no doubt hoping this new RF version of the lens can pick up where the old lenses left off. I have been fortunate enough to have this lens for the past month, and I am incredibly impressed with it. Find out more about the Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8 L IS USM in our full review.

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