Surprising Travel Magic: Tamron 11-20mm F2.8 Di III-A RXD Review

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Crop sensor cameras make telephoto easy — and ultra-wide insanely hard. The Tamron 11-20mm f2.8 Di III-A RXD is the widest f2.8 lens with zoom and autofocus for Sony’s crop-sensor, mirrorless cameras. Finding something close to Tamron’s new lens requires sacrificing zoom capabilities or opting for a narrower aperture: neither of which bodes well for versatility.

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Beautiful, Sharp, and Modern! Leica 75mm F2 APO ASPH Lens Review

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The Leica M-mount system is often revered as a benchmark of aspiration and a defining line in the sand of having made it. For decades, M-mount lenses have been championed for their dreamy lens quality. However, as they have adapted to the general market demands of all things sharp, they have also been criticized for losing that romantic appeal that sets them apart and becoming desiccate. Enter the Leica 75mm f2 APO Summicron-M ASPH lens.

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We Love It! Leica 50mm F2 Summicron APO Review

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Leica M-mount lenses are little works of art. They don’t try to reinvent the wheel from a design aspect and that is one of the things I respect them for the most. Instead, they find ways to enhance their products without departing from what works. That is precisely the case with the Leica 50mm f2 Summicron APO. The lens takes what is great about the original Leica Summicron-M 50mm and expounds upon it. And it is naturally reflected in the price accordingly.

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Wide Open Magic. Meyer Optik 30mm F3.5 II Lydith Review

The Meyer Optik 30mm F3.5 II Lydith is a reissued lens that deserves to be shot wide open.

If you hear the name Meyer Optik, you probably think about their soap bubble lenses. The Meyer Optik 30mm f3.5 II Lydith isn’t that. Instead, they describe it using the words watercolor and faithful reproduction. And in truth, that’s what it is. The Meyer Optik 30mm f3.5 II Lydith is a reissue of a vintage lens, but they’ve redone the housing. Overall, it’s a nice lens. However, it suffers from some usability issues that I’m not sure would make someone pull the trigger on the purchase.

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The Most Innovative Pinhole Yet. Lensbaby Obscura Review

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It’s an intriguing concept that Lensbaby deserves multitudes of praise for. A tilt-shift pinhole optic? Indeed, the Lensbaby Obscura is truly a first of a kind. When our team was first pitched about the idea of a pinhole, we were told that it would work with the Lensbaby Composer Pro II system. That’s where I raised my eyebrows. The idea is cool, and there is also a version that’s a straight plate for your camera. But if you know anything about pinhole photography, that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. Pinhole photography is shot at super narrow apertures. In fact, the aperture for the pinhole is f161. And though the Obscura can do a few other apertures beyond this, they’re honestly pretty useless.

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Pure Magic. Funleader Contax 35mm f2 G for Leica M Review

The Funleader Contax 35mm f2 G is one of my favorite 35mm lenses ever made.

In 13 years, I never thought that the megapixel wars and the hunt for clinical perfection would create soulless images. But thankfully, the Funleader Contax 35mm f2 G is slapping that idea in the face. While all the other brands try to create clinical perfection, it takes the fun out of photography. It’s worse that it happens in two ways: in post-production and in-camera. Anyone that has told me to put lens character into an image using post-production hasn’t actually tried it. It’s hard. The truth is that it’s far easier to have a “flawed” lens and get rid of those “issues” in post-production. Every brand champions that they’re better than their competitors at it. The industry has been like this for the last 20 or so years. It’s created a monster, but I feel like the Funleader Contax 35mm f2 G is a rare gem among all that.

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Surprisingly Great. Fujifilm 70-300mm F4-5.6 R OIS WR Review

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The Fujifilm 70-300mm f4-5.6 R OIS WR lens (say that three times fast!) is a very compact, versatile telephoto zoom lens. It is quick to focus in ideal shooting environments, comes equipped with image stabilization and weather sealing, and is comfortable enough to shoot with all day. We have spent the last two weeks in various conditions to see if it holds up to our first impression and is worth the $799.95 price. The short answer is yes. Keep reading to find out why.

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Beautiful and Small! Canon RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM Review

Sacrificing aperture will get you a lot while only spending a little on the Canon RF 70-200mm f4 lens.

The 70-200mm lens is a workhorse, but the optics are also workhorse-sized. The Canon RF 70-200mm f4 L IS USM is the company’s shortest and lightest to hit the category. Tipping the scales at a pound and a half, the lens promises all the zoom range with none of the backaches that come with working with a lens like the three-pound EF 70-200mm f2.8 L USM.

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Remarkable Zoom, Handheld: Tamron 150-500mm F5-6.7 Di III Review

With stabilization, a more compact design, and a reasonable price, the Tamron 150-500mm makes super telephoto more accessible.

The super-telephoto is one of the most difficult lenses to master both for the lens builder and the photographer attempting to wield such large glass. While no 500mm will be described as tiny, Tamron managed to shed some weight and length while still packing in a lot of zoom. The Tamron 150-500mm f5-6.7 Di III VC VXD weighs 3.8 pounds and is roughly eight inches long. With image stabilization built in, the new telephoto is manageable enough to shoot handheld.

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Beautiful, Streaky Lens Flares. Olympus 8-25mm F4 Pro Review

The Olympus 8-25mm f4 Pro is an incredibly versatile, durable lens, but it doesn’t denounce the older 7-14mm f2.8.

The Micro Four Thirds system is made for telephoto lenses, but ultra-wide angles are tougher for the smaller system. That’s not stopping Olympus from adding another wide-angle zoom to its lineup, however. The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm f4.0 Pro (we’ll call it the Olympus 8-25mm f4 Pro for short) is a 16-50mm equivalent lens wrapped in Pro line features. Unlike the mount’s current M.Zuiko 7-14mm f2.8 Pro, the 8-25mm can accept filters without an adapter.

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Small Lens, Big, Beautiful Colors. Sony 14mm F1.8 G Master Review

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I’d like to say that astrophotographers should be excited about the Sony 14mm f1.8 G Master. But, during my short time testing the lens, I wasn’t able to do any serious astrophotography. (It’s totally possible here in NYC though.) I’d actually look at different systems to do astrophotography, but I also know not everyone will use the Sony 14mm f1.8 G Master for that. So, you’ll be delighted to know how nice the colors from this lens are. And if you’re ready to go about exploring the post-pandemic world, then you’ll like this lens. You have to pay quite a price for it, though.

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A Great Telephoto for L Mount: Panasonic 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 Review

The Panasonic 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 is an affordable telephoto that L mount camera owners should consider.

The L mount lens library is finally starting to grow thanks to Panasonic, Leica, and Sigma. Until recently, all Panasonic lenses were designed for pros who needed top quality. That’s fine, but they came with top-quality prices too. However, this is starting to change. The Panasonic 85mm f1.8 has been released (review coming later), and now an affordable telephoto option is on the market. The Panasonic 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 is looking to sit alongside the Sigma 100-400mm f5.6-6.3 as a telephoto lens for the masses. At $1,249.99, it’s an attractive option, but does it produce the goods? Find out in our full review.

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Fantastic Zoom, Limited Distortion: Nikon Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR Review

The Nikon Z 24-200mm f4-6.3 VR captures images that don’t look like they were shot with a budget lens.

As a series that’s just a few years old, the Z mount doesn’t have the wealth of coverage and specialty optics as the F mount. But, the Nikon Z 24-200mm f4-6.3 VR covers a ton of focal lengths in a single lens. At $799, it offers a lot of focal lengths for a reasonable price. But, cramming lots of focal lengths in one lens can be disastrous for image quality — and that’s coupled with a narrower variable aperture.

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And the World Reopens. Leica 24-70mm f2.8 SL Review

The Leica 24-70mm f2.8 SL isn’t just a clone of the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art Lens.

If you thought that the Leica 24-70mm f2.8 SL is just a Sigma lens, then you’re wrong. I personally own and use the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art lens. And after working with the Leica 24-70mm f2.8 SL for a while, I can say this definitively. They’re not the same. The Sigma is negligibly lighter. The Leica isn’t even noticeably larger. But what’s evident is the autofocus speed and the build quality. Essentially, the Leica 24-70mm f2.8 SL is the best of both worlds. In some ways, it’s the ultimate 24-70mm for the lens system. In other ways, the L mount continues to do things that perplex me.

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Sturdy Yet Small: Leica 28mm F2.8 ASPH Elmarit Review

Leica’s tiny M-mount lens balances sharpness, character, and great design.

Camera lenses are typically small or bright, but not both. The Leica 28mm f2.8 ASPH Elmarit may not be as bright as its f1.4 siblings, but it takes up barely any room in a camera bag. I rarely throw around words like cute when writing about technology, but the 28mm is so small that it’s adorable. And, more practically, it’s less in-your-face while out shooting, better balanced on an M-mount body, and easier on the neck.

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A Tempting Mix of Unusual Bokeh: Leica 21mm F1.4 Summilux Review

If you want a wide-angle with unique bokeh and plenty of flare potential, look no further.

The latest high-end lenses brag about uniform sharpness across every pixel of the photograph. But, for those who find uniformity boring, there’s the Leica 21mm f1.4 Summilux ASPH. The ultra-wide, ultra-bright M-mount lens delivers more character than technical perfection. But, more than that, the lens delivers a variety of character, from the varying shapes of the bokeh to several different types of flare.

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This Thrifty Nifty Fifty Has Beautiful Photos: Canon RF 50mm F1.8 Review

The Canon RF 50mm f1.8 isn’t perfect, but for $200, we can forgive its few flaws.

I’ve long recommended the nifty fifty as one of the first lenses for beginners to add to their DSLR kit. With a bright aperture and a price often around or even under $200, the nifty fifty is an easy choice. However, the affordability of the 50mm f1.8 hasn’t quite made the migration over to mirrorless. Nikon’s is $600, and L-mount lenses are all much higher. Sony is an outlier with a $250 option. That is, until the Canon RF 50mm f1.8 STM.

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The Lust Is Real. Leica 35mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH Review

The Leica 35mm f1.4 Summilux ASPH lens will appeal to the person who loves the 35mm field of view.

They’re pricey, but they’re often worth it. That’s how I often describe Leica lenses often. The Leica 35mm f1.4 Summilux ASPH fits the bill in many ways. There’s beautiful image quality, nice colors, it’s small, well built, and there’s a justified sense of prideful ownership. I’ve used the lens many times over the years, but I never completed a full review. Time and time again, I always found myself blissfully content with the Leica 35mm f1.4 Summilux ASPH. If you were to ever get just one lens for the Leica M mount, this is the one to go for. Alternatively, you could buy the lens and adapt it to any mount you want.

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Remarkable Images, Risky Design: Nikon Z 20mm F1.8 S Review

The Nikon Z 20mm f1.8 S delivers some impressive images, but in a minimal package.

Just 4 mm from the more standard 24mm, the 20mm lens offers a happy medium between ultra-wide distortion and the narrower view of a 24 or 35mm. The Nikon 20mm f1.8 S blends in with a growing list of Z mount lenses. On the outside, the 20mm looks nearly indistinguishable from all other f1.8 primes in the series. But, on the inside, the lens hides a new dual-motor autofocus design.

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Challenging, but a Worthy Slice of Focus: Leica 90mm F1.5 Summilux ASPH

The Leica 90 f1.5 Summilux ASPH rewards patience with some spectacular flare.

Leica’s Summilux lenses boast ultra-bright apertures, but until recently these ultra-fast lenses have been limited to wide-angle and standard focal lengths. The Leica 90mm f1.5 Summilux ASPH is the Summilux line’s first 90mm, joining 90mms from the Summicron and Macro-Elmar line-ups. Mixing the wide aperture of the Summilux line with a longer focal length creates a tiny slice of perfect focus that fades quickly into a spectacular blur.

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