Review: Zeiss 25mm f1.4 Milvus (Canon EF)

The Zeiss 25mm f1.4 Milvus Lens is a great lens for sure, but do you need one?

When Zeiss announced their Zeiss 25mm f1.4 Milvus lens, I was surely excited. But at the same time, a part of me considers this a focal length I’m not too sure about. It’s not a 24mm, it’s not a 28mm, and it isn’t their fantastic 35mm f1.4. In some ways I wish it were a 28mm, or that Zeiss went wide to a 21mm. Instead, it’s somewhere in the awkward middle. That doesn’t make the 25mm f1.4 Milvus lens a bad lens. In fact, I think it’s better than most 24mm or 25mm lenses on the market. But then you need to consider the price point–which is really high. However, you’re getting a solid lens with a metal body, weather sealing, some of the absolute best optics currently on the market, good color, versatility for both video and stills, and a guaranteed lifespan of more than what’s currently on the market.

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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.

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Review: Olympus 12-100mm f4 PRO (Micro Four Thirds)

In absolutely so many ways, the Olympus 12-100mm f4 PRO is the only lens you’ll probably ever need if you’re combining it with the company’s fantastic higher end cameras. Micro Four Thirds camera owners who use this lens may never take it off unless they want something with a faster aperture. But time and time again, I was absolutely surprised by the output of this lens due to how it was constructed. It boasts weather sealing, a simple way to switch to manual focus, image stabilization, and the ability to produce some beautiful image quality. It’s designed for the landscape and travel photographer more than anything. And when you consider the format is more or less based on a sensor that’s around the size of 110 film then you can see just how far the system has evolved.

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Review: Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens (Canon EF Mount)

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens is fantastic; will you trade up for it?

One of the best pieces of news professional working photographers have heard in the lens world could be about the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens. Unlike many first party options out there, it has optical stabilization built in which helps a lot at weddings, events, for portraits, etc. Those types of photographers will greatly appreciate this addition on top of the already fantastic optics. Speaking of those optics, Sigma has consistently hit the ball out of the park in our reviews, and I’m happy to say they’re pretty much going to do this same thing in this review. But I should warn you that Sigma’s zoom lenses, while good, aren’t their primes. Sigma’s prime lenses are better. So if you want the best of every focal length offered here, you probably won’t be satisfied until you go for their f1.4 primes instead. And like many of those other lenses, you can take the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art out into the rain due its weather resistance.

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Review: Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens (Sony E Mount)

The revamped Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens has been around for a little while, and it will mostly appeal to the photographers who like the look of old vintage lenses. Indeed, these lenses have different coatings and construction than many modern optics which are designed to be super sterile and sharp. But older lenses have character that takes those modern ideals and slaps them in the face. Personally, that’s what I prefer. It’s one of the easiest ways to make digital photos look a bit more film-like beyond changing your white balance, but it also gives me a look with portraits that clients and collaborators tend to really enjoy. The Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens is based on the older design but updated for modern cameras.

Crazy enough, despites liking lenses like these, I’m only lukewarm about the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm f2.8 Lens. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the focal length and the aperture.

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Review: Sigma 14mm f1.8 DG HSM Art (Canon EF Mount)

The Sigma 14mm f1.8 DG HSM Art lens is the fastest aperture wide angle lens that you can currently find on the market. It’s perfect in so many ways for the photographers who do astrophotography as well as those who photograph interiors in low lighting. The fast f1.8 aperture along with the autofocusing will suit these photographers well. However, the moment you try to attach a filter to the lens is when things start to go weird. It’s very difficult to do despite many lens options on the market finding ways to make this easier. At the same time, photographers can argue about how modern day sensors are so good at getting the image that you may not need those filters. But the same argument can be made for high ISO output–I mean, why would you need an f1.8 lens? Let me restate that: why would you need an f1.8 wide angle lens?

Despite my questions and reasoning with just how good modern optics and cameras are, the Sigma 14mm f1.8 DG HSM Art lens is a fantastic, and innovative lens for pretty much any photographer who needs a wide angle, prime lens.

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Review: Moment Lenses 2.0 (Apple iPhone)

Moment has quite a cult following; the company has created a number of stellar lenses for mobile phones that have inspired generations of new photographers. The Moment Lenses are pieces of high quality glass that attach onto a special case or plate on your phone to change the perspective. In recent years, the telephoto (sort of) focal length they offer has become a bit obsolete, but their wider focal length is quite different. If you need a wide, sweeping view of something, the only other alternative is to shoot panoramic photos of some sort unless you use another add-on lens. But besides changing the viewing angle, Moment lenses tend to add character and charm to an otherwise very sterile aesthetic.

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Review: Irix 15mm f2.4 Blackstone (Nikon F Mount)

If you were to look at the lenses coming from Korea in the past couples of years, you’d be shocked; and that’s where the Irix 15mm f2.4 Blackstone lens is manufactured. We took a previous look at the company’s Blackstone lenses at Photo Plus last year and were very blown away by some of the features and innovation that Irix has been putting into the glass to make it different from many of the others out there. For starters, besides the metal build, there is text on the lens that can be illuminated to glow when a blacklight is shone on it. Then there’s the fact that the lens clicks into place when the focusing hits infinity. While these features sound infinitesimal, they’re important to the manual focus shooter when it comes to working with a precise manual focus optic in various lighting scenarios.

Then you consider other features such as weather sealing, the image quality, and the feeling of the lens in your hand–and then it just gets put over the top in many ways.

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Initial Impressions: Fujifilm GF 110mm F2 R WR (Fujifilm GF)

For portrait photographers, the Fujifilm GF 110mm F2 R WR will be very tempting

Portrait photographers who are looking to get the most out of their new Fujifilm GFX 50s were no doubt thrilled when the [amazon_textlink asin=’B073HNS698′ text=’GF 110mm F2 R WR’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’66e6a46e-be97-11e7-9505-859040937a21′] was announced. This lens is equivalent to 87mm on a standard 35mm full frame DSLR, so as you can imagine, it is an ideal prime choice for portrait shooters who love that ~85mm field of view.

As well, thanks to the lens being a WR lens, you can be sure you are safe taking the lens out into the elements. That is a huge selling point for natural light and outdoor portrait shooters who need to rely on their lenses to hold up when the weather man gets it wrong and you end up getting soaked unexpectedly.

We recently had our first opportunity to have a look at the GF 110mm F2 R WR so we are here today with our initial impressions of the lens ahead of our full review. Continue reading…

Review: Lensbaby Sweet 80mm f2.8 with Composer Pro II (Canon EF Mount)

The Lensbaby Sweet 80mm f2.8 optic has been long overdue in some ways–a more modern lens with sharp elements, and overall high quality optics makes more sense when you combine them with higher resolution camera sensors. But of course, if you know anything about Lensbaby, you’re probably aware that nothing is really supposed to be incredibly, ultimately sharp. When used correctly, the Lensbaby Sweet 80mm f2.8 optic can be just that. It’s designed to be used in conjunction with the Composer Pro, which acts like a tilt shift mechanism when the focusing of the lens and the shifting of the Composer Pro are used together.

Overall, the Lensbaby Sweet 80mm f2.8 optic is one of my favorites along with the 50mm optic. But what the 80mm does is make both landscape and portraiture really fun again.

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Lens Review: Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II (Fujifilm X Mount)


In the world of portraiture and photography these days it seems that two lens characteristics reign supreme above all else, bokeh and sharpness. As well, Fujifilm has two really solid 35mm lens offerings currently with their F1.4 and F2 options – so one might wonder why a lens like the [amazon_textlink asin=’B074RVKNS5′ text=’Mitakon 35mm F0.95 II’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c21b16ad-a239-11e7-8409-9758b581d48a’] is even a consideration. But after using the lens, it is pretty safe to say that it very much should be a consideration for all Fujifilm photographers. Continue reading…

First Impressions: Fujifilm GF 23mm F4 R WR

The Fujifilm GF 24mm F4 lens wide angle lens has us very curious

Fujifilm’s GFX is the world’s most affordable medium format digital system, and as such, demand for this camera and any compatible lenses has been high. Fujifilm has been working hard to build up an impressive ecosystem of lenses to allow photographers who buy a GFX the ability to unlock its full potential and make the art they envision.

One of the recent additions to this series of GF lenses is the [amazon_textlink asin=’B071R2XGWW’ text=’GF 23mm F4 R LM WR’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9c430e2f-be84-11e7-8806-fb1ed836219c’], a fairly fast, wide angle lens for the GFX system that is really aimed at landscape and architectural photography professionals and enthusiasts who need an impressive wide-angle field of view. Continue reading…

Review: Rokinon 85mm f1.2 SP (Canon EF Mount)

Relatively speaking, I’m sort of over the idea of super fast aperture lenses simply because most folks won’t be able to tell the difference with the photos–and that’s the case with the Rokinon 85mm f1.2 SP lens. But at the same time, I can’t argue with the fact that it’s quite a mystical marketing technique combined with the fact that so many lenses are really fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re shooting with an APS-C sensor camera then having super fast glass makes sense. But for full frame cameras, it doesn’t really matter. Most people can’t tell the difference between f1.2 and f1.4. Plus high ISO output these days is so crazy good that you arguably don’t need the extra stop. 

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Review: Rokinon 14mm f2.4 SP Lens (Canon EF)

The Rokinon 14mm f2.4 SP isn’t the fastest wide angle lens on the market these days, but Rokinon is touting it to be one of the company’s very best. The lens is part of the SP lineup, which Rokinon is branding as the creme de la creme of their lens lineup. These lenses are designed to take on the likes of Zeiss. That’s a bold statement, especially as Zeiss has been a premium lens maker for far longer. But Rokinon also isn’t charging Zeiss prices. When you consider that, the Rokinon 14mm f2.4 SP seems to be a very attractive option. With a metal exterior body and a giant rubber focusing ring, the Korean lens manufacturer seems to be doing what I’d like to believe is a great job. Then I took some time to really try the lens–and I’ve seen just how far Rokinon has come.

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First Impressions: Tamron 100-400mm f4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

The Tamron 100-400mm f4.5-6.3 Di VC USD is a pretty impressive optic

When I first got to see and hold the Tamron 100-400mm f4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens, I didn’t think it would be anywhere near as lightweight as it is. To be honest, I’ve seen and held 70-200mm f2.8 lenses that are heavier and in some ways bigger, at least when collapsed. Granted, this lens has external zooming.

The Tamron 100-400mm f4.5-6.3 Di VC USD is designed for photographers who shoot stuff like wildlife, sports, etc. and want something lightweight, good quality and with professional performance. And even though I handled a prototype at Photo Plus, it’s showing a lot of promise.

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First Impressions: Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS (Sony FE)

The new Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS is an extremely versatile offering, but not as great as a G Master

If you were to mount the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS on pretty much any modern Sony FE series camera, you’d be incredibly amazed at its versatility. However, these types of lenses have always been more about convenience than solid quality. And, with the Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS, I find the lens to be not as sharp as many of Sony’s other offerings–at least initially.

To be fair, I only had maybe four hours max to use the new Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS recently. So our full review is on the way still.

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Sample Images: Rokinon SP 85mm f1.2 (Canon EF)

We’re in the middle of reviewing the Rokinon SP 85mm f1.2 lens–which is one of the company’s new high end lens offerings. Rokinon’s build quality has never been the greatest in comparison to many other brands out there but with the SP line, they’re looking to change that. Not only are the optics top notch, but the build quality is too. They’re making metal exteriors with rubber rings. In some ways, you can liken them to Zeiss. Two of their first lenses are the 85mm f1.2 and the 14mm f2.4 for full frame cameras. Unfortunately, these don’t have autofocus. But that doesn’t seem to affect the image quality at all.

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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.

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First Impressions: Fujifilm 80mm f2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro (Sample Images Included)

The Fujifilm 80mm f2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro is a lens that seems really interesting. It’s one of Fujifilm’s largest prime lenses, and though it doesn’t sport as wide of an aperture as the 90mm f2, it has lots of features like close focusing abilities. Due to this feature alone, it may be an attractive option not only for shooting macro photos but also as a portrait focal length. When used with the latest camera options from Fujifilm, it’s a lens that offers pretty fast focusing abilities in addition to a fully weather sealed package.

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Review: Sony 12-24mm f4 G FE (Sony E Mount, Full Frame)

The Sony 12-24mm f4 G FE was announced earlier this year hot on the heels of Sigma’s own lens–and for the photographer who loves to shoot wide this lens could be the only lens you’ll care to travel with. The Sony 12-24mm f4 G FE was designed with weather resistance and is being touted as a G lens, not to be mistaken with the company’s G Master offerings. Like many of Sony’s higher end lenses, it’s a pretty pricy offering but we need to expect that from a wide angle lens. Lenses like the Sony 12-24mm f4 G FE are most suited for travel photography, landscapes, astrophotography, architecture and to some degree extreme sports. It’s also fun at parties if you’re looking to get a unique perspective. But photographers may have a tough choice between the Sony 12-24mm f4 G FE and the 16-35mm f2.8.

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