Quick Review: Sony 16-50mm F2.8 for Sony A-Mount DSLRs

The Sony 16-50mm f/2.8, best known as the “kit” lens with the Sony A77, is among one of the finest “kit” lenses I’ve ever tested. I wrote briefly about this lens in my Sony A77 Review, but I thought I would go ahead and post a full-on review of the lens, because I really can’t get enough of it. The build, the image quality, and the versatility of this lens make it a clear winner among the Sony A-Mount choices. Read on for more details!

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Review: Rokinon 8mm T3.8 Cinema Lens (Canon EF Mount)

Rokinon’s new 8mm fisheye t3.8 cine lens was another whole experience of its own for me. Since I’ve never shot with a specialty lens like this before, I found the experience rather daunting to comprehend. I wanted to challenge myself. I did not take this lens off my camera for a long while. I was trying to understand it. In a way work with it to better see its uses and uniqueness. That’s when I kind of started to gain some respect for a fisheye lens.

Editor’s Note: This review is a bit of an experiment for us. This lens is a cinema prime, which means that it has T stops instead of F-stops. Since it is also meant for videography, we’re testing it a bit differently and trying to target the photographer that would also shoot video to add more to their portfolio potential. We’re open to suggestions on how we can make our cinema prime lens reviews better.

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App Review: Instagram for Android Mobile Devices

When it was launched for Android devices, Instagram grew immensely. Though the app didn’t have all the functionality of the iPhone app out of the box, it did indeed receive updates to make it more on par with its iOS version. The app is still very popular on the Google play store and can keep a photographer creative and spontaneous.

There is a very good reason why Facebook paid a hefty sum of money for Instagram

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Review: Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 Lens (Micro Four Thirds)

Do you see that lens up above? That is the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 Nokton for Micro Four Thirds; and it is perhaps the lens that has locked me into the system and also renewed my faith in it. Using this lens I can do so much. Not only is it characterized by its fast aperture, but it is also a 35mm equivalent field of view: which is honestly my favorite focal length.

Before I even get into this review, know that it is an overwhelmingly positive one even though swallowing the cost of the lens was a bit much for me. After weeks of use though, that has all gone away.

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Review: Sony 30mm f3.5 Macro (Sony E Mount NEX)

Sony’s 30mm f3.5 Macro lens for their NEX camera system is a bit of an odd man out. It isn’t the most popular lens or the one talked about the most vs their 24mm f1.8 and 50mm f1.8 (both very positively reviewed here on the Phoblographer.) But when the NEX 7 came in for review, I asked Sony to test it out.

Not only did I test it by itself, but I also used Kenko’s latest adapters with the lens. Rendering a near 50mm equivalent field of view, this is also the NEX system’s slowest prime lens with a weird lens hood.

But does it really deserve to be treated like an odd duckling?

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Review: Sony 24mm f1.8 (Sony NEX E Mount)

As the current creme-de-la-creme of Sony’s NEX lenses, the 24mm f1.8 renders a near 35mm field of view on the 1.5x Crop APS-C sensor inside of their NEX cameras. When the NEX 7 came in for review, we nearly had it constantly mated to the camera. Plus, when the F3 was announced, the lens spent its fair amount of time on the camera.

When I say we, I mean that I and a little more than half of the staff took it for a run.

And we essentially all thought nearly the same thing.

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Review: Leica X2

Not long ago, Leica announced their brand new X2 camera. As an update to the X1, it gives consumers an optional electronic viewfinder, a modest megapixel bump, higher ISO capabilities, and a newly designed pop-up flash. As is Leica’s mentality and corporate philosophy, all upgrades were very minimal and the entire package still emphasizes simplicity.

Holding true to Leica’s branding, this camera will also set your checking account back a bit.

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Olympus Still Not Out Of Trouble: Losses Continue, Woodford Demands Millions

The Olympus Story continues with the company’s report for the fiscal year ending March, 2012. According to an official PDF, while the net sales have been rising in comparison to the previous fiscal year (from JPY 847.1 bn to JPY 848.5 bn), operating income has decreased from JPY 38.4 bn to JPY 35.5 bn, with a total net loss of JPY 48.9 bn. The Medical Systems sector seems to be the one gaining the most profit for Olympus, while the Imaging sector — despite increased sales on the home market — is still making losses. Nonetheless, Olympus’ Micro Four Thirds models are still selling well, according to this article by Thom Hogan.

Meanwhile, according to The Amateur Photographer, the dispute between Olympus and their former CEO and scandal whistleblower Michael Woodford has been settled out of court, with Woodford receiving a not-yet disclosed sum (but probably a high seven or eight digit figure) in compensation. Woodford, who uncovered the financial scandal that has been keeping Olympus in the news for the past months, was originally seeking up to US-$ 60 m from Olympus according to this AP artcile.

At the same time, the reports about companies interested in investing in Olympus continue. Latest candidate is Panasonic, who is reported to be debating a capital alliance with Olympus. In order to consolidate their own medical sector, Panasonic could possibly become the major Olympus shareholder. The same report also states that Olympus may sell off sectors that do not form part of their “core business”. Some 2500 jobs could be lost, some of them possibly in the Imaging sector.

As we here at The Phoblographer are all huge fans of Olympus’ photographic products, this is all not very good news to us. We can only hope that the company will get back on its feet eventually, and especially that they will be able to restructure their Imaging sector to become profitable at last — after all, their Micro Four Thirds lineup is pretty damn amazing.

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Review: Olympus OMD EM5

When the Olympus OMD EM5 was originally announced, I wasn’t very impressed. In fact, I still firmly believe that what I saw in that room wasn’t near the level of amazingness that I spent a good two weeks testing. Yes, the Olympus E-M5 was really quite wonderful and was able to stand up to quite a bit.

But did it stand out in a world where APS-C mirrorless cameras are seemingly trying to take the edge?

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Manfrotto’s Lino Apparel For Female Photographers Isn’t The Type of Stuff That Would End Up on Pinterest

Manfrotto has recently announced their Lino line of apparel for female photographers. While they aren’t really the most stylish of items, the line of products seem to have an emphasis on productivity and functionality vs style. Here’s a quick rundown of the new items:


The Pro Field Jacket features photographic working tools combined with comfort, convertibility, and a sleek design. It offers a classic style and comfortably holds camera gear and accessories.

PRO PHOTO VEST – $229.00

The Pro Photo Vest combines sleek design with the functionality of an everyday vest. It comfortably holds and supports your camera gear and accessories


The Pro Soft Shell Jacket is a warm and stylish shooting jacket designed to protect from cold while accommodating the functionality needed for day to day shooting.

PRO AIR JACKET – $159.00

The Pro Air Jacket is a breathable wind and waterproof jacket that folds into its own integrated compact pouch

PRO PONCHO – $149.99

The Pro Poncho is a wind and waterproof poncho designed to protect the photographer and her gear from any weather conditions.

Useful Photography Tip #31: How to Do a DMCA Takedown Notice When Someone Steals Your Images/Content

One of the most common fears that I hear about when I teach classes on WordPress, Tumblr, Blogging or Metadata management is about how to prevent theft of your images or content.

Now first off, I don’t want to scare anyone with this post; and I often tell people that they should focus on trying to create media that people will want to steal instead of worrying about theft of their current portfolio. With that said, this site has been around for quite a while and we’re large enough that someone out there will try to steal our content. I sometimes let it go because the sites eventually get shut down, but when Reviews Editor Andy Hendriksen complained to me about it, I decided to take some action and throw down with a DMCA takedown.

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Review: M.I.C. All-in-One Card Reader For iPad

A short while ago MIC announced an all-in-one card reader for iPad. I have owned the Apple camera connection kit since the iPad first came out and it has served its purpose very well. My problem with it is that there is no CF card support. The lack of CF slot would make me tether my camera to the iPad and so it would cause downtime. Since this card reader features CF I can now continue to shoot while my iPad imports the photos.

I spend some time with the All-in-one card reader and here are my thoughts.

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Review: Sony Alpha A77

Innovative cameras - Sony a77

When I wrote about my first impressions of the Sony A77 last month, it received an overwhelming response and it became very clear to me that this is a hot camera right now. After spending about a month shooting with it, I can now clearly see why. This is the first Sony camera I have used that I feel properly competes with the likes of Canon and Nikon. Competition drives innovation, and I think a camera like this could be just what the market needs to drive pro-sumer DSLRs even further. But does it live up to the hype?

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Using the Olympus OMD EM5 on a Cosplay Photoshoot

Last weekend, a friend asked me to photograph her cosplaying as Link from the Legend of Zelda. The theme was to have a dark and a bit foreboding scene/atmosphere to them. At the last minute while shooting though, she said to me, “Oh but I want them to be really nice too though.” That essentially means that I needed to try to find a way to mix both beauty (which is what I usually do) with my darker side. I usually keep the two separate when it comes to shoots, but in this case that needed to be put aside.

So if you were in the same position and shooting in Prospect Park, Brookyln (in NYC), how would you try to pull this off with multiple looks in a couple of hours?

For starters, I threw in a strange challenge: I put my 5D Mk II away for this one and used the Olympus OMD EM5 still on loan to me from Olympus.

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Review: Sony NEX 7

We’ve been reviewing and playing with the Sony NEX 7 for quite a while now. As Sony’s flagship NEX camera, it features a whole load of bells and whistles that most professional, enthusiast and semi-professional photographers would die for.

Indeed, it also created a lot of stir when it was first announced. But is it worth it in the end?

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