Field Review: Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm F/1.4 ZE (Day 1 – Initial Thoughts)

Zeiss products have always interested me. How does a company that produces manual focus (along with some AF) lenses survive in today’s world of bigger, better, faster? Most major camera companies manufacture lenses that can focus in a split second while producing stunning results. So why would I ever want to buy a lens that costs more and takes even longer to focus than Canon’s 35mm F/1.4L?  Honestly, I don’t know but thousands of people do every year when they purchase a Zeiss lens. There has to be something special about these lenses. So what is it? I intend to find out by testing the Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm F/1.4 ZE.

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Review of the Lowepro CompuDay 150 (with video)

I used to work in downtown Boston a few years back and I rarely ever took my camera with me because it didn’t fit into my “work bag”. I could have added a camera insert to the bag but it would have made it awkward to carry and I would have had to remove some other important items, like my lunch. The other option would have been to use a camera bag as my work bag but, along with being big and bulky, camera bags do not excel at carrying my day-to-day items. Also, big and bulky bags make you unpopular very quickly on crowded subway cars. So what bag do you use if work/school (laptop, phone, notebook, documents, lunch, etc.) is your focus but you also want to bring along your DSLR? Methinks you should grab one of the new Lowepro ComuDay bags.

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Not Too Much-Not Too Little = Just Right: The Think Tank Retrospective 30

Like most photographers, I have enough bags to make any Vogue reading 20 something jealous, but I have yet to find a bag that truly fit my needs. Too big, too small, too padded, not padded enough, looks too much like a camera bag, ugly. The list of things that i can find fault with is long. Until I received my Think Tank Retrospective 30. When it comes to products, gadgets, and toys related to photography, I am generally very quick to find fault. Not today.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest posting from Joseph W Carey

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Why I Chose The Olympus EP-2 Over the Fuji X100

Her name is Mary-Jane: and she is my beloved Olympus EP-2. I’ve compared it against the Fuji X100 before, and many people couldn’t tell the difference between the two cameras’ image quality. But beyond the image quality, there are many reasons why one would want to consider other cameras over the Fuji X100. Now don’t get me wrong, I gave the X100 a very good review and it is indeed a well loved camera, but in the end we must not only remember that it’s the photographer that takes the images but also that some tools are easier to work with than others.

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Long Term Review: Canon 50mm F1.8 (Nifty Fifty)

As the favorite lens of many growing, hobbyist and new photographers the Canon 50mm F/1.8 is the best bang for your buck lens out on the market. Capable of delivering super sharp images and small enough to forever stay coupled to your camera, the nifty 50 is a lens that receives rave after rave. This review will chronicle my long term use of the lens followed by why I finally sold mine and why I’m contemplating buying another one.

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Field Review: ExpoImaging Ray Flash (Day 3- More Fun Portraits)

By far, I’m going to have to say that the ExpoImaging Ray Flash has my vote as the best Ring Flash attachment to use. The other day, my friend Steph and I got together and had some fun photoshoot time in her room as she helped me finish the testing of the Ray Flash. A while ago, I used it on former Premium Compact Specialist Will Greenwald. Hit the jump to see how this shoot went.

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Field Review: Rokinon 85mm F/1.4 (Day 2- Street Photography with the 5D Mk II)

After wrapping my fingers around the Rokinon 85mm F/1.4 and becoming comfortable enough to shoot with it, I ventured out around downtown Manhattan with a co-worker one day after work. Since I’m a visually impaired photographer, I thought that shooting with a manual focus lens would be tougher than normal. With that in mind though I remembered the great Cartier-Bresson’s words, “Sharpness is overrated.”

So I went out and just tried to create great images.

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Field Review: Rokinon 85mm F/1.4 (Day 1- Ergonomics)

Manual lenses are great for videographers and for photographers that want that old school feeling when shooting. So when I was thrown the Rokinon 85mm F/1.4 for Canon EF mount, and then told that it was under $300, I was intrigued. Though I already have an 85mm F/1.8, I couldn’t help but think to myself if I would part with my much loved 85mm by the end of the review.

If you’re interested, you should check out our list of the best budget lenses and lenses for videographers.

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The Phoblographer’s Father’s Day Gift Guide

Dad circa 1974
Dad circa 1974

Dad circa 1974

My dad has always been an avid photographer. Since its’ one of the things we have in common he always appreciates a gift that celebrates something we’re both passionate about.  But sometimes it’s hard to find gifts that are fun to give and receive. Here are some suggestions that just about every dad that likes photography will appreciate. Only one of our suggestions is over $100 so you don’t have to break the bank this year to find the perfect gift.

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Come to Editor in Cheif Chris Gampat’s Free Workshop!

Hey everyone, this is just a quick note that I have a free workshop in the B&H Event Space on Tuesday from 3-5pm on WordPress For Photographers and Videographers. Oh, and you should all totally come. I’d love to meet you guys and chat as well.

In this presentation, I’m going to be talking about how to use WordPress to improve your photography/videography business. This will involve Search Engine Optimization, client interaction, tailoring content for your potential clients, content creation, etc. I’ll be breaking it all down into a super easy and super educational format for everyone.

Here’s a link with more info and here’s the Facebook invite. Hope to see you all there.

Which Photo Was Shot With a Canon L Lens?

I’ve been very impressed with both lenses during this test period. I often have a hard time finding any difference between them when it comes to IQ and I was wondering if it’s just me or are they really that close in performance? So, I’ve decided to pull a page out of Mr. Gampat’s book and do a little test with our readers. Can you match the photograph to the lens?

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Is the “L” worth it: Comparison of Canon’s 100mm F/2.8 Macros (Day 4)

My sister-in-law's new hardware - Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Autofocus Lens

In the past three posts we’ve proven that both of these lenses produce excellent macro results but let’s face it, neither of these lenses are what I would call inexpensive. I’ll admit it, I’m cheap and if I’m going to drop over $500 on a lens it needs to perform well in other areas besides simply producing excellent macro photos. Yes, I ask a lot of my gear but I like to travel light and my gear needs to perform as many functions as possible while still producing good results. In this post, we are going to ignore the macro ability of these lenses to take a look at how these 100mm macros perform as portrait and everyday lenses.

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Long Term Review: Canon 24-105mm F4 L IS Lens

Every photographer has a go-to lens that helps them to accomplish their daily tasks. What’s yours? Mine was (and in some ways still is) the Canon 24-105mm F/4 L IS. It has been by my side through paparazzo work, weddings, portraits, events, sports, and it has even been my casual walkaround lens. Used on the many cameras that have passed through my hands during reviews, it has been a mainstay on either my Canon 7D or 5D Mk II: always remaining ready to be used in an instant.

This long term review will cover the two years I’ve spent using this lens and will summarize the faults and strengths of this beloved piece of plastic with the heart of glass.

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Cross Processing an Image in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3

Cross Processing—it’s been all the rave for quite some time now and you’ve probably seen it all over the interwebs. Back in the film days, cross processing meant developing your film with the wrong chemicals in order to get some weird and kooky effects. In the digital age, it can be done with manipulation and understanding of color theory. Though I’m often one to go against trends myself, I’ve done this for wedding clients and they loved it. Since many readers of this site use Adobe Lightroom 3, I’m going to show you step by step and screenshot by screenshot just how to do this and without dropping hundreds of dollars on a Lomography camera and film. However, I’ll also tell you that if you haven’t tried the plastic cameras, you should do so at least once.

If you want to read more, you can read about processing the image in Photoshop Elements as well.

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Getting Your Micro Four Thirds Camera to Use a Ring Flash

Boredom = the creation of the awesomest photography hack ever. Ring flashes are items that I’m extremely smitten with for the particular look they give off. People see them all over in ads, and when I recently invested into a Micro Four Thirds camera, I tried to figure out a way to use a ring flash with it. Here’s a story of trial, error, frustration, boredom, and success.

And in the end, it proved effective in being extremely fun for me.

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