So Much Amazing Character. Leica 16-35mm F3.5-4.5 SL Review

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Wide-angle lenses are enjoyable! The team likes them because you get a much different perspective. And that’s the case with the Leica 16-35mm f3.5-4.5 SL lens. This lens initially confused us because we wondered why Leica didn’t just make an f2.8 lens? In contrast to the Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 Art DG DN, it’s got a lot more character. It’s also lighter, better built, and can actually accept a front filter. But of course, it’s also pretty pricey. We spent some time with the Leica 16-35mm f3.5-4.5 SL and seriously enjoyed it.

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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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The Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 LM WR Is Probably Everything You Ever Wanted

The Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 LM WR is going to please many photographers, especially street photographers.

The Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 LM WR is probably going to confuse a lot of people. It’s not replacing the 16mm f1.4 R WR or the 18mm f2. Instead, it’s living alongside those lenses. Now, the X series has a classic 28mm equivalent with an f1.4 aperture. Add onto that the fact that it’s weather sealed. Then top it off with the linear motor that’s inside for faster autofocus. To blow your mind more, it’s coming in at under $1,000. Trust me when I say that I think the Fujifilm 18mm F1.4 LM WR will sell like newly legalized marijuana in NYC.

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Watch Photography With the Sigma 105mm f2.8 Macro

In Pro Camera Reviews, we recently discussed the new Sigma 105mm f2.8 DG DN Macro Art.

Stunning! That’s how we feel about the Sigma 105mm f2.8 DG DN Macro Art so far. And quite honestly, so too did an audience in our recent Pro Camera Reviews episode. We paired it with the Sony a7r III and a Profoto light to see how well it could perform. Specifically, we used it with Food and watches. If you’re a big fan of watch photography, you’re going to want to check this one out. We discussed more in a recent episode of Pro Camera Reviews.

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It’s Nice, with Fantastic High ISO Images: Nikon z50 First Impressions

The Nikon z50 is a nice camera–there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s a plain shade of vanilla.

If you tuned into our weekly episode of Pro Camera Reviews, then you’d know that Gear Editor Brett Day is reviewing the Nikon z50. He likes it so far. But Brett has owned many different camera systems over the years. And he can’t quite wrap his head around this camera. He’s still trying to figure it out, in fact. But he thinks it’s a nice camera.

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The Camera in the New DJI Mavic Air 2 Shoots RAW, and More to Know

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is being announced today and has several improvements over its predecessor for the mid-level consumer.

“…the newly added SmartPhoto mode, includes three technologies: Scene Recognition, Hyperlight and HDR photos, which can intelligently identify five types of scenes and optimize algorithms to capture the best photo,” says the Product Manager of the DJI Mavic Air 2 in an interview. Indeed, the company has brought a couple of new features to the drone’s camera, which will interest photographers. Aimed at the consumer, the DJI Mavic Air 2 also weighs only 570 grams. This is around the weight of a bottle of water, according to the press release. But the drone also features a bunch of new smart systems beyond just the camera.

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Review: Canon RF 28-70mm F2 L USM (One of the Best Zooms Around)

Though the Canon RF 28-70mm f2 L USM is a monster lens, it’s arguably the best full-frame zoom on the market.

When I first laid eyes on the Canon RF 28-70mm f2 L USM, I wrote it off in my head. It’s a monster in size, but when use it for a long time, you begin to realize that it’s manageable. There is no image stabilization, and that will be a problem for many newer photographers. However, the lens has a lot of strengths. Besides being built like Brock Lesner in his prime, it has some of the best sharpness we’ve ever seen from a zoom. Couple this with the f2 aperture throughout the entire range, and you’ve got something unique in the market. This is part of what Canon is doing to survive, and though everyone gives Canon a lot of grief for recycling older camera sensors, I believe their lenses are the best on the market. Of course, this is reflected in the price.

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Review: Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM (Canon RF Mount)

The Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM is a bulky, expensive lens, with superb image quality that more than justifies its price of admission.

One of Canon’s biggest strengths has always been its ability to create consistently excellent lenses targeted at professionals, and the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM is no exception. With their RF Mount system, Canon has chosen to tackle the Full Frame Mirrorless market from the opposite direction of Sony. Instead of focusing on industry-leading cameras first and slowly building up a portfolio of lenses like Sony did, Canon has elected to introduce premium lenses out of the gate while they work on developing newer, more advanced Full Frame Mirrorless camera bodies. Only time will tell if their strategy will pay off, but one thing is for sure: the RF Mount lenses we’ve seen are some of the very best on the market. The Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM was designed with portrait photographers in mind, and boy does it create some truly stunning portraits. By virtue of being an f1.2 lens, the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM is bulky and has the weight (and a US $2,699 price tag) to match. If you’ve got deep pockets and won’t settle for anything but the very best, the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM will not disappoint.

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First Impressions: Fujifilm X Pro 3 (We Did Street Photography with It!)

The Fujifilm X Pro 3 is designed to slow you down and make you a more deliberate photographer, and that’s a good thing.

We first learned of the Fujifilm X Pro 3’s development last month. Yesterday afternoon, we got to spend some brief hands-on time shooting with the camera around New York City. The Fujifilm X Pro 3 incorporates the same 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 APS-C sensor and X-Processor 4 Quad-Core Imaging Engine found within the X-T3 into a rangefinder-style body. The most notable design change from the X Pro 2 is that the rear of the camera now features an always-on-but-not-backlit E-Ink display. This is designed to simulate the film box window found on many analog cameras. There’s still a touch screen LCD if you want it, accessible by flipping the back of the camera down.

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Gallery: Sony a7r IV Extra Image Samples (Portraiture)

We used the Sony a7r IV on our own portrait shoot and got some pretty impressive results.

We’re currently at a press event with the new Sony a7r IV, working with the camera and putting it through its paces. Sony has told us that the image quality is final. With a 61MP full-frame sensor at heart, we’re amazed at what it’s capable of doing. While other journalists were hanging out, we took it into the streets of NYC with a model, the Profoto B10, and a few lenses to find out what it’s capable of doing. With a claim of 15 stops of dynamic range and a lot more autofocus points, you’re not going to believe what we’re finding to be the most significant fault.

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The Samyang 35mm f2.8 Lens Has Autofocus, Promises to Be Small

Samyang hasn’t really been known for their autofocus lenses, but as of late they’ve been creating options like the Samyang 35mm f2.8. This lens is being targeted at the full frame Sony mirrorless camera user since it’s full designation is the AF 35mm f2.8 FE. The lens features seven elements in six groups, two aspherical lenses, one high refractive lens plus Ultra Multi Coating. They’re touting it being able to deliver a lot of resolution all throughout the frame. If you do the translation from Euro to American, the price is around $336.00. With that said, it doesn’t sport the weather sealing of the Sony 35mm f2.8 FE.

More specs and info is after the jump.

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Shooting with the Fujifilm GFX 50S: Extended Thoughts and Sample Images

The Fujifilm GFX 50S has been in for review for a few days now and I’m sort of wrapping my head around how to test it correctly. That’s kind of tough to explain for many reasons. You see, Fujifilm sent me the camera along with the 63mm f2.8 and the 120mm f4 lenses–both primes which are great for general work, portraiture, and the mainstay of most medium format photographers out there. Zooms are often tough to work with, but in some ways I feel like Fujifilm is genuinely trying to redefine the way people work with medium format cameras, lenses, and sensors.

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Review: Fujifilm X-T2

fujifilm x-t2

Editor’s Note: This review is now complete.

“Should someone really upgrade?” is a conversation that I had with a colleague of mine about the Fujifilm X-T2 after getting a chance to look at it for a little while. On paper, the camera seems to have a number of significant advantages over the X Pro 2 such as the addition of 4K video and a heat sink that can do this. Plus there are more autofocus points. Of course, both the X Pro 2 and the X-T2 are better than the X-T1.

When you look at the Fujifilm X-T2 what you see is a camera that essentially looks and functions the same as its predecessor. A few things are beefier like the SD card door for example. The camera’s finish also lends itself to a more solid feel. But otherwise the camera will feel very much at home in the hands of an experienced Fujifilm camera user. However, there isn’t much of a reason for a hobbyist to upgrade–at least from our initial thoughts.

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First Sample Images: Sony A7s Mk II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7s Mk II first impressions product images (8 of 11)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.8

Last night, we got a bit of time to play with the Sony A7s Mk II, and though we previous had time to test a pre-production unit, the unit we tried last night is instead a full production unit. Unfortunately, we need to return it within a half hour of the publication of this piece–but we’re getting a unit again very soon.

Here are some of our first sample photos. EXIF data for each image can be read by clicking on the image and then seeing it in the URL.

Very little editing was done to each image besides some minor clarity, contrast and sharpness adjustments. You’ll find high ISO sample images and then really high ISO sample images.

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We’ve Published Sample Photos from the Sony A7r Mk II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first sample images lenses (1 of 1)ISO 16001-40 sec at f - 5.0

We’re currently in Portland with Sony on a press trip and testing out the new Sony A7r Mk II and a load of lenses. If you remember, we gave our first first impressions a while back Perhaps it was because we were holding a pre-production model, but the camera feels significantly more substantial this time around. The dials and shutter wheels aren’t as nice as the previous iteration of these cameras, but the camera overall feels much more solid and rugged than I remember.

I took it around the Hotel’s vicinity to capture some images with the 16-35mm f4. We’ve posted sample photos below, but also be sure to check out our full first impressions.

Ps: Sony has paid for the trip, but we’re not letting that affect editorial judgement. A bunch of journalists are out here from many publications. Companies tend to do this from time to time, but we always maintain journalistic integrity.

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Sample Images from the Sony 28mm f2 Full Frame E Mount Lens

Camera FV-5

We’ve currently got the new Sony 28mm f2 lens for the full frame E-mount camera system in for testing, and so far it seems about as impressive as many of Sony’s other lenses. It’s a tad larger than their 35mm f2.8 but no where as large as the 35mmm f1.4. The focusing performance is quite snappy with the Sony A7 and as far as the image quality goes, it’s not a slacker. If you’re a stickler about vignetting and distortion, then you’ll need to be wary of the corners but otherwise there is very little to complain about. Even with the vignetting, the images still look incredible.

We’ve got to do more testing with this lens first, but more will come in the future. Here are some of our first image samples.

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More Images Added to Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport Lens First Impressions

We’ve added more sample photos to our Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport Lens first impressions post. So far though, we tested it more for portraiture than sports, but we’re going to do so! With a flash, this lens shows off nothing else but pure sharpness, and even without a flash in good lighting. The image stabilization is proving to be quite effective, but man is this thing heavy.