The Basics: How to Choose Your First Prime Lens

OK, so you are newer to the world of photography. Maybe you recently purchased your first DSLR or mirrorless camera and you are thinking about adding another lens to your kit outside of the one that came with your camera. You have heard about prime lenses and you are thinking that you may like to add one of them to your kit because your kit lens is a zoom lens.

If this sounds familiar you are at a disadvantage to people going through this even just 3-5 years ago. Camera stores with knowledgeable staff have been dropping like flies and it is harder than ever to be able to go into a store, ask questions, and get some help deciding on new lenses or cameras to buy. Many stores that carry photography gear just hire sales people who can push the product, and many times those people do not know much about the gear beyond the specs listed on the box.

So, we are putting together this little series to help those of you who are newer to photography, to help you figure out what questions to ask yourself about the gear you are thinking of adding to your kit. This should help you make an informed opinion about what gear to consider based on your own needs – which will lead to less money wasted on pieces of kit you would rarely use or need. Continue reading…

These 12 Prime Lenses Are Great For Shooting Concerts

Concert photography has a wide range of participants, from the casual fan in the crowd to the full time professional in the pit. But they also have a range of venues, from outdoor amphitheaters to downtown dive bars. So for someone looking to get into concert photography, where should they start in terms of lenses for their kit?

Zoom lenses offer some great benefits thanks to their versatility, but generally suffer when compared to prime lenses in terms of their aperture ratings and how much light they can gather. You can go either way, but for someone looking to dabble in concert work, or looking to keep the budget within reason, a prime lens is a good way to do that. Today we are going to highlight several of our favorite prime lenses for concert photography, so lets get into it!

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Four Ways to Hit Your Stride in Street Photography

julius motal the phoblographer hitting your stride

In the beginning, street photo can be dizzying. There can be an inclination to photograph everything, which can lead to a large pool of images from which you’ll probably pick very few. Patterns start to emerge the more time you spend photographing wherever you are. Perhaps it’s something compositionally, or maybe you find that your best photographs are taken at a certain time of day or night because of how the light falls. Hitting your stride takes time, but as you fine tune your eye through constant practice, you realize what you’re good at.

Here are some suggestions to help you hit your stride.

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DxOMark: Nikon 35mm f1.8 G Beats the 35mm f1.4 G in Sharpness

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm product images (3 of 6)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 3.5

We have just shared our first impressions of the new Nikon 35mm f1.8 G, Nikon’s latest wide-angle lens for full-frame (FX format) cameras. Being only 2/3rds of a stop slower than the 35mm f1.4 G, the lens is a viable alternative for those with slightly slimmer wallets. What we’re most curious about, then, is how the more affordable full-frame 35mm in Nikon’s lens stable performs compared to its proven f1.4 sibling.

DxOMark has just put the lens under scrutiny, and thanks to the comparison tool available on their website, we get a pretty good impression of how it performs compared to the 35mm f1.4. With both lenses mounted to a Nikon D800 (we would’ve preferred to see the results with a D800E, but the 35mm f1.4 was not tested on that camera,) it becomes apparent that despite the huge difference in price, the difference in performance is only marginal.

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Review: Helios-40-2 85mm f1.5 (Nikon F-Mount)

Helios 85mm gservo-20140602-00216

Out of the past comes the Russian-made Helios-40-2 85mm f1.5. A friend said I should try it after they found out I was looking for a Nikon 135mm f2 DC. After doing some research, I decided to take a chance. This lens, which originally dates back to the 1960s, is a passport to old school photography. We test new lenses all the time here–but in the nooks and crannies of the photography world lenses like this still exist. Let’s see why I purchased it.

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Fujifilm Reportedly Working on a Super-Fast 16mm f1.4 Wide-Angle X-Mount Lens

julius motal the phoblographer fujifilm xt1 review-2

Besides the great X-Trans CMOS sensor, there’s another good reason to go for Fujifilm’s X-system: the lenses. Not only has Fujifilm created a respectable amount of lenses covering all focal lengths from wide-angle to telephoto in a rather short amount of time, they also created some of the best optics currently available for any mirrorless system, including the 14mm f2.8, the 23mm f1.4, the 35mm f1.4 and the recent 56mm f1.2.

Soon, users of the system could be in for some more treats. According to Fuji Rumors, the company could soon introduce a super-fast 16mm f1.4 wide-angle lens for its X-system, translating to a 24mm-equivalent. Fujifilm’s lens roadmap indicates that in 2014 a “high speed wide angle lens” would be introduced, and this could just be it.

In addition to the 16mm f1.4, Fuju Rumors’ sources also claim that the X-system might see the addition of a 140-400mm super telephoto lens, for those who need that extra bit of reach. On the system’s APS-C sized sensors, this lens would translate to a 210-600mm, which should be sufficient for both sports and wildlife photography. Thanks to built-in optical image stabilization, it should be possible to achieve shake-free images with the lens even at its longest setting.

Finally, there will be an 18-135mm superzoom lens, an aperture range of f3.5-4.8. According to Fuji Rumors, this lens will also be weather sealed, which should go nicely with the new X-T1 camera. As for release dates, those of the 16mm and 140-400mm lenses are unknown so far, but the 18-135mm should be introduced some time in June. We’ll keep you posted when these lenses become official.

Samyang/Rokinon Teases Five New Lenses for DSLRs and Mirrorless Cameras

Samyang Facebook teaser 4/2014

Recently we reported that Samyang (also known under the brand names Rokinon and Bower) may have some new glass in its pipeline, and today the company teased five new lenses on its Facebook page. The lenses in question are the previously mentioned 35mm f1.4 for Canon EF-mount with AE support, a 300mm f6.3 mirror lens for DSLRs, as well as the 7.5mm T3.8, 10mm T3.1 and 12mm T2.2 cine lenses.

Complete information on these lenses must have been accidentally published by Samyang Europe as this article over at Photo Rumors suggests. However, the links leading to the alleged PDF files containing the lenses’ specifications lead nowhere, so we assume that the information has meanwhile been taken down again. However, the three cine lenses are mostly identical to their previously-announced non-cine counterparts except for the different housing.

As for details on the new 35mm f1.4 AE lens and 300mm f6.3 mirror lens, we’l just have to wait another day until the official announcement. We’ll keep you posted!