Our readers frequently ask us about the performance of classic Nikkor lenses, some of which were kept from the film days, some inherited and others acquired at an auction or a garage sale. Considering the high cost of modern Nikkor lenses, older lenses can be of great value, especially AF-D and Ai-S manual focus models that could be snatched for 3-4 times less than their modern counterparts. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I never owned those older classics or had any access to them, I have never been able to test and review them. While building our lens database, I realized that it was very difficult to obtain information on older lenses and almost impossible to find product images. So I decided to look at local product listings and auction sites like eBay to find old lenses of good value. Not the hard to find / rare items, but the ones that are commonly found everywhere. Thanks to the gracious support of our readers, I was able to find a few good deals and use some of the money to fund this project.
This is an in-depth review of the Fujifilm X-E1 mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, which was released on September 6, 2012 right before the Photokina event in Cologne, Germany. After the success of the X100 line and the release of the X-Pro1 (which initially received a rather mixed review from us due to its poor AF performance), Fuji introduced the X-E1 – basically a lower-end version of the X-Pro1. It was not an unexpected move, given how quickly Fuji was growing in popularity, thanks to its amazing retro design and excellent image quality. Despite its autofocus flaws and other quirks, both the X100 and the X-Pro1 created a huge fan base and a healthy community of supporters. The X-Pro1 was an expensive camera aimed at professionals and enthusiasts, so the X-E1 was naturally targeted as a more budget version with less features. In this Fuji X-E1 review (based on Firmware 2.00), I will provide detailed information about the camera, along with some image samples, and compare it to other cameras from Nikon, Canon and Olympus.
We have been working with a talented designer from Uzbekistan (which is where Lola and I are originally from) to revamp the look of our site. After our transition from “Mansurovs” to “Photography Life”, we have been thinking about ways to make the site more user-friendly. Our first step was to redesign our logo. The second step was to get rid of that old huge banner with my personal pictures and a square version of the logo. So Lola came up with a few ideas for the new banner concept and she has been working with the designer during the last couple of weeks. After I saw the initial results, I loved them and immediately got rid of the old banners (those really had to go). As of now, the 5 new banners rotate randomly on the top of the page and the designer will be making more interesting ones each month.
Pretty much the whole Photography Life team uses Lightroom (Tom, hint hint) and we all love it. Without a doubt, Lightroom is an integral part of many photographers’ workflows. It is easy to learn and use, comes with a boatload of great tools and makes the process of managing and organizing images a breeze. However, it seems like Lightroom is often plagued by various bugs and annoyances, some of which have been there for a very long time. One of those nasty old timers, is the Lightroom Exit Bug (I came up with this title, since I have no idea how else to call it), which has been plaguing Lightroom for a very long time, I believe since version 2 or 3. It also occurs in the latest release of Lightroom 5.2 RC. Basically, at some point of time, Lightroom’s shortcuts and menu windows just stop working and random presets get applied to your photos. The bug also prevents you from being able to exit out of Lightroom. The only cure is to exit out of Lightroom by clicking the “X” on the top right corner of the Lightroom window.
This is an in-depth review of the Fuji X-Pro1, a highly anticipated mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera. Built on the success of the Fuji X100 and aimed at pros and photo enthusiasts that need a lightweight camera alternative to a DSLR with amazing image quality, the Fuji X-Pro1 is the first mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera from Fuji. Along with the X-Pro1, Fuji simultaneously introduced three prime lenses – Fujinon 18mm f/2.0 XF R, Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 XF R and Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 XF Macro, all specifically designed to be used for the new Fuji X mount. In this Fuji X-Pro1 review, I will not only provide detailed information about the camera, but will also try to answer the many questions that we have gotten so far on the camera from our readers, along with comparisons to Nikon and Canon DSLRs.
I had an opportunity to work closely with the Fuji X-Pro1 on two separate occasions – once when the camera initially came out back in 2012 and again in the summer of 2013, after the latest 3.01 firmware update was released. I had a number of complaints about the X-Pro1 in my original review, because the camera was full of bugs and autofocus problems. The latest firmware 3.01 addressed many of those concerns, so I am simply revisiting the same review and re-evaluating the camera based on my latest findings.
This is an in-depth review of the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport, a high-end super telephoto lens with a versatile zoom range and a wide constant aperture of f/2.8, designed for wildlife, sports and portrait photographers. This is the third iteration of the lens. Its predecessor, the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM was released back in 2005 with identical optical design. What has changed, is the exterior make and appearance of the lens (along with the tripod collar and tripod foot), the new rigorous quality control that Sigma has implemented on its new lines of high quality lenses, and the ability to attach a USB dock for fine tuning the autofocus operation of the lens. In this review, I will go over the technical specifications of the lens, talk about its optical features and performance with and without teleconverters, and compare it to other super telephoto lenses like Nikon 200-400mm f/4G VR and Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II.
Today at Photoshop World conference in Las Vegas, Adobe announced a new packaged bundle tailored specifically for Photographers. It consists of the Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5, Behance ProSite and 20 GB of cloud storage – all for $9.99 per month. There are two conditions with this deal: you have to sign up before December 31, 2013 and you must currently own CS3 or a newer version of Photoshop. Many photographers complained about Adobe’s decision to move the Creative Suite platform to the cloud and their new subscription-based pricing model. We wrote a number of articles criticizing Adobe’s decision and talked about the pitfalls of going to the cloud, including the high monthly costs.
Previously, Adobe’s pricing model was to charge $20 per software application, or $50 for everything. So if you wanted to subscribe to Lightroom and Photoshop (which are the two most used applications among photographers), you had have to pay $40 per month. Starting from September 17, 2013, which is the projected launch date for Lightroom 5.2, you will be able to get both software packages, along with some other extras at quarter of the price. Adobe has already discounted Creative Cloud pricing before and it is doing it in a much more aggressive manner again.
This is a detailed review of the Sigma 2.0x Teleconverter EX APO DG for the Nikon mount. I had a chance to test out this teleconverter, along with the 1.4x Sigma teleconverter when working with the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lens, so I wanted to share some of my findings and compare the teleconverter to its Nikon counterpart, the Nikkor TC-20E III. In this review, I will go over the optical characteristics of the Sigma 2.0x teleconverter and talk about its performance when using both Sigma and Nikon super telephoto lenses.
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR, an exotic super telephoto lens designed for wildlife and sports photographers. Nikon first teased us with its plans to release an 800mm lens in July of 2012, with an official announcement that followed in January of 2013 (along with the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens). Nikon has not updated its manual focus 800mm f/5.6 ED-IF lens for over 25 years, so it was about time to introduce an autofocus version of the lens to the market. The Nikon 800mm f/5.6 VR is a significant milestone for the Nikkor line, because this is the first lens to have the letters “FL” on the lens name, which indicate that fluorite elements are used in its optical design. Although Canon has been using fluorite elements in its exotic super telephoto lenses for a while now, Nikon historically has only used fluorite elements in its medical / microscope lenses. So in a way, this is the first lens of its kind for Nikon.
Just like the old “film vs digital” or the “Nikon vs Canon” debates, lens filters often create endless discussions on the Internet. Some people argue that one should never use protective filters, since it is another piece of glass in front of the lens that reduces resolution and emphasizes other optical problems such as ghosting / flare, while others argue that filters make it easier to protect the front element of the lens and make it easier to clean that element. I personally have been recommending use of protective filters for years, as long as they are of high quality. The filters that I have been using do not seem to affect the resolving power of lenses they are mounted on and mostly do not seem to heavily affect ghosting / flare either. Having spent the last couple of weeks in a lab testing many lenses, I wondered if I could actually measure the resolution of a lens with and without a filter. I recently purchased a used lens that came with a crappy plastic filter, so I decided to run two separate scenarios – one without a filter, one with a high quality B+W filter (more on B+W products below) and one with a cheap plastic filter. The results of the study came out very interesting!