I was sitting at home today, playing with the newly received Fuji gear, when my brother stormed into the house and told me to go outside and see the rainbow. I grabbed the Fuji X-E1, with the Zeiss 12mm mounted on it and ran towards my car. I drove about a mile north to an open area and took the below shot:
Our readers have been asking us about reviewing Fuji cameras and lenses. Since Fuji has been on the roll lately, releasing the X-E1, X-M1, X100s and a bunch of new lenses, we decided that it would be a good idea to review all of Fuji gear that is out there. Although I reviewed the Fuji X-Pro1 a while ago, I decided to update my review, because the new firmware addressed a lot of the issues that I talked about in the review, including some of the autofocus issues. Here is everything I received yesterday:
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G lens, which was announced on January 27, 2013 together with the super telephoto Nikon 800mm f/5.6E VR. The lens replaces the existing 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D, an old autofocus lens released back in August of 2000. With its rather weak optical design optimized for film cameras, the old version was never quite considered to be among Nikon’s top performing lenses. It suffered from decreased corner performance, strong distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration issues, making it a weak candidate for modern DSLR cameras. After 13 long years, Nikon finally completely revamped the design of the lens and reintroduced it to the market as a budget lens for modern full-frame cameras. The AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED went through drastic changes in optical design and now looks nothing like its predecessor both physically and optically.
Our team at Photography Life is happy to announce our new Nikon D800 / Canon 5D Mark III Facebook giveaway! We are giving away a brand new Nikon D800 or a Canon 5D Mark III DSLR (your choice). This giveaway is open to anyone, not just US residents.
To enter the giveaway, click the above banner or follow the following link to our giveaway page:
If you have a mobile device, please use the following link instead:
Photography Life Nikon D800 / Canon 5D Mark III Giveaway (mobile)
Here is how to enter this contest:
- Visit the giveaway Facebook page
- Click “Like” to reveal the entry form. If you are already our fan, the form will automatically appear.
- Type your email address in the form – we only need it to contact you so that you can claim your prize.
- Once you click “Enter”, you will be entered for the giveaway. Only 1 entry per person.
Some restrictions apply to non-US participants:
Some countries have tax and other regulations for camera equipment, while others are extremely expensive to ship to. While we will do our best to ship the package internationally, if the cost of sending the package is extremely high or if there are other complications, we will have to give a choice to the winner – either to pay for all the extra expenses, or accept a $3000 gift card from our trusted partner B&H Photo Video.
We will announce a random winner on October 1, 2013. Good luck!
If you have been reading some of the articles during the last couple of days, you might have noticed that we now have a text box under each post that is asking you, our dear readers, to support Photography Life. I am not going to repeat the same message since it is on the bottom of this post, but in summary, we need your support to continue operating the website ad-free. We also want to grow bigger by adding more contributors, which means more unique content, and running routine contests / giveaways that will add more readers and expand our reach.
There are multiple ways you can contribute. The simplest way to help us out, is by buying your gear from our trusted affiliates B&H Photo Video and Adorama. Both B&H and Adorama ship internationally, however, if you have tough tax laws for packages coming from the USA, then please use the links below for specific countries:
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This is an in-depth review of the Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZF.2 lens, a manual focus prime lens for the Nikon F mount. The same lens exists in “ZE” version for the Canon mount, which shares identical optical design, but with a slightly different body design (no aperture ring). I had a chance to test the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 when evaluating other 35mm lenses, specifically the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and the Samyang 35mm f/1.4. Having already reviewed the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G and the Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2 ZF.2 lenses in the past, I wanted to cover most of the modern 35mm lenses for the Nikon F mount. After this and the upcoming Nikon 18-35mm review, I am planning to also cover the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX lens, along with two additional older Nikkor lenses – the 35mm f/2D and the 35mm f/1.4 AIS, which will pretty much complete the 35mm prime selection for the Nikon mount.
Zeiss is known to make high quality manual focus lenses for Nikon and Canon camera mounts. Because of a strong partnership with Sony, Zeiss has been making lenses with autofocus capability for the Sony / Minolta mount as well, and has recently started getting into the mirrorless market with its new “Touit” line of lenses.
This is a part two to my “why are some lenses so expensive?” article that I wrote yesterday. I already explained the difference between consumer and professional-level lenses in the first post, so now it is time to talk about exotic lenses. With so many exotic lenses on the market today, some of which seem to be in relatively high demand (at least judging by their lack of availability), one might wonder about what makes them so special when compared to everything else. This post is not meant to be technical or basic – I think you can get most of that from the first article. Instead, I want to focus on craftsmanship, price, perceived value and niche marketing – the main drivers behind exotic lenses.
I once had a conversation with a photography veteran, who was trying to convince me that the new Nikkor and Canon lenses lack “soul”, with their plastic barrels, rubber focus/zoom rings and industrial “mainstream” designs. I disagreed, because I was blown away by the performance of new generation lenses and I just did not care about everything else. Plus, the notion of a lens having a soul just disturbed me and I remember thinking how ridiculous it was even to think about such things. But as time passed by and I got a chance to experience some of the rare and older optics, I started to understand what the photographer was trying to tell me. Most modern lenses do feel as if they are just taken from a conveyor line, where thousands of other lenses are made exactly the same way with little intervention. Older lenses were hand-crafted, one by one, and each lens was unique in its own way. And that was the beauty of it, because you never knew what you got – it was a game of random cards.
Every once in a while, I get asked why some lenses are so much more expensive compared to others. Interestingly, this question comes from both beginners and advanced photographers, but in different contexts. Beginners want to know why pro-level lenses are a lot more expensive than consumer lenses, while knowledgeable photographers wonder about what makes niche/exotic lenses from companies like Zeiss and Leica so much more expensive than modern professional lenses. These are all interesting and valid questions, so I thought writing a couple of articles to attempt to answer these questions would be useful for our readers. In this article, I want to answer the first beginner question on what makes professional lenses expensive.
1) Lens Categories
To understand differences between lenses, I believe it is important to first categorize them into different groups. This is obviously a subjective categorization, something I personally came up with to group lenses in our lens database:
If you own a Nikon DSLR, this is a good time to perform a firmware update, because Nikon has just released new firmware that contains distortion control data for most of its current and older generation DSLRs, including Nikon D4, D90, D600, D800, D800E, D3100, D3200, D5000, D5100, D5200, D7000 and D7100. The distortion control data is used to correct barrel and pincushion distortion exhibited by Nikkor lenses. Please keep in mind that this data is only useful for correcting JPEG images. Distortion control data is not applied to RAW images (only to JPEG previews stored in RAW images) and if you use external image editors such as Photoshop and Lightroom, they will completely disregard this data when the RAW file is imported.
Still, it is a good idea to run the latest and greatest firmware on your camera. Also, this distortion control firmware is not a full firmware update for most cameras – it adds lens profiles to the existing camera database (firmware “L”). Before you apply the above update, I highly recommend to update your camera firmware (firmware “A” and “B”) to the latest version first. I wrote a detailed article on how to update firmware on Nikon DSLRs a while ago.
Since Lightroom version 3, Adobe has been providing a Lens Corrections sub-module within the Develop Module to correct various optical issues commonly seen on all lenses. It is a very powerful and complex tool that can be applied to one or many photographs with a couple of quick steps, potentially saving many hours of post-processing time. In this article, I will explain what the Lens Corrections sub-module is, how it works and how you can effectively use it to correct optical issues in your photographs. I will also show you a method of adding a lens profile manually, if you have unsupported lenses in your arsenal.
1) What is Lens Corrections in Lightroom?
Lens Corrections is a tool within Lightroom’s Develop Module (hence I often refer to it as a “sub-module”) that allows fixing such lens problems as distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting and perspective correction “non-destructively”, without leaving Lightroom. The beauty of the Lens Corrections feature in Lightroom, is that just like any other setting, lens corrections can be copied from one image to another, applied to hundreds of images at once, or can be set up as an import template, automatically applying corrections to images during the image import process. Keep in mind that lens correction is not a simple fix that applies to any lens – corrections are lens-specific. Since each lens model is designed with a unique optical formula, lens corrections must also be uniquely customized for each model. For example, one could not take a lens correction from the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G and apply it to the Sigma 35mm f/1.4G just because they share the same focal length and maximum aperture. Adobe staff spends time working with a number of different lenses and they continuously add support to new and existing lenses when new versions of Lightroom are released.
How does Lens Corrections affect images? Take a look at the following image sample: