Disqus No More!

Old Comment System

As you might have noticed, our site is back to the normal commenting system – I got rid of Disqus. After giving Disqus a try for a few months, I realized that it was only creating more hassles than doing anything useful. My intention with the Disqus platform was to reduce server load and to increase engagement, but it created too many issues that I constantly had to battle with. Although Disqus was supposed to be better at keeping spammers away, a lot of spam made it through and I got tired of having to clean it up on a daily basis. In addition, our writers did not get proper notifications when comments were posted unless they subscribed to each article, which was creating even more headaches. And lastly, Disqus went all berserk on the site after I enabled additional caching – some of our readers reported that they were getting logged in under other accounts and all kind of other strange things were happening.

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Nikon 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR DX Announcement

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR

In addition to the high-end 500mm and 600mm super telephoto lenses, Nikon also announced the AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR, a high-quality lens designed specifically for smaller APS-C / DX cameras. I have not had a chance to post this announcement due to my busy travel schedule earlier this week, but thought it would be important to post it at PL, since it is a pretty interesting announcement. The Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR has been a pretty popular lens for DX cameras for many years now, but after the release of high-resolution 24 MP cameras, the lens has been showing its age, with fairly average sharpness, particularly in the corners. The new 16-80mm f/2.8-4E has a completely new optical formula, designed to outperform the 16-85mm in every way.

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Canon 5DS Initial Impressions

Canon 5DS Image Sample

I am back from the mountains, after spending a couple of days testing the new Canon 5DS DSLR (see all 5DS / 5DS R related articles here) and waiting for the 5DS R to arrive. Both cameras, without a doubt, are highly anticipated by Canon shooters (and not only) and for a reason – with their insane 50.6 MP of resolution, these cameras will definitely satisfy any DSLR shooter’s resolution lust. These are the cameras that many Canon landscape, architecture, fashion and macro photographers have been waiting for, in response to Nikon’s and Sony’s high resolution cameras. Armed with Canon’s highly acclaimed EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II and the new EF 11-24mm f/4L lenses, I wanted to capture a few scenic areas of the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and see how the 5DS would perform with these lenses.

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Nikon 500mm f/4E VR and 600mm f/4E VR Announcements

Nikon 500mm f/4E VR

Nikon has just announced two highly anticipated super telephoto lenses for sports and wildlife photography, the AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4E FL ED VR and the 600mm f/4E FL ED VR. After Nikon released the 800mm f/5.6E VR and the 400mm f/2.8E VR lenses, it was a matter of time before the 500mm and 600mm lenses got updated with the latest and greatest optical designs and technology. As before, Nikon has completely revamped the optical formula of these new lenses, shredding as much as 20% off the total weight on the 500mm and 25% off the total weight on the 600mm! Now the new 600mm f/4E VR weighs as much as the 400mm f/2.8E VR, which is incredible. Considering how hand-holdable the 400mm f/2.8E VR is, both of these new lenses open up a lot of amazing opportunities to get closer to action.

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Photo Spots Update

Add Photo Spot

As you may already know, we are currently running a Photo Spot Contest (with a grand prize comprised of the new Fuji X-T10 camera) and we are really happy to see some truly amazing submissions from some of our readers. I have been going through all the submissions and approving them one by one and boy, it has been a great experience! It turns out that many of our readers are amazing photographers – some of the submissions are very inspirational to see. So far, we have published a total of 154 submissions and we are looking forward to seeing even more. I have no doubt that this project will be successful, because it offers tremendous help for people who are considering to visit places and not knowing where to go and what to photograph. Although I have not worked out a proper way to index all the submissions and offer an easy way for our readers to browse through the photo spots, it is definitely on my plate and I will be working on those soon.

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Spots Available for our Upcoming Colorado Fall Workshops

Workshop Participants #2

We had a few people cancel their workshop reservations for this fall’s Colorado Fall Workshops for different reasons, so I wanted to let our readers know that there are now a total of 5 spots available for our upcoming Colorado Fall Workshops at the end of September. With three months left until the workshop, there is still plenty of time to register and get your airfare and stay booked at great rates.

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Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 Review

Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX

When I first got access to the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC lens (which we recently reviewed), I got curious about other potential lens options already available with the similar focal length range, build and fast aperture of f/2.8. After a quick search through our lens database, I found the Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX. This little gem has been available for a while now and although I have heard a lot of good things about it, I never had a chance to actually try it out. After receiving the lens along with a few other lenses like the Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 Pro DX-II (which I will be also reviewing very soon), I headed off to Death Valley National Park. Although I primarily used the lens with my infrared-converted Nikon D800E, which as I painfully found out later turned out to be a bad choice for IR as explained further down in the review, I was really curious to see how it would do, given its extremely attractive price of $629. At this price, I was expecting the Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 to be a poor performer, because the price just did not seem to be right for such a fast zoom lens with a “pro” label on it. After using the lens and testing it out in my lab, I realized that I was wrong – it turned out to be a hidden gem.

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Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Review

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2

Zeiss created the new Loxia line specifically for Sony, adding high-quality manual focus primes to the growing list of native lenses for the Sony FE mount. With the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 targeted for everyday use, the Loxia 50mm f/2 is a bit more specialized for such needs as portraiture, street, travel and landscape photography. Although Sony already had the excellent Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 from the beginning, the Loxia 50mm f/2 nicely fills the 50mm gap. And just like its 35mm f/2 counterpart, the Loxia 50mm f/2 is superb in its quality and build, designed to be similar to other traditional Zeiss lenses, with manual aperture control and a very compact size. This review is based on my 3 month shooting experience with both Loxia lenses on a variety of different Sony A7-series cameras.

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LG G4 Camera Review

LG G4

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article titled “Mystery Camera – Can You Guess What It is?“, where I posted some images without any embedded EXIF data. Along with the images, I provided a couple of clues about the camera to see if our readers would be able to figure it out. Although some of our readers did guess that the images were captured by a camera phone and some even correctly guessed the specific model, most answers varied greatly from the Canon 5DS to the newly announced Sony A7R II. It was a great exercise to showcase just how good modern smartphones have gotten and the fact that most people have a hard time differentiating images between small sensor cameras and expensive large sensor cameras when web-sized images are posted on the Internet. This again reiterates the point that one does not need a high-end camera if all they do is output to the web. But that’s not the subject of today’s review. Instead, I will be talking about the new LG G4 Android phone, which AT&T kindly sent me for a review.

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