Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC Lens Released

Back in September last year, Tamron announced the development of a rather interesting wide-angle lens. Not only does it feature a very useful focal length range for landscapes, architecture and documentary style photography, but also allows a fairly wide aperture of f/2.8 and image stabilization. The lens has now been officially released in three mounts – Nikon, Canon and Sony (Vibration Correction is omitted for Sony variant). At a fairly reasonable price of $1200, it ever so slightly undercuts the Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VR lens (which also happens to be slower), significantly undercuts Canon’s 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens and matches the cost of the 16-35mm f/4L IS.

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Sony A7 II First Impressions

Although I am planning to fully review the Sony A7 II, I decided to share some quick thoughts on this new mirrorless camera which I have been shooting with for the past few weeks and share a photo of the Bay Bridge that I captured at night. I am currently in San Francisco, testing the Sony A7 II with a few Sony / Zeiss lenses, along with the Canon 7D Mark II, which I am also planning to review when I get back (I know, I have been a bit late on that one).

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Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R Lens Announcement

We’ve known for a while that this lens was coming thanks to Fujifilm’s most recent lens roadmap. Some details were still under a question mark, though, and with the official announcement we finally know everything about the most recent – and one of the most expensive – Fujinon lens for X-mount mirrorless cameras, the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR.

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Nikon D750 Flare Shading Issue

By now you have probably heard of the Nikon D750 issue that some describe as “flare” or “internal reflection issue”. Thanks to some websites and forums, the issue is now blown out of proportion, with some people claiming the D750 to be another “fiasco” from Nikon. Since many of our readers have been requesting feedback from me regarding the issue, I decided to write an article that describes the issue in detail, along with my opinion on the matter. The thing is, I have known about this particular problem for a while now, probably after the very first complaints started rolling in a few months ago. I never wrote about it, because I consider it to be a non-issue for 99.9% of situations and not even applicable for most photographers out there, which is why I never wrote about it. At the same time, I understand there might be concerns from current and future owners of the D750, who are probably wondering about the severity of the problem. In this article, I will show you what the issue looks like, when it occurs and provide my personal feedback on the matter.

Since neither “flare”, nor “internal reflection” correctly describe the issue (as shown below), I went ahead with “flare shading issue” title instead.

UPDATE: Nikon will be servicing all affected Nikon D750 cameras free of charge. See this announcement for more details.

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Infrared Lens Rating on Reviews

I have been a fan of infrared photography for a while now (largely thanks to Bob Vishneski’s amazing infrared work), but I have not had a chance to explore that side of photography yet. After I bought the D810 to replace the D800E, I first thought about selling the D800E. But seeing how much the D800E was going for on eBay and other sites, I decided to keep it and convert it to an infrared camera instead. After some research and a few email exchanges with Bob on who he recommends, I picked the folks at Kolari Vision, who effortlessly converted my D800E to an IR camera. I did not want a full IR B&W conversion, so I opted for the thinner 720nm filter that allows some colors to come through. Have not experimented yet, as it is really cold and snowy outside, but there are some great news for our readers – my future lens reviews will now include infrared ratings and hot spot reports! So if you already enjoy infrared photography or want to start exploring it (I highly would recommend reading Bob’s excellent introduction to infrared photography article), then you will find the IR section of the reviews particularly helpful!

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Camera Maintenance: Is Proactive Maintenance Worth It?

One of our readers, who is a very busy professional wedding photographer, asked me if proactive maintenance with the manufacturer is worth the money or not. After a busy wedding season, she sent one of her Canon 5D Mark III cameras to Canon service center for cleaning. Shortly after the service center received the camera, she was told that her 5D Mark III had over 200,000 images, which was way above the shutter life of the camera, which is rated at 150,000. For a $600 fee, the Canon service center suggested to replace the shutter mechanism with a brand new one, promising that the camera would keep on clicking. Since $600 sounded better than paying $3K for a replacement camera, the reader asked advice from me, to see if it was indeed worth paying for the shutter replacement as proactive maintenance. I recommended not to do it for the following reason: shutter mechanism failures are completely random and it is best to replace the shutter when it actually fails.

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Nikon TC-14E III vs TC-14E II Performance Comparison

I am currently in the process of testing the Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL lens in my Imatest lab and I am simultaneously also measuring the performance of the new Nikon TC-14E III teleconverter and comparing it to the older TC-14E II. Although I am planning to review the teleconverter separately, I decided to give our readers a glimpse of the teleconverter performance when compared to its predecessor in terms of sharpness. To make it easy to compare differences, I converted all numbers to percentages (detailed numbers will be posted in the reviews).

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Latest Fujifilm Firmware Updates Now Available

As promised, Fujifilm has made the new firmware versions for some of its mirrorless cameras available starting today. For those who missed our previous article, the following cameras are eligible for the new firmware: Fujifilm X-T1 (both black and silver edition), X-E2, X-Pro1 and X-E1. It is important to note that all cameras receive slightly different updates with the X-T1 gaining the largest number of improvements and new features.

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On Comparing Cameras and Sensors

It reminds me of Goldoni’s “Servant of Two Masters“; only masters are now more than two and quite often they are not only capricious but they do not know what they want. First, any comparison is open to critics because even in a well-equipped lab it is impossible to repeat the shooting conditions from a year ago, or even from a day before while shooting to compare a newer model to an older one; the criteria for necessary accuracy is not set, or not made public, or not recognized by the community. Second, one single body in the testing opens the door for sample variation questions; and once again tolerances are not brought to the light. Third, using different lenses for different mounts does not help leveling the field. Using lens adapters to shoot with the same lens is often suggested, but it opens another can of worms: adapter alignment problems and different amounts of internal flare added by different adapters skew the results.

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Latest Fujifilm Firmware Updates

Last month, Fujifilm announced firmware updates for several of its high-end X-mount compact system cameras. No less than four cameras will receive such attention from the famously generous (when it comes to updates) manufacturer come December the 18th – Fujifilm X-T1 (both black and silver versions, which should really not be treated as a separate release), Fujifilm X-E2 and even the now-already-quite-old X-Pro1 and X-E1. That said, it is not all good news, since the firmware updates are very different for X-T1 and the rest of the cameras.

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