When Tamron introduced the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 VC a few years ago it really shook things up (Model A011, but hereafter I’ll call it the G1 for simplicity). Priced just over a grand, the G1 offered people the chance to get into wildlife photography without dumping five figures into a supertelephoto prime lens. Not only was it inexpensive, it was surprisingly sharp as well; much sharper than many of us expected a lens in that price range to be. Sigma followed up a few months later with not one, but two 150-600mm zooms, then Nikon joined the fray a year later with its Nikon 200-500mm zoom.
This is an in-depth review of the Fuji X-Pro2 mirrorless camera, an upgrade to the top-of-the-line X-Pro1 of the X-series cameras that was announced in January of 2016. It is hard to believe that it has been five years since Fuji first announced its mirrorless X system with the launch of the Fuji X-Pro1, along with the first three lenses. It was a pretty rough ride for Fuji, since the system looked very appealing and yet the initial feedback and reviews indicated that the camera was full of bugs and autofocus issues. But despite the negative reactions, Fuji did not give up, since it wanted to make the X system successful at all costs. Within a year, the X-Pro1 was transformed into a whole different camera – major firmware issues were taken care of and the AF system became much more polished and reliable. Fuji decided not to leave its original customers behind, letting them get the latest and greatest through “Kaizen” firmware upgrades. And although Fuji released a bunch of new X-series cameras, the X-Pro1 continued to receive firmware feature upgrades for another 4 years, something no other manufacturer has done in the past. That level of commitment did not go unnoticed by the photography community, creating a large and loyal Fuji fan base. After a long wait, Fuji finally revealed the much anticipated X-Pro2 that many photo enthusiasts and professionals have been waiting for. Last Christmas, an amazing gift from FujiFilm Italia gave me the opportunity to experience the Fuji X-Pro2. Since Nasim also had some thoughts to share with PL readers after using the camera for a few months, we decided to combine our efforts into a single review.
This is an in-depth review of the Fuji X-T2, a second generation mirrorless camera in its class that was announced in July of 2016 as a replacement of the X-T1. It has been a few years since the Fujifilm X-T1 shook the photography world when it was announced, thanks to its amazing ergonomics, superb autofocus system, great image quality and a strong line of lenses, making the X-T1 one of the most desirable mirrorless cameras on the market. It took two years for Fuji to bring out the much anticipated update in the form of the Fuji X-T2 and given the status of its predecessor, the expectations were very high, making it tough for Fuji to deliver something truly outstanding. With the X-Pro2 already out, many of us thought that there would be very few differences between the two. However, Fuji engineers did manage to pack many more features into the X-T2 to make it stand out from the X-Pro2, with 4K video, faster EVF, faster continuous shooting rate with a grip, dual UHS-II memory card slots and a slightly lower price, making it a truly appealing camera on its own. In this review of the Fuji X-T2, I will be taking a closer look at the camera, which I have been heavily using for the past 4 months. The X-T2 was not an easy camera to obtain and Fuji is still struggling with meeting the heavy demand, which speaks volumes about the positive perception of the camera by the photography community.
After I had a chance to test and review the JPEGmini Pro software, I realized how powerful this software is not just for exporting images and being part of a Lightroom workflow, but also for many other uses, including optimizing images that are already sitting on our large storage devices. Another use I immediately thought of, was the web server where Photography Life traffic originates from. Given how much traffic PL serves worldwide on a day-to-day basis and the fact that images alone account for roughly 5 Terabytes of traffic per month, the thought of being able to compress JPEG images using the JPEGmini engine was something that I really wanted to implement sooner than later. So I embarked on a new project – to save both traffic and money in the long run for PL, using the JPEGmini server.
Photographers Beware: this is a very technical review of software that is not related to photography. I decided to publish the review at PL, since I feel that other photography-heavy websites could hugely benefit from implementing the JPEGmini server.
Ever since it was introduced back in 1993, the DC Nikkor 105mm f/2 DC has been a classic – it was one of the most favored lenses for film portrait photographers and when digital came about, many photographers continued using the stellar lens to create stunning portraits. It took Nikon 23 years to bring out an update in the form of the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED – a drastically different lens in every way. Although Nikon decided to eliminate the de-focus control feature on the new 105mm, the biggest change is in fact the maximum aperture: at f/1.4, it is a much brighter lens compared to its predecessor. A full stop brighter, which is a huge difference for a portrait lens of this class. With this update, Nikon claimed another “world’s first” title, since no other manufacturer has ever been able to make a 105mm telephoto lens with such a wide aperture.
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G AF-S lens that was announced with three other lenses in August of 2010. Ever since the manual focus AI-s version of the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens was introduced back in 1981, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lenses have been used as references for superb sharpness, best-looking bokeh and beautiful color renditions. The last autofocus AF-D version of the lens produced in 1995, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D, was often called the “king of bokeh”, yielding extremely pleasing out-of-focus areas, in addition to producing sharp, colorful images when shooting wide open. Its legendary performance made the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D lens a must-have for portrait photographers and many professionals heavily relied on this lens for many years for their commercial work (and some still do). The Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G lens is the latest update to the 85mm f/1.4 line, which replaced the outdated AF-D version with newer optical and technology innovations from Nikon. In this review, I will not only provide information on the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G lens, but will also compare it to both the older Nikon 85mm f/1.4D and the lighter and smaller Nikon 85mm f/1.8G.
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens that was released in August of 2010. The constant maximum aperture, mid-range Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR zoom lens was a major update to the Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, which had been known at the time for being a sub-par lens optically. Shortly after the 24-120mm f/4G VR was announced, Nikon discontinued its variable-aperture predecessor and made the 24-120mm f/4G VR into a premium kit lens to be bundled with higher-end full-frame cameras. I have been using the Nikon 24-120mm f/4G VR for a number of years now and I decided to update the existing review with more image samples, additional information and up-to-date lab measurements.
It took Nikon nine years to finally release an update to its popular workhorse standard zoom lens in the form of the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR, which gained a few new features compared to its predecessor, including the much desired image stabilization. Nikon engineers have always put extra effort and emphasis on updated professional-grade lens designs, typically delivering outstanding performance. However, the release of the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens has been one of the most controversial in Nikon’s recent history, thanks to the negative attention it received from the photography community. Many reviewers criticized the lens heavily for its performance, claiming it to be a soft lens when compared to its predecessor, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G. And some even put it as the winner in the “worst lens release of 2015” category. Did Nikon engineers really screw up in updating one of the most popular pro-grade lenses? That’s exactly what I wanted to find out when I started reviewing the 24-70mm f/2.8E VR lens.
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens that was released back in August of 2007 together with the 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens. I have owned a number of different copies of the Nikon 24-70mm for many years, pretty much from the day the lens was announced and I have probably spent the most amount of time in the field shooting with this lens. Since it is a workhorse pro-level lens, I have used it for many different types of photography – from portraiture to landscapes. I have used it in hot summer days and freezing sub-zero temperatures; carried it from wet and humid climates to dry and dusty environments. Throughout many years of use and abuse, the 24-70mm f/2.8G ED has never let me down, so overtime, it became one of my most used Nikkor zoom lenses in my arsenal.
For most photographers, especially those who shoot landscapes, it is crucial to have a good set of filters at your disposal. Filters come in two types: screw-on filters (attaching directly to your filter threads) and square filter systems (sliding into a holder on the end of your lens). A lot of landscape photographers move to a square filter system over time — they have a wider selection of filters, and they let you move your filters from lens to lens more quickly. The main companies that make square filter systems are Lee, Cokin and HiTech, all of which are well-known among landscape photographers. There are a few other companies in the marketplace, too, including a relatively new brand called NiSi. Recently, NiSi has been contacting photography websites for reviews, and they contacted us as well. I have used the Lee system for a while, and experienced a few problems with it, so I wanted to review these NiSi filters and see how they stack up. This review covers the NiSi filter system, along with a few specific filters.