Nikon has been on the roll in the past few years, releasing one amazing lens after another. We have seen a refresh of the f/1.8 prime lens line with some amazing optics, but those craving for more have been patiently waiting for a modern replacement of such lenses as the Nikon 105mm f/2 DC and Nikon 135mm f/2 DC, absolutely amazing and beautiful lenses in every way, capable of rendering stunning bokeh for portraiture. Well, the waiting for the first lens replacement is finally over, because today Nikon gave us something truly groundbreaking – the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED. While the de-focus control feature on the previous 105mm f/2 lens allowed one to modify the bokeh rendering of the lens, it would end up changing the field of view and it was a bit hard to get used to utilizing that feature effectively for many photographers. Plus, the maximum aperture of f/2 put it in competition with the superb Nikon 85mm f/1.4G (review soon to be updated), as the latter is a faster lens and has superb rendering capabilities wide open. For these and other reasons, many photographers having been choosing the 85mm f/1.4G over the 105mm f/2 DC for portraiture, while the 135mm f/2 DC remained untouched. Now that the 105mm f/1.4E is out, let’s talk about what is so amazing about this gem and why we can mark today as an important milestone in the history of lens making.
One of the most exciting news from today is Sigma’s announcement of the 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens designed for APS-C sensor cameras like the Nikon D500. That’s another f/1.8 constant aperture zoom lens from Sigma with a groundbreaking design! With an equivalent field of view of 75-150mm, this lens will surely be a popular choice among sports and portrait photographers, especially when working in low-light situations. Thanks to the complex optical design that incorporates 21 elements in 15 groups, the Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art is optimized to yield excellent sharpness at its widest aperture throughout its zoom range. And with its MSRP of $1,099, this looks like a killer offering for cropped sensor cameras. The only downside is its weight – at 1,490 g (3.28 lb), the lens is almost as heavy as the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II! But what did you expect from a constant aperture f/1.8 telephoto zoom lens?
Thanks to the CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2016 that is taking place in Japan this week, we have a slew of exciting announcements from different camera manufacturers. Tamron was the first to make a big announcement last night, presenting two brand new lenses designed for full-frame cameras. The first one is a significant release, because it is world’s first image stabilized 85mm f/1.8 lens for full-frame DSLRs, the Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD. This is an important release, because Tamron is now upping its game like Sigma has done with its latest-generation lenses, allowing both lens firmware and AF fine tuning to be performed using an external USB dock.
It is time for yet another awesome giveaway / contest for our dear readers and this time we are partnering up with the folks at KeepSnap to give away some amazing prices! All you have to do is submit your best outdoor / event portrait photograph and you will have 3 different chances to win prizes! If you have never heard of KeepSnap, check out our overview post, where we’ve introduced the company and the service they provide to photographers. The beauty of what we are doing with keepsnap, is that this is a combination of a giveaway and a contest. If the portrait image you submit is so good that it is picked as the winner by the judges, you win an 85mm f/1.8 lens of choice, along with Spyder5 Express. If you don’t win the grand prize, you still have a chance to win the second prize – a 35mm f/1.8 lens. All the participants will be included in this random giveaway. And if your photo is strong enough for PL readers to vote for it, you have another chance to win the third prize, which is a 50mm f/1.8 lens, along with yearly access to KeepSnap directory. If you are not interested in any of the prizes, you will have a choice to select the cash prize, which is basically the dollar equivalent of the value of the prize. Cool huh? Well, what are you waiting for – time to enter this awesome giveaway / contest!
With the Black Friday and Cyber Monday super-sale days approaching, manufacturers and retailers have been making advanced preparations to make it more than just a single day or two-day sale event. Today, both Nikon and Canon are offering something truly appealing for those who are just starting out. The Nikon D3200 combo with two kit lenses is discounted by a whopping $480 to bring the deal down to $396.95, which is a steal! If you have family members who are interested in photography (I am thinking of buying this kit for my son), this would make a very nice holiday gift. And price-wise, the 55-200mm VR II alone retails for $350 and if you add the price of the 18-55mm VR II, you are already at $600, so in this case, Nikon is not only giving away the D3200, but you are also getting a $200 reward for buying this entry-level kit!
When testing out the Nikon 58mm f/1.4G, I really wanted to get a hold of the legendary Noct-NIKKOR 58mm f/1.2 lens to see how the two lenses from different generations compare optically. Unfortunately, I could not obtain a good sample of the Noct-NIKKOR at the time, but after scouting eBay for a while, I finally found a pristine copy of the lens from a photographer in California. Being a collector item, the lens was barely used and had been sitting for years in a closet – exactly what I had been wanting to get. I really wanted to make sure that the lens performed as close to its original specifications as possible, because I was on the quest to measure its optical performance, particularly at its super wide f/1.2 aperture. Let’s take a look at the lens in more detail.
This is an in-depth review of the manual focus Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2.0 ZF.2, a second generation 35mm f/2 prime lens from Zeiss for Nikon and Canon mounts. The lens samples I tested were for the Nikon F mount, although you can get the same lens for the Canon EF mount. The Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 ZF.2 is a professional-grade fixed wide-angle lens targeted at enthusiasts and professionals that need high quality optics for different types of photography, including landscape, architecture, portrait and astrophotography. Similar to other Zeiss prime lenses, the lens is designed to work on both FX and DX sensor cameras (equivalent field of view of approx 52.5mm on DX) and yields amazing clarity and contrast throughout the frame.
Just as Fujifilm promised in their latest roadmap, the last quarter of 2014 sees the announcement of their first professional-grade telephoto zoom lens, the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR. The surprise release, however, is the revised version of the already-very-popular XF 56mm f/1.2 lens that features an apodization filter. Let’s take a closer look at the specifications of both lenses.
Do you remember the bonkers Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 lens? If you’ve forgotten, here’s a quick reminder. With Otus lenses, Zeiss is basically trying to show the legendary brand’s worth. You might find that somewhat bewildering since most current Zeiss lenses for DSLRs are very, very good and worthy of the name. But with Otus, the German manufacturer wants to release simply the best lenses available for DSLRs from an optical standpoint. And so the first lens of the series was extremely big, heavy, complex and expensive, but also rather beautiful and astonishing optically. As anyone could guess, a 55mm lens with a price tag of $4000 is bound to spawn differing opinions, not least because Otus line-up is manual focus only. Suffice to say the new 85mm family member with the same impressive size, performance and a price tag of, as near as makes no difference, $4500 is going to be no different.
I am a big supporter of the “get to know your gear” opinion. I strongly believe that the more you use something, the better you learn to take full advantage of the strengths of that particular piece of equipment, and the better you learn to manage its shortcomings without even thinking about it. To a point where they just disappear, in fact, and make the statement that gear does not matter as truthful as it is. Gear does not matter (to an extent), but knowing it and liking it does. This, I think, it the crucial link between equipment and photography itself.