It is a well-known fact that there are some rather serious diseases that plague photographers out there. While we have all heard of the Gear Acquisition Syndrome and other photography addictions, it is time to expand the photography jargon to include the many types of photographers we deal with today. Some of these have been around for years, while others have been recently bred in the darkest corners of the Internet. Without further ado, let’s get down to it!
With the release of high-quality modern lenses that are made to satisfy our insatiable appetite for sharpness, it seems that they also come with a curse. Unlike older classics that shone with their stunning look and feel, along with their beautiful rendition qualities that resulted in particularly attractive photographs with subjects popping out of the scene (also known as “3D pop”), it seems like modern lenses are no longer equipped to give us this magic – they are made to look flat and dull, lacking the character of the old classics. In this article, we will go through a number of different images shot with modern lenses and compare them to their classic counterparts and see how they do. Grab a cup of coffee, sit tight and put on your glasses, because you will need them. And yes, that even applies to those with 20/20 vision.
Note: Since this is a rather controversial subject, I highly recommend that you read the whole article through, especially the last paragraph.
Zoom lenses are convenient, as everyone knows. I’d imagine that the vast majority of us started our photography with a simple 18-55 kit lens – I know I did, and I used it to take some of my favorite photos. However, it never seemed like a good fit for my style of photography. My first prime lens was the Nikon 105mm f/2.8G VR macro, a truly fantastic lens. At the time, I had never attempted macro photography. It is no exaggeration to say that the 105mm macro opened new worlds for me, and its sharpness was unbelievable. I had discovered the magical world of prime lenses.
The announcement of the new 24mm f/1.4 Art lens by Sigma comes as no surprise. It is a very obvious, and a very delightful move by the lens manufacturer, and is certainly a fitting addition to the renewed lens lineup. Featuring a wide-angle focal length of 24mm and a very wide aperture of f/1.4, this lens sits comfortably next to such highly-regarded siblings as the 35mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.4 Art lenses. It will also directly compete against such brand lenses as the Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G and the Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, both of which are renowned for their optical performance as well as build quality. Quite the competition, then, but if previous Sigma Art lenses are anything to go by, the new tool should be remarkable.
Below you will find image samples from the new Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G lens that we wrote about earlier today. Except for one image, most images were taken with the new Nikon D750. Unfortunately, since EXIF information is missing on these images, it is hard to say what aperture was used at each shot. On images with visible background blur, we can assume that f/1.8 aperture was used. Looking at the detail level, the sharpness of the lens seems to be amazing wide open. Once I obtain information about each image, I will update this article with more details.
So, my poor little 35mm lens was looking a little despondent after I had finished extolling the virtues of my 50mm. The 35mm just sat on the shelf looking at me, forlorn and with a glint of sorrow in its glass. Had I forgotten how much I liked using it? Did I not have dozens of favourite images from around the world taken with it? Indeed I did, and thus I took it upon myself to ensure due credit was given to this gem. Well, that plus another request from a reader to talk about using it.
I know, I know, the 50mm again. There isn’t much more for me to add really. The attributes of this focal length have been lauded many times in many articles, including on this site. A (usually) cheap and light prime, very sharp with a fast aperture and beautiful bokeh. A useful portrait length on APS-C sensors (75mm – 80mm equivalent field of view), and on full frame it’s supposedly close to how the human eye sees (don’t know about you, but my human eyes see the almost 180 degrees stereoscopic vision they were designed for). Still, the 50mm is often claimed as a classic and an essential addition to our kit.