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Posts Tagged ‘f1.4’

A strange shootout: $5,000 Zeiss Otus 28mm F1.4 vs $4,250 Leica Q

31 Jan

PhotoShelter founder and CEO Allen Murabayashi recently decided to pit two unlikely competitors against each other. In a short, unscientific comparison review, Murabayashi wanted to see how the $ 5,000 Zeiss Otus 28mm F1.4 lens stacked up against the almost-as-expensive $ 4,250 Leica Q, which sports a fixed 28mm F1.7 lens.

When you consider the identical focal lengths and “must have deep pockets” price tags, the shootout almost makes sense—so Allen slapped the Otus on a Nikon D850 and went out shooting with both cameras. And despite the fact that Allen admits “it’s impossible to make a straight apples to apples comparison” when it comes to image quality—given the D850’s 45MP resolution compared to the 24MP Leica Q—he was still able to draw a pithy conclusion about who the Otus is made for, and why you might choose the Leica Q instead:

You can certainly make the argument that a 45MP sensor needs great glass, and in this regard, the Otus delivers the goods. But the slow operation of the lens turns a pretty great digital camera into something more like a large format camera.

If you like “slow” photography and have deep pockets, the Otus might be for you. If you just have deep pockets (and a bad back), stick with the Leica.

For a bit more depth, or if you want to check out some side-by-side comparison shots from PhotoShelter’s testing, watch the video above or check out the full written comparison on the PhotoShelter Blog.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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A closer look at the Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN for Micro Four Thirds

12 Jan

We’ve got a pair of Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN lenses in the office: one for Micro Four Thirds and the other for Sony E-mount. In this article we have some impressions of the MFT version, as well as some other lenses in this class worth considering.

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The 16mm F1.4 acts as a 32mm equivalent lens on the Micro Four Thirds platform. It’s an interesting focal length to end up with: not quite 28mm equiv., which many people would consider the gateway to wide-angle, but also noticeably wider than the near-normal of 35mm equiv. I didn’t expect it to make any difference but found myself constantly fighting against too much stuff creeping into the edges of the frame in a way that I don’t with a 35mm.

In terms of handling, I felt the 16mm worked best when mounted on the larger Micro Four Thirds camera that feature prominent hand grips: its comparatively long length feeling a little unbalanced on the smaller, rangefinder-style boxes, though it’s light enough that it doesn’t end up feeling too front-heavy. The lens’s only control point is a large by-wire focusing ring. It’s a little under-damped for my tastes, rotating fairly freely but it was effective on the few occasions I ended up having to manual focus (turns out LED Christmas lights and autofocus do not always play nicely with one-another).

Optically, I was pretty impressed with the lens, the F1.4 (F2.8 35mm-equivalent) aperture gave me plenty of control over depth-of-field and sufficient light for low-light work. Sharpness seems good if not necessarily stellar and with what appears to be pretty good cross-frame consistency, until you reach the extreme corners. As you’d expect, the performance gets better if you stop down a couple of notches. The 16mm is pretty resistant to flare, even when given significant provocation, with good levels of contrast maintained even in contre jour images with veiling flare.

Autofocus was snappy to the degree that I didn’t ever really have to think about it. Only the aforementioned Hybrid AF/LED Christmas light mismatch caused me to even give it a second thought. It’s fast and quiet to the degree that you just don’t notice it, and can concentrate on composing your shot instead.

Alternatives

My impression is that the Sigma is sharper, two thirds of a stop faster and comparably priced to the Olympus 17mm F1.8. However, I don’t think it’s quite as easy a win as that makes it sound. The Olympus is significantly smaller and features the lovely snap-back manual focus clutch and linear manual focus system (faux-cus by wire, perhaps?), both of which are definite bonuses. So, while I’d find it hard to choose between the two, I probably wouldn’t rush out to replace a 17mm if I had one, not least because I personally prefer the narrower angle-of-view that the extra 1mm brings.

1mm in the opposite direction is the Panasonic 15mm F1.7. It usually retails for around $ 100 more than the Sigma, despite being rated as half a stop slower. Again it’s smaller than the Sigma, meaning it handles better on a smaller camera body. Similarly, the 15mm offers a neat operational advantage over the DN, at least for Panasonic shooters: the lovely Leica M lens style front aperture ring (worth the extra $ 100 on its own, in my opinion and well worth lobbying Olympus for firmware support for, if you’re on that side of the system). Optical performance is perhaps a step up from the Sigma, leaving the 16mm F1.4 DN DC as an attractive extra option for Micro Four Thirds but not an absolute must-have, from my perspective.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN for Micro Four Thirds sample gallery

07 Jan

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We’ve already taken the Sony E-mount version of Sigma’s super fast 16mm lens for a spin, and we were eager to see how the Micro Four Thirds version stacks up. Announced in fall of 2017, the 32mm equivalent prime includes weather-sealing a nine-blade aperture – all for $ 450.

See our Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN for
Micro Four Thirds sample gallery

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary for Sony E-mount sample gallery

06 Jan

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary is an ultra-fast wide-angle prime for Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras. The lens features low-dispersion elements, a nine-blade aperture and weather-sealing, all for under $ 450.

We’ll be posting a gallery from the Micro Four Thirds version of this lens in a few days.

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Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Rokinon AF 35mm F1.4 FE: sample gallery and impressions

21 Dec

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The Rokinon/Samyang AF 35mm F1.4 FE ($ 800) is a lens that delivers a lot of speed at budget price, and is significantly less expensive than Sony’s similar lens, the Distagon T* FE 35mm F1.4 ZA, which retails for $ 1499. At that budget price, the Rokinon comes with a few compromises – but not as many as you might think.

Side-by-side, the Rokinon and Sony lenses are almost exactly the same size, and of similar cosmetic design. Whether or not this is intentional, it makes the lens feel somewhat Sony-esque. It has a 67mm filter ring, compared to 72mm on the Sony, and is just slightly heavier (645g vs. 630g). Subjectively speaking, it feels very solid in your hand.

Optical performance exceeded my expectations for a lens at this price point. It’s surprisingly sharp wide open, though stopping it down does sharpen things up. The lens does exhibit longitudinal chromatic aberration (magenta and green fringing in front of and behind the focus plane, respectively), but even when looking at 42MP images from the a7R III you might need to look pretty close to see it. However, it can be distracting around high contrast edges, such as the specular highlights in the lower left corner of this shot at the beach. Lateral chromatic aberration is generally well controlled.

Optical performance exceeded my expectations for a lens at this price point

The lens has some issues with bokeh as well. You can see examples of onion ring patterns in the out of focus Christmas lights at the Pike Place Market. However, this was more the exception than the rule across the photos I took. Interestingly, neither of these aberrations are as bad as what we saw with the Rokinon 50mm F1.4.

Autofocus is neither as quick nor as decisive as on the native Sony lens (which is very fast, thanks to Direct Drive SSM). If you’re used to quick focusing lenses, the Rokinon can feel slow, though I didn’t find it sluggish enough that I would consider it unusable, and most of the time it slides into focus without much trouble. It performs better in this respect than Rokinon’s AF 50mm F1.4 lens, which hunts noticeably.

Although the Rokinon AF 35mm F1.4 FE isn’t a particularly fast focusing lens, it does focus in low light, allowing you to shoot reliably in dim settings.
35mm | ISO 800 | F2.8 | 1/250 sec.
Photo by Dale Baskin

Autofocus works reasonably well in video, but the autofocus motor is audible during operation. The good news is that it makes a lot less noise than its 50mm F1.4 sibling, which can be heard several feet away. It’s unlikely to be noticed by anyone other than the photographer except in very quiet settings, but it’s certainly loud enough to be picked up by on-camera microphones if you’re recording video. The lens also supports Sony’s Eye AF, and it generally worked reliably for me.

For the price, it delivers a lot of bang for your buck and could be a viable alternative if you’re on a budget

If you’re looking for a fast 35mm F1.4 lens to use with an E-mount camera, the Rokinon is definitely worth considering. Optical performance is good (in some cases, as good as the Sony), though it’s still not in the same league as the Canon 35mm F1.4L II USM, which can be used on E-mount with an adapter. For the price, however, it delivers a lot of bang for your buck and could be a viable alternative if you’re on a budget.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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The Voigtländer Nokton classic 35mm F1.4 for E-Mount ships in February, will cost $750

20 Dec
The Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm F1.4 FE at CP+ last February. Photo by Barney Britton

Sony shooters will have a new manual-focus lens to play with soon. After announcing the lens as ‘in-development’ way back in February, Cosina Japan has revealed pricing and availability for the E-Mount Voigtlander Nokton classic 35mm F1.4 lens. According to the translated webpage, the lens is scheduled to ship in February of 2018, at a price of ¥ 85,000, or approximately $ 750 USD.

This, just a couple of weeks after announcing pricing and availability for another E-Mount Nokton that was “in-development” in February: the Nokton 40mm F1.2.

The Nokton classic 35mm F1.4 is an E-mount version of the M-mount Nokton that Voigtländer has been selling for many years, and we actually got to see this lens in person at CP+ last February. Unfortunately, the 35mm was the only lens under glass that day, so we couldn’t get a true ‘hands-on,’ but we expect it to be built to the same high standard as the older M-mount version.

Another photo from our through-the-glass ‘hands on’ at CP+. Photo by Barney Britton

To learn more about this lens, head over to the Cosina website, read the translated Cosina Japan page, or check out our ‘hands-on’ impressions from last February.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Rokinon AF 50mm F1.4 FE: sample gallery and impressions

18 Dec

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The Rokinon/Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE ($ 500) and AF 35mm F1.4 FE ($ 800) represent the South Korean manufacturer’s first foray into the autofocus lens market. The 50mm F1.4 is a steal compared to Sony’s own Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA ($ 1400). So what do you sacrifice, and is it worth the savings? In short, it’s enough to say this lens is no gem in a bargain’s disguise. But it’s not a bad piece of glass either.

The housing is made of metal like the Planar T* and the build quality is reassuringly dense – nothing rattles around when you shake it (a very scientific test indeed). It’s a little bit smaller than the Planar T* (the filter ring is 67mm vs 72mm), as well as lighter (645g / 1.4lb vs 778g / 1.7lb). But the Planar T* is by all accounts a large, heavy prime, meaning the Rokinon too feels hefty to lug around. It left this reviewer yearning for the comparably tiny/light-weight Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA instead.

The Rokinon/Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE, shot wide open. ISO 100 | F1.4 | 1/5000 sec

Photographers considering the Rokinon AF 50mm are likely doing so because of its F1.4 maximum aperture. Wide open, it’s not terribly sharp, but photos shot at F1.4 are certainly usable, especially if you add more sharpening in ACR or Photoshop. As you’d expect, sharpness improves as you stop down (until you hit diffraction territory). For a full stop aperture progression, head to the end of our gallery.

There’s a considerable amount of longitudinal chromatic aberration (purple and green fringing), and it can be really distracting around high contrast edges – see the second image in the gallery. While this can often be removed – to an extent anyway – in ACR or Lightroom, it’s often difficult or very time consuming, and comes with the risk of desaturation of other areas of your photo. Lateral CA corrections were left off for images in this gallery, and while you can turn it on in-camera or in Raw processing software, lateral CA seems to be well-controlled in this lens.

The AF motor is very noisy, not unlike a distant submarine distress call

The other significant reason photographers are likely to consider this lens over the cheaper manual focus Rokinon 50/1.4 is its autofocus. Unfortunately, we don’t have a whole lot of good news in this department. In use, the AF motor is very noisy, not unlike a distant submarine distress call. That, or a very near dental tool. Trying to use it paired with the Sony a7R III in AF-C is a nightmare. Focus speeds are slow, loud, and AF is easily confused, sending the lens into a painfully long hunt. Performance and focus accuracy are far more reliable in AF-S. Eye AF, one of our favorite Sony features thanks to its uncanny ability to grab a subject’s eye and lock focus is sadly inaccurate and unreliable when used with this lens.

This would not be my first choice for a normal Sony FE lens with AF, but it’s still capable of lovely results. ISO 100 | F2.5 | 1/1000 sec

The lens also has some issues with bokeh. Take a look at the onion rings in the out-of-focus highlights here, and if you search around the image above at 1:1, you’ll see slightly out-of-focus highlights having distracting holes in their center.

The takeaway: If you’re on a budget and want an FE 50mm F1.4 lens with autofocus, well, you don’t have a lot of options. Seeing as you can get some nice, usable images wide open, I wouldn’t steer you away from pulling the trigger on the Rokinon. But I would probably try to convince you to settle for F1.8 and save up for the Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA ($ 900) instead (quality-wise it is far superior to the Sony FE 50mm F1.8 – $ 200).

That said, optically this lens actually performed better than I expected a first-generation AF lens to. And I’m pretty excited to see Rokinon stepping into new territory.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Sigma releases full-res sample photos captured with 16mm F1.4 DC DN lens

20 Nov

The new Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary lens made for APS-C E-Mount and M43 cameras has a lot of crop-sensor shooters very intrigued. Sigma says this lens boasts quality on par with its Art lens lineup, and our own hands-on at PPE 2017 was very positive. But before you order the lens—which ships at the end of this month and costs a very tempting $ 450—you’ll want to check out the gallery below.

Sigma Global has finally released official, full-resolution sample photos captured with the new lens. Despite the lens being made primarily for APS-C E-Mount, Sigma shooter Wataru Nakamura used a Sony A7RII to capture these samples in the camera’s 3:2 crop mode (17.8MP resolution).

Check them out for yourself below, or head over to the Sigma Global website to download the samples yourself:

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Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Top 10 sample galleries of the year #6: the Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art

19 Nov

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We’re counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Our #6 gallery was looked through more than 1.3 million times. So what product attracted this number of eyeballs? Why, the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art lens of course.

Oh the portraits you will take! This lens is capable of outstanding image quality – read our full review and find out why we gave it a gold award. Not only that, it’s one of the most affordable 85mm F1.4 lens available. So peak through our gallery and see just what all the hype is about.


Top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017:

#10: Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art
#9: Fujifilm GFX 50S
#8: Nikon D7500
#7: Olympus Tough TG-5
#6: Sigma 85mm F1.4
#5: To be revealed on 11/20
#4: To be revealed on 11/21
#3: To be revealed on 11/22
#2: To be revealed on 11/23
#1: To be revealed on 11/24

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Mitakon Speedmaster 135mm F1.4 lens relaunched with 7 mount options

16 Nov

Mitakon has relaunched its Speedmaster 135mm F1.4 lens, now offering it in 7 mount options: Sony A, Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, Fujifilm G, Pentax K, and Leica L (the listing says Leica T). This Mitakon lens features an F1.4 to F16 aperture alongside a clickless manual focusing ring, 1.6 meter minimum focusing distance, 11 elements in 5 groups (including three large extra-low dispersion elements), and a weight of 3kg / 6.6lbs.

Mitakon’s lens caught popular attention a couple years back as the world’s fastest 135mm lens. As with its original launch back in October 2015, the Speedmaster 135mm F1.4 lens is priced at $ 3,000. The lens is currently listed for pre-order through the Shotenkobo Online Store with a reservation price of ¥60,000 / $ 530 USD.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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