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Posts Tagged ‘Lens’

Meyer Optik Goerlitz launches P75II F1.9 lens with coverage for medium format

08 Dec

German optical manufacturer Meyer Optik Goerlitz has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund the construction of a new version of its Primolpan 75mm F1.9 portrait lens that will be designed for sensor sizes from Micro Four Thirds all the way up to medium format.

The so-called P75II will have a much wider image circle, to enable it to be used with the smaller medium format sensors such as the Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm’s GFX 50S. As a consequence of the larger covering circle, Meyer Optik claims smaller formats will enjoy added contrast across the frame.

The lens is a redesigned version of a lens produced in the 1930s by Meyer Optik, but the war and the communist control of East Germany halted production of the original after only 2,000 had been made. The newest version has modern glass and coatings, and a new internal design to enable medium format compatibility. The closest focus has also been reduced to 55cm/1.8ft, and the company is introducing a Meyer Achromat accessory close up lens attachment that reduces that distance further to just 25cm/1ft.

While the original lens used a Cooke triplet design, the new P75ll is constructed with five elements in four groups and a 14-bladed iris to produce the famous bubble-type out-of-focus highlights the company has become known for. Glass will come from Schott and Ohara, the aperture will run from f/1.9 to f/16, and the front filter thread will be a standard 52mm.

At the time of writing, the lens has raised over $ 120,000 on a target of just $ 30k, with a full month left still to run. Lenses can be had for a pledge of $ 650 against an expected full asking price of $ 2,500, while a kit with the Achromat close-up lens is going for $ 800 against an expected retail price of $ 2,600. You get to choose between either a black or silver finish, and Meyer Optik Goerlitz expects the lenses to ship at the end of September 2018.

For more information, visit the Meyer Optik Goerlitz P75ll Indiegogo campaign page.

Mounts:

  • Leica M
  • Canon EF
  • Nikon F
  • M42
  • Sony-E
  • Fuji-X
  • Micro-Four Thirds
  • Pentax-K
  • Fuji’s GFX (if the campaign receives more than 25 supporters for this mount)

Manufacturer Information

Return the lost treasure: Create the P 75 II f1.9

The P75 II is the advanced version of the rare vintage Primoplan 75. Along with its specially designed achromat lens the P75 II can go down to a minimum focal distance of just 25cm or less than 1 foot. Its enlarged frame size allows use on mid format cameras and increases contrast and resolution. It is a bokeh lover’s dream with a variety of possible bokehs build into one lens: from circular, melting rings to swirly and creamy backgrounds. Yet, its center sharpness is magnificent.

Prototype Stage

When the ingenious Paul Schaefter first constructed the Primoplan 75/f 1.9 in early 1930’s, his goal was to create the best lens of its kind. Even a century later, its ability to create the most striking and impressive bokeh-effects have stood the test of time. When we decided to recreate and modernize this lens, we knew we had an important legacy to uphold – and the results were beyond even our high expectations.

With the modern Primoplan 75, the creative photographer has the perfect means in his hands to compose his images with the required background and dreamlike transition from sharpness to fuzziness. But see for yourself.

But we wanted more so we carefully innovated and have developed a new version of the Primoplan 75, which we have named the P75 II. In the new P75 II, you’ll find that we’ve reduced the minimum focal distance by almost 30% to just 55cm or 1.8 ft. and we enlarged the image or frame size so that we can now also cover mirrorless medium format cameras like Fuji’s GFX 50s. Also, as a consequence, we improved the contrast of the images for 35 mm (full format and mirrorless) dramatically. The Meyer P75 II is just simply the perfect tool for portrait, nature photography and, through the enhanced contrast, black and white photography.

Help us to put this legend back into your hands

The region in Germany around Jena-Dresden-Goerlitz gave birth to so many famous camera and lens advancements in the early part of the 20th Century, you might call it the Silicon Valley of photography of its time.

At this time, genius Paul Schäfter developed the Primoplan 75, whose design Meyer-Optik-Görlitz applied to protect on 17/06/1936. It soon became famous for its unique, dreamlike ability to create bokeh, along with a soft transition from fuzziness to sharpness which is still unmatched.

Lights seem to magically, melt into each other. Yet, the P75 II maintains that special Primoplan center sharpness, dramatically stressing the core of the image.

World War II abruptly put a halt to this success story. After the war, the company was more or less taken over by the new East German government. While some dedicated skilled workers restarted what was left of the company by 1949, barely two thousand Primoplans had been built.

For a short time, it seemed as if the wonderful lenses could return to their original glory as photographers around the world hailed the return. But again, politics interfered and the communist central planning committee put an end to the Primoplan line in favor of other lenses. So, the Primoplan series can rightfully be called a lost treasure.

No wonder vintage Primoplans are selling at extremely high prices. We knew from the beginning that bringing the Primoplan back would be a tough task. The glass of the time was no longer available, and the use of lead in optics is no longer acceptable. But after lengthy calculations, prototype building and tests, Dr. Wolf-Dieter Prenzel, leading development engineer of Meyer Optik, succeeded in adapting the historic lens construction to modern-day photography while keeping the characteristics of the lens alive.

In 2017, the first new P75 lenses – at the beginning still called Primoplan 75 – hit the market and were soon sold out.

But we wanted to take the saga further and following Paul Schaefter’s legacy, we went on and developed the Meyer P75 in a second version with even better features.
Come and join us on our journey and help us to revive a literally historic lens.

The Primoplan 1.9/75 is known for its fine progression from focus to blur, exceptional base sharpness and unique, dreamy, creamy bokeh, which lets the light magically flow together. The 75mm focal length creates a natural viewing angle and does not compress as much as longer focal lengths. Its 14 aperture blades enable the camera to create impressive blur patterns even when stopped down.

“Bokeh Lover’s Dream Lens”

There is much talk about bokeh. Different lenses have their strength and weaknesses. But the Meyer P75 II is a true king of bokeh because it offers the photographer a whole range of different bokehs in one lens. With the background at a closer distance, the 14 aperture blades display their merits and a wonderful circular, donut-type bokeh appears with the colors melting into each other. When the background is at about 9 feet/3m this becomes a more rotating composition of out of focus effects. But all the time these bokeh effects remain discreet and are not intrusive. You might call the P75 II bokeh effect noble or refined.

The Primoplan 75 is perfect for portrait photography. It adds a creamy, background-melting bokeh, classic sharpness and exceptional color rendering that produces skin tones that are almost perfect straight out of the camera. While there is always a great debate when you ask photographers to name their favorite focal length for portraits, we think the 75mm hits a sweet spot that gives you a bit more compression than a 50mm but allows you to work in slightly tighter spaces than an 85mm or 105mm lens.

The original Primoplan 75 / f1.9 is an enhancement of the Cooke triplet, in which a central dispersion lens is flanked by two groups of lenses, each acting as a converging lens. The rear group consists of a single biconvex converging lens. This exceptional design results in breathtaking images. The New P75 II (Primoplan type lens) will remain the basic construction but our lens designer Dr. Wolf Dieter Prenzel, has worked on major improvements in the optical scheme to make a perfect lens even better.

We are using a completely new lens design and lens materials which also are upgraded with a special coating to make them as resistant to environmental influences as possible. Of course, it will maintain the classic sharpness and versatile bokeh that vintage enthusiasts love, while incorporating modern technological advances for today’s DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

The modern P75 II will come with mounts for:

  • Leica M
  • Canon EF
  • Nikon F
  • M42
  • Sony-E
  • Fuji-X
  • Micro-Four Thirds
  • Pentax-K
  • NEW: Fuji’s GFX (if we get more than 25 supporters we will create a native mount)

The P75 II will be launched with a larger image circle which also covers mirrorless mid format camera sensors. As a result, the image look will be persistent from center to the corners to reduce down edge effects to a minimum.

Paul Schäfter was the direct successor of Paul Ruolph at Meyer Optik. Rudolph died in 1935 and Paul Schäfter took over. He developed some of the most important Meyer lenses which were to be the backbone of the firms production for 25 yaers to come namely the Primoplan lenses and later also the so called Primotar 135mm and 180mm lenses. His colleague was Stephan Roeschlein who had designed the Trioplan lenses for Meyer. After the war Paul Schaefter left East Germany and Meyer optic and worked for a company by the name of ISCO in Braunschweig.

Shipping

The Meyer P75 II will be available worldwide. To minimize shipping costs, our rewards will either ship from the U.S. or from Germany, depending on your – our supporter’s – location. Since local regulations vary, please note that we cannot be held responsible for additional sales taxes or import/customs fees added by your country.

Deliveries to the U.S.: Shipping costs of the lenses in the U.S. are $ 20 USD. For most deliveries inside the U.S., there is no additional fee besides shipping costs. Since we have a shipping hub in Nevada and an office in Atlanta, Georgia, for deliveries to these states, the local sales tax applies. Please note that sales tax is not included and must be added in line with local regulations.

Deliveries to the European Union: Shipping costs within the European Union are $ 20 USD. For our supporters from the European Union, please note that VAT is not included. For supporters from the European Union 19% VAT (VAT Germany) need to be added seperately. If our project is successfully funded, we will get in contact with you in case of open VAT.

Deliveries outside U.S. and the European Union: For deliveries to regions outside U.S. or the European Union the shipping costs are $ 50 USD.

Please note there may be extra import costs/customs/taxes to pay upon delivery, depending on your location. Customs and taxes are subject to possible change and applicable law at the time of delivery will have to be taken into account. If you have a question about shipping or handling, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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2017 Buying Guide: Best fixed prime lens cameras

07 Dec

The fixed prime lens camera market may be a bit niche, but it’s here that you’ll find some of the best cameras you can buy. Sensors ranging from APS-C to full-frame are designed to match their lenses, which cover ranges from 28-75mm equivalent, so image quality is top-notch.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Thingyfy launches Pinhole Pro S: The widest modern professional pinhole lens ever

06 Dec

Thingyfy is back with another Kickstarter campaign, and this time they’re trying to fund the Pinhole Pro S-Series lenses. As with the original Pinhole Pro campaign launched this past summer, the new Pinhole Pro S seeks funding for a modern pinhole lens. Unlike the original, however, the latest campaign is for a model that Thingyfy calls the widest pro-tier pinhole lens in the world.

Pinhole Pro S comes in two varieties: the Pinhole Pro S11, an 11mm lens with a 120 degree FOV, and the Pinhole Pro S37, a 37mm lens with a 60 degree FOV. Both lenses feature a fully aluminum body. The S11 version is designed for mirrorless cameras with Micro Four Thirds, Sony E, and Fuji X mounts; the S37 is designed for SLR/DSLR cameras with Sony A, Nikon F, Canon EF, and Pentax K mounts.

The wide-angle S-Series weighs less while being wider and nine times sharper than the original Pinhole Pro lens, according to Thingyfy. The company explains that its Pinhole Pro lenses offer a very precise pinhole aperture due to the use of a micro-drill that is robotically controlled. The drill produces a “perfectly round” and smooth hole, says Thingyfy, whereas alternatives like chemical etching and laser etching have downsides, such as corroded or burnt, fuzzy edges.

Thingyfy is funding its new Pinhole Pro S lenses on Kickstarter, where an early bird unit of any camera mount is offered for $ 59 CAD / $ 46 USD with an estimated shipping date of April 2018.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Astrophotography lens shootout: Samyang 14mm F2.4 vs Sigma 14mm F1.8

02 Dec

If you’re thinking of picking up a great ultra-wide astrophotography lens, chances are good you’ve looked at the three 14mm primes featured in this video. The old Samyang 14mm F2.8 is a classic and affordable choice; the updated Samyang 14mm F2.4 is faster, higher quality, and not prohibitively expensive; and the Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is a lens astrophotographers have been drooling over ever since it was announced in February.

So which do you pick, and why?

NatureTTL’s Matthew Saville took all three lenses into the middle of the desert to shoot some nightscapes and compare the performance of these extremely popular choices.

You’ll definitely want to check out the full video if you’re deeply uncertain about which to choose—there are some great side-by-side sharpness comparisons that should satisfy the pixel peepers out there—but Saville manages to break the trio down into a very neat categories:

The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is your choice if you absolutely need the extra light over the F2.4 and don’t mind spending a bunch more money to get it. It’s extremely sharp, and will deliver exceptional results… even wide open… even in the corners.

The Samyang 14mm F2.4 is hard to beat as an overall choice when you look at performance-to-price ratio. To his eye, it’s a tiny bit sharper in the corners wide open than the Sigma—even when you stop the Sigma down to F2.4—and it’ll cost you half as much. You are, of course, sacrificing AutoFocus over the Sigma, but many nightscape and night sky photographers shoot in manual focus all the time anyway.

The Samyang 14mm F2.8 is by far the most affordable of the bunch. This classic lens will cost you as little as $ 250 on sale, making it less than half as much as the Samyang 14mm F2.4, which was already half the price of the Sigma 14mm. But that drop in price comes with a significant drop in performance. Saville labels it a great choice for those just getting into nightscape photography, as a time-lapse lens if you’ll be displaying your footage in 1080p, or as a solid backup that is so cheap it would be silly not to own one.

Check out the full video up top to hear all of Saville’s thoughts on these three popular 14mm primes. And if you want to find out more about why the Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art lens just might be worth spending that bundle of money on, click on the big blue button below to read about why DPReview’s Dale Baskin named it his Gear of the Year 2017.

Gear of the Year 2017 – Dale’s choice: Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Samsung’s new W2018 flip phone features a variable aperture F1.5-F2.4 lens

02 Dec

Samsung just announced something that looks like it belongs in the mid-2000s… but looks can be deceiving. Meet Samsung’s new flip phone: the W2018. Announced earlier today at an event in Xiamen, China, the followup to the W2017 is an Android-powered flip phone that boasts smartphone-caliber specs. In fact, the 12-megapixel rear camera is nearly identical to the one found in the Galaxy S8, featuring dual pixel autofocus, optical image stabilization and 1.4?m pixels.

It does differ in one very interesting way though.

Not only does the W2018 boast an F1.5 aperture—the brightest you’ll find on a phone—that aperture is actually variable, switching between F1.5 and F2.4 when it senses there’s enough light around. In this way, the phone automatically captures as much of the background as possible.

You can see the trick in this close-up video uploaded to Weibo by Jason Wang:

Rumors have been floating around that the Galaxy S9 will feature a variable aperture F1.5 lens; as you might expect, the appearance of the selfsame lens in another Samsung phone makes us pretty confident that will, indeed, be the case. As to whether or not you ever really need to ‘stop down’ a smartphone camera lens… that’s another topic entirely.

Like the W2017 before it, this phone will first be released in China, comes with a bunch of “VIP” perks like free tech support, and will probably cost upwards of $ 3,000… no, we didn’t add another zero.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Leica unveils Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH lens with ‘hair-thin depth of focus’

29 Nov

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Leica unveiled a new low-light monster of a lens today, adding to the ‘Noctilux legacy’ with the Leica Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH. According to Leica, the new lens boasts ‘impeccable speed’ and ‘exceptional imaging performance’ as well as “hair-thin depth of focus [that] isolates subjects with extreme precision.”

This is the fourth Noctilux lens ever created and only the second released this century, this lens follows in the footsteps of the Noctilux-M 50mm F0.95 ASPH released in 2008. But while Leica is calling this the “co-founder of a new family of lenses,” the company is also quick to point out that the new Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 boasts some advantages over its older brother:

The upgraded features of the Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH. open up entirely new opportunities in portrait and close-up photography, including a shallower depth of focus than that of the Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 APSH. and a close focusing distance of 0.85m, making for a reproduction ratio of 1:8.8 for even more precise isolation of subjects. Additionally, the eleven blades of its iris ensure a soft and harmonious bokeh in out-of-focus areas.

Inside, you’ll find six groups made up of nine lens elements that have been manufactured from glasses with “high anomalous partial dispersion and low chromatic dispersion.” Two of those elements are aspherical, and the lens uses a floating element with what Leica describes as a “complex focusing mechanism” (aren’t they all?) that promises high-quality performance all the way from minimum focus distance to infinity.

You can read more about the Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 in the full press release and tech specs below, but if you like what you read, be ready to drop some serious cash. According to Leica, the lens will retail for $ 12,795 when it shows up at Leica stores, boutiques and dealers in the beginning of 2018.

Press Release

Leica Camera Pushes Photographic Boundaries With the New Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH Lens

True to the Noctilux legacy, the new lens boasts impeccable speed and exceptional imaging performance

November 29, 2017 – For more than 50 years, the name ‘Noctilux’ has been synonymous with exceptional speed and outstanding optical design. Today, Leica Camera announces the newest addition to their lens portfolio – the Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH. Coupled with exceptional imaging performance and unique bokeh, its hair-thin depth of focus isolates subjects with extreme precision, ideal for portraits with an unmistakable “Leica look”.

A legacy of excellence

The first lens of the Noctilux family, the Leica Noctilux 50 mm f/1.2, was announced at photokina in 1966. While the original lens innovated with revolutionary optical properties, ongoing developments led to the launch of two additional generations of the Noctilux in 1975 and 2008. The additional lenses were developed under the premise of further pushing the envelope for imaging performance, each with a faster aperture than its predecessor. All Noctilux-M lenses to this day are special for their rendering and aesthetic when shot wide-open, yielding a three-dimensional “pop” that separates its subjects from the background like no other lenses. The out-of-focus areas behind the subject is smooth and pleasing to the eye, giving a lovely soft background even in the darkest of lighting scenarios.

Together with the Leica Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 ASPH., the Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH. is the co-founder of a new family of lenses. The two current members of this family are both distinguished by their extreme maximum aperture and exceptionally high performance at all apertures, even wide open, and lend themselves to the creation of timeless images marked by a distinctive and revered Leica aesthetic.

Superior imaging performance

The upgraded features of the Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH. open up entirely new opportunities in portrait and close-up photography, including a shallower depth of focus than that of the Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 APSH. and a close focusing distance of 0.85m, making for a reproduction ratio of 1:8.8 for even more precise isolation of subjects. Additionally, the eleven blades of its iris ensure a soft and harmonious bokeh in out-of-focus areas.

To guarantee this extraordinary imaging performance, the nine elements in six groups that make up its optical design are manufactured from glasses with high anomalous partial dispersion and low chromatic dispersion. Two of the elements are aspherical, and reduce other potential aberrations to a hardly detectable minimum. The use of a floating element within the complex focusing mechanism guarantees a constantly high level of imaging performance throughout the entire focusing range of the lens – from its minimum focus distance to infinity.

When shooting at maximum aperture, the exceptionally shallow depth of field of the Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 APSH. can be easily focused in when an electronic viewfinder such as the Leica Visoflex. Additionally, the Leica M-Adapter L transforms the Noctilux-M into an excellent lens to use in conjunction with the Leica SL. When the lens is mounted on the Leica SL, the 4.4 megapixel resolution of the camera’s EyeRes® electronic viewfinder enables particularly comfortable and extremely precise focusing.

The Noctilux-M 75mm f/1.25 ASPH. features the convenience of an integrated lens hood, which can be extended or retracted in one simple twist. The lens is complemented by a tripod adapter for safe and secure mounting of the lens on a tripod.

The Leica Noctilux-M 75 mm f/1.25 ASPH will be available at Leica Stores, Boutiques and Dealers at the beginning of 2018.

Technical Data

Angle of view
(diagonal, horizontal, vertical)

For 35 mm format (24 x 36 mm):

~ 32°, 27°, 18°

For Leica M8 models (18 x 27 mm):

~ 24°, 20°, 14°, equivalent to FL of ~ 100 mm in 35 mm format1

Optical design

Number of elements/groups

Aspherical surfaces

Position of entrance pupil

(at infinity)

9/6

2

26.9 mm (in front of the bayonet)

Focusing

Working range

Scales

Smallest object field/

largest reproduction ratio

0.85 m to ?

Combined metre/feet graduation

For 35 mm format: ~ 212 x 318 mm / 1:8.8,
For Leica M8 models: ~ 159 x 238 mm / 1:8.8

Aperture

Settings/functions

Smallest aperture

With click stops, half-stop detents

16

Bayonet

Leica M quick-change bayonet with 6-bit bar coding for Leica M digital cameras2

Filter mount

Inner thread for E67 screw-mount filters, non-rotating

Lens hood

Integrated, with twist-out function

Viewfinder

Camera viewfinder3

Finish

Black anodised

Dimensions and weight

Length to bayonet flange

Largest diameter

Weight

~ 91 mm

~ 74 mm

~ 1055 g

Compatible cameras

All Leica M-Cameras3, 4, Leica SL-Cameras with Leica M-Adapter L

1 The nominal focal lengths of the Leica M-Lenses relate to 35 mm format, i.e. original image frame dimensions of 24 x 36 mm. However, with dimensions of 18 x 27 mm, the sensor of the Leica M8 models is a little smaller, by a factor of 0.75. For this reason, the angle of view of this lens when mounted on a Leica M8 model corresponds to that of a lens with a focal length that is longer by a factor of 1.33 (1.33 = reciprocal of 0.75).

2 The 6-bit coding on the lens bayonet (7) enables Leica M8 digital models to identify the lens type mounted on the camera. The cameras utilise this information for the optimisation of exposure parameters and image data.

3 With the exception of the Leica M3 and the former version of the Leica MP ( professional version of the M3), all Leica M-Cameras without a 75 mm bright line frame can be retrofitted with this frame by the Customer Care department of Leica Camera AG (it then appears in the viewfinder together with the frame for 50 mm lenses).

4 This is independent of the image frame format of the respective camera – whether 18 x 27 mm (sensor size) for the Leica M8 models or 24 x 36 mm for all other Leica M models.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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AI-powered ‘Google Lens’ is being integrated into Assistant on Pixel phones

25 Nov

With the Pixel 2 smartphone, Google introduced an exciting new software feature called Google Lens. Google Lens uses Artificial Intelligence to power its visual recognition algorithms and provides information about whatever your smartphone’s camera is pointed at—for example, what type of flower you are looking at or reviews and other information about a restaurant. You can also identify landmarks, look up movies, books or works of art and scan barcodes/QR codes and business cards.

Unfortunately, in its first implementation the feature wasn’t terribly easy or straightforward to use. You had to take a picture, then go to Google Photos and tap the Lens icon which would trigger the Google Lens scan. That’s too many steps to make the feature as useful as it could potentially be.

Thankfully, Lens will be integrated into Google Assistant soon. When you open the latter, there’ll now be a Lens icon near the bottom right of the display. Tapping this opens up a Google Lens camera. You can tap on any object of interest in the preview window and the app will provide any available information.

As usual, the new feature will be rolled out gradually. English-language Pixel phones that are using Assistant in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, and Singapore will be served first over the coming weeks, but we’d expect the new feature to make it other regions soon after.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Review of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD Zoom Lens

22 Nov

Tamron has been specializing in super-zoom lenses for the last few years. You may be familiar with their 16-300mm, 18-270mm or 150-600mm lenses. Their newest super-zoom is an even more astonishing focal length, the Tamron 18-400mm. I recently had a chance to review this lens for a few weeks so I thought I’d give you an idea of who this lens is for, the good, the not-so-good, and my overall recommendation.

Review of Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD Zoom Lens - Hibiscus

Hot pink hardy hibiscus bloom. Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron 18-400mm lens @ 400mm, f/9, 1/160th, ISO 100, handheld.

About this review

I know you already know this (because you read ALL my pieces for dPS, right? Right?!) but my lens reviews are pretty real world. I don’t sit in a lab or use techy gizmos to measure sharpness. I actually hold a lens in my hands and shoot with it. This lens was tucked in my favorite bag for most of August.

That said, my intention was to see how a lens holds up for an actual shoot. I used this lens to photograph Lipizzan horses at a dressage performance as well as at the racetrack. Then I used it on a mission to photograph old barns and finally to make some macro flower images.

Tamron 18-400mm lens -  Lipizzan Foal

Lipizzan foal at Tempel Farms, Old Mill Creek IL. Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron 18-400mm lens @ 300mm, f/6.3, 1/640th, ISO 500, handheld. 

The goal was to make images at most focal lengths with a variety of apertures, but a few might have been skipped because I was really out there shooting. I shoot at the focal length, shutter speed, ISO and aperture that each situation calls for. So let’s just say I apologize in advance if I’ve skipped something important to you. Give me a shout in the comments if that’s the case. I’ll dig through my notes and image archives to see if I can answer your question.

Lens specs

Let’s start off with a quick overview of the lens specs. This lens is for Nikon and Canon APS-C (crop sensor) cameras only. I tested the lens on a Canon 7D Mark II.

The Tamron 18-400mm super-zoom is a variable aperture lens. Meaning that at 18mm, the maximum aperture (largest opening) is f/3.5. But when you zoom into 400mm, the maximum aperture is f/6.3. The minimum aperture (smallest opening) is f/22 at all focal lengths.

Tamron 18-400mm - Red barn

Dilapidated red barn, McHenry County IL. Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron 18-400mm lens @ 71mm, f/9, 1/250th, ISO 200, handheld.

The lens has an HLD Autofocus Motor that is quick and quiet for a consumer lens at this price. It also has Tamron’s standard VC Image Stabilization. This feature enables you to get sharper shots while hand-holding at longer focal lengths. The lens also has what Tamron calls Moisture-Resistant Construction. I’m relieved to tell you I didn’t get to test this feature.

The minimum focusing distance – important especially if you want to try your hand at making macro images – is 17.72″ (45 cm). Macro is usually a 1:1 ratio and this lens only produces 1:2.9, but I was pleasantly surprised with my macro results.

Tamron 18-400mm - White bud

White hardy hibiscus bud. Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron 18-400mm lens @ 400mm, f/13, 1/320th, ISO 320, handheld.

If you use screw on filters, like a circular polarizer, the front thread is 72mm. The lens is 1.56 pounds (710 g) and approximately 3.11” in diameter by 4.88″ in length (79 x 123.9 mm). It’s an incredibly compact lens for this focal length range.

The price, at the time of publication of this article, is $ 649.00 USD.

Who is this lens for?

I would describe the ideal user of this lens as an amateur or enthusiast. If you’re an amateur photographer who travels but doesn’t want to carry more than one or two lenses, this is the perfect choice for you.

With an 18-400mm focal length, you might not need to ever change the lens, except in a dark indoor situation, when you need either flash or perhaps the fast f/1.8 maximum aperture of a nifty fifty.

Tamron 18-400mm - racehorse portrait

Low-key portrait of a racehorse, Arlington Park IL. Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron 18-400mm lens @ 400mm, f/6.3, 1/250th, ISO 250, handheld.

This lens would also be great for a busy parent who needs more than a smart phone to capture pictures of soccer matches and dance recitals but who doesn’t have a ton of extra room in her carryall bag. The compact size and weight of the Tamron 18-400mm make it an easy addition to any parent’s standard kit.

What’s good about this lens

The size of this lens just can’t be beat. At only a pound and a half and less than 5 inches long, it’s a lot of focal length in a very small package. I was really taken with how small it was since I normally shoot with such large neck-and-shoulder-busting glass.

Hand-holding this lens for an afternoon at the race track wasn’t even remotely painful. With the insane focal length capabilities, I didn’t even bother to carry a second lens with me (or even my camera bag!) and that made for a really care-free afternoon.

Tamron 18-400mm - size comparison

The Tamron 18-400mm lens, attached to the Canon 7D Mark II, with the Canon 100-400 lens alongside for size comparison.

Tamron 18-400mm lens comparison - extended

The extended Tamron 18-400 lens, attached to the Canon 7D Mark II, with the extended Canon 100-400 lens alongside for size comparison. Clearly you can see what a compact size this lens is and how beneficial that could be when you travel.

Great for landscape images

It’s also a pleasure to catch a pretty landscape out of the corner of your eye and to simply zoom out to 18mm to capture it. Typically if you’re shooting with a long lens, you have to take the time to switch over to your wide-angle lens, take the shot and then switch back to your longer focal length lens again. Well, actually, if you’re me, you see that landscape and think ooh, pretty and then walk away without taking the shot.

Tamron 18-400 - at the track

Arlington Park Racetrack IL. Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron 18-400 @ 18mm, f/13, 1/100th, ISO 320, handheld. Processed in Lightroom.

I’m lazy that way so this was the first time I’ve actually made images of the racetrack itself. The lens performed really well in the 18-50mm focal range. It was both sharp and relatively distortion free. Lightroom’s Lens Correction easily managed the slight distortion there was too.

Things to be careful of

Remember I said we’d talk about the not-so-good too? It is a touch tricky to twist the lens in order to zoom in past 200mm to get to the 400mm focal length. First, your hand gets a bit “stuck” since anatomically, your wrist only twists so far before you have to reposition in order to continue the twisting motion.

Tamron 18-400mm lens - racetrack

Headed to the gate, Arlington Park IL. Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron 18-400mm lens @ 209mm, f/6.3, 1/1000th, ISO 250, handheld. 

Second, the lens has what I call a “hiccup” where you need to exert more pressure to push it past this point. I missed a few shots because the twisting motion wasn’t smooth enough and I jerked the lens a bit as I zoomed in from 200mm to 400mm.

Tamron 18-400mm lens - white hibiscus

White hardy hibiscus bloom. Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron 18-400mm lens @ 227mm, f/13, 1/400th, ISO 320, handheld.

Softness around the edges

There is a definite softness (or loss of sharpness) at the longer end of the lens, especially when your aperture is wide open, e.g., 400mm at f/6.3. If you crop in too much during post-processing or print too large, you’ll start to see the loss of fine details in your image since they weren’t tack sharp to start. You won’t see this loss of detail in a small 5×7″ print, or if you post to social media – so for many people, this actually won’t be a big issue.

Tamron 18-400mm lens Review - Riders up

Riders up at the paddock, Arlington Park IL. Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron 18-400mm lens @ 18mm, f/5, 1/500th, ISO 640, handheld.

Use the center focus point

The lens tends to be softest in the corners so sharpness improves if you use your camera’s center focus point. It also improves if you close down your aperture to f/8, f/9, or smaller. Because the lens is not tack sharp all the way through the focal length spectrum, I’m not recommending this lens for super serious wildlife shooters or anyone who likes to print really large. For you guys, I’m going to suggest sticking with a more standard zoom lens like a 100-400mm or 200-400mm. (I apologize in advance for the wear and tear this recommendation will cause your shoulders.)

If you predominantly shoot wide-angle images, like landscapes, and only occasionally shoot long, this lens will be a good fit for you when you don’t want to carry a ton of gear.

Final thoughts

Ultimately there were a number of things I really liked about this lens. The small size and super-zoom focal length make it a very practical tool to have in your bag. At $ 649.00 USD, it’s also a great value.

However, the softness at the long end of that focal length can become a real issue if you’re not careful. Because of that, I’m cautiously going to rate this lens 3.5 stars out of 5.

Tamron 18-400mm lens running foal

Running Lipizzan foal at Tempel Farms, Old Mill Creek IL. Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron 18-400mm lens @ 400mm, f/6.3, 1/640th, ISO 100, handheld. 

I’d love to hear your opinions too. Have you tried super-zooms lenses? Do they work for your type of photography? Which is your favorite one and how does it compare to the Tamron 100-400mm lens? Please share your thoughts with the dPS community in the comments below.

The post Review of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD Zoom Lens by Lara Joy Brynildssen appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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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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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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