Posts Tagged ‘Prime’

2017 Roundups: Fixed Prime Lens Cameras

28 Apr

The fixed 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 equiv., so image quality is top-notch.

This segment includes both pocketable models without viewfinders to ‘best worn over your shoulder’ cameras with unique or ultra-high-resolution EVFs. There’s a gigantic spread in pricing, as well. The Fujifilm X70 and Ricoh GR II can be had for under $ 700, while the Leica Q sells for around $ 4250.

For those who want to zoom with their feet, here are the fixed-lens cameras we think are worth a look:

  • Fujifilm X70
  • Fujifilm X100F
  • Leica Q (Typ 116)
  • Ricoh GR II
  • Sigma dp Quattro series
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II

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Sigma announces 14mm T2 and 135mm T2 Cine Prime lenses

21 Apr
Sigma Cine FF High Speed 14mm T2

Just in time for NAB, Sigma has announced an expansion to its Cine Prime line of lenses, adding the Cine High Speed 14mm T2 and Cine FF High Speed 135mm T2.

The Cine FF High Speed 14mm T2 and Cine FF High Speed 135mm T2 lenses are designed for use with full frame cameras, and join five existing prime lenses in Sigma’s Cine Prime product line. With the addition of these lenses, Sigma now offers cine prime lenses covering a very useful focal length range of 14mm to 135mm.

As with the other lenses in the set, both new lenses are available PL-mount, EF-mount, and E-mount.

Sigma Cine FF High Speed 135mm T2

In addition to the lenses, Sigma is now offering customers the option to order their cine lenses in metric or imperial measurements, as well as standard or full luminous paint markings. Sigma says that existing customers can swap from one measurement system to another for a fee.

Finally, Sigma is now offering its mount conversion services for owners of its cine lenses, allowing users to switch lenses between EF- and E-mounts.

We’re planning to get some hands-on time with these lenses next week at NAB next week and will share our experience with you.

Press release:

NAB 2017: Sigma Unveils Two New Cine Prime Lenses; Adds New Product Options?

Sigma introduces brand new Sigma Cine FF High Speed 14mm T2 and 135mm T2 Prime Lenses

April 20, 2017 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading DSLR lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, today announced its brand new Cine FF High Speed 14mm T2 and 135mm T2 prime lenses and new Cine Prime and Zoom product options.

Sigma is expanding its Cine Prime line to include two brand new lenses: the Sigma Cine FF High Speed 14mm T2 and the Sigma Cine FF High Speed 135mm T2. The high-performance Sigma Cine Prime product line, which now includes the following focal lengths and apertures – 14mm T2, 20mm T1.5, 24mm T1.5, 35mm T1.5, 50mm T1.5, 85mm T1.5 and 135mm T2 – is compatible with the latest full-frame camera sensor technology. Compact in design, the Cine Prime line offers outstanding optical performance and is ready for higher resolution shooting (up to 6K-8K). Both the 14mm T2 and 135mm T2, along with the previously announced Sigma Cine Prime and Zoom lenses, will be available for test-shooting at the Sigma NAB booth C11525.

In addition to this expansion of its Cine Lens Prime line, Sigma is now offering customers the option to order Cine lenses in metric or imperial measurements as well as standard or full luminous paint on markings. Existing customers who wish to swap from one measurement system to the other can do so for a paid fee.

Also, Sigma is now offering its sought-after Mount Conversion Services for the Cine lens customers. The highly successful program ensures continued return on investment for customers, allowing them to convert their lenses to and from EF and E mounts.

You can read the full Sigma announcement including tech specs here as well as download the new Sigma Cine 14mm T2 and 135mm T2 product images here.

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Prime Lenses: Can you really zoom with your feet?

16 Mar

There’s a common maxim touted in photographic circles, especially in online forums and message boards. It states that some of the limitations of shooting with a prime lens can be overcome by simply moving your body around. The idea of “zoom with your feet” or SneakerZoom, as it’s sometimes called, is often used as a panacea for those who think prime lenses are limiting in terms of what they can do compared to their zooming counterparts.

To a certain extent this is true. If you want to get closer to your subject you can just physically move your body if you don’t have a zoom lens, but doing so results in images that are not at all the same as using a zoom lens. Zooming with your feet is somewhat of a misnomer because zooming implies a change of focal length. But when you move around with a prime lens you are not changing the focal length at all. Instead, you are recomposing with your feet. In this article I’ll explore why this is a simple but significant difference using a few examples below.

Prime Lenses: Can you really zoom with your feet?

How lenses work

To understand how lenses work it’s important to know a few things. The focal length is a measurement of the distance between the optical center of the lens (the point at which incoming light converges) and the image sensor of the camera to which it is attached.

Many cameras come with what’s known as a kit lens. Most of those cover a relatively modest range of focal lengths, with the most common being about 18mm to roughly 55mm. At 18mm, the lens bends light in such a way that the incoming light converges on a point 18mm in front of the image sensor. This results in a field of view that is about 76 degrees wide. (Assuming you are shooting with a crop-sensor camera like a Canon Rebel or Nikon D3300. On a full-frame camera like a Canon 5D Mark IV or Nikon D810 it would be about 90 degrees.)

At 50mm, the angle of view changes to roughly 31 degrees. The practical implications for this are that you can simply fit more in the frame when shooting at a wider focal length versus a longer one. Take the example of photographing a tree, as you can see in the following illustration.

Prime Lenses: Can you really zoom with your feet?

Angle of view versus moving your feet

Shooting at 18mm would allow the photographer in this example to fit the whole tree in the frame, but unfortunately this photographer is using a 50mm prime lens that does not zoom in and out. At this point, you might be thinking, “No problem, just walk backwards to get the whole tree in the frame”.  My good friend Bob Slydell from the movie Office Space would respond, “Just a second there, professor.” While it’s true the photographer could walk backwards and reposition himself such that he could fit the entire tree in the picture, there are two problems with this solution:

  1. There is a pond filled with crocodiles right behind him
  2. He would still have a 31 degree viewing angle

No matter how far backward, forward, or sideways the photographer in this example repositions himself, the angle of view with the 50mm lens will still be the same. Theoretically, he could construct a raft and float across the pond in order to fit the entire tree in the frame. But doing so would result in a dramatically different picture than if he just uses a wider lens to begin with. Zooming with his feet, or in this case with a boat, will work to get a picture of the tree, but doing so will alter the other compositional elements of the photo.

An example

To see how this works, here’s a revised version of the image above wherein the photographer has retreated far enough to get the entire tree in the frame. In this example, there are five pinwheels behind the tree that are well contained in the wide-angle shot. While moving backward has solved the issue of getting the tree in the frame, the narrow viewing angle means that not all the pinwheels fit in the shot.

Prime Lenses: Can you really zoom with your feet?

The only way to solve this problem using a Zoom With Your Feet solution would be for the photographer to move way back such that the tree and all the pinwheels could fit in the frame. At which point the original subject (the tree) would be so diminished that the image wouldn’t be the same at all.

Real life examples

Of course, this is a theoretical example, but watch what happens when the same type of scenario is replicated in the real world. I shot the following three images using my 70-200mm lens. Watch what happens as the focal length, as well as the distance to the subject, changes.

Shot #1 – 70mm, from far away

Prime Lenses: Can you really zoom with your feet?

70mm, f/4, ISO 100

Can you tell what the subject is in this picture? It’s supposed to be the artwork in the middle–a boy fishing with his dog, carved from the trunk of a fallen cypress tree. The angle of view in this picture is about 34 degrees (I shot this on my full-frame Nikon D750), which is enough to capture lots of scenery in the frame. Notice how in addition to the boy and his dog you can also see trees, a building, and even some foreground elements such as a pond and grass.

Shot #2 – 200mm, from far away

Prime Lenses: Can you really zoom with your feet?

200mm, f/4, ISO 100

Standing in the exact same spot as before but zooming into 200mm has had a dramatic impact on the picture. Now the viewer’s attention is focused squarely on the carving, and the field of view is now limited to a much narrower 12 degrees. Note where the head of the carving is in relation to the building in this image: it is framed between two columns on the first floor above the ground, which is quite different from the next picture.

Shot #3 – 70mm, shot from close up

Prime Lenses: Can you really zoom with your feet?

70mm, f/4, ISO 100

This final photograph was made by zooming with my feet, I repositioned myself to be much closer to the tree carving. The resulting image is similar, in that the carving itself is roughly the same size as in the 200mm shot, but the field of view is 34 degrees because I shot this at 70mm. Even though the subjects are similar in shot #2 and shot #3, the pictures are entirely different!

The wider field of view in shot #3 resulted in an image with a lot of background elements that distract the viewer. The boy’s head is now positioned near the top of the building, despite the fact that my camera was the same distance above the ground. While the classic SneakerZoom technique has certainly worked to get my subject looking how I wanted, the end result is quite different from actually using a proper zoom lens.

Zooming with your feet is NOT the same

These examples show that while you certainly can zoom with your feet, doing so is not the same at all as zooming with a telephoto lens. When you move around you are not really zooming but recomposing. While this is not a bad thing, it is something to be aware of when choosing lenses or honing your photography technique.

As another example of this phenomenon, here are two pictures from a recent session I did with a local family. I shot the first one with my 70-200mm lens. It’s a traditional portrait-style image with a blurred out background with the focus squarely on the faces and upper bodies of both women.

Prime Lenses: Can you really zoom with your feet?

200mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

I then zoomed all the way out to 70mm in order to get a closer, more personal image of the two women. After changing to a 70mm focal length I had to walk much closer to the ladies, essentially zooming in with my feet, in order to get them to appear the right size in the frame. The resulting image feels entirely different, not just because they are sitting on the ground showing off their matching wrist tattoos, but because you can see that they are sitting in the middle of a green field strewn with autumn leaves.

70mm, f/4, ISO 100

Shooting at 200mm meant a highly compressed field of view with only a small slice of the trees and background visible. Whereas in the bottom picture you can once again see the effects of the wider viewing angle afforded by shooting at 70mm.

Different planes

One final example that’s necessary to illustrate this phenomenon, is when you and your subject are not on the same horizontal plane. In these situations, changing your focal length can bring you much closer to what you are trying to shoot, whereas walking around will significantly alter the scene, based on the foreground and background elements, as well as the angle from which you are viewing the subject.

Shot #1 – 70mm, from far away

Prime Lenses: Can you really zoom with your feet?

70mm, f/4, ISO 100

This image looks decent, but I didn’t like how the flags shared the frame with the building behind them, especially the chimney in the corner with the radio antenna. Since I shot this at 70mm I had a couple options to improve the shot; including zooming into 200mm or zooming with my feet to get closer to the flags. I started with the first option and was very happy with the result.

Shot #2 – 200mm, from far away

Prime Lenses: Can you really zoom with your feet?

200mm, f/4, ISO 100

Zooming with my lens gave me a much better picture. One that focuses entirely on the flag pole with no distracting background elements and a nice cloudy sky to help the flag pop out of the frame. One tradeoff is that the Oklahoma flag is no longer visible. I could have zoomed in only partially to 135mm if I wanted to include it, but I decided that the picture would be more impactful if it just had a single subject instead of two flags. After getting this shot I zoomed in with my feet to see if I could get a decent picture at 70mm by moving much closer to the subject.

Shot #3 – 70mm, shot close up

Look at how different this final image is compared to the 200mm version! While I was able to get the United States flag much larger in the frame, I ended up shooting from such a low angle that the flag pole itself draws almost as much attention as the banners it is holding. The Oklahoma flag is also visible in this version, which has the unfortunate side effect of creating an image that is unfocused and busy. There are now two subjects in the frame (three if you count the pole.) This leaves the viewer with a sense that the image is cluttered and unfocused. Zooming with my feet did allow me to get closer to the subject, but it altered the composition so significantly that the resulting image is unusable.


Hopefully, these examples will help you start to visualize why moving around is not at all the same as changing your focal length. Please understand that I’m not saying you should sell all your prime lenses and rush out to buy a zoom lens, though. I use prime lenses all the time, and by far my most-used lens is the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 for its size, weight, and sheer versatility.

My goal is simply to help you understand that when you are shooting with a prime lens you need to know that moving closer to, or farther away from, your subject does not have the same effect as actually changing the focal length. Once you understand that, you can start using this knowledge to your advantage. You can structure your photo techniques around this important limitation of prime lenses, and hopefully, take much better pictures as a result.

The post Prime Lenses: Can you really zoom with your feet? by Simon Ringsmuth appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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CP+ 2017: HandeVision shows off prime lenses for mirrorless and Leica M

01 Mar

CP+ 2017: HandeVision shows off prime lenses for mirrorless and Leica M

Originally announced in late 2015, German-Chinese company HandeVision’s collection of Leica-inspired, full-frame ‘Iberit’ prime lenses is on display at this year’s CP+ tradeshow in Yokohama, Japan.

HandeVision is a brand created through cooperation between German lens manufacturer IB/E Optics and the Chinese company Shanghai Transvision Photographic Equipment Co – the company behind the Kipon brand. Reportedly, the brand name came about because the first three letters – ‘Han’ signify ‘China’ in Mandarin, while the following two letters ‘De’ represent the first two letters of ‘Deutschland’.

All of the Iberit series are available in Leica M, Leica T, Sony E and Fujifilm X mount, and the Iberit 50mm F2.4 will cost ¥82,000 (~$ 730).

CP+ 2017: HandeVision shows off prime lenses for mirrorless and Leica M

Here’s the Iberit 75mm F2.4, in a matte gray finish. At ¥79,800 (~$ 712) this is a relatively affordable prime lens for mirrorless manual-focus fans, and covers an effective focal length of 112mm on APS-C formats.

CP+ 2017: HandeVision shows off prime lenses for mirrorless and Leica M

Shown here in a chrome finish, the Iberit 24mm F2.4 is the most recent addition to the lineup. This compact wideangle prime and will be available for ¥92,000 (~820).

CP+ 2017: HandeVision shows off prime lenses for mirrorless and Leica M

Here’s the most compact lens in the Iberit lineup, the 35mm F2.4. Like all of the other Iberit lenses, the¥88,900 (~$ 790) 35mm is made in China, from anodized aluminum, brass and stainless steel.

CP+ 2017: HandeVision shows off prime lenses for mirrorless and Leica M

The Ibelux 40mm F0.85 is a different beast altogether, The world’s fastest commercially-produced lens, the Ibelux is available in Sony E, Canon EF and M43 mounts, and weighs in at a hefty 2.6 pounds (1.2kg). As you can see, it looks more like a short telephoto prime than a 40mm. Costing around $ 2000, the Ibelux might be of some interest to filmmakers, but we’d think twice before buying it for stills shooting. 

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Prime or zoom? LensRentals investigates

11 Feb

In the latest LensRentals blog post, Roger Cicala writes: ‘I’m going to address something I see repeated online all the damn time that just sets my scientific teeth on edge: This zoom is just as good as a prime.’

What follows is a fascinating look in to the mind-numbing complexities not just of zoom lenses, but of optical bench testing in general. It is worth a read for many reasons, as it offers great insights in to gear selection and gear testing.

Read the full article on LensRentals’ blog

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Ultimate travel kit – Thailand with Olympus’ E-M1 II & 25mm prime lens

26 Jan


ISO 200, 1/4000 sec, F2.

When I travel, I always bring a dedicated camera with me. My preferred form of ‘travel photography,’ at least when taking pictures for myself, is to document my experiences and create a visual diary. I like to travel as light as I can while still being able to come back with results of decent quality (though a personal trip to Iceland with a D810 was a notable exception to the notion of traveling light).

So, what would I bring for a planned personal trip to Thailand? My D700’s are solid but a bit bulky, and I’m not entirely sure how my original X100 would stand up to high humidity, beaches and possibly a rain shower or two (understatement of the year, as I’ll get to in a bit). I considered the Nikon D500 or the Pentax K-3 II, but both are also fairly bulky, though I was still hoping to end up with a camera that had a larger sensor than the waterproof Nikon AW1.

My constant companion, based on a combination of size, speed and durability.

Luckily, Olympus has been kind enough to allow us an extended loan on our OM-D E-M1 Mark II for continued testing, particularly in anticipation of future firmware updates. I also decided on just a single lens for the whole trip; the Olympus 25mm F1.2 Pro.

It was settled, then. An informal travel experience with a Micro Four Thirds camera and a fixed, 50mm-equivalent lens to document the trip of a lifetime. What could possibly go wrong?

Full disclosure: This was a personal trip paid for entirely by myself. The choice to bring along an Olympus E-M1 II and lens was mine alone. I do wish to express gratitude to Olympus for allowing DPReview to hold on to our E-M1 II review sample, as well as my fellow staffers at DPReview for allowing me to borrow it for this trip.

All images processed and cropped to taste in a beta version of Adobe Camera Raw unless otherwise noted.

Living with your choices

When I told photo-nerd friends that I was going to Thailand with only an E-M1 II, they thought that was awesome. When I told them that I was going with only a 50mm equivalent lens, a sort of shade passed over their faces; a mixture of interest, bemusement and pity.

Wat Pho is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, which measures 15 meters high and 46 meters long and resides in a confined space. This made using my 50mm equivalent lens…challenging. Straight out of camera JPEG cropped slightly to taste. ISO 400, 1/125 sec, F1.2.

Despite being primarily a prime-lens shooter, I do not shoot the 50mm focal length very often. Yes, it was the de-facto ‘kit lens’ for entry level film SLRs of yore, but after discovering how much I preferred prime lenses to zooms, I gravitated toward the 35mm focal length years ago and haven’t wavered much since.

As anyone who shoots mostly prime lenses knows, familiarity with a focal length often allows you to ‘see’ pictures that will work before the camera is even to your eye. Given my unfamiliarity with the 50mm focal length, I found myself working a lot harder on my compositions than I anticipated.

I found that for general photography in Thailand, including landscapes and basic ‘I was here’ images, 50mm was difficult to adjust to. ISO 200, 1/1250 sec, F4.

What worked and what didn’t

To state the exceedingly obvious, there are times to experiment with new gear and times to stick with what’s familiar. It wasn’t long into our time in Bangkok that I began to second-guess my decision to bring this single lens.

Sometimes, the 50mm field of view was an asset, allowing me some more working distance than I was used to. Other times, it was constricting. ISO 200, 1/200 sec, F2.8.

Bangkok is a busy, bustling metropolis with a sea of activity surrounding you at all times, whether you are in the back alley of a flower market or anxiously waiting for a seat at Thip Samai for some of the best pad thai you’ll ever eat. In this sense, the camera and lens combination was perfect. The E-M1 II is one of the most responsive mirrorless cameras out there, and the autofocus on the 25mm F1.2 lens is swift and accurate – all of this ensuring that the camera was ready to capture a moment when I was.

Spongebob says, ‘Buy me. You know you want to.’ ISO 200, 1/200 sec, F2.8.

The problem was in developing my ability to ‘see’ an image with the 50mm focal length, as I would often swing the camera around, only to realize that I really needed to take a few steps back. I was finding it difficult to capture single images with both a strong subject as well as a sense of context, which I generally find much easier with the 35mm focal length. 

But as we made our way from Bangkok to the Krabi province in southern Thailand, I had other things to worry about than my framing and compositions.

Until next time, Bangkok. ISO 200, 1/2500 sec, F5.6.

The rain

Shortly into our time in the Krabi province, southern Thailand was ravaged by unseasonably strong rain and winds (the rainy season is supposed to end in November). The result was large-scale flooding affecting around 700,000 people and resulting in dozens of lives lost.

The beginning of the storms roll in to Koh Phi Phi. 1/100 sec, ISO 6400, F4.

The worst of the weather was to the east of us, as we experienced stormy conditions but largely less severe flooding. It wasn’t until much of the rain had subsided that we had realized the gravity and impact of the situation; we had simply been attempting to make the best of our trip, as did the countless tourists that surrounded us.

Rain begins to fall on tourists and locals on Koh Phi Phi. ISO 640, 1/125 sec, F1.2.

I bring this up so as to make clear that as I go on with this piece, it is with respect and acknowledgment of the scale of the human impact we were lucky enough to have avoided the worst of.

Though the rains did their part to keep me from taking as many photographs as I would have otherwise, the E-M1 II’s purportedly extreme weather sealing meant that I was comfortable having the camera with me much of the time. So while I was taking fewer photographs, the point is that I was still taking them.

Flooding continued in the town of Krabi even after rains had ceased, forced multiple reroutings of traffic on and off Route 4 to the airport. ISO 1250, 1/125 sec, F1.2.

Growth and challenges

The final region we visited in Thailand was Chiang Mai, in which we planned a visit to the Elephant Nature Park. Here, all elephants in residence are rescues and not subject to rides, tricks or shows. Instead, visitors are able to experience an elephant’s life in a more natural, simple and tranquil setting.

As far as the relative simplicity of shooting with only a 50mm equivalent lens throughout my trip, it ended up being a positive experience despite my earlier hesitations. While my images weren’t exactly how I had envisioned them, I found that wasn’t a bad thing. Most importantly, I struggled a bit and found some enjoyment in the challenge of shooting different subject matter with a different selection of gear than I’m accustomed to. It might sound strange to challenge one’s self on a ‘vacation,’ but I guess I’m a bit weird like that.

Forcing myself to work with the 50mm focal length was a challenge that often forced me to see scenes in front of me a little differently than I would with a wider lens. ISO 200, 1/1000 sec, F2.

To be sure, there are other solutions out there I could have chosen for this journey, but I was more than pleased with the Olympus E-M1 II. It offered an good balance of size, ergonomics, speed, weather resistance and image quality. It would have been nice in some dimmer scenes to have a larger sensor with lower noise levels, and I didn’t particularly have a use for the ultra-high burst rates the Olympus is capable of. But as a travel camera for this particular journey, the camera performed admirably. Maybe next time I’ll even take a zoom lens.

ISO 200, F8, 1/3200 sec.

Samples Gallery

All images were shot in Raw + JPEG with a 3:2 crop as personal preference. Many of the edited Raws were differently cropped, and were produced using a beta version of Adobe Camera Raw. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page).

We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don’t abuse it. Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution.

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Have your say: Best prime lens of 2016

09 Dec

Have your say: Best prime lens of 2016

It’s a great time to be a photographer. Based on reader interest and preferences, we’ve rounded up a total of twelve prime lenses that were released in 2016 for your consideration in this poll. They run the gamut in terms of lens mount, focal length, maximum aperture, and of course, use case. 

Which of these prime lenses is most exciting to you? Which do you already have, or are looking to add, to your particular kit? Let us know by casting your vote in the poll at the end of the slideshow. For now, let’s dig in and take a look at this year’s contenders. 

Please note that for the sake of a manageable list, we have excluded some of the more exotic manual focus primes from the likes of Zeiss, and several third-party MF options (Samyang/Rokinon etc). If you feel that a particular lens of this kind deserves consideration, feel free to leave a comment.

Canon EF-M 28mm F3.5 Macro IS STM

The announcement of Canon’s EOS M5 was largely welcome news, but came with a side of grumbling – the Canon EF-M lens lineup is still, for many, sorely lacking. This 28mm F3.5 Macro is looking to address that somewhat. Offering an equivalent focal length of 45mm, this lens won’t offer you much in the way of working distance, but with a 1.2x magnification super-macro mode and built-in LED lights, the EF-M 28mm Macro is a unique offering in the marketplace and comes with an affordable MSRP to boot.

Does this lens have you looking closer at the Canon M system more closely than before? Has the 1.2x magnification made a difference to your macro photography? Let us know by casting your vote for it in the poll.

See full specifications, user reviews and more

Fujifilm XF 23mm F2 R WR

Fujifilm’s ever-growing lens lineup continues to impress us, and the XF 23mm F2 R WR is no exception. The company’s existing 23mm F1.4 is quite good, but also quite large and makes no mention of weather resistance – two aspects this newer design is meant to address. You lose a stop of light, but you also gain a noticeable speed boost when it comes to continuous autofocus (and you can save a few pennies with this model, too). Lastly, for X-Pro users, the barrel design is intended to keep the lens from intruding too far into the hybrid viewfinder when used in ‘optical’ mode.

Is this the game-changing 35mm equivalent lens you’ve been waiting for? Let us know by casting your vote in the poll at the end of the slideshow.

See full specifications, user reviews and more

Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm F4E ED

This one’s been a long time coming. Nikon’s line of PC lenses, which stands for ‘perspective control,’ is all about offering tilt and shift capabilities for those that need it. As an example, it allows for correction of converging vertical lines if you’re photographing a tall building and must point your camera slightly up, and it also allows more control over your depth of field by allowing you to adjust the actual plane of focus. While this lens still isn’t as wide as Canon’s TS-E 17mm lens, it does offer Nikon users a focal length usefully wider than the existing 24mm PC lens – but being a specialized tool, it comes with a hefty price tag.

Is this lens enough to satisfy your needs for wide-angle tilt-shift photography? Does it allow you to get significant images you just couldn’t get before? Let us know by casting your vote in the poll at the end of the slideshow.

See full specifications, user reviews and more

Nikon AF-S 105mm F1.4 E ED

Few lenses have created as much of a stir around the DPReview offices as Nikon’s 105mm F1.4 E ED when it was announced. As the first ever 105mm lens with this wide of an aperture, it’s a much-needed update (though some might argue, not a replacement) for Nikon’s older 105mm and 135mm F2 DC (defocus control) designs, which date back to the ’90s. It’s quite well-built, comes with some weather sealing and has been shown to have staggeringly good optics, even wide open. 

Has Nikon created the ultimate bokeh-licious portrait lens? Let us know if this lens takes the cake by casting your vote in the poll at the end of the slideshow.

See full specifications, user reviews and more

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2

This lens is perhaps most significant in that it’s the first Olympus prime lens to carry the ‘Pro’ designation. Along with tank-like build quality, the ‘Pro’ label is a reliable indicator of overall optical quality, including sharpness and smooth out-of-focus character. That it’s also insanely fast to focus doesn’t hurt, either. It costs a pretty penny, but the 25mm F1.2 is one of our favorite pairings with Olympus’ new E-M1 Mark II. For those that want the fastest lens for their Micro 4/3 system that is also the toughest, it stands alone.

Is the 25mm F1.2 Pro the lens you’ve been waiting for within the Micro 4/3 universe? Let us know by casting your vote in the poll at the end of the slideshow.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 300mm F4 IS Pro

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 300mm F4 IS Pro is one of only two Olympus lenses at the time of this writing to offer built-in image stabilization – this is because most Olympus bodies already offer impressive in-body image stabilization, but with their newer models, these image stabilized lenses can work in tandem with the existing stabilizer to offer up to a claimed 6.5 stops of hand-holdability. Our favorite part? This is a figure Olympus says is limited by the rotation of the Earth. In any case, this 300mm lens is sharp wide-open, built like a tank, incredibly fast to focus and we’ve been able to get reliably sharp shots with shutter speeds as slow as 1/15 of a second when paired with the E-M1 II. No, that isn’t a typo.

Has the Olympus 300mm F4 Pro changed the way you shoot Micro Four Thirds? Let us know by casting your vote in the poll at the end of the slideshow.

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Panasonic Lumix G Leica DG Summilux 12mm F1.4 ASPH

In addition to having the longest name in this group, this Panaleica 12mm F1.4 has the distinction of being the fastest wide-angle autofocus lens in the Micro Four Thirds universe. And with ‘Leica’ in the name, you’re going to pay for it – but for those heavily invested in the system, it’s worth it (and it’s weather-sealed, at least). I’s great for some subject isolation at wide apertures and also for shooting in available light, but it also produces gorgeous sunstars, and predictably, is very sharp.

Has this lens become your go-to for available light Micro Four Thirds shooting? Let us know by casting your vote in the poll at the end of the slideshow.

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Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN | C (E-Mount / M43 Mount)

Sigma has been on a roll over the past several years, with its revamped Art, Contemporary and Sports lineups. With the 30mm F1.4 Contemporary, they’ve continued this roll, offering absolutely excellent performance on Sony’s E-Mount (and for a fraction of the price of any first-party competitor), and above average performance on Micro Four Thirds. The length of the lens might look a little awkward on smaller bodies, but the lightweight build ensures a good balance without feeling cheap at all.

Is this the fast, standard prime you’ve been waiting for? Let us know by casting your vote in the poll at the end of the slideshow.

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Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art

The Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art is, unquestionably, a beast – but appropriately, it offers beastly optical performance as well. It’s a bargain compared to first-party equivalents, and though (as always) you’ll want to watch out for copy variation, it’ll give those more expensive competitors a run for their money when used wide open. If you’re in the market for a fast-aperture lens for reportage or some shallow depth-of-field for portrait isolation, the Sigma 85mm Art deserves a look.

Are you a Sigma Art convert? Did you save a ton of money over first-party options by picking one up for yourself? Let us know if this prime lens is your pick for the best of 2016 by casting your vote in the poll at the end of the slideshow.

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Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM

The Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM continues 2016’s tradition of ‘bigger and better.’ It’s not quite the behemoth that is the Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art, but it’s close – and for good reason. Sony has said that it’s designed the G Master lenses, including the 85mm, to ‘last forever’ – they’re over-engineered when it comes to sharpness, and rely on optical corrections for characteristics like lateral chromatic aberration, as opposed to relying on software. The rounded aperture blades provide circular out-of-focus highlights even as you stop down, and the lens offers environmental sealing as well.

Are you an E-mount shooter that’s finally found your perfect portrait lens? Let us know by casting your vote for the Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM in the poll at the end of the slideshow.

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Tamron SP 85mm F1.8 Di VC USD

Noticing a pattern yet? This is the third 85mm lens in a row in this category, but it does plenty to differentiate itself from its Sigma and Sony counterparts. First, yes, the Tamron does offer a slower maximum aperture. It makes up for that somewhat, though, by being the only stabilized 85mm prime lens on the market. It’s fully weather-sealed, something that is universal to Tamron’s SP line, and universally absent from Sigma’s Art line. It’s also the smallest of this year’s newly announced 85mm lenses, and impressively sharp wide-open.

Has Tamron’s 85mm F1.8 VC tempted you away from other first-and-third party lens options? Let us know by casting your vote for it in the poll at the end of the slideshow.

See full specifications, user reviews and more

Tamron SP 90mm F2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro

Tamron has been making 90mm F2.8 macro lenses for decades, but its latest redesign is more than just slapping the same old optical formula into a shiny new design. They’ve added their trademark Vibration Compensation technology as well as increasing the speed of autofocus. A new fluorine coating on the front element will repel dust, water and fingerprints more effectively, and as with all members of Tamron’s revamped SP line, is fully dust-and-moisture sealed. Not everyone needs a macro lens, but the Tamron has also proven to be a solid portrait lens as well.

Did you update to the new SP Macro from an older Tamron model, or even a first-party macro lens? Let us know by casting your vote in the poll on the next slide.

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Vote now!


Have your say

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Have Your Say: Best Prime Lens of 2016
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Canon EF-M 28mm F3.5 Macro

Fujifilm XF 23mm F2

Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm F4E

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm F1.4E

Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.2 Pro

Olympus M.Zuiko 300mm F4 Pro

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm F1.4

Sigma 30mm F1.4 C

Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art

Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM

Tamron SP 85mm F1.8

Tamron SP 90mm F2.8

Voting is easy – you pick your favorite products by dragging and dropping. You can pick up to three, and rank them in order of priority.

Poll Rules:

  1. This poll is meant to be a bit of fun. It’s not sponsored, promoted or paid for in any way and DPReview staff don’t care how you vote, so please don’t start a flame-war in the comments. I.e., please don’t be a troll.
  2. It’s fine to vote for products that you haven’t used (some aren’t yet shipping, after all) but please don’t vote purely just to sandbag another product or brand. I.e., please don’t be a troll.
  3. Please only vote once, from a single account. Creating and voting from multiple accounts for a community poll of no consequence is a waste of everyone’s time. See points 1 and 2, above, about not being a troll.

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ExoLens offers Zeiss-branded accessory lenses for iPhone 7, adds ‘Prime’ lens line

06 Oct

ExoLens has announced that it will sell its Zeiss-branded accessory lenses for iPhone 7, and has also introduced a second product line. Calling its existing lineup of lenses with Zeiss optics the ‘Pro’ line, it emphasizes their high quality construction while adding the ‘Prime’ line for ‘artistic expression and non-technical social sharing.’ ExoLens does not mention support for the iPhone 7 Plus and its dual camera modules.

Three Pro lenses are offered: the Wide, Telephoto and Macro-Zooms first introduced in January. Each will come with an ExoLens Edge machined aluminum mount, as well as a key ring loop. Launching for iPhone 7, 6/6 Plus and 6s/6s Plus in December, the wide-angle and telephoto kits will also sell for $ 199.99 and $ 249.99, respectively.

Following the launch of these two kits, ExoLens will release the Pro Macro-Zoom Lens in January for $ 199.99 bundled with the lens mount bracket. This kit will include the Zeiss Vario-Proxar 40-80 T macro-zoom lens for taking photos of items that measure between 3cm and 12cm. 

The Pro macro lens kit will be joined by Telephoto 2x, Wide-Angle 0.6x, and Super Wide-Angle/Macro combo lenses in the PRIME range, all of which launch in the first quarter of 2017; prices for the Prime kits haven’t been released yet.

Press release:

ExoLens® Introduces PRO and PRIME Ranges of Professional Accessory Lenses for the iPhone 7

The new lines offer photographers a range of exceptional mobile lenses that are made for a wide variety of usage scenarios, from professional landscape and portrait imagery to selfies used by social sharers.

Itasca, IL – October 5, 2016 – ExoLens®, accessory brand dedicated to elevating the mobile photography category, announces the launch of the ExoLens PRO and PRIME ranges. Each line is designed for a specific consumer, which allows everyone from the novice to the professional to join the mobile photography movement. Leading the collection, is the ExoLens® PRO line for the iPhone 7, which feature Optics by market leading brand, ZEISS, to offer truly professional-grade mobile lenses to photographers, artists and journalists to seriously step up your mobile photography game.

“We are very excited to launch the high-performance ranges of PRO and PRIME iPhone lenses,” says John Fellowes, Chief Executive Officer of Fellowes Brands, which acquired ExoLens in 2014. “The new product lines signify an expanded brand strategy for ExoLens, which will now reach mobile photographers of all levels.”

First to market will be the ExoLens PRO Wide-Angle and Telephoto Kits for iPhone 7. These kits will bring the aspherical lens technology previously reserved for high-end DSLR lenses, straight to your iPhone as a compact mobile accessory lens. With more than 170 years of experience engineering professional optics, ZEISS has gained unrivaled trust among professional photographers and cinematographers in the industry. The series of high-performance lenses is a new breed of mobile photography optics that will allow the massive community of iPhone photographers and videographers to tell a deeper story with gold-standard gear. All PRO Kits come with the new machined aluminum ExoLens Edge mount, which features an integrated cold shoe accessory mount (compatible with accessories such as external video light) and key ring loop.

The ExoLens PRO Wide-Angle Kit with Optics by ZEISS features a ZEISS Mutar™ 0.6x Asph T* Wide-Angle lens, which provides virtually no distortion and exceptional edge-to-edge contrast, resulting in an image quality that is unmatched by any other iPhone accessory lens. This Kit helps professionals capture expansive scenery and immerse viewers with frame filling detail, while expanding the frame of the iPhone to see the world in a beautiful new perspective. The ExoLens PRO Wide-Angle Kit with Optics by ZEISS will be available for iPhone 6/6s, iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus, and iPhone 7 in December for $ 199.99.

The ExoLens PRO Telephoto Kit with Optics by ZEISS features a ZEISS Mutar™ 2.0x Asph T* Telephoto lens. The Kit offers photographers a narrow depth of field to add a beautiful bokeh to the background while focusing attention on the subject. The focal length of the telephoto allows the contours of the face to appear more natural and closer to real life, and is ideal for street photography, portraits or capturing events. The Telephoto Kit will be available for iPhone 6/6s, iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus, and iPhone 7 in December for $ 249.99.

ExoLens PRO Macro-Zoom Kit with Optics by ZEISS features the ZEISS Vario-Proxar 40-80 T* macro-zoom lens. The ZEISS Vario-Proxar 40-80 T* macro-zoom lens has a variable focal length of 40 to 80 millimeters. “In combination with the optics of the smartphone camera, turning the ring does not result in an increase or reduction of the field of view,” Product Developer Vladan Blahnik from ZEISS explains. “Instead, the ring functions much like a manual focus with which different planes can be set. If photographers want to shoot objects that are three to five centimeters away, they turn the ring to the right as far as it will go, and to the left for objects that are five to eight centimeters away.” This allows users to capture objects measuring three to twelve centimeters filling the complete field of view and capture astonishing details beyond what is visible to the human eye to put you impossibly close to the subject. The PRO Macro-Zoom Kit will be available for iPhone 6/6s, iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus, and iPhone 7 in January for $ 199.99.

The ExoLens PRIME product line allows for artistic expression and non-technical social sharing to step up your iPhone photography and videography game. They are intended for the photographer looking to create unique, artistic and candid snapshots. The lenses offered for PRIME Kits are the Wide Angle 0.6X, the Telephoto 2X and the Super Wide-Angle/Macro Combo.. The PRIME product line will be available starting Q1 2017.

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Nikon introduces ultra-fast AF-S 105mm F1.4E ED prime lens

27 Jul

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Nikon has unveiled the AF-S Nikkor 105mm F1.4E ED, the fastest full-frame lens of its kind with autofocus. Resistant to dust and moisture, the lens uses 14 elements in 9 groups, including 3 ED elements, along with Nano Crystal and fluorine coatings. The lens has 9 rounded aperture blades, and the aperture is electronically controlled, which keeps exposure consistent while shooting high-speed bursts. As you might expect, this is a heavy lens, weighing in at 985g/2.1lbs.

The 105mm F1.4 is expected to ship in late August with a $ 2,199.95 MSRP.

Press release:


MELVILLE, N.Y. (July 27, 2016 AT 12:01 A.M. EDT) – Today, Nikon Inc. is celebrating a momentous NIKKOR production milestone as well as the announcement of the AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED, a premium lens for the most discerning photographers. This luxurious new medium-telephoto lens is engineered to help create flattering images with gorgeous bokeh, while delivering impressive sharpness and beautiful color rendition. As a testament to a lasting legacy of high-caliber lenses, Nikon has also announced that NIKKOR lens production has reached the landmark achievement of 100 million units produced worldwide.

“Surpassing the 100 million lenses produced milestone is a great honor and a testament to the photographers who both love and rely on NIKKOR glass to get the job done,” said Kosuke Kawaura, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “The AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED represents the embodiment of the NIKKOR line of high-quality lenses, giving photographers a robust, well-balanced lens that provides intense sharpness, astounding image quality and background bokeh that is sure to be a favorite among portrait photographers.”

Captivating Image Quality
The AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED is a fast, full-frame (FX-format), medium-telephoto prime lens and is the world’s first1 to strike the impeccable balance of 105mm focal length and large f/1.4 aperture for a truly outstanding optic. This new NIKKOR lens is ideal for professional and advanced enthusiast photographers, especially those capturing portraiture, from in-studio fashion to a golden hour engagement session on the beach. These users will love the precise sharpness from this fantastic glass, which provides a flattering compression to subjects with a sensational, sultry bokeh. Beyond the gorgeous image quality lies stellar resolving power, especially when used with Nikon DSLRs such as D5, D810 or D750.

The 105mm f/1.4E is a fast lens with endearing character, providing stellar optical performance, even in the peripherals. Sharp rendering is attained for shooting distant subjects throughout the aperture range – from maximum aperture to being stopped down by several stops. Gradual alteration from the focal plane helps render subjects in high-fidelity with a natural depth, giving colorful portraits and landscapes that little bit of extra “pop” to help create a truly distinct image. The AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4 is also an excellent choice for low-light photography, as its large maximum aperture allows photographers to shoot at the fastest possible shutter speeds. Additionally, this lens can reproduce point light sources faithfully without sagittal coma flare, even on the edges of the frame.

Masterful Lens Construction
Decades of precision, knowledge and experience are put forth into every NIKKOR lens, and the AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED is an exceptional example of brilliant craftsmanship and Nikon technologies merging. Packed with the latest advanced optical innovations, the 105mm f/1.4 features Nikon’s electromagnetic aperture control technology for consistent exposures, even during high speed continuous shooting.2

On the outside, solid build quality is well-balanced for all-day shooting, while the lens is sealed and gasketed to resist dust and moisture. Additional Fluorine coatings are used on the front and rear elements, so that smudges, dirt or moisture are easily removed. Inside the lens, the optical formula consists of 14 elements in nine groups, which include three ED glass elements. A 9-blade diaphragm further helps to create a circular, pleasing out of focus area. The lens also features Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat technology to significantly reduce instances of ghosting and flare.

The new AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED joins other NIKKOR f/1.4 lenses in the Gold Ring Series, which include only premium primes with Nano Crystal Coat and pro-grade build quality. These other lenses include the AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G, AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G, AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G, AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G.

A Landmark in the NIKKOR Legacy
Nikon is also pleased to announce that the total production of NIKKOR lenses for Nikon interchangeable lens cameras reached the landmark 100 million milestone in mid-July 2016.

With a robust line-up of high-quality lenses for all types of photographers, the NIKKOR name has become synonymous with a rich history of superior lenses. Nikon continues to introduce new NIKKOR lenses that further optical technology, utilizing cutting-edge techniques and knowledge from experience cultivated over its long history. Such revolutionary advancements include Nano Crystal Coat, which acts as a powerful anti-reflection coating, and significantly reduces instances of ghosting and flare. More recently, NIKKOR lens technologies such as the use of Phase Fresnel (PF) and Fluorite elements have helped to create smaller and lighter lenses with superb balance and handling. Many NIKKOR lenses now also feature a Fluorine coat that helps repel a variety of contaminants such as dust, dirt, water, oils and grease. The introduction of an electromagnetic diaphragm has also helped to create lenses that provide consistently crisp exposures, even during high-speed shooting.

Pricing and Availability
The AF-S NIKKOR 105MM f/1.4E ED will be available in late August for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $ 2,199.953. For more information on Nikon’s latest products including their newest NIKKOR lenses, please visit

1: Among AF lenses for digital SLRs compatible with FX-format image sensor; as of July 27, 2016; statement based on Nikon research

2: The lens incorporates an electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism. The following cameras are compatible with this lens: D5, D4 series, D3 series, Df, D810, D810A, D800 series, D750, D700, D610, D600, D500, D300 series, D7200, D7100, D7000, D5500, D5300, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3300, D3200, D3100, Nikon 1 J1, J2, J3, J4 with FT-1, Nikon 1 V1, V2, V3 with FT-1, Nikon 1 S1, S2 with FT-1 

3: SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm F1.4E ED specifications

Principal specifications
Lens type Prime lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 105 mm
Image stabilization No
Lens mount Nikon F (FX)
Maximum aperture F1.4
Minimum aperture F16
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Aperture notes Rounded blades
Elements 14
Groups 9
Special elements / coatings Three ED elements + Nano Crystal and fluorine coatings
Minimum focus 1.00 m (39.37)
Maximum magnification 0.13×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Ring-type ultrasonic
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Internal
Distance scale Yes
DoF scale No
Focus distance limiter No
Weight 985 g (2.17 lb)
Diameter 95 mm (3.72)
Length 106 mm (4.17)
Sealing Yes
Filter thread 82.0 mm
Tripod collar No

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Sony announces FE 50mm F1.4 ZA prime lens

11 Jul

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Sony has announced its new Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens. This full-frame fast prime features an 11-blade aperture for circular out-of-focus highlights even as you stop down, ‘Advanced Aspheric’ and ED lens elements and Zeiss’ T* coating. Sony says that the lens’ Planar design minimizes distortion. 

The lens is similar in construction to the FE 35mm F1.4. It’s weather-sealed and uses Sony’s Super Sonic Wave Motor for quick and quiet autofocus. A clicked aperture ring can be de-clicked if desired for smooth aperture control in video.

At a recent shooting event in San Diego, we had a chance to go hands with this fast prime (view our gallery here). Despite being a bit heavy, the lens handles beautifully. We were very impressed by sharpness: subjects placed far off-center remained sharp even wide open, despite the 42MP Sony a7R II sensor resolution. Indeed, MTF curves indicate an impressive 60% response is maintained across the frame wide open even at 40 line pairs / mm. Our initial shots also indicate that axial chromatic aberration (green and purple fringing) are very well controlled, and bokeh appears very smooth, both of which add to this lens’ appeal over options like the Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA.

The FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens will be available this month at a price of $ 1500.

Sony Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA specifications

Principal specifications
Lens type Prime lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Image stabilisation No
Lens mount Sony FE
Aperture ring Yes
Number of diaphragm blades 11
Elements 12
Groups 9
Special elements / coatings 2 aspherical + 1 ED element + Zeiss T* coating
Minimum focus 0.45 m (17.72)
Maximum magnification 0.15×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Ring-type ultrasonic
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Internal
Distance scale No
DoF scale No
Weight 778 g (1.72 lb)
Diameter 84 mm (3.29)
Length 108 mm (4.25)
Sealing Yes
Colour Black
Filter thread 72.0 mm
Hood supplied Yes
Hood product code ALC-SH143

Press Release:

Sony Releases Full-Frame FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Prime Lens

A quintessential wide-aperture 50mm “normal” lens, the new ZEISS® Planar F1.4 offers high resolution, high-contrast and overall exceptional performance

SAN DIEGO, July 11, 2016 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today introduced a new full-frame lens for their E-mount camera system, the Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA (model SEL50F14Z).

This 50mm prime lens features a large F1.4 maximum aperture that offers impressive contrast and outstanding resolution that are hallmarks of the ZEISS® brand. It produces these consistently strong qualities throughout the entirety of the frame – from center to corner – and at all aperture settings, even while shooting wide open at F1.4. The cutting edge optical structure includes high-precision AA (Advanced Aspherical) and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements that reduce spherical and chromatic aberration, as well as a ZEISS® T* Coating that minimizes flare and ghosting creating the classic ZEISS® clarity. Additionally, its Planar design ensures minimal distortion.

The large F1.4 maximum aperture of the FE 50mm F1.4ZA lens provides a level of brightness and speed that are advantageous for dimly lit indoor shots, night scenes, and portraits, while its 11-bladed circular aperture allows for stunning “bokeh”, or background defocus, in images. The lens also features an aperture ring with an adjustable ON/OFF switch, an AF/MF focus mode switch, and a dust and moisture resistant design¹, further increasing its functionality.

The new lens is also equipped with a ring drive SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) system, which allows it to efficiently lock focus with speed, precision and in near silence, making it particularly useful for shooting movies.

Pricing and Availability – FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Lens

The new FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens will ship this July for a retail price of $ 1,500 US and $ 1,950 CA. The new FE interchangeable lens will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.

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