Tag Archives: optics

Sony 24mm/1.4 – compact and reasonably priced

21 Sep

Sony has announced its 24mm f/1.4 GM (Gold Master) lens, and, once the shorter focal flange distance of the system is taken into account, it’s quite a compact lens compared to those on competing systems, or by competing manufacturers:

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To my mind, lenses with short focal lenses should also be short in build, so that when you squeeze into a corner, you can get the shot, and Sony looks to be the best current choice there:

24mmLensesOnCameras

From left to right: Sony A7 III with 24/1.4, Canon 6D II with 24/1.4 II, Nikon D610 with 24/1.4 and Sigma SD Quattro H (crop factor 1.3) with 24/1.4. Usual caveats about finger space apply.

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Long-awaited Pentax lens a Tokina clone?

28 Feb

There is currently an ongoing discussion among Pentaxians as to whether these upcoming 50mm f/1.4 prime lenses are really one and the same on the inside – the Tokina:

tokina_opera_50_mm_f1_4_ff

And the Pentax:

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 11.53.31

The Tokina will ship in summer 2018, while the Pentax, originally announced for September 2017, was pushed back to September 2018, so their release dates will also be close.

For context and comparison, here are the recent Sigma and Zeiss lenses with the same specs:

sigma_311101_50mm_f_1_4_dg_hsm_1045458

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What do you think? Let the rest of us know in the comments!

Yongnuo 85/1.8 with better bokeh, less CA and noisier AF than Canon

12 Feb

For full details, see the video by Christopher Frost, below:

 

The breakfastographer’s opinion based on the samples shown is that the bokeh is nicer and the CA much lower in the Yongnuo. Corner sharpness is worse, though, and the autofocus has various issues described in the video. No statement was made about focus throw, but it seems to be okay, so manually focusing is an option. At a price of half the Canon, it’s cheaper than a Samyang/Rokinon/Bower/etc., which would also provide only manual focus.

In spite of the corner softness, it’s sold as a full frame lens, and its value proposition as a portrait lens is hard to beat on that format. If you do want to go cheaper, there are 50/1.8 options for APS-C cameras for just over a 100 eurodollars, but bokeh will be better with the 85/full frame combination – or really 85 on any format!

16mm is the new 18mm

1 Feb

Over the course of 2014, the kit lens landscape has changed significantly, with Samsung announcing not one but two new standard zooms, the 16-50mm f/3.5 to f/5.6 and its weightier sibling, the f/2 to f/2.8 with the same focal length range, both stabilised. Fujifilm also followed up its 16-50mm f/3.5 to f/5.6 from mid-2013 with a new f/2.8 variant at the same focal range just recently. Also during 2014, Tamron announced a 16-300mm superzoom lens for APS-C, at f/3.5 to f/6.3. Pentax has had a 16-50mm standard zoom at f/2.8 for many years, and in 2014 announced a new 16-85mm f/3.5 to f/5.6.

Man and Camel, Morrocco. Taken with Tamron 16-300mm at 16mm. Promotional image by Tamron.

Man and Camel, Morocco. Taken with Tamron 16-300mm at 16mm.

The most active on the 16mm front is probably Sony – they’ve carried a 16-80mm f/3.5 to f/4.5 since 2006, 16-105mm f/3.5 to f/5.6 from 2007 and 16-35mm f/2.8 from 2009 as well as the 2014-introduced 16-35mm f/4 in collaboration with Zeiss – all in A mount. In E mount, there’s the 16-50mm f/3.5 to f/5.6, and again in A mount the much weightier and stabilised 16-50mm f/2.8. But with four major manufacturers fully embracing 16mm as the new wide angle limit standard, 18mm zooms may become a hard sell.

Woman pauses near vendor display. Fes, Morocco. Taken with Tamron 16-300mm at 16mm. Promotional image by Tamron.

Woman pauses near vendor display. Fes, Morocco. Taken with Tamron 16-300mm at 16mm.

Meanwhile, Nikon’s 16-35mm and 16-85mm are a few years old now, and while Canon released a 16-35mm f/4 in 2014 (and has an f/2.8 variant from 2007), it feels like Nikon is not really on top of this story (seemingly betting most of its money on growth in full frame cameras), and Canon does not see going wider as a priority – perhaps sensible given its 7% narrower field of view in the APS-C segment (Canon’s APS-C crop factor, due to a smaller sensor size, is 1.6 vs. most other cameras’ 1.5).

One wonders whether 2013’s star new lens, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, feels a bit left out – undoubtedly a compromise in design the lens to achieve the f/1.8 constant aperture, but a similar compromise will now have to be made by the buyer where wide angle shots are concerned. Ultimately, you’ll never escape the desire, in some situations, to zoom with your feet.

Are tilt-shift lenses a thing of the past?

27 Jun
Image copyright Jeff Dean.

Image copyright Jeff Dean.

With cameras being able to capture images whose resolution far exceeds that required for most applications, and raster graphics editors, including RAW converters, now being capable of perspective correction at (subscription models excepted, God forbid!) a perpetual license price of less than what a tilt shift lens would cost, do we still need tilt-shift lenses? What do you think?