My long standing relationship with Lensbaby as a fan, and friend has rewarded me again with the ability to use and review the Burnside 35mm f/2.8 dual aperture lens. I was asked to play around with the new Burnside 35, but as is always the case here, all my opinions are purely that. Mine. I don’t get paid (unfortunately) to do this, nor was it required that I write up a fluff piece, so while I do have a soft spot for the local, independent Portland based company, I’m also in no way contractually required to like their stuff. As you’ll read, I don’t hold back criticism where I see fit. Lensbaby tends to get the online readers divided based on perception that cameras and lenses need to test off the charts in all ways, and anything that isn’t trying to accomplish that should be burned at the stake. If that’s what you’re after, feel free to argue scientific test charts somewhere else, also, I feel a little sorry that the joy of photography has seemingly evaporated in your life, assuming it was ever there to begin with. I’m not saying you need to like the weird, wild and quirky, but you certainly don’t need to piss in the cereal of those who enjoy creating different effects in camera. The true beauty of free will is just that. We all get to decide what we like, and I often like in camera effects. …okay, are all the curmudgeony troll pessimist chart nazis grumpy enough to have clicked away? Good.
Camera tech is a fascinating thing. What will companies provide us as customers, in hopes of luring us into their systems? I mentioned in my previous article that I’d been awaiting announcements on the update to Sony’s full frame mirrorless cameras before deciding on my own upgrade path, and chose to jump on the discounted a7RII deal as an update to my longstanding a7II.
My main interests were gaining an upgrade to image file quality in resolution, dynamic range and then overall performance upticks on the hardware side of things.
After a few months with the R, here is what I’ve found out…
It has been a pretty long time since I’ve purchased a new camera body, which is somewhat surprising to me considering the amount of rambling on about gear I do around here. I’ve pretty much abandoned the idea of upgrading my Canon full frame body as they’ve been so far behind the curve for me in offering a realistic upgrade in spec and performance for the ever increasing cost, that I’ve just decided to hold onto my legendarily ancient 5DmkII as a full frame backup. The 5DmkIII and mkIV are both solid cameras. I just never saw the asking price as justified when my 5DmkII still compared favorably, spec wise for my shooting. When investing in a new camera body, (which hopefully is never out of physical necessity) I want something new, or seriously upgraded to provide me with a new tool, not just an expensive, shiny version of what I’ve already got. I’ve long been waiting for a new Panasonic GXx model to be announced, as well as waiting to see what Sony would do with an a7III. When Sony recently announced the new a7RIII (see here at B&H), I realized I’d be waiting for a while longer yet to see what they’d be offering in their more budget friendly a7 series upgrade, and seeing what they’re doing to the “R” line, it seems a fairly linear upgrade mostly geared to speed and video, neither of which I’m horribly in need of upgrading. Don’t get me wrong, I think the proposed claim of 15 stops of dynamic range and the ability to shoot 10fps with AF and AE capabilities at 42mp is certainly notable, it’s just a hard sell for me, considering it’s going to be launched for nearly a thousand dollars more than its predecessor is going for with the current rebates. (I can use that near grand toward a GX9 *cough* c’mon Panasonic *cough*)
Be warned, this article is merely me justifying my purchase to myself. It may read as if I’m a little crazy, talking in sporadic, half baked thoughts as I convince myself of this purchase. It’s a good exercise I find, and one that through it, may benefit others who may be in a similar position, so I hope it will aid any of us looking at the recent Sony fire sale in that way.
This led me to the new rebates on the a7RII, which has, since its launch long been (literally, it’s almost 2.5 years old!) one of, and for a long while THE highest performing sensor on the market, only recently displaced by the new Nikon D850 sensor, which was then quickly usurped by the new medium format Hasselblad X1D-50c sensor which may even be leapfrogged by the new a7RIII once all the testing is done. That’s saying something considering that many other full frame (and Medium Format!) cameras have been released in that time frame. I’ve been both a fan and critic of my Sony a7II over the last few years, and if you’re a Sony fanboy and new to this site, be warned as I will have some constructively critical things to say, but I’ve decided to stick with them for at least one more (personal) upgrade cycle, and here’s why…
We’ve heard whispers of the Sony FE 16-35mm GM lens bandied about, and perhaps those in the know have also been hearing about an even wider option, but the FE 12-24 f/4 lens just caught me by surprise!
While pre-orders won’t be taken until this Friday, you can submit to have an email alert once they are available via these links which you can see more about these lenses, their specs and will take you directly to B&H:
B&H lists the specs of the 16-35 f/2.8 lens as follows:
- E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
- Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
- Two Extra-Low Dispersion Elements
- Three Aspherical and Two XA Elements
- Nano AR and Fluorine Coatings
- Two Direct Drive SSM AF Groups
- Focus Hold Button, AF/MF Switch
- Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
- Eleven-Blade Circular Diaphragm
…And the 12-24 f/4 lens is listed at B&H as such:
- E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
- Aperture Range: f/2 to f/22
- Four Aspherical Elements
- One Super ED and Three ED Elements
- Nano AR Coating
- Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave Motor
- Focus Hold Button, AF/MF Switch
- Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
- Seven-Bladed Rounded Diaphragm
Obviously, the B&H site has mis-listed the max aperture on the 12-24, but both of these lenses look really, really good on paper. How they test out optically is yet to be seen, but I’d imagine it won’t take long for us to get many comprehensive reviews very soon. These are going to be two popular lenses.
The 16-35 looks very nice, and I’m sure will be an extremely popular UWA zoom for pro use, the price is very high in my opinion. Reminds me of the Canon debate between their EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L and EF 17-40mm f/4 L lenses where the extra stop costs nearly twice as much. For me personally, I use an ultra wide zoom for interiors and landscapes which usually see me stop down to f/8- f/11 or so, and will be shot on a tripod. That made the decision for me an easy one. I see a similar situation here with Sony’s offerings. The 12-24mm lens looks pretty damn intriguing, and while the price is still very steep, by comparison to the 16-35, for my UWA use, I’d be opting for the wider, slower zoom myself, assuming these both test well optically.
Both are dust and moisture resistant meaning they should do well to hold up in inclement weather for outdoor shooting, as we should expect for lenses like these, targeted and priced for professional use.
Anyhoo, keep an eye out for these bad boys. Should go some way in helping round out Sony’s full frame lens game for those serious, and deep pocketed shooters.
Cheers, and happy shooting,
Well hi there! Been a while. Yes, I’ve been focused largely on launching the Nauti Straps stuff (utterly shameless plug, of which it will not be the last, surely) which has been going smashingly thus far, so thank you to everyone who’s supported me in that venture. That said and done, I’ve been long wanting to compare these two premier portrait focal length prime lenses for the two formats I shoot in concert in the Sony FE and micro 4/3 systems.
Enter the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar FE mount lens for Sony E mount cameras, and the Panasonic Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 DG Nocticron lens for micro 4/3 system shooters.
C’mon in for comparisons, pixel peeping galore and my thoughts as someone who has been shooting these two lenses for the better part of the last year.
(*this article was originally written for, and appeared on the Alien Skin blog, by me, HERE.)
Put out your torches, and put down your pitchforks. I love film. I shoot film, and have a freezer and fridge full of it from 35mm Kodak Gold and Ilford Delta, to 120 Tri X and Portra 160 NC. The question I’ve struggled with though, is why? Why do I still shoot film? It’s expensive to process, ridiculously tedious to digitize and even with expensive drum scanning, still doesn’t reach the depth and range of modern digital files. Well, the answer for me has been nostalgia, the feel of the image, and the ability to take a step back, and focus on shooting in a more organic way that coincides with my initial falling in love with photography in the first place. A beautiful reality though, is that through software, and remarkable sensor technology, we can quickly and easily replicate the look of film if we want, taking care of one of those (my) criteria.
This post is not meant to be any more than a personal experiment in which I’ll look to answer this question for myself when using my go to digital solution when wanting to help analogize results within my digital reality and workflow because, while I may not need film, I sure do love to replicate the look and feel of it. C’mon in…
Sorry for my dirty, foul mouth. I’m just blown away by how much better my a7II and Canon EF lens setup has become overnight. Long overdue, the Sony a7II got the much ballyhooed Uncompressed 14 bit RAW update (as opposed to that weird 11/7 compressed stuff, which is still nicely, an option) along with the return of the on sensor Phase Detection AF to the a7, pro-sumer camera with third party lenses. Why they kept this out to begin with is beyond me, and really one of my gripes with the Sony approach as a whole, but now that it’s here, it is friggin’ amazing. It is like I have an entirely new camera. C’mon in for firmware update links, and a video comparison between the auto focus speed and performance from the original firmware on the a7II and Metabones mark IV adapter, and now that they’ve both very recently been updated…
What a weekend. Sore arms and shoulders and my eyes are still recovering from the sun glare off the water, this weekend found a large, North American regatta fall into our backyard. As a sponsor of the regatta (representing two sponsoring companies) I was able to talk my way onto a customer and friend’s chase boat. Of course, it provided me an opportunity to rent one of Canon’s super tele monster lenses, so that’s what I did.
C’mon in to see some shots and read my thoughts on the EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM lens…
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the newest lens in the Lensbaby family. The Velvet 56 offers a bit of a departure from what Lensbaby has been known by in that it has forgone the ability to selectively manipulate the plane of focus into a point or tangential plane, with most lenses offering the ability to be swapped into or out of one of their lens housing bodies like the Composer Pro, or Scout.
The new Velvet 56 is a solidly built, fixed focal length 56mm f/1.6 prime lens that has a different trick up its sleeve. In days of yore, many portrait photographers used lenses that would intentionally soften contrast and the overall image, aptly called “soft focus” lenses.
Enter the Velvet 56, and as its name suggests, it is as smooth as Barry White by candlelight. C’mon in for some sample shots and my thoughts…
I’ve been shooting with the Sony a7II full frame, 24 megapixel mirrorless camera for almost a month now, which has given me a bit of time to really get a feel for it. I don’t like to review cameras that I’ve not had the ability to fire off a few thousand shots with, so I’ve been using this camera almost exclusively since I got it, and now feel a bit better about praising and lambasting Sony on a few points. C’mon in for my initial thoughts, and a few performance based tests…