*A weekend with the Canon EF 200-400 f/4 L IS USM zoom lens.

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM lens

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…

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*Lensbaby Velvet 56 for Micro 4/3 Review! w/ @SeeInANewWay


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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…

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*Sony a7II, a game changer? My take on Sony’s newest FF cam, a user review.

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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…

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*Welcome the newest member of the TRP family, the Sony A7mk2.

Sony Alpha 7 mark 2

Well, I’ve pulled the trigger.  This is the first Sony camera that I have personally owned, although I’ve tested others, and shot with cameras that also use a Sony sensor, so it is a bit of a thing for me.  In the coming weeks I’ll be posting on my thoughts, findings, results and comparisons with this new intriguing mirrorless full frame camera.  For now, come on in to see the unboxing and read a few of my initial thoughts on the camera…

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*Voigtländer Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 review… dayum.

Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 lens review

Would it sound ironic if I were to mention the speed, and slowed hinderance of manual focus as the two best qualities that this lens can provide a photographer?  Let’s be honest, there are not many lenses in existence that offer this large a maximum aperture for any system, anywhere.  Certainly not very many that come in at under a thousand bucks, but this is the case for the micro 4/3 mount, Voigtländer Nokton series.  Yes, this 42.5mm (85mm equivalent field of view) lens is joined by a soon to be 10.5mm f/0.95 (21mm e-fov), a killer 17.5mm f/0.95 (35mm e-fov) and a 25mm f/0.95 (50mm e-fov) to create a set of super fast, Nokton wonder lenses.

I have been using the also stellar Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens of late, and before I took off on a recent trip, knowing I’d be doing a vast majority of my shooting in the darker hours, I felt the one thing I was really lacking, was a really fast lens.  A remarkably solid and well built hunk of metal and glass, this 85mm equivalent lens has been calling me ever since it was announced.  Well, I decided that I’d benefit more fully from a really fast portrait focal length over the long run, and would gain a good amount of latitude while handholding it combined with the IBIS in the GX7, so I bit.

C’mon in to see a few shots, and read my thoughts on this optical marvel.

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*Canon EF 55mm f/1.2?

Canon EF 55mm f/1.2

Nope, not a typo.  I have, in my possession a Canon 55mm f/1.2 lens with an EF mount.  How?  Well, many of you may know of Ed Mica, an engineer with a passion for photographic lenses, and lens mounts more specifically.  He has worked to provide many mount conversion kits for older FD lenses, converting them to a more modern EF mount and while Ed has had a conversion mount for the FL 55mm f/1.2, I’d been waiting for an FD 55mm f/1.2 SSC conversion since I’d first heard about Ed’s products a couple years back.  Now, he has a conversion mount for many different FD, FL and FDn lenses including my lovely 55mm.  Not only do I now have an ultra fast semi-standard lens for my full frame Canon cameras, I also need to keep one less micro 4/3 adapter around which turns this lens into a 110mm equivalent lens capable of absorbing light in the near darkness for both formats…  Examples and test shots on the other side…

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*Another set of this guy’s opinions, or Mirrorless Lens buying guide!

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As requested from the camera body shopping guide post (thanks Tim and Chris), here are my opinions on the best lenses for the various mirrorless systems.  Keep in mind that I have not shot extensively with all of these lenses, or at least, many of the lenses for systems that aren’t the micro 4/3 system aside from the tire kicking in stores or when getting the chance to shoot friend’s gear, so my opinion is based on minimal use combined with personal intrigue and web based research.  Because I don’t own an X series or Alpha E (NEX, etc) camera body, I have not been able to access many of the lenses on offer for any period of time, but there are a few I have, as well as those that I would certainly look long and hard at if I was invested in these systems.  As for the micro 4/3 lenses, I have those down pretty well.  C’mon in and I’ll lay out my faves…

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