Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4: Nice, but Niche

An earlier draft of this article ran to almost 1800 words. It’s always like that with gear that’s actually good but that doesn’t suit me. I go through draft after draft, trying to write away the ambivalence that has little to do with the gear and – almost – everything with me.

But it’s not about me, it’s about the gear. And Zeiss didn’t make this Otus for me, or for people like me.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in this lens. So, here’s the gist:

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Photographing Bald Eagles at the Conowingo Dam

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Once you fall for bird photography, the Conowingo Dam in Maryland beckons. The hydroelectric dam on the Susquehanna River is known to attract dozens of bald eagles in the fall. In their wake, an equal number of photographers and long, fast teles show up for an annual ritual of fishing, photographing and freezing.

The eagles, opportunists that they are, come for the fast food delivered to them courtesy of the Exelon Power Corporation which operates the dam several times a day, in the process stunning the fish that make the trip through the generators and making them easy prey for the big birds.

Like few other places, this predictable ritual allows photographers multiple spray-and-pray runs at fishing eagles and thus increases the chance for the money shot. One hour at Conowingo can deliver more payback than many freezing hours along the Hudson in mid-winter, as I can attest based on personal experience.

The season starts at the end of October and runs through the beginning of December, although there are always some eagles around. The height of the hunt is apparently around the Thanksgiving holiday. On weekends, the crowds of photographers, fishermen and onlookers do get large and parking space limited, but weekdays are manageable.

I was there at the end of October for two days and will return later this week for three days. I will write a detailed guide based on my experiences and talks with local shooters who have photographed here for years. For now, a few quick impressions and images.

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Zeiss Introduces Milvus Manual Focus DSLR Lens Line

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Shortly after the launch of its Batis lenses for the Sony full-frame E-mount, Carl Zeiss is rolling out yet another lens line, this time a series of manual focus lenses for Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras, called Milvus.

The Milvus series will initially consist of the following focal lengths:

  • 21mm f/2.8
  • 35mm f/2
  • 50mm f/1.4
  • 85mm f/1.4
  • 50mm f/2 Macro
  • 100mm f/2 Macro

Prices range from a little over $1,100 for the 35mm to $1,843 for the 21mm and the 100mm. They’re expected to ship mid-October.

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Kipon EOS – MFT AF Review: New Adapter Fails the Test

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Excitement quickly replaced disappointment a few days ago as I tested the eagerly anticipated Kipon EOS to Micro Four Thirds adapter that promised us fast autofocus performance with Canon lenses on MFT cameras.

I had ordered my copy from China on eBay and got it in the mail Saturday morning. A little later, I mounted my Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II via the adapter on my Olympus OM-D E-M1 and headed out to the Hudson to give it a shot. Since the MFT system has plenty of good short glass, what I really want is to be able to use Canon’s long lenses on my MFT cameras.

At first, things looked okay. Focus wasn’t stellar, but it was acceptable at 400mm with the camera set at single AF and the large or small center point used.

Weird

But quickly weird things started happening:

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Photographing the New York Dance Parade

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There are times I love, absolutely LOVE New York City. Saturday May 16th was such a day. The 9th Annual Dance Parade held that day combined some of the best things the City has to offer: spectacle, exuberance and international and cultural diversity. Add some colors and you’ve got a great photographic opportunity.

Consider this an evergreen article. It’s written after the parade, but hopefully helpful for photographers wondering what to keep in mind when shooting this parade and similar ones in the coming years. Next year, I’ll give a heads up before the parade actually happens.

The Route

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