A Lens Panorama

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Just a quick post. Got the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART yesterday and realized that it’s one big lens. As is the Zeiss Otus, of course. So, I thought, I’d line up some of the 50mm (equivalents) I have in the house and I got this panorama.

Featuring from left to right is the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART, the Sony FE 55mm f/1.8, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4, the Zeiss Planar 50mm f/1.4 ZE, the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 and the Leica Leitz Elmar 5cm f/3.5 collapsible lens.

They’re all good to excellent lenses. They’re all doing the job.

But look at this:

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That big one is of course much sharper and can focus much closer and delivers much better quality overall.

But a lens like the little one above took this:

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Henri Cartier-Bresson – Behind Gare Saint-Lazare

That’s all I got to say.

Sony Joins Nikon, Canon in Product Rollouts with Intriguing RX100 III

sony-rx100It has been a week with lots of product announcements, something which normally happens just before a big trade show. I might have missed the show, but I got the announcements. Initially, I was going to write about the news from earlier this week, but I decided against it since all these products were either not of that much interest to me personally or were out of my financial reach.

But then Sony threw a curveball with the new RX 100 III. I’ve been intrigued by the RX 100 for a long time, since others write with rapture about it as one of the best – or the best – pocketable quality camera out there. But I don’t do cameras without viewfinders, unless they serve a very special purpose (I have a waterproof Pentax without a viewfinder). They don’t work for me, so I never seriously considered buying or even renting the RX 100 I or II.

The III has a pop-up EVF, which is apparently pretty decent and which has a diopter adjustment, another biggie at my middle age. If the image quality of this camera is as good or better than its predecessors it should be a sweet package. Another nicety on this camera is a fast 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens. [Read more…]

Should You Buy a Leica T ?

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Leica this morning announced its rumored Leica T. At the same time, several Leica beta-testers and Leica-oriented bloggers published their reviews.

Very quickly: the T is a 16-megapixel, APS-C mirrorless – but not a rangefinder – camera with AF, a new lens mount and two new lenses available at launch. It costs $1,850. The lenses are a 23mm f/2 prime (35mm equivalent) at $1,950 and a 16-56mm f3.5-5.6 at $1,750.

Being devoid of Leica – or any other brand – love and lacking an enormous audience, I have not seen or stroked this new masterpiece. What I have done, my dear reader, is read a bunch of those reviews and come to some quick conclusions. [Read more…]

Sigma Sets Price of 50mm f/1.4 ART at $949

Sigma today set the price for its long-awaited 50mm f/1.4 ART lens at $949 with availability at the end of the month in the United States. Early tests apparently showed that the lens outdoes the outstanding Sigma 35mm ART and comes close to the $4,000 Zeiss Otus.

My stars must be aligned right, because Zeiss has promised me an Otus loaner for later this month and I’ve pre-ordered the Sigma, so I’ll have the opportunity to have the two do battle on my Canon 5D Mark III and Sony A7R (I sold my Nikon D800e).

It’s interesting how the best normal lenses now are apparently those produced by third parties instead of the camera manufactureres themselves. How come it looks as if they’re dropping the ball when it comes to matching their lens line to the progress they’re making with their sensors?

If you’re interested in the Sigma, here are the B&H links:

50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Lens for Canon EF

50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Lens for Nikon F

Fujifilm X-T1 Review; Bit of Sony A7R & Olympus E-M1 Thrown In

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On my desk, between the keyboard and my monitors are three goodies: the Fujifilm X-T1, the Sony A7R and the Olympus OM-D E-M1. Take the best of each, combine that and you’ll get the near-perfect camera. Fat chance of that happening, so I’ll forget that thought and focus mostly on the newest of the bunch, the Fuji.

I’ve been shooting with it only for a little over a week and only with one lens, the 35mm f/1.4. They’re both rentals. I picked the 35mm lens because it has a good reputation and because I have equivalent lenses for my Sony and my Olympus, so I could make some fair comparisons. More about that later.

I was really looking forward to the Fuji. It just looks right for a guy like me, who grew up with cameras that had dials for stuff that was important. Dials that meant something. More importantly, dials that did only ONE thing. In modern cameras, one dial can have multiple functions and you have to remember all of them.

So the Fuji looked right. The right size, the right color (I’m a big fan of black), the right dials, even some lenses with real aperture rings. Awesome. This looked like a camera I had been waiting for. [Read more…]