Better and better: AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens review

July 2017 issue Tech

When it comes to camera lenses, fast and accurate matter, but usability is key. Nikon’s new AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR zoom lens is better than its predecessor in both regards. Still, is it worth the investment to upgrade? I’ll highlight a number of features and changes to help you evaluate the improvements and decide whether upgrading lenses makes sense for you.Even though Nikon didn’t label this lens the VR III, it’s the third generation of the VR 70-200mm lens. At 7.9... Continue Reading >

Product review: Sigma Sport camera lens is super glass

March 2017 issue Tech

Advances in the design of super-telephoto prime and zoom lenses mean that sports, wildlife, and bird photographers have never had a better selection of glass to choose from. Sigma Corp. released its 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports lens a year ago, and I was excited to receive it for review recently so I could compare its performance to that of the AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR and the AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II (“Big, Heavy, Awesome,” July 2015).Sigma Sports lenses are... Continue Reading >

One lens, two diaphrams

December 2016 issue Tech

Why would a lens have two diaphragms with one marked in f-stops and the other in T-stops? And what’s the difference?Whether it’s marked or not, every lens has a T-stop value. The formula used to calculate f-stop values is f-stop = focal length ÷ diameter. It treats the lens as a simple hollow tube and doesn’t account for the lens elements inside.A lens element’s shape and composition control the way it refracts and bends light, as do the groups in which elements are arranged, the... Continue Reading >

Velvety Smooth Trans Focus lens

December 2016 issue Tech

And now for something truly different: The Venus Optics Laowa 105mm f/2 Smooth Trans Focus Lens has two diaphragms, one marked in traditional f-stops and the other in T-stops. It differs from most modern lenses in its lack of mechanical and electrical connections between the camera body and lens, which means that not only is it manual focus, but the camera body and lens exchange no electronic information about aperture or focus distance settings. It even lacks automatic aperture return, the... Continue Reading >

New creative optics for mirrorless cameras

10.5.2016 News

Lensbaby has announced another new lens, the Trio 28, specifically designed for mirroless cameras to give the photographer three selective focus optics in one compact lens.By rotating a dial you can access Lensbaby’s most popular optical effects: Twist, Velvet, or Sweet. Twist gives you a large sharp central area of focus surrounded by twisty, swirling bokeh. Velvet has a sharp central area of focus with a delicate glow from edge-to-edge. Sweet creates a sharp central sweet spot of focus... Continue Reading >

Pushing the limits: Three new Nikkor lenses

8.31.2016 Tech

Back in my days as a newspaper photographer (film), the lens I most often carried on my Nikon was a manual-focus Nikkor 24mm f/2. It was compact, light, and delivered excellent image quality when stopped down to f/5.6. It was usable at maximum aperture.The new AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.8G ED is a far better lens in every way, albeit larger and heavier than my old one. Even so, it was the new AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens that I chose to use for the majority of my shooting as I reviewed the... Continue Reading >

Prime Performer: Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8

6.17.2016 Tech

The Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD lens produces images that are sharp enough for critical work yet simultaneously smooth. It handles flare and glare well, and as a portrait lens it compresses beautifully. The vibration compensation (VC) feature will  give you a perceptible advantage in lower light, keeping you out of higher ISO settings.With these performance gains, the Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 is longer, wider, and substantially heavier, takes a 67mm filter, and has a higher price point. The... Continue Reading >