A roundup of what was new in lenses in 2019 and what to look forward to in the year ahead
Cameras get the headlines, but experienced photographers know it’s the quality of the lens that often makes or breaks a kit. That’s because lenses dictate everything from the sharpness of a photograph to the ability to shoot in low light at low ISOs with fast shutter speeds while handholding. In short, good glass will often make or break the shot.
With great new pro camera bodies hitting the market, it’s no surprise there were quite a number of intriguing professional lenses released in 2019
Whenever discussing a new lens, the tendency is to look at its focal length, or range, if it’s a zoom lens, and what its widest aperture is. You’ll often hear photographers discuss lenses in the following manner:
“What lens is that you’ve got on your camera?”
“Oh, it’s a 16-35mm.”
“Ahh, right. Is that the ƒ/4 or ƒ/2.8 version?”
A hands-on tests of five wide-angle zooms and primes
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S ultra-wide zoom lens (for its full-frame mirrorless camera system) provided very good edge-to-edge sharpness throughout the zoom range, from 14mm to 30mm. In this image, shot at the 30mm end of the zoom at ƒ/4.0, the lens provided a wonderful bokeh and blur behind the yellow rose in the foreground.
In our last issue,...
Sony’s short telephoto lens includes stunning optics and impressive technology
By Terry Sullivan
One of my test shots taken with the Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM US telephoto lens. With its close focusing distance and wide aperture, the new Sony 135mm lens allows you to produce almost macro-type shots of subjects. Photo by Terry Sullivan.
In the past 12 months (from July 2018 to July 2019), there have been about twice as many pro camera introductions...
The Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS lens is remarkable on many levels. First, it’s smaller and lighter than any that have come before. It’s silent, fast and very accurate when paired with the Sony a9 camera. But to stop there would be a mistake. It’s the longest and fastest full-frame, super-telephoto lens designed specifically for mirrorless technology,...
Third-party lens for Sony shooters provides great value for the money
Text & Photography By David Schloss
With the release of Tamron’s new 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD for the Sony full-frame mirrorless camera, the company joins a very limited group of manufacturers making native autofocus lenses for Sony’s FE mount. Effectively doubling the number of members by joining this club, Tamron joins Zeiss in developing full-function lenses specifically for the...
Sony’s trio of new 4K camcorders feature face detect autofocus—we put it to the test to see how it performs
By David Schloss
Sony’s trio of 4K camcorders are some of the first to feature face-detect autofocus. Whether you’re a still photographer or videographer, having a dedicated camcorder with autofocus in your bag is a huge bonus.
All three of the camcorders, from this consumer model we tested all the way up to the professional model, all feature the same sensor, image...
The company's new high-end glass gives shooters the images they've been craving.
When Olympus first challenged the conventional DSLR-based photographic market with the introduction of their first mirrorless camera, they steered clear of the traditional full-frame and APS-C-sized sensors and instead used their internally-developed Micro Four Thirds sensor. Smaller than either full-frame or APS-C, Micro Four Thirds sensors allowed...
A first look at the new lightweight, affordable super-zoom
Sigma’s new Contemporary 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM has just arrived, and I’ve been spending some time putting it through its paces at a media event in Utah’s Park City.
The new lens is, according to Sigma “a state-of-the-art telephoto zoom that brings a new level of portability and quality to the super telephoto market.” Sigma has called...
It’s only natural that a camera platform as new as the Sony’s a7 series would be perceived as being a little bit short on lenses. When the first a7 shipped—only a few years ago—you could count the number of lenses that designed for its full frame sensor on one hand. The rest of Sony’s lenses were designed for their smaller APS-C sensor equipped...
Designed to work in tandem with the Sony a7 series, the new Batis 25/2 and 85/1.8 optics deliver sharp image quality and vivid color
By David Schloss
Sony and Carl Zeiss have long had a strategic partnership—you’ll find the blue-and-white Zeiss badge on products ranging from the company’s compact cameras to Sony-designed lenses for the company’s flagship Alpha series. With the release of their first two Batis lenses, which are only available for the Sony E-mount (such as the a7R...
With reduced distortion, sharpness across the field of view and a generally comfortable working distance, the mid-range zooms are a preferred tool for fashion and beauty
By The Editors
Mid-range zoom lenses—those that go from moderate wide-angle to portrait telephoto—are versatile tools that can cover a wide range of subject matter. But they’re especially well suited to fashion/beauty/portraiture work, letting you frame from full body to tight headshot from distances that provide pleasing perspective. Note that with an APS-C...