*Micro 4/3 Portrait Lens Shoot Out! Leica Nocti vs Voigtländer Nokton vs Olympus

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Few systems can boast multiple, high quality portrait prime lenses.  Here I’m looking at three, very good lenses all in their own, respective rights.  Each, have their upside and for a given shooter, a very justifiable argument in favor of, over the others.

While there are two more proprietary portrait prime, focal length lenses with a micro 4/3 badge printed on them (the Leica 45mm f/2.8 macro and the new Lumix 42.5mm f/1.7) I have been able to justify buying all three of these for one reason or another over the last few years.  I must cull my quiver to make room (and provide budget) for new, fun things to review, so I need to decide which I’m going to hold onto.

C’mon in for some shots, and my thoughts…

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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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*Might be close to the last chance to grab a GX7 kit on super sale @adorama

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Currently, and while they last, Adorama is selling the GX7 with the 14-42 kit zoom for $547.99 which also includes a $50 Adorama Gift Card.  This might be the last cache of new GX7 kits as they make way for a replacement later on this year.

The GX7, while heading toward the sunset, and rumored to be replaced this Fall, is a killer camera.  It still has the current Panasonic sensor used in most every Panasonic camera from the last couple years, which is a great sensor, especially for RAW shooters like me.  If you’re looking for a good, all around body that incorporates IBIS, an integrated tilting EVF, WiFi, Focus Peaking, 1080p at 60fps, and a slew of other bells and whistles, this is a great deal.

You can find them via Adorama here:

Black GX7 + 14-42 kit with $50 Adorama Gift Card HERE

Silver GX7 + 14-42 kit with $50 Adorama Gift Card HERE

I’ve been a big fan of the GX7, and feel it has been the best overall, micro 4/3 camera yet… for me at least.  Great ergonomics, great features, direct external control for everything you need along with an intuitive and logical UI. It has a very good balance of size reduction while being very comfortable in the hand, even with larger optics, and I like mine very, very much.  

A great camera for a great price.

If interested in why I’ve grown to praise the GX7 quite as much as I have, you can read my personal reviews and comparisons via these following links:

GX7, an evolution Part 1

GX7, an evolution Part 2

GX7 vs EM5, round 1

GX7 vs EM5, round 2

GX7 vs EM5, round 3

Happy shooting, 

Tyson

*Lensbaby Announces the Popular Velvet 56 in various Mirrorless Mounts along with new lenses for the Fuji X mount!

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Now, I’ve yet to get my mitts on a Velvet 56 of my own, but I plan to, and I’ll review the crap out of it when I do :)  In the mean time, check out the announcement by Lensbaby today:


Lensbaby Announces Availability of Fuji X Mounts for Flagship Lenses 

   Company also adds popular mirrorless mounts for hugely successful Velvet 56 portrait lens

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*A Pana-Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 review – I never should have doubted you.

Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH OIS Lens Panasonic

Now, readers may remember a mere 6 months or so ago, I purchased the Voigtländer 42.5mm f/0.95 lens (see that review on a new page HERE) for my micro 4/3 system setup.  I’ve loved that lens, but since its announcement I’ve been curious about the Leica branded Nocticron, largely because I do really enjoy shooting two of the other Leica branded lenses for the system in the Summicron 15mm and 25mm models.  The asking price for this portrait lens was always high for my taste, which was why I opted for the Voigt to begin with (which isn’t cheap in its own right, but 2/3 the retail price of the Nocti).  Well, as luck would have it, an open box/like new Nocticron came up for sale at near the same price as the Voigtländer and my curiosity couldn’t be held back, and now I’m tasked with figuring out which one to hold onto.

Here are my initial impressions on this beautiful lens.

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*The Mighty Might, Panasonic GM1 on super sale

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Adorama has the Panasonic, micro 4/3 GM1 camera with 12-32mm pancake zoom for $598 which comes with a $200 Adorama Gift Card, dropping the price for the camera and lens to an effective $398!  The lens itself retails for $348, and while that may be a little steep for the lens itself, it is a true 24mm e-fov wide angle lens that is sharper than many of the comparable prime lenses for the system at like aperture, across this zoom lens’ range.  While the asking price for the lens itself might be debatable, the quality and sheer minuscule footprint cannot be.  Sure that $200 gift card is only valid at Adorama, but if you’re like me, you’ll find a way to eventually spend two hundred bucks on something there.

That’s a pretty sweet deal for this little powerhouse of a camera and lens that I feel is the best kit lens I’ve used for the system.  

You can see the deal, currently running at Adorama via my affiliate links below:

GM1 (Blue) with 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens (Silver) + $200 Adorama Gift Card HERE 

GM1 (Orange) with 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens (Silver) + $200 Adorama Gift Card HERE

If you’d like, you can read my thoughts on the GM1 HERE and the 12-32mm Kit Lens HERE.

I bought my GM1 as soon as it was available, and it has been with me every day since, literally.  With the right lenses, this camera is pocketable and is small enough to go anywhere.  It has the same sensor as the GX7, which is rumored to also be included in the soon to be announced G7, which is a great performing sensor, especially for RAW file capture, and in my test/review, out performed the Sony sensor in the Olympus OMD EM5 in most every way.  The GM5 is essentially the same exact camera with a hot shoe and an EVF.  Both great additions, but for this price, I think it would be hard to find a better overall value of size, performance and build quality offered with the GM1.  It’s a great little machine, and by little, I mean tiny.

You can stay posted on reviews, tutorials and deals by finding me on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram or if you prefer to receive email alerts when articles are posted, feel free to add your email address at the top right of the page here.  

Happy shooting.

Tyson

*Lens by lens on the Sony a7II…

lens by lens on the sony a7ii This is purely a personal journey here.  A little retrospective look back at the last couple months to see what I’ve been getting out of the new Sony a7II  (Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera -Body Only- at B&H HERE).  I tend to spend a lot of time looking at specific things in regard to a lens or camera for the blog here, and I figured I’d compile a few shots from the combination of lenses I’ve been using.  I have mostly used my Canon EF mount lenses via the Metabones adapter (review on that HERE), but have recently acquired the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 because I felt the camera deserved to also be shot with a high quality native mount lens, plus I was curious to see how it handled this new, crazy feature all the kids talk about in auto focus. Click any image below to see a larger version, and let me know your thoughts in the comments. Less talk, more rock as it were.  Without further ado… Continue reading