What a weekend. Sore arms and shoulders and my eyes are still recovering from the sun glare off the water, this weekend found a large, North American regatta fall into our backyard. As a sponsor of the regatta (representing two sponsoring companies) I was able to talk my way onto a customer and friend’s chase boat. Of course, it provided me an opportunity to rent one of Canon’s super tele monster lenses, so that’s what I did.
C’mon in to see some shots and read my thoughts on the EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM lens…
Stabilization. A term that, before a handful of years ago meant “tripod,” or physical bracing technique, has grown to provide various hardware solutions within our camera system of choice. We as consumers have been lucky to have stabilization options within most all digital camera systems, and while image stabilization isn’t going to remedy all problems, it is certainly a nice feature to have.
I’m awaiting a new Panasonic GX8 to arrive within the next couple weeks which will boast a new, dual IS system incorporating both an on sensor IS and lens based IS solution, but before that time, I wanted to really see how the first full frame, 5 axis on sensor/in body image stabilization (IBIS) system from Sony compares to a very good lens based image stabilization (IS) system in the Canon EF lenses, and a better than often credited 2 axis IBIS system from Panasonic’s first foray into on sensor stabilization, in the GX7.
Come on in to see my three different comparisons between these three different offerings, and see if there is a clear winner.
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…
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…
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
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
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.