@Lensbaby Twist 60, rebirth of a classic, quirky, beautiful optic w/@SeeInANewWay

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Lensbaby’s optical engineers have done it again.  After moving away from the toy camera replication type lenses into more complicatedly designed optics with lenses like the Sweet 35 and 50, Edge 50 and 80 and the Velvet 56, they’ve replicated the swirly vortex of the old Joseph Petzval designed optic from 174 years ago with this new Twist 60.  Don’t dismiss this lens as pure kitsch, as it is remarkably sharp where you’d want it for a portrait lens (middle frame) and while, wide open you’ll see some pretty severe vignetting to go along with the twirly bokeh, this adds to its charm and vintage qualities.  Portrait painters of yesteryear used many different brushes to create their renditions, and this can certainly be seen as a wonderfully specialized brush for the portrait photographer, along with those looking to add some fun to shots of any kind. 

While perhaps not an effect to suit everyone’s taste, it is one that has found a place for certain portrait and fine art photographers looking to add in camera effects to visibly differentiate their look.  With other companies seeing the value in chasing this corner of the market with lenses like the Kickstarter Petzval clone and the Trioplan Soap bokeh lenses that are looking to be launched on the market, it’s obvious that there is some demand for these newer versions of throwback optical designs.  The question though, is how much are photographers looking for these optical effects willing to pay?

Priced at a very modest $280 for the Twist 60 Lens (optic and non-tilting metal lens body housing) available in Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony E mount, or $180 for the optic solely, the Twist 60 is certainly worth a look.  You can find it at Adorama HERE, B&H HERE or directly through Lensbaby HERE.

C’mon in for more example shots, some technical mumbo jumbo and my thoughts on this lens…

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*GX8 Shutter Shock test. Mechanical and Electronic both with and without IBIS…

IMG_9722I had never, ever noticed any issue with shutter shock personally.  This goes for my experience with the GX8, the OMD EM5 years back that many claimed to have had issues, and any other camera I’ve owned and shot with.    This isn’t to say that my cameras didn’t suffer from this issue, I’m just saying that I’ve never noticed it.  That may be that I’ve not been a huge pixel peeper (except when doing these types of tests for these articles) or perhaps I’ve just been easily able to excuse any softness for whatever reason.

That said, I have received a few emails over the last couple months asking specifically about the shutter shock issue with the GX8 and so I thought it might be handy to run a test to satisfy my own curiosity, and better equip myself when attempting to answer these types of inquiries.  C’mon in to see the results…

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*ZY Optics, Zhong Yi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 lens for Micro 4/3 user review

ZY Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95

Small, sharp, fast, relatively light and comparably inexpensive.  All things I love in a lens.  ZY Optics has produced yet another ultra fast option for micro 4/3 shooters, but a first option available in a dedicated mount, faster than f/1.4, new for under $400. 

The question now stands, how does this fit in with all the other standard/normal lens offerings within the micro 4/3 landscape?  Well, more easily than you might think.  While not perfect, it definitely has enough going for it to justify a look.  C’mon in for my thoughts and some tests against the Pana-Leica 25mm f/1.4 Summilux…

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*Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art Lens on the Sony a7II and Canon 5DII, a user review w/ @adorama

 

Sigma Art EF 20mm f/1.4 Lens review

Happy new year! I’ve been having a wonderful holiday season, largely thanks to Adorama for lending me this beaut of a lens.  The Sigma Art 20mm f/1.4 is the widest, f/1.4 full frame lens, and is the newest addition to the much vaunted line of f/1.4 Sigma Art Primes available in Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sigma mounts.  In this article, we’ll explore a bit of the more measurable aspects as well as the more touchy, feely parts of interacting with this lens.  I shot this lens on both the Canon EOS 5D mkII and the Sony a7II via the EF>FE Metabones MkIV smart adapter, and it performed equally as solid on both cameras.  Is this a viable option for full frame system shooters for fast, ultra wide applications?  Well, seeing as there has never been a full frame compatible lens this wide, this fast, it’s forging new ground for many shooters, and that is pretty rare in this day and age.  C’mon in to see some example images and read my rambling thoughts…

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*The Panasonic Lumix GX8 vs GX7 showdown. How much of an upgrade is it, really? Well… w/ @LumixUSA

gx7 vs gx8

Well, my friends, I have been enjoying the comparison between these two great cameras, and in this article I would like to present my opinions and findings regarding how they directly compare to each other in regards to performance and file output, once and for all (for my purposes, anyway).  Here’s my disclaimer… I don’t work for Panasonic.  I’ve always researched and purchased my own gear, and do these tests in an attempt to help others like myself see what I wish that I could have seen in cases before buying stuff.  Enjoy and I hope this shows you something you’ve not yet seen.

I’ve been looking at the comparison from the angle of one who is curious about replacing my historically favorite micro 4/3 camera in the GX7, with it’s intended upgrade in the GX8.  I’ve now had the GX8 for a couple months and have shot a few thousand images with it, so I have been able to get a good feel for how it handles, performs and how the files look when digging into them.  With the GX8, Panasonic has given us an increase in size, resolution and features, which have all looked good on paper, and I’m now wanting to really see that come through in practice, which in most cases, it has.

Here is what I’ve seen, and what I’ve found…

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*Holy S#!† The new FW updates for the @Sony a7II and #Metabones EF smart adapter have created a monster.

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Sorry for my dirty, foul mouth. I’m just blown away by how much better my a7II and Canon EF lens setup has become overnight.  Long overdue, the Sony a7II got the much ballyhooed Uncompressed 14 bit RAW update (as opposed to that weird 11/7 compressed stuff, which is still nicely, an option) along with the return of the on sensor Phase Detection AF to the a7, pro-sumer camera with third party lenses.  Why they kept this out to begin with is beyond me, and really one of my gripes with the Sony approach as a whole, but now that it’s here, it is friggin’ amazing.  It is like I have an entirely new camera.  C’mon in for firmware update links, and a video comparison between the auto focus speed and performance from the original firmware on the a7II and Metabones mark IV adapter, and now that they’ve both very recently been updated…

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*Pana-Leica 15mm f/1.7 ASPH Lens on Sale!

leica 15mm on sale!

This little gem is on sale for $70 off right now.  I’m not normally a sale pumper unless it is for stuff I use, I like and I would recommend.  If you’ve been on the fence, or waiting for this lens to drop a little, here’s a great opportunity to save a good amount of money on a great little lens.

Find the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Aspherical lens on sale at Adorama HERE and B&H HERE.

If you’d like to see my review on the Leica 15mm, you can read that HERE.

Or, if you’d also like to read the head to head (to head) between the Leica 15, and the two Lumix Pancakes (14mm and 20mm) I did a comparison article HERE.

It is a great mate to any of the micro 4/3 cameras, especially the GM bodies, and is compact and lightweight enough to go largely unnoticed in the bag.  I’ve been shooting the 15mm on the new GX8 with its 20mp sensor providing great results for me.