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…
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.
Since purchasing the Olympus MC1.4x Teleconverter to couple with the Oly 40-150mm f/2.8 lens, I’ve been curious to see if the extra reach provided me by my Panasonic 100-300mm lens is really necessary. The 100-300 is a great lens in its own right, and for the price, provides an option that no other system can boast, so needless to say, I do think highly of it. That said, the 100-300 can soften up a bit on the long end (and to stop anyone who may suggest the Oly 75-300, I still feel the Lumix is the better overall lens and optically up to snuff, so, no) the question is, do I really get much from the extra reach?
Well, come on in for my findings and decision…
Choice is good, and unless it is an important, multiple choice test, the more choices, the better I feel. In this constantly growing camera system, we are continuing to get quality choices in the lens game. From semi-wide through standard focal lengths, the micro 4/3 system boasts quite a few options and those options are increasing.
So, with the recent addition of the new Panasonic Leica Summilux 15mm f/1.7 lens, it begs the question, why? With quite a few other comparable focal lengths in the lineup, why this lens? Panasonic has already provided two, pretty comparable, adequately performing focal lengths in this space. Come on in for a comparison between these three lenses to see which might be most deserving of your adoration and hard earned money.
Olympus continues to add to its Pro lens quiver with the M.Zuiko Digital 1.4x Teleconverter MC-14, available as a useful accessory to the 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro Zoom lens. Currently, the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens is the only lens that this teleconverter works with, but I’d assume that once we see the soon to be M.Zuiko 300mm f/4 PRO prime lens show up, that number will climb to two.
A teleconverter effectively multiplies the focal length of the lens it is coupled to, while decreasing the lens speed by one whole stop in the case of a 1.4x, or two stops when using a 2x tele converter (Oly, feel free to bust one of these guys out too!). In this case, it converts the 40-150mm f/2.8 lens into a 56-210mm f/4 optic which translates to an effective field of view in full frame terms of 112-420mm. Not a bad range, and one that for system users essentially turns the 40-150 (80-300mm e-fov) into two very useful lenses if we’re to look at it in Full Frame equivalency as a workhorse, studio portrait/event tele zoom akin to the various 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses as well as the more sport and light wildlife tele zooms of the world in the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 flavor, it begins to make a lot more sense as to why Olympus chose this range, as opposed to what would have been a more traditional 35-100mm (70-200mm) lens in the first place. Hmmmmm… Continue reading