Battle of some Portrait Primes. Full Frame vs m4/3, Zeiss vs Leica, let the pissing contest commence…

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Well hi there!  Been a while.  Yes, I’ve been focused largely on launching the Nauti Straps stuff (utterly shameless plug, of which it will not be the last, surely) which has been going smashingly thus far, so thank you to everyone who’s supported me in that venture.  That said and done, I’ve been long wanting to compare these two premier portrait focal length prime lenses for the two formats I shoot in concert in the Sony FE and micro 4/3 systems.  

Enter the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar FE mount lens for Sony E mount cameras, and the Panasonic Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 DG Nocticron lens for micro 4/3 system shooters.

C’mon in for comparisons, pixel peeping galore and my thoughts as someone who has been shooting these two lenses for the better part of the last year.

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*Get it off the screen! Beautiful print options via @DigitalSilver Imaging

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Remember that really cool feeling of camping out in the dark room, focusing and projecting your image onto photo sensitive paper?  Watching your creation materialize before your eyes in the developer as you lightly rocked the chemicals back and forth, only to see your final image come to life for the first time?  I do.  It’s what sparked my love affair with photography, and if you never got to experience that, I think you should try to find a local community college or community space that still has enlargers, and give it a try.  Now, fast forward… Do you remember me telling you about Digital Silver Imaging and their unique, digital silver gelatin printing process?  To quickly summarize, DSI (find them here) has a process that takes your digital files, and exposes them like a negative, onto photo sensitive paper, and develops them in photo chemistry producing a beautiful, museum quality, archival print.  The beauty and depth of a digital file, with the organic analog feeling of a silver gelatin print, is a very cool, very harmonious and nostalgic thing.  Well, I’ve been back in contact with those fine folks, and after some delightful conversation surrounding the next step in actual mounting of said beautiful prints, this is what came back to me…

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*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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*Wrap your subject in light, a 4 light, high key setup.

 

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I’ve been working through some lens reviews, and wanted to take a break from the technical, to share a lighting setup.  Portraiture wise, I tend to normally go in one of two directions, either very minimal, directional, moody light, or a sh*t ton of lights.  This setup is the latter.  Using 4 lights and a reflector, my goal for shooting with Trisha was to wrap her in light from every direction.  I knew I wanted to really showcase her beautiful blue eyes, and getting enough light into them meant lighting her from the front high and low. C’mon in for the setup.

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*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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