Gear hands-on review: Canon 135mm f/2 L

canon 135mm lens review THE VIEWFINDER

A lens I’ve been willing to try out for a while …the legendary tack sharp lens. After testing it I have to admit that it’s quite the lens, indeed tack sharp and fast focus. The lens is well build, has a large focusring and such a beautiful front element.

Still, after using it I have my doubts of the usability of this lens. I mean, we’re talking about a 135mm lens which is perfect occasionally . Mostly it’ll be to narrow, so I me see myself changing lenses already.

Shooting wide open it shows a bit of vignetting but stopping it down to f5.6 it’s as good as gone.

I will try this lens some time on a shoot to really experience the usability of this lens. I’m honestly curious how it performs.

Have you shot with this lens? What do you think?

Gear: Camera for serious vloggers… DJI Osmo

DJI OSMO review 1 - THE VIEWFINDER

Nowadays almost everyone who´s active on the web is a vlogger …I mean, I think there are more vloggers than bloggers out there right? Now there is an amazing camera for vloggers, one that’s small yet provides the best quality possible: DJI Osmo.

I had the pleasure of reviewing the DJI Osmo …a handheld stabilised video/photo camera. In short, it’s a great camera for people who like to take video while moving to create nice angle shots and a more cinema-look video.

DJI OSMO review 5 - THE VIEWFINDER

The nice thing of this camera are the controls, they make it possible to capture what´s happening all around you by easily moving the camera around with the joystick on the back. Taking pictures instantly is also possible with a click of the button and for a selfie moment you click twice and the camera will turn towards you so you´ll be in the picture yourself.

DJI OSMO review 3 - THE VIEWFINDER

The Osmo has to connect with your smartphone so you can adjust the settings of the camera and also control it by touching the screen. This is a great camera and to be honest maybe a bit to good for vlogging alone. One downer is the battery which won´t last long and also the connection with your phone really drains your phone battery. Also the microphone is quite bad ..an external microphone is a must.

For the Dutchies out there, down below is the video review of the DJI Osmo which I did for Kamera Express.

(video and stills are property of Kamera Express)

Review: Lumix GX8

lumix gx8 review the viewfinder

I had the pleasure of reviewing the Lumix GX8, the successor of the GX7. I must say it’s quite a camera and I will tell you why.

(review video for Kamera Express, Dutch only)

Improvements
Firstly the key improvements are the new 20 MPX sensor, Venus Engine Image processor, 4K video and faster AF-system. For me  the most important improvements are the faster AF in both video and stills, the faster burst of 10 pics per second and the larger body/ grip.

Not only is this camera specs-wise better than the GX7, the whole handeling is better. Buttons are more logically placed and the camera reacts faster, which is essential on the streets.

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Option overload?
One downside of this camera, after only using it for this review, are the extensive options. I’m quite basic when using a camera, so I immediately noticed lots if options I normally don’t need. So there were moments I had to search for a specifik setting. This is a personal  thing maybe, these extensive options quite be practical for another person.

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In short
This camera has quite a large sensor so expect to see good quality photos, nice shallow depth and good low light performance. A small body(compared to reflex bodies) and especially awesome small build lenses with great performance. Luckily the GX8 has still kind of the same body as the GX7, so perfect for street photography thanks to its retro rangefinder look.

 

 

Gear: Red Rings ….Canon 85mm f1.2 L II

canon 50mm f1.2

Here’s a small share about the legendary, Canon 85mm f1.2 L II lens. I decided to mount it on my DSLR for a few minutes and it was a nice experience. The barrel alone is quite a thing ….it is bulky but that’s because of all the glass elements within it.

In short …
I only got it mounted for a few minutes so there’s no deep review here. What I can say is that the lens performs good, but not good enough looking at the price tag. The photos show a lot of color fringing, nevertheless it does a good job at minimizing the vignetting at f1.2. The lens itself it heavy of course, but the worst thing is the slow focus. If I had owned this lens it would probably fill a empty space on my shelf because on the streets I need fast focus and less weight. But hey …it would be a pretty thing standing on my shelf 😉

Gear: Highly spoken of ..Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art

sigma 50mm art - copyright THE VIEWFINDER-0109

“..a piece of art.”

Before I get into this nice piece of glas,  let’s answer some of the common general questions I get: Why Sigma? Aren’t they just a cheaper imitation of the Canon lenses?

I get why people sometime ask me these questions, because yes Sigma used to produce cheaper versions of Canon lenses (also other brands). So several years ago one bought a Sigma lens to get a more affordable lens with almost the same quality. But that’s in the past now! Sigma launched their ‘Art’ series lenses, which aren’t only better in performance but some are even more expensive than the Canon lenses. Now when you decide to purchase an Art lens of Sigma you want to get the best in performance and build quality.

Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art
One of the most spoken Art lens is the 50mm f1.4, which seems to be even better than both the 50mm f1.4 and f1.2 of Canon. That’s why I decided to test this nice piece of glass.

This new lens is perfect for portrait and wedding photography. It’s great to see Sigma making such professional lenses. Thanks to the f1.4 the depth of fields is shallow and good for isolating the subject.

Build
The 50mm lens is well designed and solidly build, as expected of an Art lens. I like the simplicity of its design and the large focus ring. There’s only a MF/AF switch on the barrel and of course the nice shiny ‘A’ logo. The weight and size of this lens is too much for me …walking the streets with this lens would be quite uncomfortable with a tired wrist at the end of the day. When comparing this lens to my Canon 50mm f1.8 II the Sigma really is large, heavy and professionally build.

Performance
When looking at it’s performance it does the job. The photos are sharp, shot fully open at f1.4 the centre is sharp but unfortunately it shows quite some vignetting. Closing the aperture to f2.8 makes the vignetting disappear and the photograph more useful, for me that is. When doing studio work, this lens could be your choice.

Conclusion
Yes, Sigma made one piece of ‘art’. The quality it delivers is good and the build is professional.  No doubt about it. If you need a lens that gives the best quality, the Sigma Art is the lens of choice. It may be heavy and large, but that’s needed to get the quality and light sensitivity. I already got the 24-105mm Art lens for most my shoots, which works perfect. The 50mm Art a nice lens for a shoot, wedding and especially studio work. For me I’d rather mount my Canon 50mm when hitting the streets, it’s smaller, lighter and also gets the job done (with less quality). On the streets it’s not only the quality that matters, the more practical use of the lens is more important in my honest opinion.

Gear: My beloved X100 …reborn (after firmware update)

The Fujifilm X100 …still the best looking digital camera out there. I have this piece of awesomeness for quite a while now but never spend time for upgrading its firmware. Now, as I plan on using it more frequently I decided to upgrade the firmware with great results.

Speed

I have to be honest that it really is an improving …the autofocus is really fast now. Feels the same as the X100s (the second generation X100). This way the chance of missing a shot is getting smaller. Also the startup time (from off to on) is faster, which is so nice because I unfortunately missed some shots in the past due to the slow startup time.

Old school manual

Before shooting with the X100 and Canon DSLR I shot with the Olympus OM10 and several Rangefinders. I like focusing manually …it feels like you’re really making the photograph instead of relying on the autofocus doing its job. With the manual focus you can easily focus while framing your shot …something not easily done with the digital cameras nowadays.

Now the X100 firmware update improved the manual focus-ring (by wire) and added the great focus peaking feature, so manual focus has become useful now.

I plan on shooting more ‘on the go’ with this camera, because this one is some compact and easy to take with …this makes it even more possible to get those impulsive street shots with a wider angle (35mm).

Gear review: Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro IS

canon 100mm f2.8L review lens gear | ©THE VIEWFINDER-8042 title

This lens review was about to happen right? First it was the lower budget Canon 100mm f2.8 and now it’s time to review the high-end L-version of Canon. And after testing this lens I truly had trouble bringing it back to my partner Camex, who make my gear reviews possible.

This isn’t a lens which pops up in your mind when doing street photography, because it’s a macro lens. However the macro function can be very convenient, because you can shoot up close and gives you great details.

(Click for larger image)

I shot with it and it’s great ….yeah also a bit expensive and chunky. This lens delivers good portrait shots and Continue reading “Gear review: Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro IS”

Lens review: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro USM

canon 100mm macro lens review gear | ©THE VIEWFINDER-7938 title

“…see how it performs on the streets.”

You probably asking yourself why testing this macro lens? You don’t even shoot flowers or insects?! ….Well, that totally correct. Still it’s a nice lens and definitely one to consider. This lens, with its macro capability, is the perfect portrait lens. Especially to take shots real close to get nice face of clothing detail shots.

So I took this Canon 100mm f2.8 macro USM (made possible by my partner Camex)with me to see how it performs on the streets. Luckily I spotted this woman who was willing to pose for me as I was testing this lens. I took a nice full-body shot and also a macro shot of the Channel logo of her handbag (see below). Continue reading “Lens review: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro USM”