All posts by Phillip Reeve

I like to be outside with my camera and I am also a gear head with a love for manual lenses.

Review: Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE – Small lens, big compromise

In my review of the  Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE I tell you why I think that Samyang has made a few compromises too many in order to keep it small.

2.1.2019 update: Conclusion rewritten and CV 3.5/21 added to alternatives.

Sample Images

Most images in this review can be found in full resolution here.


Continue reading Review: Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE – Small lens, big compromise

9 golden rules to buy the wrong lens

Usually we try to give you good advice. In this article we do our best to give you bad advice. So here are 9 golden rules to make sure that you buy the wrong lens.

1. Sharpness is all that matters

You should discard any but the very sharpest lenses and put the sharpness high above any other aspects. Only inspecting your über-large prints with a loupe will impress your neighbor more than the super heavy $5000 lens you took that picture with.

2. Buy Bob’s favorite lens

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The Team’s favorite lenses – May 2018 Edition

Half a year has passed and much has changed, not only in our camera bags. This is our second “Team’s Favourites” since David from Australia joined us. How time flies!

David’s favorites

In deciding what to mention this time, I have gone partly by usage. The ones that have made the most pictures I like since last time, for whatever reason. And where there’s a tie, I’ll favour something I didn’t list last time to provide more variety for you! So don’t think that I don’t still love the three lenses in last year’s edition!

Voigtländer Nokton 1.2/40

This is a lens with a slightly mixed reputation. Many people are raving about it: the best standard lens you can get. Others are complaining about some issues (axial colour, field curvature, focus shift as you stop down) and don’t like it at all. I love the lens, but it’s unrealistic to imagine that an f1.2 lens of this size – tiny by f1.2 standards – could be flawless. It would be bigger than an Otus if were! After all Otuses are only f1.4.

So what do you get? Excellent performance stopped down, with lovely sunstars and good contrast and flare resistance (the last amazing given it’s f1.2). You get decent central performance wide open at distances more than a metre or so, much better than classic f1.2 lenses. You get the thinnest available DOF for a lens of this angle of view: which is very nice, because it’s a focal length which repays thin DOF in images, and one where it’s hard to achieve thin DOF technically. So you get multiple lenses in one. If you can be bothered using a two element achromatic close up lens, you can massively enhance the wide open close distance quality. You need to focus at f4 for f4 and smaller apertures, and you need to pay a bit of attention to field curvature.You also need to watch out for situations in which the corner bokeh can get a little nervous  (but in many situations the bokeh is glorious). But if you are happy with all that, you get an wonderful lens, capable of many different and interesting looks.

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Long-term Review: Minolta MC Rokkor 1:1.2 58mm

The Minolta MC 1.2/58 is probably Minolta’s most famous lens and a personal favorite of mine. In this in-depth review I have a close look at the Minolta’s qualities and also at its weaknesses.

Image Samples

You can find most images shown in the review in full resolution in this Minolta MC 1.2/58 flickr album.

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