Nikon 1 Nikkor 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 VR & 18.5mm f/1.8 lens reviews: best performing lenses in the range


Nikon’s 1 series cameras adopts a smaller 1-inch type sensor which allows the firm to offer lenses that are substantially more compact than most rivals with mirrorless offerings.  In fact with the exception of the new 32mm f/1.2, the lenses are so small they actually lack focus rings. Manual focus is still possible, however, it’s just that control is made via the camera body.   The small sensor also accounts for the shorter than usual focal lengths on offer. The new $500 image stabilized 1 Nikkor 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 VR and $187 18.5mm f/1.8 have the equivalent angle of view in full-frame 35mm terms to a very useful 18-35mm and 50mm, respectively. read more

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm and 400mm f/2.8G ED VR lens reviews: legendary performers in the range


High-speed telephoto lenses like these two are designed to offer the very highest image quality but they’re somewhat pricey and restricted to specialist use. Where once the 300mm was the most popular, the 400mm is, arguably the most flexible in the range (especially when used with tele-converters with the aim of maintaining autofocus) and therefore the most sort after today. Both models share a number of similar features including three ED glass elements, Nano Crystal Coat and an ultrasonic type AF motor. Both models also feature the latest 4-stop VR II spec image stabilization and have prices to match. read more

Zeiss Otus 85mm f1.4 Apo Planar T* Canon ZE and Nikon ZF.2 mount lens reviews: World’s best performing 85mm portrait lens?


The original high-speed 55mm Zeiss Otus model garnered worldwide acclaim for its outstanding optical performance and impressive mechanical construction, but at a buck short of $4,000, perfection came at a price. Today, Zeiss has announced the second model in the range, a high-speed 85mm lens with similarly hefty price tag ($4,490) and equally promising performance. It has an unusually complex optical construction for a moderate telephoto comprising of 11 elements in total with no less than six of those made from anomalous dispersion glass (with characteristics similar to fluorite) for chromatic aberration suppression, one asphere to reduce distortion and a floating optical system to lessen spherical aberration at close range. Like the earlier model the new manual focus 85mm Otus adopts an equally uncompromising mechanical construction using an all-metal outer and a large rubberized focus ring with a long throw for precise focus and large high-visibility distance markings. Both Canon ZE and Nikon ZF.2 mount versions feature an electronic interface for full-aperture metering and exposure control. read more

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor lens 18-300mm f3.5-6.3G ED VR review: Accessibly priced option


Announced earlier in the year the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 G ED VR is a new lightweight and more accessibly priced version of the earlier DX 18-300mm f3.5-5.6 ED VR. With AF sensor capability unaffected by the slight reduction in maximum aperture from f5.6 to f6.3 substantial weight savings have been achieved. read more

Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM A Canon and Nikon mount lens reviews: good all-round performer


Sigma is reorganizing its lens range in to three product categories; Contemporary, Sports and Art, the latter of which this new model is a part of is reserved for its highest performing lenses.  With its angle of view equivalent to a 45mm on a full-frame 35mm camera, the 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM A has been substantially revised with a new optical construction of 9 elements in 8 groups (over the previous 7 elements in 7 groups), closer minimum focus distance of 30cm (down from 40cm) and 9 diaphragm blades as opposed to the earlier iteration’s 8 blades. New algorithms are said to improve the AF performance of the built-in ultrasonic type motor, while compatibility with the firm’s innovative USB Dock allows focus adjustment and updating of firmware. Lastly, a high quality outer shell and finish has been adopted in accordance with others in the Art line, but despite the improvements, the price remains the same as the older model at $499. read more

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm and 600mm f/4G ED VR lens reviews: legendary performers in the range

So what does all this mean to me and why did I bother writing a post on something we photographers should intuitively know by now? It’s evident that newer lenses produce better photos. It’s obvious but I believe we might sometimes loose just a little perspective with this’better’ scale.Take the vintage 43-86mm lens, recall this is reputed to be the’worst’ Nikon lens ever, this lens is older than many of its owners and to place it into perspective, 1 year earlier this lens came to market audio tapes were devised. That’s crazy, you would expect a lens that’s dubbed as the worst lens and made at a time prior to pocket calculators that it would be like shooting via a classic sock! It just isn’t. Yes it is soft, yes it is blurry at the edges, yes it moves in the highlights but it is still usable and frankly a shot taken with this lens and exhibited from the most common structure of our creation i.e. our telephones, nobody could ever know.Ok thus lets fast forward nearly half a century and compare what Nikon is up to now. The elderly 28-105mm lens that I’ve been using for over ten decades and taken literally tens of thousands of frames without incident, service or repair, how did these pictures compare? Pretty damn good in my view, yes its a’old’ lens but I have taken commercial jobs on it for my whole career. It has images have been in books, magazines, Adshels, posters and nearly every other printed media out there and I have never thought’oh that is a little soft/flat/distorted’. read more