2018 DIYP Gift Guide – Lenses

Dec 4, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

2018 DIYP Gift Guide – Lenses

Dec 4, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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In this part of our 2019 seasonal gift guides, we’re moving on from cameras to focus on lenses. There have been some great ones released over the last year. And there have also been one or two unusual ones. Here are some of our favourites.

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 Art (Amazon / B&H) – $1,599

Available in Nikon F, Canon EF, Sony E and Sigma SA mounts, this has to be the stand out lens of the year for me. I had the opportunity to check one out shortly before they were released and it allows you to produce some wonderful images. Check out my first impressions of the lens, as well as how we shot that floating image with Sigma ambassador Paul Monaghan.

Laowa 24mm f/14 Probe (Amazon / B&H) – $1,499

This is an absolutely ridiculous lens. The hype building for this one’s been a couple of years in the making, but now it’s finally real. It’s available to pre-order for Canon EF, Sony E, Nikon F, Pentax K and PL mounts and ships during November. Yes, it’s weird, but it’s a truly unique lens designed to help you really dig into those hard to reach places for close up macro photos.

Yongnuo 50mm f/1.4 (Amazon / B&H) – $169-175

Available for Nikon F and Canon EF mounts this is probably the cheapest 50mm f/1.4 lens on the market. And although it’s certainly not the best 50mm f/1.4 lens out there, but if you want to experiment with those “bokehlicious” portraits or shooting in super low light, you can’t beat this price.

Sigma Art Series Lenses for Sony E Mount (Amazon / B&H)

I’m including all of Sigma’s Sony E Mount Art series lenses here in one, because they’re all pretty fantastic. I’ve already spoken about the 105mm f/1.4 Art lens above specifically, but up until now, the rest of the Art series hasn’t really been a great option for Sony shooters. They’ve had to use EF mount lenses with the MC-11 or other adapters. Now, they’re all native, they’re here, and they’re worth checking out.

Moment Lenses (Amazon / B&H) – $90-120

Moment’s range of lenses for smartphones have become very popular since their initial release. There are currently four lenses in the lineup, ranging from $90-120 depending on which lens and where you buy it from. Moment’s selection of cases to attach the lenses to your phone has grown considerably, with options now available for various models of iPhone, Samsung and Google Pixel cameras.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 (B&H) – $1,299

This is another lens expected to start shipping this month, but is currently available for pre-order. The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF lens for Sony E mount. It sits between the 25mm f/2 and 85mm f/1.8 Zeiss Batis, giving a nice trio of lenses to have in your bag. It is by no means an inexpensive lens, but would you expect it to be, coming from Zeiss?

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 Sports (B&H) – $???

Even though this lens isn’t available yet, even to pre-order, I still think this one’s worth a place on this list. It’s a very long overdue lens, and the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 Sports series lens will probably be worth waiting for. It’ll be coming to Nikon F, Canon EF and Sigma SA mounts (sorry, Sony!), although a price and availability date has not yet been specified. If you can’t decide which lens you want for Christmas, it’s worth sticking a little something aside for this one.

Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 F (B&H) – $649

The Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 lens is Samyang’s first entry into the world of autofocus lenses for the Nikon F mount. For an autofocus lens of this focal length, the $649 price tag is very low, with the Sigma & Nikon alternatives coming in at $1,600 and $1,900 respectively.

Irix Dragonfly 150mm f/2.8 Macro (B&H) – $595

If Irix’s previous lenses are anything to go by, the new Irix Dragonfly 150mm f/2.8 Macro will be an exceptional lens. With a 150mm focal length, it’s a little longer than many macros you might be used to, but it should offer a great working distance for bugs, wedding or newborn detail shots, while still making for an excellent portrait lens. It’s available to pre-order in Nikon F, Canon EF and Pentax K mounts, although it doesn’t ship until December 26th.

We’ve posted our cameras gift guide already, but keep an eye out for the rest of our gift guides, covering lighting, bags and accessories.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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