For a few years now, I’ve had in my collection one very strange lens. I bought it primarily for it’s value as a collectible so, up until now, I haven’t really spent much time playing with it. Made in 1975, this manual focus Minolta MC Rokkor-X 40-80mm f/2.8 lens is one strange puppy. When it was first introduced, no other zoom lens could top its image quality and it really didn’t have much competition until more recent years. This is largely due to its very unique Gearbox design that sought to overcome the problem with zoom lenses that we still face today.
Modern cameras allow photographers to remove and change the lens fast, using only one hand. Unfortunately, it also makes it easier for thieves to steal the lenses directly off the camera. This is why photographer Rutger Geerling created Mark’s Lens Safe. It’s an accessory that protects the release button of your camera, making it impossible to remove the lens with one hand. He created it as an open source design for 3D printers, so everyone can download and print it for their camera.
Canon has just announced the upcoming release of the EF 35mm F1.4L II USM, an upgraded version of the wide-angle, L-series prime lens. Boasting features such as 14 optical elements and an improved water-resistant housing, the lens is also the first in the world to implement Canon’s new Blue Spectrum Refractive technology, significantly reducing chromatic aberrations in-camera.
“The new Canon-developed BR optical element offers characteristics that significantly refract blue light,” states Canon’s press release, “which lies within the short-wavelength range, to achieve impressive levels of chromatic aberration correction for outstanding imaging performance.” The BR technology essentially takes light from the blue wavelength spectrum, which has proven difficult to properly refract, works to better refract the light to a single focal point.
It’s been my experience that I enjoy working with things more when I create them myself. And, for the sake of argument, we’ll say you feel the same way, too. Which is why I can only imaging that you would enjoy photography that much more if you crafted your own gear.
Instructables user bertwert has been looking for an excuse to break out the duct tape and incorporate it into photography in a manner that didn’t result in the Mounties being called. Using a toilet paper roll, some old glass, and a little measuring, he was able to construct a usable homemade camera lens that yielded some hauntingly beautiful results.
With so many photography workshops around, I guess photographer Donald Giannatti felt there was a need to fill in the blanks for some beginners out there. Donald came up with a series of short tutorials on the basic skills needed from photographers such as How to open a camera bag (with a bonus about closing it too) and Lens Caps for Film Photography.
Donald hinted that many more tutorials will come on this series. (Hit the jump for teasers from his first three workshops)
Last week, Scott Kelby unleashed the wrath of the interwebs by daring to suggest that beginner lenses take beginner photos. A lot of the vitriol seemed to be coming from photographers who were married to their $2000 24-70 f/2.8 lenses. (I guess its like telling someone they have an ugly spouse). While Scott was very diplomatic about it, I am going to go out on a limb here and say it straight out: the 24-70 is a crap lens choice. And here’s why…
It’s that time of the year again, and with Photokina back in session comes the inevitable new gear announcements, as well as the rumors leading up to them. This time, the rumors are about a new and upcoming telephoto lens from Sigma. Made for their Sports line, the 150-600mm F/5.6-6.3 lens seems to be a direct competitor to Tamron’s own recently released 150-600mm model.
Let’s face it– photography is expensive. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobbyist or working professional. We use a lot of stuff and none of it’s cheap. Camera bodies, speedlights, reflectors, memory cards, lighting equipment, backdrops, batteries, stands, hard drives, tripods, back-ups, gear bags, hard cases, the latest gadget-that-you-seriously-cannot-possibly-live-without. And, of course, don’t forget the glass. Next to the camera itself, quality lenses make up the most expensive component of just about any gear closet. In an ideal world money would be no object and pesky things like gear budgets would be non-existent, paving the way for me to purchase all of the shiny, brand-new lenses I could possibly want (“Hi, Nikon? I’ll take one of everything!”). The reality, though, is that I have to balance my lust for gear against how many meals my rapidly growing 13-year-old son gets to eat each week. The truth is, the buying and selling of used lenses has almost become an industry all its own. There are a lot of high-quality second-hand lenses out there, which means you can satisfy your “need” and still save a good bit of money if you’re smart.