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Tuesday, 07 January 2014


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The 35mm actually looks pretty small to me, obviously it has to be a bit bigger than the D but it's really quite tiny in girth so it's a bit of an illusion (shot 7 on the dpreview hands-on of the new Nikon gear).

Major Kong appears to be riding a bronco at the moment. A very big bronco.

The new Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art lens looks pretty good.

Can you return the Leica if yours has a focal length of less than 42 or greater than 43 mm?

[That focal length was chosen because, with a magnification factor of 2X for Micro 4/3, it has a 35mm equivalency of 85mm--a classic focal length. --Mike]

This CES has more to excite me than most! While I'm happy enough with m4/3 (and my 45/1.8), I'm glad to see the mirrorless systems fleshing out their lens lineups, giving me options down the road. I also hope that the fairly direct competition with Fuji will encourage Panasonic (and Olympus) to adopt more reasonable pricing for their lenses. NEX didn't have the range of lenses to do that and, while Samsung has the lenses (and just announced an f/2-2.8 zoom!), they lack in both market- and mind-share. Fuji seems to be doing a lot right in the mirrorless space and I'm optimistic that will benefit users of other mirrorless systems as well.

And since I sometimes lust after the look of fast primes on full frame cameras, I'm pleased to see high-performing but moderately priced f/1.8 lenses from Nikon and f/1.4 lenses from Sigma at the focal lengths that most interest me too.

Sometimes it's nice being spoilt for choice.

"But price sensitivity is an individual thing,...."

Brother you said a mouthful. Seems like all camera companies want to introduce, lens wise, are these "bragging rights" lenses that are priced right at the top 2% income bracket of the photographers market. I would love to see a company like Cosina come up with a set of manual focus primes for m4:3 that are "consumer" models. Simple designs, f2 to f2.8, machine assembled, good enough, and priced at no more than $200 each for the rest of us who cannot even dare dream of the super lenses now on offer.

My very strong suspicion is that the reason for not doing so is that the profit margin for these high priced lenses is a much greater precentage of the retail than the lower priced lenses. There is also the factor that, except for the more experienced hobbiest the 'consumer' thinks all he needs is a zoom lens that covers a wide range, and sees no value in primes. This would limit the sale of these lower specification primes to a small subset of the market and that would make it impossible to sell them in the quanity required to keep the price reasonable.

Well I like the look of the Fuji. I don't have a spare grand lying around as yet, I bought the 23 1.4 last year and that blew the annual budget, but I have so say it was worth every penny.

I've used a lot of lenses in 35 years, and borrowed even more, but the 23 is very very special indeed.

Ah, Dr. Strangelove!
At the LACMA exhibit on Kubrick last fall, they noted that Kubrick had invited Weegee to be the still photographer for the movie. They liked his accent so much, they used it for Peter Sellers character as the Russian leader.
In the part of the exhibit for 2001, they also had the giant lens that was HAL's eye.

A lot of great old Kubrick work is available on the Shorpy website. Here's one:


The Nikon 35/1.8G looks cheap, but it ain't cheap at $600.

Seeing the recent offerings from Nikon, I am glad I abandoned that system, sold just about everything and bought into m4/3. It's been four more years and yet no wide angle prime for DX yet. Want a compact 18mm lens for Nikon DX? Get a crappy kit zoom, or use the old 24/2.8D lens. Want image stabilization? Get a zoom. They only make big and expensive primes (without IS) for the FX line of cameras. And the Nikon 1 line is a joke.

"Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."

My pals and I have been derisively calling each other "Buck Turgidson" for years....

I wish Nikon would think a bit more about us DX owners and come up with a 20mm ie 35mm equivalent light weight prime

These lenses have too many elements. Where are the 4 element Tessar digital lenses? A Tessar would be good for Micro 4/3 because it would cut off the edges where there is distortion and light fall off. Of course, you and I would be the only ones to actually buy a digital Tessar. Can I be a curmudgeon in training?

I'm glad to see Konica-Minolta still making lenses and good ones at that. Neither company seemed to get enough respect, especially Konica. How dare they make a less expensive rangefinder than Leica? I like underdogs.

Mike wrote: "Stanley Kubrick was a photographer before he was a director. A Leica shooter, no less."

In any photo of Kubrick with a camera (still or movie) in his hand, that I've seen, the camera has a Zeiss lens. Contax, Hasselblad, Arri, but always Zeiss.

Where are the 4 element Tessar digital lenses? A Tessar would be good for Micro 4/3 because it would cut off the edges where there is distortion and light fall off.

You won't find old symmetric lens designs (like the Tessar), especially wide ones, in cameras with digital sensors because of "off-normal" rays at the edge of the sensors.

CMOS image sensors like light rays that comes "straight down onto" ("normal to) the sensor.

That's the sort of thing that causes "wacky purple color" at the edges of frame as the rays cross multiple pixels (though different color filters). People using Lecia lenses on Sony APS and A7 know this effect. Leica makes an extra effort to be compatible with their old lenses (with old CCDs or the CMOSIS CIS sensor in the M240 tweaks the microlenses to deal with this problem)

In the old days (i.e. before fast ray tracing lens simulators) people tended to make a good enough design then scale it to different focal lengths. Today you can decide what properties of the lens you want to optimize and then design a lens.

John Robison: Sigma is doing this (with quick autofocus too!) for Sony APS-C but it's a shame m43 just gets the same focal length lenses on a different mount.

That said the Sigma 19mm is excellent (38mm eq -- between 35mm and normal) and the Sigma 30mm was ahead of the game at 60mm eq it's close to the now trendy 58mm eq lenses. And the Sigma 60mm (120mm eq) is a "short 135mm eq" for those needing a telephoto.

It would be nice if they did the "four lens set" (28, 35, 50 and 90mm eq) for m42 but in the meantime if you don't worry about the "funny" focal lengths you can still take interesting photos.

I'm we're still missing Nikon's "wide" DX lenses. No 23mm? No 18mm? Ugh. No real reason to buy another Nikon DX DSLR body for a lot of people.

@Jona: I'd buy a Tessar as well. Got one on the Rolleiflex, single coated; it's probably one of the best portrait lenses I've used, along with the Planar.


It seems I'm always on your case about this, Mike, but credit where due: Dr. Strangelove was shot by Gilbert Taylor, also noteworthy for having shot [i]A Hard Day's Night[/i] and [i]Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope[/i]. Though in the case of Kubrick, it is worth mentioning that he frequently (always?) specified the lens to be used for a shot, and was as you say a master photographer. Nonetheless, the compliment was more specifically about the lighting, and Taylor certainly had more to do with that than Stanley.

Stangelove is my favorite Kubrick film (on most days), and when I saw that you'd hyperlinked "Slim Pickens," I hoped that you'd linked to exactly the clip that you did. Thanks for making my day.

On topic, I'm excited about the new Fuji. Not enough to replace my 60mm 2.4 macro (yet), but that's a financial concern. Fuji's rapidly reached a point where there are few lenses I care to own that they aren't providing me, which is why I switched to them in the first place. A 16mm (24mm-e) and a 90mm (135mm-e) should settle it for me. And I haven't enjoyed using cameras as much as I enjoy my X bodies since I left film behind. An embarrassment of riches, Fuji provides us!

POE, OPE....

Plus one for Bob Singleton, been begging Nikon for a 16mm and 24mm f/2.8 for DX for years...still waiting...

Mike: "Stanley Kubrick was a photographer before he was a director. A Leica shooter, no less."

Well, this is funny!
I've just got "In The Company of Legends" by Gillian Greenwood. And to quote Tony Freewin, Kubrick's personal assistant:
"In the early nineteen-fifties he moved over to 35mm SLR cameras and never looked back. He probably had more cameras than shirts and though he sometimes dallied with other marks, Nikon was his preferred system".
So there! He dallied with the Leica, but...

Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm ƒ/1.2 - aperture ring - Blackmagic cameras - anyone? Personally I don't think still photography is the target market for this lens...

Another alternative to the Panasonic-Leica 42.5mm is the Voigtlander 42.5mm/F 0.95 MFT. It's old school manual focus and is very well made. I own one and am very happy with my purchase.

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