BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Posts Tagged ‘lens reviews

Sigma’s Super Zoom

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This Website is intended for photo-newbies, photo hobbyists and students and I try to include information that is relevant to that audience. But Sigma’s APO 200-500mm f/2.8 / 400-1000mm f/5.6 lens is way too cool to not mention.

With a price tag of $34,000 MSRP – yes, thirty-four THOUSAND dollars- it’s a lens out of reach for most hobbyists. Heck, it’s out of reach for most professionals too. So, why would someone want this lens?
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Because sports and wildlife photographers often need a long-range zoom lens and with a f/2.8 maximum aperture at 500mm, this lens is hard to beat.

According to the Sigma Website, this ultra telephoto zoom lens can be used to create amazing image expression with various types of photography such as astrophotography, portraits, wildlife, sports. Special Low Dispersion glass and three Extraordinary Low Dispersion glass elements provide excellent correction for all type of aberrations. The super multi-layer coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides high image quality from the extremely large aperture. The lens hood, designed exclusively for this lens, blocks out extraneous light. A 72mm filter can be inserted at the rear of the lens, and a circular polarizing filter can be used in situ thanks to the ingenious internal rotation mechanism. The dedicated Li-ion battery BP-21 is used to power the zooming and AF operation. This battery is built in the lens barrel. For the convenience of the photographer, focusing distances and focal lengths can be viewed on the lens’ built-in LCD panel.

I guess we can all start saving our pennies now for this high-quality, well-made lens. Good luck and keep shooting!

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Sigma announces the launch of the new 10mm f/2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM lens

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

This autofocus fisheye lens is designed for use with digital SLR cameras equipped with APS-C size image sensors. The Nikon version produces a diagonal angle of view of 180°(154° for Sigma, 167° for Canon).
The diagonal field of view of this fisheye lens produces striking images with exaggerated perspective and distortion. The minimum focusing distance of 5.3 inches, and maximum magnification 1:3.3 allows subjects to be as close as 0.7 inch from the lens’ front element.

Sigma's 10mm f/2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM lens. (Photo Credit: Sigma Photo)

Sigma's 10mm f/2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM lens. (Photo Credit: Sigma Photo)

This close focusing capability allows close-up photography and also it is possible to make use of large depth of field that covers wide range of subjects. The Integral hood blocks out extraneous light and the Super Multi-Layer Coating minimizes flare and ghosting, creating superior image quality. The HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) ensures fast and quiet autofocusing and allows full-time manual focus override by rotation of the focus ring. This lens is supplied with a gelatin filter holder at the rear.

The lens is now available for Sony/Minolta digital SLRs, and Pentax digital SLRs.
The street value of the lens in about $1,000 US.

Equipment Profiles: Nikon’s AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 D lens

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Nikon’s AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 D lens is the perfect portrait lens for any serious photography hobbyist. This lens provides very sharp images in a lightweight, well-constructed design.

Nikon's AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 D lens. (Photo Credit: Nikon USA)

Nikon's AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 D lens. (Photo Credit: Nikon USA)

Who Needs This Lens?
This lens needs to be in the bag of every serious amateur photographer. This lens will allow you more creative freedom to explore photography with its fixed and super-fast f/1.8 maximum aperture. The focal range on this lens is perfect for portrait work.

Where Will I Use This Lens?
The wide aperture setting will really allow beginning photographers and advanced hobbyist the ability to achieve a shallow depth-of-field, thus giving portraits a professional look. Furthermore, with its f/1.8 maximum aperture, photographers are able to shoot quality images in low-light situations. The lens is also perfect for indoor sports photography, especially capturing images at basketball games.

By the Numbers
Lens: Nikon’s AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 D
Minimum Focus Distance: 2.8 feet
Focusing: Auto and manual focus.
Weight: 13.2 ounces
Price: About $450 US

Equipment Profiles: Canon’s EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens

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Canon’s EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens is the photojournalist’s workhorse lens. Because of its zoom range, 70-200mm, and it’s wide maximum aperture, photojournalists have relied on this lens as the de facto lens of choice. This lens provides razor-sharp images in a well-constructed design.

Canon's EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens. (Photo Credit: Canon USA)

Canon's EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens. (Photo Credit: Canon USA)

Who Needs This Lens?
Obviously, this is the lens of choice for working pros. Students should seriously consider saving up their pennies to purchase this piece of equipment, especially photojournalism students and those considering sports photography. Finally, serious photo enthusiast, especially those of you who have children in sports, should consider making the investment in this lens.
This is an ideal lens for sports photography because of its zoom range, it’s large maximum aperture and because of the Image Stabilization (the IS in the camera’s name) technology. The IS technology provides three-stops correction for camera shake.

Where Will I Use This Lens?
This lens is heavy (it weighs a little over three pounds) and most people – especially those not used to heavy, pro-grade lenses, will find it uncomfortable as a walk-around lens. If you’re a photo hobbyist and have children in sports then you should absolutely consider owning this lens. It’s ideal for all sports and with the f/2.8 maximum aperture, even crisp images of indoor and night sports are possible.

By the Numbers
Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
Lens Construction: 23 elements in 18 groups
Focusing: Auto Focus and full-time manual focus even in AF mode.
Price: $1,200-$1,900 US

Sigma Announces New Zoom Lens Available in March

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of new SIGMA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM on March 10.

The Sigma 18-250mm lens will be available March 10.

The Sigma 18-250mm lens will be available March 10. (Photo Credit: Sigma)

The SIGMA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM incorporates Sigma’s original anti-shake compensation function, with a 13.8 times zoom ratio. As opposed to having an anti-shake function in the camera body, this lens’s Hybrid Optical Stabilizer provides not only an anti-shake function for the camera body, but also compensates for image shaking in the view finder as the Optical Stabilizer is built in to the lens.

Incorporating four Special Low Dispersion glass elements and three aspherical lens elements provides excellent image quality throughout the entire zoom range. This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 45cm (17.7 inches) at all focal lengths and a maximum magnification of 1: 3.4 reproduction ratio, making it ideal for close-up photography. An inner focusing system eliminates front lens rotation, making it suitable for use with circular polarizing filters and the supplied petal-type hood. Incorporating super multi layer coating reduce the ghost in the backlight photography.

Written by jeremyparce

February 20, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Valentine’s Day Flowers are a Double Treat

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If you were lucky enough to receive flowers for Valentine’s Day you’re in luck because you have a ready-to-go subject to photograph.

Flowers are the perfect photographic subject. Unlike people, the don’t whine, fidget about and you can move them just about anywhere you want.

Fresh out of ideas? Try these:

  • Close-ups: If you have a macro lens, flowers are a create subject to explore. Get close and exam individual petals or the stamens. Experiment with different aperture settings to see what look you like best.

    Experiment with different aperture values when using a macro lens to see what effect you like best. (Photo credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

    Experiment with different aperture values when using a macro lens to see what effect you like best. (Photo credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

  • Portraits: Put the flowers in the hands of a child or your loved one. Try photographs where the flowers are the subject and not just a prop.
  • Still Life: Photograph the arrangement as a whole or set up a whole prop where the flowers are the subject. Design the set around the flowers. Look for different colors to compliment the shoot. Wanna go bold? Shoot the flowers in black and white and study the texture.

Don’t let those flowers go to waste! Use them to explore color, texture and light. Good luck and keep shooting!

Written by jeremyparce

February 17, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Photo Critique 1: ‘Charlie,’ by Carla B.

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I love critiquing photos. It’s the best way to learn and get new ideas for photo shoots.
Today, we’re going to critique an image made from Carla, a friend of mine in Miami.

'Charlie,' a portrait by Carla in Miami, Florida.

'Charlie,' a portrait by Carla in Miami, Florida.

General Overview:
Carla, first I want to say that you did a great job on this portrait. Considering you only have about two years of experience, you do an outstanding job. I enjoy this portrait because of its relative simplicity. It’s focus is completely on the subject and you captured the subject’s personality quite well, I believe.

You can be very proud of this image.

Improvements
Overall, I would say there are just a few things I would improve in this image. First, the cast shadow coming from the collar to the t-shirt on the right side of the image. This cast shadow is coming from the right-side light source.

How to fix it? Another light on the left side would help or using a disc reflector to bounce some light and fill in that shadow.

Although I like hard directional lighting, this image might be made better by softening up the shadows on the face, especially the shadows coming from the nose, chin and lips. Again, I think a disc reflector bouncing some light back across the face would have made this image very, very sharp.

One more tip: The left ear is partially exposed. I think I would have burned it in just a little more.

Carla, great job overall. Playing with light is one of the best ways to make more interesting images and build a better portfolio.

Thanks for the submission, good luck and keep shooting!

If you would like to submit a photo for critique, e-mail us at submissions@brickhousephotoschool.com

Written by jeremyparce

February 17, 2009 at 12:26 am