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December 11, 2018
Posted in reviews

That’s weird: New versions of the FE 28mm f/2 have been “secretly” improved?

Well this is quite an interesting finding. One of our reader shared it:

I am Le Minh Bui from Vietnam.

I want to share with you a surprise. A friend of mine accidentally found out that there are different versions of FE 28mm f/2 that show a huge change in the sunstar effect. He borrowed a new FE 28mm and it produces a fantastic sunstar, which is in contrast with the old lens (mediocre sunstar).

A closer look revealed that the new version has re-designed aperture blades that are curvy at the top and straight in the bottom, instead of being curvy from top to bottom (the old design). For comparison, I included the close shot of Voigtlander 28mm f/2, which shows a very nice sunstar even at f/4. Voigtlander blades are straight!

It seems nothing else is different between the two. Based on various reviews, I narrowed down the time when Sony made the change is in 2016-2017 period, but I can’t tell exactly from which batch. The easiest way to distinguish them is by the shape of the iris. If the lens is closed down and form a straight nonagon shape, it’s the new version.

I notice that all of the lenses that Sony has announced recently have the same blade design to balance the bokeh and sunstar effect, especially the new GM 24mm f/1.4 (very round bokeh even when stopping down to f/5.6, but the sunstar is very nice from f/8).

Maybe some readers can report if they had similar results on other lenses too?

December 10, 2018
Posted in reviews

The very first review of the new Zonlai 50mm f/1.4 APS-C E-mount lens by Marc Alhadeff

Marc Alhadeff is the first person testing the new Zonlai 50mm f/1.4 APS-C E-mount lens (you can get it at Amazon US, Amazon DE, Amazon UK). The conclusion:

The Zonlai 50mm F1.4 (150 euros) is an excellent manual portrait lens for A6000, perfectly usable wide open (very good) and giving excellent results as of F2.8
The background blur and bokeh is very good and the global color rendition is good as well, it will only require small color correction to correct the magenta tint

December 2, 2018
Posted in deals, reviews

Zeiss Batis 40mm is finally in Stock at FocusCamera. Deal of the day on Vanguard Tripod and Peak Design for Sony.

The new Batis 40mm FE lens is in Stock for the first time via FocusCamera.

Marc Alhadeff tested this lens and concludes:

The Zeiss Batis 40mm F2 is an excellent lens optically, it has an intermediate focal length between a classical 35mm for street photography and a 50mm more targeting portrait.
Using the Zeiss Batis is a pleasure and the results obtained are excellent in term of sharpness , color rendition, blurry background
However the autofocus is less performant than all the other Zeiss Batis (which was excellent) with issue with eye AF and very slow AF in video mode
Therefore if your primary usage will be for portraits I will be hesitating due to Eye AF issue (on A7Riii , not tested on A7iii)

Today only you have those two deals on the Vanguard Tripod and Peak Design for Sony at BHphoto:

Lexar 64GB card for $18 only at Amazon US (Click here).

Capture One 12 officially released. It adds a ton of new features and if you want to buy it (Click here) you get additional 10% off using our code “AMBSAR“.


November 30, 2018
Posted in reviews

Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN review by ePhotozine and CameraLabs

CamerLabs updated his ongoing Sigma 56mm f/1.4 lens reivew with new image samples.

Ephotozine posted the full Sigma 56mm lens review:

The Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN C offers a fantastic performance, superb sharpness in particular, and a reasonable price tag. All round, a very satisfactory and desirable lens. A slight downside is the fiddly nature of some of the mirrorless cameras, with many functions tucked away in menus as opposed to dedicated switches and dials. This is not the fault of the lens though, which handles totally smoothly.
But in terms of a fast, short telephoto that is unobtrusive, works efficiently and delivers superb results the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN C is absolutely an Editor’s Choice.

Get the lens at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, eBay.

For the first time the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 APS-C E-mount lens is in Stock via FocusCamera


November 27, 2018
Posted in reviews

First review of the new Lensbaby SOL 45 for Sony A and E-mount cameras

Some time ago Lensbaby announced a new SOL 45 lens which you can preorder as A-mount or E-mount version at BHphoto and WexUK.

Marc Alhadeff is the first posteing a full review of this lens on And this seems to be a very decent lens:

This Lensbaby Sol 45mm F3.5 (200 euros) is really a surprising lens. 

On other Lensbaby lenses I often found that effects were too much present or that sharpness was really below average

With the Sol 45, it seems Lensbaby has found the perfect balance with nice creamy blurry background, very sharp subject in focus and very nice color rendition. The atmosphere created is very nice and give picture full of emotions

In addition you have

  • Some tilt possibilities. 
  • Bokeh blades that are a nice addition, to get some alternatives background
  • You can also play with flare if you want, with some nice effect with the sun. 

I showed some photos to some friends and they thought is was : a 85 F1.8, a 70-200 F2.8, a 50 F1 ! 

The lens is very well built and easy to use : at 200 euros it open a world of creative possibilities without overdoing it for the bokeh effects

Immediately after returning my test lens , I order one for me ! Highly recommended


November 24, 2018
Posted in reviews

DPReview TV: Nikon Z6, Sony a7 III, and Canon EOS R compared

For several years Sony had the full frame mirrorless camera market all to itself, but recent introductions from Canon and Nikon have changed the landscape. This week, Chris and Jordan compare the current generation entry-level full frame mirrorless models from each company: the Nikon Z6, Sony a7 III, and Canon EOS R. Watch their analysis to find out where they think each model excels or has room to grow.

November 20, 2018
Posted in reviews

Official Canon EOS-R test by Dpreview: “lag behind the competition considerably”

It’s a damn long time since I have seen a camera NOT getting a Silver or Gold Award at Dpreview. Well here we are with the Canon EOS-R full review and the conclusion is rather negative:

Richard Butler writes:

The EOS R feels like a series of good ideas undermined by their implementation. The interface tries to balance innovation and familiarity but instead delivers that most un-Canon-like experience: inconsistency. Used a certain way the sensor and autofocus can both be extremely good but other situations will confound the autofocus or highlight the dynamic range and video shortcomings. It does enough to earn faint praise, but also deserves the rebuke this implies.

Barney Britton writes:

The Canon EOS R is a camera I really want to like, but despite its attractive form-factor, good sensor and solid stills photography feature set, I just don’t enjoy shooting with it. I appreciate Canon trying something different with the ergonomics, but the end result is a camera that – very unusually for Canon – feels like it’s never entirely in my control. That said, I will happily put up with almost anything to use some of Canon’s excellent new RF-series lenses. 

Compared with the A7III the Canon doens’t stand a chance:

Sony’s a7 III sets a high bar at a similar price point to the EOS R. Compared to the Canon, the Sony has faster burst rates, a more capable autofocus system, dual memory card slots, better battery life, full-width (and very detailed) 4K video, and it all comes in an appreciably smaller package. There are those who may prefer the EOS R’s larger grip, articulating screen and user interface over the Sony’s, but in most regards we think that the a7 III is a better camera for most users.

I think the best thing about the new Canon RF system are their lenses. I would love if Sony could make an E-mount version of their 50mm f/1.2 and 28-70mm f/2.0 lenses!

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