Category: Articles

Sony K800i v Canon 350D v 5D

Sony Ericsson K800i mobile phone v Canon 350D v Canon 5D Mark II [published july 2006] Everyone needs a day off. What better to refresh a palette jaded by the testing of $2000 optical exotica than to put a free camera phone through its paces. Seriously, though, the 3.2MP Sony Ericsson K800i is a breakthrough […]

Adaptor Compatibility

Many professional and amateur photographers have abandoned Canon lenses in favour of Olympus, Leica, Zeiss (and even Nikon!) lenses for their Canon digital cameras. Given the fact that a (frequently expensive) adaptor is required, and that the user is robbed of autofocus and required to deploy stop-down metering, some have rightly wondered: is it worth […]

Lens Rating System

Photography is part art, part science; choosing and using lenses similarly blends subjective and objective views. The ultimate merit of a lens is arguably best measured by its ability to become invisible, to deliver unadulterated reality to the film plane. However, lenses by definition offer the camera an interpretation of reality. They are designed according to constraints […]

Pentax FA 35mm f3.5

Elegy or Eulogy? Given the present uncertainty as to whether Hoya/Pentax have axed the long awaited Pentax 645 Digital, the undervalued Pentax 645 range of medium format optics remains practically homeless.* While Mamiya 645 users are exploring the realms of possibility opened up by the ZD back and body, rediscovering the excellent lenses in the […]

DXO V3 Review

[published february 2007] DXO: Digital Problems, Digital Solutions Once upon a time, the photographer’s work was done when the shutter curtain fell. Now it’s just beginning. The digital age has somewhat diminished the role of the ‘shutter monkey’ in today’s busy studios. Supervised creatively by Art Directors, in technical matters they are likely to defer […]

Mamiya ZD Review

For me, this system, comprising a Mamiya 645 AFD and the brand new ZD digital back, represents both a step backward and a step forward: a sort of karmic splits: a return to Mamiya medium format (I loved my 7 II), and a tentative move into the realm of ‘oversized’ sensors. Despite the absurdity of […]

Zones and Circles

You may have noticed and/or been confused by the convention used here in which lens performance is addressed by ‘Zones’ rather than the more commonplace ‘centre, edge and corner’ designation. At the risk of treading on the toes of Ansel Adams of Fred Archer, I feel that this, more empirically explicit, system is helpful. Here’s […]

Field of view comparison

12mm Rectilinear v 15mm Rectilinear v 16mm Fisheye How useful is that Sigma 12 -24mm! A bit squishy, flarey, and prone to wild sample variation, but uniquely useful for interiors and landscapes – and uncommonly free of Sigma Jaundice. How to scratch the upgrade itch, then? I would suggest that the Canon 14mm L and […]