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Bokeh and Blur

How a lens blurs when out of focus is a Big Deal..

Ray Angle, Vignetting, Color Shading on a Digital Sensor

Evenness of illumination, color shading, digital sensor effects, ray angle..

How To Get Peak Sharpness With Perfect Focus

Focusing is more complicated than it first appears..

Depth of Field

Controlling the zone of sharp detail..

Vignetting (Field Illumination)

Evenness of illumination across the frame and related effects..

Secondary Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration

Secondary Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration (SLOCA)..

How to Test A Lens

How to verify a good sample and assess all aspects of lens performance..

Canon EOS 5D Mark II review

Canon 5D Mark II impressions.

Canon 14mm f/2.8L II

In-depth review of the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II including flare, distortion, field curvature, resolution charts, numerous field examples and comparison to the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G. The Canon EF 14/2.8L II is a superb lens, but with some peculiarities which may enhance or degrade its appeal for different uses. The review is as much a “user guide” as a review; even if you use this lens it’s well worth your time to read this review..

Voigtlander 20mm f/3.5 Color-Skopar

Very compact ultra wide angle..

Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 SL II Color-Skopar

Ultra compact normal lens..

Canon TS-E 17/4L

Ultra wide angle tilt shift with tremendous versatility.

Shift Lenses for Nikon and Canon

[Older material, but still relevant]. Shift lens performance of Nikon/Canon/Schneider/Olympus on various cameras..

Landscape Photography at Wide Apertures

Escape the banale postcard look by shooting landscapes at f/1.4 or f/0.95..

Pentax HD DA Limited 35mm f/2.8 Macro

APS-C normal lens equivalent to 53mm on full-frame..

Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM

Canon’s tiny and lovely pancake lens..

Canon 50mm Lenses

Is Canon’s f/1.2 lens really better than an inexpensive f/1.4 or f/1.8?.

Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS

Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS .

Canon 35mm f/1.4L II

Canon’s updated fast 35mm prime, evaluated on Canon 5DS R..

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art

A whopping 4/3 stop faster than other lenses in its range..

Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

The fastest extreme wide angle yet..

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Sigma’s fast high performance wide angle..

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Sigma’s fast and affordable moderate excellent wide angle..

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM on Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is a worthy contender in the crowded 50mm area. See how it performs compared to the Canon EF 50/1.4 and EF 50/1.2L..

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G

Nikon’s latest 50mm lens compared with the Zeiss ZF 50/1.4, Nikon 50/1.4D and Sigma 50/1.4..

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G

Nikon’s High Performance Moderately-Priced 50mm..

Canon 24mm f/1.4L II

State of the art design in a fast ultra wide angle lens..

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G

Nikon’s fast ultra wide angle..

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.8G

Versatile autofocus wide angle..

Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED

State of the art design in a fast 24mm lens. Includes full-resolution images at f/1.4..

Nikon AF-S 60mm f/2.8G Macro

Comparing the new Nikon 60mm to its predecessors, and the Coastal Optics 60/4 APO..

Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G

State of the art design in a fast 35mm lens..

Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G

State of the art design in a fast 85mm lens..

Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED

Nikon’s best-ever f/1.4 lens?.

Nikon Ultra Wide Zooms

Comparing Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR, 17-35mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 18-35mm, 24-70mm f/2.8 along with Nikon 20mm f/3.5, 24mm f/2, 28mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 AIS, and more..

Canon Ultra-wide Zoom Lenses: 17-40 and 16-35

Comparing the Canon 17-40mm f/4L and 16-35mm f/2.L II..

Samyang 14mm f/2.8

Ultra wide angle lens for Canon and Nikon..

Sony Alpha A7R

Full frame compact mirrorless with interchangeable lenses..

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM

Top-grade medium telephoto..

Sigma FE 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art

Outstanding fast wide angle, DSLR optical design..

Voigtlander FE Heliar-Hyper 10mm f/5.6 Aspherical III

Anything wider would be a fisheye..

Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D

Extreme wide angle with 'zero distortion'..

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1 / RX1R

Full frame camera in an ultra-compact body with or without anti-aliasing filter..

Olympus Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Zoom

A high performance mid-range zoom..

Metabones SpeedBooster for Sony NEX

Use DSLR lenses at ~native focal length, and gain a stop of speed..

Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 Distagon

Outstanding ultra wide angle performer..

Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon

Outstanding wide angle, superb performer..

Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon

Manual focus moderate wide angle for full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar

Manual focus normal lens for full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar

Manual focus telephoto lens for full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Distagon

Autofocus extreme wide angle for Sony full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon

Autofocus wide angle for Sony full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar

Autofocus portrait lens for Sony full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO-Sonnar

Apochromatic pin-sharp medium telephoto for Sony full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 Distagon

Ultra wide angle lens for Sony NEX or Fujifilm X..

Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 Planar

Normal lens for Sony NEX or Fujifilm X..

Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8M

Moderate telephoto macro lens for Sony NEX or Fujifilm X. Useful on full frame too!.

Sigma dp2 Quattro

45mm f/2.8 equivalent FOV lens..

Image Quality Issues

Unique challenges of digital infrared..

Wrap-up and Summary

Conclusions and where to find products and additional information..

Milvus 15mm f/2.8

Milvus garb for the venerable 15/2.8 Distagon, with improved lens coating..

Milvus 18mm f/2.8

An outstanding 18mm design..

Milvus 21mm f/2.8

The classic 21/2.8 Distagon improved..

Milvus 25mm f/1.4

Highest performing 25mm from Zeiss ever..

Milvus 35mm f/1.4

Highest performing 35mm from Zeiss ever..

Milvus 35mm f/2

Classic design in the latest Milvus build..

Milvus 50mm f/1.4

Outstanding build and optical quality in a normal lens..

Milvus 50mm f/2M

The classic 50/2 Makro-Planar improved..

Milvus 85mm f/1.4

Outstanding build and optical quality in a medium tele..

Milvus 100mm f/2M

The classic 100/2 Makro-Planar improved..

Milvus 135mm f/2

On Otus, in effect. Milvus garb for the 135/2 APO, with improved lens coatings on one element. See the ZF.2/ZE 135/2 review pages..

Introduction

Start here to best utilize this guide..

15mm f/2.8 Distagon

Ultra high performance in an extreme wild wide angle lens..

18mm f/3.5 Distagon

A brilliant, but also colorful character..

21mm f/2.8 Distagon

Brilliant imaging, even wide open, but with a few quirks. (Review in progress) .

25mm f/2 Distagon

Ultra high performance with a fast aperture..

25mm f/2.8 Distagon

A gem with unusual close-focus..

28mm f/2 Distagon

An artist’s drawing tool..

35mm f/1.4 Distagon

Strokes of a master..

35mm f/2 Distagon

Balance and poise..

50mm f/1.4 Planar

Brilliant imaging in a compact package..

50mm f/2 Makro-Planar

Versatility in a “normal” lens and macro too!.

Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

Fast high performance APO wide angle..

Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

Ultra high performance apochromatic normal lens, first in the Otus line..

Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar

Ultra high performance apochromatic medium telephoto, overview and technical..

Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar Rendering Style

Rendering style, bokeh and 'transparency' without peer..

85mm f/1.4 Planar

True-to-life imagery..

100mm f/2 Makro-Planar

King of bokeh! Corner-to-corner sharpness, world class..

135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar

Beautiful bokeh, razor sharp, superb color correction..

Conclusions

Summary and wrap-up..

Ray angle and Color Shading With M Lenses

Off-center color casts, off-center sharpness..

Considerations in choosing a lens.

Focal lengths, color, weight and travel considerations. [relevant, but dated/old material].

Leica 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar-M ASPH

Leica’s ultra wide angle zoom lens..

Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

Leica’s widest prime lens..

Leica 21mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

Leica’s fastest and widest lens..

Leica 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

Leica’s best-performing 21mm..

Leica 24mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

Leica’s fast wide angle..

Leica 24mm f/3.8 Elmar-M ASPH

Leica’s best-performing 24mm, and with a flat field..

Leica 28mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

Leica’s fast 28mm..

Leica 28mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH (pre-2016)

Leica’s widest lens utilizing built-in frame lines..

Leica 28mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH (2016)

Tweaked 2016 redesign..

Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH (2016)

Tweaked 2016 redesign of Leica’s petite performer..

Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH (pre-2016)

Leica’s smallest and lightest M lens with superlative performance..

Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH (2010 FLE)

Leica’s superlative and most natural lens for the M..

Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH

Leica’s f/2 35mm for the M..

Leica 35mm f/2.5 Summarit-M

Leica’s Budget 35mm lens..

Leica M 50mm Lenses

Six models to choose from..

Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH

World’s fastest 50mm full-frame lens..

Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

Leica’s superlative normal lens..

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

The world’s best 50mm lens is outstanding, but with some limits..

Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron-M

Leica’s compact low-distortion normal lens..

Leica 50mm f/2.5 Summarit-M

Leica’s Budget 50mm lens..

Leica 75mm f/1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH

Leica’s ultra high grade and ultra fast modern short telephoto..

Leica 75mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

Leica’s medium tele for Leica M..

Leica 75mm f/2.4 (2.5) Summarit-M

Leica’s budget 75mm medium telephoto..

Leica 90mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

Leica’s longer tele for Leica M..

Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M

Leica’s retro telephoto..

Leica 90mm f/2.4 (2.5) Summarit-M

Leica’s compact 90mm for the M..

Leica 90mm f/4 Macro-Elmar-M

Diminutive telephoto and macro lens..

Leica 135mm f/3.4 APO-Telyt-M

Leica’s longest M lens..

Leica 90mm f/2 APO-Summicron-R ASPH

Compact lens for portraiture or similar..

Leica 100mm f/2.8 APO-Macro-Elmarit-R

Superb all-around macro and general-purpose lens..

Leica 180mm f/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R

World’s best mid-range telephoto lens..

Leica 280mm f/4 APO-Telyt-R

Compact and ultra high performance long telephoto..

Zeiss ZM 15mm f/2.8 Distagon

Notes and examples..

Zeiss ZM 18mm f/4 Distagon

Compact high performance, ultra low distortion..

Zeiss ZM 21mm f/2.8 Biogon

Moderate speed high contrast ultra-wide..

Zeiss ZM 21mm f/4.5 C-Biogon

Zero distortion ultra-wide..

Zeiss ZM 25mm f/2.8 Biogon

Compact wide angle with brilliant contrast..

Zeiss ZM 28mm f/2.8 C-Biogon

Compact wide angle..

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon

Fast and ultra high performance moderate wide angle rangefinder lens..

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/2 Biogon

All around razor sharp performer..

Zeiss ZM 50mm f/2 Planar

Pleasing and relatively inexpensive normal lens.

Zeiss ZM 85mm f/2 Sonnar

Ultra high performance (discontinued).

Zeiss ZM 85mm f/4 Tele-Tessar

Compact high performance medium telephoto..


Blog posts, reverse chronological

2018

2018-07-06 Reader Question on Vignetting for Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar

2017

2017-10-18 Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4: MTF, Distortion, Vignetting

2016

2016-12-08 Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 MTF Series from f/2.4 to f/16

2016-12-08 Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8: Full MTF Series from f/2.8 through f/16

2016-09-15 Zeiss Announces Loxia 85mm f/2.4 for Sony Mirrorless

2016-09-08 Zeiss Announces ALL NEW Milvus 18mm f/2.8 for Nikon and Canon DSLRs

2016-04-14 REVIEWED in Depth: the NEW Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Distagon

2015

2015-06-13 Reader Inquiry: Banding, Posterization, Color Shifts (and the right workflow)

2015-05-27 Sony: Which Lens Corrections are Baked Into the Raw ARW File?

2015-05-22 Leica 28mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH Initial Coverage and Comments

2015-04-29 Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon: MTF Series from f/2 - f/16 + Distortion

2015-04-29 Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar: MTF Series from f/1.8 - f/16 + Distortion

2015-03-27 Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art: Vignetting and Distortion

2014

2014-09-08 Image Circle Size for 55/1.4 APO-Distagon and 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar

2014-08-13 Reader Question: Image Brightness at Full Aperture vs Stopped Down

2014-04-09 Color Shading (Vignetting by Color) on Digital Sensors

2014-04-09 Why Is an f/1.2 Lens so Dark on Digital?

2014-02-23 Ricoh GR: Circular Ring Artifacts (“Ring Shadow Effect”) Followup

2013

2013-12-06 Sony A7R: Shading, Color Shading and Lens Compensation

2013-08-12 Leica M Typ 240 Lens Coding Failures

2013-05-18 Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 Planar: MTF and Distortion and Vignetting Charts (for Sony NEX + Fuji X)

2013-05-17 Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 Distagon: MTF and Distortion and Vignetting Charts (for Sony NEX + Fuji X)

2013-02-23 On the Way: Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar

2012

2012-09-27 Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar for Nikon and Canon — Superlative Performer

2012-09-13 Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar MTF from f/2 - f/16

2012-09-07 Zeiss ZF.2 / ZE 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar for Canon or Nikon

2012-03-16 Reader Comments: Zeiss 15/2.8 Distagon

2012-01-23 Color Shading & Vignetting for Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH and 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH

2012-01-23 Sony NEX-7 Color Shading & Vignetting vs Sony 24mm f/1.8 Sonnar

2011

2011-11-11 Adobe ACR Lens Profile for Zeiss 35mm f/1. 4 Distagon?

2011-10-27 Leica 30mm f/2.8 Elmarit-S ASPH for Leica S2 Medium Format

2011-01-14 Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Distagon MTF, distortion, vignetting

2010

2010-07-24 Aperture shape — is it circular? Does it matter for bokeh?

2009

2009-02-15 Canon 5D Mark II Live View vignetting

2008

2008-08-14 Vignetting Control in Nikon Capture NX 2 (24-70)

2008-06-14 New article on vignetting

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