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Nikkor Z 28mm F/2.8 SE Lens Review

Nikkor Z 28mm F/2.8 SE Lens Review

Nikkor Z 28mm F2/8 SE

Nikon have form when it comes to retro styling, first with the Df F mount body, and now with the Z fc and a small number of retro-styled lenses. We have looked at the 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 and now examine in detail the new Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 SE, a Special Edition lens that currently is only available as part of the Z fc SE kit in the UK. It is available separately in the USA. The new lens totally mimics the appearance of classic Nikon F SLR manual focus lenses, although it is in fact an AF lens. Not only does it appeal on a retro level, but its hidden secret is that it is in fact a full-frame optic. So let’s look at the new lens, using not only the APS-C 20.9 MP Nikon Z fc body but also the 45.7 MP Nikon Z 7 II.

Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 SE Handling and Features

Nikkor Z 28mm F2/8 SE

For the styling of the lens, it was back to the original blueprints for Nikon and the illusion is complete. The knurling of the manual focus ring, the silver ring behind that and the general shape are all genuinely Nikon F in appearance. Of course, we lose an aperture ring or meter coupler, but otherwise, traditionalists just might relate with enthusiasm to the overall ethos of the design.

Weighing in at just 160g, clearly, this is a lens using plastics extensively, including the mount. However, plastic can be a totally effective choice. There is no provided lens hood, always a shame, but there is a standard 52mm filter thread; the traditional Nikon size. The lens is dust and drip-resistant, a welcome decision.

The control ring can be set to control focus, aperture, exposure compensation or ISO. The feel of the ring seems very similar to what would be expected from any of the old F lenses, silky smooth. There are no other controls on the lens, everything else being controlled from the camera. There is therefore no AF/MF switch. There is also no option for VR (Vibration Compensation) and that function is blanked out in the camera menus. However, in-camera VR such as with the Nikon Z7 II works just fine.

Nikkor Z 28mm F2/8 SE

AF is driven by two stepping motors and is very fast, very quiet and very reliable. The focusing ring can be used to tweak the focus position after AF. Focusing is down to 0.19m, or 0.63 feet, for a maximum magnification of 0.2x, 1:5. This is close, but no closer than many traditional 28mm lenses.

Lens construction is 9 elements in 8 groups, including 2 Aspherical. IF (Internal Focusing) means the dimensions of the lens do not change. The diaphragm comprises 7 rounded blades.

The lens is only sold as part of the Z fc SE kit in the UK, although available separately in the USA. Of particular interest is that although it is supplied as part of a kit with an APS-C format camera body, it is in fact a full-frame lens. It works just as well with the Z 7 II body and the opportunity was taken to test it out on both DX and FX formats. The FX-format results in the native 28mm focal length as intended, a very useful wide-angle; the DX-format results in a “35mm-format equivalent” of 42mm. In terms of field of view, that 42mm is very close to the theoretical “standard lens” which for full-frame would be 43mm.

Either as a wide-angle, or as a slightly wide standard, depending as detailed above on the format, this is a totally lovely lens to use. It looks great, it works faultlessly and the results will speak for themselves. What’s not to like?


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A Review of the Fujifilm XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR Lens

A Review of the Fujifilm XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR Lens

A wide angle lens with a wide aperture is useful for a huge range of scenarios, from landscape photography to astro work and events coverage. For Fujifilm X Series shooters, one option is the XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR, and this great video review takes a look at the lens and the sort of image quality and performance you can expect from it in practice. 

Coming to you from The Hybrid Shooter, this awesome video review takes a look at the Fujifilm XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens. With a 27mm-equivalent focal length and a very wide maximum aperture, the 18mm f/1.4 is well suited for a variety of needs. It comes with a range of great features, including:

  • 15 elements in 9 groups
  • Three aspherical elements and one ED element for reduced distortion and spherical aberrations and increased sharpness
  • Super EBC coating for reduced flares and ghosting and increased contrast
  • Linear autofocus motor for quick (as fast as 0.04 seconds) and quiet autofocus suitable for stills and video
  • Weather-sealed design
  • Minimum focus distance of 7.9 inches (20 cm)
  • Rounded nine-blade diaphragm for smoother bokeh

Altogether, the XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR looks like a capable option. Check out the video above for the full rundown on the lens. 

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How to Remove Fungus Between Glued Camera Lens Elements

How to Remove Fungus Between Glued Camera Lens Elements

How to Remove Fungus Between Glued Camera Lens Elements 1

I recently had a bad case of fungus in a Sony kit lens. The fungus was between the two outermost lenses that are assembled together in a glued plastic case.

How to Remove Fungus Between Glued Camera Lens Elements 2

I placed it in a cleaned vacuum box with enough rubbing alcohol to submerge it — I actually had to tilt the box to cover everything, so I should have added more.

I first cleaned everything very thoroughly.

How to Remove Fungus Between Glued Camera Lens Elements 3

I sucked all the air out of the container and watched small bubbles leave the lens.

How to Remove Fungus Between Glued Camera Lens Elements 4

I then let air back in. Make sure the lens elements are fully covered with alcohol so that it can seep in.

How to Remove Fungus Between Glued Camera Lens Elements 5

Alcohol between the lenses:

How to Remove Fungus Between Glued Camera Lens Elements 6

Now empty the box, put the lens back, and suck the air out. It almost all came out in the first go, but you may need to experiment with the orientation of the lens because the leaking hole needs to be below the alcohol.

The last droplet wouldn’t come out with suction.

How to Remove Fungus Between Glued Camera Lens Elements 7

Now, this is a crucial step. If you just let the alcohol evaporate, it can leave a dried-out mark.

So here’s what you can do: swing the lens in your arm so that the alcohol creeps to the edge and then leave the lens to dry upright, standing on the spot where the droplet went so that it stays down there at the lowest point.

Voila! A fixed lens!

How to Remove Fungus Between Glued Camera Lens Elements 8

The stuff that’s seen on the outer ring is all that was left from the alcohol residue drying by itself. There’s no haze or any remnant at all on the rest of the lens.

After this initial attempt, I repeated the process a second time and ended up with a lens with absolutely no residue at all.

Read also: How to Remove Fungus from a Lens

In hindsight, I would have placed the lens in a new clean Ziploc bag with alcohol and then put that in the vacuum box to avoid any dust or grease completely.

Warning: If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s always safer to send your camera equipment to authorized repair services. These types of do-it-yourself repairs should be done at your own risk — and when it comes to things as sensitive/delicate as camera equipment, the risks can be great.

About the author: Lasse Reinhold is a hobbyist photographer based in Denmark. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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24mm Versus 200mm Lens Landscape Photography Shootout

24mm Versus 200mm Lens Landscape Photography Shootout

Wide-angle lenses are the go-to for most landscape photographers, but longer lenses are often seen as underrated. In this video, two professional landscape photographers take either end of the lens spectrum to see who can produce the best shots in the mountains of Wales.

There are undoubtedly go-to lenses when it comes to landscape photography and they typically have wide focal lengths. When I first tried landscape photography I used a 17-40mm, but I was in a small photography group with one of the best landscape photographers in New Zealand, and he surprised me with the recommendation of a 70-200mm instead. I had always seen landscape photography as synonymous with wide-angle lenses and I couldn’t imagine how I would create “landscapes” with such a long lens.

While I’ve never become much of a landscape photographer — and I will blame where I live for that — I learned a lot from that advice about longer focal lengths in the discipline. It’s easy to get wrapped up in creating the same, almost formulaic landscapes with a wide-angle lens, ensuring you have your foreground interest and compositional elements in place. However, a change of focal length to something further reaching can quite literally change your perspective. This collaboration between Nigel Danson and James Popsys, two favorites here at Fstoppers, is a great look into what can be achieved at both ends of the focal length spectrum.

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Fujifilm X-T30 II Hands-On Photos

Fujifilm X-T30 II Hands-On Photos

Take a look at the Fujifilm X-T30 II which Fujifilm is giving visitors to The Photography Show 2021 the chance to get hands-on with.

Fujifilm X-T30 II in Mirrorless Cameras

X-T30 II


Following on from the introduction of the Fujifilm GFX 50S II, Fujifilm has now given people the chance to take a look at the new Fujifilm X-T30 II at The Photography Show 2021

ePz member and events reporter Stuart Fawcett got hands-on with the X-T30 update on the Fujifilm stand where Stuart said that the specs released a few weeks ago describe the camera perfectly.

The X-T30 II looks very much like the original X-T30, even the badge doesn’t have ‘II’ on it, and the only physical difference between the two cameras is the 1.62-million-dot LCD monitor on the rear panel. There are, of course, internal differences and additions which are listed in our news announcement about the new camera. 


97593 1631959602 | 1/33 sec | f/1.7 | 4.7 mm | ISO 227


Is with the original X-T30, the X-T30 II fits well in the hand with good grip and easily accessible dials and buttons. The display looks good as does the overall design with its retro-feel and familiar layout. 


97593 1631959528 | 1/33 sec | f/1.7 | 4.7 mm | ISO 305


The X-T30 II will be available in black or silver from October 2021 priced at £769 body only. Two kit options will also be available with the XC 15-45mm f/2.5-5.6 OIS PZ (£849) or the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS (£1099). 

We’ll be putting the new lenes as well as all of the cameras Fujifilm has recently announced to the test very soon. In the meantime, have a look at our hands-on with the new cameras/lenses in reviews.

For more information on what’s happening at The Photography Show, have a read of Stuart’s blog

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Minox color minotar 35mm f2.8 to E-mount lens

Minox color minotar 35mm f2.8 to E-mount lens

Minox, most notably known for producing ultra-compact spy cameras, as well as compact 35mm film cameras, have somewhat of a cult following, as they keep popping up at photography shows, be it Photokina, or The Photography Show.

Minox color minotar 35mm f2.8 e-mount

Minox color minotar 35mm f2.8 e-mount

MSHobbies are showing a wide range of Minox cameras at The Photography Show 2021, including the ultra compact spy cameras with a special gold edition, and a range of 35mm film cameras.

They’re also showing a number of Minox lenses taken from the 35mm camera, such as the 35 GT, and the Minox color minotar 35mm f2.8 lens has been adapted for use on Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras, such as the Sony Alpha A7 series. The lens with custom made adapter is available for £179.99, but on offer at The Photography Show. Each adapter has to be specially made and calibrated due to Minox altering the lens setup throughout the manufacturing period.

The MSH Sony E-mount adapter for color minotar 35mm F2.8 lens comes ready to use, so you don’t have to worry about breaking anything if you were thinking of trying to “Do It Yourself”. A process that M.S.Hobbies owner, Paul O’Sullivan, says is more complicated due to the lens originally having a built-in leaf shutter, as well as light meters. Paul says that the lens works the best on Sony E-Mount, but that people have requested other lens mount conversions as well.

M.S. Hobbies are Minox specialists based in London, who also offer Minox repairs, as well as specialists parts that are no longer available. You can view more pictures from the stand below.

Minox 35mm 35 Cameras, 35ML and others

Minox 35mm 35 Cameras, from left to right: Minox GT-S, 35ML, 35MB and 35ML

Minox spy camera - gold edition

Minox vintage spy camera – a gold edition of the sub-miniature film camera

Minox color minotar 35mm f2.8 m-mount

Minox color minotar 35mm f2.8 m-mount – this adaption is not recommended, as it makes it almost impossible to access the aperture ring.  

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Which Sigma 24mm Lens Is Right for You?

Which Sigma 24mm Lens Is Right for You?

Sigma fans have multiple options at the 24mm focal length, both offering the traditional Sigma blend of image quality and prices that undercut first-party options. The 24mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary and the 24mm f/3.5 DG DN Contemporary offer different user experiences depending on your priorities, and this excellent video comparison will help you choose which is right for you. 

Coming to you from Tom Calton, this great video compares the Sigma 24mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary lens to the 24mm f/3.5 DG DN Contemporary. Both lenses are priced quite decently, though they serve different purposes. The f/2 version offers a decently wide maximum aperture for low-light work or relatively narrow depth of field, but on the other hand, the f/3.5 version is significantly more portable, with an impressively small footprint and very light weight (just 7.9 oz or 223 g). An aperture of f/3.5 is certainly a bit narrow compared to the majority of prime lenses, but with the high-ISO capabilities of modern cameras, it is not as limiting as it might have been in the past, and when combined with a lightweight mirrorless body like the a7C, you have a very portable setup. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Calton. 

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13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 9

Landscape photography is often associated, or even equated, with the use of wide-angle lenses, however, this can lead to formulaic compositions. Telephoto lenses may seem like the province of wildlife photography, but alternating with them brings new creative opportunities for landscape photography.

This is illustrated by the two opening images of my photobook Our National Monuments, compared to their wider counterparts.

For many years, I was heavily influenced by the near-far compositions of David Muench: a graphic and impactful foreground subject, with mountains in the background, all often below a dramatic sky. Photographers such as Galen Rowell would embrace that esthetic. His most used wide-angle lens was a 24mm, with the occasional 20mm, but since then the short end of the 16-35mm lens has become a standard, with focal lengths of 14mm, and more recently 12mm fairly common at a wide end of a zoom.

Wide-angle photography was one of the main reasons I turned to a large-format camera – which is severely limited for telephoto lenses. There is much to be said for this approach. It helps place the viewer into the scene, depicting everything that someone standing there may see, naturally creating a sense of depth. On the other hand, they shrink the backgrounds, for example diminishing the impact of huge mountains and placing the emphasis on foreground elements that are more common than those mountains. If, in addition, you process them the same way, images can end up all looking the same.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 10

Telephoto lenses are heavier to carry and more challenging to use than wide-angle lenses. Compositions need to be more precise, as small changes have greater effects. You have to look harder for them, as they form only a small portion of your field of view.

That latter point is maybe what makes telephoto landscape photography so compelling: when you pick up a small portion of the scene, you direct the viewer to something that you found interesting but they may have missed. This makes those shots intrinsically personal.

A group of photographers standing at the same scene with a wide-angle lens is much more likely to produce similar images than if they were using a telephoto lens.

Even with close to 500 pages, packing 60+ national parks in my photobook Treasured Lands was such a challenge that almost each image had to represent a different location. Our National Monuments had more room, and I could use multiple images to represent single locations. In two cases, I repeated images taken at the same time from the same viewpoint, looking in the same direction and differing only by the choice of the focal length.

Example #1: Our National Monuments Cover

During the afternoon I spent at a petroglyph site in Ironwood Forest National Monument, besides close-ups of petroglyphs and flora, most of my compositions consisted of wide-angle photographs with etched rocks in the foreground. At sunset time, I made one more such photograph at the widest setting of my 16-35mm lens (page 247). The foreground includes the main mountains in the monument, Silver Bell and Ragged Top. However, being located more than 20 miles away and only about 4,000 feet high, they appear tiny on the horizon.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 11

Because of my awareness of that mountain, I still noticed the distinctive profile of Ragged Top, the crown jewel of Ironwood Forest National Monument. Between two wide-angle shots, I zoomed into the peak with the 100-400mm lens for a single shot at 340mm. Although the resulting image is just a crop of the previous image, it is entirely different, conveying a sense of majesty rather than of space. The perspective looks natural enough that without comparison, I suspect you wouldn’t have known it was made with a super-telephoto lens. A bit of cropping enhanced the image’s symmetry, making it an excellent cover image for Our National Monuments.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 12

Example #2: Our National Monuments Half-Title Page

In Our National Monuments, there is a second pair of images where one is a crop of the other. They were photographed from the summit of Snow Mountain in Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. During my spring visit to the monument, the low-elevation hills were lush with an explosion of verdant grass and wildflowers. From the trailhead, it did not seem like Snow Mountain would live up to its name, but as I neared the summit, I found a landscape still emerging from the winter. Photographing towards the south let me include north-facing slopes with some snow.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 13

The comparison between this image (page 83), and the following is even more striking because the two focal lengths are not that different. The wide image was photographed at 54mm, which by today’s landscape photography standards is quite long, and the telephoto image was photographed at 240mm. The graphic quality of the latter made it a good choice for the half-title page, the first image inside the book. One of the challenges with telephoto lenses is to create a sense of depth, as the perspective that helps create it with wide-angle images is now compressed. In this case, depth is created by atmospheric perspective, the drop off in warmth and contrast occurring naturally with distance, and it would have been ill-advised to apply a “dehaze” correction.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 14

Technical Challenges

Here’s a technical detail that illustrates the depth of field issues with telephoto lenses. When I photographed the Ragged Peak image, I thought that the cactus in the foreground were far enough that they would be subjects at infinity, like the mountains. I therefore used an aperture of f/8. On the Sony a7R IV, diffraction begins to limit sharpness after f/6.7. On the LCD, the image looked sharp enough, but when reviewing the image at 100% on a computer screen, it turned out that the mountain was a bit soft because of insufficient depth of field.

Applying Topaz Sharpen AI worked but necessitated doing it selectively, as the software over-sharpened the mountain crest. You’d think that the difference would not be noticeable on a 10×12 inch print (the size of the book), and indeed the original image looks acceptable, but my daughter was able to tell the difference between two test prints viewed side-by-side.

Using this Depth of Field calculator with the circle of confusion 10 microns appropriate for the Sony a7R IV 61 MP full-frame sensor (2.5 times the pixel pitch 3.76 microns as explained here), we find a hyperfocal distance of 1,450 meters for 340mm and f/8. The hyperfocal distance is the closest distance you can focus on and still have perfect infinity focus.

Read also: What is Hyperfocal Distance and How Do You Find It?

All this means that in this case, to get perfect infinity focus, I would have had to focus close to a mile away! Would stopping down to a sharpness-degrading f/22 have helped? The hyperfocal distance would still be over 800 meters, or half a mile.

Telephoto lenses can help you make different landscape images, but they present many challenges. Not only do you have to pay more attention to compositions, but also they require a more careful technique. As we’ve just seen, depth of field is limited, particularly so with high-resolution sensors, so focusing has to be very precise, and even though the closest element may seem far at hundreds (or maybe thousands) of feet away, advanced techniques could be necessary. Since they amplify the effects of vibration, even in a small breeze getting a sharp image can take quite a bit of work.

Below are 13 practical tips in no particular order for overcoming this challenge. All images in the article were photographed with the Sony FE 100-400 lens for Our National Monuments, but not used in the book.

Tip #1. Check Sharpness

Shots can look great at a glance on the LCD, but turn out unusable in print because they were not sharp enough. Checking the camera LCD at 100% magnification to see if your shot was sharp before moving on to the next one is always a good idea to prevent disappointments. That practice is all the more important in telephoto photography because there are so many reasons why telephoto images may lack critical sharpness. If you notice that images are not sharp, then it is time for some of the adjustments described below.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 15

Tip #2. Mind Focus and Depth of Field

One reason why it is more challenging to get sharp images with telephoto lenses is that the depth of field area is so much smaller than for normal and wide-angle lenses. Any imprecision in focusing shows up. Manual focusing at 100% magnification is the most reliable way to proceed, but if you use autofocus, but sure to check if it is perfect.

For an indication of how narrow the depth of field area can be, refer to the above example in which we saw that with a 340mm lens on the Sony a7R IV, even at f/22, the depth of field area including infinity starts half a mile away, meaning that you cannot have any object closer to half a mile and infinity in perfect focus at the same time.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 16

Tip #3. Consider Focus Stacking

At a longer focal length, getting a foreground and background both in focus can be impossible. Stopping a lens down to f/22 is not optimal because it results in degraded image quality due to diffraction. In addition, the requirement to use a slow shutter speed makes the capture more vulnerable to vibration. A useful alternative is to merge exposures made with different focus points at f/11, a feature automated by Photoshop.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 17

Tip #4. Time for Better Air Clarity

Air clarity is an overlooked issue with telephoto photography. Often with those compositions, even the closest subjects can be far enough that image degradation due to air quality is quite noticeable. On a hot afternoon in the desert, looking in the viewfinder of a telephoto lens, you can see distant elements vibrating due to air convection.

Even in windless conditions, if you take a picture in those conditions, nothing at a distance comes out sharp. In the cooler temperatures of the morning, the air is often more clear, and that is often the best time for telephoto work. In addition, at dawn and dusk, when the sun is not out, haze is much reduced.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 18

Tip #5. Use a Polarizer

Haze consists of particles in the air that reflect light, reducing contrast and desaturating colors. A polarizer makes the haze disappear because it cuts reflections. The more distant the subject, such as the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from its Northwest rim, the more haze there is, which makes a polarizer particularly useful for telephoto shots.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 19

Tip #6. Use a Sturdy Tripod

The main reason for unsharp telephoto images is unwanted camera motion. Handholding a telephoto lens with successful results is difficult. Those lenses are often large and heavy. Small camera movements affect the composition. You need faster shutter speeds for sharp images, with the general rule that you need an exposure time in seconds faster than 1/F, where F is the focal length in millimeters. This is difficult to attain in low light, particularly if you stop down and use a polarizing filter.

In the slightest of breezes, even a tripod that works fine for normal lenses is not enough to stabilize a telephoto lens. Typically, I use a series 2 tripod and a medium-size ball head. However, that combination is often insufficient for a telephoto. On road trips, I pack a series 3 tripod and a full-size ball head. While I don’t like to hike too much with that setup, it works fine for roadside photography and short hikes. I have found it makes a significant difference for telephoto lenses.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 20

Tip #7. Use a Tripod Collar

Tripod collars are often used on telephoto lenses to reduce the strain on the lens mount caused by a heavy lens with a long lever arm. That is a good enough reason since the strain could result in long-term misalignment of the lens mount. The issue relevant to this article is that without a tripod collar, the offset of the center of gravity degrades the stability, and the lever arm of wind pushing the lens is larger.

Most high-end telephoto lenses come with a built-in tripod collar. Lesser telephoto lenses don’t, but you can buy a third-party collar for them. Once I added a tripod collar to the Sony 70-300, I noticed a higher success rate, whereas before I often struggled to get sharp images. However, in terms of weight and bulk, the difference with the better Sony 100-400 became minimal.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 21

Tip #8. Stabilize the Tripod

Even though a light tripod is not optimal for telephoto photography, sometimes that’s all you got. You can somehow make it into a heavier tripod. Many tripods come with a hook at the bottom of the center column or the platform, from which you can hang weights, such as your camera bag or a shopping bag that you load with rocks.

Another related technique is to apply downward pressure to your tripod. The easiest is to press on the top of your camera with a hand, but you can also step with your feet into a strap attached to the center column or platform. Note that while those solutions address the lack of mass of the tripod, they don’t address its lack of rigidity, hence the “somehow”.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 22

Tip #9. Use a Remote Release

Unless you use an extremely sturdy tripod, pressing the shutter will result in some camera vibration. For normal lenses, with a self-timer delay of 5 seconds (but not 2 seconds!) the vibration dies down enough, but in my experience, for telephotos, 10 seconds is more appropriate. The problem is that quite a bit can happen during those 10 seconds, including a gust of wind picking up. And there are those situations when the shot needs to be timed, for instance for a wave. A remote release alleviates those issues.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 23

Tip #10. Time for the Wind

Telephoto lenses are particularly sensitive to the wind because of their physical size and magnification. If you pay attention to the wind pattern, you’ll notice that it is almost never uniform. There are gusts alternating with calmer periods. Try to release the shutter during a lull. It can take a lot of patience, but such lulls often happen.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 24

Tip #11. Shelter from the Wind

Not only the wind is not uniformly distributed in time, but the same also applies in space. When I stepped up on the summit ridge of Dona Anna, the wind hit me with full force, but by descending a few meters the downwind side of the summit, I found enough shelter to photograph at sunset. Even a tree can offer enough shelter.

Getting lower to the ground usually results in lower wind speed, so just lowering your tripod can help, with the additional benefit that a lower extension means higher rigidity. Besides taking advantage of terrain configuration, you can shelter your camera with your body. Among many other useful applications, an umbrella makes an excellent wind shelter. For roadside shots, I have used my car as a shelter, either by pointing it towards the wind and standing behind the rear hatch or even by shooting from a seat.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 25

Tip #12. Crank Up ISO

If you are not able to get out of a stiff breeze, unless you have the beefiest tripod, there are always going to be some vibrations. The shorter the shutter speed, the lesser their impact. Everything else being equal, you can get shorter shutter speeds by increasing ISO. Increasing the ISO from base 100 to 400 in the daytime doesn’t result in significant noise and loses only minimal detail, but it divides your exposure time by a factor of four.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 26

Tip #13. Take Multiple Exposures

In some situations, you may not have the time to check at 100% magnification that the shots are sharp, maybe because there are quick changes not to be missed, such as the sun cresting above the horizon. That is a case where making redundant exposures can be useful to increase the chance that you got a usable shot.

13 Tips for Shooting Sharp Landscape Photos with a Telephoto Lens 27

About the author: QT Luong was the first to photograph all America’s 62 National Parks — in large format. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Luong was featured in the film The National Parks: Americaʼs Best Idea by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan. His photographs are extensively published and have been the subject of large-format books including Treasured Lands (winner of 10 national and international book awards), many newspaper and magazine feature articles, solo gallery and museum exhibits across the U.S. and abroad. You can find more of his work on his website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. This article was also published here and here.

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3 Reasons the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 Is My Favorite Lens of All Time

3 Reasons the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 Is My Favorite Lens of All Time

For the longest time, my favorite lens on any camera system was a 35mm wide-aperture prime. The focal length forced me to get “in the action” for impactful portraits, yet it was wide enough to capture wide angle scenes. But a new lens has recently won my heart and assumed the top spot in my kit. In this video and article, I’ll be walking through a photoshoot while demonstrating why the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 lens is my favorite lens of all time.

Today, we’ll be shooting with my friend, Kiara. You can check her out on Instagram here. I’ll be pairing the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L lens with the Canon EOS R5. Let’s jump in.

Point #1: The Range of Focal Lengths

3 Reasons the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 Is My Favorite Lens of All Time 28

The 28-70mm focal range is popular in that most photography can be done within it. For portraits, 50-70mm is the way to go. For wide angles, 28-35mm is pretty ideal for most situations and can exaggerate depth and perspective. Having all those styles accessible through a single lens means less gear to carry around. Check out this scene I captured with Kiara using three different focal lengths: 70mm, 35mm, and 28mm.

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Here are the final images edited with Visual Flow’s Pastel Preset Pack.

Point #2: Capturing the Depth for Portraits

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Most zoom lenses aren’t able to produce bokeh and depth the way prime lenses do due to the f-stop usually capping out at f/2.8. However, with this lens going up to f/2, we get incredible bokeh that is comparable to some of my favorite prime lenses. Let’s put it to the test at 70mm. I placed Kiara underneath a tree, where soft, shaded light was coming in from the side.

I varied the distance to Kiara and used the tree as a foreground element. Notice the incredible softness in the bokeh as we shoot wide open at f/2.

We checked out another location where I wanted to demonstrate the portrait capabilities but at 50mm this time. I used the brick pillars as a repeating pattern in the foreground and background. I was able to get tack-sharp focus on Kiara and let everything else fall into a nice, clean blur.

Point #3: Exaggerating Length at Wide Angles

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Wide angles are great for exaggerating length, distance, or height. By placing the camera low and angling up, you can emphasize the height of objects such as trees. By leaning into the camera with a wide angle lens, you can exaggerate the distance between the camera and the subject.

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At 28mm, I was able to get a great angle of view to capture the palm trees in this scene. With Kiara posing in the foreground, we got these great images that capture the Southern California vibe.


I hope you enjoyed this article and video. With so many photographers working on the go, versatility becomes a bigger factor in the gear that we choose. We no longer need five different lenses when one can do the job. Pair it with today’s incredible camera bodies, and we have a workhorse for any gig or project. Of course, that lens will vary depending on the kind of work that you do. I’m excited to see what lens will come out in the future that may top the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 as my favorite lens. What’s your favorite lens?

For complete courses on all things photography and business-related, check out the SLR Lounge Premium Library. In addition, be sure to check out Visual Flow for lighting-based presets as we used in this video. Don’t miss our next episode of “Mastering Your Craft” on Adorama’s YouTube channel next week! If you want to catch up on all the episodes, make sure you check out our playlist!

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A 50mm f/0.95 Full Frame Lens for Under $400?

A 50mm f/0.95 Full Frame Lens for Under $400?

As secondary lens manufacturers keep cropping up, they appear to be racing each other to who can make the most impressive lens with the lowest price tag. This is a race I can get on board with.

The swell of manufacturers of cheap, manual focus lenses has been staggering in the last decade. It feels as though every week I see a new, interesting lens from a company I have never heard of in Asia. If autofocus is non-negotiable for you, the news pieces about these various lenses will be disappointing every time you click one, but if manual focus isn’t a barrier for you — like it isn’t me — then the lenses are welcome.

I will freely admit, I had never heard of Brightin Star before this video by Arthur R. After a little research, it appears they make lenses that the word “budget” doesn’t quite cover. For example, they have a 35mm f/1.7 for APS-C cameras for $56. I can’t imagine how the profit margins are possibly workable on that!

Well, the 50mm f/0.95 is by far their quickest lens and also their most expensive, which I take some solace in. However, $400 for a brand new f/0/.95 prime is not a lot even if it is manual focus only. The example images in the video are pleasant, and with some retouching to play to the strengths of the lens, I have no doubt you could get some great shots. However, I know from experience that using lenses this fast means shooting wide-open is one strong breeze away from missing focus. There are also a lot of artefacts in the images which would be irritating to deal with, but it’s still a lot of lens for the meagre price.

What do you make of this lens?

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