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PGYTECH Snaplock Quick-Release System Collection Review

PGYTECH Snaplock Quick-Release System Collection Review

P1010045 | 1/80 sec | f/3.2 | 28.0 mm | ISO 200
 

Quick Verdict

The PGYTECH Snaplock System offers a varied and useful collection of accessories that are compatible with a wide range of photography kit. Thanks to features such as ‘push to install’, the accessories are really easy and quick to use. Plus, the anti-loosening design of the plate accessories brings peace of mind that your camera is safe and secure in use. There’s definitely a quick-release accessory for every type of photographer in this collection.

+ Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Quick to install
  • Secure
  • Lightweight
  • Good build quality
  • Widely compatible  

– Cons

  • MultipleSnapLock Plate Adapters/Plates needed to make the most of the system (if you have multiple cameras)
  • Some cameras/lenses feel heavy on the Beetle Camera Clip

 

PGYTECH has introduced a line-up of accessories for photographers, vloggers and smartphoneographers who are looking for quicker and more efficient ways to carry and use their cameras. The PGYTECH Snaplock Quick-Release System features a SnapLock Plate Adapter, SnapLock Beetle Came Clip, Action Camera SnapLock Plate, SnapLock NANO Sviwil and Tilt Mount so it seems there’s an accessory for everyone but are they any good? We’ve been putting them to the test to find out. 

 

PGYTECH Snaplock System Features

As mentioned above, the PGYTECH Snaplock Quick-Release System features four main accessories and if you take a look at the PGYTECH website, you’ll notice there’s also a Snaplock Plate Nano and a Snaplock Reverse Ball Head, however, we’re not reviewing these two accessories today. 

We’ll take a look at each of the products individually as they’re all slightly different even though they’re part of the same collection. 

 

Beetle Camera Clip 

20211013 095956 | 1/100 sec | f/1.8 | 5.4 mm | ISO 160
 

The Beetle Camera Clip removes the need for you to hold your camera or have it around your neck on a strap when it’s not in use. The Beetle Camera Clip enables you to quickly mount and lock your camera securely onto a bag strap or belt and to remove it ready for action, all you have to do is press a button. There’s even a lock so it won’t accidentally come undone when walking and the back features anti-slip rubber so it holds onto a strap more securely. 

An Arca-Swiss compatible SnapLock plate is used in conjunction with the Bettle Camera Clip which means it’s compatible with various devices and the plate features a patented tight-fitting screw to prevent it from coming loose. You can also fasten your camera to the SnapLock plate in any direction so when you’re using a heavier lens, you can mount it horizontally to distribute weight better. 

The main body of the clip is made from an aluminium alloy so it’s strong but lightweight and its size means it easily fits in a pocket. 

Key Features: 

  • Arca-Swiss compatible SnapLock quick release camera plate
  • Attaches to most backpack straps or belts
  • Hands-free carrying 
  • Easy to clamp design
  • Installation in any direction
  • Patented tight-fitting screw
  • Pocket size, easy to carry
  • Aluminium alloy construction

 

Snaplock Plate Adapter

P1010050 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 23.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The Snaplock Plate Adapter makes mounting cameras to tripods and other accessories as easy as one click. The SnapLock Plate Adapter’s mounting base uses a clamp that locks by itself rather than a knob you have to tighten manually which means you can mount the SnapLock Plate, used throughout this collection, in one simple step. There’s also a button you can press to ensure the system won’t unlock itself. 

An Arca-Swiss interface on the side as well as 1/4” and 3/8” threaded holes found on the bottom, make the Snaplock Plate Adapter compatible with a wide range of gimbals, plates, tripods and sliders.

Key Features: 

  • Multifunctional interfaces for wide compatibility
  • Patented SnapLock System
  • One-step attachment 
  • The square SnapLock Plate allows you to quickly mount it in any direction
  • Pocket size, easy to carry
  • Aluminium alloy construction

 

Snaplock Nano Swivel & Tilt Mount

P1010057 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 35.0 mm | ISO 200
 

For those who need a mount that offers more fluidity, the Snaplock Nano Swivel & Tilt Mount can swivel 360-degrees and tilts through 180-degrees with adjustable damping so operation is smooth. As with all of the products in this range, this accessory features patented technology (PGYTECH SnapLock Nanosystem) that allows the user to quickly and easily mount/dismount gear. There’s an extra lock to ensure your camera is securely attached and a square cold shoe mount can be quickly attached in any direction. The patented 1/4” screw lets you securely fix the plate or cold shoe mount in place and the cold shoe mount’s rotate-to-lock knob contains a patented screw, which prevents it from loosening. 

The Snaplock Nano Swivel & Tilt Mount can be used with monitors and it also functions as a mini tripod head so you can connect a smartphone or camera to the device (tripod not included). 

Key Features: 

  • 360° swivelling and 180° tilting
  • PGYTECH SnapLock Nanosystem allows you to easily (dis)mount your gear
  • The extra lock ensures your gear is securely fastened to the mount
  • A square cold shoe mount can be quickly snapped on in any direction
  • The patented 1/4” screw lets you securely fix the plate or cold shoe mount in place
  • The cold shoe mount’s rotate-to-lock knob contains a patented screw, which prevents it from undoing
  • Multifunctional interface for wide compatibility 

 

Action Camera Snaplock Plate Arca-Swiss

P1010059 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 33.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The Action Camera Snaplock Plate, as the name suggests, is for Action Cameras and it features a ball head structure for swivelling (360-degrees) and tilting (32-degrees). It features PGYTECH’s quick-release pin so mounting/dismounting an action camera is easy – simply unlock the pin then rotate it 90-degrees to lock/unlock the pin. 

The square shape is Arca-Swiss compatible so you can use it with tripods or PGYTECH’s Beatle Camera Clip and the universal interface as well as the 1/4”-20 conversion adapter makes the Action Camera Snaplock Plate widely compatible with many popular action cameras from brands such as GoPro and DJI. 

The base of the plate and the ball head are made from aluminium which means it’s light and the size makes it easy to carry around. 

Key Features:

  • Ball head structure
  • A Quick-release pin allows you to instantly (dis)mount your gear
  • The universal interface and the 1/4”-20 conversion adapter for wide compatibility
  • The square shape is Arca-Swiss compatible
  • Aluminium alloy construction

 

PGYTECH Snaplock System Handling & Performance

P1010029 | 1/125 sec | f/3.5 | 30.0 mm | ISO 200
 

All of the accessories on review that are found in the PGYTECH Snaplock System are compact in size and lightweight which means they easily fit in a camera bag or even a pocket for easy transportation. They’re also made really well with the aluminium alloy feeling reassuringly strong and all components fitting well. Lock buttons are easy to push and give peace of mind that your camera isn’t going to fall off the mount it’s attached to. We also like the rubberised textures that give the accessories extra grip when attached to a camera and/or strap. 

The anti-loosening design of the plate brings reassurance that your kit is safe (PGY even provide Alun keys so you can tighten the bolt easily) and the simple ‘push-to-install’ system the plate and adapter offers makes the mounting/dismounting of gear quick.

 

20211013 100008 | 1/134 sec | f/1.8 | 5.4 mm | ISO 50
 

You don’t have to worry about the direction you fit the SnapLock Plate in either as the square shape means you can quickly mount it in any direction. It also uses the Arca-Swiss standardized size, which is compatible with most Arca-Swiss plates. Also Arca-Swiss compatible is the SnapLock Mounting Base with 1/4” and 3/8” threaded holes so you can use the device with a wide variety of gimbals, plates, tripods and sliders.

 

P1010048 | 1/160 sec | f/4.0 | 23.0 mm | ISO 200
 

If you own multiple cameras and supports, one slight snag is that you would need to purchase multiple SnapLock Plate Adapters or Plates so you can switch from sliders to tripods or swap cameras easily. If, however, you have one camera and one tripod, you’ll find the SnapLock Plate Adapter system so easy to use and it really does save time. It’s one of the easiest quick release plate systems we’ve used with a simple press of a button releasing the camera from the support. The plate also easily slides/clicks into place and feels incredibly secure. If you use the Alun key to tighten the plate to your camera there’s no movement once it’s in the SnapLcok Mounting Base and the extra lock gives double reassurance that your camera is safe.  

 

P1010056 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 35.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The SnapLock Nano Swivel and Tilt Mount is an ideal accessory for vloggers as it can be attached to a handheld tripod as the 1/4”-20 screw hole on the bottom and the 1/4”-20 screw on the top enable it to function as a mini tripod head. It also features the square mount design so you can quickly mount it in any direction and use the built-in push button to make sure it’s secure. For further peace of mind, the SnapLock Nano plate’s 1/4”-20 screw and the cold shoe mount’s rotate-to-lock knob contain a patented screw with a mini thrust needle roller bearing so you can fix the plate or cold shoe mount securely in place. 

Once your camera is secure, you can swivel and tilt the mount and the damping means you can adjust the swivel up to 360-degrees and the tilt up to 180-degrees smoothly. 

 

P1010061 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 33.0 mm | ISO 200
 

Also designed for action cameras is the Action Camera SnapLock Plate which features a ball head that enables 360°swiveling and 32° tilting so you can lock it in various positions. The handy quick-release pin features so you can quickly and easily mount/dismount gear to it and it’s also compatible with multiple action cameras so a wider variety of customers will be able to purchase and use the adapter. The square shape is, again, Arca-Swiss compatible and it can be used with Arca-type tripod heads or the PGYTECH Beetle Camera Clip so you can capture footage on the move hands-free.

 

P1010030 | 1/100 sec | f/3.5 | 17.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The Beetle Camera Clip is the final device in our collection of Snaplock System accessories and it’s a device you can fasten to your backpack strap or belt to secure your camera to when it’s not in use. It’s designed to relieve pressure on your neck as you don’t need a camera strap and it keeps your hands free for the setting up of tripods etc. Basically, this device provides a quick-access solution to your camera when you don’t want to stow it away. 

Mounting and locking the camera in place is really easy as there are no knobs to twist/secure, instead, you just press one button to slide the plate in/out which moves smoothly. The same button doubles up as a lock to keep the plate in place when mounted to the clip. 

 

20211013 095921 | 1/100 sec | f/1.8 | 5.4 mm | ISO 125
 

To secure the clip to a strap or belt, you need to lift the small handle which is reassuringly stiff and lifts with a ‘click’. You’ll then see there are 3 steps (PGYTECH call them gears) that allow different strap thicknesses to be secured. A strap up to 75mm wide with a maximum thickness of 15mm and a minimum thickness of 1mm thick can be used with the Beetle Camera Clip. Once over your strap/belt, you resecure the lock you lifted up to hold the device in place. 

The Bettle Camera Clip does hold a camera/lens well but it did take us a while to trust it simply because we’re so used to using a camera strap. You can feel the weight when using longer lenses and we did find ourselves reaching to hold the camera at first but after a while, we did stop doing this. After getting used to the system, we soon found ourselves comfortably walking around, hands-free and with no camera banging around on a strap. Plus, it’s really easy to get the camera off the clip when needed as all you have to do is switch the lock, press it in and pull your camera off the clip. We found it equally secure when using either a backpack strap or belt to fasten it to but sitting the camera horizontally rather than vertically when on a bag strap does help distribute weight better. 

The SnapLock plate the clip is compatible with does grip a camera well, with the patented tight-fitting screw doing exactly what it’s designed to do, too. 

 

Value For Money

The accessories in the PGYTECH Snaplock System have the following prices:

You’ll also need a Snaplock Plate if not purchasing it in a set with the Beetle Camera Clip or Snaplock Plate Adapter which is priced at $14.90. 

All of the products are rather reasonably priced but if you did want to purchase multiple plates or adapters, the cost could soon start adding up. These prices also don’t take custom fees, VAT, duty and tax you may have to pay into consideration – please check before purchasing. 

Alternative camera clips include the Capture Camera Clip from Peak Design priced at just over £50 while various Arca-swiss quick-release plates are available on Amazon ranging in prices along with various plate adapters

For more opinions on photography accessories, have a look at our reviews

 

PGYTECH Snaplock System Verdict

All of the accessories are really easy to use, are well made and will securely hold your camera but to get the most out of the Snaplock Plate Adapter functionality, you’ll need to purchase multiple adapters if you have different supports or buy multiple Snaplock Plates if you have more than one camera so you can quickly swap them in and out of use. However, those who own just one camera and support don’t have to worry about this so will find the system does speed up workflow and makes connecting/disconnecting a camera to a support really easy. 

The action camera accessories offer smooth panning and tilting while the Beetle Clip is a useful way to keep your hands free and your neck more comfortable when not taking photos. 

Thanks to features such as ‘push to install’, the accessories are really easy and quick to use. Plus, the anti-loosening design of the plate accessories brings peace of mind that your camera is safe and secure in use.

Overall, the PGYTECH Snaplock System offers a varied and useful collection of accessories that are compatible with a wide range of photography kit which means there’s definitely a quick-release accessory for every type of photographer in this collection.

 

PGYTECH Snaplock System Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Quick to install
  • Secure
  • Lightweight
  • Good build quality
  • Widely compatible 

 

PGYTECH Snaplock System Cons

  • MultipleSnapLock Plate Adapters/Plates needed to make the most of the system (if you have multiple cameras)
  • Some cameras/lenses feel heavy on the Beetle Camera Clip

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Sony Xperia 5 III Smartphone Review

Sony Xperia 5 III Smartphone Review

P1010020 | 1/125 sec | f/3.5 | 17.0 mm | ISO 200
 

 

Quick Verdict

The Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone shares some of the excellent features found on the more expensive Sony Xperia 1 III but in a smaller, easier to hold body that’s also got a better price tag. The camera is great, taking true-to-life photos and if you have the patience to learn how to use the Pro Mode then you’ll capture even better shots. If you can get on with the unusual dimensions and want a smartphone with premium tech that’s not priced at over £1000, the Xperia 5 III could be for you. 

+ Pros

  • Good screen 
  • Good image quality 
  • A useful line-up of cameras 
  • Compact shape
  • Excellent battery life 

– Cons

  • Still quite expensive
  • No wireless charging
  • The design won’t be for everyone

 

 

The Sony Xperia 5 III updates the Sony Xperia 5 II and as its predecessor did with the Sony Xperia 1 II, The Sony Xperia 5 III shares quite a few of the specs found on the Sony Xperia 1 III but as a price point more of us can afford.  

It’s priced at around £899 which is still quite expensive and £100 more than the Sony Xperia 5 II was priced at launch so we’re going to be taking a close look at this new smartphone to find out if the price equates to good value for money or if your cash will be better spent elsewhere. 

 

Sony Xperia 5 III Features

P1010011 | 1/125 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The Sony Xperia 5 III features the same cameras as the Xperia 1 III but there’s no time-of-flight sensor for judging depth and it has a 6.1-inch screen as well as a 3.5mm audio jack. A new 30W charger is included in the box of the Xperia 5 III, too. 

As for the cameras, you get a 16mm ultra-wide, 24mm wide and a 70-105mm telephoto lens (all 12MP) with 20fps continuous shooting on offer as well as Sony’s Dual PDAF technology. There’s a 6.1-inch, tall and long 21:9 ratio screen (a USP of Sony smartphones), a 3.5mm stereo jack and a 4500mAh battery (improved over the Xperia 5 II). You also get 4K video, a Pro video mode, two memory options that are expandable with a MicroSD, water/dust resistance and an 8MP 24mm selfie camera. 

If it’s all sounding a bit familiar, that’s because quite a few of the specs are shared with the Xperia 5 II:

 

SpecsSony Xperia 5 IIISony Xperia 5 II
Rear Camera12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.3, 70mm – 105mm f/2.8 (telephoto) with Dual Pixel PDAF, 3x/4,4x optical zoom, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) with Dual Pixel PDAF12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto) with PDAF, 3x optical zoom, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) with Dual Pixel PDAF
Front Camera8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens
Display6.1″ OLED display6.1″ OLED display 
Video4K, FullHD (5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS)4K, FullHD (5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS)
USBUSB-CUSB-C
Battery4500mAh (no wireless charging)4000mAh (no wireless charging)
Weight168g163g
Dimensions157 x 68 x 8.2mm158 x 68 x 8mm
Memory128GB/8GB RAM or 256GB/8GB RAM (microSDXC slot for expanded storage)128GB/8GB RAM or 256GB/8GB RAM (microSDXC slot for expanded storage)

 

Sony Xperia 5 III Key Features:

  • Triple Rear Camera: 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.3, 70mm – 105mm f/2.8 (telephoto) with Dual Pixel PDAF, 3x/4,4x optical zoom, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) with Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Front Camera: 8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens
  • Display: 6.1″ OLED display
  • Zoom: 3X-.4X optical zoom (telephoto lens)
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Phase-Detection Autofocus
  • Pro video and camera modes 
  • Video: 4K 24/25/30/60/120fps and HDR,1080p (5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Type-C USB
  • 4500mAh battery with fast charging but no wireless charging
  • 128GB/8GB RAM or 256GB/8GB RAM (microSDXC slot for expanded storage)
  • Dimensions: 157 x 68 x 8.2mm
  • Weight: 168g

 

Sony Xperia 5 III Handling

P1010022 | 1/160 sec | f/4.0 | 17.0 mm | ISO 200
 

As mentioned, if you’ve read our review of the Sony Xperia 5 II or have held it in your own hands, you may be experiencing some deja vu as they are very similar in looks and specs. In fact, the Sony USP of a 21:9 aspect ratio display has been around for some time now which means you get a narrow smartphone with a big screen but the dimensions still won’t suit everyone. It does fit well in the hand, though, and you can easily control the smartphone one-handed. It’s also easier to hold and use than the Xperia 1 III it it shares specs with. 

The rounded edges/corners remain which makes the smartphone comfortable to hold and there’s still a chin as well as a slight bezel where the selfie camera sits at the top but along the sides, it’s pretty thin. 

On the right side of the smartphone, there are volume controls, a Google Assistant button and a shutter button for when you’re taking photos in a landscape orientation. There’s also a fingerprint sensor sandwiched in between these buttons as there’s not one built into the screen.

Turn your attention to the bottom of the Xperia 5 III and you find a USB-C port and on top is a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can charge your smartphone and use your headphones at the same time. 

On the back sits the triple camera housing which sits pretty flush to surfaces so there’s no rocking when it’s placed down but the back is a magnet for fingerprints (it doesn’t have the lovely matt finish the Xperia 1 III has) and its slipperiness means it has a habit of sliding so we recommend popping a case on it for added protection. 

 

P1010014 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 26.0 mm | ISO 200
 

As for the display, it’s covered in Gorilla Glass 6 so it’ll be slightly more prone to scratches/cracks than the Xperia 1 III which has Gorilla Glass Victus but brightness levels are good and colours are accurate. There’s also a 120Hz refresh rate available for selection in the settings which will improve your viewing experience. For those creating visual content, there’s a Creator mode that will provide even better colour reproduction. 

It’s good to see an official IP rating which means the smartphone will survive a dunking up to 1.5m for 30 minutes and the 4,500mAh battery is impressive, providing plenty of power for a day’s use and improving on the 4000mAh battery found in the Xperia 5 II but it’s a shame wireless charging is still missing from a device at this price level. 

The camera set-up is similar to that on the Xperia 1 III with just the time-of-flight sensor which is used for judging depth missing but this didn’t cause any problems. However, as we’ve come to expect from Sony, you get some nice camera features built-in including Phase Detection Auto Focus, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), ZEISS optics and eye-tracking. 

Sony Xperia 5 III Camera Features:

  • 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
  • 12 MP, f/2.3, 70mm and f/1.8 105mm (telephoto) with PDAF, 3x-4.4x optical zoom, OIS
  • 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) with Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Front Camera: 8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens
  • Zoom: 3X and 4.4Xoptical zoom (telephoto lens)
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Phase-Detection Autofocus
  • 20fps burst mode
  • Pro video and camera modes 

 

The camera app is very similar to other camera apps you’ll have used with basic modes such as panorama, selfie assistance and creative filters built-in. There are also round buttons to switch to the different lenses, modes found across the top of the screen and a big shutter button. You can click the screen to focus and adjust the exposure of an image, too. You’ll occasionally see a symbol pop up which is the AI looking at the scene in front and ensuring the optimal settings are selected to capture the best photo. 

To access the many Pro modes that are built-in you have to click the ‘basic’ wording that’s found top right. When you do, a wheel with various options such as P, S, M and Auto will appear along with explanations of what they’re used for. The tools on offer are in abundance and it can take some time to get used to how they all work but if you have the patience to harness their power, your photos will improve. The only mode you can’t access is aperture priority (there isn’t one) and you won’t find a dedicated night mode either. 

The two zoom lenses on the telephoto sensor is a different approach but there’s no real difference in speed when you compare with other smartphones that have separate telephoto cameras. 

 

P1010025 | 1/160 sec | f/4.0 | 17.0 mm | ISO 200
 

Video is captured in 4K at 24/25/30/60/120fps and HDR,1080p with 5-axis gyro-EIS and OIS to keep footage steady and you get access to a Pro video mode should you want more control over the settings used. 

Some will be impressed with the Pro modes on offer and use them all of the time but for most, the normal auto mode will be their go-to choice as it’s simpler to use and produces great results without too much effort. 

Battery life – The 4500mAh battery is really great and you’ll easily get a full day’s use out of the smartphone. It does support fast charging but not wireless. 

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Voigtlander 50mm F/1.2 Nokton E Lens Review

Voigtlander 50mm F/1.2 Nokton E Lens Review

50mm f/1.2 Nokton E
 

Voigtlander, ZEISS, Leica, Rollei, all fine German names from the top echelon of camera and lens manufacturers and all at the top of their game, in the case of Voigtlander from 1756 to the present day. Voigtlander is now a name owned by Cosina, who have consistently proved that they are more than up to continuing the fine standards that justify its use. We are looking at several Voigtlander lenses currently; having just reviewed the 35mm f/1.2 Nokton X for Fuji X mount we are now turning to the Sony E mount options. For Sony FE full-frame cameras, here is the Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton E Aspherical, reviewed using the 42MP Sony A7R III. Let’s see how it handles and performs.

Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton E Handling and Features

Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton E
 

This Voigtlander lens is of course a standard lens for the full-frame Sony E fit cameras, but can equally well be used on the crop frame bodies where the “35mm equivalent” field of view would be 75mm. However, in the latter case, the lens would be a bit out of scale and out of balance, dwarfing the crop frame body. Using the full-frame A7R III for this review, we have a heavy, 434g, optic, but one that fits the scale and balances well. There is a supplied round lens hood that screws into the 58mm filter thread. This affords a reasonable degree of protection for the front element.

The aperture ring is at the front of the lens and is equipped with delightfully designed click stops every one-third of a stop. The direction of travel of this ring follows Nikon/Pentax tradition, whereas the focusing ring is reversed and has Canon direction of travel. Back to the aperture ring, it also has a clever extra feature that enables the clicks to be disabled. This will be ideal for videographers, although there are no instructions provided as to how to do this and the only mention that it exists is in the small print on the website, but still with no instructions. Voigtlander paperwork with the lenses seems to follow the minimalistic route, to the extent that it tells us very little. To de-click the aperture ring, push the ring in front of it towards the camera body and rotate this ring until a yellow line is opposite the f/1.2 mark, as opposed to the white dot. This is called the Selective Aperture Control System.

Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton E
 

The manual focus ring is the only method of focusing, this being a manual focus lens, and it turns smoothly and evenly through its range, from 0.45m. This is the standard near focusing limit for a 50mm lens. Distances are clearly marked in white for metres and not so clearly marked in red for feet. There is a meaningful depth of field scale provided.

The metal lens mount is well-engineered and carries electronic contacts, so EXIF information can be shared with the camera body, providing it is one of the following, which are all compatible electronically: X-H1, X-T4, X-T3, X-T2, X Pro-3, X-S10, X-E4 and X-T30. 

Optical construction is 8 elements in 6 groups, including 2 Aspherical. The aperture comprises 12 blades, a very generous number that bodes well for bokeh. It is not quite the 18 or more blades that vintage brass lenses had, but in a modern context very impressive.

Sadly, there is no weather resistance, but this lens does offer traditional construction and adding WR could well disturb the design ethos.

Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton E
 

Some photographers find manual focus difficult, and if this is the case this may not be the lens for them, but the Sony cameras do offer various focusing aids and these work effectively and quickly. The biggest difficulty will be with the minuscule depth of field at f/1.2 which means that the merest movement or miss-focus will render the image as softer than it should be. Practice is the key, especially for those of us who have all but forgotten the joys of manual focus. These include the slower working, the easier selection and retention of a particular point of focus and of course the sheer tactile pleasure of a manual focusing ring.

 

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Amazon Wants You To Test its Ring Flying Indoor Drone Camera

Amazon Wants You To Test its Ring Flying Indoor Drone Camera

Amazon Wants You To Test its Ring Flying Indoor Drone Camera 1

Amazon first announced the Ring Always Home Cam almost a year ago during its 2020 hardware event, but today it confirmed that the product is real and can be purchased… by invitation only.

The Ring Always Home Cam is pretty basic as far as a concept goes: it’s a small camera attached to a drone that works with the Ring network. The idea is that rather than being required to set up a host of cameras all around a home so that every angle can be captured, the Home Cam would instead allow users to take a quick perusal of the house through the flying indoor camera.

Ring — which Amazon purchased in 2018 — even bills it as a way for someone to be in “two places at once.”

Amazon says the indoor flying camera as equipped with navigation sensors so that it can navigate the paths of a home without crashing and allows users to get a “flexible point of view” when they are not in the house. Fully autonomous, it can’t actually be “flown” in the traditional sense of the word, but simply commanded to run pre-determined paths. It is able to stream and record video in Full HD 1080p that is watchable via the Ring app. It can be triggered by a Ring Alam sensor or manually through the app.

Amazon Wants You To Test its Ring Flying Indoor Drone Camera 2

The camera unit itself is blocked when it’s not in use, as it sits at the base of a column below the propellers which fits into its charging station like a sword in a sheath. The idea behind this design choice is that instead of having a set of cameras always watching a family while they are home, the flying camera can provide the same level of visibility but only when the family is not present. Cats and dogs, however, are unlikely to be fans of it.

Additionally, it can’t navigate stairs and the battery life is extremely short: about five minutes. Ring says this is because the idea of the drone is not to have it patrol an area for a long time, but rather it is designed to be deployed tactically to investigate specific situations.

According to The Verge, the Always Home Cam has been in testing since it was announced last year in order to make sure that it doesn’t run amok and cause damage to itself or its surroundings, especially since it is supposed to operate with no nearby supervision.

Amazon Wants You To Test its Ring Flying Indoor Drone Camera 3

Ring’s founder says the company has made multiple refinements to it in the last year and now it’s ready to be tested in actual people’s homes. Well, some people’s: the drone can only currently be purchased if a buyer is selected for the invite-only test program.

“I have it in my home, and it does work,” Jamie Siminoff, Ring’s founder, says. “But today’s homes are so unique, so we really need to get it into more customers’ homes to make sure everything we are doing is right.”

The idea is that whoever signs up for the program will work in tandem with Ring to finalize the product and prepare it for more widespread distribution. Interested parties can sign up for an invitation to buy a Ring Always Home Cam for $250.

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Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton X Lens Review

Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton X Lens Review

Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton X

 

 

Voigtlander is one of the grand old names of German lens making, along with Zeiss and Rollei, and still exists today in its current incarnation of Cosina-owned Japanese manufacture. This brings modern design and manufacturing techniques to meet with traditional style lens design and materials, resulting in a very interesting range of manual focus lenses. The Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton X is also a first of the range designed for Fuji X mount. Here we are using the 26MP Fujifilm X-S10 body to look in detail at the new lens and see if it has the potential to attract Fuji users, who already have a very fine range of AF and MF lenses available.

Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton X Handling and Features

Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton X
 

First impression is of a very nicely made metal-bodied lens, but more than that, a very tiny lens that is much more akin to a small Leica rangefinder lens than even a small DSLR prime. It weighs in at just 196g. It definitely looks the part on the Fujifilm X-S10, balancing perfectly with the camera body.

There is a tiny metal screw-in lens hood and this offers a small amount of protection to the front element. The filter size is 46mm, again more typical of a small rangefinder style lens.

The aperture ring is at the front of the lens and has a nice ribbed grip, all around apart from the area where the aperture values are etched and filled with clear white paint. The click stops cannot be switched off. They are however beautifully engineered, at one-third of a stop intervals. The direction of travel is the same as Nikon and Pentax DSLRs.

The manual focus ring, and of course there is no AF with the Voigtlander lens range, operates smoothly and with a well-judged degree of firmness to the action. The direction of the focus ring is traditional Canon. Focus distances are marked in a very visible white for metres and a rather dull and much harder to see red for feet. Focusing is down to 0.30m, or 1 foot, exactly what we would expect from a classic 35mm lens. Behind the manual focus ring is a well-marked and useful depth of field scale.

Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton X
 

The metal lens mount is well-engineered and carries electronic contacts, so EXIF information can be shared with the camera body, providing it is one of the following, which are all compatible electronically: Х-Н1, Х-Т4, Х-Т3, Х-Т2, Х-Рrо3, Х-Ѕ10, Х-Е4, Х-Т30.

Optical construction is 8 elements in 6 groups. The diaphragm comprises a generous 12 blades, which suggests that bokeh could be very smooth.

So, in summary, we have a relatively tiny 35mm lens, designed specifically for the Fujifilm APS-C cameras. This is effectively equivalent to a 50mm standard lens on full-frame, certainly in terms of field of view. Add to that the bonus of a very fast, bright f/1.2 aperture and we have a very interesting proposition.

Manual focusing will not be for everyone, and at f/1.2 it can indeed be a bit tricky to find that exact point of focus. One technique is to focus at open aperture and then close down before shooting, counting off the click stops so that the required aperture can be set without taking the camera from the eye. If on a tripod, then the screen can be used and it is easier to be precise, but slower. In bright light and/or at smaller apertures it may be possible to focus at the taking aperture, but probably not with any accuracy when the light begins to fade.

Apart from the advantage in low light and as an aid to focusing, the widest apertures also have a function that depends upon the basic lens design. Some lenses are designed to be relatively soft wide open and these can be very useful for softer effects with portraiture. At some point, they will crisp up and deliver high levels of sharpness for those who need it. Some lenses aim to be razor-sharp even wide open and these can be a bit cruelly sharp for portraits to appeal to the model. With this lens, the widest apertures are softer and there is some potential there for more flattering portraits. Standard lenses no longer seem to be regarded as too close for flattering images, so this could fit in very nicely with current perceptions.

 

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Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod Review

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod Review

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod
 

Quick Verdict

The Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod has really impressed us. Not only is it a tripod for photographers, but it’s also a support vloggers and smartphoneographers will love to use, too. 

+ Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact 
  • Bluetooth remote trigger
  • Great build quality
  • Quick set-up
  • Smartphone connector included
  • Leg converts to a monopod
  • A quick-release plate that fits smartphones
  • Removable telescopic panhandle
  • Smooth operation

– Cons

  • We’ll let you know if we think of any! 

 

The Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod is a travel tripod with a difference because, as well as using it the traditional way with a mirrorless camera or DSLR,  it can also be used for vlogging/video with a smartphone/camera as it comes with a clever quick release plate that’s been adapted for use with smartphones. The Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP is priced at £269.99 and we’ve been putting it to the test to find out how versatile it really is and if it’s worth the cash. 

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod Features

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod
 

The Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod has been designed with the traditional style of photographer in mind along with smartphoneographers who want to shoot video or long exposure shots with their devices. It’s also perfect for vloggers who want to shoot photos or videos with either a digital camera or a smartphone. Why? Well, alongside all of the usual features we expect to see on a Vanguard tripod, the VEO 3T 265HCBP features a quick-release plate that can fit any smartphone up to 85mm wide, a removable panhandle that helps with smooth panning. 

As well as using it as a tripod, the Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP transforms into a monopod and it’s constructed from carbon fibre so it’s lightweight, weighing just under 2KG. It’s also compact, measuring 44cm when folded so it easily fits in its supplied tripod bag on even into a backpack. 

Other features include a full-height extension of 166cm, 12KG payload, a Bluetooth remote control so you can use the centre column/monopod when vlogging, easy clean leg locks, optional spikes, a VEO BP-120T Arca compatible ball head and a low angle/macro shooting option. 

Key Features

  • 5-section carbon fibre travel tripod
  • Folded length 44cm
  • Max height of 166cm
  • 12Kg load capacity
  • Weighs 1.9kg
  • VEO BP-120T Arca compatible ball head
  • Separate pan lock
  • Quick-release plate that can hold a smartphone up to 85mm wide
  • A leg that converts to a monopod
  • Easy to clean twist locks
  • Includes a Bluetooth remote control for IOS or Android
  • Low angle/macro shooting with reversible centre column, or using the Low Angle Adaptor included
  • 3-easy set leg angles
  • Hook at base of the central column
  • Rubber or Spiked Feet
  • Tripod Bag

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod Handling & Performance

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod

 

The Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP is a carbon fibre travel tripod and as it folds down to 44cm and weighs just under 2KG, it certainly fits the requirements of a travel tripod that needs to be lightweight and compact. It easily attaches to a backpack and will fit in a carry-on bag or you can store/carry it in its supplied carry bag.

Another bonus of the Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP is that it transforms into a monopod so you get two pieces of kit in one which means you have less to pack. It’s also really easy to set up and is ideal for days you don’t want to carry a full tripod around or when you’re visiting locations where tripods will simply take up too much room (or aren’t allowed). Plus, when you combine the centre column/monopod with the supplied Bluetooth remote control, it makes an ideal tool for vloggers who may want to capture footage and/or shoot pieces to camera while on the move. It also means that you can set your smartphone (or camera with Bluetooth) up and actually be in photos with your family rather than behind the camera taking photos.

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod
 

 The max height the tripod can be extended to is 166cm which is fine for most situations and it has a 12KG max payload which with most camera/lens combos only weighing around 2KG (for most people), weight will not be an issue and neither is stability as even at full height, the tripod stood firm. If you do find you need to add weight for more stability, there’s a hook you can hang your camera bag to. When you do need more height, release the 5-section legs top-down as the larger parts of the legs will always give more stability. 

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod
 

To release the leg sections, you use the twist locks which are billed as ‘easy clean’ which is great as when you’re back from the beach, you want to make sure all of the sand and seawater is removed from it. The leg locks are also rubberised which makes them really grippy and easy to turn. Plus, Vanguard has put text on them so you know which way locks and unlocks which is a really simple but useful thing. When you do lock them in place, the legs stay put with no slippage and accidental rotation which is all you can ask for from a good tripod. 

At the top of each leg is a lock you can press to adjust the leg angle via a push-button that’s easy to operate and ensures the legs stay in place once an angle is selected. Simply, push and adjust the leg to 20, 50 or 80-degrees. 

For those who enjoy macro photography, the central column can be easily reversed or you can lower the tripod using the low angle adaptor feature when you’re photographing things closer to the ground but don’t need to be so close that you need to turn the column upside down. 

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod
 

The included VEO BP-120T Arca compatible ball head operates smoothly and if you’re going to be doing lots of panning of capturing video footage then we do recommend attaching the optional panhandle as it makes panning that bit more effortless and allows for greater control. It’s easy to attach and it’s an excellent addition, particularly the fact that it can be removed so the tripod is easier to store. 

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod
 

The panhandle was also useful when using a smartphone with the Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP which you can attach to the tripod via the QS-72T Arca compatible 70mm long quick release plate that has a built-in smartphone adapter that is compatible with smartphones that measure up to 85mm in width. The adapter lifts easily from the quick release plate and the support extends to fit your smartphone securely.

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod
 

It’s a piece of kit we didn’t think we’d need until we actually used it and we think it’s a genius move on Vanguard’s part as you might not think you need a tripod when capturing images with a smartphone but with more people than ever vlogging, creating content for YouTube and shooting paid-for photos for Instagram, a good support for your smart device is more important than ever. Plus, the fact that you can fold the adapter back into the quick release plate and then attach your DSLR or Mirrorless camera is great and just brilliantly efficient. The QS-72T Arca compatible quick release plate also allows for longer lenses to be used more easily. 

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod
 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod
 

If you’re someone who’ll need a microphone, lights etc. on your shoot, you can attach additional support arms to the tripod via one of the 3/8″ threads found on the canopy or via the 1/4″ thread on the side of the Universal Smartphone Connector. 

Other features include a choice of Rubber or Anti-Rust Stainless-Steel Spiked Feet that allow for maximum stability on various terrain. 

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod

 

Overall, the whole tripod is built extremely well with Vanguard really thinking about what the modern-day photographer might need to make their photo-taking process more efficient and straightforward. Plus, it’s ergonomic, too, with grippy and large knobs, easy-to-use twist locks and legs that adjust with the simple click of a button. You also get a separate pan-lock for when shooting panoramas and there’s a spirit level to help keeps things straight. 

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod
 

Value For Money

The Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod has an RRP of £270 which, for some, might seem like a lot of money to spend on a tripod but it is on par with other tripods out there. You also have to remember that it will probably be a one-time purchase that’ll last you years so use vs pounds spent is worthwhile. 

Alternatives from Vanguard include the VEO 3GO Series which are designed to be small/portable and we really liked the VEO 3GO 235CB when we put it to the test, awarding it a ‘Highly Recommended’ accolade. Or, you could look at the VEO 3GO 265HCB which is lighter and shorter when folded but not as versatile. it does come with a smartphone adapter but it’s not built into the quick release plate as it is on the VEO 3T 265HCBP. 

Options from other manufactures include the Manfrotto Befree range with the MKBFRC4-BH at £300, the Benro Travel Angel FTA28CV1 priced at £300 and the 3 Legged Thing Albert 2.0 with AirHed pro kit (not just tripod) at £350, or Punks Brian System at £270. All of these tripods are designed to be compact, lightweight and stable but they don’t offer the same flexibility for smartphoneographers and bloggers quite like the Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP does. 

For more options, we have a couple of tripod round-ups that are worth a peruse: ‘Best Tripods You Can Buy Right Now‘ top list and ‘Best Budget Tripod‘ recommendations. 

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod Verdict

The Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP has impressed us that much, we’re not messing around, we’re instantly awarding it an ‘Editor’s Choice’ accolade. 

Not only do you get a carbon fibre travel tripod, but you also get a monopod, an Arca compatible ball-head that can include a removable panhandle and a quick-release plate that can fit any smartphone up to 85mm wide. The flexibility the tripod offers photographers/vloggers/smartphoneographers is excellent with the ability to capture both video and still photos with either a camera or smartphone. Plus, it comes with a Bluetooth trigger and the panhandle you can attach to the tripod makes panning smooth and efficient. Set-up is quick, the tripod is really sturdy in use and once you’re done with it you can fold it back down to its compact state so it stores easily in its supplied carry case or on the side of a camera bag. 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP – we like you a lot. 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Travel Tripod Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact 
  • Bluetooth remote trigger
  • Great build quality
  • Quick set-up
  • Smartphone connector included
  • Leg converts to a monopod
  • A quick-release plate that fits smartphones
  • Removable telescopic panhandle
  • Smooth operation

 

Vanguard VEO 3T 265HCBP Travel Tripod Cons

  • We’ll let you know if we think of any! 

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Panasonic S 85mm F/1.8 Lens Review

Panasonic S 85mm F/1.8 Lens Review

Panasonic S 85mm f/1.8 L-Mount
 

We continue to look at some of the full-frame Panasonic Lumix lenses using the Leica L mount, a collaboration between Leica Camera, Panasonic and Sigma. This is the second we have reviewed, the first being the Lumix S 24mm f/1.8, from a set of three lightweight lenses with virtually identical dimensions and balance. This is intended to particularly benefit videographers as the balance of the camera/lens combination will not change from lens to lens. The complete trio of lenses will be 24mm/50mm/85mm. Now it is the turn of the 85mm f/1.8, again coupled with the 24MP full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5 camera body. The 24mm acquitted itself well, so let’s see if the 85mm is up to the same standard.

Panasonic Lumix S 85mm F/1.8 Handling and Features

Panasonic S 85mm f/1.8 L-Mount
 

Thanks to the extensive use of plastics, the lens weighs in at a very modest 355g. It looks well made and has the welcome benefit of being dust and splash resistant, as well as freeze-proof down to -10C.

There is a generously sized round lens hood that securely clips into place. The improved design of the hood release catch is flush with the hood and is therefore unlikely to be accidentally released. Within the bayonet fit for the hood is a standard 67mm filter thread.

There are only two controls on the lens. The wide manual focus ring is electronic in operation and, as expected, extremely smooth. The action is quite firm but has a well-balanced feel to its action. The only other control is the AF/MF switch.

The Leica L mount is metal and retained by six screws, more than most. The lens has five retaining screws for its mount, the implication being that maybe it is a sign of robust construction. It is a solid fit with absolutely no play once the lens is seated. Despite this, there were a couple of occasions where the camera advised that the lens was not seated properly. Remounting the lens cured this.

 

Panasonic S 85mm f/1.8 L-Mount
 

Focusing is down to 0.8m, or 2.62 feet, for a maximum magnification of 0.13x. This is about what we would expect, but nowhere near macro distances. With videography in mind, the design has very low focus breathing, so focusing will not change the magnification or shape of objects in the frame. Also with videography in mind, this lens and its matching siblings the 24mm and 50mm have almost identical dimensions and centres of gravity, so in use, the handling remains the same.

Optical construction is 9 elements in 8 groups, including 2 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion), the aim being to reduce or eliminate chromatic aberrations and distortion. The diaphragm comprises 9 rounded blades for enhanced bokeh. There is no built-in image stabilisation, relying instead on the IBIS of the camera body. For critical sharpness, a benefit of 2.5 stops was achieved. This will of course vary, depending on the individual photographer and the circumstances.

Traditionally, the 85mm is the ideal portrait lens, allowing an approach close enough to the subject so there is good communication, but not so close that features are distorted. 85mm lenses tend to be fast, f/1.8, f/1.4 or even f/1.2, and hence looking at the world through them gives an impressive sense of the slim depth of field that in turn results in fantastic out of focus backgrounds.

There is much more, though, to such lenses, and they are also useful for close sports, landscape, architecture and even some styles of street photography. The Lumix lens is so simple in its facilities that considering its handling is largely irrelevant – it just does the job, simply and effectively, with nothing to interfere with that.

 

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Canon EOS R3 Hands-On Photos

Canon EOS R3 Hands-On Photos

We’ve been getting hands-on with the Canon EOS R3 mirrorless camera at The Photography Show 2021.

| 
Canon EOS R3 in Mirrorless Cameras

97593 1631968140 (1) | 1/33 sec | f/1.7 | 4.7 mm | ISO 488
 

Canon has officially announced the EOS R3 and they’re giving those who attend The Photography Show 2021 the chance to get a first look at this new high-speed mirrorless camera.

Stuart Fawcett was given the opportunity to do just that when he visited the Canon stand at The Photography Show 2021 this Saturday just gone where he described the Canon EOS R3 as a ‘beast of a camera for new and sports photography’. 

 

97593 1631968172 | 1/25 sec | f/1.7 | 4.7 mm | ISO 396
 

EOS R3 Key Features:

  • New Canon-developed 24.1 megapixel back-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor
  • 30fps with AF/AE tracking
  • Shutter speed offering a range of 30 seconds to 1/64000 of a second when using the electronic shutter
  • Eye Control AF point selection
  • AF tracking of people, animals (including birds) and motorsports (racing motorbikes and racing cars)
  • Full width 6K 60p RAW video recorded internally to a CFexpress card
  • Focus in light levels as low as –7.5 EV 

 

97593 1631968199 |
 

On the EOS R3, Stuart says focusing looks good and he likes the flip-out screen, double grip and EVF. The deep grip makes it really easy to get a good hold of and the top small display is handy for when you want to quickly check settings. All dials/buttons fall nicely into place when in use and the tilting display is great for tricky shooting situations. 

Stuart compared it to his trusty EOS 6D, released way back in 2012, and the EOS R3 looks much more substantial and robust, which isn’t a bad thing, and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into its design. 

 

97593 1631968221 | 1/33 sec | f/1.7 | 4.7 mm | ISO 391
 

As well as the Canon EOS R3, the 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM and 16mm f/2.8 STM were on display and Stuart says the 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM focuses fast when used with the EOS R3 and images looked good on the LCD – it’s a nice contender. 

 

Canon 16mm f2.8

 

Canon 100-400mm

 

ePHOTOzine will be writing a full review on the Canon EOS R3, 100-400mm and 16mm lenses as soon as we can. For more information on what’s happening at The Photography Show, have a read of Stuart’s blog

 

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Panasonic L-Mount S 24mm F/1.8 Lens Review

Panasonic L-Mount S 24mm F/1.8 Lens Review

Panasonic L-Mount S 24mm F/1.8
 

We have a relatively rare chance here to examine some of the full-frame Panasonic Lumix lenses using the Leica L mount, a collaboration between Leica Camera, Panasonic and Sigma. The first of these is actually from a set of three lightweight lenses with virtually identical dimensions and balance. This is intended to particularly benefit videographers as the balance of the camera/lens combination will not change from lens to lens. The complete set will be 24mm/50mm/85mm of which we have the 24mm and 85mm to look at. First up is the Panasonic Lumix S 24mm f/1.8, coupled with the 24MP full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5 camera body. Let’s see how it handles and performs.

 

Panasonic L-Mount S 24mm F/1.8 Handling and Features

Panasonic L-Mount S 24mm F/1.8
 

Overall, the lens weighs in at just 310g, indicating extensive use of plastics in its construction. It appears to be well made and is in fact also dust and splash resistant, always a welcome feature.

Starting with the provided petal lens hood, this bayonets nicely into position. Previously I have commented that some Panasonic lens hoods have had a protruding release catch that is easily pressed accidentally, but now the design has been altered and the catch is flush with the lines of the hood. This seems to have cured the problem. Within the bayonet, fit is a standard 67mm filter thread.

The wide focusing ring is electronic in operation and is smooth and quite firm in its action. The only other control on the lens is the AF/MF switch, which is self-explanatory.

The Leica L mount is metal and retained by six screws, more than most. The lens has five screws, the implication being that maybe it is a sign of robust construction. It is a solid fit with absolutely no play once the lens is seated.

Panasonic L-Mount S 24mm F/1.8

Focusing is down to 0.24m, or 0.79 feet, for a maximum magnification of 0.15x. With videography in mind, the design has very low focus breathing, so focusing will not change the magnification or shape of objects in the frame. Also with videography in mind, this lens and its matching siblings the 50mm and 85mm have almost identical dimensions and centres of gravity, so in use, the handling remains the same.

Optical construction is 12 elements in 11 groups, including 3 Aspherical, 3 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) and 1 ULD (Ultra Low Dispersion), the aim being to reduce or eliminate chromatic aberrations and distortion.

As photographic tastes have evolved, 24mm is no longer considered to be a special-purpose ultra-wide lens, but a regular wide-angle. Nonetheless, it pays dividends to get in close to foreground subjects so that there are not vast areas of unused picture space. Focusing is crisp and efficient and virtually silent. There is no optical image stabilisation and the lens makes use of the in-built IBIS in the camera body. With the caveat that it only applies to this reviewer on this day, there was a two-stop advantage observed.

The lens makes a really tremendous optic for landscape, street, reportage and architectural shots and its lightweight is a great advantage for extended shooting. In fact, in use, the lens is remarkably light for a full-frame optic.

 

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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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