Lightroom CC or Lightroom in the Cloud or Lightroom Creating Confusion...

Lightroom CC or Lightroom in the Cloud or Lightroom Creating Confusion...

On October 18th Adobe made it official that there are two different Lightroom tracks.  The product that we have known for two years as Lightroom CC is now called Lightroom Classic and a new version became available to subscribers today.  

The name Lightroom CC now refers to a different product, basically Lightroom in the Cloud targeted at clients with smaller photo libraries who want everything in the cloud and nothing stored on a local machine.

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Help! I think my focus is breathing!

Help! I think my focus is breathing!

For all of us who love photography, we will find two fundamental groups of photo folks on the Internet.  Those who are concerned with becoming the best artists that they can, and those who want to discuss minutiae until the Sun goes nova.  Sadly the first group gets influenced by the second group and one topic that keeps coming back like an ugly sore is focus breathing.

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Return of the Deposed : Sigma 135mm f/1.8 ART

The Sigma 135mm f/1.8 ART.  Yes, that's a big hunk of glass up front

The Sigma 135mm f/1.8 ART.  Yes, that's a big hunk of glass up front

The 135mm was for years the go-to telephoto.  The 135mm seemed to be deposed in favour of longer telephotos, but now it’s back.  Let's have a look at what that means to us.  And a big thanks once again to the good folks at Gentec International who made the lens available to me for review.

Back when the world was young and I was starting out as a working professionalafter completing my apprenticeship, I got an old Nikon F2AS because it was what real pros used and I couldn't afford the F3 that I wanted.  The F2 served me well despite having been well used before I owned it.  In addition to the 35mm and the 50mm, I got my first telephoto lens that year, also used.  A Nikkor 135mm f/3.5   it wasn't optically fast and I never really loved the 135mm focal length, but I had been told that was "the" focal length to get by more experienced professionals, and the 105 Micro Nikkor was completely beyond my price range.  When I sold all my pro gear so we could get a down payment together for our first house, I missed (and still do) the F2AS, but never really missed the 135mm. 

Present day.  Shooting full frame most of the time, I still don't demand the 135mm focal length.  What I have wanted for some time though is a 200 f/2, partly because I love the look for portraits and headshots, partly because one of my instructors, (the great Joe McNally) strongly advocated for it, and partly because I like longer faster glass, weight being a secondary consideration; for the moment at least.

Which via a twisting route and a wrong turn at Albuquerque, brings us to the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 ART.  You see in addition to a couple of full frame bodies, I also have an APS-H body (the unstoppable Canon 1D Mark IV) and an APS-C body (the mostly unloved Canon 7D Mark II).  I have shot the Sigma on the Canon 5Ds and the Canon 1Dx Mark II.  It is sharp and the out of focus highlights, that ever misunderstood, bokeh, are lovely.  And I still don't care for the look on full frame.  But your use cases could be very different from mine.

On the APS-H sensor which has a 1.3x crop factor, the lens delivers the look of about 175mm.  When I shoot headshots, I most often use the 70-200/2.8LII IS, and checking my Lightroom focal length usage, I am very often shooting between 170mm and 200mm.  I find it gives me a beautiful look and doesn't crowd the subject.  I also find that I shoot wide open quite a lot for really shallow depth of field. 

What could possibly be better?  Why one less stop (or a bit more) light from the generic 135mm  f/2.8, and the resultant reduction in depth of field.  On the 1D Mark IV, the 135 gives me about 176mm at f/1.8, which as the story goes, is fabulous.  It even redeems the 7D Mark II delivering about 216mm at f/1.8 look and feel.  To be fair, the 7D2 is a fine camera, it's just not enough better than its predecessor in low light and I still kick myself for selling the original 7D that I had modded to be awesome for video.  Anyhoo.  The 135mmf/1.8 delivers a beautiful image on the 7D Mark II as well.  In fact, that's the combination I used for some demo shots with the recently announced Profoto A1.

This lens follows the professional optical treatment found in most of the ART lenses including two SLD and two ELD elements.  The aperture has nine blades for nice round out of focus highlights and the mount is brass for solidity.  Like most ART lenses, the lens is compatible with the Sigma USB dock for firmware updates and custom tuning.

The Sigma sells regularly for about $1799.99 CDN in Nikon, Canon and Sigma mounts.  I was surprised to learn however that it is more expensive than Canon's superb 135mm f/2 L.  Nikon's 135/2 DC Nikkor is about the same price as the Sigma but is a very old design.

The Shooting

Sigma's ART lenses are killer.  I have shot the 20mm, 24mm,35mm, 50mm, 85mm and not a one has given me any cause not to recommend them highly.  The 135/1.8 does not disappoint.  It is beautifully crisp and has great colour and wonderful contrast.  I found it to be a great headshot lens and while I had to zoom with my feet more than with the 70-200, that razor thin depth of field at f/1.8 fits my shooting style.  It makes me happy.  Now obviously, the lens is very sharp at smaller apertures, but one does not consider an f/1.8 lens unless one intends to shoot at f/1.8 a lot, otherwise why bother?

Shown the the included bayonet mount lens hood.  Good rigidity and an easy locking mount

Shown the the included bayonet mount lens hood.  Good rigidity and an easy locking mount

All the ART prime lenses are extremely sharp with great contrast and really nice out of focus highlights.  Construction is robust and you can feel the quality in the hand.  Focus rings are pleasantly resistant but turn without grinding or binding.  The 135mm is the first ART that I have used whose AF motor noise I noticed.  It's not loud, it just surprised me because I could hear it at all.  My evaluation unit had been rather heavily used before I got it, so that noise may be unique to this variant.  AF is quick if not screaming fast, typical for a longer focal length lens with a very large maximum aperture.  It's good on the 7D2 and the 1D4, but I found it slow on the 5Ds, but in fairness, the 5Ds is slow at everything it does.   

What some folks see as a downside is the size and weight.  The lens is big, although not over-large in my opinion.  It is however, like every ART lens that I have used, quite massive.  Swing weight is tangible and I valued the presence of the extra grippability of the 1D Mark IV body style or the 7D Mark II with a battery grip over the chassis only 5Ds when trying to work quick changes.  On a standard body, you may find the combination particularly nose heavy.

I certainly appreciate that Sigma makes its lenses available to fit its own bodies.  If they were interested in a suggestion, I would respectfully suggest putting the priority of a Sigma mount AFTER a Sony FE mount.  Sony is delivering very credible full frame cameras, and there is not a ton of competition for fast primes.  In fact, to be blunt, there is no competition at all.  Sigma could own the fast primes on Sony marketplace if they stepped up.  Sony will not lie back forever, so get in while the getting is good.  I am aware of the MC-11 adapter and I have used it with Canon mount Sigmas on the a7R Mark II, but no adapter is a substitute for a real mount.

Sample Image

I have to thank my friend, photographer Robert Schindelheim, for stepping in on zero notice to get in front of the camera for the live human being test shots.  My regular muse was working, and the booked model, could not make it at the last minute.  Such things happen.  Of course, Darla was here, but I wanted to see what the lens would do with a not plastic face.  

A1DomeUmbrella.jpg

Conclusions

I liked the lens very much on both APS-H and APS-C bodies.  There is great sharpness and lovely colour rendition.  The lens is quite heavy, and I would want to be shooting a camera with a battery grip if I were using this lens for a few hours handheld.  While it has a superb 7 year warranty here in Canada, I confess that I fear that the price differential between it and the OEM lenses is not big enough to steal buyers away from either Canon or Nikon.  I know only one person shooting a Sigma camera, so as much as it's great that Sigma makes the lens in their own mount, they really need to get on to native Sony FE mount lenses.  It's a very good lens, but to win hearts and minds, needs to see a $500 price drop to really separate it from the OEM glass.

If you shop with B&H Photo Video, please consider doing so through the link on thephotovideoguy.ca as this helps support my efforts and has no negative impact whatsoever on your shopping experience.  If you find the podcast or articles of value, consider clicking the Donation tab in the sidebar of the website and buy me a coffee.  Your donation goes to help me keep things going.  Email your questions on any photo or video topic and I will try to respond within a day.

I'm Ross Chevalier, thanks for reading, and until next time, peace.

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Hasselblad H6D-100c - No Substitute for Resolution, Sensor Size and Lenses

Hasselblad H6D-100c - No Substitute for Resolution, Sensor Size and Lenses

At some point, the quest for more resolution runs up against the existing limits to the number of photo sites that can be fit into the physical space of a sensor.  The rationale for huge pixel counts on medium format sensors has a mathematical relationship to native print size.  And that, may be the salient, if not the only reason why one would look to a 100 megapixel sensor.

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Announcement Review : Olympus OM-D E-M10 III

Announcement Review : Olympus OM-D E-M10 III

It wasn't a deep dark secret that Olympus would be bringing out a follow-on to the E-M10 Mark II, so surprise!  Here's the III.

With the micro four thirds space occupied by Olympus and Panasonic and the introduction by Olympus of serious grade lenses over the last year and a bit, the M43 space is really getting traction beyond the entry-level consumer space.  These are no longer tiny, lightweight offerings, but very credible image creation tools, that are still quite a bit lighter than DSLR alternatives.  Professional bird photographer Scott Bourne has switched completely, and weight was a key factor, and if you listen to his podcast on the PPN Network, you will hear that he really believes in the platform.

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What Constitutes Success?

What Constitutes Success?

On Sunday of the past weekend, I was a guest instructor on a photo day trip.  It was attended by lots of very nice people, with the expected variance in experience and confidence.  I noticed a few consistencies that I found a bit disappointing that I wanted to share with the membership because they are destructive and completely invalid.

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Understanding File Sizes

Understanding File Sizes

Why Are File Sizes Different From Camera to Camera and from JPEG to RAW?  Let's start with a couple of example cameras for which I have either owned or done quick looks.

  • Canon 5D Mark II delivers 21.1 megapixels on a full frame sensor
  • Canon 5D Mark IV delivers 30.4 megapixels on a full frame sensor
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Announcement Review and Media Briefing : The Nikon D850

Announcement Review and Media Briefing : The Nikon D850

The D850 announcement had to be a big deal for Nikon.  Financially they have been struggling, the D5600 got a resounding "meh" in the marketplace, and while the CEO has finally stated that mirrorless is important, there has not yet been a how or by when commentary.

How nice that they aimed high, and announcement specs being accurate, have likely hit their goal.  

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Cheap Ring Lights for Portraits

Cheap Ring Lights for Portraits

A client asked if he could use his macro ring light for portraits outdoors.  It's a somewhat common question for folks who have spent good money on a macro ring light seeking to get more out of it.  In controlled indoor conditions, it can work, but the limited power of most macro ring lights necessitates very close proximity to the subject and you lose some of the look that way.  So how do we deliver the ring flash look whether indoors or outdoors and make it work?

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