rogercicala

About That 25-300mm f/2.8 You Wanted

I get an email or text about once a month asking me if I think Canon, Nikon, or some other photo manufacturer will ever make something like a 25-300mm f/2.8 zoom lens. I’m usually gentle with those people, because I realize that a lot of people truly believe that if they want something badly enough, someone could make it for them. Occasionally, someone exhibits the Dunning-Kruger Effect and tells me that they know it’s a plot on the part of the manufacturer’s to make us buy multiple lenses instead of just one that could do everything.

I had another one of those emails a few days ago, so I thought it might be interesting to show everyone what a 25-300mm f/2.8 would (approximately) look like.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider: A Tiny Spider Made Itself at Home Inside This Lens

We spend a lot of time over at Lensrentals getting dust out of lenses. Dust doesn’t affect an image, except in very rare circumstances, but people want their rental lenses to look nice and clean inside and out, and our inspectors check the inside of every lens with spotlights and send any dusty ones over to the repair department.

A New Old Lens

Like a lot of photo history buffs, I’ve been quite excited about Lomography’s new iteration of the Petzval lens in …

Sensor Stack Thickness Part III: Summary

Well, I have to admit this has been a fun series. I’ve learned a whole lot. That’s what makes this so fun -- I get some results I don’t understand, get some help figuring out what is going on, and before I know it, I’ve learned something that explains other things I haven’t been able to understand.

Sensor Stack Thickness: When Does It Matter?

The first post I made on sensor-stack thickness wallowed deeply in PhotoGeekery. This one is meant to be of practical use so I’ll try to leave the Geek stuff out. We’ll start with the simple facts.

Glass in the Path: Why Using Adapters May Hurt Your Image Quality

NOTE: This is a Geek Post. If you aren’t into geeky photo measurements, or into adapting lenses from one brand of camera to another, you’ll not be interested.

A year or two ago, I wrote a blog post where I basically showed lenses shot on adapters on other cameras aren’t acceptable for testing. If you run them through Imatest the results aren’t accurate. I suggested that reviewers shouldn’t test lenses on adapters, although obviously adapters are a great way to use interesting lenses to take pictures.

Disruption and Innovation

This is a long article, meant to be read at your leisure.

You better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’. -Bob Dylan

Technology changes tend to be of two types: incremental improvements or disruptive innovations. Incremental improvements allow one manufacturer to take market share from another and give fanboys fuel for internet forums. Disruptive innovations may create a million new customers. Or make a million potential customers leave for some new hobby or way of doing things.

LensRentals Cracks Open the Sony A7R, Gives Us a Peek at the Electronic Goods

Ever since we here at LensRentals first tested a Sony A7R, we were dying to take a look under the hood. Say what you will about Sony as a company, but they create some of the most elegantly-engineered camera bodies we’ve seen. Plus, the A7R is something of a groundbreaking camera, and we wanted to see how they crammed all that stuff into its little body.

Are Metal Mounts Any Better than Plastic? LensRentals Investigates

Photography companies love catchword marketing. They like catchwords because photographers make assumptions about what those words mean, even though the words really don’t mean anything. So basically, they say nothing, but it makes you believe something.

Sony a7R: A Rising Tide Lifts All the Boats?

I have to admit I didn’t get too worked up when the Sony A7 and A7R were released. The last time I wrote about Sony it was how there were so few lenses for the NEX system years after introduction. So now we’re going to a system requiring a whole new lens mount. Sure the camera’s specs were interesting. But the idea of yet another camera body good mostly for shooting lenses on adapters wasn’t very exciting. So I planned to ignore it.

Metabones Works Some More Magic With Its New Speedboosters for Blackmagic

Metabones, maker of the impressive Speedbooster adapters is back at it again. When the Speedbooster first came out, I wrote about it being like magic, increasing the aperture and field-of-view of Nikon and Canon full-frame lenses mounted to NEX and micro 4/3 cameras, while maintaining or even improving image quality. Now they’ve brought the Metabones magic to the Blackmagic cinema and pocket cinema cameras.

The Devil’s Photography Dictionary

Picture -- A representation in two dimensions of something wearisome in three. - Ambrose Bierce

I’m a fan of the satirical and cynical definitions of Ambrose Bierce, first written as a daily newspaper column and later collected in The Devil’s Dictionary. (It was originally called the Cynic’s Word Book, but so many politicians of the day called Bierce a Devil that he felt the new title more appropriate).

Inspecting an ‘In Spec’ Lens

I’m going to open a can of worms today. I’ve been getting more and more emails from people telling me the same story that goes like this:

I’ve got this lens. It’s awful. I’ve sent it in for adjustment and the service center tells me it’s ‘in spec’ and nothing is wrong with it. Am I crazy?

Nikon’s D610 Gets a Dust-Free Green Light

Way back when, I wrote about the dust problems we were seeing in Nikon D600 cameras. There was enough of a furor about it that when the Nikon D610 was released I assumed that the dust problem would be fixed. But I’m rather the paranoid type, and I never like assumptions, so as soon as the first D610s were delivered I thought it worthwhile to just double-check that assumption.

There is No Such Thing as a Perfect Lens

I get asked a couple of questions every time I publish a graph showing Imatest results for multiple copies of lenses like the one below. Most people understand that some copy-to-copy variation is inevitable in the manufacturing process. Most are surprised, though, at how large the sample variation seems to be. Heck, I was surprised at how large the sample variation was when I started doing this kind of testing.

Camera Gear Rentals is Big Business, and LensRentals Proves It

Some people say that the secret to striking it rich during a gold rush is to sell shovels. That's kind of what Roger Cicala is doing. With photography exploding in popularity as of late, Cicala has found huge success in loaning out gear to photographers who would rather rent than buy.

Disassembling a Tripod Ball Head to See How It Works

This will probably be of limited interest to most of you, but we like to know how things work, not just how well they work. We thought we’d take a couple of pictures when we disassembled a ballhead in case any of you were interested. Our demonstration partner today was a Benro B1 ballhead that had a stripped tension adjustment knob, but all ballheads work basically the same way.

Overcoming My Photo Entekaphobia: The Fear of Shooting at f/11

Entekaphobia is fear of the number 11. I’m a resolution fanatic. I test every new lens for resolution. For personal use, I’ll choose the lens with higher resolution over the one with creamy bokeh every time. When choosing a camera, I have a (yes, I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true) strong tendency to want the most megapixels. I’m a resoholic.

Being a resoholic, I’ve always been somewhat fanatical about apertures. Whenever possible I shoot with the lens stopped down at least one stop to wring the maximum sharpness out of my lens. But I’m always careful not to stop down too far because I was taught, soon after I picked up a camera, that if you stopped down too far the dreaded diffraction softening would kick in.