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Camera Lenses Reviews and Articles


With a variety of camera lenses on the market, how do you choose the one that's best for your outdoor camera? Check out our digital camera lens reviews. From wide-angle lenses and telephoto zooms, trust advice from the experts.




Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Does Lens Speed Matter?

Pros love their fast glass. Maybe they're onto something.

When shopping for a new lens, you might encounter the desired focal length (or focal-length range, in a zoom lens) in more than one speed. For example, one camera manufacturer’s lineup includes 400mm ƒ/2.8, 400mm ƒ/4 and 400mm ƒ/5.6 supertelephotos. The ƒ/2.8 is 4.5 times larger in volume, 4.2 times heavier and costs $5,000 more than the ƒ/5.6. Is it worth it? Many wildlife and action photographers think it is.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sigma Macro 70mm f/2.8 EX DG

A versatile lens with a fast aperture and popular focal length for D-SLRs

When we all shot film, one of the favorite focal lengths for a macro lens was 105mm. Sigma’s new 70mm ƒ/2.8 macro lens fits that tradition for digital cameras. All photographers using digital SLRs with small-format, APS-C-sized sensors will find that this lens acts like a 105mm lens with a 35mm camera because of the crop
or multiply factor.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Small-Format Wide-Angle Zooms

You don't need a "full-frame"-sensor D-SLR to do wide-angle photography

The widely used APS-C-sized image sensor has helped make excellent D-SLRs affordable, but long carried a drawback for wide-angle photographers: a narrowed angle of view. Fortunately, camera and independent lens manufacturers now offer very short focal-length zoom lenses for these cameras, designed to eliminate this problem.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Image Stabilization

When you can't or won't use a tripod, these technologies steady your hand

There are two distinct image-stabilization technologies employed to prevent blurry photographs when shooting at slower shutter speeds. Lens-shift stabilization, as the name implies, is achieved through moving elements in the lens barrel itself. Canon’s IS and Nikon’s VR technologies are both of the lens-shift variety. Sensor-shift stabilization occurs within the camera body rather than the lens. The primary advantage to sensor-shift technology lies in the ability to use any lens and get a stabilized image. Panasonic, Pentax, Samsung and Sony all have sensor-stabilization camera models in their lineups.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Sigma APO 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro HSM

A new lens with macro capability and high image quality

Sigma APO 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro HSMA telephoto zoom is an important part of most outdoor photographers’ gear. But unlike the casual shooter, for a pro or serious amateur, a fast maximum aperture becomes essential because we often find ourselves shooting in relatively low light, such as at dusk or dawn. Yet such fast lenses can often be expensive and out of reach for some photographers. With the Sigma APO 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG Macro HSM, a fast telephoto zoom for less than $1,200, I was curious to see how well this affordable zoom would perform.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Going Tele: A Complete Guide

What you need to know about buying and shooting with long lenses

Long lenses are terrific tools when you can’t get close to your subject, providing dramatic frame-filling images of distant wildlife and sports subjects. Long lenses are also useful to isolate a subject from busy surroundings and for telephoto compression effects. There’s a variety from which to choose today—both prime (single-focal-length) lenses and tele-zooms. Following are some considerations when buying and using long lenses.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Telephoto Zooms

While fixed-focal-length supertelephoto lenses (400mm and up) are popular with wildlife pros and sports shooters, there’s something to be said for the more than 50 telephoto zoom lenses on the market. Tele-zooms provide long focal lengths and add framing flexibility—quite handy when you can’t easily move toward or away from a subject in the field. Zooms also mean fewer lenses to lug into the field and fewer lens changes (a plus for D-SLR users who want to keep their image sensors dust-free). And for those on tight budgets, zooms that go to 300mm can be had for far less than fixed-focal-length 300mm lenses.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Selective Focus Made Easy

Lensbabies create a distinctive look with your digital SLR.

Photographers love accessories that help them create unique-looking images. With many photographers owning the same cameras and lenses, it’s exciting to find a product that provides us with the ability to create a distinctive photograph. The Lensbaby 2.0 gives photographers the flexibility to explore our individual creativity.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Tamron AF55-200mm f/4-5.6 Di II LD Macro Zoom

A fine hiking companion

I like to travel light on hikes. This means a light D-SLR body and a light but versatile zoom lens. The wide-range zooms (28-200mm or 28-300mm, or digital equivalent) provide the versatility but weigh enough to notice on a lengthy hike. A good solution is to decide whether I’m in a wide-angle mood or a telephoto mood, and "lens" accordingly.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

What's New With Zooms

The latest in lens technology

Lugging around a weighty pack loaded with equipment isn’t the ideal way to experience nature, and hiking long treks with it on your back or shoulders can lead to injury. You don’t want to leave gear behind, but you definitely don’t want to risk ruining the day or your health with a cumbersome load. I’ve limited my equipment to include only the necessities, and zoom lenses have become an essential part of my gear.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Macro

Put some distance between you and your macro subject

Close-ups are my favorite part of nature photography. I say that not because I love bugs more than waterfowl or flower parts more than rocky landscapes. I love close-ups because they can connect me with nature anywhere, anytime. I can shoot close-ups of spiders building webs outside my backdoor or of orchids in Peru, of flowering weeds outside of my office or lichens on the rocks of Arches National Park. With close-up gear, I’m good to go whenever I want, wherever I am. I was excited to get a sample of Tokina’s new 100mm ƒ/2.8 macro lens (officially named the AT-X M100 AF Pro D). At 2.9x3.7 inches and 19 ounces, this compact lens offers film and full-frame digital cameras 1:1 at 12 inches. For small-format digital SLRs, you get an equivalent of 150-160mm (still at the fast ƒ/2.8) and more distance to 1:1. The lens includes a newly engineered multi-coating to minimize reflections when using a digital camera’s sensor (which has a shiny protective surface).

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Tamron SP AF11-18mm Zoom

Gain added wide-angle capability for your small-format digital SLR

A steady complaint about small-format digital SLRs is that they lose wide-angle possibilities. With their smaller sensors, they take lenses that we’ve known and loved from 35mm work and cause them to gain a telephoto effect. Focal lengths that worked great for wide-angle shots in nature lost that wide-angle feel.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Tamron SP AF90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1

High-quality optics give you a sharp view of tiny subjects

I love to work with macro lenses because they focus close enough to give me a window into another world. With a macro lens, common spiders become giant predators, and a grasshopper is a creature from outer space.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Tokina AT-X 124 AF Pro DX

A wide-angle zoom with a fixed aperture delivers digitally

The Tokina AT-X 124 AF Pro DX lens provides photographers shooting with digital SLRs a high-performing and affordable 12-24mm wide-angle zoom. With a constant maximum aperture of ƒ/4 throughout its entire zoom range, this lens becomes a valuable addition to any landscape or travel photographer’s camera bag.

Friday, April 1, 2005

Sigma 105mm ƒ/2.8 DG Macro & EF-500 DG Super Flash

This macro lens and electronic flash make a great combo for close-ups

I have a love-hate relationship with spiders. I find their webs and variation in body styles and colors to be fascinating subjects, but I don’t like walking into their webs at night, which happens too often at certain times of the year. I’d rather not have a spider crawling down my neck either! Recently, as I went outside one night to walk the dog, I pulled up short of entanglement with a head-high web barely visible in the moonlight. I noted a big spider and a striking web that promised some interesting images.

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