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 Monday, April 17, 2017
Roger Cicala of LensRentals has created a "Random Photo Marketing Generator" to help camera gear manufacturers sell their products. The following are a couple of samples that were generated when I tried the tool:
 
Sample #1
Using space-age technology including multiple floating elements and the industry’s most accurate autofocus system, this lens can take your professional performance to new achievements. See the world with a dramatic perspective you never dreamed was possible. Capture life in a way you’ve always wished you could. Designed with the sports photographer in mind, our newest lens provides the edge-to-edge performance needed to take your photography to profitability. Like all of our products, this lens is in a class of its own.
Sample #2
We joyfully announce the world’s first lens combining all-metal construction with fully computerized assembly, creating a lens that will be treasured by cinematographers and collectors alike. Capture life in a way lesser beings have always wished they could. We have created a game-changing new standard in photography that will amazingly improve your images. We are pleased to offer the world’s finest wide-angle lens, featuring 4 really, really low dispersion elements, 2 aspheric elements, and our new anti-glare coatings providing unparalleled flare resistance while providing amazing resolution. See your surroundings with a remarkable perspective you never knew was possible.
We expect Canon, Nikon, Sony, Tamron, Sigma & Zeiss will be slimming down their marketing departments in the not-so-distant future in favor of the free online tool.
Post Date: 4/17/2017 2:16:26 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, February 27, 2017
LensRentals recently disassembled a Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS and found three aspheric elements (unusual for a telephoto zoom) and uniquely designed AF system.
 
From LensRentals Blog:
As part of that Holy Quest, we wanted to take a look inside the FE 70-200 f/2.8, because, well, that’s what we do. They’ve been in such short supply, though, we just haven’t been able to take one apart. But a customer was kind enough to drop one of ours, jamming the focusing system. We decided the opportunity to do a repair/teardown was too good to pass up.
 
It’s not the first time we’ve made a bad decision, and it probably won’t be the last. It ended up being the longest and most complex (6 hours) teardown we’ve ever done. If you’re interested, read along and come feast your eyes on one of the oddest lenses we’ve ever looked into. But it’s going to be a fairly long read. (Poof! There went 90% of the blog viewers.)
 
I’ll warn you now, I’m going to use words like different, odd, and weird when describing the inside of this lens, especially in the second part of this two-part teardown. Don’t misread that to mean I’m saying ‘bad’ because I’m not. Sony is the one manufacturer these days that’s trying all kinds of new and different things. I love that. Sometimes new things are better, sometimes not. But it does make them different.
See the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Teardown (Part 1) on the LensRentals Blog.
 
Update: Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Teardown (Part 2) was posted this morning.
 
B&H carries the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens.
Posted to: Sony News
Post Date: 2/27/2017 6:31:09 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, January 31, 2017
The team over at LensRentals has posted a teardown of the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM lens.
 
From the LensRentals Blog:
As with most new lenses, a Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II made it’s way back to the repair department for an initial tear-down. I know there’s some randomness as to what we tear down, but we have some reasons for doing these. Sometimes, like with this new Canon, it’s simply because we know Lensrentals is going to stock a lot of them and we need to take a look inside to see what is likely to break and what parts we may want to order. And other times, like with this new Canon, it’s because there’s some new technology inside we want to take a look at.
 
And, of course, almost all the time these days, there’s some aphasic marketing terminology that leaves Aaron and I looking at each other wondering “what are they trying to say that is.” This time it was “NANO USM technology.” Did that mean there were little nanobots in there focusing the motors? Or that the focus group only had to move nanometers? The problem seemed to have been compounded because some retail and review sites were claiming it had a stepper motor, a ring USM, or both. That’s what happens, marketing department, when you make up words, nobody understands without explaining what you mean.
 
Looking inside seemed a good way to clarify that. Though Canon did tell what they meant a little bit, but nobody read it. The NANO USM focusing motor made its debut in the Canon 18-135 f/3.5–5.6 IS NANO USM lens last year, but not many people talked about it. It’s also discussed in Canon’s Knowledge Base NANO USM Article, but not many people read that. The NANO USM motor is a different focusing system for Canon, although manufacturers have used similar linear piezo systems.
 
And, as always, we wanted to see what engineering goodness Canon had inside that polycarbonate lens shell. We’re geeks. Sweet design pushes our buttons, and Canon lenses have had a lot of sweet engineering lately. Even though this is a consumer price range lens, the new digital focusing meter was cool, and we wanted to see if some of the impressive engineering Canon had put in their new L series lenses was drifting down to the consumer grade models.
 
So let’s tear up, I mean let’s carefully dissect, the new Canon 70-300mm IS. But first, let’s take a quick look at that nice digital readout. I can’t say it’s all that useful, but the depth-of-field-by-aperture display is a nice touch.
See the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
 
B&H carries the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM lens.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 1/31/2017 11:13:39 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, December 29, 2016
Several years ago, Roger Cicala of LensRentals made a few blog posts where he intimated that buying a UV/protective filter was not necessarily a wise investment in a lot of situations. At the time, lens front elements were relatively inexpensive to replace and high quality filters were costly.
 
However, many of the higher quality lenses produced over the past 5 years have featured more complex front elements, with the result of Roger feeling compelled to revisit his cost-benefit analysis of UV filter use.
 
See Roger's recent LensRentals Blog post to see if purchasing a UV filter is a wise decision for you and your lens(es).
 
B&H carries UV and protective filters.
Post Date: 12/29/2016 2:37:22 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, December 2, 2016
From the LensRentals Blog:
by Roger Cicala
 
We recently tested the Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED AF-S lens and were mightily impressed. Optically it was better than I’d ever expected. We had idly talked about doing a teardown when stock allowed, but we got an unexpected opportunity yesterday: one of our week-old copies had some significant dust in both the front and rear lens groups. We know (like hopefully you know) that some dust doesn’t affect images, but our customers like their lenses dust-free, so we decided to open this one up and clean the dust out of it and to take a few pictures while we were doing it.
 
I try to identify where my head is whenever I write about anything, so you’ll understand when I go all fan-boy or all snarky. Like everyone else, my expectations going in have a lot to do with my impressions coming out. In this case, I told Aaron before we started that given how awesome this lens was optically that I expected Nikon’s optomechanics were going to modernize, too. Unlike previous Nikon lenses, I thought this lens would have nice, modular construction, no soldered wires running hither and yon, not so much Kapton tape holding stuff down, and maybe even some curved circuit boards. You know, like a lens from the 21st century, not like one from the 1980’s. Aaron didn’t think so.
 
Well, I was a little bit right but mostly wrong. There is some real modularity and superb construction to this lens. There were also big chunky square circuit boards and wires soldered hither and yon held down with Kapton tape. None of which has anything to do with making a lens take better pictures or making it last longer, but it does make it a pain to take apart and work on.
See the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
 
B&H has the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED Lens in stock.
Post Date: 12/2/2016 1:24:41 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, November 30, 2016
From the LensRentals Blog:
Author: Roger Cicala
 
I like to start articles by stating my expectations, because, like everyone, my expectations going in color my opinion after seeing the results. Given Canon’s recent series of home-run lens upgrades, I expected the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 IS II would be a superb lens. I was particularly expecting improvement at 105mm, which was the weak point of the original lens.
 
And, I usually put my conclusions at the start of an article so those of you who don’t like MTF graphs and spirited discussion about optical results don’t have to scroll down to the bottom. The new Mk II version is a bit better than the original version, but I was expecting a lot more. I wouldn’t rush out and upgrade from the 24-105mm f/4 IS if your goal is amazingly better optics. There may be other reasons to do so, but optics is not it.
See the entire post on the LensRentals Blog. For more information on the lens, see Bryan's full review.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/30/2016 11:51:19 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, October 21, 2016
From LensRentals:
by Roger Cicala
 
I tend to not get overly excited about new releases. The last few years have seen a lot of incremental upgrades that rarely blow me away. Usually, I end up thinking the new version of whatever is better than the last version. Not “rush out to the store and buy it” better, but “consider upgrading if you use it a lot” better.
 
Canon, though, (and Sigma) have hit some real home runs with optics lately, so I was a bit excited when Canon decided to upgrade one of their weaker lenses, the 16-35mm f/2.8, to a Mark III version. And if you don’t want to read the article I’ll summarize: rush out to the store and buy it.
You can read the entire article on the LensRentals Blog. For a more thorough look at the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM, check out this handy resource.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM in stock. If you simply want to rent the lens for an upcoming trip, LensRentals has you covered.
Post Date: 10/21/2016 11:48:53 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, September 9, 2016
Roger Cicala over at LensRentals has just posted a teardown of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. For those interested in seeing the guts of the their new camera, this is the best way to find out without voiding your warranty. :-)
 
LensRentals has the 5D Mark IV available for rent.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 9/9/2016 8:48:58 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Do you need the benefits of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV for a special project? If so, good news! LensRentals has added the 5D Mark IV to their rental fleet.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 9/9/2016 5:21:53 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Roger Cicala of LensRentals recently tested the following lenses on their Olaf Optical Testing bench to see how they compare to one another at 400mm:
 
  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM
  • Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM
  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM + 1.4x Extender III (actual focal length = 420mm)
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
  • Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD
  • Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary
Want to know which lens(es) came out on top? Check out the LensRentals Blog post to find out.
 
Want more information? We have full reviews of all the Canon-compatible lenses Roger tested.
Post Date: 8/17/2016 9:00:18 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Roger Cicala over at LensRentals has posted an open letter thanking rental customers for making the rental company he founded the great success it is today.
 
If you've ever rented from LensRentals, you've likely appreciated their excellent customer service. They are an excellent company and, as such, an easy recommendation when rental services are needed.
 
From the LensRentals Blog:
To Our Customers:
 
Ten years ago, if you wanted to try out some photography equipment, if you lived in a large market, your local camera store would have a few beat up copies of popular lenses for rent (with a 100% deposit). For the rest of us, we didn’t even have that option. I had this great idea to start an online rental offering, no deposits necessary and shared my idea with people I knew. Almost everyone said I would get robbed blind and lose every dime I had. Almost everyone said you’d get junky, beat-up rental equipment and were wasting your money renting online. Almost everyone said that my idea would be a massive failure.
 
I say ‘almost everyone’ because a few other people thought it was a good idea, too. You guys, our customers, thought it was a good idea. We’d never met each other unless emails count as a meeting. But we trusted each other because we all wanted this to work. Because we few thought that getting to use equipment for a few days or weeks at a reasonable price just made sense.
 
Almost everyone turned out to be dead wrong and we few turned out to be right. Lensrentals thrived beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Sure, I took risks, and the people who joined me here worked their butts off. But you guys, our customers, were our partners in proving ‘almost everyone’ wrong. Without you, it never would have happened.
 
Ten years later, saying thank you just isn’t adequate. There are no words that would possibly express my gratitude for all of you who supported Lensrentals and created our success; you folks who shared in proving ‘almost everyone’ wrong.
 
There are no words, but I believe actions are more important than words. Everyone who works here tries to show our gratitude in our actions. Whether it’s making all of our testing data public, making sure your rental arrives in better condition than you expected, drawing a dinosaur on your shipping box because you requested it, or just talking you through a difficult set-up on the phone, we want to show you our gratitude with every rental. We want you to know it’s more than just business. It’s a partnership between you and us. You’ve helped us achieve our goals; we want to make certain we help you achieve yours.
 
We wouldn’t be doing what we love to do every day without you. We want our actions, our attitude, and our service let you know, every time you rent from us, that we are grateful that you have partnered with us along this journey.
 
Roger Cicala
Founder
In celebration of its 10 year anniversary, LensRentals invites you to use promo code LR10YEAR to save on orders arriving before July 31st.
 
The code allows you to save $15.00 on orders of $100.00 - $249.00, $50.00 on orders of $250.00 - $999.00 and $250.00 on orders of $1000.00 or more.
 
To support this site, navigate to the appropriate product review and click the Rent button.
Post Date: 7/6/2016 10:25:33 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, April 19, 2016
From LensRentals Blog:
If you’re like me you like to know what’s going on inside your camera or lens to some degree. They are tools, and if I want to get the best use out of my tool I need to know it’s strengths and weaknesses.
 
You may not have noticed, especially if you shoot just Canon or Nikon, but there’s been a quiet change in autofocus motors going on. Or you might have barely noticed marketing-fluff terms like ‘linear focusing’ or ‘electromagnetic focusing’ without really understanding what they meant. Even if you understood the general terms, you probably aren’t really certain how they work, or how they might be better or worse than what we’ve been using.
 
So I thought some of you might like taking a look into what might (or might not) be a big deal: the changes that are being made in autofocus motors. Today I’m going to discuss linear electromagnetic focusing motors. I may do another post about linear-piezo and ring-to-linear piezo motors later, but those are, so far, less common than the electromagnetic motors.
See the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
Post Date: 4/19/2016 6:43:56 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Saturday, February 6, 2016
Roger has posted a very objective, well thought out article on lens quality and manufacturing tolerances. It's definitely worth a read if you have a few minutes to spare.
"After we published a number of posts about copy-to-copy variation, people were quick to say that this company or that needs to 'just' improve quality control. I totally agree but realize most people don’t have a clue what ‘improving quality control’ would really look like. I think they have some vague idea of hiring a guy named Joe to sit at the end of the assembly line, check all the lenses, and reject all the bad ones. Optical quality control for lenses is way, way more complicated than that."
Check out the LensRentals Blog for more info.
Post Date: 2/6/2016 9:38:12 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, February 1, 2016
From the LensRentals Blog:
We’re excited to announce that Roger Cicala and Aaron Closz will be participating in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session of reddit’s /r/photography forum on Monday at 3 pm ET. Over the last few years, /r/photography has been a huge supporter of our blog, so we wanted to give back by inviting the users of reddit to Ask Us Anything. This gives our readers a unique opportunity to ask Roger and Aaron on anything relating to cameras, lenses, other photography and video related gear and about all the techy articles they often post here on our blog. They’re also able to provide their extensive knowledge, and with one of the largest inventories of photography gear in the world, we have a lot to talk about! Be sure to tune in, and submit your questions on Monday at 3 pm ET!
Post Date: 2/1/2016 5:20:50 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Fresh on the heals of their Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM & Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA teardowns, LensRentals has now opeened up the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens to see how its construction compares to the other two.
 
If you don't have time to read the lengthy post, here's a small paragraph from Roger's conclusions that sums up the lens's construction succinctly:
"For the most part, there weren't many surprises in this teardown. We've seen how Sigma has remade themselves as a company making only superb optics at very reasonable prices in the last few years. This lens is constructed very well. There isn't the amazing heavy-duty construction of the Canon 35mm f/1.4. Instead, I'd characterize the construction of the Sigma as very efficient and carefully laid out. There's a solid metal core with other parts all connecting directly to that core. Little touches like pegs to make sure a part is inserted in the proper rotation and shields over critical parts didn't add much expense or weight, but show care was taken in the design. There's nothing in this teardown that looked like a weak point."
You can find links to the other 35mm lens teardowns at the beginning of the this teardown.
 
B&H carries the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens (review).
Post Date: 12/22/2015 5:50:35 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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