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 Thursday, October 12, 2017
From the LensRentals Blog:
 
I posted an article about circular polarizing filters recently, letting you see some data I obtained for Lensrentals when they were reviewing which of the polarizing filters were among the best. I concluded that they all polarized light really well. I also said that none of the CPs I tested seemed to cause optical problems at 200mm and under, that some transmitted more light than others, and that you could tell that just by looking at them.
 
Which brings me to Roger’s First Rule of This Blog.
Rule #1: I am not responsible for what someone else says I said. If I say something wrong, I’ll correct it. If they say I said something I didn’t say to drive some click-bait, THEY said it. Not me.
A bunch of people wanted hardness tests, scratch resistance tests, light scattering tests, torque tests, and a 5-year failure rate. I want a pony to ride on my yacht. Sadly, none of the above is happening.
 
A whole lot of other people asked me to test something out of the price range I was examining; mainly they wanted to see how inexpensive filters did. That was reasonable, so I bought a couple of inexpensive CP filters and repeated the tests on them. You will need to look at the last article on the $100-$200 range filters to get some perspective before looking at this.
 
See the entire blog post on the LensRentals Blog.
 
If you're looking to rent gear in the near future, LensRentals is an excellent choice. To support this site, navigate to the appropriate product review and click the Rent button.
Post Date: 10/12/2017 6:24:39 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, September 19, 2017

 
The team at LensRentals has produced a humorous series of videos explaining why Lens Rentals is different than their competition. One such example can be seen above.
 
If you're looking to rent gear in the near future, LensRentals is an excellent choice. To support this site, navigate to the appropriate product review and click the Rent button.
Post Date: 9/19/2017 11:48:47 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, September 15, 2017
From the LensRentals Blog:
So, a while back I wrote a not quite complete article on UV filters. To do that, I had to buy new testing equipment and learn to test filters. This was not what I wanted to do when I grew up. But somebody has to do it, and I did get to buy new toys.
 
More importantly, Tyler (Who handles the purchasing) asked me why, many years ago, I chose the Circular Polarizing filters that Lensrentals stocked. A better person than me would have confessed that I’ve never known the first thing about Circular Polarizers; that I just bought the most expensive to be our ‘best’ and the cheapest to be our ‘basic.’ But instead, I just said, “Well, we should do some scientific-type testing and a more thorough evaluation now.”
Read the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
 
B&H carries Circular Polarizing.
Post Date: 9/15/2017 2:49:29 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, September 1, 2017
Want to know what happens when you don't take the proper precautions to safeguard your (or your rental company's) gear when photographing an eclipse? If so, you will find the latest LensRentals Blog post to be quite illuminating.
 
In their latest blog installment, LensRentals shows us rental gear returned with holes burned into sensors, damaged mirror box assemblies and melted aperture blades.
 
See the entire post on the LensRentals Blog.
Post Date: 9/1/2017 12:15:18 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, August 14, 2017
LensRentals has added a few DJI drones to its rental fleet, including the Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire 2 Pro. For a primer on renting drones from LensRentals, check out their recent blog post.
Post Date: 8/14/2017 10:51:23 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, July 12, 2017
From the LensRentals Blog:
We’ve had a number of fun, new lenses to test this summer and one I was pretty eager to get to was the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s a 14mm lens that has a wider aperture than f/2.8, and that’s certainly interesting. Second, it’s a new Sigma Art prime lens, and those have been spectacular. So I begged and threatened and got the first ten copies for some bench testing before they went in stock.
 
As always, these are optical bench tests, so take them for what they’re worth. It is not a lens review because I don’t review lenses. That’s what photographers do. I test them, because, well, I’m a tester. Test results should tell you if the lens is worth consideration and further investigation, not that you should run out and buy it. I don’t make any suggestions about what you should run out and buy because I have no idea how you shoot or what’s important to you. But if the resolution is important to you, then read on.
 
As always, these are the results of 10 tested copies; each tested at four rotations with 84 data points. For those who don’t speak MTF, the easy version is higher is better, and dotted and solid lines of the same color close together are better.
Read the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
 
B&H has the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens available for preorder. The lens is expected to be available July 14.
Post Date: 7/12/2017 5:53:21 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, June 5, 2017
From the LensRentals Blog (article by Roger Cicala):
Well, I’ve written (with some misgivings because it has a tendency to create rioting in the streets) several articles about protective filters. Articles that say sometimes you shouldn’t use protective filters, and others that say sometimes you do need to use protective filters, and most recently, one showing how cheap filters can ruin your images.
 
Because no good deed goes unpunished, the result of all this has been about 762 emails asking if this filter was better than this other filter. I answered most with I don’t know for sure because I don’t test filters and, of course, everyone asked me to test filters. To which I said no. Life is too short.
 
Even Drew, who I sort of work for, asked me to test filters and write up the results. I told him I’d need at least $1,500 worth of filters to make even a basic comparison, which I thought would end the conversation. But next thing I know Drew was ordering $1,500 worth of filters. I told him I’d get around to it some day.
 
Then Brandon, who sort of works for me, emailed and said he could build a gadget to measure transmission and polarization through filters if I wanted to start testing filters. I told him I’d get around to it some day. Then he said it would have lasers. "Someday" became "right now" because of lasers. We’ve got lots of cool toys at Olaf and Lensrentals, but no lasers.
 
So today I will show you the results of testing a couple of thousand dollars worth of clear and UV filters using a couple of thousand dollars worth of home-made laser light transmission bench and a lot of thousand dollars worth of Olaf Optical Testing bench. So that we get this out of the way now: please don’t email asking me to test your favorite $6 UV filter. I’ve opened up Pandora’s Filter Box with this, and it’s already going to lead to way more work than I wanted to do. I’ll maybe do some testing of circular polarizing filters later, and maybe some testing of variable neutral density filters after this. Maybe not. I’ve got ADD, and I get bored easily. Even with lasers.
 
I like to keep these articles, well, no geekier than they just have to be. But I also want our methods to be transparent. So I’m going to give an overview of methodology in the article and put the geekier stuff in a methodology addendum at the bottom.
See how the filters performed on the LensRentals Blog's full post.
 
B&H carries clear protective and UV filters.
Post Date: 6/5/2017 10:14:50 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, May 17, 2017
From the LensRentals Blog:
By Roger Cicala
 
Yes, I’m sick of filter articles, too. But I come today not to educate you, but to mock others. Because yes, people continue to try to save a few bucks by putting a cheap filter in front of their $1,000 lens. And also because they buy what they think are good filters off of Fleabay or some used place and these filters aren’t what they think. This can particularly happen when you purchase a brand that makes different filters of differing quality.
 
How bad can it be, you ask? Well, today we’ll show you. Because someone had a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens that had been nice and sharp and then returned it because it suddenly got soft. They were kind enough to return it with their protective filter in place.
See the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
 
Note from Sean: We've often advised site visitors not to skimp on their filter purchases. From our perspective, it doesn't make sense to invest in an expensive (often L-series) lens just to negate its high end performance with a cheap, low quality filter affixed to the front of it.
 
If you want to protect a lens and retain its image quality, be sure to use high quality filters with it, like B+W XS-Pro filters (our personal favorites).
 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
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