So, What Did We Learn Today?See the entire illustrated disassmbly here.
First, like every law, Roger’s Law that Zooms Are Never as Good as Primes has at least one very expensive exception. At one of its focal lengths. This zoom is ‘prime good’ at 300mm.
Second, we learned that the Nikkor AF-S 120-300mm f/2.8 lens is spectacularly good optically, particularly at the long end, which is probably the most important place to be spectacularly good optically.
Third, we learned that Nikon F lenses, at least at this point in time, are not incorporating the new electrical and mechanical designs of the Z lenses. This probably matters to Nikon F shooters not at all since this is the same technology their other lenses use. It matters a bit to us, who will work on them. At no time during this teardown were the words “Elegant Engineering” ever spoken.
What does it mean, though? That’s just speculation. Creating a lens takes several years, so this is a look at what Nikon was doing a few years ago. I don’t know, and neither do you (unless you’re reading this post from Nikon Corporate HQ, in which case feel free to leave a comment).
Perhaps Nikon will merge lens technologies in the future. Maybe they will maintain separate design and manufacturing teams for as long as they continue to make F-mount lenses.
As you can probably tell from our struggles doing this disassembly, the Nikon Z lenses are very different than their legacy lenses. They’re also different than what we’ve seen from other manufacturers. That suggests Nikon Z lenses, like Canon R lenses, are a completely new optomechanical design, probably done entirely in-house.Check out the full Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Lens Teardown.
The engineering itself is incredible in most ways. The neatly laid out and solidly adhered flexes reflect the careful design. The taping of every possible point that Loctite or anything else could get in the lens does, too. The design is logical and clean; the difficulties in the tear-down were ours. Now that we know our way around, disassembly won’t be bad at all.
A couple of years ago, a testing customer asked us to find which lenses could get maximum resolution from a 150-megapixel sensor. Many people assumed that the highest resolving lenses at standard resolutions would be the highest resolving lenses at higher resolutions. Assumptions are the dark matter of the internet; we can’t see them, but we know they account for most of the mass.See the entire article at the Lensrentals blog to see which lenses made the cut this time around, then read more about those lenses here.
There was no photo or video lens that could resolve 200 lp/mm wide-open. (Our standard for ‘resolve’ was an MTF 0f 0.3; an MTF of 0.2 was borderline. There’s some evidence to support those cut-offs, but someone could argue them. Wait, this is the internet. Someone WILL argue them; it’s what someone lives for.)
The best results were for the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 lens at f/4. A few other lenses (Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar; Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art; Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus) were acceptable at f/4 in the middle portion of the image.
Two years later, that customer asked us if we knew of any other lenses that they should consider. There’ve been a lot of lenses released since we did these tests, and some of those lenses fit the criteria for possible ‘ultra-high’ resolution; primes with focal lengths of 85mm or more. The manufacturers are obviously making these lenses with at least moderately higher resolution cameras in mind. So perhaps some of the newer lenses would resolve ‘ultra-high’ frequencies better than some of the older lenses we had tested.
So we checked some new lenses all the way up to 240 lp/mm, something sufficient to make a 200 megapixel FF camera worthwhile. To be clear, this is NOT coming to a camera near you anytime soon; it’s a research project. But if the researchers are making such a sensor, it makes sense they want to know which lenses would get the best results from the sensor.
This is a very well made lens. It IS built like a tank with robust magnesium alloy barrels, lots of long thick screws holding things together and nothing flimsy to be seen. The electromagnetic focusing motors, which were a weakness a few years ago, are now built like you could pull trucks out of ditches with them.LensRentals takes great care in ensuring your rental arrives in tip-top condition. Be sure to keep them in mind for your rental needs.
The more subtle stuff, things like the neatly laid out flexes and reassembly markers, indicate to me that a lot of care was taken in designing this lens. Nothing has that ‘we can stuff that in this nook over here’ look.
It’s a great lens optically that is very well built.
In the center, that’s the highest MTF I’ve seen on a non-supertelephoto lens. The highest. Let’s put particular emphasis on the purple line, which is 50 lp/mm. That’s a higher frequency than any manufacturer tests (that we know of), appropriate for fine detail on the highest resolution cameras. We would consider an MTF of 0.5 at 50 lp/mm to be very acceptable. This is hugely better, nearly 0.8 in the center. We’ve never seen that kind of resolution before.The lens performed so well that Roger decided to test the lens at 100 lp/mm, something they don't usually do unless a lens is designed for 150+ MP sensors.
The MTF drops away from the center, of course, but even at the very edges, the readings are still quite high.
At 100 lp/mm the Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM has a higher MTF than most excellent primes do at 50 lp / mm. If you don’t speak MTF, basically that means this lens can resolve fine details that would be a blur on excellent lenses.Roger would go on to say:
...in a couple of years if you are shooting a 90-megapixel camera, this lens will be the one that wrings the most detail out of that sensor. Right now it looks at your 43 megapixels and goes, “that’s cute.”You can read the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
You guys have watched us gut a lot of lenses and cameras over the years. So I thought it would be fun for you to see us put one together from scratch. Compared to many of the lenses we’ve taken apart, this is all mechanical lens is rather simple: no focus motors, image stabilizers, etc. But even a simple lens is a very complex structure. This post will probably give you a good idea of how much mechanical design is required to make even a very basic lens.See the entire illustrated assembly at the LensRentals Blog.
The lens is also unique; it’s a prototype C-4 Optics 4.9mm f/3.5 circular fisheye. It’s a massive lens giving a 270-degree field of view, meant for immersive video and specialty shots. To give you an idea of what 270 degrees means, the lens sees behind itself. An ultra-wide 15mm fisheye lens gives a 180-degree field of view while an 11mm rectilinear lens is less than 120 degrees.
The closest thing that’s existed to this is the 1970s classic Nikkor 6mm f/2.8 fisheye, which gave a 220-degree field of view, weighed 5 kg, and can be rarely found for $100,000 and up these days. The C-4 optics lens weighs every bit as much as the Nikkor, but should be far sharper, have less distortion and vignetting, and cost somewhat less than those do today. (‘Somewhat’ being defined as ‘less than half’.)
So let’s put stuff together!
So what did we learn today? Really, not a lot. The Sony 400mm f/2.8 G is exactly what we expected; a very solidly built lens that is everything construction-wise you would hope for in a big beast of a super telephoto that costs $12,000. It has excellent weather sealing, heavy-duty engineering between the barrel segments, a very solid chassis, and components that all appear up to the task.Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS Retailers - B&H | Adorama
This is not marketing department weather resistance. This is engineering department weather resistance. Anything that can be sealed has been sealed. I’m impressed, and I will say for future cut-and-paste blurbs: this is as robustly weather sealed a camera as we’ve ever disassembled.B&H carries the Nikon Z 7.
I don’t believe in weather resistance myself. I believe like life; water will find a way. I believe in plastic baggies and rubber bands. I am, however, a great believer in the idea that if you claim to do something, then [you'd better] do it right. This is done right.
I’m impressed by the very solid construction of the chassis and IBIS unit. I’m impressed with the neat, modern engineering of the electrical connections. Yes, I’m aware that soldered wires carry electricity just fine, but to me, there’s something reassuring about seeing neat, well thought out, 2018 level engineering.
I’m not here to tell you which camera is best to use or has the best performance. I’m just here to say this is a [very] well-built camera, the best built mirrorless full-frame camera we’ve taken apart. (For the record, I haven’t torn down a Leica SL.)
by Roger CicalaSee the LensRentals Canon EOS R Teardown for more information.
I’ve wanted to look inside the new Canon and Nikon mirrorless cameras since the moment they were announced, so I’m probably more excited about this than you guys are. I’m really not sure what to expect. Early on, when we took apart a Sony A7R, we were struck by how clean and straightforward mirrorless cameras were compared to DSLRs. Later, we took apart an A7RIII and found that increased capabilities led to increased complexity, although still not as complex inside as a DSLR.
So we expected things not to be too complicated – no mirror box, optical prisms, off-sensor AF system, etc. We know Canon cameras to have clean, even elegant, engineering; like the 5D IV teardown shows. We haven’t done a Nikon SLR teardown in quite a while (the D7000 was the last one), but their camera engineering is pretty similar to Canon’s, although being Nikon they still like to leave some soldered-wire connections here and there. So we figured that the new Canon and Nikon mirrorless full-frame cameras would be more straightforward than their SLR cameras, and perhaps Nikon set down the soldering gun and slowly stepped away.
But really we had no idea how things would look inside, if we might see some cool new engineering, what the weather resistance would be like, etc. So we took apart both a Canon EOS-R and a Nikon Z7 just to have a look around. (The Z will get written up as soon as I can get to it.)
Canon ‘refreshed’ the ever-so-popular 70-200mm f/2.8 lens from a ‘II’ to a ‘III’ with new optical coatings and paint, but no major changes. While the price is higher than the current II, it actually is the same price as the II was sold at for most of its life. A meh moment for almost everyone except those who scooped up the ‘II’ at reduced prices.See the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
I did wonder if perhaps there might be a bit more under the hood than what Canon had announced. These are arguably the most popular lenses Lensrentals.com stocks; hundreds of copies with constant turnover. Since we do in-house repairs, over the years we’ve noticed some minor upgrades that have taken place; an internal ring and some gears have changed, etc. Internally, the 70-200mm f/2.8 is also one of the ugliest bits of engineering in the Canon fleet. We can understand why it had to be that way; it’s an incredibly complex lens. But we figure this bothered Canon’s optomechanical engineers as much as it did us, so maybe they snuck some changes in.
By Ryan HillSee the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
Two or three times a week here at Lensrentals.com, we get one of two common support calls. Scenario number one is that someone thought they transferred all of their footage over, but later found that they missed a couple of clips and need us to send them their rental cards back. If we haven’t inspected those cards yet, we’re happy to do that, but if our techs have already inspected them, that’s a problem we can’t solve. We perform a full and secure format at inspection to make sure previous customers’ footage isn’t recoverable on subsequent rentals. Once the footage is gone, the footage is really and truly gone. No amount of file recovery software can bring it back. That’s never a fun phone to call to have.
The second scenario is that someone did manage to transfer over all of their footage, but one of the clips was corrupted in the transfer. Typically this realization comes during the edit, after we’ve already formatted the original media. That’s an equally tough phone call. True, sometimes file corruption happens in-camera, but nine times out of ten, the file was corrupted during the transfer from the card to the computer or hard drive. These kinds of problems aren’t something you can avoid entirely. There are inherent risks in working with digital media just like there are inherent risks in working with tape or film. However, there are steps you can take to mitigate that risk and to ensure that, if a problem arises, you’re prepared to work around it.
The Sony A7R III has been out for quite a while. Generally, it’s a superbly popular camera with excellent reviews. We were busy moving to a bigger office, and then catching up from moving when it was released, so doing a teardown wasn’t high on our list of things that needed doing. And the good folks at Kolarivision did an excellent teardown, so we didn’t feel any need to rush.See the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
We’ve dealt with a number of water damaged A7 cameras in the past and have a bit more knowledge of where the leaks have occurred, so we wanted to look for ourselves. Plus, we wanted just see all the complicated goodness inside. Now that things have slowed down we decided to take a look.
This will end up being a useful post for those of you who need to venture out into the elements with your camera. Sony has, as they said, markedly improved the weather resistance on this camera. They also left a screaming ‘leak here’ gap in the sealing that you can probably address yourself.
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.
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.Read the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
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.”
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.Read the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
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.
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.See how the filters performed on the LensRentals Blog's full post.
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.
By Roger CicalaSee the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
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.
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.
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.See the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Teardown (Part 1) on the LensRentals Blog.
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.
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.See the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
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.
by Roger CicalaSee the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
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.
Author: Roger CicalaSee the entire post on the LensRentals Blog. For more information on the lens, see Bryan's full review.
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.
by Roger CicalaYou 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.
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.
To Our Customers:In celebration of its 10 year anniversary, LensRentals invites you to use promo code LR10YEAR to save on orders arriving before July 31st.
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.
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.See the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
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.
"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.
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!
"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.
"I'm sure you can tell we're impressed with the Canon 35mm f/1.4 Mk II. The weather resistance appears better than most weather resistant lenses. (As always, I'll add that weather resistance still means water damage voids the warranty.) The mechanical construction is beyond impressive. This lens is massively over-engineered compared to any other prime we've ever disassembled. It's built like a tank where it counts; on the inside. Moving parts are huge and robust. Six big screws are used in locations where 3 smalls screws are common in other lenses. Heavy roller bearings move the focusing group, it doesn't slide on little nylon collars.Check out the entire post for the full teardown details.
It's also designed thoughtfully and logically. Things that will inevitably get damaged on any lens, like the front element and filter ring, are designed to be replaced easily. There are some things inside, particularly with the tensioning screws and springs, that I'm not certain I understand the purpose of, but I am certain there is a purpose. If I had to summarize the mechanical design of this lens, I would say simply that no expense was spared, no corner was cut.
Sometimes things are expensive because they're worth it. Sometimes they're heavy because they're so solidly constructed. This is one of those times."
"When Lensrentals.com first got the first Canon 5Ds and 5D sr cameras in stock, Aaron and I immediately started screaming that we wanted to take one apart. It turns out we received enough 5Ds cameras to let us have a day with one to do just that. Of course, we don't expect to find out anything amazing and revealing. We expect it will look pretty much like the Canon 5DIII and 7DII on the inside. But hey, you never know. Plus we'll be repairing these soon enough, so we might as well find our way around now.See the entire article on the LensRentals Blog.
If you want to do some comparisons yourself, you can compare this to our Canon 5D III teardownand Canon 7D II teardown. Or if you'd rather follow along from home with your own 5Ds go grab your screwdrivers and let's get started!"
"Like everybody else, we're pretty excited to get our hands on Canon's new 5DS and 5DS R. There are already a lot of hands-on articles about the cameras that probably have told you more than you need to know to make your purchase decision. Of course, for most of the Canon shooters who read this blog, the purchase decision was just which place you want to buy it from.Resolution tests included use of the Canon 300 f/2.8L IS II USM, Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Otus, Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon T* ZE & the Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM. To find out how each lens performed when paired with the 5D III, 5Ds and 5Ds R, check out the full LensRentals Blog article.
For me, I want some lab data to see just how much of a difference those megapixels make. More particularly, I want to see how much of a difference they make when shot through a reasonably good lens, an excellent lens, and an adequate lens. Some people want to simplify things too much and claim certain lenses are 'good enough' for the new cameras and others aren't. It's not that simple.
So we begged and threw temper tantrums until Drew agreed to let us have a couple of the new cameras for a couple of days testing in our Imatest lab. That was enough time for us to get a quick overview using several different sample lenses, but it will be months before we have a good database of which lenses are most capable on the new cameras."
"I've been blogging about testing and taking apart camera equipment for almost a decade. Lensrentals.com has many thousand lenses these days, and they all get used frequently. When you have lots of lenses and they get used frequently, stuff gets inside them.Check out the amazing, illustrated article on the LensRentals Blog.
Usually the stuff that gets inside is dust. Our repair techs open up and clean dust out of more than 100 lenses a week. Not because the dust matters a bit in a photograph; it doesn't. But because people still seem to think it does. People also, for reasons I can't understand, seem to think that weather sealed lenses are less likely to get dust in them than non-weather sealed lenses. I'm not sure why they think this, but they do.
Sometimes the stuff that gets inside them is interesting and we get to blog about it. We found a spider, complete with web, inside a lens once and yesterday we got to add a new item to our 'found inside lenses' collection; a nice, fat, fly. And not just a fly inside a lens, but one way down deep inside a weather sealed lens. So deep that it took 4 hours of work to get it out."