Real-world Review: Tamron SP AF 60mm f/2.0 Di II LD Macro for portraits

While preparing this review, I was reminded again of how ridiculously long the names of Tamron lenses can get. See the name of the lens in the title of this article and think it looks long? Well that is actually not the full name because I trimmed it for the title. For the sake of completeness, I will reproduce the full name of the lens I am reviewing: Tamron SP AF 60mm f/2.0 Di II LD [IF] Macro 1:1. Whew! For the sake of readability I will abbreviate it as the Tamron 60mm f/2M in this review. Continue reading “Real-world Review: Tamron SP AF 60mm f/2.0 Di II LD Macro for portraits”

Real-world Review: DXO PhotoLab 1.2 with Nikon NEF

DXO1

In my original comparison of raw converters for Nikon NEF files, I mentioned DXO Optics Pro briefly. While it appeared to be a decent RAW processor software, a major shortcoming was that it did not have any local adjustment capabilities. Hence it was a difficult option to recommend, especially since it was not significantly cheaper than competitors which do have local adjustment capabilities and which were selling at similar (or lower!) prices.

Fortunately, things have changed now. DXO Optics Pro has evolved to become DXO PhotoLab and now includes the very highly regarded U Point technology from Nik Collection Plugins for making local adjustments. With this change, the value proposition of DXO PhotoLab has improved dramatically and is now a serious challenger to the other tier 1 RAW processor giants including Adobe Camera Raw (from Adobe CC/Lightroom/Photoshop) and Phase One’s Capture One Pro. Continue reading “Real-world Review: DXO PhotoLab 1.2 with Nikon NEF”

Real-world Review: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G

Nikkor 35mm f/1.8g dx 2

The Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G (35DX) was introduced in 2009, and launched in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the death of Henri Cartier-Bresson. HCB almost exlcusively shot with 50mm lenses with his full-frame Leica film camera. The 35DX provides a good approximation to 50mm on full frame and is diminutive enough to give us a fairly small and portable package when paired with a smaller Nikon APS camera body. Indeed, HCB would have approved of its portability as well as its performance. Continue reading “Real-world Review: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G”

More from the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

Here is a companion gallery to my review of the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR. As I mentioned in my original review, this is a pretty good general-purpose do-almost-everything lens. I have been using it for street photography, a little bit of architecture, some food and still life. Pretty much nearly everything you may need for a travel lens. Even for professional photographers, this lens could suffice for a non-work-related casual day out.

2018 Singapore. Cyclist on Nicoll HIghway on hot day.2018 Singapore. Cyclist on Nicoll HIghway on hot day.2018 Singapore. Cyclist on Nicoll Highway on hot day.

Continue reading “More from the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR”

Real-world Review: Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

Nikkor 35mm f/1.8g dxThe AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

2018 July 16 Update: Added an additional image gallery here.

Kit zoom lenses typically do not get a lot of good press because they usually deliver average performance. But it is a disservice to ourselves to dismiss them totally, as different kit lenses from different manufacturers can produce different results. There is also a good reason why the “kit lens” exists – because it covers an extremely convenient and practically useful focal range that satisfies 80% of what most people need. This real-world review of Nikon’s newest DX kit lens (as of mid-2018) AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR (abbreviated AF-P 18-55VR for the rest of this review) might change your mind about the usefulness of a kit lens. Continue reading “Real-world Review: Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR”

Really Nice Images All Films 4.0 Review

RNI 4

Really Nice Images released version 4.0 of their RNI All Films Pack in the beginning of July. I actually wrote a preview of it earlier, and didn’t come around to doing a review until now. In summary, if you liked what you read in my preview article, you can go ahead and prepare to make a purchase. My impressions have not changed much between then and now. In fact this review will have a lot of cut-and-paste content from the preview article in July.

To recap, the RNI 4.0 All Films pack is priced at 122 USD and existing subscribers get an email with a half-price offer to upgrade. (If you didn’t get your upgrade offer, check out this page.) RNI now offers the All Films pack in Pro and Lite versions. The Pro version gets you everything, while the Lite version gives a smaller selection of presets at a much lower price of 59USD. Continue reading “Really Nice Images All Films 4.0 Review”

Really Nice Images 4.0 Preview

RNI 4

Really Nice Images has just released version 4.0 of their RNI All Films Pack. It’s priced at 122 USD and existing subscribers get an email with a half-price offer to upgrade! (If you didn’t get your upgrade offer, check out this page.) RNI now offers the All Films pack in Pro and Lite versions. The Pro version gets you everything, while the Lite version gives a smaller selection of presets at a much lower price of 59USD. Continue reading “Really Nice Images 4.0 Preview”

User Review: Really Nice Images All Films V.3.0

I like film presets and use them frequently. After all, lab technicians spent hundreds of thousands of man hours figuring out how to make an image look good with different film. So it seems a terrible waste to discard all that expertise away with our move to digital cameras. Besides, most of my favourite pictures were shot by photographers using film, so they definitely have a valuable aesthetic to them.

In previous articles, I shared that I used Alien Skin Exposure in my post-processing for tuning colours and aesthetic. However in the past six months I have been using something else – the All Films V.3.0 pack by Really Nice Images. Continue reading “User Review: Really Nice Images All Films V.3.0”

User Review: Custom SLR Glide One Shoulder Strap

It is an oversight of mine that I have not talked about one of my most frequently-used camera gear – my camera shoulder strap. It is really a credit to the Custom SLR Glide One strap system that it is so un-obstructive that I have forgotten that it is there. This is as good a real-world user endorsement as any – it does what it does, gets out of your way so you can do what you do while being barely aware that it is there. A worthy rival to the Black Rapid series of quick-draw shoulder straps. Bravo!

To really describe how the system works, we first have to look at the C-Loop, which forms the main pillar of all of Custom SLR’s products.

Having understood what it is, we can now proceed to take a look at how the Glide One system works. Continue reading “User Review: Custom SLR Glide One Shoulder Strap”