Venus Optics Laowa 12mm F2.8 In-depth Review

High-performance, fast full-frame ultra-wide lens

By bdery in Review Announcements on Nov 18, 2018

A newcomer in the photography market, manufacturer Venus Optics has made quite an impression with its growing lineup of lenses with extreme specifications. From macros with enlargement beyond 1:1 to ultra wide lenses, the company tries to do things differently and avoid making what others would consider standard.  Thanks to companies like these, the gaps which are left wide-open through partial abandonment of the K-mount by Sigma are being filled by intriguing alternatives.

One such lens is the Laowa 12mm F2.8 rectilinear lens. Laowa is Venus Optics' branding for lenses. This lens is labelled "Zero-D", implying a high level of control over distortion, and offers a rare F2.8 maximum aperture in a full frame format.

Classical camera and lens manufacturers are usually shy about offering ultra wide lenses with such bold claims. Can the Laowa 12mm make a name for itself in a generally conservative market? Read our review to find out!

Continue to the 12mm F2.8 Zero-D review

Pentax K-1 Mark II In-depth Review Posted

Evaluation and comparison with the original K-1

By bdery in Review Announcements on Sep 23, 2018

The Pentax K-1, as the first full-frame DSLR from Pentax, changed the K-mount product line forever while becoming an extremely competitive offering within its class.  The K-1 Mark II builds on the K-1 and brings exciting new functionality: Dynamic Pixel Shift technology allows you to capture hand-held super resolution photos with more detail than a traditional photo taken on a tripod.

Is the K-1 II a worthy successor to the K-1?  Is it worth getting or worth upgrading to?  We answer these questions and more in our in-depth comparative review of the K-1 II and K-1.

Continue to the Pentax K-1 II vs K-1 review

Irix 11mm F4 Review Posted

Widest rectilinar prime lens for Pentax full frame

By bdery in Review Announcements on Aug 1, 2018

Irix is a newcomer in the photography market.  The manufacturer seems intent, for the moment at least, on offering high quality wide-angle lenses. The company has a growing user base and its products certainly garner interest. After testing the ultra wide angle Irix 15mm F2.4, we venture even further in extreme wide angle territory with our review of the Irix 11mm F4!

Like the 15mm, the Irix 11mm lenses are offered in two optically identical version. The Firefly is the cheaper variant, with a lighter plastic body, while the Blackstone is definitely more high-end, sporting a metal alloy body, full weather sealing and a few extra perks.

Like its sibling, the Irix 11mm is a full-frame rectilinear lens. Making such a wide focal length rectilinear is impressive (it covers a whopping 126° diagonally). Did the designers manage to preserve optical performance or is the lens too much of a compromise? Being more of a specialized product, user reviews of the 11mm are scarce.

In this in-depth review we try to answer these questions and see just how good the  Irix 11mm F4 can be.  Is it as good as the company's 15mm? Read on to find out!

Irix 11mm F4 Firefly & Blackstone Review

Pentax K-1 II vs K-1 Autofocus Test

An early but detailed look at autofocus with the K-1 II

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Jul 13, 2018

Continuing our series of "first impressions" hands-on tests with the K-1 II camera, and prior to publishing our complete camera review, today we will take a look at the autofocus performance of the K-1 II.

From the beginning, a lot of emphasis has been put in the K-1 II’s increased ISO range and, even more, on the accelerator unit supposed to improve high ISO handling. However, the K-1 II also offers better AF tracking and general AF speeds, at least according to Ricoh representatives.

This article will look at the K-1 II's AF performance in detail. First, single AF will be studied. We will then evaluate AF-C in a variety of scenarios. In each case, we directly compare the K-1 II to its predecessor, the K-1.

Review of the Photocross 13 Sling Bag by Mindshift Gear

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Jun 18, 2018

Always interested in fleshing out their lineup of bags for active photographers, Mindshift Gear recently released their first sling bag, the Photocross.

While most of the company's products are large bags meant to be used on long outings, allowing the photographer to carry hiking and camping essentials as well as photography equipment, the Photocross is designed for a lighter load. This does not mean the bag is in any way less rugged. The bag uses weather-resistant materials and shows that the company gave a particular thought to the needs of winter photographers.

The bag is available in two sizes, called 10 and 13 (referring to the maximum screen size of the electronics they can carry, and not to the internal volume). We tested the larger version.

Continue on to the Mindshift Photocross Bag Review

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