Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – July Edition

Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – July Edition

Canon finally has an affordable 4K camera, Tokina’s got some cool Cine zooms for you, and we have the latest addition to the Leica family. It’s that time of the month again folks: here’s the July edition of all the fresh new gear at BorrowLenses! Hive Lighting Wasp Plasma PAR Light Kit Plasma lighting is catching on big-time these days. These kits from Hive Lighting draw relatively little power and, according to Hive, output the equivalent of 400–4,000 watt HMI lamps. Best of all, they have adjustable color temperatures and intensity, giving you a range of between 4,600K to 7,000K. Depending on the accessories you mount, they can put out a blistering 5,000 foot-candles of power at 10 feet. Doing the math, that’s… let’s see… carry the one… a lot of f-stops. Really. The Wasp Par kit comes with one par light, 4 lenses to give you a variety of lighting options, a set of scrims and barn doors. SmallHD Sidewider EVF We recently got the SmallHD 502 monitor into our inventory, and this flip-out frame and loupe is the perfect compliment to that monitor. It mounts – somewhat counterintuitively at first – sideways to the frame, which actually allows you to place the monitor parallel to your camera and gives you more of a run-and-gun-style add-on, which documentary filmmakers will appreciate. Interestingly, unlike other EVF/loupes, this one moves the monitor away from in front of your face, providing you with better situational awareness of your environment. The unit rents with the EVF loupe, a diopter assembly that lets you adjust it from –2 to +4, and a carrying...
Going Long On a Budget: The Tamron 150-600mm Telephoto Lens

Going Long On a Budget: The Tamron 150-600mm Telephoto Lens

I’m kind of a big fan of Canon and Nikon’s long glass. More than once I’ve taken either Nikon’s 800mm or 600mm lenses with a fast body, or Canon’s 600mm. On these occasions my subjects are usually birds and often birds in flight, as they tend to challenge even the best gear out there. This time I chose to take out something a little more budget-friendly and less bulky: the Tamron 150–600mm f/5–6.3 Di VC USD lens in the Nikon mount. The following is my impression of the quality of this lens. Build Quality Tamron’s past lenses have felt somewhat chintzy to me in the past. I own an old 28–75mm lens that had the fit and finish of a cheap kit lens. I’d come to associate them with lenses of that sort; inexpensive, plasticky, and far from high-end. Like Sigma, however, Tamron seems to be working through a bit of a reinvention. Their 24–70mm f/2.8 lens is still the only lens covering that focal length and maximum aperture with optical image stabilization made by any manufacturer. It’s actually an optically sound piece of glass with a far better build quality than I’d expected. The 150–600mm lens has a similarly surprising solidity and heft to it. Gone are the creaks and clicks I remember from my brief encounter with their 200mm–500mm lens; this one feels solid enough to almost feel like a Sigma lens — and I mean that as a compliment. The barrel is plastic with a slightly textured finish, while the focus and zoom rings are ridged rubber. Both rings move smoothly and firmly; they feel neither...
Swap out That Wide Angle Lens for Your Landscape Photography

Swap out That Wide Angle Lens for Your Landscape Photography

Landscape shooters love their wide-angle lenses. From the amazing Nikon 14–24mm f/2.8 to the new Canon 11–24mm f/4, it’s usually the wides that get everyone excited about landscape photography. Every so often, however, it pays to change things up. I was in the same boat when it came to landscapes; I reached for the Nikon 14–24mm often, even when I was using my Canon 5D Mark II. Then one day, tired of going for wide, sweeping landscapes, I decided to switch things up. Here are three ways you can do the same. Go Long but Not Too Long Sweeping panoramas are awesome and, back in 2012, I used a slightly different method to create a couple of images that I still look at and like today. In the image below I went with a “normal” length lens – the Canon 45mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift lens. This is a composite of two shots, one with the lens shifted left, and one with it shifted right. Going with that normal perspective allowed me to avoid the one effect of wide-angle lenses that I don’t like: the tendency to often miniaturize things unless you’re pretty close to the subject (in which case they can distort things a bit). I also wanted some compression in the perspective and if you look at the image at 100% even in its current downsized version, you’ll see that you can read the words “Honneur et Patrie” on the far wall of the courtyard just fine. I wanted that tiny bit of detail, as well as Rodin’s “The Thinker” statue framed and recognizable by those pillars behind it. That...
Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – June Edition

Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – June Edition

We’re feeling like standing outside the door of our San Carlos or Waltham headquarters and yelling, “New gear! Get your new gear! Fresh off the FedEx truck, new gear!” Since our bosses ruled that out, we’re taking to the blog to tell you about all the cool toys we just got in. Without further ado, here’s some of the latest gear to rent at BorrowLenses. Rokinon 135mm T/2.2 Cine DS lens for Canon We love the Rokinon Cine primes. They’re a fraction of the cost of a Canon or Zeiss cine prime to rent, and while those lenses have unsurpassed optical properties and other great qualities going for them, the Cine DS line from Rokinon still has a certain soft spot that calls to the small indie startup we once were. The 135mm from Rokinon has the same great characteristics that the rest of the Cine DS line has: small size, solid optics, and a de-clicked aperture that allows for smooth transitions from wide open to stopped down all the way. Furthermore, the gears for the focus and aperture rings are in the same place for all the lenses in the Cine DS series, making it easier to swap lenses on a rig without repositioning follow focus gears, etc. Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM Speaking of great lenses, the “nifty fifty” from Canon hasn’t changed much for, well, ever. Until now. The new iteration of this lens has the STM, or stepping motor focus system that is slowly making its way into Canon’s autofocus lenses. The STM allows for whisper-quiet autofocus and smooth and precise movements when shooting video. Pair...
Leverage Multiple Camera Platforms with Adapters

Leverage Multiple Camera Platforms with Adapters

Recently, I completed a shoot for an article written by our own Alex Huff for 500px’s ISO blog. For it, I returned to my trusty old 5D Mark II and an even older lens: a Nikon 100mm f/2.8 AiS lens that’s at least 30 years old. For me, the results were well past what I’d expected from the setup. To marry that Nikon lens to my 5D Mark II, I used this Nikon G lens to Canon adapter. I added a lens hood I own to the setup to avoid some glare I was getting off an overhead light and this is what it looked like: As I said, the results were well past what I’d expected. Turns out, that lens was superb on my 5D and the shot of model Xela Gaerlan (below) that ended up on the blog is one of my favorites. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve used a Nikon lens on my 5D. In fact, I wrote about this a couple of years ago. Moreover, I’ve also written in the past about using multiple lens types on Micro 4/3 cameras too. When I looked at my shooting kit now, however, I felt like it was time to visit the topic once more, especially given how much the adapter market has evolved. I own a 5D Mark II and a Sony a7S. When it comes to lenses, however, I own one Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens (which I never use) and five Nikon-mount lenses. I had a Canon 24–70 at some point, but it’s lying at the bottom of the San Francisco Bay near the...