Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – August Edition

Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – August Edition

Nikon has Irish twins, Sigma goes wide and fast (and so does Olympus), and Sony decides to get Macro on us. It’s that time of the month again folks: here’s the August edition of all the fresh, new gear at BorrowLenses! Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR Lens and Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR Lens Nikon’s old 500mm and 600mm f/4 lenses were excellent bits of glass (though calling them “bits” is an understatement). But what’s good can always be improved and Nikon has done just that with this pair. By incorporating flourite elements into the design, they’ve made them between 20% and 25% lighter, which makes these two the lightest lenses in their focal length/aperture in the world. Nikon has also incorporated magnesium into the the barrel for more weight savings and has improved the Vibration Reduction, giving you a total of 4 stops of VR. There’s also a Sport VR mode specifically for stabilizing the lenses through tracking objects that move unpredictably and rapidly. In addition, the Autofocus performance of the lenses has also improved. This, combined with an electromagnetic diaphragm, is intended to provide superior focus and exposure stability when tracking those aforementioned fast-moving objects. Obviously, I’ll, um, need to test all these. For, say, a week. With a Nikon D4s and a gimbal head on a nice, heavy-duty tripod. BL West Coast: I’ll pick this order up next weekend, mmkay? Better make it two weeks. You know, for thoroughness. Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 Micro Four Thirds shooters often have to suffer the false impression that wide-angle lenses aren’t really available on the platform...
Shooting at Night with the Panasonic GH4

Shooting at Night with the Panasonic GH4

The Panasonic GH4 is an amazing little camera. I’ve been putting it through its paces from the moment I got my hands on one, and just like any gearhead, have been reading practically every review and comment about it on the internet. What can I say? It’s an addiction. I confess. One thing that stood out to me in all the signal and noise out there was that this camera isn’t a great performer at high ISO. My initial quick tests bore that out; at ISO 800, the footage is pretty noisy and by 1600, it’s unusable for a lot of work. But what I wanted to know was something a bit more subtle. I wanted to know if I could shoot at night, in a place like San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, and still walk away with usable footage? See, what a lot of people don’t get is that “low light” and “high ISO” aren’t synonymous. Just because you don’t have bright daylight doesn’t mean you have to force your camera into stratospheric ISOs. There’s more than one way to skin this particular cat and so, with my GH4 and some bits and bobs, I set out to find out if I could get the footage I wanted. Here’s the gear list: Panasonic GH4 Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, Nikon-mount Voigtlander 17.5mm f/0.95 Metabones Nikon G to Micro Four Thirds Speedbooster Video tripod and head The video is below, but before you watch it, here are a few notes to keep in mind so you know what to expect… The video is shot at 4K, 24p. ISO was kept between 200 and 400 for...
Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Not too long ago, I switched to the Nikon D800E with a series of prime lenses for all of my primary photography. I love the Nikon, and it’s proved to be a fantastic system, capably handling just about everything I’ve thrown at it. The downside is that it is, truly, a system. A big, heavy system. I quickly found myself looking for a smaller, carry-around camera for some of my more photojournalistic endeavors, and immediately turned to the family of mirrorless cameras out there for an answer. Of these, there is no shortage. You have the awesome Sony NEX-6, which I’ve raved about in the past. There’s also the Sony RX-1, the Panasonic GF3C, the Fuji X-Pro1, and the subject of this article, the Olympus OM-D E-M5. I’ve had the Olympus OM-D E-M5 for the past few weeks now, and have been using it as my primary “take everywhere” camera. It’s small size, lens selection, and great image quality combine to provide a system that’s flat-out my favorite in this category. In this article, I’ll present my experience shooting with this little thing, rather than a full-on technical review. The Build This thing is solid and extremely well-built. I’ve got chubby little sausages for fingers, but I can still get a pretty decent grip on it, thanks to the tab on the back and the indent in the front that give your thumb and middle fingers a secure place to grasp onto. The buttons, though tiny, are pretty responsive, so it’s not hard to use many of them just by feel The back of the OM-D, shown above, is...
Reviewing the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 and Nikon 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lenses for Night Sky Landscape Photography

Reviewing the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 and Nikon 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lenses for Night Sky Landscape Photography

David Kingham is a lanscape photographer who focuses (pun intended?) on the night sky. He field-tested some of our fisheye lenses to see which one is most suitable for this kind of work. If you’re interested in astrophotography and landscapes, check out Kingham’s findings below (reprinted here with permission): Fisheye Lenses for Night Photography by David Kingham Sigma 15mm 2.8 vs Nikon 16mm 2.8 I’ve been looking to add a fisheye to my arsenal of night photography lenses, but I was never able to locate solid information on what the best lens is for my style of night photography, specifically. I knew I needed to do my own testing to know for sure. I received the Sigma 15mm 2.8 and Nikon 16mm 2.8 from BorrowLenses.com and I needed to go someplace spectacular to test them out–what better place than Canyonlands National Park? I first tested the Sigma and tried setting the focus manually to infinity and taking a shot only to be disappointed to see blurry stars on the LCD. I then used Live View to set my focus on a bright star and, even though the focus was set well before infinity, it was now razor sharp. Not ideal, but I have the same problem on my Rokinon lenses, so I can get used to this. I switched over to the Nikon, which feels solidly constructed compared to the Sigma and is smaller and lighter as well. Another positive about the Nikon is that it hard stops at infinity. This means no guessing on your focus–just spin it until it stops and you have no worries. Sounds like the Nikon is the clear...
The BigmOS: A Review Of Sigma’s Stabilized 50-500mm Lens

The BigmOS: A Review Of Sigma’s Stabilized 50-500mm Lens

Introduction BorrowLenses.com has carried the non-stablized version of the Sigma 50-500 for some time now. That lens, nicknamed the “Bigma” has been something of a cult favorite, despite its many failings. We recently introduced what I consider to be its older, more grown-up sibling, the Sigma 50-500mm lens with Optical Stablization, to our inventory as well. I took the Canon version of this lens, nicknamed the “BigmOS”, out for a spin to put it through a few paces. Let’s get this out of the way immediately: when you use a lens like the Sigma 50–500mm f/4.5–6.3 APO DG OS HSM (there’s a mouthful for you), you really do have to keep your expectations in check. If you can remember that any lens with a 10x zoom factor is going to compromise quality and adjust the bar accordingly, you’ll walk away with some pretty decent images. On the surface, the idea of having a lens that goes from a pretty standard 50mm focal length all the way out to 500mm might seem like a wonderful thing. Why on earth would you carry that big, heavy, 500mm f/4 lens out to your first wildlife photography trip when you can have this thing and hand-hold it, at least for a while? That’s a question we get asked quite often with this lens, and the answer to it can be summed up in one word: quality. When you have a lens with as many moving lens elements (the individual pieces of glass inside the lens’ barrel), you are going to see a fair amount of quality loss. Prime lenses like the 500mm f/4 from...