I have gotten a lot of e-mail lately from teenagers seeking advice on how they can become professional photographers. Kids like Gerick Moore, a 14-year-old from western Montana, who caught the photo bug recently and wants to make money at it—-now.
NIKON’S WIDE NEWZOOM Where better to field-test the Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR than the Rose Reading Room of the New York Public Library? No tripods allowed, so Senior Editor Peter Kolonia shot handheld. No one heard the near-silent AF motor.
Our favorite HDR-creation tool gets an upgrade and new life as a Photoshop plug-in
HDR IMAGING promises to create pictures with a dynamic range more like what the eye sees; when you merge multiple shots together, you get 32-bit files with far more editing potential than what normally comes out of your camera. The first 32-bit color editing plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Unified Color’s 32 Float lets you make extensive, powerful edits to those 32-bit high-dynamic-range files without leaving Photoshop.
The newTX9 is loaded with features that even DSLRs don’t have
PRINT WITHOUT A PC
Lomography Spinner 360°
ARTICULATED LCD SCREENS
Sony Cyber-shot DSC TX9
HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One
Casio Exilim EX-FH25
Lexar 24-in-1 card reader
SONY’S T-AND TX-SERIES Cyber shot compacts were among the first slim, in-demand, glamour cams. Now comes a new flagship, the 12.2MP Cyber-shot TX9. With a huge 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD on the back, you’ll have access to all the new shooting modes, and there are lots of them.
Which one’s for you? WHETHER YOU need an inexpensive secondary flash to use as a slave or a single unit powerful enough to light a room, independent makers have you covered. Here are six great hot-shoe flashes—pick the one that suits your needs and budget best.
AFTER MORE THAN a year and a half of anticipation, Sigma’s new SD15 ($989, street, body only) DSLR has hit the market. And, though the 14MP Foveon X3 sensor (made up of three layers each of 4.67MP) is basically the same as the one in the SD14, that doesn’t mean Sigma hasn’t been busy updating its contribution to the world of DSLR imaging.
A vintage-inspired photo shows off a ship’s shape GEORGE CADY has always been fond of travel posters from the ’20s. “There were some great Art Deco posters that featured cruise ships,” says the retired computer scientist, 68. And they inspired him to shoot this winner of our June 2010 Photo Challenge.
Jonathan Mehring travels the world of skateboarding
You make a living this way? It’s my bread and butter. I’m a freelance photographer for Skateboarder. I also do some work for foreign skate magazines and music photography of friends’ bands. I shot the South By Southwest festival for the AP this year, and I do some skate-related advertising work for brands like Converse, Nike, and Red Bull.
PLENTY OF PEOPLE take pretty pictures of New York City’s bridges, but that’s not what 32-year-old pro photographer Jonathan Smith set out to do. “I wanted to really look at how city bridges and the city interact,” he says. “And I wanted to create a historical document.”
I enjoyed Ian Plant’s “Shoot For The Moon” story in the July 2010 issue. I’ve “planted” a moon in several shots over the years, but nothing beats being in the right place at the right time.
I AM A YOUNG aspiring photographer, just 16. I’ve been reading your magazine for almost two years, and although I don’t have the money to attempt many of the projects you describe, every time I think about quitting photography, I pick up this magazine and am immediately inspired to go out in the field and shoot more.
In your June Tech Support, a reader asked about upgrading a lens for his Pentax K10D. You recommended a Sigma with optical stabilization over the nonstabilized model, even though the older lens pformed better in many measures.
This month’s winners all happened to include a linear stand of trees as a key element
MONTHLY PHOTO CONTEST
3rd Place $100 Prize ALEXANDER PETKOV, 41, AIRPORT EMPLOYEE, CHICAGO, IL “Walking by the lake in a park near home, I was drawn to the contrast between the cloudy gray sky reflected in the water and the bright green shrubs around it. Later when I checked the shot on my computer I noticed the trees in the reflection, and to create a subtle horizon I flipped the image upside-down.”
EVEN IF YOU’RE a movie star, sometimes the only role you want to play is yourself. That’s the idea behind commercial and architectural photographer Tom Atwood’s portraits of Hollywood figures at home, which he shoots for advertising and editorial clients and on his own initiative.
Y.B. NG’S NICELY composed study of a butterfly didn’t really need any fixing. But we were transfixed by the creature’s eyes, which, through a combination of their existing pattern and the reflection of the light source (a shoe-mount flash with a reflector), take on a curiously human look.
Move your flash off camera for really deep subjects
AUTOMATIC BACKUPS, ORGANIZED
WHY ARE WE at Pop Photo so big on off-camera flash? First, the shape-defining shadows that it can create assure that your pictures won’t be mistaken for snapshots. But the photo above offers another reason to get your flash off your camera. Notice how the rope comes toward the camera on a diagonal.
WHETHER IT’S a stream tumbling over rocks or a natural landmark, when water and gravity meet, the effect is captivating. But capturing that aquatic magic requires special consideration for time of day, exposure, composition, and mood. Dramatic waterfalls are not hard to find even in the desert (check out Sabino Canyon near Tucson, AZ).
How to highlight the beauty in a perfectly featured face
HOW TO LIGHT A VENUS
“BEAUTY LIGHTING” illuminates a face as if it were a still-life subject. Just as a jewelry photographer positions and lights a diamond ring to highlight the stone’s clarity, the brilliance of each facet, and the perfection of its overall form, a beauty photographer positions a face and lights each of its planes to showcase its exquisite geometry.
Sharpen and reduce noise when you convert your RAW files
THE SLIDERS MAY look the same as always in Adobe Camera Raw 6, but what’s under the hood? Another story all together. Adobe improved the sharpening and noise controls so much that we’d recommend doing your primary sharpening in ACR 6 (available with Photoshop CSS and Lightroom 3) before you open your image in Photoshop.
IS THERE a more popular subject for photography than flowers? Probably not. The challenge, of course, is how to take a subject that’s attracted artists for centuries and make something new out of it. James Hague, a video game designer in Champaign, IL, met this challenge by transforming a clutch of roses in a flower-shop window into an impressionistic abstraction.
Who among us doesn’t wish for the perfect do-itall go-anywhere camera? One with a broad zoom range, image stabilization, high resolution, that can meet the needs of demanding enthusiasts—and still fit comfortably into a shirt pocket?
The Not-So-Secret Secret
The Compact Advantage
Keep It Right
The Compact Disadvantage
TODAY’S HIGH-END compact cameras come closer than ever to that ideal—at least on the spec sheets. These slightly larger and more robust advanced compacts boast resolutions rivaling, and in some cases exceeding, those of DSLRs. Cameras such as Canon’s PowerShot G-series, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3, Leica D-Lux, and Nikon Coolpix P6000 put a complete photographic system in the palm of your hand, with most offering image stabilization, compatibility with professional flash units, RAW capture, available underwater housings, and other features normally reserved for higher-end DSLRs.
It’s autumn—a time for turning leaves...crisp breezes...and photographic bargain hunting. This year we look at some of the best deals in four different categories: outdoor shooting, studio work, close-up photography, and postproduction.
For wildlife, sports, or any kind of shooting where you need to compress space, a long lens is a must. In recent years we’ve seen a spate of inexpensive variable-aperture telezooms with surprising optical quality, particularly those made for the APS-C format.
September being a traditional time for new camera introductions, it’s also a time to look for bargains among current models. We’d watch for rebates and price cuts—the street prices we list here were typical in mid-July, but they still have room to fall.
With a new approach to school portraiture, a Brooklyn photographer captures the spirit of children. Here are the secrets of his success.
LIKE ALL PARENTS, Dennis and Kelsey Kleiman of Brooklyn, NY, were hoping for great school portraits of their preschool daughter. Also like most parents, what they got from the school sessions were formulaic mug shots. “We marveled at how devoid her class pictures were of her personality and spirit,” explains Dennis.
Panasonic’s G10 won’t break the bank, but still takes beautiful stills and snappy video
In the Test Lab
In the Field
PANASONIC LUMIX G10
JUST THINK: In a little over two years we’ve seen nearly a dozen interchangeable-lens compacts from four manufacturers, and we expect more to be announced before the year is out. The latest to make its way through the Popular Photography Test Lab is Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-G10.
THE FOCAL-LENGTH THE FOCAL-LENGTH RANGE WARS ESCALATE TO 30X
The Shooting Experience
FUJIFILM FINEPIX HS10
SO YOU WANT a huge zoom range, plus better controls than you’d get on a point-and-shoot, but don’t want to deal with the multiple lenses of a DSLR or interchangeable-lens compact (ILC)? You need an elecronicviewfinder (EVF) superzoom, such as Fujifilm’s lOMP FinePix HS1O ($430, street).
HOW POPULAR is this focal range? Well, Nikon alone has three zooms in the category—an 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5, a 17-35mm f/2.8, and now this 16-35mm f/4—all full-frame and all still in the catalogue as we went to press. This new Nikkor is the industry’s widest full-frame zoom with onboard stabilization.
SIGMA’S WIDEST-angle non-fisheye zoom for APS-C-sensored DSLRs (a full-frame 12-24mm equivalent) is the industry’s widest. The $700 (street) lens is also one of Sigma’s first to incorporate a new form of fluorite-like glass known as FLD (for “F Low Dispersion”).
PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM, now in its third iteration, is Adobe’s version of digital-darkroom workflow software. Made for mass quantities of RAW files, it handles importing, cataloging, converting, printing, and exporting your pictures.
OUR OPINIONATED TAKE ON THE CAMERAS AND LENSES WE'VE TESTED
ULTRAWIDE-ANGLE ZOOM LENSES^
CANON EOS-1D MARK IV
$5,000, street, body only Canon’s premier speedster (in terms of JPEG and RAW burst rates) earns a half-star more in the rating due to increased resolution and ISOs in the stratospheric (102,400) range, but could have gained more had its new AF not been slower (!) than the Mark Ill’s. STANDOUT SPEC 10 fps at full resolution—nobody tops It. SENSOR 16.1MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO RES/FRAME RATE 1080p/30 fps, 720p/60 fps LCD 3-in., 920,000-dot
CANON EOS-1Ds MARK III
$6,114, street, body only Once Canon's megapixel king, it now shares that throne with the newer, and far less expensive, EOS 5D Mark II. Awesome image quality in a bulletproof body—at a high cost in both weight and dollars. A favorite of nature and studio shooters both. STANDOUT SPEC Mediumformat-caliber imaging from a (sort of) 35mm body. SENSOR 21.1MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO None LCD 3-In., 230,000-dot
CANON EOS 5D MARK II
$2,500, street, body only Long-awaited update of the original full-frame workhorse, the Mark II impressed us with stellar image quality, HD video, rugged construction—but not the older autofocus system recycled from the Mark I. Film students—and cine pros—have taken to its video big time. STANDOUT SPEC Excellent image quality to ISO 3200—'nuff said. SENSOR 21.1MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO RES/FRAME RATE 1080p/30 fps, 720p/30 fps LCD 3-in., 920,000-dot
CANON EOS 7D
$1,600, street, body only Canon’s top APS-C body is also its first with wireless flash control through the pop-up. Solid, weathersealed build is bolstered by high-res images with low noise at high ISOs. STANDOUT SPEC Its 8-fps native burst rate is the fastest of any APS-C format body, just beating out Nikon's D300s. SENSOR 18MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO RES/FRAME RATE 1080p/30 fps, 720p/60 fps LCD 3-in., 920,000-dot
CANON EOS 50D
$975, street, body only Now second banana in Canon APS-C models, it offers near class-leading image quality, a great build, and very speedy shooting—but no video. For that, you'll need to move up to a 7D—or down to a Rebel T2i. STANDOUT SPEC 6.3-fps burst rate still quite good in this class—but no longer the fastest of the fast. SENSOR 15.IMP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO None LCD 3-in., 920,000-dot
CANON EOS REBEL T1i
$800, street, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 EF-S IS lens As far from a “starter” camera as any Rebel has ever come (up until the T2i), it has the same sensor and nearly the same processing power as pricier big brother EOS 50D. STANDOUT SPEC Sheer imaging power—both still and video—ranks best for this price. SENSOR 15.1MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO RES/FRAME RATE 1080i/20 fps, 720p/30 fps LCD 3-in., 920,000-dot
CANON EOS REBEL T2i
$900, street, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 EF-S IS lens With better video and more resolving power than we’ve ever seen at its price level, this new Canon delivers enthusiastlevel image quality in an “entry-level" Rebel body. STANDOUT SPEC Best video you can find for under $1,000, and have you seen that LCD? SENSOR 18MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO RES/FRAME RATE 1080p/30 fps, 720p/60 fps LCD 3-in., 1.04 million-dot
CANON EOS REBEL XS
$550, street, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 EF-S IS lens Inheriting the sensor of the former “top Rebel” XTi, the XS adds live view to round out Canon’s most economical DSLR. And it comes with an IS kit lens, standard. STANDOUT SPEC The XS, for an entry-level model, autofocuses faster than manya pricier camera. SENSOR 10MP CMOS, 12-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO None LCD 2.5-in., 230,000-dot
$6,995, street, body only Leica finally serves up a full-frame M-series body, and in our lab tests it produced Excellent image quality through ISO 800. Outside the lab, we loved the classic Leica style and good old-fashioned simplicity of operation. But what’s with the maximum ISO of 2500? STANDOUT SPEC A sensor that delivers all the quality Leica lenses can provide. SENSOR 18MP CCD, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION None VIDEO None LCD 2.5-in., 230,000-dot
$5,200, street, body only Update of the D3 was the first DSLR to break the ISO 100,000 barrier, and adds video capture. If 12.1MP sounds low, superb color accuracy and clean images up to ISO 6400 make up for it. STANDOUT SPEC Noise control—essentially the best in the business. SENSOR 12.1MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO RES/FRAME RATE 720p/24 fps LCD 3-In., 921,000-dot
$7,400, street, body only Our 2009 Camera of the Year, it's the image-quality champ of current DSLRs—and should be for a while. Built like a tank, heavy and expensive, but those who love it don't care. Has the fastest AF in low light. STANDOUT SPEC The absolute, breathtaking state-of-the-artness of it. SENSOR 24.5MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO None LCD 3-In., 920,000-dot
$900, street, body only The first DSLR with video, it remains Nikon's main midlevel model, with great resolution, HD movie-making, and near-perfect layout. Unlike lesser Nikons, it accepts lenses without AF motors. STANDOUT SPEC The pop-up flash that supports wireless flash control. You won’t find that on the D5000. SENSOR 12.3MP CMOS, 12-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO RES/FRAME RATE 720p/24 fps LCD 3-in., 920,000-dot
$1,500, street, body only Thoughtful major tweak of the well-regarded D300 adds video (we wish it did 1080p at 30 fps) and increases native burst rate to 7 fps. Very competitive with the current state of the midrange art, but that battle keeps on smokin’. STANDOUT SPEC Color andshape-sensing AF tracking a standout shooting tool. SENSOR 12.3MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO RES/FRAME RATE 720p/24 fps LCD 3-in., 921,000-dot
$2,400, street, body only For the enthusiast craving pro-grade features, the D700 offers a full-frame sensor borrowed from the D3 supercamera, sensitivity to ISO 25,600, 51-zone AF, and a pop-up flash with wireless flash control. STANDOUT SPEC That big, juicy full-frame sensor in an enthusiast’s $2,400 body, for great low-noise shooting from ISO 100 through 6400. SENSOR 12.1MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO None LCD 3-in., 921,000-dot
$500, street, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DX Nikkor VR lens A nice, low-cost entrylevel DSLR, but in today's market, good enough may not be good enough. Very high image quality for its class, but sluggish AF and odd omissions—such as autoexposure bracketinghad us scratching our heads. STANDOUT SPEC 420-zone Matrix metering system. SENSOR 10.2MP CCD, 12-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO None LCD 3-in., 230,000 dot
$750, street, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DX Nikkor VR lens For Nikonians who want a hinged and tilting LCD, the D5000 is the only option. Plus you get video, 4-fps burst shooting, speedy AF, and sensitivity out to ISO 6400. STANDOUT SPEC The price—it offers (almost) everything the D90 has but costs a bit less. SENSOR 12.3MP CMOS, 12-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION Lens-based VIDEO RES/FRAME RATE 720p/24 fps LCD 2.7-in., 230,000-dot
$1,020, street, body only Pros cotton to the Olympus flagship for its super-rugged construction and its superior lens line. Also nice: Fast AF, a small but swiveling LCD, and built-in image stabilization. STANDOUT SPEC Alloy chassis fully encases the innards—including the back, a weak area on many DSLRs —and allows you to fold the LCD inward to protect it from scratches—or worse. SENSOR 10.1MP LiveMOS, 12 bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION 2.5-3 stops VIDEO None LCD 2.5-in., 230,000-dot
$780, street, body only This less-expensive companion to the pro-grade Olympus E-3 boasts more megapixels, an impressive for its class 5-fps burst rate, comparable handling, and an assortment of fun filters—pop art, anyone? STANDOUT SPEC The fully-articulating LCD screen makes live view much more useful while also protecting the screen from harm if you turn it inward. SENSOR 12.3MP LiveMOS, 12-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION 2.5-3 stops VIDEO None LCD 2.7-in., 230,000-dot
$500, street, with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital lens Its live view previews exposure settings (albeit on a nonswiveling LCD), and overall ergonomics are very user-friendly—all for $500, with a lens. Paired with its housing, you'll have a diving rig for less than $1,200. STANDOUT SPEC The built-in image stabilization fared extremely well in our field tests and can be used with any lens you put on the camera. SENSOR 10MP LiveMOS, 12-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION 2-3 stops VIDEO None LCD 2.7-in„ 230,000-dot
$700, street, with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital lens For arty amateurs, the E-620 offers the still-new seeming Art Filters, special effects that invite experimentation. Plus: small, light build, and bodybased, sensor-shift IS. STANDOUT SPEC The super-articulated swiveling/tilting LCD that the E-520 lacks. SENSOR 12.3MP LiveMOS, 12-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION 2 stops VIDEO None LCD 2.7-in., 230,000-dot
$894, street, body only Built like a tank, Pentax's flagship DSLR has a welldesigned body and records pleasing video, but its image quality and AF speed fall short of similarly-priced competitors. STANDOUT SPEC 77 weather seals let you shoot in 14°F temperatures. SENSOR 14.6MP CMOS, 12-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION 2.5-3 stops VIDEO RES/FRAME RATE 1536x1024/30 fps, 720p/30 fps LCD 3-in., 921,000-dot
$513, street, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Pentax DA lens The latest in a long line of Pentax starter SLRs stacks up very well against its competitors, with 11-point AF, HD video, and ISO 6400. STANDOUT SPEC That burst rate of 4.7 fps is highest in this class. SENSOR 12.4MP CMOS, 12bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION 1.5 stops VIDEO RES/FRAME RATE 720p/24 fps LCD 2.7-in., 230,000-dot
SONY ALPHA 330
$500, street, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Sony DT SAM lens An entry-level DSLR with a flexible LCD, the Alpha 330 has speedy autofocus, great live viewing, and a price fit for the thriftiest photographers. STANDOUT SPEC The live view uses the conventional (and fast) phase-detect AF system, fires with no delay. SENSOR 10.2MP CCD, 12-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION 2.5 stops VIDEO None LCD 2.7-in, 230,400-dot
SONY ALPHA 380
$700, street, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Sony DT SAM lens With its made-for-beginners display interface and great live view, the Alpha 380 would be perfect for those new to DSLRs. STANDOUT SPEC One of the best live-view systems yet, works without delay in AF or firing. But we do wish it showed 100% of the scene. SENSOR 14.2MP CCD, 12-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION 2-3 stops VIDEO None LCD 2.7-in., 230,400-dot
SONY ALPHA 550
$700, street, body only The best live-view experience in DSLRs just got better with the addition of 100% accuracy view from the imaging sensor plus the no-delay version using a separate sensor. Speedy 7-fps burst capture and in-the-camera HDR, too, but still a bit expensive considering there's no video. STANDOUT SPEC Live view without tears. SENSOR 14.2MP CMOS, 12-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION 2-3 stops VIDEO None LCD 3-in., 921,600-dot
SONY ALPHA 850
$2,000, street, body only Minor change of the A900 drops viewfinder accuracy to 98%, slows burst rate to 3 fps, and forgoes a wireless remote control. It kept the impressive image quality, top ergonomics, and superfast AF, though—so much so that it achieved an equal rating to the A900. STANDOUT SPEC The most full-frame bang for the buck you can get today. SENSOR 24.6MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION 2-2.5 stops VIDEO None LCD 3-in., 921,600-dot
SONY ALPHA 900
$2,700, street, body only Sony's blockbuster full-framer puts up top resolution numbers at ISO 100 but has some catchup to do in noise and color accuracy. Speedy AF and great ergonomics almost make us forget that it doesn't have live view or pop-up flash. STANDOUT SPEC That big, bright viewfinder makes you realize why you prefer SLRs. SENSOR 24.6MP CMOS, 14-bit RAW capture IMAGE STABILIZATION 2-2.5 stops VIDEO None LCD 3-in., 921,600-dot
CANON EF-S 10-22MM F/3.5-4.5 USM
$770, street Still the lightest of the ultrawide zooms, though not lightweight in price. It boasts rugged construction, with sharpness, distortion and light falloff all above average, and a close-focusing distance of 9.4 inches. Tight! STANDOUT SPEC The insanely light (less than a pound) weight. MOUNTS Canon EF WEIGHT 0.9 pound LENGTH 3.6 inches FILTER SIZE 77mm STABILIZATION No
CANON EF 16-35MM F/2.8L II USM
$1,520, street, with hood and case This L-series superstar has dust-and moisture-sealed build, and fast and quiet autofocus. The low distortion numbers at the longer focal lengths (0.12%, 0.19% pincushion) promise straight subject lines. Close-focus? An amazing 10.6 Inches. STANDOUT SPEC Three aspheric elements to lower linear distortion. MOUNTS Canon EF WEIGHT 1.5 pounds LENGTH 4.4 inches FILTER SIZE 82 mm STABILIZATION No
NIKON AF-S DX ZOOMNIKKOR 10-24MM F/3.5-4.5G ED
$800, street, with hood and case Handling Is the key here: focus and zoom rings are perfectly damped, and the AF is very fast and quiet. The lens’ 1:4.1 magnification power is the best in this group. Distortion and vignetting are average. STANDOUT SPEC That 1:4.1 subject magnification. MOUNTS Nikon WEIGHT 1.1 pounds LENGTH 3.5-3.8 Inches FILTER SIZE 77mm STABILIZATION No
NIKON AF-S DX ZOOMNIKKOR 12-24MM F/4G
$1,000, street, with hood A popular focal-length equivalent in full-frame (18-36mm), this lens offers excellent sharpness, but high distortion numbers at the widest setting: 1.31% barreling. Average close-focus (11.7 inches) and magnification (1:8) numbers. STANDOUT SPEC Convenient operation and a constant aperture. MOUNTS Nikon AF-S WEIGHT 1 pound LENGTH 3.5 inches FILTER SIZE 77 mm STABILIZATION No
NIKON AF-S ZOOM-NIKKOR 14-24MM F/2.8G ED
$1,800, street, with hood and case A pro’s full-framer, it justifies its price with a fast constant aperture, ultra-wide angle of view, and incredible distortion control. Only its weight and lack of filter drawer dampen our enthusiasm. STANDOUT SPEC Virtually no distortion (0.02% pincushion) at the 24mm setting. MOUNTS Nikon AF-S WEIGHT 2.2 pounds LENGTH 5.2 inches FILTER SIZE None STABILIZATION No
NIKON AF-S ZOOM-NIKKOR 16-35MM F/4G ED VR
$1,220, street, with hood and case This wide-angle zoom has such latest techno features as Nano Crystal Coating, two ED and three aspherlcal elements, Silent Wave motor (SWM), and Vibration Reduction version II. STANDOUT SPEC Imperceptible pincushion distortion (0.09%) at 24mm-lmpressive. MOUNTS Nikon AF-S WEIGHT 1.5 pounds LENGTH 4.9 Inches FILTER SIZE 77mm STABILIZATION Yes
NIKON AF-S ZOOM-NIKKOR 17-35MM F/2.8D ED-IF
$1,765, street, with hood and hard case Top-grade construction and sweet handling in a pro-level lens, sharp throughout the aperture and focal length ranges. Distortion, though, at 17mm and 35mm Is high by current standards. STANDOUT SPEC Sharpness with f/2.8 speed. MOUNTS Nikon AF-S WEIGHT 1.7 pounds LENGTH 4.2 inches FILTER SIZE 77mm STABILIZATION No
NIKON AF ZOOM-NIKKOR 18-35MM F/3.5-4.5D ED IF
$600, street, with hood Variable aperture makes this lens a lower-cost alternative to Nikon’s 17-35mm f/2.8, with nearcomparable sharpness. Like many older wide-angle zooms, though, it produces distortion—Visible at all tested vocal lengths. STANDOUT SPEC Almost no light falloff throughout the focal-length range. MOUNTS Nikon AF WEIGHT 0.9 pound LENGTH 3.3-3.6 inches FILTER SIZE 77mm STABILIZATION No
OLYMPUS ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 7-14MM F/4
$1,470, street, with hood and case A true ultrawide utility lens for Four Thirds shooters, this zoom delivers dust and moisture proof construction and light falloff that is among the best in this category. STANDOUT SPEC No detectable vignetting at 10mm and 14mm focal lengths. MOUNTS Four Thirds WEIGHT 1.8 pounds LENGTH 4.7 inches FILTER SIZE None STABILIZATION In the camera
PENTAX 12-24MM F/4 PENTAX DA*ED
$700, street, with hood Another 12-24mm, this is top dog in a hot category. All-metal lensmount and constant aperture contribute to Best In Class designation. Minor bummer: no weathersealing. STANDOUT SPEC Imperceptible distortion at 18mm and 24mm—and no vignetting at these focal lengths. MOUNTS Pentax KAF2 WEIGHT 1 pound LENGTH 3.5-3.6 inches FILTER SIZE 77mm STABILIZATION In the camera
SIGMA 8-16MM F/4.5-5.6 DC HSM
$700, street, with hood This ultrawide orthoscopic lens is fun to use—you get an enormous 114-degree field of view with much, much less distortion than a fisheye. A funky filter collar fits over the fixed lenshood. STANDOUT SPEC Sharpness and contrast, superb for so wide a lens. MOUNTS Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, Sony WEIGHT 1.3 pounds LENGTH 4.2 inches FILTER SIZE 72mm (with attachment) STABILIZATION No
SIGMA 10-20MM F/3.5 EX DC HSM
$650, street, with hood and case Sigma’s fastest ultrawide zoom also offers an HSM motor for extremely quiet AF. Distortion control at longer focal lengths, and vignetting at the widest, were spectacular. STANDOUT SPEC Almost no distortion at 14mm and 20mm. MOUNTS Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, Sony. WEIGHT 1.2 pounds LENGTH 3.5-3.6 inches FILTER SIZE 82mm STABILIZATION No
SIGMA 10-20MM F/4-5.6 EX DC HSM
$480, street, with hood and case A bargain hunter’s dream, with pro-grade build, superior sharpness, and fast, quiet HSM autofocus. One flaw: Very Visible barrel distortion (1.26%) at 10mm. STANDOUT SPEC A price well below comparable camera makers’ lenses. MOUNTS Canon, Four Thirds, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, Sony WEIGHT 1.1 pounds LENGTH 3.2 inches FILTER SIZE 77mm STABILIZATION No
SIGMA 12-24MM F/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
$860, street, with hood and case The EX for Sigma indicates pro quality, and this lens is indeed sturdy. At 1.4 pounds, though, for a variable aperture, it’s got a weight problem. STANDOUT SPEC Only slight barrel distortion (0.22%) at 12mm. MOUNTS Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, Sony WEIGHT 1.4 pounds LENGTH 4 inches FILTER SIZE Rear gelatin type STABILIZATION No
SONY DT 11-18MM F/4.5-5.6
$700, street, with hood Among the best distortion control for APS-C ultrawide zooms, and useful close-focusing distance, make this lens a good choice for architectural photography. Lightweight, but AF is loud. STANDOUT SPEC Slight distortion—0.27% at 14mm, and 0.13% at 18mm. MOUNTS Sony/Minolta WEIGHT 0.8 pound LENGTH 3.2-3.3 inches FILTER SIZE 77mm STABILIZATION In the camera
SONY ZEISS VARIO-SONNAR T* 16-35MM F/2.8 ZA SSM
$1,900, street, with hood and case This lens will last a lifetime. Unusual in an ultrawide: a midbarrel focus-lock button that prevents AF hunting. The same button can also trigger an image preview in the LCD. Surprising magnifying power: 1:3.6 at 35mm. STANDOUT SPEC Tanklike construction. MOUNTS Sony/Mlnolta WEIGHT 1.9 pounds LENGTH 4.5 inches FILTER SIZE 77mm STABILIZATION In the camera
TAMRON SP 10-24MM F/3.5-4.5 DI II LD
$500, street, with hood Among the hottest new ultrawideangle zooms, this Tamron produces only Slight barrel distortion, great close-up performance, and almost no vignetting. STANDOUT SPEC A very tight 9.4-inch close-focus distance, plus no falloff at 18 and 24mm. MOUNTS Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony WEIGHT 1 pound LENGTH 3.3-3.7 inches FILTER SIZE 77 mm STABILIZATION No
TOKINA AT-X 11-16MM F/2.8 PRO DX
$600, street, with hood Fast glass with constant aperture are the catch phrases used to describe this favorite. Its most direct competitor has a variable aperture and weak distortion control for about the same price. Pounce! STANDOUT SPEC Distortion at 16mm, only 0.06%—rated Imperceptible. MOUNTS Canon, Nikon WEIGHT 1.3 pounds LENGTH 3.6 inches FILTER SIZE 77 mm STABILIZATION No
Peter Gowland (who passed away in March 2010) specialized in healthy happy glamour in outdoor settings. Typical is this cover shot of Joan Collenette, a ballet dancer whose picture in a newspaper attracted Gowland’s interest. He wanted to avoid a static pose—and he succeeded.
I WAS SHOOTING a story on Moscow for Condé Nast Traveller U.K. Part of it was on the Bolshoi Ballet. Through my contact at the theater I was able to photograph the ballerinas as they prepared for a performance. They gave me free rein to photograph anything I wanted.