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Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Lens Review

’s latest wide-angle tilt-shift optic promises a higher quality over the entire imaging area and a wider range of lens movements over its predecessor.

 

As is usually the case with tilt-shift lenses, this optic isn’t inexpensive, costing around £1430. In this review, we’ll take a look at how it performs.

 

Build quality is typical of Canon’s L series lenses, with a robust textured black finish made from a combination of high-quality plastics and metal and the bayonet is metal. As a result, the lens has quite a bit of weight for its size and feels very solid, tipping the scales at 780g. Even so it balances well with the Canon EOS 6D body used for testing.

 

Although this lens has electronic contacts for focus confirmation and exposure, focusing needs to be performed manually, as is normal for tilt-shift lenses. Manual focusing is a pleasure, thanks to the well damped, smooth action of the focusing ring. The will confirm focus at the selected focusing point with a beep as normal. Closest focus is 21cm, which should be ideal for shooting in cramped environments, or even for close-up images.

 

The controls for tilt and shift movements are smooth to operate and the amount of force needed to turn the dials can be easily adjusted using another set of smaller dials by each control, which can also lock the lens at the desired setting. An additional switch to lock the tilt setting in place is also present. The lens can be shifted up to 12mm off axis, or tilted by up to 8.5 degrees, which provides plenty of scope for adjustment. A hyperfocal scale is marked onto the lens barrel although these values will only apply is no tilt movements are set. Both tilt and shift movement can be rotated independently, allowing tilt and shift movements to be aligned with each other if required or for shooting in portrait or landscape orientation.

 

Using the lens centred, with no shift, sharpness in the centre of the frame is already outstanding at maximum aperture, with excellent clarity towards the edge of the 35mm frame and this is the case until the lens is stopped down beyond f/8. With the lens fully shifted, sharpness hovers around very good levels furthest from the optical centre between f/3.5 and f/16.

 

Chromatic aberrations are extremely well controlled across the entire image area, with fringing remaining below a quarter of a pixel width at all aperture settings.

 

Due to the nature of the lens, it isn’t possible to accurately measure the falloff across the whole image circle with Imatest. Across the normal 35mm frame with the lens centred, the corners of the image are 1.6 stops darker than the image centre at maximum aperture and uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond. As is the case with other tilt-shift optics, applying a severe tilt or shift will darken the image in the viewfinder.

 

Only a minute amount of barrel distortion was detected by Imatest, with only 1.04% barrel distortion being present. This extremely low level of distortion should rarely need correction in image editing software.

 

Those looking for similar functionality on a budget may consider the Samyang T-S 24mm f/3.5 ED AS UMC lens. Although this lens has no electronic coupling with the camera, it does cost under half what the Canon optic does, being priced at around £650.

 

As you may expect for a top of the range Canon lens, this optic delivers superb clarity and is packaged in a robustly built and well-designed body. The controls for applying lens adjustments are easy to adjust and overall this lens should more than satisfy the needs of anyone after a tilt-shift optic.

 

However, the price of over £1400 is a bitter pill to swallow, especially when there is an alternative available for under half the price. The high price may make it difficult for many to justify, especially for a lens as specialised as this.

 

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

 

Chromatic aberration is the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

 

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Lens Review  – Gary Wolstenholme finds out how the wide-angle tilt-shift S-E 24mm f/3.5L II from Canon performs when put to the .

 

 

Kaili Optronics Kelda 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review

This manual focus telephoto lens offers a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture for a price of around £136, which seems very good value for a lens of this type. So what’s the catch?

Kaili Kelda are a Chinese company who produce a variety of budget-orientated basic manual focus lenses. This lens is available to and SLRs. In this review, we’ll take a look at how it performs.

Given the price of this lens, you’d be forgiven for having low expectations of almost every aspect of this lens. A mix of high-quality plastics with a lightly textured finish and metal have been used for much of the lens barrel, with a red ring placed near the front end of the optic. This lens isn’t overly heavy for one sporting a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture either, tipping the scales at 385g. As a result it balances well with the Nikon D600 body used for testing.

The manual focus ring feels a little gritty in operation, although there is enough resistance in the mechanism to help with applying fine focus adjustments. Closest focus is 85cm, which is fairly typical for a lens of this focal length and aperture. 72mm filters can be attached to the deep circular hood supplied with this lens, or 55mm filters can be attached directly to the lens. The filter thread does not rotate, which makes it ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters.

This lens has no electronic or mechanical coupling with the camera, so stop down metering has to be used when shooting. The aperture ring has values marked at seemingly arbitrary values, with the distance between stops getting less as the lens is stopped down more. The values marked on the aperture ring don’t quite line up with the click stops either, which may cause confusion when using smaller apertures.

Surprisingly, this lens isn’t a bad performer. At maximum aperture, sharpness is very good in the centre of the frame and fairly good towards the edges. Stopping down improves performance with outstanding sharpness being achieved in the centre at f/4.5 and excellent sharpness towards the edges at f/6.

Chromatic aberrations are kept under control, hovering at around half a pixel width towards the edges of the frame for most aperture settings. These low levels of fringing should be difficult to spot, even in very large prints, or harsh crops from the edges of the frame.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is typical for a lens of this focal length and aperture. The corners are 1.3 stops darker than the image centre at f/1.8 and visually uniform illumination isn’t achieved until the aperture is stopped down to f/3.5 or beyond.

Imatest only detected 0.13% pincushion distortion, which is an extremely low amount and should very rarely need correction in image editing software afterwards.

The supplied circular hood does a good job of shielding the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues with flare, however, shooting into the light does result in a noticeable loss of contrast.

With a price of only £136, this lens is very inexpensive indeed. The closest equivalent currently available Samyang’s manual focus 85mm f/1.4 lens, which is available for around £211 and sports a faster maximum aperture and overall better build and handling. Nikon’s 85mm f/1.8G costs around £350 and Canon’s EF 85mm USM can be picked up for £240.

With a price of only £136, you’d be forgiven for having poor expectations of this lens. As far as build quality and handling are concerned, you can see where corners have been cut with the gritty manual focus ring, bizarre range of apertures and an aperture ring that doesn’t line up properly with the printed markings.

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

Chromatic aberration is the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

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MacPhun Noiseless Pro Mac App Review

MacPhun Noiseless Pro Mac App Review  – The Noiseless Pro Mac app promises to provide speedy one-click noise reduction. Does it? We find out in our .

Noiseless Pro from Macphun is a Mac app which promises to make noise reduction a simple and quick process that’s as easy as clicking a button. To see if the app does live up to expectations, we found a few noisy photos for Noiseless to run through its algorithms.

Macphun Noiseless Pro is designed to quickly clean up digital noise often found in digital images captured in low light or with high ISOs. As with Macphun’s Focus 2 app, Noiseless is available in two versions: Pro and Standard. The Pro version can be used as a standalone product or as a plug-in for various popular pieces of editing software. You’ll also get extra presets, the option to remove noise from RAW images, Adobe RGB / Pro Photo colour space support, extra controls and a Navigation view for easy image navigation.

When you open the app up, a screen greets you with an option for dragging and dropping an image from a chosen location or you can click the ‘Load Photo’ button. The processing of the image begins as soon as you click to open it so be prepared to wait a few minutes, if working with a large file size, for the image to open in the app.

Once loaded, you are presented with 3 viewing options: fullscreen, curtain and horizontal along with 4 zoom options. The app actually recommends zooming to 100% or more to get a more accurate preview of the shot. Other buttons along the top include a before / after preview switch, undo / redo, open and save. To the right are the noise removing presets as well as an ‘adjust’ option which gives you manual control over the editing sliders. You can also reduce / increase the effects of the presets which actually do a very good job at configuring the options to suit the particular image you’re editing and the preview updates very quickly when new edits are applied. Two out of three times the app went for the ‘Extreme’ option when removing noise, however it felt the ‘Balanced’ presets (only available in the Pro version) were more suited for the job on our test chart image. The presets at the lighter end of the spectrum are more suited to images with less noise and dark areas.

If you do choose to use the tools listed under the ‘Adjust’ tab, the sliders are easy to adjust and thanks to how quickly the preview responds to changes, you’re not waiting around to see how the adjustments change the overall look of the image. You can also create and save adjustments as presets that you can favourite so you have quick access to them next time you use the Noiseless app.

The Noiseless Pro app does an impressive job at removing noise from images, however in some photos, this leads to a little loss in detail and softness appearing. This is illustrated in the landscape gif below but generally, it does a very good job at removing noise from shots and preserving detail. It also takes several minutes to save edited images once you’ve finished processing them but we’re not talking hours of twiddling thumbs so you won’t get impatient.

The Standard version of the app is available for £13.99 and the Pro version for £36.99. The £23 jump to the Pro version sounds a lot but you do get RAW editing and the option to use the app as a plug-in for other software which are very useful options to have, particularly if you take lots of images and RAW is your main shooting option. Plus, as the app does most of the work for you, you’ll be saving yourself time usually spent in Photoshop editing the noise out manually.

This noise removing app is simple to use, changes made to the image are presented quickly and thanks to the presets, noise problems are corrected without too much effort on your part. Even though there was a little loss of detail in some photos, generally the app did a very good job at minimising a loss in quality and it really can save your noisy shots. It’s smart, fast and easy to use and we are certainly happy to recommend Noiseless as a result.

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