Saturday, January 11, 2014


10 Most Famous Portrait Photographers

Who are some of the most famous portrait photographers of all time? Well, we all know that there can’t be a definitive answer of this question. Any list prepared by us or for that matter by any other authority will have to face a lot of debate and probably some criticism as well. We would still like to go ahead and let our readers know about some of the best portrait photographer ever.
These photographers has been acclaimed by critics and loved by their viewers. They are not just famous portrait photographers but masters of portrait photography. Their work in portraiture is amazing and influencing. They have already inspired thousands of budding photographers and will continue to inspire young generation in future with their outstanding work. Below is a list featuring some of the ‘crème de la crème’ of portrait photography:

Yousuf Karsh

(December 23, 1908 – July 13, 2002)

10 Most Famous Portrait Photographers, Portrait Photographers, Yousuf Karsh
Yousuf Karsh was arguably the most prominent portrait photographer of all time. Karsh photographed “almost everyone who needs to be photographed” and his portfolio was certainly the richest in clientele and fascination.
Karsh was born in Mardin, Ottoman Empire now a part of Turkey but moved to Quebec, Canada at the age of sixteen. Under the guidance of his uncle photographer George Nakash, Karsh developed the initial taste for photography which expanded more during his apprenticeship with John Garo in Boston.
Karsh was introduced to Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King who took an instant liking to him and asked him to capture the visiting dignitaries. Karsh shot to fame with an image of Winston Churchill during WWII which has set the record of being most reproduced image of all time. The notable works of Yousuf Karsh requires another article to be summed up but a few among them are the portraits of John F. Kennedy, Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw, Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Mohammed Ali, Humphrey Bogart, Martin Luther King, Queen Elizabeth II, Walt Disney, Indira Gandhi etc.
Karsh was exemplary in terms of photographing the greatest men/women of different era. In 2000, when International Who’s Who drafted a list of 100 most notable people of the century, 51 among them were photographed by Karsh one time or other.
To know more about Yousuf Karsh, read our article on this master photographer: “Yousuf Karsh : The master who captured hidden side of famous faces

Man Ray

(August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976)

10 Most Famous Portrait Photographers, Portrait Photographers, Man Ray
Man Ray born as Emmanuel Radnitzky was an American Portrait and Fashion Photographer. Ray was an artist who excelled at Painting, Sculpture, Movie Direction and several other performance art forms other than photography. Ray has been considered one of the most influential artists of 20thcentury.
An avant-garde photographer, Ray was also involved in Dada and Surrealist movements and was one of the major contributors. Ray integrated several other art forms such as Painting and Drawing in his photography and developed his own unique style. Ray also reinvented solarization technique and created a type of photogram which he named ‘rayographs’, after himself.
The most famous photographs of Man Ray are Violon d’Ingresinspired by painter/musician Ingres, portraits of James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Antonin Artaud, Pablo Picasso and a series of nude photographs of Méret Oppenheim. Ray was a visionary photographer and this gem of his sums his photography nicely, “I do not photograph nature. I photograph my visions.”
To know more about Man Ray visit his official website run by Man Ray Trust.

Diane Arbus

(March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971)

10 Most Famous Portrait Photographers, Portrait Photographers, Diane Arbus
Diane Arbus was an American photographer who revolutionized the art of photography due to her peculiar selection of subjects. Diane decided to photograph that part of society which was left untouched for a long, long time. She mostly photographed dwarfs, giants, transgender and other elements of societies which were being considered as ‘freaks’ or ‘ugly’. Diane was an artist even before she took the first camera in her hands and she painted and drew sketches since very young of age.
Diane took to photography as her preferred way of expression very late in her life but her earliest introduction to photography came when she married Alan Arbus at the age of 18. In late 50s she started to put more emphasis on her own photography and graduated to more advanced levels very soon.
Diane’s photographs were not for faint hearted even when they did not display any cruelty. Her choice of off-beat subjects were trend-setting but also drew a lot of criticism. Her photography was defining and at the times altering the collective trends of the trade but it also presented several challenges to not only viewers but her critics as well. The compassion and intrigue drew by Diane’s photography has never been achieved before or matched since.
Some of her most well-known photographs are “Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park”, “Triplets in Their Bedroom”, “A Young Man in Curlers at Home on West 20th Street”, “Identical Twins, Roselle”, “A Naked Man Being a Woman” etc. Arbus was also a very prolific writer and written some of the most radical articles on photography such as “The Vertical Journey: Six Movements of a Moment Within the Heart of the City” for Esquire, “The Full Circle” for Harper’s Bazaar and “Mae West: Emotion in Motion” published in Show magazine.
To know more about Diane Arbus, read our post A Revolutionary Photographer Diane Arbus: ‘Seeing the Unseen’ on IDA.

Dorothea Lange

(May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965)

10 Most Famous Portrait Photographers, Portrait Photographers, Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange was an American photographer best known for her documentary photography during the Great Depression in US. Lange studied photography at Columbia University, NYC under the guidance of prominent photographer Clarence H. White and later apprenticed under Arnold Genthe.
In 1919, after moving to San Francisco, Lange opened her own portrait studio. Her business was a successful one but with the onslaught of the Great Depression on American way of life, Dorothea moved her attention to the streets of her country and started to study and capture the unemployed and homeless people. Her photographs became a way of sending the pleas of those people to the authorities and she was offered an employment with federal Resettlement Administration (RA). During this time Dorothea captured her most famous image “Migrant Mother” (1936) which in itself is a complete story of those times.
After the attack of Japanese air force on Pearl Harbor, America started the forced evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans to relocation camps. Lange started to record these events for War Relocation Authority (WRA) and her compositions were the mirror of an unethical policy of detaining and charging people without any crime. Her criticism of this event through photography became a reason for Army to confiscate them before coming into light for others to see.
Dorothea was the master of capturing social issues and anarchy of system. Her photographs became the voice of repressed, helpless and subjugated people and she kept attempting to bring into mainstream of society.
Some of her most notable images were captured in the Manzanar Relocation Center which are available on the website of Still Photographs Division of National Archives and at the Bancroft Library of University of California, Berkeley.
Dorothea Lange’s inspirational work can be seen at The Museum of Modern Art.

Richard Avedon

(May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004)

10 Most Famous Portrait Photographers, Portrait Photographers, Richard Avedon
Richard Avedon was an American Portrait and Fashion photographer. The New York Times described his photographs as a reflection of American culture and beauty in his obituary.
Avedon showed his interest in photography at an early age of 12 when he joined the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA) Camera club. He started taking pictures of his surroundings using a family owned Kodak Box Brownie camera. Avedon’s first muse was his beautiful younger sister Louise.
Avedon studied photography from 1944 to 1950 at New School for Social Research with Alexey Brodovitch, the art director of Harper’s Bazaar magazine. In 1945, Avedon’s photographs first appeared in Junior Bazaar and a year later in Harper’s Bazaar. In 1946, after setting up his own studio, Avedon started offering photographs to magazines such as Vogue and Life. Avedon continued his fashion work and his assignments included Versace collections, Calvin Klein Jeans, Colgate, Revlon etc.
During 60s Avedon branched out to photograph studio portraits of politicians, civil right activists and other various groups. He covered the Civil Rights Movements in 1963 and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Some famous photographs of Avedon are the portraits of Marella Agnelli an Italian socialite, Dovima with Elephants, Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhole, Dwight D. Eisenhower and The Beatles. Avedon also authored and co-authored many books including Observations (1959), Nothing Personal (1964), Alice in Wonderland (co-authored with Doon Arbus, 1973), In the American West (1985) and Woman in the Mirror (2005).
Richard’s work can be viewed at

Joe McNally

(27 July 1952 – )

Famous Portrait Photographer, Joe McNally
Joe McNally is a New York City (USA) based photographer who has been working on numerous prestigious assignments for last 30 years. He is one of the most acclaimed photographers internationally and his work has been featured on the cover of numerous magazines including TIME, Newsweek, Fortune, New York and many more. He was the staff photographer of LIFE magazine from 1994 to 1998, the first in 23 years. He also has been a contributor to the National Geographic magazine for 20 years. He has worked on the marketing campaign for some of the biggest brands such as FedEx, Nikon, Sony, GE, Adidas etc.
His most notable work includes the “Faces of Ground Zero — Portraits of the Heroes of September 11th” which is a collection of 246 giant portraits which was shot right after 9/11. McNally has also published three books on photography: “The Moment It Clicks”, “The Hotshoe Diaries” and “Sketching Light”. McNally has won multiple international accolades for his work and has been described by American Photo magazine as “perhaps the most versatile photojournalist working today”. He also has been honored by World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International and many magazines such as Photo District News, Graphics Inc., Communication Arts etc.
Visit Joe McNally’s portfolio and get inspired.

Steve McCurry

(February 24, 1950 – )

Famous Portrait Photographer, Steve McCurry
Steve McCurry is another premier portrait photographer widely acknowledged for his work in this field. McCurry a native of Pennsylvania (USA) has been a photographer for more than 30 years now. He has contributed frequently for National Geographic magazine and has been a member of Magnum Photos for more than 27 years. McCurry has been a frequent traveller to Indian subcontinent and has shot many famous photographs there. He has covered many armed conflicts including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Iran-Iraq war, Lebanon Civil war and many more.
The most famous work of McCurry is the “Afghan Girl” which he shot in 1985 and was published on the cover of National Geographic magazine in June 1985. He has published 12 books including ‘Portraits’ (1990), The Iconic Photographs (Limited Edition; 2011), “In the Shadows of Mountains” (2007) and “South Southeast” (2000) among the notable ones. McCurry has won Robert Capa Gold Medal in 1980. He also has won several other awards including Magazine Photographer of the Year by National Press Photographers Association, Photographer of the Year awards by American Photo Magazine and PMDA and Leica Hall of Fame Award and many others. In 1984, he won four first-place prizes in the World Press Photo contest, an achievement unheard of. Due to his work with transparency films, Eastman Kodak gifted him the last film roll (Kodachrome) produced by the company to shoot. You can read lot more about Steve here : Steve McCurry – The Sigmund Freud of Photography World

Annie Leibovitz

(October 2, 1949)

Famous Portrait Photographer, Annie Leibovitz
With a career spanning over more than four decades Annie Leibovitz is one of the most famous names among the celebrity photographers. Born in Connecticut (USA), she started working with ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine in 1969 and worked there until 1983. She has also worked with Vanity Fair as a chief photographer and contributed regularly to Vogue. Other than her work with fashion and lifestyle magazines, she has also photographed battered women and armed conflicts in Bosnia and Rwanda.
Leibovitz has photographed the iconic band ‘The Rolling Stones’ several times during her career. Her most notable work was the cover shot of Rolling Stone featuring John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Her other notable works include a couple of nude portraitures of Demi Moore and the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Other than these, she also has photographed many celebrities for the covers of magazines. In 2005, American Photo named her as the single most influential photographer at work today. She won a Clio Award in 1987 for her advertising campaign for American Express charge cards. She has won multiple awards and accolades from photography fraternity and has authored several books. Women (1999), Pilgrimage, American Music (2003) and A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005 (2006) are some of the books written by her. We’ve a detailed post on this free-spirited photography diva on IDA. Read more about Annie Leibovitz.

Gregory Heisler

(1954 – )

Famous Portrait Photographer, Gregory Heisler
Gregory Heisler is a New York (USA) based photographer who is renowned for his portraiture work for different magazine covers. He has shot portraits for more than 70 covers of TIME magazine. He has contributed for the covers of Life, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times Magazine, ESPN to name a few. Other than these, he has also worked on advertising commercials for brands such as American Express, Merrill Lynch, Nike, Benson & hedges etc.
His most famous work is a controversial photograph of George H. W. Bush for the cover of TIME magazine in which he used the technique of double exposure. Other notable works of Heisler include the cover portraits for TIME of Muhammad Ali, Michael Phelps, Rudolph Guiliani and many other celebrities. In 2000, Heisler won the prestigious Alfred Eisenstadt Award for his work in Photography. Some of the other awards which he won are ASMP corporate photographer of the year (1986), Leica Medal of Excellence (1988) and World Image Award in 1991. Heisler is also a sought-after speaker, an innovative essayist and an enthusiastic educator. Gregory Heisler has co-authored a book named “Visions of Armageddon” and has published some of his selected portrait works as well.
Visit Gregory Heisler’s portfolio and get inspired.

Peter Hurley

10 Most Famous Portrait Photographers, Portrait Photographers, Peter Hurley
Peter Hurley is an American Portrait photographer who is an expert of headshots. Peter was a national champion sailboat racer who was a part of US National Sailboat team for 2000, Sydney Olympics.
Peter’s first brush with photography came when he modeled for Ralph Lauren and he continued modelling for several other brands. Peter started photography during his preparation for Sydney Olympics and took upon it like a fish in the water. He excelled in his art at a very quick rate and very soon his client list was featuring brands like Levi’s, Reebok, DKNY and Johnnie Walker among others.
Since then Hurley has not looked back and has captured several great portraits. Peter’s portfolio comprises of several distinctive headshots which make him different from many other portrait photographers. Peter’s work has been exemplary in portrait photography and his genius makes him stand above the crowd. Peter seems to have a very bright future and his work marks him as a ‘legend in making.’
To know more about this talented photographer, visit his official website.
We know that famous portrait photographers list we created here is just not enough to do justice with so many talented and inspiring photographers. Therefore we promise you that this list will keep on evolving in future. Keep watching this space for updates!

Beginners Guide to Photojournalism

The Beginner’s Guide to Photojournalism

by CHRIS GAMPAT on 02/17/2010
Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Leica X2 Review other images (2 of 18)
Photojournalism is the process of documenting the happenings of life on camera through photography. These days, it tends to extend into videography but the main elements of the practice still hold their roots in still image capture. Photojournalism can still be a tough job as far as getting work and images that are different than other photojournalists but that is still a story that would hold an audience captive.

How It Is Done:

There are many factors that go into photojournalism. Many of them are ethically related and others are just how the industry works. But to tell a good story there are certain shots that are essential.
- Cover shot
Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X Pro 1 35mm f1.4 review (4 of 7)ISO 400
This is the shot that will make your viewers want to continue reading or viewing the rest of the story. It is your opening shot. A boring opening shot can kill a story.
A cover shot needs to tell us exactly what the story is about as well as be compelling. It should elicit an emotion out of someone that is looking at it and strongly emphasize one of the elements of photojournalism in it. More of the elements later on.
- Establishing Shot
This is the shot that tells us where we are in the story. It usually requires a wide angle lens of some sort and is very environmental. It should give the reader a feeling of where this is all taking place. For example, I shot the Woodstock of Chiptunes (a genre of music that combines electronica with old-school video game music) for a website called The above photo is a good establishing shot because it tells us that a concert of some sort is going on and the place is packed.
- Detail Shot
Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Canon EF mount review images street and landscape (9 of 29)ISO 1600
These shots are the ones that really get in close and emphasize something very particular. If you find yourself one day shooting a story on the conditions of people and how they live in shelters during the recession, take a good look at how they live vs how to average person does. Their room will either be very bare or with loads and loads of items due to hoarding. A real example of how much they hoard will be a good detail shot. It could be anything from stacks of old records to piles and piles of raggedy clothes.
Similarly, there is also a relief effort being done right now for earthquake victims in Haiti as I’m writing this. A great example of a detail shot that I’ve seen is one that was features on the photojournalism blog ( of the NYTimes on Saturday January 16th. In this story, a man was dropped off by the police and told the people he was a thief that escaped prison on Tuesday. The crowd stripped him, beat him and set him afire. And the photo is one of his feet wrapped around a whip of some sort. It is a disturbing image, but it gets the point across in a detail shot.
- Closing Shot
Closing shots are the ones that end a piece. They don’t necessarily have to be the ones that happen at the end of the story, but they can be the trickiest to think of. In some cases though it can be a shot at the very of the time you spent shooting the story. For example, perhaps you’re shooting a story on someone with a specific type of cancer. They could possibly recover from most of the effects and live out a great life, in which case you could possibly shoot the person having fun with friends/family as your closing shot. Alternatively, they might not make it. In which case, you should shoot the family at the funeral or them grieving over the body.
Something like that may be hard to do but it is what photojournalists do everyday. You just need to distance yourself from the story and not show emotions: just shoot.
These are all the shots in between that give your viewers and readers an idea of what the story is about. They take on all the elements of photojournalism and more. Perhaps they can be something that works very well with the rules of composition I mentioned in my introduction or possibly environmental portraits that really tell us what someone is about, what they do, etc.


Chris Gampat Grandpas funeral (26 of 33)
- The Newsworthy
This is something going on in the area that is worth talking about in the news. It may not be necessarily very exciting but it is still something worth talking about. An example of this would be a robbery at a store in which the owner and assailant exchanged gunshots.
For the image, there could be evidence of this with broken glass and the store behind a police line. The image proves its point: it tells the reader that something happened there.
Every year, there is a giant pillow fight of some sort in New York City. It is literally just a bunch of people getting together when the weather is a bit warmer and smacking each other with pillows. A newsworthy shot would possibly be one that tells us where we are (establishing shot), a close-up of a specific fight (cover shot), etc.
– The Emotional
These are the shots that capture someone showing emotion. They can be the typical mother grieving the loss of her son to a fatal shootout or someone experiencing joy upon hearing that they’ve won the lottery. A less seen example of this is the facial expressions of Wall Street stock brokers as they see something they don’t like on the overhead monitors.
Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X100s for street photography (2 of 9)ISO 4001-1900 sec at f - 4.0
- The Intimate
This is where you take the emotional and combine it with interaction of people. Instead of a mother grieving the loss of her son, it is a mother, father and brothers grieving the loss together. Perhaps they are in each other’s arms crying.
The key to this is emotions and interaction with other people. That’s to say it doesn’t necessarily have to be people. It can also be a dog licking the face of his owner as he is on his back dying in the middle of the street.
- The Unusual
This is all that you don’t see in everyday life. It can be someone dressed up as SpongeBob Square Pants walking down the street. You’ll know it when you see it. If someone will look at something and say, “That’s unusual” then you know that it qualifies for an unusual photo.
Familiarize yourself with these and you’ll be able to see eventually how photojournalism can help you with almost all types of photography.

Beyond the Kit Lens

Beyond the Kit Lens: The Best Step Up Lenses For Your Camera

by CHRIS GAMPAT on 07/30/2013
Canon 40mm f/2.8 Rear Element
Everyone has to start somewhere, and folks always ask us, “We’re thinking about a DSLR, what should we buy?” Well first off, what you should really know is that once you go into the DSLR or Mirrorless camera arena, you’ll need to consider the fact that upgrading at this point doesn’t always mean you should get a new camera. In fact, that’s totally preposterous in some cases.
Want to take better pictures? Get a lens. For what it’s worth, no camera manufacturer markets their lenses anywhere as much as they should. Why? Because they just want to sell cameras first and foremost. But we’re here today to educate you a little bit on the secret that most of the more savvy shooters know. This website has reviewed loads, and loads of lenses–more than most sites out there. And so we’re passing our knowledge onto you.
And we’ll also do it on a budget.


Canon 40mm STM on 5DmkII

Canon 50mm f1.8

The one lens that everyone tells you to upgrade to is our number one choice for Canon users. Sometimes it can be had for under $100, but combine this with the fact that it is sharp stopped down, compact, and light and you’ll have a lens that you’ll fall in love with for a very long time.
This is an EF lens, so it can be used on both APS-C sensor cameras and full frame cameras. But on an APS-C camera, it will render an 80mm field of view–perfect for portraits.
Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama | Picture Line | Borrow Lenses

Canon 40mm f2.8

Canon’s first autofocusing pancake lens for their DSLR line was sure to make its way to this list. Sure, it’s affordable, but it is also Canon’s smallest lens. Once again, it is an EF lens, which means that on a full frame body it will render a 40mm field of view while on an APS-C it will be around 65mm. When we reviewed this lens, we rated it very highly because of its compact size, sharpness edge to edge, and fast/silent focusing due to the new STM motors built in.
If you want to keep your DSLR the smallest size that you possible can, this is the lens to go for.
Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama | Picture Line | Borrow Lenses

Sigma 30mm f1.4 Version II

For many years, Sigma had APS-C camera audiences enthralled with their 30mm f1.4. The lens is the closest thing that you can get to a 50mm field of view equivalent. Their first version was very sharp, fast to focus, and rendered that normal field of view that many loved.
But recently, the company revamped this lens and it now has a metal exterior and even sharper optics than what they state they previously had.
If you want your closest equivalent to a nifty 50, then this is the one to get. But take note that you won’t be able to mount this onto your full frame camera.
Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama


Chris Gampat Digital Camera Review Nikon D7100 product photos (1 of 7)ISO 5001-200 sec at f - 5.0

Sigma 30mm f1.4

One of the cool things about the Nikon DSLR system is that even though you might have a lot of APS-C lenses, you can still use them on a full frame camera body. And for that reason, we recommend Sigma’s 30mm f1.4. It has all the benefits that we talked about above, but because of Nikon’s larger APS-C sized sensors, you’ll render a field of view that is slightly wider than 50mm. But trust us, it’s more than close enough.
Buy Now: B&H Photo | Adorama

Nikon 35mm f1.8 G

If you want to stick with all Nikon glass, then their 35mm f1.8 G will be a lens that you instantly fall in love with. Wide open, it isn’t so sharp but as soon as it is down to f2.5, you’ll get some very pleasing results. The bokeh on this lens is also spectacular as is its overall compact size.
One of our favorite features of this lens is the fact that when mounted to a full frame Nikon camera body, you’ll experience very little vignetting and it acts as a true 35mm lens despite being recommended for use with APS-C camera bodies.
If that isn’t worth it, we’re not sure what is.
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Nikon 50mm f1.8 AF-S

Though Nikon’s Nifty 50 is more expensive than Canon’s (if you’re looking for a competing system) it is better built, sharper, and faster to focus. On an APS-C camera you’ll get a 75mm field of view while on a full frame you’ll get a true 50mm field of view. In our review, we were very pleased by the bokeh–although this lens is a little larger than we’d like it to be.
If you’re stepping up to this lens, it might become your every day optic, or just your portrait lens.
Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama | Picture Line | Borrow Lenses


Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony NEX 3N product photo (1 of 1)ISO 1601-200 sec at f - 2.0

Sony 20mm f2.8 NEX

Sony has had a good pancake lens for their NEX system in a while. Their first pancake, the 16mm f2.8 wasn’t so sharp but wasn’t really a very bad lens either. But with just how good Sony’s optics have become, we’ve read excellent reviews so far of their 20mm f2.8 lens. This is the company’s new pancake, and when combined with their APS-C sensors, you’ll get a 30mm field of view: perfect for street photography, landscapes, and more. Plus, Sony’s NEX system focuses very quickly–with only Micro Four Thirds being faster.
If you really want to take advantage of the NEX size factor, then this is the lens to spring for.
Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Sony 50mm f1.8 NEX OSS

When we reviewed this lens, we were extremely pleased with the results. Combined with Sony’s super fast focusing, we almost didn’t want to send this lens back to Sony after the review–and the reasons why are in the overall image quality. Wide open, this is one of the sharpest lenses that we’ve ever seen. Then you have to consider the bokeh–it’s pleasantly beautiful. Plus, this lens has OSS–which means all your photos will be super steady.
Sony would do well with making a black version of this lens since the stock version is silver, but color aesthetics don’t mean much to us.
If you’re looking for a great portrait lens, the 75mm field of view that this lens will give might be perfect for you.
Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Sigma 30mm f2.8

Though not really a pancake lens, Sigma’s 30mm f2.8 will render a 45mm field of view on a Sony NEX camera and also keep the overall package fairly compact. Due to the floating element inside, you’ll also get a tiny bit of image stabilization–but Sigma doesn’t explicitly state that you will.
But then there is the cost: this lens is more affordable than most of them out there are and there often price drops. This is also the second refresh of the lens.
Indeed, you’ll be happy with this one.
Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Sigma 50mm f1.4

While we were talking about their NEX cameras for a while, we don’t want to leave Sony Alpha users out in the dust. Most users will want a really good 50mm lens, and there is nothing better out there than Sigma’s 50mm f1.4. Though a tad soft wide open, by f2 it will be pretty darned sharp. And like other 50mm lenses, it will give you a 75mm field of view on an APS-C sensor camera. But the awesome thing is that it will focus quickly, is built quite solidly, and can stick with you in your camera bag for a while if you want to move up to a full frame camera.
Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Micro Four Thirds

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Olympus 45mm f1.8 review product photos (2 of 3)

Olympus 45mm f1.8

Affordable, small, fast to focus, and razor sharp–that’d how you can describe the Olympus 45mm f1.8. Due to the Four Thirds sensor, you’ll get a 90mm field of view with this lens; and that means that it is perfect for portrait. We wouldn’t even recommend stopping it down unless you’re using strobes, otherwise it is a total waste. You’ll get more than enough of a subject in focus wide open due to the fact that the field of view will also be around f4 on a full frame camera.
Better yet, this lens now comes in both black and silver.
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Panasonic 20mm f1.7 ASPH

One of the first lenses that many Micro Four Thirds camera users got was the 20mm f1.7. And recently, Panasonic revamped the lens. Giving users a 40mm field of view on their cameras, it became a legend and revered as a god-tier lens amongst street photographers. Not only thing, but it is still a pancake lens that will be awesomely sharp wide open and will focus fastest with Panasonic cameras.
There is almost no reason not to have this lens in your kit.
Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Panasonic 25mm f1.4

When Panasonic announced this lens, photographers using the Micro Four Thirds system became ecstatic. They now had a fast 50mm equivalent for their system. Any photographer that owns this lens essentially has it glued to their camera due to its sharpness, bokeh, and its fast focusing abilities. Granted, it isn’t the fastest aperture lens for the system in this focal length–but if you want that then you’ll need to spring for more than $1,000.
Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama | Borrow Lenses


Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X Pro 1 35mm f1.4 X Series lens review (7 of 7)ISO 1600

35mm f1.4

Since the start of Fujifilm’s X series camera system, many users have all agreed that their 35mm f1.4 delivers some of the best image quality in the system. Rendering a near 50mm field of view, there is no reason why someone might not want this lens. Indeed, it renders some of the sharpest image quality that we’ve seen and the bokeh is outstanding.
When this lens was first released, it was plagued with autofocusing problems but the image quality was just that good. With many firmware updates that has since passed, the lens’s performance has improved. Couple this with the fact that Fujifilm’s X Trans sensor now plays nicely with Adobe and Capture One products and you’ll get image quality that will make you look at your full frame DSLR in wonderment.
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Zeiss 12mm f2.8

Though Fujifilm has their own 14mm f2.8, we couldn’t warm up to it. The reason why is because we didn’t believe it to be sharp enough. However, its build quality is positively stellar. Then Zeiss came out with their 12mm f2.8. We loved this lens when we reviewed it due to its sharpness, bokeh (though very little because of the nature of the lens) and the fact that it was incredibly fast to focus. On top of this, we also liked the metallic build quality but didn’t really fall for the rubber focusing ring so much.
But if you want a wide angle prime for the Fujifilm system, you should go this route.
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SLR Magic 23mm f1.7

Looking for a 35mm field of view on the Fujifilm system? SLR Magic has you covered–and at a damned good price too. Though this lens was a bit too soft for us wide open, when stopped down it dramatically improved. Then combine this this some stellar build quality (better than some Fujifilm lenses actually) and you’ll be very pleased.
But fair warning: it is a manual focus only lens. But Fujifilm’s cameras now have focus peaking, so focusing shouldn’t be a problem.
Buy Now: Adorama


Pentax K-5 II

Pentax 50mm f1.8

Pentax’s 50mm f1.8 is being recommended for a couple of reasons. First off, everyone loves the 50mm field of view on an APS-C DSLR (despite the fact that Pentax also has a very good 55mm lens). Second, if Pentax ever releases a full frame camera, this lens will become the one that many spring for. So if you’re already invested in the Pentax system, then here’s to hoping.
Otherwise, you should value this lens for its pretty darned good image quality when used with Pentax’s cameras.
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Pentax 43mm f1.9

Though this lens is from the film days, it is still considered by many to be one of their best. On a full frame camera (if Pentax ever comes out with one) it will render what is known as true normal–this has to do with the field of view and diagonal dimension of the sensor/film.
At B&H Photo (where I used to work) many older veteran photographers have called it an absolutely beautiful lens, but a very weird focal length.
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Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC Macro HSM

In keeping in line with our budget minded selection, the Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 is one of the few zoom lenses that we would recommend to anyone on a budget. As part of the company’s contemporary collection of lenses, not only does it look beautiful but it also produces some jaw dropping image quality. Using this lens, you can cover a wide-angle field of view to the telephoto focal length range with no problems–or major sacrifice on image quality which can be common with affordable zooms.
Just note that it is an APS-C sensor lens only though.