2017

Staff Blog

Archive '2017'

img:Kenko 400 Mirror Lens Review by Vladimir Zatsarin
Oct 26, 2017

Kenko 400 Mirror Lens Review by Vladimir Zatsarin

“Mirror lens” is a special class of camera lenses with a construction similar to astronomical telescopes, which in their turn are a stand out in simplicity and reliability.They have small dimensions combined with long focal length, light weight, a simple construction and are not expensive. That’s why lenses of this class are still quite popular.The present-day lens of this class we will talk about is Kenko MIL TOL Reflex Lens 400mm F8. Contents  Brief lookSpecificationsWeighing Appearance and first impressionsPhotographing Summary Brief look Specifications Focal length 400mm Aperture F/8.0 Angle of view 6°8’ Autofocus No Stabilization No Minimum focusing distance 1.15m Lens construction 6 elements in 2 groups Filter size 67,77mm Dimensions 74x82mm Weight 340g Weighing w/o lens hood and caps with lens hood and caps Without lens hood, caps and lens adapter this lens weighs 350g, but combined with its lens hood and caps the weight increases 1.5 times. This is due to the metal lens hood (more detailed below in this article). Appearance and first impressions Mirror lens construction The optical system of Kenko MIL TOL 400mm F8 Reflex Lens consist of two mirrors, that result in more compact dimensions compared to classic optical lenses: this 400mm tele photo lens weighs less than 400g, while any equivalent lens with the same focal length made with traditional lens schemes will weigh several kilograms and have an impressive size that will require a special case or backpack to carry it. The small number of lenses and mirrors in the construction allows getting rid of chromatic aberrations, which is a common issue for usual tele photo lenses. In order to suppress distortions, designers included in the construction an expensive ED (Extra-low Distortion) lens, but it significantly affects the price of the lens. This lens is compact and lightweight, its body is in metal and almost covered with a wide rubber focus ring. Available in three colors: black, silver (the one tested) and white. An important feature of Kenko MIL TOL 400mm F8 Reflex Lens is its compatibility with most of the digital DSLR and mirrorless cameras: this lens has a threaded T-mount and, with an appropriate adapters can be used with a variety of mount systems - Canon EOS, Nikon F, Pentax K, Sony Alpha, Sony NEX, Micro 4/3 etc. This review is made using Micro 4/3 camera with crop factor 2, therefore the angle of view becomes equivalent to 800mm lens...

img:Macro Photography with Extension Tubes - Impressions and Expressions by Kunimasa Hiroshi
Oct 26, 2017

Macro Photography with Extension Tubes - Impressions and Expressions by Kunimasa Hiroshi

Are you enjoying macro shooting?From summer to winter, every season offers its various flowers blooming to be enjoyed and, of course, captured in your shots!  Macro photography’s first real charm is to be able to shoot as closer and bigger as we could possibly think.In this way, the usual scenery beyond us becomes a completely different new world…amazing, isn’t it! And when you get absorbed into such a world while shooting, you get eager to shoot even more and more big. So you move one step closer, then another step closer, closer and closer until you reach your target object and…you figure out you cannot properly focus! An unpleasant surprise everybody experienced, am I wrong? Although macro lens allows shooting closer and bigger compared to regular lenses, there are some limitations. But I think the desire to shoot closer still persists. Particularly, isn’t a common desire to shoot at small objects, like small flowers etc., to see them bigger? In such situations, as there are limits on how much you can get closer, you may think there is no other way but to give up, right?No, don’t worry: there are still different ways that will allow you to shoot closer and bigger. One of this, if you are using a full frame camera, is to replace it with an APS-C camera.For Nikon, APS-C cameras have a 1.5x crop factor that allows capturing distant objects, making them appear bigger. As the minimum focusing distance does not change, even if you shoot from the same distance, the subject will be enlarged accordingly (in practice, it is as if it was cropped) and shot bigger. Another way is the one I will talk about in this review.That is, shooting with Extension Tubes.An extension tube is a device that, once installed between the camera body and lens, allows shooting further closer at the subject than the lens minimum focusing distance. In few words, it is a device with the magical power of letting you shoot further closer and bigger at the subject you want to shoot.  Kenko Tokina has released an Extension Tube Set in 3 rings of 12mm, 20mm and 36mm respectively. Whether you use one ring at a time, or combine more rings together, this set allows you to shoot in 7 different ways. Being so, it seems you can finally get your chance to shoot as bigger and closer as you want! ...

img:A Beginner Guide to Long Exposure Photography by Andrew Leggett
Sep 19, 2017

A Beginner Guide to Long Exposure Photography by Andrew Leggett

A Beginners Guide to Long Exposure Photography  So, you’ve seen pictures of the silky smooth waters and the dreamy skies and you’ve made the decision to try and achieve this style for yourself. It’s time to plan! Before you decide to fly out the front door, some prior preparation is going to be required. What is it that you’re going to shoot? Cityscapes? Seascape? Waterfalls? Have you looked on Streetview for good vantage points or spoken to other photographers in the area? It pays to have a good understanding of the area, as sometimes chasing a shot can be time sensitive! There are phone Apps that can assist in planning for a shoot. PhotoPills would be the most popular App out there, but I have been supporting an Android app called PlanIt! for some time now. PlanIt! currently helps photographers plan for Milky Way Photography, Sunset & Sunrise, Meteor showers and much more! The next major thing is equipment! You will need to have a camera with a manual mode so you can manually control Shutter speed, aperture, ISO and focus. Another crucial piece of equipment are your legs, a nice and sturdy tripod is required to keep your camera locked in the same position over the duration of the shoot. The only items we require now are a remote trigger, and the star of the show, a neutral density filter. In this demonstration I will be shooting a sunset cityscape with the Kenko RealPro ND1000 filter. The ND1000 will provide me with a reduction of 10 stops. This reduction is how I will achieve the soft water and silky skies. Composition Once I arrive at the planned destination, I set the camera up and fire off my first shot in Aperture Priority Mode. I’m not too worried about settings at this stage. I am only interested in how the image is looking on the back of the camera. I’ll move around and take multiple shots from different angles. What I am looking for when I compose my shot is something in the foreground, silky smooth water, some city lights and a silky dreamy sky. As you can see below, my ‘something’ in the foreground is the yellow ladder. Camera Settings and Base Image I’m now happy with how the shot is looking, it’s time to dial in some settings. I’m shooting at about 25mm on my kit Nikon Lens. I...

img:My Experience with Kenko REAL PRO Clip lenses - by Mike Gorliak
Sep 13, 2017

My Experience with Kenko REAL PRO Clip lenses - by Mike Gorliak

My experience with Kenko REAL PRO Clip Lenses We usually do not use our smartphones to their full extent, as we end up using just the simple camera functions everyone knows. But if you try searching on the Internet, you’ll figure out that nowadays the most popular way of taking photos is shooting with smartphones. It is quite understandable - after all, smartphone cameras have become quite good in recent years. Also, the correct operation of a semiprofessional camera can be much more complicated for beginners than a quick shot with a smartphone camera. As a professional photographer, at the beginning I found rather difficult to face the limitations of a smartphone camera but, after all, I know how to use my camera to get certain pictures. Then I was amazed by Kenko REAL PRO clip lenses, and the more I use these lenses the most I like them. Shot with Kenko REAL PRO CLIP LENS Fish-Eye 180° Smartphones are equipped with a built-in camera and lens, and usually these lenses are supposed to have at least adequate specifications to let you take, under good shooting and lighting conditions, pictures of several genres, especially like flat-lay photos taken right up from a 90°position, or snaps and landscape pictures. In portraits you have to break your head, especially if the photos are to be more than a selfy. As it eventually turns out, smartphone cameras will not be able to replace mirror-reflex or mirrorless cameras for the time being. But at the very least, there are really good alternatives for making smartphone pictures more interesting an also from completely different perspectives like in macro photography, as you can see here: Shot with Kenko REAL PRO Macro 0.65x I have been a professional photographer for ten years and I know how beautiful the photography with a professional camera is – but even with only half of the equipment can be damn hard! If you are going to spend "only" one or two hours on a shooting session, you can still handle it. But then imagine the case you are going somewhere out on a journey with your family, and you want to bring of course your camera equipment with you, but there are also a lot of other necessities to fill up your backpack with, and you will inevitably get annoyed because there won’t be enough space for everything! Shot with...

img:Close-up filters and Extension Tubes for Macro Photography
Jun 29, 2017

Close-up filters and Extension Tubes for Macro Photography

Macro photography is a very interesting shooting technique which photographers of many genres will eventually face. Whether you are shooting still life, flowers, bugs, wedding details, or even portraits you will eventually need to get a little closer for extra magnification. This article we will help you understand the theory and practice of macro photography using close-up filters and Extension Tubes as an alternative to expensive macro specific lenses. Contents 1. Introduction to macro photography theory- Macro lenses- Close-up filters- Extension Tubes 2. Practical Field tests- Equipment and shooting techniques- Testing- Wide angle lens- Telephoto lens 3. Summary Gallery 1. Introduction to macro photography theory The essence of macro photography comes down to the capabilities of the optical system. The most important feature here is the ability to get the largest possible projection of the object onto the sensor of the camera. This is achieved through the large focal length and small focus distance of the lens. Macro lenses Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro lens Common lenses with long focal length (telephoto lenses) have a rather large close (near) focus distance (hereinafter CFD). And vice versa, lenses with small CFD have a short focal length (wide angle lenses). Therefore, there are special versions of the lenses designed for macro photography - they combine both; a long focal length and small CFD. Such lenses are called macro lenses and usually have a high aperture and a constant (fixed) focal length. Also they could be used in other genres (i.e. in portrait photography). Macro photography The illustration below shows the differences when using a standard lens and a macro lens with small CFD. You can see how the macro lens allows to get closer to the object and thereby increases the macro ratio. The principle of the macro lens Due to the constant focal length (i.e. it is not zoom lens), bigger size and high price, macro lenses are usually purchased by professional photographers who have a specific need for macro photography. If you are an amateur and want to try macro photography for yourself, but are not ready to buy a macro lens, there are other more affordable ways. The remainder of the article will take a closer look at affordable accessories such as close-up filters and Extension Tubes that can extend the capabilities of the lenses you already own. Close-up filters Close-up filter Close-up filters are in fact optical macro-attachments...

img:A Woman's World Captured Through ND Filters by Sharyn Hodges
May 9, 2017

A Woman's World Captured Through ND Filters by Sharyn Hodges

A Woman's World Captured Through ND Filters There are hundreds of blogs out there telling you how to use a Neutral Density Filter (most of which are very technical), but I will be telling you my thought process of "How I use the RealPro ND100 and the RealPro ND500 filters”. So just to give you some sort of starting point, if you have never heard of a ND filter before, it’s a filter that you attach in front of your camera lens to take creative and dramatic photographs. I am sure you have seen the soft, blurry / smooth water photographs and asked how was this taken. Well, it was most likely taken with a ND filter. There are many different subjects you could photograph using a ND filter such as moving cars, blurring people as they walk across a busy intersection, waterfalls or you could even create dramatic skylines with moving clouds. The possibilities are endless. I use the filter for smoothing out the sea and bringing out the rocks and if I am lucky, to capture moving clouds. A ND filter allows you to control the amount of light you allow into your camera lens when leaving your shutter open for anything between 1 second to 1 minute. If you try and take a photo in the middle of the day with an open shutter for, let's say, five seconds, your photo will come out over exposed (just white). Each RealPro Filter comes in their own individual plastic carry case(as seen above). If you are not using your filter, its best advised to keep your filter in their case. This provides protection from accidents, drops (a common occurrence with me), dust and scratches all which could impact your final image negatively. The RealPro ND filter range are circular and have a simple screw onto the lens thread. Perfect for changing filters quickly. I am not a technical person and there are hundreds of "How should I use my ND Filter" blogs or YouTube videos out there that will give you great advice. I will be telling you how I personally use the filters in my everyday work. I will be talking to you through how I compose a photograph, the thought process and the outcomes. Living along the beautiful coastline of the Garden Route, my hometown of Plettenberg Bay provides the most spectacular photographic opportunities which ranges from...

img:CP+ 2017 @ Yokohama, Japan - Kenko Tokina Photo Report
Mar 9, 2017

CP+ 2017 @ Yokohama, Japan - Kenko Tokina Photo Report

CP+2017@Yokohama, Japan Photo Report from Kenko Tokina BoothsGeneral Zone #G-08 and Telescope Zone #T-05 On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of Kenko Company foundation and according to a long tradition, Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd. took part to the Annual Asian Photo and Imaging Show CP+2017, held in Pacifico Yokohama center from the 23 th to the 26th of February 2017. CP+ is the biggest photo and imaging show in Asia, an exhibition whose concept is to share with users the “Excitement of Shooting, Viewing and Connecting”, by disseminating the latest information on the state-of-art products and technologies from Japan to all over the world.Its concept is on the same wavelength of our vision, that is to provide not simply high quality optical products, but also ways to express yourself and enjoy your passion in your life.Keeping this in mind, both Kenko Tokina booths have been conceived to offer all products categories, starting from brand new items and including all kind of accessories.Therefore, we hope you enjoyed the exhibition, and we hope you will enjoy another trip to our booths with this photo report! -Kenko Tokina Main Booth – Overview-   The central part of Kenko Tokina General Zone booth was dedicated to the new premium Tokina lens series and its first model: the new Tokina Firin 20mm F2 FE MF. -Tokina Lenses Display- -Tokina Lenses Line Up-  -Close-up on Tokina Firin 20mm F2 FE MF- Other interesting new items followed alongside. Kenko Teleplus series is enriched with the so much-anticipated Kenko Teleplus HD 2x DGX and HD 1.4x DGX for Nikon AF-S (G/E) ... Kenko Teleplus HD 2x DGX for Nikon AF-S (G/E) Kenko Teleplus HD 1.4x DGX for Nikon AF-S (G/E) …along with the prototype of Kenko PRO HD 1.4x and Kenko HD PRO 2x, that will be available in late 2017.   Kenko Teleplus HD PRO 2x for Canon mount   Kenko Teleplus HD PRO 1.4x for Canon mount As well as for a wide range of Mount Adapters designed to use contemporary mirrorless cameras with old lenses. Among these a new face appeared, as Kenko presented the new Mount Adapter for Nikon F mount lenses. New Mount Adapter for Nikon F lenses to fit Sony E mirrorless cameras -Kenko Mount Adapter full series display- The Extension Tube series, both in the double and in the 3 rings set version, followed on … -Kenko Extension Tube sets...

img:Gift Show 2017 @ Tokyo Big Sight
Feb 18, 2017

Gift Show 2017 @ Tokyo Big Sight

Photo Report from Kenko Tokina Booth – East Hall #2 One of the biggest and most known events that takes place in Tokyo twice a year, with visitors coming from all over the world, is the annual “Gift Show” exhibition. Held in Tokyo Big Sight building, the biggest convention center in the Japanese capital, “Gift Show” represents the wonderland of gift ideas, when you really can’t help to be spoiled of choice. Kenko Tokina usually takes part in this event in February, and as for the previous editions, we would like to show you around through our booth with this photo report. Please, enjoy! Kenko Tokina Booth entrance – East Hall #2 As you enter the central part, you can sense the 2017 theme of the booth as “Education”, with a series of telescopes and star observation items featuring “Doraemon”, a very popular character among kids – and adults, too. The external left and right wings are dedicated to education as well, with great attention to nature. On the left side, a series of binoculars, microscopes, magnifying glasses and telescope designed to be a very smart gift to attract and inspire kids to nature and science. On the right side, a series of telescopes and binoculars ft. “The National Geographic” has the purpose of inspiring people to take care about our own planet. Following the tour inside the booth, the optical products corner for 2017 offers a variety of colorful binoculars, different in shape and size according to customer needs: a perfect gift for children or friends. In this smart phone era, a corner dedicated to the mobile category cannot miss, and shows one of the most popular items nowadays: the Real Pro Clip lenses. These versatile lenses, by increasing the possibilities of smart phones and other devices, allow shooting anytime 7x magnified, macro, super wide or fisheye pictures. Portable accessories as small tripods and the like for best performances in every situation were also included in the booth. The next corner features another important item among optical goods, that is magnifying glasses. Despite its simplicity, this item as well can be designed and developed to meet different needs in the most different situations, and that is exactly what Kenko aim to pursue. The corner shows different kinds of magnifying glasses, from pocket once to magnifying glasses provided with LED lights or a magnifying small bead for a double magnification...