Staff Blog

Category 'Reviews'

img:Gift Show 2018 @ Tokyo Big Sight 7th - 9th February
Feb 14, 2018

Gift Show 2018 @ Tokyo Big Sight 7th - 9th February

As a consolidated tradition, this year as well Kenko Tokina took part in the Tokyo Gift Show exhibition, one of the most famous events in the gift product industry that every year draws visitors from all over the world.Held in Tokyo Big Sight building, the biggest convention center in the Japanese capital, the Gift Show represents the wonderland of gift ideas, when you really can’t help to be spoiled of choice.Kenko Tokina took part in this event on the 7th-9th of 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 #5 One of the main protagonists of our booth was one of our most popular product nowadays and most suitable gift for smartphones and photography lovers: Kenko REAL PRO Clip Lenses. New entry in the line-up, Kenko Double Super Lens KIT and prototypes for a 4K HD 0.6x wide angle lens and a 4K HD 2x tele lens that promise to be a must have for any smartphone photo and cinematographer. Speaking of news, a central section of the booth was dedicated to Kenko VcSmart binoculars, the smallest pair of binoculars with Vibration Control technology. The binoculars corner continued with a wide range of the most “gift suitable” binoculars series. Ceres series Ultraview M series MIYABI series Mirage series Pliant series Particular care has been given to innovation with a double corner dedicated to LUME CUBE and Beast Grip. Another corner was dedicated to science and education, both for children and grown-ups. Kenko Doļ½„Nature STV-120M And, among the several gift suitable optical goods we couldn’t forget our versatile magnifying glasses. Last, but not least, two different corners hosted two special collaborations: a series of educational optical goods featuring the famous and beloved character DORAEMON and a series of binoculars for nature lovers featuring NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. That’s all from Gift Show 2018. We hope you enjoyed this photo report and look forward to meeting you next year!...

img:Shooting horse races with Teleplus HD by Okada Yuki
Feb 5, 2018

Shooting horse races with Teleplus HD by Okada Yuki

Kenko Teleplus HD (referred to hereafter as Teleplus HD) is a tele converter that, when installed between the camera body and a master lens, will expand the lens’ focal length.Teleplus HD series comes in two magnifications, the 1.4x and the 2.0x. When installed, it can multiply the focal length of your lens by 1.4x or 2x respectively. Also, as compensation for the expanded focal length, the aperture value will get 1 stop darker with a 1.4x Teleplus, and 2 stops with a 2.0x Teleplus.It is true that other manufacturers’ genuine tele converters already exist on the market, but usually most of them can be installed on expensive super tele lenses only.This time, the reason why I became interested in and particularly attracted by Kenko Teleplus tele converters is their strong merit of being attachable to almost any lens.By the way, for Canon users, when installed on a EF-S lens Telepluses make it possible to use full frame cameras, therefore playing the role, so to speak, of a converter from EF to EF-S format. My occupation brings me sometime to shoot at horse races, and the equipment I usually bring in such places consists basically of a Nikon D5 camera and a Nikkor 400mm/F2.8 fixed lens. This time I opted for a Nikon D500 sub camera in set with the Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 lens of the so-called “Double Zoom Kit”, and got interested in what kind of shots I could make when combining them with a Teleplus HD. So I went there as if for any usual shooting session and tested the power of the Teleplus when shooting at horse races. The setting for this test was a horse race, shot from twilight to night-time: though it can’t be said I had great expectations due to these strict shooting conditions, my bad expectations were betrayed by some good results I’m going to show you in this review. First, I would like you to look at the below pictures. Equipment used: Nikon D500Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6With Teleplus HD 2.0x Equipment used:Nikon D500Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6With Teleplus HD 2.0x These two pictures were taken using my beloved D500 camera with a 55-200 f/4.5-5.6 lens and the 2.0x Teleplus. Here, the angle of view got equivalent to 600mm, the aperture value at F5.6 lost two stops turning into F11 and, therefore, the AF didn’t work (AF operations are possible from 5.6 or larger aperture). But in...

img:Enjoying Macro Photography with Tele Lenses and Digital Extension Tube - Review By Kunimasa Hiroshi
Feb 5, 2018

Enjoying Macro Photography with Tele Lenses and Digital Extension Tube - Review By Kunimasa Hiroshi

"Waking up" "Awaken to the dazzling sunlight" – Shot with Tokina AT-X M100 PRO D Are you enjoying macro shooting? The spring season with its vivid and colorful flowers is approaching, and will be a great chance to challenge yourself with some macro shots. Speaking of, I’m sure you’ve faced the situation of trying shooting at flowers or plants that are a bit too out of reach. Botanical gardens are full of fences that make good spots unreachable, and that little flower you are resolute to shoot at is too high on a branch to be caught with your lens. Even if you try shooting as close as possible with a macro lens, you won’t shoot big enough to make the main protagonist of your composition standing out, and the surroundings will be confused and blurred anyway. In such a situation you may think it’s a great idea to replace your macro lens with a tele photo lens and that’s it! You will shoot bigger for sure! But you’ll soon find out that if you try looking through the viewfinder as you would with a macro lens, you won’t be able to bring the subject into focus!Right, that’s because, compared to macro lenses, tele lenses have a shortest focusing distance considerably much longer. Most of these lenses are around 1.5m, though there are some of 1m. So, getting closer and trying shooting as if with a macro lens will be quite difficult. You then try stepping back little by little until the subject gets in focus. You check it and…yes, it’s still in focus! You may think you finally did it, but the truth is that, compared to when using a macro lens, in some situations if you move too much backward your subject will appear quite small on your final image.You expressively used a tele lens to shoot bigger, but that’s all you get. It’s such a killer, indeed. But it’s too early to give up!It’s now time to take out that Digital Extension Tube that’s being hidden in your bag. For those who may not remember how it works, a Digital Extension Tube is a ring element without optics that, by simply installing it between the camera and the lens, can reduce the shortest focusing distance of your lens, thus allowing to shoot closer to your target object.Of course you can install it on your tele lens, too,...

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:Infrared photography (part II)
Dec 8, 2016

Infrared photography (part II)

Practical part Shooting Now let's talk about shooting techniques. Given that in IR-photography you often have to shoot with a long exposure, the technique will be largely similar to the use of high-density ND-filters. At the beginning you have to set the camera. First switch it to the Manual mode, turn off image stabilization, recording file type set to RAW and fix ISO sensitivity at the minimum value. Also, some people recommend to switch off the noise reduction option. In some cases, these settings may affect negatively the final image, so be sure to check it before shooting. Given that IR-shots often have problems with sharpness, set the aperture to the maximum (but don't forget about diffraction limit for your camera). Now select the composition and firmly fix the camera on a tripod. Next autofocus on the desired object and then set the focus to Manual mode (preferably via the camera menu). If you turn off the autofocus on the lens (by the switch or shifting the focus ring, depending on the lens model), you may accidentally shift the focus position. Then carefully screw the IR-filter on the lens. It is recommended to use the remote control. If not, then set the 2-second time delay. This will prevent the camera shaking. If you shoot with a DSLR camera, you should use Live View mode, because the optical viewfinder will not show anything. In addition, Live View is often able to show the final picture with the option of exposure compensation. However, on the other hand you should be careful with the values of the EV-scale, because the exposure meter may work incorrectly in the IR-range. So before you start shooting, take a few test shots with different exposure steps. To manage exposure, use the shutter speed setting. Unfortunately, there is no calculation chart for the exposure of the ND filters. The fact is that the density of IR-filters from different manufacturers may differ significantly. Camera modification is also important, because the volume of the residual IR-light will depend on the intensity of the IR-cut pre-filter. RAW-processing After shooting you will get (at first glance) a terrible RAW-image in red tones. Now let's consider techniques which will allow you to make a good photo. Original RAW-image after shooting with the IR-filter IR-image after deep processing (colored version) This is probably the most difficult part in IR-photography and there will be a...