Are fake Chinese lens copies worth the investment?

One of the biggest stories to hit the world of photography this year was about a Chinese manufacturer creating cheap camera lenses. Now, this wouldn't be a a big story as many discounted or cheap products can be found on the web. While this company in question focused on lighting equipment and various accessories up to this point, the company is now branching into a bigger and better market: lenses.The company named Yongnuo is ripping off the designs of lenses made my respected camera companies. The first product announced is the Yongnuo 50mm f/1.4 and the 50mm f/1.8 which are shown above side by side with the Canon version of both lenses. Of course, the Canon lens is a great (although plasticy) lens at a decent price. However, the Yongnuo has priced all their lenses at about half the price of the Canon versions. At first glance they might seem exactly the same, performing similarly in many tests including autofocus times. However, the optical quality is just not there in the Yongnuo. In a sense you get what you pay for, and if you opt for the cheaper version you aren't going to get the sharpest images. That being said, the Yongnuo does perform and is extremely affordable. If you would ask me though, save for the Canon lens. Not only will you be getting higher quality images, you have the Canon warranty and repair services that are just not available on the Yongnuo. If there is anything to spend money on in the photographic world, it's nice glass. Save the money for a good lens, don't try to find a deal in knock off lenses. If you are really in a bind and you can't spend the money, used and refurbished lenses are typically a great deal and there is usually isn't much concern with buying used.

Pain, Loss, Sadness, and Hope

Up from Under by Ashley McDowell Photographer Ashley McDowell has created a stunning personal narrative that I wanted to share with you all today. The narrative addresses pain, loss, sadness, and ultimately, hope. The series Up From Under specifically addresses and reflects a family that is recovering, whose family member's lives are shaken and changed by the course of events. The narrative depicts an addict, and the emotional and physical toll it takes not only on the addict, but all those who surround the person. Here is what Ashley has written about her work, Up from Under: "I began photographing my sister as a means to understanding her life. A life that at one time was almost entirely led by an addiction to heroin. I started by documenting her tightly knit world of desperation and fear. In this exposure of pain, I show a family that has been torn apart and pieced back together, only to be left in constant turmoil. This is the rollercoaster that is addiction, demonstrated by images of pleasure and plain echoing back and forth. Together we reveal the emotional and physical anguish of this all-too-familiar narrative – often hidden from outsiders." "Through this decade long journey of dependency and recovery, the circumstances of our lives have changed and in turn so has the work. It is constantly evolving, as we move into our new roles. My sister, now a mother is pictured with her daughter on a bed, showing an intimate moment after waking from a nap. The simultaneous vulnerability and strength illustrates just how complicated this role is. Similarly I explore the intricacies of my own relationship with my sister, how it grows and changes over time. My attempt is to show my understanding of the complexities of our family dynamic, the journey to recovery and back again."