- 2019 International Filter Photo Contest -

Hey everyone!

Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd. have now launched its annual International Filter Photo Contest 2019!

The competition runs between July 16th to October 31st, 2019; and, the theme is “photos that make effective use of filters”.

Check out all the details here at Filter Zone

You have to be in it to win it!

- International Color Awards - Nominees -

It was my first year entering the International Color Awards.

This year I entered as an amateur, as the rules for a professional stated that photography had to be their income source.  As I do not focus on photography 100% at the moment and my main income is derived from my day job (outside of the industry), it made sense to enter this way.

Yesterday, I found out that two of my images were nominated. Whilst they didn’t win, it’s still an amazing honour especially considering the high calibre of work and the judging panel.




LOS ANGELES 09/03/2019 - Amateur photographer Michelle Lake of Australia was presented with the 12th Annual International Color Awards Nominee title in the category of Nature at a prestigious Nomination & Winners Photoshow streamed Saturday, March 9, 2019. 

The live online gala was attended by 11,829 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry's most important event for color photography. 12th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Sotheby's, New York; Benetton, Ponzano Veneto; The Art Channel, London; Kolle Rebbe, Hamburg; Droga5, New York; Preus Museum, Norway; Art Beatus, Hong Kong; Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg; Wieden & Kennedy, Portland; Fox Broadcasting Network, Los Angeles; Gallery Kong, Seoul; and Phillips, New York who honored Color Masters with 761 title awards and 1,032 nominees in 37 categories.

"Winning awards is an endorsement that you are doing something right in your craft. I am delighted to win Merit of Excellence in the Food category and have another 8 nominations... a huge thank you to you and your support of photography," said Hugh Johnson, 2nd Place Winner in Food. Leigh Miller, 1st Place Winner in Aerial added, "Wow, I'm over the moon with pride and joy at getting 1st place and honourable mention in the amateur Aerial category. I'm privileged to have my work showcased alongside such talented and creative people. Thank you International Color Awards for the chance to show our work on an international stage and big thanks to the judges for their time." 

"It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 7,241 entries we received this year," said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director. "Michelle Lake's "Exhale" and “Underwater Garden”, exceptional images entered in the Nature category, represents contemporary color photography at its finest, and we're pleased to present her with the title of Nominee."

INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in color photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in color photography. www.colorawards.com



Not so long ago, I attended an exhibition and was talking to this photographic artist who had his work on display. It was beautiful work, that had an ethereal quality - abstract, nuanced and unique in its artistry. I found his work inspirational and I felt drawn to it. It was during our chat that he said to me, its ok to experiment to find your own "voice" and not to be discouraged in doing so. He had explained to me how he came to discover this style in his work and suggested that I allow myself the opportunity to break convention and play. 

So I guess  that is what I am doing. I am going through a phase of experimentation. My work at the moment is playing with notions of creating painting like qualities through photography. By taking inspiration from the masters of Impressionism, I am attempting to capture images of familiar urban landscapes but recreating them in a different way.


My first impressions...

I had the pleasure of taking the  AT-X 70-200 F4 FX VCM-S for a test run.

In the past I have used both the Tamron & Nikon 70-200mm F2.8, whilst not necessarily comparable due to the different f stop, it did still gives me a good sense of the kind of lens it needs to be. In the last few months, I have been taking the lens with me to play with it; to get a sense of how it handles; and, my first impressions are really good. 

It is a well made lens. I had the misfortune of accidentally dropping the lens from my bag! Whilst it was not from a great height, it did fall onto hard tile and concrete at the train station, surviving the incident seemingly unscathed much to my relief. It would appear that the lens is resilient and durable enough to withstand even my rough handling.

In testing the lens in the “field”, it showed itself to have great optical quality. The lens is very sharp and the images produced are of a high quality and have good colour rendition and nice bokeh.  On the downside, the lens does produce some chromatic aberration, as well as some slight vignetting.

For the more traditionalists out there, this lens does not have the distinct push/pull focus ring, that we see in the other Tokina lenses. It comes with a switch mode. There are two switches - Auto to Manual and the other for Image Stabilisation.

The auto focus is silent and has a good overall accuracy and consistency. Generally speaking though, it is a little slower than some of its competitors. So depending on what the intended use is for this lens, it may add limitations.

The image stabilisation on the lens is very effective, however, it does produce a slight noise when activated. 

Overall I've found the lens to be a great build, producing excellent image quality at an affordable price point! It is a great lens which I believe is probably geared more towards the prosumer and the amateurs or amateurs aiming to make that great big leap. For the professional, it would be totally acceptable to use and produces an image that anyone would be proud of. Ultimately, you need to decide for yourself what you want to photograph and this will invariably decide if this lens is right for you.

So to break it down into the Pros & Cons…. here we go:


  • Sharp Image Quality

  • Good Colour Rendition

  • Good auto focus

  • Image stabilisation is effective

  • Nice bokeh

  • Durable

  • It's lighter than a f2.8

  • Excellent Price Point


  • Slight Vignetting and minor fringing

  • Chromatic abberation and distortion

  • Auto focus is a little slower than its competitors