Manual lenses on the Sony a7 – A beginners guide

Okay, everybody is talking about how manual lenses work so well on the a7 but how does it actually work? And what can I expect?
Read on if you want to know.

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Why should I use manual lenses?

  • They can be very cheap, you can get a great 1.4/50 lens for $50 . That lens will give you 95% of the performance of a $1000 Zeiss 1.8/55 FE. For the price of that Zeiss lens you can buy an excellent set of five lenses from 24 to 300mm.
  • You have a huge choice between thousands of lenses ranging from exotic ones with lots of “character” to modern high performance lenses.
  • There are 30-year-old primes with better image quality than many modern lenses. Of course there many modern lenses which are better than the best old lenses but even cheap primes are often sharper than very expensive modern zooms.
  • Old lenses are usually beautifully built and more reliable than modern lenses which are full of often failing electronics and complex and easily decentered optical designs.
  • They also hold their value much better than modern electronic lenses. When I sell a lens I most often get at least what I payed for it, sometimes more.
  • Manual focusing can be very enjoyable. This certainly depends on application and personality but I for example enjoy working with fully manual lenses a lot more than with AF lenses.
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Minolta MD 2/50 @f/2. This is a $25 lens, click on it for the full resolution

Continue reading Manual lenses on the Sony a7 – A beginners guide

85mm comparison- Minolta, Tokina, Canon and Samyang

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Minolta MD 2/85, MC 1.7/85, Tokina 2.5/90 Macro, Samyang 1.4/85, Canon FD 4/80-200 L

 

After I published the Minolta List several kind people offered to lent me Minolta lenses so I had a MD 2/85 and MC 1.7/85 plus several of my own lenses and made this test to see where the strengths and weaknesses of each lens are.

All ebay links are affiliate links and it is appreciated if you use them, it helps me to keep this site running.

Bokeh

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I also tested foreground bokeh but the differences here were less noticeable The reason might be that my test setup wasn#t very good. You can find  it here.

Continue reading 85mm comparison- Minolta, Tokina, Canon and Samyang

manual Minolta Lens ratings

I like and use Minolta SR lenses a lot and this is a growing database of them.

Please read my about lens ratings page to understand how the ratings are to be read.

All ebay links are affiliate links and it is appreciated if you use them because it helps me to keep this site running. I took care to filter out other lenses so they are handy as well.

All ratings are based on my experience with these lenses on my fullframe Sony Alpha 7.

Wide-Angle lenses

Objektive

Minolta MC Rokkor 28mm 1:2 (2.5-3/5)
ebay.de | ebay.com

A bit on the heavy side and rather low contrast with very noticeable vignetting at f/2 with busy bokeh at shorter distances but I enjoy the rendering at f/2 none the less. Decent but not great at f/8.

From the reports I read the here younger MD version with 49mm filter thread is a better performer.

flickr set | full resolution samples | test

Objektive-2

 

Minolta MD Rokkor 35mm 1:2.8 (4/5)
ebay.de | ebay.com

A great lens: very compact, sharp to the corners from f/2.8 with decent bokeh and excellent at f/8. Noticeable field curvature.

There are several Minolta 2.8/35 lenses, my copy has a 49mm filter thread and carries the Rokkor in the name tag which distinguishes it from the later “plain MD” version which is optically the same as far as I know.
flickr set | full resolution samples | test 

Continue reading manual Minolta Lens ratings

Tokina AT-X Macro 90mm 1:2.5 Review

In this review I have a look at this popular manual macro lens from the 80’s and test whether it can defend it’s reputation as one of the best macro lenses ever in the digital age.

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Introduction

The Tokina AT-X 90mm 1:2.5 Macro is a manual focus lens, with a maximal magnification of 1:2. It is well know for it’s supposedly great bokeh, it was even nicknamed Bokina because of this.

It was produced in any major mount like Canon FD, Nikon F etc., my copy has a Minolta SR mount.

Their wide range of applications make macro lenses in the 100mm range quite popular, so I will show you in this review if the Tokina AT-X Macro 90 mm 1:2.5 could be a good option for you.

Continue reading Tokina AT-X Macro 90mm 1:2.5 Review

Novoflex Adapter E-Mount Review

Is the Novoflex adapter worth a three digit figure when I can get one from China for 10 bucks? That was the question I had in mind when I bought it.

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Currently I don’t own a single lens with an E-mount for my Sony Alpha 7,  so every lens I use is adapted and I use adapters all the time. Over the last three years I have gained some experience with  cheap adapters but I hadn’t used one of the more expensive ones. So I decided to buy a Novoflex NEX/CAN adapter,  which was made in Germany and put it to the test. Continue reading Novoflex Adapter E-Mount Review

Exploring a subject – Intimate Landscapes

wasserFor me it has been a great practice to visit the same subject close to my home again and again and it has taught me many things:

  • How different lighting affects  images,  until today I am often astounded how much light can affect my images and I constantly learn about new types of light and with which subjects they work
  • It is a good way to improve  compositional skills, because you can compare different compositions of the same scene an see which compositions worked and which did not
  • It helps to discover new perspectives, with time the known perspectives will become boring and I will feel an urge to discover new ones

Well that’s at least how it works for me, but I think it won’t be that different for you. I wrote this article mostly to reflect on my own photography but I hope it might give you an idea or two as well.

Continue reading Exploring a subject – Intimate Landscapes

Canon FD 300mm 1:4 L Review

This is a review of the Canon FD 4/300 L, a 35 years old professional tele lens which gives really nice results on todays mirrorless cameras.

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Introduction

I think the FD 300mm 1:4 L is a great lens, it’s optical performance is close to excellent, it isn’t that big nor too expensive and the handling on the Sony Alpha 7 is quite good.

Continue reading Canon FD 300mm 1:4 L Review

Carl Zeiss Sonnar 135mm 1:1.8 ZA Review

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The SAL135f18z is an marvel of a lens, which gives spectacular results and features AF with some minor drawbacks. In this review I share my experience with it from a personal point of view.

The ZA135 is a high end lens with Sony A-mount: it is big, it is expensive and it is one of the best lenses I ever used.

I used it on my Sony a7 with a Sony LA-EA4 adapter for this revie Continue reading Carl Zeiss Sonnar 135mm 1:1.8 ZA Review

Rolling Review: Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* FE 4/24-70 ZA

This is my now final review of the Sony SEL2470z.

Keep in mind that I do lots of landscape photography so I emphasize certain aspects others won’t find as important and vice versa.

SEL2470Z

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Introduction

This is the fourth lens released for the Sony FE-System.
In theory it should be good for many applications like reportage or travel photography. In this review I will try to assess how well it performs.

Specifications

Size: (diameter x length): 73mm x 94.5m
Filter Thread: 67mm
Weight: 430g
Minimum Focusing Distance: 40cm
Magnfication:
0.2
Price:

Continue reading Rolling Review: Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* FE 4/24-70 ZA