Old against New: Zeiss 2.8/28 vs Sony FE 2/28 vs Minolta MC 2/28

I wanted to see how my new FE 2/28 compares against my older manual lenses, so I ran a comparison between four lenses:

  • The Minolta MD 2.8/28 is very small, light and affordable
  • The Carl Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 T* enjoys a very good reputation and it is a bit more expensive at around 250€.
  • The Minolta MC 2/28 is the oldest and fastest of the bunch, it was introduced in 1975. My copy has some fungus in it and other copies might be better.
  • The Sony FE 2/28 is brand new and the most expensive one at 450€.
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Minolta MD 2.8/28 | Zeiss 2.8/28 | Sony FE 2/28 | Minolta MC 2/28

A note on the test

All the images are processed raws with my usualy settings, for every scene all lenses received identical processing.

All images were taken from a tripod. All images are taken at f/2.8, the only exception is the infinity test.

All images can be found in full resolution on flickr in this set.

Short distance

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the full scene

Continue reading Old against New: Zeiss 2.8/28 vs Sony FE 2/28 vs Minolta MC 2/28

Samsung NX1 – Impressions and thoughts from a Sony a7 user

My friend Matt had a review copy of the Samsung NX1 at his hand so we met up and I could get some hands on experience with this new camera which created quite some buzz.

This is in no way an in depth review, just some thoughts and impressions after using it for about five hours.

NX1a7

Continue reading Samsung NX1 – Impressions and thoughts from a Sony a7 user

Minolta Lenses on the Sony a7 – ratings, impressions and sample images

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

Wide-Angle lenses

Minolta MD FISH-EYE Rokkor 16mm 1:2.8 (3-3.5/5)

  • MC16f2p8f/2.8: The center is excellent, and most of the image  sharp enough, midframe sharpness is actually lower than near corner sharpness wile the far corners are unsharp. Vignetting is surprisingly low.
  • f/5.6: noticeably better than f/4, most of the image is very sharp, only the far corners are unsharp
  • f/11: very good sharpness across the frame. Flare resistance is average and CA pronounced.
  • A rather heavy lens with integrated filters and lens hood. Built quality is excellent

Fisheye lenses are very hard to master, I wasn’t really succesfull at it. But this is a good lens, so good in fact that it also came in Leica R-mount and the same optical design is still used by the current Sony 2.8/16 Fisheye.
There is a younger MD version which is supposedly not as good.

full resolution samples | test 

Get the lens at ebay.de | ebay.com  (affiliate links) and support my work here.

Minolta MD 20mm 1:2.8 (2/5)

  • MD20At f/2.8 a small central region is sharp, bokeh is ugly and vignetting very noticeable
  • The lens suffers from a very pronounced midzone dip so important parts of the image are unsharp, even stopped down.
  • Ergonomics are great, it is very small and light

flickr set | full resolution samples | test | review

Get the lens at ebay.de | ebay.com  (affiliate links) and support my work here.

Continue reading Minolta Lenses on the Sony a7 – ratings, impressions and sample images

Minolta MD 20mm 1:2.8 vs Canon FD 20mm 1:2.8 – comparison review

I have owned the Canon FD 2.8/20 for about a year now and I am mostly happy with it’s performance. Now I got the chance to test it against the smaller and lighter Minolta MD 20mm 1:2.8. So, how do they compare?


MinoltaCanon

 

Specifications

 Canon FD 2.8/20Minolta MD 2.8/20
Length62mm44mm
Diameter78mm 65mm
Weight305g240g
Filter Thread72mm55mm
Aperture Blades66
Short focusing distance25cm25cm

Continue reading Minolta MD 20mm 1:2.8 vs Canon FD 20mm 1:2.8 – comparison review

Manual lenses on the Sony a7 – A beginners guide

Okay, everybody is talking about how manual lenses work so well on the Sony a7 but how does it actually work? 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 .For most applications such a 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

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