Guest Review: Pentax SMC FA 31mm f1.8 Limited

11/15/2020:  “Alternatives” and “Conclusion” and “Notes” sections has been updated in light of new releases, and a few more sample images have been added.

The Pentax 31mm f1.8 Limited is a fast moderate wide angle lens released in 2001. It’s designated as one of Pentax’s “Limited” series, denoting its high status within the Pentax catalogue. Since its release, the 31 Ltd has been beloved, especially within the Pentax community. I picked up my first copy in pursuit of a fast, decently priced alternative to the Sony RX1. Sony hasn’t provided shooters with a native fast 35mm f1.8 or f2 option. The 31 Ltd was a highly praised lens upon release, but optics have come along way recently, and it’s getting long in the tooth. Let’s see how it holds up 17 years after it’s release, and what type of images we can expect.


The 31mm focal length is an oddity, being near but noticeably different from the more conventional 28mm or 35mm focal lengths. The 31 ltd functions as versatile jack-of-trades lens with its 31 FL. The lens is still in production by Pentax/Ricoh, coming in either silver or black.

To view larger versions of the photos in this review, follow this link to my Pentax 31 ltd album on flickr

 

Continue reading Guest Review: Pentax SMC FA 31mm f1.8 Limited

Guide to Ultra Wideangle lenses for the Sony A7 Series V1.3

super wide angle ultra uwa swa

We summarize our experience with all the native E-mount and a few (manual) legacy lenses in the 9-20mm bracket to give you a compact and independent resource for choosing the right super- to ultra-wide-angle lens for your Sony A7 cameras. In this summary we also included some adapted lenses we think are worth mentioning.

We also have a guide to 21-35mm lenses as well as a guide to 35mm lenses, 50mm lenses and portrait lenses.

We have no association with any lens manufacturer apart from occasionally loaning a lens for a review. Before any short introduction we tell you how long we have used a lens and if we have borrowed it from a manufacturer. But in most cases we have bought the lenses new from retail stores or on on the used market. 

If we have left any question unanswered please leave a comment and we will do our best to answer it.

Last update: November 2020

If you purchase the lens through one of thee affiliate-links in this article we get a small compensation with no additional cost to you. 

Laowa 5.6/9 FF-RL

Status: Sample loaned by the manufacturer reviewed by Bastian who replaced his Voigtlander 10mm 5.6 with this lens

  • super compact and the widest rectilinear lens available
  • contrast and resolution are surprisingly good from wide open
  • flare resistance slightly worse than the wide Voigtlander primes, very nice sunstars thanks to 5 straight aperture blades
  • complex distortion and high vignetting (profile for LR available)
  • Widest rectilinear lens available in a very compact package and with surprisingly good image quality

373g + adapter | $799 | full Review | aperture seriessample images

buy from manufacturer’s homepage | B&H | ebay.com | ebay.de (affiliate links)

laowa 9mm 5.6 ultra wide w-dreamer uwa hyper wide heliar 10mm distortion zero-d
Leica M10 | Laowa 9mm 5.6 | f/5.6

Continue reading Guide to Ultra Wideangle lenses for the Sony A7 Series V1.3

Review: Sigma 50mm 1.4 EX – Still worth getting in 2020?

Introduction

sigma 50mm 1.4 ex dh hsm sony a7riii a7riv sharpness bokeh resolution contrast review
Sigma 50mm 1.4 EX with Sigma MC-11 adapter on Sony A7rII

Back in 2008 the Sigma 50mm 1.4 EX was the biggest and most expensive 50mm f/1.4 lens with AF for DSLRs. Now, 12 years later, it looks reasonably sized compared to its modern competitors and can be found used for bargain prices.
But is it a lens still worth considering in 2020? Let us find out in this review!

Sample Images

sigma 50mm 1.4 ex dh hsm sony a7riii a7riv sharpness bokeh resolution contrast review
Sony A7III | Sigma 50mm 1.4 EX | f/1.4
sigma 50mm 1.4 ex dh hsm sony a7riii a7riv sharpness bokeh resolution contrast review
Sony A7III | Sigma 50mm 1.4 EX | f/1.4
sigma 50mm 1.4 ex dh hsm sony a7riii a7riv sharpness bokeh resolution contrast review
Sony A7III | Sigma 50mm 1.4 EX | f/1.4

Continue reading Review: Sigma 50mm 1.4 EX – Still worth getting in 2020?

Best Astro-Photography Lenses for the Sony A7 series

Introduction

Sony A7s | Batis 18mm 2.8 | f/2.8 | ISO6400 | 20s

Landscape astrophotography is something I have been doing for several years. Luckily over the past few years many lenses have been released that make this task easier than ever. So today we are going to have a look at all the available lenses for your Sony so you can choose the one that works best for your needs.
Last update: November 2020

What is landscape astrophotography?

Sony A7s | Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G | f/1.8 | 3 shot panorama |

In landscape astrophotography you will usually try to have a combination of the starry sky (with Milky Way or Northern Lights) as well as some foreground (e.g. landscape) in your frame so we are mostly looking at ultra wide to normal lenses (for stitching) here.

Continue reading Best Astro-Photography Lenses for the Sony A7 series

Sony FE lenses: The honest Guide for the A7/A7II/A7III A7rII/A7rIII/A7rIV A7c A9

Choose the right lens for your Sony Alpha with the help of our independent knowledge gained by writing many in-depth reviews.We are a team of four photographers who all use the FE system and this blog is focused on lens reviews. So we have an in-depth knowledge of these lenses not only because we use them all the time but also because we have reviewed most of them in detail. We are also independent from any lens manufacturer and when you check our reviews you will see that we do not hesitate to name any shortcomings of a lens. To easily compare specs check out our Sony FE-list.

In this article we only list lenses which have electronic contacts to communicate aperture and focal length to the camera. There are also quite a few lenses which have an E-mount but no electronic contacts. Most of these are SLR-lenses with a modified mount and  we decided against covering these because we think that most of them are not very attractive lenses. We do however cover the Laowa 5.6/9, 4.5/11, 2/15, 4.5-5.6/10-18, 7Artisans 28mm 1.4 FE+ and Mitakon 0.95/50 because those are attractive lenses for some photographers and have been designed for E-mount.
Last update: November 2020

It is always possible that some new or exotic lens is missing, we work hard on filling these gaps.

If you purchase the lens through one of thee affiliate-links in this article we get a small compensation with no additional cost to you. 

All native full frame lenses for the Sony FE mount (as of November 2020)

10-15mm

Voigtländer 5.6/10 (manual focus)

voigtlander hyper wide heliar 10mm 5.6 review sample
Sony A7rII | Voigtländer 10mm 5.6 HWH E | f/16
Strengths Weaknesses
  • Widest lens available
  • Small size
  • Good sunstars and flare resistance
  • Huge vingetting
  • Corner sharpness not great

Recommendation: now that the Laowa 9mm 5.6 is available (see bonus section) only recommended if you need the best flare resistance or cannot live without Exif data

Length: 68.5mm | Diameter: 67mm | Weight: 375g | Filter Thread: none | Price (February 2018): 1080€/1099$
Review | Sample images | Samples in full resolution | ebay.com amazon.com (affiliate links)

Continue reading Sony FE lenses: The honest Guide for the A7/A7II/A7III A7rII/A7rIII/A7rIV A7c A9

Manual Lenses | Sony Alpha