The best lenses below $499 for the Sony a7 series

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You can easily spend a fortune on lenses for your Sony a7 but you don’t have to. These 34 lenses all cost less than $499 and give you great image quality on your Alpha.

There are certainly other lenses which would deserve a spot in this list but we only include lenses we have used ourselves, so please don’t take it personal if we haven’t included your favorite lens.

We changed the format a bit from our other guides: For each lens we have summarized the defining strengths and weaknesses. We hope this will make it easier to decide for yourself, if the lens could fit your needs.  Please make sure to check out our in-depth reviews for a much more detailed discussion of each lens.

Voigtlander 5.6/12 M39

Why you shouldn’t buy it: The corners never reach excellent levels, huge vignetting, slow, not a good match for A7r.

Compared to the DSLR lenses (like the Samyang 14mm 2.8) this lens is ridiculously small. This is a lens that will always easily fit into your bag, which is great if you not intend to shoot this wide on a regular basis. With the filter adapter it is even possible to use standard 77mm filters.

175g + adapter | ~$450 | full Review | aperture seriessample images

buy from ebay | Sony E-mount adapters (affiliate links)

dancing houses prag prague praha gehry sony a7s voigtlander 12mm 5.6

Continue reading The best lenses below $499 for the Sony a7 series

The Team’s Christmas Gift Guide for photographers

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We decided to give you some inspiration for christmas gifts related to photography we have also used ourselves. So in case you need a gift for a friend who is also interested in photography or something for your fiance who spends way too much time on our blog you might find this article helpful :-).

All links marked with * are affiliate links. Using them won’t cost you anything extra but we get a small percentage of your purchase which keeps this blog running and free from obstrusive ads. Thanks for the support :).

Under 25$

L-bracket – $20

Phillip: An L-bracket is just a lump of metal which does three things:

  • It provides you with a super solid connection between the camera and your Arca-Swiss tripod head in landscape orientation as well as in portrait orientation.
  • It offers you a better grip which made quite a difference with my a7. With the a7II’s deeper grip it is less necessary but this is of course highly subjective
  • It offers some protection for your camera

The L-bracket for my a7 was one of the best 20 bucks I ever spent on camera gear and I can only recommend to try one.

I bought this one for the a7II at Amazon.de*, in the US you can buy the same at Amazon.com*.

Continue reading The Team’s Christmas Gift Guide for photographers

Review: Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 T* Distagon

Introduction

zeiss distagon 35mm 1.5 zm t* adapter leica m a7rII a7r a7s a7 sony review
Sony A7rII with Voigtlander VM-E close focus adapter and Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 T* Distagon

The Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 T* Distagon is  is often referred to as being one of the best 35mm lenses available, combining high sharpness as well as microcontrast and smooth bokeh in a small yet very pricey package. But is it really worth the asking price when used on the A7 series cameras? Let us find out!
Update 12/04/16: bokeh section updated, new sample images added

Sample Images

zeiss distagon 35mm 1.5 zm t* adapter leica m a7rII a7r a7s a7 sony review
Sony A7s | Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 T* Distagon | f/1.4 | full resolution
zeiss distagon 35mm 1.5 zm t* adapter leica m a7rII a7r a7s a7 sony review
Sony A7rII | Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 T* Distagon | f/1.4 | full resolution
zeiss distagon 35mm 1.5 zm t* adapter leica m a7rII a7r a7s a7 sony review sunset sunrise contralit contra light gegenlicht work against bright light
Sony A7rII | Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 T* Distagon | f/11 | full resolution

Continue reading Review: Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 T* Distagon

The manual photographers series part 2: Martijn Kort

In this series we interview amateur photographers just like us, who inspire us and who share our passion for photographing with manual lenses.

martijn kort photography aerial amsterdam netherlands holland
Samyang 12mm 2.8 Fisheye

Hi Martijn,
can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you use manual Lenses?

I’m Martijn Kort (33), photographer and airline captain from the Netherlands. About 6 years ago I got my first DSLR and this started my journey to search for the perfect picture. I studied the technical side of photography for a long time. Learning the different techniques, understanding why something happens and how to achieve a certain look. I was looking closely at other photographers work, trying to understand how and why they got the photo they displayed. This gave me a strong base to professionalize my photography and to find my style and Since 2016 I’m an ambassador for ZEISS, which I’m very proud off.

martijn kort photography aerial amsterdam netherlands holland
Zeiss Milvus 21mm 2.8

Continue reading The manual photographers series part 2: Martijn Kort

Rolling-Review: Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4

Introduction

carl zeiss loxia 85mm 2.0 sonnar sony a7 a7r a7r2 a7rm2 alpha alpha7 review
Sony A7rII with Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 Sonnar

Before the newest entry of the Loxia line was introduced we were guessing what combination of focal length and maximum aperture it might feature: 90mm 2.0? 100mm 2.0? 85mm 2.8? 100mm 3.5? We were all wrong as none of us had an 85mm 2.4 on his list. When the first pictures and the technical data appeared many were put down by the maximum aperture and especially size and weight. The mtf-graphs on the other hand look very promising with hardly any sharpness falloff towards the borders, putting this lens in the territory of the Leica APO-Summicron 90mm 2.0 or even the Zeiss Otus 85mm 1.4 on paper, which both cost two to three times as much. So let’s find out what Zeiss’ newest lens has to offer!
Rolling-Review: this is a Rolling-Review which will be steadily updated as we get to know this lens.
Last Update: 12/04/16: Sample image added

Sample Images

carl zeiss loxia 85mm 2.0 sonnar sony a7 a7r a7r2 a7rm2 alpha alpha7 review portrait head shot black white
Sony A7rII | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/2.4 | full resolution
carl zeiss loxia 85mm 2.0 sonnar sony a7 a7r a7r2 a7rm2 alpha alpha7 review portrait head shot concert big band
Sony A7s | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/2.4 | full resolution
carl zeiss loxia 85mm 2.4 sonnar sony a7 a7r a7r2 a7rm2 alpha alpha7 review portrait head shot black white
Sony A7s | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/2.4 | full resolution

Continue reading Rolling-Review: Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4

Limitations of the electronic shutter function

Introduction

All full frame E-mount cameras (except for the A7r) feature an electronic shutter in addition to the mechanical shutter. While most of them only offer an “electronic first curtain shutter” the A7s(II) and and A7rII even offer a completely silent, purely electronic shutter. But there are unfortunately some limitations you should be aware of.

electronic shutter efcs efc problems comparison sony a7 cameras
Nikon D40 | AF-S 55-200mm 4.0-5.6 | f/5.6

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Making of series part 1: “The Path” with Olympus OM 3.5/28

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When I took this picture in late August I was working all day on some papers for university, so after many hours behind the desk some sport and photography was well earned.

In the Bag

I packed my small camera bag* with the lightest lenses I could find in my cabinet: a Olympus OM 3.5/28*, Zeiss C/Y 1.7/50* and Olympus OM 2.8/100.* Since I had some strenuous cycling before me I didn’t want to carry any unnecessary weight and I knew that I could capture about anything with this little setup. Of course one is always a bit limited by just three lenses. But I think it is a good exercise to be limited and to be out there is much more important than to have the absolutely best gear anyway.

*=Affiliate link

Continue reading Making of series part 1: “The Path” with Olympus OM 3.5/28

Quick Review: Tokina 35mm 2.8 Macro AT-X Pro DX

Introduction

Sony A7rII + Tokina 35mm 2.8 DX macro AT-X Pro
Sony A7rII + Tokina 35mm 2.8 DX macro AT-X Pro

The Tokina 35mm 2.8 Macro is an APS-C (DX) lens and actually quite old already (introduced around 2008). As I am using two cameras from the A7 series I am rarely interested in APS-C lenses, but this one caught my attention for several reasons:  I was looking for a moderate wide angle macro lens, it features 9 rounded aperture blades, it is quite small and cheap and I got word that it covers the whole full frame sensor at larger magnifications. Read on to find out whether my expectations were met!

Sample Images

tokina macro makro 35mm 2.8 sony a7 a7rII a7rm2 close backlit flare sharpness
Sony A7rII | Tokina 35mm 2.8 | f/2.8 | full resolution
tokina macro makro 35mm 2.8 sony a7 a7rII a7rm2 close backlit flare sharpness
Sony A7rII | Tokina 35mm 2.8 | f/2.8 | full resolution
tokina macro makro 35mm 2.8 sony a7 a7rII a7rm2 close backlit flare sharpness
Sony A7rII | Tokina 35mm 2.8 | f/2.8 | full resolution

Continue reading Quick Review: Tokina 35mm 2.8 Macro AT-X Pro DX

Mini tripods for mirrorless cameras

Introduction

tripods mirrorless cameras velbon gitzo manfrotto sirui rrs kirk markins a7rii a7s

As a follow up to my Tripods for Mirrorless Cameras article I will now also take a look at some of the Mini tripods available (often referred to as table top tripods). Even the smallest tripod is better than no tripod at all, so let’s have a look at some ridiculously small ones you won’t find an excuse not to carry around all the time 🙂

Continue reading Mini tripods for mirrorless cameras