Rolling Review: Voigtlander 65 mm F2 Macro APO-Lanthar

The Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO-Lanthar is the second APO branded E-mount lens and promises great image qualities as well as macro capabilities in an unusual focal length. In this review I evaluate whether the high price and relatively large size are worth it.

Image Samples

You can find all images shown in this image in full resolution in this album.

update 4: minor updates about handling
update 3: added some alternatives and more sample images
update 2: new sharpness test, macro sample images
update 1: flare, sunstars, sample images

Continue reading Rolling Review: Voigtlander 65 mm F2 Macro APO-Lanthar

Review: Samyang 14mm 2.8

Introduction

samyang walimex rokinon 14mm 2.8 uwa ultra wide astrophotography distortion sony a7 a7r a7rii a7s
Sony A7rII with Metabones adapter and Samyang 14mm 2.8

Despite the release of the native E-mount 14mm 2.8 AF lens by Samyang their older – all manual – 14mm 2.8 still has a significant fan base. It is one of the very few lowcost ultra wide angle options and well suited for astrophotography. But it is also a lens known for its ridiculously high distortion and questionable build quality, so let us find out what the whole package has to offer!

Most sample shots have been taken on Nikon DSLRs as in the last years I have pretty much exclusively used this lens for astrophotography on my A7 series cameras.

Sample Images

saymang 14mm 2.8 14 review ultra wide uwa wideangle sony a7 a7r a7rii a7r2 a7rm2 a72 a7m2
Nikon D800 | Samyang 14mm 2.8 MF | f/11
saymang 14mm 2.8 14 review ultra wide uwa wideangle sony a7 a7r a7rii a7r2 a7rm2 a72 a7m2
Sony A7s | Samyang 14mm 2.8 MF | f/2.8
saymang 14mm 2.8 14 review ultra wide uwa wideangle sony a7 a7r a7rii a7r2 a7rm2 a72 a7m2
Nikon D800 | Samyang 14mm 2.8 MF | f/8.0

Continue reading Review: Samyang 14mm 2.8

Sony FE lenses: A comprehensive and independent guide

Choose the right lens for your Alpha with the help of our independent knowledge based on 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 because we use them 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.

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 2/15 and Mitakon 0.95/50 because those are attractive lenses for some photographers.

All native full frame lenses for the Sony FE mount (as of August 2017)

  • Voigtländer Heliar Hyper Wide 10mm f/5.6 (manual focus)
  • Sony G 12-24mm F4
  • Voigtländer Heliar Ultra Wide 12mm f/5.6 (manual focus)
  • Samyang AF 14mm F2.8
  • Voigtländer Heliar Super Wide 15mm f/4.5 (manual focus)
  • Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM
  • Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35 mm F4 ZA OSS
  • Zeiss Bastis 18mm F2.8
  • Tokina Firin 20mm f/2 (manual focus)
  • Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 (manual focus)
  • Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM
  • Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS
  • Sony FE 24-240 mm F3.5-6.3 OSS
  • Zeiss Batis Distagon T* 25 mm F2
  • Sony FE 28 mm F2
  • Sony FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
  • Sony FE 28-135 F4 G OSS
  • Sony Distagon T* FE 35 mm F1.4 ZA
  • Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 (manual focus)
  • Sony Sonnar T* FE 35 mm F2.8 ZA
  • Samyang/Rokinon FE 35mm F2.8
  • Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA
  • Samyang/Rokinon FE 50/1.4
  • Sony FE 50mm f/1.8
  • Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 (manual focus)
  • Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro
  • Sony Sonnar T* FE 55 mm F1.8 ZA
  • Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS
  • Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS
  • Sony FE 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G OSS
  • Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM
  • Sony FE 85mm F1.8
  • Zeiss Batis Sonnar T* 85 mm F1.8 OSS
  • Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 (manual focus)
  • Sony FE Macro 90 mm F2.8 G OSS
  • Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS
  • Zeiss Batis Sonnar T* 135 mm F2.8 OSS
  • Sony FE 100-400mm f/4-5-5.6 GM OSS

Continue reading Sony FE lenses: A comprehensive and independent guide

Rolling-Review: Laowa 15mm 2.0 Zero-D for Sony FE

Introduction

laowa 15mm 2.0 fe venus optics review
Sony A7rII with Laowa 15mm 2.0 Zero-D

The Laowa 15mm 2.0 Zero-D is a lens I have  been waiting for eagerly since I took a few snaps with the prototype at Photokina in 2016. It is one of the very few lenses making actual use of the narrow flange distance of mirrorless cameras.
But does it only look good on paper or can it keep up with my high expectations? Find out in this review! 
This is a Rolling-Review, bits and pieces will be added as we get to know the lens better.
Last Update: Handling section updated regarding use with filter systems  (08/08/17)

Sample Images

laowa 15mm 2.0 fe venus optics review
Sony A7rII | Laowa 15mm 2.0 Zero-D | f/2.0
laowa 15mm 2.0 fe venus optics review architecture
Sony A7rII | Laowa 15mm 2.0 Zero-D | f/8.0
laowa 15mm 2.0 fe venus optics review
Sony A7rII | Laowa 15mm 2.0 Zero-D | f/5.6

Continue reading Rolling-Review: Laowa 15mm 2.0 Zero-D for Sony FE

Adapters for Manual Lenses on the Sony a7 series: The Guide

There are many good reasons to adapt manual lenses to the Sony A7 series cameras. To do so you need an adapter and this article will help you to choose the right one.

We are three guys from Germany who have adapted manual lenses for many years now. By using several dozen adapters over the years we have learned the hard way, that not all adapters are created equal. We hope that the money we spent on bad adapters will help you to avoid annoying miss-buys we experienced.

In the following two parts we tell you why you need an adapter in the first place, and which issues can arise with adapters. If all you need is the right adapter for your lens you can simply jump to Adapter Manufacturers].

All links marked with a * are affiliate links. If you use them we will get a few percents commission on your purchase without any added cost to you. If you want to support our manufacturer independent work please consider using them.

Continue reading Adapters for Manual Lenses on the Sony a7 series: The Guide

Tokina Firin 20mm F2 FE Review: A good deal?

The Tokina Firin 20mm F2 is Tokina’s first lens for the E-mount and currently the fastest wide angle in the ~20mm range for the system. Read my in-depth review to decide if it could be a good addition to your camera bag.

 Image Samples
You can find all images shown in this review in full resolution in this Tokina Firin 2/20 flickr album.

Continue reading Tokina Firin 20mm F2 FE Review: A good deal?

Review: Zeiss Batis Apo Sonnar T* 135mm f2.8

Introduction

The blogosphere melted down with frustration when the 135mm Batis was announced. Too slow and too expensive was the common verdict. But it’s also much lighter than the fastest medium teles, and faster and more convenient than the smallest. So is this lens the ideal compromise, or is it stranded uselessly between the fastest and the smallest? That will depend on performance, and handling. This review looks at just those issues.


Sample Images

Images can be seen and downloaded in full resolution here.

Continue reading Review: Zeiss Batis Apo Sonnar T* 135mm f2.8

Sony A6500 vs. Sony A7II comparison – which one is the smarter choice?

With the Sony A6500, Sony has entered the terrain of semi-professional crop cameras. The camera is significantly higher priced than other Sony APS-C cameras, and is directly competing with other smaller format flagship cameras like Fuji X-T2, Nikon D500, Olympus OMD-EM1 Mk2 or the Canon Eos 7D Mk2.

Furthermore, the Sony A6500 is now similarly (or even higher) priced than the Sony A7II. This leaves open the question for many people as to whether they should really spend that much on an APS-C camera, or if they should get a full frame body instead. The comparison is obvious, and legitimate, because the cameras share a few key specifications – like sensor resolution, mount, and sensor stabilization. Let’s check what sets these cameras apart from each other.

Sony A7II | Sony FE 1.8/55 ZA
Sony A6500 | Sony 1.8/24
Sony A6500 | Sony 1.8/55 ZA

Continue reading Sony A6500 vs. Sony A7II comparison – which one is the smarter choice?

Review: Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm f1.2

Introduction

A super fast fifty millimetre lens can be a lot of fun. But arguably it’s not the best all around type of lens to have; it’ll be bigger and heavier than a more modest speed fifty, and likely not as good stopped down. It’s more of an occasional use specialty lens. So it makes sense not to spend vast sums for a Leica Noctilux. No-one makes a modern f1.2; and if and when they do it will no doubt be extremely expensive and very big and heavy. That makes the better  legacy 50mm f1.2 lenses well worth investigating.

This review is of one of the better contenders: The OM Zuiko 50mm f1.2. It has a reputation for being usably sharp in the middle wide open, and sharpening up to decent overall performance stopped down. Does it live up to this reputation? Read on!

Sample Images

High resolution versions of the samples can be found at http://www.davidbraddonmitchell.com/Varia/Zuiko1250/

Specifications

Continue reading Review: Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm f1.2

THE MANUAL PHOTOGRAPHERS SERIES PART 6: Simeon Kolev

Selfie with Mamiya m645 | 80mm 2.8 C @F16 | old ORWO NP22 80ASA

B: Hi Simeon, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to use manual lenses?

S: Hi! I will start with what I do for a living: I am a graphic designer and photographer based in Bulgaria. I started editing photos long before I had my first experience with a camera (and that was as part of my job as a designer). But it was only a matter of time for me to get excited about taking the pictures myself. I started with what gear was available in the companies where I was an employee, but back in those days the Canon G5 was like space technology in my eyes.  Because of the huge depth of field of these compact cameras I was mainly focused on landscapes and macro. When I got bored of landscapes and macro I started to look around for something with a larger sensor.

Continue reading THE MANUAL PHOTOGRAPHERS SERIES PART 6: Simeon Kolev

Manual Lenses | Sony Alpha