Review: Canon EF 200mm 1.8 L on Sony a7rii

Introduction

canon ef 200mm 1.8 l usm review sigma mc 11 mc-11 sony a7r2 a7rii a7rm2 mark2 markII
Sony A7rII with Sigma MC-11 and Canon EF 200mm 1.8 L USM

The Canon EF 200mm 1.8 L is one of the most extreme tele lens designs and while almost 30 years old it hasn’t been surpassed in terms of speed since. Also known as the “Eye of Sauron” it has already become a legend, so let us find out what is so special about this lens…

Sample Images

canon ef 200mm 1.8 l usm review sigma mc 11 mc-11 sony a7r2 a7rii a7rm2 mark2 markII
Sony A7rII | Canon EF 200mm 1.8 L | f/1.8
canon ef 200mm 1.8 l usm review sigma mc 11 mc-11 sony a7r2 a7rii a7rm2 mark2 markII
Sony A7rII | Canon EF 200mm 1.8 L | f/1.8
canon ef 200mm 1.8 l usm review sigma mc 11 mc-11 sony a7r2 a7rii a7rm2 mark2 markII
Sony A7rII | Canon EF 200mm 1.8 L | f/1.8

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The Team’s favorite lenses – October 2017 Edition

Half a year has passed and much has changed, not only in our camera bags. With David from Australia we have a new author (as you may have noticed already), who will support us, so that we can cover more lenses and other interesting topics.

David’s favorites

Hard to know what a favourite lens is. Is it the workhorse that gets use all the time? Is it that exotic piece that just occasionally gets used, but is thrilling and irreplaceable when it is? I guess any of these. My list will just contain three optics that I find to be very special in different ways.  Of course that’s not the same thing as three I’d necessarily recommend together as a kit.

Voigtländer Macro Apo-Lanthar 2/65

This is not a lens I’ve reviewed: Phillip reviewed it here, and that was one of the reasons I purchased it. A manual focus lens, fast but not that fast, an unusual focal length, and macro but, well, not all that macro – it focuses only to 1:2. So why is it on my list?

Simply it’s the finest production lens for the 135 format that I’ve ever used, and possibly the finest ever. It’s incredibly sharp wide open – enough so I can see aliasing at f2 on a 42 MP sensor! One stop down and it’s even better, and the corners have gone from being great to being super great. This brings with it creative possibilities: when f2 is so sharp, you can create images with a remarkably sharp subject set against a nicely blurred backdrop.

But sharpness is not even its big party trick. That’s colour correction. It has less LoCA and spherochromatism than any optic I’ve used. Those nice backgrounds seem to be full of light and space because they are so clean: the white highlights are, well, white, and it’s surprising what that can add to the image. Add to that lovely sunstars and excellent performance against the light.

It’s not even absurdly expensive. A definite pick!

Continue reading The Team’s favorite lenses – October 2017 Edition

5 hacks for the Sony a7 series to make your shooting easier

This is just a short selection of tricks which make it easier to use your Sony a7 series camera.

1. Use DRO to see into the shadows

final image/ uprocessed raw
To save the highlights I had to underexpose this image a lot. Thanks to the DRO function I could focus none the less.

This trick only works if you shoot raw.

The problem: If you have a high contrast scene and expose it for the highlights you often have to use a negative exposure compensation and end up with a very dark preview image. This is no problem because you can brighten your image a lot in post but it makes focusing and composition hard. Another situation where this problem arises is when you are using flash to light a foreground subject, but there’s bright natural light in the background. While you are focussing, the foreground subject will be likely too dark to focus.

The solution: The DRO function is meant to lift the shadows in your jpg images which is just what you need: Use DRO +5 and the shadows of your preview image will be pushed by about 3 stops so you can see into the shadows now. Your raw file won’t be affected by the setting. Don’t forget to turn it off though or it is easy to unintentionally underexpose your images.

2. Use the zebra function for perfect exposure

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Voigtländer 40mm f1.2 Nokton Aspherical: An In Depth Review

Introduction

40mm. One of my favourite focal lengths. Long ago the Voigtländer 2/40mm Ultron was glued to my Canon. Longer ago, the Zuiko 2/40 was a favourite on my Olmpus OM film gear. The 40mm equivalent 20mm Lumix was my favourite lens on the M43 gear I used to use for travel and hiking. So naturally a native 40mm full frame lens for E mount has me very excited.
That slightly wider than standard lens look (close to the theoretical ‘normal’ focal length of 43mm) gives a lovely, natural perspective that leaves the photographer, rather than the angle of view, in charge of the image. But of course the cost of the slightly wider angle of view is less potential for bokeh; the nice, isolating, out-of-focus blur that people prize in people photography. Still, 40mm is a great length for portraits which place people in a context: but you don’t want that context to dominate. That’s why the speed on this lens is potentially so great. Perhaps f1.2 sounds extreme, but the actual blur potential is about the same as f1.4 on a 50mm lens. So in order to keep up with a 50mm lens in terms of blur, you really do want a bit of extra speed on moderate wides. But what price do we pay for that? Is the IQ on this surprisingly small and fast lens good enough? Thanks to Mainline Photographics  who are the Cosina Voigtländer distributors in Australia, for the loan of a review copy.

A Few Samples

 

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RAW challenge 1- Icy Forest

First thank you all for participating!
It was really interesting to see all your images. For those who don’t know what we are talking about: We posted a Raw (shot with Loxia 21mm 2.8 on A7rII) on our FB page and asked for your interpretations of this scene:

There is certainly no right or wrong here, the question is always: what mood do you want to convey?
Another really important aspect: you haven’t been there when the shot was taken. So I might connect things to this image that you simply can’t (the smell of the forest, my cold feet, getting up early, watching the sunrise etc.).

So I will discuss your results and show you mine after that. But keep in mind: This is my perspective and other people would have a different perspective. To simplify things I grouped the images.

Continue reading RAW challenge 1- Icy Forest