Landscape astrophotography is something I have been doing for several years with my Sony a7S and a7rII (and D800 before). 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.
What is landscape astrophotography?
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.
The Sony FE 100 f/2.8 STF GM OSS lens is a lens that I purchased some time ago not really knowing what to expect. I had read about the lens, of course, but frankly I found that it took me some time to get an understanding of how best to use this lens. I think it is a very fine optic with excellent sharpness and anextraordinarily smooth quality of bokeh, however, it is also a lens that imposes a steeper than normal learning curve. It has a distinctive look in some situations that seems to be polarizing in the photo community. With use, I have come to like this lens very much and don’t plan on parting with mine anytime soon. In this review, I will attempt to explain why I like it and also some of its quirks so that prospective buyers might have a better idea about what to expect.
The Visionar 109mm 1.6 is a cinema projector lens from Carl Zeiss Jena which was made in the GDR. These projector lenses are often very fast and cheap, but they also come with a few downsides. This is the first projector lens we will review at this blog, so find out if there is still a place for these today.
Half a year has passed and much has changed, not only in our camera bags. This is our second “Team’s Favourites” since David from Australia joined us. How time flies!
In deciding what to mention this time, I have gone partly by usage. The ones that have made the most pictures I like since last time, for whatever reason. And where there’s a tie, I’ll favour something I didn’t list last time to provide more variety for you! So don’t think that I don’t still love the three lenses in last year’s edition!
This is a lens with a slightly mixed reputation. Many people are raving about it: the best standard lens you can get. Others are complaining about some issues (axial colour, field curvature, focus shift as you stop down) and don’t like it at all. I love the lens, but it’s unrealistic to imagine that an f1.2 lens of this size – tiny by f1.2 standards – could be flawless. It would be bigger than an Otus if were! After all Otuses are only f1.4.
So what do you get? Excellent performance stopped down, with lovely sunstars and good contrast and flare resistance (the last amazing given it’s f1.2). You get decent central performance wide open at distances more than a metre or so, much better than classic f1.2 lenses. You get the thinnest available DOF for a lens of this angle of view: which is very nice, because it’s a focal length which repays thin DOF in images, and one where it’s hard to achieve thin DOF technically. So you get multiple lenses in one. If you can be bothered using a two element achromatic close up lens, you can massively enhance the wide open close distance quality. You need to focus at f4 for f4 and smaller apertures, and you need to pay a bit of attention to field curvature.You also need to watch out for situations in which the corner bokeh can get a little nervous (but in many situations the bokeh is glorious). But if you are happy with all that, you get an wonderful lens, capable of many different and interesting looks.
Many people are still looking for a small yet fast 35mm lens for their fullframe E-mount cameras (especially those who need AF). I have found what I am looking for in the Voigtlander 35mm 1.7 VM + 5m PCX filter, but many people don’t want to bother with this mod and prefer a native solution. So how does the modded 35mm compare to Voigtlander’s native 40mm 1.2 Nokton E?