The shape and appearance of sunstars is very important for landscape and architecture photographers. For some of them, they are even a defining element in their photos. Sunstars can appear around strong point light sources under certain circumstances, in this article I will talk about how to get them and how certain lenses (being more specific: number and shape of aperture blades) can influence their rendering.
On the Easter weekend 2016 I was rather spontaneously visiting famous Cinque Terre in Italy. The weather forecast was quite alright, but as I was only on a two night stay, I had very limited time (and blue hours) so I had to make the best of it…
In the Bag
As usual when on a trip I was using my Mindshiftgear rotation 180 panorama* backpack. In the belt comparment I was carrying my A7s, Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G, review sample of the Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0, Voigtlander Nokton 50mm 1.5 and the Leica Summicron 90mm 2.0. In the upper compartmend I also carried a Nikon Ai-s 180mm 2.8 ED which I didn’t use once on the trip (therefore sold now). I also carried a small Gitzo traveler tripod, a mini tripod and a few filters. With the small lenses the backpack still has some space left for water and food. Now even more, as I won’t carry a longer tele anymore…
A german version of this article can be found here.
The Series E lenses were meant as a low cost alternative to the more expensive yet reknown Nikkor lenses. This didn’t work out so well for Nikon, at that time many people were simply not interested in “cheap” lenses made mostly from plastic. Nevertheless, some of these lenses are quite good optically, therefore I take a look at the Nikon Series E 75-150mm 3.5 zoom lens.
Classic rangefinder lenses focus much less close than their SLR-counterparts because of how the focusing with rangefinder cameras works. With the Voigtländer VM-E adapter you can focus these lenses much closer when using them on an E-mount camera. The adapter is not only a Leica-M to Sony E adapter but also a variable extension tube. It has its own helicoid by which you can focus your lenses much closer than with a conventional adapter. I have been using the Voigtlander VM-E close focus adapter for more than a year now and it has become a valuable addition to my kit.
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!
Last Update: 12/28/16: review finished, conclusion updated, new sample images added
In case you have read some of our reviews covering rangefinder wide angle lenses on this very blog you already know there are some limitations to be aware of and you might have also heard of the “Kolari”thin filter mod as a solution. But now, thanks to Fred Miranda forum member HaruhikoT, there is another way to use rangefinder wide angle lenses up to their full potential on A7 series cameras.
Update 02/03/17: Voigtlander 35mm 1.7 added
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 :).
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.
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 12/11/16: bokeh section updated
In this series we interview amateur photographers just like us, who inspire us and who share our passion for photographing with manual lenses.
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.
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.