All posts by Phillip Reeve

I like to be outside with my camera and I am also a gear head with a love for manual lenses.

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.

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

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 Loxia Planar 2/50 T*

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The Zeiss Loxia Planar 2/50 offers all the benefits of manual lens: a great focusing ring, very solid build quality and a small size but it gets rid of most disadvantages like outdated coatings, adapters and you get full exif info.
09/07/17 Update by Bastian: I have just recently been looking for a fast standard lens to use for Milkyway stitching (see this article) and compared this lens and the Sony FE 55mm 1.8 side by side. Therefore I added a few bits from these comparisons.

A German version of this review can be found on phillipreeve.de.

Sample Images

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Zeiss Loxia 2/50 | Sony a7 | f/2 | full resolution
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Zeiss Loxia 2/50 | Sony a7 | f/2 | full resolution

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Zeiss Loxia 2/50 | Sony a7 | f/2

Continue reading Review: Zeiss Loxia Planar 2/50 T*

Tuning adapters for infinity focus and reflections – How To

Since a few people asked this is a short how-to on how I tune my adapters. As you will notice I am far from a perfectionist but so far my method has worked well for me and I think it could solve issues for some of you as well.

Correcting Infinity Focus

The Issue

Most adapters, not only the cheap ones, are a bit too short. This means that the markings on your lens are off and you can focus your lens behind infinity so the infinity hard stop of your lens won’t work. It makes sense for adapter manufacturers to make their adapters a bit too short because your Sony’s flange focal distance varies a bit and so does lens calibration. If their adapters were exactly as thick as specified there would be quite a few cases were people couldn’t focus at infinity which is way more annoying than a focus scale which is a little off.

But a too short adapter can also have negative impact on the image quality if you use a lens with floating elements. Especially with fast wide angle lenses you can get serious field curvature issues as many users of the Metabones Canon EF adapters have found out.

The lens is focused as infinity but the focus scale is way off because the adapter is too short

Continue reading Tuning adapters for infinity focus and reflections – How To

Review: Minolta MD 100mm 1:2.5

The Minolta MD 100mm 1:2.5 is a small and affordable lens which delivers a surprisingly good performance on the Sony a7 series. Read my in-depth review to decide if it could be a good addition to your camera bag.

Specifications

Diameter 64 mm
Length 65.5 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight 310 g
Max. Magnification 0.12
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 1 m
Number of aperture blades 6
Elements/ Groups 5/5
The Minolta MD 2.5/100 usually sells for around $150 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 140 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

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

Continue reading Review: Minolta MD 100mm 1:2.5

Madeira through the Eyes of a Photographer: Travel-Report

As I am writing this blog post I am on my way back from the island of Madeira where I spent a week with my friend Matt. I enjoyed the trip a lot so I would like to share my experience and my favorite pictures and photo spots with our readers.

On top of Pico Ruvio shortly before sunset overlooking the south of Madeira
Pico do Arieiro shortly after sunrise
A tree fern
Sunrise near Canico

Continue reading Madeira through the Eyes of a Photographer: Travel-Report

Review: Olympus OM Zuiko Macro 50mm 1:3.5

The Olympus OM Zuiko 3.5/50 Macro packs decent performance into a lens which is as small as it is affordable. In-Depth review on the Sony a7ii.

Specifications

Diameter 60 mm
Length 40 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight 200 g
Max. Magnification 0.5
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 0.23 m
Number of aperture blades 6
Elements/ Groups 5/4, floating elements
The Olympus OM MC 3.5/50 Macro usually sells for around $40 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 50 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

Just click on any image to get to the full resolution.

Continue reading Review: Olympus OM Zuiko Macro 50mm 1:3.5

Short Review: Voigtlander Heliar 75mm F1.8

The Voigtlander Heliar 75mm F1.8 is a rare representative of the family of 75mm lenses. In this shorter review I give you my impressions on how it performs on the Sony a7ii.

Specifications

Diameter 58 mm
Length 74 mm
Filter Thread 46 mm
Weight 427 g
Max. Magnification 0.12
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 0.9 m
Number of aperture blades 10
Elements/ Groups 6/3
The Voigtländer 1.8/75 usually sells for around $430 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 400 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

Just click on any image to get to the full resolution version.

Continue reading Short Review: Voigtlander Heliar 75mm F1.8

What I learned from shooting nothing but a $25 lens on my a7II for a month

When I decided to use only my 45-years-old Minolta MC 1.7/55 in February I had only one basic idea: I wanted to get out of my comfort zone because I know that I improve my skills much faster in anything if I can’t rely on my routines. And I guess I was also curious how I would fare without all the fancy gear I normally use.

My lens cabinet with most but not all my lenses. I think I can safely say that I am a gear head.

During the project I tried to take pictures everyday and I also created additional challenges for myself: One day I only allowed myself to take 5 pictures and on another I had to photograph in conditions I had little experience in.

1. It was much easier than I anticipated

Continue reading What I learned from shooting nothing but a $25 lens on my a7II for a month