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.

Short Review: Olympus OM Zuiko MC 100mm 1:2.8

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The Olympus OM 100mm 1:2.8 is a tiny lens and yet a solid performer. In this shorter review I give you my impressions.

Specifications

Diameter 60 mm
Length 50 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight 230 g
Max. Magnification 0.12
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 1 m
Number of aperture blades 6
Elements/ Groups 5/5
The Olympus OM 2.8/100 usually sells for around $90 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 90 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

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

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Continue reading Short Review: Olympus OM Zuiko MC 100mm 1:2.8

Making of series part 1: “The Path” with Olympus OM 3.5/28

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When I took this picture in late August I was working all day on some papers for university, so after many hours behind the desk some sport and photography was well earned.

In the Bag

I packed my small camera bag* with the lightest lenses I could find in my cabinet: a Olympus OM 3.5/28*, Zeiss C/Y 1.7/50* and Olympus OM 2.8/100.* Since I had some strenuous cycling before me I didn’t want to carry any unnecessary weight and I knew that I could capture about anything with this little setup. Of course one is always a bit limited by just three lenses. But I think it is a good exercise to be limited and to be out there is much more important than to have the absolutely best gear anyway.

*=Affiliate link

Continue reading Making of series part 1: “The Path” with Olympus OM 3.5/28

Review: Olympus OM 100mm 1:2

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The Olympus OM 100mm 1:2 is by some margin the best manual portrait lens I have used on my Sony a7. Read on if you want to know why.

Specifications

Diameter 72 mm
Length 72 mm
Filter Thread 55 mm
Weight 520 g
Max. Magnification 0.2
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 70 cm
Number of aperture blades 9
Elements/ Groups 7/6, floating elements
The Olympus OM 2/100 usually sells for around $750 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 650 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

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Continue reading Review: Olympus OM 100mm 1:2

The manual photographers series part 1: Dan Noland

In this series we interview amateur photographers just like us, who inspire us and who share our passion for photographing with manual lenses.

Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95
Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95, by Leonie Bellé

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

D: I’m studying mechanical engineering at the RWTH Aachen. Besides my studies and my work as mechanical designer at a young high tech kickoff of the Fraunhofer ILT Aachen I take photos and make music.

I started with photography about 7 years ago. At this time I owned a Lumix FZ18 – a bridge cam. I was really annoyed by it after some time, it felt like the cam made the photos and not me. There was nothing left for me to do except framing, the auto focus just had its own will and the super zoom made it too easy. To take control of the image I used a lot of Photoshop.

At some point this did not satisfy me anymore. I wanted to create an image, to make the camera do what I wanted it to do. So about 5 years ago I bought a NEX 5N with the 18-55 kit lens. While this combination was no real change to my FZ18, I could also use some old FDs from my dad.

Using the Nex-5n with the old FDs was what I had wanted all along. No more pumping auto focus and no more miss focused images.
I started testing and collecting FDs and I do so til today. Legacy lenses were and are the best compromise between price and performance. Besides some of them do have real unique characteristics.

My 5N accompanied me about 2 or 3 years but I was complaining about bad image quality at low light situations a lot. So I decided that the best thing to do would be to buy an a7 and that’s what I did. It was indeed a boost in lowlight for several reasons.

First the sensor is bigger and therefore it is better at those situations by its own. Second my old FDs were made for fullframe and now I could use their full potential. I owned some f/1.2 and this light boost seemed pretty much insane to me. Til today I’m happy with my A7. I never anticipated to buy an AF lens and I think I never will. I shot a wedding, various model shootings, a band shooting and take everyday footage of my family… of young and wild kids.

Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95
Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95

I don’t miss any little helper besides the things my A7 already does and the only thing that a A7II could do for me would be the IBIS. Photography has becomea big part of my life and I hope to lift my hobby up to the next level in the future.

Can you give us a look into your camera bag and tell us a little about your gear?

Continue reading The manual photographers series part 1: Dan Noland

Review: Meyer Trioplan 100mm 1:2.8

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The Meyer Trioplan 2.8/100 is one of the most hyped lenses of the moment and prices have exploded to absolutely crazy levels. But do you get anything special but that soap bubble bokeh for your money? Read on if you want to know.

Specifications

Diameter 64 mm
Length 36 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight 150 g
Max. Magnification 0.15
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 1.2 m
Number of aperture blades 15
Elements/ Groups 3 / 3
Price (September 2016): $500 in good condition.
Check current prices at ebay.de or ebay.com (affiliate links).

Image Samples

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Continue reading Review: Meyer Trioplan 100mm 1:2.8

The Guide to Canon FD lenses on the Sony a7 series

Canon FD lenses on digital cameras

Introduction

This guide was written to give you a good idea what to expect from Canon’s older FD lenses, many of which still perform very well on modern digital cameras.

All tests are performed with the 24MP full frame Sony a7/a7ii. Our ratings are always based on using the lenses with these cameras, the evaluation will be a different one on a smaller sensor. To learn more about using manual lenses on the Sony a7 check our beginners guide.

Most of these summaries are based on our own experience but we also decided to also include lenses we haven’t used ourselves to pool useful information we found on the net which we have summarized based on our experience with reviewing lenses. We would also be very happy if you shared your own experience with Canon FD lenses we don’t have any reliable information on yet. We are quite picky with the information we use though. That’s because 95% of the information we come across is unreliable: Everyone has different standards, Person A might rate the very same lens as a great performer while person B thinks it’s total junk. So we are mostly interested in full resolution images taken with a fullframe camera including information on the aperture used.

Of course the list isn’t complete, it is work in progress and we are working at extending it but this will take it’s time.

Wideangle lenses

 Canon (n)FD 4/17

Status: Used by Jannik for a short time in the past17mm_a

  • At f/4 the center is quite good but…
  • … I’d recommend to stop down to f/11 for usable sharpness across the frame although it never gets tack sharp, partially because of the very strong lateral CA.
  • Very low distortion (the biggest quality of this lens, especially in the film era), bad flare resistance and 6-bladed aperture.
  • Medium size, and average price/performance ratio.
  • The age of this legacy lenses shows clearly when it iscompared to modern options. Nevertheless, it is pretty usable if you give the files some love in the post processing (remove CA’s and sharpening).

360g + adapter | $200 | technical datasample images |  user reviews

buy from ebay  (affiliate link)

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Continue reading The Guide to Canon FD lenses on the Sony a7 series

User guide to Ultra Wideangle lenses for the Sony Alpha 7 series

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We summarize our experience with all the native E-mount and a few (manual) legacy lenses in the 10-20mm bracket to give you a compact resource for choosing the right super- to ultra-wide-angle lens for your Sony a7 cameras. In this summary we also included some adaptable AF lenses we think are worth mentioning.

We also have a guide to 21-35mm lenses.

We have no association with any lens manufacturer apart from occasionally loaning a lens for a review. Before any short introduction we tell you how long we have used a lens and if we have borrowed it from a manufacturer. But in most cases we have bought the lenses new from retail stores or on on the used market. If you want to support our independent reviews please consider using one of the affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you anything and helps us a lot.

If we have left any question unanswered please leave a comment and we will do our best to answer it.

Voigtlander 5.6/10 E

Status: Sample provided by the manufacturer reviewed by Bastian, who bought one for himself at retail after that. Still often in use.

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  • At f/5.6 most of the frame is pretty sharp, only the extreme corners are somewhat soft. Contrast is always high.
  • You have to use f/11 for best across frame sharpness, the corners never reach excellent values.
  • Almost no distortion, quite good flare resistance, beautiful 10-stroke sunstars.
  • Small and lightweight, decently priced.
  • Widest rectilinear lens there is in a small package. Downsides are huge vignetting throughout the aperture range and maximum aperture of only f/5.6.

375g | $1300 | full Review | aperture seriessample images

buy from ebay (affiliate link)

voigtlander hyper wide heliar 10mm 5.6 stuttgart sony e a7 distortion stuttgart mercedes benz museum

Continue reading User guide to Ultra Wideangle lenses for the Sony Alpha 7 series