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.

Voigtlander 50mm F2 APO-Lanthar announced

Voigtlander announced a new 50mm F2 APO-Lanthar in E-mount.

Specifications

Diameter 63 mm
Length 61 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight (no hood, no caps) 364g
Max. Magnification 1:6.4
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 0.45 m
Number of aperture blades 12
Elements/ Groups 10/8

The recommended price in Japan is ¥ 120,000 which is equal to about $1100. For comparison: The Voigtlander 1.2/50 has a recommended price of ¥ 150,000 and sells for $1099 so I would expect a price around $1000.

The official release date is December 2019.

Resources

First thoughts

Our praise for the optical performance of the 2/65 APO and 2.5/110 APO was very high indeed. The published MTF look phenomenal but we are not sure if they are comparable to Zeiss’ MTFs. The only real issue with both macros have is that their weight and size makes them less ideal as everyday lenses. And the 2/50 addresses that.

So this sounds like a really interesting lens for those who want a lens well suited for a 61MP sensor. We expect the Voigtlander to outperform any other current 50mm lens in terms of sharpness across the frame and CA-correction.  For now that is just a guess but I think it is a safe one based on the performance of the other two APO-Lanthars.

One interesting question is how the bokeh will compare to less well corrected lenses like Voigtlander’s own 1.2/50 which has excellent bokeh.

We will try get out hands on one as soon as possible which will probably be in December.

Beginner’s Guide to Manual Lenses on the Sony a7

Okay, everybody is talking about how manual lenses work so well on the Sony a7 series but how does it actually work? And which results can you expect? Read on if you want to know.DSC00720

Manual Lenses on the Sony a7/a7II/a7III

Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28  ~ $250
Olympus OM 2.8/100 ~ $100
 Minolta MC 1.4/50 ~ $60

Why should I use manual lenses?

    • They can be very cheap, you can get a great 1.4/50 lens for $50. For most applications such a lens will give you 90% of the performance of a $1000 Zeiss 1.8/55 FE. For the $1000 you would have to pay for that Zeiss you can buy an excellent set of five lenses from 20 to 300mm.
    • You have a huge choice between thousands of lenses ranging from exotic ones with lots of “character” to some of the very best lenses available.
    • There are 30-year-old primes with better image quality than many modern lenses. Of course progress has happened in recent years but still affordable primes are often sharper than very expensive modern zooms.
    • Old lenses are usually beautifully built from nothing but metal and glass which makes it a joy to handle them. They can last a lot longer than modern lenses which are full of electronics and very complex designs, both of which make them more likely to fail.
    • They also hold their value much better than modern lenses. With some patience you can sell most manual lenses without a loss but with new lenses you can expect to lose 30% in the first year.
    • Manual focusing can be very enjoyable. This certainly depends on application but personally I enjoy working with fully manual lenses a lot more than with any AF lens and I would choose a good manual focus lens over an AF lens (almost) any time. Check out our manual photographers series to read other photographers stories who feel similar about this.
Minolta MD 2/50 ~$25

Why shouldn’t I use manual lenses?

Continue reading Beginner’s Guide to Manual Lenses on the Sony a7

A look into Phillip’s camera bag – September 2019 Edition

After the favorite lenses series fell dormant I thought it would be interesting to give an update on our current gear which has changed a bit and change the format a bit at the same time. So feel invited to have a look into my camera bags.

The Bag

I use a Think Tank Turnstyle 10 V2. The bag fits a camera and 3 medium sized lenses.The biggest argument for a shoulder bag to me is quick access and that it is more ergonomic to carry than a messenger bag. The bag works really well for not that long hikes without a backpack and when I am on my bike. I have carried it besides a daypack on longer hikes and that is anything but enjoyable. A Mindshift Gear 180° Panorama Backpack would be a much better solution but those are expensive.

The bag just feels like a very well made, well engineered product from a company which knows how to make good bags. After nearly two years of constant use it shows few signs of wear. Even though I forgot to close the zip several times I never lost a lens thanks to its clever design which keeps lenses from falling out. It also comes with a waist strap you can easily stow away in one of the many pockets. The strap is a big help when I am on a bike. The bag comes with a cape for bad weather and has many smaller pockets so packing away accessories is easy.

amazon.de | amazon.com (affiliate links)

The Camera

I am still using my good old Sony a7II which I bought in July 2016. I know that a a7rIII would be a much nicer camera but that doesn’t make the a7II a bad camera for my needs. I rarely actually feel limited by it so spending 1500€ to upgrade doesn’t seem to be that smart an idea. That doesn’t mean that I am tempted to upgrade.

The Lenses

Continue reading A look into Phillip’s camera bag – September 2019 Edition