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.

Looking at 2017 and 2018

As the end of the year is approaching fast I would like to take a look back and then another one forward.

The Team

Without question the most important change is that David joined the team. When David wrote his first review I immediately knew that it was a good idea to ask him for it since he offered a very experienced view on it and the other lenses he has reviewed since. He also enriches our constant behind the scenes discussions, only limited by a time difference of 10 hours.

Bastian has been the most active author on this blog in 2017. Among his reviews the Laowa 2/15, the Canon EF 1.8/200, Olympus OM 2/180 and the exotic MS-Optics 2.4/135 stood out to me. He also explored the use of front filters with rangefinder lenses and did an epic 35mm comparison. He also made the interview with Mr. Li, the designer behind the Laowa 2/15 possible.

Jannik had less time because he had to care for his young son but his review of the GM 2.8/24-70, the a7II vs a6500 comparison and FE 1.8/85 review were among our most popular articles in 2017. Also mentioned should be his epic GM 1.4/85 vs FE 1.8/85 comparison. Lately he has invested in a Nikon DSLR kit to keep up with his young one after trying the Fuji X-T2.

Continue reading Looking at 2017 and 2018

Review: Minolta MD 28mm 1:2

Released in 1981 the Minolta MD 28mm 1:2 is Minoltas joungest manual 28 mm lens. In this review I test it on the a7II to see how relevant it is today.

Specifications

Diameter 64 mm
Length 50 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight 265 g
Max. Magnification 1:8
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 0.3 m
Number of aperture blades 6
Elements/ Groups 9/9
The Minolta MD 28mm 1:2 usually sells for around $200 used at ebay.com or around 200 at ebay.de (affiliate links). 

Image Samples

You can find most of the images in this review and more in full resolution in this Minolta MD 2/28 flickr set.

Continue reading Review: Minolta MD 28mm 1:2

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 I expect? Read on if you want to know.DSC00720

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