Category Archives: camera

Report: Zeiss Batis Apo Sonnar T* 135mm f2.8

Introduction

The blogosphere melted down with frustration when the 135mm Batis was announced. Too slow and too expensive was the common verdict. But it’s also much lighter than the fastest medium teles, and faster and more convenient than the smallest. So is this lens the ideal compromise, or is it stranded uselessly between the fastest and the smallest? That will depend on performance, and handling. This report looks at just those issues.


Sample Images

Images can be seen and downloaded in full resolution here

Continue reading Report: Zeiss Batis Apo Sonnar T* 135mm f2.8

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.

DSC00720a7 II | Zeiss 2.8/28 | f/11 | price: around $250

a7 II | Olympus OM 2.8/100 | f/2.8 | around $100
a7 II | Minolta MC 1.4/50 | f/2 | around $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 even cheap primes are often sharper than very expensive modern zooms.
    • Old lenses are usually beautifully built and more reliable 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 and personality but I for example enjoy working with fully manual lenses a lot more than with any AF lens. Check out our manual photographers series to read other photographers stories.
Sony a7 | Minolta MD 2/50 | f/2 | ~$25

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

My transition from Nikon to Sony

Introduction

transition from nikon to sony a7rii d800

As many of you may have noticed when reading my reviews I am a former Nikon DSLR-user. In the past I had a D40, D5000, D300, D700 and still have a D800 (which is also for sale right now).
I was never unhappy with the results I got from these cameras and I think the Nikon engineers are the best at getting the most out of the Sony sensors. Still I ended up selling most of my Nikon gear. In case you are interested to find out more about this story be welcome to read on!

Continue reading My transition from Nikon to Sony

Review: Jupiter-3 50mm 1.5

Introduction

Sony A7s with Jupiter-3 50mm 1.5 and VM-E close focus adapter (Helicoid)
Sony A7s with Jupiter-3 50mm 1.5 and VM-E close focus adapter (Helicoid)

The Jupiter-3 50mm 1.5 is actually a copy of the Zeiss Sonnar 50mm 1.5 and was produced in the UDSSR after WWII. The Jupiter lenses belong to the very few “lowcost” rangefinder lenses, but what do they have in store in terms of optical quality? Read on to find out.

Sample Images

jupiter-3 zenith sonnar sony a7s bokeh
Sony A7s | Jupiter-3 50mm 1.5 | f/1.5 | full resolution
jupiter-3 50mm 1.5 sony alpha 7s bokeh portrait women head black and white
Sony A7s | Jupiter-3 50mm 1.5 | f/1.5 | full resolution
jupiter-3 50mm 1.5 sony alpha 7s bokeh blue hour citylights vespa
Sony A7s | Jupiter-3 50mm 1.5 | f/2.0 | full resolution

Continue reading Review: Jupiter-3 50mm 1.5

Review: Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G

Introduction

Sony A7s with Metabones Nikon G -> Sony E Adapter and Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G
Sony A7s with Metabones Nikon G -> Sony E Adapter and Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G

This is a review of Nikon’s latest fast wideangle lens and how it performs on Sony’s A7 series. It may come as quite a surprise, as I usually prefer using (and reviewing) rangefinder lenses on my A7s. Still, I almost always carry this lens with me, so read on to find out why.

Sample Images

Sony A7s | Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G | f/1.8 | 3 shot panorama |
Sony A7s | Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G | f/1.8 | 3 shot panorama | higher resolution
sony a7s nikon 20mm 1.8g blue hour sunstar
Sony A7s | Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G | f/11 | full resolution
sony a7s nikon 20mm 1.8g black and white mustek prague
Sony A7s | Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G | f/2.8 | full resolution

Continue reading Review: Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G

Review: Leica 90mm 2.0 Summicron M

Introduction

sony a7s a7 series a7r ilce-7s pre asph summicron m leica leitz 90mm 2.0
Sony A7s with Leica 90mm 2.0 Summicron M (pre Asph) and VM-E close focus adapter (Helicoid)

The Leica Summicron-M 90mm 2.0 in the version reviewed here has been Leica’s top of the line portrait lens from 1980 to 1998.  In search for a decent yet fast and small portrait lens for the A7 series I decided to give this one a try, so read on to find out how it fared and if it can still be found in my bag.

Sample Images

venice sony a7s summicron-m 90mm 2.0 a7 reflection
Sony A7s | Leica Summicron M 90mm 2.0 | f/8 | panorama from 4 shots | full resolution
sony a7s summicron-m 90mm 2.0 a7s portrait wedding men groom husband
Sony A7s | Leica Summicron M 90mm 2.0 | f/2 | full resolution
bokeh summicron-m 90mm 2,0 f2 sony a7s leica leitz
Sony A7s | Leica Summicron M 90mm 2.0 | f/2 | full resolution

Continue reading Review: Leica 90mm 2.0 Summicron M

Review: Voigtländer 12mm 5.6 Ultra Wide Heliar

Introduction

ultra wide heliar a7 series 12mm 5.6
Sony A7s with Voigtländer Ultra Wide Heliar 12mm 5.6 and VM-E close focus adapter (Helicoid)

The Voigtländer 12mm 5.6 Ultra Wide Heliar is actually one of the lenses I bought a camera from the A7 series for in the first place. It is worth to mention though, I am reviewing the old M39 version here. The newer Leica M version is optically the same, although there are other differences – apart from the lens mount – which I will talk about at the end of this review.

Sample Images

castle mannheim a7s 12mm 5.6 voigtländer ultra wide heliar
Sony A7s | Voigtländer Ultra Wide Heliar 5.6/12 | f/11 | full resolution
maulbronn monastery unesco world heritage 12mm 5.6 voigtländer a7s
Sony A7 | Voigtländer Ultra Wide Heliar 5.6/12 | f/11 | full resolution
abstract disneyland 12mm 5.6 ultra wide heliar voigtländer sony a7s
Sony A7s | Voigtländer Ultra Wide Heliar 5.6/12 | f/8

Continue reading Review: Voigtländer 12mm 5.6 Ultra Wide Heliar

Review: Voigtländer Ultron 28mm 2.0

Introduction

Sony A7s mit Voigtländer Ultron 28mm 2.0
Sony A7s with Voigtländer Ultron 28mm 2.0 and VM-E close focus adapter (Helicoid)

The Voigtländer Ultron 28mm 2.0 is a quite small wide angle lens with Leica M mount. You may look up the specifications here on the official homepage. The lens is a quite modern design and has been introduced around 2012.

Sample Images

venice night sunstar ultron 28mm 2.0 sony a7
Sony A7s | Voigtländer Ultron 2.0/28 | f/11 | full resolution
sunset sunrise sun sunstar ultron 28mm 2.0 contra light
Sony A7s | Voigtländer Ultron 2.0/28 | f/11
abstract black and white b/w stairs ultron 28mm 2.0
Sony A7s | Voigtländer Ultron 2.0/28 | f/4.0 | full resolution

It is one of my favorite lenses on the A7s. Phillip read my reports about it and asked me whether I would like to write an in-depth review about it.  Hopefully, at the end of this review, you will know why I like the Voigtländer 2/28 so much.

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

Continue reading Review: Voigtländer Ultron 28mm 2.0

Review: Zeiss Loxia Planar 2/50 T*

DSC09858

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.

Disclosure: This Loxia 2/50 was loaned to me by Zeiss without charge.

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

Sample Images

DSC00555
Zeiss Loxia 2/50 | Sony a7 | f/2 | full resolution
DSC00656
Zeiss Loxia 2/50 | Sony a7 | f/2 | full resolution
DSC00743
Zeiss Loxia 2/50 | Sony a7 | f/2

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

Voigtlander Ultron 1.7 / 35 mm – Review

Sample Images

Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/11
Voigtländer 1.7/35 | Sony a7 | f/11
Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/11
Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/1.7
Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/11
Voigtländer 1.7/35 | f/1.7

Continue reading Voigtlander Ultron 1.7 / 35 mm – Review