Category Archives: Sony Alpha

Review: Leica 90mm 2.0 Summicron M

Introduction

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 has been Leica’s top of the line M-mount portrait lens from 1980 to 1998. It is also one of the first lenses I reviewed for this blog, but I had to sell it to fund the Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 back in the day. Yet, I somehow missed this Leica’s high contrast look and nice bokeh, so I decided to give it another chance.
Lens is being tested on 42mp Sony A7rII and 24mp Leica M10

Sample Images

bokeh summicron 90mm 2.0 sony a7 review 42mp leica m10 24mp sharpness contrast
Leica M10 | Leica Summicron 90mm 2.0 pre-Asph | f/2.0
bokeh summicron 90mm 2.0 sony a7 review 42mp leica m10 24mp sharpness contrast
Leica M10 | Leica Summicron 90mm 2.0 pre-Asph | f/2.0
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
bokeh summicron 90mm 2.0 sony a7 review 42mp leica m10 24mp sharpness contrast
Sony A7III | Leica Summicron 90mm 2.0 pre-Asph | f/5.6

Continue reading Review: Leica 90mm 2.0 Summicron M

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

Review: Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM

The Sony 1.8/135 GM is a highly anticipated lens that has been rumored for some time. Being a GM lens, it is part of a line which includes some of my favorite lenses like the Sony FE 1.4/24 GM and the Sony FE 1.4/85 GM. My expectations are as high as its price – can it live up to that?

Sample Images

Sony A7iii | Sony FE 1.8/135 GM | f1.8 | full size
Sony A7iii | Sony FE 1.8/135 GM | f1.8 | full size
Sony A7iii | Sony FE 1.8/135 GM | f1.8 | full size

Continue reading Review: Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM

Review: Kolari Ultra Thin Sensor Stack Modification

Cover glass from the Sony A7, A7II, Kolari version 2 mod, and Kolari Ultra-Thin mod (from Kolari’s website )

Most rangefinder lenses used on a Sony a7 series camera show some serious issues because of the rather thick filter stack in front of the sensor. There are two ways to deal with this. We have previously discussed the use of front filters to counter the induced field curvature. In this article Sebboh reviews another solution.

This is an extended use review of the Kolari Ultra Thin (UT, also sometimes referred to as version 4) sensor stack modification on a Sony A7. This modification removes the AA filter and IR cut filter from a stock Sony camera and replaces it with an ultra thin 0.2mm thick IR cut filter in order to attempt to provide similar levels of performance to the Leica M9 in dealing with the steep ray angles often produced by rangefinder lenses designed for film. I have shot a UT modified Sony A7 for 6 months now and can confirm that it dramatically improves performance with certain lenses (big thanks to Nehemiah for letting me use his lenses and cameras for the comparisons shown here). I will try to outline what kind of improvements can be expected here and what drawbacks there are to getting the conversion done.

Sony A7 Kolari UT | Carl Zeiss Contax G 21mm f/2.8 Biogon | f/11

Continue reading Review: Kolari Ultra Thin Sensor Stack Modification

Review: 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 review looks at just those issues.


Sample Images

Images can be seen and downloaded in full resolution here.

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