Category Archives: Comparison

135mm legacy Shoot out: SMC Pentax-M f/3.5 vs Canon nFD f/3.5 vs. Panagor f/2.8

Shoot out: SMC Pentax-M 135mm f/3.5 vs. Canon nFD 135mm f/3.5 vs. Panagor PMC auto tele 135mm f/2.8

In my search for a compact but good budget telelens I came across the SMC Pentax-M 135mm f3.5 and the Canon newFD 135mm f/3.5. Later, I also found a Panagor PMC auto tele 135mm f/2.8 in Canon FD mount. These lenses are cheap, light, and small, but how do they perform?

Disclaimer: I only tested one sample of the Canon and Panagor, and two samples of the Pentax. Since these lenses are old there might be more sample variation than usual, other samples might perform slightly better or worse. Both Pentax samples displayed similar performance. 

Left to right: Panagor, Canon, Pentax

Specifications

Specifications Canon newFD 135mm f/3.5 SMC Pentax-M 135mm f/3.5 Panagor PMC auto tele 135mm f/2.8 (FD)
Diameter 63 mm 63 mm 61 mm
Length 85 mm 66 mm 88 mm
Filter diameter 52 mm 49 mm 55 mm
Weight (ex. Adapter) 325 g 270 g 411 g
Aperture f/3.5-32 f/3.5-32 f/2.8-22
Minimal focus distance 1.3 m 1.5 m 1.5 m
Elements/groups 4/4 5/5 4/4*
Aperture blades 6 8 6

(*Based on the optical design of this lens for other mounts)
Continue reading 135mm legacy Shoot out: SMC Pentax-M f/3.5 vs Canon nFD f/3.5 vs. Panagor f/2.8

Guide to Ultra Wideangle lenses for the Sony a7 series v1.2

super wide angle ultra uwa swa

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 and independent resource for choosing the right super- to ultra-wide-angle lens for your Sony a7 cameras. In this summary we also included some adapted 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.

Last update: February 2019

Laowa 4.5-5.6/10-18 FE C-Dreamer

Status: Sample loaned by the manufacturer reviewed by Bastian who is still undecided whether he prefers this over the 10mm Voigtlander.

  • super compact (similar in size to Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8) and even slightly wider than the 10mm Voigtlander
  • contrast and resolution are never great, needs stopping down to f/8 to f/11 for okay corner sharpness
  • flare resistance worse than the wide Voigtlander primes, very nice sunstars thanks to 5 straight aperture blades
  • complex distortion and high vignetting, hard to correct because of missing electronic contacs
  • Widest rectilinear (zoom) lens available in a very compact package, but takes some work in post for good results

499g + adapter | $849 | full Review | aperture seriessample images

buy from manfucaturer’s homepage | B&H | amazon.com (affiliate links)

laowa 10-18mm zoom c-dreamer 4.5-5.6 ultra wide 42mp a7 a7rII a7rIII review sharpness

Continue reading Guide to Ultra Wideangle lenses for the Sony a7 series v1.2

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

Sony FE 1.8/85 vs. Sony FE 1.4/85 GM – The Big Shootout

This is the long promised Sony FE 1.8/85 vs. Sony FE 1.4/85 GM shootout. This article should clarify what the  differences between these lenses are. Even the physical appearance sets both lenses apart. Does the FE 1.4/85 GM also punch in a higher class optically, or just in terms of size and weight? Let’s find it out.

This is a classic shootout article. For sample images and further informations, check out the dedicated lens reviews of the Sony FE 1.8/85 and the Sony FE 1.4/85 GM (coming soon).

Continue reading Sony FE 1.8/85 vs. Sony FE 1.4/85 GM – The Big Shootout

Sony A6500 vs. Sony A7II comparison – which one is the smarter choice?

With the Sony A6500, Sony has entered the terrain of semi-professional crop cameras. The camera is significantly higher priced than other Sony APS-C cameras, and is directly competing with other smaller format flagship cameras like Fuji X-T2, Nikon D500, Olympus OMD-EM1 Mk2 or the Canon Eos 7D Mk2.

Furthermore, the Sony A6500 is now similarly (or even higher) priced than the Sony A7II. This leaves open the question for many people as to whether they should really spend that much on an APS-C camera, or if they should get a full frame body instead. The comparison is obvious, and legitimate, because the cameras share a few key specifications – like sensor resolution, mount, and sensor stabilization. Let’s check what sets these cameras apart from each other.

Sony A7II | Sony FE 1.8/55 ZA
Sony A6500 | Sony 1.8/24
Sony A6500 | Sony 1.8/55 ZA

Continue reading Sony A6500 vs. Sony A7II comparison – which one is the smarter choice?