Category Archives: lenses

Review: Canon FD 85mm 1:1.2 S.S.C. Aspherical

The Canon 1.2/85 is a legend of a lens and in this review I put it’s earliest incarnation to the test on my Sony a7II.

Specifications

Diameter 81 mm
Length 72 mm
Filter Thread 72 mm
Weight 756 g
Max. Magnification 0.1
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 1 m
Number of aperture blades 9
Elements/ Groups 8/6, floating elements
The Canon FD 1.2/85 Aspherical usually sells for around $600 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 650 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

Continue reading Review: Canon FD 85mm 1:1.2 S.S.C. Aspherical

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

Making of series part 2: “Vernazza” with Zeiss Loxia 2.0/35

final_image_vernazza

On the Easter weekend 2016 I was rather spontaneously visiting famous Cinque Terre in Italy. The weather forecast was quite alright, but as I was only on a two night stay, I had very limited time (and blue hours) so I had to make the best of it…

In the Bag

As usual when on a trip I was using my Mindshiftgear rotation 180 panorama* backpack. In the belt comparment I was carrying my A7s, Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G, review sample of the Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0, Voigtlander Nokton 50mm 1.5 and the Leica Summicron 90mm 2.0. In the upper compartmend I also carried a Nikon Ai-s 180mm 2.8 ED which I didn’t use once on the trip (therefore sold now).  I also carried a small Gitzo traveler tripod, a mini tripod and a few filters. With the small lenses the backpack still has some space left for water and food. Now even more, as I won’t carry a longer tele anymore…

A german version of this article can be found here.

Continue reading Making of series part 2: “Vernazza” with Zeiss Loxia 2.0/35

Review: Nikon 75-150mm 3.5 Series E

Introduction

nikon series e z00m 75-150mm 3.5 metabones adapter a7 lowcost lens
Sony A7rII with Metabones adapter and Nikon Series E 75-150mm 3.5

The Series E lenses were meant as a low cost alternative to the more expensive yet reknown Nikkor lenses. This didn’t work out so well for Nikon, at that time many people were simply not interested in “cheap” lenses made mostly from plastic. Nevertheless, some of these lenses are quite good optically, therefore I take a look at the Nikon Series E 75-150mm 3.5 zoom lens.

Sample Images

nikon series e zoom 75-150mm 3.5 metabones adapter a7 lowcost lens lens flare ghost ghosts veiling glare
Sony A7rII | Nikon Series E 75-150mm 3.5 | 150mm | f/3.5 | full resolution
nikon series e zoom 75-150mm 3.5 metabones adapter a7 lowcost lens lens flare ghost ghosts veiling glare
Sony A7rII | Nikon Series E 75-150mm 3.5 | 75mm | f/5.6 | full resolution
nikon series e zoom 75-150mm 3.5 metabones adapter a7 portrait lowcost lens lens flare ghost ghosts veiling glare
Sony A7s | Nikon Series E 75-150mm 3.5 | 150mm | f/3.5 | full resolution

Continue reading Review: Nikon 75-150mm 3.5 Series E

Review: Sony FE 2.8/24-70 GM

Introduction

Since the introduction of the Sony A7-series cameras, many people asked for well performing f/2.8 zooms.  Although it negates the approach of the small bodies, Sony listened to their customers and developed the no-compromise GM(aster) lens lineup. The Sony FE 2.8/24-70 GM is the first lens of this new series in our hands.  In this review I will check the performance of my own copy which I have used for the last three months.

Sample Images

Sony A7II | Sony FE 24-70mm 2.8 GM | 24mm f/10 | full resolution
Sony A7II | Sony FE 24-70mm 2.8 GM | 31mm f/16 | full resolution
Sony A7II | Sony FE 24-70mm 2.8 GM | 70mm f/2.8 | full resolution

Continue reading Review: Sony FE 2.8/24-70 GM

Review: Voigtländer VM-E close focus adapter

Introduction

vm-e close focud helicoid adapter nahadapter nah voigtländer zm leica m m-mount emount e-mount a7 a7r a7rii a7s
Voigtländer VM-E close focus adapter

Classic rangefinder lenses focus much less close than their SLR-counterparts because of how the focusing with rangefinder cameras works. With the  Voigtländer VM-E adapter you can focus these lenses much closer when using them on an E-mount camera. The adapter is not only a Leica-M to Sony E adapter but also a variable extension tube. It has its own helicoid by which you can focus your lenses much closer than with a conventional adapter. I have been using the Voigtlander VM-E close focus adapter for more than a year now and it has become a valuable addition to my kit.

Sample Images

vm-e close focud helicoid adapter nahadapter nah voigtländer zm leica m m-mount emount e-mount a7 a7r a7rii a7s
Sony A7rII | Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 T* Distagon + VM-E | f/1.4
vm-e close focud helicoid adapter nahadapter nah voigtländer zm leica m m-mount emount e-mount a7 a7r a7rii a7s
Sony A7s | Voigtländer 28mm 2.0 Ultron + VM-E | f/2.0
vm-e close focud helicoid adapter nahadapter nah voigtländer zm leica m m-mount emount e-mount a7 a7r a7rii a7s
Sony A7s | Leica Summicron 90mm 2.0 pre Asph + VM-E | f/2.0

Continue reading Review: Voigtländer VM-E close focus adapter

Review: Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4

Introduction

carl zeiss loxia 85mm 2.0 sonnar sony a7 a7r a7r2 a7rm2 alpha alpha7 review
Sony A7rII with Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 Sonnar

Before the newest entry of the Loxia line was introduced we were guessing what combination of focal length and maximum aperture it might feature: 90mm 2.0? 100mm 2.0? 85mm 2.8? 100mm 3.5? We were all wrong as none of us had an 85mm 2.4 on his list. When the first pictures and the technical data appeared many were put down by the maximum aperture and especially size and weight. The mtf-graphs on the other hand look very promising with hardly any sharpness falloff towards the borders, putting this lens in the territory of the Leica APO-Summicron 90mm 2.0 or even the Zeiss Otus 85mm 1.4 on paper, which both cost two to three times as much. So let’s find out what Zeiss’ newest lens has to offer!
Last Update: 12/28/16: review finished, conclusion updated, new sample images added

Sample Images

carl zeiss loxia 85mm 2.0 sonnar sony a7 a7r a7r2 a7rm2 alpha alpha7 review venice italy bokeh panorama
Sony A7rII | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/2.4 | panorama from 4 shots | higher resolution
carl zeiss loxia 85mm 2.0 sonnar sony a7 a7r a7r2 a7rm2 alpha alpha7 review portrait head shot black white
Sony A7rII | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/2.4 | full resolution
carl zeiss loxia 85mm 2.0 sonnar sony a7 a7r a7r2 a7rm2 alpha alpha7 review portrait head shot concert big band
Sony A7s | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/2.4 | full resolution

Continue reading Review: Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4

Short Review: Olympus OM Zuiko MC 100mm 1:2.8

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The Olympus OM 100mm 1:2.8 is a tiny lens and yet a solid performer. In this shorter review I give you my impressions.

Specifications

Diameter 60 mm
Length 50 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight 230 g
Max. Magnification 0.12
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 1 m
Number of aperture blades 6
Elements/ Groups 5/5
The Olympus OM 2.8/100 usually sells for around $90 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 90 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

Just click on any image to get to the full resolution version.

olympus_om_100mmf2p8-5

olympus_om_100mmf2p8-39

olympus_om_100mmf2p8-25

Continue reading Short Review: Olympus OM Zuiko MC 100mm 1:2.8

Rangefinder wide angle lenses on A7 cameras: problems and solutions

Introduction

rangefinder leica m lenses focus field curvature thick sensor stack optimal focus guide tips tricks hint contax g zeiss biogon
Close up lenses of different strength

In case you have read some of our reviews covering rangefinder wide angle lenses on this very blog you already know there are some limitations to be aware of and you might have also heard of the “Kolari”thin filter mod as a solution. But now, thanks to Fred Miranda forum member HaruhikoT, there is another way to use rangefinder wide angle lenses up to their full potential on A7 series cameras.
Update 02/03/17: Voigtlander 35mm 1.7 added

Continue reading Rangefinder wide angle lenses on A7 cameras: problems and solutions