Category Archives: lenses

The Team’s favorite lenses – April 2017 Edition

This is the first article of a new series in which we want to share our favorite lenses and new gear with you. There will be a new edition of it every half year.

Jannik’s favorites

I am still not able to contribute as much as I’d like to because I am very busy with my work. Nevertheless, I’m happy to share my current favorites with you:

Sony A6500 | Zeiss Touit 1.8/32 | f/4

Zeiss Loxia 2.8/21

I have used the Batis 2.8/18 for a while but something just didn’t feel right about it for me. Therefore, I have exchanged it in favor of the Loxia 2.8/21. It is still my all time favorite lens and I prefer it for it’s handling, the beautiful and contrasty rendering and it’s sun stars.

Sony A7II | Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 | f/8

Continue reading The Team’s favorite lenses – April 2017 Edition

Review: Nikon Nikkor-P 85mm 2.0 RF

Introduction

nikon s nikkor rangefinder nikkor-p 85mm 2.0 rf sony a7 a7rii
Sony A7rII + Voigtlander VM-E close focus adapter + Nikon Nikkor-P 85mm 2.0 RF

Many people today might not even know Nikon (and also Canon) produced rangefinder cameras and lenses in their early days. Thanks to a reader I got the chance to review not one but three of these rather exotic Nikkor rangefinder lenses from the 50’s. The first one is the Nikkor-P 85mm 2.0 portrait tele.

Sample Images

nikon s nikkor rangefinder nikkor-p 85mm 2.0 rf sony a7 a7rii
Sony A7rII | Nikon Nikkor-P 85mm 2.0 | f/4.0
nikon s nikkor rangefinder nikkor-p 85mm 2.0 rf sony a7 a7rii
Sony A7rII | Nikon Nikkor-P 85mm 2.0 | f/2.0
nikon s nikkor rangefinder nikkor-p 85mm 2.0 rf sony a7 a7rii bokeh comparison jupiter-9 jupiter 9 85mm 2.0
Sony A7rII | Nikon Nikkor-P 85mm 2.0 | f/2.0

Continue reading Review: Nikon Nikkor-P 85mm 2.0 RF

Review: Minolta MD 100mm 1:2.5

The Minolta MD 100mm 1:2.5 is a small and affordable lens which delivers a surprisingly good performance on the Sony a7 series. Read my in-depth review to decide if it could be a good addition to your camera bag.

Specifications

Diameter 64 mm
Length 65.5 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight 310 g
Max. Magnification 0.12
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 1 m
Number of aperture blades 6
Elements/ Groups 5/5
The Minolta MD 2.5/100 usually sells for around $150 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 140 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

You can find all images shown in this image in full resolution in this album.

Continue reading Review: Minolta MD 100mm 1:2.5

Rolling Review: Sony FE 1.8/85

Introduction

I have just reveiced my own copy of the Sony FE 1.8/85. I am happy to see that Sony continues to expand their budget prime lens lineup. Especially the Sony FE 2/28 reflects a great value for the price, we liked the Sony 2.8/50 Macro too.

Let’s take a closer look at the latest “budget” lens in this rolling review. The review will be updated periodly.

Sample Images

Sony A6500 | Sony FE 1.8/85 | f/1.8 | full resolution
Sony A7 II | Sony FE 1.8/85 | f/1.8 | full resolution
Sony A7 II | Sony FE 1.8/85 | f/1.8 | full resolution

Continue reading Rolling Review: Sony FE 1.8/85

Review: Olympus OM Zuiko Macro 50mm 1:3.5

The Olympus OM Zuiko 3.5/50 Macro packs decent performance into a lens which is as small as it is affordable. In-Depth review on the Sony a7ii.

Specifications

Diameter 60 mm
Length 40 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight 200 g
Max. Magnification 0.5
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 0.23 m
Number of aperture blades 6
Elements/ Groups 5/4, floating elements
The Olympus OM MC 3.5/50 Macro usually sells for around $40 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 50 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

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

Continue reading Review: Olympus OM Zuiko Macro 50mm 1:3.5

Review: Leica Summilux 35mm 1.4 Asph FLE

Introduction

rangefinder leica m lenses focus field curvature thick sensor stack leica summilux summilux-m 35mm 1.4 asph fle 35 mm 1,4 1/1.4 sony a7 series a7rii a7rmk2 a7rm2
Sony A7rII with Voigtlander VM-E close focus adapter and Leica Summilux 35mm 1.4 Asph FLE

The Leica Summilux 35mm 1.4 Asph FLE is to my knowledge the most expensive 35mm lens for fullframe money can buy and it is also very highly regarded among the few that can afford it. But does it make any sense to use this lens on an A7 series camera? Read the review to find out.

Sample Images

rangefinder leica m lenses focus field curvature thick sensor stack leica summilux summilux-m 35mm 1.4 asph fle 35 mm 1,4 1/1.4 sony a7 series a7rii a7rmk2 a7rm2
Sony A7rII | Leica Summilux 35mm 1.4 Asph FLE | f/2.0 | shot handheld | full resolution
rangefinder leica m lenses focus field curvature thick sensor stack leica summilux summilux-m 35mm 1.4 asph fle 35 mm 1,4 1/1.4 sony a7 series a7rii a7rmk2 a7rm2
Sony A7rII | Leica Summilux 35mm 1.4 Asph FLE | f/1.4 | full resolution
rangefinder leica m lenses focus field curvature thick sensor stack leica summilux summilux-m 35mm 1.4 asph fle 35 mm 1,4 1/1.4 sony a7 series a7rii a7rmk2 a7rm2
Sony A7rII | Leica Summilux 35mm 1.4 Asph FLE | f/4.0 | full resolution

This lens was also featured in my fast 35mm manual focus lenses comparison you might want to have a look at.

Continue reading Review: Leica Summilux 35mm 1.4 Asph FLE

35mm Comparison: Voigtlander VM 1.7, Zeiss Loxia 2.0 and ZM 1.4, Leica FLE 1.4

Introduction

Leica Summilux-M 35mm 1.4 Asph FLE | Zeiss Distagon ZM 35mm 1.4 T* | Voigtlander Ultron 35mm 1.7 Asph | Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0
Leica Summilux-M 35mm 1.4 Asph FLE | Zeiss Distagon ZM 35mm 1.4 T* | Voigtlander Ultron 35mm 1.7 Asph | Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0

We managed to gather the three most recent fast rangefinder 35mm wide angle lenses from Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander, threw in the Zeiss Loxia and put them up against each other on the 42mp A7rII.  So in case you are looking for a small modern high quality 35mm manual focus lens: read on!

Continue reading 35mm Comparison: Voigtlander VM 1.7, Zeiss Loxia 2.0 and ZM 1.4, Leica FLE 1.4

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