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 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.
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
The Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 T* Distagon is is often referred to as being one of the best 35mm lenses available, combining high sharpness as well as microcontrast and smooth bokeh in a small yet very pricey package. But is it really worth the asking price when used on the A7 series cameras? Let us find out! Update 12/11/16:bokeh section updated
The Zhong Yi Mitakon 50mm 0.95 Speedmaster “Dark Knight” is a very fast 50mm lens with the staggering maximum aperture of 0.95. Compared to the Leica Noctilux this lens is very cheap, on absolute terms it isn’t, so find out whether this lens is worth the asking price!
We summarize our experience with all the native E-mount and a few manual lenses in the 20-35mm bracket to give you a compact resource for choosing the right wide-angle lens for your Sony a7.
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Sony FE 4/16-35 ZA OSS
Status: Phillip reviewed a loaner from Sony and bought his own copy more than a year ago. He uses it regularly. Jannik owned but sold it in favor of the Loxia 2.8/21.
Jannik: A lovely lens with decent image quality and effective image stabilization. Personally, I tend to shoot always too wide with such a zoom lens although I miss it’s great versatility.
At f/4 the center is excellent across the zoom range, for best corners I would stop down at least to f/5.6, better f/8 where they are quite good.
Pronounced distortion at the ends, average vignetting and annoying ghosting for some scenes but fine most of the time.
This is neither a light nor a small lens but it isn’t huge either. Build quality is good.
A very versatile lens: It covers a very wide focal range with good optical quality and thanks to the stabilizer even on the a7 one can shoot before sunrise without a tripod. The price is significant but justified.
Venus Optics is a new player in the field of high performance manual lenses. Their new Laowa Smooth Trans Focus 105mm F 2.0(T3.2) has a special apodization element which should give this lens extraordinary bokeh. That’s the theory, in this review I will put it to the test.
There is only a hand full of lenses which incorporate an apodization element which improves bokeh at the cost of light transmission. Today I will compare two of them. The Sony STF 2.8/135 was released 1999 by Minolta and is known for it’s uniquely smooth bokeh. The Laowa STF 2/105 is a new lens released this year by Chinese newcomer Venus Optics. In this post I will see where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
The Voigtländer 10mm 5.6 Hyper Wide Heliar E aspherical is the second native E-Mount lens by Voigtlander and it is also the widest rectilinear lens ever produced. I am a wide angle junkie so I was eagerly awaiting this lens. Read on to find out what one can do with such a wide lens!
Update (08/28/16): Info on Use for Astrophotography and Use with Filters added
The Zeiss Batis 18mm 2.8 is the latest addition to Zeiss’ line up of modern autofocus lenses and also the widest AF prime lens to date for Sony E-Mount. As many people (include me here) are now engaged in landscape astrophotography I am especially interested how the new Batis fares in this regard. Last Update: Review finised, conclusion added, sample images added (05/30/16)