Category Archives: The creative process

Best lenses for Sunstars

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Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 | f/11 | 10 straight blades

The shape and appearance of sunstars is very important for landscape and architecture photographers. For some of them, they are even a defining element in their photos. Sunstars can appear around strong point light sources under certain circumstances, in this article I will talk about how to get them and how certain lenses (being more specific: number and shape of aperture blades) can influence their rendering.

Sample Images

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Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 | f/5.6 | 10 straight blades
sunstar sun sunburst blendenstern diaphragm stroke 10 7 8 14 18
Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0 | f/11 | 10 straight blades
sunstar sun sunburst blendenstern diaphragm stroke 10 7 8 14 18
Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 Distagon | f/11 | 10 straight blades

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

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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

The Manual Photographers Series Part 0.2: BastianK

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Hi Bastian,
can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you use manual Lenses?

Bastian: I am a bridge engineer from Germany and my lovestory with manual lenses began with the 50mm 0.95 Mitakon and the 12mm 5.6 Voigtlander used with the Sony A7. I couldn’t believe it being possible to get consistently sharp results with a lens like the 50mm 0.95 after I have so badly failed using an Ai-s Nikkor 50mm 1.2 on my D800 (which was even equipped with an EG-s focusing screen).  The 12mm 5.6 on the other hand was a total relief in terms of size and weight and so I was hooked. Right now I have sold almost all of my Nikon gear. If you are curious you can read the whole story here: my transition from Nikon to Sony.
It is also a matter of fact that by the time I was using manual lenses I realised I don’t need AF for most of what I am doing and so today I am confident enough to even shoot weddings without AF lenses.

bastian kratzke sony a7rii a7s photography aspects important introduction manual lenses
Sony A7s | Nikon AF-S 20mm 1.8G | f/11.0 | higher resolution
bastian kratzke sony a7rii a7s photography aspects important introduction manual lenses
Sony A7s | Leica Summicron-M 90mm 2.0 pre Asph | f/11.0 | higher resolution
bastian kratzke sony a7rii a7s photography aspects important introduction manual lenses
Sony A7s | Loxia 21mm 2.8 | f/10.0 | higher resolution

Continue reading The Manual Photographers Series Part 0.2: BastianK

The Manual Photographers Series Part 0.1: Phillip Reeve

This is the first part of a new series in which we portrait amateur photographers just like us who inspire us and who share our passion for photographing with manual lenses.

We decided to test our concept on ourselves first, initially we didn’t intend to publish it but since we liked the product we decided to publish it. So don’t be surprised by me answering my own questions ;).

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Hi Phillip,
can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to use manual lenses?
P: I am a student from Germany and I bought my first DSLR in 2006. In September 2011 I bought a used Nex-3 for a little over 100€ to use some of the cheap Minolta Rokkors I owned on a digital camera. I fell in love with my manual lenses instantly. Suddenly I could afford really good primes while before I was limited to slow, cheap zooms! So much more creative freedom.
I also enjoyed the new, slower but more conscious process and I saw a very quick progression in my own skills at that time. I hardly touched my Canon after that.
I was a gear-head before but now I could discover so many thousands of manual lenses no one had really tested on a digital camera ever before so I started my quest to discover learn as much about those manual lenses as possible. First I published my findings in forums until I started my own blog in early 2014 which has taught me a lot.

Here are a few images from when I started to use manual lenses back in early 2012:

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The Minolta MD 1.4/50 was my first standard lens, I bought it for less than 50€.
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I got the Minolta MC 4/200 for 26€ back in 2011 and it was sharper and faster than any zoom I could have bought.
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Minolta MD 4/100 bought for 80€, I used it for landscape and macro photography on this trip with very good results but I wasn’t a fan of the handling.

Continue reading The Manual Photographers Series Part 0.1: Phillip Reeve

My transition from Nikon to Sony

Introduction

transition from nikon to sony a7rii d800

As many of you may have noticed when reading my reviews I am a former Nikon DSLR-user. In the past I had a D40, D5000, D300, D700 and still have a D800 (which is also for sale right now).
I was never unhappy with the results I got from these cameras and I think the Nikon engineers are the best at getting the most out of the Sony sensors. Still I ended up selling most of my Nikon gear. In case you are interested to find out more about this story be welcome to read on!

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Filters for digital Photography

Introduction

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Sony A7s with Loxia 21mm 2.8 and Hitech 67mm Filter System

In the film era a vast amount of filters was needed to alter the colours, the temperature or to add certain effects to the photos. In digital photography many of these filters have become pretty much useless as they can be recreated in post processing with the added bonus of more control over the effect without any disadvantages.
But there are also some useful filters which can’t be fully recreated in post processing and still have a place in digital photography and these are the ones I’m going to talk about.
Update 09/27/2016: at Photokina 2016 in Cologne I checked out all the big filter manufacturers and have updated some sections accordingly. I am also working closely with NiSi filters now – not just because I think their filters offer the best quality – but because they listen to their customers and I hope to be able to help them develope the first holder I find nothing to complain about 🙂

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Exploring a subject – Intimate Landscapes

wasserFor me it has been a great practice to visit the same subject close to my home again and again and it has taught me many things:

  • How different lighting affects  images,  until today I am often astounded how much light can affect my images and I constantly learn about new types of light and with which subjects they work
  • It is a good way to improve  compositional skills, because you can compare different compositions of the same scene an see which compositions worked and which did not
  • It helps to discover new perspectives, with time the known perspectives will become boring and I will feel an urge to discover new ones

Well that’s at least how it works for me, but I think it won’t be that different for you. I wrote this article mostly to reflect on my own photography but I hope it might give you an idea or two as well.

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