Category Archives: Review

Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar T* 50mm f1.5 ZM: A Detailed Review

We have become used to old lens formulas being revived and sold for occasionally huge sums of money to collectors and photographers hoping to create images with a magical vintage look. All of us here have been very sceptical about this. Mostly they have been simple lenses in simple bodies with poor technical qualities being sold for more than the price of the latest and greatest glass. From one perspective the legendary C-Sonnar from Zeiss is like this. It’s a classic design dating from 1932 whose principal design goal at the time was to reduce the number of air glass surfaces because the coatings of the day were so primitive. Why do we need it now? But Zeiss bought it back in 2006 in M mount as part of the ZM series. The optical design is not much changed, but it comes with modern coatings. Many prize it for magical rendering and flattering portraiture, others think it shows that not even Zeiss is above trying to rip off nostalgic hipsters. Read on and find out who is right!

Specifications

Diameter 56 mm
Length 45 mm
Filter Thread 46 mm
Weight (w/o adapter) 250 g
Max. Magnification (w/o close focus adapter) 1:15
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor (w/o CFA) 0.9 m
Number of aperture blades 10
Elements/ Groups 6/4
The Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar T* 1.5/50 can be purchased via our affiliate links at Amazon.com or else B&H Photo Video. You can get it new on eBay.com here, or you can get it used on eBay.com here.

Image Samples

Continue reading Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar T* 50mm f1.5 ZM: A Detailed Review

Rolling-Review: Laowa 10-18mm 4.5-5.6 FE C-Dreamer

Introduction

laowa 10-18mm zoom c-dreamer 4.5-5.6 ultra wide 42mp a7 a7rII a7rIII review sharpness
Laowa FE 10-18mm 4.5-5.6 C-Dreamer on Sony A7rII

It seems every two years we see an interesting ultra wide angle FE lens by Laowa. First the Laowa 15mm 2.0 Zero-D FE at Photokina in 2016 and now 2 years later the Laowa 10-18mm 4.5-5.6 C-Dreamer FE at Photokina 2018.
The Voigtländer 10mm 5.6 E held the crown for being the widest rectilinear lens, now we have a zoom lens starting at 10mm but going all the way up to 18mm by Laowa. Is the image quality good enough to get this over the Voigtlander?
This is a Rolling-Review, bits and pieces will be added as we get to know the lens better.
Last Update: More samples added, distortion correction profiles added, chapter use with filters added (10/14/18)

Sample Images

laowa 10-18mm zoom c-dreamer 4.5-5.6 ultra wide 42mp a7 a7rII a7rIII review sharpness
Sony A7rII | Laowa FE 10-18mm 4.5-5.6 | 10mm | f/5.6
laowa 10-18mm zoom c-dreamer 4.5-5.6 ultra wide 42mp a7 a7rII a7rIII review sharpness
Sony A7rII | Laowa FE 10-18mm 4.5-5.6 | 10mm | f/8.0
laowa 10-18mm zoom c-dreamer 4.5-5.6 ultra wide 42mp a7 a7rII a7rIII review sharpness
Sony A7rII | Laowa FE 10-18mm 4.5-5.6 | 10mm | f/8.0

Continue reading Rolling-Review: Laowa 10-18mm 4.5-5.6 FE C-Dreamer

Guest Review: Pentax SMC FA 31mm f1.8 Limited

The Pentax 31mm f1.8 Limited is a fast moderate wide angle lens released in 2001. It’s designated as one of Pentax’s “Limited” series, denoting its high status within the Pentax catalogue. Since its release, the 31 Ltd has been beloved, especially within the Pentax community. I picked up my first copy in pursuit of a fast, decently priced alternative to the Sony RX1. Sony hasn’t provided shooters with a native fast 35mm f1.8 or f2 option. The 31 Ltd was a highly praised lens upon release, but optics have come along way recently, and it’s getting long in the tooth. Let’s see how it holds up 17 years after it’s release, and what type of images we can expect.

The 31mm focal length is an oddity, being near but noticeably different from the more conventional 28mm or 35mm focal lengths. The 31 ltd functions as versatile jack-of-trades lens with its 31 FL. The lens is still in production by Pentax/Ricoh, coming in either silver or black.

To view larger versions of the photos in this review, follow this link to my Pentax 31 ltd album on flickr

 

 

 
 
 

Continue reading Guest Review: Pentax SMC FA 31mm f1.8 Limited

Long-Term 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

The high price tag combined with the modest maximum aperture put many potential buyers off. Nonetheless personally I have used this lens regularly for almost two years now and thought it is time to share my experience in this long-term review.
Last Update: 08/03/18: long time experiences after ~2 years of usage added

Sample Images

zeiss loxia 85mm 2.4 long term review
Sony A7rII | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/8.0
zeiss loxia 85mm 2.4 long term review
Sony A7rII | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/2.4
zeiss loxia 85mm 2.4 long term review
Sony A7rII | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/5.6 | panorama from 4 shots
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

Continue reading Long-Term Review: Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4