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Review: Zeiss Batis Apo Sonnar T* 135mm f2.8

Introduction

The blogosphere melted down with frustration when the 135mm Batis was announced. Too slow and too expensive was the common verdict. But it’s also much lighter than the fastest medium teles, and faster and more convenient than the smallest. So is this lens the ideal compromise, or is it stranded uselessly between the fastest and the smallest? That will depend on performance, and handling. This review looks at just those issues.


Sample Images

Images can be seen and downloaded in full resolution here.

Continue reading Review: Zeiss Batis Apo Sonnar T* 135mm f2.8

Review: Voigtländer 10mm 5.6 E Hyper Wide Heliar

Introduction

Sony A7s with Voigtländer 10mm 5.6 Hyper Wide Heliar E
Sony A7s with Voigtländer 10mm 5.6 Hyper Wide Heliar E

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
(06/06/17): long term experiences after one year of usage added

Sample Images

voigtlander hyper wide heliar 10mm 5.6 review sample
Sony A7rII | Voigtländer 10mm 5.6 HWH E | f/16 | higher resolution
voigtlander hyper wide heliar 10mm 5.6 review sample
Sony A7rII | Voigtländer 10mm 5.6 HWH E | f/11 | higher resolution
Sony A7rII | Voigtlander 10mm 5.6 Hyper Wide Heliar E | f/8.0 | higher resolution

Continue reading Review: Voigtländer 10mm 5.6 E Hyper Wide Heliar

Review: Leica 135mm 4.0 Tele-Elmar

Introduction

leica 135mm 4.0 f/4.0 tele-elmar teleelmar elmar-m sony a7 a7rii a7r2 review build quality handling
Leica 135mm 4.0 Tele-Elmar via Voigtlander VM-E close focus adapter on Sony A7rII

Leica rangefinder lenses are very expensive? Most of them are, but the Leica 135mm 4.0 Tele-Elmar in its earlier versions can be found for less than 200$ used, so what is the catch with this lens? Read on to find out…

Sample Images

leica 135mm 4.0 f/4.0 tele-elmar teleelmar elmar-m sony a7 a7rii a7r2 review bokeh
Sony A7rII | Leica 135mm 4.0 Tele-Elmar | f/4.0
leica 135mm 4.0 f/4.0 tele-elmar teleelmar elmar-m sony a7 a7rii a7r2 review bokeh
Sony A7rII | Leica 135mm 4.0 Tele-Elmar | f/4.0
leica 135mm 4.0 f/4.0 tele-elmar teleelmar elmar-m sony a7 a7rii a7r2 review bokeh
Sony A7rII | Leica 135mm 4.0 Tele-Elmar | f/4.0

Continue reading Review: Leica 135mm 4.0 Tele-Elmar

Review: Nikon Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4

Introduction

nikon s nikkor rangefinder nikkor-s 50mm 1.4 rf sony a7 a7rii bokeh
Sony A7rII + Voigtlander VM-E close focus adapter + Nikon Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4 RF

This review covers the rather exotic Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4 rangefinder lens, which I got the chance to review thanks to a reader. It is small, it is lightweight, it has exceptional build quality, but what about the optics? Read on to find out!

Sample Images

nikon s nikkor rangefinder nikkor-s 50mm 1.4 rf sony a7 a7rii bokeh
Sony A7rII | Nikon Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4 | f/2.8
nikon s nikkor rangefinder nikkor-s 50mm 1.4 rf sony a7 a7rii bokeh
Sony A7rII | Nikon Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4 | f/1.4
nikon s nikkor rangefinder nikkor-s 50mm 1.4 rf sony a7 a7rii bokeh
Sony A7rII | Nikon Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4 | f/5.6

Continue reading Review: Nikon Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4

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

Short Review: Voigtlander Heliar 75mm F1.8

The Voigtlander Heliar 75mm F1.8 is a rare representative of the family of 75mm lenses. In this shorter review I give you my impressions on how it performs on the Sony a7ii.

Specifications

Diameter 58 mm
Length 74 mm
Filter Thread 46 mm
Weight 427 g
Max. Magnification 0.12
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 0.9 m
Number of aperture blades 10
Elements/ Groups 6/3
The Voigtländer 1.8/75 usually sells for around $430 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 400 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

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

Continue reading Short Review: Voigtlander Heliar 75mm F1.8

What I learned from shooting nothing but a $25 lens on my a7II for a month

When I decided to use only my 45-years-old Minolta MC 1.7/55 in February I had only one basic idea: I wanted to get out of my comfort zone because I know that I improve my skills much faster in anything if I can’t rely on my routines. And I guess I was also curious how I would fare without all the fancy gear I normally use.

My lens cabinet with most but not all my lenses. I think I can safely say that I am a gear head.

During the project I tried to take pictures everyday and I also created additional challenges for myself: One day I only allowed myself to take 5 pictures and on another I had to photograph in conditions I had little experience in.

1. It was much easier than I anticipated

Continue reading What I learned from shooting nothing but a $25 lens on my a7II for a month

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

The manual photographers series part 2: Martijn Kort

In this series we interview amateur photographers just like us, who inspire us and who share our passion for photographing with manual lenses.

martijn kort photography aerial amsterdam netherlands holland
Samyang 12mm 2.8 Fisheye

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

I’m Martijn Kort (33), photographer and airline captain from the Netherlands. About 6 years ago I got my first DSLR and this started my journey to search for the perfect picture. I studied the technical side of photography for a long time. Learning the different techniques, understanding why something happens and how to achieve a certain look. I was looking closely at other photographers work, trying to understand how and why they got the photo they displayed. This gave me a strong base to professionalize my photography and to find my style and Since 2016 I’m an ambassador for ZEISS, which I’m very proud off.

martijn kort photography aerial amsterdam netherlands holland
Zeiss Milvus 21mm 2.8

Continue reading The manual photographers series part 2: Martijn Kort

Limitations of the electronic shutter function

Introduction

All full frame E-mount cameras (except for the A7r) feature an electronic shutter in addition to the mechanical shutter. While most of them only offer an “electronic first curtain shutter” the A7s(II) and and A7rII even offer a completely silent, purely electronic shutter. But there are unfortunately some limitations you should be aware of.

electronic shutter efcs efc problems comparison sony a7 cameras
Nikon D40 | AF-S 55-200mm 4.0-5.6 | f/5.6

Continue reading Limitations of the electronic shutter function