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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

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Review: Olympus OM Zuiko Auto-T 100mm 1:2

Olympus_Zuiko_100mmf2-1-7

The Olympus OM 100mm 1:2 is by some margin the best manual portrait lens I have used on my Sony a7. Read on if you want to know why.

Specifications

Diameter 72 mm
Length 72 mm
Filter Thread 55 mm
Weight 520 g
Max. Magnification 0.2
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 70 cm
Number of aperture blades 9
Elements/ Groups 7/6, floating elements
The Olympus OM 2/100 usually sells for around $750 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 650 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

olympus_om_zuiko_100mmf2-7

olympus_om_zuiko_100mmf2-48

olympus_om_zuiko_100mmf2-50

Continue reading Review: Olympus OM Zuiko Auto-T 100mm 1:2

The manual photographers series part 1: Dan Noland

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

Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95
Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95, by Leonie Bellé

Hi Dan,
can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to use manual lenses?

D: I’m studying mechanical engineering at the RWTH Aachen. Besides my studies and my work as mechanical designer at a young high tech kickoff of the Fraunhofer ILT Aachen I take photos and make music.

I started with photography about 7 years ago. At this time I owned a Lumix FZ18 – a bridge cam. I was really annoyed by it after some time, it felt like the cam made the photos and not me. There was nothing left for me to do except framing, the auto focus just had its own will and the super zoom made it too easy. To take control of the image I used a lot of Photoshop.

At some point this did not satisfy me anymore. I wanted to create an image, to make the camera do what I wanted it to do. So about 5 years ago I bought a NEX 5N with the 18-55 kit lens. While this combination was no real change to my FZ18, I could also use some old FDs from my dad.

Using the Nex-5n with the old FDs was what I had wanted all along. No more pumping auto focus and no more miss focused images.
I started testing and collecting FDs and I do so til today. Legacy lenses were and are the best compromise between price and performance. Besides some of them do have real unique characteristics.

My 5N accompanied me about 2 or 3 years but I was complaining about bad image quality at low light situations a lot. So I decided that the best thing to do would be to buy an a7 and that’s what I did. It was indeed a boost in lowlight for several reasons.

First the sensor is bigger and therefore it is better at those situations by its own. Second my old FDs were made for fullframe and now I could use their full potential. I owned some f/1.2 and this light boost seemed pretty much insane to me. Til today I’m happy with my A7. I never anticipated to buy an AF lens and I think I never will. I shot a wedding, various model shootings, a band shooting and take everyday footage of my family… of young and wild kids.

Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95
Mitakon 50 0.95, f0.95

I don’t miss any little helper besides the things my A7 already does and the only thing that a A7II could do for me would be the IBIS. Photography has becomea big part of my life and I hope to lift my hobby up to the next level in the future.

Can you give us a look into your camera bag and tell us a little about your gear?

Continue reading The manual photographers series part 1: Dan Noland