LensTalk Episode 3: Megapixel shame

You should find us on itunes and Apple podcasts now.


  • David
  • Jannik
  • Phillip


  • Do we need lenses like APO summicron L for Sony, ie no holds barred f2 AF primes?
  • Sony a7rIV or why Phillip should get a new camera
  • A photographic project for Phillip
  • Lenses that have exited us or would excite us
  • What new lenses to expect from Zeiss, Sony and Cosina


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I have two hobbies: Photography and photographic gear. Both are related only to a small degree.

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16 thoughts on “LensTalk Episode 3: Megapixel shame”

  1. It was fun to listen, guys. thanks. As a technology editor, semi-pro computer equipment reviewer, I can definitely recommend using higher resolution monitors. I believe it should be most prioritized, and the other upgrades could follow if you need some faster processing time.

  2. Great episode guys! I think this is such a great way to complement the written articles. Please don’t end up in YouTube oblivion 😉

  3. Always a pleasure to hear other photography geeks desperately obsessing about the same things I -and certainly many others- do 🙂 The German accent adds a great extra bit of dramatic flair, lol.

    The dilemmas regarding which lenses to bring on a trip, when you’ve already acquired too many to put them all in your bag, is a classic, that’s for sure, lol. We’ve all been there.

    It’s impossible to anticipate what you’ll encounter and which lenses you’ll “ideally” need, and you’ll always fall short in some aspect. That’s just the richness of life 🙂 Every trip is a “one in a life time”; you’ll never encounter the same light, weather, people, situations, etc., even upon returning many times.
    Ultimately situations and contingency will end up deciding for you in many cases, and all one can do, unless you go for a very tightly planned trip just based on a list of specific locations, is always stay open to life surprising you and be ready to step up to the challenge. I’d say that’s the essence of traveling, to go and enjoy that beautiful challenge and experience of otherness… with whatever lens is mounted on your camera.

    Thinking about the landscapes you will encounter in Vietnam, I would go for 2 wide lenses and 1 or 2 telephotos. I think the Voigtlander Heliar 15mm f/4.5 is an excellent choice with great performance, more than enough resolution, contrast and attractive rendering. I absolutely love the 25mm Loxia, which is just a fabulous lens, very hard to beat in my opinion, and it would also be good choice for astro. I shot almost my entire trip to Mexico last year with it (https://www.flickr.com/photos/163901053@N06/)

    As for a 35mm, I would love there to be a Nokton 1.4 in the league of the 21mm f/1.4 Nokton, or an Apo Lanthar 35mm f/2, but with the 25mm I don’t reach too often for my 35-70 C/Y Vario-Sonnar, so although it’s a practical and compact, it doesn’t get much use, especially towards the normal-ish focal lengths. I frankly hope -and pardon my french- Zeiss gets its head out of its xss, and delivers a Loxia version of the ZM Distagon 35mm f/1.4 for E-mount, but, yeah, not holding my breath there. At this rate, it’s more likely that Voigtlander will deliver an Apo Lanthar 35mm f/2 well before Zeiss even wakes up from their ZX1 nightmare. If they are indeed secretly working on a compact Otus grade line-up for E-mount, I’ll almost forgive them. Anyhow.

    Having mentioned the 21mm f/1.4 Nokton, I believe it’s a really versatile and high performing option for wide angle shots, landscapes, astro, low-light situations, etc., and right there in between a 25 and a 15. If you run into temples the size of Borobudur or Prambanan in Jogyakarta, or mount Mrappi, you’ll still be better off with the 15mm and a complementary 25mm.

    I would love there to be a 75mm f/1.5 Nokton for E-mount, it’s a very compact and versatile lens, but in its absence, I would go for a compact 85mm, like the 85mm f/4 ZM Tele-tessar, or the 85mm f/2.8 C/Y Sonnar (or even the Sonnar C/Y 100mm f/3.5). I would also consider the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Apo Lanthar for a an exceptional and versatile short tele with additional macro capabilities, but it can get heavy. Anything longer than the 110mm Apo Lanthar, would receive little use compared to the wider lenses, so I’d be split between a good 85mm prime (including the Loxia), a 100mm prime, a 100-400 zoom or just an 85mm. I love the rendering of my 100-300 Vario-Sonnar, and it’s plenty sharp for landscape, probably better than the Sony below 200mm. It’s quite compact for what it is, but still a1kg with adapter, and not easy without access IBIS to help you out.

    Personally, thinking of Vietnam, I would go for the 15mm Heliar and the 21mm Nokton or 25mm Loxia (both allow quite a bit of cropping) on the wide end, and for a 65mm Apo Lanthar or Loxia 85mm on the longer end. Lenses aside, I bet you’ll enjoy the lovely people, the richness of Asian culture, the delicious and fresh food, and a sound and safe distance from gute alte Deutschland 😉


  4. great session, as always, lots of interesting insights.

    i can definetly connect to phillips discontent about photographic opportunities/inspiration, as here in germany winter has been mostly boring so far (i.e. no snow).

    Generally i wonder how you guys keep inspired/motivated for your photography hobby (i’m not talking about the photogear hobby ;-)) at times when you can’t look forward to a trip/holidays.
    There already are articles on the blog that are really inspiring in this regard (https://phillipreeve.net/blog/photography/), so i’d be thrilled if you’d share, should any of the ideas you mentioned become a reality.

    I myself picked up a Ricoh GRii to carry with me at all times, so i hope this adds a twist to the way i shoot (although street is not really something i enjoy)

    1. You are right, winter in cities can be dull, but Germany is a relatively small country with tons of fabulous and inspiring places at accesible reach. I wouldn’t wish city life in winter on anyone here in America on the East coast, unless you’re in New York, Philly, or maybe Boston.

      I lived in Bielefeld for a few years, long before picking up photography -I always enjoy Phillip’s wonderful and romantic shots of the Sparrenburg, the Johannisberg, the woods and the good old Bürgerwache- and have great memories from grabbing the train on weekends with the Schönes Wochenende ticket for €35, which allowed you to take all train combinations you wanted within the Die Bahn system -except fast trains- during the whole weekend. There’s a ton to see and do in Nordrhein Westfalen, and one day I’ll have to return to put it in pictures. The fact that one can be in the Amsterdam in 3 hours or less from Bielefeld, is another great thing, and on the way you have Hamm, Wuppertal, Düsseldorf and Köln, just to mention the more known destinations.

      One can of course always grab a myriad of flights to the Mediterranean or the Aegean for a bit better temperatures, and which are much shorter flights -and more affordable- than from over here to the West coast, or the gorgeous landscapes of New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada or Washington state. In other words, I would much rather be in Germany than in DC for winter.


      1. Ha! I always crave for the photographic opportunities in the US. I’ve visited most of the NP in western USA several years ago, but my photoequipment/skill has improved vastly since then, so i can’t wait to visit again, unfortunatly it’s not gonna happen any time soon.

  5. great episode guys.

    talking about megapixels, my need is exactly what David said – perspective correction. 42mp is obviously enough.

    and really what is zeiss doing? no new lenses at all.

  6. My UWA suggestion would be the Samyang 18mm F2.8 AF.
    Very light, very small, very affordable, sharp (at least on my A7III 😉 … ) and nice sunstars.
    I use it to complement my 24GM, as I use it much less than 24mm and Batis type money would not be justified for the focal length for me.


  7. Hello Jannik,
    wouldn’t be the Tamron 17-28 an ultra-wide to consider?
    Lightweight, versatile, useful for astro…
    The 24 gm would stay at home then and the next lenses would be a 35mm (45mm) and a 85mm.
    Or the Samyang 18mm in combination with the 24 as Felix recommended?!

  8. Hi Phillip, I’ve been chasing your pictures pretty much from the start. In my view, the quality of your pictures will only magically improve with a new camera with more megapixels. A user of manual lenses is particularly favored by the improved viewfinder and the new shutter for an A7RIV. I only switched from the II series after I was able to convince myself of the quality of the viewfinder.
    In my opinion, the A7RIII is even less suitable for manual lenses because the fine grissel does not appear on the sharp edges.

    1. Actually I tried both the a7rIII and a7rIV last week in a bad lighting situation and while i found the EVF to be more enjoyable I didn‘t find it easier to focus with it. Was too little time for a comprehensive test but for now I will wait for the a7IV before making a purchasing decision.

      1. I think this will be a good idea. But the grey market A7RIV is at 2600.-€ so the new A7IV get in the beginning at this price level.

  9. Hey guys, great new episode! Interesting comments on the Leica SL lenses; the MTF charts are indeed fantastic, but of course the performance has to make practical sense, especially at that price.

    I think the SL Apo Summicron lenses make a lot of sense for landscape, and I have for example bought the 3 Voigtlander Apo Lanthars with that use in mind, and they very much deliver. I would love to have the performance of the 35mm f/2 SL Apo Summicron, despite the 750gr. It’s still 300gr less than any of the Sigma Art lenses. Build quality and copy variation is of course in another league, lol. The biggest problem is the 5k + price tag, and even if the SL 2 at 6k isn’t as expensive as other Leica cameras, I’d rather take advantage of the Leica M10 monochrome sensor with the Apo Summicron lenses. Anyhow, way beyond my budget, so just dreaming, lol.

    One possible and interesting alternative to shoot these lenses without paying for a Leica SL, would be to wait for the announced Sigma 61MP full frame Foveon sensor camera with L-mount, and rent the SL lenses. This is of course if Sigma doesn’t screw it up again, like with the SD1 Merrill that launched at 10k, and when nobody bought it, was relaunched at 2k, lol. The other cool thing is that Leica (and Novoflex) has a SL to M-mount adapter, opening up such a Foveon camera camera to Voigtlander and Zeiss M-mount lenses.

    The Foveon sensor isn’t good in low light, but has proven to offer great monochrome performance and color images at base ISO, like the Sigma sd Quattro H. I hope their 61MP Foveon sensor camera will maintain the Quattro cameras’ focus on still photography, and not include a bunch of video features to keep down the price, and that it will have as good a build quality. Another very cool feature would be to have the native 21:9 aspect ratio of the Quattro cameras for interesting panoramas. This is something I believe Sony could offer via firmware. Do you guys know anything about that? It is obviously not a replacement for a true panoramic camera, but without any alternatives than getting an 8k used Hasselblad XPan film camera, it’s a little something.

    Sorry for the comment on non-Sony platform based gear, but I think this might be an interesting camera for M-mount manual focus lenses, and SL lenses. I wonder what you guys think and if you have any experience with Foveon sensor technology?

    Thanks again for the cool and nerdy show 🙂

    Have a good one!

  10. I like your podcasts, I listen to them when I sit in the car on the way to work and back home. Very entertaining and informative. I am a beginner and just one year into photography. Interesting to know that Cosina makes certain Zeiss lenses, for example.

    Just a few months ago, my father gave me his old Minolta camera asking me if I had any use for it. First I thought no, then I realized I could use the lens, a Minolta AF 35mm f2 as a manual lens on a cheap A- to E-mount adapter (I wasn’t aware about the Sony/Minolta relationship at that time). This is a really nice lens, I think it is not mentioned anywhere on this site.

    This is how I found your site actually, looking for information on manual focus lenses for E-mount. Great work, thank you!

  11. Could you get the podcast added to Spotify? I want to listen to this while out and at 1.7x 😀

    Cheers, I really love your work. You’re extremely thorough and your site is very informative. I’ve learned so much. You could actually do a photography course/tips rather than only hardware talk.

    1. As they are from a long time ago and the topics might even be a bit outdated I would rather not.
      If we decide/manage to make new ones I will also add them to Spotify.

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