The Manual Photographers Series Part 5: Ronny Olsson

Nikkor 16mm f3.5 AI fisheye

 

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

R: Hi, I live in Sweden in a village called Johannishus. I am 45 years old and work as a construction painter. I have a wife and two children, a daughter of 17 years and a son of 21 years. I began to photograph in 2010 when I bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D80, followed by a D90 and D700. Photography is a hobby for me  and I see myself as a beginner, always trying to improve my photography.

My interest in manual focus lenses started when I became interested in Zeiss lenses and their special look: 3D pop, micro contrast and beautiful colors. Later I also bought older manual Nikon lenses, where there are quite a few gems among them.
2014 I went over to Sony E-mount. I liked the size of the body and then all possibilities with different lenses and different adapters.
First I bought a Sony A7 and later Sony A7R II and a Sony Rx1R.

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

Sony A7RII – My main camera that gets used for everything. Aspects I appreciate about it are:

  • Very good image quality
  • High detail reproduction
  • High Dynamic Range
  • Built-in stabilization which works regardless of lens or lens adapter
  • Significantly improved AF function (over A7 )
  • Many programmable buttons
  • Electronic shutter for reduced vibration
  • Silent shooting
  • Very good electronic viewfinder
  • Very good folding screen
  • Solidly built
  • Weather sealed

Overall it is a really good camera to me.

Hint: All images are linked to the higher resolution version on flickr, just click on them.

Sony A7R II + Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8

Sony RX1R

The best 35mm lens ever made in my opinion. Unfortunately it’s attached to a camera with bad AF and bad manual focus. But it still produces amazing images. The awesome bokeh and the smooth rendering are its strengths.

Sony DSC-RX1R

It’s really good for Landscape as well

Sony DSC-RX1R

Sony DSC-RX1R

Lenses  

I have had many MF lenses, mostly Nikon and Zeiss ZF.

Nikon 16mm f3.5 fisheye Ai   A fantastic lens from the good old days that produce good performance also on newer camera bodies with high MP. It has much CA but is fairly easy to fix in PP. I think it is a funny lens 🙂

Sony A7R II + Nikkor 16mm f3.5 AI fisheye
Sony A7R II + Nikkor 16mm f3.5 AI fisheye

Nikon 50mm F1.2 Ai-s: Very fine quality construction, small size and low weight for the speed. Sharp as hell at f/2. The bokeh: either you hate it or you love it.

Nikon 50 1.2 Ai-s

Nikon 135mm f2 Ai-s:

  • Bokeh, buttery and smooth.
  • Good Contrast
  • Sharpness even at f/2
  • Weight: 860g
Nikkor 135mm f/2 Ai-s Vivitar Nikon AT-3/AI Extension Tube 36mm
Nikkor 135mm f/2 Ai-s Vivitar Nikon AT-3/AI Extension Tube 36mm

Nikon 180mm f2.8 Ai-s: One of the best MF lenses from Nikon I think

  • Bokeh
  • Very good center sharpness already at f/2.8
  • Build quality
NIKKOR 180mm f/2.8 ED AI-s
With 36 mm extension tube
NIKKOR 180mm f/2.8 ED AI-s Vivitar Nikon AT-3/AI Extension Tube 36mm
With 36 mm extension tube

Zeiss 21mm f2.8: Fantastic landscape lens…

Sony A7 + Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/21 ZF 2

Sony A7 + Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/21 ZF 2

Zeiss Sonnar 50 1.5 ZM:  A fantastic lens with a very special character

Sony A7 + Zeiss Sonnar 50 1.5 ZM

Zeiss 85mm f1.4: The 85/1.4 Planar is a lens of more talents than it might appear. High brilliance and delicious color rendition along with no distortion make it a fantastic landscape lens, in addition to being a classic portrait focal length with a pleasingly soft rendition at very close range.
Carl Zeiss 1.4/85 ZF

Zeiss 100MP:  My most used lens ever .. there are some drawbacks but overall an awesome lens that delivers beautiful pictures of all kinds

  • Excellent contrast and sharpness from f/2
  • Very pleasant bokeh
  • Build quality
  • Drawback: Maximal reproduction ratio: 1:2
Sony A7 + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 Vivitar Nikon AT-3/AI Extension Tube 12mm
With 12mm extension tube
Sony A7R II + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2
With 36mm extension tube

Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2

Zeiss C/Y “Hollywood” 28mm f2: Really good lens for close-ups. 3D  pop, colors and contrast are great!
Sony A7+ C/Y 28mm F2 Distagon

Zeiss C/Y 35mm F1.4: It has typical Zeiss contrast and color and is a great lens

Sony A7 + C/Y Contax Distagon 35/1.4

Zeiss C/Y 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6: Great lens with high micro-contrast and beautiful colors. It’s sharp to the edges wide-open.

Sony A7R II + Contax 100-300mm F/4.5-5.6 Vario-Sonnar T*

Zeiss Loxia 2.8/21

  • sun stars
  • excellent sharpness at every aperture and distance
  • low chromatic aberrations
  • veiling flare resistance
  • coma across most of the frame
  • high contrast and clarity
  • build quality and handling
  • bokehSony A7R II + Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8

Zeiss Loxia 2/50:

  • build quality
  • very well balanced
  • very enjoyable manual focus
  • very sharp from f/2
  • high contrast
  • nice sun stars

Sony A7R II + Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*

P: Do you have a favorite subject matter?

R: First: Landscape, although I consider myself a beginner at this, it is really fun. I chase the light and compositions and experiment with filters and slower shutter speed.

Sony A7R II + Nikkor 16mm f3.5 AI fisheye

Sony A7 + Nikkor 16mm f3.5 AI fisheye
Sony A7 + Nikkor 16mm f3.5 AI fisheye
Sony DSC-RX1R
Sony DSC-RX1R
Sony A7R II + Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8
Sony A7R II + Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8
Sony A7 + Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/21 ZF 2
Sony A7 + Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/21 ZF 2

Second: Macro pictures of insects and animals and also flowers from time to time

Sony A7R II + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2
Sony A7R II + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2
Sony A7 + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2
Sony A7 + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2
Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2
Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2
Sony A7 + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2
Sony A7 + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2

P: Is there a photographer which has inspired you?

R: I  have no one favorite photographer. There are many talented in portrait and landscape and street etc. One that I really like is Hans Strand.

P: Are there certain characteristics that you look for in a lens?

R: For landscape photographye I look for very good sharpness across the frame stopped down, small size, beautiful sunstars, great flare resistance and high (micro) contrast.

In a portrait lens I would look for decent sharpness in the center, good bokeh.

Do you have a favorite lens at the moment?

R: Probably the Zeiss Loxia 2.8/21.

P: What do you think is the best picture you have taken so far and why?

R: I don’t know; it changes often. I have lots of landscape shot  that I really like and some macro shots but

It’s not my best picture but my best photo buddy who has been with me through my photo career. Thank you my friend Nitro! 🙂 

Sony A7 + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2

P: Can you suggest a lens we should review?

R: Contax ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6  or Nikon 16mm f3.5 fisheye Ai would been fun to get a review on

P: Where can people see more of your images?

R: They can find me on flickr.

 

Previous Interviews

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Ronny Olsson

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22 thoughts on “The Manual Photographers Series Part 5: Ronny Olsson”

  1. Love Nitro! I founded and run a rescue for German Shepherds in Northern California (Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue) and you have taken some amazing shots of him! Thanks for this, your work is phenomenal.

  2. Beautiful and artistic images! A true master of color and composition. A very talented photographer. Much for me to learn from. Thank you for show casing Mr. Olson’s work.

  3. I’ve been following your work lurking on the FM forums for a while. Nice to read a full interview here! Did you take that picture of nitro with the 85mm with manual focus? It’s a really cool shot. I love the landscape pictures of your lofoten trip as well.

    1. Thanks Cédric ! Really appreciated 🙂

      The first jumpshot on Nitro is taken with Nikon D700 + Zeiss 85 1.4 ZF ( MF-lens) wideopen and the last jump shot is taken with
      Sony A7 + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2

  4. Ronny,

    Also from my side: fantastic photos with a kind of serenity – maybe this links you to Hans Strand!

    And to Phillip or Bastian: I could provide the Fisheye Nikkor 3.5/16 ….. in case you should like to play with it.

    Regards,
    Uwe

    1. Thank you Uwe ! Really appreciated 🙂

      Nikkor fisheye 16 f3.5 Ai is att spec lens 🙂
      like it very much .. performance may not be up there among the best new lenses…but I think it get along quite well considering age and then on a 42MP camera .. unless you pixel pip all the time

  5. Superb work Ronny! I love the fact that you also shoot macro. It’s not an easy subject to shoot and excel in. Your work is inspiring.

    I want to get that 100-300 lens next. Looks fantastic! I agree with you on the Loxia 21. Simply awesome and powerful lens.

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