Best lenses for Sunstars

sunstar sun sunburst blendenstern diaphragm stroke 10 7 8 14 18
Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 | f/11 | 10 straight blades

The shape and appearance of sunstars is very important for landscape and architecture photographers. For some of them, they are even a defining element in their photos. Sunstars can appear around strong point light sources under certain circumstances, in this article I will talk about how to get them and how certain lenses (being more specific: number and shape of aperture blades) can influence their rendering.

Sample Images

sunstar sun sunburst blendenstern diaphragm stroke 10 7 8 14 18
Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 | f/5.6 | 10 straight blades
sunstar sun sunburst blendenstern diaphragm stroke 10 7 8 14 18
Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0 | f/11 | 10 straight blades
sunstar sun sunburst blendenstern diaphragm stroke 10 7 8 14 18
Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 Distagon | f/11 | 10 straight blades

Continue reading Best lenses for Sunstars

Project: $1500 camera with just one $25 lens for one month – updated

I am a gear head. How do I know? Because I own about a dozen normal lenses.

Usually I enjoy the choice I have but I was asking myself what would happen if I had no choice and could use only one lens for a whole month?  There is only one way to find out and so I decided that I would limit myself to the Minolta MC Rokkor 1:1.7 55mm which is 45-years-old and cost me $25.

When I started the project I was curious how it would affect my photography. I have always progressed the fastest when I was outside of my comfort zone and I expected that this project would give me many experiences outside my comfort zone.

In this post I will recapitulate my experience so far.

Day 1: Black and White

On day one I decided that the lens alone wouldn’t push me outside of my comfort zone enough so I decided to give myself additional challenges each day which would make the project more interesting.

For day one this was photographing in black and white only because color is usually essential for my pictures. I think it worked quite well as did using 55mm for zoo images.

Day 2: Unknown territory

Continue reading Project: $1500 camera with just one $25 lens for one month – updated

Review: Canon FD 85mm 1:1.2 S.S.C. Aspherical

The Canon 1.2/85 is a legend of a lens and in this review I put it’s earliest incarnation to the test on my Sony a7II.

Specifications

Diameter 81 mm
Length 72 mm
Filter Thread 72 mm
Weight 756 g
Max. Magnification 0.1
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 1 m
Number of aperture blades 9
Elements/ Groups 8/6, floating elements
The Canon FD 1.2/85 Aspherical usually sells for around $600 used at ebay.com (affiliate link). 
In Germany you can buy it used for around 650 at ebay.de (affiliate link). 

Image Samples

Continue reading Review: Canon FD 85mm 1:1.2 S.S.C. Aspherical

The manual photographers series part 4: sebboh

Sony A7 | Carl Zeiss Contax 35mm f/1.4 Distagon | f/1.4 | My crazy eye

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

S: I’m a neuroscience researcher from Portland, OR. Photography has been a hobby for most of my life and I shot with my father’s manual focus film camera (Minolta XE-5) when I was a kid. I wanted something smaller when I went to college and switched to the tiniest point and shoot I could find (still film). I was pretty happy with that way of shooting for a number of years till I became afflicted with the desire to take pictures of birds. That led me into DSLRs (Olympus and Nikon). This was my first experience of AF without the giant dof of a p&s and I quickly became extremely aggravated by the inability to get focus where I wanted it easily. Landscape shots were often ruined by miss focus that I didn’t detect till after the fact and shooting people moving seemed nearly impossible if dof was small. I found I got more consistent results with my old Minolta lenses as well as having a more enjoyable experience of fuller control of my images.

Being able to zone focus or use the infinity stop for landscape and street shots drastically improved my hit rate and speed. Focusing on moving targets was slower than AF, but I had a lot fewer misses and a lot more decisive moment catches. With only a meager number of old lenses from my father, I looked around ebay and discovered that manual focus lenses offered much cheaper ways to get long focal length or high speed lenses. I began experimenting with all the different lenses I could get cheaply and found many had very distinctive looks that I preferred for one type of shot or another. Unfortunately, this has led to me having far more lenses than are necessary, many of which are seldom used except for special circumstances.

one of those days
Sony NEX-7 | Carl Zeiss Contax G 28mm f/2.8 Biogon | f/2.8 | One of those days

Continue reading The manual photographers series part 4: sebboh

Review: Techart Pro Leica M Sony E Autofocus Adapter

A manual lens needs to be focused manually? Think again! The Techart LM-EA7 turns about any manual lens into an AF lens. For the extended explanation and an in-depth assessment check out this post.

Specifications

Weight 133 g
Mount M-mount
Extension 4.5 mm
Weight limit lens 700 g
Compatible cameras Sony a7rII, a7ii, a6300, a6500

*update*
Please read this thread over at FM carefully. It seems that there is a design fault which will eventually lead some wobble of the adapted lens. Until this issue is fixed by Techart I would advise against buying the LM-EA7.

The Techart PRO LM-EA7 sell for $379 at amazon.com* or ebay.com*. In Germany you can buy it at ebay.de* for 449€.

*=Affiliate Link

Continue reading Review: Techart Pro Leica M Sony E Autofocus Adapter

Manual Lenses | Sony Alpha