Review: Zeiss Loxia Planar 2/50 T*

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The Zeiss Loxia Planar 2/50 offers all the benefits of manual lens: a great focusing ring, very solid build quality and a small size but it gets rid of most disadvantages like outdated coatings, adapters and you get full exif info.
09/07/17 Update by Bastian: I have just recently been looking for a fast standard lens to use for Milkyway stitching (see this article) and compared this lens and the Sony FE 55mm 1.8 side by side. Therefore I added a few bits from these comparisons.

A German version of this review can be found on phillipreeve.de.

Sample Images

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Zeiss Loxia 2/50 | Sony a7 | f/2 | full resolution
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Zeiss Loxia 2/50 | Sony a7 | f/2 | full resolution

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Zeiss Loxia 2/50 | Sony a7 | f/2

Continue reading Review: Zeiss Loxia Planar 2/50 T*

Review: Sony FE 1.8/85

Introduction

We are happy to see that Sony keeps expanding it’s budget lens lineup. Especially the Sony FE 2/28 reflects a great value for the price, we also liked the Sony 2.8/50 Macro. The Sony FE 1.8/85 is the latest addition to it.

On the paper, the lens seems to hit a sweet spot between cost, brightness, size and weight. Let’s check if the lens can also deliver optically.

Sample Images

Sony A6500 | Sony FE 1.8/85 | f/2.8 | full resolution
Sony A7 II | Sony FE 1.8/85 | f/9 | full resolution
Sony A7 II | Sony FE 1.8/85 | f/1.8 | full resolution

Continue reading Review: Sony FE 1.8/85

4 tips to improve your Astrophotography

Introduction

astrophotography improve panorama sony a7 natural night didymium filter stacking exposure tracker guided guiding
Sony A7s | Voigtlander 35mm 1.7 + 5m PCX OptoSigma + NiSi Natural Night filter | panorama from 5 shots

The shot above can be found in higher resolution here.

With the increased High ISO capabilities of even entry level cameras astrophotography has become available to almost anyone. But if you want your files to show low noise and high dynamic range – or you want to print big – it might be worthwhile using some of the techniques I am going to show you in this article.

Continue reading 4 tips to improve your Astrophotography

Extension Tubes for Fullframe E-mount cameras

Introduction

Kenko and Fotodiox Pro extension tubes emount e-mount macro makro zwischenring extension ring full frame fullframe fe
Kenko and Fotodiox Pro extension tubes

I do own a macro lens (Sigma 150mm 2.8) that I use for most of my product shots on this blog, but I rarely take it out for shooting as it is quite bulky and heavy. Nevertheless I like to take a close up shot from time to time so I decided to try out the Kenko and Fotodiox Pro extension tubes, to turn my Loxia 85mm 2.4 into a macro lens.

Sample Images

extension tube kenko fotodiox pro ring zwischenring loxia zeiss carl 85mm 2.4 10 16 26
Sony A7rII | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/2.4 | 16mm Kenko Extension tube
extension tube kenko fotodiox pro ring zwischenring loxia zeiss carl 85mm 2.4 10 16 26
Sony A7rII | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/4.0 | 10+16mm Kenko Extension tube
extension tube kenko fotodiox pro ring zwischenring loxia zeiss carl 85mm 2.4 10 16 26
Sony A7rII | Zeiss Loxia 85mm 2.4 | f/2.4 | 16mm Kenko Extension tube

Continue reading Extension Tubes for Fullframe E-mount cameras

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: Nikon Nikkor-H 50mm 2.0 RF

Introduction

nikon h nikkor rangefinder nikkor-h 50mm 2.0 rf sony a7 a7rii
Sony A7rII + Voigtlander VM-E close focus adapter + Nikon Nikkor-H 50mm 2.0 RF

This review covers the Nikkor-H 50mm 2.0 rangefinder lens, it may be a stop slower than its faster f/1.4 brother but shares the same great build quality. Might this be the better Nikkor 50mm rangefinder lens in the end? Read on to find out!

Sample Images

nikon h nikkor rangefinder nikkor-h 50mm 2.0 rf sony a7 a7rii bokeh oof out of focus
Sony A7rII | Nikon Nikkor-H 50mm 2.0 | f/2.0
nikon h nikkor rangefinder nikkor-h 50mm 2.0 rf sony a7 a7rii bokeh oof out of focus
Sony A7rII | Nikon Nikkor-H 50mm 2.0 | f/2.0
nikon h nikkor rangefinder nikkor-h 50mm 2.0 rf sony a7 a7rii bokeh oof out of focus
Sony A7rII | Nikon Nikkor-H 50mm 2.0 | f/4.0

Continue reading Review: Nikon Nikkor-H 50mm 2.0 RF

Making of series part 3: “Milky Valley” with Voigtlander 1.7/35

milky way astro astrophotography twan dark night stars milchstraße valley dolomites italy sony a7s voigtlander 35mm 1,7 asph ultron
Sony A7s | Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 Ultron + 5m PCX filter | f/1.7 | higher resolution

For decent Milky Way shots you need really good conditions – which don’t come often – and a good location. Regarding the latter I decided to go for the Dolomites in Italy, so I followed the weather forecast for quite some time and one weekend the conditions were finally said to be what I needed, so I decided to go there and challenge my luck…

In the Bag

As I wasn’t bound by airline carry on restrictions this time I brought a little more gear than usual. For astrophotography I carried my trustworthy Mindshiftgear rotation 180 panorama* backpack. In the belt comparment I was carrying my A7s, Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8, Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 + 5m filter and my Samyang 14mm 2.8. I also carried a very sturdy Gitzo Series 4 tripod and of course a remote trigger.

Continue reading Making of series part 3: “Milky Valley” with Voigtlander 1.7/35

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: Voigtlander 180mm 4.0 SL APO Lanthar

Introduction

Sony A7rII with Voigtlander SL 180mm 4.0 APO-Lanthar via Rayqual Nikon to Sony adapter review sharpness bokeh
Sony A7rII with Voigtlander SL 180mm 4.0 APO-Lanthar via Rayqual Nikon to Sony adapter

The Voigtlander 180mm 4.0 SL APO-Lanthar has become quite famous for its small size coupled with good optics, but unfortunately also for being a rare and expensive collector’s item. So does it make sense getting one for actually taking photos with it? Find out in this review…

Sample Images

voigtlander 180mm 4.0 apo lanthar sl sony a7 a7rii a7r2 a7rm2 review tele 200mm sharpness bokeh portrait
Sony A7rII | Voigtlander 180mm 4.0 APO Lanthar | f/4.0
voigtlander 180mm 4.0 apo lanthar sl sony a7 a7rii a7r2 a7rm2 review tele 200mm sharpness bokeh
Sony A7rII | Voigtlander 180mm 4.0 APO Lanthar | f/4.0
voigtlander 180mm 4.0 apo lanthar sl sony a7 a7rii a7r2 a7rm2 review tele 200mm sharpness architecture sunstar
Sony A7rII | Voigtlander 180mm 4.0 APO Lanthar | f/11

Continue reading Review: Voigtlander 180mm 4.0 SL APO Lanthar

Tuning adapters for infinity focus and reflections – How To

Since a few people asked this is a short how-to on how I tune my adapters. As you will notice I am far from a perfectionist but so far my method has worked well for me and I think it could solve issues for some of you as well.

Correcting Infinity Focus

The Issue

Most adapters, not only the cheap ones, are a bit too short. This means that the markings on your lens are off and you can focus your lens behind infinity so the infinity hard stop of your lens won’t work. It makes sense for adapter manufacturers to make their adapters a bit too short because your Sony’s flange focal distance varies a bit and so does lens calibration. If their adapters were exactly as thick as specified there would be quite a few cases were people couldn’t focus at infinity which is way more annoying than a focus scale which is a little off.

But a too short adapter can also have negative impact on the image quality if you use a lens with floating elements. Especially with fast wide angle lenses you can get serious field curvature issues as many users of the Metabones Canon EF adapters have found out.

The lens is focused as infinity but the focus scale is way off because the adapter is too short

Continue reading Tuning adapters for infinity focus and reflections – How To

Manual Lenses | Sony Alpha