Tag Archives: manual

Review: Minolta MD Zoom 75-150mm 1:4

The Minolta MD 75-150mm f4 was released nearly 40 years ago but still it makes a good argument for a category of lenses which has nearly died out: Zooms with a limited range and slower speed.

Image Samples

You can find most images shown in the review in full resolution in this You can find many of the images shown here in full resolution in this flickr set: Minolta MD Zoom 75-150mm 1:4.. 


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Beginner’s Guide to Manual Lenses on the Sony a7

Okay, everybody is talking about how manual lenses work so well on the Sony a7 series but how does it actually work? And which results can you expect? Read on if you want to know.DSC00720

Manual Lenses on the Sony a7/a7II/a7III

Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28  ~ $250
Olympus OM 2.8/100 ~ $100
 Minolta MC 1.4/50 ~ $60

Why should I use manual lenses?

    • They can be very cheap, you can get a great 1.4/50 lens for $50. For most applications such a lens will give you 90% of the performance of a $1000 Zeiss 1.8/55 FE. For the $1000 you would have to pay for that Zeiss you can buy an excellent set of five lenses from 20 to 300mm.
    • You have a huge choice between thousands of lenses ranging from exotic ones with lots of “character” to some of the very best lenses available.
    • There are 30-year-old primes with better image quality than many modern lenses. Of course progress has happened in recent years but still affordable primes are often sharper than very expensive modern zooms.
    • Old lenses are usually beautifully built from nothing but metal and glass which makes it a joy to handle them. They can last a lot longer than modern lenses which are full of electronics and very complex designs, both of which make them more likely to fail.
    • They also hold their value much better than modern lenses. With some patience you can sell most manual lenses without a loss but with new lenses you can expect to lose 30% in the first year.
    • Manual focusing can be very enjoyable. This certainly depends on application but personally I enjoy working with fully manual lenses a lot more than with any AF lens and I would choose a good manual focus lens over an AF lens (almost) any time. Check out our manual photographers series to read other photographers stories who feel similar about this.
Minolta MD 2/50 ~$25

Why shouldn’t I use manual lenses?

Continue reading Beginner’s Guide to Manual Lenses on the Sony a7

Review: Contax Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 4.5-5.6/100-300

Contax Vario-Sonnar 4.5-5.6/100-300 mounted on my Sony A7III via Novoflex NEX/CONT* adapter and with Novoflex ASTAT-NEX* tripod collar.

The Contax Zeiss 4.5-5.6/100-300 T* MM is a telephoto lens that hit the market in the mid 1990’s. It was also one of the last lenses that were designed for the Contax/Yashica mount. It is rare because it was very expensive in a time when autofocus telephoto lenses were already available. Lets have a closer look at this exotic legend.

Sample Images

Sony A7III | Contax 4.5-5.6/100-300 | full size
Sony A7III | Contax 4.5-5.6/100-300 | full size
Sony A7III | Contax 4.5-5.6/100-300 | full size
Sony A7III | Contax 4.5-5.6/100-300 | full size

Continue reading Review: Contax Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 4.5-5.6/100-300

Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/2.8

Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 

Nikon 35mm f/2.8



The Nikon 35mm f/2.8 (affiliate link) is a relatively small 35 mm  legacy lens. Although it has some weaknesses it is currently one of my favorite lenses. In this review I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this lens.  Most sample pictures can be found in this Flickr album.

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The manual photographers series part 3: Oliver Fecher (aidualk)


Hi Oliver, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you use manual Lenses?”

I am an industrial economist and live near Frankfurt, Germany. Photography has been my hobby for more than 25 years. When I started I was never satisfied with the image quality of analog 35mm film, so I turned to larger formats very soon. Most of my landscape pictures were taken with medium and large format cameras. Of course all lenses were manual focus, so I was accustomed to manual focus from beginning . 😉

With the Sony A900, I switched to digital cameras in 2008 and I was very satisfied with the possibilities of this new medium. At that time, the Sony-Zeiss 24mm SSM lens was my favorite and remained so for many years.

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland – Sony A900, Sony-Zeiss 24mm, f8

The next steps were the A7R in 2013 and, since last year, the A7RII. I switch slowly and flexibly (thanks to the LE-EA Adapter) from A- to E-Mount, also by reason of the fantastic Zeiss primes for E-Mount, lenses which I wanted to have for a very long time 😉 I use AF Lenses too, but for landscape pictures, I use them mostly by manual focus to get the best control of the depth of field. The Sony cameras are perfect for manual focus.

Nightsky over Watzmann – Sony A7R, Samyang 14mm, f4

Continue reading The manual photographers series part 3: Oliver Fecher (aidualk)