Gear Rationalisation - Sony A7 II now 'AF Free!'

Gear Rationalisation - Sony A7 II now 'AF Free!'
'But I certainly enjoyed using the A7 II yesterday with the Nikons. The focus peaking and whole manual focus facility in the camera is really good and very user friendly. (Unlike some other manufacturers efforts!!) and it's also really quick as well. The Nikon 20mm, the lens I used the most, is actually a pretty light (for a 'FF' DSLR) lens (355g) and that's one of the reasons I like using it. Because paired with my MF Series E 100mm, it makes a combination that gives me a nice wide and moderate telephoto option, without weighting me down.'
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Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA for Fuji X cameras -X-T1 + NIKON 20mm f/1.8G and 100mm Series E f/2.8 lenses

Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA for Fuji X cameras -X-T1 + NIKON 20mm f/1.8G and 100mm Series E f/2.8 lenses
'Now I don't know what caused it, the adapter, the lenses or my increasing the saturation on the classic chrome jpgs. I shot, but I really like this set of images. Grey dull light, but keeping the aperture wide has produced a very other worldly set of images. So an interesting and creative start to my work with the Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA. Camera was the X-T1 and because of the 'fast' lenses and adapter, everything was at ISO 200. '
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Leica T (Typ 701) and Nikon lenses

Leica T (Typ 701) and Nikon lenses
'Thanks to my Novoflex adapter, I can now use my Nikon lenses on my Leica T. This gives me a lot more options and adds that adapter / alternative / legacy lens dimension to the system. Which is of course how most Mirrorless interchangeable systems have to start off. Leica have the advantage that you can use M mount lenses on the Leica T, which fits the form and size of the camera. '
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The Film SLR lookalikes - Fuji X-T1 + 18-135mm zoom. Sony A7s Nikon 28-200mm zoom, Olympus OM-D E-M10 Nikon 100mm f/2.8 - three days of shooting

The Film SLR lookalikes - Fuji X-T1 + 18-135mm zoom. Sony A7s Nikon 28-200mm zoom, Olympus OM-D E-M10 Nikon 100mm f/2.8 - three days of shooting
'Mirrorlesson fashions have dictated that 'lookaleicas' are on the way out and film SLS type designs are very much the order of the day. The Fuji X-T1, Olympus OM-D E-M10 and Sony A7s are examples of this. I've just had three days shooting with each and here's some pictures plus some comments on my experiences with each.'
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WHAT THE SONY A7s OFFERS IN GOOD AND BAD LIGHT

WHAT THE SONY A7s OFFERS IN GOOD AND BAD LIGHT
"It's always struck me that mirrorless is a choice, in the main, for those who take their photography seriously and are interested in more than snapshots. And the A7s is a VERY serious camera. For me, it's the best all-round camera I've ever bought and used and it's the first camera I've never felt in some way inhibited by. I really do feel that I can go anywhere and shoot anything with it. It's a strange feeling, but I must say I think it's going to be addictive. "
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SHOOTING STOCK - Olympus OM-D E-M10 - MF Voigtlander and Nikon Lenses - Nokia Lumia 1020 Smartphone.

SHOOTING STOCK - Olympus OM-D E-M10 - MF Voigtlander and Nikon Lenses - Nokia Lumia 1020 Smartphone.
"Above are three versions of the main house. One shot on the Olympus and two on my Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone. These days I always shoot something I can process later to create a flltered 'smartphone' type image. The bottom shot above was sent from my phone to Instagram using the filters in the app. Doing this gives me three distinct 'looks'."
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Leica T and Nikon Df - Chalk and cheese? The magic is in the name.

Leica T and Nikon Df - Chalk and cheese? The magic is in the name.

The last two cameras I've bought show a radically different approach to how to put together a small(ish) camera to compete against the mirrorless offerings from companies like Sony, Panasonic and Olympus. Now Canon seem to be letting this pass by. Yes I know they released the EOS-M. (which kind of proves my point!! ) So what do we have here from Nikon and Leica? Two of the most iconic names in photographic gear.

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The Nikon Df image quality - welcome to wonderland!

The Nikon Df image quality - welcome to wonderland!

Everything you might have read about the sensor in the Nikon D4 and Df is true. It is an amazing sensor and rightly deserves it's reputation. The above images was shot in a dark antiques shop at ISO 3200 and it's super clean with virtually no noise, either luminance or colour. Yes there is some but you have to look very closely to see it. Even then this is comparable to what many other cameras produce at around ISO 400. There is no problem whatsoever in printing this file very big or sending it to picture libraries. It is absolutely superb. This is something like a 2 stop advantage over anything else I've used. Plus other files get rid of the noise, but the detail disappears, not so with the Df.

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Nikon Df - Overpriced plaything or serious camera?

Nikon Df - Overpriced plaything or serious camera?

I've had some mixed feelings about this camera. I got all excited when Nikon were teasing it, but when it finally appeared I was somewhat disappointed. By the look and it's knobfest appearance and mostly by the price. However I always had it in the back of my mind that I would end up with one at some point. Reviews were mixed, but mainly focusing on the negatives.

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The Sony A7 - useful or just a budget A7r?

I have to admit I've had four attempts at selling my A7 on ebay. Once I couldn't get what I wanted for it but the other three times I've removed it from sale and decided I wanted to keep it. So what does that prove? Well I guess it proves that it has something to offer me.

Firstly the differences between the A7 and A7r as outlined by Dpreview.


The a7 and a7R are identical in terms of physical design, with the main differences being the sensor and autofocus system. The a7 features a full-frame 24 megapixel CMOS, while the a7R has a 36 megapixel CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter. The a7 uses a Hybrid AF system (with on-chip phase detection) similar to the one found on the NEX-6, while the a7R has traditional contrast detection. The a7 is also capable of electronic first curtain mode, which allows for a quieter shutter, and reduces the potential for 'shutter shock' vibration; this is absent from the a7R. Both cameras use Sony's latest Bionz X processor and also have XGA electronic viewfinders, tilting LCDs, Wi-Fi, and weatherproof bodies that resemble that of the Olympus E-M1.

Here's a quick summary of the differences between the a7 and a7R:
a7 a7R
MSRP (body only) $1699 $2299
Sensor 24.3 megapixel 36.3 megapixel
Optical low-pass filter Yes No
AF system Hybrid AF Contrast detect
Front panel construction Composite Magnesium alloy
Electronic first curtain Yes No
Continuous shooting 5 fps 4 fps
Flash x-sync 1/250 sec 1/160 sec
Weight (loaded) 474 g 465 g

In reality I can't discern any difference in terms of build quality, I can't say I've noticed much difference in terms of AF speed and at high ISO's the cameras are VERY similar. The A7 shutter is quieter however. 

So cheaper and less pixels basically.

Now the A7 takes a decent picture.




And turns out decent video footage.


And in terms of the other options out there it's pretty impressive in terms of image quality. The best two cameras I've ever owned for that are the A7r in first place and the Nikon D800E second. But I'd have no hesitation in putting the A7 in third place. In fact I often upsize my A7 files to 36MP, the same as the A7r and I find it very difficult to spot the difference. Looking back through what I've shot with both cameras I've also found that I've shot just as much with the A7 as with the A7r.

So it seems that I'm using it as a backup / alternative camera to the A7r and buying it was cheaper than getting two A7r's. There is also the fact that with it's AA filter it will be more suitable for certain subjects, though that's not something I especially notice. 

What happens to it when the A7s is released is difficult to assess, since that and the A7r would make a very useful pair of cameras with a wide range of options and uses between them, leaving the A7 somewhat in the middle as neither one thing or the other. But then I think that is unfair. It IS obviously a useful camera for me, just from the amount I use it and when compared to what might be considered it's competitors in the 24MP 35mm film sized sensor market, of which there aren't many to be honest, in terms of IQ it's arguably the best. It's certainly better, in my opinion, for that than the Nikon D600 I had for my purposes, though the Nikon is probably better at high ISO's. 

So it is a good camera, it does have it's own niche and it does what I ask of it. It may not quite have the ability to produce files quite as impressive as those from the A7r, but it's a very capable camera in it's own right. And yes, for me, it suffers from the same operational and design deficiencies that I identify in the FE cameras, but then that's just me being picky and my particularly quirky approach to cameras shouldn't put anyone else off considering it. 

If you can live with the lens void and you aren't planning on sneaking up on anyone to take their picture anytime soon (because it's quieter than the A7r but still has a noisy shutter) then it could be a camera to consider if you are looking for high quality files in a smaller lighter package than a DSLR. I imagine mine will be on the shelf for a while now, since I've decided not to sell it. (At least for the foreseeable future. Which in my case means I should still have it tomorrow morning. Though don't bet your mortgage on it!!) 


 
All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  

Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are just that, opinions. What is written here is at no time intended as a recommendation or otherwise of photographic gear or practice. This is a personal blog written 'in the moment' and is primarily intended as an entertainment. I would also point out that this is not a review site and not intended to be so and the Google+ groups where you can post comments are not forums. I am the sole moderator and I will remove any post (and poster) if I think fit. 
 
Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.








Sony A7r - Full Circle - Manual Focus Nikon fit lenses.


Someone on Google+ wrote about the Sony FE cameras being the best ever for using adapted lenses and I can't argue with that. Apart from some W/A m-mount lenses, 1000's of lenses of all kinds can benefit from the 36MP and 24MP sensors of the A7 and A7r. And yesterday I took out my A7r plus Voigtlander 20mm and Nikon Series E 100mm. 

Upon my return and looking at the files two things became obvious. Firstly despite my liking for m4/3 and Fuji X cameras and lenses the A7r is significantly better in image quality. Sharpness, Dynamic range, colour depth, you name it it's better. And secondly despite the fact that it has fungus growing inside it and it's battered and years old my 100mm f/2.8 Series E Nikon lens is still sharper than the Sony 28-70mm FE zoom and you can only imagine just how much better my Voigtlander 20mm is than that pretty mediocre zoom. Not using these MF lenses on the A7r for a while made me forget just what extraordinary quality they can produce.

I am seriously considering the Sony / Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 but I'm not sure it would be any better than the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm SL II which is suddenly looking very attractive. 

It's always mystified me that A7 and A7r owners looking for high quality, old school, manual focus metal lenses with aperture rings, made to exacting standards both mechanically and optically haven't cleaned out the world stocks of these Voigtlander SLR lenses instead of continually putting up with the vignetting and colour casts of wide m-mount lenses. Just to repeat again my Voigtlander Color-Skopar 20mm f/3.5 ASPH SL-II has none of these problems and is pin sharp. 

So this is one way to use the A7r's fabulous sensor, use it with MF lenses. And when I have the time, as I did yesterday, to manually focus my images and get them right then that's what I will use. This is indeed full circle because that's what I did when I first bought the A7r and it's what I seem to be be coming back to. The Sony FE's don't work as system cameras, simply because there is no system as yet, but they do work as vehicles for high quality lenses designed for 35mm SLR film cameras lenses. And for that they work very well indeed on the FE's, with focus peaking and their excellent EVF's. 

This Sony FE three camera range may be the precursor to something different and / or better, a blind alley or the early days of an incredible system, who knows, but rather than get rid of the two I have currently it strikes me that I really should get the best of them in terms of a collection of the best quality images I have yet produced with a digital camera. And whining about what might have been instead of embracing what they are capable of, strikes me as a waste of time and from this post onwards I shall cease doing that. Well until the next time I fancy a whinge that is!! 

All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  

Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are just that, opinions. What is written here is at no time intended as a recommendation or otherwise of photographic gear or practice. This is a personal blog written 'in the moment' and is primarily intended as an entertainment. I would also point out that this is not a review site and not intended to be so and the Google+ groups where you can post comments are not forums. I am the sole moderator and I will remove any post (and poster) if I think fit. 

 
Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.










Manual Focus with Wi-Fi - Panasonic GM1 Nikon Series E 100mm - iPad tethered

For all my posts on the Panasonic GM1 - CLICK HERE




The Nikon Series E 100mm f/2.8 lens I have isn't the sharpest I own. In fact it's got stuff growing inside it! However under the right circumstances and at the right apertures it produces nice results. Even nicer when mounted on a tripod and focused manually using the iPad screen with focus peaking and triggered remotely. This is better than using either the live view screen or the EVF as the image is larger and clearer. The above outfit is so light that I carry it around in one hand with the iPad in my other and can position it, frame the shot and take the picture or shoot the video very easily. So not only is this useful technology, it's useful light technology. 







I've uploaded the images to the blog slightly larger than usual so you see that they are actually quite crisp. I used f/11 mostly which of course means slow shutter speeds at ISO 125 which these are shot at. However using my 3-legged image stabilisation aid, my tripod, the GM1's electronic shutter and triggering that shutter from my iPad any source of camera shake, movement and vibration is completely eliminated. 

Somebody mentioned in a Google+ comment that this is a bit like using a view camera with a large glass screen. And in a lot of ways, even with all the technology involved it is. I must admit I'm becoming quite addicted to seeing the image so large and clear on my iPad screen. It allows me to see both the point of focus and the depth of field I'm getting at the selected aperture better than either screen or EVF. Plus the fact that I'm physically detached from the camera and able to make adjustments is an added bonus. The camera doesn't move so again the whole process is advantageous to producing sharp images.


Shooting video there are advantages also. The footage above is exactly what came off the camera. Completely unedited. I haven't even trimmed the clips at the beginning or the end because there is no vibration caused when pressing the video button. Some of this is shot wide open on the Nikon and as you can see it's slightly soft. I could come up with some BS about how it's 'dreamy' and has a certain quality I like blah blah..... But it's just soft. However the last two clips are shot with the lens stopped down and they are sharper. Plus with a bit of editing and some added contrast to compensate for the flat light, the lens would be capable of some decent results.

Now all of this very small camera, tripod, wi-fi, iPad stuff is completely unexpected. I can't say I was planning this and only tried it out for the first time a couple of days ago. I also can't say I was expecting much, but I've been very pleased with how it has turned out. Apart from anything else it's helping me produce stills and video that requires a lot less editing than my hand-held stuff. The large iPad image makes it very clear whether an image is decently composed, focused correctly and with the appropriate depth of field setting. The Panasonic image app is also so good and so clear and easy to use that it's a further help to the process.  

I certainly would have never thought that this small camera could be so versatile and produce such pleasing results. As I wrote yesterday I've decided to keep it for a while at least and have just ordered some more batteries for it. 

So I have in essence a portable tethered system. One that I can carry around when walking short distances and be able to get superb results from stills and video. And I have the choice of the GM1 or GX7 cameras to do this with. I only have three AF lenses for the cameras currently - Olympus 17mm f/1.8, 45mm f/1.8 and Panasonic 12-32mm and these are all small and light as well. Now I'm in no hurry to rush out and buy more lenses because I'm getting some great results from those. 

Finally all of this does bring home to me that the quality of the images we can produce depends much of the time not on the actual cameras and lenses we use but the way that we use them. Also the way that we prepare to use them as well. Tripods make lenses look sharper than any IS system, as does selecting the apertures that give the optimum results for any given lens. I doubt anyone would believe the outfit I'm shooting these images on and certainly from their quality clients and the people who buy my pictures would never guess what the camera / lens combination looked like, nor I imagine how much it cost.

It isn't of course an outfit that is able to handle all aspects of photographic work. Obviously this is completey useless for sports and most kinds of high pressure, react quickly situations. But for situations where I as a photographer have a degree of control then this tablet control can be a really significant help. Tablets, iPad's etc. are smaller and less 'static' than computers, including laptops and larger, better quality and easier to operate than phones. Ideal for the location photographer really. There is also the situation that I can review the images on my iPad screen with them still on the card in the camera. Obviously a much better way of seeing if the images are 'right' than using the screen or having to transfer them to a computer. The only drawback I can see is using it in bright sunlight how long the charge in my iPad will last. I can replace the batteries in my camera but I need to charge up my iPad. I'll have to look into some options so that I can charge it up in the car.

I'm really hoping for some sun today so I can go out and test how it works in 'the real world' and in conditions that I shoot most of my pictures. I'll post the results when I'm able to do that.

All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  

Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are just that, opinions. What is written here is at no time intended as a recommendation or otherwise of photographic gear or practice. This is a personal blog written 'in the moment' and is primarily intended as an entertainment. I would also point out that this is not a review site and not intended to be so and the Google+ groups where you can post comments are not forums. I am the sole moderator and I will remove any post (and poster) if I think fit. 

  
Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  



N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.

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Panasonic GM1 - Raw and jpg. samples

For all my posts on the Panasonic GM1 - CLICK HERE


I'm posting a lot on the GM1 because I may well not have it that long. As I write often m4/3 files are generally pretty similar no matter what camera is used. However, I thought it might be useful to provide some raw and jpg. samples so as you can see what it's capable of. There is a .zip file on Google Drive that you can download here. Referring to the screen grab at the top of the page, the ones in the blue rectangle are taken with the 12-32mm, the ones in the red rectangle with my Nikon Series E 100mm f/2.8. ISO's range from 200 to 800. The 12-32mm shots are at the 12mm and 32mm ends of the zoom and at three different apertures, including wide-open.

No real surprises here. It's what I would have expected. I shot these mainly to see if there was a compelling reason for me to keep the camera and while I like what I see with stills and video, I have the GX7 and I will be keeping to my original plan to keep the lens and sell the camera. 

(N.B. Now I should warn that you won't be able to select the point of focus or change the perspective, so this is REALLY old-school photography. So please try to keep your disappointment in check!!)

All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  


Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are just that, opinions. What is written here is at no time intended as a recommendation or otherwise of photographic gear or practice. This is a personal blog written 'in the moment' and is primarily intended as an entertainment. I would also point out that this is not a review site and not intended to be so and the Google+ groups where you can post comments are not forums. I am the sole moderator and I will remove any post (and poster) if I think fit. 

Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  


N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.


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For commenting, discussion, posting your pictures, links and articles - join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group on Google+ 
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Panasonic GX7 Nikon Series E 100mm f/2.8 - Topaz Detail 3




Panasonic GX7 Nikon Series E 100mm f/2.8

I read a piece yesterday about how DxO have tested the new Panasonic 15mm f/1.7 against the Olympus 17mm f/1.8. And the Panasonic is sharper. Now that's fine and I've no doubt true. However, running my extremely useful, but by no means the sharpest lens I've ever owned, Nikon Series E 100mm f/2.8 through the Topaz Detail 3 Photoshop plug-in, made me wonder again whether to a large extent this plug-in makes differences between lenses almost redundant.

I don't think anybody would have cause to complain about the sharpness of the above 100% blow ups. Plus when I say that they are all from upsized files (to 21MP) you get an idea of just how good this plug-in is. 

As someone pointed out, Smart Sharpen in Photoshop uses the same kind of sharpening, deconvolution (see here for difference between this and unsharp masking) but from my comparisons the Topaz plug-in does this much better with much more control. 

So expensive lens purchase versus $19.99 software plug-in? Difficult choice. (Not!)


All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  


Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are just that, opinions. What is written here is at no time intended as a recommendation or otherwise of photographic gear or practice. This is a personal blog written 'in the moment' and is primarily intended as an entertainment. I would also point out that this is not a review site and not intended to be so and the Google+ groups where you can post comments are not forums. I am the sole moderator and I will remove any post (and poster) if I think fit. 



Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  

 
N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.



LINKS AND SOCIAL MEDIA   

For commenting, discussion, posting your pictures, links and articles - join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group on Google+ 
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Panasonic GX7 Owner assessment - Part 9 - choc full of rangefinderness.



I know it's not a real rangefinder, even though it's got this split screen thingamy in the viewfinder for manual focusing, but it definitely has lots of 'rangfinderness' in it's design aesthetic. It does feel very Leica like as well. For me easily the most solid feeling Panasonic m4/3 ever and pretty classy as well. 

I did one of my occasional 'fruit shoots' today, and decided, for no particular reason to use my Vogtlander 20mm and Nikon Series E 100mm.


Images were nice and sharp and I particularly like the bokeh on the 100mm. And if I am going to keep all these cameras and lenses then I might as well use them. I should make it clear that it's not the case that I don't want to use them, quite the reverse, it's this situation that having the Sony FE's, particularly the A7r, I feel almost duty bound to use it (them) They do have the highest pixel count and the best image quality, but they aren't necessarily the ones I enjoy using the most. 

I'm really happy with what I've got currently (Really!!) and there's a nice mix of rangefinder and small film SLR lookalikes. Now these are very much my favourite camera designs and I'm looking forward to tomorrows Fuji X-T1 arrival. The other thing that is preventing me from getting rid of anything is that all of the cameras I currently own, apart from the X-M1 which IS going, are really nice to handle and use for extended periods of time, including the Sony's with their grips attached. 

The GX7 is no exception. The rather nice leather half case (3rd. party from Amazon) gives it a really luxurious appearance and it's nothing like the hampster finger oversized matchbox design of many of the mirrorless micro cameras that gadgeteers get so excited about and leave me stone cold. It's very much a photographers camera designed to please the eye and the hand as well as taking a decent snap. And it's most definitely one to wear with pride and not hide away in a pocket nestling up against your loose change. For me that's a good thing and for the life of me I can't understand why some people object to a camera that has to be carried and seen. It's almost like the 'in your pocket' brigade are ashamed of being photographers. Odd.



All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That 

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.


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Panasonic GX7 Owner assessment - Part 7 - Photographing with 'Real World' IBIS and Metabones speed booster

In Gordon Laings excellent review of the GX7 he writes this:-

'I repeated comparisons under different conditions with different subject distances and different lenses too, but the overall result remained very similar: I was typically achieving only a stop or so of compensation from the GX7 compared to at least three from the EM5 under the same conditions. Maybe your mileage will vary, but I'd say judging from my tests in its current generation the GX7's stabilisation isn't anything to get too excited about. It may let you handhold at slightly slower shutter speeds, but it's not yet any substitution for an optically stabilized lens or of course the Olympus system.' And in a real world outdoors shooting situation I have to agree with that. Yesterday I wrote about using the IBIS in an indoor shooting situation and getting a 1-2 stop benefit, however this is why proper testing is necessary before coming to final conclusion. Going out later yesterday in a freezing wind with cold hands I could only get around a 1-stop advantage (compared to what I normally would use) and with my 20mm Voigtlander lens anything below 1/40th. sec. produced camera shake with the body stabilisation set to on. So is it useful? Well yes anything is better than nothing, but I certainly didn't get the results I can get with Panasonic lens OIS or what I achieved with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 cameras I have owned. 


As is pretty well known by now, I'm not a fan of IBIS anyway. I much prefer the stabilisation in the lens. I know others like it and claim to get good results, but I've always found it less satisfactory moving the sensor around rather than the lens elements and as I write often it's only Olympus and Pentax (and now Panasonic in a very limited way) that offer IBIS whereas Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Sony and Panasonic for all but this camera don't. I'm willing to concede that it may well have to do with how I hold a camera, but I can achieve slow shutter speeds without any stabilisation and some spectacular results with lens OIS (e.g. 1/15 sec. hand held with my Panasonic 14-140mm at the 140mm end pretty much 100% of the time) so I'm inclined to think that may not be the case.

I did get better results with my Nikon 100mm series E lens. I was OK down to about 1/80th. sec. which is around that 1 stop advantage for me and proportionally better than I achieved with the 20mm.




So as Gordon indicated and I'm in agreement with, the IBIS is useful, to a limited degree, but no substitute for OIS in the lens or the somewhat more useful Olympus system. 

To be honest this isn't something I'd do of lot of anyway. While the Metabones Speed Booster does what it's supposed to very well, using MF lenses on the GX7 is something I might use for controlled indoors use or for video, but not much else. Certainly yesterday I was thinking pretty quickly that I wished I'd brought an AF lens with me (or a different camera). As I indicated it was VERY cold and after about 40 minutes my fingers were pure white with very little feeling left in them. It certainly makes that 42.5mm f/1.2 very appealing (if incredibly expensive.)

Yesterday proved to me what I've always felt about m4/3. That they are great fair weather cameras, but not so good when light levels drop. From the pictures you will probably be aware that it was a pretty dull day. As ever with m4/3 cameras I always want to use the lowest possible ISO, in this case 125 which was the reason I was pushing the IBIS. 

However it was a situation where I didn't loose anything. This is a location I can easily revisit and shoot the images I did in much better light. It did, in effect, turn out to be an outdoors location testing session and certainly clarified what the camera can (and can't) do for me. The day and the light was certainly tailor made for a Fuji X camera and if this was the first time I'd visited this location then that's certainly what I would have used. 








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Sony A7r and stunning winter light


The jet stream is locked on top of the UK. Gales and heavy rain are racing across the Atlantic causing storms, flooding and serious damage. Fortunately where I live has (up to now) missed the worst of it. As a consequence of this weather the air is fresh and clear and because I live far away from a major city and heavy industry the air lets the sun light everything like a laser. This afternoon I spent a fruitless hour or two chasing a patch of blue sky and was about to give up when about an hour before sunset I could see it was clearing from the west and I prepared myself for what I hoped was going to be a burst of spectacular winter light. My hopes were fulfilled.

https://plus.google.com/111408024451777741269/posts/3mMqnjA1tic

https://plus.google.com/111408024451777741269/posts/3mMqnjA1tic

https://plus.google.com/111408024451777741269/posts/3mMqnjA1tic

https://plus.google.com/111408024451777741269/posts/3mMqnjA1tic

https://plus.google.com/111408024451777741269/posts/3mMqnjA1tic

https://plus.google.com/111408024451777741269/posts/3mMqnjA1tic

https://plus.google.com/111408024451777741269/posts/3mMqnjA1tic

https://plus.google.com/111408024451777741269/posts/3mMqnjA1tic
All images Sony A7r - Voigtlander 20mm and Nikon 100mm lenses.

Fortunately, I haven't taken the advice of those internet equivalents of the people who knock on your door, ask you what you think about God and then attempt to preach to you and tell you you're living your life all wrong and I haven't sent my 'toy' camera back. You know the one that m4/3 'trounces' in terms of image quality. As you can see, by some miracle these images are incredibly sharp, have great dynamic range and absolutely wonderful colour. Funny that. 



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Do I want to 'Leica Up' my Sony A7r? No Thanks.

Sony A7r Nikon Series E 100mm f/2.8 lens

Despite all the evidence that shows that the majority of wide-angle m-mount lenses have vignetting and colour cast issues on the Sony A7r to a certain degree, it seems many people on the forums are still trying to talk up the camera as some kind of Leica alternative. Why? It doesn't look like a Leica, work like a Leica and it actually produces pretty bad pictures with large numbers of overpriced (and overated?) Leica lenses. So is this some attempt to somehow legitimise the A7r? Is it that some people can't be comfortable using it unless in some way they can 'Leica Up' the camera? I can understand it if people already own a collection of m-mount lenses and want to use them on the Sony. But, at least at the wide-angle end, with a few exceptions, aren't they going to be disappointed?

Now I don't want the A7r to be a Leica alternative, I want it be what it is. I also want a collection of decent AF lenses for it, but it seems I'm going to have to wait for that. However I'm perfectly happy to use it on it's own terms. I'm not particularly bothered that it's mirrorless, though I am happy with the advantages that brings, size, weight, live view etc. and I'm certainly not bothered that it can (or can't) be used with m-mount lenses. The pictures and 100% blowups that I'm posting are all out of camera jpgs. and I defy anyone to show me any jpg. image from the camera taken with an m-mount lens that's significantly better. Some were taken with an old Series E 100m f/2.8 lens, some with a Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens and some with a Voigtlander 20mm f/3.5 Nikon fit lens, a lens which has no colour cast and only limited (and easily correctable) vignetting wide open and also doesn't cost ridiculous amounts of money. These three primes cost me less than £700 in total, a deposit on some Leica lenses is more than that!

I will argue anyway that it's the sensor rather than the lens that is the primary determinant of quality images. Just like it was with film. No matter what Leica rangefinder camera and Leica lenses were used with Ektachrome 400, using Velvia 50 and the bottom of a beer bottle produced better images! OK, a huge exaggeration but not that far from the truth. On the A7r that 36MP image capturing device is the star of the show. Which is actually a good job considering the quality of Sony's lens range and there are many alternatives to m-mount lenses that will produce terrific results. And of course if you are talking about W/A lenses, less unpleasant results than most m-mounts will produce. 

Now some are criticising Sony for not producing a camera that works better with these m-mount W/A's. But then why would Sony have done that? They aren't in the business of supporting another manufacturer, especially when that manufacturer charges what they do for their lenses. The A7r is capable of being paired with so many lenses anyway that this problem is insignificant. And there is only a fuss about it because people seem to have had unfounded expectations in the first place. The A7r is what it is, a superb camera that produces breathtaking image files. I'm prepared to applaud it for what it is and use it accordingly rather than criticise it for not being what some would wish it to be. 

So no thanks to some kind of Leica alternative and yes please to one of the best picture creating sensors I've ever used and one which I can use my sensibly priced, yet high performance lenses on. I can pixel-peep with the best and I'm very happy with what I'm getting. And I don't need the camera to be Leica lens 'compatible' to appreciate what it's capable of. 







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N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.

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