Fuji X-T1 16-55mm zoom compared to Sony A7 Mk II 35mm prime

Fuji X-T1 16-55mm zoom compared to Sony A7 Mk II 35mm prime
'I carried out a very interesting test today, that surprised me and I suspect will surprise you too. I've been very impressed by the 16-55mm f/2.8 Fuji zoom and I thought I'd give it a tough comparison test, up against the Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 lens on the full-frame A7 Mk II.'
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SONY A7s and FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* - with this combination is there any need for a fixed lens 'lookaleica?' RAW FILE SAMPLES FOR DOWNLOAD

SONY A7s and FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* - with this combination is there any need for a fixed lens 'lookaleica?' RAW FILE SAMPLES FOR DOWNLOAD
'However it did occur to me that my Sony A7s fitted with my Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens, might actually have some significant advantages over the Fuji. And for all the perceived social documentary, 'street photography' cred of the Fuji X100 'lookaleica' series, might not the Sony be better for that as well?'
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Sony A7r - Snapseed HDR from Raw files

Sony A7r Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 lens - 
Snapseed and Photoshop software

I think you will be aware that I've become a great fan of Snapseed software. These days I'm spending more time editing my images on my iPad using it than Photoshop on my laptop. However, what may not be realised is that Snapseed will process certain raw files as well as jpgs. including the monster files from my Sony A7r. 

Now this isn't possible on my iPad as it won't handle raw files, so the process is somewhat complicated. I have to upload the .ARW files to my Google Drive cloud account and then use Snapseed via the Chrome browser where it's the default photo editor for saved photos. The uploading is a bit slow but the actual editing is fast and I can then save a copy to finish off in Photoshop. 

The reason I go through all this fuss is to use two really great editing parameters. HDR Scape and Drama.



Just look at how much more 'life' there is in the Snapseed version from raw compared to the OOC jpg.


Some of my processing using Snapseed has been pretty over the top, but as you can see it can be pretty subtle as well and really give a 'lift' to a shot. 

Incidentally, Dpreview have drawn attention to another cloud based editing system for raw - pics.io and unless I've missed something it's complete junk. Pretty basic editing parameters and it won't let me save images larger than about 2MP. Plus it costs money to have those restrictions. Maybe someone out there has found out how to get something more out of it so I can ammend my view, but I'm sticking with Snapseed. It really is top class.

Digital Documentary Photography -DDP (???) from ImagesEurope on Stockimo.  
All will be revealed in an upcoming post


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Comments, gear and the creative process


All pictures above shot yesterday afternoon in 
Stratford upon Avon with a Nokia 1020 and 
Sony A7r + 35mm f/2.8 Zeiss lens.
Processed using Snapseed, Photoshop and Instagram. 


 The above two shots were taken, as an experiment, with my Voigtlander 20mm fitted to my Panasonic GX7. The lens was set to f/11 with the hyperfocal distance at f/8. Images were shot at high ISO's on the GX7 and processed in Snapseed and Photoshop. It's a nice 'dreamy' retro, low saturation look that I like and somewhat different to my usual high saturation and high contrast preference. A nice alternative to have.

Somebody wrote this in a comment in one of my Google+groups.

'....your camera tastes/style/phases change quicker than a tween posting selfies on an iPhone....'

Even if it was true, which it's not, so what? Do musicians have to put up with this? 'You used lots of different guitars on your last album and you have songs in different styles - tut tut'

It's about as relevant as mentioning how many paintbrushes a painter has or pointing out that a sculptor keeps changing chisels!!

I do get pretty annoyed with this, because it's yet another example of how people regard the gear as more important than the photography. It also shows something else. The fundamental lack of understanding that photography is a creative process and that people involved in any creative process have to be constantly open to new ideas, new ways of working, new possibilities. That's the nature of creativity. Picasso worked in a variety of different styles and mediums. David Bowie is known for completely changing his approach, style, musicians and content from album to album. 

I have got comments like this a lot over the years and first off it's pretty rude. I don't make disapproving personal comments about how they choose to work and take pictures to the people who read this and I expect the same in return. I also make no comment about the gear people use or the frequency with which they change it. (or not) 

It also shows a complete misunderstanding of what it's like to be a professional photographer. No matter what field we work in, every time we go out to shoot we have to get results. And just recycling the same old stuff with the same old camera / lens combinations and with the same old look isn't going to help our future earning prospects. Too often artists in any field have had success with one way of working and haven't been able to move beyond that. At the height of their popularity, they are much in demand, but tastes change, styles change and it's the savvy artist who moves on before their admirers do.

Am I over reacting? Well maybe, but my blog, my rules. And if anyone else feels the need to make comments like this, then think again. Because you'll suffer the same fate as the poster of the above trite comment, which is to have your hook slung. Because as I keep ON and ON and ON about, this is a blog about making pictures. The top banner says

SOUNDIMAGEPLUS
Photography and it's means of production.
  
And that's what cameras, lenses and all the paraphenalia that comes with being a photographer these days is. A means of production. Not the be all and end all, as some seem to believe. And a gear obsessed photographer is a static photographer. And a static photographer who thinks they have all the answers is a bad photographer.

One of the things that permeates the photographic internet is a kind of dead hand certainty. A conviction on the part of some pundits and commentators that they are sorted. They have found the answer to all their photographic questions. They then of course gratuitously share it with the rest of us, much to our undying gratitude!!

For me, certainty and the answers to the questions is creative death. Because contentment breeds complacency. Cows are contented, but I haven't seen any of them produce any great art lately. For me, the constant state of flux I'm in is what it's all about. The kind of pictures I take and the ways I take them, edit them and present them is constantly changing. And that's the way I like it. I never thought a certain amount of bi-polarity was harmful anyway. Because what do we do when we're satisfied? What do we do when we have those answers to the questions that we hopefully pose ourselves? I would venture to suggest that we'll do nothing much at all.

So where I'm currently headed may be a dead end, a wrong turn and yet again it could be a resounding commercial and aesthetic success. So, it could be my Tin Machine or my Let's Dance, who knows. What I do know is that I have no intention of 'reigning myself in' either intellectually, artistically or in terms of what I buy, what I sell and what I make pictures with. I trust my instincts and they haven't let me down so far, so I'm inclined to carry on in much the same way. I'm incredibly energised by what I'm doing at the moment and I'll work out whether what I'm producing is any good at a later date. Because I'm having far too good a time to bother with that now. 

Finally to show where this all ends up. Here's a couple of links to some of my current picture library portfolios.

http://en.fotolia.com/p/148423?order=relevance&offset=0

http://clashot.com/davidmartyn.html

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Sony a6000 - two 35mm lenses - programme mode


I've got two great 35mm lenses I can use with the a6000. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 a-mount lens used in the shot above and the Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 FE lens used in the shot below.


I had done some test shots with these before but I decided to do them again as I had shot them in programme mode. Now I always do this when first getting a new camera, basically to see how it works. Sony have this odd idea of how to implement this. As has been noted many times by other writers they seem to like slower shutter speeds rather than increasing the aperture or shutter speed. My Sony cameras like to default to 1/60th. sec. an awful lot, seemingly under any circumstances, with any lens. It would be nice if there was, like on other cameras, a way to set a minimum shutter speed. I therefore shot all these images using Shutter Prority.

On the difference between the two 35mm lenses, the native e-mount lens focused faster on the a6000, which is actually very fast. The Sigma has to focus via the LA-EA4 adapter, which seems to slightly slow it down. Now I didn't notice this difference on either my A7 or A7r, but neither camera focuses as fast as the a6000 anyway. 



As you will be aware those extra two stops on the Sigma make a rather large difference in terms of size and weight, particularly with the adapter added on. I've never had a problem with large lenses on small bodies. I cradle the lens in my left hand and find the combination quite comfortable to use in fact. Certainly the results from both lenses are excellent, which of course is to be expected.





 
There's no doubt the the a6000 benefits from having better lenses in front of the sensor. Sony kit lenses are somewhat so-so and apparently the Zeiss 16-70mm isn't that great either from reviews I've seen. 

I would mention that the cute picture of Jeff the cat above was shot at ISO 3200 and is reproduced here from the OOC jpg. It's actually pretty good and as you can see very sharp. It was taken on the FE 35mm f/2.8. 

It would be nice if the weather improved so I could try the a6000 out in some sunshine. And I'd like to try out the AF speed on something other than Jeff, who is a willing model, but I think I've taken enough shots of him with this camera!

So if and when that happens I'll post some more thoughts.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/111408024451777741269/communities/100951205950261109467

Finally, I've started a new group on Google+. This is for all photographers who use Mirrorless and/or Compact System Cameras. As ever, I have no problems about what you post. Links to your own stuff is fine. So if you have anything you'd like to share from Leica's to Lumix, then please feel free to post.

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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Sony a6000 compared to Sony A7



I was interested to see just how the a6000 with it's APS-C sensor compared to the 35mm / 'Full-Frame' sized sensor on the Sony A7. To eliminate the kit lens I used my Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 and Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 FE lenses on the cameras. 

I've uploaded all jpgs. and raw files to Google Drive HERE so you can look for yourselves. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4wOWiZPPA13Tlhfbm5FYVRIWm8/edit?usp=sharing

I've written before about how much I like the jpgs. from the A7 and A7r cameras. And that is true for the a6000 also. For me Sony have really gone to the top of the tree with their current jpg. rendering. I think it's excellent.


As you can see there is not much difference, if any at all, in real terms between the two cameras for ISO 100 jpgs.



At ISO 800 with the raw files I started to see some colour noise appearing, it being worse on the a6000. Both files identically processed in Photoshop ACR with the colour noise reduction turned off.

a6000 top  -  A7 bottom


To bypass all the background 'correcting' that goes on in Photoshop and Lightroom, I ran comparison files at ISO 3200 through Rawker, a dcraw programme. Even though the A7 isn't particularly good at high ISO's, you can see that the a6000 performance is worse. Not surprising really.

As I indicated, if you click the link above you can play around with raw files from each camera at ISO 100, 800 and 3200 to see what you can make of them.

All in all however the a6000 results are pretty good. What is also noticeable is the consistency between the a6000 and the A7 in terms of colour, jpg. rendering and the overall look of the files. This could be vital if getting consistent colour is important to you. It would certainly be very difficult to spot the difference between the two cameras at low ISO's, which is good to see. Whatever criticisms I might have of Sony, their sensors are pretty much state of the art these days for all round quality. It will be interesting to see just what the A7s sensor is capable of in low light at high ISO's. Added to what I have already it could make a compelling case for me working with Sony exclusively. I doubt I'll go that route, but then you never know.

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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Sony A7 - The thing Sony got right






All images - Sony A7 and 35mm f/2.8 FE lens and 85mm f/2.8 a mount lens + LA-EA4 adapter

Yesterday I went out with my Sony A7 and 35mm f/2.8 FE lens and 85mm f/2.8 a-mount lens + LA-EA4 adapter. I have a strange relationship with this camera. I've now put it on ebay to sell it five times. And four times I've removed it again. 

It's not quite a love / hate relationship, but I obviously have a certain ambivalence towards it, to say the least. It's mostly about how it fits in with what else I have. The A7r obviously has that huge sensor and while the A7 doesn't have that extraordinary resolution I do seem to use it as much or almost as much as the A7r. But while I try to decide whether I will keep it or sell I have no hesitation in saying that in terms of the results it produces, it's one of the best cameras I've ever owned. And say what you like about Sony (and I usually do!) with the A7  they have got one thing gloriously right, the sensor.


 
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+ 

Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG HSM Lens Art Series Lens compared to Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens



OK. So one's a lot bigger than the other. (It's all good
insightful stuff here!)

Since I currently have two rather good 35mm lenses for my Sony FE cameras on my shelf I thought I'd compare them.

First off I thought I'd look at what difference the LA-EA4 adapter makes. Does in it fact affect the exposure? Well yes it does but not in a way I would have expected.


The Sigma does in fact need a slower shutter speed at the same aperture, but it produces a lighter image. This happened consistently with all the testing I did. However working out the difference there does seem to be a slight 'light loss' using the adapter, somewhere in the region of 1/3 stop, which is what others have found. Some people have asserted that there is no difference but that's not what I see. So it's not much but it is there.

For the comparison test I used three apertures f/2.8, f/5.6 and f/8. Lenses tripod mounted on my A7r, raw files converted identically in Photoshop ACR. It is worth pointing out however that the Sigma is much longer than the Sony / Zeiss so as in the test set up above the Sigma is nearer to the objects unless it's moved back. It is worth remembering this if you use either lens for relatively close subjects, you can actually get closer with the Sigma. There you go, an advantage already! However this does affect the results so bear that in mind.

Here are the comparison 100% blowups.







The results were pretty consistent. The Sigma is very (very) slightly sharper than the Sony / Zeiss in the centre but the Sony / Zeiss definitely has the advantage in the edges / corners.

Both are superb lenses. The Sigma obviously has that wider aperture, but if like me you use it via an adapter on a Sony camera, then there is that 1/3 stop light loss to take into account. This would also happen on Sony DSLT's, though not on Nikon and Canon DSLR's. I was hoping that I might decide to get rid of one, but for the time being I'm keeping both. 

So interesting, but not unexpected. I would have no problem using either lens, though of course for walking in good light the Sony / Zeiss FE lens has a lot going for it in terms of size and weight. Sigma though are turning out some cracking lenses these days and the 35mm f/1.4 is a great example of that. It's not light and it's not small however and the adapter just makes that worse, so if you're looking to keep your outfit light then the FE lens makes more sense. You won't be disappointed with either however. I'm certainly not. Quite the reverse.

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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Sony A7r video with 35mm and 55mm Zeiss lenses - something special?


I am aware that I said my video testing was finished, but it did occur to me that I had missed trying one thing out. Most of my A7 / A7r video tests were done with the 28-70mm zoom mainly because of it's hand holding capabilities. One thing I hadn't tried however was the 55mm f/1.8 lens on my A7r. Plus since I now have the 35mm I thought I would check them out and also have a look at how using the APS-C crop worked. The video is below. Shot at 25fps. 1920 x1080.


So is this something special? Well compared to my GX7 m4/3 footage, not really. The video I shot below with all my small light Panasonic and Olympus lenses is sharper and  better defined. However I did think the APS-C crop on the A7r produced good results.



This does prove that video quality has to do with other things than sensor size and stills lens quality. The A7r footage looks nice yes, but compared to the Panasonic footage I've been shooting lately it looks like the Sony clips are shot through some kind of diffusing filter. Now whether this is applied noise reduction, I cannot say but there is definitely a softer look. 

I've been wondering if my workshop / photo tours venture takes off about buying either a Sony A7s or Panasonic GH4 and I think I've pretty much decided that the GH4 is the better option. Apart from the fact that it would cost a lot of extra money to actually be able to record 4K on the Sony with the extra kit required, I like the Panasonic output a lot more, should I want to shoot 4K.

It is yet another reason why I constantly criticise the Sony FE system for not being as 'professional' as the supposedly inferior smaller sensor m4/3 equivalent. And yes 'proper' videographers and film makers will probably have all sorts of options available to sharpen the footage and may well find advantages in what Sony have to offer, particularly with the low light capabilities of the A7s, but the whole Panasonic video package seems to me to be much easier to use, have better initial quality straight out of the camera and a much more flexible and useful way to shoot a combination of high quality stills and video. While the A7r plus these Zeiss lenses turns out incredible still images, it does strike me that both the Sony FE cameras are somewhat lagging behind Panasonic in terms of video.

There's even a comparison between the GH4 and Canon 5D Mk III here at 43rumors that indicates for video the GH4 is no slouch at high ISO's either. 

Now this was worth doing and it's further confirmation that I'm making the right decision in terms of my 'hybridographer' aspirations. I'm still mightily impressed by the A7r + these Zeiss primes for stills but that I think is what I will keep them for. Aside from the fact that my GX7 outfit is so light, small and easy to use, the fact that I can get better looking footage as well makes it a no-brainer for me. So in answer to the question in the title of this post - Sony A7r video with 35mm and 55mm Zeiss lenses - something special? Well for me, no it's not.

For my continuing SONY A7r OWNER ASSESSMENT - Click Here
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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Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens - DxO tests

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28-70mm-F35-56-OSS-versus-Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Sonnar-T-STAR-35mm-F28-versus-Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Vario-Tessar-T-STAR-24-70mm-F4-ZA-OSS___1244_0_1251_0_1253_0
http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Sonnar-T-STAR-35mm-F28-versus-Sony-FE-Carl-Zeiss-Sonnar-T-STAR-55mm-F18-versus-Olympus-MZUIKO-DIGITAL-17mm-F18-on-Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-GX7___1251_0_1252_0_1112_901

I will at some point do some of my own tests (maybe) but since DxO have just finished testing the FE 28-70mm I thought I'd show theirs. (Click on the screen shots for the DxO site) And as I write often, unconvinced as I am by DxO's sensor tests, I do think their lens tests are useful.

As I suspected not much difference between the 35mm and 55mm in terms of sharpness and in the real world with images on the screen I doubt I will see much difference.

Interesting results with the zooms, as has already been pointed out elsewhere. DxO find the 28-70mm to be slightly sharper than the Zeiss 24-70mm. Zeiss are obviously much better at primes than zooms, which I guess doesn't really make the upcoming FE 16-35mm anything to get hot and bothered about.

As would be expected the Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens is better across the board apart from CA than the Olympus 17mm f/1.8. The sharpness difference is somewhat extreme, though again I'm not sure I'd see this on my screen.

So what does this prove? Well it proves some lenses are better at lens tests than others. Does it matter? That's for us as individuals to decide. I happen to like the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 and of course there are sharpening algorithms to apply from a variety of sources. 

Bottom line is that the Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens is obviously a fine lens as is the Sony FE 55mm f1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens, particularly when used on the non-AA filtered A7r. And the fact that this is pretty much the best that non medium-format digital photography can offer currently gives the FE system it's most attractive and compelling reasons to buy into it and use it. 

I'm no great fan of the A7 and A7r handling and many aspects of their design and performance, but fitted with these top class primes the resulting files are hard to resist. I have to admit I don't mind the handling of the A7r / 35mm combination as much as some of the heavier a-mount / adapter combinations I've used and I've certainly used both the A7 and A7r an awful lot since I've bought them. And the accumulation of 1000's of incredibly detailed and sharp high-resolution images is undoubtedly an incentive for me to keep using my FE cameras despite the reservations I have. To be honest, if I wasn't doing this for a living then I wouldn't own either the A7 or A7r, but since I do I will certainly make the best of it and continue to use them, take pictures with them and earn money from them. The final reason being a pretty motivating inducement to continue with them.

 
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 FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens









It's small, it's light, it's phenomenally sharp, its the Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens. 







Since this post I've decided to treat my two Sony FE cameras, the A7 and A7r, as sensors in a box. There is no FE system as such and when there is it will probably not be what I would like, so I've decided to 'mix and match' and use what lenses seem to work best. I've got a nice MF combination with my Voigtlander 20mm and Nikon series E 100mm and with the LA-EA4 adapter, some a-mount lenses, the 28-70mm zoom, the 55mm f/1.8 and this 35mm I've got a somewhat mismatched and somewhat ugly set of camera lens combinations that do however give me a reasonably flexible system.

In effect I've got two different types of camera / lens combinations. The small film SLR look of the 35mm at the top of the page and the big DSLR look as with the Sigma 20mm f1.8 I have pictured just above. The A7 or A7r are certainly not my favourite cameras to use and handle and despite my intention to work with gear I really like, I find myself unable to be separated from the remarkable results these 35mm film sized sensors produce. And the A7r / 35mm f/2.8 combination makes that separation even more unlikely. 

I'm glad I read Martin Irwin's article here, because I was on the verge of selling (well seriously thinking about it) both my FE cameras because of frustration with the type and lack of native lenses. I was inclined to try the 35mm after reading that article and I'm glad I did. I do like the size and weight and it will allow me to put together a very portable pair with the 85mm f/2.8 a-mount I have, which is a somewhat underrated lens because of it's low price and cheap plastic construction. And despite my fears about vignetting and some other technical shortcomings I've seen written about, the 35mm lens is actually a pretty wonderful lens. Whether the updates to ACR and the camera firmware have delivered some better lens correction profiling I cannot say, but after using it yesterday and shooting some blue sky test shots I'm unaware of any vignetting (or any other) issues. For what I shoot I forsee few problems with it and I look forward to creating some great images.

Is it as sharp as the 55mm f/1.8? Well, it may be measurable but I can't tell the difference. These are two incredibly sharp lenses that produce absolutely gorgeous looking files. And that of course is the hook that will probably keep me using the FE cameras. They may be unsatisfactory and somewhat 'works in progess' in all sorts of ways but image quality isn't one of their failings.

Finally, just as an interesting anecdote, while I was out yesterday I started chatting to a walker who said 'How do you get on with that? Can you still get film for it?' I was somewhat surprised but he was convinced that I was using an old film camera. Maybe the leather case helped the illusion, but it did strike me that as constant photographic internet perusers we become so accustomed to the changes in internet design fashions that we forget how our cameras appear to others. 

And it is true that it does look 'old-school' if I try for a moment to imagine that I have never spent time looking at cameras on my computer screen. (Impossible as that might seem!) Of course being the shallow retro-head obsessed with camera image that I am, you'll be unsurprised to learn that made me warm to the A7r somewhat. Yes I know it's fickle and gives every indication that I'm just as air-headed as the next fanboy, but if it makes me feel better about the camera and I get to create more images with that sensor, then I'm quite happy to embrace that style over content attitude.

Inconsistent? whatever gave you that idea?

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.







Is the Sony FE system a waste of time?


One of the reasons I dislike 'instant' reviews, usually carried out with pre-production cameras (jpg. only) at some junket where the 'reviewers' plied with cheap wine and vol-au-vents fall over themselves (and each other) to tell the world how marvellous their hosts new camera is, is that they tell a very scripted story. Likewise the sites on the mailing list who get sent a review copy on the understanding that positives will be emphasised and a few negatives allowed to slip through so that a pretence of objectivity can be demonstrated. I don't trust any of them.

None of them use the cameras long enough to come to any conclusion about how they work over time in a variety of situations. What's useful, what's not. I've had my Sony A7 and A7r for several months and unless something remarkable happens I'll be selling the lot. Cameras, lenses, grips, adapters etc. Because as the title of this post indicates, I think the whole FE system is a waste of time for me. It's flawed, and yes it has three redeeming features, the A7 and A7r sensors and the 55mm lens, but ultimately it falls some way short of being a genuinely useful set of photographic tools for me. Hobbyist playthings is how I would describe them. Fun for certain things and undoubtedly capable of producing great images, but, as far as I'm concerned it's a system that is going nowhere at the moment. The following is an explanation of why I've come to that conclusion. As ever this is an entirely personal subjective view.

Two things happened over the last day or so. Firstly Sony launched yet another camera, the A77MkII. On the lens front? Nothing apart from a hint of a 16-35mm f/4 lens for the FE system. No pictures, no release date. It's on it's way. Well I for one am fed up with waiting for FE lenses. I'm fed up having to use bulky a-mount lenses and adapters. And the point is I don't think Sony are going to get any better at this. They prioritise cameras over lenses, they seem disinclined to produce good value good quality optics and they seem to work on the basis that people just buy the kit lens and stick with that or want pro spec. heavy big lenses at pro spec. heavy big prices. They have been around for long enough for me to see that this is the way they work and this is the way they seem intent on carrying on.

Secondly, after my fourth attempt to download the Smart (Smart???) Remote Control app so I could control my FE camera from my iPad, I finally succeeded. The website didn't crash (Like it did twice before) and I finally managed to get the updated app onto my camera. And you know what? You can't shoot video with it!!! It's only marginally better than the pretty basic version that came preloaded on the camera and it's for stills only. Compared to the Panasonic Image App it's a complete joke. So these were the final two straws that led me to my decision that I just can't be bothered with this any more and it's time to cut my losses and use cameras that I actually like using, are well-thought out, have a lens range that gives me choice, quality and value for money and that seem to have been designed by photographers rather than marketing executives whose main function is to part us from the cash in our bank accounts and hand it over to them. And by that I mean I will be sticking with my (mostly Panasonic) m4/3 system and my Fuji X cameras and lenses. 

As I've indicated many times the image quality produced by the A7r in particular and the 55mm f/1.8 is spectacular. But that's one lens and I need more than that. The 28-70mm is OK, but pretty mediocre when compared with either the m4/3 or Fuji X systems. From what I read both the 35mm f/2.8 and Zeiss 24-70mm are flawed and the 70-200mm is again big heavy and expensive. Wide-angle m-mount lenses have severe problems, so that leaves a-mount lenses with adapters or manually focused (D)SLR lenses again with adapters. And despite the lightness of the body I've often ended up with a combination that is really no different in feel, size or weight to a DSLR system.

Like many, I've been seduced by the 36MP A7r and I have no hesitation in saying again that it's a great sensor. But the body it resides in is far from great. That ridiculously noisy shutter, decent but hardly jaw dropping AF and an AVCHD codec for video are things that need changing....................

________________________________________________

So, that's what I was in the process of writing and was about to publish when I'd finished it, until I got an email notifying me that someone I respect had written this. 

http://www.martinirwinphotography.com/myblog/2014/5/1/made-for-each-other

Now if you remember Martin took 'that picture' the one I raved about and will repeat again is one of the best images I've seen for years.

http://www.martinirwinphotography.com/myblog/dis-connected


So, I'm inclined to take what he writes seriously. And even after all I've written above (and I meant every word of it) I'm now inclined to give at least my A7r a second chance and I WILL try the 35mm f/2.8. 

And this is why I value personal, long term experience of using gear much more than review sites with dubious motives and financial incentives to be nice to manufacturers. As I wrote in a comment on Martins blog, the power of real world photographers and their real world experiences and the opinions of people I respect rather than the bought and paid for 'opinions' of 'reviewers' hand in glove with the manufacturers is something I will take notice of.

And that's the way it should be. Because that's what I try to do here. That's why I write 'in the moment', why my 'reviews' take weeks and sometimes months, why a firmware upgrade or a software update can change my mind and how discovering an alternative approach or trying something different can alter a piece of gears usefulness to me. I know from what people tell me that they can be influenced by what I write and as I'm indicating here I can also be influenced in the same way. And to me that is the real benefit of the photographic internet. Not those dreadful forums with their aggression and constant spamming by camera company employees paid to rubbish their competitors products. Not those 'review sites' who pretend to be objective when they are not, because if they actually had the bottle to write an honest review the manufacturers would cut them off from the gravy train and they would have to buy their cameras and forego the pleasure of invites to scenic locations.

So today, which is going to be sunny, I'm taking out my A7r. And after the bank holiday is over I'll get myself a 35mm f/2.8 and see what it's like. At least that will get me over the depression I'll probably be feeling about the football club I support being relegated yet again. So round about 2PM today I'll either be punching the air or (as I expect) be shuffling along wondering why on earth have I spent my life going through this nonsense at the end of every season. But then that comes with the territory if you are a Birmingham City supporter!!

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.