Another week has come and gone and I still haven’t had the chance to take a close look at my Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AI-s Micro. Though I attribute that mostly to being sick with laryngitis and the busyness of school, that macro has just been breathing down my neck for a long time now. Hopefully soon, we’ll see. :)
In other news, despite my sickness and schoolwork, I still had many photo assignments to take care of, all of which were enjoyable to photograph. First up, this past Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which my university participated in as the MLKJr. Day of Service. Around campus we had multiple stations with service projects for students and community members to volunteer to help out the community. These ranged from areas to make Valentine’s cards for veterans…
35mm, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/40
If anyone in the continental US was interested in purchasing my Series-E zoom lenses that I have extensively reviewed, I now have listed all three on eBay. This is the site that I have done literally all of my used lens transactions, both buying and selling. I have yet to run into any real problems, as the buyer protection policy is superb for deterring scammers. I enjoyed all three lenses in varying degrees, but the two telephoto zooms in particular were optically superb. The only reason I’m selling the entire set is that I am a prime guy, and have faster prime lenses that cover all these focal lengths. Here are some links if interested:
Nikon 36-72mm f/3.5 Series-E (Review)– (UPDATE: SOLD)
Nikon 75-150mm f/3.5 Series-E (Review)– (UPDATE: SOLD)
Nikon 70-210mm f/4 Series-E (Review)– (UPDATE: SOLD)
Have a great week guys and gals, looking forward to writing my weekend update already. :)
Now that school is back in full swing I will have to go back to my weekly update format for the near future. This way, I can have at the very least have a quality post every week filling you all in on my photography happenings. Special events and subjects (such as intermittent lens reviews and the like) will usually warrant their own post. For instance, in a couple weeks I’ll be doing a non-profit portrait session for a local organization that I will most likely be reporting back on here. Photos here and there (many of which will make it into these weekly posts) will be posted to my Google+ and Facebook pages, if you just can’t stand to go without photos from me every day. ;)
But back to the update, I’ve used the 35mm f/1.8 OSS a little more now, and am still enjoying it thoroughly. I’m starting to be able to catch where the aberrations wide-open are, but for the most part I can edit them out, so it’s no big deal. The lens can work for full-body portraits if there is substantial distance between the subject and background, but you still won’t get near the subject separation like a 50mm f/1.4 will provide on a full-frame camera:
35mm, ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/250
(If you are unfamiliar with this continuing series, please see this post first)
There’s a particular kind of photograph I have always wanted to make focusing on the importance of bokeh. I’m sure many of you are familiar with it, it’s the kind of shot that is completely out-of-focus, and the picture is of strands of small lights strung up along someplace like a fresco dining area. A few things have always prevented me from doing this. 1. Phones/P&S’s that I used to have with me couldn’t throw the background out-of-focus enough to get good bokeh. 2. The shots usually look best when taken at night to emphasize the balls of light—taking a picture at night with a P&S was never really an option anyway. 3. In my hometown, there aren’t any restaurants with this particular decor to shoot!
During my photowalk in the city a couple of days ago to get some great shots for the Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS review, I came across such a restaurant. They were closed (oddly, being a Friday night and all), but the light strands were still on and bright. The motivation for this shot also stemmed from one of the first few assignments I have for my photography class, to capture a scene completely out of focus. At first glance, I was pretty disappointed:
Straight out of camera, no wonder this shot didn’t make it into the final review. It’s just a bunch of boring strands with a crushed-dark background!
However! I remember seeing much more detail in the background when I captured the shot. Knowing the awesome dynamic range of the Sony NEX-7, I wondered how much I could push the exposure to bring out the shadows and darks in Lightroom 4. Much to my surprise, with exposure/white balance/saturation adjustments later, I realized I had captured a photograph that combined both circular and angular geometry with multiple splashes of color!
35mm, ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/15
Now that’s more like it. I need to remember to not be so hasty in dismissing my shots! It’s easy to forget how well Lightroom 4 can save an exposure—when shooting in RAW, you truly can “shoot first, expose later” to a certain extent. :)
That’s all for this quick post guys and gals. Thanks for dropping by!
IMPORTANT: If you are unfamiliar with my lens review style, please reference this post first!
I knew I would come around eventually to buying an autofocus lens for the NEX system. The only problem was that all the autofocus lenses that have been released up to now from Sony have been zooms (large and/or slow apertures), primes with “O.K.” image quality (16mm f/2.8, 30mm f/3.5 macro), lenses I already have focal lengths well covered for (50mm f/1.8 OSS), or crazily overpriced optics (Zeiss 24mm f/1.8).
What I was waiting for was a cheap(er), high performing lens that would give great performance at most settings in a small a package as possible—in other words, one that fit with NEX shooting style. Well, it seems Sony has finally done it, releasing their new 35mm f/1.8 for E-mount. With the field of view of 52.5mm in 35mm format, this is the only first-party “standard” solution for the camera apart from using their alpha-mount lenses via a relatively bulky adapter. At $450, it’s not cheap, either. In fact, in my first impressions of the lens, I had my doubts as to whether or not Sony was deliberately price-gouging when compared to the Nikon/Canon equivalents. But a few of my readers brought up great points. Not only does optical stabilization make lenses more expensive than I thought (looking at Canon’s brand-new 35mm f/2 IS), but I am totally incorrect in comparing an SLR lens to a mirrorless lens. With their inherent design differences—mainly, working with a MUCH shorter flange distance—it simply costs more to design compact lenses that cover a whole APS-C sensor without severely compromising optical quality.
Instead, the 35mm f/1.8 should be compared to fellow mirrorless equivalents. A couple to look at, the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4 and the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 XF R. All three lenses have essentially the same field-of-view, and are close in aperture speed (the Sony only 2/3 a stop slower). The Panasonic/Leica lens runs at about $500, while the Fuji is a whopping $600. Seeing as neither have optical stabilization, the $450 asking price of the 35mm f/1.8 could be argued to be the better deal!
But a cheap(er) lens shouldn’t merit praise on its own, does the 35mm f/1.8 stand up to the power of the NEX-7’s huge 24MP sensor? Let’s take a look! Continue Reading
(Note: This is not a full review. I label these posts as “Impressions” as such since I typically do not perform formal testing on lenses until after I have shot with them in the real-world for a while)
I have owned and shot with the Sony NEX-7 for about 9 months now. Until last week, most of my lenses were old, reliable, and still optically great Nikon AI-s’. The Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS is the very first autofocus lens I have ever shot with for the native E-mount. As such, expect for near-future impressions on factors such as focus speed, OSS effectiveness, and vignetting to be subjective, since I have no other Sony E-mount lenses to compare with, and my manual focus AI-s Nikkors are designed to cover a full-frame sensor.
Let me address the elephant in the room right away: for a “standard” prime (giving a 52mm field-of-view in 35mm format), the 35mm f/1.8 ($450/€342) seems overpriced compared to Nikon’s DX 35mm f/1.8 ($200/€152) and Canon’s 35mm f/2 ($290/€220). What advantages are immediately apparent to the Sony, though? Well, it’s smaller in every way (the Canon is a bit smaller in diameter, however), it’s lighter by about 3 ounces, has a very nice shiny metal* finish, and has optical stabilization. I wouldn’t think these advantages by themselves would be worth $150 over the Canon or $250 over the Nikon. This probably means one of two things: 1. Sony is ripping off its NEX photographers or 2. Optically, this lens is top-notch compared to the Canikon offerings. Unfortunately, I do not own either of the other 35mm’s, so I’ll never know for certain which reason drives the price of this lens so much higher.
*After some mix-ups with figuring out what exactly the Series-E lenses were made of, I’m not going to give any definitive answer on what this lens is made of for now. Continue Reading