Slowly but surely I am upgrading the lenses in my kit to be full-frame compatible. Longtime readers of my site already know I sport a deep collection of Nikkor AI-s lenses, ones that I could easily adapt to a full-frame a9000 or the like. As time goes on, however, I begin to notice the problems the old optics exhibit almost universally: low sharpness/contrast wide-open, mediocre flare performance, and relatively pronounced chromatic aberrations at larger apertures. I’m starting to see the benefits that modern optical formulas can provide where vintage lenses can rarely match.
With the Laowa 15mm f/2, I have found my wide-angle option to cement itself as part of a full-frame-ready kit. Featuring a native E-mount optical design, the compact and fast lens feels right at home even on an a6500, and performs quite admirably all-around. Does the lens perform up to its steep price point compared to the competition? Let’s take a look! As always, if you are unfamiliar with my lens review style, check this post first! Continue Reading
Well, it’s official, I’m now a Zeiss guy. Er, well, at least I’ve gotten a brief chance to use one of their highly-touted optics. Up for near-future review is the brand-new Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8, a fast “normal” lens for Sony E-mount and Fuji X-mount mirrorless cameras. I wouldn’t even consider this post a “first-impressions”, as I typically write, because I have only shot with it for about 20 minutes so far. The weather today hasn’t exactly been kind for photography either; one minute the winds are blowing too hard to keep flowers still, the next it’s a torrential downpour, and the next the bright sun washes out any color. Not too happy about that. Continue Reading
Let’s get this show on the road.
First up, some more thoughts on the Noktor Hyperprime 50mm f/.95 by SLR Magic. So far this lens seems to be a toss-up for me. The build is certainly impeccable, the operation is smooth, and hey! The amazing subject separation possible at f/.95 gives images that “full-frame” look along with supreme low-light capabilities! That comes at a cost, though. Detail is only fair in the center wide-open. As a subject moves away from the center of the frame, the total loss in sharpness is noticeable even at the image level. Throw in what appears to be pronounced field curvature, and the corners almost always look awful with this lens. Icing on the cake, contrast at f/.95 is pretty low (though, this can be helped somewhat in post-processing).
I haven’t really stopped it down that much to see how much the image improves at f/1.4 and f/2 (beyond that, what’s the point?), but if I don’t really see a marked improvement, I won’t see this lens getting a good recommendation from me. That said, I don’t tend to let technical issues get in the way of photography; I have taken it along with me the last couple of days to see how it fares in making images, wide-open for the most part. First up, at an art gallery:
50mm, ISO 100, f/.95, 1/80
No pictures with the lens yet (I’ll get around to doing a first impressions after I’ve used this for a while with my photo assignments), but MAN! What a solid optic that just came in today! This lens sports the same aperture as the $10,000+ Leica Noctilux, but this sells for a 1/10th the price. Unfortunately, the couple minutes that I played with it so far show that the f/.95 aperture is only for depth-of-field. Due to the “small” APS-C sensor, anything past f/1.4 doesn’t gain any additional light gathering power for the sensor. Looking at a white wall, I would get a shutter speed of 1/60th at f/.95, and 1/50th at f/1.4. No big deal, because if this lens performs really well at f/1.4, I’ll be a happy camper.
Still though, this E-mount optic has the potential to really be an artist’s lens with it’s crazy depth-of-field and bokeh. I can’t wait to shoot with it (many thanks to Mike Sims for letting me test drive this bad-boy!). One thing of note, this lens is not to be confused with the $3500+ Noktor CINE 50mm T.95. They are completely different lenses.
Update: I’m not sure why SonyAlphaRumors featured this post on their page, calling it a “test” of this lens, as obviously there isn’t anything here save for some thoughts on what the lens may be capable of. However, I have shot with this lens a little bit now, and will have some first impressions of it in my next post. Sorry to keep you waiting. 🙂
Some keen readers might know of this certain lens that is coming in the mail soon…
Yes, that’s f/.95. 🙂
I won’t spoil what it is for others. 😉
Update: Fotodiox has since changed the physical dimensions and functions of their Nikon PRO adapter since the writing of this review. Per my request (that’s a story in itself), they have added the addition of an aperture control ring, a feature that is sorely missing on this reviewed adapter for Nikon G-type lenses. Unfortunately with this new design choice, the tripod mount had to be removed. This means heavy lenses that don’t have their own tripod mount (such as the 180mm f/2.8 AI-s ED) will put much more strain on your NEX’s mount. However, Fotodiox has assured me that the new PRO adapter retains the same level of quality as the older version, so many points in this review should still apply. Seeing as I do not own (nor plan to own) any G-type lenses, I will not be purchasing the new version any time soon.
Firmly attached to my NEX-7 in all my lens reviews, the Fotodiox PRO Nikon F to Sony E lens adapter is one of the multiple adapter choices NEX shooters have to attach legacy lenses to their E-mount camera of choice. When I say multiple, there are literally dozens of these on Amazon and eBay ranging from cheap $10 adapters to the $300 Novoflex, made in Germany. This particular version, which currently sells for $59.95 on Amazon (I got mine for $49.95 on sale), sits closer to the bottom price range. Fotodiox also manufactures a number of other PRO adapters for different lens mounts (Canon FD, Minolta MD, and even Leica M) that I hope are of the same level of quality as this adapter reviewed here. Continue Reading