My first play with my dream camera, the Sony A7r!

Ever since I first got into the Sony Nex system cameras early in their inception with the Nex5, I knew there was something special about these little cameras and their 18mm e mount. Packing the power of an apsc dslr sized sensor into a tiny package that can easily be thrown in your girlfriends handbag, it was pretty easy for me to fall in love with it. The only thing that held it back was the lack of lenses. We originally started out with the 16mm 2.8 prime and the 18-55mm kit zoom. The zoom is satisfactory but the surprise of the two was the great little 16mm f2.8 prime lens, which is a great little wide angle.

Wanting something more but disappointed with the lens selection available I turned to third party manufactures after Sony made the prophetic decision to make the e mount spec freely available for third party manufacturers to produce for. I had read about the ability to mount old slr lenses on the nex via adapter but this seemed daunting so I went looking for propriety e mount lenses first. The first to pop their head up and try to cater for this new market of e mount shooters was a company called SLR Magic. I purchased their 35mm f1.7 manual focus lens which I reviewed here, and their 28mm f2.8 manual focus lens which I reviewed here.
These two lenses introduced me to manual lens photography on the Sony Nex system and I was hooked in minutes. I continued to shoot them exclusively for about 4 months until I decided I wanted more. Like all good GAS starts. I looked on eBay and quickly found a Minolta 50mm f2 I was interested in (I always had an affinity with Minolta since I was a boy) after winning that auction I then ordered a cheap adapter and waited. This was all the start of my obsession with mounting vintage glass on the amazing sensors of the sony Nex’s. I still shot my Nex5 but have since also purchased the fantastic Sony Nex5n who’s 16mp sensor was a great improvement on the previous 14mp version.
As much as I have loved my Nex’s there are two things I have always craved, a viewfinder, so as to feel even more connected with the shot, even though I do now love shooting them waist level like a medium format camera…and a fullframe sensor so i can enjoy my lenses in all their glory at their actual focal lengths instead the 1.5x crop that happens with an apsc sensor. I kind of new the day was coming where Sony would release just this for a long time now, so I invested in the system even more, with more lenses and more adapters etc. and started saving my pennies for what I knew eventually must come.
Then earlier this year the rumors started to surface that there was in fact a sony e mount fullframe mirrorless camera being tested around the traps…and then the rumors started come more frequently and we knew it was finally coming.
Little did we know that Sony in fact had two new fullframe e mount cameras for us, the cheaper A7 with 24mp sensor, slightly less robust build and phase detect af, and the flagship more expensive A7r with a 36mp sensor minus AA filter with entire magnesium alloy body, but only had contrast detect af. I of course straight away wanted the 36mp version with out AA filter as it would give me access to the absolute best (or worst) my lenses could offer, that and I had always tried to purchase the robust version of the nex in the past thus why I started with the Nex5. So it felt only right to go with the A7r for me.
So I placed my pre order and waited and saved the last bit I needed and enjoyed my nex’s in the mean time. Then just last friday rumors started to surface that they had started shipping. So I rang the Sony store in Perth where I had placed my pre-order and was informed they were unpacking them as we spoke and would put mine aside for me to pick up. I was beside the moon and of course rushed in to grab my prize.
Getting home I was keen to un box my baby, but at the same time I wanted to take my time and savor the occasion. haha. The first thing I pulled out which impressed me was that Sony is giving away a free mount adaptor (which reminds me I need to apply for mine) to help deal with the lack of native lenses at this time.

After getting past the manuals and such I finally came to my beauty and I was instantly impressed by the styling, which reminds me of the old x700′s, the size which is not much bigger than my nex5n and the weights, which too was not much more than my nex5n.

The text around the mount just makes me smile every time I read it.

It took me a few minutes to adjust to the new controls and figure out how to set it up to my shooting style but was ready to go in no time. I am still being blown away by how much this feels like shooting one of my film slrs, it really is enjoyable to shoot. Oh, and I was quite surprised by how quiet the shutter was, many initial reports had stated it was really loud, but it is no much louder than on the Sony Nex’s.
Of course I had to get in some test shots around the house before the light faded too much. All images taken from camera jpeg as i have no way of editing the raw files at this stage unfortunately.
(click on images to view larger)

As many of you may know my two dogs feature prevalently in my test shoots, this day was no different. haha

Shot on the voigtlander 35mm f1.4 manual focus lens, iso 50, s/sp 1/20

Shot with my Zeiss Pancolar 50mm f1.8 manual focus lens, iso 200, 1/50

I was short for options as the light was fading fast, so just shot what I could on my street with what lenses were laying around my desk for now, I will delve into testing everything properly in the future.

shot with Nikkor S 35mm f2.8 manual focus lens, iso100, s/sp 1/800, wide open

Shot with Zeiss Pancolar 50mm f1.8 manual focus lens, iso 64, s/sp 1/400, @f2.8

Shot with Nikkor S 35mm f2.8 manual focus lens, iso 100, s/sp 1/400, @ f4

The neighbors cat resting in the long grass out the front of their place.

Shot with Zeiss Pancolar 50mm f1.8 manual focus lens, iso 100, s/sp 1/400, @f2.8

So that was about it for my testing on the first day before the light faded too much. However the next day I needed to get out of the house (I have been busy finishing mixes for my bands latest release) so decided to go for a walk at a nearby nature reserve and try my hand with the A7r and a wide angle. I had recently gotten this Spiratone 17mm f3.2 manual focus lens back from being serviced by Max, so thought I would test this guy out. I was not expecting much as it is not a name brand lens, however what did surprise me was how it’s imperfections actually add a nice uniqueness to the shots. It’s not particularly sharp, it is low on micro contrast and it vignettes on the fullframe sensor, but there is some thing beautiful and characterful about the way it renders. Of course I cannot fully judge any lenses on sharpness until I can edit the raw.

Shot with my Spiratone 17mm f3.2 manual focus lens, iso 50, s/sp 1/1250, @ f5.6

Shot with my Spiratone 17mm f3.2 manual focus lens, iso 50, s/sp 1/1250, @ f5.6

This combination almost renders like painting I used to see of the outback as a kid.

Shot with my Spiratone 17mm f3.2 manual focus lens, iso 50, s/sp 1/320, @ f5.6

This one is my favorite of the batch from this walk, this huge lone tree just standing there in the middle of this field of dried grass. I started walking through the tall grass to get closer for my shot when I realized I was only wearing thongs not enclosed shoes and this was rather snake friendly grass, so I quickly took my shot and got out of there. haha. I will return again in the future with the proper footwear and frame my shot as I see in my minds eye.

Shot with my Spiratone 17mm f3.2 manual focus lens, iso 50, s/sp 1/800, @ f8

Shot with my Spiratone 17mm f3.2 manual focus lens, iso 50, s/sp 1/800, @ f8

As we climbed the hill to return to the car to leave, a jogger ran past us which caused me to turn and realize the view I had missed, so I framed and quickly snapped trying to make sure I got the jogger in frame.

Shot with my Spiratone 17mm f3.2 manual focus lens, iso 50, s/sp 1/1250, @ f5.6

Like I said that combo is far from perfect and I believe resolving well below the sensors capabilities, but it still produces pleasing shots. Food for thought that maybe not everything is sharpness.

Later that night was my sisters 16th birthday party. She was having a black light party and had asked me to take some shots for her. This was a perfect excuse to test the A7r in lowlight shooting with manual glass and an off camera flash. I used a Yongnuo 560II with remote trigger off camera. I had to zone focus in the really dark situations which I am used to from my nex’s, all in all I am impressed by how the combo performed.

Shot with Yashica 50mm f1.4 manual focus lens, iso 200, 1/160, @ f2.8

Shot with Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 manual focus lens, iso 250, 1/160, @ f2.8

Shot with Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 manual focus lens, iso 200, 1/160, @ f2.8

Shot with Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 manual focus lens, iso 250, 1/160, @ f2.8

Shot with Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 manual focus lens, iso 250, 1/160, @ f2.8

What a great weekend that was. I can’t believe how quick it went. haha. I thoroughly enjoyed shooting my new Sony A7r, in fact when I showed it to my partner within 2 minutes of her having a go she said I had to buy another one for her. haha. Only gives me hope for the future.

I truly enjoy this camera already, it has more than performed fully straight out of the box. I look forward to more thorough lens testing in the future, make sure you keep checking back, I also look forward to be able to edit the raw in the future too.

Unfortunately it is Monday and I am back at work, so until next time, happy snapping. :)

Photographers in Perth, first official photowalk… Part 1.

I had been an admin as part of the Facebook group Photographers in Perth since it’s earlier days. I had for a long time been in charge of setting the group theme challenges, when one day I was informed by my fellow admin that they had in fact decided that they no longer desired to run the group and had made the decision to leave the group completely. I was informed that I could either take the reigns of the group or shut it down entirely. I straight away decided shutting down the group was not an option so the only other way to proceed was to try to keep the group rolling. We have come a long way since then and our membership has more than doubled to over 300 members. A few months ago I brought in Lisa and my mate Graham to help with administrative duties as it was now growing to be more than I could keep on top of on my own. All good things, we managed to keep our little photography group and even grew under the circumstances. It had dawned upon me however that we had never had a proper group photo walk since I had been bestowed with running the group and also since I had made the minor name change to Photographers in Perth, Western Australia. Which was made as we had a few Scot’s starting to sign up as they though it may have been photographers in Perth, Scotland. haha.

We have been just starting to come into our nice weather season and I wanted to capitalize early for the group photo walk. I also wanted to choose somewhere that maybe not everyone had shot before, so I chose an area through Joondalup in Perth’s north, where two secondary education campuses meet and what you get is a great meshing of two great academic worlds providing you with some nice landscapes opportunities at times and some architecturally interesting buildings. We met at a nearby Dome to grab coffee before we started. It was good to see some people I converse with online more regularly were there like James and Mark. I must admit I was a little disappointed in the numbers we had turnout, however I guess I did organize it with a little short notice and it was just our first one, we will grow them in the future. We were also down Graham as here was in Melbourne for a holiday. :)

We started our walk near this little war memorial park where they hold dawn services on ANZAC day. It was good spot to get our gear out and and start to warm up the old trigger fingers. I love this little lane way, I have shot it before on film near sunset and it was fantastic. This time being a little earlier in the day I did not have the awesome colours but it looks good in B&W. I can only imagine how nice this walk will look in the future when these trees grow. All shots in this article were shot on my Nex5n with spiratone 20mm f2.8 manual focus lens on Lens turbo focal adapter. I converted all the b&w’s using DXO Film effects 3(as usual click on images to see larger and sharper)

Heading down the trail leading out of the memorial park you find yourself confronted with some amazing water works, sculptures and bridges as part of the Joondalup Tafe campus.

Leaving this great area we passed through the major part of the Tafe campus to make our way to the front of the ECU university campus nearby. I love this UFO underpass type thing. I have shot it before on XP2 chromogenic film, it is still a fun subject to behold.

I found this wavy roof interesting and was keen to try and capture it’s lines.

I have always loved how utilitarian some of the buildings are on this campus.

Finally rounding our of the Tafe campus and onto the ECU campus we made our way to the very front where there is the very architecturally unique ‘Spiky’ building as I refer to it. haha

Some of the lines in this building are just fantastic to behold.

Passing through this amazing building you come into this fantastic amphitheater where there is these great sculptures all around.

As we made our way from this area into the greater portion of the campus I spied this young fellow walking in the oposite direction back into the amphitheater, the shot was just too good to pass up.

Heading into the greater campus area the were some great building to shoot as well as some more wetlands and you guessed it, some more sculptures too. haha

This tree was just really interesting but I could not get it all in, so I took two shots in the hope of creating this two shot stitch which gives it that huge towering feel.

By this huge tree is the second wetlands on this walk.

We came across this curious old style building, that apparently was old man ECU’s old campus house. Eitherway it was interesting enough for us to shoot.

It was a bit shady to capture this sculpture properly but it is still interesting I feel.

I love the panels on the outer walls of the engineering blocks at this university.

This were presumably interactive sculptures that give off different effects when you yell into them. haha

I have no idea what this symbolizes but it looked cool. haha

I must admit I like a bit of architectural shooting so had some fun shooting some of the buildings.

…and this is about where we concluded our first little photo walk for this afternoon. But do not be disappointed, this article is just part 1, the output from just one of the two cameras I shot on this day. I will have more from my other camera in another post soon. Till then Happy Snapping guys. :)

Photo walk with boris and my minolta himatic 9. My first home film dev. continued…

As I spoke about in my recent 1 day in 1 roll post, it was my first time home developing my own b&w film. What I didn’t mention however was that my dev tank can fit two rolls to be developed at once. So this is in fact what I did. The Friday night before we went to the royal show and shot our rolls for 1 day in 1 roll I went for a shoot with Boris, a friend from our film users group.

Boris put the call out in the group a couple of weeks ago that he would have the Friday off and was keen to go for a shoot in the city if anyone wanted to join him. Knowing I would have my work done by the Friday afternoon I told him I would come meet him for a shoot. We met in a little hidden away bar I had never been to before called ‘Mechanics’. Boris shouted me a pilsner I had also never tasted before, but it turned out to be a decent brew. After finishing our beers we decided we best get moving before it got too late and we lost the light. I had been shooting a test roll of Super Lucky 200 iso colour film with my Himatic 9, so I finished off the last few shots of this roll as we were leaving the pub. Having finished that test roll (which I have yet to develop mind you, but my c41 dev kit has just arrived) I loaded my roll of Kentmere 400 iso b&w film as we headed towards the center of the city. This is the first shot that turned out after my ‘wind ons’ unfortunately it is only half a frame, but still interesting I feel. (as usual click on images to see full size)

Coming down from this vantage point above the main quadrangle of the City we then walked through the main center heading towards the Belgian beer cafe, contemplating more beer. The main square was busy and bustling with people, it was intoxicating as usual and I happily knocked out a few snaps. I love the amount of action in this snap. I was focusing on the skaters down the alley and was disappointed at the time that as I clicked people walked through my shot, but looking back on it now it does not bother me as there is so much going on.

I tried to capture just how busy the City center was, I think I needed to get higher to convey it how I wanted but I still like this shot.

Being out shooting film cameras the inevitable happened, as my mate Graham will tell you, we were stopped by an older tog who was interested in our cams and wanted to talk for a moment to regale the days of old when he used to shoot film before going digital. I quickly palmed the conversation over to Boris by turning to shoot the two of them in conversation. Sorry Boris. hahaha

Next to where we were conversing with the older ‘tog, there was a busker who was not playing at the time but had his dogs with him. I found this interesting as you rarely see dogs in the city center. I found this too interesting not to snap.

Continuing on toward the Belgian beer cafe we noticed that it was currently surrounded in scaffolding casting it in a dark light. The bouncer also did not look too happy about us approaching with cameras so we decided against going in, I did manage to snap this of his discontented face however. haha

As we stopped for a minute to evaluate our options of where to head next, I noticed this guy leaning forward playing on his phone, combined with the lines of the traffic I thought it was a decent shot. Unfortunately at the last minute he noticed me and leaned back just as I hit the shutter.

Realizing the light was getting a bit low for the 100 speed film Boris was shooting we decided to duck down a side alley and make a b-line for the new Arena construction as there is less tall buildings on that strip therefore less interruption of light. Heading down the back alley turned out to be the right move as there was some great scenes to be shot as we walked down it. I really liked the lines as I spied this woman walking towards us.

There were a bunch of little nooks off this back street that I found interesting too.

Even boris found something he felt was of interest to shoot with his new Yashimat.

Getting out onto the main street there was definitely more light and it showed promise. There was just something about this at the time that just called me to shoot it.

Passing the new Arena Perth we crossed over the new makeshift rail bridge to head back to the Northbridge side of town to start to make a move back to where we started out. We both felt there was something cool about the lines on the bridge path which had depth to it.

Looking over at the buildings, I imagined in my minds eye that they would make a cool shot. So I stood on one of the fence props and tried to shoot over the fence. In my rangefinder I thought I had cleared the fence, turns out not, but I think it works, adding a nice leading line to the shot.

As we waited at the lights to cross at the intersection near the horseshoe bridge I felt compelled to shoot across the intersection. Again I like the lines.

I have shot this alley before on colour film as I always find it interesting. I think I like it even more shot in b&w.

Getting back to where we started near the library and museum I wanted to grab a shot like I had seen Boris shoot along the way. While out shooting with him I had noted he was a phenomenal street shooter. Not only did he have a great eye and great compositional skills he also had a knack for getting up close and personal with subjects. When I saw this girl just sitting there distracted playing with her phone I just had to try getting up nice and close to snap this one. I don’t think she was ever the wiser. hahaha

It was about this time that Boris had to make a move as he had to go pick up his girl. We said our farewells and I stuck around to finish shooting my roll. This kid just standing alone playing his recorder busking just stood out.

I walked up around the museum as we had not shot around there, this monument and it’s message just stood out.

Near by there is this kids play area that was abandoned, I was a little bit mesmerized by these hypnotic spinning discs.

Heading back to the main area near the library I now noticed the light was fading fast and knew I needed to get a hurry on if I wanted to finish this roll.

I have shot the Ben & Jerry van before while out on a photo walk for Expose WA earlier in the year, but I had never scene the Ben & Jerry ute there before. I always find nice shiny cars make great subjects.

I love a lot of the sculpture work there is in town these days, it really comes to life as the sun fades and the lights come on to really illuminate it.

By now I was really starting to be surprised at just how much latitude I had with this 400 speed film. It was well and truly getting dark now, but I could still shoot at very useable speeds.

I really wanted to test whether I still had shutter speeds fast enough to capture movement when I took this shot. I am blown away by the result. Even the bit of haloing caused by the uv/haze filter just adds to the ambiance I feel.

I knew I had just one more shot left and I really wanted this roll done by this time. As soon as I spotted this roof with these lines I knew I wanted to shoot it.

All in all I am very happy with my first two rolls that I have developed myself at home and I found this walk with Boris really enjoyable and I even learned a thing or two off him. I look forward to going for a shoot with him again. I also look forward to developing some more rolls. I just got my c41 dev kit, so if I am feeling brave I will have some colour film shots for you next time.
Till then thank you for taking the time to check out my shots and I wish you happy snapping on your endeavors.
If you still like to shoot film and that you might enjoy joining us next time, please do check out our little film group on facebook here:

1 day in 1 roll – Royal Show – September 28th 2013

As a few of you may have noticed I have fallen behind on my 1 day in 1 rolls… not that I haven’t participated I just have fallen behind in posting my rolls here online. I intend to start to rectify this in the future, but for now I thought I would start with my roll from this month, shot on September 28th at the Perth Royal Show on my Minolta Himatic 9 fixed lens rangefinder with Kentmere 400 b&w film. This was also my very first attempt at home developing my own film by myself and scanning on my recently acquired Canoscan 8400F.  (as per usual click on images to see fullsize.)

I must throw out a thank you to my mate Graham who showed me how to develop my own film and also helped hook me up with the chemicals I needed, also to Boris for giving me a heads up about a great deal on my film scanner. Interesting notes about the developing process, the developer was rather old expired Kodak T-Max developer, however it had never been opened so seems fine, that and I do not have a change bag so I removed my film from the canisters and loaded onto the spools and into my dev tank in my recording studio at 2am with the lights out under the dark cloth used for viewing the ground glass screen on my Linhof. haha. Seemed to work fine. Ghetto deving at it’s finest. haha

Anyway, back to my day. After driving around for what seemed like hours to find parking, we finally found a good spot only 2km’s away from the show grounds and quickly made our way over to the show by foot. I had my Sony backpack loaded up with my Minolta Himatic 9 with Kentmere 400 (the shots which are presented here) as I had been wanting to give it a thorough test (even though I had shot a roll through it the night before with my mate Boris in town, but more on that in a later post). I also brought my Chinon CE5 with my Shacht Travenon 50mm f2.8 loaded with super lucky 200 colour film for Lisa to shoot, and just as back-ups for later in the day after our rolls were shot, my Nex5n with Vivitar series 1 19-35mm manual focus lens and my Pentax K30 with my Kiron 80-200mm manual focus zoom. We got into the park relatively quickly as we had pre-ordered tickets, and we quickly made a b-line to the other side of the show grounds as we wanted to look through the pavilions. As we were making our way I spotted this seagull landing near some people sitting watching the entertainment in the central arena, so quickly turned, focus and snapped. I think my negs must have dried a little quickly as I have a problem on this shot with watermarks.

We chose to go to the show on this day as it was AFL grand final day and we figured it would be quieter, which I was actually surprised to find that it did seem to be the case. Still large crowds, but you also still had some room to move.

On our way to the first of the pavilions we came across the good old steam powered farm machinery display, I love old machinery and especially the characters who keep them running and maintained. It is always good to reflect on the ingenuity of the past. When I have kids one day I will be showing them this stuff. Nothing like a good appreciation of where we have come from.

Just across from this we found the first of the pavilions we wanted to visit, the old tele communications and history pavilion. It was interesting to see old telegrams being knocked out between two old fellas across a small telegraph wire. Lisa even had them send me a telegraph. haha. Also it was great watching an old fella lathe some timber and even look at some old pictures and scale models.

Up next was the garden gurus exhibition, being slightly avid gardeners this was good for a browse and gave us a few ideas, however I must admit I was more captivated by the amazing metal sculptures.

Having seen all these great metal garden sculptures I was drawn to the blacksmith workshop nearby where there was genuine old school blacksmiths toiling away. It was great to watch them work and the quality of what they were producing was evident of their talents.

By now we were keen to see some farm animals, which of course is half the fun of the royal show, so we went for a walk through the milking goats pavilion and the milk and beef cow pavilion. There is nothing cuter than baby animals, and some of these bay goats and cow calves were no exception. This first goat had so much personality, showing off for the crowds and even tried to eat the chair at one stage while I was watching. haha

We were allowed to pat this big fella, his fur was so much more coarse than I had expected.

This calf had only been born a few days prior to the farmer bringing his show cows to the show, it was so incredibly cute I have to admit. I was amazed at how much the cows mannerisms were so similar to my dogs. haha

Exiting the farm animal yards it brought us to the commercial displays where what seems like hundreds of venders hock their inventions and wares. It is a blur of noise and colour. Being mainly products for sale I did not find it that inviting to shoot, however I did find this old fortune teller machine an interesting subject.

After all this we took a break to got some traditional fried food that is found in abundance at the show and took in some caffeine to rejuvenate us for more exploring of this marvelous event. Lisa decided she really wanted to visit the city farmers small animal display where there was lots of cool critters for petting. I took the time to sample some $500 a bottle whiskey along the way and we even stumbled across the photography exhibition. Just across from the whiskey tasting was some amazing sand sculptures being knocked out by some talented sand artists.

I also spied this one man band cutting through the crowd, unfortunately he was moving a little fast for me to nail him, but somehow I feel this conveys the movement and gusto with which he was moving.

Finally we made our way into the city farmers pavilion to see all the cute animals on display and out for a petting. Unfortunately this was getting towards the end of my roll, otherwise I would have shot more. I must admit I have been surprised by how well I was able to shoot in such low light with this 400 iso film.

I was privy to a special moment as this young girl was propped up on a hay bail and handed a very small young goat to have a cuddle with.

I must have scratched this neg a bit when I was wiping off the water marks from my film with a micro fiber cloth after it dried, a little bit disappointing but we live and learn.

As we were leaving the City farmers animal display there was this fantastic young orchestra playing, they were really grooving and I was really impressed by how good they were. I had to grab a snap.

Knowing I was getting to the end of my roll I was looking around for a good subject, this amazing mirror water feature just stood out. I was just lucky enough that as I was composing my shot these two young kids came up and started to play with the fountain, adding a bit of playful action to the shot.

Unfortunately that was the end of my roll, as I would have quite happily kept shooting. I did pull out my digitals and continue on after this, but that is for another post. For now I am happy with the results of testing a new camera, my Minolta himatic 9 and my first attempt at home developing my films. I did develop another roll at the same time as this, which was shot the night prior with Boris, but I will save that for another post real soon. For now I thank you for taking the time to peruse my one day in one roll, I hope you enjoyed my photos, and I look forward to getting out and doing it all again next month.
Till next time, happy snapping. :)

P.S.- If you would like to participate in our ’1 day in 1 roll’ events please feel free to join our little Facebook group here:
Everyone from anywhere is welcome to join us. :)

Initial test shots from Nikon 35-105 f3.5-4.5 macro zoom on nex5n

While doing my testing of my Quantaray 70-200 f2.8 I thought I may as well test a couple of other lenses I had been meaning too. One of these lenses was my Nikon 35-105 f3.5-4.5 macro zoom lens. This lens is in tip top shape and like all the Nikon glass feels very nice in the hand and operates smoothly and precisely. I only had time to do two quick initial test shots as the light was fading, but I must admit I quite like this lens, it has that typical buttery smooth Nikon rendering.
( as usual click on images to view as intended at full size)

Iso 100, f3.5, 1/250, I two toned this image to give it that golden dry grass feel.

Next I wanted to test the macro mode on this lens, it seems very precise, it is probably more of a close focus than a macro but it certainly does open up your options and makes this lens a potentially very nice walk around lens.

Iso 400, f3.5, 1/125

I want to return to give this lens a more thorough test in the future. For now I am very happy with the rendering of this lens and am thinking it may be a keeper. haha.
Thank you for taking the time to peruse this post, I greatly appreciate it. Till next time, Happy Snapping. :D

Initial test shot from my Vivitar 35-105 f3.5 (constant) macro zoom on Nex5n.

While doing my initial tests of the Quataray 70-200 f2.8 I thought I would also try a couple more lenses which I had still been meaning too. One of these lenses is my Vivitar 35-105 f3.5 constant aperture macro zoom. Unfortunately this lens arrived with a problem, it arrived with the lens stuck in macro mode. So I was only able to quickly test it in macro mode, but it does seem to render quite nicely and holds great potential. I have since fixed the lens problem being stuck in macro mode, so I will need to return to testing this more thoroughly in the future but for now here is an initial test shot on Nex5n. The lens could also use a clean from the inside as there is also some haze on the rear element. This lens has a serial number beginning with 37, thus it is a Tokina made zoom.
(please click on images to view larger and sharper)

Iso100, f3.5, 1/500, converted to b&w using DXO film pack 3

Thank you for viewing this initial test, please do check back for a more thorough test with this lens now fixed in the future. :)

Initial tests of my Quantaray (sigma) 70-200 f2.8-3.5

So I usually do not really go for zooms. I most definitely consider myself a prime man. However in the not too distant future I have some jobs coming up where I have to shoot some wedding videos for friends. I occurred to me that maybe some zooms may be good for this, so I have gone about collecting a few different types to try. I have collected some fast ones like this f2.8 to see if the speed is desirable and some constant aperture ones to see if that is more desirable. Over the coming weeks I will be testing these lenses and putting them through their paces. My first initial test is of my recently acquired Quantaray 70-200 f2.8-3.5 manual focus push pull zoom.
(as usual click on images to see full size.)

Iso 100, f4, 1/125, 70mm

Through doing some research I have come across many reports stating that Quantaray was the re-branding name used by Ritz camera stores through Europe. Apparently all of their lenses are re-branded sigma lenses except for the 400mm and 500mm lenses which are believed to be re-branded Opteka’s.
So this lens is in fact the Sigma 70-200 f2.8, a well respected lens and good performer. I believe this lens is a bit of a sleeper at the moment, but the word will surely soon be out about this gem of a zoom.
It is acceptably sharp from wide open with some slight blue CA, which is easily correctable in LR, however it is very sharp and all CA is gone by f4.

Iso 400, f2.8, 1/2500, 200mm (the light was fluctuating a little as the sun went in and out from behind the clouds)

Iso 400, f3.5, 1/3200, 200mm (the light was fluctuating a little as the sun went in and out from behind the clouds)

Iso 400, f4, 1/4000, 200mm (the light was fluctuating a little as the sun went in and out from behind the clouds)

I found the bokeh to be quite pleasing wide open, getting busier as you stopped it down which is to be expected. The lens feels light but well made, although the plastic aperture ring is a bit fiddly and I found it a little easy to go past your desired aperture then have to come back, so there was a little back and forth going on to get my desired aperture. Not a deal breaker, but worthy of being noted.
This next test was done about half way through the zoom range. It does have a little more CA around high contrast subjects like this white rose, but gone by f4, and like I said before easily corrected.

Iso 400, f2.8, 1/3200

Iso 400, f3.5, 1/3200

Iso 400, f4, 1/2000

Overall I find it produces a rather pleasing image with good colour and contrast and even a decent pop to the shots. I need to do more testing but I think this was a good cheap pick-up that will be a handy a versatile general shooter to have in my kit when some versatility is desired.

Iso400, f2.8, 1/2000, 200mm

Iso400, f4, 1/2000, 200mm, converted to b&w using DXO film pack 3

Iso400, f4, 1/1600, 70-90mm area, converted to b&w with DXO film pack 3

Thanks for taking the time to peruse my little initial test of this sleeper fast zoom. Please check back for more in depth review in the future, till next time, Happy Snapping. :)

Our overnighter in Margaret River, part 1. (nex5 with Minolta 21mm 2.8 with Lens Turbo adapter)

As you would know from my last post, just the other week Lisa and I went down to stay in Margaret river for a night for our good friends Jess and Simon’s wedding.
It was good to get away, if even for just one night, and I was determined to make the most of it. I packed my new Sony camera backpack up with a decent selection of lenses along with my original Nex5 and my newer Nex5n, my trusty tools of choice 90% of the time. I the end I only really shot my Minolta 21mm 2.8 rectilinear wide angle on my Nex5 and my very recently arrived Zeiss Pancolar 50mm f1.8 which I recently shared test shots from here.
In this post I am just going to share my shots from my Nex5 with Minolta 21mm f2.8 from the trip. As I have stated in a few recent posts I have been testing the Zongyi/Mitakon Lens Turbo focal reducers, which effectively remove the crop factor from apsc allowing you to use your full frame lenses with the point of view more or less you would get from a full frame camera. The lens turbo also gives you an extra stop of speed, which can be handy for low light situations and really creating good subject separation. The adapters being an optical device is not without drawbacks, it accentuates soft edges if your lens does in fact have soft edges (I have tested whether it is lens dependent and it in fact is, more on this in a later post). It also is more prone to lens flare and thus light refractions resulting in a blue dot in your shots under certain lighting conditions, I affectionately refer to this phenomenon as the ‘blue dot of doom’. But more on this later when I get around to doing a proper review.

About 45minutes into our long drive down to Margaret river we reach the first rest stop after the point were the Kwinana freeway ends. We have stopped here before earlier in the year on our way down to Busselton with the band to play a show, only then I was limited to my Voigtlander 35mm 1.4 on regular adapter M mount adapter, perfectly fine, but not nice and wide for that expansive landscape feel. I was keen to play with re-shooting it with my Minolta 21mm 2.8 on lens turbo, to try to attain that really expansive feel. I had been keen to put this combination to use for landscapes. I do like the really wide feel this shot now achieves, although the softer edges do disappoint me a little. I would like to give this another crack in the future when I get an actual full frame Nex.
(as usual click on images to see larger and sharper)

At this same rest spot is a giant set of sculptures Lisa and I have affectionately named the ‘ice cream cones’ which I too had wanted to re-shoot with a wider lens. Unfortunately I gathered some lens flare here and thus a little colour shift due to the ‘blue dot of doom’, so I converted this to a b&w landscape, I think it actually works quite well.

Continuing a bit further along on our long road trip, we started to notice all these dead gnarled trees in the paddocks, I thought they were really cool looking and I was inspired to shoot them. I had a vision in my mind that I wanted to shoot one standing lone in a field with my wide angle so when I spotted this one, I knew this was the right one. haha

This one is a variation on the same shot which I really like too. I feel the power lines running off into the distance add some more depth to the perspective.

Having been on the road since six in the morning and it now approaching lunchtime, Lisa and I decided to make a stop off in Busselton, stretch our legs and have a bit of a shoot around the Busselton Jetty. If you have ever visited the Busselton Jetty you will know it is one hell of a walk. haha

Next to the massive Busselton Jetty I was familiar with, is this small square formed jetty. After having a quick read of nearby plaques I found out that this was in fact the original Busselton Jetty before being replaced by the monster next to it. The colours were a bit subdued in this shot as the weather was starting to come out, so I converted it to B&W and think I prefer it this way.

I thought I would try and get down low to display just how huge this jetty is, I think I failed in this shot to show the scope, but I do like the subdued colours as the weather started to become less favorable.

Near the older square shaped jetty there is this bust (of who I forget now, haha) and I thought ‘well if nothing else that will add a bit of culture to my blog post…history is culture, right?’

I really wanted to try and capture the scope of this huge jetty so I decided to walk to the other side of it in the hopes of capture a better angle. I think I still failed to really capture it’s size. The edges are a bit soft so it loses something. I really want to return here to shoot these when I get my Nex fullframe, as I hope then I would not have nearly as soft corners as I do here due to having to use the lens turbo focal reducer to gain this wide field of view in the first place.

Finally after traveling for a few more hours we finally arrived at our destination in Margaret River. I was keen to stretch my legs, so once all our luggage was taken up to the room I came down to have a quick shoot around where we were staying.

There were things wrong with our room, but I did not have any complaints about our surroundings, very well presented.

We had intended to go out this night to shoot some startrails and do some astro photography. We even drove out to a spot in the middle of no where, where we had an amazing view of the stars. We setup next to the road and just as I was getting ready to take some shots two cars drove past, one keeps going but the other stops fifty meters down the road from us. I did not think anything of it at first and continued to setup my shot. The car sat there with it’s lights on for about 5 minutes when Lisa spoke up saying she was freaked out and getting into the car. I thought she was being silly, but then the car turned off it’s lights and started reversing towards us. That was the point where I thought better of this scenario, threw my camera on tripod onto the back seat of the car, jumped into the drivers seat, locked the doors and drove us quick smart back to the hotel room. Needless to say that was the end of our astro photography adventure for that night. haha

The next morning we woke up to a rush to get ready for Jess and Simon’s wedding. Lisa needed the bathroom to get ready before me so I decided to go and have a quick shoot of the streets around the hotel room. I love these trees at this time of year when they have dropped all of their leaves but are in full bloom of the beautiful red flowers.

I just liked the depth in this shot. I get sucked into staring down into that alleyway.

That was the end of my shooting with my Minolta 21mm f2.8 and Nex5 that was not wedding related except for this one sculpture that stood out at the Vasse Felix winery where the wedding was being held. Not only is it a cool sculpture, the lighting was just right and the backdrop looked amazing. I am very happy with this shot.

So that is where I leave you for this installment from our little overnight trip to Margaret River. Please do keep posted for part two which will have my shots with my Zeiss Pancolar 50mm f1.8 on my Nex5n. Till next time, Happy Snapping. :)

Jess and Simon’s wedding…

This past weekend I got the opportunity to travel down to Margaret River for the wedding of two close friends of ours, Jess and Simon. The ceremony and the reception were held at the beautiful Vasse Felix estate at this perfect time of year.

As is most often usual I took my two trusty nex’s, my Nex5 and my Nex5n. As mentioned in my last post I have also been testing these new Lens Turbo adapters produced under the Zongyi branding by manufacturer Mitakon. The lens turbo is basically a focal reducer allowing you to get fullframe field of view and depth of field on an apsc nex. While being a fantastic tool for ones kit, it is not without it’s drawbacks, but more on this in a later review of the lens turbo.

The ceremony was beautiful as it was great to see two friends so happy tie the knot. The reception was equally nice and I enjoyed taking some snapshots of this fantastic event. I was not the official photographer of this event, these are just some happy snaps that I took and I had a bit of a play with processing them. On the weekend I shot my Minolta 21mm f2.8 on my trusty old Nex5 on lens turbo and I was using my recently acquired Zeiss Pancolar 50 1.8 on Nex5n with lens turbo, I also shot a few later in the reception with my asahi 105 2.8.

There are too many shots to show one by one so I will put them in a slideshow here, feel free to follow the link to view them in full on photobucket if you desire. I have added softening and such in post processing of these shots, so no real indication of lens performances here. The first 5 or so shots are from Nex5 with Minolta 21mm f2.8, the next majority of shots are taken on myNex5n with Zeiss Pancolar 50 1.8 until the speeches when I switch to my asahi 105 f2.8: (as usual photobucket is displaying the shots in reverse order, I appologise)

Hood_66's Jess and Simons wedding album on Photobucket

A new acquisition: Zeiss Pancolar 50 1.8 Initial test

Just last Friday afternoon this nifty little Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f1.8 in m42 mount arrived on my doorstep.

I had scored it for a fair price on the old eBay and was keen to give it a quick test run. Being Friday afternoon and that Lisa and I were off work as we were off to a friends wedding the next morning it seemed like the perfect time to take it out for a quick shoot, so we decided to go down to the pub for a quick beer while at it. haha

I got to give it a quick test shoot on my Lens Turbo adapter. This adapter I will have more on soon. Basically it is a focal reducer, so it reduces most of the apsc crop effectively giving you the field of view and depth of field of a full frame camera. It is a fun tool, but not without it’s limitations. More on this in future posts.

First up I have to say I am extremely happy with this lens. It is supremely sharp and has the most beautiful rendering. It has a quality all of it’s own and the most vibrant colours to boot. It has a creamy out of focus area rendering and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite 50mm lenses in my kit.

Here are just two quick test shots from the afternoon: (as usual click on images to view full size and uncompromised)

 Pancolar 50 1.8 test shot at f2.8 on Nex5n with Lens Turbo, ISO 100, sh 1/3200

Pancolar 50 1.8 test shot at f4 on Nex5n with Lens Turbo, ISO 100, sh 1/4000

Joshua Perera Photography – Photos, Cameras, Lenses, Film, Digital, Reviews, Discussion and Inspiration.