Tag Archives: Sony

It’s time for an update. Protas V1.2 & 3/4

So, I felt it was about time our little sight had an upgrade in appearance…
…What do you guys think?

I’m still ironing out a few bugs so bare with us while I try to iron out said bugs.

I think the new layout is great and has a new spacious feel to it. haha
I think I can get used to this for a while.

I have also added more mobile functionality to the site. It should be much easier to view from Mobile phones now, as well as the all new Desktop site visual upgrade.
Please do let me know your thoughts.

This is just a quick update for now, but I do have a lot of great articles coming up for you.
For the Photography buffs, I have been playing with the all new Pentax K30 and the not so new but equally matched Sony Nex5n since I got these for my birthday just past. Great presents… if not a little quirky. I have also been having a play with a few HDR software packages with varying success.

However this Sony 16mp sensor that is in each is quite a nice performer.
I have been taking plenty of test shots so hope to have a review of each for you soon.
(As usual please click on images to see larger and sharper)

Lisa took this on my Pentax K30 using my Pentax SMC-F 35-135mm zoom lens
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I took this on Pentax K30 using my Pentax SMC-F 35-135mm zoom, this is actually a stitch of 17 images
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I took this on Sony Nex5n using my Meyer Gorlitz 29mm f2.8 manual focus lens
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I took this of my favourite beer shop using my Sony Nex5n using my Carl Zeiss Felktagon macro 35mm f2.8 manual focus lens
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I took this on Nex5n using my Miida 35mm f2.8 manual focus lens
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I have also started a new group here in Perth called: 1 Day in 1 Roll
The idea being that everyone who is interested joins our little Facebook group then goes out and shoots and entire roll of film on a date each month decided upon by the group.
The idea being we get a day in the life of Perth as shot by different photographers, using different gear on different films, whilst also supporting the local film developers.
Tomorrow Saturday the 27th is our first day out, I really look forward to seeing everyones shots.
If you feel you may be interested in this please join our little group here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/152975388180408/
…on a side note the leaderville camera markets are on again this Sunday. Any camera buff should check it out.

We also have lots of interviews coming up, namely Perth heavyweight Tusk will be up next. Along with some great reviews of some great new material being released by some great bands.

It’s all looking up here at PROTAS so make sure you keep checking back to see what is going on.
Till next time,
Have a good one my friends.

The Carenar 45mm f2.8 manual focus lens on Nex5n…and the old Atlantis ruins…

Ok, ok, I know it has been a loooooong time since I have written a decent post or review or anything on here, and I do appologise. I got very distacted by losing a bass player in my band and recruiting a replacent and training him up, plus I also did a short stint fronting a local band too. It has been winter here too, so the light has not been great, but I have still kept getting out to shoot as often as possible. I actually have much material to share with you all. I have had both my brothers and a mate from work all buy good cameras recently and take up photography. So it has been a very inspiring time.
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My lens collecting addiction has certainly not gone away and neither has my passion for manual lens photography. I was also lucky enough to acquire two new digitals besides my Nex5 and KX for my birthday, a Nex5n and K30, but more on all this in a later article…

…For now, having taken time to reshuffle my priorities a little, I have had more time to get back to shooting more as of late and thus able to participate in more discussions about manual lenses. Recently while on one of my favorite forums, Manual Focus Lenses, I came across a post about a Petri 45mm f2.8. As I like to read about lenses, and having owned a 45mm f2.8 I clicked on the post and gave it a read. The lens pictured by the poster looked very similar to my Carenar 45mm f2.8, so I informed him of such and took a pic for comparison. They indeed do look identical, bar the brandings on the lens. We both now believe that this lens was produced by a third party. I already knew this about my Carenar as I had done research about it myself, however I was surprised to find an identical lens rebranded as¬† Petri. I have only been able to find a little about the Carenar brand but have no idea as of yet who the manufacturer of this lens was, however I have been informed that this is in-fact a copy of the Carl Zeiss 45mm f2.8 Tessar, here is the little I know about the brand:

This is as much as I have been able to find about the Carenar brand to date:

Quelle is a german company selling by command from a catalogue but also has shops in bigger german towns. They also had a chain called Foto Quelle for photogear and film but after being big in the 70s (older photographers toldme they were really good shops concurring with specialised photodealers) and declining at the end of the 80s they were closed in the middle of the 90s. The Quelle shops (selling from clothes to household and electronics) were also in trouble in the last years but some of them still exist and even have a little department of photographic gear and film development service.
The catalogue selling business still flourish as far as I know. Interesting side note, after the german postal market was liberalised and the Deutsche Post lost his monopol situation Quelle opened his sending channels used before to deliver the products from the catalogue to everyone, not only customers. They were for long time (and still are) the cheapest method to send things around in Germany.
http://www.quelle.de/ (Oh… the site says Quelle was sold. Seem they couldn’t avoid bankrupcy.)
Quelle (or Foto Quelle) had two lines of inhouse brand cameras: Revue or Revueflex (SLRs) and Carena. The corresponding lenses were labeled Revuenon and Carenar.
Behind this two names they sold anything they could get from GDR (mostly Praktica but I believe also some compacts and some 6×6 or 6×4,5 box cameras), USSR (ZTM and M42 Zenits, LTM rangefinders, TLRs, compacts, etc.), China (mostly Seagull TLRs but folders also), Japan (different producers, not only Cosina and Chinon also “better” names) and even USA (especially Polaroid instant cameras).
I don’t know why the two lines. It seems to me that Carena was introduced later but did not replace the Revue/Revueflex line.

After agreeing that my Carenar lens did infact look identical to his Petri, the poster then asked me if I had any shots with the lens I could share. I said I would get him some. I knew I had some from when I first got the lens but they were average and rather old now, so I decided it was about time I went out for a decent shoot with this lens and give it a bit of a review.

Deciding where to go for a shoot in Perth is always the hardest thing for and Lisa and I. It always seems as if there is not much here, which I guess can be true… this kind of led us too our location for today. There used to be many more big Theme Parks in Perth back some 20 years ago, however over the years most had all gone bankrupt and are now laying in ruin. Quite sad actually, when the whole state is crying out for more entertainment…. but that is another story. We decided to drive up to Yanchep and have a look around the old Atlantis theme park ruins and see if we could get some shots. It turned out to be quite a nostalgic trip for me as I remember visiting the park as a child and having fond memories of the visit.

The lens is of manly plastic construction it feels. It does not feel poor or flimsy however, no, it actually feels rather sturdy. The lens is very light though, and rather short, like most 45mm I find can almost be qualified as a pancake lens. It seems to have a very smooth and short turn to the focus diaphram, thus I am thinking it could be very good for video. My copy is a little scuffed up on the outside, but optically is in great shape. These are actually a little rare to find on E-bay.

I am quite happy with the sharpness of this lens. For something that I took a punt on E-bay for, and for how light and plastic-y it feels, it takes some great pictures. Good colour, and the compactness of the lens with how light it is make it quite a comfortable fit on the Nex5n for a walk around prime. Having the 1.5X crop of the APS-C sensor in the Nex the real lens focal length of 45mm actually becomes about a 67.5mm effective focal length, which is still not too bad for a walk around length. It only focuses down to about 80cm so it is not particularly close focusing, but still adequate for most shooting. I have done some 100% crops for you to peruse. As with all my images, please click on them to view larger and sharper. These were all shot at about f5.6

How’s the Bokeh? Could be a little distracting by some peoples tastes…. but could be characteristic to others.

 

As you can see, good colour representation as well as sharpness, I did however have to boost the contrast a little to compensate for a little glow, so I believe the coatings may be a little old.

 

I like that this lens seems to represent some decent 3D pop, as is demonstrated in this pic of this old abandoned trolley.

All in all I think this lens is a decent pick-up if you can grab it for around $50-$80. However I am noticing a trend of increasing prices in the second hand manual lens market as more of us start to realise their true value. I think this lens represent decent band for buck if you can pick up a clean copy for a reasonable price. It is light, and smooth, is pretty sharp, has good colour representation, if a little low on contrast and has some nice 3D pop. All in all I have to say I quite like this lens and will have to pull it out more often. Bellow are some more pictures taken with this lens from the same outing.

An Original Collaboration… A new adventure into video production!

I recently had a mate approach me to help him with a performance project for a Western Australian Performing Arts Academy assessment.
He was to produce the audio and he was to collaborate with a local visual artist of some kind to create the visuals to go with it.
He asked me if I would help him out.
He gave me some basic criteria of what he desired and off I went.

It is a layering of a couple of pieces of video I shot on my Sony Nex5 with my Asahi Takumar 50mm f1.4 manual focus lens and my Pentax KX with my Pentax SMC F 35-135 macro zoom lens. As well as stills shot on my Minolta X700 with my Minolta 50mm F1.4 manual lens and 50mm F2 lens on both Fuji pro 160s and Ilford XP2 400 B&W film along with B&W stills from the Nex5 with my Asahi Takumar 50mm f1.4. I also incorporated some simple effects I made in after effects and some transitions from my basic director compiling program.

The theme/story I was going for was nature overrunning urban decay and our retrospect from our future technological selves. I was trying to stick to the guidelines given to me…but the audio just kept giving me this alien kind of vibe. So I like to look at this as though you are viewing the decay of mankind and the reclamation of nature through some futuristic alien looking device. But that is just the feelings I got from this fun little project.

I am quite happy with the results as I am mainly a still shooter and only really dabble in playing with making video.

I like to see how other people perceive it too, so please give me your comments. Isn’t that the magic of art, perception?

I hope you enjoy. ūüėÄ

A walk around the block with the Asahi Takumar 50mm f1.4 on Nex5

I bought this lens off a guy from a lens forum at the start of the year for $50 damaged.

This was the pic he gave me of it:

It was severely damaged on the end of the barrel, so much so that it was almost seized at the infinity end of focus, and thus was almost unusable.
So I took it to my mate Max Delaway, camera extraordinaire to see what he could do about it. He managed to get the barrel bent back perfectly, so it will even accept a filter, plus he got the focusing almost completely worked out. I am extremely happy. It cost me another $60, but well worth it after I took it for it’s first test run on a walk last Sunday around the neighborhood just snapping flowers in the fading evening sunlight. I love the razor thin depth of field this lens has wide open. It renders so differently to my Minolta 50mm F1.4 lens. It does seem to over saturate reds some what, however. I had to do a bit of work to try and save those which is odd. But I still love this lens!! Very Happy

(Click on images to see larger and sharper)

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Lake Mongor with Nex5 and Meyor Gorlitz Oreston 50mm f1.8 in exakta mount

We had been out at a camera swap meet then in to town for breakfast before we stopped at Lake Mongor for a quick walk. I pulled out the Nex5 with my Meyer Gorlitz Oreston 50mm f1.8 and had a bit of a snap at the picturesque scenery.

(click on images to see larger and sharper)

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Crazy Comparisons: Sony Nex Vs Pentax KX – Wideangle lowlight action battle

I know I’ve been a little slow with articles lately but that is just because I have had so many weekends full of shooting as of late. One such weekend recently was Serial Killer Smile’s debut EP launch on the Friday night and my band From Isolation also had our first all ages show down at HQ in Leederville on the Sunday.

As you know I had only recently acquired a Pentax KX to go alongside my Sony Nex5 and there was a sigma 14mm 2.8 lens that I had been really wanting for it. Luckily I had got the funds together and acquired the lens that afternoon of the SKS show.  So I thought this would be a good comparison between not only the two cameras, being that they both have Sony sensors (the Pentax has the slightly older sensor configuration with only 12.9mp, while the Nex5  has the slightly newer 14.2 mp count), however the Sony Nex5 is mirrorless whereas the Pentax KX has a mirror. It is also a good comparison between the Sony 16mm F2.8 pancake vs the Sigma 14mm F2.8 wide angle lens. Both shows were shot in near total darkness other than the stage lighting, this is a great test of the auto focus as well.

First up just a few shots from the Nex with the 16mm f2.8 lens:
These shots are from the ‘Serial Killer Smile’ EP Launch


This shot is a great comparison between the Nex and Kx my partner and I took almost the same shot at almost the same time. (The Pentax shot is shown further down)

These next shots were taken at a show I played at YMCA HQ all ages venue, these are of course shots of the other bands on the bill with us.

 

And Now the Pentax Kx with the Sigma 14mm f2.8 lens:
These shots are from the ‘Serial Killer Smile’ EP Launch


The Pentax ‘comparison shot’

More shots with the Pentax at the YMCA HQ show

 

I found both to render, rather similarly, lots of colour and quite sharp. There is however a bit of ISO grain but that is more due to my poor setting on the camera than anything else. I found auto focus surprisingly enough to be rather comparable on both systems with comparable hit and miss ratios. I did find the Pentax to be more pleasurable to shoot due to the viewfinder. However when the Nex nailed the focus it is sharp beyond belief and the rendering is sublime. The Sigma 14mm lens however could almost be considered a macro lens with how close focusing it is, it’s quite remarkable. You can almost touch the subject you are trying to shoot and still have them sharp, in view and focused.
I am extremely happy with both rigs and for different reasons, the sharpness and rendering of the Sony with it’s 16mm is sublime, and the super close focusing ability of the Pentax with the Sigma 14mm couple with the viewfinder means I can grab some really nice action rock shots. I will continue to keep testing and reporting my results.

For all the shots from the SKS launch, you can find them here:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.382580831767768.106231.312936945398824&type=1

and for all the shots from our HQ all ages show, you can find them here:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.384306864928498.106565.312936945398824&type=1

Great pick-up: Photo-market in leaderville!

Last Sunday we were fortunate enough to have been informed of the Camera Swap-meet to be held at Leaderville Town Hall. We got down there nice and early in the hopes of still being able to pick-up a gem. The small hall was packed with many other photographers all searching for their own bargain. I saw some great cameras around some participants necks, even a Leica M9 amongst them! I was amazed at the amount of great lenses, cameras and accessories all out for sale. I personally was on the lookout for some auto lenses for my newly acquired Pentax KX.

After having walked around the hall twice browsing the contents of each table, I was drawn to one stand in particular. There perched in the middle of the table was an old Pentax MZ60 in perfect working order with two Sigma auto zooms the 70-210mm and 24-70mm, with case for $70. While I already owned an MZ60 for my collection, that was not in working condition, while this one was. What was the biggest bonus however, was the fact that by purchasing this little setup, not only did I acquire a great working film camera, but also two auto zooms that would work on my Pentax KX digital SLR. Of course I quickly ponied over the cash and made a swift exit from the markets, keen to go straight to my car and test these newly acquired Sigma auto zoom lenses out.

I was very happy to discover as soon as I mounted them on the KX that they both worked a treat. The only things worth shooting right there in the carpark were actually some beautiful roses. So initial test shots were of those. I was quite impressed right off the bat, but had a hankering for some breakfast and coffee. Into town we went, where I took a few more candid shots with the 70-210mm zoom while we walked to the cafe and whilst we waited for our order.

Heading home after quite a decent breakfast and coffee, we found ourselves passing Lake Monger. Not wanting to pass up the moment for a more thorough test shoot of this Sigma 70-210mm auto zoom lens I had just purchased, we pulled up for a bit more of a play. There are some beautiful birds here:

Shots from the Pentax KX with my newly acquired Sigma 70-210 auto zoom.

 

 

I had also acquired a Meyer-Gerlitz Orestegon 50mm f1.8 recently too. (not at the markets) Having that mounted on the Nex5, I pulled that out too and we had a bit of a test shoot with that too.

Shots from Nex5 with Meyer-Gerlitz Orestegon.

After this initial test shoot with the Sigma 70-210mm auto zoom on the Pentax KX I have to say I am very pleased with these results. As I am with the Meyer-Gerlitz Orestegon. I was told this lens was held in high regard for it’s rendering and after these quick test shots I can see why. I am very happy with my recent purchases!

Slr Magic 35mm – Creativity in a lens? A 3 month trial…

Ok, so I shot exclusively with my 2 Slr magic lenses from August 2011 till December 2011, I got some great shots and now feel I can discus what I think are the strengths and weaknesses of the lenses.

I’d like to start out with the 35mm as this is the one that I naturally just kept reaching for at first. It just felt fun to use, and when I looked at the screen on the Nex I was always very excited with the shots I grabbed with this lens. It’s funny that of the 2 lenses, this one always grabbed me more when out shooting over the 28mm, however when I got home and loaded them up on my computer, that was always where I found my love for the 28mm, but more on this later.

Upon receiving my package from SLR magic containing my 2 lenses and adjustable macro extension, I was very impressed by the packaging, it all seemed quite nice and had a feeling of quality I was not expecting this for such relatively inexpensive lenses. I remember being so eager to go shooting with these lenses when they arrived, I took a few brief snaps around the house to get the hang of focusing manually on the Nex, which is a dream by the way with it’s focus peaking and magnification. (however I must admit to not having recorded the aperture stops for each image and the Nex does not record your aperture settings on manual lenses for obvious reasons)

Once feeling comfortable enough, I chucked the dog on the leash and proceeded to the local park to give him a run and go shooting with this lens. The first thing I noted with this test was how easy this lens was to focus, the are no click stops for aperture, so it is great for video too. The rings turned freely and smoothly and did not feel loose or plastic-y at all. Not having much around I was reduced to shooting my dog and the local nature, however these shots turned out to be some great tests for me.

This shot was probably my favourite from this quick walk around the park. I like how it articulated the grain on the trunk.
Sh. Sp. 1/50 ISO 200

However I quickly noticed once I loaded the shots up on my PC that this lens had quite bad lens distortion as is quite plain in the next pic. It does not always seem to be in the same place in pictures, which leads me to believe that this distortion point rotates around as you focus, so it will depend on the distance from the subject to where the placement is. I’m not sure if this obvious lens distortion is in all examples of the lenses or if it is just this particular copy that I have.

You can see from this test shot where the lens distortion is quite prevalent. Sh. Sp. 1/250 ISO 200

Although this would be seen by some as quite a serious problem in this lens, it still was and is not a deal breaker for me. I did not buy this lens to get the most awesome, crystal clear, drop dead beautiful captures. No, I bought this lens as it was advertised to me, as a great creative lens and this is exactly what it is. If you buy this lens and expect it to give you perfect, leica or zeiss like images then you will be sorely disappointed and I have to question what you thought you were going to get for a lens that you get change out of $150AU.Still this was just the beginning for me, I had already caught the bug for shooting manually on the Nex. It just feels so good, it’s like meditation, it makes you slow down, really think about and compose your shot and then snap. Manual shooting makes you a better photographer, period.
Wanting to get out more and experiment with my new lenses I planned to go into town (Perth) that very next w/e, since I had gig posters to put up for our next show, I figured why not kill 2 birds.The first shot I snapped was just of a typical street sign right outside of the parking complex I had left my car in. I was that keen to get shooting, I just snapped the first thing I saw as I got out on the street. Even just by looking in the viewfinder, I was already impressed by the way the colours popped with this lens, it seemed right away to have more contrast than the native auto lenses.

It’s pretty close to midday so the sun is pretty harsh, but I like it in these, it conveys Perth city, we live under harsh summer sun. Sh. Sp. 1/4000 ISO 200

I still am blown away by the colour that these lenses convey to the sensor, it just seems miles and above the rendition from the kit lenses. I think this is probably one of the greatest factors in these lower end SLR magic lenses, they obviously have quite decent multi-coating. Combine that with the relatively fast f1.7 of this lens and you fun, creative walk-around that can handle low-light quite well.

Again still midday so the sun is quite harsh… They were running a Vegemite van in town giving out samples, how Aussie is that? Sh. Sp. 1/4000 ISO 200

I must admit that it was only from these first few town shots that I first truly noticed the full extent of the actually quite heavy vignetting to the edges of the lens. Again this was not really that much of a deal breaker for me, as I quite liked how it frames what you want the viewer to see.

As shown here you are always going to have really soft edges with this lens, as long as you take that into account, I think it can work for you. Sh. Sp. 1/3200 ISO 200

Again it is all about how you use this lens, very creative I feel, and as these 2 shots show, it performs quite well in normal low-light. Sh. Sp. 1/2000 ISO 200

Being new to shooting completely manually I wanted to see how I would go capturing some action shots, I was lucky enough that some teens were skating in front of a new monument that was being erected. I was impressed that this lens was actually fast to focus, the rings turned very smoothly and freely, without feeling loose, but firm and tight, fast enough I could capture kids flying through the air.

Having now become much more aware of the soft edges due to reasonably vignetting, (I believe the lens only just covers the whole Nex APS-C sensor) I thought I should shoot some lines to gather the lenses effect on them out to the edges.

As you can see still quite sharp in the center, but you get large displacement out to the edges.Having now felt comfortable with the lens and having figured out the pros and cons to shooting with it for what, I wanted to put it through it’s paces in a more professional capacity. Knowing the band was not far off releasing our then brand new single , I wanted to organise a promo shoot, to get some great photos of the band to help promote and also to put this baby through her paces in a more demanding scenario.

You can see here how it as worked quite well, Matt is nice and sharp and the background gets this kind of ethereal feel due to the soft edges. Sh Sp. 1/160 ISO200

It was on this shoot that I noticed that the vignetting will often cause you to get that ‘swirling’ bokeh feel. I feel it is useful in some instances, giving the shot a feeling of movement behind a stationary object. Sh. Sp. 1/4000 ISO 200

So all in all after shooting with this lens for around 3 months I feel I can give it the thumbs up. It is not the stellar performer that you will get from other lens manufacturers for quite a lot more money, but it is creative. Extremely so. In fact I feel this lens fits into the ‘it is so bad it is good’ category. Because when you start adding up that it has barrel distortion around the center of some of your images and you have very soft edges due to vignetting that also effects bokeh in a kind of swirling way, I guess it starts to sound like a bit of a dud on paper. But, if you take into account that you will pick it up for less than $150AU, it has great colours and the build quality actually feels quite good, If used right this lens is a winner. If you take into account this short comings when shooting you will actually start to make the flaws work for you and create some amazing images. I also feel that if this is your first foray into manual lens shooting, you could do far worse than splashing out on this lens. It feels good on the end of the camera and it will make you slow down and compose your shots better.

All in all I have a real soft spot for this lens and it will always be in my kit. While not even coming close to some of my great glass like my SMC takumars or Minolta rokkors, this lens does things that they cannot do, and this is due to it’s unique imperfections which make it a classic creative tool for your Nex.
(all photos were taken jpeg as there was no way to process the Nex raw at the time, this has now been rectified)

Sony Nex-5 = My advancement into interchangeable lens photography

I know that everyone on some level loves to take photos. You just have to take a quick peruse through any social medium, to see that digital photography and the sharing of photos on-line, is alive and well.
With the advent of the mobile phone with the digital camera, portability and the ability to capture that moment at any time became reality for most of us.
However there were always still those of us who chased the higher image quality and pixel resolution of a dedicated camera, compared to the grainy, colorless photos of our early 2-6mp digital phone cameras. I remember it was for this very reason that we purchased our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S650 7.2 Mega pixel digital camera, it took perfectly good photos for the day and was a great for our step out into a dedicated digital camera. I wanted to find the old thing for the purpose of this review, however it seem to have gone missing. Hmmm…
Not having the camera anymore means this image will have to suffice.

Having by this time become heavily into fish keeping and starting to get out more with the band again, we were starting to want something that could produce much higher quality photos under more demanding situations. Everyone we spoke to said we needed a DSLR, however looking around at the time proved them to be rather expensive so we put that idea to bed for a later day.

It was a few months later and I was collecting a Behringer¬† tube compressor I was trying out for the possible purchase for the studio. It turned out the guy that was selling it had previously been into music and was into photography, and now managed the camera store in town. In the end I decided I did not want the compressor (had a faulty left side) so I went to return it. Now, being that Lisa’s birthday was only a few weeks away and I knew she had been quite into photography in high school , I thought maybe it was time for the old camera upgrade. So upon returning the compressor I asked him what was a good camera in my price range that would give me the kind of results we wanted. His eyes then lit up as someone has obviously just asked him to talk about a topic he knows very well, he then reaches for the nearest camera catalogue, confidently flicks a few pages and says, ‘well I’m going to buy this!’ and points solidly at the brand new Sony Nex 3& 5 cameras. So I did the quick internet perusal on my phone to see if I could find out more about this camera, there seemed to be very little out there other than that this was brand new mirror-less DSLR technology that meant small camera with DSLR like image quality, since it had a sensor only one size down from the big full frame mirror DSLR cameras. A lot of this was over my head at the time, but being the gear nut that I am, that was enough for me and that was the one I suggested we get for Lisa’s birthday.

So I gave Lisa the money that I was going to spend on the compressor and a bit more, she pitched in the rest from her savings, and she went about searching for the best price while I was at work. We had decided that we wanted the Nex-5 over the Nex-3 mainly because it was made from a metal alloy body as opposed to the plastic of the 3 and the 5 also did full HD footage and had a slightly higher rated internal cpu. Being newer to photography we of course knew we wanted zoom, you know the old ‘well how much zoom has it got?’, so we decided to shell out the larger amount to get the body with the 2 kit lenses, both the 16mm prime and the 18-55mm zoom lenses. Lisa and her mum drove all over town and ended up right back at the store in town buying it of the bloke I had initially spoken to.¬† Would have been fantastic had Lisa not then returned home to find we had been broken into and robbed! So after we dealt with that, called the police, fixed the windows and got over the fact that we had been robbed, we then took a moment to unpack the camera and have a play, in fact I think the first photos we took with the camera was of the damage.

Here is our Nex-5 with the flash attachment on and the 16mm prime attached. (taken with Lisa’s I-phone, how far phone cameras have come!) Of course here you can see it is a little beat up from good love and wear and tear.

Right off the bat we were very happy with the images compared to our old camera (who wouldn’t be, the frame size jump along with a double in mega pixels to 14.2 is a rather significant leap) However upon up-loading to the web we were sometimes disappointed at our results compared to that of some of our peers. So that was it I was on a quest to discover why we could not achieve that same ‘pop’ I saw in others photos with cameras of similar specs. After hunting around the internet and doing a bunch of reading of peoples opinions, it seemed the general consensus was that the lenses were letting down this potentially phenomenal camera, after manual lens owner had used adapters to put some of these on the front of their Nex’s with stunning results. Being daunted at the time of the concept of manual lenses and adapters I decided to steer clear of this concept and instead put the matter to bed again for a month or 2, but once again being frustrated at not being able to achieve the exact results I wanted I again returned to hunting around the net, because surely some new lenses had been released by now.


This is the 16mm auto kit prime lens (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)

This is the 18-55mm auto kit zoom lens (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)

This is the 2 together to give an idea of size (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)
 

 

 

This new line of inquiry then led me to wiki, which on their page held the news that Sony had released the proprietary information for their Nex dedicated lens mounting system the E-mount and furthermore lens manufacturer Slr magic had now released two all new manual lenses native to the e-mount system. I was gobsmacked. Where had I been? This was fantastic news, so I started doing the old Google for the new Slr magic lenses wanting to know more about them, were they priced out of my range? were they any good? This in turn led me to Steve Huff’s blog where he had very recently done the preliminary reviews for these 2 brand new lenses. The news was good, if you were out for having a play with 2 great creative lenses, I must admit I also liked what I saw of the test shots, knowing they had come from my camera.

I continued to search and it lead me to 3 videos, one by a french cinematographer who had shot a lovely, upbeat sunset scene on a beautiful busy beach strip in France, it was beautiful, it invoked feelings of happiness, joviality, it made me yearn for warm summer nights and drinks with friends. The next was by a Japanese amateur film maker who filmed his trip to Greece with friends. He shot it all in black and white, and again it filled me with the feeling of good times, and yet this odd melancholic feeling, you got the sense he fancied a girl in the group as he followed her more than others. The final and third was the one that probably put the nail in the coffin, it was footage from a young fella from eastern Australia and his trip to Melbourne. He filmed his friends in the city heart, skateboarding and doing back flips and generally running a muck through the CBD. Like I said this was the nail in the coffin. I had been totally gobsmacked by the power of film. The insight into peoples lives, the power to tell a story, the power to make someone yearn for your way of life. This was a life changing moment and it effected me for weeks. I had always had a need to extract as much out of this life as I can before I bite the dust, but now I also yearned to capture it, to effect someone in the same way I had been effected.

Needless to say I then went to the Slr magic eBay page and promptly purchased both the 28mm and 35mm primes and adjustable focusing native e-mount macro tubes. For under $500 dollars I could get 2 reputedly ok lenses,¬† that was a chance I was willing to take… and not knowing manual lens photography, well that would be something I would figure out when the lenses got here. haha

This is the 35mm Slr Magic manual prime lens (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)
 
This is the 28mm Slr Magic manual prime lens (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)
Here is the 2 together to give an idea of size (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)

The lenses arrived rather promptly, within 2 weeks, which was good since they were a birthday present to myself. I was very keen to get in a play with them. I first threw on the 35mm lens and was amazed at how easy it was to pick up shooting manually on the Nex-5 with the aid of it’s focus peaking and manual focus assist (a 7x and 14x touch button finder zoom for checking if you have nailed the focus) while still being a little slower than shooting with an auto lens I quickly realised that when you nailed it manually, you really nailed it. The second thing I noticed was how much nicer these lenses rendered colours. It now takes slightly longer to shoot moving subjects such as my fish, however the satisfaction you get when you nail it and the results you get in the end make it feel so much more worthwhile. I very quickly fell in love with manual photography, I was now getting the results I had dreamed about.

I shot with these 2 lenses almost exclusively for 3 months, I got to know the 35 for being awesome artistically for portraits, having such soft corners. I found it particularly useful when shooting band shots for ‘From Isolation’, as the vignetting it has at the corners gives a slight swirling to the bokeh which gives a feeling of movement. The 28mm I struggled to fall in love with as much at first. It just did not give me the same enjoyment when out shooting that the 35mm did, however this always changed when I got back to my comp and loaded the full size shots up there, lens is actually quite sharp and renders colours very nicely.

Here is a shot of all 4 to give an idea of their relative sizes. (photo taken with my Exakta 35-75mm zoom lens which arrived today)

Of course after all this testing I now wanted more again. I had remembered about using old manual lenses and adapting them to the Nex and this now peaked my curiosity as I had gained more knowledge and confidence with the camera. So I turned to e-bay and started googling the net for good lenses from the past and finding that due to the short flange size on the Nex I could adapt almost any lens I wanted from the past, I salivated at the thought. I first settled on lenses from Minolta as the mount adapter seemed readily available and the lenses were still reasonably priced. I then stretched out and bid on m42, l39, nikon, vivitar, sigma, tamron etc. etc. from manufacturers ranging from east Germany to Russia to USA to Japan and places in between. We still use the auto kit lenses, however mainly just for the applications where these excel, for low-light, action, such as live band photography. I intend to purchase the native Sony 50mm auto lens for the Nex as it is quite fast, with an aperture of f1.8 and as I have found in low-light, due to the native auto lenses having in built image stabilisation, this makes them almost twice as fast as the equivalent f aperture manual lens.
I now have a collection of manual lenses and adapters over 55 strong and growing! I have become completely addicted to manual lens shooting and now collecting and shooting with classic antique lenses adapted to the front of our Nex-5, it is just magic, this phenomenal little camera just translates whatever you put in front of it.

Over the coming weeks and months I hope to do some testing and reviews of some of my lenses for you, both old and new, so it may be of some help to fellow Nex users as to whether acquiring these lenses is a worthwhile enterprise. I have also come to learn there are also some settings you can tweak on your camera to get a little more punch out of your baby too.

Here are just a few of my favourite pics taken with the Slr Magic manual focus prime lenses:

This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 35mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 28mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 28mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 28mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 28mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 35mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 28mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 35mm prime lens
 
This Photo was taken with the Slr Magic/Noktor Hyperprime 35mm prime lens
(These sample shots were all taken from camera Jpegs as there was no way to process the Nex Raw files at the time. this has since been rectified)
 

I hope you enjoyed this little run down on the Nex and the first native lenses I have had the pleasure of using. In summary I feel that the Nex series of cameras offer the perfect solution for amateur photo takers that want to step up to a higher quality small auto camera that can do great results, and for those that want to get a bit more serious and play with manual glass. This really is the perfect compromise between amateur user and pro-sumer.