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Monday, 29 June 2015

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 lowlight shots from a gig

I went to a gig yesterday and I took some shots with Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1 lens that I got from infoto.pl for a test. I love this lens, awesome stuff. If you shoot in low light - this is the lens to use!
Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1

Sony A7 + Voigtlander 50mm NOKTON f/1.1
all samples taken @ f/1.4

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Mitakon 85mm f1.2 first impressions and samples

Yesterday I received this lens from the good guys at infoto.pl and I immediately noticed the weight of that beast. It's heavy... to say the least, but a portrait 85mm lens of f/1.2 has to be big. That's just physics. The one I got is with the Nikon mount and I tested it on my Sony A7.

I immediately packed my bag and took it for a spin. I tested the lens at various apertures as I always do. Wink wink to the guys who recently criticized me for uploading only photos at open aperture. (more info at the end of this entry) Optical properties at f/1.2 are just breathtaking. Chromatic aberrations only appear at really contrastive parts of the photo (classic branch-in-the-sky case) and the sharpness is just crazy. I feel like the lens designers have been paying a lot of attention to those new 30, 40 and 50-something-megapixel cameras. In case of this lens though I decided to stop down a bit for some of the photos as it helped edge of the frame sharpness considerably. The centre sharpness is very very good across the apertures.

The bokeh is impressive. It's very smooth for the most part and outstanding sources or light are nicely eye-shaped if they are off-centre.  (As many as 11 aperture blades contribute greatly to that). The DoF is paper thin at times and your slightest move can ruin your focus so it's important to have that in mind. Breathe in and

bokeh at f/1.2
bokeh at f/1.4

Below are some sample photos for you guys, most of them at f/1.2, but some are stopped down a bit (not more than to f/2). The first couple of photos are wide open for sure, the following ones I'm not sure about to tell the truth. I encourage you to see details for some of the photos (links below them).


click for 1:1 detail crop


click for 1:1 detail crop you can see a fly and tiny webs

click for 1:1 detail crop you can see ants in detail






For enthusiast of stopping down fast lenses I did a comparison of f/1.2 and f/8. The in-focus area is perhaps a tiny bit sharper in the latter, but the main difference is considerable light fall-off at the edges in the wide open photo and lack of it when stopped down. This will happen with any fast lens.



What I like a lot about this lens is that you can slice out an object even if it's quite big and shot from quite far away. The background 'blur' makes the car stand out.






I adore a fast sharp lens more than anything else so when I someone spends a lot of cash on a lens I think it's fair to expect a lot from its open aperture performance and when the open aperture performance if top notch it doesn't make any sense for me to stop it down unless DoF is what you need.  An f/2 lens stopped down to f/8 will perform similarly to an f/3.5 lens of the same focal length stopped down to f/8. It may be an oversimplification, but there's a lot of truth to it. If a lens is not sharp at f/8 it just means that it is garbage and you shouldn't be using it.

Several 1:1 crops:




Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Samyang 135mm f/2 first impressions and samples

Today I had a rare pleasure to lay my hands on an extraordinary lens: Samyang 135mm f/2. Thanks to the guys at infoto.pl who made this possible. It's one of the latest releases from Samyang and I have been waiting for this for quite some time since the lens had a pretty good word of mouth right from the moment it was announced.

But first things first. Since the last time I have seriously upgraded my camera. I went from a Sony NEX5n which I still love to the 24MP Sony A7 so the quality of the photos should be much improved. I will try to post a complex review of the camera in the near future, but I will just say it's an amazing piece of gear and it surpassed my expectations in every aspect.

The Samyang 135mm is quite a bulky lens, but achieving such wide aperture at that focal length just takes its toll and there's no way those laws of physics can be bypassed. The first thing you notice are just huge front and rear optical elements, which are a promise of good optical quality and the first photos you take just confirm that 100%. If I could summarize the experience in just one sentence, it would be: "that is the sharpest lens I have ever used". I have seen a couple tests online prior to using it, but taking the photos myself and then seeing them on a large screen I just couldn't believe my eyes.
Some of my samples, all taken at f/2 because stopping down is not necessary here (and several 100% pixel per pixel crops):


100% crop

100% crop

100% crop

100% crop
But the sharpness is not all. This lens has got amazing colour rendition and contrast...


....and spectacular bokeh...





 ....and the chromatic aberration is basically nonexistent.

Every one of 24 million pixels is put to use by this lens. You can see on some of the crops that the detail is almost finer than the digital 'grain', I would love to see some samples from a Sony A7R or Nikon D600. I have not corrected chromatic aberration on any of the photos.

Using this lens I camer to had to remember to keep my exposure times short (as it is a tele lens) which was more than easy during the day, but in the afternoon I had too boost ISO100 to ISO800 to stay in the safe zone.

There is an old rule of thumb for exposure times. When handholding your shots your times shouldn't be longer than 1/(focal length), so basically for this lens the value was 1/135s and 1/160s when you round it off to an existing value. You have to remember though that this applies to full frame, when using a crop sensor, you need to calculate the equivalent. So when using Sony NEX5n (crop factor of 1.5x) with this lens the safe exposure time would be around 1/200s as 1.5 times 135 equals 202.5. You have to remember that this rule just tells you what is the longest eposure time you can safely handhold, it does not mean that all of those shots will be sharp. Shaky hands can ruin everything, but if you are steady, you can just as well pull off a longer exposure time. But still I think this is very useful to keep that in mind.

* The lens I tested was a Nikon mount and I used an adapter to mount it. This does not change anything, but I thought some people might wanna know that.

edit 19.04.15 - I'm adding some more samples: