Saturday, November 15, 2014

Leica lenses on Sony a6000

The Sony a6000 easily accepts the whole range of Leica M lenses.  I have the Metabone M->E adapter.  It is (as many Amazon reviewers said) very high precision.  In fact (again, echoing Amazon reviewers), it is a little tricky to get the lens onto the adapter and the adapter onto the camera.

My brief comment here is on the Leica Summicron (f/2.0) 90mm lens.  I had this lens renovated by Leica in NJ in August, 2013.

My preliminary observation on this lens is that it is remarkable.  My best evidence is from a chum who put this lens on his Sony A7r.  this remarkable snapshot shows the beautiful quality of the bokeh at f/2.0.

Sony A7r, Leica Summicron 90mm, f/2.0 1/800 sec, ISO 200

And here is a 100% crop in the upper-left corner.

IMHO: Lovely!!

(Again, I did NOT take these pictures, nor is it my camera.  But it is my lens.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Simple test of three very different lenses on the Sony a6000

(I deleted my previous post because, well, it sucked.)

I bought the Sony a6000 bundle (with extra batteries, 64GB SD card, the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, and other fairly useless stuff).

I borrowed a Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 sweetie lens from a chum who owns an A7r.  The other two lenses are the kit lens and a lens I bought in 1972 for my Canon film camera, the 50mm FD f/1.4.  I use a Metabones Speed Booster to couple the FD lens to the E-mount, which turns it into a 35.7mm f/1.0 lens.

Here are the three pix.  All are shot at f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/6 sec on a tripod in my office.  I used the self timer to actually release the shutter.  Post-processing on the JPEG was to remove all color (saturation = 0) and to increase the contrast by 30%.

Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 + Speed Booster

Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6

Zeiss 55mm f/1.8

These look surprisingly similar!  I didn't get the distance right on the Zeiss, so the 100% crop shows the pattern a little bit bigger.  

Here is the uncropped and unedited image from the Canon (the others, at this resolution are almost indistinguishable).

I think you can see that the overall quality of the Zeiss in this specific situation is (only) a little bit better than the other two.  I am not sure if I can tell the difference between the old FD 50mm and the Sony kit lens, though.  The numerals on the Canon FD look a bit sharper, but the lines on the Sony look a bit more distinct.

The Sony a6000 is applying lens corrections (I think) to the two electronic lenses but not the Canon.  The biggest impact of this adjustment may be that this full image from the Canon, above, has a bit of dark vignetting (whereas the others do not).

Acknowledged problems with this measurement:
  1. Terrible fluorescent lighting in my office.
  2. Inconsistent framing of the target on these three shots
  3. I was not far enough away for the numbers on the chart to be meaningful.

I may publish shots from the Canon at f/1.0 and from the Zeiss at f/1.8, just for fun.

My conclusions
  1. The Sony Kit lens is absolutely appropriate for everyday use!  
  2. The old Canon is a fine (and maybe great) lens.

Here are 100% crops for the Canon at f/1.0 (equivalent) and the Zeiss at f/1.8 (I moved the tripod closer to the image for the Canon shot in order to make the target about the same size in the frame.)

Canon FD f/1.4 at f/1.0 (equivalent)

Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 at f/1.8


Friday, October 31, 2014

Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 and Metabones Speed Booster versus Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS

Here is a simple (simplistic?) comparison of the Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 from 1978, attached through and Metabones FD/E Speed Booster to the Sony Kit lens, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS.

This test was performed on a Sony NEX-F3 (borrowed) camera.  This is a 16 MP APS-C sensor.

Here are the full res images:

Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 with Speed Booster, shot at f/8 (becomes 17mm at f/5.6), 1/2000 sec, ISO 200

Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 at 18mm, f/8, 1/400 sec, ISO 200

The camera metered differently for these two shots.  The shot with the Sony kit lens was 0.8 stops too bright--I adjusted it down in Lightroom to match (more or less) the Canon FD image. The white balance was also different.  You can also see (maybe) that the 24mm lens (which gets reduced to a focal length of 17.14mm) is a bit wider than the 18mm kit lens.

Here are 640x480 100% crops of the red aircraft navigation light on the 8th floor of Wilson Hall (at Fermilab):

Canon FD and Speed Booster

Sony Kit lens

Here are two images inside, a bit closer to the camera (less than 1 meter):

Canon FD 24mm at f/2.2 (effective)

Sony Kit lens at 18mm, f/3.5

Canon FD 24mm at 100% crop

Sony Kit lens at 100% crop

To my eye, the Canon FD is sharper.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's next for my photography equipment?

Being a highly successful sports photographer for (ahem!), I have some money I need to spend on camera equipment (business expense = tax deduction).  I am considering:

Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
Great for sidelines sports (Used price is $1100 or maybe less)
Canon 7D Mark II
Ultimate APS-C sports camera; released next week
Sony a6000 kit

16-50mm kit lens
A tiny walkaround lens.  Could alternately opt for a fast prime.
To fit all my old Canon FD lenses to this body, see below
Metabones Leica-E adapter
Mechanically fit my Leica lenses to this body

The Sony Kit does not help much for sports, although it would be a good backup camera (and may be quite adequate given that it can do 11 frames per second, although the AF at this speed is not nearly as good as the 7D-II).  It would be great for travelling and for day-to-day use (I like to have my camera with me all the time--I have never taken a good picture without my camera.)

The Metabones Speed Booster allows me to put my old Canon FD (manual) lenses on the Sony and it boosts their aperture by one stop!  Here are the lenses I own and how they get transformed by the Speed Booster:
·         24mm f/2.8 à 17mm f/2.0
·         50mm f/1.4 à 36mm f/1.0 (!!)
·         200mm f/4.0 à 142mm f/2.8

(The idea of the speed booster is that reduces the image circle of a lens by a factor of 1.4 (which fits the APS-C sensor but not a 35mm ("full frame") sensor) and increases the amount of light in that circle by a factor of 1.4, which is one stop.)

Note also
  •  This opens up the possibility for me to buy some inexpensive FD lenses, e.g. this 500mm f/8 telescope lens for $40 (which would become a 312mm f/5.6)
  • the Sony and its kit lens are very highly regarded and very small;
    •  Small is really important, I think--it is so much easier to carry smaller equipment every day.
  •  I can also use my Leica lenses, although there is not a Speed Booster (just a mechanical adapter)

Obviously, I am enamored with the idea of getting the Sony kit.

Comments are welcome.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A century

50 years ago, I was 7 years old and my grandparents and their friends talked about the two great wars of the twentieth century. When they spoke of their recollections of WWI, 50 years before, it seemed like an absurdly and unimaginably long time ago.

Well, here I am remembering events from a half century ago that recalled events from a half century before THAT.

In a way, this is "remembering" things from 100 years ago.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Android GPS navigation got me lost

My phone was not able to tell me that I took a wrong turn, so I went 20 miles out of my way.

Certainly, part of the problem is that our needs a wireless network to figure our where it is. Thus, when you are lost in the boonies, you are really and truly lost!

I turned on my 11 year old Garmin GPS and, despite the fact that half of the exits had changed since the maps were published, it put me exactly where I needed to be.