*Sony a7RII. Why I opted for this over newer options…

It has been a pretty long time since I’ve purchased a new camera body, which is somewhat surprising to me considering the amount of rambling on about gear I do around here.  I’ve pretty much abandoned the idea of upgrading my Canon full frame body as they’ve been so far behind the curve for me in offering a realistic upgrade in spec and performance for the ever increasing cost, that I’ve just decided to hold onto my legendarily ancient 5DmkII as a full frame backup.  The 5DmkIII and mkIV are both solid cameras.  I just never saw the asking price as justified when my 5DmkII still compared favorably, spec wise for my shooting.  When investing in a new camera body, (which hopefully is never out of physical necessity) I want something new, or seriously upgraded to provide me with a new tool, not just an expensive, shiny version of what I’ve already got.  I’ve long been waiting for a new Panasonic GXx model to be announced, as well as waiting to see what Sony would do with an a7III.  When Sony recently announced the new a7RIII (see here at B&H), I realized I’d be waiting for a while longer yet to see what they’d be offering in their more budget friendly a7 series upgrade, and seeing what they’re doing to the “R” line, it seems a fairly linear upgrade mostly geared to speed and video, neither of which I’m horribly in need of upgrading.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the proposed claim of 15 stops of dynamic range and the ability to shoot 10fps with AF and AE capabilities at 42mp is certainly notable, it’s just a hard sell for me, considering it’s going to be launched for nearly a thousand dollars more than its predecessor is going for with the current rebates. (I can use that near grand toward a GX9 *cough* c’mon Panasonic *cough*)

Be warned, this article is merely me justifying my purchase to myself.  It may read as if I’m a little crazy, talking in sporadic, half baked thoughts as I convince myself of this purchase.  It’s a good exercise I find, and one that through it, may benefit others who may be in a similar position, so I hope it will aid any of us looking at the recent Sony fire sale in that way.

This led me to the new rebates on the a7RII, which has, since its launch long been (literally, it’s almost 2.5 years old!) one of, and for a long while THE highest performing sensor on the market, only recently displaced by the new Nikon D850 sensor, which was then quickly usurped by the new medium format Hasselblad X1D-50c sensor which may even be leapfrogged by the new a7RIII once all the testing is done.  That’s saying something considering that many other full frame (and Medium Format!) cameras have been released in that time frame.   I’ve been both a fan and critic of my Sony a7II over the last few years, and if you’re a Sony fanboy and new to this site, be warned as I will have some constructively critical things to say, but I’ve decided to stick with them for at least one more (personal) upgrade cycle, and here’s why…

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*Lensbaby Trio28, embrace the weird, wild and wonderful world of imperfect. w/@seeinanewway

In an industry that provides me with my very favorite of hobbies, the idea of perceived perfection in performance is often the benchmark.  To this end, I too am guilty in that I often look for and test to make sure I have the best optics for whichever sensor I happen to have invested in.  Often times, when we as photographers focus on measurable optical metrics, we can lose sight of the artistic, creative outlet that visual art such as photography can provide us.  As the old adage goes as far as skill and creativity are concerned, sharpness is overrated.

I like to explore photography from a very large spectrum of angles, and find I enjoy myself most when I change my vantage from time to time.  I don’t feel photography is one thing, and certainly feel for me that if it only provided me with one type of result, I’d not be nearly as happy.  I like variety, I like difference, I like weird.  For those who’ve been around for a while, you’ll probably remember articles I’ve written about Lensbaby products, and how the company resides just down the road from me.  Back when this was a fledgling little blog, they offered me many opportunities to beta test new optics, and provide fodder for those looking for adaptable optics for their (at the time, young, new) mirrorless system cameras.

Say hello to the Lensbaby Trio 28mm f/3.5 lens.  Three unique Lensbaby optics, built into a single lens for mirrorless systems, and I’ve been loving it.  C’mon in for some examples and comparisons…

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*Sony brings two new, sexy ultrawide zooms to the Full Frame party. JUST ANNOUNCED!!!

We’ve heard whispers of the Sony FE 16-35mm GM lens bandied about, and perhaps those in the know have also been hearing about an even wider option, but the FE 12-24 f/4 lens just caught me by surprise!

While pre-orders won’t be taken until this Friday, you can submit to have an email alert once they are available via these links which you can see more about these lenses, their specs and will take you directly to B&H:

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM HERE

Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G HERE

B&H lists the specs of the 16-35 f/2.8 lens as follows:

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • Two Extra-Low Dispersion Elements
  • Three Aspherical and Two XA Elements
  • Nano AR and Fluorine Coatings
  • Two Direct Drive SSM AF Groups
  • Focus Hold Button, AF/MF Switch
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Eleven-Blade Circular Diaphragm

…And the 12-24 f/4 lens is listed at B&H as such:

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2 to f/22
  • Four Aspherical Elements
  • One Super ED and Three ED Elements
  • Nano AR Coating
  • Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave Motor
  • Focus Hold Button, AF/MF Switch
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Seven-Bladed Rounded Diaphragm

Obviously, the B&H site has mis-listed the max aperture on the 12-24, but both of these lenses look really, really good on paper.  How they test out optically is yet to be seen, but I’d imagine it won’t take long for us to get many comprehensive reviews very soon.  These are going to be two popular lenses.

The 16-35 looks very nice, and I’m sure will be an extremely popular UWA zoom for pro use, the price is very high in my opinion.  Reminds me of the Canon debate between their EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L and EF 17-40mm f/4 L lenses where the extra stop costs nearly twice as much.  For me personally, I use an ultra wide zoom for interiors and landscapes which usually see me stop down to f/8- f/11 or so, and will be shot on a tripod.  That made the decision for me an easy one.  I see a similar situation here with Sony’s offerings.  The 12-24mm lens looks pretty damn intriguing, and while the price is still very steep, by comparison to the 16-35, for my UWA use, I’d be opting for the wider, slower zoom myself, assuming these both test well optically.

Both are dust and moisture resistant meaning they should do well to hold up in inclement weather for outdoor shooting, as we should expect for lenses like these, targeted and priced for professional use.

Anyhoo, keep an eye out for these bad boys.  Should go some way in helping round out Sony’s full frame lens game for those serious, and deep pocketed shooters.

Cheers, and happy shooting,

Tyson

*Sigma Art 85mm f/1.4 – Power, finesse, fashion and function. A user review…

Hello dear friends.  There has been no secret here on the bloggings, surrounding my desire to find the perfect 85mm lens.  It has become my own photo gear holy grail, and a fun journey it has been.  I’ve owned, sold, used, borrowed or rented at least a dozen different 85mm (or equivalent) lenses for a few different systems over my years.  It’s probably the single most fascinating focal length, for me.  The most popular classification for a lens of this focal length, is going to be portraiture.  It balances minimal distortion, with flattering spacial compression when working at traditional distances for portraits, and is a go to for many portrait photographers.  I do like a good portrait session, but a mid range tele lens like a nice, fast 85mm can offer much more than merely head and shoulder shots.  I want to look at this lens on its own at first.  How sharp is it?  Bokeh?  What kind of value does is present at its price point for a photographer like me, or you?  Later, I’ll be comparing this lens to a couple other fast portrait lenses that I have  here on the blog, but for now let’s see how this beautiful new Sigma Art lens stands on its own…

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Battle of some Portrait Primes. Full Frame vs m4/3, Zeiss vs Leica, let the pissing contest commence…

battle

Well hi there!  Been a while.  Yes, I’ve been focused largely on launching the Nauti Straps stuff (utterly shameless plug, of which it will not be the last, surely) which has been going smashingly thus far, so thank you to everyone who’s supported me in that venture.  That said and done, I’ve been long wanting to compare these two premier portrait focal length prime lenses for the two formats I shoot in concert in the Sony FE and micro 4/3 systems.  

Enter the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar FE mount lens for Sony E mount cameras, and the Panasonic Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 DG Nocticron lens for micro 4/3 system shooters.

C’mon in for comparisons, pixel peeping galore and my thoughts as someone who has been shooting these two lenses for the better part of the last year.

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*Goal Zero, clean, portable, endless power for a digital world.

PanhandleGap

Does that sound like a commercial pitch?  I’m sorry, I’m just trying to be creative with these articles and the idea of writing about batteries, or rechargeable, storable and portable power might not tick too many boxes for those of us looking for a humorous review on the latest, greatest camera gear.

With that said, I can’t even begin to count the times over the past few years that I’ve been frustrated by low shot volume lithium ion, camera batteries.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing technology, and the lifespan on many of these batteries is so far beyond what older batteries were, but with all the power hungry features in todays cameras, combined with the ever growing desire to see these machines not only become more powerful, but smaller and lighter, power is going to be compromised.  Anyone shooting an Olympus EM5/10 or Sony alpha camera can relate, I’m sure.

Enter Goal Zero, a solution for those of us who travel, shoot in the field or enjoy having some of the creature comforts while out in the wild, wild world.  A very cool company producing some very cool products.  C’mon in to read and see more…

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*Holy S#!† The new FW updates for the @Sony a7II and #Metabones EF smart adapter have created a monster.

P1050568

Sorry for my dirty, foul mouth. I’m just blown away by how much better my a7II and Canon EF lens setup has become overnight.  Long overdue, the Sony a7II got the much ballyhooed Uncompressed 14 bit RAW update (as opposed to that weird 11/7 compressed stuff, which is still nicely, an option) along with the return of the on sensor Phase Detection AF to the a7, pro-sumer camera with third party lenses.  Why they kept this out to begin with is beyond me, and really one of my gripes with the Sony approach as a whole, but now that it’s here, it is friggin’ amazing.  It is like I have an entirely new camera.  C’mon in for firmware update links, and a video comparison between the auto focus speed and performance from the original firmware on the a7II and Metabones mark IV adapter, and now that they’ve both very recently been updated…

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