Thursday, July 24, 2014

Minolta MC Rokkor-QF 200mm f3.5 - Sample Pictures

Mirrorless cameras have given new life to so many old lenses, including the Minolta MC/MD lenses, and the Sony A7/A7r/A7s restore the perspectives that these lenses were designed for.  I am a fan of Minolta manual focus lenses. They are (or were) very affordable with great optics and are well-built.

The Rokkor-QF 200mm f3.5 is quite a large and heavy lens. It's built like a tank. Optically, it's not bad, considering its age. Quite sharp from f5.6 on but lots of colour flinging in contrasty scenes. For a relatively cheap price, I think this lens is worthy to have a round, if you need a moderately long lens.

Fallen - Minolta MC Rokkor-QF 200mm f3.5 & Sony A7. Click for larger.

Best Friends - Minolta MC Rokkor-QF 200mm f3.5 & Sony A7. Click for larger.

Catch - Minolta MC Rokkor-QF 200mm f3.5 & Sony A7. Click for larger.

Taking a break - Minolta MC Rokkor-QF 200mm f3.5 & Sony A7. Click for larger.

Me Time- Minolta MC Rokkor-QF 200mm f3.5 & Sony A7.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sony Customer Service - Last Update

Sony delivered.  I wrote about the issue with Sony getting the missing items when I bought an open box A7 from the Sony Store. It took 4 deliveries and some back and forth email exchange with Sony to get the correct items, but they did it.  I got my lens hood for the Sonnar 35mm f2.8 and the body cap for the A7. I am extremely happy how things turned out. Sony has earn another loyal customer.

Bokeh - Sony A7 & Minolta MC Rokkor-QF 200mm f3.5 @ f3.5

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Minolta Auto Tele Rokkor-QE 100mm f3.5

Many would confuse this lens with the macro version of the Minolta MC Rokkor 100mm f3.5. This is a plain, vanilla portrait lens.  Very compact and very well built; just slightly (less than 1 cm) longer than the MC Rokkor-PF 58mm f1.4 and weighs about the same. Aperture stops are locked, like the Topcor 58mm f1.8. You must press a pin to change aperture. This is good in a way, that you won't accidentally change the aperture, but too cumbersome in actual use.

The lens is pretty contrasty for a portrait lens, but I guess it was designed for black and white photography in mind, as it predates the MC and MD Rokkor lenses. Very sharp stopped down, and completely usable wide open.  Minimum focus distance is 1.2m which is not too bad, but forget about close ups. The bokeh is actually quite nice, helped with an 8-blade aperture.  Overall a delightfully nice lens to use.

Three crosses - Minolta Auto Tele Rokkor 100mm f3.5 & Sony A7. Click for larger.

Bokeh - Minolta Auto Tele Rokkor 100mm f3.5 & Sony A7. Click for larger.

Ryan - Minolta Auto Tele Rokkor 100mm f3.5 & Sony A7.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

180 Degrees

I am not a big fan of fisheye lenses, though I own a couple. The exaggerated angle of view makes my head spin. But once in a while, it's kind of fun to shoot with one.

The Pentax SMC Takumar 17mm f4 is one of the fisheye lenses I have. The other is a Ricoh 16mm f2.8 in K-Mount, but that lens can not be focused to infinity, so the Fish-Eye-Takumar is what I alway use. This lens has very high center sharpness, but unfortunately the long edges fall apart. It is the same on the Canon 1Ds as it is on the Sony A7. Nevertheless, it's a fun lens to use if used in moderation :)

Gooderham Flatiron - Sony A7 & Fish-Eye-Takumar SMC 17mm f4. Click for larger.

Red Umbrella - Sony A7 & Fish-Eye-Takumar SMC 17mm f4. Click for larger.

Close-Up - Sony A7 & Fish-Eye-Takumar SMC 17mm f4. Click for larger

Mannequin - Sony A7 & Fish-Eye-Takumar SMC 17mm f4.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Another Infrared Picture Set

I wanted a different place to take pictures yesterday so I ventured out further west on my bike and stopped at Ontario Place. Ontario Place was a great amusement park when it opened some 40 years ago, but it has remained pretty much the same for four decades. Consequently, the number of visitors had been down each year and it was closed couple years ago. That's what happens when you become complacent. Not really sure what they are going to do; improve it? Get rid of it completely?

All pictures below were taken with the 20D & Pentax-M 20mm f4

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

AGFA Apotar 85mm f4.5 - Few Sample Pictures

It seems like all I could find in the antique market these days is old folder cameras. Last week I bought a couple more of them: one with Agfa Apotar 85mm f4.5 and the other is the Kodak Tourist with an Anaston 105mm f4.5 lens.  Both lenses are coated and are in excellent shape. It's interesting that the Kodak is the third 105mm lens I bought in the last few weeks. Looks like this is a common focal length for folder cameras of yore.

The Agfa is interesting because it very small but beautifully made. The focusing ring is stuck, as is the M/F switch. Doesn't really matter for my purpose, as I won't be using any of the functions of the lens except the aperture ring. The lens has a very nice coating.

I thought the Voigtlander Velostigmat 105mm f4.5 was soft wide open, but this one is even more so, but usable. The low contrast at wide apertures makes the lens very hard to focus because without contrast it's difficult to tell. Stopping down to around f16 the edges are quite good, but still not as sharp as the centre. I like the shorter focal length of this lens, which is easy to work with and much more versatile than longer focal lengths.

Overall, an interesting first Agfa lens I have own. I will be using it more later on to get a better sense of what this lens can do.

Clouds - Sony A7 & Agfa Apotar 85mm f4.5. Click for larger.

Out there - Sony A7 & Agfa Apotar 85mm f4.5 @ f4.5. Click for larger.

Toronto skyline - Sony A7 & Agfa Apotar 85mm f4.5. Click for larger.

Hole in the sky - Sony A7 & Agfa Apotar 85mm f4.5. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Leica-R 28mm f2.8 Elmarit on Sony A7

It's been quite a few years since I have had this lens and I have been using it on and off on various cameras, including Canon full frame, APS-H (1.3x crop; Canon 1D, 1D II, 1D III), and many other APS-C sensor cameras and none produced satisfactory results. The edges were just mushy, even on small sensors.

Imagine my surprise when I put this lens on the Sony A7. It was nothing like the pictures before and even the edges are very sharp. I don't know why this is. Perhaps the A7 has some edge enhancements on the sensor, or the lens just works better. Frankly, I don't really care how it's done, but I am very happy that this lens is working so well on the A7. I do wonder, how it is on the A7r.

f2.8 - Sony A7 & Leica-R Elmarit 28mm f2.8. Click for larger.

Metal Art - Sony A7 & Leica-R Elmarit 28mm f2.8. Click for larger.

The Duke - Sony A7 & Leica-R Elmarit 28mm f2.8. Click for larger.

Gooderham Flatiron - Sony A7 & Leica-R Elmarit 28mm f2.8. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

More Voigtlander Velostigmat 105mm f4.5 Pictures

Shot some more pictures with the Voigtlander Velostigmat 105mm f4.5. For landscapes, and general photography, the CZJ Tessar 105mm f4.5 is more suitable. The Voigtlander has to be stopped way down to get very sharp corners where the Tessar can do it with ease. But I do like its other qualities, like bokeh, tones, and it's great for portraiture. I think it's amazing that such old lenses are still fantastic image makers.

Toronto in a net - Sony A7 & Voigtlander Velostigmat 105mm f4.5. Click for larger.

Bokeh - Sony A7 & Voigtlander Velostigmat 105mm f4.5. Click for larger.

Ferry formation - Sony A7 & Voigtlander Velostigmat 105mm f4.5. Click for larger.
Royal York Hotel - Sony A7 & Voigtlander Velostigmat 105mm f4.5. Click for larger.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Voigtlander Velostigmat 105mm f4.5 - Couple of Sample Pictures

Last Sunday when I visited the antique market, I saw this Voigtlander folder camera but I didn't ask how much it was, as usually these kind of cameras are being sold at the price I really don't want to pay, especially those vendors who don't know much about photo gears but think that anything looks old must be worth a lot of money.

I biked to the antique market again this Sunday, looking for something interesting, but there was next to nothing on photographic that's worth checking out. Out of boredom, I asked how much they wanted for the Voigtlander while checking out the camera. The shutter curtain wouldn't open and the lady said something fell out of the camera :) At the end, the deal was done, at $20, which I was willing to try something I didn't have yet. Besides, I really like the old Voigtlanders.

A real beauty. Click for larger.

When I got home I removed the lens from the camera, which was very easy to do. I then open the lens and just removed the two shutter curtain blades, and the lens now allows me to change aperture and will never close its curtain on me, like the Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 105mm f4.5 I bought last week. Interestingly, both lenses are 105mm in focal length.

Took some sample pictures and found that the edges, even on 35mm full frame, aren't good at all. Remember this lens covers 6x9cm negative. But when stopped down to f22, the whole frame is very sharp edge to edge. This is unlike the Tessar where it's uniformly sharp at most apertures.

Like the Tessar, this one has very clear optics and no haze. In fact, the lens has better flare resistance than the Tessar. Even without the hood, some pictures actually turn out acceptable, but a hood makes a world of difference.

After I took some pictures of Megan, I quickly forgot the bad edges. This lens produces nice looking skin tones and the bokeh is beautiful. It's as if this lens was designed for portraiture. Very addictive. Too bad Megan was not cooperating (too busy, she said). I will have to get her to model for me for some more pictures.

Megan, taken without hood. You can still see some hazy effect, but usable - Voigtlander Velostigmat 105mm f4.5 & Sony A7.

Bokeh - Voigtlander Velostigmat 105mm f4.5 & Sony A7

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sony Customer Service - An Update

As you may already know, I bought my Sony A7 and the Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f2.8 ZA lens as open box items at the Sony Store when they were clearing out the inventory and closing their physical stores. There were few things missing in this deal: Body cap for the camera, lens hood for the Zeiss 35mm f2.8 ZA, and front/rear caps.  I really don't care about the front caps as I have lots of those, but I do want the body cap for the A7, the rear cap and the hood for the lens.

Previously, I had two occasions to use the Sony customer service, here for replacing the LCD as the coating came off under normal use, and here for the defective external viewfinder. I was extremely happy with both cases and I think Sony is one of the best when it comes to services under warranty (Panasonic is also excellent when they fixed my G1). In any case, I couldn't go back to the store for them because it was already closed so I called Sony trying to get the missing items, as they are open box and should come with all accessories. . After some initial resistance and they tried to tell me my cameras were sold as is, but nobody told me it was, and it was not stated in the receipt.

Eventually, they agreed to send me the missing items that I asked for: one rear cap, one body cap for the A7, and one hood for the lens. After uploading proof of purchase (receipt and picture of the Zeiss 35mm f2.8 ZA lens with serial number), I received a package few days later: a rear cap and a front cap for the lens. No body cap and no hood. I emailed them about the missing items, and today, a package came and I got the hood, but it's not the right hood. The ALC-SH132 hood I received is for the FE 28-70mm f3.5-5.6, which I already have when I bought the camera kit. And, there is no body cap in the package.

I am actually grateful that Sony is trying to get me the missing items, but I am also very frustrated that I have to go through so much trouble to get them (which I still don't have all the items). I mean, they have the receipt AND the picture of the lens so I don't know how they can make a mistake like this.

I am debating whether I should email them again about the wrong/missing items, or just give up. I have a semi solution for the hood: the hood from the Sony 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 NEX-5N kit lens sort of fit the Zeiss 35mm f2.8ZA, and it's usable but it comes off too easily.

Just want to say all this fiasco does not detract me from enjoy the Sony A7 and the Zeiss FE 35mm f2.8ZA. I think it's one of the best small full frame cameras in the world with great image quality to boot, and the lens is just exceptionally good.

Reflections - Sony A7 & Zeiss FE 35mm f2.8ZA. Click for larger.