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WA for my A7r - conundrum

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi,

Well last night I bought a the FD 24mm f2 and 24mm f2.8. I'll test them both to see which is the better all round option and sell the other, I got the f2 version remarkably cheap given what they've been going for recently. I'll post up my tests once I get the lenses but it might take a month or so to get them out here.
Congrats!

I always have a lens on the camera, this sensor due to being naked when the lens is off (shutter up) unlike on a DSLR when the shutter is down, is very susceptible to dust. You couldn't keep the camera body open without a cap or lens.
Agreed!

I don't use lens caps much at all to be honest, never have done though the novoflex adaptors come with a rear lens cap included in the box. The adaptor (for SLR lenses at any rate) provides an inch plus long tunnel to the rear lens element. You would have to try hard to touch the element and really be trying very hard to scratch it or to ding the rear of the lens. Dust blows off and you don't have to worry about grease. You could use the rear lens cap but I hardly believe it to be necessary.
Must have lost that Novoflex lens cap! I'll recheck the box it came in, LOL!!

As to the "tunnel" protective effect, touching the lens is not my big concern, it's dust. I don't generally carry a can of air with me or my "rocket" blower. Maybe I should!

Looking forward to your test results. So far, I've liked the, (rented), Zeiss 35 mm lens so much that it never came off my camera in my Costa Rica trip, save for a couple of shots with the Zeiss 55mm, now my only AF native lens. So far, I have only used the 20 mm FD and the Zeiss 28mm 2.0 several times to test the adapter works orthogonally.

I am still getting used to all the buttons and have slowly become able to find them by feel.

Asher
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member
People used to gasp when at weddings I would clean my lens by huffing on it and wiping with my shirt or a tissue. I also don't use lens caps. Don't all swoon at once. :D
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member
Well just got my my FD 20mm and 24mm f2.8 lenses.

I've uploaded a bunch of test files if anyone is interested. Shots at all apertures working from f2.8 to f22. Focus on the tree trunk at f2.8 then not touched. I included a refocused shot at f11 to test for focus shift.

Ok first the lenses. The 24mm is tiny and very pleasant to use. With the FD flange distance being shorter than most SLR's, the lens mounted to the A7r is really small and comfortable. Manual focus is a dream. The 20mm is larger but still a very neat package on the Sony. The entire front of the lens rotates with focus which threw me somewhat, will be a pain for using a polariser, in fact as only the very rear of the lens stays stationary, bit annoying when trying to mount the lens. Other than that it's just as nice to focus.

The files are there, would be interested in your opinions. I already have preliminary opinions but don't want to skew others.
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member
If anyone is interested, just back from testing the FD 24mm f2, it is very very very good. By f4 the corners are sharpening up but by f5.6 they are really good. By f8 the entire frame, center and corners requires me to back down on my default sharpening. Here is a RAW file shot at f11 (needed to hold DOF front to back, focus on centre tree).
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member
Dufus here was looking at the pics from his new 24mm with the raw downrezzed to 12 megapixels, no wonder it was so spectacularly sharp!

Shot one after the other, in comparison to the FD 24mm f2.8, I actually find the 2.8 a hair sharper though it's eyes bleeding pixel peeping territory. The f2.8 has a colder and more clinical rendition. In other words the f2 stays! I like a more relaxed rendering and the extra stop even if it means a slightly bigger lens and slightly less sharp, especially when it's only very very slightly
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
If anyone is interested, just back from testing the FD 24mm f2, it is very very very good. By f4 the corners are sharpening up but by f5.6 they are really good. By f8 the entire frame, center and corners requires me to back down on my default sharpening. Here is a RAW file shot at f11 (needed to hold DOF front to back, focus on centre tree).
Thanks Ben for sharing the file, but it took control of me for a while!

I was tempted by the RAW file and seduced at 3 am to go all the way. Although I have used the A7r for some months, I have not come across a landscape picture that made me realize the light capture range as in this instance. Ben this got me so carried away that I worked away for about an hour, LOL!

There's the choice of opening up the shadows and having pretty good leaves with details in the upper left dark branches. I processed the file with a curve to savagely keep down the brights and highlights and so maintain the detail in the deepest shadows using ACR CC.

Now I was faced with making a picture that looked realistic so I darkened it with a Topaz Clarity filter and it looks pretty good.

I wonder how you processed it?

Asher
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member
Hi Asher,

It's a good test scene isn't it? In the park next to my house. Canon sensors would find it somewhat difficult in that lighting!

I shot it as a test and not for asthetic reasons, I wouldn't have left so much ground at the bottom had I wanted it to be a real picture but I did want to see how the lens rendered the tree roots in the far left bottom corner.

However here is an XMP file you can download. When put with the file in the same folder and open the file in PS/ACR (ACR is my choice of raw converter too) you should be able to see how I would process the file had it been a 'real' picture. At least at the RAW stage. As well as the regular adjustments, a few local adjustments to control highlights as well as H/S/L adjustments for the sky. Sharpening is also custom albeit rather a lot as I don't bother with separate output sharpening usually.

BTW if you want a link to the 24mm f2.8 (@f11) version of the raw file I sent you just let me know. I shot both lenses together for comparison purposes.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi Asher,

It's a good test scene isn't it? In the park next to my house. Canon sensors would find it somewhat difficult in that lighting!

I shot it as a test and not for asthetic reasons, I wouldn't have left so much ground at the bottom had I wanted it to be a real picture but I did want to see how the lens rendered the tree roots in the far left bottom corner.

However here is an XMP file you can download. When put with the file in the same folder and open the file in PS/ACR (ACR is my choice of raw converter too) you should be able to see how I would process the file had it been a 'real' picture. At least at the RAW stage. As well as the regular adjustments, a few local adjustments to control highlights as well as H/S/L adjustments for the sky. Sharpening is also custom albeit rather a lot as I don't bother with separate output sharpening usually.

BTW if you want a link to the 24mm f2.8 (@f11) version of the raw file I sent you just let me know. I shot both lenses together for comparison purposes.
I've never used XMP files, I have the options set to have everything saved with the TIFF. I found this tutorial. How do you load these up?

How often does having separate files help you out?

Asher
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member
Every time you edit a raw file in ACR it creates an XMP file alongside the raw file with the settings in the XMP file. The only exception is for DNG files where the change information is saved inside the file itself.

All you need to do is put the xmp file in the same folder as the raw file, open it in ACR and it will show all my processing changes. Save the present XMP file with your settings first.

Or you can open the raw file in ACR, click on the settings, choose 'load settings' and point it to the XMP file.

I use this method often when sending processing changes to my students, instead of having to send the entire raw file over the net, I just send the XMP file, they can then use it to see what I have done and only takes a second.
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member


Picture shot with my FD 20mm for a project I'm shooting showing youth so engrossed in their smartphones that they are missing the world around them. The girl was a student of mine, that is her boyfriend. The beggar is a guy I found in the shuk. I had arranged with another guy yesterday but he didn't turn up. His name is 'Shem Tov', (literal translation 'of good reputation'). He was well off once he told me, had travelled the world, had been in Manchester in the UK where I grew up, he said he didn't like the people that much but he loved the football. Then the drink started and his legs were badly shattered and as he said 'well, look at me now'. He was a polite friendly guy. Told me he drinks beer during the week but Arak on the Sabbath. When referring to his drinking problem he told me 'we all have our own problems, such is life'. I did of course make sure that he was well paid (approx $60) for his time and patience. The models were astounded that the shoot took, start to finish, less than 3 minutes. I had been planning this shoot for many months, had done all my scouting, knew my camera position, lens and model placement. I knew exactly what time of day I needed. Why would it take any longer?
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Ben,

Appreciate it Doug, tell me, do you think his hand needs to be brought out from the wall more?
Yes, I think that wouild be beneficial. It sort-of "disappears" now.

Perhaps that needs to be done in part by shifting the wall color "behind" the hand.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
This one should be a bit better, I've lightened and desaturated the wall around his hand. It's subtle but I think it makes a difference.

I like what you've achieved, but I'd rather have crept up on this by darkening the entire wall to the left and increasing the contrast and sharpness of the gentleman compared to the other figures.

You have amazing chutzpah to have pulled this off, but you can so it as you are a genuine human being and have no arrogance in this, so you manage to do what most could not!

Asher
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member
I'm really shy actually as a street shooter. This kind of shot if far more 'me' where it's all set up from scratch. Like a blank canvas where I can put everything exactly where I want it. Took me two months just to find the right wall which fit the idea in my head for example. I had actually approached a different beggar at the shuk the day before, I had dropped a significant amount into his cup and when he looked up I put my arm around his shoulder and asked him if he would be interested in being a model for me the next day. He seemed very excited about the idea even before I mentioned how much I would pay. He told me to meet him there at 2pm. I got there at 2pm, now friday at the shuk is beyond crazy there was hardly room to breathe. But he wasn't there. I waited half an hour. As I said I'm really shy and it had been hard enough to approach the first guy but now I had a deadline with the two kids coming at 2:30 and the light was only good till 3pm from previous scouting. I spent all the waiting time steeling myself but then I went up to this second guy and asked him if he would like to take the first guys place. Like the first guy he was really relaxed about the whole idea. He walked with me (I was on my bike actually) from the shuk to the old bus station where this scene was. He was really relaxed and happy to help and watch me as I set up for the shoot. The kids arrived and the shoot was over within 3 minutes.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Nice to hear this b.g. And it's totally menchlachdich! The preparation you refer to - did it include a reflector, perhaps or just the positioning and posing?

Asher
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member
Positioning and composition. I had found the composition I liked weeks before and took a letter sized printout with me to match up to in the viewfinder. It's actually harder than it sounds! I had scouted for the time of day when the light was perfect. the alley in shade with the light low, slightly behind and to the left of the wall facing the camera to give just enough direction from the left top side for there to be modelling. That's what I meant about having to find a solution fast, the light direction would only hold for about half an hour. Posing took seconds, I had this stuff all in my head for weeks already, since I found the location. It isn't hard to make teenagers pose like teenagers, they fall into it naturally (she's 20 but same difference, she does teenager very well. He's 19). I had to even up their height difference using the steps and positioned her feet and form the 'V' of shoulder to shoulder turned away from each other. That was about it for them, the rest fell naturally. I asked Shem Tov to sit in that corner of the doorway and hold his hand out in that direction (to lead the eye out of the image, the eye direction is very specifically planned, left to right using the steps and rail as an 'arrow') but other than that it's very natural and 'real'.
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member
Just got a L bracket for my A7r finally, this one. From all reports it gives better screen clearance than the RRS version and unlike all the others, works perfectly with the (older) RRS lever release of which I have two. Nevermind being a fraction of the price.

Um unfortunately I don't have the camera to put it on. My camera is away for repair, the lolumina soft release I had ripped the shutter button off in a bad break when it caught on the side of my bag. I'm expecting a hefty repair bill and hoping the parts even exist in this country. I feel quite naked without a camera!
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Positioning and composition. I had found the composition I liked weeks before and took a letter sized printout with me to match up to in the viewfinder. It's actually harder than it sounds! I had scouted for the time of day when the light was perfect. the alley in shade with the light low, slightly behind and to the left of the wall facing the camera to give just enough direction from the left top side for there to be modelling. That's what I meant about having to find a solution fast, the light direction would only hold for about half an hour. Posing took seconds, I had this stuff all in my head for weeks already, since I found the location. It isn't hard to make teenagers pose like teenagers, they fall into it naturally (she's 20 but same difference, she does teenager very well. He's 19). I had to even up their height difference using the steps and positioned her feet and form the 'V' of shoulder to shoulder turned away from each other. That was about it for them, the rest fell naturally. I asked Shem Tov to sit in that corner of the doorway and hold his hand out in that direction (to lead the eye out of the image, the eye direction is very specifically planned, left to right using the steps and rail as an 'arrow') but other than that it's very natural and 'real'.
Ben,

It's generous for you to shard this much detail! Thanks so much....and yes, there are always incongruities one discovers in shooting even when one plans to carefully. It's the final iterations that "make it"! This is where talented actors really help as they can sometimes reaf one's mind and, looking at the other elements, simply position themselves, pose and gesture even beyond the boundaries of what one imagines. Here, you had to to all the work and you pulled it off jkust the same!

BTW, on such shoots, do not carry a thing. It's important to have the subjects do all the schlepping for you. I'd even bring with a light stool so that you can be seated during the shoot. Not for laziness, all this self-care, but I have discovered that one does better being able to contemplate and make decisions free of physical distractions. But I pay all my helpers and models the same no matter what they do.

Asher
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member
Asher, I was a wedding photographer for 10 years, it was a great education in being able to make things work when all heck is breaking loose, under incredible stress, with very little time, without professional models and how to always make the shot even if your equipment breaks or goes wrong or people don't turn up.

Asher, you might be interested in something called the 'walkstool' from Sweden, I used to use one a lot. It's not comfortable but it's there when you need somewhere to sit. Mine broke a while back. I'd like to find a more comfortable equivalent.
 

Ben Rubinstein

pro member
An aside, there is a problem with focusing stopped down in that peaking becomes useless and you pretty much need to magnify to focus which only really works in good light, indoors due to low light and being stopped down, trying to magnify is a nightmare of noise.

I had been shooting studio type stuff on a tripod where I could focus wide open then stop down for the shot. Was playing with my Pentax Super Tak 50mm today when I remembered that there is a switch on the side. The switch automatically opens the aperture despite what it's stopped down to. It's not designed for this but I had an idea, you can use the switch to quickly open for focus with peaking then quick flick of the switch and shoot. Useable in the studio.

I have a Pentax K-M 85mm f2 whose output I love but I'm wondering whether downgrading to the Takumar SMC 85mm f1.8 might allow this functionality, if the rendition is as nice of course, problem is although it's significantly older, it's selling on ebay for almost double the price, heck it's more expensive than modern AF 85mm f1.8 lenses new. Silly silly.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
An aside, there is a problem with focusing stopped down in that peaking becomes useless and you pretty much need to magnify to focus which only really works in good light, indoors due to low light and being stopped down, trying to magnify is a nightmare of noise.

I had been shooting studio type stuff on a tripod where I could focus wide open then stop down for the shot. Was playing with my Pentax Super Tak 50mm today when I remembered that there is a switch on the side. The switch automatically opens the aperture despite what it's stopped down to. It's not designed for this but I had an idea, you can use the switch to quickly open for focus with peaking then quick flick of the switch and shoot. Useable in the studio.

I have a Pentax K-M 85mm f2 whose output I love but I'm wondering whether downgrading to the Takumar SMC 85mm f1.8 might allow this functionality, if the rendition is as nice of course, problem is although it's significantly older, it's selling on ebay for almost double the price, heck it's more expensive than modern AF 85mm f1.8 lenses new. Silly silly.
I agree that focusing in dim light is tough. Need to not use the most extreme version of focus peeking. For me the trouble is in making panos of an orchestra on stage when the people are so tiny. They dimply have to be in focus. I think the solution there is to add a few shots with a 200 mm lens just for the people and then the stitching software replaces those areas if one masks them out on the wider angle shots.

I am considering a 35mm Sony Zeiss lens or the new Biogon coming out later this year, totally manual but a much better lens.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Question, why are you stitching with so many megapixels already?

Great Question, Ben!

When I am out and about, the 55mm Zeiss is my only lens. For tele, I move closer, but for wide angles I stitch. For detail rich images, at 55mm, the violinist on the stage, which one cannot approach with a camera closer, is far too small, even with the sony A7R, to get enough pixels for detail that is sufficient. An 80 mm lens would probably give just the extra resolving power to make the picture perfect if the entire stage in the center is printed separately.

I should always take with me my Contax Vario Sonnar 28-85mm f4.0, as it's a superb performer. Unfortunately, but the fit to the Metabones adapter is an issue. It just won't click and lock in place!

Asher

I'm sure you and others here have a range of solid experience with all the lens adapters you've experimented with. So, I've started a place for us to collect our impressions here.
 
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