Saturday, December 14, 2019

My Digitals

FE 200-600/5.6-6.3

FE 200-600/5.6-6.3

The Light Weight Long Range Shooter


A7R, f5.6 1/200 Batis 40/2 CF Distagon T*, ISO 100



Finally a 'proper' long range lens for me for shooting birds. With the convenience of zoom from 200mm to 600mm, though for birds and wildlifes most likely the lens will be deployed at 600mm all the time, if not with 1.4x tele convertor.

I am not a serious bird photographer. 500mm is a standard or basic focal length for bird photography, and I have made do with a Rollei 500/5.6 and a Nikkor 600/5.6 manual focus lens with adaptor on A7R Sony for that matter. Manual focus can be a handicap but not something impossible. Nikkor has an advantage being internal focus so is much easier to use. I always have that feeling that these lenses although still can perform (especially for the price), there is a issue of lack of resolution and fringing correction on modern digital sensors. So I get a FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 G Master, the first non-German lens that I seriously using, for bird photography. However, the 100-400 will need to be used with 1.4x teleconvertor, or 2x teleconvertor most of the time.

Then it comes this FE 200-600/5.6-6.3. Strange enough Sony decided not to make this lens a G Master. For user like me, with a profile that is too old for the weight of a 600/4 prime (and actually also the 500/5.6 Zeiss and 600/5.6 Nikkor being lighter than a modern 600/4 already), old enough not to have the pocket for a 600/4 at S$15000, the FE 200-600 comes in handy. Not being a G Master, the lens is slower (and therefore lighter), and is more 'affordable' (at least 1/5th FE 600/4 GM, or 1/2 used FE 600/4 GM if you can find one few years down the road). 

The first few hands on with the FE 200-600, I felt that, not being a G Master, the lens resolution and fringing correction at full aperture seem slightly below that of the GM 100-400. When I finally looked at the photos on the computer the results were totally acceptable, and can easily be considered very good. Of course if you want the best for bird photography then go for the 600/4 (any brand), but that is not the scope of the discussion here : D. 600/4, period.




White Breasted Water Hen, Satay by the Bay Lily Pond, @ 600mm

f6.3, 1/500, ISO 2500, MT190CXPRO3/BHQ2, 20 July 2019


 The White Breasted Water Hen was taken very late in the afternoon and almost evening. Aperture was wide open, the lens at 600mm focal length, ISO was high at 2500. With AF-C mode the photo is very good.








Oriental Dollar Bird, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

A7R2, f8 1/500 @ 600mm, ISO 800, 20 July 2019

MT190CXPRO3/BHQ2, APS-C mode


The Oriental Dollar Bird was shot against a bright white background at f8. I would say the lens performed satisfactory under such extreme condition, although the GM 100-400 will perform slightly better under such condition.







Black-Crowned Night Heron, Stay by the Bay Lotus Pond, 20 July 2019

f6.3 1/500 @ 463mm. ISO 800

MT190CXPRO3/BHQ2, APS-C mode


The Black-Corwned Night Heron was taken at relatively low ISO of 800, the aperture was wide open and the A7R2 was in APS-C mode with 18 megapix. The picture quality is still good enough.







Lesser Whistling Ducks, Satay by the Bay Lily Pond, 20 July 2019

A7R2, f7.1 1/500 @ 266 mm  ISO 2000



Photographed at high ISO, aperture slightly stopped down to f7.1, in full frame setting, the photo of the mummy duck and her 4 cute ducklings has very good quality.







Lesser Whistling Ducks, Satay by the Bay Lily Pond, 20 July 2019

A7R2, f7.1 1/500 @ 496 mm  ISO 2000



Another shot of the mummy duck and her 4 cute ducklings. The bokeh in my opinion is good.






 A7R2, Striated Heron, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, 27 July 2019

f9, 1/1000 @ 840mm with TC1.4x. ISO 640



Tested the 200-600 with the 1.4x tele-convertor photographed this Striated Heron. Image quality is still good. I probably would not use the lens with the 2x tele-convertor. Autofocus speed wise probably cannot be judge properly as my A7R2 is a pretty old model and facing some limitations when the lens is used with the 1.4x tele-convertor.









The Zeiss Batis



After using Zeiss Otus, it will be very hard for you to consider using other lenses even Zeiss. The best in quality you can get. However, weight sometimes can be an issues and I am glad that I have found my solutions: The light weight and autofocus Zeiss Batis series of lenses. Not being a fan of 35mm and 85m focal length, I collected the Batis 18/2.8 Distagon, 25/2 Distagon, 40/2 CF Distagon, and 135/2.8 Apo Sonnar. All of them are of very good quality, able to autofocus on Sony A7, and best they are not very heavy to carry around. Some people will complaint that the Batis are too big in size but that is not an issue for me. 40/2 is close to 35mm, but I still consider this one because it can be used as the only lens if I were to go out with just one lens (my ZM 35/2 can also do the job but it is manual focus and no EXIF data). Also the 40/2 CF has close focusing capability probably around 1:3 so a good candidate for occasional macro use.


 A7R2, f8 1/160 18/2 Distagon T*, ISO 125, MT190CXPRO3/BHQ2, 16 Mar 2019.




A7R2, f2.8 1/160 25/2 Distagon T*, ISO 800, 14 Jan 2018.




A7R2, f4 1/250 40/2 CF Distagon T*, ISO 100, 13 April 2019.



A7R2, f5.6 1/500 135/2.8 Apo Sonnar T*, ISO 250, MT190CXPRO3/BHQ2, 27 Aug 2018.









FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM


FE 100-400 / 4.5-5.6 G Master

The High Quality and Versatile Long Range Zoom





Too much has been said about this fantastic G Master zoom. This lens has very outstanding image quality and a very useful tele zoom range of 100-400mm, which I personally find more useful than 70-200 (although the G MAster 70-200 is faster a f2.8 throughout the zoom range) for most events shooting.








 African Tulip, Green Corridor, A7R2, f8 1/500 @244mm, ISO 320, MT190CXPRO3/BHQ2, 16 Mar 2019


Grey Heron, Satay by the Bay, A7R2, f9 1/500 @345mm, ISO 320, MT190CXPRO3/BHQ2, 5 Jan 2019. 



The 100-400 is compatible with the two teleconvertors SEL14TC (1.4x) and SEL20TC (2x). Most of the time I would prefer to use the 1.4x, and only under sitaution that I have no choice then I will consider the 2x.








 The following shot with TC 1.4, still very good quality.

Male Little Fiddler Crab, Pulau Ubin Chek Jawa, A7R2, f14 1/500 @560mm with TC1.4, ISO 1000, 13 April 2019



The following two also shot with TC1.4, but quite desperate so used A7R2 in APS-C mode to crop further.


Grey Heron, Sungei Buloh, A7R2, f8 1/1250 @560mm with TC1.4, ISO 2000, APS-C mode, 5 Jan 2019. 



 Juvenile Olive Backed Sunbird, A7R2, f11 1/500 @560mm with TC1.4, ISO 800, APS-C mode, 4 May 2019.


The next one shot with TC2x, quality still very good.

Non-breeding Common Redshank and Green Shank, Sungie Buloh Wetland Reserve

f11 1/500 @800mm with TC2x, ISO 2000, Berlebach Report 8013/Konica Erde-3065, 9 Sept 2017 











Componon-S 100/5.6

Schneider Componon-S 100/5.6

100mm f5.6  5.6/100


Enlarger Lens for Macro


componon100 setup


A7R2-QBM/FE adaptor-Rollei QBM bellow-M39/M42/QBM adaptor-Componon-S-Heliopan hoods



I bought the Schneider Componon-S 100/5.6 enlarger lens quite a while ago sitting in the dry cabinet. After trying the SL66 120/5.6-bellow set up I find it too heavy and suddenly thought of this enlarger lens set up. The 100/5.6 can be used with the Rollei bellow very conveniently and is a very light weight macro set up for very close up photography. 


Of course I have my very high quality macro lenses like the 60/2.8 Makro Planar and the 100/2.8 Makro Planar. But from specification point of view the SL66 120/5.6 MTF shows better lens performance for magnification larger than 1:5. So I think it will be the same for the Componon-S. The 100/5.6 comes with a lever to open or close the aperture, and also to set the aperture either in steps adjustment or smooth adjustment. The lens comes in M39 screw mount, so to use on the Sony Alpha 7 it will need a M39-M42 adaptor and a M42-FE adaptor. In this case I am using a Rollei QBM bellow and thus a M42-QBM and QBM-FE adaptor. The bellow will allows very easy framing and focusing of the lens as the 100/5.6 does not come with a focusing helicoil.










 I managed to toke some photos outdoor and is quite happy with the results.



componon redflower

A7R2, f8/11, 1/250, ISO 1600, Manfrotto 190B/410Gear, 11 June 2017.



componon whiteflower

A7R2, f8/11, 1/8, ISO 160, Manfrotto 190B/410Gear, 11 June 2017.



Batis 135/2.8 Apo Sonnar T*

Auto Focus Zeiss Sonnar


Batis 135/2.8 Apo Sonnar T*  135mm f2.8 2.8/135


batissonnar front650



Finally, the first auto focus lens I buy and use in my life, and happens to be the hot from oven Zeiss Batis 135/2.8 Apo Sonnar T* for Sony FE mount. Full frame, Apo design, auto focus!



Below is a simple illustration of the evolution of Zeiss 135mm f2.8 over the years, less the very respectable Contarex 135/2.8 Sonnar.


135vs 650

135sonnar vs 650

From left to right:

Rolleiflex HFT 135/2.8 Sonnar, Contax 135/2.8 Sonnar T*, Zeiss Batis 135/2.8 Apo Sonnar T*.

Roughly to scale. Weight: Rollei-450g, Contax-585g, Batis-614g.



In old days Zeiss lens designs are always very elegant, making use of very few lens elements and groups. From an engineer point of view the simplest design is the best and most elegant design. But today with very high resolution digital sensors even Zeiss will need to make their design fairly complicated to cater for much stringent performance requirement and the do-not -quite-make-sense pixel peeping on the computer screen. For telephoto the unavoidable CA and colour fringing, and for Batis design for auto focus. Thus you can see the fairly complicated Apo Sonnar design for the Batis series, and knowing Zeiss has been very stingy on labelling their lens as Apo you would thus expecting very high standard of correction for the Batis 135/2.8 Apo Sonnar, and of course with the renown T* multi-coating. Based on the lens diagram I think the Batis Apo Sonnar is no longer a conventional Sonnar design, as the design now need to cater for very high correction of images and also internal focusing for auto focus. The lens design used floating elements, but Zeiss only uses special glasses for this lens and no aspherical elements to achieve the Apo quality.



oled close300  oled far 300

The one of a kind O LED distance and depth of field indicator,

visible when attached to the camera with the camera power on,

selectable for visibility for manual, auto focus or both modes.




Competing head on of course is the very good ZF/ZE series 135/2 Apo Sonnar T*. The Batis is lighter, and being internal focus the length of the lens does not change over different focusing distance. Based on the MTFs both Apo Sonnar performance is very good. My only complaint on the Batis is the fine focusing. For that it could be the focus by wire manual focusing design of the Batis, or I have not get used to this method of manual focusing. Although the Batis Apo Sonnar is the heaviest 135/2.8 from Zeiss so far at 614g, when mounted on the A7R2 the package feels very comfortable and manageable, especially I have been using Otus lenses with the A7R2 hahaha!



zeiss logo300  batis135 rear300



It could sounds funny, that the very first thing I tried to do with the Batis 135/2.8 is to figure out how to best manual focus the lens  : D !! Next is of course struggling very hard for the whole day in a school event of my daughter to figure out all the auto focus settings on a Sony A7R2!



indian gur green 650

A7R2, f4 1/500, ISO 320, auto focus, 27 May 2017.



And till the night I was trying the various auto focus settings for moving subjects on stage, and finally I think I have made the auto focus mode work for me and also being quite far from the stage I happened to be able to examine the high resolution and high correction for the Batis 135/2.8.



yanzi 650

 A7R2, f2.8 1/250, auto focus, ISO 1250, Manfrotto 190XPROB/054Mg, 27 May 2017.


DSC07182fb web 1


DSC07182fb web 2


The photo was taken with the A7R2 mounted on a tripod with the Batis Apo Sonnar. Taken at f2.8 the widest aperture and at ISO 1250. The crops of the photo demonstrate very clearly the very high quality of the Apo Sonnar and also the A7R2.


No regret, and I will have more fun with the Batis Apo Sonnar in the future! 



佛母大孔雀明王法会。A7R, f2.8 1/125, ISO 320, 22 Oct 2017.






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