Tuesday, January 28, 2020

My Digitals

200/2 Apo Sonnar T*

Contax Legend 200 f2 Apo Sonnar T*




One of the few lenses of Zeiss issued for Contax that I admired when I was young but the price was just too unreachable for me even when I was working. But in the digital age price of these these maunal focus only lenses have gone down. Others exortic lenses like the 55/1.2 and 85/1.2 Planars, and the 300/2.8 Apo Tele-Tessar. Due to the collector nature of these lenses, the price did not go down too much but at least are more 'affordable' compared to decades ago when they were just released. The 200/2 Apo Sonnar is a newer lens than the 300/2.8 Apo Tele-tessar, but probably as it was made in Japan, the used price was much more friendly than the 300/2.8, which was made in Germany.





When I got the lens from the shipment, the very first thing I felt that this lens that is very different from the rest of the Zeiss that I own, is the smoothness and damping of the focusing ring and  the aperture ring. The feel is so refined, probably very close to Leica quality, as the lens was sold at Leica price anyway. The feel is even much more refined than the current Zeiss Otus, or the made in Germany ZM 15/2.8 and 85/2. Well now the 200/2 is priced close to a brand new Otus, but you will feel that it is much more value for money as you get a much bigger and heavier lens than the Otus, and still at Apo quality, though not at f1.4!!



吉祥宝聚寺, A7R2, f5.6 1/25, ISO 100, 190XPROB/410 Gear, 21 April 2018.


Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, A7R2, f5.6 1/500, ISO 500, MT190CXPRO3/BHQ2, 24 Mar 2018. 




Clerodendrum thomsoniae, A7R2, f5.6 1/250, ISO 320, MT190CXPRO3/BHQ2, 7 April 2018. 



 福海禅寺, A7R2, f2 1/60, ISO 1250, MT190CXPRO3/BHQ2, 1 April 2018.




 All photos of the 200/2 were taken with A7R, 40/2 Batis CF Distagon T* @ f11 1/125 ISO 400, close up with Schneider Componon 100/5.6 @ f11 1/60 ISO 400.

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.





 A7R, f5.6 1/125 Batis 40/2 CF Distagon, ISO 320.




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.



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