Thursday, January 31, 2013

Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Primagon 35mm f4.5

When I bought this lens (with an EXA II camera body attached), I didn't expect much, especially a lens with a maximum aperture of f4.5. I am a fan of Meyer-Optik lenses, but I don't have any wide angle lenses that bear the marque. The lens wasn't expensive, and I am weak when it comes to lenses, so I bought it.

Looking at it with naked eye, the lens seems to have no coating, but the reflection from the flash makes it appear to have bluish color. This lens has at least two variations. The one with the red V is probably a later model with better coating. Mine is without the red V.

From experience, lenses from this era are prone to flare, and the coating can crack or disintegrate, not to mention scratches easily. Having a lens hood is almost a must. Another issue with this age of lenses is dust inside the lens elements. Mine has a thin layer just under the front elements. Luckily, the front lens group can be unscrewed easily for cleaning. The pictures you see so far were taken with the layer of dust, and they still came out pretty good. Subsequent pictures should have slightly better contrast/sharpness.

Although this lens was designed to be inexpensive, the optic is actually very good, even wide open. Definitely not a lens to shoot at low lights or to achieve thin depth of field, it is quite nice for daylight shooting.  Unfortunately, I haven't taken many pictures that shows the colors this lens renders, because we are having either rain, or snow, and sometimes both in recent days; it's grey everywhere.

It's probably not a lens you will shoot all the time, as is limited by the maximum aperture, but if you like to experiment with different kinds of lenses to study their characters, this inexpensive lens deserves to be on your list.

Meyer-Optik Primagon 35mm f4.5 - Taken with NEX-6 & E50mm f1.8 OSS

Meyer-Optik Primagon 35mm f4.5 - Taken with NEX-6 & E50mm f1.8 OSS

Streetcars - NEX-6 & Meyer-Optik Primagon 35mm f4.5. Click for larger.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Another Look at the Canon FD 35mm f2 S.S.C

I have lost count of how many lenses I have in the 35mm focal length, and yet, I continue to buy them. Sure sign of addiction to G.A.S (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). The Canon FD 35mm f2 was purchased a little over a year ago, but didn't get used much. I briefly wrote about it here. Dug it out and carried it around in the last few days trying to get a better feel for the lens. There is no doubt that this lens is very sharp and I found it excellent for street shooting on the NEX-6, which is roughly equivalent to 52mm in full frame terms.

The lens exhibits high contrast and sharpness is excellent. Already pretty good at f2 but much better when stopped down just a bit. I think it is perfect as a walk around lens.

Rain in winter - NEX-6 & Canon FD 35mm f2 S.S.C. Click for larger.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Evolution of the Canon FD Mount

Like the Nikon F mount, which has gone through many evolutionary changes, morphed itself from a simple mechanical mount to a fully electronic mount, the Canon FD also had a few changes. The difference is that Nikon made major changes to both the body of the camera as well as the lens, where as Canon did it mostly to the mount on the lens.

The FD mount started life as Canonflex R mount in 1959 with the introduction of the Canon Flex. The R mount became the FL mount in 1964, when Canon introduced the FX SLR. Both the R and FL mounts are  very simple mounts that had no automation capabilities at all. That means no aperture priority, shutter speed priority or any programmed modes you see in modern cameras. The R/FL mount was the only lens mount from a major camera maker that used breech lock mechanism for mounting the lens, whereas most others used a bayonet lens mount. The advantage of a breech lock mount, according to Canon, was that it put less stress/wear on the lens/camera and more precise alignment of the lens to film. Personally, I am not a big fan of breech lock. It takes longer to mount and the lens may become loose after a while if left on the camera.

Three Generations of the FD Family

If you look at the picture above, on the left is the original FL mount. You can see that the only part that the camera can control is the aperture lever. The camera does not know what maximum aperture your lens is, or what aperture you have set on the lens. Everything is manual.

Then in 1971, Canon introduced the flagship F1 Single Lens Reflex camera, along with the new mount, called the FD mount, to compete with the popular and mighty Nikon F. This iteration of the mount change includes maximum aperture detection (the big round dot at 1 o'clcok on the FD 55mm f1.2 in the picture above), as well as other programmed automatons such as aperture priority, but the mounting method remained the same as the FL mount.

Ten years later, in 1981, Canon gave the world the improved F1 called the New F1, and just like the original F1 introduction, a new lens mount, called, well, New FD. The lastest change to the FD mount essentially converted the breech lock mount system into a bayonet mount system, like very body else. With this new mount, which many people call it nFD or FDn to distinguish it from the old breech lock FD mount, mounting the lens is easy as twist and lock, instead of turning the lock ring to tighten the lens.

History tells us that Canon, in 1987, went off to a completely new path in Camera design with an all electronic mount and auto focus system, the EOS, and abandoned the FD mount completely. That was one very gutsy move on Canon's part, as it alienated all current FD users and essentially made their cameras/lenses obsolete with no future enhancements and support. But the new EOS mount proved to be a strategically successful decision. The new EOS mount made such things as Ultrasonic Motor (USM) and Image Stabilization possible. Lenses, regardless of size and focal length, focus lightening fast. This new mount basically left Nikon in the dust in the sports photography field, until Nikon started incorporating motors inside their lens, but ultrasonic motors wouldn't come until Canon's pattern on it expired.

Some of the best and most unique lenses were designed and made in the FD era. The insanely sharp and fast FD 200mm f1.8L, FD 85mm f1.2L, FD 24mm f1.4L, FD 55mm f1.2 AL (first lens to use an aspherical element) were some examples. Many of the auto focus equivalent lenses are derived from the FD designs. The mirrorless cameras have given second life to these exceptionally good and sometimes very cheap FL/FD lenses. All we need now, is an affordable full frame mirrorless to take full advantage of these lenses.

Park Bench - NEX-6 & Canon FD 35mm f2 S.S.C

Monday, January 28, 2013

Canon nFD 50mm f1.2L Samples

The Canon New FD (nFD) mount 50mm f1.2L is slightly larger and heavier than the normal, non-L, nFD 50mm f1.2 (see picture below). It's very well built and you know and feel the quality workmanship by holding it in your hand. I shot a few pictures with it this morning and I am quite satisfied with it. Not really a huge difference between this and the non-L nFD 50mm f1.2; if there is, you would have to pixel peek to death to find it. I promise, if I find the time and will myself to the task, I will do a comparison of the two lenses.

Three brothers - nFD 50mm f1.2L [left], nFD 50mm f1.2 [middle], and nFD 50mm f1.4 [right]

Size comparison. Click for larger

Crossing. shot through windshell - NEX-6 & Canon nFD 50mm f1.2L @ f1.4. Click for larger 

Streetcar - NEX-6 & Canon nFD 50mm f1.2L @ f1.4

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Latest Gear Acquisition from the Camera Show

Here in Toronto we have a few camera shows each year. Many envy us for the opportunity to get cheap used lenses. This used to be true, but if today is any indication, the days for deals are numbered.

I went today and only stayed an hour. Everyone seemed to be selling over-priced junk. Found no deals today. Bought a whole bunch of projection lenses from a charity table and later found that the lens register of these lenses are way too short to be usable even on the NEX cameras. A write off. Sad, really, because a few are really nice 50mm f1.2 lenses. I did buy another unusual projection lens: Navitar 25mm f2.8. This is one huge and heavy lens. Never seen a projection lens this wide and made like this. I think it would be fun to try it out later.

Found a Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Primagon 35mm f4.5 in very nice condition. Came with a bonus Exakta mount body, which will probably end up as garbage. I am a big fan of Meyer-Optik lenses. especially the Primoplan 58mm f1.9. The Primagon 35mm f4.5 is a bit on the slow side, but the few sample pictures I took already look promising. I bought it mostly because I never even knew this lens existed.

Another purchase, which kind of regretted, is the Canon nFD 50mm f1.2L. It costs more than I wanted to pay, but cheaper than the 55mm f1.2 S.S.C. The test picture I did at f1.2 made me feel much better about the purchase: Very sharp wide open. About the same, if not better than the nFD 50mm f1.2. Now, the only Canon f1.2 standard lens in FL/FD/new FD mount I am missing is the Aspherical version, which is the most expensive of all. More so than the L version.

So, I guess that OM-D EM-5 has to wait a bit longer, and I most likely won't be going to the camera shows until summer.

Downtown Toronto - NEX-6 & Meyer-Optik Primagon 35mm f4.5 @ f8. Click for larger.

The Tree - NEX-6 & Meyer-Optik Primagon 35mm f4.5 @ f8. Click for larger.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Contax Carl Zeiss S-Planar 60mm f2.8 Makro Sample

This lens, along with the Contax Carl Zeiss 35-70mm f3.4 were purchased as broken lenses many years ago.  In fact, the S-Planar was in three parts. I eventually got them fixed. The zoom is no longer with me, but the S-Planar 60mm f2.8 Makro has been one of my favourite lenses that I just can't let go. The S-Planar was optimized for macro work and infinity has a bit of a compromise in sharpness. But, in actual use, it's still one of the sharpest lenses I have, even at infinity focus.

It's heavy for the 60mm focal length and is made like a tank. In the used market, it still commands a premium over the Japanese equivalent lenses; one of the reasons was that this lens was made in Germany where many of the Contax Zeiss lenses were made in Japan by Keyocera. I don't think it makes any difference where is was made, but obviously, many do.

Sunset - Sony NEX-6 & Contax Carl Zeiss Makro S-Planar 60mm f2.8

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Using a Focusing Helicoid as a Lens Adapter

One of the most annoying problems with old manual focus lenses, is that over time, some of them would fail to attain infinity focus, due to wear or misalignment. The Vivitar 24mm f2.8 TX lens I looked that the other day was an example. The normal course of action is to get it repaired/adjusted, but this could get expensive. Worse, sometimes after a lens repair, it would have other issues like de-centering or other problems. The solution is to use a focusing helicoid in place of a lens adapter.

Helicoid as an adapter on NEX-5N. Click for larger.

My focusing helicoids were originally purchased to be used with odd ball lenses that don't have focusing mechanisms of their own, like enlarging and projection lenses, but they are equally good, and often better, when used as a lens adapter, because a focusing helicoid would make the lens focus closer than its minimum focus distance, but at the same time allows the lens to focus past infinity. The 18-35mm Yeenon helicoid is just slightly thinner than a dedicated NEX to M42 adapter when not extended. This means all M42 lenses mounted on it will focus pass infinity. This solves the problem for lenses that can not focus to infinity by itself.

Allen Garden - NEX-6 & Vivitar 24mm f2.8 TX & Yeenon Helicoid. Click for larger.

Currently, I can only use M42 lenses on the Yeenon Helicoid, as the helicoid has an M42 mount when fitted with a 52mm to 42mm step-down ring. In actual use, there is almost no different than using just a lens adapter, except you focus with the focusing helicoid or the focusing mechanism on the lens. When using the lens for close-ups, you can rack out the focusing on both the helicoid and the lens to simulate the effect of  an extension tube to achieve macro magnification.

So yes, the helicoid is a very flexible tool.

True Love Cafe - NEX-6 & Isco-Gottingen Westagon 50mm f2 & Yeenon Helicoid.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Transplant

I have had this ISCO-Gottingen Westagon 50mm f2 lens for many years. This lens has an M42 mount and is considered a cheap version of the Schneider equivalent. One problem with this lens is that it has haze inside and it produces washed out, hazy pictures with no contrast, so I never really used it. At one of the photo shows last year, I bought a broken (aperture), but an Exakta mount of the same lens. The Exakta version has very beautiful fit and finish, but the aperture is broken and I can't figure it out how to remove the aperture blades and fix it. The optic appears to be cleaner than the M42 version.

Most old lenses have optics in groups that can be removed very easily. In this particular lens, it has the front and the rear group. Despite the different looking lens barrels, the optical element groups are identical in both lenses. Took the optics out from the Exakta mount lens, and put them in the M42 lens barrel.  Works beautifully.

The lens itself isn't too bad. In fact, it's quite nice. A bit slow with the f2 maximum aperture, but can't complain about the cheap price of $5.

Left shows dismantled Exakta mount of the lens, right shows the transplanted M42 version

Street Crossing - NEX-6 & Isco-Gottingen Westagon 50mm f2. Click for larger.

Umbrella - NEX-6 & Isco-Gottingen Westagon 50mm f2 @ f2.8. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cycling in the Winter

The weather we are having has been weird.  Just over a week ago, we had temperatures in the high of 12C, and now, this whole week, we are in the deep freeze with the mercury dropping down to as low as -17C, or -26C with wind chill factor, with snow thrown in for good measure. This, does not stop hardcore cyclists who ride their bikes to work.

If you live in warm climates, or even some who live here in Canada, you may think this is crazy. No, we Torontonians love to ride our bikes, and we ride them any time of the year, come sunshine or sleet. I have done this for more than 10 years. It's really not as bad as most people would think; you just need to be prepared, dress warm and use the right bike for the weather. I ride a road bike for dry days, and a mountain bike with good grip on tires for wet/snowy days. In fact, I am shameful to admit that I also collect bicycles, unintentionally, with about a dozen now and counting. Not the expensive bikes, but different ones. Many are old and fixed up by me as a pass time hobby. I was fed up having to rely on bike shops to fix minor stuff like truing a wheel, change the bottom bracket, or adjust the gears, so I spent the money on tools and learn to do this myself. It turned out not as hard as I thought and it's a great deal of fun. I can now re-spoke an entire wheel from scratch without breaking a sweat ;)

Pictures from today:

Crossing the street - NEX-6 & Wollensak Raptar 50mm f1.5. Click for larger.

Waiting to cross - NEX-6 & Wollensak Raptar 50mm f1.5. Click for larger.


The Leica-R 28mm f2.8 Elmarit has almost no distortion to speak of.  It's probably one of the best corrected wide angle lens I have.  For some reason I can't understand, I hardly use it. It's not a bad lens, but perhaps it lacks a little something that would make me use it more.

Corridor - NEX-6 & Leica-R 28mm f2.8 Elmarit

Monday, January 21, 2013

Vivitar 24mm f2.8 Auto-Wide Angle TX mount

Of all the interchangeable mounts I have used, the Vivitar TX mount is the hardest to use. In fact, I despise this mount. I only have a few lenses in this mount, and luckily, I have enough mounts for each lens that I don't have to keep changing them, which saves me a lot of frustration. The Vivitar 24mm f2.8 Auto-Wide Angle is my latest addition to the TX mount.  This lens is almost identical to the Vivitar 28mm f2.8 TX mount, which I looked at here. Both lenses are about the same size without the mount, and share the same filter thread size. Both lenses were made by Tokina (Serial starts with 37).

One thing becomes apparent is the very poor flare resistance. With light coming from the side, flare quickly reduces contrast and makes the picture look washed out.  Effective multi-coating is one advantage modern lenses have over the old lenses.  Other than the flare issue, this lens performs quick nicely.  Distortion is well controlled, and sharpness is quite good, but lacking the "bite" (micro contrast) of the best (expensive) lenses have. At f8, the edges on APS-C is quite respectable and shows good sharpness.  No, it's not as sharp as the center, but not many low cost lenses are.  It's definitely not a soft lens, especially with some post processing, the pictures exhibit good colour and sharpness.

A 24mm lens provides a comfortable 35mm field of view on the NEX cameras, and this Vivitar lens is a good choice for its low cost, but decent optical quality.

Vivitar 24mm & 28mm f2.8 with different mounts (M42/MD). Click for larger.

Vivitar 24mm & 28mm f2.8 without mounts. Click for larger.

Public Library - NEX-6 & Vivitar 24mm f2.8 TX mount. Click to enlarge.

Flare Test - NEX-6 & Vivitar 24mm f2.8 TX mount. Click to enlarge.

First Nation Art - NEX-6 & Vivitar 24mm f2.8 TX mount. Click to enlarge.

Church - NEX-6 & Vivitar 24mm f2.8 TX mount.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 5.8cm f2 Sample

I wrote about this "castrated" Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 5.8cm f2 lens some time ago, before mirrorless cameras were on the market.  I thought the lens was history, but it is rescued by the mirrorless cameras, especially the NEX-6. I have it remounted on the Yeenon helicoid and the focusing feels a lot better. There is a benefit for mounting the lens on the helicoid: the lens could be used almost like a macro lens.

Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 5.8cm f2 on Yeenon Helicoid. Click for larger.

Winter in the city - NEX-6 & Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 5.8cm f2 @ f8. Click for larger.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Current State of Lens Adapters

It has been almost eight years since I started using manual focus lenses on my digital SLRs; longer than most people.  Back then, adapters were expensive, even for a Canon EOS-M42, which cost around $50 to $60, and now can be had for under $5.  But I was happy to pay the price, because at least someone was willing to produce these adapters so that wonderful old lenses could have a second life.

With more companies getting into the lens adapter business, adapters are getting better and more sophisticated; they are getting smart too.  Old adapters were purely mechanical and there was no electronic linkage between adapter and camera, but that has changed.  First we had the EOS-NEX adapter by Metabones, that allows the NEX camera to control aperture of Canon EF lenses from the NEX camera.  Since then, various Chinese adapter makers introduced their own, with image stabilization and AF support.  They are also readying the Contax-G rangefinder to NEX adapter that allows auto focus.

The latest, and the best news, is the Metabones SpeedBooster adapters that makes full frame lenses behave the same on NEX or M4/3 cameras by angle reduction.  It behaves the opposite of lens extenders, with an added benefit of increasing the maximum aperture by one stop.  So, your EF 24mm f1.4 will have basically have the same angle of view on the NEX camera, but at f1.0 instead. The optical lens in the adapter was designed by the very well known Dr. Brian Caldwell.  So, all is well, right?  Yes and no.  The price is very steep.  Yup, $600 for the adapter.  Unlike mechanical adapters that can be copied/cloned, the optics in the adapter is pretty hard to copy without being sued.  So, don't expect the price of this great adapter to get cheaper any time soon.

Cherry Blossom in Infrared - Canon 20D IR & Pentax-M 20mm f4.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Tried out a 50mm lens on the Pentax Q today and it sure is hard to use.  The manual focus aids on the camera is just not in the same league as the NEX or M4/3 cameras.  For one thing, the LCD screen is not of the high resolution one, making it harder still to get critical focus.  The focus peeking is also sub par on the Q. Didn't get too many keepers from around 75 shots.  Can't image how much harder it's to use for longer lenses.

Cross - Pentax Q & Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f2.8 M42

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Kern-Paillard Switar 25mm f1.5 AR on Pentax Q

The Switar 25mm f1.5 is one of those stupid mistakes that I sometimes made with too much assumption.  This lens has an AR designation which means the lens register is slightly shorter than the standard c-mount, though the mount itself is the same.  The lens goes further into the camera than a standard c-mount lens does and it would hit the frame area of the sensor on the NEX or M4/3 and would not go further in.  This prevents the lens from focusing to infinity. Out of desperation, sawed off a small part of the rear of the lens, hoping to make it focus to infinity, but to no avail, though it can now focus further than before.

The Pentax Q has an even short lens to sensor register than the NEX system, allowing more space between lens and sensor for lenses other than those with native Pentax Q mount. This AR 25mm f1.5 works perfectly on the Q with infinity focus.  Since the Q has a 5.5x multiplier, a 25mm lens would become a  137.5mm!  Sure, it's great for telephoto shots, but a pain to obtain any wide angle lenses.  Imagine a 100mm lens, when mounted on the Q becomes a 550mm, which makes most lenses with focus length > 50mm difficult to handhold.  The in-body image stabilization works, but not as effectively as lens based. I briefly tried the Kern-Paillard 75mm f1.9 lens on the Q and it was just too long for practical use.

The Switar AR 25mm f1.5 has typical quality of most Switar lenses, and very similar to the Switar 25mm f.4 that I used. Excellent even wide open, and has pleasing rendering of pictures.  On the Q, there is no vignetting, of course, and the blurred corners are significantly less than that on M4/3 or NEX, because only the small center area of the lens is used. Focusing the lens is painful, especially if you are used to an EVF.  The focus peeking feature on the Q is nowhere as good as the one on Sony NEX.  On the Q, the contrast is set sky high to simulate focus peeking, unlike the NEX cameras, where a colour is displayed for the in-focus portion. I find it very frustrating and difficult to get critical focus. Consequently, I turned this what should be a very useful feature off.

In terms of usability for manual focus lenses, the Q is simply not in the same league as the NEX cameras with focus peeking/EVF, but usable.

Lines - Pentax Q & Kern-Paillard Switar 25mm f1.5. Click for larger.

Lion - Pentax Q & Kern-Paillard Switar 25mm f1.5. Click for larger.

Barb Wires - Pentax Q & Kern-Paillard Switar 25mm f1.5. @ f1.5. Click for larger.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Grange Park in B&W with Taylor-Hobson 75mm f2 TV Lens

Grange Park is one of my favourite places to take pictures on my lunch hour walks. I visit the park at least once a week and often more frequently.  It's also a park where people like to stroll, or sit on its many park benches. Even in the winter, many people spend their lunch hour here, to temporarily get away from the busy office routine.

This set of pictures was shot with the Sony NEX-6 and the Taylor-Hobson 75mm f2 TV lens.  This lens lacks a focusing mechanism and I have it mated to the Yeenon 18-33mm focusing helicoid, which I reviewed here.  It's a good combination and they look very nice and balance well together.  So far, the Yeenon helicoid has held up well, though I have not used it as vigorously as I did with the previous, cheaper ones.

Romancing in the park - NEX-6 & Taylor-Hobson 75mm f2 TV Lens. Click for larger.

Silhouette - NEX-6 & Taylor-Hobson 75mm f2 TV Lens. Click for larger.

Urban forest - NEX-6 & Taylor-Hobson 75mm f2 TV Lens. Click for larger.

Trespassers - NEX-6 & Taylor-Hobson 75mm f2 TV Lens. Click for larger.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Red Umbrella

Many people wonder why some of us even bother with manual focus lenses.  Isn't it going backwards?  Below is one example why we do.  It's pretty hard for a modern lens to exhibit this kind of character in a picture: very blurry corners, severe vignetting, but extremely sharp in the center. All these characters work together to pull the viewer's attention to the subject more strongly than a pictures taken with a well corrected lens.  If this picture was taken with a normal 85mm modern lens, it would be less interesting, for sure.

Red Umbrella - NEX-6 & Kodak Projection Ektanon 3 inch f2.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Kodak Ektanon 3 Inch f2 Projection Lens: A Photo Set

I covered the conversion of this Kodak Projection Ektanon 3 Inch f2 lens here, if you are interested to know how it's mounted on the NEX-6.  Just want to emphasize the importance of a lens hood.  Without it, the lens will become very prone to stray lights and loss of contrast.

Due to the long travel of the focusing helicoid, this lens can focus very close, but at the same time can focus to infinity.  I am having a great time with this very light weight, yet excellent lens.  The only issue I have, is that depth of field is very thin, especially when used for close-ups.  Getting critical focus can be challenging, but with the NEX-6, I find it much easier to use than on the NEX-5N with the external EVF.

Hope you enjoy this set of pictures.

Fisheye View - NEX-6 & Kodak Ektanon 3 Inch f2 Projection Lens. Click to enlarge.

Tree Trunk - NEX-6 & Kodak Ektanon 3 Inch f2 Projection Lens. Click to enlarge.

Yellow Rose - NEX-6 & Kodak Ektanon 3 Inch f2 Projection Lens. Click to enlarge.

Fortune Sticks - NEX-6 & Kodak Ektanon 3 Inch f2 Projection Lens. ISO 2500.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Canon nFD 50mm f1.2 - A Couple of Low Light Samples

There are many versions of the Canon manual focus lenses that have the f1.2 maximum aperture.  I have the FL 58mm f1.2, FL 55mm f1.2, FD 55mm f1.2 and the New FD 50mm f1.2.  The later versions of the lens are optically better.  The nFD 50mm f1.2 is slightly better than the old FD 55mm f1.2 S.S.C in wide apertures, but the nFD version is much smaller and lighter with a 52mm filter thread versus the FD 55mm f1.2's 58mm.

The nFD 50mm f1.2 is what I have been using.  Love its superb optics and the small size and well built quality.  It's a lens great in day time but designed for, and excels at, low light situations.  Of the couple dozen or so lenses in the 50mm focal length, this is the lens I like to use the most in recent times.  Wish I could get my hands on a nFD 50mm f1.2L or the 55mm f1.2 Aspherical.  Those two should be even better optically, but I have never used them, unfortunately.  

Allen Gardens at night - NEX-6 & Canon nFD 50mm f1.2 @ f1.4, ISO 3200. Click for larger.

Lamp Post - NEX-6 & nFD 50mm f1.2 @ f1.4, ISO 1600

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sony NEX-6: What I Like Best

Now that I have had a chance to use the NEX-6 for a couple of weeks, I get to know a little more about the camera.  Still haven't gotten to use all the features, just the ones I normally use.  Here is the list of features I like most about the NEX-6:

Built-in EVF - Without saying, this is one of the features that make most people upgrade from existing NEX cameras.  Basically, the EVF is one of the best on the market.

Programmable AEL button - This is the hallelujah feature for me because I use mostly manual focus lenses.  I have assigned MF Assist to this button, which when pressed, will enlarge the view by 9.6x for easy focus fine tuning.  My thumb no longer have to travel all the way down to the "C" button for this.

Electronic Level - Very handy feature for keeping the camera level.  I have made a lot of use out of this feature.

Flat Camera Bottom - Can't tell you how much I hated the humped bottom of the NEX-5/5N.  Can't mount the camera properly with that stupid hump.

Mode Dial - I don't change shooting mode that much, as it's usually set to "A", but I welcome this very convenient feature for the times that I need to shoot in other modes.

Standard Hot Shoe - Very handy to have when external flash, or wireless flash trigger is used.

Built-in Flash - I don't use it much, but could be useful for fill-flash in strong lights.

The Thumb Wheel - Excellent implementation and in the perfect place.  This wheel allows me to change aperture or shutter speed with auto focus lenses.  Sadly, it's pretty much useless when used with manual focus lenses, except when I shoot Shutter Speed Priority "S".  Wish it can be re-programmed to exposure compensation.

That's about it.  The new features of phase-detect focus, WiFi, User Installable Apps don't interest me much.

Hospital Entrance - NEX-6 & 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS Lens. Click for larger.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Small Annoyance with the Sony 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS Lens

One annoyance with the 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens that came with my NEX-6, is that after it wakes up from sleep, it does not remember what zoom position the lens was in, and resets to 16mm.  I find this very disappointing.  The aperture is retained, but not the zoom position.  I am sure this little issue can be easily remedied with a firmware update, but probably not many people will find it as annoying as I do, so the chance of it fixed in firmware is pretty slim.

Streetcar on Spadina - NEX-6 & 16-50mm f3.5-5.6. Some cropping. Click for larger.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish all my readers a very happy new year. Wish you all good health and that all your wishes will come true in 2013. Don't forget to take lots of pictures.

Customs Buildings at Niagara Falls - NEX-6 & Minolta RF Rokkor-X 250mm f5.6.