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Sony 10-18mm F4 OSS - Eagerly Awaited Wideness


After NEX users had to go for such a long time without a good ultra wide angle, now Sony is on target with its new E 10-18mm F4 OSS (SEL1018). We were very curious to see how it performs especially on the NEX-7, which is very challenging as many short focal lengths adapted from Leica M mount produced strong color shifts.

The zoom lens starts at a viewing angle of 109° comparable to a 15mm UWA lens on a fullframe camera allowing dramatic perspectives for close ups as well as for architecture and landscape photography. The lens is constructed with 10 elements (some with ED glass) in 8 groups, has 7 circular aperture blades, provides a fast autofocus and optical stabilization supporting shooting at low light and video. It weighs only 225g and comes with a seperate lens shade.

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Ultrawide Comparison: Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 15 mm f/2.8 vs. Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 vs. Samyang 14mm f/2.8


Looking for an ultrawide angle lens covering fullformat image circle? We compared the new Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 15 mm f/2.8 with the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Aspherical and the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24 MM F/2.8G ED. With an angle of view of 110° (114° at 14mm), a fast F2.8 aperture and a minimum distance of about 25-28 cm they allow dramatic perspectives for close ups and are suitable for architecture and landscape photography as well.

During this review we will compare resolution/contrast, chromatic aberration, distortion, vignetting and bokeh on typical real world examples as in my opinion this is more meaningful than just comparing technical data and charts. The shots were taken with the "pixel monster" Nikon D800E who's 36 MP sensor currently provides the highest resolution for full frame cameras and with the Sony NEX-7 using an adapter from Novoflex. If you ask yourself "why putting such a lens on the NEX-7 ?", her is my motivation: With it's APS-C sized sensor it provides the same crop factor than the D800 in DX mode or a Nikon D7000 but with 24 mega pixels and so it challenges the lenses regarding resolution even more than the D800E (that provides about 15 MP in DX mode). With it's currently unrivaled EVF and 11.7x magnification it is much easier to precisely adjust the focus to it's optimum compared to the D800E's liveview - especially at bright outdoor light conditions. Last but not least, the NEX system still lacks of sharp and fast super wideangle lenses and adapting ultra wide angles designed for Leica M-mount at the NEX-7 usually produces colorshift on the borders.

Size / weight / build / operation


A first review for the Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15 you can find already here so let's just sum up the most important technical data before we go into the image comparison. The different sizes are visible above and the weight you will have to carry (with Nikon F-mount) is about proportional to their sizes: ~550g for the 14mm Samyang, ~730g for the 15mm Zeiss and approx. 1000g for the 14-24mm Nikon. All three candidates are equipped with a chip delivering focal length and aperture information to the camera and allowing aperture control also through the camera. Filters (92mm thread) can only be screwed to the Zeiss. All are of good build quality, the Zeiss provides the best haptic and focus operation and comes with a metal lens hood. The Samyang has the longest focus throw - for my taste too long. You may find the Samyang also in identical construction under different names like Walimex Pro, Rokinon, Vivitar, Bower etc. My sample of the Samyang had a problem with the focus adjustment that is quite often reported by other users as well for that lens: Infinite focus is reached when the focus ring showed about 0.8m on the distance scale. In that aspect my point goes clearly to the Zeiss Distagon.

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Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/15 mm - Ultrawide and Fast!


Looking for an ultra wide angle lens covering fullformat image circle? Than you should take a closer look to the new Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15 mm. With an angle of view of 110°, a fast F2.8 aperture and a minimum distance of 25 cm it allows dramatic perspectives for close ups and is suitable for architecture and landscape photography as well.

The manufacturer claims that with 15 elements in 12 groups (including two aspheric lenses and floating elemements design) this lens preserves very natural proportions with minimal distortion, high contrast and exceptional sharpness. So it should harmonize perfectly well even with the latest 36 MP "pixel monsters" like the Nikon D800/D800E. Due to the selection of special glass also chromatic aberrations are nearly invisible and the T* coating is designed to reduce stray light and reflections to a minimum. You can read an in depth review and comparison to two other ultra wide angle lenses here. It is available in two versions, one with Nikon F-mount (ZF.2) and one with Canon EF-mount (ZE). Both versions contain a chip that allows the camera to determine the focal length and control the aperture, the ZF.2 version has an additional option to operate the aperture manually. Focus is operated manually with a butter smooth focus ring with clearly defined start and end point, which is interesting for filmmakers as well.


Due to it's complex construction it is quite big but less bulky than e.g. the Nikon 14-24mm F2.8 wide angle zoom lens. Although it is completely made of glass and metal, it is surprisingly light - it weighs about 730 to 820g depending on the version and fits quite nice e.g. on the Nikon D800E:

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Fancy, Catchy Colors at "Schlager Move" 2012

500000 people celebrating in catchy colors the fancy 16th "Schlager Move" in Hamburg.

Best viewed in fullscreen-mode. If you can not see the embedded video, please follow this link.

Thanks for watching. You find a Flickr album with most of these pictures at
flickr.com/photos/hhackbarth/sets/72157630466984834/


 

Nikon D800E - das Pixelmonster


Nachdem mich bereits die NEX-7 von der Qualität der aktuellen Sony Sensor-Generation überzeugte, legte nun die mutmaßlich ebenfalls mit einem Sony Sensor bestückte Nikon D800/D800E im Vollformat-Bereich nochmals eine Schippe drauf. Sie erreicht mit 36,3 MP und einem Dynamik-Umfang von 14,4 Blenden (gemäß DxOMark Sensor Scores) bereits Leistungsdaten, die bislang Mittelformat-Kameras mit einem vielfach höheren Preissschild vorbehalten waren. Allein das ist schon Grund genug, sich die D800E genauer anzuschauen.

Update: Siehe Ende des Artikels!

Warum die D800E?

Nikon liefert sein neues Pixelmonster in zwei Varianten aus. Die D800E unterscheidet sich von der D800 lediglich dadurch, dass ihr Sensor nicht mit einem Tiefpass-(Anti-Aliasing-)Filter bestückt ist. Der Hersteller weist allerdings daraufhin, dass die damit noch erzielte leichte Erhöhung der Pixelschärfe und Lichtempfindlichkeit, unter gewissen Umständen mit der Bildung von Moiré in feinen Texturen einhergehen kann. In der Praxis berichten die bereits mit dieser Kamera beglückten Nutzer allerdings, dass sie bislang selbst mutwillig diesen Effekt kaum herbeiführen konnten. Sofern Moiré doch einmal auftreten sollte, lässt es sich mit einigen darauf spezialisierten Werkzeugen (z.B. ab Lightroom 4 / Adobe Camera Raw 7) mit relativ geringem Aufwand entfernen, wie z.B. dieser Bericht zeigt. Wer also wirklich das Maximum an feinsten Details auch für sehr große Ausdrucke oder stark beschnittene Crops herausholen möchte, der wird vermutlich bereit sein, den Mehrpreis zu investieren.

Dieser 1:1 Ausschnitt aus dem Titelbild dieses Beitrags zeigt bereits anschaulich, wie hoch die Auflösungsreserven dieser Kamera sind:


(100% Crop aus dem Titelbild, aufgenommen mit dem AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1,4 bei F5.6 an der D800E)

Wahl der Objektive

Die nächste Frage, die man sich i.d.R. stellt, nachdem man sich zur Kaufentscheidung durchgerungen hat, ist die Frage nach den "passenden" Objektiven. Eine Kamera mit einem derart anspruchsvollen Sensor stellt die Qualität der verwendeten Linsen auf eine harte Probe. Diese Feststellung machen seit einigen Jahren auch schon die Besitzer von MicroFourThirds- und NEX-Systemkameras, deren aktuelle Sensorgeneration hochgerechnet auf die Fläche eines Vollformat-Sensors bereits mehr als 60 MP auflösen und an denen viele "Altgläser" früherer Analogfilm-Kamerasysteme in mehrfacher Hinsicht nicht mehr den Anforderungen moderner Digital-Sensoren gewachsen sind, wie auch in diesem Beitrag zu sehen ist.

Ob die derzeit angebotenen Zoom-Objektive über den gesamten Zoombereich und bei Offenblende eine genügend hohe Auflösung bieten, wird derzeit von vielen in Frage gestellt. Da ich ohnehin eine Vorliebe für lichtstarke Festbrennweiten hege, entschied ich mich deshalb zu folgendem "Starter-Pack":


V.l.n.r: AF-S Nikkor 24mm 1:1,4 G ED, AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1:1,8 G (2012er Modell) an der D800 E, AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1,4 G


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Adorable 50s - The Portrait Primes Battle


Some weeks ago we announced a workshop titled "adorable 50s" that was intended to compare a rich set of bright 50mm primes. Due to the crop of APS-C and (Micro-)FourThirds sensors, these primes convert to typical portrait focal lengths and provide the option to take photos indoor at avalialable light without using a flash and to play with a thin sharpness area. The comparison should allow you to judge sharpness & contrast at open aperture as well as their characteristics how out-of-focus structures in the background are rendered.

Here you find the results of the workshop but first a few words about how it was managed: The workshop was held in Hamburg under the direction of Helge Hackbarth together with the lovely model Lara-Dias. It included both an indoor comparison shooting at "avialable light" as well as an outdoor comparison under daylight conditions. A reflector was used in order to establish a good light balance between model and background - no flash at all! The locations were chosen with a versatile background structure in order to be able to assess the rendering of the out-of-focus blur (creaminess, bokeh, etc.) as well as contrast and sharpness of the model in the foreground.

Unfortunately three participants dropped out shortly, so that also some exciting lenses that were most welcome alongside the participants were missing (e.g. a Leica Noctilux 50/0.95 ASPH, a Voigtlander Nokton 50/1.1, a Canon 50/1.2 LTM, a Minolta MD Rokkor 50/1.2 and a Jupiter 3 LTM 50/1.5). Nevertheless, also the remaining selection gives already a good overview in which such the rather cheap and popular Olympus OM / Minolta MC Rokkor can be compared with upper end priced lenses like the Leica Summilux and a prototype of the SLR Magic HyperPrime 50mm CINE T0.95.

The comparison candidates:

  • SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 (F0.92) (one of the currently available prototypes, click here for details)
  • Leica Summilux 50mm F1.4 ASPH (M-Mount, E46)
  • Minolta MC Rokkor 50mm F1.4
  • Olympus OM 50mm F1.4 (OM-mount)
  • Olympus OM 50mm F1.8 (OM-mount)
  • Sony 50mm F1.8 OSS (SEL 50F18, E-Mount)
  • Olympus M-Zuiko 45mm F1.8 (MiroFourThirds Mount)
  • Leica Summicron 50mm F2.0 pre-ASPH (M-Mount, E39)

The lenses were attached to a Sony NEX-7, a NEX-5n, an Olympos OM-D (E-M5) and a PEN E-PL1. For the indoor shooting we created a meaningful setup in a nice bar:


But pictures speak louder than words. All images you see here, were taken with the Sony NEX-7 and processed from RAW with identical settings for contrast and sharpnes. Just some minor adjustments of white balance were applied. In order to see other sizes you may click on the images:

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HyperPrime CINE meets Walpurgisnacht at Burgspektakel Bad Bodenteich

30th April 2012 - When on the medieval "Burgspektakel Bad Bodenteich", witches, elves, trolls and other mythical creatures come together to celebrate the "Walpurgisnacht" (the night before 1st Mai), it's the perfect moment to mount a bright lens like the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 on your camera.

All pictures were taken at open aperture (T0.95 / F0.92).

Sorry, no Java support available, please install here.

(Switching to fullscreen mode (left to the (i) button) is highly recommended)

If you can not see the (Java applet based) slideshow above, you may follow this link to the Flickr slideshow.

All images copyright by 3D-Kraft.com.



 

Contrasty Cuba

Impressions from Cuba 2012 - please take your time for this photo- & video-mix, you will not regret it!
This video was assembled from photos and video snippets taken in Cuba, March 2012 and demonstrates the potential of Sony's NEX-7 and current E-mount prime lenses.

Best viewed in fullscreen-mode. If you can not see the embedded video, please follow this link.

The FullHD (1080p) version can be found here: vimeo.com/39946249. You can download the original video upload with better quality there as well.

Used cameras: Sony NEX-7, Panasonic Lumix GH2
Used lenses: Zeiss 24mm F1.8, Sony 50mm F1.8, SLR Magic CINE 50mm T0.95, SLR Magic 12mm T1.6

Thanks for watching. You find a Flickr album with most of these pictures at
flickr.com/photos/hhackbarth/sets/72157629726737761/

 


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