Sunday, July 12, 2020

My Digitals

35/2.8 PC Distagon T*

Contax Shift Lens



Contax 35/2.8 PC Distagon T*, with Contax 70/86 adaptor, 86mm filter and metal hood 1.





 This lens was bought with a story  :D


Was actually looking for a Schneider 28/2.8 PC lens. I thought for architecture photography the wider the angle the better for coverage. However, after talking to many experts, it seems the Schneider 28 PC is too old a design for digital photography. A safer bet will be the Contax 35/2.8 PC Distagon, which by Zeiss standard has much higher resolution for modern digital sensors and a 60mm coverage for a high quality 10mm shift. I happened to bump into a local seller selling one which would save me some money, and was about the same budget as a Schneider 28 PC.

The PC Distagon I bought comes with a set of Contax 86mm filter, Contax 70/86 adpator ring and Contax metal hood 1. The previous owner of the lens who sold the lens to this seller that I bought the lens from, took out the front filter secure ring, and secured the filter glass with the metal hood 1. The filter/hood is attached to the lens with the 70/86 adaptor. 




 Lens in normal position 



 Lens in maximum 10mm shift position



Rear of PC Distagon, showing design allows shifting of rear lens element.





It is very lucky for me that the seller who I bought the lens from, is a professional architecture photographer! He explained to me that although wide angle and super wide angle are good for coverage, many of his clients prefered the more natural redering of the 35mm focal length. For me as I get older now adays I tend to shoot very wide (18mm) and very long (600mm). This lens will finally bring me down to earth back to the basic fundamental of natural perspective. I attached below two photos taken by the PC Distagon, and one taken by Zeiss ZF 15/2.8 Distagon for comparison.


Admiralty House, A7R2, f8, 1/250, ISO 100.



Admiralty House, A7R2, f8, 1/250, ISO 100.


Admiralty House, A7R2, f8, 1/250, ZF 15/2.8 Distagon T*, ISO 100.




The PC Distagon is of very high resolution. See the photo below and the cropped of the area centre and below.

Shop house at Tanglin Halt, A7R2, f8, 1/50, ISO 100. 

 Cropped at centre below of the top photo.



Sembawang Park, A7R2, f8, 1/100, ISO 100.



Kampong Glam, A7R, f8 1/60, ISO 100. 



Photos of the PC Distagon were taken by A7R with Milvus 50/2 Makro Planar T*, f11 1/15, ISO 800.














Milvus 50/2 Makro Planar T*

The Modern Fast Standard Macro






This is my first Milvus Zeiss. I prefer the feel and the look of the Zeiss Classic Series of lenses and are using several in ZF Nikon mount. ZF mount more for the aperture ring control. I was offered a good price for this new Milvus 50/2 Makro Planar and so I got it. The first impression of the build quality of the Milvus is really overwhelming. Although the Milvus seems to have a modern 'plastic' look, the actual feel is actually not so. Very solid feel, very well built indeed. The two Milvus maro lenses are the only ones with the 'ZEISS' and 'Makro Planar' engraved at the side of the lens, rather than at the front where the filter thread is.




 When the lens is used in the macro range the barrel extends out and there are magnification markings on the barrel, something new to me.



 One thing puzzles me is the Milvus 50/2 macro although is a faster lens at f2, the front and rear lens elements are smaller or comparable to the Zeiss 60/2.8 macro lens, in this case I am comapring one to the version Zeiss made for Rolleiflex with magnification up to 1:2 rather than the Contax one at 1:1. Milvus macro lenses are designed up to 1:2. Maybe the reason for the comparable glass elements is the focal length as Milvus is 50mm and traditional Zeiss was at 60mm.









 Ixora 'Super Queen', A7R2, f8 1/125, ISO 800, 16 May 2020



Photos of the lens taken by Schneider Componon-S 100/5.6,  f11 1/20, ISO 800.








Alpha 6400 / FE200600 G


Budget System for Wildlife Photography




A7R/Mulvis 50/2 Makro Planar.    The new sony bluetooth remote RMT-P1BT is really handy and easy to use as no line-of-sight issues like the IR remote.

My recent bird photography started with A7R2 and the very sharp G Master 100-400/4.5-5/6 zoom. Reach is still the key factor for bird photography for me, so next I go for the 200-600/5.6-6.3 G lens.

The surprising part of the Sony 200-600 is the price : D. Sony made it a non-G Master, and therefore the price is cheaper than the 100-400. So bird photography with a 600mm lens becomes much affordable, compared to the out of reach to most people the G Masters 400/2.8 and the 600/4. Maybe I will get the 600/4 one day, but certainly not now.

Next come to the auto focus speed and capability of the A7R2. Although manual focus is still more effective in some situations, auto focus no doubt is a very important capability for bird photography. The A7R2 is probably too ‘old’ in terms of speed, so I look at the A6400. 

A9 will definitely do the job, but I like high megapix. A7R4 with 61 megapix will also likely do the job, but I not willing to invest few thousands on the R4 when my A7R1 and R2 are still working fine. Then the budget A6400 comes into the picture. For A6400, I get the latest (though not the fastest) AF technology from Sony, and for the reach I use full frame at APS-C mode anyway so the A6400 and the 200-600 pair up so nicely for what I want, at reasonable price!!

A7R/Mulvis 50/2 Makro Planar


So there it goes, that I took thousands of shots with the A6400/G200600 compo at one of the nature reserves in land scarce Singapore, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

 A7R/Mulvis 50/2 Makro Planar

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is located in the North of Singapore. It is a world filled with rich biodiversity throughout the year with its native inhabitants like mudskippers, crabs, shellfish, water snakes, monitor lizards, otters. Also there are a variety of resident birds like herons, kingfishers and sunbirds, plus the seasonal migrants from September of current year to March the next year. The Reserve now has a new park and the old park. I prefer the new park for along the shore line wildlife and scenery, especially the white-bellied sea eagles, and prefer the old park for crocodiles, kingfishers, herons and egrets. The A6400 and FE 200-600 compo prove very useful and handy for me to capture birds in these parks.





The Old Park .....


Stork-billed Kingfisher, f9 1/500 @541mm, ISO 1250, 16 Nov 2019.




Collared Kingfisher, f8 1/4000 @600mm, ISO 1250, 27 Dec 2019.


Otters, the SBWR family, f6.3 1/4000 @400mm, ISO 1000, 27 Dec 2019.



Flying Whimbrels, f8 1/1600 @600mm, ISO 800, 12 Dec 2019.



Milky Storks, f8 1/2500 @600mm, ISO 800, 27 Dec 2019.



Oriental Pied Hornbill, f8 1/500 @600mm, ISO 800, 16 Nov 2019.







 The New Park .........



Little Egret, f6.3 1/2000 @600mm, ISO 800, 29 Feb 2020.



Striated Heron, f6.3 1/1600 @600mm, ISO1250, 26 Jan 2020.


White-bellied Sea Eagles, f6.3 1/800 @600mm, ISO 800, 26 Jan 2020.



All the wildlife photos taken with Manfrotto MT190CXPRO3 with BHQ2 ball head. 


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.




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