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September 10, 2016
Posted in reviews

My time with the Carl Zeiss Loxia 21mm & Batis 18mm by Andrew Mohrer

The following is a guest post from Andrew Mohrer ( To write a guest post on SAR follow the instruction on that page.

My time with the Carl Zeiss Loxia 21mm & Batis 18mm

Before we get started I want to thank everyone for checking out my new website! I’m happy to finally have this site up and running. I also want to welcome all to my first ever lens review! I have plans to add some more prints very soon so keep checking back if your interested. If you’ve just stumbled across my work and don’t know much about me, let me tell you a little about my story…

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September 7, 2016
Posted in reviews

DxOmark tests the new 85mm GM lens and says it has Otus-level image quality!


DxOmark published the full Sony 85mm GM lens test. And it says the lens has an “Otus-level image quality”:

After the somewhat mixed results for the Sony FE 24-70mm f2.8 GM on the A7R, the second lens in the company’s new GM series, the FE 85mm f1.4 GM, has achieved a much more convincing performance, albeit on the latest-generation Sony A7R II with its new 42-Mpix sensor. Indeed, on the newer Sony body, the 85mm f1.4 is rated at a level similar to the Zeiss Otus 85mm f1.4 (on a 36-Mpix Nikon D810), which lens is considered the benchmark in today’s optics for full-frame cameras. The Batis remains an option, given its competitive price and performance, but that takes nothing away from the outstanding performance of the Sony FE 85mm f1.4 GM.

Sony 85mm GM store links to BHphoto, Amazon, Adorama, BestBuyAmazon Germany. WexUK. Jessops.

The 85mm GM lens is not officially the best rated E-mount prime lens at DxO:


DxO also tested the 50mm f/1.8 FE lens and writes:

Sony is working hard to fill gaps in the lens lineup, and until now, an affordable 50mm lens had been sorely lacking. While it’s unsurprisingly not in the same class as either the Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8 or the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f2, its optical performance is comparable to the best of similar offerings from rivals. While there’s always room for improvement—it would have been great to see better uniformity, particularly at wider apertures, for example—the Sony does stand out in several areas. It has excellent control of troublesome lateral chromatic aberration as well as class-leading low levels of distortion. If you’re a stills photographer looking for a reasonably-priced 50mm with decent image quality for your Sony alpha mirrorless camera, then this model isn’t likely to disappoint.

Sony 5omm store links to BHphoto. Amazon. Adorama. FocusCamera. Calumet Germany. WexUK. Jessops.


September 4, 2016
Posted in reviews

Zeiss Batis 18 Mm F/2.8 & Zen DP-200 Dome review by Phil Rudin

Bildschirmfoto 2016-09-04 um 09.39.33

The following is a guest post from Phil Rudin ( To write a guest post on SAR follow the instruction on that page.

Zeiss Batis 18 Mm F/2.8 & Zen DP-200 Dome review by Phil Rudin

Zeiss the company founded by Carl Zeiss in the mid 1800s’ is among the most renowned of lens manufacturers. The company offers a wide range of optical products ranging from vision care and medical use to camera and cine lenses. Among the Zeiss products is a line of lenses for the Sony FE mount mirrorless cameras. The Zeiss “Batis” line of auto focus lenses recently expanded
to include an 18 mm F/2.8 rectilinear lens of exceptional quality.
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August 29, 2016
Posted in reviews

Joe Brady: How to Hi-Sync your Sony with a Skyport Plus HS

From the presentation text:

Photographer Joe Brady explores the next biggest thing for Sony shooters, Elinchrom’s new EL Skyport Plus HS system with Hi-Sync capability. This system allows you to shoot studio and portable strobes with shutter speeds up to 1/8000th of a second. Check out the results as Joe Brady goes in-depth using this exciting new unit.

The Elinchrom EL-Skyport Transmitter Plus HS for Sony can now be purchased at BHphoto (Click here).



August 27, 2016
Posted in reviews

A cheap solution for Long Time Exposures with Sony NEX and Alpha cameras beyond 30 seconds (Dierk Topp)

This is a guest post from Dierk Topp:

Cheap solution for Long Time Exposures with Sony NEX and Alpha cameras beyond 30 seconds

A few weeks ago I noticed a very special phenomena. When I left our house for a few minutes of fresh air at about 11 PM I noticed incredible flashes in the clouds, no noise or thunder but flashes every few seconds or even faster.

I hurried to get a camera. I decided to use the A7RII and the FE 24-70 f/4 zoom to be flexible with the angle of view. And I took a tripod and the IR remote shutter release. For the long exposure time I set the camera to B (bulb) and used the IR remote release. I was pressing the release for about 20 seconds and noticed, that the shutter stayed open after I finished pressing and then the shutter closed after I pressed it again! ?

I don’t know if this was described earlier but for me it was new. I know an undocumented trick like this for the Leica M9 (by using B in combination with the self timer).

If you know old cameras or large format cameras you will know, that you have a shutter speed of ‘B’ that keeps the shutter open as long as you press the shutter release, just like on the Sony and other cameras. And you have a shutter speed ‘T’ that opens the shutter when you press the release and stays open until you press it again. But on these older cameras you can use a cable release that is  not possible on the Sony cameras, that I know (without any additional hardware) .

What can you do for longer exposures without shaking and blurring the image by holding the shutter release all the time? With the little trick described here you even get a ‘T’ exposure like with the old cameras and get any desired exposure time.
When do you may need very long exposures?

  • as in this example for pictures of flashes
  • or if you want to use high density ND filters for interesting long time shots of water and/or clouds
  • and several other situations where 30 sec. exposure on ‘A’ or ‘B’ is not long enough

How to find the right exposure time?

To find the right exposure time you take a test shot with high ISO and/or open aperture in order to stay below the 30 sec. limit and calculate the exposure time for the desired low ISO and aperture.

Here again how it works:

  • set the shutter speed to B
  • use a remote IR controller (mine is a cheap one from ebay)
  • press the controller once for starting the exposure
  • press the controller again to finish the exposure

It works with my A6000, A7R and A7RII and it may work with many other Sony NEX and Alpha cameras as well.
There are other solutions like APPs and or for example intervalometer, but if you have a cheap remote IR release this is by far the easiest solution and does not eat the battery of your smart phone.

If you don’t want or need the Long Exposure Noise Reduction (LENR) and wait the same time till the camera is ready for the next shot you can deactivate it in the menu.

Have fun to test it.

Here is an example with 67 seconds exposure time.


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