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A6000 with 500mm & 850mm telephoto (Guest post by Barry Wells).



The following review is a guest post by Barry Wells. It has been first posted on SonyAlphaForum. Test with the [shoplink 36436 ebay]Kowa 500mm (here on eBay)[/shoplink] and [shoplink 36435 ebay]Kowa 850mm (here on eBay)[/shoplink] lenses.

A7 with 500mm & 850mm telephoto

Three years ago, I switched from a Canon DSLR system to the Sony Mirrorless system. I spent some time looking for a super telephoto lens to replace my Canon 500mm F4 IS which I had been finding too heavy and cumbersome to carry around. Eventually, I purchased the Kowa Telephoto lens. Unusually, you buy the basic lens and then add a 350mm, 500mm or 850mm adapter. I chose TX10 500mm F5.6 adapter to use with my Sony A6000 body for bird photography.

The Canon lens it replaced weighed 3870 grams, but the Kowa comes in at 2 kilos lighter, at 1970 grams producing a significant weight saving over a conventional DSLR set up. In addition, by removing the lens hood and focal length adapter, the lens measures a mere 250mm (9.8”) in length, making it really practical for travelling.

Kowa TX10 500mm F5.6


The lens unit features dual, manual focus rings, incorporating quick and ultra fine focus options. Used in conjunction with Sony’s superb focus peaking/magnify functions, focussing is quick and accurate. However, being manual focus only, shooting ‘Birds In Flight’ is quite challenging. Featuring fluorite and extra low dispersion lenses, the optical quality is excellent and compares favourably with my old Canon 500mm F4. Build quality is also first rate.

Shot with Kowa TX10 500mm F5.6


I recently added the TX17 850mm F9.6 adapter as I had bought an A7 and found I needed the longer reach with a full frame body. The 850mm is not as sharp as the 500mm but is still quite acceptable – a bit like adding the 1.4x extender to the Canon 500mm, and you do need good light with  a F9.6 aperture.

Shot with Kowa TX17 850mm F9.6


Both TX adapters are Sony ‘A’ mount, so you will need a Sony LA-EA3/4 adapter to connect them to the A7 and A6000 bodies.

Obviously without image stabilisation, a tripod is recommended, but not essential. The Meadow Pipit was taken hand held with the 500mm. With a minimum focus of 3 metres, closeups like the Wheatear image are quite possible with the 850mm.

The Kowa will not suit everyone, as manual focussing on moving subjects is a tricky skill to acquire, but the results from this unusual lens are very rewarding.

Ebay links: [shoplink 36436 ebay]Kowa 500mm (Click here)[/shoplink] and [shoplink 36435 ebay]Kowa 850mm (Click here)[/shoplink].

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