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April 1, 2015
Posted in reviews

Sony A7II gets Silver Award at Dpreview (and more A7II reviews).

Bildschirmfoto 2015-03-11 um 14.06.14
A7II with Torii Koubou case.

Dpreview posted the full Sony A7II review and the camera earned a Silver Award:

The Alpha 7 II continues to push Sony’s full frame mirrorless line of cameras into ground-breaking territory. It is the only full frame mirrorless camera to offer in-body image stabilization systems and its performance is excellent. The body is comfortable to shoot with and offers a broad set of features that should appeal to both still and video shooters. Unfortunately the a7 II’s high ISO image quality is not as good as other full framers. Raw files are also less malleable than the competition and JPEGs tend to suffer from aggressive noise reduction.

Fstoppers writes:

The Sony a7II delivers a barrage of awesome features and terrific well-rounded performance that amateur and professional photographers will appreciate. Having image stabilization in conjunction with a full-frame sensor is something that excites you every time you go shoot because it gets to be used universally across your lens arsenal.

Tyson Robichaud writes:

If you would have told me 5 years ago that I could buy a Full Frame camera with in body image stabilization, WiFi for remote control and WFT, weather sealing, a top notch 24mp sensor that could quite literally fit in my pocket for $1700, I’d probably have said you were crazy, then maybe slapped you because you were nuts.

A7II links:
Sony Alpha a7II (Body Only) for $1,698 at Amazon, BHphoto, Adorama, SonyStore and Sony Store Canada.
Sony Alpha a7II (Body Only) for 1.799 Euro at Sony Germany, Sony UK, Jessops UK, Sony France, Sony Italy, Sony Spain, Sony Austria, Sony Switzerland, Sony Netherland, Sony Belgium, Sony Portugal, Sony Sweden, Sony Finland, Sony Norway.
Sony A7II at Sony Store Australia, Digitalrev and Amazon Japan.
A7II Gariz cases sold in Black (Click here)Brown (Click here)Orange (Click here) and Camel (Click here).

March 31, 2015
Posted in reviews

To counterbalance: The positive reviews about the 16-70mm Zeiss.

The 16-70mm lens image by phillipreeve

The very negative conclusions drawn by Photozone created quite a buzz here on SAR. Our reader Victor pointed out that most of the reviewers out there actually gave a high score to the 16-70mm Zeiss lens: Sonyalphalab, ePhotozine, Photographyblog, Imaging-resource, Admiringlight, Kurtmunger, Stevehuffphoto, Phillipreeve.

I am pretty confident Photozone is a serious review site and so are most of the reviewers I linked to now. This just proofs that reviews are not an exact science and depend on various factors like, personal preferences, lab test quality, scoring system and quality of the tested lens samples.

Zeiss 16-70mm deal: You save $150 on the lens if you buy it refurbished on Secondipity eBay US (Click here)

A funny note: Some readers keep saying I am just a Sony fanboy. After yesterdays negative post about the Sony APS-C strategy some of them said that I am bashing on Sony. Just to be clear. I am a free-thinker and I take no side based on non rational arguments. I love to openly discuss positives and negatives about Sony. Because I think that at the end no company is perfect and that critics can (sometimes) help to improve the company behavior.


March 30, 2015
Posted in reviews

Photozone kills the 16-70mm Zeiss: “heavily overpriced and below average optical performance”.


The German friends from Photozone tested the 16-70mm E-mount Zeiss lens and the conclusion is very negative:

Sony/Zeiss did many things right – range, build quality, image stabilization but optical quality is not part of the list. Yes, the center quality is outstanding but the corners are often mediocre or even dismal.
It is worth to mention AGAIN that we also send the lens to the Sony service in order to let them verify that our sample was within specs – TWICE and we let them know who we are and that there’ll be a review. So we have to take their word.

SAR thoughts: Overall Sony really needs to take care of the APS-C E-mount customers again. They launched the very successful NEX system and then suddenly changed name and stopped to make lenses for the system. I understand the FE system is popular and needs a lot of new lenses. But if I would be on charge at Sony I would also release a Sony APS-C E-mount lens roadmap with a few nice primes and zooms. This would really help to create confidence around the system. The A6000 is such a great camera it’s pity you are let down by the limited lens range!

March 28, 2015
Posted in reviews

New Samyang 135mm lens tested at Photozone, ePhotozine and Per Kylberg.

Peter Kylberg tested the Samyang 135mm f/2.0 Emount lens on the A7r and A6000:

135mm is a very interesting focal length, for its perspective and creative possibilities. The Samyang is affordable, not too heavy and the image quality is better than Sony 70-200/4. I like it a lot.
Ergonomic it is a mixed bag: Nice to hold and handle on both A7R and A6000, but the grip on the aperture ring is too slippery in relation to its firmness.
Compared to the 70-200 it is of course not very versatile. The zoom has OSS, the 135 has 2.0
Using enlargement on the EVF it is rather easy to nail sharpness – essential on a tele. Color peaking is not accurate enough. Above image is free hand but at 1/2000 sec.
Another thing of interest for A7R owners: No problem at all with shutter vibration loss of sharpness! I can’t say that about the 70-200 which can have that problem (also on tripod) 1/40 to 1/250sec.
Color: Sony(Zeiss) lenses on A7R tends to go towards yellow. (create color profiule with colorchecker passport i my solution). The 135/2 tends to go in the opposite direction, to be a bit cool.
Finally: I really like this lens! Planing to go to the mountains as soon as midnight sun sets in I will probably chose the 135 over the 70-200. Despite versatility, despite OSS.
Want to check out more test shots?


Both lenses also got tested on a Canon camera at:

Photozine (Click here) tested the Samyang 135mm T/2.2 ED UMC Cine version:

The image quality is almost stunning with very good results at T2.2 and an excellent if not outstanding quality at medium aperture settings and across the image frame. A very low amount of lateral CAs also helps to increase the sharpness perception. Distortions are absent whereas the vignetting is quite typical for a full format lens in this class.

ePhotozine (Click here) posted the Samyang 135mm f/2 ED UMC Lens Review:

Those interested in a fast 135mm, who are either on a budget or don’t need autofocus for their work, should certainly consider this lens. It’s more than capable of delivering sharpness on a par with high-end lenses, but at a fraction of the cost. This, coupled with the excellent build quality and smooth manual focus action make this lens an excellent buy overall.

You can get the lens at BHphoto:
135mm f/2.0 for Sony A-mount (Click here) and Sony E-mount (Click here).
135mm t/2.2 Cine for Sony A-mount (Click here) and Sony E-mount (Click here).
And via Korean sellers on eBay:
Samyang 135mm E-mount (here n eBay)
Samyang 135mm A-mount (here n eBay)

March 24, 2015
Posted in reviews

New Heliar 15mm III lens test.

Image courtesy: DSLRmagazine

The new Voigtlander Heliar 15mm III lens is an exciting little jewel that my will find its way in my bag soon :) And if you want to see how good the lens works on Sony A7 cameras check out the image samples and test posted by Mopswerk on SonyAlphaForum. His 1st impressions are:

#1 The purple edges of the old lens versions are gone
#2 Some purple fringes at the edges
#3 quite a heavy vignette / light fall off

#2 and #3 probably can be fixed in post (#1 with the old lenses could only be fixed with additional efforts). It’s still a tiny lens (the 1st images showing the lens implied a bigger size) and I like the metal finish of the Voigtlanders.
Distorion is very low.

The lens is now in Stock via Asian sellers on eBay (Click here) and shipping soon at Fotomundus Germany (Click here).

March 23, 2015
Posted in reviews

This is the difference between the Canon 50MP sensor and Sony 36MP sensor.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-03-23 um 07.20.24
Size comparison by Camerasize.

Today Canon started the preorder action on the Canon 5ds which costs $3699 at BHphoto. We will have to wait a couple of months to see both the Canon 5ds and (a bit later) the “rumored” Sony 50MP cam shipping to customers. But in the meantime let’s check out how the Canon 50MP sensor compares to the Sony 36Mp sensor used by the Nikon D810 camera which is the same sensor used by the Sony A7r. Imaging Resource posted the very first comparison of that kind:

Bildschirmfoto 2015-03-23 um 07.18.15

So as expected the jump from 36 to 50MP isn’t that big deal.

March 21, 2015
Posted in reviews

Sony FE 24-240mm lens review by Jörg Haag. New converters test.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-03-20 um 11.44.31

Let’s read a review that’s not so “positive” about the new FE 24-240mm lens. It has been posted by Jörg Haag (Click here). He posted plenty of image samples and tests and I am only reporting his conclusions here:

My personal verdict on this lens: I am not going to buy it, because:

  1. Superzooms never really work out for me and my way of photography. Actually, I rarely use focal lengths above 100mm when hiking or on travel. When I need those focal lengths it is for special situations like sports, portraiture or wildlife and for this I pack the adequate lenses.
  2. This lens is not really giving me a buzz for the price of a little below 1,000 Euro. Maybe 3 hours is not enough, but we did not build a relationship like I did with other lenses.
  3. I find this lens a little to heavy for a constant use on the A7 and to slow which was clearly showing when using with AF-Tracking on the alpha 6000 (sorry, but I don’t have the release for those pictures).

But – yes, there is one – if you are looking for the perfect allrounder to use on a Sony full-frame mirrorless and you are just starting to build your lens line-up, the FE 24-240mm F3,5-6,3 OSS certainly is a good alternative delivering brilliant image quality throughout the entire focal range. Of course, a superzoom is a trade-off, is a trade-off, is a trade-off.

And DSLRmagazine (google translation here) tested the converters for the 28mm FE lens.

All new FE lens preorder links:
In USA at:
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 FE at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, FocusCamera, Sony US.
Sony 90mm f/2.8 FE at Amazon, Adorama, BHphotoFocusCamera, Sony US.
Sony 24-240mm FE at Amazon, Adorama, BHphotoFocusCamera, Sony US.
Sony 28mm f/2.0 FE at Amazon, Adorama, BHphotoFocusCamera, Sony US.
Sony Fisheye Conversion Lens for FE 28mm F/2 at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto.
Sony Ultra-Wide Conversion Lens for FE 28mm F/2 at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto.
Sony Fisheye Converter for E 16mm F/2.8 and E 20mm F/2.8 at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto.
Sony Ultra-Wide Converter for E 16mm F2.8 and E 20mm F2.8 at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto.
In Europe at:
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 FE at Sony Germany, UK, FR, IT, ES, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, FI, NO, PT.
Sony 90mm f/2.8 FE at Sony Germany, UK, FR, IT, ES, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, FI, NO, PT.
Sony 24-240mm FE at Sony Germany, UK, FR, IT, ES, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, FI, NO, PT.
Sony 28mm f/2.0 FE at Sony Germany, UK, FR, IT, ES, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, FI, NO, PT.
Wide Angle converter at Sony Germany, UK, FR, IT, ES, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, FI, NO, PT.
Fisheye converter at Sony Germany, UK, FR, IT, ES, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, FI, NO, PT.
Wide angle converter for 16 and 20mm lenses at Sony DE, UK, FR, IT, ES, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, FI, NO, PT.
Fisheye converter for 16 and 20mm lenses at Sony DE, UK, FR, IT, ES, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, FI, NO, PT.
In Asia/Australia at:
Sony 24-240mm FE lens at Digitalrev, CameraPRO, Sony Australia.
Sony 28mm FE lens at Digitalrev, Sony Australia.
Sony 90mm FE lens at Digitalrev, Sony Australia.
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 FE lens at Digitalrev, Sony Australia.
Wide angle converter for 16 and 20mm lenses at Digitalrev, Sony Australia.
Fisheye converter for 16 and 20mm lenses at Digitalrev, Sony Australia.

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