27 Jul '15
Post Title

Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Review

A few days ago I had the chance to test this lens, the Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T*  for the Sony full frame E-mount, which a very good friend of mine, Giuseppe Milo (check out his website), recently bought. Initially it was a test to compare that lens with my copy of the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R, something similar to my previous test with the Canon 50mm f/1.4.
But unfortunately the lack of focus distance scale of the Fujifilm lens sometimes is a problem, and I didn’t notice that with the fuji I wasn’t on infinite focus, but it was focusing a little bit earlier, not by much, but still it wasn’t a reliable test anymore, and it has to be re-done (I know, it was very dumb, but that’s the price you pay when you do things on a rush).
Anyway, the test with the Sony Sonnar 55mm was perfect, and here I’m going to write my impressions, and a sharpness test.
To be clear, the test has been done on a Sony A7 camera, on a tripod and using a remote shutter to avoid any possible shakes, and I’ve done multiple shots from for any single aperture step, starting from f/1.8 and then passing for any of the standard single stops (f/2, f/2.8, f/4 and so on until f/22 which is the minimum aperture possible with this lens).
Here you can find a summary of the specs for this lens:

Focal Length 55mm
Aperture Maximum: f/1.8
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Sony E (Full-Frame)
Format Compatibility 35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
Angle of View 42.9°
Minimum Focus Distance 1.64' (50 cm)
Magnification 0.14x
Elements/Groups 7/5
Diaphragm Blades 9
Autofocus Yes
Filter Thread 49mm
Dimensions (DxL) 64 x 71 mm (Approx. 2.54 x 2.78")
Weight 281 g (0.62 lb)
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25 Jun '15
Post Title

Canon 50mm f/1.4 VS Fujinon 35mm f/1.4: the battle of the normals

In the past year and half I was divided by two cameras, like a “ménage à trois” romance, on one site I had the old school guy, the Canon 6D, a solid full frame camera, that you can always trust, yeah it’s bulky and heavy, but it delivers stunning quality, especially at high ISO, I already have plenty of lenses with that, it’s solid as hell, with integrated GPS and WiFi. It’s the camera that you take when you need to get the job done, even if I’ll probably have a very sore neck because it’s essentially as heavy as a brick.
On the other side I have the new kid on the block, now a Fuji X-T1, until a month ago the Fuji X-E1, different cameras for some features, but similar in weight and size, so it’s the same story at the end. The Fuji mirrorless are small & light, which are perfect to carry around without the need to see a physiotherapist after a while, even the lenses are tiny compared to the Canon ones, and they still pack a very good IQ. Yeah, the AF is not as fast as the 6D, the High ISO performances are not that good as well (even if they are quite close until 3200 ISO), and the body is not as tough too.
At the end, you can’t really compare apples with oranges, these two cameras have different purposes in my opinion, in some cases the best camera for you is a DSLR, in some other a Mirrorless camera is the best fit for you.
But for a while I wondered, these two very different cameras, with two lenses with a similar angle of view, who is the best and who is the worst? Is the image quality of the big one always the best?

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03 Jun '15
Post Title

First shots with the Fuji X-T1 and the Lee Big Stopper

As I'm trying to use my sparkling new Fuji X-T1 as my main camera for when I travel, I'm trying to test it to use it in various scenarios, and one of the them is long exposures. So last week I bought from my trusty shop (Connscameras btw), the 67mm adaptor ring, so I could mount my Lee Big Stopper on the tiny Samyang 12mm f/2 lens (which I reviewed a while ago and I think it's a little great lens), the only landscape lens I have for the moment for the Fuji X System, I tried this weeked to go out and take photos, but the outcome hasn't been great, not because of the gear, but because I had shi... awful light and the place wasn't that great either.
Btw, in that occasion I did try again my other ND filter, the Light Craft Workshop Fader ND Mk II (and part 2), which is great if you only shoot from 35mm and over, but completely crap under 35mm. I wanted to give him a second chance, I thought that maybe with a smaller lens that uses a smaller section it filter, it might work.
No, it doesn't, it's still a piece of crap, don't buy it if you want to use it with ultra wide lenses.

Anyway, so I got the lens adaptor, and the only thing I miss now is a remote for long exposures beyond the 30 seconds limit. I thought I could use the iPhone app for that, but unfortunately even in bulb mode, the app has a limit of 30 seconds. I guess it's kinda tricky to have a stable connection for long times and it might be buggy, but it would be a very nice feature to have on what otherwise would be a very eccellent app.

Dublin Docklands

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09 Mar '15
Post Title

Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R Review

I wanted to buy this lens since I got my Fujifilm X-E1 over an year ago, but at that time I decided, despite my legendary hate against zoom lenses, to buy it with the Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4, just because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be stuck with just one focal length at the begin. And to be honest I didn’t dislike that lens that much, it was overall very sharp, very well build and light at the same time, a good lens. But, I just can’t stand zoom lenses, and after 6 months I sold it to buy the Samyang 12mm, and I didn’t regret it. Actually, the only regret I had was not to buy the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 R straight away since the very begin.
But if you buy out of the kit, it’s not supercheap, especially if you don’t plan to spend bags of money as I already invested a lot of money on the Canon system, as for me the Fuji X-E1 was just a small camera to carry around. So, spend more than 500 euro for that lens, it was a bit too much for me.
But then last Xmas, while I was waiting for my flight home at the airport, I saw that Dixons Travel had this lens on an insanely low price: €319. Almost half of the normal price you can generally find it in any store. It was like if it was saying “Buy me, pleeease”, and I couldn’t say no.
And since then I think I did took off from my camera twice, and not for long, as I simply love it.

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25 Jul '14
Post Title

Samyang 12mm f/2 NCS CS review

I wanted an ultra wide lens since I bought my little Fuji X-E1, the kit lens was a good lens overall, and while for street photography it’s definitely a great lens, for landscapes 18mm (equivalent to a 27mm on a 35mm) are not enough to me, I always felt like it was too long for me. So three weeks ago I decided to sell it in favour of a new ultra wide lens from the Korean manifacturer Samyang (or Rokinon in the States, Walimex somewhere else), the 12mm f/2 NCS CS.
I generally read thousands of review before buying a lens, but in this case I couldn’t find much as this lens came out on the market just a few months ago, but the few reviews I found were all very positive, and I often read good things about Samyang lenses, so I decided to give it a try.

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