...E_T shutterbug 


 

Canon release a new 24mm EF-S STM pancake prime for their crop sensor DSLR's

October 5, 2014
Canon release a new 24mm EF-S STM pancake prime for their crop sensor DSLR's
Image source : Canon


Although the 40mm EF Pancake STM was a corker of a prime lens, there was something a little restrictive about it's 40mm angle on an APS-C sensor. Sure, the pictures it produced were extremely crisp even at the f2.8 aperture thanks to it using the same UDF like coating found in L lenses, in fact it was even sharper and vastly more capable of retaining more detail than a number of actual L lenses also, there was also no barrel distortion at all with it being an EF lens on a crop sensor. The only problem was that it translated to a 64mm field of view on an APS-C crop sensor which was workable, but more often than not restricted it's use for frame filling people portraits and product photography in my particular case since I didn't have a full frame canon to use it with.  On an APS-C sensor it worked well as sort of short tele lens with extremely crisp and sharp images. For all its compactness and extremely high image quality, it's uses were relatively limited on an APS-C as far as more general photography was concerned.

However, it looks like this hasn't gone unnoticed by Canon and it looks like users that tote their crop sensor DSLR's are likely going to be getting something that's a little more carry everywhere in terms of application. 

It pretty much has the exact same extremely convenient form factor as the 40mm EF STM pancake prime lens, however optically they'll be putting in 24mm EF-S optics instead, the important being that it's an EF-S lens (not a 38.2mm equivalent if it had been an EF lens) meaning that it'll be much more usable in a broader range of general photography situations for owners of APS-C based Canon DSLR's as a 24mm EF-S lens. 

RRP on the 24mm f2.8 EF-S STM pancake is set at 179 quid, hopefully this thing will have the same kinds of optical quality that the 40mm f2.8 EF STM pancake had. I know I keep going on about the 40mm pancake, but the image quality on it is actually that good which I can't emphasize enough.  

 

The Canon EOS-M suddenly becomes much more attractive as a potential secondary compact or backup picture box with RAW still image shooting capabilities…(…@ less than or around half price)

October 3, 2014
The Canon EOS-M suddenly becomes much more attractive as a potential secondary compact or backup picture box with RAW still image shooting capabilities…(…@ less than or around half price)
image source : Canon UK

I've always been a firm advocate of Sony's line of Alpha NEX mirrorless compacts as far as mirrorless APS-C based snapper gear goes, this is despite being a long time Canon user. However with a recent significant sharp price drop of the EOS-M (Canon's first and currently only mirrorless compact interchangeable lens camera) it might be time to re-assess what it originally got trounced for in always being slammed for trying to compete with Sony's Alpha NEX range of APS-C based mirrorless interchangeable lens compacts.

Essentially the Canon EOS-M has its own more compact interchangeable lens standard instead of the legacy EOS-EF and EFS lens system despite using the same 18 megapixel APS-C sensor and DIGIC 5-processor (ie. EOS-M lens mount). However Canon DSLR users looking for a more compact secondary solution capable of shooting RAW might want to take note of the fact that you can buy it new as a body only option (ie. Without lens, charger, cables and retail packaging) for around 160-169 quid.  But then you have to factor in an official Canon EOS-M to Canon EOS-EF/EFS lens adaptor which you can pick up for an additional 62-64 quid. It might be worth keeping in mind that a quality 3rd party (as in a none OEM, none native coded and seemingly reverse engineered) electronic  EOS-EF/EFS lens to Sony E-mount adaptor for NEX camera's will cost around 200-250 quid! Meaning for all those who bought an electronic adaptor for each of their Canon lenses beyond their main workhorse Canon snapper box whilst out on a job for use with a Sony NEX camera could have potentially bought an EOS-M and EOS-M adaptor for each of them instead!

(note: the only reason I mention the more expensive 3rd party Canon EOS EF/EFS to Sony E-mount electronic lens adaptors is that they now all feature firmware update features via Bluetooth as well as Sony A7 full frame compatibility. Even these top of the line 3rd party electronic lens adaptors still have compatibility issues with some legacy Canon lenses, and even some of the Canon lenses that actually work with it will still have issues through displaying incorrect aperture setting readouts. I've also tested a cheaper third party adaptor with a NEX-F3 and the plastic melted at the electronic pin terminals before it shorted itself out. Using something like the EOS-M with an official EOS-M to EOS-EF/EFS adaptor means everything is native and all the lens settings will display correctly with native compatibility for all Canon EOS EF and EFS lenses). 


Then again why buy the Canon EOS-M as camera body only when you can get it from Argos with full no quibbles warranty cover and piece of mind for 199 quid which also includes an 18-55mm EOS-M STM zoom lens, charger, battery, cables, and detachable 90EX speed light flash all fully retail packaged with free home delivery? Argos also have an interest free buy now and pay 6 months later option for it too if you already have or apply and qualify for the Argos store card. Obviously those looking to use the EOS-M with Canon EOS legacy EF and EFS lenses will still have to buy an additional official native electronic adaptor which as stated before you can pick up for 62-64 quid. It would certainly save on having to swap out lenses as well as allow for faster ready to shoot preparation whilst on the go if nothing else. But...


…it has a touch screen!

What does this mean? It means that you don't have to screw about when using lenses that have an electronically controlled  focus control system with no direct mechanical means (even when shooting in manual) such as with STM lenses. STM lenses are actually quite responsive, however they feel a little cumbersome and not quite as hands on in terms of responsiveness compared with legacy lenses that have true mechanical full manual override that don't require electrically powered motors to function whilst in manual focusing mode. The use of touch screen and a direct touch to focus system gets round the problem of a slow, buggy, and/or confused auto-focus systems when the camera is left deciding/guessing what the user wants to focus on in the field of view. (also referred to as focus hunt or bounce). 

Obviously its not a speed shooter with maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 and maximum frame burst rate of 4.3 per second RAW (6 RAW frame buffer capacity)if you're working with RAW. However on the JPG only front  it's much more impressive figures wise at 17 JPG per second continuous full res. Then again none of the entry level and mid range DSLR's are really speed monsters on the RAW picture stills front. 

I've never actually used an EOS-M, but I'd hope it has a decent screen that has a large viewing angle which displays well on sunny days in order to compensate for the lack of articulating screen for all those more creative and quirky none standing height eye level snaps.

When the EOS-M was first released it was seriously slammed for having issues with slow auto focus and relatively poor low light performance when compared with the Sony range of NEX cameras as it was put out at a price vastly higher than the Sony NEX C3 and F3, but since then there has been a firmware update released that is said to improve things somewhat on the EOS-M in terms of auto focus performance. However its apparently still not up to Alpha NEX standards. But as mentioned before, what does it matter anyway when you're most likely going to be using the direct touch to focus feature on it via the touch screen?! (which can be used in two modes of either touch-focus-auto shutter release or touch-focus- followed by manual shutter release via the shutter release button as the users discretion once focus lock is acquired).

I'm not sure why a lot of pro shooters hate the idea of having a touch screen on pro gear with such passion, you'd almost think it undermined everything they were about or something, or maybe it's the fact that it seemingly reduces it to something that was developed as a smartphone control system in terms of the paradigm used. But generally it seems to be the most intuitive way of a implementing a direct focus system for STM lenses that don't have true mechanical manual focus override in order to maybe to quickly negate or take over from an auto focus system screwing up as far as still snaps are concerned in less than optimal lighting conditions. 



After checking out some demo's that used the native EOS-M lenses (of which there are only two, maybe 3)…

If you're coming from a Canon DSLR…

With the way they've got it gimped, it's MUCH faster than using the live view mode for taking still snaps on a DSLR when using native M lenses, but its hardly a touch on the kinds of vastly more rapid speeds that you'd get in none live view mode with a Canon DSLR using the OVF in combo with legacy lenses. The EOS-M 2.0.2 firmware update simply slackens the leash a tiny bit and adds more speed in terms of auto focus locks and cycle times between each shutter release for stills (again when using the native M lenses). Although I kind of think the lack of an easily accessible physical control dial for rapid instant manual adjustments of exposure (whilst not using exposure bracketing for the sake of more flexible faster movement between shutter release cycles without hitting the bracketing lock down threshold, which is especially annoying when moving between lighting conditions or on patchy cloudy days with none flash based photography, or if you don't complete the entire 3 frame exposure bracket) and rapid ISO adjustments between snaps through quick subtle movement without having to dramatically change grip and potentially mess your framing up could be more than a little bit frustrating whilst trying to use it in manual. The lack of EVF (the ideal for me personally at this stage as it gives a much more accurate rendition of how the final image will appear which an optical mirror viewfinder isn't capable of...which my current DSLR doesn't have) if not an OVF might also be a little off putting. 

Other stuff I came across: From another demo I'd seen it seems it suffers from a very long focus bounce whilst in auto focus mode between focus and shutter release with each cycle when using a legacy macro L lens via the touch to focus feature without the 2.0.2 update. Keep in mind the demo was using a macro L lens at distance from a subject, meaning it might perform differently with a different type of legacy lens. The key word there being MIGHT based on a guess since I've not seen any other demo's or personally tested it first hand with other types of legacy lenses myself. Also I've not yet managed to see any demo of how it performs post 2.0.2 firmware update with legacy lenses either. Then again you could potentially negate this by using manual focus override whilst using legacy lenses if it does still remain an issue post 2.0.2 update. (…although I think you might have vastly better luck with the newer EF-S STM lens via the legacy lens adaptor).
  
From many demo's, very impressive 1080P video with an array of Canon legacy lenses at it's disposal via the official adaptor beyond the already impressive video performance with the native M lenses, obviously it's not 4K but what are people expecting at the price? Auto focus tracking for video and face tracking is also fast and smooth. Beyond the built in stereo mic It even has an external stereo mic input which is even uncommon for entry level DSLR models. Let me put that into perspective, even the Canon 60D which was specifically designed with video use in mind (along with the expectant grade of photography capabilities) only has mono mic capabilities for both built in and external input. But even with the EOS M's seeming video intent its still odd that there isn't any official means of extending mobile power supply with either a battery grip or extended battery for the specific purpose of shooting video away for a tethered constant power source, meaning you'll just have to make do with stocking up on batteries for it before hand for now, which Isn't any different from what I did with compact point and shoots in the past. It's also surprising that there hasn't been any 3rd party battery grip makers. Not sure how long it lasts for video on a single charge, but for stills Canon reckon 200-230 snaps (depending on temperature) on a single charge which sounds quite close to what I'd more realistically get with a NEX F3 despite the official figure being 400 summin' for the NEX F3. 

I didn't expect high speed DSLR start up times from complete power off, but then again it would probably start up much faster than a lot of compact point and shoots. It just would have been nice for it to have had a quick start standby mode like with DSLR's, even the Sony NEX camera's have this feature. 

Beyond that It has a very sturdy stainless steel and metal magnesium alloy body construction. 




If you're coming from most generic compact point and shoots…

It's generally faster than most compacts with the added bonus of having foundation - mid level range canon DSLR image quality which is way better than the vast majority of compact point and shoot camera's (when using the native M lenses). As in DSLR image quality is perfectly achievable with it whilst allowing for the use of point and shoot like controls, and given the recent sharp price drop on the EOS-M it might be worth a go. I almost forgot that its capable of capturing RAW still image files in its OEM firmware state.  

I still don't understand why they can't put a decent LCD screen on all of these cameras (regardless of brand) given that I have a first gen GTN Samsung smartphone that has a screen that is perfectly view-able in strong sunlight for the main part without the need to switch the LCD screen into an over exaggerated display dynamic that’s way over saturated (called "sunny weather mode" on Sony NEX cameras).


 

Tenba PM17C Messenger bag 638-231

February 17, 2014
Tenba PM17C Messenger bag 638-231
words and image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak


Laptop bags for 17 inch monsters of a decent quality and decent design tend to be far and few between. Even amidst the rare few manufacturers that are willing to provide for such uncommon 'want to port' laptop dimensions, they're usually a little hit and miss in terms of actual fit. Then you also have the extremes of visually pleasing design at a premium, cheese grater like visual appearance but extreme quality in terms of strength/durability, or the more unfortunate offerings that fall apart in a matter of days.

Then you have the Tenba PM17C. Although I've personally never used them before, Tenba are generally better known for their premium priced pro camera carrying solutions. The Tenba PM17C combines pro camera carrying needs with uncommon 17 inch laptop carrying antics. 



From a visual design standpoint it looks extremely understated and functional in black. It's sort of military canvas look is not going to be scoring you any 'must have hot to trot look' points that's for sure. But at the same time it doesn't make you cringe at how eye sore lame it looks as many other more substance over style laptop bags might. But if you are looking for something a little more flashier it is also available in other more vibrant primary colours too. Visual aesthetics aside and more importantly, this bag feels extremely well made and rugged.



Although it's a camera bag, it could more or less be used as a slightly more stylish and highly functional no frills 17 inch laptop messenger bag. The laptop compartment fits a 17 inch Dell precision M6400 or M6600 workstation perfectly whilst leaving a decent amount of room in the front compartment for a mid sized DSLR and a couple of large lenses. Inside the bag; it's DSLR camera carrying intentions are obvious with the types of reconfigurable padded dividers, compartments and pockets it has. There's also a quick access zip opening with secondary internal cover to keep everything fastened down and your snapper gear safe without having to open the whole thing up.

For me personally its definitely a welcome replacement for my old messenger bag which is fraying and coming apart at the seams. The inner faux nu-back finish of my old bag was also starting to crumble and fall into the bag to get everywhere all over and inside my stuff, and I still can't scrape enough of it off to make my old bag sort of usable again. So this might have also added to my positive opinion of having acquired a new workhorse messenger bag so to speak. Regardless of which I can most certainly vouch for it's overall feel of durability and seeming strength. My old bag doesn't feel anywhere near as durable as this, and that lasted me for over 5 years with very regular use. Another 5 years also seems like a very long time to wait before being able to say anything more about this Tenba bag.  

 

YONGNUO RF-603C wireless radio flash trigger

February 10, 2014
YONGNUO RF-603C wireless radio flash trigger
words and image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak


The RF-603C usually comes as a pair. The reason being that one is usually mounted on the hot-shoe mount of your Canon DSLR and acts as the master radio wireless flash trigger, and the other will act as the receiver whilst usually having a flashgun mounted on it that doesn't have radio wireless flash capabilities, which basically completes your simple off camera radio wireless flashgun trigger setup. You can also buy additional RF-603C units to add further additional wireless remote flash guns in a multi-flashgun setup. The 'C' part of the name indicates that its for Canon DSLR's. 

In addition to this the RF-603C can be used to remotely trigger the shutter release on your Canon dslr camera. This is done by mounting one of the RF-603C units on the camera and using the other one (without a flash mounted on it) to set it off by pressing the button on it. However, the one that's mounted on the camera requires a PC sync cable to be connected from the RF-603C to the camera body. This cable is usually supplied with a twin pack kit. Be warned though, although it's for canon there are two different kinds of PC sync cables for the Canon DSLR's. For example the PC sync cable needed for the 60D is different from the cable needed for the 5D despite both being Canon DSLR's. Make sure you select the right one before buying.

In addition to that, if you already have a YN-560III flashgun with built in wireless radio slave flash capabilities, you can also use the RF-603C to trigger that as part of your multi-flashgun setup.  There's also a Nikon version too. 

There's not much talk of these in professional circles, since it doesn't come anywhere near to the kinds of usefulness you can get out of something like a pocket wizard which offers far more advanced flash control features at a much higher premium. But for simple flash triggering this does the job more than adequately. Which brings us to the next part, reliability, and thus far its proven to be very reliable for operating within the scope of its limitations. The range is said to be 100m, but generally I've only really used it at about 25mm so far. All in all good performance for the price if you just want simple basic radio wireless multi-flashgun triggering. (ie. there's no ETTL or TTL).


Other stuff about it...

- It runs on 2 triple A batteries.
- has 16 different radio frequency channels which it can be set to.
- 2.4Ghz capable.
- I tested it with a Sony NEX camera via an adaptor. It don't work.

 

Rambling opinion on what I reckon of the Sony a7R and a7 sometime way after release, (... without any actual hands on)

February 6, 2014
Rambling opinion on what I reckon of the Sony a7R and a7 sometime way after release, (... without any actual hands on)
words: Eksovichea Tito Hak   image source/photographer : official Sony website



So it looks like that if I ever finally get round to going full frame on a digital camera, the Sony a7R or a7 would more or less fulfil my requirements with the way things currently stand, and it's definitely something I would seriously consider as an option.

If I ever did get the cash I would have maybe opted for the Sony a99, however the idea was sort of dead in the water in my particular case as it would have required me to get rid of my current lenses and limited me to having to buy a bunch of completely new lenses that can only be used with Sony's DSLR's. 

The things I liked about the Sony a99 whilst looking it up? The fact that it uses an on camera image body stabiliser, which in theory would basically mean that you could potentially use any lens you wanted with the Sony a99 regardless of whether the lens has on lens image stabilisation or not, and get image stabilisation for it. The only problem with that is that you still wouldn't be able to use Nikon or Canon legacy lenses with it via an adaptor due to the problem of focal plane distances with using a third party adapter in between. The other main thing that I liked about it? It makes no apologies about getting rid of the reflex mirror viewfinder and opting for an electronic viewfinder. We already know why I think a high quality EV would be more suitable for pro digital photography applications these days than a mirror viewfinder, the main reason being that you can actually see what you are photographing as it will appear in the final capture file before you might apply any additional post processing. This basically gives you greater intended direct control over how your images will look. ie. it would actually let you see what you were photographing, especially in low light too as the camera sensor is vastly more capable of picking up light than your eye via a mirror viewfinder (but that's just my opinion). 

Whilst using Canon dslr's under lit conditions and working with none flash based photography, there doesn't seem to be any problems with the exposure preview in live view mode (its like as the name suggest, its shows you what your settings will make the picture look like in live view mode before you take the picture). But when it comes to dark or a very dimly lit situation  its a little different, for example you could sit in a dark room with just a light coming from your smartphone or computer screen filling the room. To your eyes the room would still look near pitch black/very dark. Now take a picture of something other than the light source using a canon dslr in combo with something like a 40mm f2.8 lens at iso 1600 to 2000 (the results will be even more impressive with something like an f1.8, f1.4 or if you're lucky enough, an f1.2 lens) and it looks like you have the light on from a desktop lamp in the room with just the light from a small smartphone screen or if using the ambient light from a laptop screen it might possibly even look like there's daylight coming in from a window at dawn or sometime on a late summer evening in the picture. However, the pre-exposure preview for this on the particular Canon dslr camera that I was using at one point was suddenly gimped having previously worked. ie. when I used the live view mode it no longer showed me in semi visible details what I was photographing like it used to (although the actual final captured exposure would look far less fuzzy, be a lot brighter and look alot sharper). I'm almost certain it used to be the case at one point before somehow being altered. 

When it did work... Although the live view exposure preview image was a little fuzzy, there was still enough visable detail in the live view mode via the LCD screen for me to go on in order to manually set the focus, the auto-focus was pretty much useless in this instance for lack of light and thus the kinds of pre-exposure edge defining contrast needed for accurate auto focus detection, and as stated before, if you'd manually set the focus correctly the final image was much brighter, much more detailed, and sharper than the dimly lit exposure preview with something like a 1 to 2 second exposure at iso 1600 - 2000. 

Update: having re-checked it again more recently the capabilities seem to have now returned. From what I can gather the Sony a99 can do this without discrepancy where the canon might not (the dependencies of which on a Canon 60D beyond all that I could actually use via the accessible settings of the camera I have access to I have no idea of), but without actual hands on testing with an a99 I couldn't tell you for sure.


...but back to the point...

If they aren't true pro features that a pro would want or need then I don't know what are. But the main reason I would have bought Sony a99 (if I had that kind of cash) on top of all that I've mentioned? Sure, I like photographing stuff, since I'm a bit of a product design junkie, I get excited over lines, surfaces, and textures in how they might astheticly and visualy all work together. To my eyes, how different lighting cast the combination of such details and asthetics to different eye pleasing effect is something I like to experiment with and visually capture. I've honed certain facets of my product photography whilst still continuing to work on them. But... there's one other major thing that I wanted to do with a high end camera which the a99 could optionally potentially do well with; based on what I know of Sony mirrorless Camera's and options they have. When used with it's own legacy type lenses its optionally potentially perfect for photographing people as how a human might wish to perceive in a more flattering overall average if you've got a particularly rough complexion, as well as 'stuff'. Beyond 'stuff' there's only people, and in an image conscious world where peoples neurotic states can sometimes make all the difference between a good or crap day in the first world sense (whether consciously or subconsciously amongst many other potential factors and reasons) regardless of what might be an artificial smile. As ever all suffering is relative and is as real as you might perceive it to be, but I guess we can only try our best to be aware of other people suffering. But in any case, I think such a feature is well worth having for use as required and is certainly a pro feature in my books, since its something that people would pay someone to be able to do if its just not something that you'd like to be able to do.

I've read that the Sony a99's  auto-focus features are too slow compared to a Canon or Nikon. To that I say, what the f would you need fast auto focus for (although very useful) when you could do it yourself much faster in nearly all cases manually when using a lens with a decent manual focusing ring in combination with accurate focus confirmation on camera body via audio bleeps and the in viewfinder led focus zone indicators? It's even possible to do it without that and just go with what you can see on a large enoungh screen.

I guess getting something like the Sony a99 wouldn't be an issue if you've been using minolta lenses the whole time and sticking with Sony's DSLR's in its evolution despite what the die hard Canon and then eventually Nikon users were beating Sony's new to the game dslr users over the head with for a long while with good reason in the early days, but with the turning of the tide and for everyone else looking at this objectively whilst wanting to get in on the most recent Sony dslr/mirrorless developments, some things to consider...

Aside from the main deal breaker in my particular case of having to potentially re-kit with a bunch of priority native lenses for a Sony a99, I like everything about the a99 and what Sony are trying to do with it despite many pro's not considering it to be a pro option.

However it did initially seem a little redundant to have included the semi-transparent mirror on the a99 for EV monitoring purposes when very similar mirrorless based tech (that has proven to be rapid) would otherwise just use what was being directly fed from the sensor itself for both the LCD screen and the EV. The only real purpose I could think of it serving is to possibly significantly prolong the life-cycle of the shutter in this particular instance and possibly giving independent LCD and EV preview. But I would have thought it would have been perfectly possible to selectively use either the LCD or the EV whilst turning the other off, or optionally use both at the same time using a feed directly from the sensor without a semi transparent mirror. Why they didn't include this type of switching feature on the a7 is beyond me, especially at the price.

I say all this having been a life long fan/user of Canon camera's for the main part and never having spent a penny on Nikon gear. So you could hardly class me as a Sony fanboy as far as high end camera gear is concerned.

Ok, so why the Sony a7R or a7 and not a Canon 5D mk3 as I used to originally lust after? Well, take...

-  one full frame sensor
- take everything about the Sony a99 that I liked (except for the on camera body image stabilisation unfortunately)
- add interchangable lens capability
- add Canon legacy lens compatibility via an electronic adaptor that gives you full aperture control and access to the lenses image stabilisation (for those that actually have it)
- add Sony alpha dslr legacy lens compatibility via an electronic Sony adaptor 
- not that I'd have reason for one in my case, but add Nikon legacy lens compatibility via an adaptor (manual only from what I've found and read thus far)
- (in fact add any type of lens compatibility you can think of via some sort of adaptor that they make for it)
- add the fact that it can also use current aps-c e-mount lenses in crop mode at 14megapixels which will also have usable built in on lens image stabilisation (for those lenses that include it)
- to my mind a lust worthy geek-chic retro design that's vastly more streamlined than a dslr but yet not too small to handle (related to that note : Although I like the a7's external design very much, I had originally envisioned that the final a7 product might resemble what the final RX10 looks like at the body).
- also ad the fact that it significantly undercuts the price of the Canon 5D MkIII

...and you have the ingredients to what my ultimate fantasy full frame digital camera would be in the flesh. I could continue to use my Canon lenses, my Canon camera ( which I'm still paying for) for specific purposes (shame its not a 7D or 70D though), my current nex aps-c lenses, and my current nex camera as well as having many options for different lens standards and the potential to use new full frame e-mount lenses if required.


Is the Sony a7 a professional option?

Keep in mind that there are bread and butter photographers in none scientific and none civil photographic work related fields around the world that solely use mid range to upper mid range DSLR equipment which the a7R and a7 specs either significantly excel or are on a very similar par with at the upper end of that comparison (whilst also significantly undercutting the cost at the upper comparative end). I guess the only thing the Sony a99 or a7r and a7 don't have in that respects is a unified workflow of operation/camera control with the two main industry accepted standards/contenders, which I guess you have to be a true geeky enthusiast to not be phased by in order to get to grips with them, get those desired photographic results and work within the scope of the gear. However in being very cautious I didn't take to hyping the Sony a7R and a7 as I maybe should have in the initial pre-release stages despite getting news and word of specs long before it was even released. Strange really considering how relatively perfect it was on paper for what I possibly might use it for, and as one of the reviews pointed out, there aren't many native full frame lenses for it yet in being so new. But beyond that many results and reviews are in, and from what I've read its not quite as fast as the full frame competition in their native camera body and legacy lens attachment combinations, but even with all the potential trade off's against the lust worthy Canon 5D mk3 option, I'd say I could more than live with them as a full frame option based on the actual photographic results it can potentially and actually achieve that I've seen thus far.

But after all is said and done, the lack of native full frame e-mount lenses would still kind of leave it at a disadvantage on the full frame front if referring back to one of the main reasons for getting it in terms of people centric photographic subjects beyond the obvious depth of skin  pore level detail it can potentially produce.



Unless you've got a baby smooth complexion...


 Then again you don't really need 24 mega-pixels (let alone 36) to take hi-res flattering images of people although ideal for landscape and scenes containing lots of distant objects/subjects that you might want a decent amount of detail on, meaning that 14 to 16 mega-pixel for aps-c e-mount lenses might/would even be sufficient for such people portrait centric purposes if not overkill already in the level of detail it can already pick for portrait snaps, especially for frame filling head-shots where every detail at skin pore level, blemish, and fine lines will register without stacks of make-up on, blazing lighting to fill out the shadowy pores, cracks, and maybe a little over exposure to cover it up (corny soft focus anyone? don't even go there) or maybe a more artsy crisp edged low contrast edit with very little blemish re-touching. Overall not at all how the human eye would generally perceive without the lens.

additional note: Here's a site I just stumbled across after writing this whilst looking for suitable press release pictures of the a7R and a7 to use. Gives quite a decent demo of what it's capable of.

www.briansmith.com/sony-a7r-field-test/

I can't get it to become an active link that you can simply click. So you're going to have to copy and paste it to your browser. You can also get to the official Sony page on it by clicking this.

Something else I only just remembered...(...if video is your thing)

the a7R and a7 don't have 4K RAW video recording capabilities although it could probably potentially do it. They also have the bios locked down so tight that its unlikely that we'll see a firmware mod to allow for it based on whats happened with all their other e-mount camera's so far, let alone an official update to actually allow for it. Meaning that 4K will probably only be included in the next iteration of it at a premium.

The Canon 5D MK3 however doesn't have 4K raw as standard and does 1080p just as the a7R and a7. But with the use of an unofficial and freely available firmware mod, the 5D MkIII can indeed record in 4K RAW. 
 

The mirror viewfinder vs electronic viewfinder/LCD screen (...trade offs)

February 6, 2014
The mirror viewfinder vs electronic viewfinder/LCD screen (...trade offs)
words and image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak


I was looking forward to using a regular mirror viewfinder again having been stuck with using crappy low resolution LCD screens on various point and shoots for some time, and I guess in situations where the LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder could potentially get broken or fail to then impede on your ability to actually seriously take pictures, a regular mirror viewfinder will ensure you've still got something to preview and frame your pictures up properly with in a professional manner. But as soon as I started to notice dust in the viewfinder, all the associated nerve working but yet none performance affecting annoyances came flooding back as my OCD tendencies started to kick in. 

But then I got to thinking, is a mirror reflex based viewfinder really that important these days where a digital camera by default won't actually operate without electrical power to begin with? Not to mention that top end interchangeable lens camera's with an LCD screen and/or an electronic viewfinder usually have very high quality, high-resolution displays. The very latest of which are also usually designed to operate just as quickly if not faster than mirror reflex cameras for focusing performance, at least as far as mirrorless interchangeable lens compacts are concerned. Although older dslr's are generally extremely fast at getting focus locks when using the mirror viewfinder in regular lighting, they're generally a little slower than mirrorless compacts with a greater tendency to focus hunt in LCD live-view mode. Mirrorless compact interchangeable lens camera's are always in liveview mode whether using an LCD screen or the electronic viewfinder.

The main advantage of using an LCD screen in live view mode or an electronic view finder? You can actually see things and preview images in the dark and/or very low lighting conitions with actual focusing capabilities (some degree of auto but at the very least full manual is still perfectly possible) where it would otherwise be impossible to see anything at all via a standard mirror viewfinder. By default camera sensors are much more capable of seeing in very low light conditions than your eye via a mirror viewfinder. As such a large LCD or electronic viewfinder will show what the sensor see's where as the mirror view finder can't do that. 

Another main advantage of a high res LCD or EV? With a high res electronic viewfinder and/or high res LCD you can actually see/ preview images as they will appear post shutter release/post recording video with all your additional WB, exp comp, software sharpening/softening, HDR and C-temp settings applied. Its not possible to see any of that with a mirror viewfinder which will only display the bare pre-processed optical lens image.


Not too much of a concern for me personally since thus far  there's not much discrete surveillance I plan on using my camera for but...

From a covert surveillance standpoint an LCD screen or EV could potentially give you away due to the lighting from the displays.

 

Sony VCL-ECU1 ultra-wide converter x0.75 for the 16mm f2.8 e-mount pancake lens (not to be confused with the VCL-ECF1 which is the fish-eye version)

February 6, 2014
Sony VCL-ECU1 ultra-wide converter x0.75 for the 16mm f2.8 e-mount pancake lens (not to be confused with the VCL-ECF1 which is the fish-eye version)
words and image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak



It doesn't cause any degradation of image quality. So if there are any flaws they're from the original pancake lens itself. It pretty much does exactly what it says, its converts the pancake lens into an ultra-wide angle lens at what should be 10mm without going all fisheye effect. Sure, a decent DSLR ultra-wide angle lens might give you better image quality, but getting something like that for a DSLR at arounf f2.8 would weigh in at about 500 to 600GBP for an appropriate high IQ lens alone, possibly even more. Basically this ultra-wide angle converter for the NEX mirrorless in combo with the pancake lens was exactly what I was looking for to serve as a decent quality interim ultra-wide angle lens solution with very pleasing results for a price that's highly affordable.



Above is a picture of the converter attached to the pancake lens next to an 18-55mm kit lens for scale comparison on the physical dimensions front.


 

Sony e-mount 16mm f.2.8 pancake lens

February 6, 2014
Sony e-mount 16mm f.2.8 pancake lens
words and image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak


I won't try to justify what this lens can or can't do against all the other reviews that have gone before about it. It's not a new lens so you'll find plenty of reviews that pretty much all say the same thing. But to put it simply, if you know the lenses claimed limitations and how to work around/with some of them via the buttons you have on your camera for different settings, then I reckon you'll be quite pleased with the potential results that you'd be able to glean from it, especially at the price. If you've used the 18mm kit lens, you will in fact notice that it is noticeably wider allowing you to fit a little more in the frame at 16mm. But for me that wasn't enough, as I wanted to get closer to an ultra wide 11mm viewing angle threshold with reasonably decent image quality at a more affordable price, since I currently don't have 500 quid spare at current to get super serious with a piece of Canon glass that has an ultra wide 11mm viewing angle. But more on that later. 



Summary

Solid build quality that has a high quality feel to it. Very compact and has decent quality for the price and compact size. Potentially has even better results to be gleaned when stopped down, although you can still get pretty decent results at f2.8. Strategic cropping in order to retain the wide angle feel might also help where more obvious softness and blurring at each of the extreme corners in very small areas might occur. But at the second hand price I got it and for what was also in pretty much near brand new condition I don't have much to complain about, especially with the results I was able to get with it.


...oh, and one other thing that's been doing my nut in about what loads of reviews claim about this lens... The NEX 16mm e-mount pancake lens is actually a less wide 22mm equivalent on a full frame sensor with EF lens??!

My first question is why a bunch of seemingly legit and reputable digital gear review websites keep saying this along with a bunch of other people who have reviewed the Sony 16mm pancake lens for the NEX camera.

My second question would be, are you sure? 

And finally I'm wondering if they're purposely trying to confuse the general public into maybe unnecessarily buying something else more expensive that requires a whole other pro rig at 3 to 4 times the price? 

And on a ps. note like question, if so why?


Try setting a Canon full frame camera with an EF lens capable of a 16mm viewing able to 16mm and take a look through the viewfinder. 

Then check what the 16mm e-mount pancake looks like with a nex camera body at the same distance from the photographic subject. You'll probably have to set it just a little bit further back at the focal plane  (about 10 or 15cm) to get it to look exactly the same (or at least close to something that resembles it), but overall its pretty much near enough the same distance.

Notice how they can fit roughly the same amount in the frame? The image curvature might look a tad bit more acute on the Sony e-mount 16mm pancake lens in combo with the nex body, where as on the full frame it will probably exhibit much less image elongation as you concentricly move away from the centre of the frame as you tilt the camera. 

Based on what I've just told you, consider again whether the statement that the Sony e-mount pancake lens in combo with nex aps-c camera body is actually a less wide 22mm equivalent on a full frame sensor in combination with an EF lens. Essentially the Sony e-mount 16mm pancake with Sony nex camera body is pretty much already a 16mm equivalent, not a less impressive 22mm with what would be a significantly noticeable smaller field of view.

By that same logic and measure, surely using something like the Sony VCL-ECU1 ultra-wide converter x0.75 (not to be confused with the much more barrel like image warping wide angle fish-eye converter) should in fact convert the 16mm pancake lens and give you roughly an even wider angle of 10mm!! (ie.16 to 10mm and not 22 to 16mm).


 

YN560-III speedlight flash

January 15, 2014
YN560-III speedlight flash
words and image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak


Essentially a general external camera flash with manual controls, it will work on Canon or Nikon DSLR's. It's manual in the sense that the flash settings won't automatically change as you alter the settings on your Canon DSLR camera body and lens. You have to tap in the appropriate intended settings that you're going to use on your camera via the controls on the back of the flash even when its mounted on the camera!  Flashguns with auto calibration when used on body would normally adjust the flashgun settings automatically for you if you need to change the focal length (ie. if using a zoom lens), aperture and ISO on your camera. But if you have no issue with manually setting the flash it shouldn't be a problem. If you want those kinds of auto calibration features you'll have to pay around the 80 to 120 quid mark (depending on where you buy) for the 565EX version, but keep in mind that the 565EX can't be used as a master for remote/slave flashguns with TTL or ETTL features in a multi-flashgun setup.

The YN560 III is not compatible with Canon DSLR's advance on camera or wireless external flash control menu system.




What do we mean by wireless?

 In the more general sense when talking about camera flash guns we're talking about optical wireless control via the actual flash light and flash light sensors, not radio signals. The YN560-III has basic wireless flash activation (as in it has a built in optical sensor), and it also has basic slave flash triggering modes when used as a master. 

The YN560 III does not have advance E-TTL or TTL remote wireless setting control capabilities which would normally allow you to change the settings of (a) slave flashgun(s) from either a capable/compatible assigned master flashgun or from within the Canon camera setting menu's. Meaning that if you're using multiple YN560-III flash guns via optical wireless flash triggering; you'll have to constantly trundle back and forth between your remote flash devices if ever you need to alter any settings that affect light intensity output and timings. The drawback to light activated/optical remote wireless flash triggering is that it requires line of sight, or at least some means for the light from your master flash to reach the optical sensors of your remote slave flash(es). This isn't so much of a problem if you're working in a relatively small room as the light will fill the room quite easily and bounce off the walls. Although there could potentially be a slight unwanted lag or delay if you're using bounced flash-light despite well... it actually travelling at the speed of light, ie. light being said to be the fastest physical constant in the entire known universe according to Einstein before all this quantum physics started to happen. The flash-light from the YN 560 III should make very short work of a small enclosed room. However, it does become an issue in wide open sunny spaces, large spaces, and crowded spaces where the light could be easily dispersed or absorbed before it reaches the intended assigned remote slave flashgun sensors.





Getting round the flaws of wireless flash-light activated remote triggering for slave flash devices...

The YN560-III also has built in 2.4GHz radio wireless connectivity capabilities too. This allows it to remotely trigger other flash devices of the same model and/or compatibility or be triggered by other assigned master flashgun devices of the same model and/or compatibility. Obviously radio signals don't require line of sight and can reach their intended targets unhindered by light dispersal and light obstructing objects/obstacles for the main part. Although you will notice a significant lag over an optimally ideal working light triggered setup. Mainly because radio wave signals travel a lot slower than light wave signals in being over way on the other end of the electromagnetic spectrum. 
Despite this; the radio signal triggering feature is more than adequately fast enough to hit perfectly synced flash to shutter triggers nearly every single time. (assuming that you'd set the flash up timings correctly).


Build quality - it feels extremely sturdy and reasonably weighted despite its all plastic outer construction. 

Things I liked - Has extremely fast cycle times. 3 seconds, often faster on lower power settings.



Summary

Manual flash controls with basic optical wireless slave flash trigger features. Also has very handy 2.4GHz radio wireless connectivity features for basic remote flash triggering. Also has multi-flash mode which is useful for flash lighting in burst shooting mode. Not at all bad for the price. However there's No E-TTL/TTL, you might want to consider the YN 565EX for that which does cost a little more (which also doesn't have radio wireless capabilities).  Generally an inexpensive flash that's fully featured and does the job quite nicely provided you're willing to deal with manually setting the flash gun as required.

 

Canon 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM EF-S lens (made in Taiwan)

January 15, 2014
Canon 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM EF-S lens (made in Taiwan)
words and image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak


This lens more commonly comes as part of a kit, but it can also be bought on its own as an aftermarket option. Generally quite a sharp EF-S kit lens specifically designed for digital crop sensors. So 17mm is 17mm with this lens just as 85mm on this lens at the tele end is 85mm when used with a crop sensor Canon dslr. Its technically and physically one of the better examples of an EF-S kit lens when compared to the 18-135mm version and the 18-200mm version. But for what it lacks in zoom reach when compared to the others it makes up for in optical image quality.

Barrel distortion is quite pronounced at the widest angle of 17mm, but its hardly anything to be bothered about since nearly all wide angle lenses exhibit a significant amount of barrel distortion by default. I don't even know why they bother mentioning it like it was a bad thing since its not like you could get any different as standard, its something that has always been inherent of wide angle lenses and also at the wide angle of zoom lenses that are relatively wide. Generally the wider you go (allowing you to fit more in the frame) the more barrel distortion you generally get. Fortunately the most recent Canon dslr's are all equipped with on board distortion correction if required, and if you have access to Photoshop you can even tweak it a little further if you feel the on board correction wasn't enough. Personally I reckon barrel distortion can also at times be a desirable optical trait for a more artistically dramatic visual effect for certain styles of photography. 

As you move through the zoom range the distortion becomes less apparent, anything beyond 24mm becomes significantly less barrel warped, and gradually more so as you move further.   

Starting at f4 generally helps towards this lens achieving its sharpness, however even with image stabilisation this does mean that its noticeably slower at the widest angle than say an 18-55mm kit lens with IS that starts out at an aperture of f3.5. So even without blurring from camera shake the shutter speed would still have to be set significantly slower for low light conditions in order to try and achieve vastly lower grain images at lower ISO's for none flash assisted photography. The I.S. in this case won't help you at all with moving photographic subjects without flash assistance in low light conditions. 

Build wise its plastic but feels extremely solid, robust and weighty.

It has an Ultrasonic motor meaning its extremely quiet.

As mentioned before it has image stabilisation which works great for eliminating camera shake, but it won't help you with moving subjects in low light conditions when working without a flash. However if you're generally going to be shooting still images in daylight where its always sunny, and/or will be using it mainly for flash photography, none of the potential low light slow speed issues will be of relevance as you'll most likely get impressive results with this lens in combination with the appropriate photographic vision and ability to use the camera properly.

 

Canon 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM EF lens (... made in Japan)

January 11, 2014
Canon 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM EF lens (... made in Japan)
words and image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak



Not the smallest of zoom lenses although light (compared to the Defractive Optics (DO) version which is also much heavier despite being smaller and a little slower on the aperture front in starting out at f4.5, although the IS gives you a 2 to 3 stop advantage for image steadiness), but its certainly much smaller and lighter than its much costlier L lens counterpart of the same zoom range and aperture rating.

This is also the replacement for the 75-300m f4-5.6 IS USM EF zoom lens (released back in 1995, also when the first 5D was released) with the silver badge which was said to have quite poor sharpness towards the edges of the frame wide open.

I'm not sure why people keep saying this 70-300mm EF IS USM a heavy lens for others to say the the DO version is light, (unless there's some sort of other Canon photographer leet speak insider code that's relaying some sort of news that I'm not aware of). Although the DO version is certainly much lighter than the L version. In the literal sense of its physical properties the figures and results don't lie. Weight comparison just below compared with other 300mm capable EF tele lenses.

1.39 lb (630 g) - canon EF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6  Image Stabalisation USM

1.43 lb (650 g) - canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6  Image Stabalisation USM

1.58 lb (720 g) - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6  Image Stabalisation USM DO (defractive optics)

2.31 lb (1.05KG)- Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L Image Stabalisation USM

2.62 lb (1.19KG)- Canon EF 300mm f/4L Image Stabalisation USM

Image quality on this newer 70-300mm IS USM version is extremely crisp and sharp. I've not tested the L version of this lens, but its been claimed that optically this lens is like an L lens but without the same kinds of heavy weather sealed white cladding, and construction of the L version. The reason for this? This lens is said to use an UD element which is usually only reserved for use in L lenses. 

Image stabilisation works perfectly on this thing. I was able to get steady, crisp blur free hand held snaps even at the 300mm (480mm with a crop sensor) tele end within an indoor day lit setting on an overcast cloudy grey day with a reasonably fast shutter speed whilst set to around ISO 2000. 

On a less cloudy day with a little more natural light entering the room I was able to get a steady crisp snap at ISO 250 with an even faster shutter speed whilst indoors at f5.6 and IS active hand held. Obviously you'll be able to attain usably crisp sharp free of blur snaps at even slower shutter speed settings (as well as faster brighter snaps at faster shutter speeds) in broad daylight at much lower ISO's. (Especially if you mainly intend on using this out doors in daylight and you're somewhere in the world where it might always be sunny). But then again 70mm on a full frame sensor (giving you an equivalent viewing field of 112mm on a crop sensor) as a starting point at f4 is already quite a decent option to have on a none L lens.

One thing that could be annoying is that the filter thread rotates with focusing. Meaning that if you're using a circular polariser you'll have to set your focusing first to re-adjust your polariser after just before taking the snaps.

This is a much more recent digital iteration that gives extremely crisp and sharp images even on a crop sensor Canon dslr's despite being designed for full frame.

A lighter alternative to a zoom lens with lots of sharp optical reach for the travelling photographer that wants to keep a lighter backpack.

This lens is also included as part of Canon's 2013 Winter cash back offer, and combined with another Canon product in the offer you could save up to 200GBP with additional awarded bonus cash back. 
 

DSLR Controller Beta (for android)

January 11, 2014
DSLR Controller Beta (for android)
words & image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak


Essentially an android app that will allow you to control Canon DSLR's via an android phone or tablet whilst also giving you a live-view on your android device screen. The size of the live-view display that you can use is only limited by the size of your android devices screen. The live-view stream to your android device can be rendered at up to 30 fps if you're using a direct USB cable connection. I'm not sure how it handles over a wi-fi connection since the Canon DSLR that I have at my disposal doesn't have wi-fi capabilities and I've not been able to test it, but I'm guessing you might have to reduce the FPS for a wireless live-view stream (if it doesn't actually do it itself due to bandwidth limitations). 

All the control features of the DSLR are accessible via the on-screen control system of the DSLR controller app on your android device. 

It also adds the additional feature of touch to focus via your touch-screen android device if you're using a Canon dslr that doesn't have a touch-screen. All this means is that you can focus on any subject within the camera frame simply by touching it on the screen of your android device via the DSLR controller app.

Although its a Beta app its not free, and it'll set you back 5.95GBP. However what you get for your money is a highly polished feature packed application that seems to work perfectly thus far. No doubt new features and additional refinements to the app will be added with updates. The maker of the app also stresses that its not compatible with all android devices, but there's a free app that you can download to test for this before buying DSLR controller Beta called 'remote release' which allows you to control the shutter release of your Canon DSLR, again just like DSLR controller this can be done via a direct USB cable connection or wi-fi depending on which you prefer and whether your Canon DSLR has built in wi-fi capabilities or not. But you might want to consider that a direct USB cable connection is much faster.  You can get to the official site by clicking this.
 

Stumped for lack of a laptop/desktop client for your mobi eye-fi card?

January 10, 2014
Stumped for lack of a laptop/desktop client for your mobi eye-fi card?
words & image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak


Maybe you blew 50 quid on a class 10 16GB mobi eye-fi SD card with the intention of adding some fast and fuss free wi-fi capabilities to your compact camera or DSLR,... only to realise too late that the mobi versions compatibility is limited to android and iOS devices via the freely downloadable software. ...camera wi-fi adding fail fail. 

Yup, it turns out that you need the pro x 2 version of the eye-fi card if you want fully supported laptop/desktop wireless image transfer capabilities.

However worry not as help is at hand, it looks like eye-fi have now finally decided to release the desktop app for the mobi version of their eye-fi card for Joe public's use. You can download it right now in Beta form by registering your name and email address with them at their website
 

Canon 40mm f2.8 EF pancake prime lens (made in Malysia)

January 10, 2014
Canon 40mm f2.8 EF pancake prime lens (made in Malysia)
words & image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak



In a word...impressive.

This lens is extremely crisp and sharp. It was eye pleasingly contrasty and punchy on the colours front when I needed it to be without my having to necessarily drop into the menu settings to change picture style settings. (Almost as if it knew what I wanted without my having to tell it/set it).

Even without a lens hood It handled a number of daylight backlit situations near a window and a certain amount of glare quite well in being able to retain a decent amount of distinguishable dynamic range on subjects at the fore whilst still looking contrasty. (Where as other older Canon lenses I've used would show a more indistinguishable and uniform shadowy shaded tone across the  subject(s) at the fore to also be more adversely affected by glare). Obviously it would handle even better with a lens hood at certain angles.

It was also bright and crisp without making the picture soft when I needed it to be for certain picture styles too. (Again as if it knew exactly what I was going for based on the lighting conditions without my having to necessarily drop into the menu settings to change picture style in order to make it more likely to be that way).

A constantly VERY sharp lens even at the largest aperture of f2.8. Potentially even sharper when stopping down a little.

On the build front it feels extremely well made and solid. (Not at all flimsy or cheap).



Its not an L lens but...

Its optical performances has been likened to top end L lenses costing in excess of 500 and 1000GBP. Having tested the Canon 40mm EF pancake (which you can pick up for around 100 to 150GBP depending on where you buy) all I can say was my eyeballs were blown away and craving more.

The STM focus system is quiet, but nowhere near as quiet as a Canon's USM lens focus system. However the STM system is much smoother at focus transitions than USM, making STM much more ideal for video focusing.

Its an EF lens, meaning that it will give you a 40mm viewing angle on a Canon dslr that has a full frame sensor. If you're using an APS-C crop sensor Canon dslr, it will give you a viewing angle of 64mm. But even with the slightly reduced viewing angle the image quality is still excellent and extremely crisp.

An excellent all rounder prime lens with excellent image quality. If you love your Canon dslr and taking pictures with it whilst wanting to keep things a lot more weildy for  general shooting purposes, this is a must have prime lens, and as we should all know by now, prime lenses tend to be optically much superior than zoom lenses for sharpness, certain colour properties aswell as brightness and speed for those equipped with much larger apertures. Although I'm personally of the reckoning that the 64mm viewing angle on a crop sensor body might generally be a little too overly restrictive for architecture and lanscapes purposes, and it will probably be a bit of a chore for street photography too although not impossible, which might limit its use to portrait snaps if you're not willing to deal with the relatively limited viewing field for a crop sensor. People with full frame Canon's (6D, 5D MKII and 5D MKIII owners) will obviously benefit from the full 40mm viewing angle which will set you in much closer to a traditional 35mm street photo viewing angle.

Its also a very recent 2012 addition to the Canon dslr lens line-up, meaning that its primed specifically for digital sensors.

Other stuff about this lens - The STM focusing system is completely electronically controlled from within the lens. Meaning that without power the focusing cannot be changed or altered. This means that you won't be able to use the lens manually with a NEX camera via a none electronic EOS lens to E-mount adaptor. You'll need a smart/electronic EOS to E-mount lens adaptor.

You might also be interested to know that the this lens is included in the official Canon 2013 winter cash back offer which you can get up to 100 to 200GBP cash back (with bonus cash back) if you combine 2 item purchases included in the offer selection. They don't have to be bought from the same place either. Check the website for the full terms and conditions, but one crucial point that you might want to consider is that in order to qualify for cashback it has to be bought from a UK retailer which does not include eBay or Amazon. The cut off date for received applications is the 24th of January 2014 so you best hurry if you want to catch the offer.

 

Canon 50mm f1.8 MKII EF lens (EF a full frame) on a crop sensor body...

January 10, 2014
Canon 50mm f1.8 MKII EF lens (EF a full frame) on a crop sensor body...
words & image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak


Some people complain you can't fit much in the frame using a 50mm full frame lens on a 1.6x crop sensor body which is true. But maybe it might be worth considering that an 85mm f1.8 EF lens costs around about 300 to 500GBP depending on where you buy and whether it's brand new or second hand.

A 50mm EF lens on a Canon 1.6x crop sensor camera body will give you an 80mm equivalent viewing field, which is very close to using the 85mm EF lens on a Canon camera with a full frame sensor.

Touted as the "plastic fantastic" the 50mm f1.8 EF MKII lens does indeed feel very cheap and flimsy in its construction, and as such this is reflected in the pricing. This was obviously intentional as there are a bunch of other all plastic lenses (aside from the difference of actually having a metal mounting ring instead of plastic) that feel a damn sight more premium in feel. Despite this for what Canon decided to exclude in terms of build quality and premium feel, the optics are pretty much top notch for the type of lens at the price it retails at. you can pick one up for around 60 to 100GBP brand new depending on where you buy. This is significantly lower then the original RRP on it which was around about 150 to 170GBP. 

Generally the 50mm f1.8 EF MKII is very sharp towards the centre of the frame, and when used on a 1.6x crop sensor Canon camera body there's very little barrel distortion. It gets much sharper when stopping down at the centre and toward the edges. Other than that its generally a very bright and fast lens that will allow you to take decent snaps indoors at much lower ISO's. 

When I talk about lens speed I'm not talking about how fast it focuses, more traditionally what is meant by a fast lens is that it will allow you capture subjects in motion without necessarily capturing motion blur. But on the subject of fast focusing, the 50mm f.1.8 EF MKII is actually quite fast in terms of auto-focusing speed, although the motor used isn't ultrasonic and as a consequence is also very noisy.


The Bokeh on it is ok, but if you're buying a 50mm lens for bokeh you might want to consider the 50mm f1.4 EF lens which is much closer to how an f1.2 lens appears for bokeh. It will also give you even more speed and brighter images in low lit conditions.    

Summary

the 50mm f1.8 EF lens isn't great construction-wise, but the optics are excellent for the price and potential results you can achieve with it. I guess its makes more sense to be using something like this lens for more general usage scenarios where using 1500 to 2000GBP L lens equivalents would be too much of a risky proposition. I guess that's what happens when the value of L lenses retain their value like diamonds depending on what usable physical condition they're in.

Click this for image samples. Be warned that the image files are full resolution 18 megapixel JPG's and it might take a while to load the page depending on what kind of connection you have. The images have also been resized to fit the page, but you can just save the pictures to your computer to inspect them in full screen mode. the first few images don't show much in the way of bokeh, but I'll add more image samples as I take them.
 









 






 

 
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