A Most Friendly Legend: An Interview with Lonnie Graham

Adding contributing writer to linked in today. A milestone I have been after for quite some time. KEH contacted me a couple of weeks ago about being a contributing writer for the blog and I accepted. For my first contribution I wanted to interview and spotlight a photography influence and Professor Lonnie Graham graciously accepted my request. Read on to read the blog post and more importantly the interview I had with him.

Link below:

http://blog.keh.com/2017/04/10/a-most-friendly-legend-an-interview-with-lonnie-graham/

 

New and Old Camera To Me: Sony a6000. And the 20mm f/2.8 too.

An interesting thing happened recently. After becoming enamored w/ the swift AF of the recently acquired 85mm f/1.8 on the 5 fps continuous focus A7ii I have been hunting for a used 11 fps a6### body to try it out on. Which one was easily decided. The very capable a6500 added IS, but was more than I was willing to spend. I rarely shoot video so a6300s 4K was not necessary. a6000 it is. Having come out so long ago I did not bother or try to find them on sale new, but after mistakenly searching the new collection of a site there it was. And for barely more than a used one in good condition, $499 body only. Only $100 more with a power zoom kit lens with OSS. $799 if you wanted a 55-210mm thrown in. As tempting as that 2 lens bundle was I have learned the hard way to never cheap out on a lens… Unless you like buying lenses that gather dust in the dark recesses of your bag or shelf.

Continued after the break.

Continue reading “New and Old Camera To Me: Sony a6000. And the 20mm f/2.8 too.”

New Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Review: Thank you Sony.

What I really like from a system are solid 50mm and 85mm lenses. Affordability, f/1.8 or larger apertures, and sharpness on center are welcome here. As stated in a recent blog post Sony seems intent on providing both:

  • FE 50mm f/1.8
    • A true nifty 50. Though a bit pricier than alternatives and some disparage it’s AF speeds I am not that worried since I use MF mostly anyway so any AF is about acceptable in my book.
  • FE 85mm f/1.8
    • Now released and on line tests were already touting this as a bargain Batis. And with a sub $600 asking price day 1 ’nuff said for me

First acquired of the 2 above is the FE 85mm f/1.8. I have had and loved many 85mm and crop rough equivalent lenses and one native crop, but 85mm anyway lens. Some native. Some manual focus marvels. Ranging from f/1.2 to f/2.0. This lens is better than all of those. Batis, L, G Master, and the like are too rich for my blood but I believe Sony has brought levels approaching those to the masses in my opinion. Why such a claim? Glad you asked. Here are things no 85mm lens I had before this could muster:

  • AF focusing is swift and silent. I say again completely silent and quick. So much so that I thought the AF was not working at first. This has been the achilles heel of every single 85mm lens before. For example the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 was wonderful, but it was not the lens for candid moments and would often require that I ask portrait subjects to wait as AF caught up. Not horrible, but put to shame by the Sony FE. Case in point the sequence below was taken casually, day 2, hand held from the 7th row past the band pit.

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    No camera and lens combination I have used has ever performed this well. This is not a fluke. And I do not even know Sony’s focusing system well enough to use tracking focusing yet. This is on the A7ii with 5 fps and I would love to see how it would do with the a6### series 11 fps. Especially now that I see an a6000 can still be bought new for $500-$800 depending on whether you get body only, one lens, or two.

Continued after the break:

Continue reading “New Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Review: Thank you Sony.”

This Old Camera: Gifted free ninety nine Canon FTb

This one was a surprise. A good one.

Friend, co-worker and fellow photographer gave me a box of many things and this Canon FTb, 2 lenses, some flashes and other items I have yet to fully inventory were within. Huzzah! In the words of Ice Cube “It Was A Good Day”.

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Took out old decrepit battery, cleaned the contacts, and loaded a good battery and all seems to work as expected. Currently making my way through roll 1 since obtaining it.

Notes and photos of the camera after the jump.

Continue reading “This Old Camera: Gifted free ninety nine Canon FTb”

New Lens To Me… again: Sony 28-70mm

A sucker for a good kit lens. That would be me. But more on that later.

I have traded a lot of gear since the digital interchangeable lens gear churn started a few years back. Occasionally I have regretted trades and bought gear more than once. Once a brand I bought into twice burned me badly, but with a little fortunate timing their terrible business practices also provided me the trade currency necessary to land a full frame DSLR body that cost way more than I would be willing to pay outright. Funny how trade money can feel like funny money when you do not have to open your wallet.

Back to Alpha.

This time it is a Sony lens that found its way back in to my camera bag. What was wrong with the lens the first time? Absolutely nothing actually. It was traded because I did not fully warm up to the camera it was attached to, the Sony A7. But 2 years is forever in the camera world nowadays and a lot has changed with this mount. What? Glad you asked.

  •  Sub G. Except for the K-1 I have never acquired an above $1,000 body. Either the new price was sub a grand or I purchased them second hand. But as of recent a second hand A7ii dipped below this threshold at KEH.com and I jumped on it.
  • In body IS. Of all the A7ii additions/modifications that addressed the reasons I traded the A7 (better ergonomics, superior materials and such) this is tops. After all the main draw then and now is adapting legacy 35mm glass to a  full frame sensor. The Pentax K-1 sold me on this IS/full frame combo and the A7 bests that since it can be adapted to even more lenses owing to it’s mirrorlessness.
  • Lenses. This above all else doomed my first go around with Sony. Two years ago I scored an A7 when it’s new price dropped below a G when the A7ii dropped. But after the full frame fog cleared and the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 haze dissipated I swiftly realized that I could not afford Sony’s native AF lenses. “Nifty 50? No, we have a Zeiss 55mm though. Price? Oh. More than you paid for your camera. You like 85mms? Are you sitting down? And all our zooms are priced out of reach even though we do not yet do f/2.8… but when we do you will not be able to afford them either.” But since then a couple of primes have caught my eye. They offer great specs and even better prices.
    • FE 50mm f/1.8
      • A true nifty 50. Though a bit pricier than alternatives and some disparage it’s AF speeds I am not that worried since I use MF mostly anyway so any AF is about acceptable in my book.
    • FE 85mm f/1.8
      • Though a few days from release as of this writing on line tests are already touting this as a bargain Batis. And with a sub $600 asking price day 1 ’nuff said for me

But first.

There was one exception my first Sony go around. One outlier where bargain price met stellar performance. Especially if you were willing to pick one up second hand. Why was it exceptional? As I read and found out:

  • While reasonable new and bundled as a kit lens the used market was littered with examples that were likely spurned kit lenses of those seeking greener slight wide to mild tele pastures. Amazing at $250 or less. (KEH’s current stock as exhibit A)
  • I try not to get caught up in specs and I read in a few places that for all the extra cost the optical performance of the humble 28-70mm often held it’s own against it’s pricier step up 24-70mm ball of f/4 constant aperture goodness. The 24-70mm f/4 (new f/2.8 is clearly out of my reach) is better I am sure, but the 28-70mm easily falls in to that will do territory. In fact they both hold the same score of 4.5 on Sony’s own website.
  • Surprisingly like the 24-70mm it is “Dust and moisture-resistant design”. Nice touch for a value lens.
  • The lens barely extends at all during it’s full zoom sweep. Not internal zoom technically, but as close as you could get.
  • Small and light.
  • Silent focus.
  • Fast focusing, especially in good light as is expected.
  • OSS, or Image Stabilization. In their value offering. This combined with the last few bullets let’s you know that high content value Sony lenses were possible.
  • Versatile. With it’s humble aperture specs there is no mind blowing bokeh, nor sliver thin depth of field to be found here, but that is it. It can muster acceptable isolation under the right conditions, but is excels at nearly anything else that falls within it’s focal range.20047333534_f999625e82_o

Continue reading “New Lens To Me… again: Sony 28-70mm”