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Paradigm shift

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Amamba, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Well, having been shooting mirrorless for the last twenty months, I am now completely changing the way I approach my photography.

    I have accumulated a few high quality but fairly sizable lenses (Sigma 12-24 and Minolta Beercan in A-mount, and SELP18105/4). However, in the last several months I definitely started to prefer portability over the ultimate IQ (as long as the difference is not major, of course).

    So, I am slowly making a full circle and getting to the point where most E mount shooters probably start - having a bunch of relatively cheap, portable glass in my bag.

    First, I sold the 12-24 and replaced with Sony 16/2.8 + UWA. The resulting combo is about 1/3rd the bulk and feels like 1/4th the weight.

    Yesterday, I bought a 55210 from a forum member. Still waiting for it to arrive, I fully expect it to live up to it's not super stellar reputation for slow aperture and slow AF, but decent IQ. I won't sell the Beercan any time soon. It was cheap after all. But, if I go on vacation or just out and about with family, I'd rather not carry that artillery shell with me. It will be there for dedicated, pre-planned use only, and 55210 for "just in case" situations.

    Finally, I've been using (and appreciating) the 1855 kit a whole lot more lately. It's sharp, and even when mounted on the camera, fits in my jacket pocket (if barely). It's not as universally useful as 18105 but it's much more of a "grab and go" lens. And it's so cheap and easy to replace I can take it anywhere.

    A small, about 12 x 11 x 4" messenger bag that I have will hold the camera, 16/2.8, UWA adapter, 18-55, 55-210, 30/2.8 and / or 50/1.8 OSS, spare batteries, and a bunch of small items - with room to spare, covering 12 to 210mm range. And since most lenses were bought used, I am not as worried to get it wet or lost / stolen.

    I will still keep 18-105/4, as it can replace both 1855 and 55210, and has a bit nicer IQ, but I think I'll try to do a whole vacation with just small cheap lenses & see how that turns out. I'd be tempted to play with 1650 if I can find it for really cheap (don't want to spend $150 and find out that it's really that much worse than 1855).
     
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  2. ztryfe

    ztryfe TalkEmount Veteran

    224
    Aug 19, 2014
    Mexico
    Vic
    I have acquired some glass (fell asleep, the GAS ate me), and been conjuring up to 2 configurations for my lowepro passport sling:

    Prime galore:

    SEL16 + UWA
    Sigma 28mm F2.8
    Minolta 50mm f1.7
    Vivitar S1 105mm f2.5 Macro (If I know that I'll be heading to somewhere with interesting macro opportunities / possibilities )

    I have the most fun with this setup, but can be finicky to swap lenses on the go.

    I keep going back to just this:

    SEL16 + UWA
    SEL1855
    Tokina SD 70-210 F4
    (Its ultra compact, and sharp enough for me, see: https://www.talkemount.com/showthread.php?t=9074 for results )

    When I want the absolute lightness and still be able to take most of the shots I want, the SEL55210 has been long tempting me for rounding up that setup.

    I have a Kiron 70-210 f3.5, I hear ya with the artillery shell remark, its fun, its huge, its good, but I never add that to my bag, until I am absolutely sure I'll benefit from it.
     
  3. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I've undergone a similar paradigm shift. I just sold off my last legacy, manual lens. So I'm now on FE lenses only.
     
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  4. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Yep, same here. At some point last year I had over a dozen manual lenses, that's not counting the ones I sold or gave away. It was fun. But, the ability to just point and shoot is hard to give up, plus I am shooting lots of photos of active kids. So I only have three MF lenses left (Kiron 28/2, Minolta 50/1.4, and Minolta 35-70/3.5 Macro) plus the 2x TC. And I will probably just sell the two primes one day.
     
  5. ztryfe

    ztryfe TalkEmount Veteran

    224
    Aug 19, 2014
    Mexico
    Vic
    *ahem* Looking to replace my 28mm ;)
     
  6. LakeFX

    LakeFX TalkEmount Rookie

    20
    Dec 26, 2014
    Eugene, OR
    This is what got me to make the transition to mirrorless in the first place. So far I've found that there are a lot of good legacy primes that can really cut the size and weight of my gear bag. No zoom and no AF mechanism really helps reduce size and weight. For example, the Nikon 70 - 300 VR I used to have was about the same size and only slightly lighter than my legacy Canon 300 f4.
     
  7. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    I began my foray into mirrorless with weight and size a priority. I needed a system light and small and can get the shot. For 2 1/2 months on the road, cycling from the Pacific Northwest to San Diego. Over 13,000 photos covering 2300 miles, all I took was what came in the mail about a month before I departed...body, 1650 kit lens, and 55210 zoom. Plus an external charger and spare battery. Sometimes you can't, and shouldn't haul a ton of glass on your trips. It is about composing and getting that shot at that moment with what you have. Some times it's more enjoyable.

    The nice thing about this system is that you can pare it down as light as you need, and still keep an arsenal of lenses at the ready when it calls for it. I have about 4-5 bags of various sizes and capacities to accommodate the combo I wish to have. I am now enjoying the 'cheap' manual focus lenses phase after spending a good amount of time with just a minimal kit. Eventually I will cull the collection of duplicates, and keep the favorites and most often-used models. That is a normal progression.
     
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  8. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    Tretty much same thoughts here. Nex is a great system as I can go with Sigma 19mm, 30mm and 60mm or take several kg of lenses. All depend about needs.
     
  9. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Interesting read, Amamba. The only constant for me the last 20+ years has been the size of my bag: it's a LowePro Nova 190 these days and before I've used the slightly smaller Nova 3. And I experienced the paradigm shift you described, but only partly. When going out with the family I load the bag with the A7 and the FE 28-70mm and I make do with that. I could use more telephoto but I'm not willing to pay € 1500 for the FE 70-200/4 (yet :)). At home I do a lot of close-up work and there I use legacy glass with bellows units and I don't see native glass replacing that anytime soon. When I go out by myself for a different purpose than photography, I load the bag with the A7 and mostly only the Olympus OM 40/2; the rest of the bag's space serves other purposes. And finally when going out to do photography I carry a small bunch of legacy lenses, favorites being the Olympus 40/2 (my standard lens), the Olympus 24/2.8 and shift 35/2.8 and Minolta MD 17/4 and 100/2.5. I do static subjects mostly so I don't mind all things manual and these lenses are tolerable in terms of weight and size.
     
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  10. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    I agree with your sentiment maybe for different reasons though, Amamba. Since my second child, my free time has gone out the window and so I might be able to sneak out of the house for 30 minutes, 1 hour max at a time. I don't want to go out with a big bag, I want to simplify. Thankfully I think I am on the edge of this with my very expensive purchase of 16-35/4. It looks likely I am now going to sell my beloved legacy lenses FD 24/2, maybe even the 35/1.4, and even my dear 55/1.2 for lack of use. And goodbye dear FE kit lens too, soon. The 16-35 + 55 covers this range so much better I am mostly holding on to those lenses for sentimental reasons.

    Is Manual Focus a "phase"? I don't think so. I love the haptics of the Voigtlander especially (Leica focus tab!), and one day when I am old and retired, I am going to get myself a Summilux to live out my days :) The joy of photography really comes out in MF for me and is irreplaceable by modern lenses. The problem is really it is a slower, deliberative process that I am exactly the wrong stage in life to enjoy :(
     
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  11. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    For me the "aha!" moment came with finding a good, used FE 55mm f/1.8 on eBay for a decent price. When I compared it to my beloved Canon LTM 50mm f/1.4, it wasn't even close. The FE beat the "Japanese Summilux" by a huge margin. And I do mean HUGE. And months earlier, when comparing my Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 to the SEL2470Z, again the FE (zoom!) lens outperformed the Canon prime. And the FE 70-200 gave me just as good results as several Nikon and Canon prime telephotos I tried, and it has OSS, which really comes into play with these longer lenses. So I began to wonder why I'm hanging on to these legacy lenses when my FE lenses perform as well, or even considerably better.

    I too enjoy the contemplative aspect of photography. But there's no impediment to that kind of shooting with a modern lens. I could even turn off autofocus if I wanted to relive the 60‘s. ;)

    As for bags, well, I'm a bag whore, and I have one for every conceivable photography trip. They're a lot cheaper than lenses. And I can go light with the A7 and the 35 and 55 in a tiny Eagle Creek bag, or take the whole enchilada, including a full-height travel tripod, in my Think Tank Retrospective 20.

    I don't think that manual lenses are a "phase" necessarily, but they do seem to have run their course with me. There may eventually be some sort of specialty lens that would get me to dive back in. But in the mean time, I'll be saving my money to get that 16-35mm.

    And then I'll be done. No, really. No! Really!

    No. :p
     
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  12. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    My current APS-C kit contains a NEX-6 and a quartet of Pen F mount lenses: 38/1.8, 25/4, 20/3.5, and Vivitar T-mount 85/1.8. They all fit neatly into a small Messenger-type bag, and it weighs next to nothing. I also carry in a separate backpack a Minolta MC 200/4, but it doesn't get a lot of use. Although I am sometimes envious of the great bird shots I see some people get, I don't see myself buying another long FL lens. I enjoy walking through the woods much more than sitting in one place for long periods, waiting for something to appear. About the only time I am stationary when shooting pics is when I'm spying on the feeders in our yard. One thing that has been a constant with me is that I greatly prefer the "slower, deliberative process" of manual lenses that Joel mentioned.

    Tony
     
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  13. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    Well my delima is all about the Benjamins and a warped reality. In my perfect world I would have small, light AF lenses with amazing IQ. These lenses would also be very affordable.

    For non-yanks and older dudes, a Benjamin is a 100 dollar bill. ;)
     
  14. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    My biggest issue with Sony is not IQ - I can live with some imperfections while pixel peeping as long as the overall photo id good - but the screwed up orange / reddish skin tones. It's very hard to get a real, pink skin in portraits sometimes. Otherwise, I can live with IQ.
     
  15. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    Don't hate me for saying this, but this is pretty much resolved in the A--- series cameras - I always felt my NEX-5N AWB was always slightly off by comparison, and with A7, the RAWs and AWB JPEGs look remarkably alike.
     
  16. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Well, the problem with A-series is cost and size. To build the similar setup (an UWA, a walkaround zoom, a portrait prime, and a tele) I'd need to spend $5-6K, and the resulting set up - while definitely having a superior IQ - would be not that much smaller than a FF DSLR. Not something I'd want to carry while chasing the kids around a waterpark.

    I just hope Sony fixes AWB and the "recipe" for processing colors in their subsequent APS-C - either that, or Canon decides to produce an APS-C mirrorless that they are actually serious about.
     
  17. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    No, the A6000 is already included. The new JPEG engine has been in every Sony camera after the A7 (A5000 being the only one without it, I think), and the AWB in it is superb.
     
  18. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Same here. The NEX size/price is just perfect for me.
     
  19. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    That's good to know. If Sony releases a new APS-C higher end body without IBIS, A6000 will be a very attractive buy. If one with IBIS, I may have to get that instead :) hopefully with same AWB engine.
     
  20. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    So, the 55210 from RTex42 is here, and looks like it will fit nicely into my travel setup. Even though I rarely need a tele - especially after getting 18105 - it's nice to have it available when needed without it taking up most of the space in a small bag.

    It is significantly smaller than the Beercan, and even more noticeably lighter. When running some comparison shots for ****s and giggles inside the house (fully expecting Beercan to smoke it) I was surprised to find out that I could actually get more keepers with SEL - the Beercan may well have better sharpness but it's of no help if I can't hold it steady at 1/60 and 210mm, while I have no problems getting steady shots from 55210 at 1/30 and 210mm, due to the combination of OSS and light weight. However even after I upgraded the firmware on tele to v.02 and it got noticeably speedier, the Beercan on LA-EA2 still focuses faster.

    Anyway, with 16/2.8, UWA, 1855, 55210 and 30/2.8 I think I have the lightest, smallest, cheapest travel setup that's still decent enough for most uses, and is easy to replace if anything happens. And of course there's 18105 for when I want a jack of all trades.

    The next step that I am thinking of very hard would be to get 35/1.8 and sell 30/2.8 and 50/1.8. The advantage is, of course, fewer lenses in the bag, a fast stabilized prime that is more universally useful than 50mm (and slightly smaller) while still having good bokeh, and a tad shorter physically, plus has faster start up time than Sigma (my only complain with that lens). The disadvantage is cost, sharpness that's according to the reviews is less than both 50 and 30, and the fact that it's a bit too wide. The last one is a killer - if it was a 28mm with same cost and IQ, it would be a no-brainer. Too bad that lens isn't cheap enough to experiment with...
     
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