Archive for the ‘voigtlander’ Category

I admit it, I’m getting older. I really don’t like carrying around this Canon gear any more. For the past few years I have been using some of the smaller cameras as my travel kit. Lately that has been the Sony A7R2, an incredible chunk of technology. While I have a couple of auto-focus lenses for this body (35/2.8 and the Zeiss 85/1.8 Batis), I have been taking smaller manual focus lenses to use instead of the auto-focus stuff. I can see a day when this is all I use, even for the active kids work
I do.
The difference is focus-peaking. I am getting almost everything in focus, shooting less (a good thing) and having a ton of fun in the process. I don’t even miss my Leica M9 any more.
Mostly I have been using the Voigtlander Heliar 75/1.8 and Nokton 50/1.5 glass. Both of these are crazy good lenses for the money. A pro friend A/B-ed the Heliar ($700) against the Summilux 75/1.4 ($4000) and couldn’t see the difference even when pixel peeping.
I am also using the somewhat more modern Zeiss Loxia 35/2, which is my favorite lens by far at the moment. This one talks to my A7R2, so I get full EXIF info, which I don’t get with the Voigtlander.
I even did a job only with the 50/1.5 and it was a success. I could photograph kids on the move with the lens wide open, and through the miracle of focus peaking, everything was pretty much sharp.
Of course the Canon 85/1.2 on a 5D MK3 is pretty special too, but that’s almost two kilos vs .875 kgs for the Sony + 50/1.5 combo.
The best part for me though is that shooting manual focus is more fun and more efficient. I realize I shoot completely differently with manual focus. With the Canon I will sort of hunt around to meter and focus, and the recompose at the end. With the Sony I compose first, while focusing at the same time. Metering is a piece of cake in AV mode, i just ride the Exposure Compensation dial. My pix are much more consistent in every way. And as I mentioned before, I shoot far less as I know I have the shot.
Here are a few recent samples.

Sony A7R2 & Voigtlander 75/1.8 Heliar

Sony A7R2 & Nokton 50/1.5

Sony A7R2 & Nokton 50/1.5

Sony A7R2 & Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2

Sony A7R2 & Loxia 35mm
Sony A7R2 & Loxia 35mm\

For Save the Children Laos (USA) 
Sony A7R2 & Heliar 75mm

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So, I did something I had never really considered doing, I bought a Leica. A lightly used M9. After snickering at the Leica-heads for years, I now am one. I did however avoid acquiring the subsequent Leica Lens Fever that can kill savings accounts.
Instead I bought a few very reasonably priced Voigtlander lenses. This glass comes in at around 20% of what similar Leica lenses would cost. Sure, Leica lenses are the best, but these Japanese lenses are just fine for my needs. Voila, my new travel kit.
To kick the tires on my modest little rangefinder package, I went off to India for a few weeks. For the first couple of weeks I wandered aimlessly around Calcutta, shooting portraits and drinking tea. Then I headed to Jodhpur, Rajasthan to take part in conducting a workshop on travel photography. This gave me plenty of time to find out what would and would not work with the rangefinder.
Obviously I love this camera. It’s amazing to use, it makes me slow down, and best of all, the files are beautiful. Warm and more ‘filmy’ than the Canon files I am used to. (It’s the CCD sensor I’m told.)
Here are a few samples of images I made with the Leica, and my cheapo Voigtlander lenses.
You can check out a larger gallery of these recent images on my FB page and my website.

Voigtlander 75 Heliar
Leica M9, Voigtlander 75 Heliar

Voigtlander 35 Color Skopar
Leica M9, 35 Color Skopar

Voigtlander 35 Color Skopar
Leica M9, 35 Color Skopar

Voigtlander 21mm Color Skopar
Kolkata, Leica M9, 21 Color Skopar

Voigtlander 35 Color Skopar
Kolkata Rickshaw, Leica M9

35 Color Skopar
Saraswati Puja, Kolkata, Leica M9, 35 Color Skopar

Jodhpur, Leica M9, 50 Nokton

Voigtlander 35 Color Skopar
Kolkata Rickshaw, Leica M9, 35 Color Skopar
Kolkata, 21 Color Skopar
Kolkata Rickshaw, Leica M9

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Last week I got my hands on the new Sony A7 here in Hong Kong, a week or so before it was released around the world. I’m not much of a gear-head, and haven’t actually bought anything new in years, but this camera is interesting. A full frame, 24 MP mirrorless machine. Advance notices were very positive, so I grabbed one on the active HK used market. (I don’t think it had even been used once.)
I just had a weekend to kick the tires a bit and check it out on a couple of jobs. I am using it with manual focus Voigtlander glass – 75/f1.8, 35/f2.5 & 21/f4. I hadn’t used a manual focus camera in years, as my main gig as a kids photographer requires quick and accurate focusing, as I tend to work at wide open apertures with fast Canon primes. (e.g. 85/f1.2 & 35/f1.4)
I was surprised to find focusing extremely easy with the ‘focus peaking’ method, even wide open. Sure, it’s not quite as fast, but almost. The major winner for me is the size and weight. The camera and 3 lenses feels like nothing, much less than some of the Canon lenses I use.
I am going to take it on the road this winter to do some travel photography, along with my Hasselblad Xpan film camera.
Here are a couple of quick samples from this weekend. I will be posting more in the near future.

Sony A7, Voigtlander Heliar 75/1.8

Sony A7, Voigtlander Heliar 75/1.8
Sony A7, Voigtlander Heliar 75/1.8

Sony A7
Sony A7, Voigtlander Heliar 75/1.8

Sony A7, Voigtlander Color-Skopar 35mm 2.5  

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