Zeiss Touit 50M 2.8 + A6000 (Arachnids)

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Joel
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Zeiss Touit 50M 2.8 + A6000 (Arachnids)
4 months ago

I received my Zeiss Touit 50M and A6000 together recently and I have put together a few shots while I am finding my way around both. All are just hand-held, RAW, with some processing in LR5.

The Zeiss is well made and finished throughout, feels solid and is generally a nice object. A very subtle bit of design thoughtfulness is that the usual Zeiss script located on the front bezel is, on this lens, engraved on the outer barrel instead. I appreciate this because for macro work, where the lens is close to the subject, the lens presents an all-black face, keeping any reflections to a minimum. Nice touch.

The focusing ring is perfectly smooth and damped and the communication with the drive motor is reasonably natural. You can feel the dc motor chirp as small adjustments are made and the increments are easily fine enough to deal with any situation. Focus is not particularly fast but then I don't expect to be using AF very often.

MF, DMF and AF/Hold are great ways to use this camera/lens combination. I am concurrently using my R1s for most shooting, and will continue to do so. After so many years, I have come to completely trust the AF of the R1 but I think MF is the way to go with this particular combination. The precision of the lens and the resolution of the sensor pretty much demand that one steps up a notch and really nail the focus, if you have the time.

For macro, AF will get you into the target area but cannot be expected to know what it is that you need to have sharp. With very small subjects, moving the camera is by far the best technique, by hand or with a rack. Much more experimentation is required here to see if spot AF will work well enough.

All of this would be very difficult if it were not for the excellent EVF and screen. This is my first proper taste of modern camera displays and it makes precise manual focusing a breeze, better than any OVF I ever used in the past. They are both very responsive and natural-looking and after a few minutes, I forgot about them completely. I shoot to the histogram and ETTR and the dynamic range of the sensor means that ridiculous over-exposure is still recoverable in post without colour shifts. Consequently, I turned off the zebra highlighting for RAW exposures which I normally use on the R1, as it wasn't really contributing anything. In fact, the more things I turn off, the better it gets.

Engagement to the camera mount is solid and it makes a well balanced and attractive combination with the A6000. Reports indicate that the image circle is sufficient that you could get excellent images with an FF sensor as well, so a good investment.

Optically it's looking terrific: razor sharp and free of aberrations on one hand and decent bokeh on the other. There is some evidence of onion-skin bokeh if you look for it but generally the performance is very good. I'll let the photos do the talking.

The A6000 has been extensively examined so I wont go over the same ground. Basically, it's a fun camera to shoot with and the sensor is a very good one. With all these modern cameras, it takes a while to get it configured and understand what all the options can be used for, but I prefer this than having to live with some annoyance for the duration. The build is just fine and the body is very light and stiff. It's too boxy and angular for me (as most ILC mirrorless cameras are), having being spoilt by the handling of the F828 and the R1.

Given the diameter of the e-mount, it would be fascinating to see Sony revive the 828 design concept; it would make for a spectacular camera. Not having a swivelling screen is a real pest but the lenses I have chosen initially mean that this will be much less of an issue. These gripes aside, the viewfinder is exactly where it should be, the disposition of the controls works well for me and the cost/performance ratio makes for a fantastic bargain.

I can already see that good technique is going to be critical if you want to get the best out of this equipment. The sort of care that used to be reserved for medium format shooters is going to have to be the approach we will require to make great images when it matters. For images of flat surfaces at small distances for example, maintaining accurate focus coverage without a support is near impossible where previously I could have shot hand-held.

Here are some images of whatever presented itself while I fiddled around (Full-size images are linked from my site):

Look for the tiny insect just above centre.

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This pair of images are focused on either side of the pane of glass on which this funnel web spider was sunbathing.

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Shot through dirty glass.

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Harsh sunlight well handled.

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Nice reproduction of the original tones.

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Great micro-detail.

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A shaft of light emphasised the ghostly aspect and reflects great sensor performance.

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Lovely colour rendition.

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Watch where you stick that lens!

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Thanks to everyone on the forum for testing and observations that helped to choose these products.

Joel.

 Joel's gear list:Joel's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F505V Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F828 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 Sony RX100 Sony a6000
Comment & critique:
Please provide me constructive critique and criticism.
Sony a6000 Zeiss Touit 2.8/50M
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