Does one really need CZ for the a900?

Started May 24, 2012 | Discussions
clarkt
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Does one really need CZ for the a900?
May 24, 2012

I am an a700 user. Thinking of buying a used a900 so I can experience full frame. I have heard it said around here that you need CZ lenses to do justice to the a900. All I have are a few regular Sony FF prime lenses and some choice Minolta glass. I can't afford to buy CZ lenses or G lenses at this time - and probably never. So would an a900 for me be a waste of time and money if I do not have the high grade lenses?

I do portraits and glamour mainly, plus lots of landscapes and nature stuff. Hardly any sports.
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Bart7D
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Re: Does one really need CZ for the a900?
In reply to clarkt, May 25, 2012

You will at least have the benefit of extra resolution; good thing for landscape photography, and for shoots where cropping is to be expected.

(Let me once again recommend the Tamron 28-75 lens here. It can on many aspects compete with the CZ 24-70 - at 1/3 to 1/4 of the price...)

Bart

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Danny Williams
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Re: Does one really need CZ for the a900?
In reply to Bart7D, May 25, 2012

I have owned the A900 since it first was introduced. I have an arsenal of lens the cover pretty much the gamut, and I have found that most of them produce pretty amazing results. The camera is an outstanding piece of photographic equipment, and it shines with all sorts of glass. CZ glass is great, but so are many others, including lots of the older minolta lens.

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Amateur Sony Shooter
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Re: Does one really need CZ for the a900?
In reply to clarkt, May 25, 2012

The short answer is NO. You don't have to have Z or G glass for A900(850). I uses $50 Minolta 35-105 (New Style), $90 Minolta 50/1.7 and $350 Tamron 70-300 USD on my A900, and they all perform very well. In fact my 35-105 and 50/1.7 do better on FF than my prevuious A55. Of course if you do use G or Z lenses they will produce beautiful result.

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Ray Maines
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Good Lenses Are Always Better Than Not
In reply to clarkt, May 25, 2012

clarkt wrote:

I am an a700 user. Thinking of buying a used a900 so I can experience full frame. I have heard it said around here that you need CZ lenses to do justice to the a900.

Obviously, good lenses are always better than not so good lenses on any camera.

It's also true that lenses are still ahead of sensors. Your lenses are not going to be the weak link in your two link photography chain.

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Tacoma, Washington, USA

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clarkt
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Re: Good Lenses Are Always Better Than Not
In reply to Ray Maines, May 25, 2012

Ray Maines wrote:

clarkt wrote:

I am an a700 user. Thinking of buying a used a900 so I can experience full frame. I have heard it said around here that you need CZ lenses to do justice to the a900.

Obviously, good lenses are always better than not so good lenses on any camera.

It's also true that lenses are still ahead of sensors. Your lenses are not going to be the weak link in your two link photography chain.

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Tacoma, Washington, USA

'Weak link'. Yes, that was my concern about the lenses. That is a good way to express it. Thanks.

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clarkt
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Re: Does one really need CZ for the a900?
In reply to Danny Williams, May 25, 2012

Danny Williams wrote:

I have owned the A900 since it first was introduced. I have an arsenal of lens the cover pretty much the gamut, and I have found that most of them produce pretty amazing results. The camera is an outstanding piece of photographic equipment, and it shines with all sorts of glass. CZ glass is great, but so are many others, including lots of the older minolta lens.

Wow. That is very encouraging. Thanks. I'm almost ready to click the 'Buy Now' button for the a900. I don't like the direction Sony is going now with their SLTs. Too much dependance on electronics for my taste. Looking through the SLT EVF is like what The Terminator sees when he is pursuing and analyzing his next victim. The a900 is more traditional. I like that.

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royalpar1
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Re: Good Lenses Are Always Better Than Not
In reply to clarkt, May 25, 2012

The Short Answer is YES - Buy the best glass you can afford to buy

My 24-70 is amazing, My 70200G is great, my 1650 is very good, and am trying to trade to get the CZ1635.

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D Williams
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Re: Does one really need CZ for the a900?
In reply to clarkt, May 25, 2012

No, for the most part if the Minolta AF lens was good before, it will remain good on the A900. Go to Photoclubalpha.com and search the A100-900 forum for 'A900 Minolta lens' to get good owner discussions of the merits of various lenses.

You can also go to kurtmunger.com. and read Kurt's reviews. He has done many of the older lenses on the A900

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stan_pustylnik
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you will catch more content with each shot
In reply to clarkt, May 25, 2012

I don't have a single CZ or G lens, simply because I can't afford it.

However I got some really good shots with A850 and several inexpensive A-mount lenses.

some samples are here, but also in other albums on my website.

http://stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com/Other/Sony-A850-first-shots/10944150_786qBD# !i=1168325786&k=F26z5

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Person is taking photos, not camera. When photograph is bad, it's because photographer doesn't know how to choose settings optimal to "own preferences". Then blames camera for bad IQ.
This is same as blaming car about arriving to wrong destination.

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eastriding4310
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Re: Does one really need CZ for the a900?
In reply to clarkt, May 25, 2012

Of course you can afford CZ lenses! If you want a really sharp lens, buy a Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm 1.8 Pancolar (East German) manual focus lens for about $150 plus shipping in M42 screw mount. Also available for about $150 is the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 135mm 3.5 in M42 mount. M42 mount to Sony adapters are as cheap as $5 on Ebay. I bought both lenses on Ebay and use them on my A77 and my Olympus 4/3 dslr. I am very happy with the sharpness and colors. Two genuine Carl Zeiss lenses for $300. A real bargain! Make sure to get the later multi coated models, preferably with high serial numbers.
I shot my CZJ 50mm at Yosemite on my A77 a few weeks ago. It was very sharp.

Another good lens is the Asahi Takamur 35mm in M42($70 ebay). It is also quite sharp!

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Robsphoto
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The Sony A900 is great but getting a bit old now!
In reply to clarkt, May 25, 2012

clarkt wrote:

Ray Maines wrote:

clarkt wrote:

I am an a700 user. Thinking of buying a used a900 so I can experience full frame. I have heard it said around here that you need CZ lenses to do justice to the a900.

Obviously, good lenses are always better than not so good lenses on any camera.

It's also true that lenses are still ahead of sensors. Your lenses are not going to be the weak link in your two link photography chain.

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Tacoma, Washington, USA

'Weak link'. Yes, that was my concern about the lenses. That is a good way to express it. Thanks.

Although I have really enjoyed my A900 and CZ 24-70 and Sony 70-300G, I think I would recommend to anyone to wait for Sony's new full frame offerings, they can't be that far away now? Or if in a hurry, go with the 36mp FF Nikon D800. The A900 is now a long way behind with the latest developments!

There are several features that I use a lot on my Sony A55, such as panoramic shots and video, which aren't available on the A900, so I go out quite often now with the A55 rather than the A900.

Also, I quite like the A55's EVF, and particularly when shooting on "manual", it certainly alerts you to any exposure errors, so I think the A99 is worth waiting for! I like looking at pictures I have just taken through the viewfinder rather than on a LCD screen (particularly when in the sun), and you can't do this with the A900.

I would use the best lenses you can afford with the A900, but I suppose this applies to most cameras.

Cheers
Rob
http://www.robsphotography.co.nz/Sony-A900.html
Examples of the amazing clarity of some A900 images

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Nordstjernen
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FF = some trouble too
In reply to clarkt, May 25, 2012

If I could not afford high grade glass, I would not go for a FF camera -- lack of corner resolution and the really annoying problem with vignetting even at f:8 or f:11 in many situations are two reasons that I left FF.

From printed large format test photographs I found that the A77 to fully replaces my A900 cameras. In som respect IQ is even better than compared to the older 24 Mp FF cameras, and where the A77 doen't fully match the A900 the differences are so small that it is neglible for real life photography. I think some FF owners will tell you a different story, but then, have they compared the cameras? With a new generation of 24 or higher Mp FF cameras this will change though.

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two_stanley
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Re: The Sony A900 is great but getting a bit old now!
In reply to Robsphoto, May 25, 2012

You lasted this long without a Sony FF.. Why buy now when the A99 will be released this year and A850/A900 prices will plummet

Personally I sold my A850 for an A77... Don't fall for the 'FF experience'. It will be like having a bigger and heavier A700 and you'll wonder why the images aren't that much better. And don't dog the A77... It's features are miles ahead of the A900 and once you have use them you won't go back.

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Fraxinus excelsior
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Re: The Sony A900 is great but getting a bit old now!
In reply to Robsphoto, May 25, 2012

Robsphoto wrote:

clarkt wrote:

Ray Maines wrote:

clarkt wrote:

I am an a700 user. Thinking of buying a used a900 so I can experience full frame. I have heard it said around here that you need CZ lenses to do justice to the a900.

Obviously, good lenses are always better than not so good lenses on any camera.

It's also true that lenses are still ahead of sensors. Your lenses are not going to be the weak link in your two link photography chain.

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Tacoma, Washington, USA

'Weak link'. Yes, that was my concern about the lenses. That is a good way to express it. Thanks.

Although I have really enjoyed my A900 and CZ 24-70 and Sony 70-300G, I think I would recommend to anyone to wait for Sony's new full frame offerings, they can't be that far away now? Or if in a hurry, go with the 36mp FF Nikon D800. The A900 is now a long way behind with the latest developments!

What! If one don't need video and jpeg panoramic shoot but just a regular dslr camera the A900 are a great tool. Even the new Canon 5D MKIII dosent have the same dynamic range as the a900 and munch more shadow noise than the a900 even at base ISO. So forget about a long way behind.

There are several features that I use a lot on my Sony A55, such as panoramic shots and video, which aren't available on the A900, so I go out quite often now with the A55 rather than the A900.

Also, I quite like the A55's EVF, and particularly when shooting on "manual", it certainly alerts you to any exposure errors, so I think the A99 is worth waiting for! I like looking at pictures I have just taken through the viewfinder rather than on a LCD screen (particularly when in the sun), and you can't do this with the A900.

Yes thats a great advantage the EVF, but not a thing you can't live without.

I would use the best lenses you can afford with the A900, but I suppose this applies to most cameras.

Yes but many lenses are ok on the a900 even the cheap one. I have a Minolta 24-105 which at f8 and between 50- 70mm are better than the CZ 24-70 which I used to own.

D

Cheers
Rob
http://www.robsphotography.co.nz/Sony-A900.html
Examples of the amazing clarity of some A900 images

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jeffcpix
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Re: Does one really need CZ for the a900?
In reply to clarkt, May 25, 2012

I was doubtful about the value of the CZ glass on the a900 --
I changed my mind after seeing the results.

But I cannot use the 24-70 as a walk-around lens -- just too heavy.
Same with the 16-35, I much prefer the old Minolta 17-35G because it's nice
and light --- but it just isn't as crisp (and the color is warmer).

At this point in my life, the images I make are for my own pleasure and
I limit myself to 13x19 print size -- so even a less than stellar piece of
glass holds together quite well -- because it isn't getting enlarged quite
a much as an APS capture would. My favorite lens for travel and walking around
is a Sigma 28-300. And because I find the focal range so convenient, I've
picked up the latest Tamron version -- first test show it to be a little
less contrasty than the Sigma but with better corner sharpness (I rarely
shoot wider than F8-11). I had a similar experience with the 70-300G;
excellent quality, but way to big and somewhat ridiculous with the giant
lens hood provided. For me, it's not about ultimate sharpness -- if my
subject matter and composition aren't enough to 'wow' 'em,
a few extra lines of resolution won't either. Of course if I
was doing commercial photography where max sharpness was essential,
I'd spend as much as necessary on the biggest, sharpest etc --
and have someone along to carry the tripod and the sandbags.

As for waiting for the a99: I have no need for any
more pixels...24MP is fine and I'd rather not have to keep buying more
RAM to keep the computer from getting slower and slower.
I know that lots of us love the OLED finders -- after 40 years shooting
with OVF, I've found the a900 viewfinder the best ever. And I've
got no use for high frame rate or video capacity. And the a900 fits my
hand, neither too big or too small. (the old Minolta EH-7 eye cup is
much better than anything Sony offers -- though it does interfere with
the eye piece sensor -- unfortunately they are rare as hen's teeth)

Bells and whistles are fine for those who like 'em.
I think you'll find that the a900 a joy to use and, very probably,
last A mount camera with an OVF you will ever have available to you

All that being said, if the a700 had 24MP and had an OVF viewfinder as
big and bright as the a900, it's slightly smaller footprint would have convinced
me to sell my a900s. Just like had I been able to get the quality of a
6x7 neg from a 35mm format, I wouldn't have used a Pentax 67 and an RZ.

What I find more intriguing is the prospect of getting rid of the AA filter --
that may give even more sharpness than what one can expect from
$$$$$ glass.

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Kriekira
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Re: FF = some trouble too
In reply to Nordstjernen, May 25, 2012

Nordstjernen wrote:

If I could not afford high grade glass, I would not go for a FF camera ... .

From printed large format test photographs I found that the A77 to fully replaces my A900 cameras. In som respect IQ is even better than compared to the older 24 Mp FF cameras, and where the A77 doen't fully match the A900 the differences are so small that it is neglible for real life photography.

Excellent points, imho, for the OP to consider. FF is always going to be bigger, heavier, and more expensive. The core factor of IQ is lenses. A commitment to FF will involve, sooner or later, buying expensive FF lenses (the Z and G the OP asks about).

Is the expense -- and the weight and bulk -- worth it? That's for each photographer to decide.

The a77 certainly narrows the gap between APS-C IQ and FF IQ. Though the next FF from Sony may outdistance the a77 by the same amount that the a900 outdistanced the a700, it's undeniable that the a77 currently meets many of needs one had to go to FF to get just a few years ago.

Since (again) lenses are the core of a system, my recommendation to the OP is to buy into the system whose best lenses you can afford, and buy those lenses.

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moimoi
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Re: FF = some trouble too
In reply to Nordstjernen, May 25, 2012

Nordstjernen wrote:

If I could not afford high grade glass, I would not go for a FF camera -- lack of corner resolution and the really annoying problem with vignetting even at f:8 or f:11 in many situations are two reasons that I left FF.

That's actually not true. What one needs to know is that FF sensor needs good (and expensive) glass in order to get good corner resolution. I think you are nitpicking every little details. To me, vignetting is not a big issue, specially that it can be easily corrected while shooting raw.

Below are two samples (the first one shot at f/4, and the second shot at f/11) obtained after raw > jpg (sRGB) conversion. Both shots were taken with the Sony Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8 lens. None of them are consistent with what you said above.

From printed large format test photographs I found that the A77 to fully replaces my A900 cameras.

APS-C vs FF are made for different type of shooting.

In som respect IQ is even better than compared to the older 24 Mp FF cameras

How do you qualify and more importantly quantify IQ?

, and where the A77 doen't fully match the A900 the differences are so small that it is neglible for real life photography.

Again, both systems are intended for different things. For portraiture, FF is much more convenient and suitable for that type of shooting. Associated with a 85 mm 1.4 (or 105/135 mm), a FF camera will produce most of the time a much more appealing photograph than an APS-C camera will be able to, specially if one is aiming for very shallow dof (that I found very appealing with portraits)

I think some FF owners will tell you a different story,

I agree

but then, have they compared the cameras? With a new generation of 24 or higher Mp FF cameras this will change though.

I have used APS-C cameras D70, D200, D300s, a900 and have some hands-on with the D700 (FF), and a77...I came to the conclusion that I was much more comfortable with FF cameras than APS-C cameras. No question that the a900 has served my needs, which is what only matters in the end.

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paulesko
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Re: FF = some trouble too
In reply to moimoi, May 25, 2012

I don´t think you need CZ glass. I own a 16-35 and it´s not good at corner resolution, although it´s a very good lens. And Samyang 35 1.4 is waaay better thant this CZ at 35mm...

What I mean is that there are many manufacturers, that make really great lenses, SY it´s one of them if you can live without AF. But there are others, I have a minolta 200 2.8 that is just great great great, and sigmas 50 and 85 are wonderful lenses that will squeeze your camera, and more important, your talent.
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moimoi
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Re: FF = some trouble too
In reply to paulesko, May 25, 2012

paulesko wrote:

I don´t think you need CZ glass. I own a 16-35 and it´s not good at corner resolution, although it´s a very good lens. And Samyang 35 1.4 is waaay better thant this CZ at 35mm...

I agree with your comment. As long as you do not have any problems with fully manual focus lens, Samyang, Rokinon (or same rebranding name) provide great results no question. Though the Rokinon 35mm is still about 500 USD (3 times cheapers that the Sony G version though )

What I mean is that there are many manufacturers, that make really great lenses, SY it´s one of them if you can live without AF. But there are others, I have a minolta 200 2.8 that is just great great great, and sigmas 50 and 85 are wonderful lenses that will squeeze your camera, and more important, your talent.

Yes, but the three lenses you are mentioning are 500 USD or above each. The minolta 200 mm 2.8 is stellar :), but not cheap either!

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