I have the older version of the 30mm - the same optically, but with a rubber grip on the focus ring rather than smooth metal. It's a really good lens for street photography, where I'm generally using narrower apertures and zone focusing or AF.
I've always found its manual focus quite poor though: the focus ring (on two different lenses that I tried) is a bit stiff and sticky, especially when you first start turning it. It definitely makes fine adjustment to the focus tricky; I end up turning to too far, then having to turn it back to nail the focus point.
If they've made manual focus on the new one smoother then it may well be superior to the earlier version even with metal rather than a rubber grip.
vesa1tahti: The D7200 simply is brilliant compared to this Sony. Lower high ISO noise, better IQ all in all. We may wait a few years in order to see an other APS-C beating the Nikon.
I consider the EVF a big advantage for manual focus macro shooting - that's one of the main reasons why I bought a Sony rather than a Nikon. Obviously plenty of people take great macro shots with an OVF, but it really increases my number of keepers to have focus peaking and magnification in the viewfinder.
iAPX: Compared to the Nikon D610 & D750, that seems to share a similar sensor, the Sony STL-A77 II seems to be incredibly noisy, with at least 2EV difference when putting it on ISO 1600 and D610 or D750 at ISO 6400!
Those are cameras with full frame sensors, you'd expect at least a stop or so better noise performance from them, even without taking into account the SLT mirror.
Eurotrax: No Sirui ball heads!? Such great quality ball heads, they had the K-40X in the previous test.
That struck me too. Sirui make some excellent ball heads for a very reasonable price.
I'm a bit surprised that there's no EVF built in considering the price. Yes, I did notice the LCD screen attachment, but fitting/removing that bulky thing to switch between screen and viewfinder looks a lot less practical.
SteveY80: I can't really see why I'd buy one of these considering the excellent Sigma and Tamron macro lenses in the same price range. The older 90mm Tamron is actually a bit cheaper and lighter, with the advantage of automatic aperture, and also AF if it's needed (e.g. if using it as a dual purpose macro/portrait lens).
In my opinion, only having manual aperture is a significant disadvantage for macro, where you'll usually be stopped down to a narrow aperture. That's why I stopped using a manual lens on extension tubes and got a native macro lens.
An EVF helps, but the reduction in light can significantly increase noise, especially if the subject isn't well lit to begin with.
I've used a manual lens on extension tubed with my Sony A77II and it can make it harder to accurately focus than when using a native macro lens at f/2.8. For example, the extra noise in the focus magnified image makes it harder to see when the texture/detail in the subject becomes sharp.
I can't really see why I'd buy one of these considering the excellent Sigma and Tamron macro lenses in the same price range. The older 90mm Tamron is actually a bit cheaper and lighter, with the advantage of automatic aperture, and also AF if it's needed (e.g. if using it as a dual purpose macro/portrait lens).
brn: The article claims it's fully interactive. Given that description, I'm anticipating you can actually operate some features of the virtual camera. That doesn't appear to be the case. It just seems that each virtual button will simply launch a video.
Also, according to the video segment that I was allowed to see "The AF/MF button is the button you would use to backfocus". That doesn't seem like a good way to lead off when talking about AF/MF. I hope he gets a lot more in depth, but I suspect he merely shows you how to backfocus and not much more.
I'm a bit disappointed that DPReview would promote this via an "article". Let Gary buy an ad.
Regarding the description of the AF/MF button as "the button you would use to backfocus" - that's just the kind of thing that annoyed me about his A77II tutorial videos.
My impression is that manual focus is something he rarely uses, so features like AF/MF toggle, or DMF override of AF, are things that he considers barely worth mentioning. The same is true about certain flash settings and other features that aren't to his taste. In some cases it's clear he hasn't even read the manual to find out what they do.
Fong's good at describing the way he sets up and uses his camera, but to me that's not what a good tutorial should do. It should explaining how the all the features work, not dismiss some as pointless, and tell people to ignore/reconfigure them because he doesn't see their value.
That's the difference between Fong's videos and Gary Friedman's superior Sony ebooks; Friedman accurately explains every feature and setting, not just the ones that he thinks are worth using.
ddtwenty: No Image Stabilizer?
What year is this? 1970?
Petroglyph, I'm talking about the A77II (A-mount SLT), rather than the A7II (FE-mount MILC).
The A7II does allow you to manually enter a focal length for lenses, so would provide stabilisation with this 135mm (although for some reason only 3-axis stabilisation, rather than the 5-axis version that works with native lenses).
Now that Sony are including this feature in some of their cameras, it'd be nice if it was added to the A77II with a firmware update, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen.
I hope these are better than his video tutorials for the A77II.
I paid to view when I first bought my A77II, hoping that they'd help me get to grips with its unusual features. Unfortunately I wasn't very impressed, as certain features were ignored, and some information was simply wrong.
To be fair to Fong, when it comes to features he actually uses himself he's quite comprehensive and helpful. The problem is that he focuses on his personal preferences, as if they're inherently the right way to do things, and can be misleading when talking about anything else.
For example, he told viewers to only use AF-A and ignore the A77II's DMF option, dismissing it as unimportant without explaining what it does. Later on he seemed to have it confused with the AF Range Limiter, thinking that that, not DMF, was an aid for manual focusing. Some of the information he gave about certain flash modes was wrong as well.
I expected something a bit more complete and accurate when paying for a tutorial.
Unfortunately the stabilisation in Sony A-mount cameras won't work because there's no way to tell the camera the lens' focal length. It's a shame that Sony don't let it be set manually, even on recent A-mount cameras like the A77II.
I suppose it would be possible to glue on an AF confirm chip, like the ones on eBay that people use with lens adapters. I'm not sure I'd want to try that with a relatively expensive new lens though, no matter how much I'd like to have stabilisation.
I wish Panasonic had included a tilt screen. I'm looking to replace my Nikon 1 and that would have made this an easy choice.
As it is, it'll be very hard to decide between this, an RX100III, or one of the smaller interchangeable lens M4/3 cameras.
The manual shutter speed and aperture controls on this camera make it a very tempting prospect even with that big omission.
I'm fond of my bargain priced J1 with its 18.5mm f1.8 lens, but there's no way I'd upgrade to a much more expensive model considering the extremely limited selection of lenses.
To me a 10-30mm F3.5-5.6 lens isn't very appealing on a 1" sensor camera. Where are the fast zooms? Why isn't there a macro lens?
Adapted lenses aren't really a solution as they add to the size and remove the autofocus speed advantage.
maxeythecat: Sorry but GPS belongs in your car, not your camera. ' Nuff said.
A natural history internet circle I belong to asks that the location where pictures were taken be included with any images submitted.
A year after taking the shot, I'm not necessarily going to remember the location of a butterfly I snapped while walking in the countryside. The sky behind a bird in flight doesn't generally contain any famous landmarks to use as a reference for its location.
If nothing else a GPS would save some detective work, like having to look through landscape shots taken on the same day to work out where I was.
new boyz: I have no complaint about using pre flash as focus assist. When focus lamp is needed, you're doing flash photography anyway. Serves as red eye reduction mechanism as well.
My ring flash doesn't have a focus assist lamp, making one on the camera useful occasionally.
The biggest issue, though, is that using the flash generally doesn't work that well. At least that's my experience of this feature on the A57.
photogalleryonline: Does it allow manual control of the Iris (Apetrure) during Video shooting? How does the 12 fps work compared to the A77 which had some terrible blackout (image review) while shooting at speed thus impossible to track/pan anything at speed?
Whether there's still a slideshow when shooting at faster speeds is definitely one of the things I want to know.
I've been looking at various hand-on tests, and despite them talking about the high burst speed, none have made it clear whether this old SLT problem has been solved.
cgarrard: Bummer, no dedicated AF assist lamp. That's kind of a big thing to me that I always appreciate. Can live without but, why take it off, did it really cost that much to keep it on Sony? These little nagging decisions just p$ss off enthusiasts for the A-Mount. Sorry.
My A57 uses the flash in that way too. In my experience it doesn't work very well.
It seems strange to me that my £100 compact has this feature but a £1000 semi-pro camera like the A77II doesn't...
ppapageorgiou: This camera is at a point on the product line that's now pointless. Who needs a high-end APS-C camera? They should discontinue the A77, revise the A65 instead, and maybe introduce a cheaper full frame like an A85.
APS-C definitely has an advantage for wildlife photography.
Even with a long lens it's often necessary to heavily crop when shooting a bird in flight or a skittish little creature.
At the same distance, with the same lens, a 24mp APS-C sensor will provide a much higher resolution cropped image than a 24mp full frame like the A99.
email@example.com: Magnets and digital cameras?Nope.
Unless you're still using 3.5" floppy disks, I think the days when you needed to worry about putting weak little magnets near your electronics are long gone.
Not that I'll be buying this when I have perfectly convenient pockets to store my lens caps...
bawbaw: These will be useless on digital RF with the deep rear element design, even the modern voigt wideangles are really bad on the M9/240. I was pretty sad when I saw the voigt 21mm on my M9, that having been my goto lens on film.
For about the same price there is better and more sensible L39/M mount wides ,used zeiss zm 21mm for one.
Like the Petzval before. It's cheaper to buy an original used and leave the disappointments to the cool kids that have made the lomography guys snake oil well grow deeper and deeper. Keeping in mind pre lomography these were about £30 on ebay if that.
I tried use a vintage L39 lens of similar design on a Nikon 1.
Despite the adapter ring adding some depth, the large rear element prevented it from fully screwing in. With the fixed internal filter protecting the sensor there's very little space inside for a lens like that to fit.
Fortunately that old lens cost me about $20, not $650...