Starting out with the 135mm STF (7 pics)

Started Apr 24, 2010 | Discussions thread
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vanariesboy Regular Member • Posts: 175
Starting out with the 135mm STF (7 pics)

So I was the recipient of a larger-than-usual tax refund this year, and was able to negotiate a reasonably good deal at my local Sony Style store for a 135mm STF, which I've now used for about two weeks.

Why the STF, you ask? I mostly shoot wide-to-normal stuff, and decided I was going to push myself more in the other direction. I had been debating between the STF, the CZ 135mm f/1.8, and the 70-200mm f/2.8 G. I chose what was probably the least versatile lens of the three, but purposely so. The STF makes me work harder: it's a prime, it's manual-focus, and it works best if you use the manual aperture ring. It moves more in the direction of "making" and not just "taking" pictures.

After two weeks, a few observations:

1. Manual focussing is easier than I thought it would be, at least with the huge viewfinder on my A900. (I haven't switched to the M focussing screen, and I'm not sure if it's necessary.) However, judging depth of field is difficult, and I end up taking two or three of the same shots at different apertures (using the stepless aperture ring) "just to be sure."

2. The bokeh is at its best with close-up subjects (flowers), but at 135mm it can be difficult to fit whole subject (people) in the frame without taking a few steps back. The result is that I'm focussing at one end (10ft to infinity) of the scale most of the time. I suppose this is true with most lenses, but obviously with manual focus I notice it more.

3. I need to find a wider range of subjects for this lens. Any suggestions?

A few samples:

Gratuitous flower shot:

The neighbour's truck:

Rusted pole:

Painting with colour:

Tree branch:

The heron (water doesn't produce as nice bokeh?):

Somewhat busier bokeh:

You can check out some more at my web site: http://www.johntrueman.ca/Photography/Trying-out-the-Sony-135mm-STF

Comments/constructive criticism welcomed.

John
Vancouver, BC

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