Sony a99, using manual focus lenses for excellence!

Started Dec 29, 2013 | Discussions thread
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moimoi Veteran Member • Posts: 4,244
Sony a99, using manual focus lenses for excellence!

Good morning everyone,

Based on my previous post regarding my thoughts about the a99:

One thing that particularly interests me with the a99 is shooting with fast manual focus lenses. When I say fast, I mean shooting at f/1.4 and possibly at f/1.2 (I do not have one yet, but I know Samyang/Rokinon might possibly release a 50 mm f/1.2 sometime next year, and there is always the Rokkor 50/58mm f/1.2 that can be converted in the alpha Sony mount).

Anyway, this is what I wrote "Shooting fast manual focus lenses is quite simple and very enjoyable. I shoot mostly manual focus with this camera, and it takes me 3-4 s to nail the focus down using focus peaking/magnification. My personal take is that focus peaking/magnification is the core of this system."

At the moment, I own the Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 and 85 mm t/1.5 (I like the built of the cine lens better, but it is basically a declicked version of the 85mm f/1.4). Everyone who has read some of my post about Mr. Rokinon (i.e., 35mm f/1.4) will know that I constantly and highly praise this lens, as it delivers nice contrast and sharpness wide open. For about 400 USD, it is a bargain. Associated with focus peaking/magnification, this combo is almost flawless, except for fast moving object, shooting wide open will most likely require AF.

For those of you interested I attached some almost full res samples (5000 x 3333 pixels to be in agreement with dpreview requirements) so that you can see the lens produces nice images. All photos have been shot wide open.  All images have been captured in raw, converted to dng, then processed via ACR, imported in Photoshop, and then save as jpg (SRG, quality 10). I have not attempted to use other filters as I just to show what the a99-35/85 combo delivers without any extra bit of extra processing.

About the Rokinon 85 mm t/1.5, this is what I have to say:

So far so good. The design fits well with the a99 (copper vs. red rings), and it is surprisingly small.

Wide open, CA/lateral fringes may be quite preponderant in some situations, but I think it is quite unavoidable for that type of lens. A quick photoshop filter will do the trick though.

  • It is not that big, but not light.
  • The build quality is very good. Both aperture and focus rings are smooth.
  • It is sharp wide open.
  • Color contrast is not far from the expensive Canikon/Zeiss.

It might make your wonder the main reason the big companies are charging their 85mm 1.4 about 6 times more.

For studio work, this manual focus is a real bargain.



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Photography is about time, space, expression, and - ultimately - capturing light. This formula may sound easy, but actually capturing the "ideal" photograph is far more complex to accomplish as our own perceptions and responses vary according to each individual. Photography is inherently driven by human subjectivity, but the general feeling is that a superb photograph is widely appreciated, as it commonly depicts a striking and universal concept. I believe this process should be sought by many of us, who deeply enjoy capturing and sharing photographs that embrace life and depict what we are.

 moimoi's gear list:moimoi's gear list
Fujifilm X100T Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM +5 more
Sony Alpha a99
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