Manual lens best practices (no EXIF data)

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stativ Junior Member • Posts: 26
Manual lens best practices (no EXIF data)

I recently got TTartisan 23mm f/1.4 for Sony E, which my first fully manual lens that has no electrical connection, so no EXIF data. I actually enjoye using this little ultra-cheap lens (apart from the terrible field curvature). However, there is are some things that I've been struggling with because of the absence of EXIF. So I'm interested how others handle these problems, and possibly other suggestions how to make most of the manual lenses.

First and foremost it's recording the lens settings. I've no idea of the aperture used with the pictures I took during the test trip. I can only guess. I tried writing it down in notes app on my phone, checking the image number in camera and then write down the settings. It's annoying as hell, so I gave up almost immediately.

I've got another idea that would be taking a picture of the lens with my phone and then correlating pictures according to their time at home. I've yet to test this idea.

What I would like the most would be if my camera (Sony A6000) would allow me to dial in the aperture as if the aperture was controlled by the camera and then writing this aperture to the picture. One can dream… I wonder whether any of the other camera manufacturers have functionality like this to accommodate for lenses without EXIF.

Another thing that I've been wondering about was about which mode to use. At first I took most of the images in M (manual mode) with Auto ISO. It kind of worked until I wanted to do some exposure bracketing. For now I switched back to A (aperture priority) with auto ISO. It seems to work much better for me. I don't know why I didn't think of using it at first, because with Voigtlander I use the aperture priority all the time. I can imagine Auto ISO causing some minor problems with some other focal lengths because A6000 doesn't have setting for minimum shutter speed. However, it defaults to 1/60 of a second, which might be a bit too short, but it's still acceptable. What is your preferred shooting mode when using manual lenses?

When speaking of using manual lenses, I devised one trick while processing the images in RawTherapee, and that is to create dynamic profile that is applied when EXIF contains zero aperture. This profile applies some of my default settings, and additionally it applies custom lensfun correction (I hope it will be added to lensfun soon). This is going to work as long as I won't use other lenses without EXIF.

Finally, some pictures I took during my first test run of the lens (without aperture information, obviously ;-))

The terrible field curvature in all its glory (check the bottom left and top left corners).

Sometimes the field curvature is not so obvious, although I'm sure I shot this with a wide aperture because it was quite dark.

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My Instagram profile (mostly landscapes):

Sony a6000
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