I took the same photo with the kit zoom that came with my Sony NEX-6, then the Asahi Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4. Sony kit lens first:
Nice colours, but the background can’t be blurred out much. Next up, the Takumar:
The background blurs out really nicely, but the colour is completely different – oddly, the Takumar has lost a lot of the warmth, though it’s mostly lost the intensity.
I liked the more intense colours from the kit lens, so I edited a little in Aperture to give the Takumar shot a bit more of that look, and I think I like this one best:
Quite similar to the Sony colours, but with the shallow depth of field from the Takumar. Still a bit different in colours. I’m not entirely sure between this one and the original Takumar shot, but the difference in colours between the first two is interesting. Either the old lens just isn’t passing the colours through, or the camera is interpreting colour very differently with the legacy lens. Either could be the case. I’d assume it might be to do with the mould inside the old lens, but the same thing has been seen by other people on DPReview.
Sparrows in the hedge by the side of the Grand Western Canal. All snapped with the Sony 55-210 zoom lens. I’d love a lens that could go a bit wider, but the nice thing about this one is that it fits quite neatly into a coat pocket, so I can take it with me when walking, without needing to take a bag. Camera on one pocket, long zoom in another.
Autofocus speed is a bit of a weak point for the NEX range, but I was quite happy with how well it picked out the birds, rather than ending up focussing on the branches they were between.
Two pictures of blossom on the same tree, at Bickleigh Mill. That tree seems to be running a bit early.
These were taken with my NEX-6, using the 40-year-old Asahi SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens. The focal length worked well for a few shots that day, but they needed more correction than I’d have liked afterwards for purple and green fringing on high-contrast areas. Maybe the modern 50mm f/1.8 would be a good idea. Not quite as wide an aperture, but probably more usable, especially with auto focus.
The Sony NEX-6 makes it easy to use vintage (or ‘legacy’) lenses. I had a couple of different old lenses with me out on a bit of moorland near home. Neither of these are expensive lenses, though the Takumar came down to a bit of good eBay luck. Neither lens is really perfect. The Takumar has fungus inside it, which I’ve partly cleaned out, but some remains. The Tessar has rather stiff focussing, but it’s quite usable.
First up, the Takumar:
One of the main traits of this particular model is that the coatings age to give an odd, warm colour cast. I quite like the effect it gives, but it’s not really capturing the real colours. It certainly didn’t feel this warm out on the moor in January!
Almost the same shot with the Zeiss Tessar:
The image isn’t quite as sharp. Zeiss lenses are known for great ‘micro-contrast’, but this hasn’t shown that well at all (though it probably isn’t obvious at this image size). Maybe it performs better stopped down a bit (at a smaller aperture), but maybe there’s just a good reason the old Tessar lenses are so cheap compared with other Zeiss lenses. Detail isn’t as sharp, and the image doesn’t feel as nice to me. Out of focus areas aren’t as smooth as the Takumar made them. Not bad performance, though, and I don’t tend to pixel-peep, so it’s just fine for the image sizes I tend to use.
One more thing to try – I adjusted the white balance in Aperture, to make the white part of the sign actually white. That should kill off the colour shift the Takumar lens introduced:
It’s only worked partly. The colour is closer to reality now, but there’s still a warm feel to the image in comparison to the Tessar. The Takumar’s colour shift is still there somewhat. Nice to see it’s easy to make things more real without totally killing that warmth. Both of these lenses were usable bargains, but I think I’m really going to like the Takumar.
I recently bought a Tamrac Zipshot tripod – a very good deal at only £14, from Wex Photographic. It’s a very light-weight tripod, and not the most stable platform, but it works quite well with my little NEX-6, it’s quick and easy to set up, and easy to carry around.
The winter nights get dark early, but that does have one advantage for photography – you don’t have to wait up so late for some long-exposure night photography. This isn’t something I’ve tried much before. I stepped just outside our front door, and set the camera up on the tripod.
This one is around a four-minute exposure of the sky. The stars are lines because they moved that much in the time of the exposure. Well, it’s all relative, but it’s more the case that we moved – the Earth was spinning while I was taking the photo, and the stars just let us see the spin.
It’s an amazing thought that we’re watching the planet we’re standing on spinning on its axis. Here’s a small crop from that photo, showing the lines of the stars better.
I pointed the camera at a nearby tree, and opened the shutter. I then lit the tree with my little ZebraLight torch, before closing the shutter.
I tried a couple of shots of passing cars, to get the light trails, but we don’t quite have the angle from our stairs for it to work out. With a limited-enough aperture, though, the street lamp made a pretty starburst effect.
I took a quick shot of the setup I used, with my iPhone. The iPhone doesn’t do so well in low light. Here’s the camera set up for the star trail photo: