The two most popular blog posts week after week are my day with a pre-production model of the Sony A6000 and my A7r Voigtlander 15mm/4.5 review. So why not put them together right? Well lets see how well this pans out. As always, click photos for larger version. I've also taken the liberty to include a shit ton of pictures, all processed in Lightroom.
So where to start? Since I haven't really done a full on review of the Sony A6000 I guess I should first hit a couple of points regarding this camera in general.
In summary....it's pretty fucking amazing. I mean really....you can pick these things up for $450 right now on Amazon (probably because the A7000 is due out soon). What you get though, is a 24MP camera, that can shoot 11 frames per second, sports an amazing auto-focus system and fits in the palm of your hand. Since the Sony NEX line has been around for a while now, there are quite a few lens choices. In May 2010 Sony launched the NEX-3, as well as the E-mount. These have always been entry and mid level cameras and until last year with the launch of the Sony ILC A7 and A7r, the E-mount has been reserved for APS-C sensors. There are offerings from Sony, Zeiss, Lensbaby, Sigma and many others for the APS-C E-mount. 64 different lenses are available from B&H alone. Additionally you can also use any of the FE lenses (designed for the full frame E-mount cameras like the A7, A7r, A7s and now A7MarkII understanding that there is the 1.5x crop factor. The other beauty of the E-mount? That's right, just like with the A7x series, you can pretty much use any lens ever made with an adapter. Pretty damn awesome right?
One of my favorite lenses to use on my A7r is the Voigtlander 15mm/4.5. It has some flaws....well ok, one real major flaw...it has a fair amount of color cast and a yellow pee stain looking oval just over the center when used on most digital cameras. It's pesky during the day time and is much more forgiving at night. However, if you shoot black and white photos....it's a real banger of a lens at all times. In March of 2015, Voigtlander is releasing a Version 3 of this lens it it's apparently going to be designed for digital cameras and should no longer have any of the color shift (magenta corners).
The catch of using the Voigtlander 15 on the A6000 (and any ASP-C camera) is the 1.5x crop factor. This means when compared to shooting this on a full frame digital camera you're losing some of the wideness of shooting at 15mm and are actually seeing an equivalent of 21.5mm. This lens has still almost been permanently attached to the A6000 since I've purchased it. If I'm scouting a location it's my go-to.
One thing I kinda miss having is a digital level. That's why I purchased a hot shoe mounted level you see in all the photos. I actually prefer these, but I always seem to be losing them. But when in a pinch, or after losing it, it's nice to have a built in level which the A6000 does not have. Also I've found that I never take the L-bracket off of the camera. It actually makes the camera much more comfortable to hold by adding the 2-3 millimeters to the bottom of the camera. If anything I'll remove the side piece if I'm just carrying the camera around my neck. Normally I buy this kind of stuff from ReallyRightStuff. While things like brackets can be purchased for a fraction of the price elsewhere, I really dig RRS and support them whenever I can. However spending >$100 for a tripod mount on a camera that costs <$500.....well I just can't do that. You can of course whatever plate you want...I just really got to liking camera specific plates, but I always keep one or two "universal" plates in my bag.
Everything about photography is always a sacrifice (and in life?) There's no such thing as a perfect camera, no such thing as a perfect lens. There's always a trade-off. In the case of the CV15 I feel the trade-offs are the slight color cast (not completely gone on the cropped sensor, but again should be fixed on the V3) and the max 4.5 aperture. What do we gain? VERY minimal distortion, which is rather unbelievable considering it's size....foreshadowing. It's size and weight. A set it and forget it focus ring (it spends 99% of the time at infinity for me). It renders images well, sharp, and has nice contrast. Plus....it looks sexy!
Real quick I want to touch on M to E mount converters as I see questions on the topic quite often. The bottom line is this....they are ALL hit and miss. That being said...you statistically have a better chance of getting a good working adapter with one of the more expensive ones. I have three M to E adapters. Fotasy, Fotodiox and the Voigtlander close focus adapter. The Fotasy is $12 and works like a champ for me. The Fotodiox is much better built FEELING, costs $70, yet mine has a slight light leak. It's only visible when shooting long exposures during the day. The Voigtlander adapter is $300, works great, is built amazingly and has a built in expandable extension tube which cuts down on the minimal focusing difference. The photograph with the flowers above was shot with the lens about three inches away from the front flower. Pretty legit! Novaflex also makes some high quality adapters, I personally don't have any, the M to E adapter costs $250 and does it's job just as good as my $12 Fotasy. It's up to you....for twelve bucks...it can't hurt, even if it's just a spare.
So do I like it?
You bet your sweet ass I do! A powerhouse in a small package. A camera which can yield some pretty big prints and doesn't attract a lot of attention.
No Pants Day
Every week I make it a goal to have a no pants day. I've been doing this the greater part of my adult life. Think of it as a "me day". It's not always a completely non-productive lazy day (though it is sometimes), but it's a day I'm not concerned with the outside world. I'll catch up on household chores, process photos, piddle around online, watch Archer, Top Gear, etc. And now do a blog. It'll probably revolve around photography or art, it'll probably have some pictures I shot that week (but might have some oldies), I don't really know what'll happen. It's my day and I'll write what I want to. Ideally, with no pants.