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Thread: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

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    Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    HI There
    I got this lens as a stopgap until the Zeiss 16-35 appears - it's not perfect in the corners, but it does a good job otherwise.

    One of the local farmers still uses scarecrows (most use plastic foxes and things that blow up and go bang every so often).










    and finally - the photographer at work:


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    Senior Member Quentin_Bargate's Avatar
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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Hi Jono,

    Great as always. I still have my12-24mm Nikon mount Sigma 12-24mm and I thought it was a decent lens used on the Kodak 14nx. Looks decent on your A900. How does it compare with the 24-70mm Zeiss at their crossover focal length? Does it underexpose as mine did on the Kodak?

    Quentin
    Quentin Bargate
    Director of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2012 - 2017, ”leading individual”, Chambers HNW guide, 2017, Photographer

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin_Bargate View Post
    Hi Jono,

    Great as always. I still have my12-24mm Nikon mount Sigma 12-24mm and I thought it was a decent lens used on the Kodak 14nx. Looks decent on your A900. How does it compare with the 24-70mm Zeiss at their crossover focal length? Does it underexpose as mine did on the Kodak?

    Quentin
    Yes - it does underexpose . . . rather charmingly really, with a big wide angle I'm more interested in good skies than bad shadows . . .

    Still - I also had (and liked) the 12-24 on the Kodak. The corners aren't perfect, but more due to curvature of field I think. Still, I'm pleased with it, it's reasonably small and light, and it does do the job.

    Get One Immediately!

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Totally Love the scarecrow series Johnno..

    one question re the Sony - is it as ugly to look at in hand as it seems to be in screen shots? I made a new years resolution ( sic) to not buy UGLY cameras..

    all that aside - I am very tempted to buy one because of te einbuilt IS..and the Zeiss lenses ( of course)

    woudl love to hear some considered views on how they rate versus CaNikon equivalents - I would like autofocus fast primes donrt even knwo if there are any specifically a 28/50/80 @ 1.4 ? any plan for thes eon horison?

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Totally Love the scarecrow series Johnno..

    one question re the Sony - is it as ugly to look at in hand as it seems to be in screen shots? I made a new years resolution ( sic) to not buy UGLY cameras..
    Absolutely not - I quite agree that it looks ugly in photos - mainly because it tapers in at the base (I think the square base is one of the reasons the S2 looks so beautiful).
    That tapering makes the corners fit really beautifully in your palm when holding it. In 'real life' I think it's actually rather nice looking - chunky and a bit retro, but certainly not ugly.

    I'm right with you on ugly cameras - - - the only thing for you to do is to go into a shop and play with one.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    all that aside - I am very tempted to buy one because of te einbuilt IS..and the Zeiss lenses ( of course)

    woudl love to hear some considered views on how they rate versus CaNikon equivalents - I would like autofocus fast primes donrt even knwo if there are any specifically a 28/50/80 @ 1.4 ? any plan for thes eon horison?
    There is a nice 50 f1.4, and then a huge legacy of old Minolta lenses which were very well thought of. Lots of information here

    Of course, I couldn't compare it with the D3x (haven't used one) but I've owned a D3 and a D700 in the past year, apart from the obvious resolution difference, I'd say the following:

    Image quality:
    A900 has better per-pixel sharpness than the D3/D700 (presumably a less aggressive AA filter - this is quite obvious comparing at 100%

    A900 has really excellent highlight recovery

    A900 is much noisier above 800 ISO, but is quite useable up to 3200 as long as you really really don't underexpose

    A900 seems to have much better tonal subtlety and roll-off from the highlights

    A900 has much nicer colour for early morning and late evening shots (I've always found Nikon to be too yellow here - I suspect they're optimised for skin tones)

    Autofocus:
    It's slower - quite noticeably, on the other hand I'm getting far far fewer out of focus shots - especially it seems to be better at distance shots.

    Tracking is okay, but not really in the same league (you wouldn't use it for sports instead of a Nikon). There are fewer focus points too.

    Many of the lenses don't have silent wave motors (even some of the modern ones like the Zeiss 85 and 135 and the Sony 100 macro).

    Still, I have no problem focusing, and it does seem to be very accurate.

    Handling:
    A900 has lots of big buttons on the outside, a big mode dial with very distinct click stops which has 3 user settings - everything falls to hand, it's comfortable, the viewfinder is just the best I've ever seen.
    Basically it wins hands down.

    Menus & options:
    The Nikon system has many more options - it's a double edged sword however, as it's much harder for people with a small brain like me to remember it all. The relative simplicity of the A900, together with the small elegant menus makes it feel more like a camera and less like a computer (but, as I say, there are lots of missing features).

    Does that help?

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member Quentin_Bargate's Avatar
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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    I agree with Jono's assessment.

    Despite the fact I seem to have more cameras kicking around my house than some used camera stores, I really want the Holy Grail of a single camera system that covers all I do - landscapes, studio, people. I think the A900 twinned with the 24-70mm Zeiss and 100mm macro come close to achievening that goal.

    I also like the relative simplicity. I rarely take my camera off aperture priority, unles I shoot manual (in the studio, or if creating a stitched pano). I really don't want or need a myriad of (for me) redundant modes I'll never use. I don't shoot sport or fast action so super fast focus is less important than accurate focus.

    I find I am using the A900 for 95% of the things I would have used the Mamiya ZD for. Is it as good as the ZD? In absolute image quality terms, a qualified yes, which shows just how far Sony and small format digital have come in the last few years (the nearly is because I have yet to use any glass on small format with edge to edge even sharpness that matches medium format, although the Zeiss comes close enough for all practical purposes).

    Don't even think about it. I sold my D700 to buy the A900 and I have no regrets - the whole Nikon kit has now gone. The A900 is a runaway success.

    Quentin
    Quentin Bargate
    Director of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2012 - 2017, ”leading individual”, Chambers HNW guide, 2017, Photographer

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Johnno and Quentin - thanks very much for the summary experience and information - very useful.

    I am interested enough to try one out - I currently use a D3 for 35mm SLR work and am very happy with it. My favourite lens is the 28/2 from Zeiss on the D3 - cpouldnt focus the 100/2 macro well enough.

    Fascinated to see all the Zeiss autofocus glass coming out...I want nice Zeiss but also want the convenience of autofocus on an SLR. The Nikon delivers a nicer file ( to me ) than Canon and if the Sony is even better - thats very interesting.

    Thanks again.

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Jono/Quentin,

    I have downloaded Jono's Alpha 900 files (Thanks a lot for that) and I am about to pull the trigger on one (+ 24-70 Zeiss and perhaps a 135 Zeiss), just a bit hesitant about how easy is to MF and how accurate is the focus confirmation light. Care to share your impressions (specially compared to the d700)? also, when I don't MF I like to have the focus separate from obturation. Is there something similar to the Nikon AF-on button?

    Thanks

    Quino

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    I believe you can toggle the MF to AF by programming the c button. I don't have the camera in front of me so I can't say for sure, Jono you might want to jump in on that one. I can say I've had my A900 for two weeks and I'm very pleased with it, I too sold my d700 because the files you get with the A900 give that "pop" I couldn't squeeze out of the d700 (more like a M8). Beware though the files are large... 36mb! Buy some external hard drives

    I'm looking forward to the new CZ/Sony 16-35 to be released in a few days.
    Mike

    website under construction

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Quino,

    There is a convenient AF/MF button under your thumb on the A900 as Mike says.

    The D700 was and is a super high ISO machine, and in October I used it as such at several friend's weddings where I did the candids, shooting at up to 25k ISO, but it has too strong an AA filter for my taste and to be honest I slightly resented the fact it is only 12mp, when I was shooting 13.5mp with a Kodak 14nx 5 years ago.

    the Sony Af ius less sophisticated than the Nikon's but accurate nonetheless.

    and you need to bear in mind the future. Sony seem serious about dslr's, make their own sensors, and have a tie-in to Zeiss. For someone like me who does not shoot sports, that sounds like a compelling combination that Nikon and Canon might find difficult to match.

    Quentin
    Quentin Bargate
    Director of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2012 - 2017, ”leading individual”, Chambers HNW guide, 2017, Photographer

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    Member Quino Terceño's Avatar
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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Thanks for your answers. I played with one today at the store, but I wasn't able to make the AF/MF button to behave like AF-ON no the nikons, It seemed to be just a toggle. I guess that can be used in conjunction with the shutter button to emulate AF-ON (or sort of).

    what about manual focus confirmation accuracy?

    The Zeiss lenses are what is luring me in. I really do not need anything beyond 135 and rarely below 24 so the actual lens offering fits me rather well. I wish for a 35 ƒ2 prime though.

    ...and I have to say that I like the looks and the way the camera feels, close (as has been said) to the Contaxes that I was never able to afford.

    Quino

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Quote Originally Posted by Quino Terceño View Post
    ...and I have to say that I like the looks and the way the camera feels, close (as has been said) to the Contaxes that I was never able to afford.

    Quino
    You hit the nail on the head I used to shoot with Contax / Zeiss for many years. The reason was the Zeiss lenses. I moved on to Medium / Large format and Nikon 35mm for a while. Oddly for such a massive corporation, the A900 and Zeiss has a similar appeal to Contax but with medium format quality.

    Quentin
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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Quote Originally Posted by Quino Terceño View Post
    Jono/Quentin,
    Is there something similar to the Nikon AF-on button?

    Thanks

    Quino
    Yeah, Quino. There is an option in the menus to release AF from the shutter. Using that in combination with AF mode select gives you a few options for the AF/MF button. I frequently leave the A900 in manual focusing mode and use the AF/MF for focus.

    Quentin, you may want to try your Mamiya 645 lenses on the A900 as well. I've just starting trying my Hasselblad lenses, and the preliminary results are promising. The smaller 36x24 sensor uses the "sweetspot" of these medium format lenses

    You should look around for an adapter like this:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Mamiya-645-lens-...QQcmdZViewItem

    Jono, I hear you about the AF of the A900 vs. the Nikons. The A900 isn't great for tracking/sports, but it's center point is the best in the biz. Two cross-points with a third line activated with f2.8 lenses. VERY accurate.

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post

    Jono, I hear you about the AF of the A900 vs. the Nikons. The A900 isn't great for tracking/sports, but it's center point is the best in the biz. Two cross-points with a third line activated with f2.8 lenses. VERY accurate.
    Absolutely - what I know is the greatly increased number of shots I get perfectly focused (I guess the IS doesn't spoil things either!).

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Just ordered a 12-24mm Sigma for my A900. Rumours have it (actually an article in Amateur Photographer) that Sigma are about to increase prices by up to 40% in the UK to account for the devaluation of the pound.
    Quentin Bargate
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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin_Bargate View Post
    Just ordered a 12-24mm Sigma for my A900. Rumours have it (actually an article in Amateur Photographer) that Sigma are about to increase prices by up to 40% in the UK to account for the devaluation of the pound.
    Hi Quentin
    I think that's going to be true of a lot of things very soon.

    I think it's a fine lens for the price.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    A review of the Sigma 12-24 is currently published in "Photoworld" by David Kilpatrick. DK writes in the British Journal of Photography reviewing many different cameras but actually uses an Alpha 900 himself.

    Photoworld is the old Minolta journal now updated to include Sony cameras and there are many interesting features about the A900 in recent issues. It is published in Scotland, UK. email: [email protected]
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    I used a Sigma 12-24mm on the full-frame Kodak 14nx for several years. My understanding is that the Alpha mount version does not have an HSM motor, not that I mind given I hardly ever used autofocus with the Sigma on the Kodak 14nx. In fact I still have the Nikon mount version unused and gathering dust.

    I always thought it was an excellent lens - superb, well corrected design with hardly any CA. It is not quite as sharp as some lenses, but its more a question of contrast rather than resolution.

    I'm just not interested in the 16-35mm Zeiss at the moment. It overlaps too much with the 24-70mm Zeiss and it does not go quite as wide as I would like. The difference between 12mm and 16mm is very significant. Most of the shots I took with the Nikon mount version of the Kodak were at the wide end - 12-15mm. For that there is no other choice.

    Quentin
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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    HI Matey
    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin_Bargate View Post

    I'm just not interested in the 16-35mm Zeiss at the moment. It overlaps too much with the 24-70mm Zeiss and it does not go quite as wide as I would like. The difference between 12mm and 16mm is very significant. Most of the shots I took with the Nikon mount version of the Kodak were at the wide end - 12-15mm. For that there is no other choice.

    Quentin
    I quite agree - for the amount of really wide stuff I do the 12-24 does a fine job, it's also pretty lightweight and cheap!

    My current anguish is whether to get the 135 STF f2.8 sony lens before the price goes up . ..or not!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Matey


    I quite agree - for the amount of really wide stuff I do the 12-24 does a fine job, it's also pretty lightweight and cheap!

    My current anguish is whether to get the 135 STF f2.8 sony lens before the price goes up . ..or not!
    Go on, Jono...BUY it Then I can pop up and check it out side by side with my 85mm F1.4!

    Quentin
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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Nice AVATARS Jono )

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Quote Originally Posted by sinwen View Post
    Nice AVATARS Jono )
    You could be right, and the general air of ominous decrepitude is me all over . . . are you tired of the fishermen then?

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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin_Bargate View Post
    In fact I still have the Nikon mount version unused and gathering dust.




    Quentin
    Are you thinking of parting with it?

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    Senior Member Quentin_Bargate's Avatar
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    Re: Scarecrows - A900 and Sigma 12-24

    Quote Originally Posted by davemillier View Post
    Are you thinking of parting with it?
    Yes

    Quentin (from snowy and cold Moscow)
    Quentin Bargate
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