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Thread: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

  1. #1
    Luminant
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    Smile Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    First, hello to all.

    While researching the a900/a850 I came across this site. What a rich resource. Also I love the level of discourse I have seen on this forum - a lovely departure from some other photo forums.

    I have about 30 years of photo experience from my first K1000 to my motor driven FM2 and Nikon setup (did some part time photojournalism/college sports photojournalism) and later a Contax G setup. Later I entered digital w/Canon D30 and recently a Pentax K10D. I also worked in engineering photo analysis in the Space Shuttle program for a few years.

    I am not satisfied with the direction of Pentax and am choosing between building a full pro Sony or Canon system. Canon because of the vast modular system availability and Sony because of the Zeiss lenses along with the a850 or later the a1000. I would like to begin pro level work again and Sony and Canon are the finalists. I don't like MOST Nikon lenses with the obvious exceptions (ie 14-24, etc)

    I need to ask a question about the a900/ZA 135 f/1.8 combo that has been bothering me as I look through the samples.

    Whenever this lens combo is used with a strong backlight or in heavily lit framings, the contrast seems to plummet. It is as though there is a major amount of internal reflection going on - a pervasive "frostiness" to the entire image. With darker overall images the A900/135 setup seems to do better.

    I don't really notice this on samples from other cameras with this lens. It is also not particularly photographer related

    Has there been any discussion of this? Ever notice this?

    I saw that Sony has applied a special textured, flocking-like black coating to the cheap "SAM" lenses just introduced. Does the Zeiss 135 need something like this with the a900? Will the a850 likely perform the same with that lens?

    Not trolling, honest! In fact, there is some chance I will be buying the a850..

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    Welcome to the forum. I'm not exactly sure what you're seeing. Could you post some examples? FWIW, I believe that Iliah Borg, who is incredibly mindful of internal lens reflections (he generally only uses primes with low numbers of elements,) only shoots two Sony lenses: the ZA 85 and 135.

  3. #3
    Luminant
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    douglas, Thanks!

    As I mentioned I am in process of examining the a900 output (especially interested in the potential for even better IQ from an A850). There are several that illustrate this, however the more I look in response to your post, the less I am thinking it may be internal reflections. Atmospheric haze may be a contributor, as well as noise, or mistaken exposure or PP.

    Well anyway:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ephankim/3463504766/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fashionbleed/2979939288/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3417496078/

    I realize that these are very fine optics. I just want to make sure as I consider the September announcements. Switching brands is not economical

  4. #4
    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    It looks to me like an exposure or PP issue, but I'd have to double check on another monitor. What I can say is that the Zeiss lenses are probably near the bottom of the list of things to worry about when switchng to Sony. For me, these lenses were the main reason to choose Sony in the first place.

  5. #5
    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    For me, these lenses were the main reason to choose Sony in the first place.
    Me too and I used Leica R lenses before! AF is good and accurate, viewfinder best in it's class, the ZA lenses are superb with the advantage of Steady Shot and SSM.

    The camera is also very intuitive to use which was important to me coming from the simple layout of the Leica R9/DMR. The only Leica lens that I really miss is the 100 F2.8 macro. The Sony (Minolta) 100 macro is very good but NOT at it's 1/1 macro range in my view. This may of course be a factor of full frame versus the 1.37 crop of the DMR though.
    Using lenses on a full frame DSLR can catch me out sometimes with DOF after using a cropped DSLR for so long, but on the other hand it does provide far more creative opportunities. The more I use the a900 the more I want to!
    Last edited by dhsimmonds; 7th August 2009 at 02:30.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

  6. #6
    Luminant
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    It looks to me like an exposure or PP issue, but I'd have to double check on another monitor. What I can say is that the Zeiss lenses are probably near the bottom of the list of things to worry about when switchng to Sony. For me, these lenses were the main reason to choose Sony in the first place.

    I absolutely agree, the Zeiss lenses are stellar - all of them - and the promise of future Zeiss glass, especially wide angle are my main interest in Sony also.

    I was actually curious as to whether the lens mount, their interface, or camera internals may have been causing what I thought to be observing. I didn't seem to notice this as much with the 135 and other body combinations.

    But as you say, it is probably a case of isolated operator related causes.

    Most of these images are gorgeous with a depth and presence that are leading edge allowing the most important part of the equation, the photographer, the magnificent tools needed for rendering, recording, and expression. That leading edge continues to move forward placing us in maybe the most interesting times of all to be a photographer/enthusiast.

  7. #7
    Member gilgameshist's Avatar
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    Luminant, welcome to the forum!

    I have never heard about this before. The lens is excellent, so is A900.
    The following samples from A700: My son and his bunny.

    A700 135/1.8 /13


    A700 135/1.8 /11


    I have A900, but not similar shots to compare. My model is far away(summer vacation) and his bunny is huge now
    I don't think the result would be different w/ A900.

    MG

  8. #8
    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    Very nice!!!!!
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  9. #9
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    outstanding!!!!!

  10. #10
    Member gilgameshist's Avatar
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Very nice!!!!!
    Thanks a lot Edward!

    MG

  11. #11
    Member gilgameshist's Avatar
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tex View Post
    outstanding!!!!!
    Tex, thanks a lot!

    MG

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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    Fantastic!!!!
    How do you do that??
    Thanks, Jerry

  13. #13
    Member gilgameshist's Avatar
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    Quote Originally Posted by LoSenior View Post
    Fantastic!!!!
    How do you do that??
    Thanks, Jerry
    Jerry, thanks a lot!

    It's a simple studio set up. I used 2 power packs and 3 flash heads.

    Two heads each fitted w/ a Westcott Halo Mono(a kind of umbrella soft box) shared the same power pack to lit white background(paper).

    My main light fitted w/ a Plume medium Hexoval soft box used another power pack. Between me and the model there're couple of styrofoams on the hardwood floor, acting as reflectors.

    You could see how I positioned the main light by checking the catchlight in the eye.

    A700 and 135/1.8
    Raw file was processed in ACR. Color correction was done in CS3.
    No extra sharpening, just CZ.

    MG

  14. #14
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    Re: Hello forum and a ZA135/a900 question

    MG,

    Thanks, I'm going to put my 135 on my Alpha and do some pictures today.
    I looked at the one of your son and could see the light reflection in his eye.
    Incredible picture of him.
    Again, Thanks.
    Jerry

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