We are able to offer, now, the complete 28-issue digital archive in page-turn format for the final eleven years of Minolta Image and Photoworld (as it became) from 2002 to 2011. For only £10, a one-off payment, you unlock the complete collection of digital versions of the printed quarterly magazine.
This collection forms a fascinating document, showing the transition from the last heyday of Minolta to the merger with Konica in 2004 and the launch of the Dynax 7D, through the takeover by Sony in 2006 and up to the launch of the NEX E-mount system in 2010 and beyond.
After testing the Sony Carl Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 FE in 2014, I was less than impressed. I may have had a decentred example (it happened to dPreview and at least one photographer I trust to know his lens performance expectations). It was, certainly, pin-sharp on a test chart or a brick wall but the moment three-dimensional subjects were involved at wide aperture the defocused detail could be very untidy. The clip below from trees behind a building which was sharply focused is at f/1.8 and 1/2500th (a suggestion that it could be caused by camera shake is easily ruled out). See my additional notes at the end!
It’s worth saying that when I had this lens I made some tests of the bokeh using very strong defocus which looked good. Many examples I’ve seen, which true believers put forward, show a figure (from full length to portrait) centre of a horizontal frame at f/1.8 with a pleasant enough looking distant background. My gripe has been with what happens when your subject is further away, or the background is not all very distant. This is an expensive lens but it seems to me to have fussy bokeh with too much CA fringe and also more focus-related colour shift than desirable.
Now I’ve got a fair collection of 50, 55 and 58mm lenses and also the little Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM which is my alternative to having a 35mm and a 55mm. No matter what the lens – Pentax, Minolta, Sony 50mm f/1.4, Helios, Zenitar, Nikon, CZ Jena – the full aperture between f/2 and f/1.4 always proves to be a touch soft. They all have residual aberrations that the CZ 55mm f/1.8 design has eliminated. While they can have a smoother bokeh, they also have marked colour shifts and uncorrected CA. Generally, they also all perform extremely well once stopped down to f/8 and most designs are great by f/4.
Despite the advantage of full AF functions, the CZ 55mm does not have a particularly good close focus or maximum image scale. In use I often found myself framing up closer than 50cm. That’s half a metre – it’s even further than the old 55 and 58mm lenses of the 1960s, which generally manage 45cm. I find this limitation hard to understand. 50 years ago CZ Jena started to put helicoids on their standard 50mm lenses which enabled focus down to 35cm. We have gone backwards since then.
And then I realised I’ve already got a lens which is free from all vices, gives me AF and manual focus options using adaptors I already own, which cost me about a third of the price of a CZ 55mm – and I was not being used on my A7RII. We bought a good used example of the Sony SAL 50mm f/2.8 Macro to use with our Alpha DSLR.
First of all, I compared this with the idea of buying a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2, by fitting it to the LA-EA3. Although the focusing ring does not communicate to the camera to invoke magnified manual focus, the lens has a Focus Hold button which can be set to this. The focusing throw is steep but in practice very accurate focus is easily set. At f/2.8, the lens is already perfectly sharp with some contrast improvement at f/4. The lack of vignetting and distortion, the flatness of field and generally very attractive smooth defocusing without CA issues make the lens better than typical fast standard designs.
On the LA-EA4 with autofocus, a limited set of AF functions ends up activated and there’s always the issue of the slight delay and sound caused by mechanical aperture operation. AF-C is of limited use, along with this video functions. However, I don’t generally use this type of lens for action or for video.
I made plenty of non-image tests by defocusing bright edges, both ways, and could find no hint of colour problems. I then set up a small food shot using the close focus – exactly the reason I find a lack of close focus restricting – and made tests at f/2.8, f/5.6, f/11 and f/22 to look at the bokeh. My conclusion is that I will be hard pressed to find anything technically better, or with a more pleasant character to the background defocus, in the c.50mm focal length. The series covers all four apertures.
I am aware that one comment will be that f/2.8 simply isn’t wide enough. There’s no significant differential focus and you’d need 50mm f/1.0 to get what many photographers want. However, this is all to do with viewing size. We all tend to see pictures on smartphone screens, on Facebook, or even on our own camera three-inch screens. In fact, at f/2.8 there isn’t enough depth of field for a typical real-world use of a full page reproduction and f/5.6 is just about right. For a poster, f/11 would be good. At f/22 the whole image is slightly softened as expected and it’s just there to complete the set.
For the moment – at least until a Batis version of the 50mm f/2 Makro Planar appears and answers all my demands perfectly – I think this Minolta-derived 50mm macro will do fine as my ‘standard’ lens.
Added August 30th 2016: Sony has announced an E-mount 50mm f/2.8 Macro focusing to 1:1 with a stated RRP of $500 – really, they must have read this article in March. In the meantime, during the Brexit fiasco I caved in and bought a 55mm f/1.8 CZ, suspecting the price would be 20% higher soon enough (and sure, it was). My new example is no better than those I originally tested but it has its uses and in a flat plane – no defocused image to screw the results up with an ugly mess – it’s the sharpest 50-55mm I have used. I’m still using the 50mm macro and recently spend a month using the Samyang 50mm f/1.4, which is not as sharp as the CZ but handles blur and bokeh more elegantly. Both lenses don’t really excel at suppressing Longitudinal CA, one of the strengths of the A-mount macro. Hopefully the new SEL FE 50mm macro will also give clean, colour-shift free foreground and background bokeh.
Added July 29th 2017: I have now bought the 50mm f/2.8 Sony FE Macro, and put my A-mount macro lenses up for sale. The E-mount focuses to 1:1 rather closer than I would like, at 16cm which indicates its internal focusing changes the focal length to something more like 37mm to 1:1 (16cm is a pure 40mm at 1:1 assuming no optical thickness to the lens). It’s an extremely sharp lens with bokeh as good as the A-mount 50mm and no trace of CA.
We have decided to make a Lulu print-on-demand digitally produced paperback edition covering the last three years of Photoworld magazine, covering the period from the launch of Alpha 900 and photokina 2008, through to the final edition of our quarterly magazine in Summer 2011, when the Alpha 77 was about to hit the streets.
This 312-page book includes the content of 12 editions of Photoworld, each with its cover and contents page, with some advertising and some regular content or ‘diary dates’ removed. A few items like this remain in place, notably Sigma advertisements, because the alternative would be to pay for a blank white page – or they are small ads and part of a larger page layout. We think even these are still of interest for the future.
Some typos and errors have been corrected so this book has more accurate versions of many articles. Some content has been changed, such as the A2 foldout print included in the Autumn 2008 edition to show the quality of the A900 24 megapixel file. As far as we know, Icon Publications Ltd remains the only photo magazine publisher to use the option of a ‘centerfold’. We’ve done it in our professional titles as well, to show medium format quality at its best. But in a digitally printed book, it’s not possible to staple in a 16.5 x 23.75 inch poster. Instead, we’ve used a different choice of a spread and two full page images.
Through this book-form edition, you can track the birth of the NEX system and the death of the optical viewfinder.
If you can not see the Flash preview above, use this link:
The book costs £64.50 – the original three years of magazines would have cost £53.85 absolute minimum (UK annually renewing subscription) and a typical binder costs £10. However, for worldwide customers the overall cost of the magazines over three years plus a binder would have been £90. Digital printing is expensive and we don’t make much on these, but we’ve had Lulu print calendars in the past (2011) with super results and this should be a very good quality book, fairly matching the original litho magazines.
It’s a funny word to use, because the mirrors involved are transparent and not translucent (which implies passing light but not in an image-forming manner). Translucent means semi-opaque, letting light through in the way that an opal perspex sheet or Kodatrace foil does. Transparent means something you can see through.
But now, thanks to the wonder of changing language, translucent is also going to have to mean transparent, or semi-transparent. Pellicle, semi-silvered, whatever term you wish to use.
Unfortunately, for this writer the misuse of the word translucent stands as one of the biggest schoolboy howlers ever imposed on the entire world by the ignorance of a corporation. It’s such a glaring error I can hardly bring myself to use the term – others, like Dave Etchells, have happily assimilated the new meaning into their technical lexicon. And as the video above shows, they’ve made it into a trademark, a permanent part of the future of this technology.
Wiki, and pretty well every dictionary ever published, disagree with Sony’s imaginative use of a word from which they have now removed its exact meaning:
Wikipedia: “Transparent materials are clear, while translucent ones cannot be seen through clearly.”
Adjective: (of a substance) Allowing light, but not detailed images, to pass through; semitransparent. (the semi bit of semitransparent cited here seems to mean semi-detailed, vaguely delineated – not slightly darker; otherwise the primary definition of the word is diluted). There has been some heated argument on dPreview forums about this post of mine (my view is shared by many). No-one has made the point that words evolve to have useful exact meanings. Transparent and translucent are words which may once have shared a common poetic meaning in 18th century descriptive writing, but whose meanings were refined with the progress of science and technology. This process in the course of over 200 years resulted in a useful distinction between the meanings of transparent and translucent. Sony’s commercial misuse of the word Translucent is damaging to the English language and to the scientific and technical lexicon; it predisposes future confusion about the meaning of the words. It is also a fait accompli; there is no turning back, since Sony’s corporate stance is much like that of Mrs Thatcher; no u-turns and never admit to be being wrong. They have also no doubt invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the consultancy involved, and the registration of the term as a trademark, the creation of branding artwork. They could have branded the mirror TransLumina® or, more usefully, just called it a transflecting mirror – transmitting-reflecting. That term is already used to describe the sort of mirrors used in ‘Big Brother’ with cameras behind them.
As to whether it’s a true pellicle mirror (a thin stretched film of vacuum coated Mylar or a similar polymer) no-one seems to be clear. It moves out of the way to allow sensor cleaning but could be relatively fragile. It certainly does not need to move to allow 10fps (Alpha 55) or 7fps (Alpha 33) continuous shooting. Sensor dust is often created within the camera by wear and tear on the shutter mechanism, so access for cleaning is essential and the mirror can not be designed to seal the sensor chamber. The Alpha models still have a shutter, that’s the next thing we shall see eliminated. That old rumour of the 15fps silent shooting Alpha DSLR seems to be more than a rumour; we are almost there.
For many users, the critical advantage of all four new Sony models will be HD Video with sensor-based in body image stabilisation. This will enable all kinds of lenses from macro to ultrawide or soft focus, manual adaptations and Minolta AF legacy glass to be used for video with confidence.
Welcome back the circular polariser, unlike mirrorless ILC cameras these new models will not allow the use of linear polarisers without AF efficiency reductions, but exposure should be unaffected as the sensor itself provides the metering with 1200 zones.
This will be one of the tests reviewers need to carry out on the new pellicle mirror Sony Alpha 33 and 55 models – to confront them with not only polarising filters, but conditions in which light is naturally polarised. How will they render sky gradations or reflections off water?
Two further Alpha models are being released, which are essentially updates for the 500/550 – the Alpha 580 which will hit the shops before the winter buying season, adding 16.2 megapixels and a 15-zone AF module, HD 1080p video and (non-video) Contrast Detect AF with all Alpha mount lenses. The 560 will not arrive until some time in 2011, using a 14.2 megapixel sensor. Versatile features
More of a landmark than a benchmark, the inclusion of 10fps continuous shooting with active phase detect AF and 16.2 megapixel file size in the Alpha 55 is unprecedented and possibly unforeseen by competitors, in this class of sub-$1000 consumer DSLR (let’s continue to use the term, since they are clothed as DSLRs). The dual format card drive supports the 30Mb/s transfer rate of the latest Class 10 SDHC cards and Sony’s fastest MemoryStick Pro Duo generation. The HD video also has a reasonable 17mbps bitrate.
The new technology has been well documented before the launch, but the fine detail of the new cameras is now clearer. The Alpha 55 is some markets will incorporate GPS geo-tagging for stills and videos (we wait to see whether raw files are tagged, and how accurate this is – the accessory Sony geo-tagging system available to date has only permitted JPEG tagging, and has not been accurate enough to know which street in a town the picture was taken in).
Rumours that the 33 and 55 bodies would be SSM/SAM only, with no internal focus drive, were unfounded as Sony states clearly that both are compatible with ‘the full range’ of over 30 Alpha lenses (indeed, the product shots of the 33 and 55 alone show the 18-200mm SAL DT lens fitted). The 55/33 1080i/60p (1080p in AVCHD camera archive format) video claims ‘smooth, precise’ phase detect auto focus during video shooting, but makes no reference to this being limited to in-lens motor lenses. Therefore we can assume it works with in-body AF drive lenses as well, and you just have to edit the soundtrack.
The new ISO 25,600 mode does not imply a radical sensor change as it is only available using Multi-Shot Noise Reduction, which requires a burst of 6 frames at the 10fps/7fps native maximum speed of the camera, and can not save raw files. The ISO range of the sensors is 100 to 12,800. Is this range quoted as absolute, or after accounting for the semi-silvered mirror light losses? If it’s the range before allowing for the mirror, then the 14.2 megapixel sensor of the Alpha 33 may be more like the Nikon 3100’s sensor than the NEX (ISO 200-12,800) is. Thom Hogan has shown pixel dimensions and size data which support Nikon’s claim to have an entirely different sensor fab line of their own, compared to the A550/NEX sensor. But how about compared to the A33/560 sensor?
The 55’s new 16.2 megapixel CMOS will probably appear in the forthcoming Alpha 700 successor, which it is believed will form the main Sony exhibit at photokina (Cologne, September 21st-27th). Both models have a new 15-zone AF sensor with three cross sensors, but not f/2.8 sensors – all are designed to operate at f/5.6 virtual aperture. However, there is a hidden clue that the cross sensors may be f/3.5 capable, as the high-speed shooting modes with continuous AF set f/3.5 by default on any lens capable of this (if the lens is, say, only f/5.6 then the largest aperture is always set). Setting f/3.5 implies that this confers an advantage in focus sensitivity over f/5.6, f/4 or any other particular aperture – and that f/3.2, f/2.8 or wider would bring no benefit. That points to some of the sensors having an f/3.5 virtual aperture.
The new cameras are known as SLTs – Single Lens Translucent – instead of SLR. See my intro. Did they have no English speaking staff on their team? I’m sure there is a German word which describes their mirror correctly. I’d rather have the right German word than the wrong English one. Ah well, as the bloke leaning on the pub bar says, durchsprung vor technik…
Confusing aspects – Auto HDR is said to be available in P/A/S/M modes. I guess in M mode it must leave the aperture alone and change just the shutter speed. Regular bracketing is still limited to a disappointing 3 exposures at 0.7 EV intervals, maximum.
But you’ll love the direct D-Range button which gives access to D-Range and HDR options directly, and the direct Finder/Screen button which toggles between using the very high resolution EVF with its ‘virtual 1.1X’ 100% view of the subject – effective visual scale, larger than the Alpha 700 and larger than any previous Alpha digital model except the Alpha 900 and 850. That’s one of the benefits of the EVF, a relatively tiny display is viewed through a high magnification ocular and ends up with a ‘window’ on the world which beats the tiny tunnel vision of optical finders. Technically it is very similar to the last EVF produced by Konica Minolta on the Dimage A200, with the benefit of five years’ further development. It has the same 60Hz refresh rate and visually almost raster-free RGB.
Where the A550 and its earlier stablemates vary slightly around a viewfinder with an effective 0.50X scale (relative to a full frame 100% view using a 50mm lens), the A55 and A33 provide an effective 0.73X and that’s impressive. The ocular is set well back (remember the Konica Minolta A2, and the Sony Cybershot DSC R-1?) because it is a telescope design. This also gives it a very narrow range of possible eye positions, a common feature of EVFs. The eyepoint is close, and you must position your eye precisely.
The rear screen uses the same type of (Schott?) reinforced glass with (3M?) resin gel adhesive as Canon’s 7D – this totally seals to the LCD module itself eliminating air gaps, and improves contrast. It is a technology first seen in the 7D and becoming standard across the industry though the NEX has shown Sony to have the best implementation so far. It is scratch proof, by the way, and it can be cracked by impact like any other screen.
The tilt-swivel action is borrowed directly from the Nikon D5000. In fact, it’s so identical in articulation it even included the amazingly silly front facing mode where the screen is obscured by your tripod, hanging under the camera and preventing it from being placed on a flat surface for self-portraits or videos. But it has the same benefit as the Nikon, the screen can be flipped to face the camera and protected completely while you use the EVF.
Functions familiar from the NEX including Sweep Panorama and Sweep 3D Panorama are built-in and accessed from the main mode dial, which also provides physical settings for all the main modes. Depth of field preview is restored – with the usual button – because is can now actually work. It was always useless in real terms on optical viewfinder cameras, as the focusing screen never represented wide apertures correctly.
Now, with an EVF, for the first time ever an eye-level Alpha gives absolutely perfect and precise previewing of depth of field and bokeh effects whatever aperture you are working at – even at f/1.4, which was never possible and still isn’t with the A850 or A900 for that matter (which is why their Preview mode is useful).
You can also preview the exact image appearance. By pressing the AE lock button, the auto gain of the EVF or rear screen are turned off and replaced by an exposure-compensated view. So if you dial in -1 EV (using the adjacent dedicated button), and change the WB, and use a different picture style with more saturation and contrast just pressing AE-Lock will immediately preview your image with these adjustments applied. And you can enlarge in the usual two steps to check auto or manual focus.
The finder and screen also have a Nikon-style two axis spirit level (flight simulator horizon) display to help you get your horizontals straight and your verticals parallel. It can be activated on either, and does not have to appear on both simultaneously.
For movie makers, the binaural stereo microphones are a great move. Even on the NEX, the two small top aperture mics give excellent stereo. The 33/55 mics are placed either side of the ‘prism’ housing, rather like the ears on your head. This will give the stereo image created by these cameras a really natural quality. Natural, that is, to a pygmy marmoset monkey… but still, I will wager, the best stereo image of any DSLR/HybriD. And Sony provide a stereo 3.5mm mic jack socket, though without any manual control of gain levels.
I’m sure we will have to buy the A780 to get that. Click the picture above for a big version. Who says Sony does not have a range to match Nikon or Canon, whether or lenses or of cameras? From the left, the cameras show the current range before we even see the magnesium-bodied Alpha 700 replacement arrive. A900, A850, A580, A560, A55, A33, A390, A290. – David Kilpatrick
Read Sony Press releases and full technical data: Alpha 33 and 55 Press Release Alpha 560 and 580 Press Release
Although it’s far from a perfect lens, this small 1999 Minolta RS optic is my favourite for general travel and everyday use on the Alpha 900. It is a convenient size and weight, performs well when stopped down a little, and has exactly the range and minimum focus I need.
Mouseover image to see effect of this profile used on a shot taken at 70mm focal length.
The profile created for ACR6/LR3 is at four focal lengths – 24, 35, 55, 85 – and two apertures, wide open and f/9. The chart distance ranges from about 120cm to about 4m.
To download: http://www.photoclubalpha.com/DSLR-A900 (24-85mm F3.5-4.5) – RAW.lcp
Right click and save. Correction of CA and distortion is pretty good, and this profile identifies itself correctly as a Minolta lens. It should be placed in the Sony directory of Adobe Application Support>Camera Raw>Lens Profiles. – David Kilpatrick
As the generation of Alpha 200, 300 and 350 reaches early retirement age it may be the time to grab bargains. The new Alpha 230, 330 and 380 have plenty of bonus points to win over new users despite the critical lack of video capture. But the older generation has some very tangible benefits.
The most obvious changes in the ‘Plus-30’ range are the use of a new smaller battery (NP-F50AM) shared with Cyber Shot consumer models, a dual MS ProHG Duo and SD card interface, substantial reduction in weight and size, improved rear LCD screen with auto brightness adjustment (only on the A330 and A380), and a radical overhaul of the graphical user interface to include sample picture tips (pioneered by Nikon). Continue reading »
There is no need to dismantle the mount of the original series Sigma AF TELE 400mm f/5.6 lens, to bring non-functional versions (old chip) up to speed with later film and current digital SLRs. The whole process takes under five minutes, and requires two tools – a small Philips screwdriver, and a precision end cutter.
The appeal of the original AF TELE and the later, identically sized, AF APO TELE should be obvious. They weigh in at less than 900g in the first non-apochromatic version, which like the later apo (1053g) will only focus to around 4 metres. The cost and weight penalty for the later, much larger, Apo Tele Macro focusing down to 1.5m is considerable.
This lens – an original version in gunmetal finish – is impressively solid, a real metal barrel with a precision made extending hood, lined like the rear lens tube with flock anti-reflection black. The mount is well made, the tripod collar is ultra-neat though fitted with only a 1/4 inch thread:
The dilemma is that inside this lens is a chip which means it won’t function at all on digital SLRs and many later film SLRs (almost anything which actually says Dynax or Maxxum on it won’t work, this lens was made for the original 5000-9000 Minolta AF series). It will not even work in a manual focus mode, as the chip reports an error, not just ‘no lens fitted’.
The answer is to rechip the lens using a new contact plate array fitted with a new chip, provided for around $60 including post by James Lao in China: http://eadpt.cn.webz.datasir.com/eadpen.htm
This service is absolutely reliable, James emails to check the lens type you want to rechip, sends using signed-for post and I had my new chip in just four days to the UK.
Some reports on how to rechip the lens advise dismantling the entire rear mount. This is not needed, nor is any sanding or cutting with a hacksaw. A pair of miniature end cutters as used in the electronics industry for trimming wire exactly will do the job – so will luthier’s fret end cutters, and many pliers with high precision wire cutters.
The original contact array looks like this:
Note that the board does allow the countersunk head screws to lie fairly flat. Removing the screws over a suitable tray, with the lens held sideways, requires a No 1 jeweller’s screwdriver – 1mm or 1.5mm will do well. I used a screwdriver set with an illuminator in the handle.
With the old board still attached to its ribbon cable, just ease it up, twist it and push it into the void the left as viewed here. If badly placed, it can inferfere with the aperture mechanism, so after fitting your new chip and testing the lens, I suggest opening up again, pulling the old board out and cutting it off for good. It will never be needed again. Check the aperture lever operation anyway to make sure the board, when pushed into the lens, is not jamming the action.
Here’s the contact side of the James Lao board. Note that it has excess substrate on the ends, which will need shaping down to fit, and that the screw holes are brass lined. This will result in the screws being very slightly raised when it is fitted, but this is not an issue, just a cosmetic difference.
On the back is the new chip, connected by small wires instead of a ribbon cable. It is not as fragile as this shot indicates, nor are you likely to damage it through static unless you groom the cat first then rub a balloon, stick it to your 8ft 6 regulation height ceiling and walk across a nylon shag pile carpet wearing crimplene trousers. But it is not 1975, so no worries there…
This is a pair of fine end cutters (so called because the clipping edge is right at the front, not set back by angled grinding/sharpening). It can be used to clip off the excess, then nibble the correct shape at each end, with minimal effort and no risk. No dust is created but little bits of board do fly off and land in watching eyes, so wear glasses or protective goggles if you do this. I wear off-the-shelf reading glasses, it makes this sort of small work much easier.
The trimmed new board will fit easily and firmly into the space left by the old one.
Here’s how I replaced the screws. My screwdriver is a good enough fit to hold the screw and introduce it to the hole with the lens safely over the lid of the screwdriver kit. Do not stand the lens upright and do it from above, you risk losing a screw inside the lens. This way is safe.
Once fitted, it is perfectly functional though the trimmed ends and non-recessed screws make it look a touch agricultural. You could black-pen the ends I guess, but this is not going to affect flare or any other aspect of the final picture quality. Note the flock-lined rear lens tube – these optics were well made, 20 years ago.
Taking the lens out on the A900, not a very good day, ISO 400 and really wide-open are the defaults, I found that it absolutely must be stopped down to f/8 to be useful. This quick snap of a blackbird on the roof actually shows very fine detail:
This is un-sharpened, with some NR, and is at +1.3 plus brightness boost in processing – in other words, really ISO 1600 on the A900, not ISO 400 as set. The tiny hair-like feathers are resolved at f/8. Not all my first attempts to autofocus the lens were as accurate, it’s easily confused and dithers even if it does not hunt. Into the light, it’s pretty awful on anything which shows the serious level of CA present in an original version at f/8, click the image for the full size view:
Colour bokeh? Yup, red and green, your own Christmas decorations provided free for every tree. It can be improved in ACR from raw, but really, this sort of subject (edge of full frame shown) is best avoided.
Here’s another quick snap in the garden, not much sun but not totally dull, again managing f/8 with a reasonable shutter speed (1/200th I think on this one). The 100 per cent clip from the A900 shows a decent level of detail, without adding any sharpening:
It’s soft but remember this is part of a five to six foot wide image. At f/11, which I may get to try in better weather, and at ISO 100 on the A700 cutting off the rather CA-prone outer field and getting that valuable effective 600mm-angle view – well, it’s probably worth it. I do not get much better than this, and often get worse, from the Minolta 500mm f/8 mirror lens on the A900 at ISO 400.
The rechipping operation is so fast and hassle-free there is no great risk in buying one of these lenses at a bargain price, against the risk it will not work on your digital SLR. You can make it work. For 7D/5D owners where the resolution is less challenging, it would be a great buy. Do not expect fast focus – it is not – but the handling more than makes up for that. Balance and feel are just great, and the sliding collar which covers the moving focusing ring is a great design feature. – David Kilpatrick
The Photoclub Forum has really picked up in the last few weeks. We now have (as I write):
Total posts 2869 • Total topics 607 • Total members 894
That’s a long way from the early days – this site only went live just over a year ago though we have ‘date stamped’ some pages to make them match the Alpha launch back in June 2006. It’s a very friendly place, with a wealth of technical information and help and some very detailed responses from some expert users.