Tag Archives: A7iii

YouTube – Panos and Video A7iii vs iPhone XS Max – Film Fail – Macro A7iii vs iPhone and so on.

The top image is an iPhone XS Max panorama using Apple’s built in pano generator.  I don’t think it is a great pano but I need the shot to make a point.

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Made with Sony A7iii Sony 24mm – 105mm lens.  About 15 shots merged in Lightroom.  

And the shot immediately above is from my Sony A7iii and about 15 shots taken hand held then merged on Lightroom.  The pano with the Sony and Lightroom was pretty easy.  Lightroom is very smart and does this quite easily.  But, the iPhone XS Max made the first pano in camera, hand held, effortlessly.  Looking at the finished panoramas on my high end monitor in full size (very big files, both of them) there is no appreciable difference in the results.  The Sony produced file has slightly more detail, you can read the names better on the gravestones, but you can also read lots of graves on the iPhone produced image too.  By the way, I want to give credit to Thomas Heaton who is a youtube landscape video maker and has his own channel on youtube for giving me the idea to do more panoramas.  I have done them in the past, but after watching his video went out the next day and shot a few.

An hour later I went and shot some video down by the bay using the same Sony and iPhone.  And the results were much the same.  Although in this case the Sony and iPhone processing was the same as I did not edit either.  Again the Sony had a bit more detail, but the overall viewing of the video is about the same.  I only put up one video which I thought was the best clip.  It is from the iPhone.  I do find the Sony 24mm-105mm f4 to be a good video lens.  It is fast focus, silent focus, stabilized, and has a good zoom range.  The iPhone’s system of video and zoom is quite good also.  If you hand hold and manipulate the zoom with one hand and hold the phone with the other the result can be quite good.  Both the Sony and Apple smoothed out the hand holding pretty well.  The panoramas are also not edited except for pushing the auto enhance feature as I did not like the resulting photo all the much, but wanted to share the fact that in this case the expensive Sony body and expensive G zoom was not noticeably better than the iPhone.

On the other hand I have not found iPhones to be that good at macro or close ups of plants and flowers.  With the Sony A7 or nearly any other regular camera you can focus to a subject quite well with little effort.  To me iPhones, even the latest iPhone XS Max are  sometimes OK and sometimes not.  Even the little Sony HX 80 compact I had last year could easily lock on to a flower and get an accurately focused photos.  I have many many well focused iPhone shots of flowers, but only up to a certain point.  Past that point the focus can be inaccurate.  And also today on my hike up the large hill back of our house I only took the iPhone.  Not having a sun shade for the iPhone was a big deal as was no polarizing filter.  My point here is that while smartphones can be very useful in photography they have limits where larger or more featured cameras do better.

I pay a monthly fee to youtube so I don’t have to watch commercials and do watch quite a few varied clips.  Many of them are about photography.  Some are good and many not.  But my reason for writing about youtube is to say that many trolls say really rude inappropriate things on YT.  A couple days ago I posted a comment on a video about the Nikon D3500 (new) vs Nikon D700 (used).  My comment was polite.  Some troll came along like he was hot stuff and said that the Nikon D5500 I used to own was a “plastic turd” compared to the 10 year old Nikon D700.  It was inappropriate of him (or her) because I did not disparage the D700 as I have no experience using one.  But I have lots of experience using the D5500 and it was / is a camera I got many many very good photos from.  It’s only defect was a small viewfinder and that it is not mirrorless.

All of the above shots were taken with the Nikon D5500 in 2015 with the old style Nikon kit lens.  Take a look at those close ups of the bristlecone pines.  That was not with a macro lens just the standard kit lens.  Or the Bodie California shots.  In the full size files that are very sharp pictures and most of them were shot jpeg standard size.  No raw.  In addition to taking really great photos the D5500 had about the slickest control system and menu I have ever used.  The back screen worked for a variety of things plus going through the menu.  Compared to that Nikon my current Sony and iPhone are miles behind.  But the D5500 did not have an EVF which would have helped it.  And the live focus for stills or video was terrible.  In my humble opinion Nikon would be smart to just convert this camera into mirrorless.  Take out the mirror, put in an EVF, but make sure it focuses as well as the D5500 does not when not using live view.  The curved body and light weight makes this crop sensor camera so easy to use.  Even with the low end style lenses they work pretty darn well.  And there is a full line up of lower cost good performing lenses.  Or instead of making it mirrorless leave the dam mirror in and just put a greatly improved live view auto focus in.

For the most part good photography is because of the photographer and not the gear.  The last four beautiful strawberry sky photos were shot on the same trip as the D5500 ones, but they were taken with my old Motorola Droid Maxx.  That had a 10 megapixel camera in it.  And finally Film Fail.  As much as I like shooting film with old cameras there is one part of the process I don’t like.  Many film labs.  Sometimes they screw up one or more full rolls of film.  I got back two rolls week before last from a local lab that has done good work for me in the past.  One roll of Kodak Portra 400 and the other Fuji Superia 400.  Two different cameras.  The lab fouled up both rolls.  Many of the photos were of no consequence, but one roll was Christmas 2018.  So those photos will never grace an album.  Now I need to go back to the one local lab that does not screw up film rolls (or at least has never done so in the past) and just put up with the 40 mile drive to get there.  And the extra money they charge.

Does The Sony A7iii Adapt To Minolta-Sony A Mount Glass Well?

Yes it does.  A couple of weeks ago after thinking about doing it for a year I bought a full frame mirrorless digital camera, a Sony A7iii.  I chose the Sony A7iii over the Sony A7riii because of price and the fact that the bigger files would overwhelm my current computer setup.  I chose the Sony over a Nikon Z7 or Z6 mainly because the 24 mega pixel Sony is available now and I have a number of Minolta/Sony/Sigma AF A mount lenses I like a lot.

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Shot with the Sony A7iii and Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8

I also bought the Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8 when I got the camera from a local camera store.  No surprise the Zeiss lens works great with the Sony A7iii.  The above shot was taken last weekend in full sun with a sun shade on the lens and a polarize filter.  This shot was taken in raw and converted to black and white in Lightroom Classic.

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Sony A7iii with Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8 shot at f8 at 1/60th sec ISO 125

The Zeiss does a good job with color too.  But this is a well reviewed lens from one of the best suppliers that was designed for the A7 line of cameras and cost $1,000.  So you expect it to be good.  It is also light and smallish.  Plus has a 49mm filter size which I have a lot of lenses that size.  In fact that is the standard filter size of many of the Minolta lenses.

But when I got this camera the real question in my mind was how well my favorite Minolta – Sony A mount glass would work.  These lenses are;

  1. Minolta AF 50mm f1.4.  A splendid lens at least as good as my Nikon 50mm f1.4 G lens or my Olympus Zuiko 50mm f1.4.  But not as good as my Voightlander Nokton German Made 50mm f1.5.  The bokeh on the Voight is beyond beautiful.
  2. Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro.  I have loved this lens since I first got it with my Minolta 600si film camera a few years ago.  It is very sharp and goes to 1:1 or short focuses to .18 m or .62 ft.
  3. Sigma 24mm f2.8 Macro that is also able to focus down to .18 m.  A great wide angle lens that is quite sharp with little distortion.
  4. Minolta 35-70 f3.5 – 4.5.  A shockingly sharp unexpected gem that I got for free when I bought a Minolta 70 – 210mm from ebay.  When I got my first samples back from this lens I immediately looked it up as the results were so good.  This is a plastic excellent light small mid zoom.  Don’t laugh till you see the photos.
  5. Minolta 70 – 210mm 4.5 – 5.6.  Both this lens and the 35-70 were made in Japan.  This is a very good plastic lens.  It is very light and very small for the zoom range.  This is not the same as the all metal “beer can” Minolta with similar zoom range but f4.  This lens is also quite sharp although not quite as good as the 35 – 70.  But it will fit into your pocket if you are wearing cargo pants.  Try that with the Sony 70-200 f2.8.
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Sony A7iii with 24mm at f8 1/100 ISO 4000

I also bought the Sony LA-EA4 adaptor that is designed for the Sony A7 series of AF lenses with screw focus.

As I found out immediately the A7iii with LA-EA4 adaptor worked very well with both the Minolta lenses and the Sigmas.  As you can see in the shot above the 24mm gives a very good still shot.  I used center focus and center exposure for this shot.  It was taken a few minutes before sunset.

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A7iii with Minolta 35 – 70 f3.5 – 4.5

This shot above of the purple geranium is about a 50% crop and was shot at 55mm f8 @ 1/00 ISO 800.  It is very sharp, good color, nice bokeh, and I got this lens for free.  This is my best purchase yet.  I got the 70 – 210 zoom and this lens for $32 dollars plus shipping.  A laughable amount.  This 35 – 70 focuses almost instantly with the A7iii and adaptor.  As with all of the adapted lenses I am reviewing here I would suggest manual focus if you are going to shoot video.  The adaptor and lens will just be too noisy for video in AF.

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A7iii with Sigma 50mm Macro f2.8 

Above is my Macro 50mm 2.8 Sigma.  A well built lens that is quite sharp and can focus as close as .62 of a foot.  I have used this lens a lot with my first Minolta 600si as that camera came with this lens.  I have seen this lens on ebay recently for around $75.

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A7iii with Minolta 70-210 f4.5-5.6 ISO 1250 f8 @ 1/100

And finally we have my Minolta mid range – longer zoom.  This is a very small compact zoom for the 70-210 range that might be 11 or 12 oz.  Is it as good as one of the large 70-200 2.8 lenses, no.  But I already own this lens and it works up to a very good standard and you can own one too for less than 50 dollars.  Here is another example below of this bargain.

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A7iii with 70-210 

The above is not a good photo but does show that the lens can give a sharp and acceptable result.

My point is that the Sony A7iii is a very flexible tool for getting high quality stills with a wide variety of expensive and low cost lenses.  Sony bought Minolta in 2006 and still makes cameras that use the Minolta A mount plus A mount lenses.  There are a lot of A mount lenses for sale now at attractive prices.  The ones I have work fine for still photos. And for that matter there are quite a few used E mount Sony lenses for sale too.  Although so far I have found some of the better E mount glass to sell at relatively close to new prices.  I have been looking for a 35mm Zeiss and in a couple of ebay auctions found the used sold for about 80% of new.  If you want to use video without the noise of the older style auto focus you are going to have to get some native quiet glass.

A7iii.  So far I like the Sony A7iii quite a bit.  Since I have had several previous compact Sony cameras including a HX80.  I am used to the menu and find the A7 easy to operate.  Now I have set up buttons to operate all of the major functions directly and adjustments a very quick.  This camera with reasonable size lenses makes for a package of camera and lens similar to my film SLR’s like my Olympus OM2n, Voightlander Prominent, and Minolta 600si.  The Minolta is now my largest body.  But it is only a bit bigger than the Sony.  I have no plans at this point to buy huge heavy glass for this camera so that it is hard to travel with and carry around.  If I had not had any of the older glass that works easily with the A7iii I might have made a different choice of a full frame mirrorless body.  I like the fact that Nikon with the Z mount has come out with some pretty light and smaller glass.  But the Sony already has done this.  The Sony 55mm f1.8 like I bought is about the same size and weight as the new Nikon Z 50mm f1.8.  But the Nikon 35mm f1.8 is over 13oz.  The Sony 35mm f2.8 is 4.4 oz and the Sony 28mm f2.8 7.1 oz.

Enough for now.  I have a bunch of rolls of the new Kodak Ektachrome and am waiting for the first finished roll to come back from the developer.