Wednesday, July 6, 2016

#20 A7Rii with new Fotodiox Adapter

I did more research and got the Fotodiox DLX Series, Nikon (G) to E-Mount adapter. Right off the bat I tried out my Nikkor 70-200 VR 2.8 G lens.....and no luck. As with the much cheaper Fotasy N/G-A7II simply won't click into place. I starts to go on but will not turn to fit in place. So far both of these adapters will work with most all of the other Nikon lenses I have.

I recently got a Manual Focus 85mm F/2 Nikkor for cheap on eBay. I've seen where some sellers will have a ---Make An Offer--- option.....but in the past every time I tried making a lower offer they always declined it. This time it was Adorama company using eBay to sell this lens. I offered them $40 less and they took it! They were asking $160 originally. I'd been watching the 85mm F/2 lens on eBay for a while and they usually go for $200 at least. I did see one sell for $175 but was hoping to get one for less. Patience usually pays off on eBay. The lens is in great shape and works like a charm on the Fotodiox adapter. With the Fotasy adapter the lenses will go on but with some the aperture ring either won't turn or it will with lots of far with the Fotodiox the aperture rings work normally. The Fotasy was $16, the Fotodiox (from their web site) was $80.

Here is a shot I took with the Fotasy adapter and the 85mm Nikkor F/2 (This was a few days before I got the Fotodiox):

(as with all of the shots on this blog click on the image for a larger view.)

This was basically a lucky shot as very minimal Depth-of-Field here and manual focusing!
I think I'm really going to like this 85mm lens! Can't wait to try it out at one of my model shoots. 

I got to use my Sony A7Rii with the Sony 24-240 lens again in action at the San Diego County Fair for the second time this season. It was the last day of the Fair, July 4th. We thought the traffic would be horrible on the nearly 2 hour drive so we left really early and arrived about 30min before the place even opened. Fortunately we had some free vender passes so could go right in. (Pays to know people, such as my pal Dean LeCrone who was entertaining the place every day of the Fair I his steampunk character: Dr. Peepers!

I really can't be happier with the quality of the shots with this camera/lens combo! Sony A7Rii/Sony 24-240. I really do need to get a small flash to put on when needed. I do have lots of flashes I can try out in manual mode but it's always best to have at least one that is TTL for it to sync with the camera and give you the correct exposure with the flash. I only use on camera flash at events like this or weddings where you have times such as the reception where you are moving around a lot and need light. For 95% of the time I don't need the flash at events. At this one the camera was doing a great job. Even when the subject was partially shaded from the harsh sun the shot was great later when I brought it up on my monitor. Amazing. Here is a shot that was like that. Half of his face was shaded and I thought it would never turn out right. But it did. And no, I didn't save it in photoshop.
I keep waiting for all the problems with the A7Rii that I have been reading about but knock on wood I haven't. In fact 2 things they complained about were: No uncompressed RAW ability. And the overheating when shooting video at 4K after more than 10min etc....well.....Sony fixed both of those issues in their firmware update of 3.0. My camera came with 3.0 already on it since I've only had it a few weeks. I've not switched from lossy compressed RAW to uncompress RAW as it will make the already huge files way larger. I'm very happy with the files as they are! I've not texted out the 4K overheating issue as I've only used it for short clips so far. 

Hope you had a great 4th of July!

One last thing....Yesterday was the last day for my Inland Empire Models & Photographers MEETUP group. The Meetup company are closing their model shoot groups. They made up a more strict policy about shooting models that seems to now include every type of model shoot you can think of. So they gave me a week to get my notices out.  And I did message all 1200 members that it was closing. And I messaged them again about how I'm moving the group to and on Facebook at

We already have two shoots lined up! One July 30th and one August 6th! If you are in the SoCal area join up (It's free to join!) The two shoots above are Oceanside Beach and Rialto, CA.  We cover pretty much all areas from Rancho Cucamonga to San Diego! And some of Orange County!

Friday, June 3, 2016

19 -More Tests and Some Sample Images with Sony A7RII

More testing of the Sony A7RII. I'm really starting to get the hang of it. Having the focus set in the center and recomposing seems to be working fine for static objects. 

I have set up my custom buttons:  C1: White Balance, C2: Metering Mode, C3: Focus Mode, C4: Shoot Mode ISO AUTO Min.SS (This I've set to 1/125th as my slowest shutter speed setting when ISO Auto is on. Though so far it doesn't seem to be working. I saw in the manual that if the camera thinks it can't take the shot in the minimal settings you have put in, it will override them. This seems to negate the reason for setting this.) The round wheel I've set the down push to go right to where I can move the focus point around like I used to do with my Nikon cameras. There are limits to a lot of the settings. If you want to shoot with Face Detection you have to have the focus mode on AF-C for continuous, etc...same for Eye Detection.

I have the AF/MF button set to go to Eye Detection. Some photographers like to have that button to override the shutter button from setting focus. I tried it. I took off that ability from the shutter button. It would just fire the shot, no half press to focus. Then I set the AF/MF button to focus the shot. It works in the studio, but when I'm in the car trying to grab fast's too much trouble to focus with that separate button. You see I'm trying to shoot with one hand most of the time while driving (I know, not recommended!) So I switched it back to the usual half press of the shutter button to set the focus, then full press for taking the shot. Too many years to re-train myself I guess. But I did give it a try. You see in theory it makes sense. If you use two hands. One holds the camera and then you push the AF/MF to grab focus. Then shutter button to shoot. You see if the object or model is not moving much, then you just keep hitting the trigger and not worrying about the focus. That is the reason they set it up that way. With the Nikon system and the lenses I used I could turn off AF on the lens, and shoot action etc...after I'd focused. Now since some lenses don't give you that button, you have to lock focus with the AF/MF button if you don't set it up the way they like to do it. 

Shooting in studio tips:

Set your Live Display  ---Setting Effect OFF (Before I did this the camera was trying to show me the scene in the viewfinder or LCD as very dark...since I had my setting for the strobes! Turning this to OFF fixed the problem and I can see the scene as I would see it with an optical viewfinder, not as it would be with all my camera settings. Now I have to set it back to ON when shooting without strobes if I want to see the image reacting to the exposure settings I'm changing. Which is a good thing to have that my Nikon systems never had. 

Set your White Balance to FLASH. With my Nikon cameras the Auto White Balance was so darn good, I never changed it to anything else! Really! But with this Sony camera I have to change it off auto or it's all blue. 

Shoot in Manual Mode (just like usual). 

Shutter Speed is best at 1/160th of a sec. You can shoot at 1/200th, but from the videos I watched 1/160 seemed to be the sweet spot here.

I'm going to try and set the studio settings up in the 1 or 2 buttons on the mode dial top of the camera. If that works, I can just switch to one of those numbers and presto, I'm ready to shoot in the studio....I'll let you know after I read the manual!

My triggers worked fine. I've yet to try out any flashes as I don't have any Sony compatible ones yet for the hotshoe. I'm sure my Nikon and 3rd party flashes would probably go off but not TTL, etc...

I'll get back to all that later after I test it out more.

Click on these images to see a larger view. (In this case a much larger view as I uploaded them full size JPG files.) The one strobe was an Alien Bee 800 set about 5 feet off the ground and aiming down hitting the items from camera left. It has a barn door flap head and can take color gels. For these shots in studio I just had a white diffuser gel on it.
3 Old Cameras: Shot with Sony A7RII with Sony 24-240. 1/260th, F/20, ISO: 100

1/160th, ISO: 100, F/6.3, outdoor natural light.

Nikon Df, Nikkor 24-120. Modeling light from strobes (ambient light). 1/125th, F/5.6, ISO: 16000

Nikon Df, Nikkor 24-120. One Strobe firing off to left. 1/160th, F/16, ISO: 100

Nikon Df, Nikkor 24-120. Modeling light from strobes. 1/125th, F/5.6, ISO: 6400

Sony A7RII with Sony 24-240, Ambient light from above. 1/125, F/4, ISO: 160. Looking up the stairs to cathedral ceiling. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

18 -Big Bokeh Lens Test - Sony A7RII with Many Lenses.......

I was watching on YouTube some lens comparisons and how they handle the blurry out of focus areas in your backgrounds. Mostly when shooting portraits this is a good thing to strive for. Makes the person really stand out in the shot. So, everyone says get a 85mm 1.4 or 1.8 lens for best results. I have one, a manual focus Mitakon 85mm 2.0 (maximum aperture setting possible). Otherwise I have other lenses that do cover the 85mm zone, and some have even more telephoto range like 200mm, and 300, etc....

Anyway here are some lenses I tested the bokeh out by placing a head figure with some area behind it to see how the lenses handle the background. They all seem to have a different look. The really long telephoto, such as 105, 135, 200, and 300 really blur out the background the most. You have to also step back about 5-10feet from the subject to get them in focus. So these are best used outdoors or in larger area studios.

Note: All but one (Sony FE 24-240.) of the lenses are either AF or MF, where shot in Manual Focus mode since my adapter is limited. Some of the old lenses the aperture setting was too tight to move it. My 70-200mm AF VR Nikkor lens is not shown here because it was the only lens that would go on the adapter, but would not turn to snap on completely. If a lens didn't have aperture settings since they have it all handled in camera were still usable since the adapter has a silver ring to move and give some sort of aperture adjustment, though with no settings on it. In that case I had it turned for maximum lightness....assuming it was opening the aperture to it's max.

I set my notepad next to the steampunk statue so I could keep track of which shot went with which lens.---Also, no Photoshop on the images other than adding the text. Didn't even crop them.

Check out these test shots all on the Sony A7RM2 with a Fotasy N/G-A7II, Nikon F mount to Sony E mount, manual focus only. (On eBay for $16).

Let me know which lens and setting, you think gives the best Bokeh look! (Click on a shot to see it full size!)

By the way, from what I've seen on YouTube tests show the best 85mm lenses for the Sony full frame cameras are the Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8 and the Sony G Master 85mm 1.4.  (Consensus shows the Sony G Master inching out the Zeiss just barely in the nicer rounded, creamy bokeh areas).

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

17- Old Nikon Glass on Sony A7RM2

So far I only have a $16 Fotasy NG-A7II adapter for Nikon F mount to Sony E mount. But the good news is that is really works! Sure its working in manual focus but since the Sony A7RM2 has focus peaking, a feature that shows you what in the shot is in focus with color outline's easy!

Here are some examples (Click on an image to see it larger):

I cropped some of the images but otherwise no Photoshop. 

16--Got the Sony A7RM2 and a Sony 24-240 lens......

I got a new camera! Yes, I seem to get a new one every two years. This time it's been a bit longer than that....2.5 years since I got the Nikon Df. The new camera is the Sony A7RM2. I also got a Sony 24-240 3.5-6.3 lens. Why that camera, why that lens after 10.5 years of shooting Nikon? Well, I'd been watching YouTube videos of reviews and in the field testing with the camera for about 9months. I'd pretty much made up my mind about 6 months ago but couldn't justify it since I'm perfectly happy with the shots I'm getting with my D4 and Df with all the awesome lenses I have for them. But there are so many new and improved features with this camera it's mind boggling. Here are a few.....

In camera 5 axis stabilization. 42 megapixels (my cameras are 16mp). Small camera. Lighter. Face detection focus and even more important....eye detection focus! And it has the possibility of taking my Nikon lenses.

There are lots of other features as well as Focus Peaking, and a zooming in feature with autofocus lenses when manual focusing.

The list goes on and on......oh, and 4K movies! Yes.....that's double the 1080i HD of most cameras.

Ok, but why the 24-240 3.5-6.3 lens? Well, I have Nikon lenses already that can handle just about anything but one lens I used to have that I'd sold years back was the 28-300. This was the perfect lens for travel as it turned out. So by getting that Sony lens I have one lens right away to do most everything I need. Ok, not the best for low light shots but.....I also got a cheap ($16) Fotasey NG-A7II lens adapter. I can attach any of my Nikon lenses to the Sony camera now. I can only use them in manual focus but a lot of my lenses are manual focus. And once I get this all up and running which I may of already done in just one day (first day I got the camera I figured out how to use it with my studio lights was a little tricky) I'm going to get the Commlite adapter. This is a $399 adapter for all my Nikon lenses even the autofocus feature will work on the AF lenses! Can't wait to check that out. 

Going through all my camera stuff and trying out lenses now on the Sony last night I used a 50mm 1.8 AF lens on it. My adapter worked but of course it's manual focus but the camera was ready for me. It has Focus Peaking! This is where an area that is in focus has a color (you pick white/red/yellow etc..) area online showing you where your focus is! This really made it fun! Here are shots from last night (first day of using the camera) of my wife Bonnie making some cookies....

 Nikon 50 1.8 AF lens with adaptor. Shot at 1.8, ISO: 400, 1/60th.

And today as I was getting my older lenses out to try them on the Sony I decided to make a shot of all my current and old Nikon equipment. (This shot is missing a 50 1.4 ancient Nikkor lens and a Nikkormat film camera with another 50mm 1.4 lens). But you get the idea.
Stay tuned as I'll be posting shots taken with some of these lenses on the Sony camera, and the 24-240 Sony lens (which took this group shot) in upcoming posts. Will I keep my Nikon cameras (probably), will I get more native Sony lenses? Time will tell.