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Photo 150 - Phil Wood

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2021 at 00:25
Week 16 - Theme 2 - Landscape.

River scene.

Sony A99ii + Minolta 28-105 f3.5-4.5 RS @ 28mm. ISO 100, f8 1/200s
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2021 at 00:39
Week 16 - Theme 3 - Try Something Creative.

Macro.

Another go at macro beyond 1:1 - this time using two sets of extension tubes and a decent macro lens.

I was surprised not to get more magnification, but the Minolta macro lens certainly works a bit better than the Pentacon I used with the bellows in Week 14 (it's nice to be able to stop down).

The image is of a section of a UK 20p coin - the inner rose is 4 to 5mm diameter so the magnification is around 3x. Lighting was from a small LED panel to one side, I may try again with a ring light or flash.

20p

Sony A99ii + Minolta AF 50mm f2.8 RS macro + 134mm extension. ISO 100, f11 6s

Edited by Phil Wood - 26 April 2021 at 09:19
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 April 2021 at 14:07
Week 17 - Theme 1 - Lens Extravaganza.

Minolta AF 35-70mm f4

This week I took the short trip north to Oxford carrying a selection of standard zooms for Howard S to sample (he is looking for an affordable lens for his A900). As I had several with me, I decided to pick one for my lens extravaganza theme. I opted for the 1985 35-70mm f4 – one of my favourite zooms, I like it so much I have several. Howard already had a copy of this lens, which is suffering from the sticky iris issue – so, after grabbing the first copy that came to hand, I made sure to check the iris was working well!

The only real problem I have ever had with this lens is the limited zoom range, especially in comparison to the 24-105mm D of Minolta’s later years it seems so restrictive to be limited to 35-70mm. In every other way it’s a gem of a lens.

For those who don’t know it this is a tiny zoom, not a lot bigger than the fast 50mm primes, smaller than the 50mm macro. Manual focus is achieved using the narrow knurled control ring so typical of the first generation AF lenses. A ‘macro’ capability is included – to use it one must move a sliding lever to allow the zoom to move into the close focus range. This can only be done at the 35mm end – the 70mm end would have been better, but I’m sure they had good reason for this imperfect solution. Macro is only 1:4, nevertheless it is nice for flower shots and the like. Another issue with the macro is that AF is disabled – it is possible to adapt the lens to enable AF if you are prepared to delve into the lens with some sticky tape (not within everyone’s comfort zone).

The lens has a constant maximum aperture (f4), which significantly complicates the lens design and is rare in more affordable lenses. However, the word affordable is very applicable to this lens, it wasn’t highly priced when new, today copies can be found via ebay for £10 or less – though £20-30 is more common.

As I was meeting up with Howard and his A900, I decided to dig out my A900 for a rare outing - which also gave us the opportunity for a matched pair for a stereo shot. My first impression was that I’d erred in my lens choice and picked a copy with significant fogging, but it was merely my reaction to the A900 viewfinder after months of the A99ii EVF – the A900 may be renowned for it’s bright viewfinder, but EVF is another world. The results show there was nothing wrong with the lens.

If you want a pocketable zoom for A-mount at a pocket money price and 35-70mm suits your shooting style, then you really should try this lens.

I am cheating a little this week – first by posting two images (one from each end of the zoom range) and secondly by doing a lot more PP.

Oxford Brookes I
This image has been straightened (I’m not tall enough to get the shot square on).

Sony A900 + Minolta AF 35-70mm f4 @70mm. ISO 100, f8, 1/250s

Oxford Brookes II
This image has been straightened a little and cropped to cinemascope 64:27 to concentrate the image and remove extraneous elements.

Sony A900 + Minolta AF 35-70mm f4 @35mm. ISO 100, f6.3, 1/80s


Edited by Phil Wood - 29 April 2021 at 21:41
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Howard_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 April 2021 at 18:40
I'll be covering that historic moment when two A900s were triggered near simultaneously at another time, suffice it to say that I am grateful to Phil for making it possible and for the trial of various lenses. The 35-70 F4 is on my radar as I don't really trust myself as a fixer of delicate things.

I'm delighted to see another 64:27 crop, though Dyxum doesn't really do them justice with the tight 1024p limit.
Howard Stanbury Instagram | Flickr | Web
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2021 at 10:51
Week 17 - Theme 2 - Landscape.

Hazeley Heath.

Sony A99ii + Minolta 35-105 f3.5-4.5 @ 35mm. ISO 320, f11 1/400s
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2021 at 22:39
Week 17 - Theme 3 - Try Something Creative.

Focus stacking.

A first attempt, and not a total success - I started by focusing on the lettering and then went down. Should've gone up too!

Minolta AF 35-70mm f4

Sony A99ii + Minolta AF 100mm f2.8 D macro. ISO 100, f8 1/2s
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2021 at 00:56
Week 18 - Theme 1 - Lens Extravaganza.

Minolta AF 75-300mm f4.5-5.6 New

This is the second of four AF 75-300mm lenses produced by Minolta, all with the same variable aperture of f4.5-5.6. It replaced the highly regarded 'big-beercan' in 1995. Its predecessor lasted 9 years, this version less than half that. If the lens diagrams associated with the various versions in the Dyxum database are to be believed the last three versions used the same optical formula (the 'big-beercan' being very different) - if this is the case there are good reasons for choosing the first version over its successors - the focus hold button and the distance scale, both dropped for the 'II' version (see week 8). The final version, the 'D' (see week 13) added a distance encoder for ADI flash - personally I use the focus hold button a lot more than ADI flash, especially on digital bodies where it can be programmed to fulfil a variety of functions.

In terms of performance the three post-beercan lenses are very similar, it is easy to accept the idea that they all use the same optics. Performance at the long end is indifferent, at 300mm nothing is quite sharp. From 75-200 or so it's quite decent - but the appeal of a long telephoto is always the long end.

If you want a decent 75-200 then this is worth considering if you can find it cheap (£30-40 or less), but you'd be better off with a beercan (70-210mm f4), which outperforms it optically in every way and often costs less. If you're thinking of it as a cheap way to get into birding, think again.

Today's shot is of a road safety display outside the local fire station.

Scare tactics.


Sony A99ii + Minolta AF 75-300mm f4 @75mm. ISO 400, f11, 1/400s

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Maffe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2021 at 09:26
Never a good thing to be HBC...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2021 at 17:48
Week 18 - Theme 2 - Landscape.

Foreshortened avenue.

Sony A99ii + Tamron SP AF 28-75mm F2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical IF @ 28mm. ISO 400, f11 1/640s
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2021 at 09:57
Week 18 - Theme 3 - Try Something Creative.

HDR.

I'm afraid I had become accustomed to thinking of HDR as an in-camera creative effect. Recently Howard reminded me that there are other means of achieving the effect. It can be used for dramatic effect, but my aim was to extend dynamic range in a realistic manner, to get some detail in the sky while retaining detail and colour in the otherwise silhouetted foreground trees.

Donnington Grove

Sony A99ii + Minolta AF 85mm f1.4. ISO 100, f8 @ 1/60s, 1/100s, 1/160s, 1/250s, 1/400s LR HDR merge.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2021 at 00:22
Week 19 - Theme 1 - Lens Extravaganza.

Minolta AF 35-70mm f3.5-4.5

The mini-beercan 35-70mm f4 introduced in 1985 set a standard that Minolta struggled to live up to in the ensuing years. After two very disappointing forays into the 35-80mm range in 1988 & 1991, Minolta returned to 35-70mm in 1993, and it's a lot better than the 35-80s. However, it's as uninspiring as the other plastic kit zooms that followed it. I'd say the Dyxum rating of 4.18 flatters it.

If you want a small cheap walk around lens on your full frame camera it might be worth investing the very small sum needed to acquire one of these lenses - but why put a plastic 10 £/$/€ lens on an expensive body when you can get better for only a little more. If you want a small zoom, and this range suits you, just get the much better mini-beercan (35-70mm f4).


Not the best name for a businessman.


Sony A99ii + Minolta AF 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 @70mm. ISO 125, f9, 1/80s
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2021 at 06:38
I like the way you keep trying out these lenses Phil.
Having used the 35-70/4 I would concur it is much nicer than the the 35-80s and the newer 35-70 that emerged in the early 90s. For all their flaws, those first generation beercan-era lenses had something going for them that their replacements could never quite emulate.

Also...that business name is...unfortunate
a77ii- Sony 135/2.8 STF, 16-50/2.8, 70-200/2.8 G
a7riii- Voigtländer 15/4.5, Zeiss Loxia 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2, 85/2.4, Batis 85/1.8, Voigtländer 110/2.5, Sony 24-105/4 G, Sigma 100-400 f5-6.3.
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