I got myself a mint boxed Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D). Sweet! Now my Minolta Dynax 7 has its proper, official kit lens. Not the Minolta 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 Silver edition kit lens that Malaysians love because they can’t afford the good kit lenses. Well my Dynax 7 came with such a silver lens anyway.
Ironically, the box is from Japan, but I’m putting it on a Minolta Dynax 7 (in the US they’d call it a Minolta Maxxum 7, and in Japan they’d call it a Minolta Alpha 7). So it’s kinda mismatched.
And so that brings my zooms to a new lineup, from left to right:
Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX, Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5 (D), Cosina 70-210mm F2.8-4 1:2.5x Macro, Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan, Sigma 70-210mm F4-5.6, Tamron 200-400mm F5.6.
And then I have my primes in a new lineup, from left to right:
Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye with chipped M42 to Alpha mount adapter (reads as a 50mm F1.7), Vivitar 24mm F2.0 DIY tilt-shift, Minolta 50mm F1.4 Original, Kenko Teleplus 1.5x teleconverter, Kenko Teleplus 2x teleconverter.
I wouldn’t mind this lineup for travelling though – the only thing missing is a Minolta 24mm F2.8. Left to right:
Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye in M42, Minolta 50mm F1.4 Original, Jupiter-9 85mm F2.0 in M42.
I’d pocket 2 primes and put the other on the camera. Or maybe the 8mm would be better a Zenitar 16mm F2.8 diagonal fisheye, on full-frame.
I had the chance to reassess the Jupiter-9, thanks to this dealer of classics…
Soft glowy look wide-open, with nice creamy bokeh in the back.
And this is what happens with a manually-focused 50mm F1.4 when you get too close.
Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5 (D) at 30mm F4 1/20s ISO1600 (the markings said 35mm but what the heck.)
Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX at 35mm F4 1/20s ISO1600. Despite having identical settings, the light transmission of the Sigma is weaker and has less contrast. There’s also a less glowy look in the bokeh.
Initially I wasn’t sure about the 24-105mm but after doing a side-by-side comparison, I am seeing a bit more of the Minolta heritage in it. It doesn’t come close to the look of the beercan or the other classics of that era (28-135mm F4-4.5 tank, 24-50mm F4, 28-85mm F3.5-4.5) but this’ll do.
And this is what reassured me even further. Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5 (D) at 85mm F6.3 1/25s ISO400. With the 100% image you can spot some detail.
What if we brightened up the center part? This is a 100% crop, boosted up (hence the noise.)
Ever tried to count the rain?
Minolta 50mm F1.4 at F1.4 and ISO6400 with noise reduction turned off. This is a JPG, but RAW should give better results.
100% crop. Well, you could count the rain in the tiny plane of focus…
And then, for some lens box spotting! What initially caught my eye was the Sony 500mm F8 Reflex box – it had the new design, with lens design on the box, and white trims.
Older boxes had shiny silver trims. This was deemed not environmentally friendly, so Sony changed their boxes to have white trims. You can see if something is old or unmoved stock by the shiny silver trims!
The second thing that really caught my attention was the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG for Alpha mount! There was also the venerable Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 Macro in A-mount, a great lens that never is too close to the subject. I also spied a Sigma 50mm F2.8 Macro in A-mount!
What an interesting turn of events to see A-mount lenses being stocked, what more the rarer ones.
Testing the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG’s minimum focus distance of 28cm at 12mm F4.5. Pretty decent, though I think the Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC enlarged the face more because of its minimum focusing distance of 24cm!
Compare this to the Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 at 14mm F2.8 and minimum focus distance of 28cm.
Despite both lenses having a MFD of 28cm, why does the Sigma enlarge more? Possibly due to differing focus mechanisms.
12mm. There’s definitely more around, and above, than the average ultra wideangle lens!
15mm (which is what the Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC gives you on a 1.5x crop body.)
17mm (which is what the Sony 11-18mm F4.5-5.6 DT gives you.) As you can see, framing has changed between shots, so don’t look at it based on framing alone.
Anyway, on to other brands. The Pentax K-m has a nice glow and trims, and it focuses pretty darn fast!
The Canon Powershot SX10IS is big, the size of a small dSLR. It has a whopping 28-560mm equivalent zoom. Amazing! But the buttons and the button layout feels weird compared to its predecessor the S5IS.
Oh, and the Canon 5D MkII. I tried to shoot a video with the tiny CF card they inserted (I was not allowed to put in my own CF card.) After it stopped because it was full, I pressed the Play button.
And that is how I got the famous Err 99, which means “any error that does not have a specific error code“. So it could be anything, really! A common one would be a lens that has sticky aperture blades or a malfunctioning aperture blade actuator.
Oh, of course I compared viewfinders – the A900 was bigger by a large margin. The 100% coverage and 0.74x magnification really helps! I haven’t compared it to a Canon 1Ds MkIII, though, which should beat it at 100% coverage and 0.76x magnification. But the Canon is loads more expensive!
Yep, the Canon 5D MkII and Nikon D700 had about the same viewfinder surface area.
I then compared the A900 to the Nikon FM-2, and found the FM-2 to be bigger – it had 93% coverage and 0.86x magnification. The Olympus OM-1 is even more stellar, at 97% coverage and 0.92x magnification. Of course, both are manual focus SLRs and have dimmer ground glass screens so it’s not as bright, but they sure are large.
Maitani knew what he was doing when he designed the OM-1. Whatever happened to Olympus now, I don’t know really.
There is a downside to larger surface areas of viewfinders – you really need to press your eye socket against the camera to see the whole frame.
Thus, the A900 had a pretty good compromise. I like 100% coverage anytime – it makes your lenses look as wide as they should be, and disciplines your framing. The 50mm feels much wider in angle than a 35mm on the A700 with 95% coverage only.