Feb 042016
 

Alpha 6300 von Sony_04Sony has just announced its new top of the line APS-C camera. The new Sony Alpha A6300 will probably be available by March this year and as usual Sony is quick to remark the new cam will not replace the current Sony Alpha A6000 but rather complement it. Yeah…just wait until the stock is gone 🙂

The big question is: Can Sony lure enough professional photographers and enthusiasts alike away from worn-out equipment (as if it would make any difference to any of us how much equipment already filled the racks… 😉) and make them glow with excitement looking at the new top-notch APS-C marvel? Does it have all the bells and whistles potential buyers were hoping for?

Sony did not make any significant changes to the camera body – at least not very obvious ones. There are no real breathtaking ergonomical advantages – although the new body is now supposed to be made of improved magnesium alloy with weather sealing that is going to be better in preventing dirt and moisture from entering the precious.

Alpha 6300 von Sony_07

 

Images: Sony Corporation

Images: Sony Corporation

Not even the rumored touch screen was implemented. For many that alone may be a reason not to upgrade from previous Sony bodies. But of course there are loads of new arguments for restless photographers to do just that. Apart from the newly developed 24MP APS-C sensor that promises less noise and better resolution, the Sony Alpha A6300 will also sport an even faster autofocus with 425 phase detection and 169 contrast detection points. So you can now autofocus within 0.05 seconds. Then again, you would probably not be too put off comparing that to the “old” Sony A6000 with 0.06 seconds.

An updated EVF and LCD screen and (almost) uninterrupted live view, increased sensitivity range to ISO 51.200 are all welcome additions or rather upgrades. Apart from that the new Sony A6300 also manages to shoot video in 4K (at 120fps) with near Super 35mm size and full pixel read-out, S-log3 and lo and behold (something that was missing on the Sony A6000) an external microphone input.

Will that be enough to conquer new customers or make Sony fans upgrade from previous models? Only time (and sales statistics) will tell. No doubt the new camera is a nice one and can probably hold its own against the fierce competition from both the DSLR and mirrorless crowd. Priced at € 1.249 for the body alone it is going to be tough to sell next to the old Sony Alpha A6000 though. That proven photo tool can meanwhile be had for less than half of that.

Summing it up: Quite a nice cam with incremental changes – but with no real new surprise features. Nothing to write home about. It seems obvious Sony is holding back on revolutionary tech-features…probably simply because…they can. There frankly seems no real need for anything mindboggling yet. The competition (many dependent on Sony sensor technology) has not really made any attempts to leapfrog. Good for Sony.

Interested in the official Sony press release? Then klick here.

 

Nov 262013
 

The Leica Super-Elmar-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH just happens to be my favorite wide-angle lens. Actually, this is probably the best wide lens I have ever used.

Lupico_131109_DSC01927-Leica21-3.4SE

IMHO nothing can compare to what can be achieved using this lens on a digital Leica. I had loads of fun putting the little gem to use with my Leica M9 and Leica M Typ 240. The results were nothing short of spectacular. 

I was pretty happy when I heard Sony was introducing a full-frame mirrorless ILC (camera with interchangeable lenses) which would let me mount my Leica M lenses using commonly available adapters. But would the results be adequate? Previous tests with the Sony NEX 7 did not work out the way most people thought, so there was always room for doubt. Using ultra-wideangle lenses might prove a problem – or maybe not.

 

Image: Sony Corp.

Image: Sony Corp. / Sony A7R with Carl Zeiss Sonnar FE 35mm f/2.8

 

Some early adopters and professional reviewers have already had the chance to try the new Sony Alpha A7 and Sony Alpha A7R and have posted first look (p)reviews. Some have been full of praise, especially in combination with the new Carl Zeiss Sonnar FE 35mm f/2.8 prime lens (as depicted above). Others have more than hinted there might be color shift and other complications using legacy lenses.

I was hoping I would be able to keep on using my Leica Super-Elmar-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH with the new Sony, so I had to give this combination a go myself. My local dealer finally gave me a call saying he had the new Sony body in shop and I was able to take a look at the offer. Unfortunately there was little time and I was only able to take a few quick snaps. Only JPG using Auto ISO and standard camera settings straight out of the box. Nothing professional, i.e. only some basic shots without interest in art or composition 🙂 .
I actually chose a quite demanding city setting simply to push the new Sony with the UWA Leica lens to its limits. I used f5.6, aperture priority, Auto ISO and OOC JPG straight out of the camera. No compensation for shadows and no post processing applied (except for change in file size and e.g. blanking out faces for use of the images in this blog). But see for yourself.

 

Lupico_130101_DSC00013Leica21-3.4SE Lupico_130101_DSC00015Leica21-3.4SE Lupico_130101_DSC00008Leica21-3.4SE Lupico_130101_DSC00003Leica21-3.4SE Lupico_130101_DSC00014Leica21-3.4SE Lupico_130101_DSC00018Leica21SE

 

These first snaps may not be a professional test under ideal conditions and the results may be somewhat limited. I simply did not have enough time for anything more. And I guess the resulting pictures (with bad light, out of box camera settings and not using RAW format) are quite o.K. – sort of…

I do not see myself as a pixel peeper. But these quick snaps with the Leica Super-Elmar-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH on the Sony Alpha A7 did not really get me overly excited. I had high hopes for this lens combo. Some minor color shift, vignetting and distortion at the edges may be manageable in post processing. But do I really want to go to all the trouble? Do I want to spend hours manipulating files in Photoshop or Lightroom? Not really.

There may be cause for hope. The Sony Alpha A7R with its offset microlens design might be able to handle Leica UWA lenses better than the Sony Alpha A7. But that remains to be seen. Due to the higher pixel count (36mp compared to 24mp) the results might be even more disillusioning. Native lenses for the new Sony Alpha full-frame  system will probably be the best bet. But there are only few to choose from right now. The Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 and the Sony 28-70 kit zoom are available right from the start but no UWA will be available for some time to come. The Leica Super-Elmar-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH I was hoping to use with a Novoflex adapter does not seem to be an ideal stand-by player. I will probably wait on the sideline until there are more lenses to choose from.

The camera itself was a pleasure to handle. Just as pleasing as the Sony RX1 which I used quite extensively in the past few months. But I am just not quite willing to sell off any other camera in favor of this machine. The Sony sure is a great piece of equipment. But the glass is what really makes a system stand out and there simply is not enough to choose from right now. Adapting Sony A-lenses may be good for photographers with existing Sony equipment but adapting legacy lenses may prove to be more restricting – not only considering the lack of Auto Focus. I did not like the focus peeking on the Sony Alpha A7 too much. I just could not see it well enough (at least not with standard settings using red highlighting color). Split screen focussing or rangefinder focussing in general seems a lot easier to handle.

Nonetheless this full-frame camera offering is quite outstanding and will probably frighten the competition to death. In time no doubt this will develop into a killer system. Some more full-frame lenses is all it will take to push me over.

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