Droplets

Photos of droplets taken with the Sony A7s and Nikon 135mm f/2 DC. The fast aperture of this telephoto lens combined with the defocus control ring which enables you to alter the bokeh look can create very interesting images.

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(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Around the Lake

“Around the Lake” is a short video I did at the beautiful city of Kastoria, Greece. I used the Sony A7s camera with the following lenses: Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5, Leica Summarit 35mm f/2.5, Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 and Leica Tele-Elmarit 90mm f/2.8.
I used a flat profile and for a couple of high contrasty scenes I employed Slog-2 profile. I am not yet much familiar with shooting and properly editing Slog-2, but I am still experimenting. The A7s is a fantastic video camera, and my rangefinder lenses worked perfectly with it. That means, I am able to carry the camera and many lenses in a medium size camera bag, and travel light, while at the same time have a combo that can produce wonderful results (both video and stills).

Here is the video.

(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Meteora under infrared light

Meteora is one of my most visited locations, due to its unique landscape beauty and historical interest (there lots of monasteries built on the huge rock formations.

I have shot hundreds of images there, and the best ones are during early morning or before sunset (the rule for landscape photography !). On my last visit during noon, the sun was harsh so I decided to make some infrared photos.

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Although I can shoot IR images handheld with the Leica M8, lately I bring the tripod with me, so I can shoot at f/11 and be sure that my image is sharp and has large DoF. The 21mm Voigtlander remains my favorite IR lens, but I have also stated using the Leica Summarit 35mm. It’s a much better performer, and on the M8 is a 47mm equivalent. I am using this lens to shoot mutliple photos and stitch them later using Autopano Pro. This way I end up with a file which has enough megapixels to create a large print.

I recently printed some of my best IR photos and when I went for sizes over 60cm wide, the image quality was not what I wanted to. That is to be expected since the M8 is a 10mp camera and also there is evident noise when shooting IR with this camera even at base ISO. So, stitching is the way to go for making large prints. It does not always work, but for the majority of my images the results are great.

If I wanted to avoid stitching, I could use either the Fuji GSW690 or my large format camera with Rollei infrared film, but it’s a very thin emulsion, difficult to handle and prone to scratches. That means a significant amount of time in post process, and that is something I want to avoid. Therefore, stitching is the easiest way for me.

Enjoy the rest of the images.

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(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

Posted in Infrared, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sony A7s with Nikon 135mm f/2 lens

My adapter for mounting Nikon lenses on the Sony A7s arrived, and one of the first lenses to try was the Nikon 135mm f/2. This is probably my favorite lens, capable of producing great looking images, especially when shot wide open and experimenting with the Defocus Control ring.

It’s a large and heavy lens, so it feels awkward on the A7s (you actually hold the lens and not the camera), and I specifically ordered an adapter with a tripod mount in order to relief the stress on the camera mount when shot on a tripod.

Using the focus peaking and manual zoom option makes focusing very easy even at its wide aperture.

When shooting video, I can turn on the crop mode and make it a fast 200mm lens. With stills you only get 5 megapixels in crop mode, so my Nikon D800E is the proper camera since it gives you 15mp, plenty for prints.

All images below were taken with the Sony A7s and the 135mm f2 lens.

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(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Sony A7s with Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f/4.5

The Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f/4.5 is among my favorite lenses. Very small and light with great image quality (and a great price). I was very happy to find out that this lens works great with the Sony A7s, and I use it very often both for video and stills.

Here are a few images i shot recently with this lens.

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(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Flowers on large format instant film

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After a long time, I took an image with my Sinar Norma 4×5 large format camera. An instant photo with Fuji FP-3000B black and white film. It has been discontinued but I still have a few boxes left.

I used the Schneider 150mm and the SB-900 flash to light the scene. I think I needed one more stop to get the exposure correctly. I also forgot to protect the photo from dust during the drying period, so there are lot of dust spots on the image.

Shooting large format again was a very pleasant experience, I should probably take this camera with me soon and make some more images.

(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Shoes on Polaroid

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Image taken with Polaroid Spectra SE camera using Impossible Project Color film. It’s been a long time since I used my Polaroid, and I still have a few boxes of film in the fridge. Time to take the SX-70 out of the closet !

(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Sony A7s with rangefinder lenses and Slog2 grading

This is the second video from the Sony A7s. I have already shot two projects with this camera and I was very happy from the results. Still, there are ma things to experiment with.

For this short video clip, I used the Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 and Leica Summarit 35mm f/2.5 lenses. I also shot most of the footage using Slog-2.

About the lenses, the Voigtlander 15mm was a pleasant surprise, since it performs wonderful on the full frame Sony, despite its wide angle focal length. A lens for very special shots. The Summarit is also a great lens, and due to the full frame sensor, you can get close up shots with blurred background (for those instances you want it to).

Slog-2 is a great feature on the A7s which gives you a very wide dynamic range. Of course, you must have the expertise on shooting and grading when using this mode. I am still in the process of learning and so far, I have got mixed results. When shooting Slog-2, minimum ISO is 3200, which means you need strong ND filters in order to keep the proper shutter speed. Daylight shots may even require a 10 stops ND if you want to keep your aperture wide. I use a high quality B+W 110ND filter, but still I get a noticeable color shift, so there’s lots of work to do in post process.

When starting to grade Slog-2 footage, I apply a LUT in order to have a good starting point. Finding he appropriate LUT is tricky, and I am still experimenting. It’s also quite tricky to expose correctly when using this mode, a waveform monitor would be very helpful here, but I don’t own one, so I am trying to use the histogram (the washed out look on the screen is not helping much).

So, there are lots of things to learn. For now, here’s the video.

(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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A video shot with Sony a7s and Nikon 135mm f/2 DC

I’ve had the Sony A7s for a few weeks now, and all I can say is that it’s a wonderful camera for shooting video (and a great one for stills). I have used lots of lenses on it, but there was one I really wanted to try. The Nikon 135mm f/2 DC, which is one of my favourite lenses and when the adapter for the a7s came, I went out for a short trip to shoot some video with it.

The whole video was shot with the 135mm. A few observations:

– This is a great lens for specials shots. At f/2, the depth of field is very narrow even at a longer distance, and of course the bokeh is spectacular. You can also create a more dreamy look by using the Defocus Control ring on the lens.
– You absolutely need a tripod, or at least a monopod. There is no image stabilisation on this old lens, and handheld shooting is not going to produce a good video.
– Using crop mode, you have a 200mm fast lens, which can be very useful when you need more reach.
– I have a chinese Commlite adapter for this lens.It seems well made and it works fine, but the tripod mount gets unscrewed all the time, so I have to be careful. The 135mm is a pretty heavy lens, so I am using an adapter with a tripod mount. Although the a7s has a strong metal mount, I don’t like testing its limits with heavy DSLR lenses. I am planning to get the Novoflex adapter with their collar ring at the future, but they are really expensive, so it will have to wait a while.
– Weather was terrible, rainy and misty, and I had to look after my equipment or shoot scenes quickly, so I didn’t have the time to use ND filters to keep a proper shutter speed. This lens takes 72mm filters, so normally I use my 77mm ones with a step ring.

Overall, I was very satisfied from this lens on the a7s. I know it’s a specialty lens, difficult to operate when wide open, but it has a very unique look which can produce stunning results.

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Infrared

My usual post with my latest infrared photos. The usual gear, a Leica M8 with Voigtlander 21mm f/4 and B+W 092 IR filter.

Unfortunately, the sun was behind clouds at the time I had reached the location, so the false color infrared was not as vivid as I would like to. Nevertheless, this is a great location and I will try to visit it once more in. The future.

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(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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