Sony A7s with Leica Elmar f/4 lens

One of the reasons I purchased the Sony A7s was the ability to mount every single lens I own. My interest was mainly about rangefinder lenses, since they are very small and light, and that makes a very good combination with the small size of the camera.

One of my favorite lenses is the wonderful Nikon 135mm f/2 DC. I tried it on the a7s and the results were stunning. Wide open at f/2 it can produce wonderful video (and stills). My main concern is the size and weight. This lens really cannot balance well on the sony, and even when on a monopod or tripod you have to deal with an awkward combination.

So, while it still remains a favorite option, for those times when I don’t need the fast aperture for narrow DoF, I have employed the Leica Elmar 135mm f/4 lens. It’s two stops slower, but at the same time is very small and light for an 135mm lens. Very easy and comfortable to shoot with handheld or on a tripod/monopod.

I consider it a very good choice for the A7s, and it’s a lens that can be found at a good price (135mm rangefinder lenses are not very popular, so prices are affordable).

Images below were taken with the Leica 135mm.

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(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Scanning

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My scanning gear in action. It’s been over a year since I shot slide film and at the moment I am scanning 4 medium format rolls of Fuji Velvia 50. I will upload my first scans tomorrow.

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Images with Polaroid SX-70

A few recent photos I shot with the Polaroid SC-70 using Impossible Project Color film.

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(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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ISO 12800

Although my primary purpose for the Sony A7s was to use it as a video camera, it has also become a great stills camera for me. Although not on par with my Nikon D800E, it is camera that I can use to get great photos when I don’t plan on capturing something special that requires the D800E. The 12 megapixels have been enough for the web and prints up to 45cm wide so far, and having to carry only one camera for both stills and video is really great.

The high ISO performance of the A7 has been praised enough, so I am not going to write any special article about it. Just one shot during night at ISO 12800.

 

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This is a photo I would normally shoot on a tripod (and for making a serious looking print I would shoot it on a tripod even with the A7s). But for a snapshot, been able to use 12800 ISO handheld and still get a good looking image is something I appreciate very much. Noise levels are of course much better than any other camera I have tried (not including the Nikon Df or D4s), and what I like even more than the absence of serious noise, is the way colours hold up even at this large ISO value. A great travel camera indeed !

Below are two crops from the image above (I used Topaz Denoise 5 to minimise noise, the fact that the camera has superb ISO performance, does not mean that you don’t use denoise software).

 

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©2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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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.

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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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