A while back I did a series of shoots with model Rianna, and played around/experimented with some newly acquired equipment (at the time). On one of these shoots, I wanted to try an old, manual lens that was gifted to me by my friend Jimmy: the Konica-Hexanon 135mm/3.5 lens. Counter-intuitively, I also wanted to see how the manual focus/focus peaking would work on my Sony A7Rii. I say counter-intuitively because, well, you'll see my explanation/disclaimer below (I'm getting this out of the way first before idiots jump down my throat on what a proper testing procedure should be). If you want great technical reviews, I suggest MirrorLessons or Dave Dugdale.
So I wanted to shoot this set in natural light in my studio, but the light was already fading fast (it was around sundown). Which meant that I had to jack up the ISO. Here is a good representation of the existing lighting condition:
Granted-- hi ISOs won't help much when judging sharpness of a manual focus lens. But still, the A7Rii's respectable high ISO capability and megapixels would be enough to at least let me know if the camera's focus peaking is working ok. If I'm ok with it here, then I'll certainly be ok with it at low ISO/optimum light levels. Below is the gallery of the shoot. If you click on each photo and hover your mouse over it, then you'll see the exif information. A note about the dark light situation: notice how over the course of the shoot, I had to gradually bump up the exposure in post process to compensate for the light levels getting quickly darker over the shoot. Any slight variances you see is due to varying light levels with outdoor cloud cover. With the exception of the first picture which was shot at ISO 3200 (therefore the ISO had to be pushed a little further then the rest) the rest were shot at ISO 6400. First, the gallery:
A few observations:
- The out-of-focus areas are alright, but the old lens itself is not the sharpest knife in the stack (at least wide open).
- Moreover, the focus peaking function seemed to "miss" despite me clicking the shutter when the eyes were highlighted in the viewfinder. This seems to coincide with my focus peaking results with the Panasonic GH4 and G7 as well, and with a lot of people saying that focus peaking should be used as a "ballpark measurement" only. For critical manual focus, I recommend turning off focus peaking (as it will interfere with you seeing details) and using your camera's manual focus assist enlargement area (if it has one).
- Shutter speed was consistently 1/100 second (with image stabilization turned on). I felt it was safer to not go slower than this, hence the raising of ISO and further post-process exposure compensation
- Again, I realize that doing high-ISO and manual focus checking are counter-productive to each other if this were a real test. I don't do real tests; I play around for fun and curiosity. Alas, I had the lens, I had the camera, I had low light, and wanted to mess around for fun (like all my personal "tests").
- When reduced to web-viewing sizes, the A7Rii's high-ISO files--even pushed further in post process!-- are still awesome! Another reason why its 42 megapixels are a great help when reducing picture sizes.
Here are some 100% crops for your amusement:
Again, thank goodness for the high megapixels--you can barely even tell when it's reduced to 1500 pixels on the long side for web viewing. :) I'll still do further experiments with this lens, next time with low ISOs in good light just to see how different my results will be (if any).
FYI, the two video angles were shot on my Panasonic G7 + 35-100mm/2.8 lens, and a Panasonic LX100 camera. Thanks for checking in :)