Helios 44M-4

DSC00595Well I thought I would get one of my old M42 lenses out and give it a bit of a try.  It is a Helios 44M-4  2/58 which has sat on the front of my trusty old Zenit 11 since about 1985.

It was a bit dusty so I disassembled it, and
gave the lenses a good clean, and disabled the auto apertureDSC00594 so I could set it manually.   This was not as scary as it sounds, though in the heat we have had recently I did sweat a little.

So once the 44M had had a good overhaul, I strapped the adapter on to the a6000 and headed outside to take a few snaps.

DSC00585 DSC00587-EditDSC00584-EditSo here they are in lieu of this weeks picture of the week, I have to say I love the speed of this lens on this camera. Below is a close crop of one of the caterpillars in “Two” just to give you an idea of how nice this cheap Russian lens is. DSC00584


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Sensor size

One of the main reasons I bought a new camera was to move to a larger sensor size.  The ability to gain better depth of field, less noise at higher ISOs and sharper less noisy prints at larger sizes were all contributing factors.

So how does a larger intermediate DSLR sensor compare to a sensor found in  a point and shoot, or bridge camera.  I will take my new a6000 and compare it with my old HS20exr.

The Sony Alpha 6000 has a 24 megapixel, 23.5×15.6mm Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor.  A diagonal of 28.21mm, a surface area of 366.60mm², and a pixel density of 6.65MP/cm².

The Fuji HS20exr has a 16 megapixel 6.4×4.8mm EXR CMOS sensor.  A diagonal of 8mm, a surface area of 30.7mm², and a pixel density of 51.93MP/cm².

So what do the actual sizes look like?

Print

Looking at the specifications its easy to see that the a6000 is going to be getting a whole lot more light per pixel, the pixel size is greater and they are less densely packed.  That is going to mean a better image with less noise, and the ability to crop down much more without loosing definition, so I should not miss the ‘superzoom’ that much.

Lets have some crop comparisons at different ISOs.  In all cases the shot was at roughly 50mm full frame equivalent, and at f5.6.  The a6000 shots are on the left and the HS20 on the right, jpegs straight from the cameras.

ISO100100

ISO400400

ISO32003200

It is easy to see just how much better the a6000 is as you loose light, the HS20 gets very grainy.  So am I pleased – oh yes.

Rose pink

Well it is time for pic of the week again and since I am still no nearer
editing the new photos from the a6000DSC00143-Edit, I had a quick hunt around for one I had taken in the first week that I liked the look of.  The result is “A touch”. Taken in Bakewell Bath Gardens, while I was there for the “Bakewell DSCF4669-Editeditday of dance”.  Also as an added bonus one of my favorite photos from the backlog of HS20 photos I have been working on.  A picture of Little Meg in the Lake district, while up there on holiday.

New Kit

So what else have I bought since getting the camera?

DSC00349Well I had a couple of old M42 lenses knocking about so an M42 to nex body adapter was a must.  Of course I might end up buying a few more M42 lenses as well as they tend to be dirt cheap on ebay.  And I am not afraid of manual focusing.

DSC00347I have a few filters with 58mm threads that I used on the HS20 so I got a couple of step up rings so I could use them on the A6000 lenses.

DSC00351I realised that I would probably lose the lens caps from the SELP1650 and the  SEL55210, I actually had dropped one one the floor and had to go back and look for it within the first few days.  So I purchased this nifty device.  You attach it to your camera strap and the Caps just clip in like they would on the front of the lens.

DSC00345The SELP1650 does not come with a lens hood so I got a 40.5mm threaded hood.  There is a bit of Vignetting between 16mm – 18mm but that may be due to the added depth of the UV filters I also purchased for the lenses.

DSC00346Finally an e mount end cap and body cap, as the a6000 and SELP1650  package deal do not include them,  the SEL55210 did as it was not part of the package.  Also a couple of end caps and lens caps for the M42 lenses I own.

So I better quit writing and go and take some photos.

Pick (your own) of the week

DSC00266-Edit-EditeditWell I have had the camera for 2 weeks now, and I have to say I love it.  One of the reasons I thought I would start this blog is so I could post at least one of my favored photos as a pic of the week, and hence give me impetus to work on some of the shots.  But given that I am still working on some of the photos from the HS20, here are two for this weeks pic of the week.  Raspberry was taken with the a6000 at a pick your own fruit farm last weekend, while Meg was taken on holiday in the Lake district earlier this year with the HS20.DSCF4632-Editedit

Why I chose the a6000

So why the a6000?  Well I had been wanting to make the move from my Fuji HS20exr for some time, wanting to move up to a larger sensor size.  I had been looking at all the usual suspects in the DSLR world the Canon 70d and Nikon D71000 being top of the list, but suddenly found myself wondering if I could find an APS-C size sensor in a smaller body.

Well there are lots of four thirds systems out there at the moment but as far as I could see that was a compromise on sensor size,  I mean I would really like a full size sensor but the purse just wont stretch that far and  I wanted decent control over my Depth of Field. So eventually the choice came down to the Sony a6000 or the Fuji X-T1, in the end I just could not warrant the extra cost of the Fuji, as the Sony is such an exceptional deal when you compare its price to its features.

Main reasons explained:

  • 24mp Leading class APS-C size sensor – The sensor size I wanted, and the ability to crop down in (Digital zoom) or out of camera and still get a decent image.
  • Rangefinder size body -I found the HS20exr slightly to bulky, and it is smaller than most DSLRs, after a long day with it around my neck it became a pain, getting a DSLR would not have solved this.  I also wanted something less conspicuous, something small with. . .
  • Fast autofocus – The focus on this is great and couple that with a blisteringly fast 11fps, well so what if a few are out of focus, even if it droped to 50% in focus (which it does not) that would still be 5.5fps in focus, thats better than some DSLRs!
  • Rear tilt screen – after having the tilt screen on the HS20exr, I just could not live without this.  Shots taken low to the ground without having to lie down, tick.  And also for what Karen calls my “Stalker shots”, that is sitting down with the camera on my knee with the screen tilted, and taking shots as life goes by. Oh and of course . . .
  • Wi-fi -I wanted the ability to control the camera to some degree via my ipad, and to have an immediate method of sending the photos from the camera to the ipad, which the a6000 does, it can also send directly to facebook should I wish it to.
  • Electronic View Finder – Well I rather like the idea of  wysiwyg, live view, the ability to see what you are going to get.  Yes I know you get this on the rear screen of DSLRs these days, but I like using a viewfinder, the HS20exr was a let down in this area, it was like looking at a very small picture at the end of a tunnel.  In good light the a6000’s viewfinder is exceptional, far better than some of the DSLRs viewfinders, only in very poor light does it begin to fall behind a through the lens model,  with noise appearing in the viewfinder, but still very usable.
  • Manual lenses – With the sensor so close to the front of the camera body it is possible to get an adapter to mount nearly any lens to this camera, and if you want to fork out on a metabones adapter you even get electronic data throughput from AF lenses.  I have a couple of old M49 mount prime lenses, and am so looking forward to trying them out.  To those that scoff and say but you will have to focus manually, and maybe even meter manually, I say well I always did with my old film cameras – and this camera has the ability to use focus peaking on the manual lenses, and focus zoom, so I should stay sharp.
  • Does everything most other cameras do – to be honest there are some compromises with all cameras, no one camera has all the functions at a given price point that we want.
  • A hundred and one other plus points – whats not to like?

Whats missing from this Camera?

  • Battery life – The battery life is poor around 350 shots, you can almost see the battery draining when using continuous focus and the powerzoom lens.  Well that is why I bought a second battery, might have to buy another though.
  • GPS – No inbuilt gps, a good thing given the battery life.  Its no problem given I usually cart the ipad around.
  • Creator/Copyright name on Exif – You cannot enter it in camera, oh well Ill just leave it as a default to edit it it when I upload to Lightroom.

Probably other niggles, but nothing that has made itself apparent yet.  Watch this space for the good and the bad.

New Camera

DSC00315-Edit-EditWell I finally took the plunge and bought the new camera, Karen had endured weeks of what she called “Ken looking at camera porn”, while I was deciding what to buy.  On Thursday 26th June 2014, I nipped out of the office at lunch time to Jessops.  On my return to the office I had a shiny new Sony a6000 mirrorless camera, and two lenses, a SELP1650 – 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Powerzoom lens and a SEL55210 – 55-210mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens.  I also bought a second battery and charger.  Let the fun commence.