Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sensor clean Sony A7S

Sony A7S is a mirrorless camera, so the "sensor" is directly visible when you take off the lens from the mount. I'm not sure of it's tendency to collect dust, however since I first bought it I have never ventured to clean the sensor. Lately I've noticed some blobs on the photos especially those taken at small apertures during the day. Nobody notices these blobs on night time photos.

I decided to clean it. It took two passes of wet swaps and dry swabs each to clean the spots from the "sensor". The before and the after shots are shown below, both shots are stacks of several shots (5) to enhance the spots. Again similar to the Canon 6D (which has sensor cleaning and the sensor actually sits behind the mirror) I believe the spots on the Sony A7S sensor is caused more by evaporated condensation droplets from previous cold night outings.

Before : Spots on stacks of  last night's skyshots taken on 135/2.8 @f/2.8

After : No spots on stacks of bright room taken on 35/2.0 @f/11

After : No spots on stacks of bright room taken on 135/2.8 @f/2.8

After : No spots on stacks of bright room taken on 135/2.8 @f/11

I guess that sorted out the "sensor" cleaning agenda on the two full frame cameras. I haven't seen any  major dust/spots issue on the Canon 7D and 7DMk2 perhaps because both are mostly on daytime duties and have not experience evaporated condensation issues due to drastic warm/cold/warm changes. Rest assured though , if they do exhibit these problems later on, it will be dealt with delay using the Green Clean Wet and Dry Sensor Cleaner.






City of Gold

Canon 6D+Samyang AF 85/1.4 @f/11. A stitch of 3 shots, and each shot is a stack of 3 shots ... 9 shots in total.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Sony A7S + Canon Serenar 50/1.9

The Metabones Leica M to Sony E adapter has also managed to allow me to use the Canon Serenar 50/1.9 lens in M mount. This lens was manufactured by Canon as a contender to the likes of Summar and Summarit 50/1.9.

The specimen I have looks pretty good externally, functions as it should without any blemish or fungus. One blemish is perhaps the chipped off paint that is supposed to act at a baffle to stray lights entering the lens. It will be interesting to see what effect this has on pictures shot directly into the light.

Test shots made indooor look great ... images sharp performing on par with the other lenses from it's class and age.

Minimum focusing distance 3,5 feet, @f1.9

Minimum focusing distance 3,5 feet, @f1.9



Aperture @1.9
Aperture @1.9 100% cropped


Aperture @5.6


Aperture @1.9

Looking forward to taking this combo out for a shoot sometime and suss out what exactly this vintage lens can create. The Serenar is chrome, compact, sleek and should fit very well with the Sony A7S.

New quadcopters to put together for Spring flight

Managed to cobble together 5 new frames with several sets of flight controllers, motors that I ordered before year end. Since now it is the middle of winter, there isn't much urgency to get these builds completed ... waiting for inspiration.

Alfa Monster

Shark300

Uruav330

Cross300


Diatone 630
Waiting for inspiration ...


Hopefully these will be ready for flights before April comes knocking on the door!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Clear Night, Star Adventurer

It was a clear winter's night when I woke up to checkout the stars around midnight. The moon hovering above the magnificent Orion, I already spotted the conjunction earlier in the evening. I decided to photograph them and put out the Star Adventurer. Many an attempt previously has ben thwarted by either clouds, strong winds, cold or just pure laziness. And it's only minus 1 deg C last night.

A Star Adventurer (left) I appropriated from the manufacturer's website.


A tracked shot at 20sec, f/5.6, Iso 100. Typically even at 8secs a 35mm would produce visable trails.

Untracked shot at 0.5secs.

A stacked of 10 shots of 0,5sec exposure each.

I was able to shoot at this exposure combination 20secs, Iso 100 with the 35mm @5,6 and  85mm @2,8 from the trackers aligned to the north star without any noticeable start trail. It would be interesting to push the exposure further to 30secs, 45secs or even 60secs ... however for that we'd have to find a light pollution free zone to avoid excessive city lights.

A tracked shot of Orion (no trail) and clouds (trailing)  this time at 30secs.

A tracked shot this time at 30secs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Summicron 35/2 by the Pale Moonlight

I just couldn't resist it ... the Sony A7S is and has been my main low light night sky shooter since 2016, Summicron 35mm is an f/2 Leica lens I acquired back in 2003. I had to try both outdoors in the dark shooting the night sky. The moon was high up, there were scattered but interesting looking winter clouds about all competing with the bright grandeur of the moon.

It took a while for me to suss out the proper infinity mark required to get the stars relatively in focus, I hit the sweet spot on the Summicron at marker "8 m" or "25 feet". Different lenses has a different point where stars focussed perfectly. Samyang 8/3.5 for example hits it right in the middle of infinity. It varies for each lens and manufacturer.

I shot at f/2.8, Iso 2000, at 1sec, WB 3200K.








This last shot is actually a stitchy of 6 individual shots and cropped. Notice the break at the bottom of the image.

On nights like these I'm always reminded of a joker before he became The Joker , "Have you ever danced with the devil by the pale mooonlight?"  I think  I have on several occasions. That time poling down Sg Selungo from Long Siut to Long Tungan braving roaring rapids and evading boulders in the rain in a fully loaded rickety wooden sampan in complete darkness (Dec 2009). Another time, a vertical drop straight into Sg Lawas in the middle of the night resulting from a misstep at the boatlanding (Feb 2011). Or holding on to the helideck perimeter fence when the MV Resolution was bounced up and then down by 25m waves at sea during the Mt Pinatubo explosion (June 1991).

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Metabones Leica R to Sony E adapter

After  an enjoyable street outing on Sunday with the Sony A7S coupled with a Leica M Summicron 50/2 lens from 1953 via the Metabones Leica M to Sony E adapter, I started exploring other available Metabones adapters that could put a few more of my vintage lenses to good use.

I have a set of Leica R lenses which I used on my  R3 and R7. The last occasion I heavily used them was on a month long family holiday in Spain back in 2003. I shot with the 180/2.8, 35/2.0, 90/2.8, and 135/2.8. It goes without saying that it took a while to get my left shoulder back to normal after lugging all that Leica mass around. I later also acquired the 100/.28 APO Macro which remains the best macro lens  I ever own.

I'm thinking some of these lenses can be put back to great use via the Metabones adapter, they can be brought back to service again with the Sony A7S. Pretty cool to think that the lenses, some made before I was even born, purchased almost 20 years ago can still be put on active duty today.

Leica R Summicron 35/2.0 @ f/4.5

Leica R Summicron 35/2.0 @ f/2.0

Leica R Summicron 35/2.0 @ f/5.6

Leica R Summicron 35/2.0 @ f/8.0

I also have several wide aperture vintage Minolta MD lenses which I absolutely love. They were used mostly to take portrait shots of my children growing up in Holland. I decided to bring these back into service as well using the Metabones Minolta MD to Sony E adapter.

Today with these Metabones, I'm hoping that there'll be some good images still to be had with these lenses!

Leica R line up:
Elmarit 180/2.8
Elmarit 135/2.8
Elmarit 100/2.8 APO Macro
Elmarit 90/2.8
Summicron 35/2.0

Leica M/screwmount line-up:
Summicron 50/2,
Elmar 50/2.8
Summar 50/2
Summitar 50/2
Summarit 50/1.9
Elmar 50/2.8
Elmar 50/3.5

Non Leica M/screwmount:
Voigtlander Heliar 15/4.5
Voigtlander Color Skopar 28/3.5,
Voigtlander Color Skopar 35/3.5
Canon Serenar 50/1.9

Minolta MD line up:
Rokkor 85/1.7
Rokkor 58/1.2
Rokkor 50/1.4

The Canon FD (135/2.8, 35/2.8) and Olympus OM (100/2.8, 28/2.8) have to stay put for now by the looks of things. I think I'm having optics overdose!