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Tamron Adaptall SP 28-80 f3.5- f4.2 on Sony A6500

I'm continuing to search for a suitable walk around zoom for use with the Sony a6500, having tried and rejected both the Zeiss 16-70 and the Sony 28-70.  It occurred to me that I had some old film era zooms lurking in the cupboard, and the most promising of the collection appeared to be the Tamron SP 28-80.

If you are not familiar with Tamron Adaptall lenses, they were supplied with a range of adapters to suit the most popular makes of film camera. I possess a small collection of the these removable mounts, including M42, Pentax K, Olympus and Canon FD.

The first mount I tried was the M42, it was nice and secure, but, in use, I quickly realised that I was unable to focus at a focal length of 28 mm - circa 30 mm and beyond were fine. Next came the Pentax, and that was better, but not perfect. Finally the Olympus, and that was much better, but the closest I can focus at 28 mm is about 1 m.

Here is what the lens looks like mounted on the camera, click for a bigger image.


OK it's …
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Using an enlarger lens and a Sony a6500 to copy negatives

This is very much a work in progress. I've assembled a collection of components and examined the feasibility, but not done any proper testing. Hopefully you will find it interesting.

I have a large collection of negatives and transparencies dating back to the early 1960s, and I have scanned quite a number of them using an Epson 4990 Photo flatbed scanner. The results are OK, particularly for 120 film, but not so great for 35 mm. Sadly the film related section of the scanner failed recently, possibly due to overwork or maybe just old age, so I was interested in finding an alternative.

If you have a good macro lens read no further, but if, like me, you don't possess a macro lens, then what is the next best thing? Well possibly an old enlarger lens. They were designed to provide the best possible resolution over a flat surface ( the negative) and project onto another flat surface (photo paper) , so, theoretically, they should be well suited to scanning.

There are drawbacks. First…

Sony 28-70 FF lens on a6500

Since my kit 16-50 lens failed and was pronounced unrepairable I've been looking for a replacement walk around zoom, or, in my case, a lightweight lens that I can carry when cycling. I tried the Zeiss 16-70, but as my previous post here demonstrated, that lens was fatally flawed - as well as being expensive. I was persuaded to try the much cheaper 28-70 lens (cost £234 new) that is supplied as part of the standard kit on Sony full frame cameras.

Let's give it its full title, the  Sony SEL2870 E Mount - Full Frame 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6

There are things to admire about this lens. It's compact and lightweight and handles well on the a6500. Despite being of plastic construction, it does appear well made, with a metal mount and a robust feel to it. I liked using it.

Mounted on a tripod and shooting test pictures against a brick wall the lens is OK, nothing like as sharp at the edges as in the centre, but usable. Here are a few crops from a test shot at 28 mm and f8.  The upper imag…

Sony Zeiss 16-70 f4

Wanting to cut down on the number of lenses that I cart around, and having suffered the failure of my Sony 16-50 zoom, I decided to try the top of the (crop format) range Zeiss badged Sony 16-70 f4. This is not a cheap lens, I paid £605 but with a potential cashback from Sony.

First the good news. It appears very well constructed, and is relatively small and light given the specification. The focus is very fast and accurate coupled with the Sony a6500 body, and the centre of the images produced is biting sharp.  The colour produced is pleasantly neutral, the photos look good.

The not so good news. The edge performance is variable, I would say barely adequate to poor. The lenses I hoped to replace with this Zeiss included a Sigma 19mm f2.8 ( cost £100) and an ancient Pentax 28mm f2.8 M from film days - the copy used here cost me £25. These two optics are the weakest amongst those that I regularly use.

So to the comparison. All tests using a tripod with a 2 sec delay and at f8. I have t…

The Sigma 100-300 f4 on a Sony a6500

Just to prove that it can be done, here's an example of the Canon EOS fit Sigma 100-300 f4, at 300mm, mounted using a Commlite adapter, on a Sony a6500 APS-C camera. The effective focal length is 450 mm, and the aperture used f10. The assembly was mounted upon a tripod.

OK a particularly uninspiring subject, the view from our bedroom window, but that's not the point!


The entire image (click for a larger image)

An actual pixels crop from the extreme left side of the image.
Given the distance involved and the atmospheric conditions I think that's pretty good, certainly usable.

Commlite Canon EOS to Sony E adapter

I possess two Canon DSLRs and two Sony mirrorless compact system cameras. The big full frame Canon I find too heavy to carry around, and, outdoors,  I tend to use the Sony most of the time. However I have a small collection of good Canon lenses that might be useful on the smaller camera.

You can buy cheap adapters to fit Canon lenses to Sony cameras, but they do not allow adjustment of the lens aperture, auto focus, or in lens image stabilisation. Alternatively you can spend rather a lot of cash and buy a top of the range adapter, e.g. Metabones, which will give full electronic contact between camera and lens.

I don't think that I will be making that much use of my Canon lenses on the Sony, as carrying heavy full frame lenses rather defeats the purpose of using a lightweight compact camera. However I would like to make occasional use of them, possibly in connection with a tripod, and the lens that I would particularly like to fit is my Sigma  APO 100-300 f4 . I used to do quite a …

Enhancing skies in Photoshop

Most outdoor photos can be improved by doing a bit of work on the sky. I don't know why it is, but skies out of camera look insipid, particularly if, like me, you shoot raw files.

In most cases a levels adjustment will perk up the sky.

In order to do this you need to select the sky for the adjustment. There are various ways of doing this, for example you can use the quick select tool and maybe apply a feathering of the edge. (Select, Refine). However if there are hard edges present, e.g. the built environment, this might not be appropriate. You might then consider using more precise selection methods, for example the Polygonal selection tool or the Pen. Both of these tools require skill, time and patience. Quote often there are both soft and hard edges, when quick select accompanied by a more accurate method can be employed. In that instance it might be necessary to feather the soft edges by painting on or erasing from the layer mask [2], e.g. where there are trees etc.

There are …