Photography

Back Yard Adventure With Sony’s E 50mm F/1.8 OSS, And A Fond Farewell To Fuji

Today’s adventure was a trip to Service Photo, with the intent trading my remaining Fujifilm kit on the last (for now) few bits for my Sony kit. Specifically: a 50mm f/1.8, a small but capable flash, a third battery, and a couple of other small bits. The hope was that I would be able to do it with a minimal outlay of additional cash, being as I really don’t have any of that right now. To keep the story really short, I succeeded, and even came away with enough change to buy lunch and pay the parking meter!

Walking in, I was not entirely sure if I wanted to get the FE 50mm f/1.8 or the E 50mm f/1.8 OSS, but after a few minutes of each on the camera, the obvious choice for me was the latter. The older FE version, while suitable for a possible move to full-frame down the road, is relatively noisy and slower to focus, due to its use of a linear DC motor as opposed to the more modern stepper motor design of the newer lens. The only possible drawback to the lens I got is that it is not really suitable for use on a full-frame body. I don’t think I have any designs on going full-frame, but I will be shooting some video with the a6100, so the silent focusing is more important than the larger image circle.

For the flash, I picked up a Godox TT350s. It’s not a big flash, but for the little bit of on-camera flash stuff that I do anymore, it should be sufficient. When doing lighting setups, I generally prefer to throw all the light at the subject all the time. It’s not that I can’t visualize a strobe setup, but I just don’t really like to. And, besides, with LEDs getting better and cheaper, the discomfort of hot lights can become a thing of the past. One thing it does do that I’ve never been able to do before is high-speed sync, and the little a6100 supports it, too.

As usual for my initial evaluation of a lens, I took a stroll through the weed patch that is our garden and yard. You know the drill: click a thumbnail for the full image. Images are straight out of the camera, with no editing whatsoever.

Once again, I’m really impressed with the detailed images captured by the a6100 and with most of the characteristics of the lens.

100% crop from the image aove. This little potter wasp is tiny — maybe a half-inch long. The front of the lens was about 18 inches away from the bug.

Some reviewers elsewhere on the web have complained that the bokeh of this lens is lacking, but frankly, I don’t see it. As far as I’m concerned, the backgrounds are nice and smooth, and the “bokeh balls” are nicely rounded. No doubt, the results are situational and as the phrase goes, your mileage may vary. Many of the other pictures in the gallery above demonstrate the soft backgrounds and shallow depth of field nicely as well.

At f 1.8, the depth of field is actually shallower than I’d expected on the APS-C sensor. Depth of field this shallow is usually reserved for full-frame sensors — or 35mm film. The difference between this and the 50mm f/2 on the Fuji X-T1 was a bit of a surprise.

One area that the new lens doesn’t excel in is flare control, as you can see from starburst and “into the light” shot. I will be interested to see how it does with stage lighting. I’ve seen some nice stage photos from others on Flickr and other sites, so hopefully my results will be better than in these shots:

Obviously, shooting into the sun is a good bit more extreme than shooting on stage, but sometimes there’s still a lot of light falling directly onto the front element of the lens when covering rock and roll bands. As an example, here’s a shot of Crack The Sky at a concert last year, taken with the Fujifilm X-T1 and 50mm f/2.

I’ll have more to say about this, and my decision to move back to Sony cameras and photography when I resume production on What’s In My Head in the very near future.