Friday, May 30, 2014

Berlin 2014 - Streetart - Mural painting

Quite close to the tourist streets, you suddenly are in a darker part of the town with "girls-for-hire" waiting between the parking cars. But apparently not all succumb to the gloom. This is human art way beyond sprayers and usual graffiti.
Nahe der touristischen Strassen, ist man schnell in einem dunkeren Teil der Stadt, mit "leichten Mädchen", die zwischen den parkenden Autos auf Kundschaft warten. Aber nicht alle lassen sich ins Düstere herabziehen. Das ist eine menschliche Kunst, weit jenseits aller Sprayer oder üblicher Graffiti-Kritzler.

Berlin revisited - 1988 2007 2014

Berlin is the one city where I feel you wade in history. Maybe its the fact that it is an almost broke city so that old things keep getting used instead of replaced. Or it is the echos of the past in the WWII bullet holes in historic buildings. Still, there is so much green that at times it almost feels like a rural area. My personal history has kept being mixed with this city, so seen the changes and the non-changes also makes me reflect on what happened in all those years.
Berlin ist die eine Stadt in der ich das Gefühl habe durch Geschichte zu waten. Vielleicht ist es die Tatsache, dass in dieser fast Pleite-Stadt alte Dinge weiterverwendet werden, anstatt ersetzt zu werden. Oder es sind die Echos aus der Vergangenheit in the Weltkriegs-Einschusslöchern in historischen Gebäuden. Dabei hat es soviel Grün, dass es sich manchmal wie in einer dörflichen Gegend anfühlt. Meine eigene Geschichte hat immer wieder Schnittpunkte mit dieser Stadt gehabt, so dass die Veränderungen, und das Ausbleiben solcher mich darüber nachdenken lässt, was in all diesen vergangenen Jahren geschehen ist.


1988 Behind the Reichstag, the wall to the right

1997 Behind the Reichstag

2007 Still open to normal people
Some things do not change very much.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Unleashed / Losgelassen

The dramatic light makes one recall what forces where unleashed and went through this gate.
Das dramatische Licht bringt die Erinnerung daran zurück, welche Kräfte entfesselt wurden und durch dieses Tor gingen.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Tipp: DIY - Lens hood for the SEL1650PZ / Selbsthilfe - Sonnenblende für das SEL1650PZ

SEL1650 with lens hood from the SEL1855 and filter stepup ring

The SEL1650PZ is supplied without a lens hood. There is none to order either. Since the lens is sensitive to flare here an easy and effective improvement. The lens uses a 40.5 mm filter thread.

Step one: get a filter ring adapter from 40.5 to 49mm
Step two: tape a small strip of black enforced linen tape (e.g. Tesa Extra Power Gewebeband) onto the outside of the filter ring.
Step three: Take the lens hood of the SEL1855 and press it onto the filter ring adapter.
Step 4: Screw it onto your 1650 lens till it gets somewhat tight.
Step 5: Mark topmost part of the ring (best from front) with a pen
Step 6: Unscrew, take off hood and then align red dot of the lens hood ("SONY", indicating top position) with mark on the adapter, then press hood again onto the adapter in that position.

Finished. You can now use the lens hood of the SEL1855 as a screw-on lens hood for the SEl1650PZ.
This hood does not shade the corners even at 16mm in my experience and sticks quite well onto the ring with this modification. While it is not perfect, it certainly improves flaring. If you don't own 1855, the hood can be sourced in the web for 5-7 $.
As alternative, you can instead get an adapter from 40.5 to 52 and use one of the cheap screw-one lens hoods. However, the difficulty is with those to get one that doesn't vignette.
 Das SEl1650PZ Objektiv wird ohne Sonnenblende geliefert und es gibt auch keine als Extra, obwohl dieses Objektiv etwas emfindlich für Flare ist, z.B. wenn ausserhalb des Bildes eine Lichtquelle wie ein Fenster ist.

Deshalb hier ein Tipp, wie mit minimalen Kosten eine passende Blende gemacht werden kann.
1. Filteradapterring kaufen von 40,5 auf 49mm
2. Einen schmalen Streifen schwarzes Gewebeband auf die Aussenseite des Rings klebe, z.B. Tesa Extra Power Gewebeband.
3. Die Sonnenblende eines SEL1855 auf den Ring drücken .
4. Das ganze auf das SEl1650 aufschrauben bis es einigermassen fest sitzt.
5. Die oberste Position am Ring mit einem Marker markieren, am besten von vorne.
6. Abschrauben, Sonnenblende abnehmen, die markierte Stelle an die gleiche Position bringen wie den roten Punkt auf der Sonnenblende (an der "SONY" Stelle) und dann die Sonnenblende wieder so auf den Ring aufdrücken.

Fertig. Damit hat man eine Anschraubsonnenblende für das SEL1650PZ, die nicht in den Ecken abschattet, aber Flares einigermassen reduziert. Falls man das SEL1855 nicht als Organspender rumliegen hat, Ersatzblenden für dieses Objektiv gibt es im Web für 5-7 €.

Das hört sich vielleicht nach wackeliger Frickelbastellösung an, ist aber im Gegenteil seit Monaten bombenfest!

Alternativ kann man auch einen Adapter von 40.5 auf 52mm und eine entsprechende Aufschraubsonnenblende kaufen. Die Schwierigkeit hierbei ist eine zu finden, welche bei 16mm keine Abschattung verursacht.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The 16-something zoom shootout on the A6000: SEL1650 versus SEL1670

Update on 6.1.15: You may also be interested in this comparison, taking the SELP18105 into account
Update on 01.11.2015: Also take a look at my "last words" on the standard zoom question here

To make comparing easier, here the two lenses SEL1650PZ and SEL1670 on the same camera Sony A6000:

To download the REAL BIG picture, use the link below!

LINK TO DOWNLOAD the full-sized comparison picture (23 MB)

My personal summary:
Stopped down, it is hard to see a difference. So the 1650 is much cheaper, smaller, lighter but the 1670 has f4 throughout, is mostly better wide-open and feels very well-built. Without a lens hood, the 1650 is more prone to flare. I used my SEL1855 lens hood and some inexpensive stuff to change this, look here for details. The 1670 disappoints at 24mm and when both lenses are stopped down, as in typical holiday landscape shots, for my samples the 1650 sometimes outperforms the 1670 in terms of sharpness. Of course, sample variation exists for both models. However, I had similar or worse experiences with another copy of the 1670, the sides being inferior at all apertures compared to the 1650.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Pixel-peeping: Comprehensive (Zoom) Lens test on Sony Nex 5N & A6000 / ILCE-6000: SEL1670, SEL1855, SEL1650PZ, SEL50

UPDATE: For a 1:1 comparison of 1650 versus 1670 both on the A6000, check here: Blog -the-16-something-zoom-shootout-on-a6000)

Guilty as charged - did another lens test to assess the performance of the currently available zoom lenses for the the Sony APS-C mirrorless camera line: SEL1670, SEL1855 and SEL1650PZ. The SEL50F18 was added on the spur of a moment.

If you are interested, you can find here crop comparisons of those lenses both on the Sony Nex 5N camera body and on the A6000. These comparisons are at different apertures: wide-open, f5.6 and f8. Crops were taken from the center of the image, and another set is for the left upper corner.

Just for illustration, a downsized picture of one of those comparison:
Just a small example
Since Google and Flickr mess up the files, I have ZIPped them and added the links below. File size is 5 to 10 MB, so have patience!

My personal summary based on my copies are:
My SEL1670 is a very sharp lens in the center and the edges even wide open at f4. The sharpness wide-open allows good shots in lower light as well as good subject isolation. Contrary to some other reviews, it appears to me as well-usable for landscape photos. Weakest point seems to be edge sharpness at 35mm & 50mm wide open at f4. Further bonus points are the tele range and a silent & fast AF drive. Very well-built.

My SEL1855 needs f5.6 or f8 to perform best, edge sharpness above 24mm is not the best. For the low price a good allround lens. But the 1670 outperforms it in central sharpness by two stops at the wide end and else by one stop, as well as in edge sharpness by one stop. The SEL1650PZ easily outperforms it too, is smaller, and also cheap. So for me, the SEL1855 is ripe for retirement.

Unfortunately, I forgot to test the SEL1670 on the A6000 and therefore had to compare the results of the SEL1670 on the 5N to the SEL1650PZ on the A6000, giving the latter a slight advantage in resolution. See my following lens-shootout between the 1670 and 1650 both using the A6000 here: LENS SHOOTOUT 1670 & 1650
My SEL1650PZ is a compact lens and easily outperforms my SEL1855. Weakness is edge sharpness below 24mm unless f8 is used. Also strange is the dip in sharpness in the mid-aperture range at 16-18mm, similar to the odd behaviour of the FE2870 kit zoom for FF.
If the SEL1650PZ is used at f8, it is a good lens over its entire range, better than the SEL1855. In the wideangle range it is sometimes outperformed by the SEL1670 but at f8 can achieve comparable results. This is impressive for such a small and inexpensive lens. Lacking a lens hood, flare can impact image quality. See my solution using the hood of the SEL1855 and some inexpensive stuff here.

Download links:
SEL1670 at 16, 18, 24, 35, 50 and 70mm on 5N:   Center crops

SEL1670 at 16, 18, 24, 35, 50 and 70mm on 5N and SEL1855 at 18, 24, 35, 50 mm on 5N: Crops from left upper edge

SEL1855 at 18, 24, 35, 50 mm on 5N: Center crops

SEL1855 at 18, 24, 35, 50 mm on A6000 / ILCE-6000: Crops from Center and upper left edge

SEL1650PZ at 16, 18, 24, 35, 50 mm on A6000 / ILCE-6000: Crops from center  &  Crops from upper left edge

SEL50F18 on A6000 / ILCE-6000: Crops fromcenter and upper left edge

Detailed evaluation of lens performance:

SEL1670 (on Nex 5N)
16mm sharp from f4, contrast good, improves to very good at f5.6.   18mm sharp from f4, contrast already very good at f4 f5.6.  24mm same (changing contrast due to clouds).   35mm, 50 and 70 mm sharpness and contrast improves slightly from f4 to f5.6.  At 50mm, sharpness decreases somewhat at f8 compared to f5.6
16mm good at f4 with slight improvement at f5.6.  18mm and 24mm ok to good at f4, slight improvement at f5.6 and good at f8.  35mm soft at f4, ok at f5.6 good at f8.  50mm slightly soft at f4, good at f5.6, very good at f8.  70mm ok to good at f4, good at f5.6 and f8

SEl1855 (on Nex 5N):
18mm weak at f3.5 and f4, ok at f5.6, good at f8      => SEL1670 at f4 beats SEL1855 at f8.
24mm slightly soft at f4, ok-good at f5.6 and f8.       => SEL1670 at f4 still slightly better than SEL1855 at f8.
35mm quite good at f4.5, good at f6.3 and f8            => SEL1670 at f4 is reached by SEL1855 at f5.6.
50mm f5 and f5.6 soft, at f8 acceptable                     => SEL1670 at f4 clearly better than SEL1855 at f8.
18mm: ok to good at f3.5 and f4, good at f5.6 and f8   24mm: slightly soft at f4, good at f5.6 and f8   35mm soft at f4.5, ok at f6.3, good at f8   50mm soft at f5 and f5.6, ok to good at f8

SEL1855 (on A6000)
Same observations as on the 5N, but the pictures are somewhat better on the A6000 (higher resolution?)

SEL1650PZ (on A6000)
16mm excellent sharpness and contrast at f3.5, drops to good at f4 and f5.6 and becomes very good at f8
18mm good sharpness at f4, drops to ok at f5.6 and becomes good again (or better) at f8
24mm ok sharpness at f4.5, good sharpness at f5.6, very good at f8
35mm and 50mm starts at f5.6, good sharpness, very good at f8
=> The 1650PZ (at least my copy) outperforms the SEL1855 everywhere.
=> The 1670 on the 16 Mpx 5N is as good or better if both are on f5.6.
16mm soft at f3,5 and f4, still somewhat soft at f5.6 ok to good at f8 
=> 1670 is always sharp, the 1650 at f8 is still less sharp than f4 on the 1670
18mm soft at f4, somewhat soft at f5.6, good at f8           => 1670 is sharper at f4 and f5.6, about the same at f8
24mm slightly soft at f4.5, good at f5.6, very good at f8   => 1670 better at f4, draw with the 1650PZ both at f5.6 and f8.
35mm soft at f5.6, good at f8                                               =>1670 offers f4, f5.6 and f8 are as good or better than f8 on the PZ
50mm ok at f5.6, good at f8                                                 => 1670 offers f4, is better at f4 and f5.6, draw at f8

SEL50 (on A6000)
Slightly soft at f1.8, improves at f2.8 to good, at f4 better, at f5.6 and f8 bitingly sharp :-)
At f1.8 slightly soft, improves at f2.8 and further at f4 to good, f5.6 and f8 very good

Focus was on windows, NOT on the ladder. Central point was used. Changing clouds, so don't overvalue the colors and contrast. AWB, OOC, JPG, ISO 100, 2 sec shutter delay, tripod. OSS off. Keep in mind when comparing that wide-open on the variable-aperture zooms SEL1855 and SEL1650PZ is different from the constant f4 of the 1670. 
The FILE NAMES of the first three comparisons are wrong regarding center or left edge crop. What IS correct is always the text within the comparisons. Sorry for the potential confusion.