Friday, 2 July 2010

First shots with Sony A200

The Minolta 35-70mm f4 arrived yesterday, and I got a chance at lunch time today to get a couple of quick shots with my new kit.

The lens has a quasi 'macro' function - when you flick a switch at the 70mm position it takes you into 'macro' mode, which you then have to focus manually. There is a hack for this that requires a little lens surgery so that you can use autofocus in the macro mode - but I think I'll leave it as it is. I don't think macro is something I'll use the lens for a lot, so I don't mind focusing manually the few times I have to.

But having said all that, it was the macro mode on the lens that I decided to try out at lunchtime.

I've been reading a few lens user reviews over at (great site for Minolta/Sony users), and many write about the Minolta 'look' to certain lenses. If that's true (and the 35-70mm f4 is said to have 'the look'), then I like it - very much. Clear, saturated, yet true-to-life colours - the 35-70mm performed very well. I only took a handful of shots, but the ones I took were very pleasing. And the macro mode worked well, even with manual focusing - although the manual focus ring itself is very small. Workable, but small.

The shots here were taken in macro, ISO 100, f8 @ 125th (or there abouts), and while the depth of field is pretty shallow, the area of focus is bitingly sharp! Bokeh looks good too. Reasonably creamy and not too harsh.

The A200 handled the colours - especially the vibrant purples, exceptionally well, and overall I was very pleased with my first few shots. I will take more this weekend, using the lens in its 'normal' range (i.e. not macro), to give it a full test of sharpness etc.

And in one final note: I've set the A200 to shoot in Adobe RGB, using the single central focus point, auto ISO (which will limit its range from ISO 100 to 400), auto WB, and shooting RAW. Pretty much how I set up all the cameras I use - although I play around a lot more with these settings on my Nikon D300. I'll probably tend to leave the Sony pretty much as-is? Anyway, more soon.

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