Was busy at home today, but managed to get out this afternoon and fire off a few quick portrait shots with the 35-70mm f4. Since the 35 to 70mm on the A200 relates to a 50 to 105mm (roughly) in 35mm film terms, it's really the ideal portrait/candid style lens. And it's so tiny! Uses a 49mm filter thread. Here it is attached to the A200. Doesn't look too out of place because the A200 isn't that big either!
Took my model (my ever willing daughter Emily) outside and stayed about 1.5meters away to gauge how a subject would fill the frame at 35, 50 and 70mm.
The first image was shot at the 35mm end, and this equates to about a 52mm (normal) focal length in traditional terms. Opened the aperture up to f4, cause I always shoot portraits wide open - and had a reasonable distance between Emily and the background (about 6 meters). Not surprisingly, f4 hasn't blurred the background out hugely - but man-oh-man is she sharp! Great overall sharpness, even wide open. Oh yeah, that's what I like.
Now we have f4 at 50mm (75mm equiv). Still amazingly sharp, and now, because of the change in focal length, the background bokeh is starting to work for us. Still not great, but softening nonetheless. Nothing else has changed in terms of mine or Emily's position. I simply zoomed in closer with the lens. Really great colours for an overcast day, and did I mention how sharp the image is overall!?
And finally, f4 at 70mm (105mm equiv). Background has softened up more - although it's fairly harsh in terms of bokeh. But Emily is still tack sharp, and I would have no hesitation in using this lens wide open for portraiture. Of course I still haven't used it extensively, but early indications are that it is as good a lens as the user reports on Dyxum.com would indicate it to be. Very pleased :-)
Also finished with a quick test of the stabilisation that Sony uses - Steady Shot. And early indications would suggest that this too works as it should.
Took one shot inside at 10th of a second without Steady Shot turned on..
and then another shot straight after with Steady Shot turned on...
The results are - quite plainly - clear :-) Steady Shot does make a measurable difference, with pretty good results down to one 10th of a second (using the 35-70mm zoomed all the way to 70mm). You can't actually see any difference while you are taking the shot, although when you turn Steady Shot on, a small bar graph appears in the viewfinder to show you that it's working. Wait until the bars move down to the smallest, and take the shot (it's easier to do that it is to explain). Anyway, seems to work a treat, and I intend to simply leave it on all the time, unless I mount the camera to a tripod (in which case it is recommended that you turn it off).