Sony, Leica and Zeiss in the Mykonos sun
This Easter I packed light. Instead of a bagful of cameras and lenses I chose sparingly. I took the full-frame Sony A7r because it is a very light at 465 grams, lighter even than the Olympus OM-D EM-1 with its quarter-the-size Micro Four Thirds sensor. I wanted to finish my test of the Sony the camera and a two-week break offered the opportunity.
At first I decided to bring just the featherweight Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2.8 ZA lens—it tips the scale at only 120 grams. It is the only native EF-mount lens I have been able to sample. In the end I couldn't resist adding the Novoflex E-M adapter and a couple of Leica primes: A 50mm Summicron ASPH and the great 90mm APO-Summicron. And, just in case, I threw in the tiny Leica C for those moments when I didn't want to carry a big camera. It weighs nothing anyway. I am having a blast and have enjoyed getting to grips for the first time with the Zeiss Sonnar as well as giving the Leica glass a good run for its considerable money.
The choice of lenses turned out to be a good one. The lightweight f/2.8 Zeiss is a heavyweight in performance and, frankly I have not missed either the f/2 or f/1.4 Leicas, but then I haven't been doing any low-light photography in these sunny conditions. Both the longer Summicrons have pleased, as always, with their sharpness and overall excellence. In fact, I see little difference between the results from these lenses whether they are used on Leica or Sony.
The Zeiss Sonar impresses. Autofocus speed is good, not as fast as the best such as that in the Olympus OM-D, but plenty slick enough for street work and for a photographer who is more used to leisurely manual focus lenses. I also appreciate the minimum focus distance of 35cm compared with the 70cm of the Leica 50mm Summicron and the 100cm of the APO ninety. In the header shot to this article, given the very narrow street, I would have been hard pressed to capture the profile shot of the three-wheeler driver as he passed.
Caught out with a 35mm lens (in this case the Zeiss Sonnar) when a tele would have been better? It always happens to users of prime lenses but a 36MP full-frame sensor can help dig you out of trouble. This pre-wedding photo session scenario is commonplace in China but something of a rarity on the rocks of Mykonos. The crop, which is one-eighth the size of the full frame, still makes a respectable photograph. Still, I couldn't help wishing I'd had the 90mm Summicron mounted instead of the 35mm prime.
Party time and the shirt-pocket-size Leica C is just the tool for the job. It performs well in all conditions and copes well with backlit subjects. All these shots taken in aperture priority