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Donald Mackie

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Donald Mackie last won the day on August 19

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  1. Great shot Yes the lens probably should not have been released by the rental company. It was so beat up that upon opening the box I took detailed photos and sent them off immediately to the rental agency just to protect myself. I’d guess that was at least in part some of the problem. By and large I have complete confidence in Sony native stuff with the possible exception of the almost unusable 50 prime. Still my Sigma Art 20mm and 35mm are the sharpest lenses I own and I’m a pretty big fan of what Sigma’s been doing these days so it’s not a particularly big stretch for me to go that way.
  2. Yea, I’m pretty darn critical when it comes to focus performance. When I say “pretty darn” I mean as picky as one could possibly get :). Sigma has had some significant updates for the MC-11 and I can say with full confidence the Sigma 100-400 performs every bit as well as the native Sony 70-300 when it come to focus abilities at least in good light scenarios. As I mentioned earlier maybe even better. I have the Sigma 20mm and 35mm Art series for Sony (native mount without the MC-11) and I can tell you the 3 lenses are almost identical in reaction/focus times. As far as the 70-300 I really wanted that lens to win the weekend shootout. After all one of my absolute very favorite lenses I own is the Sony 24-105 G series. It’s (70-100) also a substantially lighter and smaller lens. Both big considerations for me. I did love mostly how it performed (again a big variable might have been it’s used status) but after reviewing all of the weekend shots there was little doubt the Sigma was consistently sharper and almost across the board. As far as peanuts for monkeys I can tell you, within reason, this decision was not about purchasing a cheap alternative. I’d never in a million years put myself through the misery and second guessing game of spending less and later wishing I’d spent more. I spent the weekend critically comparing the two and there was zero doubt which was better (at least for me). I would have gladly paid for either which of the two performed better. I wasn’t looking for a bargain. I think the Sigma entered the market at the $900.00 point. With the rebate from Sigma and Samy’s my out the door price was $608.00. It really did make the decision one of the easiest in recent years but even still I would have gone for the Sony had I thought it was better. In this case it wasn't. Horses for courses I suppose but I look at this lens performance as anything but peanuts
  3. So for those that may be interested in this kinda thing and specific to my original post. I rented the Sony 70-300 4.5 this week. I also borrowed a Sigma 100-400 from a friend yesterday morning. I’m coming from the perspective of either lens would be used in virtually good/great light. I don’t need these things for low light tasks. Also for the record I already own an MC-11 adaptor with the latest firmware updates. The Sony is relatively light and not much bigger than the 24-105. It focuses lightning fast. It’s color profile (Lightroom Adobe Profile) reminds me very much of the 24-105, which is really pleasing. The zoom ring and the manual focus ring was noticeably sticky. Understanding this was a rental which showed obvious signs of use (maybe even mis-use) my biggest concern past that was it’s focus ability past 200mm. It very well could have been me but not much was sharp above 200. Perhaps to some extent “acceptably” sharp up to 250mm but disappointing at 300mm. Again for reference it was a well used lens and the conditions being what they were it may well have been bad decisions on my part. The Sigma 100-400 is on the big side. Manageable but much bigger (and I’d assume heavier) than the Sony. The new MC-11 firmware puts focus attributes on par with the 70-300. Maybe better?! From there the Sigma leaves the Sony pretty far behind in almost every category. It’s sharp almost all the way through. I’ve had limited time with this lens but it appears to be tack sharp all the way out. The color is a bit more neutral to the Sony but I shoot Raw and honestly that neutral may well be more advantageous. In the end and for what I’d use it for the Sigma is a bit of a no-brainer. I checked on pricing and right now there’s a $200.00 instant rebate on the lens. I’ll sleep on it tonight but $600 for this lens? That’s gonna be tough to beat!
  4. Well.... from my perspective I own and still on occasion use the 28-70 kit lens and the 24-105 f4. Ironically I rented the 70-300 just this week thanks to a suggestion here on the forum. Unfortunately I have no experience whatsoever with the 70-200. I should mention that I’m not a diehard pixel peeper although tack sharp is always my primary goal after, content of course (I’d guess however that’s probably all of us). Here is my take. The 28-70 is a much better lens than any kit lens I’ve ever experienced. In virtually ever situation, except perhaps challenging low light scenarios, it consistently produces wonderful shots. Because it’s light it’s actually replaced my Sony 50mm 1.8 (which has turned out to be a bit of a dud) for my quick and easy walk around lens. Great color, very light, very little distortion and what little anomalies there are Lightroom fixes it immediately. Very sharp. The focus is fast, accurate and effortless. For me the 28-70 is a real bargain. It suffers from the “kit lens” perceptions but I do think it’s much better than many would imagine. All of that aside I’d submit my 24-105 is a titanic leap ahead of the kit. Unless I’m in a lens specific situation (ultra wide or extreme low light) it’s on my camera 90% of the time. I love the colors of this lens, it focuses flawlessly, consistently tack sharp and works equally as well in casual and critical scenarios. I can’t say enough about the IQ this lens produces especially considering the focal range. I did a comparison at 35mm between the 24-105 and my Sigma Art 35 prime and although the Sigma was sharper the difference was surprisingly narrow with the only first glance difference being the 24-105 had some noticeable pin cushioning. Again easily correctable in Lightroom. This is on almost every level a fantastic lens. I’ve only had the 70-300 for a week so my experience is limited but my initial impressions are that it’s very, very similar to the 24-105. I’ll know more this weekend but the colors appear to be very similar, I actually think the focus may be a tad quicker and what little backyard/neighborhood shots I’ve taken are equally as tack sharp even out at the far end of its reach. This is only my take on things and for my particular needs but if it were me I’d probably build my lens collection around the 24-105, I have absolutely no hesitation. From there if you were looking to go telephoto long and still keep a sane budget I’d look towards the Sigma 100-400 with a MC-11 adaptor. I saw that lens on sale at Best Buy for $600.00. Sigma has been updating the MC-11 and as of the last firmware release it brings the performance of non-native lenses right up close to the Sony stuff. I use the MC-11 on an old Sigma 18-300 and focusing is absolutely great. I can’t say for sure just yet (this weekend will tell) but my gut reaction is if the budget allowed I’d still opt for the Sony 70-300 over the Sigma 100-400 but admittedly some of those tendencies have to do with my suspicions that the 70-300 is very, very similar to the 24-105. That’s more than enough for me to tip the scales. The 24-105 and 70-300 would give you great reach and versatility, great IQ, focus and color. I guess the singular knock would be the f4 limit but honestly low light (particularly with how good higher iso levels look) has never proven to be much of a problem. My 2 cents
  5. Yes the 18-300 was really a “left-over” from my Cannon APS-C days and I didn’t really intent to use for anything much with the A7iii. I’ll always note in Lightroom what the equivalent mm would be if the Sigma wasn’t forcing APS-C mode. That so I can get a feel for just how much reach I really need in the full frame world. A couple of day shoots in some really crowded, active areas of L.A. yielded some pretty great compositional photos and maybe started a flame for another direction for me, therefore the new search. In the end sharpness, or even critical sharpness is really important to me. The Sony 70-200 f4 has always been on my radar but I wasn’t aware of the 70-300. Good call. The 70-300 as you mentioned would certainly be less conspicuous than the 70-200 as well as providing more reach. As much as I loath renting for trial purposes this scenario may come down to just that.
  6. I’m not entirely sure when I made my migration from Cannon to my Sony A7iii. Over a year now but I don’t actually recall. That said I concentrated at first and purchase wise (lens) on an everyday, all purpose lens. I settled on the 24-105. Impossible for me to be more pleased with that lens. Impossible.Then on to my wide and ultra wide’s as that’s still where I enjoy being most often particularly when I have the time and patience to do things slowly and with calculations. I have three. A Laowa 15, a Sigma Art 20, and a Sigma Art 35. That said a left over lens from my Cannon day’s was a Sigma 18-300mm 3.5/6.3. I’ve been using it with an mc-11 adaptor on the A7iii lately mainly for taking pictures of crowds (people/street) here in L.A. I like the reach as I’m still totally not good with intrusive “camera in their face” techniques. Besides that could get you killed here and in a hurry. The Sigma does wonderful for that great reach but merely an “ok” job with IQ. It’s certainly not sharp on any level and it’s inevitably noisy. It looks poor compared to the rest of my kit. I managed some really good “content” but when I compare IQ to my other lens’s it kinda makes me uncomfortable with the results. I’m starting a push for a new Sony lens that’s similar (I don’t need a reach of 300, I don’t think) but it must have a decent reach to keep me unobtrusive and the IQ must be substantial better than my good ole Sigma. I don’t see myself ever doing dedicated and intense wildlife photography. So far it’s just not my thing. I do however hike the Los Angeles Canyons a lot but not purposely to seek wildlife. If it comes cool, if not cool. So in short it’d be more for inconspicuous street photos of which we have a universe of possibilities here and occasional hikes through the beautiful canyons and oceans here in SoCal. All thoughts and suggestions welcome
  7. I've used both lensrentals and borrowed lens to good success. I did have a scare last time I rented in that I got a call a few days after the return saying the lens was pretty badly damaged and to fix would be $300.00 I knew beyond any shadow of any doubt the lens wasn't damaged by me, not to mention I didn't take the UV protective filter off the entire time I had the lens. They were pretty cool about the whole thing and I wasn't forced to pony up any damage dollars but man........I haven't rented since for fear of that kinda thing happening again.
  8. The 16-35 2.8 GM is truly a fantastic lens. I don't think it has a weakness except perhaps some vignetting wide open especially with filters. Still a wonderful lens that always produces great shots. Tack sharp, great color, fast and focusing is seamless. However as soon as you introduce "street photography" to the equation I know (at least for me) it's a lens you'd have work hard(er) for shots. 35mm is a fascinating albeit a persoanlly difficult focal length which I’ll admit when I get it right 35mm makes for great, great shots but i gotta slow down and I gotta think, which is not always great for street. Still...what a lens.I don't own the 24-70 but I have rented it several times. As with the 16-35 GM it's truly a fantastic lens and all the accolades I mentioned above apply. 24 is not wide enough for me with landscapes or architecture it would however be stellar for a street lens, as long as you don't need to snipe. It's also a great everyday lens. There’s some argument that the Tamron 28-70 is a worthy competitor at substantially less cost but I’ve not had a chance to try.As someone here has already mentioned as long as a constant f/4 is doable the 24-105 G is by far my favorite, favorite all around, cover all, lens. I'm constantly impressed with this lens. I’d argue that it’s comparable to the 24-70 in sharpness but just not able to open up as well. That and comparing the cost of the 24-70 GM you're considering you're awfully close to the price of entry on the 24-105 and maybe a dedicated UWA for landscape and architecture. Say the 20 mm Sigma ART f/1.4. Yes you'd have to occasionally switch lens's but you have a killer UWA and the practicality of the tack sharp 24-105.
  9. This^ I absolutely love my Laowa 15mm. I have the Sigma Art 20mm as well. They’re both unbelievable lens’s but if I had to choose between the two it’d definitely be the Laowa. There’s just an intangible in the 15 vs the 20 (apart from the focal difference) that makes for a really stellar landscape lens. I will say it tends to tighten up significantly at f8 and above where the Sigma performs better at wider apertures. The Laowa also excepts a wider range of filter systems where the Sigma 20 requires some external filter framing which initially can be a fairly costly point of entry. Also as someone mentioned the 15mm is compact and light especially compared to the 20mm. I dunno what the minimum focus difference is between the two but the Laowa is uncanny in its ability to get uber close. I certainly have managed some “almost” macro shots with the 15. Can’t do that with the Sigma. Overall I think the Sigma is a tad sharper (as I find all the Art series seem to be, my 35mm Sigma is crazy sharp) and obviously you have more focus options. Still.......for landscape.....Laowa
  10. Obviously both photos are a “bit” out of focus I’d be curious to know how the camera was set especially for the top (presumably) Sony shot. I’d also re-seat the lens just for grins. BTW: Is the photo an un-edited raw? It’s getting close to a high contrast shot and it appears there’s some haze or moisture hanging around the rocks. Anyway I think then by way of process of elimination I can tell you I had originally purchased the camera with the kit lens and it was surprisingly sharp in good light. I mean to say REALLY sharp for a kit. I unfortunately re-structured my original deal and wound up with the 50 prime instead but quite honestly really wish I hadn’t. I think the kit is a superior lens over the Sony 50 prime in virtually every way except wide open. All of that to say I think in general the kit from Sony is a real bargain and a very, very capable lens. I’m guessin’ your problem is not the lens unless it’s faulty glass. It’s certainly a possibility. That said I’ve heard almost zero chatter about that lens and any consistent problems. I think we can also surmise that it’s not the body, again, unless it’s a faulty body. Possible but unlikely. Have you taken any shots that were tack? Maybe try a couple shots in the back yard with the camera set to full auto and wide focus mode. Nothing content heavy but also nothing busy. I’m sure you know where I’m heading here but I’d wanna know for sure the equipment is working or not before I leaped to any conclusions. If you can get a number of simple backyard photos to be tack sharp I’d start looking elsewhere. If however you can’t get tack sharp I’d rent another lens and live with that for a week. The 85 prime rents for pretty darn cheap. That lens is sharp enough to use as a barometer and should serve as to either indict or exonerate the kit lens. If that lens remain out of focus i’d then concentrate on having the A7 iii looked at. Full circle however, what were your settings on the Sony shot?
  11. There’s a lot to this question but I’ll try to distill a bit at least from my perspective and needs. I’m one who strives for best “in camera” shot and although I do love to sit and tinker with post production stuff my best shots are always minimum post fiddling. I’m always uncomfortable with even moderately over processed pics. PhotoLab 2 Elite lens correction is worth its weight in gold (although they haven’t yet addressed my Sigma 20mm prime). It’s all at once subtle and stunning. That alone is worth the price (and it is pricey) of entry. Their noise reduction algorithm is also the best I’ve encountered. Their color correction, both in PhotoLab and in Nix, is a good deal more pleasing than others I am currently or have used in the past. It’s “clear view” module (haze reduction) when used sparingly is also the best, by far, I’ve used. PhotoLab does lack the all encompassing tools that the current Lightroom provides so if a broad umbrella editor is what you’re after PhotoLab may be behind in that area. If however you’re not into making major broad edits I’m really really comfortable recommending PhotoLab. My best photos always look that much better in DxO. I think there is a 30 day trial available. If however you’re looking for a feature to feature (or almost feature to feature) alternative to Lightroom I do like Luminar 3 a lot. They’ve steadfastly been bringing this software along to the point where I do believe it’s a worthy competitor to Lightroom. It’s more feature rich than PhotoLab and of course is not a subscription based solution. I do like both Luminar and PhotoLab’s file management/library protocol infinitely better than Lightroom’s. Overall for me PhotoLab is my absolute favorite and by miles and miles although and as I mentioned it’s not particularly a cheap solution. Also important to note that for whatever weird reason the DxO Nix collection doesn’t yet run as a plug inside PhotoLab. Now.....if they could just get my Sigma 20mm lens profile it’d be happy as a piggy in slop
  12. Difficult to tell what went wrong here but I’m confident it’s not the camera. At least to say I’m confident it’s not the camera in general. That pic is pretty noisy and even in challenging situations I don’t get any where near that degree of noise. I’ve also rented the Batis 25 and it was blisteringly sharp. I wish I could help more only to say something does appear to have gone (out of the ordinary) wrong. This is not what to expect from an A7iii
  13. Cool picture! I love my 24-105. It’s on my camera 70% of the time. It’s as sharp as you could ask for in a zoom with that much range. It’s not quite as uncannily sharp as my 20 and 35 primes but it’s awfully, awfully close. My only complaint is at 35mm compared to my 35 prime there is an ever so slight pin cushioning goin’ on, at least by comparison. I probably wouldn’t notice if I hadn’t back to backed. Still....for a zoom it’s really, really good.
  14. Yes I have a stellar prime 35 in the Sigma but it ain’t light I rented the 24mm 1.4 and it was a luxurious lens. I want 😎, But I’m covered 20 to 24. Just wanna have a light walk around that has a bit more reach. Maybe the Batis 40mm or even further the Sony 85mm. Either way and as I’ve mentioned the 50 prime is a clunker.
  15. Yea I kinda have had and heard the same reactions. I guess just a word of caution for folks who haven’t yet invested, this lens (at least mine) is better off skipped It’s dang near unusable.
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