Sony A7R – one scenery, three lenses

Well, this time the title of the blog entry already says it all … I was walking around my town with my camera and the three native fixed lenses I have. At this old bridge I saw a situation I wanted to take a picture of, but which lens to use? In my bag – the Sony FE 28/2, the Sony Zeiss FE 35/2.8 and the Sony FE 50/1.8. In the end, I took a frame with each of these three lenses … and I think each variant has something going for it:

Köln Südbrücke I. (Sony A7R with FE 50/1.8)
Köln Südbrücke I. (Sony A7R with FE 50/1.8)
Köln Südbrücke II. (Sony A7R with FE 35/2.8)
Köln Südbrücke II. (Sony A7R with FE 35/2.8)
Köln Südbrücke III. (Sony A7R with FE 28/2)
Köln Südbrücke III. (Sony A7R with FE 28/2)

On location, after taking the three shots shown above, I immediately had a feeling I’d like the 28 mm version (no. III) most, but wanted to alter the perspective a bit. Also there was some ghosting apparent in the skies, from light from the street lamps entering the front lens elements. I was standing on stairs that led to the top of the bridge and thus I easily could move a bit further up. It changed the perspective; and also I shaded the front lens elements carefully with my hand (the original lens shade alone was not sufficient enough here) while exposing to get rid of the ghosting. That’s how the fourth shot below was made:

Köln Südbrücke IV. (Sony A7R with FE 28/2)
Köln Südbrücke IV. (Sony A7R with FE 28/2)

But is the 28 mm version really the best? In the end, I am undecided. I also like the pictures that I took with the other two lenses very much. They all show the same scenery but within a different context, and they all really turned out well – at least to my eyes. So what’s the bottom line? Focal length alone matters less than you probably might think. Wow what a platitude … like “the photographer takes the picture, not the camera”! But hey it’s correct, nonetheless … :) I firmly believe that you can frame a good shot of a given situation with a wide variety of focal lengths – if not 100% of the time, but still very often.

In normal life, I never really would bother to bring all three lenses together anyway; I’d rather leave either the 28 or 35 at home, and given that I now also have the Contax G 90, I also might just take this and leave the 50 at home. The special characters that made me buy all these lenses is not just their different focal length – there are many other merits to take into account; e.g. the 28/2 is just faster than the 35, so it’s a better choice for candid low-light shots; the 50/1.8 might be easier in low light as well as the Contax G 90 with it’s adapter and also focuses much closer than the latter, and so on. But for a given situation, I actually almost always carry just one or two of these lenses with me, and I really feel complete.


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