#2 A6000 configuration as travel camera, Grip, Lens & GPS tracker

 

The A6000 is designed for ‘light-weight’ package so that I will configure the system as intended, minimal setup for light traveling rather than heavy lenses and accessories. In fact, the best camera for travel is mobile phone. It goes everywhere with user and stick with a hand always. A6000 is bigger and more than mobile phone but not much if keep it in minimalism. I am looking for 3 accessories with that concept, Vertical grip, All-in-one lens & GPS tracker.

Vertical grip

‘What? Wait a minute…. this is not for minimum…far beyond a lightweight ….  ‘

However, A6000 body is too small for me to hold comfortably with one hand. It will be easy with 2 hands holding like ‘point-and-shoot’ camera but I don’t like the style. Because I have couple of heavy manual lenses, Mitakon 50/0.95, Canon 50/0.95 and Helios 85/1.5 looks like RPG-7 warhead and want to use them from time to time with A6000. Yes, I want to keep it light but big lenses are on the shelf already, why not try?

Also the battery capacity is not big, so have to change frequently in the field. Vertical grip will hold 2 battery & elongate time span twice respectively.

Last but not least, vertical grip from China is cheap, way too cheap to loose big at the end.

Yeap, it was ordered in lightning speed. But seller replied couple of days later the mercury cell in the remote control cannot be shipped by cargo, thus want to cancel the order. I wonder really what the rationale behind. They can ship camera battery but not mercury cell in remote control. Also not sure it is regulation in Taiwan specific or many other countries too. Anyway I request to seller ship the grip without mercury thing to avoid further delay…I will find the cell in local market

 

All-in-one & Do-it-all lens

There are many 3rd party lens suppliers for Sony platform but the most famous and prestigious 3rd party lens for Sony is the Canon. Yes, I really mean it….

Canon was 2nd tier in film era, following Nikon very hard but never reached to the same level. But in the beginning of digital photo history, they bite the bullet, the risk of live or die, and got the jackpot at the end. Not only they changed mechanical FD lens mount to full electronics EF but also built own image sensor factory which is Semicon fabrication factory costing at least 100 million USD per Fab. Image sensor supplied by Kodak and Dalsa at that time and later by Sony. Without having its own sensor factory, Canon could not make their road map and hegemony in digital market.

Canon also supplies fantastic & superb optics, like ‘Isabel’(24/1.4), ‘Samuel’(35/1.4), ‘Mantou’(85/1.2) & ‘Baektong’(70-200 L), all beloved by professional photographers so much. Now there are multiple suppliers for 24/1.4 and 35/1.4 lenses, but no competitive lens for 85/1,2 EF until now. Canon build the lens from 1976 as 85/1.2 FD Aspherical and reshaped as nFD version, then continue to produce 85/1.2 EF and 85/1.2 EF mark II. How come last 42 years no one else  join in this league?

Finally, I attached Canon FD 85mm f1.2 (grand-mantou) to the camera, Sony A7m2

Only real threat for this market is Canon itself, introducing 85/1.4 IS EF lens last year.

Samyang Optics in Korea released 85/1.2 manual lens but it is manual focus, hardly close to threat Mantou market. But Samyang Optics recently released some AF lenses for Sony including 35mm f1.4 AF. Delight news for me waiting for eyeAF enabled 35mm optics. I hope Samyang transform 85/1.2 manual lens to AF version sometime soon.

Going back to the Sony lens, the 16-50 bundle which is extremely portable, can’t be beat for travel photo purpose. Only thing is it does not cover enough telephoto side. So if consider the additional lens (not replacement though), Sony’s 18-200 OSS comes first in mind. However, the price is meh… compare to the lens specifications. It is much overpriced as super duper zoom in 3.5-6.3 aperture in my opinion. Canon 15-85 or 18-135, or Tamron / Sigma 18-200 lines would be more appropriate.

Considering picture quality and versatility, Canon 15-85 lens ranked first, then Canon 18-135 followed. It is the same angle as 24-135 or 28-200 in full frame. 15-85 lens covers slightly wider and longer telephoto than bundle, 18-200 is not so wide but covers much longer telephoto. They can be truely ‘all-in-one & do-it-all’ lenses.

For portrait, Sony 50 / 1.8 FE is fairly good choice which brings nice blurry background. I actually hesitate to say so a little because there is new Samyang 50 / 1.4 AF lens. But aperture difference is not big (1.4 vs 1.8) to justify price difference yet. If Samyang release AF 50mm f1.2 lens, that’s whole different story. Here again, only 50mm f1.2 AF lens available in the market, which is Canon.

Canon AF lens adapter for Sony

There are plenty of AF adapters in the market to utilize Canon EF lens with Sony mirrorless camera. When the first AF adapter came out in the market, it was slow and hit-and-miss, typical early adapt market thing. Eventually it has improved and now works almost as if original lenses.

I use Sigma’s MC-11 adapter now, but there are cheaper and equally useful adapters too which is working in decent performance. For the most advanced adapter is Metabones V. It hits the market unlike other adapters working as adapter, working as if a ‘genuine lens’ thus activate eyeAF function for Canon lenses. So far, Metabones is the most advanced adapter which pretends as a Sony lens not as an adapter. This means Canon 85/1.2 EF Mantou lens works exactly as if Sony lens including eyeAF function. What a day….

Unfortunately, Sigma MC-11 adapter supports eyeAF function only for Sigma lens, not Canon. Sigma is third party maker of Canon compatible lenses, so I don’t think there’s technical barrier. It is marketing decision to block Canon lens to access eyeAF function to boost Sigma lens selling… Well, I cannot blame their decision but anyway sorry for that since Metabones V is prohibitively expensive without any apparent reason except eyeAF for Canon lens.

(* I have not been able to check for myself, but there is a rumor that the eyeAF blocking for Canon lens has been unlocked during MC-11 firmware upgrade sometime ago. MC-11 adapter users constantly test Canon lens compatibility, thus the bug(?) eventually found & the news spread. Sigma hastened new firmware release to block eyeAF again according to the rumor… I will spare sometime to verify this story & hope to find older version firmware to try out)

A6000 + Mitakon 50/0.95

GPS

It is a good idea to put a GPS coordination in travel photos, but less and less camera support this function. It is because GPS sucks battery juice quickly, and the same function available on the mobile phone anyway and/or dedicated GPS trackers are plenty on the market.

Sony GPS Tracker

Sharing GPS location of the photo will allow anyone go and take the same scene. It is a typical way of work in internet days, sharing almost every information with the outside of the world. Even so, this is just the same scene, not the same photo. Photo is different even at the same place and the same angle depending on the time and season of taking, and how a photographer interpret & process the scene.

Photo skill is not taking unknown scene in these days. There is no unknown or not-taken scene any longer in the world, since multi million photos uploaded on the web just in a day. And it continue 7 days a week, throughout whole year. Now photo skill is how to change the same ordinary scene into extraordinary impacts.

 

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