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January 15, 2016

Sony News, Rumors, and Website Updates…

SLT-A99V - Front Body Only

Happy New Year everybody and how about some Sony News, Rumors, and more to get things going 😉 I also want to talk about the gear I currently have and plans for the upcoming 2016 year as far as new reviews and so fourth..

For starters it’s been a really busy year so far for myself personally including my full time job. Therefore I am trying to only focus on a few things at a time for this upcoming year. I’m sure you guys that know me understand where I’m coming from with the family and full time job, but for those not aware, now you are!

Jase is about 17 months old and Layla is a bout 5 and half years old already!! These days when I get home from work, I need to help Layla with homework and also help around the house, plus entertain Jase. Of course my wife Michele is always helping as well, but she also works full time. Basically our spare time is getting more and more limited to the point of almost none. This is why you are not seeing new articles all the time like in the past… These days I really try to focus on only putting out quality content on the main website here. I now use the forums and social media to share links more frequently as apposed to posting short articles with little real content here. I let the other websites do that, because frankly I just don’t have the time. Quality content has always been my goal, and this year I will focus even more on the quality part 😉 At the cost of quantity, I think this is the best way to go for myself at this point in life with all the variables and what not. Clearly I tend to share a lot of personal life in my work here, so it stands to reason I explain to you my current battle plan for 2016.

Enjoy my family and life a bit more, while also producing higher quality content. That is my goal, and I really hope you come along for the ride this year and beyond…


Current Gear in the Lab

Currently I have the Sony A7r IIA-Mount Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM II Lens, A-Mount Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Lens and the LA-EA3 lens adapter.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Sony A-Mount Cameras

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Sony A-Mount Cameras

Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM II Lens (For Sony)

Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM II Lens (For Sony)

How Do the Sigma Lenses Work On The Sony A7r II?

Updated: Well I can tell you so far that the auto focus works well when using Center Focus and Average Focus modes w/ the 12-24mm lens! Flexible Spot mode however, does not work good at all, and this was what I was using in the field the other day. I initially thought the focus sucked, but after further testing I was clearly wrong. Using flexible spot was the issue and focus testing in the Lab cleared this up. Thanks to Mike for sharing his experience in the comments section below which helped me realize I was mistaken! Clearly I should have tested the lens in the lab w/ all the focus modes before writing it sucked.. Sorry about that guys!

The Auto focus does not work at all on the 50mm f/1.4 lens with the LA-EA3 lens adapter however. I’m thinking the Sony LA-EA4 lens adapter would be a much better choice for the 50mm f/1.4 Art lens thanks to the translucent mirror technology.

IQ wise, the 50mm Art lens is awesome and the 12-24mm is pretty good overall. Build quality is pretty good on both lenses, but not as good as I was hoping for. More to come on this soon, but I wanted to give you a little something… Sorry I’m so busy guys!!

A-Mount Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM II Lens

Sony A7r II w/ A-Mount Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM II Lens

Sony A7r II w/ A-Mount Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM II Lens

Sony A7r II w/ A-Mount Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM II Lens


BHPhoto Podcast Guest?

BHPhoto Photography PodcastI’m heading down to NYC next Thursday to do the New BHPhoto Podcast, and I must tell you I’m very excited, but also bit nervous… It should be a lot of fun and I hope you guys will listen when it actually comes out in the near future. I’ll let you know when and share the link of course as it happens… While I’m down at BHPhoto, I will test a few things, like the LA-EA4 lens adapter with the Sigma lenses to see if they work properly. I assume they will, but time will tell 😉

Anything else you guys want me to test while at BHPhoto?

Please let me know below in the comments area and I will be happy to test whatever you want if I have the time and availability of gear of course.


Sony News and Rumors

Sony A99 II

Sony SLT-A99The Sony A99 II is supposed to be announced soon I heard, and will offer a 36mp sensor. This rumor is old though, and I believe it will have a higher MP sensor than 36 for sure.

According to SonyAlphaRumors, a Sony Manager said, the “New A99 II will be well worth the wait” That sounds intriguing to me 🙂

In my opinion, the A99 II will have a better AF system that covers the full frame, and wi-fi plus NFC built in. I also think Sony may incorporate a battery grip into the actual camera. If this is the case, then perhaps it will also utilize the XQD memory cards Sony announced several years ago now. Hopefully it will have the fully articulating screen and perhaps adding the touch option? I would love to see a huge buffer for extended burst mode shooting and internal 4k video recording. Why not? Most working Pro’s probably won’t want or need 4k video, but I certainly would like the option. Dual memory cards is also a must for pros today and all those ports that we like to utilize for audio, video, and other accessories…

What other features would you guys like to see included on the New Sony A99 Mark II?


Sony A6100

The Sony A6100 is coming soon and if SonyAlphaRumors is correct, it will have the fallowing specs:

  • Name: A6100
  • 36mp BSI sensor,
  • silent electronic shutter mode
  • IBIS – (I Highly Doubt This)
  • 4K recording
  • Touchscreen

I find the IBIS a little hard to believe honestly and don’t think that feature will be included. I believe a future Sony 7-series or 9-series aps-c style camera will have that possible, but not the 6-series. I could be totally wrong here though of course, but the cost increase would be to great for the camera to maintain the 6-series status I would think?


New Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Lens coming?? A SonyAlphaRumors trusted source says yes 😉


Best Lenses for the Sony A77 Mark II courtesy of DXOMark >>


The Mitakon Dark Night 50mm f/.96 Lens – Killer Sample Photos by Lucille on Forum >>


Zeiss Batis Lens Production Increase!

According to Zeiss, they have increased the Batis Lens line production significantly to accommodate the insane demand that is currently going on. This is great news and thank you Zeiss for listening to your loyal lens fans 😉 The wait time for these lenses has been way to long!

Official Zeiss press Re-Lease:



Sony Related Deals

A few current Sony related deals worth checking out:

  1. Save $200 on Sony A77 Mark II DSLR Style Camera w/ Free Goodies  @ BHPhoto | Amazon
    • SanDisk 32GB Extreme UHS-I U3 SDHC Memory Card (Class 10)
    • Hoya 72mm alpha MC UV Filter
    • Sony Vertical Battery Grip for Alpha SLT-A77 Camera
  2. Vello BG-S3 Battery Grip for the Sony Alpha a7 II, a7S II, and a7R II cameras – Only $79.99 US @ BHPhoto

New Sony Gear Reviews?

rx1rm2-sensorPlease put your requests in for new reviews if you have something in particular you want me to test! I will try my best to accommodate… As it stands now I personally want to review the Zeiss Batis lenses, and the New RX1R II the most. I would also like to review the new A68 DSLR style camera, the new RX100 IV, and perhaps the other Zeiss Loxia lenses I have not gotten to yet. I also would not mind reviewing a few accessories based on your requests?? New cameras come first usually unless they are mild upgrades and not really worth my time.

Thoughts? Comments? Requests?


Closing Remarks

That is about it for now guys, but please stay tuned for my Sony A7r Mark II full written review which will be an extended version of the video review I already published to my youtube channel a while back. I have lots more testing and sample photos to share using the Sigma lenses and more…

It should be a fun year and I really appreciate you guys taking the time to check in!

Also, I will also answer all the pending questions by tomorrow evening, for those currently waiting on answers and/or recommendations.

For daily updates, be sure to visit the forums and New Community page on Google+. I also post on Twitter occasionally as well as facebook.

patreonPatreon is a fan based support service I decided to try out for those that would like to give back a few cents for all the hard work and friendly help provided here at SonyAlphaLab. I have a full breakdown of how it works and why you might want to participate over here: SonyAlphaLab Patreon Page >> In the near future I plan on announcing some special rewards for those that participate! A dollar a month is really all it takes to help make a big difference and I think it’s fair considering all the content I put out. The great part about this concept is that the you fans are in control, and can drive the future of the website. If you like what you see and want to see more, then perhaps consider contributing a few dollars a month if you can afford it. Think of it as buying me a beer or a cup of coffee as a way to say “Hey, thanks Jay”. Leaving comments and sharing content is also a great way to give back and say thanks!

Have a great day and thanks again for checking in,


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  1. Mike Ross

    Hi Jay,
    I have the Sony A7RII and Sigma 12-24 and Sony FE 15-35 and took a few minutes to do a quick comparison. It is a rainy overcast day here in Norther California. Shooting outdoors (Program mode, ISO Auto-Upper limit 1600, LA-EA3 lens adapter, Phase Detect Auto-Focus, Center Metering, Small Spot Focus Area) the Sigma obtained quick and accurate auto-focus unless the subject had very little contrast. Indoors results were similar. Quick auto-focus unless the subject lacked contrast. In my garage with very dim lighting It would auto-focus but the hit rate was around 50% but would still be usable if exposure was increased slightly. The FE 15-35 was exceptional. Only the darkest areas of the garage were too dark for quick auto-focus. Bottom line is the Sigma is OK outdoors but dim indoor lighting will result is some hunting. The Sony lens is pretty much faultless. I know this is very subjective but I hope the information might be useful to you. Best Regards, Mike

    • Jay

      Hi Mike and thank you very much for the comments and sharing your Auto Focus experience with the LAEA3 and Sigma 12-24mm lens. Mine does work, don’t get me wrong, but it’s really not good. On the barn shot for example the focus would not lock on until I moved the camera around a bit. Plenty of high contrast in that scene. Same with the river scene. It hunted back and fourth for a second or two until it found something. In scenes like that it should be instant, or at least as good as the Canon EF Lenses with Metabones adapter I would think? All lenses are not designed to use the same type of AF system though, and I believe that is the issue here specifically. Engineering is the issue, not not lens quality or anything like that. Again, it does work similar to yours it sounds like, but that is really not good enough for me to recommend this set-up. I know how fast it can be, and I think the LAEA4 will illustrate that difference very well. I tried using all the different focus modes as well. Contrast AF only also…

      Thanks again and yes this information was very helpful to me!! I really appreciate the info and I’m sure many other readers interested in this set-up will also appreciate it 😉


      • Mike Ross

        Good Morning Jay,

        For further clarification, I found the Sigma 12-24 very acceptable outdoors with the A7RII with the LAE3 adapter even in very dim, cloudy, foggy conditions. It only hunts in very dim indoor light or outdoors when focusing on very low contrast subjects e.g. a distant fog shrouded hill. I mounted the lens to my A99 and repeated the shots I took yesterday with the A7RII and the A99 acquired focus quicker indoors and outdoors but is was very close in good light. However, I would not purchase the Sigma 12-24 over the Sony FE 16-35 to use with the A7RII. I hope this is helpful. Best Regards,

      • Jay

        Good Morning to you as well Mike and I agree the Sigma 12-24mm is focusing much better than I initially thought. I just tested it in the Lab under pretty good lighting and the focus was acceptable in average mode and in center focus mode. Flexible spot was the issue and it really struggled. This is the focus mode I was using in the field the other day and explains why it sucked. Average kept focusing on the wrong thing, so I put it on flexible spot mode. That was clearly the issue, because Center focus and Wide Area focus work pretty darn good in the lab. The 50mm still does not work at all however 😉

        I really want to thank you again for testing the lenses and replying back with more info. I really was surprised by your first post, but then figured we had about the same experience overall. After reading your post today however, I knew that mine did not focus near as good as you were describing yours did.

        The Lab testing cleared things up though and you are absolutely correct in that the AF is acceptable on the A7r Mark II w/ LAEA3 lens adapter, as long as you don’t use flexible spot. Based on my lab testing the flexible spot no matter which size used, did not lock on most of the time. I took some video of this, so you can see exactly what I’m talking about. I will post it asap. As soon as I switched back to center or wide, the camera locked on almost every time. Huge difference in performance and I honestly don’t know why the flexible spot struggles so much.

        I’m really happy to see it was user error on my part by thinking flexible spot would work just as good as center or average. It does not though, even with excellent light and contrast both horizontal and vertical lines…

        I will have to update the article above with this information, so our comments way seam a bit out of place afterwards… I have to change what I wrote above though, because it’s clearly wrong and I should have done the lab testing before writing the focus sucked on the 12-24mm with the LAEA3 lens adapter 😉

        Thanks again and I owe ya a coffee or beer, your preference!

  2. Beat Bischof

    HI Jay
    Last year I did a paragliding foto expedition to mustang valley, Nepal and I carried the Nikon D800 and the 28-300 travel zoom with me. As on such an expedition to the Stone Age, where you have to carry every gram yourself and in addition the paraglider it was quite a burden but well worth it when you consider the quality of the pictures.
    When I came back I heard about the Sony a7r2 and could not resist to even better quality and less weight, a decision that I do not regret. However the Lenses are a disappointment except for the Batis and the 35/1.4. But what I still miss is a reasonable travel zoom as the 24/240 is slow, has not a comparable handling to the Nikon and the sharpness is not sufficient. I am ready to use an autofocus adapter and a wide to tele from another brand. Have you got a Tipp for me? Please tell Sony that such a good and light camera should not fokus on studio lenses but on traveling. Kind regards, beat

    • Jay

      Hi Beat and thanks for the comments and sharing your experience with the killer A7rII vs the awesome Nikon D800. The size and weight does make a huge difference when doing extending hiking for sure. I also agree the lenses are still lacking compared to Canon and Nikon, but Sony is doing a pretty darn good job coming out with top quality optics of late! The 24-240mm is not the best optical quality, but otherwise is a perfect lens for it’s intended purpose in my opinion. The Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 OSS lens would be a much better optical performer as would the Zeiss 16-35mm F/4 OSS lens. They are not cheap, but more on the order of Canon L glass or the High quality Nikon glass.

      As far as using a wide to tele adapted lens? I really don’t know of one that works better to the point of recommending over the 24-240mm lens. Perhaps the Tamron 28-300mm? You can also use the Sony A-Mount lenses via the LAEA3 lens adapter. You do lose some speed with the non Sony lenses and adapters…

      I hope that helps a little?


  3. Mike Ross

    My pleasure Jay. I will take you up on the beer offer. However, we appear to live about 3,000 miles apart so that might take a while to happen. We live between San Francisco and Sacramento so if you are ever out this way let me know. Best regards, Mike

  4. Andre

    Jay, I’ve got the feeling that Sony is on its way to going full frame exclusively. Some of us might want to switch to Fuji, that’s where the action is right now for the APS-C format. Full frame means large and heavy equipment, the lenses in particular. Your opinion ?

    • Jay

      Hi Andre,

      I don’t think Sony has any plans on going exclusively full frame. The A6000 is super successful and all Sony needs to do is make more good quality lenses. The Sensors are the best and have been for years, but we need more lenses! A high quality Nex-7 like crop factor camera is also critical for those like you wanting to stay with crop factor format. Sony is making a mistake by not providing a better quality crop factor e-mount camera in my opinion. Lenses are the biggest issue though and like you said, full frame heavy glass is not ideal if you don’t ever plan on using a full frame camera.

      Fuji is the best alternative to Sony in this regard I must agree. The X-Pro 1 was a great camera and the new X-Pro 2 looks like it will incredible. Both in build quality and IQ, plus features that matter. I don’t know if the build quality and IQ will justify the cost though for the main stream users. Most people are after the best bang for the buck, and the A6000 rules the land in that regard, plus it’s over a year old now.

      A few of my thoughts on the matter,


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