The Laowa 9mm is a fully manual APS-C format lens (equating to 13.5mm in 35mm terms) and the Zero-D refers to ‘zero distortion’ which reduces barrel distortion, in lens and not through software, to almost zero and the converging lines are straight and not curved as you would get with barrel distortion. An Ultra Wide Angle lens, 113 degree angle of view in this case, is one where the focal length of the lens is shorter than the short side of the sensor (lens @ 9mm + 1.5 crop = 13.5mm, short side of the 24mp sensor = 16mm). Manual focus with this lens is not really a problem. I set the distance scale to 1 meter, about part way between the infinity symbol and 0.5m, and the aperture between f/5.6 and f/11, then everything from 1 meter in front of you to infinity will be sharp and in focus. Set at infinity I found the images a little ‘soft’. The Sony a6500 has SteadyShot inside it and for that to work with a manual lens the camera must know what the focal length of the lens is as it’s not transmitted automatically from the lens to the camera. Easily done in Menu by finding ‘SteadadyShot Settings’/’SteadyS. Focal Len.’ and picking the appropriate focal length for the lens, in this case 9mm.
In March 2016, I took delivery of the Crop Sensor Sony a6300 E-mount Compact System Camera as a replacement for my a6000 which I used as a day to day carry-around camera. As good as the a6000 is, what piqued my interest in the a6300 was the newly developed 24.2 MP APS-C Exmor™ CMOS image sensor which is thinner than the previous 24.2 MP sensor of the a6000 and is made with copper wiring in the structure which is claimed to improve light collection efficiency and with enhanced circuitry in the BIONZ X™ image processing engine vastly improves the ability of the sensor to capture low-noise high ISO images. Only down side to the camera is the lack of in-body stabilisation although 'SteadyShot' image stabilisation is included in some E-mount lens. A big plus point again is the Silent Shooting mode.
In June 2015 Sony announced the Full Frame Sensor a7rII with a 42.4MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor, basically increasing the amount of light the sensor can capture therefore improving low-light performance, and In-camera 5-axis image stabilisation. In October 2015, Sony released a firmware update for the a7rII which included uncompressed 14-Bit RAW image capture. This changed the file size from 41Mb for compressed RAW to 81.6Mb for uncompressed RAW. In theory, with the larger file size along with back-illuminated sensor, more detail can be extracted from dark shadows making the a7rII more suitable for low light photography and a big plus point for low light photography is that the a7rII has a silent shutter.
For Low Light Photography I use one of three cameras and depending on which type of photography I'm doing dictates the type of camera I will use. If it's an organised night photo shoot, then I'll use the larger heavier Sony A7rII mounted on a tripod. For street photography at night, I don't like to draw attention to myself so because of their small size and portability then I'll use either the 24MP Sony A6300 or the 42MP Sony RX1rMII and hand hold rather than setting up a tripod. That does mean higher ISO and shutter speeds but the Sony sensors are more than capable of producing digital noise free images and after years of practice, I can hand hold at very low shutter speeds. All three cameras make use of an electronic shutter instead of a mechanical one for a completely silent performance which is ideal for not drawing attention to yourself when you are out and about on the streets in the dark.
Released in November 2016 the Sony Cyber-shot RX1R II is a full-frame, 42MP compact camera with a fixed ZEISS® Sonnar T* 35mm F2 lens and inherits a lot of technology from the Sony a7R II like the back-illuminated 42.4-megapixel1 full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor. It also has an XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ retractable electronic viewfinder and included in the specifications is the ‘world’s first’ variable optical low-pass filter which combat's the issue of moiré patterning or aliasing and which can be turned off to give sharper images. The camera wrist straps are cat collars I purchased from the Pound Store for £1.
The Sigma 16mm/f1.4 DC DN Contemporary is an APS-C (crop sensor) lens for Sony-E and Micro Four Thirds mirror-less cameras and became available in the UK in November 2017. It’s a fixed prime lens of 16 elements in 13 groups designed to minimize flare and ghosting and weighs in at 14.3oz. Although a CONTEMPORARY lens which is a Sigma range of reasonably inexpensive, compact and lightweight all-around lens, Sigma themselves have said that the 16mm/f1.4 was designed to give the performance of a lens more associated with the slightly more expensive ART range of large-aperture prime, wide/ultra wide-angle and macro lens.
For a first use, I liked the look of what I got and the bright, wide f1.4 aperture worked as advertised and the images do appear to be sharp from side to side at f1.4. Normally on a hand held night shoot using an f/4 lens I usually end up with the ISO around the 1200/6400 region. At f/1.4 most of my images were taken around the ISO400 region and a couple of times up to 800. Hopefully I should bring that down as I get more experience with the lens.