Telephoto Solution

The Band and Bowfell
The Band and Bowfell

In my previous post I explained the problem I had encountered using the Canon 70-200 L f/4.0 with the Sony A7R. Whilst I did think about simply buying an identical replacement lens, in the end I decided that I couldn’t justify the expense as I seldom use Telephoto lenses in Landscape work.

The first alternative that I tried was an old Canon FD 70-210mm f/4.0 lens. It cost me the total of £28 and the adapter was £10. When I tested the lens I found that I needed to stop it down to f/8.0 to get it sharp into the corners but that it did then perform very well. At least it performed well up to around 150mm. The lens was also quite small and relatively light compared to the 70-200 I had been using. I still have this lens and will keep it (given the low cost) but felt that it wasn’t the right solution to my telephoto needs.

I then found a second hand Canon 70-300 EF f/4.0-5.6 IS USM for £200 which was described as condition 9+ by WEX (which is almost like new). Now I had owned one of these lenses in the past and had been pleased with the performance on the 5D MKII but wasn’t sure how it would perform on an adapter attached to the Sony A7R which has a 36Mpixel sensor.

This last weekend I got the answer – very impressive.

The image you see at the top of this blog is a three image stitch using this lens. At 300dpi the image measures 45” x 15”. What’s really impressive is that if you zoom in to 100% magnification and look around the scene, you can pick out various groups of walkers on the mountain. In fact I have taken a screen grab blow to illustrate.

Example 1 - Walkers on the hill
Example 1 – Walkers on the hill
Example 2 - Walkers on the hill
Example 2 – Walkers on the hill
Example 3 - Walkers on the hill
Example 3 – Walkers on the hill

In short, this lens can produce incredibly sharp images (even ignoring the low price). What I have noticed though is that it’s very easy to ruin your shots with this lens on the Sony A7R due to vibration. So to finish, here are a few of the things I found myself doing:

  • It doesn’t take much wind to make the lens vibrate (even on a tripod) so try to shelter the lens and shoot when there isn’t any breeze.
  • You really do need to use a cable release on the camera. It’s no use being lazy and just using the release button.
  • You should still try to achieve fast shutter speeds even on a tripod.
  • When you reposition or knock the camera, allow at least 5 seconds before taking the shot. This allows time for any vibration in the lens to subside.

4 thoughts on “Telephoto Solution

  1. Hi,

    Curious to whether you are using an adapter that permits auto focus or doing this in purely manual focus mode? And if so, does the adapter permit you access to the aperture control so you can set it from the camera? Good to see how well it is working.


    1. Here is the link to the adapter on Amazon

      It does allow autofocus but its slow. I find manual focus is much better and very fast once you are used to it. The adapter also allows you to control the aperture from the camera which is essential with the Canon EF lenses. It also allows the image stabilisation in the lens to work which is neat given the Sony doesn’t have any.

  2. Why go to all this trouble. Using an adapter with a big lens makes no sense. I tried Sony and sold it and went back to Canon 7Dmk I I and 5 D Sr
    Much better.

    1. I used to shoot with Canon cameras (full frame and cropped sensor) and have also tried out the Nikon D800. I hated the Nikon and couldn’t get on with it. The Canon were nice cameras but I do prefer the Olympus EM5 for all kinds of photography. The Sony though is my camera of choice for Landscapes. At the end of the day you shoot with what feels comfortable and works for you. If we all liked the same thing then there wouldn’t be an choice or fun. For you the Canon set up is better and for me its the Sony and Olympus.

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