There is a small community of photographers who were Minolta and Sony SLR users that still have some very good a-mount glass that they currently cannot use satisfactorily with their E-mount Sony cameras. These are the lenses that use the old-style screwdriver autofocus connection. These lenses lack any internal motor of their own. Currently the only way to use these lenses is with the LA-EA4 adapter that does not use the camera autofocus but has a limited number of autofocus points in the adapter. Not only that, this adapter uses a beam splitter called a translucent mirror that throws away a third of the light that goes through the lens.
I have been waiting forever for Sony to come up with this adapter. When I was told about the launch of the LA-EA5 it felt like Christmas coming early. I have been dying to use the Sony 135mm f\1.8 and Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lenses with the autofocus of the A7 III but didn’t think Sony would do this great thing. But as with all things in life there is always a catch.
If you read the fine print you discover that the lenses without motors only have this autofocus capability on two cameras. The A7R IV and the A6600 are the latest full frame and half frame cameras in the Sony line up (excluding the professional A9 cameras) and I guess Sony figured it would be easier starting with those cameras. What I am hoping is Sony will come up with a firmware update for my A7 III to allow me to take advantage of this marvelous present for A-mount lens owners.
I plan to rent the LA=EA5 and the A7R IV and try out the combination with my 135mm and 200mm A-mount lenses to see how good the autofocus is. If this works out it will be an exciting move by Sony. After all supporting these old lenses is a low return investment from the point of view of finance but it does demonstrate a smart public relations move for a camera maker attempting to win over the public.
So for any of you A-mount lens owners out there, keep the faith a little longer. To be continued.
This summer has been an unmitigated failure as a butterfly photographing season. Whenever I’ve gone out with my macro lens and monopod the butterflies have been non-existent. I think I’ve gotten a half dozen shots of a monarch or two. But other than that it’s been the tiny butterflies or nothing.
So today at about 4pm I went out without my camera just to get a snootful of air and wandering by a garden that was in the afternoon shade I see this tiger swallowtail in perfect condition. The wings are vividly colored and there are no tatters at all. And maybe because it’s in the shade it’s completely unconcerned with my presence. Usually butterflies constantly scan their surroundings and reposition to avoid threats or even leave suddenly if they feel threatened. This one is unphased by my presence and I’m standing there behind it looking at the perfect shot of the flat open wings, without a camera!
I head back to the house mumbling and swearing about my lousy luck and I grab my rig and head back out. And it’s still there. But sure enough, as soon as I get into range it takes off. More grumbling and swearing. Now we’re in the more typical situation with the butterfly playing ring around the rosy with me, always keeping a flower between me and it. Well, I had had enough. Instead of my usual magnified view trying to get the perfect focus I set the autofocus to continuous and the trigger mode to multiple-hi speed and I machine gunned my way through hundreds of files while I actively chased that stupid insect around the yard.
Was I successful? We’ll see. But it was satisfying to use modern technology to defeat the annoying strategies of a creature whose brain is about the size of a poppy seed.
“That’s one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind.”
“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals!”