LA-EA2 review Part IV – with Sony 16-50 2.8 SSM

 

Has18Sept13-67That title sucks. It should be : We had a blast at the stables yesterday !

We indeed had insane fun during the girls’ lessons. Gwen, our coach, had decided to bring in a little humor in the shape of a her rebellious Shetland pony, Caramiel, ridden bareback by the lovely (and very brave, that Shet is wild !) Emilie.

Has18Sept13-64It made for a pretty eventful session !

I had packed my two NEX bodies with the LA-EA2, the Minolta AF 50/1.7, and the Sony 16-50 2.8 SSM that I had bought last week, but decided to sell overnight (prior to even properly testing it) due to it’s focal range that I realized is too short for my use. The lens because spoken for but still in my hands till Saturday, I decided to give it a whirl and test it in the situation I had originally bought it for. And I have to admitt it performed *admirably* (to the point of questioning its sale)…

Has18Sept13-70Yes, despite my fears, it behaves super well as a portrait lens, with great detail, sharpness and subject isolation.

Has18Sept13-57And yes, with the LA-EA2 the AF is quite snappy and capable of capturing the moment

I wasn’t even sure to mount it on as I had decided the range was too short, and 2.8 not quite fast enough to deal with the slight light loss caused by the pellicle mirror tech in the LA-EA2 adapter, so the old 50 1.7 AF was on the camera when we started the session. But the not so modern autofocus motor in it means that despite the adapter’s good job, AF speed and acquisition was not as efficient as I had hoped it to be, so I had little to lose swapping lenses and trying out the massive 16-50. And indeed, the SSM motor did all the difference in the world.

Has18Sept13-41And being able to go wide has its up sides…

I’ll cut to the chase and tell you exactly how I rate the LA-EA2 for autofocus on the NEX bodies, and in real world conditions, as I know a bunch of readers are considering it and waiting for yet more conclusions on it. So here’s my take : it works 98% as well and fast as a regular SLT, which is not *quite* (IMHO) maybe as fast as a mid range DSLR. This might send A77 users through the roof and screaming. I haven’t used the A77, I’ve only had the “entry level” A37, 57, and 58, so don’t go beserk on me here folks, as I’m comparing a bit of oranges (Nikon/Canon DSLRs) to apples (Sony SLTs), and not in the same range either, since I’m talking mid to high end level CaNikons to lower range Sony’s.Ā  That’s non important minutiae anyway. The bottom line is : it does turn my NEX in a modular system I am now content enough to use in place of a DLSR for action shots. And nothing else matters šŸ˜‰

Has18Sept13-46Just remember that if you want to fully benefit from the adapter, you’re better off pairing it with fast autofocusing lenses, that would be modern Sony, Zeiss and Sigma offerings (the ones with Sigma’s HSM). I’m leaving Tamron out of the equation for AF speed. Optics are excellent (the Tammy 28-75/2.8 remains one of my most loved lenses) but the AF, while not being a problem, I wouldn’t call fast. Oh, and it’s noisy, as well. I still have one little test to run, and that’s comparing the Minolta 50/1.7 with the more recent Sony 50/1.8 DT (a “SAL”) lens, which has a newer motor but *not* the top SSM tech. Depending on how fast that performs I might get the SAL 55-200 tele a bit later, as optically it receives high praise (but is not a winter/indoor lens due to its slow aperture).

Has18Sept13-27Again, the range of the 16-50 is on the short side of things for me. Something like a 20-65 (which doesn’t exist, lol) would be perfect in this arena. I’d love to swap the 16-50 for a 28-75 but here the AF tech is a hurdle. The 16-50 is SSM, the Sony 28-75/1.8 is SAM only, meaning older, slower tech. And various tests seem to indicate that AF speeds are similar between the two 28-75 lenses (Sony and Tamron) so I hardly see the point paying premium for the Sony lens…

Has18Sept13-19I was pleasantly surprised with the shutter speeds the NEX was able to maintain despite the 1/3 stop light loss of the LA-EA2. Very useful combo !

Has18Sept13-63Slightly blurry, but still quite usable (please ignore the ignominous leg and foot position, she just picked up riding again and had lousy initial training)

Has18Sept13-65The wider end get useful though when you see something nice close by and you don’t have time to back up. Just zoom out and shoot.

Has18Sept13-62Separation of fore/backgrounds is pretty sweet at max aperture, even on APS-C (the lens ain’t FF compatible anyway). A nice surprise.

Has18Sept13-71Caramiel was certainly the star of the show

Has18Sept13-53There was a bit of serious schooling involved

Has18Sept13-37

Has18Sept13-50But goofing around and struggles were more the flavor of the day

Has18Sept13-66

Has18Sept13-55I think if you need AF for junior sports (or any sports in fact) or toddlers or pets, the LA-EA2 is the answer if you’re partial to sticking with NEX rather than pulling out the DSLR. I finally see the last hurdle falling and my D90 not getting used anymore.

Has18Sept13-43

Has18Sept13-60Can I recommend the LA-EA2 adapters to NEX owners in need of fast AF ? I wholeheartedly do. I also suggest either buying it used as Sony’s new price is higher than it needs be IMO, or order it from some online seller with a solid return policy (Amazon anyone ?) to make sure it suits your needs. I sort of doubt it’ll go back šŸ˜‰

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About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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4 Responses to LA-EA2 review Part IV – with Sony 16-50 2.8 SSM

  1. Thanks for the great review Claire! I love my NEX for the same reasons as you, but pined after DSLR AF capabilities. Now I’m pretty sure an LA-EA2 is going on this dad’s Xmas list. Maybe along with an NEX body with built in EVF… šŸ™‚ maybe.

  2. marla2008 says:

    You are most welcome ! Two thoughts for you : you might want to pair it with the SAL35/1.8. Gives you 50mm equiv. field of view, which is by far the most versatile for kiddies indoor. A brilliant lens with apparently fast AF and rave reviews (dirt cheap, too). And due to its size the LA-EA2 sits indeed well better on a slightly larger body…. 6 or 7, take your pick šŸ˜‰

  3. laurent says:

    I am afraid to ask….why the trampoline?

  4. marla2008 says:

    Equifun. That’s a game like kind of teaching horseriding. The riders have a pattern to follow and at some point hey had to “park” their rides next to the trampoline, dismount, bounce three times of it then jump right back on. We also use it to teach kids to do some acrobatics on and off the ponies.

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