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Recently I found myself wondering “What else can I do with my Sony NEX 5” It’s a great compact (well, more compact than my 5DMKII) camera that I have a lot of fun with, but what else can it do? A little web research later, some time on eBay and I came across a company named SLR Magic.
The lens that grabbed my attention was the SLR Magic 28mm f/2.8 lens that would fit right on to my Sony NEX 5, it’s called E Mount for those of you that are interested.. A number of emails later and the little guy arrived on my door step, a very exciting day – I must say.
Some of you may be wondering ‘why take your perfectly fine Sony 18-55mm lens off‘ I mean it auto-focuses, it’s not super fast but works just fine ( f/3.5-5.6) but you know, it’s really good fun to just ‘go manual‘ the SLR Magic lens offers manual focus, and it also only allows manual setting of aperture. The aperture ring within the lens isn’t your standard blade style aperture, it’s made up of seven little holes, the largest being f/2.8 then in one stop increments to f/22. It’s a cool concept, I mean, whilst the lens works just fine for whatever I’ve used it for, it has.. let’s call it ‘a certain interest’ that my ultra sharp, ultra clear Canon L series lenses lack – the SLR Magic lens has added a little fun back into my photography!
It’s almost a “You never know what you’re going to get” situation.. A lot of people are having a go at Lomo / Holga these days, and I’d say that popping this lens on my Sony was almost just like that – it’s sharp enough, the almost all metal body is built quite well and it’s small enough to still be ‘compact’ when mounted on the NEX-5 – Don’t take it too seriously and you will be guaranteed a LOT of fun with this lens.
One other quirky thing you can do with the SMR Magic lens is to sit the aperture ring in between two settings (see below) this really mixes up the background / bokeh and can create some very cool photos – if that’s your thing. It’s kinda like one long experiment that I’m really enjoying.
I picked up this lens to have fun and explore a little more of the ‘back to basics’ side of photography – it re-taught me to manual focus (!!) and has re-ignited a little bit of passion, I think, in my actual photography. I typically shoot live bands and have not had a gig whilst I’ve had the 28mm, I look forward to taking it along with me next time I’m shooting a band.
I have a few photos to share, a mix of black & white and a couple of color ones, these are out of the NEX5, mostly at about ISO 800..
So yes, you get the picture – it’s LOW-FI, it’s great fun and it’s not super expensive! It’s quite sharp wide open (f/2.8) though not as contrasty as some until stopped down – but quite acceptable.
I rate this little gem a 9 for fun, price and build…