Sunday, March 6, 2016

My Mountain Backpacking Lenses For The Sony A7R2

Dale Matson

You might be saying, “Haven’t we heard from this guy before on this topic?” Yes you have. The answer depends on lens weight, quality and focal length.
There is no point going to the trouble of hauling a full frame camera up and down mountain trails (and off trails too) if the lenses are too heavy and/or too big. For example the Zeiss 21mm 2.8 is a great ultra wide lens but the size of the lens plus the weight of the lens and adapter of almost 2 pounds, makes it prohibitive. This lens is heavier than my sleeping bag and pad combined! It is also a manual focus only lens.

Click On Photographs To Enlarge
Convict Lake 16mm

I use the native Sony Zeiss 16-35 f4 lens, which is autofocus; image stabilized, covers a wide range of focal lengths and weighs a tad more than a pound. This is a very important lens consideration when surrounded by mountains and lakes that are close.

Dusy Basin Trail 55mm

For a walk around lens, the native Sony Zeiss 55mm 1.8 is fast, lightweight, auto focus and compact, highly regarded and covers the middle focal length well. The IBIS in the Sony A7R2 makes this non-stabilized lens even better.

For a short telephoto prime lens, The new Zeiss Batis e-mount 85mm f1.8 is fast, image stabilized, autofocus, light and compact. It also gives the reach of a 135mm lens in cropped mode. Unless you are in bighorn sheep territory, this is enough reach.

 Zeiss Batis 85mm 

This combination of camera and lenses also allows me to eliminate the extra weight of a tripod and I can carry any combination of camera and lens in the Think Tank Digital Holster 10 on my belt. I however sew the belt loop closed because the Velcro closure on the belt strap will open up climbing off trail and the camera can fall off the belt.

So, there you have it. This is the 2016 plan for the mountains with hopes of new places in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Some of those places are off trail which gives me some pause but that is where the beautiful but less iconic shots are.       

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