A shoot with my new Sony A7II & Contax Zeiss 50 1.7 by Fede Ranghino

A shoot with my new Sony A7II & Contax Zeiss 50 1.7

by Fede Ranghino

Steve & Brandon!

I follow your blog for several years. Your reviews and your advice has been useful for the last shopping: I am extremely pleased with my new Sony A7II. (From Steve – Thank You!)

In the spring I have organized a photo shoot with some friends: the theme was the tradition of our land, the Po Valley in the North-West of Italy and the vast rice fields near Vercelli. The rice culture is present in our countryside for nearly a thousand years, you can imagine how deep and how strong this has shaped the land and the people. In the mid-eighteenth century, the farms became small villages, where dozens of families lived. In the spring the weeders arrived: women working in the sweltering heat of the rice fields.

Since 2004 Mr. Mario Donato has created a museum of rural culture and tradition in the farm “Colombara”: the workshops of the blacksmith and the saddler, the apartments of the farmers, the school, the old stables, the dormitory of weeders that we used as a set. As models we involved the local company of actors “The Camalli” who were dressed and made up in the style of the Po Valley countryside in the early twentieth century.

All photos were taken with my new Sony A7II and a good old Contax Zeiss 50mm f1.7.


02 Rice_weeder_tasting_the_soap









You can see the photos on my dedicated 500px gallery https://500px.com/federanghino/galleries/italian-rice-fields-old-lifestyle

Thank you very much for your work ๐Ÿ˜‰

Fede Ranghino



  1. Ok, those are simply _delicious_!
    Aside from the choice compositions of a talented photographer, the background rendering of that lens is a goal, a home run, and a touchdown, all in one.
    I think you’ve just driven up the price of used ones. :^/

  2. Thanks for your inspiration! Nice to see the CY 50 1.7 and A7ii combo put to such good use, and that’s what it’s all about.

    • Thank you Jaime!! I’ve used the best lighting equipment ever: the sun ๐Ÿ˜‰
      And some nice windows
      We have planned the shooting in the right moment of the day, to have the light come in from the rights windows.

  3. Beautiful painterly images: I love the way that Zeiss lens (a great lens; I had one for my Contax and Yashica film slrs; – sold all of it -, it’s possibly even better than the 1.4 version) works with the A7II sensor. A question about the colours: did you do any special post orocessing? Not sure about the skin tones (a bit reddish), but te screen I’m using right now isn’t very good, so apologoes for that in advance.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you Michiel ๐Ÿ˜‰ And this lens is exactly a Contax Zeiss 50mm f1,7 in C/Y mount: good old lens ๐Ÿ˜€ As i respond to another comment, i use Adobe LR with Huelight color profile, which i found to be very well balance (the preferred is the neutral), then a bit of global desaturation, and a touch on colors control to saturate more the cold ones and desaturate the warms.
      The skin color is falsed by the chocolate powder, used to dirty che actors faces ๐Ÿ˜€ ahahaha

  4. You know there’s always a lot of very good work to enjoy on this site but every now and then a set of pictures comes up that just works really really well. And this is one of those sets, for me at least. I particularly like the way that the scenes have been lit and the way you’ve processed them that gives them a strong sense and feel of an older and slightly nostaligic world. The second picture, of the woman pulling a face having tasted whatever is in the ladel, is wonderful, a great capture. My personal favourite is the fourth one, of the woman lifting the lid on the pot. I like this for several reasons, partly because it reminds me of Vermeers ‘The Milkmaid’ but also because it is the most natural of the set. It’s not that the others feel staged – they don’t – just that this one feels even less ‘un-staged’.

    • Thank you very much Greg ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m very glad for your comment, because you get right all the intentions i’ve put in this shots: from the story at first to the post and the global feeling. And… i must confess a secret: the fourth is also my favorite photo of the set ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Greg, I believe you’re thinking of the painting ‘Old Woman Frying Eggs’ by the Spanish master Velรกzquez. I had the good fortune of seeing this painting in person recently and the similarity to this photo is uncanny…

      Fede, these pictures are fantastico!


      • Thank you very much Luke!!
        You are so nice.

        When i shotted this pictures i have in my mind a mix of Caravaggio and Vermeer. These are masters ๐Ÿ˜‰ and i’m only an enthusiast without any pretense of being able to make art ๐Ÿ˜€

        But i think that the study of the great masters of painting is always a great source of inspiration for photography. What do you think about?

    • Nothing so strange in processing ๐Ÿ˜‰
      All the photos are taken at wide apertures (f2 the most frequent i use in this case) and some are slight out of focus ๐Ÿ˜‰ this was a deliberate choice to have a more vintage look and feel.
      The process…
      I use Adobe LR with Huelight color profile, which i found to be very well balance: the preferred is the neutral. After that… Some Contrast, some Clarity, a bit o desaturation a a touch on colors to saturate more the cold ones and desaturate the warms ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Mille grazie for the explanation Fede. Deliberately slightly out of focus to achieve a particular look! Sounds very well thought out, and all that preparation shows in these images.

  5. Now those are some really beautiful shots. I used to shoot that lens on my Contax RX, and I see that it is doing great things on your A7II (which I have now, too). Sadly, I sold off all my Contax film SLR gear. Have you tried the C/Y 28mm? It was great on film. I don’t think I’ve seen any digital shots with one.

    • Thank you Mike!!! My Contax 167mt is still in my bag ๐Ÿ˜‰
      No, sorry… i’ve used only the 50s in C/Y mount (f1.4 and f1.7 that i prefer), the 35 f2.8, and the mother of old wides: the 18 distagon ( a non-sense lens ๐Ÿ˜€ )
      All are good to perfect, the Zeiss rendering and colors are legendary

      • that is very interesting – I have a good range of CY glass – “digitizing” it was my motive for getting the A7II. I am still sitting on the fence regarding the Distagon 18mm – would you recommend the lens?

    • Isn’t the 28 the “Hollywood” lens? That’ll cost you a pretty penny…

      I had the 1.4/35 Distagon and 1.4/85 Planar; great for film. The smaller ones (f2.8) are also great; I particularly loved the 2.8/85 Sonnar for portraits.

      • Hi Michiel!!

        Yes, but… i’ve a problem: i can’t manage the 28mm focal range ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m a 35mm man, most of all, and if i go wild i prefer the 24. But this is only my personal taste ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Of course you can! LoL! I’ve tried lots of different focal lengths but I agree, 35mm is so versatile, I use it a lot, and a 58 or or 85 for close-up portraits.

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