Click for Photo Gallery – read on for background information.
Part of the many exhibitions organized by Deutsches Museum is the Verkehrszentrum (Traffic Center), residing in Munich like its parent though halfway across town. Three great halls hold hundreds of horse-drawn carriages, bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles of all ages, locomotives, and train cars, as well as some artifacts of ancient transportation and interactive demos of various motors, axles, and brakes. Most vehicles are preserved from their original production runs, with only a few replicas to spoil the fun (but even those tend to be a hundred years old by now).
I toured the halls with my new Sony Alpha 7R II (review upcoming) and my trusty Carl Zeiss SEL-2470Z f/4 lens from the original A7R. A polarizing filter is mandatory for shooting in a museum (I’m using B+W MRC Nano XS-PRO) due to the annoying reflections in windows and the glass cages around many exhibits. I left the shutter speed cautiously at 1/100 because the A7R tended to blur handheld shots at 1/60 and sometimes even 1/100. In retrospect that was too cautious – one of the A7R II’s improvements is greatly reduced shutter vibration, and not a single picture was less than perfectly sharp. I’ll reduce to 1/60 in future low-light excursions.
No big deal though, as the combination of (finally) uncompressed RAW images and the A7R II’s once again improved low-light performance meant that even ISO 10,000 looked perfectly acceptable. As usual I left in-camera processing at neutral and post-processed in Adobe Lightroom to add some contrast punch and adjust the lighting. Regarding the latter, I wanted to make sure that the complex undercarriages of all those beautiful old engines came out clearly, so I generally lifted light and shadows more than I would have for normal shots. The slightly overexposed look is therefore intentional.
You can find my selection of 85 pictures from the Verkehrszentrum in this Google Photos gallery. Click on each image to see the full-size JPEG. The info icon shows basic EXIF data, each vehicle’s type, and for most also some description from the info plaques. Use the magnifying glass icon to zoom in, all the way down to individual pixels. Below you can see a downscaled sample of the Mercedes “Simplex” (1905) which was actually very sophisticated for its time.