Can't force myself to use e-mount glass anymore...

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Amamba, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Ever since getting some decent legacy glass, I just can't force myself to use e-mount lenses.

    First, I think because I am getting consistently better results by focusing manually (or using DMF). And it's much easier to do manual focus with lenses designed for it. e-mount lenses are not very grippy. Sony went for form over function.

    Second, there's just something special about using legacy glass.

    So, my e-mount lenses are largely unused... I thought I'd get over this, but it doesn't seem to want to go away.

    Probably the only native lens I am using more or less often lately is the 50/1.8, and it's only because there's really no alternative to a fast stabilized lens with great IQ. However under good lighting conditions, I catch myself reaching for Minolta 50/1.7, just because it's so much easier to manually focus with it, and the results when stopped down are so good.

    What about you ?
  2. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Same here...

    There's something special when using these old glass on a new digital body, plus MF on the Nex is very easy and a joy to use with the peaking feature.

    Can't remember when it was the last time I used an E-mount lens since I bought my first legacy lens (the collection has expanded a lot since then as you can see from the sig :D )

    Claire aka "nianys" is the one to blame for the MF lens addiction (sad not to see her post here :( )

    I recently sold my Nex-5 to fund a Nex-7 and together went my two e-mount lenses: the 16mm and the 18-55mm - so I'm now without e-mount lenses. If I'll miss not having an e-mount option or not is something that I'll have to wait and see...

    HOWEVER, I still sometimes find myself wanting a SEL18-200 badly :D
  3. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    I held on to SEL50F18 just because it's such a fine lens. Also after selling most of my Canon DSLR gear I am actually a couple hundred dollars ahead, so no big pressure to sell the e-mount lenses. But I rarely use them.

    The only lens I may end up getting is the new 55-210 if it ever arrives, simply because using tele lenses for actual tele work without AF or stabilization (mainly stabilization) is a bitch. But this is very low priority for me.

    Of course if Sony releases the rumored 16-55 /1.8 OSS and it's got killer IQ, good bokeh, and is below $700, I would be very tempted ;)
  4. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Funnily enough, I'm finding myself more and more heading in the other direction. Though I do enjoy using my legacy glass, they only seem to get pulled out when I'm looking to challenge myself with some sort of photographic exercise, as in: can I shoot this with that lens?

    And now that I have SEL coverage from 10mm–210mm, with AF and OSS throughout that range, my guess is that I'll be using them for the bulk of my outdoor shooting, which is ~98% of what I photograph. There may be times when I need a fast prime for some indoor task, or some other particular shot where they shine. So I'm not going to get rid of them. But for almost everything else, the convenience of the SELs outweighs their shortcomings for me.

    I know, I know... I'm a Philistine! :p
  5. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    You see, the problem I run into is, while AF is definitely accurate, it's still not as accurate as MF. In other words, I can get very sharp photos with say SEL50F18 in auto mode, but not as sharp as if I use it in DMF mode. After all, the automatic focus uses area, not the exact spot. May not be a big deal for landscapes, but is definitely a major deal for portraits. So if I have to constantly use DMF to get the best photos possible, after a while it's just easier to use MF lenses that were designed for this.

    Also, there's the question of lens "character". Out of all the Sony glass I have, SEL50F18 is the only one I could say has some character. Maybe it's Sony thing; when I was shooting Canon, there seem to have been more native glass with unique characteristic that made you go "Oh, I know which lens I took this photo with".

    About the only problem I have with legacy glass is it's propensity to flare.
  6. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    double tap
  7. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Ad Dieleman
    I started out with a NEX-6 body half a year ago and I bought a Sigma 19/2.8 to go along with it as my only native lens, planning to use my Minolta legacy glass for 28mm and upwards. However, since then the native lenses gradually took over. First, I started to miss really wide, so I bought the SEL 10-18/4. And then the Sigma 30/2.8 was offered at € 95, too good a deal to let it pass, and it quickly became my standard lens. And then came the Sigma 60/2.8, a razor sharp lens even wide-open and that made me replace the Minolta 50-135/3.5 by an MD 135/2.8 in my bag.

    So there are 3 native lenses and only 1 Minolta lens in my bag these days. When doing close-ups I grab a Minolta MD Macro 100/4, a super lens, or a Minolta Celtic Macro 50/3.5. When needing something in-between I sometimes use a Minolta C.E. 80/5.6, an enlarger lens, mounted on a Compact Bellows. I really would like to own a well-performing SEL 55-210mm but after having tried two copies I kind of gave up on it.
  8. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    True, but that doesn't mean the SELs aren't capable lenses. :p
  9. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Yeah, if I shot portraits, I'd probably be using legacy glass more. But for me that's a once in a blue moon proposition. I "should" do it more often, but I don't have much confidence in my abilities there.

    As for lens "character," I confess that I can only see that when I'm comparing two identical shots taken with two different lenses. If it's a one-off, character is lost on me, I'm afraid. I always have to PP my character in. :rolleyes:
  10. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    I don't see a point using legacy glass except for it being cheaper (<-- for myself! I would never say it can't be more fun for other people than shooting modern lenses.).

    As it is, I own the 12mm Touit and the 24mm Sonnar, both are absolutely stellar, and I'm pretty sure you won't find any legacy ultra wide angle lens that comes even close to the 12mm Touit or a fast 24mm lens that focuses down to a 1:4 magnification (which I absolutely love!). Besides that, they are built very well, have stellar IQ, a nice but not overwhelming character and they are relatively compact.

    As for me, I shoot about 85% of my pictures on a tripod - focused manually, of course. Did I ever have a problem focusing manually? No. Definitely not. The focus by wire system works without any lag and lets me focus accurately on whatever I want - and the screen magnifies automatically during this process. Oh, and did I mention I don't even have a problem focusing these non-infinity-stop lenses at night when there are almost no lights anywhere?

    As it is, you can get great photos with just about any equipment, whether you use a sixty year old film camera with the then new glass, or a Hasselblad H5D. But you have to feel which equipment inspires you the most, that's what's important in the end.
  11. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Well said. I may some day buy a high end lens, but for now, I'm enjoying photography too much with my slew of old Vivitars, most of which I paid less than $30 each.

  12. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 22, 2012
    I've found myself going back and forth. The 35/1.8 is my favorite SEL lens by far, but I enjoy pulling out the 50/1.8 for social occasions to mix it up sometimes. Then for really challenging myself I go for my FL55/1.2 which none of the SEL lenses can hold a candle to. And now I've just bought a speed booster and FDn 35/2 so looks like the SELs will be taking a break again!

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
  13. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    I too am torn. A few months ago I would have agreed with you. Then I bought the 19/30mm Sigma twins and just love them.

    Still love my MF, legacy lenses, but the Sigmas now have a special place in my heart as well.
  14. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    I too have a strange relationship with e-mount. The ability to effectively use older manual lenses again has definitely triggered a major photographic renaissance with me. And yet, when I pop on one of my Sigmas or the SEL24, the NEX becomes a different animal - the one its designers intended. When I got away to the coast a few months ago, at one point I realized those were the only lenses I brought!

    The lack of mechanical manual controls always takes a bit of getting used to, but the extra compactness and light weight always feels refreshing. And at those focal lengths (19, 24 and 30mm) I believe those e-mount lenses offer a very compelling combination of price and performance.

    At 35mm and 50mm, it gets to be a different story. If those were important viewing angles for my roaming shooting, and the compactness, AF and OSS were major priorities for me, I would surely be tempted to get the SEL35 and SEL50. But that is not really the case. As things stand I'd say my vintage collection covers those lengths pretty darn well.

    For my product shooting, I am currently very happy with my old manual macro lenses. That said, I will be curious to see what the upcoming Zeiss 50mm might be like to work with. If it renders nice sun stars and does better at controlling flare and ghosting, that could be a major enticement, along with AF for certain shots (mostly when I model the product in one hand and try to shoot with the other).

    Manual focus might be good as well. I have noticed with the SEL24, the focusing action seems to respond to speed - the faster you twist the ring, the more range it sweeps through. Conversely, that can yield some pretty fine action for close-up focusing. (Doing a focus shift test, I nailed my intended mark on a ruler with the SEL24 and missed it slightly with the legacy 24mm.)

    If the Zeiss macro can best my old Leica 60mm macro for ease and smoothness of manual close focusing, that would be quite a feat indeed!
  15. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 9, 2011
    As whole, the E-Mount lens system isn't as vast as Micro Four Thirds & nor is it arguably as specialized as Fuji. I suspect that this (in part) is why legacy lenses are so popular amongst us NEX owners.

    As an example, we're still waiting for an e-mount fast constant zoom and a fast pancake prime a la' the Canon 22mm ƒ2.0 or Samsung 30mm ƒ2.0 :frown:
  16. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    The other reason is the cost.

    You can get a $20-80 Legacy lens that is on par with/better than the EMounts.
  17. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Except wide angle lenses :)
  18. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Actually, I found my like-new Promaster Spectrum 7 19-35mm listed at $45, shipped. This same Cosina lens was sold as the Vivitar Series 1 19-35mm. I happily punched the BIN button on that one. It yields excellent photos. They usually are listed for $100+.

  19. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    Mar 25, 2013
    The reason I use legacy lenses is that they inject life into photos, that je ne sais quoi of colour, contrast, sharpness and dof.

    Modern lenses tend toward the clinical, which makes them fine for family photos and reportage. But you lose that slightly otherwordly feel of good, artistic photography.

    Someone mentioned that CZ may be all you need for your nex. Well, that depends. I, for one find the SEL2418 to be positively weird. Center is sharp and vibrant while the borders have a crazy amount of CA. Way more than most legacy lenses.
  20. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    When I first got my nex, the 5n I bought it with the kit 18-55. I think I used the kit maybe 3 times.

    The first legacy glass that I bought were some vivitar zooms 28-105 and a 70/200.

    Minolta rokkor a came next and that stuck on the front of the body for a good couple months.

    About 40 pieces of legacy glass later got the sigma 19/30 pair. I love them but I like shooting with more shallow DOF. Plus they were not the best for low light.

    Got a deal on a canon fl 55.12 on an old minolta body off eBay.

    I fell in live with the canon. It has a certain sharpness wide open that the rokkor just couldn't produce. Though I do like the color renderings better on the minolta.

    Picked up another great deal on a 55 1.2 fd mount witch I have pretty much glued to my lens turbo. As jaf says its a toy. But fun to use. Good for very low light bar and restaurant pics.

    A few more pieces of legacy glass in between the 1628 with wide angle and an md 70/210.

    Then it happened. I got a killer deal, I mean killer deal on a zeiss 24.

    Great lens. Unfortunately it's a little wide for my taste. And it does kinda distort portraits at close distance. Have not used it as a walk around yet just cause im scared to. Lol. I love the close focus on it. It's worth keeping just for its almost macro ability. It usually stays in the bag at all times to have it on hand.

    Then I started thinking "maybe I would like e mount".

    I bought the 3518, then the 5018 and finally the new kit 1650

    I love them all even though I usually never use the auto focus.

    The IQ of the 50 and the 35 is truly outstanding. Aside from some CA just like the zeiss it's easily removed in lightroom.

    And now the sony e mount 351.8 is my go to most of the days now.

    Now I see why the 50mm on a full frame was the choice of many back in the day. It really does seem to be the most versatile lens focal length for a prime.

    Sent from my iPhone using TalkNEX mobile app
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