1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Choosing the Right (Vintage) Lens for a New NEX user

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Synomis192, May 26, 2013.

  1. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    Hello everyone,

    I decided to hold off on using my Canon DSLR gear for a while. I've always wanted to buy an NEX camera but I wasn't convinced with the Nex 5 or 3 which was 3 years ago. So I waited and I pulled the trigger recently and got a Sony NEX F3 ( $379.99 at BH :D )

    Now, I'm looking for some good lenses for my NEX. Since Sony doesn't have a lot of E-Mount lenses, but the main reason why I got an NEX was to use some old FD lenses that I used with my AE-1P.

    Looking through the forums I found that not a lot of people use FD/FL lenses and There's a lot of MD/M43 users out there. How can I start looking at MD lenses or other vintage lenses?

    Here's what I'm looking to build, you can copy and paste suggestions in the parts.

    Wide Angles (20mm-35mm):
    Normal (50mm):
    Telephotos (55mm +):

    I'm looking for a budget of $150-$200 for all three lenses. It's probably ridiculous to look at price range but I'm hoping for the best :D

    Thanks for all the future help.

    EDIT: I forgot to add, I prefer that all the lens be the same brand. That way I can just use on lens adapter. Also, I would like to use mainly primes.
     
  2. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    First off, in case you're not aware, you should realize that even 20mm is marginally wide-angle on a NEX camera, comparable to 30mm on 135 format (24x36mm, "full-frame"). 24mm is like a wide-ish standard lens, much like a 35mm on 135 format, and 28mm is a very nice 42mm equivalent standard lens. The widest rectilinear Minolta MD/MC lens was the 17mm 1:4 and that is only a moderate wide-angle on a NEX. For wide-angle you'd better stick to native E-mount lenses.

    If you want to use Minolta lenses (which is a very good idea if you ask me, but you have to know that I'm an avid Minolta collector :)), the ones listed below can be had within your budget. I'm quoting European prices because that's what I know, equivalent American prices are not vastly different. Now there will be others that will tell you that Canon FD/FL lenses are just as good or even better and that may well be true. If you have some, I'd simply order a cheapo Chinese adapter for them as well, you might find some pleasant surprises there.

    Don't pay more because of the Rokkor-X designation instead of Rokkor. Rokkor-X lenses were sold in North America and are the exact same lenses sold as Rokkor in the rest of the world. Also, with the MC 50/1.4 as an exception, avoid MC lenses in general, they're mostly lower in contrast and optically often inferior to MD lenses.
    1. Minolta MD (Rokkor) 28mm 1:2.8. I'd go for an MD Rokkor version, filter thread is 55mm or 49mm depending on the actual model, optical design is the same. You can also buy the plain MD model, but take care to get the one with the same design as the MD Rokkor, recognizeable by its 1-component front ring. The later model with the 2-component front ring is not as good. Costs about € 30. 24/2.8 lenses mostly go for € 100 or more and 20/2.8 for at least € 150, so those won't fit into your budget and optically they're not much better anyway. Any MD (Rokkor) 28/3.5 is also an option, they're almost as good at f/5.6...8 as the 28/2.8 versions and cheaper.
      If you can find one for a decent price, the MD Zoom 24-35/3.5 is a very good alternative, but don't spend more than € 100 on it. It's better at 24mm than the primes in terms of corner sharpness (yes, really!) if you stop it down to f/5.6 or f/8.
    2. a) Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 with 55mm filter thread or b) Minolta MC Rokkor-X PG. The first one is superb at f/4...8, but not so great wide-open and at f/2; ideal for landscapes. The MC version (in Europe also sold as MC Rokkor-PG, same thing) is excellent at f/2 but a tad less sharp than the the other model at middle apertures. You can't really go wrong with either of them. Cost somewhere between € 50 and € 75. Cheaper options are the MD (Rokkor) 50/1.7 or 50/2 lenses, they can be had for about € 20, but are optically inferior to the earlier mentioned 50/1.4 models.
    3. Minolta MD 100mm 1:2.5, Rokkor or plain MD. You can get one for around € 75 when you're patient and lucky. Very sharp corner-to-corner at f/4 and beyond, wide-open still very good. If you want to go cheap on this one, hunt for an MD (Rokkor) 135/3.5, they're all good at f/5.6 and often can be had for less than € 20. The 85mm lenses are quite expensive, whether it be the 85/1.7 (~ € 250) or 85/2 (~ € 175), and aren't as good as the 100/2.5 when it comes to corner sharpness.

    Oh, just seen that you're new here, welcome and have fun!
     
  3. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    Thanks for that reply :D

    I totally forgot that I had an old Minolta MD 50mm f/1.7 laying around the place! I guess I should start building an MD collection. I know that f/1.7 is not really optically sound, but it's a good start :D
     
  4. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Well, don't get discouraged by my remark, you should know I'm very picky about image quality. The 50/1.7 is quite OK, but its corner sharpness is not as perfect as that of the 50/1.4 lenses I mentioned and it needs stopping down to f/2.8 to get good contrast. A lot of people use a Minolta 50/1.7 and are happy with it. If you happen to have a Canon FD 50/1.8, that one has quite a good reputation as well.
     
  5. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    Okay, that doesn't sound too bad then :D I'm looking forward to making my collection larger. What do you suggest for a wide angle option though? Don't worry about using photography terms and confusing me. I understand :D
     
  6. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Native lenses below 24mm, off the top of my head.
    • Sigma 19/2.8. Have that one myself. Cheap, generally excellent sharpness right from f/2.8, corner sharpness not perfect but still quite good. Old and new (ART) model seem to have the same optical design. Maybe you still can pick up the old model in a close-out sale for around $100.
    • Sony 16/2.8. Has a reputation for bad extreme corners, otherwise quite OK it seems. There is an add-on lens for it, converting it into a 12mm and that seems to work surprisingly well considering its price.
    • Sony 20/2.8. Better than the 16/2.8, but not as wide.
    • Sony 10-18/4. Have that one myself. My second sample is alright, see my findings and those of others. Stopped down to f/8 this lens is hard to fault, except for some unsharpness in the extreme corners for the shorter focal lengths. More detail in the thread mentioned. Expensive, expect to pay close to $900 for a new one. Second-hand? Hmm. Only if you can test it thoroughly. There must be a reason for someone to sell a lens...
    • Zeiss Touit 12/2.8. Not available yet, but is expected to hit the shops within a month or so. Looks like a superb performer and should well be at a price point of over $1000.

    Sony has quite a reputation for bad quality control, so especially for Sony lenses, but generally for all lenses: only buy a lens if you can return/swap it without further ado.
     
  7. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    I actually liked the idea of building a Sigma 19/30mm combo. I really wanted to try that out. How is the Sigma 30mm on the NEX system?
     
  8. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I have the Sigma 30/2.8 and I use it all the time. In terms of optical performance it's great, it's sharp wide-open into the corners and gets only a little bit better on stopping down. It's cheap, but on the downside it doesn't have OSS like the Sony 35/1.8 and is 1.3 stop slower.; bokeh is also not very special and maybe AF is a bit slow. Look for "Sigma 30mm" on this forum and you'll get a lot of opinions on it.
     
  9. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    Alright! I'll search around. I'm sorry if I'm asking a lot of questions, I'm really looking forward to taking photos with my NEX w/ my nexified lenses.

    Speaking of which, I just ordered a beginning set of MD lenses:

    Minolta 28mm f/2.8
    Minolta 135mm f/2.8
    Minolta 50mm f/1.7 (Already got that)

    It totalled to only about $50.00! Not bad ain't it? I know they aren't the best quality but I'll make the best out of them.

    Do you have any non Minolta lenses to recommend?
     
  10. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    That's a great deal on the Minolta lenses, an MD 135/2.8 by itself is usually well over € 50 here! And for a reason, because the MD 135/2.8 lenses are excellent.

    Non-Minolta lenses? Nah. ... OK, I was kidding. Some people here, like Bimjo, have a liking for Voigtländer lenses, but this stuff isn't cheap. The Olympus Pen F 38/1.8 has a loyal following, but commands $200 or more. Some like Konica Hexanons, I have a few but I find them not as good as my Minoltas. Olympus OM lenses are nice, not too cheap, and the two that I have (35-70/4 and 75-150/4) are just a notch below the equivalent Minoltas. Leica lenses must be very good and some can be had for only 3 figures :). Zeiss lenses for Contax/Yashica are very good, but again not cheap. See a trend here? :) After some positive remarks on a certain lens prices can go through the roof on eBay.
     
  11. suntoryjim

    suntoryjim TalkEmount Regular

    102
    May 17, 2013
    Firstly, congratulations on getting an awesome deal on your F3. I paid $20 more for mine from Sony online, and before that almost paid $379 for a used one from KEH. Buyer beware. :(

    I have three Canon FD lenses that I use with my NEX and M43 cameras that cost me $157 w/shipping:

    24 F2.8
    50 F1.8
    135 F3.5

    I really enjoy shooting with the 24 as I can set it at hyperfocal distance @F8 and just point and shoot....gives you that classic 35mm FOV equivalent that is popular for street photography.
    The 50 is an excellent lens for the price ($17). I put an ND8 filter on it and shoot wide-open in broad daylight.
    The 135 is not a fast tele, but certainly faster than the 4.5-5.6 teles that are so common (try and find a 3.5 tele for less than $40). I use it mostly to capture far away objects and find that setting it to infinity is all you need to get things in focus. It's a pretty heavy hunk of glass, so get an adapter with a tripod mount.

    I recommend getting an adapter for each lens. It's far easier to mount/unmount the adapter from the body than it is the lens from the adapter (I've read that some users notice the adapter getting loose on the lens side from repeated mountings).
     
  12. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    It was an eBay auction, glad I won it :D Yeah, I'm just glad they're actually Minolta's and not a third-party lens. Are third-party lenses even good? Like are they as trustworthy enough to use?
     
  13. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Hi Synomis, welcome to the forum. :)

    There are many third party lenses that can outperform the camera manufacturer lenses for a given focal length. No one lens manufacturer has a hit with every single lens they produce. Minolta does seem to have a high hit ratio. Some of the older Pentax lenses are highly regarded.

    I have a Vivitar 24/2.8 I bought many years ago for my Contax RTS II that I never took out of the box until I got my 5N. For a $30 lens (NIB 12 years ago) it performs remarkably well. There's pics from it on here somewhere… ;)

    As Ad noted, I really like the Voigtlander LTM rangefinder lenses and I shoot them almost exclusively off a tripod because with their very small size they are a PITA for me to shoot hand held unless I just zone focus them and blast away. If I want to shoot manual focus and I'm just walking around I put my Tamron 28-75/2.8 XR Di on and have at it. It's the antithesis of the CV lenses- big, heavy, lays perfectly in the hand so the focus ring falls right under your forefinger and thumb. Take a nice picture too. I should start a lens thread on that lens I suppose. :)

    If you choose wisely, third party lenses can work very well for you. You just have to pick the right ones, for the right reasons.
     
  14. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    I do like the looks of rangefinder lenses on NEX cameras, that thread that you guys have posted that shows off people's Nexified lenses is just amazing. Have any recommendations for some Rangefinder lenses that won't break the bank to badly? (I want to say around $200, but I feel like I'm just hoping too much)
     
  15. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    I wish I still had my AE-1, I sold my Pre-1980s film gear because I bought an EOS-3. All the funds for that sale went to that purchase. I'm pretty disappointed in doing that though. Luckily I had an SRT-201 laying around, saving me about $30.00 on an MD 50mm. I do wish that I found an affordable 24mm for MD. But I might go to Canon or Nikkor to find a good fit.

    Adapters can get pretty pricey can't they? But I guess you're right about the stress that comes with switching out lenses constantly. I'm going to keep the 28mm f/2.8 on most of the time. The lens I will least use will probably the 135mm f/2.8. I only got it because I needed a tele-zoom just in case. Never know :D
     
  16. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Some of the Russian glass performs quite well and is relatively inexpensive. I'd look at the Jupiter and Industar lines to start.
     
  17. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Welcome!

    Well, Ad said it all regarding the Minolta lenses (and his trully an Minolta enthusiast so his word is trustworthy :D )

    I'll only add that the cheaper MD 50mm f/1.7 is an excellens lens if you ask me - personally I love mine (tho I got an MD 50 1.4 too :p )
    https://www.talkemount.com/f12/im-love-1894/
    Take into consideration that its cheaper price also comes from the fact that it was sold as a kit lens so many were produced...
    I personally find it a very good portrait lens also and quite usable even wide open (but better when stopped down)
    Its my most used lens and I always get suprised by its performance whenever I use it

    Also, regarding the adapters, I also recommend having one separate adapter for each lens as previously stated
    (I have 9 MDs and 9 adapters - they are cheap anyway :D )
     
  18. dshin525

    dshin525 TalkEmount Regular

    67
    Jan 4, 2013
    Great deal on those. Wonderful start. It can become very addicting, not to mention expensive! Check out thrift stores...you can find some gems there. I picked up a vivitar 200mm and minolta 135/3.5 for <$10 each.

    Most of mine are minoltas. I started with the MD 50/1.4. It has since grown to:
    MC 50/1.4, 50/1.7, 28/2.8, 85/2, 35-70/3.5 macro zoom, 50/3.5 macro, 200/4, 16/2.8 fisheye, canon FD 24/2.8, voigtlander 35/1.7
     
  19. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    Can you help me identify how the naming system works on those lens? Also, what kind of NEX mount converter should I buy
     
  20. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    This and this are about the most comprehensive lists that I've found. Any L39 to NEX adapter should work. If you want to decrease the minimum focus distance (one drawback to rangefinder lenses) to something useable you can get L39 to Leica M mount adapters and then get a Leica M mount to NEX helicoid adapter. Search ebay for LME of Hawks helicoid.