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Have NEX 7 body, just need some glass! And advice, pls...

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Hypocaffeinic, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. Hypocaffeinic

    Hypocaffeinic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Jun 16, 2013
    Qld, Australia
    Hi all,

    I've just bought a NEX 7 body online, and so need recommendations for some glass to go with it. I'm sizing down from my beloved Nikon D7000 for convenience reasons, as the Nikon's so darn big and heavy that I don't take her out unless specifically on a photography mission. Selling all of my lenses is cruel, but I'm consoling myself in that I'll get to purchase a whole bunch of new lenses for my NEX now instead!

    My current focus in buying lenses (sorry, pun not intended) is the fact that I'm off to New York in a month, so am trying to work out the best bunch of lenses to take over there with me. I've done a ton of research but could really use some good advice on which to get, especially as Sony is all new to me.

    My kit for the Nikon has been the 18-200VR, Tokina 116 wide angle (love!), 10.5mm DX fishy, 35mm f/1.8. I've loved the convenience of the 18-200VR on the Nikon for the last few years, but have checked out the Sony 18-200s and they're actually larger than my Nikon lens, which would almost completely negate the point of sizing down in the first place! I figure I can do without the telephoto end whilst on holiday so am thinking of a much shorter range with smaller dimensions. The plan I have so far to take to NY is:

    • 16-50mm: Yup I know it's distorted at the short end and soft'n'fluffy, but the compact size is a BIG winner for me. I also have Photoshop and am happy to straighten out the bends (and sharpen the softness!), but I understand too there's some in-camera distortion fixing? The Powerzoom is a bonus too as I'm travelling with a university group and would like to shoot some video too. Oh, and it's cheap.
    • 16mm f/2.8 and wide-angle adapter: Not sure I'd use the 16mm by itself (if I wanted a short prime I'd go for the 20mm), but that wide-angle adapter would probably spend its entire life screwed on there. I've read in a few places the adapter seems to address many of the 16mm's shortcomings, and I like that the wide-angle shortens the lens too (down to around 12mm I think?) so I don't end up with two 16mm lenses in my kit.
    • Fisheye adapter: I have the Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 DX lens that I love playing with, and think this could be a lot of fun around New York for very little space and weight!
    • Some sort of flash - unsure if I can adapt my venerable SB600 onto it somehow, but am pondering the HVLF20 or 43..... is the HVLF20 fast enough for the NEX firing rate? I like the smaller size but am wondering if I'd miss having adjustment controls on the back..


    So does this sound like a plan? I'm curious about the 10-18mm wide angle, but weighing against it is the much smaller size, price and wider aperture of the 16mm & adapter team. Normally I'd expect the short prime to have better image quality than the wide zoom too, but not sure on that one with the 16mm.. Anyway I'd love to hear suggestions of any other lenses or gear that might suit my needs better, but keep in mind however anything with the words 'Carl' or 'Zeiss' in the name is sadly out of my range! :p Once back from NY I'd like to find myself a macro longer than 30mm, even if I have to use an adapter (I like shooting bugs and 30mm is WAY too close to those critters for my liking!!), a 35mm normal prime, and I suppose something longer at some point.

    Muchly appreciative of any and all advice! I'm glad to have found this forum and am looking forward to meeting you all on here. :D
     
  2. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    Native lenses like Sigma 19mm & 30mm. I have Samyang 14mm that I like much but it is big and needs distortion correction. Legacy 50 mm (and possible 50mm macro). Legacy 70/80 -200/210 mm zoom. Legacy 135mm. I think that I might purchase Samyang 8mm as a next toy.

    SB600 will probably work with suitable adapter but no TTL.

    About everyone is able to afford Carl Zeiss if legacy class is ok.
     
  3. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Sigmas are a no-brainer. If you don't like changing lenses, the 18-55 Sony kit could be fine for a city trip, as most photos would likely be taken in good light. Except that I read that Nex 7 may outresolve it in corners. But it's cheap enough used to just try.

    On my trips to NY and Chicago, I almost always used 17 to 28 mm range.
     
  4. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    IME the Sigmas are great for roaming - compact, easy to work with and sharp! If 35mm equivalent is important, the SEL24 would be a must. (I know you said no Zeiss - I also planned not to buy it but I eventually caved in and have no regrets whatsoever! Keep your eyes peeled for a good used buy...)

    It appears that Sony's 10-18 is pretty compact for an ultrawide zoom. I empathize entirely about negating the NEX compactness by adapting some big zoom - I tried that with the Tokina 11-16 and it just felt weird.

    There are plenty of great, inexpensive legacy macro lenses around 50mm. I find 60mm is great for most of my product shots - the Leica is a total Rolls Royce to work with and not as spendy as you would fear. 100mm is also nice to work with - it gets some usage for product and I imagine it would be even better for insects.
     
  5. norazi

    norazi New to TalkEmount

    4
    Jun 17, 2013
  6. seachicken

    seachicken New to TalkEmount

    6
    Jun 17, 2013
    Hi,

    I use the 10-18mm on the NEX-7 and love it. It's an expensive option, but it covers a lot of focal length range for just 225g. It's probably my most used lens. At f/4 the corners are a little soft, as you'd expect. At f/5.6-8 it's excellent over its whole range of focal lengths. Some have experienced magenta casts with this lens on the NEX-7, but it hasn't really been a problem for me. It's stabilized, takes filters, and seems reasonably flare resistant. It vignettes a little more than most lenses of this type. There's a lot to like, and it has been money well spent for me.

    I also have the Samyang fisheye. This is also an impressive lens on the NEX-7, but I would not endorse it since it has a pronounced magenta cast in pretty much all images on the NEX-7. You can clear up the cast in post processing (for example with the Adobe flat field plug-in), but it's a bit of a pain. Other than that, it's an amazing lens, and incredibly sharp. I'd highly recommend this lens for use on a 16M pixel NEX, it's great fun.
     
  7. Hypocaffeinic

    Hypocaffeinic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Jun 16, 2013
    Qld, Australia
    Hi all, thanks so much for your input! I've done a lot of thinking and would rather save for the 10-18 for a wide-angle rather than go the 16mm route. The 16mm + adapter is probably bigger than it, so whilst I've been thinking that little 16mm pancake will be nice and small it won't be at all once the adapter's in place! Seeing as I'm not gaining anything in size I'd rather put my money towards the 1018 and look forward to some crisp photos. If I want a fish I think I'd get the 8mm Rokinon.

    Still not sure about a zoomy lens though.. it seems everything other than the 16-50 is still a big chunk o' lens on that tiny body, including the 18-55. The thing is I definitely need one pancake lens for putting into a pocket at work and for other times when I don't have room for or wish to carry something bigger, and the 1650 would fit that bill & offer convenience of a zoom. Image quality would be the sacrificial lamb in return, however.

    Does anyone know how Panasonic Lumix lenses fare with the NEX 7 body? The 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 has better reviews than the Sony 1650 and is also a small lens, and there's the 12-35 f/2.8 if I could afford it. The latter lens especially would pretty much cover my preferred range for city shooting perfectly, but is physically larger.


    Down the track I love the idea of sourcing legacy glass for nice macro, portrait, & superzoom lenses, and definitely sounds like fun to play around with. In those cases of course when going out specifically to shoot it wouldn't matter at all what physical size they were!
     
  8. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
    16-50mm is not a bad lens apart from distortion correction. You can see the reviews:
    Sony Lens: Zooms - Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS SELP1650 (Tested) - SLRgear.com!
    Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens Review

    M43 Panasonic lenses cannot be used on nex. Their focus/aperture control is done electronically like nex lenses so you need Olympus/Panasonic camera. Also they cover a smaller sensor so most probably will have high vignetting with nex. Sony plans to issue a good quality zoom but it might be more expensive or bigger then 16-50mm.

    All m43 lenses and Sony RX100 use auto correction in photoshop/lightroom. They are usually good but sometimes people get stretched on the sides of the frames with this correction. I tried free rawtherapee program yesterday and it is much better for people shots without distortion correction. Also you see the lenses are wider and usually cropped automatically to correct distortion.
     
  9. Sabre36

    Sabre36 TalkEmount Regular

    35
    Dec 1, 2012
    I have two lenses for city photography that I love: Sony 35 1.8 and Zeiss 24 1.8. I owned and sold the 10-18mm but did not love it in cities (e.g Rome) despite its sharpness because I prefer low light capabilities. I also think it might be too wide for NY most of the time. I personally think that the Zeiss 24mm is just about perfect for city light and focal length, despite its cost. I spent a lot of money on other combinations (especially manual lenses) in trying to economize. If I had to do it over, I would buy the Zeiss and either the Sigma 30 or Sony 35. Two good lenses are better, in my opinion, than a zoom - but that's just me.

    By the way, I came to use the nex-7's panorama with the 35mm for shots in Florence and NY. Best of luck and enjoy.
     
  10. seachicken

    seachicken New to TalkEmount

    6
    Jun 17, 2013
    I think the Lumix Pancake zoom will be pretty similar in character to the NEX version. They are both decent kit zoom lenses, but not stellar. Here's some of samples from these lenses under the same conditions at 18mm (NEX)/14mm(m4/3), and 32mm (NEX)/25mm (m4/3). As mentioned above, it won't really work on a NEX.

    The 12-35mm is another matter. There's no native NEX lens in that class right now. There's a Sony G standard zoom on the roadmap for this year, and in your shoes I'd wait for that (that's what I'm doing), but when this year isn't known. The other option is to go for an A-mount lens on the LA-EA2. Something like the Sony 16-50mm f/2.8, or if you want stabilization the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS. These are high quality lenses, but pretty heavy. I am using the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 as my travel kit lens, it's a great lens that can do justice to the NEX-7 sensor, but I plan to replace it with the Sony G lens when it arrives (assuming it's a good lens) simply because of the weight. High quality mirrorless standard zooms typically weigh in at around the 300g mark. The Sigma 17-50mm + LA-EA2 is more like 750g.
     
  11. Hypocaffeinic

    Hypocaffeinic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Jun 16, 2013
    Qld, Australia
    Oh I'm an idiot, of course the 4/3 lens won't cover the sensor! *facepalm* Thank you, Serhan. Looking forward to seeing what Sony bring out next for the NEX then.

    Sabre that was my only concern about the 1018 too, it being slower. Your comment that it's a bit wide was reflected earlier on by Amamba mentioning shooting mostly 17-28mm in cities, and I've read similar comments in other threads.

    This is driving me nuts.. seriously I've a good mind now to just get the 20mm pancake & 18-200mm (and put up with the size) and be done with it! And find a cheap second hand 16-50mm for convenience.
     
  12. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Why not try the legacy glass first ? Very cheap compared to e-mounts, was originally designed for the "true" full frame so it shouldn't be underwhelming on Nex7, and along with the kit lens it should buy you enough time to figure out what you need before you blow $$$$ on glass you may regret buying later.

    You always have to post process with legacy lenses, at least in my experience. So if you're planning on using JPEGs straight out of camera, you may not like it. But with LR it only takes a couple minutes per shot.
     
  13. Hypocaffeinic

    Hypocaffeinic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Jun 16, 2013
    Qld, Australia
    Sorry for the daft Q, but what exactly is 'legacy' glass? Are these older Sony a-mount lenses, or older lenses from any manufacturer?

    I've bought a 1650 now, it's super cheap and will pretty much be a convenience lens for me, being such a compact zoom. It'll be here in a week and I can see what I think of it before I go away.. on my first day in NY I'm free to do my own thing and will definitely be making a pilgrimage to BH Mecca to buy my choice of lenses at the better US prices! Am so looking forward to actually having the chance to try before I buy, and to see exactly what these lenses are like and how they feel first. I spent the last nine years in the SW Qld outback as a paramedic and whilst I live on the coast now I haven't found anywhere local selling NEX yet, so have always bought camera gear blind online!

    As for what I'll buy once I get there, for my NY trip I'm still conflicted between getting a 1018 or a 20mm prime + a Rokinon 8mm fish... the wide zoom is such a big chunk o' money, but a beautiful lens, whilst the prime would give great street shots when I want better quality than the 1650 can yield, plus the fish would be fun and I can straighten it out afterwards if I want in photoshop.

    The little 1650 will be here in a week so I'm going to play with it quite intensively before I go away and decide what I want to do. If the shots at around 20-30mm range are good I might just get the 1018; however if I don't feel I'll get good quality shots at the range I expect to shoot at mostly then I'll definitely at least get the 20mm as I really do want some sharp images at that length.

    Once back home I'm very keen to try all sorts of lenses... :D
     
  14. Hypocaffeinic

    Hypocaffeinic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Jun 16, 2013
    Qld, Australia
    Or maybe the Zeiss 24mm for street photography... mmm Zeisssss...
     
  15. freddytto

    freddytto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2011
    Puebla, Mexico
    wow sounds even better, I would go for the Sel 35Mm Sel50mm f/1.8 and f/1.8 OSS, excellent for SP.


    legacy lenses? I'm sure like many beginners; I bought the Minolta Rokkor MD 50 f/1.7 fairly early in my photography and caught the fast prime lens, assuming you don't already own any lenses the main thing is you could get some really cheap, so then get a adapter to mount on your nex7.
     
  16. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Congratulations on the NEX-7, it's a great camera.

    The kit lenses are adequate but they are not going to bring out the full potential of the NEX. My best advice would be to carefully choose only a few prime lenses. If the Zeiss is what you want then get it straight away. Buying the expensive lens that you really want, probably will save you money in the long run. Otherwise, you might get frustrated with the lenses you have and end up in a cycle of upgrading them, which is expensive and time-consuming.

    After that you can fill the gaps with adapted legacy lenses, which are a lot cheaper.
     
  17. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    "Legacy" = old manual focus / aperture lenses. You can use them from virtually any manufacturer, and with Focus Peaking and EVF that's a much easier task than with many other systems. "Native" = Sony E-mount lenses.

    I have a few modern e-lenses but since getting my manual lenses I barely use the native glass. These old lenses are fun to use, have unique image qualities, and sometimes produce such stunning images they make my jaw drop. They can also often be had for very cheap if you find a good deal locally, which makes lens hunting so much more fun.

    The only lenses I think anybody should buy are the Sigma 19/2.8 and 30/2.8, the old versions. At least the 30 for sure. They are relatively cheap (probably can still be found around $100), very good optically (sharp across the frame and decent color rendering; the bokeh is the weak point), and the 30 is also quite compact. No reason not to have them ;)
     
  18. Hypocaffeinic

    Hypocaffeinic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Jun 16, 2013
    Qld, Australia
    Hi all, thanks so much for all advice, your experience and time has all been enormously appreciated. Legacy glass I will definitely be seriously looking into, and for a macro lens especially I am looking forward to researching various lenses from all manufacturers to learn about what's out there.

    Well I've just returned from a couple of days away in Brisbane for work, and since I was staying right in the city I took my naked sexy NEXy body down with me to visit some camera shops. (I was hoping my 1650 would arrive on the day I left, but no luck.) Got to try the Sony 35mm whilst down there - very nice it was too - but in the next shop along I also found the 24mm Zeiss and was absolutely blown away!!! It feels nicely balanced upon the camera, focused in an instant, and the random images I took outside the shop door were incredibly sharp (and I don't even know how to play with the settings yet!). The shop had it at a great price too but I hadn't the cash for it as my lens funds were sitting in Paypal.. I say were because as soon as I got home I bought one online!!

    I'm so, so happy now, and can't wait to get it. I've been pondering lenses constantly since deciding upon the NEX 7 and when I think about what I want to shoot just always keep coming back to street photography.. whilst in Brissy the fact that I spent the whole time wanding around seeing potential photos everywhere (even when not actively thinking cameras for a split-second) just kind of settled it for me.

    So now I'll be taking away with me to NYC now a nice little pancake zoom for convenience and for shooting video, and a beautiful, beautiful Zeiss that'll probably never get to wear it's rear lens cap. Can't wait to go shooting, especially at night, hooray for wide apertures!! :dance:
     
  19. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Great read, Hypocaffeinic. I'm glad it was as easy as that to make up your mind in the end. And I do think you made a very good choice. It's better to go for quality straight away.

    Because you now have two native lenses in the wide-normal end, you will probably start looking at lenses with longer focal lengths soon. It's inevitable....
     
  20. Hypocaffeinic

    Hypocaffeinic TalkEmount Regular

    53
    Jun 16, 2013
    Qld, Australia
    Haha - I just returned here from ogling that tidy 50mm prime as a portrait lens, and pondering a macro! I'm visiting the BH Photo Video Mothership in NYC on my first day there in a month, so will be trying all sorts of longer lenses whilst in there. Oh, happy days!