Lens Advice, new A7ii owner

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by CM_Photography, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. CM_Photography

    CM_Photography New to TalkEmount

    Sep 26, 2015
    Chris Cooper-Mitchell
    I've just moved across to the Sony system in the shape of a used A7ii having come from a D750 Nikon and the Fuji XT1.

    Initial impressions are good with IQ which matches the Nikon and is far superior to the files I was getting from the Fuji XT1, as a camera body I'm very happy with it.

    I am however having some quandary lens wise, I purchased a Loxia 35 f2 to use with it however I have to admit I'm struggling to get manual focus dead on and for almost £1000 I feel that maybe it should perform a little better optically, I suspect I'll return it but I wondered how does the Sony 35mm f1.4 on the smaller body? Image quality looks outstanding but I do have concerns about ergonomics.

    I was previously mainly a zoom shooter (24-70/18-35) however I have read a lot which suggests the 24-70 f4 Zoom is really not worth the money so I'm looking at a prime lineup, I had hoped to get on with the 35mm Loxia and then also buy the 50mm but I assume in the AF lenses that the 55mm would be the one to go for?
  2. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Feb 4, 2013
    You might consider the 55mm F1.8 paired with the 28mm F2. Both lenses get great reviews and are arguably better value than the Loxias.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    The 55mm is a no brainer. The 28 and 35mm lenses are all excellent. For me the 35/1.4 is the pick, but I can understand concerns about size with that lens.
  4. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Without having personal experience with any of the lenses, I wouldn't buy any of the Loxia lenses since IMO, even if they are good performers from what I've seen, they are very expensive for being MF lenses (I would choose legacy MF lenses over them)...

    Since you had a wide angle zoom for your Nikon, thus assuming you like the FL, how about the FE 16-35? That's the one I would buy, and would complete MY perfect kit with the addition of the 55 1.8.
    For an all day zoom lens, the 24-70 would be great IF it was less pricey. The FE lens lineup is definately missing some more affordable options...

    Oh, and welcome to the forum and congrats on the purchase :)
  5. Lucille

    Lucille TalkEmount Veteran

    May 22, 2013
    The little 28mm f/2 is such a sweet lens to be had on the cheap. It has character, but not quite the pop I get from my Rx1, but I think the 28mm should be in everyones bag. And to convince you, lookie how the 28mm renders a scene... HepKitty style.

    • Like Like x 2
  6. CM_Photography

    CM_Photography New to TalkEmount

    Sep 26, 2015
    Chris Cooper-Mitchell
    I hadn't considered the 28mm as I've previously had the Nikon 28mm f1.8 and if I'm honest it was a focal length I didn't really get on with even though its only 7mm away from 35mm which I love! But I'll take a look at it!

    Thanks Amin, yeah the size of the 35mm does concern me a little not really so much from an actual weight and size perspective on its own (it seems very similar to other f1.4 primes I've used on DSLR's) but whether the combination of A7ii & 35mm f1.4 is really comfortable for all day use.

    I do feel the Loxia is expensive and I've seen a few reviews that have suggested that some of the older manual glass like Canon FD actually runs them close in image quality.. and a lot cheaper!
    I am tempted by the 16-35 but if I'm half waiting to see if the rumoured 21mm Loxia or Batis gets announced as I tend to use an Ultra wide for tripod shooting where I can focus manually very easily, the 16-35 does look by far the best quality of the native zooms though!

  7. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    If you want an auto-focus "normal" lens, I agree with Amin: The 55mm f/1.8 is the obvious choice. I love it for the Sony eye focus.

    The Sony/Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 seems to be outstanding, but I skipped it because of size. If you work a lot in that focal length range, then it would be outstanding. I'm happy with the Sony/Zeiss 35mm f/2.8. It small, light, sharp and less expensive; but a bit slower.

    I don't have the Loxia 35, so I can't comment, but I love my Loxia 50mm. I had no focussing problems on the A7II (except those that were just me). And, because the Loxias report info to the camera, they get 5-axis stabilisation (rather than 3).

    Good luck with your choices.
  8. pbizarro

    pbizarro Guest

    From what you say (using the 24-70 on the Nikon) it seems that you are looking for a general purpose lens. In the FE mount, you can get the good FE 24-70 and replicate what you had before. Value for money is all relative; yes, Sony Zeiss lenses tend to be on the high side, but that is life. After all, the FE 55 f1.8 is also expensive for what it is (a normal system lens). It is optically very good, I know that, since I have one.

    If you want to replace your 24-70 zoom by 2 or 3 primes, it will cost you more than the FE 24-70 zoom... it looks like you made a mistake going for the Loxia, how much MF experience did you had before? Again, Loxias are expensive, but they derive from the ZM line of lenses, all metal construction and very good optical quality.

    Perhaps you need to reflect and think a bit more about what you want from the FE system, and take it slow. Why not start with the relatively cheap 28-70 kit zoom? Use it for 1 year, and then decide what primes do you really want.
  9. Janne303

    Janne303 TalkEmount Regular

    Jan 15, 2013
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Janne Eriksson
    OMG! I got the 28 today! Wow I luv mine!

    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
  10. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    May 10, 2013
    Yannis Marigo
    Well, the 16-35 is also a no brainer. Depends of course of your style of shots. I use it mainly and tend to leave the kit aside. Just tested both at 35 mm and the 16-35 beats the 28-70 at all apertures (better contrast and sharpness despite the fact that the 16-35 is not supposed to be at its best here). Even my old MD 35-70 gives better results at 50 and 70. Decided to drop it off and resell it.
    May go for a 55/1.8 instead (we're on the same page Nick !)
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Daum

    Daum TalkEmount Rookie

    Aug 16, 2014
    I needed a small fast lens for general use and a longer lens with AF for portraits. I ended up with the Voigtlander 35mm 1.4 Classic and Zeiss 55mm 1.8. Pretty happy with this set up but also thinking about an 85mm 1.8 too.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Zlatko

    Zlatko New to TalkEmount

    Aug 18, 2015
    Zlatko Batistich
    28 & 55 is a great combination. Those are my only Sony lenses. I wish they also made an autofocus 35/2.
  13. Tony

    Tony New to TalkEmount

    Aug 20, 2015
    I saw one review where the reviewer states that they thought the canon fd was comparable in image quality but I have yet to see any substantiated facts (e.g. comparison photos or any objective data) that indicate this is the case. If you google "Loxia 35 vs Zeiss 35mm f2.8" you'll see that the general sentiment is that the Loxia 35 is comparable or better depending on what factors you care about so I'm skeptical of anyone that claims that it's only as good as an old lens without showing some hard proof. Take a look at the reviews that Amin did.

    I have the Loxia 35 and is probably my favorite lens due to the great image quality, build and ergonomics. I haven't had any issues with focusing it thanks to zone focusing and focus peaking. The biggest weakness is f2 at night looks terrible due to heavy coma so I tend to step it down to f2.8. I do sometimes wish I bought the 35mm f2.8 instead to use for autofocus snapshots with groups of friends where someone else is taking the picture. I zone focus my loxia at f16 and hand it to them but less than ideal.

    Thoughts on some other lenses mentioned:
    Sony 28mm f2: I tried the Sony 28mm f2 and did not like it (returned it) - the distortion is noticeable even with corrections on and not something I would recommend to use for photographing people - made me look like a stretched out space alien from certain angles. I also found the colors to be very dull and flat relative to my Zeiss or Leica lenses. The size was also too big and would rather have the 35mm f2.8.

    Sony Zeiss 55mm: Great lens and true with everything written about it but 55 is not a focal length I use as much. Recently swapped it for a Loxia 50 that I got a very good price on so net saved $100.

    Batis 25: Have this and arguably my best lens in terms of image quality but bigger than I'd like.

    Loxia 50: Got a good price and made a net $100 after selling my 55mm fe. Not a focal length I normally use but seems like it tends to make subjects look narrower than the zeiss 55 did. Image quality is great at f2 and f8. I may eventually swap this out for a contax g 45, vintage lens or just buy a zoom since I don't use this focal length much.

    I haven't tried it but the 35mm 1.4 looks absolutely huge. Feels like I should've just kept my DSLR if I wanted a lens this big. I'm personally not a bokeh fiend so not as impressed by it as some folks.

    Hope this helps
  14. GateCityRadio

    GateCityRadio TalkEmount Regular

    Oct 9, 2014
    The manual focusing takes a bit getting use to on these mirrorless cameras, there is an extra step or two. I came from pentax film and digital SLRs and got used to focusing pretty accurately using optical viewfinders. If you set up the focus assist and then use the zoom feature it is easy to get correct focus every time, but that is with a static subject. I have my camera up for raw+jpeg and have it set for B&W (shows B&W in the viewfinder) and have the focus peaking set to red, your raw images will still be in color and I found that this helped with focusing IMO. If you have moving subjects I suggest getting an AF lens. I went with the 35/2.8 and 55/1.8 as my first two FE lenses and while they weren't cheap both are excellent performers and much better than most of the lenses I've used on my pentax set up (and I owned the high end "FA limited" and "DA*" lenses). I think the perfect three lens kit for this system would be the 35/2.8, 55/1.8, and batis 85/1.8.
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