Manual zoom for travel and landscapes?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by tommie, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. tommie

    tommie TalkEmount Rookie

    Mar 7, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Good afternoon! I'm a beginner in photography (i've shot with my NEX 6 since january) and i think that i'm looking for a good MF zoom lens.

    My current lenses
    Sigma 19+30mm
    Sony E 16-50PZ
    Konica Hexar 28mm 3.5
    Konica Hexanon AR 1.7 50mm
    Chinon 1.7 50mm
    Pentacon 1.8 50mm
    Chinon 2.8 135mm

    The lens that always seem to fit my bill quite ok is the Sigma 30. The 50's are fun lenses and always seem to give better contrast and colors but the they are sort of hit-and-miss. When they shine they really shines in a way that the Sigmas just doesn't seem to compete with.

    I say that the Sigma 30 is "quite ok" since when mounted the Sigma 30 often falls short either on the long end or the short end. I could choose to switch to the 19mm but that lens always seem to come out a bit soft or have a harder time to hit focus (back/front focus).

    To "zoom with your feet" sounds great but ie when standing on a cliff it can be quite the feat to go over it and thus there are many situations where i find that zooming with ones feet just isn't practical or feasable.

    The main problem i got with both the Sigma 19 and the 16-50PZ is sharpness. All my 50's except the Pentacon is way sharper then the 16-50PZ or the 19mm. The 16-50 would be a great focal span if it just wasn't so soft compared to something really sharp like the Sigma 30. When travelling it isn't practical to take a chance and use lenses that far to often results in images that are a tad too soft. Also switching lenses isn't practical in all situations (like when on a beach). When i say sharpness i mean sharpness at all apertures.

    So i've started looking for a MF zoom that is both sharp and has a useable focal length for landscape and travel photography. I've read the thread at mflenses but it didn't provide a great answer.

    Minolta 35-70 macro
    The Minolta 35-70mm 3.5 macro seems like a great lens but the focal length just doesn't nail it. I would still have to resort to the Sigma 19 for wider shots. A solution would be to use a Lens Turbo but from what i've read the Lens Turbo (Minolta version) doesn't seem to work that well and seem to cause more problem than it's worth. Unfortunately i can't afford the Metabones adapter at the moment.

    In essence the Sony E18-55 would be the "best" fit but i feel that i would stand a better chance to get what i want with a MF zoom with great reputation than with a kit zoom with a so-so reputation.

    So can anyone recommend a MF zoom for around $50-150 that both has a great focal length for landscapes/travel and doesn't sacrifice too much in sharpness? I don't care much for stabilization since i use tripods for most shots.

    Examples of what i shoot

    <a href="" title="Caló des Moro, Mallorca by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 9590275095_b4cb6cd389_c. "800" height="531" alt="Caló des Moro, Mallorca"></a>

    <a href="" title="Djurgårdsbron, tram and a pink sunset by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 9000198669_57003f7505_c. "800" height="531" alt="Djurgårdsbron, tram and a pink sunset"></a>

    <a href="" title="Magic sunset, street and ocean in Biarritz by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 8656596335_c86b0b433a_c. "800" height="531" alt="Magic sunset, street and ocean in Biarritz"></a>

    <a href="" title="Sunset and docks at Södermälarstrand, Stockholm by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 8730764469_cef74b7722_c. "800" height="531" alt="Sunset and docks at Södermälarstrand, Stockholm"></a>

    <a href="" title="Skeppsholmsbron at Sunset, Stockholm by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 9219985343_a5c78854bb_c. "800" height="531" alt="Skeppsholmsbron at Sunset, Stockholm"></a>

    <a href="" title="Cala Llombards, Mallorca by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 9593166718_c2a8bfbd75_c. "800" height="531" alt="Cala Llombards, Mallorca"></a>

    <a href="" title="Bridge at Riksgatan, Stockholm by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 9219942855_eb6c1b6a18_c. "800" height="531" alt="Bridge at Riksgatan, Stockholm"></a>

    <a href="" title="Sun setting at Birger Jarlsgatan, Östermalm (Stockholm) by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 9001423310_c19f507b2c_c. "800" height="531" alt="Sun setting at Birger Jarlsgatan, Östermalm (Stockholm)"></a>

    <a href="" title="View at Djurgården from Skeppsholmen, Stockholm by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 9288964312_a4863e2e8d_c. "800" height="531" alt="View at Djurgården from Skeppsholmen, Stockholm"></a>

    <a href="" title="Pirate ship at Strandvägen, Stockholm by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 9000231121_45a7f62ddd_c. "800" height="531" alt="Pirate ship at Strandvägen, Stockholm"></a>

    <a href="" title="Gantry at Klubbensborg, Hägersten by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 8686557561_8a35d43841_c. "800" height="531" alt="Gantry at Klubbensborg, Hägersten"></a>

    <a href="" title="Slussen, Stockholm by Tommie Hansen, on Flickr"> 8730758719_7a6ed10810_c. "800" height="531" alt="Slussen, Stockholm"></a>
    • Like Like x 6
  2. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Hi tommie and welcome to the forum!

    I see your problem. One thing that surprises me: Your Sigma 19mm is not sharp? Usually, this lens is just as good as the Sigma 30mm.

    Second: 'Zooming with your feet' of course is only possible to a certain degree, but in such situations changing lenses is handy. ;)

    As for zooms - don't bother getting the 18-55 if you're not happy with the IQ of the 16-50. I don't know much about legacy zoom lenses, but if you can spend the money, the Sony Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 16-70mm f/4 is one awesome piece of glass.

    And: You have some very nice photos there! I like the first five and the seventh.
  3. tommie

    tommie TalkEmount Rookie

    Mar 7, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden
    No, my copy of the Sigma 19mm seem to have a much harder time of nailing focus in comparison to the 30. But when it sort of do it just never has the level of sharpness that the 30 got.

    Yeah, the Zeiss 16-70 would be an awesome fit for me if it weren't for the fact that the price just is too steep.
    I don't feel like it would be wise to spend $1000+ on a lens as a beginner.

    Thanks for the appreciation of the photos. :)
  4. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Lenses are something that lasts you a lifetime. If you can somehow spend the money I can almost guarantee you you won't regret it. And if you do, used lenses can be sold without too much of a loss.
  5. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Real Name:
    Welcome to the forum ;)

    I don't have any recommendations to give you regarding your MF zoom lens quest (I would advice the MD 35-70 3.5 Macro if you haven't already mentioned it or the MD 28-85 which gives a slightly more convinient FL)

    Now, let me just say that your photos posted above are AMAZING!!! Lovely composition and really like your Post processing style :thumbup:
  6. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    My sigma 19mm is much softer than 30mm too. It is no way bad but I would use it more if it were somewhat sharper.

    Legacy short focal length zooms are generally even worse. I would take 19mm&30mm Sigmas, Minolta 35-70mm and Vivitar 70-150mm/3.8 if I would travel.

    Yesterday I took about 200 photos using Sigma 30mm and 20 with Contax Sonnar 85mm/2.8 and 5 with Sigma 19mm. Pretty happy with about half of 85 mm photos and quarter of 30 mm. 19mm photos are ok, about 50 people in group.

    Sometimes you have to pay for quality lenses. Sigma 19mm & 30mm are extremely cheap for their optical quality.
  7. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    That's the thing. It's hard to get any better wide angle lens for this kind of price, especially if you're looking at legacy zoom lenses.
  8. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    My 19 is at least as sharp as my 30. Sometimes it even seems sharper . Perhaps getting another copy of 19 is the answer ?

    Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 2
  9. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Real Name:
    Yeah, no advice from me either. But your photos rock!
  10. tommie

    tommie TalkEmount Rookie

    Mar 7, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden
    NickCyprus: Yeah, i've thought about the md 28-85 or some other 28-70 but the shortest FL is just too close to the Sigma 30 which would make such a zoom less usable. It's more often that i'm at the shorter FL's than at the longer ones.

    xXx1: Yeah, well -- that's sort of the problem with the NEX lenses. That there really aren't much to choose from within each focal length. It's like $100 or $1500 and nothing in between.
    Poki: That may be the case. From the shots i've seen with the MD 35-70 3.5 macro it does seem great though. The problem with that lens is mostly the 1,5x crop factor on the NEX. Else it seems it would be a great match.
    Amamba: Yeah, since i won't be using the 19mm any more i'll probably send it back and hope for a better copy.

    Thanks for the appreciation of my photos btw. :)