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kevistopheles

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I have been a huge fan of legacy glass for quite a while now. I've used it on m43 and NEX and prior to that I used compact RF cameras (could never afford the big guns) and my trusty OM1n and Konica T2. I have been through a LOT of legacyy glass and my love of it eventually brought me to NEX. So far so good. I have used Konica, Olympus OM, Super Takumars (SMC and not), Pen-F, Canon FD, various FSU lenses (Jupiter-8, Helios 44 and a smattering of Industars). Lately I have become taken with some Rokkors I got in a trade.

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the "best" lens for myself and I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing. In some ways they're all pretty good. Like cameras they each have their quirks and strengths. Some lenses have punchy color, others are sharp wide open, some have beautiful bokeh, some have amazing build quality and others are a terrific bargain. Very few of them are bad. In fact very few are just good. Most are better than good, a lot better. In my attempt to build the perfect set of lenses for myself I have realized that it is impossible. I have yet to find a lens that gives me everything. I haven't tried something like a Summilux or Distagon but I can't afford those so it's really immaterial. I have however found that out a few things I'd like to share.

1. I like lenses that have a close focus distance.
2. I like that 40-50 equivalent FL so in legacy land WA lenses are good (24's and 28's)
3. Speed is nice but I tend to shoot mostly at f4 or f5.6
4. I don't need more than one fast 50
5. I want a macro lens because I like to shoot closeup a lot and it can double as a portrait length (my all time favorite m43 lens was the PL45/2.8)
6. As much as I would like to convince myself that I NEED telephoto lenses (like my SMC 100/2.8) I rarely use them
7. I do however use my Konica 200/3.5 sometimes but I'd probably be happier with a Vivitar 70-210 Macro (Komine version)...see number 5

Finally, I have realized that IQ is not really the determining factor in whether or not I like a lens. It matters, but things like how does it feel in the hand, is it easy to use and does it focus peak well on the NEX matter as much if not more because IQ is going to be reliably good most of the time. So of all my lenses my favorites (and some were a surprise to me) are...

Vivitar 28/2 Close Fous
I like it better than my Hexanon 24/2.8 despite the Hexanon being a good deal more expensive. They're about equal in IQ but the Vivitar is smoother to operate,
the aperture dial is in a location more to my liking and the equivalent FL of 42 works better for me. Favorite photos:


The Hangover by dixeyk, on Flickr


Intent by dixeyk, on Flickr



Rokkor MC 50/1.4
The color is lovely and the lens is big, easy to hold and even nicer to use. It's sharp enough and has really nice bokeh. This lens also has a 3D look
that at least to my eyes looks different than any other lens I have. It also peaks better than any of my other 50's. Favorite photos (so far):


Sheltered by dixeyk, on Flickr


All Hallows Eve by dixeyk, on Flickr


Rokkor MC 50/3.5 Macro
I like having the ability to get really close. The Rokkor is color matched to the 50/1.4 (or so I understand) and I have all the accessories so while it
won't see a lot of use I feel like it's an important part of my kit. Favorite photo:


Wither by dixeyk, on Flickr


Honorable Mention:

The Olympus Pen-F 40/1.4 and Hexanon 40/1.8
To be honest these lenses are both really similar. I really doubt you'd see much difference between them IQ wise (although I think I prefer the Hexanon) but the
Pen-F focus has a 13 inch MFD AND peaks a whole lot better than the HEX. I might keep both. Favorite photos:

Hexanon 40

Wassup? by dixeyk, on Flickr

Pen-F 40

Bone by dixeyk, on Flickr


Finally, if what you're looking for is ultimate sharpness in a lens that you can afford. The Sigma 30/2.8 is it. It is THE sharpest lens I have used m43 or NEX and for $200 (or around $150 mint) you can't beat it. Like the P20/1.7 on m43 it's a lens everyone with a NEX should have. Even someone like me that is all MF...it's a nice to have a compact sharp AF lens that I can throw on if my wife wants pictures of my son or her parents or what-have-you.

from the Sigma

The Opening by dixeyk, on Flickr
 

Bimjo

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Good analysis Kevin. In the year that I've had my 5N I've come to the conclusion that for my MF lens lineup the size of the lens is really important to me along with image quality. Thus, I've decided that the Voigtlander LTM lenses are what I'm going to carry/use.

Are there beetter MF lenses out there? Sure there are. Are there less expensive lenses available? Absolutely. But for me the IQ of the CV lenses is good enough for what I'll do with an image (print size) and the commonality in the line is as big a plus for me as is the size.

On the AF front the 18-55 and the 55-210 are more than adequate for my needs. Once I choose a UWA AF lens I'll be set with a three lens setup that will cover anything I care to shoot.

I spent a lot of time and money buying lenses for my dslr, to the point of so much overlap that I occassionally suffered analysis paralysis deciding which lenses to take on a shoot. Now I just have to decide if I'm shooting MF or AF. In fact the CV lenses are so small I don't really need to decide, I can take both and just go with the flow.

I'm getting old enough that I just want to go shoot pics, not worry about my gear. ;)
 

kevistopheles

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Good analysis Kevin. In the year that I've had my 5N I've come to the conclusion that for my MF lens lineup the size of the lens is really important to me along with image quality. Thus, I've decided that the Voigtlander LTM lenses are what I'm going to carry/use.

Are there beetter MF lenses out there? Sure there are. Are there less expensive lenses available? Absolutely. But for me the IQ of the CV lenses is good enough for what I'll do with an image (print size) and the commonality in the line is as big a plus for me as is the size.

On the AF front the 18-55 and the 55-210 are more than adequate for my needs. Once I choose a UWA AF lens I'll be set with a three lens setup that will cover anything I care to shoot.

I spent a lot of time and money buying lenses for my dslr, to the point of so much overlap that I occassionally suffered analysis paralysis deciding which lenses to take on a shoot. Now I just have to decide if I'm shooting MF or AF. In fact the CV lenses are so small I don't really need to decide, I can take both and just go with the flow.

I'm getting old enough that I just want to go shoot pics, not worry about my gear. ;)

I respect that. It comes down to individual preferences for much of it. You like the CV lenses (they're pretty cool lenses BTW) for their combination of compactness and IQ. I like my Rokkor MC lenses because they're comfortable (for me) and their IQ. Whatever floats your boat right? That said, I could happy with any of the lenses I have...really. They're all pretty good and each has something to recommend them. For instance, if all I had was the Hex 40 that would be fine. It's compact and has a very short throw for focusing. If it was the Rokkor 50/3.5 that would be fine too. It's huge, easy to grip and close focuses. Some days I just feel like grabbing whatever comes out of the cabinet first and selling all the rest just to make my life simpler.
 

Bimjo

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I respect that. It comes down to individual preferences for much of it. You like the CV lenses (they're pretty cool lenses BTW) for their combination of compactness and IQ. I like my Rokkor MC lenses because they're comfortable (for me) and their IQ. Whatever floats your boat right? That said, I could happy with any of the lenses I have...really. They're all pretty good and each has something to recommend them. For instance, if all I had was the Hex 40 that would be fine. It's compact and has a very short throw for focusing. If it was the Rokkor 50/3.5 that would be fine too. It's huge, easy to grip and close focuses. Some days I just feel like grabbing whatever comes out of the cabinet first and selling all the rest just to make my life simpler.
Variety makes the world go 'round, right? ;)

It is what works for the individual. We've all seen some astounding work on this forum using all manner of lenses, from all manner of photographers. Makes me glad to be alive. :)
 

quezra

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Finally, I have realized that IQ is not really the determining factor in whether or not I like a lens. It matters, but things like how does it feel in the hand, is it easy to use and does it focus peak well on the NEX matter as much if not more because IQ is going to be reliably good most of the time. So of all my lenses my favorites (and some were a surprise to me) are...

Vivitar 28/2 Close Fous
I like it better than my Hexanon 24/2.8 despite the Hexanon being a good deal more expensive. They're about equal in IQ but the Vivitar is smoother to operate,
the aperture dial is in a location more to my liking and the equivalent FL of 42 works better for me.
Thanks, you're on to something about the 28/2 lens. I have the FD 24/2.8 and FD (new) 28/2, and despite the glass on the 28/2 being flawed, I like it so much more than the 24/2.8, and I can't really explain why. This is the lens I most often reach for when shooting nearly anything.
it's a nice to have a compact sharp AF lens that I can throw on if my wife wants pictures of my son or her parents or what-have-you.
Yes, this is a big problem here - I have the 18-200LE for generic use but it's big, heavy, and I hate leaving it on my camera and I won't take it to restaurants! But when I used to leave the old 18-55 kit lens on, I would often come home and discover gems my wife had taken of our daughter that were priceless. The only problem about getting the Sigma, I fear, is that I will soon want the Zeiss 32/1.8 or, the 24/1.8 might come down a bit once the true Zeiss (not Sony-made ones) come out, and having a wide fast AF lens would be sweet. Given the problems the pancake 16-50 are giving on the older NEX cameras, it looks like I will just have to wait till April to make a decision on the vast array of normal/wides that will be out by then. But the wait is killing me and the SEL 50/1.8 I bought to tide me over is great but it just doesn't fulfill the same role! I took some great pics with it on our anniversary dinner, but my god it was so embarrassing asking the waiter to clatter into other people's tables just to get a shot of the two of us. I really wish they would come out with a SEL 24/2.8 or something that is the ideal "group photo/any idiot can shoot with this" prime.
 

kevistopheles

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Thanks, you're on to something about the 28/2 lens. I have the FD 24/2.8 and FD (new) 28/2, and despite the glass on the 28/2 being flawed, I like it so much more than the 24/2.8, and I can't really explain why. This is the lens I most often reach for when shooting nearly anything.
I don't know what it is either but the Vivitar 28/2 always seems to deliver for me as well...flaws and all. I know I SHOULD prefer my Hexanon 24/2.8, it's supposed to be a great 24 (and it may well be) but it aint happening.
 

kevistopheles

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Variety makes the world go 'round, right? ;)

It is what works for the individual. We've all seen some astounding work on this forum using all manner of lenses, from all manner of photographers. Makes me glad to be alive. :)
I agree. It's nice to have some many options. ;)
 

nianys

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I'm with you guys, still in the searching, browsing phase, but coming down to a selection.
First of all, as Kevin said, there are very few "bad" ones. I had only one real dog, and sold it ultra cheap on eBay (the way I bought it). I'm sure it had nothing to do with the model and was down to sample variation.
My personal favorites are :

PEN F 38/1.8 I bought it from Kevin and couldn't be happier with it Due to the smaller size, versatile focal length and amazing IQ wide open, it's my to go lens when I step out the door.
Canon FD 50/1.8 It's an ugly piece of plastic 80'ness, but boy what a fantastic lens. After trying to dump it countless times, I realized it's probably my good luck charm lens, and decided to hold on to it anyway. Sold my beautiful FL 1.8 instead (both are very similar in IQ, the FD being maybe a tad sharper and the FL being less overly contrasty.
Canon FL 55/1.2 This one was not cheap but I wanted a mint copy and I paid a fair price. It's a challenging lens to shoot due to sheer size and the razor thin DOF, plus it has no clickable stops between 1.4 and 2. But boy what an incredible imaging tool. Hanging on to it !
Olympus OM 100/2.8. Lovely, lovely short tele, comes out as soon as I shoot outdoors, totally bokedelicious. I had kept a 50/1.8 as well that I sold on the board recently, and I have to admit I miss it a little bit ;)
Minolta MD 50/1.7 This very plain plastic lens isn't as ugly as the FD, but close. It also has a bit of fungus going on inside. And weirdly enough it's extremely good ! Just ordered the MC 1.4 version to test out, that will come with a "free" extra 50/1.7. Life is good :)
I do have 2 teles, 135 3.5 specs and both of them very good, might list them soon though as I hardly ever use them.
I also have a Rollei Planar 1.8 waiting for the adapter sitting in my drawer, and a M39 adapter on the way in case I'd feel the need to try a Jupiter 8.
Will probably pick the Sigma 30/2.8 off ebay this week if the one I'm watching goes cheap enough.
 

Dioptrick

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Finally, I have realized that IQ is not really the determining factor in whether or not I like a lens. It matters, but things like how does it feel in the hand, is it easy to use and does it focus peak well on the NEX matter as much if not more because IQ is going to be reliably good most of the time...
I agree...

You've made me think which one of my legacies would be my fav now that some time has passed, and again the humble Industar-61 on my 5N still makes me smile the most. :)



DSC-W120    ---    9mm    f/3.5    1/60s    ISO 125
 

Bill

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Thanks for the Sigma 30mm recommendation. Clearly, it's a bargain.

This 30 to 35mm NEX market, however, is about to get crowded with the new Sony 35mm next month (?) and the Zeiss 32mm early next year (?). Something's always coming -- so I'm not usually a wait-and-see kind of guy. But I think my purchase of a full-frame 50mm equiv lens deserves a little pause.
 

rich815

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Thanks for the Sigma 30mm recommendation. Clearly, it's a bargain.
I saw the Sigma at a local camera shop last week and agree, what a bargain. Having the Sony 30mm macro already and the Sigma only being a little faster I passed. Anyone have both and compared?
 

WT21

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Kevin, can you post a pic of your close focus lens? I'm looking around, and want to make sure I'm looking at the right one.

Also, how close is close?
 

kevistopheles

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Kevin, can you post a pic of your close focus lens? I'm looking around, and want to make sure I'm looking at the right one.

Also, how close is close?
You mean the Vivitar Close Focus? Here is link to a shot of one (not my photo) and I can get a shot of mine after I get home from work. Mine is Minolta MD mount, it was $120 with the adapter and I've seen them for a bit less since then.

Here are the specs from THE GREAT VIVITAR 28 BESTIARY

manufacturer: Komine (so the serial number starts with 28)
filter: 49mm
markings: green meter scale
optics: 8 elements in 7 groups
full focus range: 3/4 turn
front element turns: no
aperture blades: 6
aperture range: f/2-f/16
minimum focus: 23cm
maximum magnification: 1:5
weight: 280g
diameter / length: 64mm / 43-55mm (48.5mm official)
year: 1983?
price: $150
comment: Stats from official sheet and measured by Robin. Read review.
 

WT21

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How's the focus ring action? Smooth, stiff, a little hard to turn, or buttery like takumars and OMs?
 

kevistopheles

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How's the focus ring action? Smooth, stiff, a little hard to turn, or buttery like takumars and OMs?
On mine the aperture ring is super smooth and the focus has a bit of resistance. I don't find it hard to turn but it's not loose like my Konica 40 is
 

kevistopheles

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teefin1

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I wanna take pictures like these, all of these. My favourites of the sees being your son? With the hex 40 and those with the vivitar.
 

WT21

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Just ordered a 2.0 vivitar close focus 28 from eBay. Give 'er a go!
 

teefin1

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Just ordered a 2.0 vivitar close focus 28 from eBay. Give 'er a go!
Damn, now I want one! Budget is currently Nex 7 (this amount of pennies at least) broke....maybe the 5n is the sweet spot financially ;)
 
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