New Sony 35mm f/1.8, Samyang 45mm f/1.8, and Zeiss 55mm f/1.8

mesmerized

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Hello there,

We have a great selection of lenses (and focal lengths) these days and as good as it is to have a wide range of lenses to pick from, it can also be a bit overwhelming. Now, I own the 55mm Zeiss and I have no qualms about it, albeit I always struggle to find the right application for it. Never know where to use it to maximize its potential. I'm also thinking of getting another lens and I'm wondering whether a 35mm or a 45mm lens would be better. I know there are some fans of 45's out there (especially for street photography) and the Samyang seems to be q very good lens in all respects. Would be great to have all 3 focal lengths but then again they are all within 10mm's of difference and swapping them would be a bit of a pain.

Where do you see those lenses excel? In what types of photography would you use them? And which ones would you pick for your own collection?

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JonathanF2

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The 35mm works best for environmental portraits and especially indoors where you don't want too much distortion, but still need a wider FOV. The 45mm is a 'tweener lens between 35mm and 50-55mm, probably better suited for travel since it's a bit less restricting than the 50-55mm, but gives more attention to the subject than a 35mm lens. I'm actually not a big fan of the Zeiss 55mm, which is weird because I really like the Voigtlander 58mm 1.4 lens, but for some reason the Zeiss 55mm didn't do it for me.
 

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I use the 55 ZA as an all around lens, most times coupled with the 35mm ZA for people/portraits/travel, but with the 28mm f2 for landscapes and a wider perspective. These 3 are my lightweight kit, all with the 49mm filter thread. I find the 28mm is just a bit too wide for general people shots, (my wife was complaing why she was so small in many scenic shots) so I added the 35 a couple of months after getting the 28 and 55, and am very glad I did. I tried a 40mm, actualy 2, the Batis 40 f2 and Voightlander 40mm f1.2, but found I just didn't see enough differences from 35/55 combo to warrant keeping either of the 40's in lieu of one or both of the ZA's.

Also use the 55 with my Batis 85 and 135mm for my "serious" portrait shooting. It is a very sharp lens, see below, I love the color and detail it provides and I rarely leave home without it.
Alyssia-3525.jpg
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If you didn't already own the 55 f/1.8, I would've recommended a 40mm. Like the Batis 40-f/2. It's a nice all-rounder focal length. Less tight than the 55, and almost as wide as the 35mm. It yields a very natural look and perspective. The 55 is great for subjects, portraits, and still life close ups as the distortion isn't evident. A 35's wider view is great indoors, landscapes/cityscapes, thus a great travel lens. Distortion isn't noticeable and it's also great for stitching. It's my favorite focal length on full frame. I would recommend a 35mm to be added to your inventory.
I prefer the look of a 24mm over 28mm. So, my trio would be a 24mm, 35mm( or 40mm), and a 60mm macro or 85mm f/1.8.
 

mesmerized

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Thanks guys.

I do have the 55 but I really struggle to, sort of, find applications for it. I thought it would be a good lens for street photography (given how close it is to the standard 50mm lens) but for some reason it doesn't seem to work that well for me.
 

mesmerized

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Hello again,

Just wanted to show you a few pictures... I don't know why but I feel that first two pics make little sense to me. The 55mm seems too tight...

Maybe I could get better results with a 35mm lens... I could always take a step closer if I wanted to get a similar perspective to 50mm?

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I am not a big fan of 55mm myself, as you said "too tight". I like 35mm well enough but my current favorite all-around lens is 40mm, and I have a legacy 45mm I have also enjoyed a lot. Not too tight, not too wide, juuuust right. Since you own the 55mm though, it is getting kind of close in focal lengths ('gapping' as they say). Maybe you want to think about how many lenses you intend to have eventually, and steer your purchases to filling that out. Common kits are 3-5 lenses, e.g. 21/35/55/85/135 with some variations based on your preferences. You may find this useful for thinking about lens perspectives and multiple lens that work well together.

https://vahonen.info/fov/
 

JonathanF2

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55mm is not a general walk-around lens, unless you intend to shoot street/candid portraits or isolated subjects. The Samyang 45mm 1.8 is just a tad wider making it easier to use than a 50mm, but still practical for portrait work. The lens is also soooo sharp! Paired with 18mm 2.8 FE, I can pretty much shoot everything with those two lenses! It comes in cheaper than the new Tamron 17-28mm 2.8 while gaining more range and speed at the long end!

Sam 45mm 1.8 + A7III:
48712874611_63f040a5c8_b.jpg
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190908_SAMYANG_45_SAMPLES_FRIOLO by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

48712530318_5a3e679b42_b.jpg
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190908_SAMYANG_45_SAMPLES_FRIOLO by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr
 
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mesmerized

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55mm is not a general walk-around lens, unless you intend to shoot street/candid portraits or isolated subjects.
I've always thought that 50mm was a general walk-around lens... That's a bit of a shocker for me. I think I will have to get rid of it.

P.S. Strangely enough, the best pictures I've ever taken were with the Olympus em5mk2... Never been able to come close with my Sony...
 

JonathanF2

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I've always thought that 50mm was a general walk-around lens... That's a bit of a shocker for me. I think I will have to get rid of it.

P.S. Strangely enough, the best pictures I've ever taken were with the Olympus em5mk2... Never been able to come close with my Sony...
You were posting shots of general urban shots, where a wider FOV is better utilized. I was just saying 45mm gives you a bit of breathing room, you wouldn't normally get with a 50-55mm. The E-M5II is a good camera, if you prefer the Olympus output, why are you shooting with Sony? I don't recommend FF to anyone unless they have specific needs that can be addressed with the bigger sensor.
 

SpecFoto

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I've always thought that 50mm was a general walk-around lens... That's a bit of a shocker for me. I think I will have to get rid of it.

P.S. Strangely enough, the best pictures I've ever taken were with the Olympus em5mk2... Never been able to come close with my Sony...
Prime lenses are harder to use for some, as you do loose the flexibilty of having a FOV range without either moving your position or changing to another prime. For me, it is what I prefer with my Sony A73, as primes are usually a sharper lens and have faster apertures. But you might be better served with a zoom, something like the Tamaron 28-75 for Sony, which many say is excellent.

If you like your em5MK II, then one of the best zooms for it is the Olympus f2.8 12-40 Pro. I have used this lens for almost 6 years and just love it with my EM1's, and now with the Panny G9. I paid $1,000 new for it back in 2013, but Olympus has it on sale right now for $799 and you can get it direct from Olympus reconditioned for a coule hundred less than that. It is very sharp with great IQ, compact and a great value for a f2.8 lens, especially when you see what Sony wants for their new 16-55 f2.8 for APSC, $1,400!! I would rate it above the Tamaron 28-70 in IQ and build quality, plus it has a wider zoom range and is completly weather-sealed.
 
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mesmerized

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You were posting shots of general urban shots, where a wider FOV is better utilized. I was just saying 45mm gives you a bit of breathing room, you wouldn't normally get with a 50-55mm. The E-M5II is a good camera, if you prefer the Olympus output, why are you shooting with Sony? I don't recommend FF to anyone unless they have specific needs that can be addressed with the bigger sensor.
Hi Jonathan. Thanks for your input. Don't get me wrong please, I just always thought that 50mm lenses were a staple for every photographer and that most people consider them to be general-purpose lenses. I was probably wrong. I honestly find it very difficult to find applications for my 55 Zeiss and what's even worse is that I don't know why it's such a struggle. As for why I don't shoot with Olympus...

If you like your em5MK II, then one of the best zooms for it is the Olympus f2.8 12-40 Pro. I have used this lens for almost 6 years and just love it with my EM1's, and now with the Panny G9.
I had that lens and found it to be very good, albeit quite heavy when attached to my EM5mk2. Had to get an extra grip for the body and even then it wasn't well balanced. The best lens for that system is, in my opinion, Olympus 75mm f/1.8, and it was this lens that I took best photos with. I wold my Oly gear because I felt that the system wasn't going anywhere. I've always been a big fan of Olympus cameras (I still thin they have the best design out there) but in terms of tech m43 is sort of stuck. I have always wanted to have something like the EM5 but with a FF sensor. I don't feel very comfortable with Sony at the moment but we will see if I can get used to it. Maybe it's because I don't have the right lenses.
 

mesmerized

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What do you think about these in terms of composition? (They haven't been edited in any way)
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SpecFoto

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I like the 2nd one best, as the multiple bamboo stalks on the left are a bit distracting, but I like the camera position in #3 and #5 better, because it shows the full archway. As you shot at f1.8, I would have made sure to focus on the archway making it the center of attention, thus blurring out the bamboo in the background a bit, instead of the background being where your AF point was set. Look at JonathanF2 1st photo above where he focused on the 2 left trees with lights, thus making the foreground and people in the background both blur out a bit.

Great archway, would look great with a person under the arch. Do you have a friend or colleague you could photograph there? Having a person as a subject might give you a better understanding of what the 55mm f1.8 is cabable of.
 
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SpecFoto

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I had that lens and found it to be very good, albeit quite heavy when attached to my EM5mk2. Had to get an extra grip for the body and even then it wasn't well balanced. The best lens for that system is, in my opinion, Olympus 75mm f/1.8, and it was this lens that I took best photos with. I wold my Oly gear because I felt that the system wasn't going anywhere. I've always been a big fan of Olympus cameras (I still thin they have the best design out there) but in terms of tech m43 is sort of stuck. I have always wanted to have something like the EM5 but with a FF sensor. I don't feel very comfortable with Sony at the moment but we will see if I can get used to it. Maybe it's because I don't have the right lenses.
.
The Olympus 75mm f1.8 is a simple stellar lens, there is nothing in the Sony world that can match it for IQ, rendering and compactness. My Batis 135mm f2.8 is close, but in a much larger size. The 75mm and the Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2 lens are a killer 2 lens portrait set and for that reason I have kept these 2 lenses, along with the 3 original Oly Pro zooms, hoping that someday Olympus will make a 24-26MP body like the original EM1, but without that worthless to me flippy screen they put on the EM1 MkII. It is a shame that Olympus has lost their way, their latest $3,000 EM1X body is a sign that they only care about high dollar items and profit. (poor sales have already seen the price plummet $500). But their customers are screaming for a EM5 MKiii upgrade for less than half that (not me though- never again a flipy screen camera body)
 
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JonathanF2

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Hi Jonathan. Thanks for your input. Don't get me wrong please, I just always thought that 50mm lenses were a staple for every photographer and that most people consider them to be general-purpose lenses. I was probably wrong. I honestly find it very difficult to find applications for my 55 Zeiss and what's even worse is that I don't know why it's such a struggle. As for why I don't shoot with Olympus...

I had that lens and found it to be very good, albeit quite heavy when attached to my EM5mk2. Had to get an extra grip for the body and even then it wasn't well balanced. The best lens for that system is, in my opinion, Olympus 75mm f/1.8, and it was this lens that I took best photos with. I wold my Oly gear because I felt that the system wasn't going anywhere. I've always been a big fan of Olympus cameras (I still thin they have the best design out there) but in terms of tech m43 is sort of stuck. I have always wanted to have something like the EM5 but with a FF sensor. I don't feel very comfortable with Sony at the moment but we will see if I can get used to it. Maybe it's because I don't have the right lenses.
I consider the 50mm more of a generalist portrait lens. I consider the 35mm more of the walk-around lens that can double both for casual scenes and environmental portraits. 35mm is usually as wide as you can go before introducing distortion.

Olympus makes stellar lenses and great cameras, but I also feel their sensor tech is going nowhere and Fuji has seen more sensor progress due to being aligned with Sony's APS-C sensor, which benefits from tech like OSPDAF and all the advancements associated with it.
 

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