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Ok, Which glass to use?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Rich, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Rich

    Rich TalkEmount Veteran

    253
    Nov 20, 2012
    Salisbury UK
    Richard
    Hi all.
    Hope I have posted this in the right section.

    I openly admit to being an AF man, its what I'm used to and it fits with what I do, but, maybe I'm not getting the "whole picture", so to speak, and perhaps I am limiting myself. I'm thinking perhaps I should explore MF, its obviously very popular around these parts!

    So, what lenses do I look for?
    Whats worth buying?
    Which mounts/adapters?

    Some information that will be useful:-

    The lens range I use most these days are 19, 23/24, 30/35, 50/60 (APS C)

    All of my output goes to stock agencies, IQ is paramount, corner to corner, edge to edge. I habitually shoot at 5.6/8, although sometimes I like to limit the DOF for some selective focus shots.

    Subjects covered, pretty much everything, like all stock shooters. Generally, I don't shoot wide, rather, I pick out details in a subject, for example, instead of photographing a whole door, I will pick out the letter box, the door knocker, the door bell button. Architecture, detailed buildings, the 23mm on the X100 and the Sigma 19 and 30 on my 5N do this well, as do the 35 and 60 on the X PRO 1.

    The above mentioned lenses do a really good job, AF is not particularly fast, but then my subjects don't move.

    So, am I missing out, are there some MF lenses that will "better" what I am using currently?

    I don't intend to spend a lot of money pursuing this quest so Leica glass is out of the question, at the moment anyway.

    Any and all thoughts and suggestions welcome.

    Rich.
     
  2. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Well, 50mm is certainly the most cheap and plentiful length to sample! Unfortunately IME as you go wider, the selection narrows, the price hikes up and the performance gets taxed harder. (The AF-Nikkor 35/2 is a good not too expensive option for 35mm IME. Focuses close, has an aperture ring and sharpens up well when stopped down.)

    I like the NEX for manual lenses because of the redundant focusing aids. You get focus peaking, which under certain conditions speeds things up considerably. If you have the time and want to make absolutely sure critical focus is exactly where you want it, the MF Assist zoom feature is of course hard to beat.
     
  3. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    I don't think the purpose of MF s to "better" AF. If so, I must have missed something entirely.
    I started tinkering with MF because I felt AF was vastly unsatisfactory on the NEX system.

    100a47fefc7988ed6f685f0258364c5c_cce.
    (30$ lens with fungus inside)

    But now, thinking about it, I realize there is MUCH more to it than that. For instance, I'm convinced that buying the SEL50/1.8 would yield fantastic pictures with excellent sharness, beautiful contrast and lovely bokeh, and all that with AF (ok, maybe not the fastest, but AF, still).
    Why I am NOT doing this ? Because I'm a little concerned that would rob me of the pleasure of playing with a dozen different beautiful, classy, hefty, exotic nifties that all have their specific charm, rendering and character.

    da1335e1da7814b153359573d2cebd65_d66.
    FL55/1.2

    Truth is, I love having the choice. I'm shooting 50's nearly exclusively (at least in fall/winter, when there's little opportunity using longer lenses outside), and yet it's a joy to be able to swap two or three times through a shoot if i feel like it. Optically the differences are very slight, indeed, but I've still become able to differenciating them with time, and handling wise they are very different, so there are times when I want a small plastic cheapo, and others when I'm longing for the beautiful solid metal feeling of a heavy/expensice SuperFast (my 1.2 lenses).

    94aa23a131a57319eaec00b535764932_d66.

    We are many dedicated MF users here and I am sure lots of them will have their say and explain their reasons. To me it certainly isn't to have something optically better, it's just that last time I mounted an AF lens (Sigma 30/2.8, excellent piece of glass), I was so underwhelmed by the experience I hastily put it back in its box (meaning I'm NOT likely to use it anytime soon...) and deep into my lens closet.

    Now, I realize this does not answer your question. I personally would vouch for two family of lenses : the FD/FL (Canon), pretty unsexy but optically crazy good, and excellent value (and very short adapter), and the Minolta Rokkos, about as good optically, much sexier and more pleasurable to handle.

    Just my 02 cents...
     
  4. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    Have you considered m43? The things you list are more easily obtained with m43, IMO:

    • "AF man" - many more good AF lenses in m43
    • "19, 23/24, 30/35, 50/60 (APS C)" (which is, on m43: 14, 18, 25, 35) They have some nice AF lenses in this range, especially given your next point
    • "corner to corner, edge to edge" and
    • "habitually shoot at 5.6/8" which would be f/4 to 5.6 in m43. m43 lenses are mostly sharp wide open, wheres NEX native lenses require 2+ stops down to get edge to edge shooting, and even then some of the lenses are weak across the frame regardless of how much stopping down you do
    • The newer m43 sensors have solid IQ (I wouldn't recommend the older ones for your work)

    IMO, NEX is better at a bit less DOF, which you are not pursuing at those f/stops, and slightly better at high ISO. Maybe a touch better DR, but you don't need that either for door knockers and the such.

    I think NEX is a bit better at portrait work than m43, and is good with MF, but otherwise your needs, though they could be satisfied by NEX, do not demand NEX, and you may hit some limitations with the lenses.
     
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I wouldn't say that you're missing out on anything. I choose to use manual focus lenses because I prefer the way they feel and the process of shooting that way. In terms of quality I think that MF lenses offer a lot of bang for the buck vs native counterparts. For instance a lens like the Olympus 45/1.8 on m43 is sharp, has terrific bokeh and a real value at around $300. My Rokkor 50/1.4 is also very sharp, has terrific bokeh (is better built) and cost me around $75.

    As to which glass...I've tried a lot of legacy glass and they are all pretty good. Each has their particular strengths and there are a lot of good options. I myself like Minolta Rokkor lenses for a few reasons. I find that I very much like the way they render an image. My experience is that they are sharp, handle OOF areas very well, focus peak well and seem to have very similar color between the lenses (I suppose their working relationship with Leica might have helped), I also like Minolta lenses because they are largely ignored by folks and typically fetch lower prices. Canon FD and FL lenses are also great values. You can find an FL 55/1.2 can be had for around $250...it's a great lens and I can't see finding a fast native lens like that for anywhere near that price.
     
  6. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    +1
    What they all said. :)


    Plus possibly one more thing I'd like to point out. IQ, sharpness, saturation, optical integrity at the corners can all be achieved by both AF and MF quality lenses. However, there is one characteristic that you may not easily get from modern AF lenses - and that's extremely fast f/stops and shallow DOFs. Obviously this is not something that's often necessary in stock photography but if and when you need it, this is where the MF legacy lenses shine and is outside the territory of most modern AF lenses.

    Case in point are the recent ballet photographs of Luiz Curcino with his wonderful Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 (having the equivalent APSC focal length of a 127mm telephoto)
    Link: https://www.talkemount.com/f20/welcome-fall-challenge-1457/index39.html#post12766

    That incredible leaping shot (in dim stage lights with no flash allowed) is amazingly sharp even at wide open aperture of f1.4, that allowed 1/250 sec shutter speed at nearly grain-free ISO400. This was achieved inconspicuously with a relatively small hand-held lens on a small NEX camera taken from the audience seating area (not a press box). I just cannot imagine this shot taken with a DSLR on AF. Not that it's not possible, but the lens cost would be astronomical, it would be a humongous telephoto monstrosity mounted on a monopod that would cause so much of a distraction, that I'm sure the photographer would've been ushered out of the auditorium.

    So I'd say try 'faster' aperture MF lenses in the focal lengths you use the most, and see if this adds a new dimension to your photography. :)
     
  7. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    Ditto for the FL55/1.2. It's the cheapest superfast around, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were up there with the best. Usable at 1.2, excellent pas 1.4, very sharp from 2 on, bleedingly so at 2.8. I always have to lower my ISO setting with it because it gathers so much light.
    Big, heavy, sexy and a pure joy to focus, it peaks very well and is among my easiest MF lenses to use.
    Really, unless you're put off by the size, and for anyone convinced they do love MF, there's little to flaw. At the other end of the spectrum the Rokkor X MD 50/1.7 (it seems this particular version can be trusted to have the best of both worlds, still a lot of metal parts, already the modern coatings of the later plastic versions) costs a little over 50$, is small and pretty light, insanely good for its price with a nearly perfect balance between sharpness, OOF areas, color and contrast. Sure, bokeh is smoother on the 1.4 version, which goes, as Kevin noted, below 80$.
    What's not to love ? Adapters ? Just buy the cheapest ones around.
     
  8. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    Yeah, not much to add that people haven't already stated. I got into manual because it was (1) cheaper (2) a skill worth learning. And now I enjoy it so much I prefer them to the native lenses (because manual focus by wire is horrible). You look very well covered, and the only "gap" I agree might be a superfast or mid-tele in the budget territory, that would only be possible in legacy options. If you're not entirely satisfied with the AF of your X100, I would suggest looking at a good FD 24/2.8. It has large depth of field which means you can go from min to max focal distance almost instantly - it is my "point and shoot" for manual lenses, and many say it's the sharpest wide (normal on APSC) Canon ever made for FD. I tried the FDn 35/2 and found it better than the overrated Thorium 35/2s that people seem to like because it's heavy as heck and radioactive (what?!), that's another real keeper from Canon, and cheap if you like that length.
     
  9. freddytto

    freddytto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2011
    Puebla, Mexico
    As they say there are plenty of lenses to choose from and the budget you're destined to spend, there are many legacy lenses out there that offer very cheap exceptional quality and mounted to a nex and using the peaking create amazing photos in personnel l like the 50mm, 28mm, I'm a street shooter so use my nex with some compact lenses with some not too bulky,don´t would scare the people, but there is plenty to choose according to your needs. Well then welcome to the group friend.: D
     
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I think the lenses we choose are dictated by what we like to shoot. For instance my favorites are my Rokkor 35-70 macro, Rokkor 50/1.4, Vivitar 28/2 Close Focus and Pen-F 40/1.4. The thing that most of my favorites have in common is the ability to close focus as it suits my choice of subjects. We each have our favorite brands and focal lengths (and have our reasons for preferring what we like) but I think most of us would agree that it's really hard to find a bad legacy lens. The NEX seems particularly well suited to MF lenses.
     
  11. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    After 60 years of postwar competition and lens technology, the only question is whether a lens is overpriced or not. I was seriously contemplating a Kiron 28/2 or 24/2 but after research, decided it wasn't as good as my current Canon FD 28/2 (too soft wide open, even compared to the FD), since I got my FD cheaply (about $80, but not a perfect copy) I would be hard pressed to find the Kiron version cheaper (both these lenses often go around $200 on Ebay). I probably overpaid for my Vivitar 28/2 at $100 but curiosity and the auction bid button got the better of me :p The contemporary offering is of course the Voigtlander 28/2, and maybe it is better (I honestly couldn't tell any difference with the sample I tried in the store) but not 5x the price better.

    You'd be in very safe territory with either Canon, Minolta or Nikon legacies (or Leica/Zeiss/etc), though it gets a riskier the more you venture into the cheap third party sellers (but the risk is less since they are really cheap). Name brands are also much easier to sell these on at negligible loss (and if you're patient enough, you can often sell it on at a profit), the main factor is time. And if they list any defects at all, don't buy it unless it's super cheap - there will always be another one advertised as "mint" or "ex+++" and likely selling at more or less the same price.
     
  12. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Kevin
    I agree, any of the major brands are a safe bet. Of the lesser known brands the Komine and Kiron made Vivitars can be very nice. There are also Russian clones like the Jupiter-8 (Sonnar clone), Helios 44 (Biotar clone), Industar 61 (Tessar clone) that can be bought for peanuts and sometimes be extraordinary values (Russian clones can have spotty build quality so it is a bit of a gamble but when you get a good one they can be a amazing).
     
  13. markoneswift

    markoneswift TalkEmount Veteran

    390
    Oct 17, 2012
    I shoot with manual lenses because I'm a tight a$$ and poor and cannot afford such lenses as, say, the Canon L series etc. Manual lenses can be obtained for stupidly low prices if you know where to look and they have a 'retro' charm that seems to be very much 'in vogue' at the moment. They are also devoid of expensive and / or heavy and / or complex IS systems, thus offereing portability, simplicity and ruggedness. I bought my Canon FD f/1.8 50mm for £20 and my Canon FD F/2.8 28mm for the same price. I also got a Canon FD F/4.0 70-210 zoom for £9 and a Helios 44/2 M42 Russina lens for £5. Happy days :)
     
  14. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    ^^Wow!!!
    I've been eyeing a FD 70-210mm too...hmm


    Can't comment on this thread 'cause I haven't shot with a legacy lens yet (have an MD 50 1.7 but waiting for my adapter still).
    I heard/read so many good things about shooting MF with legacy lenses on the Nex that I thought I'd try it myself - and bought the obvious choice, a classic 50mm one mostly cause they are so cheap to get - ie. cheap "gamble" in case I don't like/can't do MF and want to convert back to AF
     
  15. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    "After uttering these last few words, Nick spirals gently into the deep and dark manual focus abyss..."
    (In a low haunting cinematic voice)


    ;)
     
  16. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    I will just add my points of agreement to the auto versus manual argument.

    1- I don't think it has to be one or the other. I prefer to use my manual lenses, but have no problem using the auto focus lens for certain situations. For example we were at a BBQ and the adults were in the shade and the kids were playing out on some playground equipment and water side in the yard. I don't want to miss a great family moment adjusting settings on the camera going back and forth.

    2- The thing I really like about manual focusing is that it makes you think and purposefully choose what you are shooting, instead of simply pointing the camera and hopping it turn out. I get more failure shots than I probably would with the auto focus, but I also get more great shots with the manual focus.

    3- The price is much more appealing. Photography being one of many hobbies, I simply don't have or want to spend the funds on a $800.00 lens. It is not just that I don't want to spend the money, but that you can get a very nice lenses that was quite pricey in the 60's-70's for a real bargain. My most expensive lens that so far was $35.00 and the cheapest was $6.00. Both of which were several hundreds of dollars when they were new.
     
  17. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    So funny... So true.
     
  18. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    lol :d
     
  19. Rich

    Rich TalkEmount Veteran

    253
    Nov 20, 2012
    Salisbury UK
    Richard
    Thanks everyone, for taking the time and trouble to answer my question in such detail. There is a lot of good information there.

    Tomorrow I'm going to visit a second hand/antique emporium that we have in town. I've been there many times and looked at the very large displays of old, used, and unwanted photo gear, just about everything you can imagine except for the really high end stuff of course. I was there last week and I remember seeing Olympus, Minolta, Canon, Nikon, Vivitar, just about every make that has been mentioned in this thread.

    I have only scanned the shelves of lenses very quickly previously, so I don't know whether any of the models mentioned are likely to be there or not.

    I'll get down there first thing in the morning and ask the guy if I can go through all his stock. I would think he will be only too happy to let me, I think a lot of that stuff has been there a long, long time!

    I'll be back on here tomorrow evening to let you know if I was successful and tell you what I bought, if anything. At least I know where I'm going now.

    Again, thanks to you all.

    Rich.
     
  20. markoneswift

    markoneswift TalkEmount Veteran

    390
    Oct 17, 2012
    Good luck mate - happy hunting. There's a lot of dross made by all the manufacturers that you listed, but some gems too ! Look out for anything faster than say F/2.0 and the some of the less easily recognised names such as Kiron / Komine etc.