Opinion: Your top 3 MF lenses to adapt to the Sony A7/R

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by DigitalD, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. DigitalD

    DigitalD TalkEmount Veteran

    Mar 2, 2014
    David K Fonseca
    I'm curious what this thread will produce.

    Here is the question, in order of priority what is your recommendation for the top 3 MF lenses to consider for adapting to a Sony A7/R? Looking for fast primes from normal to short tele category.
  2. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I would like to experiment with
    -Samyang 14mm
    -Ensinor 24mm/2.8
    -Industar 61 LD
    -Carl Zeiss 50mm/1.7
    -Carl Zeiss 85mm/2.8

    I am currently experimenting with 135mm lenses so one of these too.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. f/otographer

    f/otographer TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 20, 2013
    Yep, this one is going to be all over the place.

    There are two ways to go about this. Keep all three lenses in one lens line or cherry pick from two or three different manufacturers. Each way has its advantages. Sticking with one line can keep all your photos looking very similar no matter how much lens swapping you do. Cherry picking can lead to the supposed 'best' lens of each focal length, but bokeh, tone, contrast and overall look can be very different and lead to more work in post. Either way is valid.

    My top three would be two Yashica ML lenses, and one other.

    ML 50/1.7
    ML 28/2.8

    The other lens is a toss up. You said normal to short tele so I am assuming you dont want wide angels. If you did I would list my new Tokina 17/3.5 as the third lens. But moving up the other direction....well I dont know. It would be a portrait lens most like. But I have never shot with any 70-85mm lenses so I cant comment directly. Although I did use an old Nikon 105/2.5 for a while that was astounding. To bad I really dont like Nikon lenses and I sold it.

    I have a Yashica ML 35/2.8 on the way. Favorable results might make it make the list.

    If budget is no problem then lots of good results are coming from the Leica R lenses. You could have a nice Elmarit 28/2.8, Summicron 50/2, and Elmarit 90/2.8. I have not used any of these so I cant recommend them directly.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Ad Dieleman
    Long story short, if I had to limit myself to 3 lenses (which fortunately I don't have to), my favorites are

    1. Konica Hexanon AR 40mm 1:1.8. For me 40mm is the ideal focal length for a standard lens and the Konica does very well from f/2.8 onwards, eminently suitable for landscapes at f/8.
    2. Minolta MD 100mm 1:2.5. Superb image quality, pictures from this lens show a supreme amount of fine detail with beautiful contrast.
    3. Olympus OM Zuiko 21mm 1:3.5. Best super wide-angle I have, though not perfect. Best used at f/11.
    This is what's been in my bag most of the time lately together with the A7.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 22, 2012
    1) One of either FDn 85/1.2 or Contax Zeiss 85/1.4
    2) Canon FDn 28/2
    3) Voigtlander 21/1.8

    Either of the 85s have great results, though I'd start off at around f2 on FF anyway, because it's pretty darn thin DoF below that. I haven't actually shot the latter Canon and Voigtlander on A7 but the FDn 28/2 was probably the sharpest wide I've used and the Voigtlander shots I've seen are quite amazing. Obviously you'd be using it at f5.6+ in daylight but at night you could get 3 stops to play with and that itself is amazing. Only thing I don't like is the bulky fixed hood but oh well, can't have everything.
  6. flash

    flash TalkEmount Rookie

    Apr 11, 2012

    W.A.T.E. (Leica wide angle tri elmar).
    CV50mm f1.5
    Leica 90mm f2.0 APO.

  7. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    They're in my signature:

    Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2
    Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4
    Canon FDn 85mm f/1.2L OR Canon FDn 135mm f/2

    But I certainly wouldn't want to give up my 12mm f/5.6, either...choosing is always so hard.

    But there's a lot of great glass out there...

    Contax 45mm f/2
    Minolta 58mm f/1.2
    Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5
    Olympus 90mm f/2 Macro
  8. DigitalD

    DigitalD TalkEmount Veteran

    Mar 2, 2014
    David K Fonseca
    Yep, 24-28 is about as wide as I ever like to shoot however I havent looked into the Tokina so thanks for the new research project! :D

    I have been interested in these. And from what I see not too expensive on auction either which is nice. Thanks!

    There are a lot of Konica 50mm available. How do they compare with the 40mm?

    Good to hear about the minolta, that may be my 100 for sure. Thank you!

    How does the Nokoton 40mm 1.4 compare with the ones you listed.

    I would also ask all what your impressions are of the Rokinon 85mm ƒ1.4. Its a fairly new lens but seems to be promising.

    Thanks for all the input thus far! Extremely helpful for anyone I would guess :D
  9. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I did use quite a long time choosing between Samyang 85mm/1.4 (that is the manufacturer behind Rokinon), Carl Zeiss Contax Planar 85mm/1.4 and Carl Zeiss Contax Sonnar 85mm/2.8. I did choose the last one. The reason was simple, I don't need the subject isolation 1.4 provides and that Sonnar is pretty sharp at 2.8 and cheapest of the lot.

    For technologically minders there is a huge difference between 40mm and 50mm lenses. 40mm lenses had to be retrofocus types in the old days and as retrofocus lenses are unsymmetrical their manufacturing is much more complicated than symmetrical ones. Therefore they were much more expensive to make.

    Simply the best bang for buck has been Industar 61 LD. It is amazing little lens.
  10. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Ad Dieleman
    I'd say they're about the same from what I've seen in samples of others. I have a Konica 40 because I love this focal length and there aren't many 40mm legacy lens models around. If 50mm is OK for you, there's no real need to stick with Konica, other brands have 50's for the same prices and with comparable image quality when you go for speeds between 1:1.7 and 1:2. 1.4 lenses cost more, but they're worth it IMHO. For instance the Minolta MC Rokkor 50/1.4 is excellent, even at f/2, and goes for well under $100.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    I could list what I have or what I favor the most but that's not necessarily going to be the best option for others.

    You can make a wish list and go seek it out on eBay if you like. Or you can keep your eyes peeled and go with whatever turns up locally in a thrift store. That's how I wound up with my Canon FL 55/1.2 and the Minolta MC Rokkor-PG 50/1.4 for next to nothing. I got into the Leica R series (Summicron-R 35 & Macro Elmarit 60) via Craigslist. The Leica acquisitions have not been screaming bargains, but if you're looking for the ultimate in optical & build quality, there is a certain "search over".

    Especially in the 50mm range, projecting onto a comparatively coarse pixel grid (like the A7), I don't think you're going to notice a monumental difference in sharpness between good lenses of which there are so very many. Nuances in colors, BOKEH, flare and overall handling will be more apparent.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. DigitalD

    DigitalD TalkEmount Veteran

    Mar 2, 2014
    David K Fonseca
    Decisions, decisions...

    and wow, your not kidding on the Industar! That may be a no brainer. It would be my first Leica M mount lens ;)

    Thank you. I have the MD Rokkor so glad to know it ranks. I haven't used it much on the EM-1 because I'm not thrilled with the crop factor of m43 for vintage (hence the wanting to jump to an A7)
  13. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I haven't used it myself, though I'd like to at some point.

    If you need/want f/1.4 or faster at this focal length, then the difference between the Rokinon vs. other fast 85's is primarily that build and reliability. I'm confident that with care I'll be able to get another couple decades of use out of my Canon FD 85mm, while Rokinon's are known for their plastic. You're more likely to get a misaligned element in the Rokinon from a light bump than you would from a sturdy name brand lens. At the same time, the Rokinon is generally a few hundred less.

    On the other hand, if you're on a budget, but don't need f/1.4, then I'd suggest a Contax G 90mm f/2.8, which can be had for less than $300 and gives a very nice sharp image and great contrast. I've seen them go for less than $200, though not since the A7's release (hmmmm...).
    • Like Like x 1
  14. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 13, 2013
    My favourites:
    - Voigtlander 35/1.2 II for people/environmental. If I want to shoot stopped down I'll use the native 35/2.8.
    - OM 21/3.5. Small, sharp stopped down, nice and wide.
    - Contax Zeiss Planar 50/1.4. Have a soft spot for this one. Again, the native is better from 1.8 onwards, but this one's charming.

    The two I haven't tried extensively yet (only recently got the adapter) are the Leica Rs. I have high hopes for both, particularly the 28…my desire for other 50's is kinda low due to my current fling with the FE ;)
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Snowy

    Snowy TalkEmount Veteran

    Nov 18, 2013
    Melbourne, Australia
    I have the A7. If forced to be limited to just three MF lenses, of those that I have experienced to date, then they would be the following:
    1. Minolta MC Rokkor 50mm f1.4
    2. Minolta MD Zoom 35-70mm 1:3.5 Macro Rokkor
    3. Minolta MD 100mm f4 Macro Rokkor
    • Like Like x 5
  16. Miessli

    Miessli New to TalkEmount

    Apr 12, 2014
    Hi Guys i am also switching aroung with a lot of altglas my preference for a set of 3 lenses at the moment would be olympus zuiko 21mm f2.0, leica summilux 50mm asph and the fantastic minolta md 135mm f2.0, but there is so much beautiful glas around :)
  17. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Ad Dieleman
    Hmm, that's quite some special glass you have there! Would you be able to share full-size pics from the Olympus 21/2? I'm remotely contemplating getting one...
  18. Dan Euritt

    Dan Euritt TalkEmount Regular

    Jan 11, 2014
    can we also list wide angle lenses? because everyone makes a sharp 50mm, it's hard to go wrong at longer focal lengths.

    - canon fdn 24mm f/2.8: i tested six 24mm primes, this one had the least amount of field curvature, by a long shot... they are easy to find, and reasonably priced

    - vivitar/kiron 28mm f/2.0: 28mm lenses in general are much more forgiving on the a7r, even cheap 28mm lenses can look good, but you have to evaluate the field curvature regardless.
  19. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Ad Dieleman
    The Minolta 17/4 does quite well on my A7, provided you shoot and focus at the same aperture, it has quite some focus shift. Best aperture is f/8. The Olympus 21/3.5 and Minolta 20/2.8 is a tie as far as I'm concerned, not completely happy with either of them. Olympus 24/2.8 is great, sharp corner to corner at f/8 and even useable wide-open. My best 28's are the Olympus 28/3.5 and Minolta MD 28/2 (not the Rokkor version!); I have all Minolta 28mm optical designs and the plain MD 28/2 is the best of them.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. DigitalD

    DigitalD TalkEmount Veteran

    Mar 2, 2014
    David K Fonseca
    Hey, a little topic revival, cool! I have to chime back in with my recent acquisition. The FDn 20mm f2.8. Im not usually a wide angle shooter but this lens is fun and sharp by my standards. I started a thread for it here:

    • Like Like x 1
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