Recommendations for a manual zoom?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Arutemu, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Arutemu

    Arutemu TalkEmount Veteran

    Jun 11, 2015
    Just like it says on the tin... Trying to gauge the collective wisdom here. Here's the question: I am trying to get a good-quality manual zoom for my A7R II - what would be the recommendations?

    I have specific purposes and specific requirements. Purpose: shooting city scenes/cityscapes at night from a tripod. Don't care that much for variable vs constant aperture as long as it meets my two requirements.


    1. Sharpness - I would like it to match as close as possible the A7R II resolving power. I know that may not be possible with older manual zooms, but there's got to be good ones out there.

    2. Good starbursts. I am looking for something like nice 18-point starbursts for sources of light when stopped down.

    That's it. I don't care about brand name/weight/aperture. I want sharpness and starbursts. Any suggestions?
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  2. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Those are tough requirements. Not aware of any 18 bladed aperture old zooms to my limited knowledge. Perhaps there were a couple German ones. (?)

    As for sharpness, from the manual zooms I've used, the following I would rate as excellent in sharpness...

    Tamron SP 01A 35-80mm f/2.8-3.8
    Considered the best of the standard zooms from that era. Called the zoom that thinks it's a prime. It lives up to that rep as it's prime sharp from what I can see. But it's in the same exclusive club as the Rokkor 35-70 f/3.5 you already own. So, it may not be much difference. But it does have 8 blades for a well defined 8 point star at f/16 or f/22.
    (it goes down to f/32)

    Olympus Zuiko MC 35-70 f/3.6
    Same as above, but has that Zuiko rendered look. Probably no improvement over the Rokkor again.

    Minolta MD Rokkor 50-135mm f/3.5
    Uncommon but useful focal range zoom. Very sharp for a zoom, likely a great match to the Rokkor 35-70mm.

    Yashica ML 75-150mm f/4
    Very sharp and contrasty like a prime. Fixed length internal zooming design. Sharpest zoom I've got in the 70-150 mid zoom range. Yashica ML lenses in general are sharp as hell with a similar Zeiss T* look.

    Vivitar Series-1 70-210mm f/2.8-4 (Komine)
    Very good center sharpness wide open with a hint of aberration. Very sharp across the frame once stopped down. Very good color and contrast.

    Tamron SP 23A 60-300mm f/3.8-5.4
    I think this lens is the best of breed for super zooms. (>3x) My best 300mm zoom...better than the Tokina AT-X 100-300 f/4 SD.
    It out performs many 300mm primes I own. I can't see any aberrations throughout the range. It's very clean and sharp. I love this lens. And it's always included on any road trip in case I need a long lens. It has relegated all my other zooms to dust collector status. Including the Vivitar Series-1 above.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018 at 6:35 PM
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  3. Arutemu

    Arutemu TalkEmount Veteran

    Jun 11, 2015
    Thanks mate! These are all excellent recommendations and something to think about. I will check out the Tamron SP 01A 35-80mm f/2.8-3.8 first.
  4. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    75-150mm f3.5 E-Series Nikkor.
    Pretty light and sharp with decent rendering of OOF areas. Stopped down to f16 you can get sunstars but usually at the cost of flare, ghosts and reduced contrast, but then I've used mine more for portraits than anything else and liked it quite a bit for those sorts of shots.
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  5. chalkdust

    chalkdust TalkEmount Veteran

    Sep 25, 2015
    Bert Cheney
    Though I am certain that Arutemu knows this, I would like to make clear for others potentially reading this post - - IBIS will be a pain to use with these lenses. A careful reading of Arutemu's requirements shows that he intends to use these on a tripod and probably with long exposures (at night). So IBIS was not in his use case. So the current discussion all makes sense. But the future, potentially novice reader should consider carefully.
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  6. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 13, 2013
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  7. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 8, 2013
    These 2 manual Canon zoom lenses from film days have become my most used on the NEX7 model:
    Canon FD 24-35/3.5-L
    Canon FD 35-105/3.5
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  8. Arutemu

    Arutemu TalkEmount Veteran

    Jun 11, 2015
    What mount is that? I see a bunch on ebay, like Contax Vario-Sonnar 35-70mm F/3.4 T* MMJ Carl Zeiss, but am not sure what adapter I will need for A7R II. Ideas?
  9. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Unless stated otherwise in the description it should be the Contax/Yashica (C/Y) Mount.
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  10. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
  11. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 13, 2013
    Contax/Yashica, yes. I still have a soft spot for my 50/1.4...slightly busy bokeh but gorgeous micro-contrast. Love it.
  12. Arutemu

    Arutemu TalkEmount Veteran

    Jun 11, 2015
    Ordered a copy for $20. Wow, this thing is impressive! It resolves on A7R II and I can only compare it to the Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 prime! This is one impressive lens!

    Thanks all for the recommendations! I ordered a couple more from the list you guys provided, so I will post pics as they come.

    40333032491_c6e2db373b_b. A night out by Artem, on Flickr
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  13. newst

    newst TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 20, 2014
    Troy, MI
    Steve New
    Well I bought one of these Tamrons because of the recommendations here. While I don't normally use zoom lenses I wanted something with more reach than my Rokkor 2.8/200. Mine was a bit more expensive than $20 but still a good price, and I too am pleasantly surprised with the image quality it produces.
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