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Would like some opinions on lenses

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by AlwaysOnAuto, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Feb 17, 2015
    In the next two weeks I'll have the opportunity to get photos of my whole family together for a gathering that may not happen again for quite some time. This means the pictures matter, at least to me anyways.
    I stopped by the local camera shop today and they have 3 Sony E mount lenses that are in like new condition.
    Sony 55 1.8
    Sony 35 1.8
    Sony 85 1.8

    If I remember correctly the 35 was $349.
    The 55 was $600 or so and the 85 I don't remember.
    I'm not very happy with the pictures I've taken of family with my Sony 28. They just don't have the 'look' of what I feel even snap shots should look like. Hence my thinking one of these might be OK or at least a better fit. I'm willing to give up some of my manual lenses that aren't getting used as much as they should, mainly because they're heavier than I'm willing to truck around now days.
    I'm thinking the 55 would be the best choice.
    I'm basically looking to turn my A7ii into a point 'n shoot since the little ones won't be standing still and manual focus is just not going to cut it.

    OR, I could just rely on the old standby D7000 with the 18-200, heavy tank that it is.

    I'd like to hear from the collective here as I've no one else to ping this off of.
    Thanks.
     
  2. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    I’d go with the 35mm. More versatile focal length in my opinion than the 55 and the 85
     
  3. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    I'm a little confused by the 35 1.8. The only 35 1.8 E-mount I know of is for APSC, but you say you have and A7II. Do you really want to turn a 24mp FF camera into a a 52mm 10mp APSC camera? Unless price is a concern, I would go with the FE 55mm.
     
  4. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    The used 55 f/1.8 is the only one most versatile for a full-frame body. The 35mm is a more flexible focal length indoors and gatherings, but as Gary pointed out, it's the wrong lens type. 85 is for headshots unless you have enough space for full body shots. But for the price of the used 55mm I'd consider a zoom. The Zeiss 24-70 f/4 or new Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 would give you that point and shoot capability.

    BTW, the 28mm f/2 on your NEX-7 would be a fine backup camera and portrait combo. 28mm on the APS-C sensor yields a great FOV.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. firemist

    firemist TalkEmount Veteran

    316
    Dec 4, 2015
    Have you considered a 28-70 zoom? These are widely available on Ebay now for $200-$230 "new" - having been bought with the A7iii as a kit, then sold on.

    The zoom is flexible for family shots and the IQ is adequate for portraits.
     
  6. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 22, 2012
    My take is the 28mm is already your ideal focal length as a "point and shoot" lens. Remember, it's basically the same FL as the 18-200's starting point (which lots of people never shift unless they are trying to "zoom"), and is an ideal length for gatherings where you need some wideness to capture context but not an extreme amount. The same physics apply to the 28mm as a 35mm: For portraits, you want your subject square near-ish in the center, and then let perspective warp the edges away from the camera for you (arguably the 28mm does it better than 35mm... but I am not a 35mm fan). This is why the "point and shoot" big sensor cameras like the Ricoh GR, Fuji X100, RX1, etc. are all 28-35mm in FL. It's a different kind of subject isolation from a fast portrait lens. But if you want that kind of portraiture, the 55mm will do it effortlessly, while the 85mm will do it even better (with less face roundness) but you will need the space or learn to shoot tight frames.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    What is it you do not like about the 28mm? Is it the FOV, or the way the lens renders?

    For family gatherings, I think wider (to a point) is better so of the three choices you gave, I'd choose the 35mm focal length, but that definitely sounds like the APS-C/A6xxx lens. In which case, if the only other choices are the 55/85, I would do the 55.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Tipton

    Tipton TalkEmount Top Veteran

    531
    Jan 30, 2016
    Rae Leggett
    Are you going to take group shots or snaps of individuals?

    I think the 85 is too tight for this type of thing. That leaves the 35 for group shots or the 55 for individuals.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    35mm is far more versatile on a FF that a 50mm. With the 35mm you can shoot group photos and individual portraits, with the 55mm you'll struggle with group shots...
    Get the correct (FF) 35mm lens for your A7II
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    I would certainly agree with you Nick, but what about the elephant in the room...

    People keep saying 35mm is more versitle, but the OP listed the lenses he is considering from his local store. A FF 35mm is not in the list. There is no such thing as a Sony FE 35 1.8. Could it be the FE 35 2.8?

    In that case, 35mm while the focal length is more versatile, 2.8 is not as versatile as F/1.8. Even so, I seriously doubt the OP would find a like new FE 35 at $349. This is why I say the 55mm is the best option.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    I'm with you on this one Gary :2thumbs: ;) 
     
  12. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Feb 17, 2015
    Thank you all for the input!
    I have to admit, I didn't look as closely at the lenses as I should have since I was trying to NOT buy one of them right then and there.
    I do remember the 35 was an OSS lens, so yes, I think it is an APS-C lens.
    The 55 was a Carl Zeiss Sonnar T without OSS. (I think)
    Is that a Sony lens?
    I really should go back and look more closely today.
    I think I'm ready to give up my Nikkor 50 1.2 for something that helps me get easier pictures of my family.
    I have to admit, I haven't taken a lot of family pictures because they always complain about it.
    The ones I have taken that I like the most are those that I used my Micro Nikkor 55 on.
    That's why I'm leaning towards the 55.

    Again, thank you all for your inputs.
     
  13. chalkdust

    chalkdust TalkEmount Top Veteran

    543
    Sep 25, 2015
    Bert Cheney
    Yes, the 55mm f/1.8 is a Sony Lens. That is, it is sold in a Sony box. Designed by Zeiss, built by (not sure who). It is a remarkable lens in that its resolution is excellent from wide open. It has very few people who find fault with it and even fewer real faults. It has a noticeable amount of LOCA - which I doubt will bother you AT ALL for family portraits. I liked mine very much until I dropped it - then liked it less. So I recommend that you do not drop it.

    I think it will be a bit tight for posed group shots. It will be wonderful for candid shots. It's f/1.8 is very nice for indoor, candid family gathering situations. I liked its autofocus responsiveness in those situations also.

    It will not decrease the amount of complaining you get from family members. I think those complaints are just part of family gatherings and should be cherished.
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  14. erb3742

    erb3742 TalkEmount Rookie

    10
    Jan 8, 2018
    I love the rendering of the Sony/Zeiss 55/1.8. When I switched to Sony it really made me fall in love with the system. It is great for full body portraits and even capturing a couple people given the room to step back. Another great option though pricey new is the 35/2.8 which I scored on craigslist for $450 and it has similar rendering. Obviously the 1.8 vs 2.8 makes a difference though for group shots and an ultra compact solution the output is terrific.

    I find the 85mm/1.8 to be amazing for focused portrait work but too long of a focal length for around the house family candids.
     
  15. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    Have you considered the Techart Pro adapter with your Nikkor lenses? You get the TAP plus a Nikkor-to-M adapter and you get autofocus. Personally I'd still go for something wider for family events, but the TAP works pretty well if AF is the main missing ingredient.
     
  16. newst

    newst TalkEmount Veteran

    316
    Aug 20, 2014
    Troy, MI
    Steve New
    Since the 35mm OSS lens IS APS-C, and is out of the running, the choice between the remaining two needs to be based on what your plans are in photographing this family get-together. Both of the remaining lenses are excellent performers. I own the 1.8/85 and used to own the 1.8/55, my only quibble with the 55mm is that I believe it to be too expensive for what it produces. To me, the Zeiss name isn't worth the markup, but that isn't an issue here.

    If your primary goal is to get posed portraits of your family members to formally document the event for posterity I would recommend the 85mm. That kind of photography is where it shines. However, if your plan is to take candid shots of the kids playing in the yard, a small group around the grill etc. the 55mm will be a better tool.

    A number of replies have mentioned a wider lens for group shots. In my opinion, your 28mm should fill that role. It may have shortcomings as a portrait lens but the requirements for capturing a group are different.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  17. unlo

    unlo Sony ******

    Jan 19, 2014
    Ohio
    Matt
    i LOVE the aps-c 35 1.8 on my Nex5r and my a6500. however, never dreamed of putting it on my a7ii (i also own the 28mm) which IS great on my a6500 as well.
    If you go the 55 route (what i vote for too) you will be more than in love with the 55 after about 2 shots! I also got my 55 used, and couldn't be happier with the purchase.
    that said i've been trying to put some $$ back for my own 85 it is only a matter of time before I add her to the collection of native primes.


    I vote 55mm Zeiss for sure!
    Some may say the 55 focuses slowly, however, after i purchased mine i made sure the lens and my camera body were up -to - date and i've not had any issue with slow focus with my 55.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  18. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Feb 17, 2015
    I'd totally forgotten about my TAP adapter. Sheesh.
    I guess I could break it out and give it a try.
    The setup learning curve seems like Mt Everest at this point.

    I appreciate all your inputs. I'll probably just muddle thru with what I have.
     
  19. newst

    newst TalkEmount Veteran

    316
    Aug 20, 2014
    Troy, MI
    Steve New
    Likely the best move. Use the equipment that you already know. It takes time to learn how to get the best out of a new lens. Unless you have enough time to dedicate to that learning curve before your family gathering the best move is to stick with what you know.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    The 55mm is one of the fastest to focus (if not the fastest) FF lenses there are. It locks extremely fast even in low light!
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
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