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Zonlai 25mm f/1.8 in E mount

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Hin Man, Jun 19, 2016.

  1. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
    I have been fascinated with this manual focus lens because I lack a 24mm that is small and compact. This one is inexpensive, I paid $120 new from a US seller with only one copy. It only works in aps-c. I am surprised that this Chinese lens comes with a nice hard box and a matching lens hood. Here are few initial shots in the arrival

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    20160618-DSC01603

    by Hin Man, on Flickr


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    20160618-DSC01602

    by Hin Man, on Flickr


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    20160618-DSC01605

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    The lens opening is well rounded and with step-less and click-less aperture ring. Focusing is smooth but it is a bit difficult to focus with precision. I think I will take my time to adjust to its focusing. And I plan to use 'Sugru' to add a focusing tab that is similar to Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4.

    Anyone on this forum with this lens? There is also a sister lens with Zonlai 35mm f/1.8. The minimal focusing distance on the 25mm goes to 0.18m or 0.6 feet.

    Cheers,
    Hin
     
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  2. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
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  3. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
    I only have 1-day with 1 hour of shooting, will run its course and report more.

    My initial impressions
    • Center sharpness is pretty good
    • Size is small and compact, even smaller than my Voiglander 40mm f/1.4
    • In E-mount, no adapter -- I love lens without adapter
    • Build is surprisingly decent with metal build for the price
    • Focusing ring is slippery and I find it great to get quick focusing but difficult to get precise focusing
    • Great click-less and step-less aperture ring which is located in the front.
    • Color can be a bit muted but with great character
    • Vignette on corners seem a concern for me at wide open aperture
    • Bokeh seems nice and unique. It reminds me of C-mount type of lens like the Fujian 35mm f/1.7
    27162515353_d22b22694f_b.
    20160618-DSC02070

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

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    20160618-DSC02074

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    27488214280_56d0bae7fd_b.
    20160618-DSC01608
    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    Cheers,
    Hin
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
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  4. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
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  5. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    Interesting new addition to APS-C E-mount!
    Nice compact profile, and easily see where they got their styling cues from when compared to your 40mm CV.
    Center does look sharp, with a very shallow DOF.
    The last set of pics got me hungry. :D
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. erd

    erd TalkEmount Rookie

    23
    Jun 16, 2016
    Erik Doree
    Is it at all wierd that I find silver lenses on a black body more appealing?
     
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  7. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
    27507485310_c64fb13e0a_b.
    20160618-DSC01604

    by Hin Man, on Flickr


    Both colors are pretty reasonable in my view as the finish are all metal. Honestly, the look and feel don't appear to be a $120 lens. I happen to find a US seller who only have the silver one; otherwise, I would have picked the black one. The sliver on black first appears a bit odd but I like it after my 1st day of use. I have added a focusing tab with white Sugru that looks like this picture

    link: Add a focusing tab to a camera | Sugru

    g2WY7HePRbSEcJftZMs0.


    I am waiting for my Sugru tab to dry up and the focusing tab on my Voiglander 40mm f/1.4 really helps with the focusing. It takes time to get used to focus with finger on the tab though.

    The Sugru focusing tab looks promising. My 1st attempt was not made as pretty as the demo in the picture, I will try to re-make another focusing tab with black Sugru. The tab is a small and made at the bottom of the focusing ring and it stays pretty hidden and out of sight.

    I find both flickr and instgram with tags on Zonlai from different mirrorless cameras, it is pretty good reference:


    Cheers,
    Hin
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
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  8. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Veteran

    395
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    It reminds me of the Contax G 45mm I have. I used to think I preferred black, maybe still do, but after picking up a couple of silver Contax G lenses I kind of like the look more than I expected. Not that it matters much really, it is the output that really counts.

    Only $120, I probably would have given it a trial as well. I could use a nice 24mm.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
    Just a few words with caution on this lens as the wrong expectation will set you in the wrong path

    Some negatives that I see in my research and brief usage:
    • Vignette does happen in the corners. I don't mind too much about vignette as I am center weighted shooting. More shooting experience will be needed to share
    • Though I have not tried, this lens may not be the right choice if your intention is on landscape and expect corners to be sharp across the frame
    • Color and contrast need tuning in post processing to get the best out of this lens
    • Color seem a bit odd in some shooting, if you love b&w conversion, this is your lens.

    27722792661_a68563517a_c.
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    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    the unexpected box from Zonlai

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    20160620-DSC02130

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    zonlai 25mm f/1.8 shares the similar size like the kit lens. My kit lens with JJC lens auto lens cap is placed inside the Zonlai box for reference.

    27798072765_5e551d6d4e_b.
    20160620-DSC02107

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    Shot with Zonlai 25mm around f/4.0

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    20160620-DSC02121-Edit

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    Zonlai with shutter in 1/15 sec

    27186856533_72fc53d51b_b.
    20160620-DSC02140-Edit

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    f/5.6 shooting

    All shot 2nd day into owning this lens with Sony A6000 and DIY added focusing tap with Sugru. I should have used Black Sugru instead of White Sugru.

    Thanks,
    Hin
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
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  10. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
    27606539430_de44daeae9_b.
    20160624-DSC02186

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    in f/2.8 with A6000

    27884326765_b2b6fd136c_b.
    20160624-DSC02184

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    in f/4.0 with A6000

    This lens comes in handy on close up shot. I continue to run into minor issues on color and vignette on corners but overall I am quite pleased with the Zonlai lens. The 25mm is a sweet spot for me for casual street shooting, events, close up and hiking. Yes, I plan to take this as 1-lens out on hiking. With its good close up, this one will do well for me on flowers. The vignette and unsharp corners will be a concern to be tried out on casual landscape shots.

    I am keenly thinking of trying out the Zonlai 35mm f/1.8 in black if I manage to sell off some of my other lesser used lens. I already have the Fujian 35mm f/1.7 but I prefer the build and compact form factor of the Zonlai. Do anyone know about the company behind the Zonlai lenses? There are a few other E-mount from Meike, Neewer or Kaxinda similarly re-rbranded E-mount and MFT lenses on 28 f/2.8, 35mm f/1.7 and 50mm f/2.0 but none of them look like the Zonlai as the Zonlai's aperture ring is in front and build look very different.

    27154327544_468db578af_b.
    20160618-DSC01602

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    Ergonomics:
    • The aperture ring and focusing ring are very close together. It is very easy to change the aperture unintentionally when one adjust focus.
    • A focus tab is highly recommended add-on to this lens. I use Sugru from Amazon to mold a tab that becomes solid after a day.
    • With a focus tab, I find focusing much more precise and the tab helps to avoid inadvertent change on aperture
    • Other focus tab idea can be checked with lenstab in TAAB MINI | TAAB | Universal Lens Tab though I like the Sugru idea better as the lenstab will have the extra bend on top of your lens with potential in destroying the original beauty of the Zonlai.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
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  11. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
    27298091844_5f91993c3f_b.
    20160625-DSC02234

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    The original kit zoom 16-50mm front cap in 46mm filter size will fit the Zonlai perfectly.

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    by Hin Man, on Flickr

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    20160625-DSC02243

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

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    by Hin Man, on Flickr


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    by Hin Man, on Flickr


    I know this lens will have its fair share of issues with corners and I hate to find out its weaknesses. The compact size along with the focus tab make it a beauty to carry in a small bag with A6000. I am yet to try it out on smaller 5N. But if you are into landscape, sharp corners and outstanding color, this won't be the lens that I would recommend.

    Cheers,
    Hin
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
    • Like Like x 3
  13. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
    Trying out some landscape shots with Zonlai 25mm f/1.8 and Sony A6000.

    27437396173_012f3e9554_b.
    20160702-DSC02299

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    f/16 and Sony A6000, see some star burst, flare seems alright in some of the shots

    27949100262_9baefe7461_b.
    20160702-DSC02316-Edit

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    likely in f/5.6 and smaller

    27974082981_66d5b35cf0_b.
    20160702-DSC02305

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    in f/16, want to show the flare

    27437588373_88d1d441e0_b.
    20160702-DSC02335

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    in f/1.8, uncorrected, want to show the troubling vignette in wide open shots


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    20160630-DSC02256

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    The last on 'Almond Joy Latte" is perhaps not a great picture to share but I love the lighting transition and off focus rendering. And I do occasionally find this prime with 3D pop when using wider apertures. It may be a struggle to use it wide open as vignette in corners are sometimes beyond help with correction in Lightroom and my limited editing skills

    Cheers,
    Hin
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
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  14. erd

    erd TalkEmount Rookie

    23
    Jun 16, 2016
    Erik Doree
    My Zonlai showed up today and I was able to snap this of my very preoccupied son.

    ImageUploadedByTalkEmount1467764247.109321.


    Sent from my iPad using TalkEmount mobile app
     
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  15. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
    Thanks for the update. If you find focusing ring giving you precision issues, you can consider the Sugru focusing tab. I place it at the bottom mark when the distance scale is between 3 and 5 meter, around 4 meter mark on top

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    20160625-DSC02246

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

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    by Hin Man, on Flickr

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    by Hin Man, on Flickr


    Here is a video with a Fuji user with the Zonlai 35mm f/1.8 and it is from this video that I learned about the Sugru Focus Tab

     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
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  16. erd

    erd TalkEmount Rookie

    23
    Jun 16, 2016
    Erik Doree
    Hin, thanks for the details on the Sugru tab, I plan to put it on tomorrow. :)


    Sent from my iPad using TalkEmount mobile app
     
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  17. erd

    erd TalkEmount Rookie

    23
    Jun 16, 2016
    Erik Doree
    Well it's on there, now to let it cure... ImageUploadedByTalkEmount1467818472.825818.


    Sent from my iPad using TalkEmount mobile app
     
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  18. Hin Man

    Hin Man TalkEmount Regular

    173
    Jan 18, 2013
    Anyone with experience on Zonlai 35mm f/1.8? The Zonlai 25mm f/1.8 has its problems such as distortion and vignette wide open but it works great for my casual needs with good character. I have the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 which I love. And I am tempted with either a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC or the Sony E 35mm f/1.8 for faster speed? Zonlai 35mm f/1.8 will be the manual focus choice to consider.

    Without the need of adapter, the Zonlai in E mount is tiny in size and it matches the small size and weight in Sony aps-c cameras. I see similar lenses on Kaxinder, Meike and Neewer, if you have one of those, please do share when time allows.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016 at 9:02 AM