Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?

Started Apr 22, 2013 | Discussions thread
forpetessake
Senior MemberPosts: 3,533
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aperture size factor
In reply to forpetessake, Apr 23, 2013

forpetessake wrote:

SteveS58 wrote:

I'm a long time Olympus DSLR user (most recently E-30) who recently purchased the NEX 6.  I purchased the camera with the 16-50 kit lens.  I've been having a great time getting acquainted with the camera, love the small form factor, and the improved IQ over my E-30.  While the kit lens is adequate, there's no "wow" factor like there is with my Zuiko 50-200 lens or 14-54 lens.  Obviously a kit lens can not compete with these.  So now that I'm comfortable with the new camera, I'm ready to spread my wings and buy some better quality lenses.  I do street photography, portraits, landscapes, etc.  So I was looking for some real life experience on which lenses give you that "wow" factor.  Your advice is much appreciated.

What wows can be different for different people. But more often than not, when people pointed to wow image, they meant good resolution and contrast, shallow DOF, low aberrations, and smooth bokeh. No matter how you slice it, the prerequisites are sharp, good quality, large aperture lenses. Large apertures and good quality usually come with a big price tag. If you are willing to throw enough money after this and live with some inconveniencies, you can adapt big Canon and Nikon glass (maybe even using SpeedBooster) and get very good results. Cheap SLR lenses of yesteryear aren't good at large apertures. Among the native lenses, you can find large apertures on 50mm/1.8 (28mm) and 55-210/4.5-6.3 (33.3mm) lenses. The former should give you a good 'wow', it's fast and sharp, the latter is lacking sharpness at the long end, so you might not be as wowed by it. The next candidate could be 35mm/1.8, which has a smaller aperture of under 20mm, so though being sharp it's has less potential to wow.

Just continuing with this thought about the effect of aperture on wowing the viewer It's totally unscientific, just a hunch after looking at the pictures, all from APS-C cameras.

Looking through hundreds of pictures yesterday of cats, people, and horses I came up with a rule of thumb about aperture. When shooting small animals, like cats, an aperture of 10mm works well; when shooting people, a 30mm aperture works well; when shooting bigger objects or animals, like horses, a 30-40mm aperture works well. Taking into account typical distance to the object, we get a rule of thumb for wow factor lenses: 20mm-30mm f/2-3 for cats; 50mm-90mm f/2-3 for people; 100mm-150mm f/2.8-4 for horses. As an interesting corollary, you aren't likely to get a wow factor with WA lenses. Not many lenses are sharp at those apertures, though Sony 24,35,50 f/1.8 lenses are, so 24mm is a cat lens, 35mm is a dog lens, 50mm is a people lens  On the longer end there are sharp adapted lenses, there were plenty of good 135mm f/2.8 lenses made in the past and they are cheap. There aren't any zooms though that fit those categories, maybe only adapted 70-200 f/2.8 or f/4 lenses. One possibility is a good FF 24-70 f/2.8 lens with the SpeedBooster.

Again, it's just a thought, you are welcome to disagree.

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