NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

Started Mar 31, 2012 | Discussions
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cympoints Forum Member • Posts: 72
NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

Hello, decided to buy a 21mm. Looking at ZM f2.8 or ZM f4.5.

Price difference is not a consideration but not sure which one works better on the 5N as there seem to be conflicting reports between these two (I understand the size and speed differences).

I would appreciate anyone's advice, especially from those who have first hand experience with either or both lens on the 5N.

I had considered the CV 21 but am thinking of going with one of the Zeiss. many thanks.

Sony Alpha NEX-5N
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jazzroy1972 Regular Member • Posts: 172
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

Why not considering the exceptional Olympus Zuiko 21mm options?

http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/olympusom1n2/shared/zuiko/htmls/21mm.htm

they have great optical and build quality and outstanding picture quality.

john-photoguy Regular Member • Posts: 470
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

I rented the Zeiss 21mm on both my Nikon and NEX3 cameras for a job and delivered the highest resolution EVER for that repeat job. But found the Zeiss a Tank! huge and front heavy. While it was fine on the tripod, it is not something i would want to cary and use hand held. So after trying a bunch of 21mm lenses, settled on the Zuiko, small, lightweight, easy to use and very sharp. Will i rent the Zeiss again from my friends at Lens Rental, for next years shot on a NEX7? I don't know...guess i will have to see what i think about the NEX 7 when it finally finds me.

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mu55 Senior Member • Posts: 1,355
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

I ended up getting the CV 21mm, it's nice but it could have higher contrast, love the size - Price was a consideration.

the ZM 21mm f4.5 would have my vote on size alone - the whole point of the Nex system is compact size - If your ever after something wider i highly recommend the CV 12mm f5.6

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PontusB New Member • Posts: 11
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

If you are able to find a Konica Hexanon AR 21/2.8 you will get a very small and sharp lens with great clarity and nice rendering. Excellent on the 5N. Problem is, they are very rare (introduced late in the model line, made in small numbers) and somewhat expensive.

Taylor Sherman Regular Member • Posts: 242
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

Sounds like you're talking about the ZE/ZF 21/2.8. The OP is asking about the ZM models - for Leica rangefinder mount. The 2.8 is small and the 4.5 is tiny.

I'm also interested in the difference between these two on the Nex.

john-photoguy wrote:

I rented the Zeiss 21mm on both my Nikon and NEX3 cameras for a job and delivered the highest resolution EVER for that repeat job. But found the Zeiss a Tank! huge and front heavy. While it was fine on the tripod, it is not something i would want to cary and use hand held. So after trying a bunch of 21mm lenses, settled on the Zuiko, small, lightweight, easy to use and very sharp. Will i rent the Zeiss again from my friends at Lens Rental, for next years shot on a NEX7? I don't know...guess i will have to see what i think about the NEX 7 when it finally finds me.

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Let just all take more photographs!

john-photoguy Regular Member • Posts: 470
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

I tried the non retrofocus 21mm on my NEX, and it was amazing except for the fact that the corners were funny color and the big problem was the rear element stuck out too far past the mount. As a package, it was fun, but not too usable. IF another zeiss works better i would love to know. But you don't know till you try.

Thanks for the clarification.

Taylor Sherman wrote:

Sounds like you're talking about the ZE/ZF 21/2.8. The OP is asking about the ZM models - for Leica rangefinder mount. The 2.8 is small and the 4.5 is tiny.

I'm also interested in the difference between these two on the Nex.

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Let just all take more photographs!

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Gary H Senior Member • Posts: 2,159
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

Why not the new Sigma 19mm? It won't hold up edge to edge against a lens costing many time the price, but really seems like worth considering. Early reviews and images are just now becoming available.

I've a Zeiss 21mm f/4.5c 'M' mount Biogon, which you definitely don't want. It is wonderful on film. Stay away from the Biogons.

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Jabberwockt Regular Member • Posts: 120
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

The Olympus 21 us quite usable, the only drawback is the contrast is less than most Zeiss lenses

davect01
davect01 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,032
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

21mm is an odd size. Any reason only this particular focal length?

I had a really nice 28mm Minolta that I really liked, till it got dropped and scratched up.
--
Novice photobug, proud NEX-3 owner
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Emacs23 Regular Member • Posts: 452
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

You tried distagon 21. The biogon is much smaller (and just as sharp).

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laurihoefs Regular Member • Posts: 102
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

It's not an odd focal length for a rangefinder lens.

And RF-lenses offer one advantage over SLR-lenses: size. The lenses themselves are not necessary that much smaller, but they are designed for smaller flange distances, thus the adapters are much smaller and the lens with the adapter protrudes a lot less from the camera.

For example, a Canon FD 24mm and an adapter are 8cm, whereas a CV Color Skopar 35mm with an adapter is only a bit over 4cm. And the SLR lenses tend to be stubbier than equivalent RF lenses, so the size difference is significant.

davect01 wrote:

21mm is an odd size. Any reason only this particular focal length?

I had a really nice 28mm Minolta that I really liked, till it got dropped and scratched up.
--
Novice photobug, proud NEX-3 owner
http://davesnex-3photos.blogspot.com/

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cympoints OP Forum Member • Posts: 72
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

Hi Gary H - looks like your experience with the ZM echo what some report says - that it is not suitable for NEX-5N. Looks like I have to drop the ZM and consider the other one - the CV. Thank you.

Hi mu55 - how does the CV21 perform on the NEX-5N in real life? Initially, I wasn't looking at the CV because I never had a Zeiss before and just thought of going for one As for the ZM21f4.5, the price is quite close to the 2.8 (tough decision) and speed is lower than the CV (so even tougher decision). Any thoughts to share?

Hi john-photoguy - you tried both f2.8 and f4.5 and they are not useable? Can you share a little more by what you meant? The Zeiss is pricey and I can't afford a "mistake". Thank you.

Hi jazzroy1972 & PontusB - thanks for the suggestions.I have the OM24f2.8 and its nice but it a bit long with the adapter since it is an SLR lens. That's why I am looking at an RF lens.

ekeroil Regular Member • Posts: 272
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

The CV21 is ace on the 5N, no colour shifts or anything. Slight vignetting and maybe some loss of sharpness (as with 90% of the wide angles out there). I'm very happy with the compact size and manual focus quality.

Some "landscape" tests:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ekeroil/sets/72157627571876829/

More interesting B&W high contrast shots:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ekeroil/sets/72157627770523154/

mu55 Senior Member • Posts: 1,355
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

In real life it does deliver - it's the right focal length for me, the f4 aperture is rarely an issue and it's sharp, contrast improves stopped down a little - I do like it, wish it focused closer (i unscrew it from the adapter to get closer focus - not ideal but works in a pinch)

The image quality from the 12mm and 35mm is better, but it's a VERY close call - the 12mm is pretty amazing on the 5n
--

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cympoints OP Forum Member • Posts: 72
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

Hi ekeroil, thanks for posting and nice shots. Referring to the color landscape test pictures, those are straight out of camera without any post processing? They look mighty fine!

Hi mu55, thanks for sharing. I have the LTM version of the CV15 and was using the Metabones adapter. I just ordered the Hawk's ver 2.5 helicoid adapter that will help with close focusing BTW, not sure if I should spring for the 12mm also?

Another advice or opinion needed: I am currently using an OM 24f2.8 and one of the reason for considering the 21mm is to have a wider "normal" lens to use. The OM24f2.8 is great (althought a big long with the OM-NEX adapter, unlike the CV) but the equivalent full frame focal length is 36mm - felt a little bit narrow. I was thinking of getting the 21mm lens that will end up wider at equivalent FF focal length of 31.5mm.

Is this (getting the 21 when I already have a 24) a good or worthwhile thing to do? Worthwhile to spend money to have equivalent FL of 31.5 when I have the 36?

Thanks for any opinion.

mu55 Senior Member • Posts: 1,355
Re: NEX-5N 21mm lens advice needed

If you already have the 15 (22mm eqv) and find it wide enough then don't worry about the 12mm (18mm eqv) I wanted to be able to shoot interiors with it was well so i needed the extra wideness

I was using an OM21mm f3.5 before getting the CV21mm - so i actually doubled up on focal length - it was the size that got me, the OM with the adapter was just too big - that and my 21mm has some marks on the front element, might be growing fungus and the focusing band has come loose

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RussellInCincinnati Veteran Member • Posts: 3,201
a practically free lens if you don't need speed or autofocus

Have you checked out the Alpha mount 18-55 plastic zoom at 18 through 28mm focal length? Photozone has.

It's autofocus on the Alpha DSLRs and with the $330 dollar Nex LAEA2 adapter, but works great with manual focus on the Nex $130 dollar LAEA1 adapter.

It's performance is excellent, the lens weighs maybe 220 grams, and my unused copy cost $41 dollars on e.bay. And Sony is continuing to crank out hundreds of thousands of them.

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