Walk-around lens for NEX?

Started Dec 11, 2012 | Discussions
Bruce Oudekerk
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Walk-around lens for NEX?
Dec 11, 2012

I normally shoot with a Sony a850 and a (heavy) bag of lenses and would like a LIGHT camera-lens combination to compliment my other gear. I spend a lot of time on the forums on Dpreview, but not specifically here on the NEX, so bare with me if this is a much discussed topic.

My walk-around lens on the a850 is the wonderful old Minolta 28-135 f4.0-4.5. I find this zoom range to be extremely versatile. I understand why Sony hasn’t replaced this lens on FF because it would be very expensive and have a limited audience. However, the similar-niche 16-80 CZ was one of the first APS-C lenses Sony issued and it has been very popular to the best of my knowledge. While I dearly love my extremely sharp 28-135 on FF, it is heavy to carry all day and as I get older it miraculously gets heavier.

For me, as a walk-around replacement system, the NEX7 leaps to the top of the list except for one thing. The kit lens is too short and the 18-200 seems like I would be compromising image quality a fair amount to get this 'little' superzoom. So how come there isn’t a high quality 16-80 or 18-105 (or some-such) E-mount lens somewhere vaguely in this useful range? The very reason people might want the small and light NEX, lacks the one single lens that I would think would be most useful. It seems to me that this would be one of the first lenses I’d introduce for the NEX…not the last.

What am I missing here?

Bruce

Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 Sony Alpha NEX-7
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Russell Evans
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Re: Walk-around lens for NEX?
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, Dec 11, 2012

Bruce Oudekerk wrote:

What am I missing here?

That it is kind of a new system and you think you're the only one with a want list? The line starts around the corner buddy.

Thank you
Russell

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Alphamale77
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Re: Walk-around lens for NEX?
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, Dec 11, 2012

sony wants you to buy more lens.

so far the primes all seems promising, other than the 16mm, why not get a sigma and test it out as a walk around? zoom with your feet and 24mp crop should cover quiet a bit range if you went with the 30mm i'd imagine?

if i had to start all over again i'd get the 35SEL1.8, despite the premium, but that's what i shoot with back in nikon days, just a good combo.

good luck meeting your needs.

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blue_skies
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Re: Walk-around lens for NEX?
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, Dec 11, 2012

Bruce Oudekerk wrote:

I normally shoot with a Sony a850 and a (heavy) bag of lenses and would like a LIGHT camera-lens combination to compliment my other gear. I spend a lot of time on the forums on Dpreview, but not specifically here on the NEX, so bare with me if this is a much discussed topic.

My walk-around lens on the a850 is the wonderful old Minolta 28-135 f4.0-4.5.

Not very high demands - you should get good results with E35/1.8 and E50/1.8, but loose zoom.

Realize that the crop ratio changes your 28-135 to 18-90 on APS-C. The 1855 kit zoom gives you most of that range, but f/3.5-f/5.6 is slightly different (ok for exposure, different DOF).

I find this zoom range to be extremely versatile. I understand why Sony hasn’t replaced this lens on FF because it would be very expensive and have a limited audience. However, the similar-niche 16-80 CZ was one of the first APS-C lenses Sony issued and it has been very popular to the best of my knowledge.

It was high quality, the only choice for a while, but bulky and wildly expensive.

This same type of lens is in the E mount lens roadmap as a G lens.

While I dearly love my extremely sharp 28-135 on FF, it is heavy to carry all day and as I get older it miraculously gets heavier.

For me, as a walk-around replacement system, the NEX7 leaps to the top of the list except for one thing. The kit lens is too short and the 18-200 seems like I would be compromising image quality a fair amount to get this 'little' superzoom.

The 18200 produces very impressive images, even on the Nex-7 with the higher resolution sensor. It's OSS makes the lens easy to use and the images are sharp.

The two biggest complaints against this lens are its heft and slowness. At f/6.3 it is only useable in the daytime, practically speaking. Third complaint is the price.

So how come there isn’t a high quality 16-80 or 18-105 (or some-such) E-mount lens somewhere vaguely in this useful range?

On the roadmap for 2013 (announcement)

The very reason people might want the small and light NEX, lacks the one single lens that I would think would be most useful. It seems to me that this would be one of the first lenses I’d introduce for the NEX…not the last.

What am I missing here?

Try the N7 with E24 and be amazed.

Bruce

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Cheers,
Henry

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NEXFULLFRAME
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Re: Walk-around lens for NEX?
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, Dec 11, 2012

Bruce Oudekerk wrote:

would like a LIGHT camera-lens combination

At least try a prime like the sigma 30 or Zeiss 24. Primes are so much nicer than zooms, in terms of ergonomics, IQ, DOF control and in lending a consistency to a set of images.

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pmow
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Re: Walk-around lens for NEX?
In reply to blue_skies, Dec 11, 2012

blue_skies wrote:

Bruce Oudekerk wrote:

I normally shoot with a Sony a850 and a (heavy) bag of lenses and would like a LIGHT camera-lens combination to compliment my other gear. I spend a lot of time on the forums on Dpreview, but not specifically here on the NEX, so bare with me if this is a much discussed topic.

My walk-around lens on the a850 is the wonderful old Minolta 28-135 f4.0-4.5.

Not very high demands - you should get good results with E35/1.8 and E50/1.8, but loose zoom.

Realize that the crop ratio changes your 28-135 to 18-90 on APS-C. The 1855 kit zoom gives you most of that range, but f/3.5-f/5.6 is slightly different (ok for exposure, different DOF).

Think you mean 42-202mm on APS-C.

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Bruce Oudekerk
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Primes
In reply to NEXFULLFRAME, Dec 12, 2012

NEXFULLFRAME wrote:

At least try a prime like the sigma 30 or Zeiss 24. Primes are so much nicer than zooms, in terms of ergonomics, IQ, DOF control and in lending a consistency to a set of images.

Been there, done that. I used to shoot pretty much exclusively primes early in my 35mm film days…28, 50 100 and 200mm. Now, the only prime I shoot with on FF is a 14mm manual focus lens. I have a fast 50 but rarely use it. Good zooms are very good and even my old 28-135 produces near prime quality sharpness across its range. To me the real advantage of primes is size, speed and depth of field but I wouldn’t be using APS-C if that last was mission critical. I really want to keep it simple with a NEX and would probably only buy one lens, if the right one existed. If the NEX 7 came with a good fixed 16-80 I’d think hard about buying it, and yes, I know it’d be well over 2 grand for that camera. There is probably a niche for this…after all the RX1 exists but even there I’m surprised it doesn’t have a 35-70 f4.0 variant at a somewhat reduced price. For that matter, I’m even considering a Canon G15 as a distant alternative. It has nowhere near the high ISO of a NEX but it has a fast and sharp lens. The bottom line is I keep coming back to the NEX7 for the TriNavi interface which in my estimation has no peer. I actually like it better than any current dSLR.

At any rate, carrying a camera with a prime is much, much too limiting for me. The relationship of foreground and background changes to much for me to carry a single prime and digital crop on even 24MP is not a panacea. At some future date, I might consider purchasing the new E-mount ultra wide angle zoom but nothing else, as I will not be divesting myself of the a850 alpha mount camera and lenses. It’s funny because my total switch from film to digital took place when downsizing from an old FD Canon film SLR system and went to a high quality but small fixed lens Olympus E20n. (gradually my digital system outgrew the bulk and weight of my old film gear <SIGH>) Now I’m thinking about more or less returning to that light weight, simple concept…even if the NEX happens to have a lens mount.

As an aside, does anyone here know at what focal lengths the 18-200 shifts f-stops from f4 to 5.6 and so on? That might allow me to use it in the lower half of the range if its fast enough and then put it in desperation mode up in the longer tele zoom end. I just checked out some reviews and it’s OK at the wider end. I suppose this bulkier lens might work…especially with the bigger body of the NEX7.

But the important point here is that Henry states in a post above that a G lens somewhere in my spec range is coming in the Sony 2013 roadmap. It might make sense to wait until this manifests before I actually make a move.

Bruce

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nrcole
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Re: Primes
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, Dec 12, 2012

If I was a betting man, my money would be on that high-performance standard zoom to be an E-mount version of the A-mount, non-G 16-50mm 2.8. At the very least it's more likely than it being a high-quality long-zoom, which just isn't going to be a priority on a compact system. Boosting performance, aperture, and build quality all require increases in size over the already large 18-200, and at some point you have to figure the advantage over just adapting current high-quality A-mount teles disappears.

16-50 seems like a pretty good walk-around length to me though. SAR seems to think we'll get some new E-mount lenses announced early in the year, so if your heart's set on getting a NEX to walk around with I'd recommend you grab a clearance body-only 5n on the cheap with the Sigma 30mm. That's the combo I like to carry around in my pocket the most.

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santiclaws
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Re: Primes
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, Dec 12, 2012

Another option to consider is adding a good Alpha zoom like the 16-80 with the LA-EA2 adapter. The adapter is surprisingly small and comfortable in use if you use the old-fashioned hold with the left hand under the lens. You lose some of the advantage of the smaller size, but I think it would still be less than half of the weight of the A850 with the 28-135 and much, much smaller.

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Bruce Oudekerk
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Thanks everyone...
In reply to nrcole, Dec 12, 2012

nrcole wrote:

... if your heart's set on getting a NEX to walk around with I'd recommend you grab a clearance body-only 5n on the cheap with the Sigma 30mm. That's the combo I like to carry around in my pocket the most.

That’s why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream.  A prime lens camera offers ME nothing. (note the empasis on ME)  If i was given an RX-1 I'd sell it on ebay without taking it out of the package.  Great camera…not for me.  I'd have an extra $2800 burning a hole in my pocket and still no idea what to buy.

I love the functionality of FF and my 28-135 when outside.  I could make do with a 16-80 (24-120 FOV) in a NEX but anything less is a no-go.  I had an 18-250 for my APS-C KM 7D and it’s been repurposed for my son's a35.  Nice lens but i don't miss it and the compromises it entails.

The bottom line is that when I check my EXIF, I'm all over the place focal length wise and when using the 28-135 I seldom go 'OH damn, I'm going to miss the shot’ because of a lack of lens.  I doubt i would even use the NEX much indoors especially with the NEX7 EVF weirdness in lowish light.  When I go indoors now, I generally use my 28-75 f2.8 (18-55 on NEX)   And anyway, my old a850 is still better in low light than any NEX or m4/3 I might consider.

Looks like I wait for pie in the sky.  I’m not expecting a 16-80 f2.8 but rather a 16-80 f4.0 or f4.5 to keep it small.  In plastic that should be smaller and lighter than the 18-200 and that would be fine if it’s a good lens.  The NEX system has been out over two years so I suppose it might be premature for this lens to exist.  I’m just surprised so many here are confused I would really want this lens configuration… but …that’s obviously why it doesn’t exist.  YET:)  I might not like the response but that confusion in a round about way answers my question.

Bruce

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Bruce Oudekerk
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Great idea:)
In reply to santiclaws, Dec 12, 2012

santiclaws wrote:

Another option to consider is adding a good Alpha zoom like the 16-80 with the LA-EA2 adapter. The adapter is surprisingly small and comfortable in use if you use the old-fashioned hold with the left hand under the lens. You lose some of the advantage of the smaller size, but I think it would still be less than half of the weight of the A850 with the 28-135 and much, much smaller.

Super answer and I actually hadn't considered it.  That would also give me PD focus and the ability to use my other a-mount lenses althopugh the Nex7 on the end of the 70-300G would be just plain weird...or not with the 1.5 FOV:)

Hmmm...this is really a great idea although you just bumped my entry level price point up considerably.  I suppose in the short term I could make due with my 28-75 f.2.8 or even the super sharp tiny Minolta 35-70 f4.0. The e-mount equiv might even come out before I'd save the cash to get the 16-80 CZ.  Its a win-win all around.

Christmas is coming Santiclaws:)  Hint, hint.

Bruce

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santiclaws
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Re: Great idea:)
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, Dec 12, 2012

Bruce Oudekerk wrote:

santiclaws wrote:

Another option to consider is adding a good Alpha zoom like the 16-80 with the LA-EA2 adapter. The adapter is surprisingly small and comfortable in use if you use the old-fashioned hold with the left hand under the lens. You lose some of the advantage of the smaller size, but I think it would still be less than half of the weight of the A850 with the 28-135 and much, much smaller.

Super answer and I actually hadn't considered it. That would also give me PD focus and the ability to use my other a-mount lenses althopugh the Nex7 on the end of the 70-300G would be just plain weird...or not with the 1.5 FOV:)

Hmmm...this is really a great idea although you just bumped my entry level price point up considerably. I suppose in the short term I could make due with my 28-75 f.2.8 or even the super sharp tiny Minolta 35-70 f4.0. The e-mount equiv might even come out before I'd save the cash to get the 16-80 CZ. Its a win-win all around.

Christmas is coming Santiclaws:) Hint, hint.

Bruce

If you are considering going that route, the Sony 16-105 and 18-135 are both much cheaper than the 16-80 and don't give up a whole lot in image quality, if anything, from what I've read. Of the three, I've owned the 16-105 and was quite happy with it. It's a bit on the slow side, but if you're going to use it outside primarily that should not be a big concern.

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Russell Evans
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Re: Great idea:)
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, Dec 12, 2012

Bruce Oudekerk wrote:

santiclaws wrote:

Another option to consider is adding a good Alpha zoom like the 16-80 with the LA-EA2 adapter. The adapter is surprisingly small and comfortable in use if you use the old-fashioned hold with the left hand under the lens. You lose some of the advantage of the smaller size, but I think it would still be less than half of the weight of the A850 with the 28-135 and much, much smaller.

Super answer and I actually hadn't considered it. That would also give me PD focus and the ability to use my other a-mount lenses althopugh the Nex7 on the end of the 70-300G would be just plain weird...or not with the 1.5 FOV:)

Hmmm...this is really a great idea although you just bumped my entry level price point up considerably. I suppose in the short term I could make due with my 28-75 f.2.8 or even the super sharp tiny Minolta 35-70 f4.0. The e-mount equiv might even come out before I'd save the cash to get the 16-80 CZ. Its a win-win all around.


There is only a 161g, 6oz, difference between the A77 and the Nex-7 with LA-EA2. Cost for the A77 is $270 less since you don't have to buy the adapter. Is 6 oz enough of difference?

If size is the issue, then save even more money, and a little bit more weight, with the A65. The Sigma 19mm f2.8  is 45.7mm in length the LA-EA2 is 44mm in length, so the comparison in this link gives a pretty good idea of the size of the Nex-7 with LA-EA2 in comparison to the A65.

What is the gain with going with the Nex-7 that would drive this?

Thank you
Russell

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D Williams
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Almost a great idea
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, Dec 12, 2012

Bruce Oudekerk wrote:

santiclaws wrote:

Another option to consider is adding a good Alpha zoom like the 16-80 with the LA-EA2 adapter. The adapter is surprisingly small and comfortable in use if you use the old-fashioned hold with the left hand under the lens. You lose some of the advantage of the smaller size, but I think it would still be less than half of the weight of the A850 with the 28-135 and much, much smaller.

Super answer and I actually hadn't considered it. That would also give me PD focus and the ability to use my other a-mount lenses althopugh the Nex7 on the end of the 70-300G would be just plain weird...or not with the 1.5 FOV:)

Hmmm...this is really a great idea although you just bumped my entry level price point up considerably. I suppose in the short term I could make due with my 28-75 f.2.8 or even the super sharp tiny Minolta 35-70 f4.0. The e-mount equiv might even come out before I'd save the cash to get the 16-80 CZ. Its a win-win all around.

Christmas is coming Santiclaws:) Hint, hint.

Bruce

The 16-80mm on a LA-EA2 is my favorite walk around lens with the NEX-7 except for when it's cloudy or dark or you are shooting into the shade ... because you loose the stabilization.  The trade-off is that in anything less than good light you have to remember to manage your shutter speed and ISO to make sure everything is sharp.  If I don't know what I'm shooting beforehand, I usually surrender and stick the 18-200mm or the kit lens on.  The 18-200mm is really quite reasonable if you are willing to shoot at 800-1600 ISO.  It should be for $900

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Bruce Oudekerk
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Re: Great idea:)
In reply to Russell Evans, Dec 12, 2012

Russell Evans wrote:

If size is the issue, then save even more money, and a little bit more weight, with the A65. The Sigma 19mm f2.8 is 45.7mm in length the LA-EA2 is 44mm in length, so the comparison in this link gives a pretty good idea of the size of the Nex-7 with LA-EA2 in comparison to the A65.

What is the gain with going with the Nex-7 that would drive this?

Thank you
Russell

Very legit points but it boils down to how the NEX7 handles and feels to me.  I'm not comfortable with the a77 or a65; that and I love the elegant NEX7 interface.

And I always have the option of using a native e-mount lens when a suitable one becomes available. Unfortunately the solution proposed is not inexpensive.

Bruce

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Bruce Oudekerk
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Re: Almost a great idea
In reply to D Williams, Dec 12, 2012

D Williams wrote:l

The 16-80mm on a LA-EA2 is my favorite walk around lens with the NEX-7 except for when it's cloudy or dark or you are shooting into the shade ... because you loose the stabilization. The trade-off is that in anything less than good light you have to remember to manage your shutter speed and ISO to make sure everything is sharp. If I don't know what I'm shooting beforehand, I usually surrender and stick the 18-200mm or the kit lens on. The 18-200mm is really quite reasonable if you are willing to shoot at 800-1600 ISO. It should be for $900

I've gotten so used to shooting with the 28-135 that I make it work.  And when i can't, I do have the the a850 and a bag of lenses.  Heavy but very useful.

I will look into the 16-105 also, i think.

Bruce

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S.A.
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Re: Primes
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, Dec 12, 2012

Might want to look at the Fuji XE-1 with the kit zoom.  18-55 OIS F2.8 - 4

I'm still thinking of getting one myself even though I got the NEX 6. Fuji seems to get what people want in lenses.

Only native lens I have is the old 18-55 kit lens. I sold the NEX 6 Power Zoom for 350.00 so I ended up with a body only for 650.00. The rest of my lenses are legacy. This is because I am on the verge of switching to the Fuji at all times, lol

Oh wait, I do have the Sigma 30 as well...

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Zamac
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Re: Walk-around lens for NEX?
In reply to Bruce Oudekerk, Dec 12, 2012

FWIW: On my A-mount I use the CZ1680 and on my NEX-7 I use the Sig 30 for walk about. The 16-80 is, for me, the ideal walk-about range. The 30mm - takes me back to my first range-finder with a fixed 45mm lens - is a good lens and cropping can give one more of a tele angle-of-view, but there is little one can do to make it wider.

I have tried the CZ on the NEX, but it is just too bulky.

So I wait for the promised quality mid-range zoom. For the wide end 16 rather than 18 is essential - the tele end is less important, but I would like 80 or 70 (the classic 120 and 105 FOVs). A walk-about lens is almost by definition a bright light lens (note I did say almost), so I don't want the weight/size penalty that would come with a very fast lens or a constant 2.8

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