Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions
Louno
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Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
Mar 27, 2013

Hi everyone,
I think I've decided to purchase a NEX camera (either new NEX-3R or used NEX-5R), but I'll also be needing a 50mm (or similar) lens  that I plan to use mainly for food photography (for a recipe blog).

I want very sharp image with shallow depth of field and nice "creamy" bokeh, all this on a budget, is it possible?

I would have liked to get the Sony NEX DT 50mm f/1.8 OSS however, it is a little expensive (350$ +tx) for me to buy right after the initial camera purchase... I`d rather not use any adapter on the NEX body to minimize bulk but it might be worth it to save money. I started looking at some used lens, I'm not sure where to begin, there are a lot, maybe you guys can help narrow it down?

I know I could get a very good like new condition AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D for 100$, the converter is about 25$. Is there anything better available? Or something equally good but with an adapter that would allow access to a better selection of lens maybe?

I see there are some other adapters for around 15-30$ and for many different mount types... Are there some type of adapter that are considered more "versatile" or give access to the most variety of quality lens on a budget and that work well with the NEX system?

Note that I would like to avoid paying 200$ just for an adaptor, I know this might mean the loss of auto focusing but I dont think it's much of a deal? It seems pretty easy to manual focus with the "focus peaking" feature...?
Thanks !

NEX5R Sony Alpha NEX-3
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Shiroa
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

I use Fujinon 50 1.4 EBC which I paid for $70, it serves its purpose and can be very sharp down to 2.8 and below. At 1.4 its a bit glowing but still very useful. Oh and i use cheap m42 - emount adapter

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zink
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

The Olympus OM 50/1.8 gets my vote. It is one of the most compact 50mm SLR lenses, it can be bought cheap and an OM adapter is very cheap. Just make sure you buy a made in Japan version. The later MC versions of this lens have better coatings.

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kuuan
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to zink, Mar 27, 2013

zink wrote:

The Olympus OM 50/1.8 gets my vote. It is one of the most compact 50mm SLR lenses, it can be bought cheap and an OM adapter is very cheap. Just make sure you buy a made in Japan version. The later MC versions of this lens have better coatings.

I second that and as an alternative would add a Pentax f1.7/50mm, very good performer, also very small in size and can be had for bargain prices. ( around 50.- ? )

If you want a f1.4 lens and are willing to spend the premium price, that is about 100.- +, that the faster les will set you back, then again OM f1.4/50, again only the later MC versions, here with serial above 1.100.000, or again Pentax M f1.4/50mm or the earlier, full metal version of it, a S-M-C Takumar f1.4/50

the adapters, if for Olympus OM, Pentax K or M42 can be had from Chinese sellers via the 'bay' for about 10 usd each.

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Jonathan_Whiteman
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

There's plenty of great options.  This is from an old Minolta ROKKOR f1.4 (but it almost never gets used now that I have the SEL50f18 - it really is worth the money :))

Random dog, 50mm f1.4 ROKKOR

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Jefenator
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

50mm lenses for old 35mm SLRs are THE most common and inexpensive thing out there. And many cheap adapters work just fine. Here's an old Minolta MC-Rokkor 50/1.4 I got for $15 with an adapter I got for $18.

Minolta MC-Rokkor 50mm 1:1.4 at f/2

I actually like the BOKEH better at f/2 and the sharpness really snaps in. (Has that dreamy, hazy quality wide open like most fast lenses do.)

There are some lemons out there, like my Minolta MD (not Rokkor) 50mm 1:1.7 or an old Chinon I tried out. There's also sample variation - the two lenses I just mentioned still have fans.

My advice is to get your hands on a few different old "nifty fifties", paying as little as possible (thrift stores still have them sometimes and of course Craigslist - watch out for fungus on inner surfaces and sticky apertures). Try a few out and run with your favorite! 

For product photography, I'm big on using macro lenses. They might cost a bit more and be slower but they're usually sharp, distortion-free and they focus nice and close!

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Pablo4
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to zink, Mar 27, 2013

zink wrote:

The Olympus OM 50/1.8 gets my vote. It is one of the most compact 50mm SLR lenses, it can be bought cheap and an OM adapter is very cheap. Just make sure you buy a made in Japan version. The later MC versions of this lens have better coatings.

Exactly!  
I tried around 20 different 50ies and none surpassed the 50/1.8 Zuiko. MC made in Japan version.
Ok, the SEL 50/1.8 was better, but that was not the point. I even tried Contax Planar 50/1.4, had a Rokkor 58/1.2 for two years, but I returned/sold all of them. Only the Zuiko (and SONY) stayed with me. As it was the best wide-open compared to all those Minoltas, Takumars, Zeisses, Juiters...

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John Knuhtsen
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

My vote is for a Minolta MC PG Rokkor 50 F/1.4. It is a very sharp lens, one of the best I have. Just google for a review with samples. But to get it cheaper than the sony is a challenge. Certainly not on ebay where prices have exploded for legacy prime lenses of good brands. You will have to look somewhere where people have not noticed the changed situation, private second hand markets. Yes, focus peaking is very usefull. I have Nex6 and prefer to set it in program P. Then I chooce the stop for setting bokeh (field of depth), focus with peaking, and with the round wheel choose iso for an appropiate shutter value.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/minolta/5014.htm

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/minolta-mc-rokkorx-pg-50mm-f-14-lens_topic79903.html

http://forum.mflenses.com/viewtopic.php?t=46678

There are other options. Maybe Nikkor, Pentax, Konica Hexanon. You can get adapters for almost any lens. But to get the best lens will likely cost some money (up to 400 $ or more).

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Franka T.L.
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pretty much anyone's 50mm at f/2.0 class
In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

The 50mm at f/2.0 class ( or f/1.7, 1.8 etc .. ) is the workhorse standard lens in the MF era and they are generally cheap , well build and deliver ...

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bzx
bzx
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In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013
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t[+]m

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seachicken2000
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

Louno wrote:

I want very sharp image with shallow depth of field and nice "creamy" bokeh, all this on a budget, is it possible?

S.M.C. Takumar 55mm f/1.8 @ f/4

S.M.C. Takumar 55mm f/1.8

I'm a Super Takumar fan, they are so cheap, so well made and render beautifully, but as others have said, most nifty fifties will deliver the goods.

How about making a list based on the suggestions here, and then checking out images from them on Flickr. They're all a little different, and I am sure you'll find something that smiles to you.

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Norman Parkinson

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kuuan
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to seachicken2000, Mar 27, 2013

many good suggestions, one cannot go wrong with any of them

for what it's worth, I once made a sharpness shootout of over 30 'normal lenses' using my NEX5N including most of the above mentioned. There are sets by lenses, f stop, and of 100% center and corner crops: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kuuan/collections/72157632455712332/

............

disclaimer:

One must consider sample variation.

This test was meant first of all for myself, to get to know my lenses better. It was done impromptu during the only few days in a year when I have access to most of my lenses. As such the set up won't be ideal.

Please feel grateful for me to share, if someone instead knocks me for how the test was performed I won't even bother to respond.

Nevertheless I hope that it will be of help for someone, and productive criticism resp., suggestions on how best to perform are of general interest and very welcome.

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Vegar Beider
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Several 50mm Prime lenses comparison:
In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

Louno wrote:

Hi everyone,
I think I've decided to purchase a NEX camera (either new NEX-3R or used NEX-5R), but I'll also be needing a 50mm (or similar) lens  that I plan to use mainly for food photography (for a recipe blog).

I want very sharp image with shallow depth of field and nice "creamy" bokeh, all this on a budget, is it possible?

I would have liked to get the Sony NEX DT 50mm f/1.8 OSS however, it is a little expensive (350$ +tx) for me to buy right after the initial camera purchase... I`d rather not use any adapter on the NEX body to minimize bulk but it might be worth it to save money. I started looking at some used lens, I'm not sure where to begin, there are a lot, maybe you guys can help narrow it down?

I know I could get a very good like new condition AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D for 100$, the converter is about 25$. Is there anything better available? Or something equally good but with an adapter that would allow access to a better selection of lens maybe?

I see there are some other adapters for around 15-30$ and for many different mount types... Are there some type of adapter that are considered more "versatile" or give access to the most variety of quality lens on a budget and that work well with the NEX system?

Note that I would like to avoid paying 200$ just for an adaptor, I know this might mean the loss of auto focusing but I dont think it's much of a deal? It seems pretty easy to manual focus with the "focus peaking" feature...?
Thanks !

Hello Louno!

May be you'll find some answers her?

http://natalispalette.jimdo.com/new-and-old-camera-lenses-by-yuri-stangrit/comparisons-and-reviews/several-50mm-prime-lenses-comparison/

http://rokkorfiles.com/Battle%20of%2050s2.htm

Is this one worth considering?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Minolta-SRT-101-Camera-with-50mm-F-1-4-Rokkor-PG-lens-Polarizer-Filter-/221205594925?pt=Film_Cameras&hash=item3380e1832d

Regards

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BasiliskPhoto
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

I trawl around junk and charity shops, and I could have bought 100 fast fifties, mostly good ones, for £10 -20, often with a film SLR attached. Yesterday I actually spent £30 on a SMC super Takumar 50 f1.4 with a functioning Spotmatic F body.

My point is that part of the fun of owning a NEX is going out and finding bargain lenses and trying them out. 50 is the easiest. Fast wide angle lenses the most challenging!

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Lightshow
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to BasiliskPhoto, Mar 27, 2013

50's & 135's are the most common to come across when bargain hunting.

I like the Rokkor MC PG 50/1.4, it's the same formula as its faster sibling the 58/1.2 which is my favorite lens.

A good bet is the OM 50/1.8 MIJ

I also like the Topcor RE 58/1.8

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BasiliskPhoto
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to Lightshow, Mar 27, 2013

Lightshow wrote:

50's & 135's are the most common to come across when bargain hunting.

Agreed - I was in a junk shop recently with a choice of 3 135mm f2.8 lenses. I got a Pentacon for £8. I think this length/aperture probably gives you the maximum bokeh for your buck - the equivalent degree of background blur in a 50mm lens would require an aperture of around f1 - and you can imagine how much that would cost!

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ProfHankD
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

Louno wrote:

I want very sharp image with shallow depth of field and nice "creamy" bokeh, all this on a budget, is it possible?

Yes, for a total of about $30 ($20 for lens + $10 for adapter, including shipping, from eBay).

This topic comes up all the time. Basically, nearly any "fast 50" is quite good. I'd avoid lenses in mounts that carry artificial price premiums (e.g., Nikon mount lenses are more expensive because they will work on Nikon DSLRs, not just mirrorless bodies). An M42 Takumar 55mm f/1.8 or MC Rokkor 50mm f/1.7 would be a dirt cheap, yet excellent, starting point for shopping... but see what you can get for the best price and then check reviews.

I see there are some other adapters for around 15-30$ and for many different mount types... Are there some type of adapter that are considered more "versatile" or give access to the most variety of quality lens on a budget and that work well with the NEX system?

The last few adapters I've bought via eBay cost about $10 each (shipped from inside the US) -- and all work fine. It's getting to be a non-issue, unlike a couple of years ago.

It seems pretty easy to manual focus with the "focus peaking" feature...?

Absolutely easy, fast, and accurate. However, getting high accuracy without going into a magnified view can take a little practice (learning to estimate the "center depth" of a peaked region).

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capt bob
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to ProfHankD, Mar 27, 2013

It's not a 50 but the 58 1.4 MC Rokkar PF  is a great lens if you happen on one , Having the 50 1.4 Rokkar and several other 50's the 58 is my Go To in that range , a classic for sure.

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ChuckTa
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

I suggest you try the Pentacon 50mm f1.8 in m42 mount. Very cheap and good quality. The min focus distance is very useful 0.33m, which is closer than most.

I tried a lot of 50mm primes from Minolta, Pentax to Zeiss, Schneider. The Pentacon is very good for the price. Of those I had tried, I like the Schneider best, but expensive (but still cheaper than the SEL50)

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Michael Everett
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Re: Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?
In reply to ChuckTa, Mar 27, 2013

I tried a few, including the OM 50 1.8 Japan version, the Zeiss Planar 1.7, the Canon Fd 50 1.4, and the Canon FDn 50 1.4.  The Canon FDn outperformed them all, including the Zeiss.  It's so sharp it's almost scary, and it is even sharp at 1.4.  FDn prices have gone up, and a good one is now around $100, but it's worth it IMO.  If you get one be sure to pay the extra for one in good condition, because it was a pro lens in its time, and many have taken a lot of rough treatment.   It is mechanically a very solid lens, however.

Michael

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