Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?

Started Apr 12, 2013 | Discussions
Louno
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Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?
Apr 12, 2013

Is there something around 50mm that has decent quality wide open and is very compact ?
I'm mostly interested in legacy lenses because they are much cheaper, but i'm curious about more modern lenses too.

SQLGuy
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Re: Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?
In reply to Louno, Apr 12, 2013

Louno wrote:

Is there something around 50mm that has decent quality wide open and is very compact ?
I'm mostly interested in legacy lenses because they are much cheaper, but i'm curious about more modern lenses too.

How about 40mm? This is probably going to be about as compact as a 1.4 is going to get: http://www.kenrockwell.com/voigtlander/40mm-f14.htm

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processedmeat08
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Re: Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?
In reply to Louno, Apr 12, 2013

Try the old Pen-F lenses.  There's a 40mm 1.4 and 42mm 1.2.  I don't think you can get a smaller 1.4 with the mount than that.

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TiagoReil
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Re: Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?
In reply to Louno, Apr 12, 2013

Louno wrote:

Is there something around 50mm that has decent quality wide open and is very compact ?
I'm mostly interested in legacy lenses because they are much cheaper, but i'm curious about more modern lenses too.

The most compact lenses you will find are Rangefinder lenses. As already proposed the Voightlanders are the cheaper, You have the 35mm f/1.2, 35mm f/1.4, 40mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.5. But of course you have a couple of Zeiss with Leica M mount, I think it is a 50mm 1.5, and of course you have very expensive Leica lenses.

In the used market (cheap) you have a Russian Jupiter 3 50mm 1.5 with LTM (L39 or M39) mount. You also have a 50mm f2.0, the jupiter -8, also in LTM mount. Not as fast, but more common. The problem with Russian lenses are that there are many lemons, and also are quite bad completely open. You end up buying many to get a good copy.

And you have some Olympus pen lenses, that are actually not rangefinders, but are very small (cause the system was a half frame one and could have the lens closer to the film:

38mm f/1.8

40mm f/1.4

42mm f/1.2

and 60mm f/1.5 (very interesting for portraits)

Those are the most compact lenses. After that, the most compact DSLR lenses are the Konica 40mm f/1.8 and minolta 45mm f/2. But these are not as fast, and already bigger. not by much, but they are.

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captura
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Re: Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?
In reply to Louno, Apr 12, 2013

So far, most of the lenses are quite expensive. Lower your sights to the 50mm f1.4  Pentax Super Takumar, around $100?

http://www.ebay.ca/ctg/Pentax-Super-Takumar-50-mm-F-1-4-Lens-1964-/111009719

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zink
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Pen-f is great on NEX
In reply to Louno, Apr 12, 2013

I support the advise of processedmeat08 and TiagoReil. You want a compact, fast and sharp lens for your NEX. The Pen-f 40/1.4 will be your friend. It is sharp wide open and very sharp from f/2.8. It has no CA (a great plus), but it is not very flare resistant. It will close focus at 0.35m and that is very useful (compared to the Voigtländer 40/1.4 at 0,7m, which will be a very good lens too).

Here is a sample, wide open with a NEX-5.

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jpr2
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re: of all three versions of Takumars 50/1.4...
In reply to Louno, Apr 12, 2013

...the newest SMC one (with 8 aperture blades) is also the smallest and lightest, however... being a M42 lens it does require additional 26mm adapter on E-bodies,

jpr2

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sebboh
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Re: Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?
In reply to Louno, Apr 12, 2013

Louno wrote:

Is there something around 50mm that has decent quality wide open and is very compact ?
I'm mostly interested in legacy lenses because they are much cheaper, but i'm curious about more modern lenses too.

it's certainly not cheap, but i think the leica m 35mm summilux pre-asph is smallest f/1.4 lens with adapter on the NEX:

the voigtlander 35/1.4 is about the same size and a quarter the price, though it performs a bit differently. next smallest would probably be the voigtlander 40/1.4 and pen f 40/1.4. they are reasonably priced for what they are, but not any cheaper than the sony 35/1.8. if you're willing to go a little smaller the the pen f 38/1.8 is tiny and a very nice performer, though it can have swirly bokeh:

if you want a 50mm the jupiter-3 is the smallest. same basic design as the zeiss zm 50/1.5 but with crappier build and coatings. they run around $150:

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ProfHankD
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FF SLR vs rangefinder or half-frame lenses
In reply to jpr2, Apr 12, 2013

The reason you're getting expensive lenses mentioned is that although many FF SLR lenses are small, the adapters for them add significantly to the size. Rangefinder or half-frame (i.e., Pen) lenses were designed with a shorter rear focus, so they use a smaller adapter... and people seem to go nuts about that, paying significantly more for the coolness of shaving-off fractions of an inch. Faster lenses also have a price premium, and were relatively rare on rangefinder cameras; for example, very compact f/2.8-3.5 5Xmm rangefinder lenses are cheap, especially Soviet ones.

Keep in mind that FF SLR lenses are much more likely to give good IQ on a FF NEX, if that's in your future. Pen lenses will not even cover, and rangefinder lenses will probably have bad corners due to sharper rear projection angles for light hitting the sensor.

Most FF SLR  f/1.4 or slower fast 50s are pretty small. The M42 Takumars are among the smallest, but not light and the M42 adapters are a touch longer than some others (M42 lenses can even be adapted to Sony A mount). The Canon FDn lenses are smallish and light (plastic bodied), as are the Minolta MD, but to me both of those seem like cheapened versions of the lenses in the previous generation (Canon FD or Minolta MC Rokkor).

In summary, I think the extra bulk of one slightly larger adapter -- which can be shared by several lenses -- is a tiny price to pay for the lower cost and FF capability of FF SLR lenses. If you're keeping one adapter on the NEX all the time and swapping lenses, then speed of lens swap is a bigger difference than size/weight of the lenses themselves. Minolta's SR/MC/MD gives perhaps the fastest, easiest, one-handed lens change of all old mounts; M42 screw thread is easy but very slow, and most other mounts are at least a bit more awkward. Honestly, the size difference is small enough that I can't recall ever deciding which of my many fast 50s to carry with me based on size....

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captura
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Re: FF SLR vs rangefinder or half-frame lenses
In reply to ProfHankD, Apr 12, 2013

ProfHankD wrote:

The reason you're getting expensive lenses mentioned is that although many FF SLR lenses are small, the adapters for them add significantly to the size. Rangefinder or half-frame (i.e., Pen) lenses were designed with a shorter rear focus, so they use a smaller adapter... and people seem to go nuts about that, paying significantly more for the coolness of shaving-off fractions of an inch. Faster lenses also have a price premium, and were relatively rare on rangefinder cameras; for example, very compact f/2.8-3.5 5Xmm rangefinder lenses are cheap, especially Soviet ones.

Keep in mind that FF SLR lenses are much more likely to give good IQ on a FF NEX, if that's in your future. Pen lenses will not even cover, and rangefinder lenses will probably have bad corners due to sharper rear projection angles for light hitting the sensor.

Most FF SLR  f/1.4 or slower fast 50s are pretty small. The M42 Takumars are among the smallest, but not light and the M42 adapters are a touch longer than some others (M42 lenses can even be adapted to Sony A mount). The Canon FDn lenses are smallish and light (plastic bodied), as are the Minolta MD, but to me both of those seem like cheapened versions of the lenses in the previous generation (Canon FD or Minolta MC Rokkor).

In summary, I think the extra bulk of one slightly larger adapter -- which can be shared by several lenses -- is a tiny price to pay for the lower cost and FF capability of FF SLR lenses. If you're keeping one adapter on the NEX all the time and swapping lenses, then speed of lens swap is a bigger difference than size/weight of the lenses themselves. Minolta's SR/MC/MD gives perhaps the fastest, easiest, one-handed lens change of all old mounts; M42 screw thread is easy but very slow, and most other mounts are at least a bit more awkward. Honestly, the size difference is small enough that I can't recall ever deciding which of my many fast 50s to carry with me based on size....

I like the MD/MC Minoltas for several reasons:

- the cheapest metal adapter will always work easily with a simple one-handed lens removal operation.

- There is a huge list of good quality lenses available, cheaply. Although the newest MD lenses introduced some plastic components, they are still rugged, reliable, have warm colors, nice bokeh. Most are around $50 or less. My favorite is the 50mm f2 which is sharp from wide open.

Super Takumars are more expensive but smaller.

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TiagoReil
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Re: FF SLR vs rangefinder or half-frame lenses
In reply to ProfHankD, Apr 13, 2013

ProfHankD wrote:

The reason you're getting expensive lenses mentioned is that although many FF SLR lenses are small, the adapters for them add significantly to the size. Rangefinder or half-frame (i.e., Pen) lenses were designed with a shorter rear focus, so they use a smaller adapter... and people seem to go nuts about that, paying significantly more for the coolness of shaving-off fractions of an inch. Faster lenses also have a price premium, and were relatively rare on rangefinder cameras; for example, very compact f/2.8-3.5 5Xmm rangefinder lenses are cheap, especially Soviet ones.

Keep in mind that FF SLR lenses are much more likely to give good IQ on a FF NEX, if that's in your future. Pen lenses will not even cover, and rangefinder lenses will probably have bad corners due to sharper rear projection angles for light hitting the sensor.

Most FF SLR  f/1.4 or slower fast 50s are pretty small. The M42 Takumars are among the smallest, but not light and the M42 adapters are a touch longer than some others (M42 lenses can even be adapted to Sony A mount). The Canon FDn lenses are smallish and light (plastic bodied), as are the Minolta MD, but to me both of those seem like cheapened versions of the lenses in the previous generation (Canon FD or Minolta MC Rokkor).

In summary, I think the extra bulk of one slightly larger adapter -- which can be shared by several lenses -- is a tiny price to pay for the lower cost and FF capability of FF SLR lenses. If you're keeping one adapter on the NEX all the time and swapping lenses, then speed of lens swap is a bigger difference than size/weight of the lenses themselves. Minolta's SR/MC/MD gives perhaps the fastest, easiest, one-handed lens change of all old mounts; M42 screw thread is easy but very slow, and most other mounts are at least a bit more awkward. Honestly, the size difference is small enough that I can't recall ever deciding which of my many fast 50s to carry with me based on size....

I agree with you mostly, but the OP asked for fast and compact. Never mentioned price. You cant have them all. There is always a compromise. You want cheap, you need loose IQ or compactness.

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wb2trf
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OP, you're getting some wrong replies here
In reply to ProfHankD, Apr 14, 2013

ProfHankD wrote:

Keep in mind that FF SLR lenses are much more likely to give good IQ on a FF NEX, if that's in your future. Pen lenses will not even cover, and rangefinder lenses will probably have bad corners due to sharper rear projection angles for light hitting the sensor.

The Pen F lenses certainly cover the APS-C frame on a Nex.  I use them and lots of people do.  There is no cropping or vignetting.  On the 5/6 sensor, there is no issue with corner angles.

I've been through a zillion MF lenses in the 40-70mm range.  Small was not particularly a priority of mine.  However, the Pen F 40mm 1.4 is very small and very great as one of the other posts noted.   In addition to being sharp at all f stops it has wonderful character, just magical.  Some of this can be glimpsed in the dog photo in another post here. It is probably my favorite MF lens: most likely to be rewarding.

All the SLR 50's come out to be about the size of the SEL5018 when you add the adapter, and are heavier.  Except for extreme shallow dof you can get from the 1.2's, if you can really use that shallow, I haven't found any that really beat the SEL5018 all things considered.

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wb2trf
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Nice
In reply to zink, Apr 14, 2013

I too love this lens and your dog photos shows some of its magic.  I don't know what it is about this Pen F 40 1.4,  but yes it is sharp with nice contrast, fast, all those good things, but to my eye it sometimes just delivers magic, inexplicable magic.  I don't use it as much as I would like because for my shooting AF is a big advantage and the SEL 5018 is very good, but when I can use it, it delivers the wonderful quality.

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Mel Snyder
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Re: Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?
In reply to sebboh, Apr 14, 2013

The 35mm f1.4 pre-aspheric is tiny, but the price today isn't. Try $2500. I was stunned when I looked it up to add it to my insurance, now that it's my standard lens on the NEX-6 and will regularly leave home...

sebboh wrote:

Louno wrote:

Is there something around 50mm that has decent quality wide open and is very compact ?
I'm mostly interested in legacy lenses because they are much cheaper, but i'm curious about more modern lenses too.

it's certainly not cheap, but i think the leica m 35mm summilux pre-asph is smallest f/1.4 lens with adapter on the NEX:

the voigtlander 35/1.4 is about the same size and a quarter the price, though it performs a bit differently. next smallest would probably be the voigtlander 40/1.4 and pen f 40/1.4. they are reasonably priced for what they are, but not any cheaper than the sony 35/1.8. if you're willing to go a little smaller the the pen f 38/1.8 is tiny and a very nice performer, though it can have swirly bokeh:

if you want a 50mm the jupiter-3 is the smallest. same basic design as the zeiss zm 50/1.5 but with crappier build and coatings. they run around $150:

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ChangshaNotes
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Re: Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?
In reply to Louno, Apr 14, 2013

NEX-7 with the Vöigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm ƒ/1.4 MC. A heloid adapter allows for much closer than .7m focusing.

vignetting is added.

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ProfHankD
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Re: OP, you're getting some wrong replies here
In reply to wb2trf, Apr 14, 2013

wb2trf wrote:

ProfHankD wrote:

Keep in mind that FF SLR lenses are much more likely to give good IQ on a FF NEX, if that's in your future. Pen lenses will not even cover, and rangefinder lenses will probably have bad corners due to sharper rear projection angles for light hitting the sensor.

The Pen F lenses certainly cover the APS-C frame on a Nex.  I use them and lots of people do.  There is no cropping or vignetting.  On the 5/6 sensor, there is no issue with corner angles.

Did you read my text you quoted?  I said they will not cover and give good corners on a future FF NEX.

For what it's worth, the Pen F was a half frame, 18x24mm, whicb is actually slightly larger than APS-C. I would expect them to be fine lenses for APS-C, although the pricing is not particularly competitive with other old lenses and they are not all that common (there were not a lot of Pens sold).

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sebboh
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Re: Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?
In reply to ChangshaNotes, Apr 14, 2013

ProfHankD wrote:

In summary, I think the extra bulk of one slightly larger adapter -- which can be shared by several lenses -- is a tiny price to pay for the lower cost and FF capability of FF SLR lenses.

depends on your use. if you only are using one lens the difference between a rangefinder lens and slr lens is quite large (closer to an inch than fractions of an inch). i don't usually go out with all my lenses i usually go out with the lens and camera in one coat pocket and maybe a second lens in the other coat pocket. rangefinder lenses make this possible.

Mel Snyder wrote:

The 35mm f1.4 pre-aspheric is tiny, but the price today isn't. Try $2500. I was stunned when I looked it up to add it to my insurance, now that it's my standard lens on the NEX-6 and will regularly leave home...

yeah, prices are crazy. it's a pretty awesome lens though and can be found around $1500-$1700 if your willing to get one with some wear on the body. what hood is that by the way and how is it attached?

ChangshaNotes wrote:

NEX-7 with the Vöigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm ƒ/1.4 MC. A heloid adapter allows for much closer than .7m focusing.

yeah, think this is probably best value if you want compact and f/1.4. the voigtlander 35/1.4 is more expensive and not as good a performer.

my current favorite is even smaller, but only f/2, the leica 40mm f/2 summicron:

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wb2trf
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Yep, my mistake
In reply to ProfHankD, Apr 15, 2013

I wasn't alert to your discussing possible future FF Nex's. Sorry.

Re prices for Pen F lenses, and all older lenses for that matter, pricing is a combination of quality and rarity, with rarity being a significant factor, maybe without adequate justification.  For example, although I think that the 40mm 1.4 IQ is worth every penny of its relatively high price among  MF lenses of that era, the 70mm f2, which sells for twice what the 40mm 1.4 goes for, typically, is not as good as my Canon FDn 85mm 1.8.  However the Pen F 70 commands at least 4x the price of the Canon 85mm 1.8.  Granted it is lighter and somewhat smaller, but it is not better IQ.   There is a somewhat similar relationship between the 8-element 50mm 1.4 Takumar and the later 7-element, with the rarer 8 going for 2x the 7.  Is it better?  Not much if at all.  Maybe a little sharper but the bokeh on the 7 may edge it.  Both have wonderful handling.

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ottonis
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Re: Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?
In reply to Louno, Apr 15, 2013

Louno wrote:

Is there something around 50mm that has decent quality wide open and is very compact ?
I'm mostly interested in legacy lenses because they are much cheaper, but i'm curious about more modern lenses too.

As several people have already mentioned: the Cosina Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4 is a very compact compact, high-Quality MF lens to be attached to the NEX.

I have one and I am loving it. If you know how to work around its peculiarities / quirks, it is a just  a wonderfully crafted Piece of excellent glass that complements and suits the Nex very well.

In contrast to the dreamy bokeh of the aformentioned PEN 40 mm 1.4 lens, the bokeh of the CV Nokton 40mm can be a bit busy. However, experience shows that this may occur only when you have sharp light sources or very high contrasts in the background.  As long as you manage to keep your background free of harsh light sources and of lower contrast / lower brightness compared with the foreground, you will be rewarded with phenomenal, dreamy-creamy bokeh.

One other quirk to be aware of is that the MF ring is quite hard to turn compared with other MF lenses, which makes it slightly more cumbersome to quickly adjust focus. Finally, you should definitely get that helicoid M-Mount-to-Nex adapter in order to allow for better minimum focusing distance.

So, if one learns to work around these little  quirks, the CV Nokton 40mm is a wonderful little lens that allows for taking gorgeous pictures while keeping the camera-lens combo slick and pocketable. Its colors and rendering are just beautiful in my book.

One more thing: CV is still producing the Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4, so People who want a new lens can still get it. Not sure about many of the other options mentioned in this thread that may be available only through ebay.

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