Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?

Started Apr 22, 2013 | Discussions
SteveS58
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Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
Apr 22, 2013

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.

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Keit ll
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

IMHO there are no Sony lenses that fall into that category although the 35 & 50 mm seem to be liked by many users.

The Zeiss 24mm is generally acknowledged to be the best performing E-mount lens.

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lysanders
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

Get legacy lenses. Buy a cheap Canon FD to NEX adapter for 20USD and a 50mm or a 35mm lens. These are not NEX original lenses but if you do street photography I cant recommend legacy lenses enough.

The lens is a Canon FD 35mm with a CPL filter on an NEX 7, shot at f2.0

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richiemccaw
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to lysanders, Apr 22, 2013

lysanders wrote:

Get legacy lenses. Buy a cheap Canon FD to NEX adapter for 20USD and a 50mm or a 35mm lens. These are not NEX original lenses but if you do street photography I cant recommend legacy lenses enough.

The lens is a Canon FD 35mm with a CPL filter on an NEX 7, shot at f2.0

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"If the stars should appear but one night in a thousend years, how man would marvel and stare"

Great picture.

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Kashmir442
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

Have a look at the threads on this page now by ijustloveshooting. All his stuff is with the 50mm, which is also my favorite lens (although I haven't had much chance to play with my new 24mm Sony-Zeiss yet).

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Faketastic
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

The more you know about light, composition and choosing interesting subjects, the less you need the  "wow factor" of the lens. People (including me) spend too much time looking for low light lenses instead of looking for good light to take photos in.

The Sigma 30/2.8, some nice light, a good subject and som lightroom-time will be 95% wow.

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SteveS58
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to Faketastic, Apr 22, 2013

Thanks for your responses.  I'm not a pixel peeper.  I also don't necessarily need very low light capabilities.  There's a sharpness and beautiful bokeh that I've gotten from my better Zuiko lenses that I was looking to duplicate with the NEX system.

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Faketastic
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

The 50/1.8 has a very pleasing bokeh. Nex primes in general are very good at this.

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dpmaxwell
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

SteveS58 wrote:

Thanks for your responses.  I'm not a pixel peeper.  I also don't necessarily need very low light capabilities.  There's a sharpness and beautiful bokeh that I've gotten from my better Zuiko lenses that I was looking to duplicate with the NEX system.

The 24, 35 and 50 1.8's are your best bet for pleasing bokeh. The 24 has the "wow" factor for me, due to the price.

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franzel
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

SteveS58 wrote:

Thanks for your responses.  I'm not a pixel peeper.  I also don't necessarily need very low light capabilities.  There's a sharpness and beautiful bokeh that I've gotten from my better Zuiko lenses that I was looking to duplicate with the NEX system.

Just wondering, are you using OOC jpgs with the Nex and the Oly ?

If so, you are looking at the differences of in-camera processing and lens correction, not characteristics  of lenses .

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PaddyC
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

I have the 16, Sigma 30, kit zoom and 50 1.8.

I really like the 50's qualities. Sharp from wide-open. Very nice bokeh, Nice colour rendition. I don't know if it qualifies as having a "wow" factor but I wouldn't ask for anything more.

The Sigma 30 is very sharp. Great for stopped-down landscapes. Sometimes it looks just average (in-between distances) and sometimes (close focus, soft background) I find it sings.

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PaddyC
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to lysanders, Apr 22, 2013

lysanders wrote:

Get legacy lenses. Buy a cheap Canon FD to NEX adapter for 20USD and a 50mm or a 35mm lens. These are not NEX original lenses but if you do street photography I cant recommend legacy lenses enough.

The lens is a Canon FD 35mm with a CPL filter on an NEX 7, shot at f2.0

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"If the stars should appear but one night in a thousend years, how man would marvel and stare"

Don't take this the wrong way but this image suffers from camera shake and it looks like the point of focus is in front of the girl. Nothing is sharp in this photo. Without the camera shake that would be a bad thing in some cases but it all underlines the difficulty of using manual focus legacy lenses.

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blue_skies
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

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.

Basically, you are looking for a faster lens, right?

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.  ....

All fast Sony primes may give you what you want. The Sony zooms are a bit slow for your experience.

Thanks for your responses.  I'm not a pixel peeper.  I also don't necessarily need very low light capabilities.  There's a sharpness and beautiful bokeh that I've gotten from my better Zuiko lenses that I was looking to duplicate with the NEX system.

I am assuming that f/2.8 satisfies your WOW factor. There are lenses (most notably Zeiss' primes) that deliver (almost) distortion free, high sharpness, high contrast, and high subject isolation, at the cost of poor bokeh, at f/2.0 (Zeiss-look), and this is often also referred to as WOW factor. The only Sony lens that comes close to this is the E24Z, when used above f/2.2.

But both the E35 and the E50 are very impressive in their own league. They lack the wide-open sharpness, but they return very pleasing bokeh in return. And they are both sharp lenses and retain their edge-to-edge sharpness and contrast to about f/2.5.

In fact, even the E20, at f/2.8, impresses, especially if you have a close-subject/far background situation.

If you are pleased with 'just' f/2.8, consider both Sigma 19 and 30mm lenses. Both remain edge to edge sharpness, when used wide open, also at the cost of poor bokeh.

Then, there are lots of rumors about new zoom lenses on the horizon. However, an f/2.8 zoom is  not in the cards (unless at wide end only).

As to the Zuiko lenses, I have a set of the older OM series and have not been using them much. They are very nice in terms of bokeh, but they remain soft in terms of pixel-peeping level detail, especially compared to a more modern Zeiss' lens, at apertures of f/2.8 or wider. But I do like the wide open soft Zuiko 28mm look more than e.g. the wide open Sigma 30m look.

At smaller apertures, the 1650 kit holds its own against most of the prime lenses. These are different types of scenes, but keep this in mind.

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Henry

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creeker
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

For me, I would have to say the Sony 50mm f/1.8 has the "WOW" factor.  A great lens.

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Timothy S Broadley
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

Well I just got the 50mm/1.8 and the first shots "wow'd" me FWIW

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SteveS58
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to Timothy S Broadley, Apr 22, 2013

Franzel asked:

Just wondering, are you using OOC jpgs with the Nex and the Oly ?

If so, you are looking at the differences of in-camera processing and lens correction, not characteristics  of lenses .

I shoot RAW and process in Photoshop CS6.  I use the lens correction profile when I process my NEX photos.

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SteveS58
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 22, 2013

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.

Basically, you are looking for a faster lens, right?

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.  ....

All fast Sony primes may give you what you want. The Sony zooms are a bit slow for your experience.

Thanks for your responses.  I'm not a pixel peeper.  I also don't necessarily need very low light capabilities.  There's a sharpness and beautiful bokeh that I've gotten from my better Zuiko lenses that I was looking to duplicate with the NEX system.

I am assuming that f/2.8 satisfies your WOW factor. There are lenses (most notably Zeiss' primes) that deliver (almost) distortion free, high sharpness, high contrast, and high subject isolation, at the cost of poor bokeh, at f/2.0 (Zeiss-look), and this is often also referred to as WOW factor. The only Sony lens that comes close to this is the E24Z, when used above f/2.2.

But both the E35 and the E50 are very impressive in their own league. They lack the wide-open sharpness, but they return very pleasing bokeh in return. And they are both sharp lenses and retain their edge-to-edge sharpness and contrast to about f/2.5.

In fact, even the E20, at f/2.8, impresses, especially if you have a close-subject/far background situation.

If you are pleased with 'just' f/2.8, consider both Sigma 19 and 30mm lenses. Both remain edge to edge sharpness, when used wide open, also at the cost of poor bokeh.

Then, there are lots of rumors about new zoom lenses on the horizon. However, an f/2.8 zoom is  not in the cards (unless at wide end only).

As to the Zuiko lenses, I have a set of the older OM series and have not been using them much. They are very nice in terms of bokeh, but they remain soft in terms of pixel-peeping level detail, especially compared to a more modern Zeiss' lens, at apertures of f/2.8 or wider. But I do like the wide open soft Zuiko 28mm look more than e.g. the wide open Sigma 30m look.

At smaller apertures, the 1650 kit holds its own against most of the prime lenses. These are different types of scenes, but keep this in mind.

thank you for this detailed response.  Do I need an adaptor to use these lenses on the NEX?  I don't do much low light shooting so I'm not necessarily concerned with that aspect.  F2.8 is fine for my needs.

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wll
wll
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

For me the 10-18mm is a great lens.

wll

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Maury of Lowepro
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

Tamron 18-200!

LOVE IT~!

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DtEW
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Re: Which NEX lenses have the "WOW" factor?
In reply to SteveS58, Apr 22, 2013

IMO, the native NEX lenses that have wow'ed me the most with their picture rendition qualities (subjective, obviously) are the Sony SEL50F18 and Sigma 30mm EX DN.  I'll leave others to talk about those.

The SEL50F18, SEL35F18, and SEL1018 have wow'ed me with their stabilization.  The two primes in the course of very-low-light photography (won't repeat more posts), and the UWA zoom in the course of interior photography.

One trick I have up my sleeve that none of my 20-or-so local shooting cohorts (who mostly use Canikon gear) have managed is the camera-on-a-stick trick, in which I hand-hold my camera at the end of my tripod, sometimes fully-extended over the top of my head (a helper triggers the shot with an IR remote).

Camera-on-a-stick full-extension overhead (12' high perspective).

Camera-on-a-stick extended out of a window.

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