Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens

Started Apr 22, 2013 | Discussions
mgn2
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Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
Apr 22, 2013
I just got a NEX-6, having got rid of my Nikon DSLR gear. So far I have the kit 16-50 zoom and the Sigma 30mm 2.8. Also have a Fuji X100. I would like to stick to the 2 reasons I bought the NEX-6 and Fuji X100..usability of cheap old lenses and light/small compact pocket-able package that delivers outstanding IQ (in my eyes).  I posted a similar thread a week ago and got some great replies. I have however changed my needs, I was previously looking for something dirt cheap but after some thought I figured I have to be realistic and pay more for what I want.

I hear great things about Zeiss/Lecia/Voigtlander glass and have never tried any, and think this may be a good chance to pick some up. Jupiter-3 and Jupiter-8 look great, but I'm concerned about where to buy a good copy.

-ease of MF. I have never really used MF so would prefer an easy to focus lens, i.e. no stiff focus rings or rings that take a lot of effort for small adjustments.

-any FL, but mainly looking at around 50mm, maybe 35mm or something even beyond 50mm.

-budget is less than $500, closer to $100 preferred.

-pocket-able which for me means anything the same size or smaller than my NEX-6 + Sigma 30mm attached. The pancake 16-50 zoom I find very pocket-able. Weight is less of an issue.

-max aperture f2 (even better if f1.8 or f1.4).

-best bokeh, sharpness and colours as good or better than my X100 Fuji lens.

So my question - what is the lightest and smallest (adapter included) manual legacy lens I can find used or new with the following constraints-

Fujifilm FinePix X100 Sony Alpha NEX-6
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victorragusila
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 22, 2013

well, "manual legacy lens" implies you want an old lens.

the old PEN (film era) lens are great, and they are small, but they cost a lot, since everyone realized they are great and small.

I use manual pentax SMC lens, you can get an 50mm f2 for <40$ and a f1.4 for <100$. I have 3 50mm lens (two 1.7 and one 1.4), and they are all great, not sure if there are any bad copies around. They are however quite big and heavy, the 50 1.4 with adapter is slightly bigger than the 18-55 kit lens, and quite a lot heavier.

Rangefinder lens will need a smaller adapter, and they are themselves usually smaller and lighter, but they cost a lot now that everyone is using them on their mirrorless cameras.

If you want a great small lens for around 100$, the sigma 30mm f2.8 is also very good, and has AF. Since it doesnt need an adapter it is a lot smaller and lighter than legacy lens.

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kuuan
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 22, 2013

incl adapter and small would be the LTM ( M39 ) and Leica M rangefinder lenses and the Pen-F halfframe lenses.

I don't have much experience with LTM and Leica M lenses but the Voitlaender f4.5/15 which I can recommend, I own quite w few Pen-F lenses and find the f1.4/40 great and would recommend it ( also the f1.5/60 but that one is rare and expensive ), the f3.5/100 is very good too, for wide wide angles I'd recommend the Voigtlaender over the Pen-Fs

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TiagoReil
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 22, 2013

We already had this not long ago, and here is my answer, but check others

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3471172#forum-post-51276025

Now, about your request, you will need to be realistic. For starters, Phenomenall lenses are not cheap. We are talking leica zeiss glass, that costs thousends. If you are talking great bargains, great performance for the money, then that is ok. But dont ask for phenomenal, or WOW factors.

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davect01
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 22, 2013

mgn2 wrote:

I just got a NEX-6, having got rid of my Nikon DSLR gear. So far I have the kit 16-50 zoom and the Sigma 30mm 2.8. Also have a Fuji X100. I would like to stick to the 2 reasons I bought the NEX-6 and Fuji X100..usability of cheap old lenses and light/small compact pocket-able package that delivers outstanding IQ (in my eyes).  I posted a similar thread a week ago and got some great replies. I have however changed my needs, I was previously looking for something dirt cheap but after some thought I figured I have to be realistic and pay more for what I want.

I hear great things about Zeiss/Lecia/Voigtlander glass and have never tried any, and think this may be a good chance to pick some up. Jupiter-3 and Jupiter-8 look great, but I'm concerned about where to buy a good copy.

-ease of MF. I have never really used MF so would prefer an easy to focus lens, i.e. no stiff focus rings or rings that take a lot of effort for small adjustments.

-any FL, but mainly looking at around 50mm, maybe 35mm or something even beyond 50mm.

-budget is less than $500, closer to $100 preferred.

-pocket-able which for me means anything the same size or smaller than my NEX-6 + Sigma 30mm attached. The pancake 16-50 zoom I find very pocket-able. Weight is less of an issue.

-max aperture f2 (even better if f1.8 or f1.4).

-best bokeh, sharpness and colours as good or better than my X100 Fuji lens.

So my question - what is the lightest and smallest (adapter included) manual legacy lens I can find used or new with the following constraints-

I still hold that the 45mm Rokkor is a great lens.

http://www.beanos.com/~tsoutij/wp/stuff/index-of-pancake-lenses/minolta_md_rokkor-x_45mm_f20

Small and capable at 2.0 and runs around $30.00.

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mgn2
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to davect01, Apr 22, 2013

Thanks I just bought the Rokkor 45mm/f2 and an adapter for less than $50, waiting for it to arrive now. I don't really want any more SLR lens recommendations as I am looking for something small and pocket-able (including adapter!) yet fast with good colours, sharpness and bokeh.

So far my options for rangefinders/non-SLR lenses under $500 or so seem to be:

Jupiter 8 50mm f2.0 ($50)

Jupiter 3 50mm f1.5 ($150)

Olympus PEN F 38mm f1.8, 40mm f1.4 ($200)

Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 ($500)

Voigtlander 35/1.4 ($600)

maybe Leica 40mm f/2 Summicron ($600-$1000?)

Any others I'm missing?

Which is the best bang for the buck? Which lens would you put on the camera if that was the only lens you could put on it? (I know 2 different questions).

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saintz
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 22, 2013

If you want the size of the Sigma lenses, you generally need either rangefinder lenses or half frame lenses. SLR lenses, even pancakes, will be too big. The PEN F 40 1.4, 38 1.8, and 42 1.2 would be good bets.

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blue_skies
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 22, 2013

mgn2 wrote:

I just got a NEX-6, having got rid of my Nikon DSLR gear. So far I have the kit 16-50 zoom and the Sigma 30mm 2.8. Also have a Fuji X100. I would like to stick to the 2 reasons I bought the NEX-6 and Fuji X100..usability of cheap old lenses and light/small compact pocket-able package that delivers outstanding IQ (in my eyes).  I posted a similar thread a week ago and got some great replies. I have however changed my needs, I was previously looking for something dirt cheap but after some thought I figured I have to be realistic and pay more for what I want.

I hear great things about Zeiss/Lecia/Voigtlander glass and have never tried any, and think this may be a good chance to pick some up. Jupiter-3 and Jupiter-8 look great, but I'm concerned about where to buy a good copy.

-ease of MF. I have never really used MF so would prefer an easy to focus lens, i.e. no stiff focus rings or rings that take a lot of effort for small adjustments.

-any FL, but mainly looking at around 50mm, maybe 35mm or something even beyond 50mm.

-budget is less than $500, closer to $100 preferred.

-pocket-able which for me means anything the same size or smaller than my NEX-6 + Sigma 30mm attached. The pancake 16-50 zoom I find very pocket-able. Weight is less of an issue.

-max aperture f2 (even better if f1.8 or f1.4).

-best bokeh, sharpness and colours as good or better than my X100 Fuji lens.

So my question - what is the lightest and smallest (adapter included) manual legacy lens I can find used or new with the following constraints-

You are basically looking for a high-quality, fast-aperture, legacy lens.

If you want fast 50-80mm, (ie. f2 or below), best is to search for SLR type legacy lenses (Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Minolta).

If you want 35-50mm, (ie. f/2 or below), best is to search for RF type legacy lenses (Leica, Contax-G, Zeiss, Voigtlander).

The second group is of newer design than the first group, and was made for critical consumers, ie. engineers were given larger (cost) budgets to design such lenses. The lenses work well on the 16Mp sensors, and some work on the 24Mp. However, they tend to cost more.

A contax-g 45/2.0 costs about $500.

A voigtlander 35/1.4 or 40/1.4 cost about $600.

A contax-g 35/2.0 costs about $700 -- mainly pushed up by mirror-less 'crop-sensor' cameras

A zeiss ZM 35/2.8 costs about $800

A zeiss ZM 35/2.0 costs about $1000

A voigtlander 35/1.2 costs about $1100

If you opt for 50mm lenses, the Leica Summilux will be very price, the but 'Japanese Leica', ie. Canon 50mm f/1.4 in M39 LTM mount, costs only about $400.  (You can convert LTM to M mount using an adapter ring).

This in stark contrast to the nifty-fifties, MF legacy SLR lenses, that cost below $100 for 50mm/1.8 and maybe around $150 for 50mm/1.4.

On adapters, below 50mm, the RF lenses will be significantly smaller (but not lighter) than the SLR lenses, Above 50mm, the focal length of the lens dictates distance from the sensor and both RF and SLR lenses will be similar in size, with the RF lenses being somewhat thinner.

The Contax-G lenses are AF capable, and there is now an adapter for the Nex which enables AF (but not aperture control) for these lenses for $300.

Off-course, a Sony 35mm or 50mm E-mount lens in MF mode is quite a bargain compared to some of these lenses. And the Sigma 30mm in MF mode even more.

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Henry

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mgn2
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 23, 2013

I'm definitely looking for a RF or half frame PEN type lens. Which one of the above would you recommend? I am inclined towards either the Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 or the Olympus PEN F 38mm f1.8/40mm f1.4 or Jupiter-3/Jupiter-8.

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Chris_Downunder
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 23, 2013

I'd go for a Contax G. Adorama have a few at the moment (including a 45mm) and I love my 90mm - very sharp and the adapter is only about 1cm deep.

If you want small and reasonably good why not try a Russian Industar. I got mine from the Ukraine for $35 including freight and it does a lovely job:

All the best,

Chris

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fermy
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to Chris_Downunder, Apr 23, 2013

I wouldn't get into this phenomenal business, some people are easily excited, everything is "phenomenal" to them until the next phenomenal thing comes along. The smallest lenses that are easy to adapt are c-mounts. Some of them are also inexpensive and good. My favorite c-mount is Pentax/Cosmicar 50mm f2.8. It's tiny and weight is just 70gr with an adapter. Here's size comparison to some other small lenses:

Left to right: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 pancake (m4/3), Pentax/Cosmicar 50mm f2.8, Fujian 25mm f1.4 (c-mount), collapsible Industar-50 50mm f3.5 (LTM).

Here are some shots with Cosmicar. The first image is to show NEX sensor coverage: note darkening of the extreme corners.

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mgn2
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to fermy, Apr 23, 2013

Thanks - these are very interesting and something I hadn't considered.  I should have used another word instead of phenomenal! The darkened corners don't look too bad to me. The Cosmicar looks good, but its f2.8. What is your favorite c-mount that is f1.8 or f1.4?

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mgn2
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to Chris_Downunder, Apr 23, 2013

Industar looks good but it is f2.8. The Contax-G looks great though it has gone up in price a lot. Is it much better than the SEL5018 if at all accounting for the lack of AF (I would not want to get the $300 adapter)?

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blue_skies
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 23, 2013

mgn2 wrote:

I'm definitely looking for a RF or half frame PEN type lens. Which one of the above would you recommend? I am inclined towards either the Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 or the Olympus PEN F 38mm f1.8/40mm f1.4 or Jupiter-3/Jupiter-8.

I think that you are focused on speed, such as f/1.4.

Most lenses, even the most expensive ones, are not super-sharp at f/1.4, plus you are dealing with sensor-light fall-off, i.e. f/1.4 is not truly a full stop faster than f/2.0.

The Voigtlander (CV) 40/1.4 costs about the same as the Contax G (CG) 45/2.0, and while it is great for those wide-open shots ((link and link), the bokeh can be soso (depending on scene).

I think that the PENs may actually perform better than the CV40, but will be harder to find.

If you are looking for an all purpose lens, I'd choose the CG45, it'll easily blow past the revered Sigma 30, and retains its edge-to-edge sharpness down to f/2.0. The CV40 does not. Of the Contax-G family, the CG45 had the highest MTF performance.

The Jupiter 3 and Jupiter 8 are both copycats of the Zeiss Sonnar design, not the (CG45) Planar design. Check for the Zeiss Sonnars as well, you might find some for cheap.

I agree with Chris_downunder - the CG45 may give you the most of what you want. (Plus you can add an AF adapter in the future.)

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Henry

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fermy
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 23, 2013

mgn2 wrote:

Thanks - these are very interesting and something I hadn't considered.  I should have used another word instead of phenomenal! The darkened corners don't look too bad to me. The Cosmicar looks good, but its f2.8. What is your favorite c-mount that is f1.8 or f1.4?

Cosmicar is f2.8, but then it is truly tiny. It's about the same height as Sony 16mm pancake, but around 1/3 of diameter (Panasonic and Sony pancakes are about the same size).

If you do want a faster lens, there is 50/1.4 Cosmicar. Optically it's as good or better than a smaller brother, but it's not so tiny anymore and crucially the mount needs to be machined slightly to obtain infinity on NEX. There is also very good Cosmicar 75/1.4, but it's about the size of an average SLR 85mm/1.8 lens.

Here are some of the shots of 50/1.4 Cosmicar.

Size comparison with Canon FD 50/1.4

Unusual triangular aperture

Wide base: needs to be machined to obtain infinity on NEX

Now the shots with 50/1.4 Cosmicar

Wide open

Wide open uncropped

Wide open: note the swirling bokeh.

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Richard Ettinger
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 23, 2013

I've picked up several inexpensive manual lenses from Olympus, Canon FD and Minolta. The minolta Rokkor 45 is an  awesome little lens. I think I paid $30 for it thru craig's list.

Then again, I just got a Leica 50mm Summicron R. Haven't put any shots from this one on line yet. stay tuned.

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saintz
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 23, 2013

mgn2 wrote:

I'm definitely looking for a RF or half frame PEN type lens. Which one of the above would you recommend? I am inclined towards either the Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 or the Olympus PEN F 38mm f1.8/40mm f1.4 or Jupiter-3/Jupiter-8.

The Voigtlander is much more expensive than the PENs and the minimum focus distance is double (which would likely be problematic). I would definitely get the PEN over the Voigtlander. As for the Jupiter's, not sure.

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saintz
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 23, 2013

mgn2 wrote:

Thanks - these are very interesting and something I hadn't considered.  I should have used another word instead of phenomenal! The darkened corners don't look too bad to me. The Cosmicar looks good, but its f2.8. What is your favorite c-mount that is f1.8 or f1.4?

The 35mm f1.7 would be a good bet for a C mount. You can find them even on Amazon for cheap. Note it's not sharp in corners, so it makes a good portrait lens but not a landscape or architecture lens.

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Kookie B
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to mgn2, Apr 23, 2013

mgn2 wrote:

-any FL, but mainly looking at around 50mm

-budget is less than $500, closer to $100 preferred

-max aperture f2 (even better if f1.8 or f1.4).

-best bokeh, sharpness and colours as good or better than my X100 Fuji lens.

So my question - what is the lightest and smallest (adapter included) manual legacy lens I can find used or new with the following constraints-

mgn2,

I recently posted comments about the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E, at the following link:
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51318777

I think it would meet many of the parameters you provided.

This will give you an idea of the size of the lens when mounted (NEX-5n) using a generic Nikon > NEX adapter:

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mgn2
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Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 24, 2013

I think the Contax-G 45mm f2 looks like the best option so far. How about this?

http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/pho/3705588042.html

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