Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?

Started 10 months ago | Discussions
blue_skies
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to turnstyle, 10 months ago

turnstyle wrote:

Hi all,

What current manufacture lenses are considered the best fast, fully manual (not focus-by-wire, with aperture ring) 50mm primes, that work well when mounted on a NEX via e-mount adapter?

I don't care about the system the lens is built for, or mount type -- just the overall best performance from wide open down, and can be used fully manually.

It could be a rangefinder (though I do wonder if rangefinder and NEX are ever going to get along as well as they should) or it could be an SLR type lens, preferably around 300 grams (or less).

Thanks for any suggestions...

I put in a vote for the Contax G 45mm f/2.0. This lens is legendary, discontinued, and a bargain.

You can get auto-focus for this lens using the DEO AF adapter, which also has a (tiny) focus control ring which makes this lens very easy to focus manually.

Similar to this lens would be the Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f/2.0 (which should work fine on both Nex and A7/r cameras). RF lenses wider than 35mm will not have any problems on digital sensors, only WA RF lenses have issues. I would hold of on test-reports that should be coming out soon, some of the 50mm were 'suspect' (e.g. the Zeiss ZM C Sonnar 50mm f/1.5).

Also consider the Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.4. This lens is budget friendly and very fast, and does not have the same curvature issue as the Nokton 35mm f/1.4.

Also don't rule out the E50/1.8 and the new FE55Z/1.8 - especially the ZE seems very nice in 'focus-by-wire' mode.

The cheapest lens of above list would be the E50, and it will impress you. It does come with AF and OSS.

An alternative would be the Sigma 60mm/f2.8, but this also has focus-by-wire.

Then, any legacy SLR lens will do, as the "nifty fifties" were plentiful, and every SLR manufacturer has one or two 'best' 50mm lenses out there. Consider this reportAdorable fifties

Contax G 45/2.0

Sony E50/1.8

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Cheers,
Henry

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JudgeDread
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to 120 to 35, 10 months ago

120 to 35 wrote:

turnstyle wrote:

Hi all,

What current manufacture lenses are considered the best fast, fully manual (not focus-by-wire, with aperture ring) 50mm primes, that work well when mounted on a NEX via e-mount adapter?

You are looking for a lens that is still in production. Two obvious choices are Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 AF D and Nikon 50 mm f/1.4 AF D with both focus and aperture rings.

These are your best options, IMHO, because old lenses are generally a hit or miss. I sent my Takumar 50 F1.4 to be professionally cleaned as soon as I got it, but its results were sub par, at best. I wish I had saved for a new lens instead.

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turnstyle
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to blue_skies, 10 months ago

blue_skies wrote:

RF lenses wider than 35mm will not have any problems on digital sensors, only WA RF lenses have issues. I would hold of on test-reports that should be coming out soon, some of the 50mm were 'suspect' (e.g. the Zeiss ZM C Sonnar 50mm f/1.5).

Thanks, though that kind of gets to my confusion & concern.

First, to be sure, when you said "RF lenses wider than 35mm will not have any problems" -- I assume there you mean narrower, ie "longer"?

That's kind of what I had been reading -- RF longer than 35mm should be fine.

But then I hear that even some 50mm may be "suspect."

So that leads me to wonder if RF is just too risky, and whether I should limit my consideration to SLR lenses?

If you could have either a Zeiss designed for SLR, or the Lux -- and if you plan on using it on a NEX7 and later also a A7/A7r -- ignoring price, just about the capability of the lens to perform on the NEX (as well as FF NEX) systems -- does one win?

Is RF for NEX/FF-NEX jut too risky?

(Oh, and regarding the e-50 -- I do want the lens to be able to play nice with the A7/A7r.)

Thank you very much for helping.

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turnstyle
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to blue_skies, 10 months ago

Regarding the Zeiss, are all three of these the same?

Zeiss Normal 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar T* Manual Focus Lens for Canon EOS Cameras:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/583975-REG/Zeiss_1677_817_Normal_50mm_f_1_4_ZE.html

Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F/1.4 ZF.2 Lens for Nikon F-Mount Cameras:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/662717-REG/Zeiss_1767_825_Planar_T_50mm_F_1_4.html

Zeiss Normal 50mm f/1.4 ZS Planar T* Manual Focus Lens for Universal (M42) Screw Mount

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/441699-REG/Zeiss_1405_175_50mm_f_1_4_ZS_Manual.html

I gather the Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f/2.0 you mentioned is a rangefinder? Does that lens outperform the Planar f/1.4's listed above?

I'm feeling a bit worried about the rangefinder NEX compatibility question, and now I'm starting to get mixed up with all the choices -- thanks for bearing with me!

-Scott

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blue_skies
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to turnstyle, 10 months ago

turnstyle wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

RF lenses wider than 35mm will not have any problems on digital sensors, only WA RF lenses have issues. I would hold of on test-reports that should be coming out soon, some of the 50mm were 'suspect' (e.g. the Zeiss ZM C Sonnar 50mm f/1.5).

Thanks, though that kind of gets to my confusion & concern.

Sorry if confusing.

First, to be sure, when you said "RF lenses wider than 35mm will not have any problems" -- I assume there you mean narrower, ie "longer"?

Yes, longer FL, e.g. 50mm, 75mm, 90mm and so on.

That's kind of what I had been reading -- RF longer than 35mm should be fine.

Yes.

But then I hear that even some 50mm may be "suspect."

This is by people that actually had their hands on it. But then there seems to be back-peddling going on: "my adapter was loose", "I may have a decentered lens", "I see sharpness on one edge but not on the other", "I should try another copy".

Typically this indicates that the person taking the shot missed focus, had a misaligned focal plane, is not an experience MF/RF shooter, and so on. The apologies per above came up in threads were responded questioned the OP (but are hard to follow in Chinese, Korean and Japanese).

So that leads me to wonder if RF is just too risky, and whether I should limit my consideration to SLR lenses?

Wait and see. SLR lenses will be safe - but they typically have less center sharpness than the RF lenses.

If you could have either a Zeiss designed for SLR, or the Lux -- and if you plan on using it on a NEX7 and later also a A7/A7r -- ignoring price, just about the capability of the lens to perform on the NEX (as well as FF NEX) systems -- does one win?

Leica R lenses are interesting, so are Zeiss Distagon lenses, especially for WA applications.

You want manual focusing lenses - not the modern electronic lenses. This means MD, OM, FDn, AIs, and so on.

Is RF for NEX/FF-NEX jut too risky?

Not really - many are already using RF lenses on their Nex, and plan to use it on their A7/A7r.

On a Nex-6, RF lenses (almost all) work quite well - but you are at 16Mp with a 1.5x (APS-C) crop.

On a Nex-7, WA RF lenses are a no-go - even some E-mount mirrorless lenses are suspect.

On the A7/A7r, WA RF lenses are being discussed. It is almost granted that longer FL lenses will work fine.

Of course, both RF cameras and A7 cameras are 'minimalistic' - and any user would be more interested in using small lenses (WA) than long lenses (Tele). If you go past 85mm, you may as well get SLR lenses - lots more (low cost) choices.

(Oh, and regarding the e-50 -- I do want the lens to be able to play nice with the A7/A7r.)

Yes, the E50 is a 'crop' lens only (APS-C).

Thank you very much for helping.

-- hide signature --

Cheers,
Henry

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Steven-T
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to turnstyle, 10 months ago

turnstyle wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

RF lenses wider than 35mm will not have any problems on digital sensors, only WA RF lenses have issues. I would hold of on test-reports that should be coming out soon, some of the 50mm were 'suspect' (e.g. the Zeiss ZM C Sonnar 50mm f/1.5).

Thanks, though that kind of gets to my confusion & concern.

First, to be sure, when you said "RF lenses wider than 35mm will not have any problems" -- I assume there you mean narrower, ie "longer"?

That's kind of what I had been reading -- RF longer than 35mm should be fine.

But then I hear that even some 50mm may be "suspect."

So that leads me to wonder if RF is just too risky, and whether I should limit my consideration to SLR lenses?

If you could have either a Zeiss designed for SLR, or the Lux -- and if you plan on using it on a NEX7 and later also a A7/A7r -- ignoring price, just about the capability of the lens to perform on the NEX (as well as FF NEX) systems -- does one win?

Is RF for NEX/FF-NEX jut too risky?

(Oh, and regarding the e-50 -- I do want the lens to be able to play nice with the A7/A7r.)

Thank you very much for helping.

NEX-7 + 50Lux-ASPH (current) ==> magenta cast/coloring smearing.

IF I intend to "BUY" any more RF lenses to adapt on A7/A7R, I will wait for more reviews first.

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Amamba
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to turnstyle, 10 months ago

Don't know about the "best", but Minolta MD 50/1.7 is dime a dozen and very good, so if unsure, it's a cheap way to start.

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turnstyle
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to Steven-T, 10 months ago

Steven-T wrote:

NEX-7 + 50Lux-ASPH (current) ==> magenta cast/coloring smearing.

IF I intend to "BUY" any more RF lenses to adapt on A7/A7R, I will wait for more reviews first.

Yikes, really? You had that combo?

To get those poor results, do you need to be wide open? Does it matter if you are focusing near or far?

Is this poor result with NEX7 + Lux 50 ASPH documented anywhere? Thanks!

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Steven-T
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to turnstyle, 10 months ago

turnstyle wrote:

Steven-T wrote:

NEX-7 + 50Lux-ASPH (current) ==> magenta cast/coloring smearing.

IF I intend to "BUY" any more RF lenses to adapt on A7/A7R, I will wait for more reviews first.

Yikes, really? You had that combo?

Yes, NEX-7 FW 1.02, Novoflex adapter.

To get those poor results, do you need to be wide open? Does it matter if you are focusing near or far?

Stop-down helps a little bit, not much. Obviously, in photography, light angle affects results, to an extend.

Is this poor result with NEX7 + Lux 50 ASPH documented anywhere? Thanks!

Never check.  I seldom use 50 on NEX, even seldom on my M9.  50 on NEX is 75 equivalent, not a popular focal length.  My common focal lengths are 35 and 90.

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verybiglebowski
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to turnstyle, 10 months ago

turnstyle wrote:

Thanks, I know it's not a precise question.

In general, I mean: a quality image, across the frame, from wide open, down. I hope that makes some sense? Best shot at the most keepers, you know?

Nope. This wouldn't help either. You see, there are way too many compromises involved in a lens design, not to speak about combination - lens to camera, to make possible absolute quality quotation.

i.e. "quality image across the frame from wide open" (assuming that by quality you mean resolution (measured by MTF50 i.e.))"makes already bunch of variables ... what distance from the subject you have in mind, would you prefer approximation of the center sharpness and corner sharpness, or you are looking at maximum resolution (usually in the center), what means from wide open - are we talking about f/1.2 or f/1.4 or slower? And this is just to start with...

Any hints on how something like the Leica Summilux 50mm compares to the Zeiss Planar f/1.4?

Planar have somewhat flatter focus plne than Summilux, so it performs better in the corners. Lux is optimized for the center sharpness. Lux has much smoother bokeh and together with somewhat colder (Leica) colors that would be most noticeable difference. Choose Planar for landscape, and Lux for people.

Do you want even flatter focus plane? Go with macro lenses. If you like Zeiss logo, check its brilliant Macro-Planar 50/2. Would you like more distinctive subject separation with a unique character, enjoy the ride with a Noctilux.

You are still not convinced.. try to get your hands on Leica Summicron M 50/2 Asph. or Zeiss Otus 55 f/1.4.

You see, there are no limits, nor absolute rankings...

It's hard for me to find comparisons geared toward use on a NEX -- eg, one of those lenses is for a rangefinder, the other for an SLR.

It doesn't really matter. I find CZJ Tevidon 50/1.8 designed for Super 16 film and few other C-mount lenses (optimized for short flange distances), to be outstanding performers with surprisingly well corrected optics.

You won't find perfect lens in general terms, but you could find perfect one for you. People will usually recommend what they have, because they like it. My advice is - put your priorities on a paper first and give them proper order.

What is the most important for you - even sharpness across the frame, center sharpness, bokeh, size, weight, price etc.,

What do you like to shoot? Check some photos similar to what you would like to do and check EXIFs.

Once you get clear on that, you will find yourself much less confused and it will be easier to give you few recommendations.

I really appreciate all the help!

I hope you will find what you are looking for. But I am sure you won't find it in forums, tests or reviews, especially not amateur ones (like mine i.e.) You will do much better by searching EXIFs of the images that you like.

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Carbon111
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to Steven-T, 10 months ago

Steven-T wrote:

NEX-7 + 50Lux-ASPH (current) ==> magenta cast/coloring smearing.

IF I intend to "BUY" any more RF lenses to adapt on A7/A7R, I will wait for more reviews first.

I don't have that issue with the Summicron on the NEX6 at all.

It could be because the rearmost element is much further from the sensor than in the Summilux:

I'll see how it performs on the A7r next month.

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contax4ever
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to Carbon111, 10 months ago

C/Y Zeiss 50/1.7 on full frame as standard lens and on APS-C as portrait.  On APS-C models, the C/Y Zeiss 28/2.8 is a great 42mm "normal" lens and of course a great all around moderate wide on FF (I love it on VG900).

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Steven-T
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to Carbon111, 10 months ago

Carbon111 wrote:

Steven-T wrote:

NEX-7 + 50Lux-ASPH (current) ==> magenta cast/coloring smearing.

IF I intend to "BUY" any more RF lenses to adapt on A7/A7R, I will wait for more reviews first.

I don't have that issue with the Summicron on the NEX6 at all.

It could be because the rearmost element is much further from the sensor than in the Summilux:

I'll see how it performs on the A7r next month.

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Best Regards, James
http://carbon111.blogspot.com

My guess is more on NEX7 vs NEX6, not so much Lux vs Cron.

I also have a 35Cron and 50Cron (both current, non-APO 50). At firmware 1.01, both performs clean on C3, "marginal" on NEX-7. The Lux'es are much better. At firmware 1.02, performance of 35Cron, 50Cron, and also Lux'es, flew down the drain on NEX-7, just horrible! My conjecture is:  Sony FW 1.02 did something (accidentally) trashing (some) M-lens.

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sean lancaster
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to verybiglebowski, 10 months ago

verybiglebowski wrote:

turnstyle wrote:

Thanks, I know it's not a precise question.

In general, I mean: a quality image, across the frame, from wide open, down. I hope that makes some sense? Best shot at the most keepers, you know?

Nope. This wouldn't help either. You see, there are way too many compromises involved in a lens design, not to speak about combination - lens to camera, to make possible absolute quality quotation.

i.e. "quality image across the frame from wide open" (assuming that by quality you mean resolution (measured by MTF50 i.e.))"makes already bunch of variables ... what distance from the subject you have in mind, would you prefer approximation of the center sharpness and corner sharpness, or you are looking at maximum resolution (usually in the center), what means from wide open - are we talking about f/1.2 or f/1.4 or slower? And this is just to start with...

Any hints on how something like the Leica Summilux 50mm compares to the Zeiss Planar f/1.4?

Planar have somewhat flatter focus plne than Summilux, so it performs better in the corners. Lux is optimized for the center sharpness. Lux has much smoother bokeh and together with somewhat colder (Leica) colors that would be most noticeable difference. Choose Planar for landscape, and Lux for people.

Do you want even flatter focus plane? Go with macro lenses. If you like Zeiss logo, check its brilliant Macro-Planar 50/2. Would you like more distinctive subject separation with a unique character, enjoy the ride with a Noctilux.

You are still not convinced.. try to get your hands on Leica Summicron M 50/2 Asph. or Zeiss Otus 55 f/1.4.

You see, there are no limits, nor absolute rankings...

It's hard for me to find comparisons geared toward use on a NEX -- eg, one of those lenses is for a rangefinder, the other for an SLR.

It doesn't really matter. I find CZJ Tevidon 50/1.8 designed for Super 16 film and few other C-mount lenses (optimized for short flange distances), to be outstanding performers with surprisingly well corrected optics.

You won't find perfect lens in general terms, but you could find perfect one for you. People will usually recommend what they have, because they like it. My advice is - put your priorities on a paper first and give them proper order.

What is the most important for you - even sharpness across the frame, center sharpness, bokeh, size, weight, price etc.,

What do you like to shoot? Check some photos similar to what you would like to do and check EXIFs.

Once you get clear on that, you will find yourself much less confused and it will be easier to give you few recommendations.

I really appreciate all the help!

I hope you will find what you are looking for. But I am sure you won't find it in forums, tests or reviews, especially not amateur ones (like mine i.e.) You will do much better by searching EXIFs of the images that you like.

-- hide signature --

Don't trust your eyes or mind, they might betray you! Trust only comments posted on the forums, because there is the absolute truth!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/viktor_viktor/
http://verybiglobo.blogspot.com/

OP, in verybiglebowski you should trust. Seriously. If you visit his blog, you can see a legacy 50 comparison that is pretty comprehensive . . . here's the direct link: http://verybiglobo.blogspot.com/2013/06/50mm-f14-legacy-lenses-shootout-wde-open.html

As for me, I am very satisfied with my Canon FDn 50/1.4.

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turnstyle
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to sean lancaster, 10 months ago

Thanks Sean -- I'm really grateful for these tips from you, verybiglebowski, Henry, and everybody.

It's a huge amount of info to process, perhaps especially for somebody who came to NEX from point-and-shoot rather than from DSLR.

Here's the one thing I'd love a better understanding of -- most people seem to say rangefinder lenses longer than 35mm should "just work" on NEX -- but other folks say (for example) the 50mm Lux doesn't work well (at least not on NEX7).

I had been thinking something like the Lux could possibly be perfect -- I mostly like to capture points of interest within a scene, rather than big scenes, and I like evening social shots. Lux was seeming like something I could enjoy forever.

Is there any way to better understand whether I should abandon the Lux idea?

Thanks for sticking with me!

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Steven-T
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to turnstyle, 10 months ago

turnstyle wrote:

Thanks Sean -- I'm really grateful for these tips from you, verybiglebowski, Henry, and everybody.

It's a huge amount of info to process, perhaps especially for somebody who came to NEX from point-and-shoot rather than from DSLR.

Here's the one thing I'd love a better understanding of -- most people seem to say rangefinder lenses longer than 35mm should "just work" on NEX -- but other folks say (for example) the 50mm Lux doesn't work well (at least not on NEX7).

I had been thinking something like the Lux could possibly be perfect -- I mostly like to capture points of interest within a scene, rather than big scenes, and I like evening social shots. Lux was seeming like something I could enjoy forever.

Is there any way to better understand whether I should abandon the Lux idea?

Hold your hope.  I enjoy shooting 35Lux-ASPH with my M9.  Even when I turned off 6-bit coding, I see no magenta cast.  As I said in another post, the NEX-7 with 35Lux was not that bad until later firmwares.

I am waiting on the A7R for stills and videos (Sony's are good with videos), intend to adapt 35Lux and other M's. If we look at it, an A7R (with off-set microlens), with an M-adapter, should have a similar "architecture-mount-distance" as the M9, without 6-bit code.

The major difference is 36mp-CMOS vs 18mp-CCD (No experience, and not interested with M240).  Have you listened to people talking about post processing with 36mp Nikon D800/e? I know what it's like. I got a D800e to use my collection of old AIS's from the last 30 years.

Fingers cross.  Go, Sony A7R, go!  Keep the positivity!

Thanks for sticking with me!

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Jokica
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to turnstyle, 10 months ago

Manual fast primes are just great. They are sharp, even wide open, across the frame, they have great bokeh, contrast, colors, etc. You can have all that. But like verybiglebowski have sad, not in one lens. These lenses are perfectly imperfect. They are not design by computer, so they are different and every lens has it`s own character. "The best" is matter of personal preferences and type of photography you are after. This is a list of lenses that often pop up in posts when someone mentioned "The best":

By no particular order:

Konica Hexanon AR 1.7/50
C/Y Carl Zeiss Planar 1.7/50
Canon FD 1.4/50 (SSC or nFD)
Minolta 1.4/50 (MC or MD)
Pentax 1.4/50 (various versions)

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YuriS
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to turnstyle, 10 months ago

turnstyle wrote:

Just curious -- a few of you have suggested rangefinder 50mm's -- I'm curious to know if you're using an NEX7, or one of the other NEX'es with it?

Yes, NEX-6 with regular Minolta MD - NEX adapter.

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Dohmnuill
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to turnstyle, 10 months ago

turnstyle wrote


Thanks for any suggestions...

There are many 50's around so I have no idea about the best, but here are a few I've used with pleasing results:

Nikkor AIs 1.4

Nikkor AI 1.8

One I bought in Williamsburg VA just a few days back - Nikon E Series 1.8 (pancake) - amazingly good (and for $10 !!).

Industar 50 (retractable, 1959 and another 1965 example) - so sharp (see My Gallery).

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chkugler
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Re: Best manual fast 50mm prime that performs well on e-mount (with adapter)?
In reply to Jokica, 10 months ago

i like all of the Minolta MD Primes from 45 to 58mm

and the Asahi Pentax Super Takumar is great

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