Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?

Started 4 months ago | Questions
Miki Nemeth
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Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
4 months ago

A number of postings reports some/significant success in using oldish/legacy lenses on A7 and A7R

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3587834 http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52664036

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3586045

On the other hand, several members reported not so great achievements.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588847/52685857

"I was excited by the concept of FF E-mount at first because of the thought of using legacy RF lenses with the small NEX bodies at full potential, making a compact and affordable system (FF NEX-7 body with Contax G28, G45 & G90 - cool!), but tests of the wider RF lenses suggest performance wider than 35mm in most cases isn't so good with the current generation of sensors so really we need to look at using the A7 with the FE lenses if we want to get full benefit from it"

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588847/52686010

"I bought the A7 in the main intention to use my fine, cherry picked, and terrific legacy lenses on it "to their full potential", or so I thought. Well, I though wrong ! Sure, they do get their original field of view back, but their IQ is pretty much destroyed in the process. When I first started testing the A7 I was pretty (no, very) underwhelmed by the output. I thought 'Naah, that can't be it", and yet I was using my best, most carefully chosen SLR lenses. Then, out of curiosity for AF speed, I slapped the SEL35 (which is a good, no nonsense lens on NEX but isn't spectacular either) on it and Shabang ! All the sudden the crazy resolution, clarity and sharpness I had hoped to see from the A7 jumped at me. So here is the very paradoxal situation. This sensor is waayyyyy better with native lenses. Except there are almost none ! And the ones that exist are either very limited in speed, or scandalously expensive, or both ! NOT a good situation, if you ask me. I'm *not* saying no older SLR lens can survive on the A7. Some can. My modest Minolta 50/1.4 MD is absolutely brilliant on it (but still not as good as the lowly SEL35 though, food for thought...). My beloved PEN38 does he job, very well, too. It does lose a smidge of IQ vs. the N7, but not that much. But the one that truly suffers is my super cautiously chosen between several units OM50/1.8. This lens is *bleedingly* sharp, with top ideal contrast, on N7, on A7 it becomes instantly somewhat hazy, and downright soft."

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588847/52686113

"The lens that once was considered excellent is quite something else than that when put in front of high-res FF sensor. The coatings, computer aided design/manufacturing etc. have moved forward since than legendary 60s lens was made.. The legacy lenses that were great when adapted to APS-C reveal their weaknesses (usually bad corners...) with the FF Sensor. That said, slap a modern high end DSLR lens to A7R and the native lenses only have compactness advantage. The above mentioned Zeiss Zf.2 Makro Planar 50/2, Canon 100/2.8L IS Macro and Sony Zeiss 85/1.4 are spectacular on my A7R."

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588847/52686485

"This is really quite interesting to me owning Nex6 and 25 legacy lenses. Did you use the sel35 in crop mode? or does it not vignet so much FF ? I see we have to rebuild recommandations for legacy lenses we have snapped from ebay the last year. Price will rise for some and fall for others. Exciting !"

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588847/52687207

"I have the "made in Japan" later 4,000,000+ #SN Oly 50/1.80 - it's razor sharp on APS-C and I can't believe that it could suddenly get softer with the A7 sensor! Even poor lenses are known to get a boost from a better sensor, according to a Zeiss published paper I saw quoted elsewhere on this forum."

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3587640/52672673

"The Contax g 28 does not do well on the A7r."

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588785/52687808

"I'm floored by how stunningly sharp the FE 35mm is! From the MTF charts, the 55mm should be even better! I'll probably stick with native lenses from now on - there's that much of a difference in IQ at 100%. (Though I'll still use the CZ Jena 20mm for wide shots.)"

My question is then, which camera A7R or A7 is better when used with legacy lenses?

Thank You, Miki

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jkspepper
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 4 months ago

Applicable to rangefinder lenses only - dSLR lenses seem to be okay in majority of cases

< 28mm neither is good

28mm = a7 acceptable in some cases, a7R not acceptable in any examples that I have seen

35mm = a7 acceptable to good in almost all cases, a7R some have issues but fixable

>35mm both okay

obvious caveats are that there may be isolated specific examples on the contrary but overall consensus is that a7 is better.

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SQLGuy
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 4 months ago

I shoot mostly legacy SLR lenses, and am quite happy with my results so far on the A7.

One of the responders you quote above mentioned a Pen 38 lens - designed for half-frame - so I'd say you're lucky with whatever you get on a format larger than what it was designed for there.

For the OM 50/1.8, I would have expected better, but, still, there are some full frame lenses that benefit from using only the inner part of their image circle on APS-C. I think the more likely case here is that full frame is exposing limitations of the lens that APS-C did not.

As to your title question, whether the A7R is better for "legacy manual focus lenses" than the A7, that really depends on which particular legacy manual focus lens, but neither is going to that well for a number of wide angle rangefinder lenses that were originally designed for film. For half frame lenses, the A7R would be better just because it has a higher resolution crop mode so these lenses can still be used as APS-C 1.5X crop lenses.

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A7 with kit lens and a number of legacy lenses (mostly Canon FD)

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ZoranC
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 4 months ago

Miki Nemeth wrote:

A number of postings reports some/significant success in using oldish/legacy lenses on A7 and A7R

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3587834 http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52664036

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3586045

On the other hand, several members reported not so great achievements.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588847/52685857

"I was excited by the concept of FF E-mount at first because of the thought of using legacy RF lenses with the small NEX bodies at full potential, making a compact and affordable system (FF NEX-7 body with Contax G28, G45 & G90 - cool!), but tests of the wider RF lenses suggest performance wider than 35mm in most cases isn't so good with the current generation of sensors so really we need to look at using the A7 with the FE lenses if we want to get full benefit from it"

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588847/52686010

"I bought the A7 in the main intention to use my fine, cherry picked, and terrific legacy lenses on it "to their full potential", or so I thought. Well, I though wrong ! Sure, they do get their original field of view back, but their IQ is pretty much destroyed in the process. When I first started testing the A7 I was pretty (no, very) underwhelmed by the output. I thought 'Naah, that can't be it", and yet I was using my best, most carefully chosen SLR lenses. Then, out of curiosity for AF speed, I slapped the SEL35 (which is a good, no nonsense lens on NEX but isn't spectacular either) on it and Shabang ! All the sudden the crazy resolution, clarity and sharpness I had hoped to see from the A7 jumped at me. So here is the very paradoxal situation. This sensor is waayyyyy better with native lenses. Except there are almost none ! And the ones that exist are either very limited in speed, or scandalously expensive, or both ! NOT a good situation, if you ask me. I'm *not* saying no older SLR lens can survive on the A7. Some can. My modest Minolta 50/1.4 MD is absolutely brilliant on it (but still not as good as the lowly SEL35 though, food for thought...). My beloved PEN38 does he job, very well, too. It does lose a smidge of IQ vs. the N7, but not that much. But the one that truly suffers is my super cautiously chosen between several units OM50/1.8. This lens is *bleedingly* sharp, with top ideal contrast, on N7, on A7 it becomes instantly somewhat hazy, and downright soft."

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588847/52686113

"The lens that once was considered excellent is quite something else than that when put in front of high-res FF sensor. The coatings, computer aided design/manufacturing etc. have moved forward since than legendary 60s lens was made.. The legacy lenses that were great when adapted to APS-C reveal their weaknesses (usually bad corners...) with the FF Sensor. That said, slap a modern high end DSLR lens to A7R and the native lenses only have compactness advantage. The above mentioned Zeiss Zf.2 Makro Planar 50/2, Canon 100/2.8L IS Macro and Sony Zeiss 85/1.4 are spectacular on my A7R."

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588847/52686485

"This is really quite interesting to me owning Nex6 and 25 legacy lenses. Did you use the sel35 in crop mode? or does it not vignet so much FF ? I see we have to rebuild recommandations for legacy lenses we have snapped from ebay the last year. Price will rise for some and fall for others. Exciting !"

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588847/52687207

"I have the "made in Japan" later 4,000,000+ #SN Oly 50/1.80 - it's razor sharp on APS-C and I can't believe that it could suddenly get softer with the A7 sensor! Even poor lenses are known to get a boost from a better sensor, according to a Zeiss published paper I saw quoted elsewhere on this forum."

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3587640/52672673

"The Contax g 28 does not do well on the A7r."

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3588785/52687808

"I'm floored by how stunningly sharp the FE 35mm is! From the MTF charts, the 55mm should be even better! I'll probably stick with native lenses from now on - there's that much of a difference in IQ at 100%. (Though I'll still use the CZ Jena 20mm for wide shots.)"

My question is then, which camera A7R or A7 is better when used with legacy lenses?

Thank You, Miki

Before jumping to assumptions based on somebody's post you should make sure they know what they are talking about. I don't think that is 100% sure here. Please see my post in thread you are referencing for reason why.

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blue_skies
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 4 months ago

Couple of things to consider:

1. The corners

APS-C only shows the center crop, so the lenses can be stellar from corner to corner on APS-C, but on FF, you will begin to see the original limitations of such lens designs, and corners, and at certain apertures/lens designs can be disappointing. Some lenses were only 'great' when stopped down originally as well.

2. The resolution

Only if you are comparing a 36Mp A7r with a 16Mp Nex-6 you can see similar (if not identical) amounts of detail when pixel peeping (at 100% zoom levels).

If you compare a 36Mp A7r with a 24Mp Nex-7, or a 24Mp A7 with a 16Mp Nex-6, you will see less details (per pixel area - as the pixel density is lower), suggesting that you have 'lost' something, even though the overall picture area has increases, and the image is now a lot larger.

This is because you ignore the crop-effect. If you compensate for this (use a different focal length), you will always see that the higher Mp sensor shows more detail.

3. Disclaimers

I would take all these posting with a grain of salt. There was a lot of hype that RF lenses wider than 35mm would be totally unusable, and this has somewhat softened, and that SLR lenses would be compromised on digital sensors, this has also been proven untrue.

I have both RF and SLR lenses, with the A7, and so far, I have not been disappointed - in context of items 1 and 2 above.

If dpreview ever got around to fixing the upload problems, I can post some images, right now I can only upload thumbnails....

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Cheers,
Henry

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Carbon111
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 4 months ago

Some things to consider:

The A7r and even A7 can handily out-resolve many vintage lenses and a lot of vintage lenses aren't very well coated, further reducing contrast and image quality.

So far, with my A7r, only the very best of my lenses have proved useful - my Leica rangefinder glass especially has been up to the task, but they're mostly modern pieces.

The native FE 35mm is astoundingly sharp, even when pixel-peeping. This lens will spend a lot of time on the camera. The 55mm looks to be even sharper. These lenses are bargains for the asking price in my opinion.

I'm not saying vintage glass is useless but I'm finding the A7r body doesn't really shine until you match it with a lens worthy of its massive resolution.

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

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Miki Nemeth
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to Carbon111, 4 months ago

Carbon111 wrote:

Thank You, James for the comments. Before writing my original post I spent several hours browsing your web-pages.

Some things to consider:

The A7r and even A7 can handily out-resolve many vintage lenses and a lot of vintage lenses aren't very well coated, further reducing contrast and image quality.

So far, with my A7r, only the very best of my lenses have proved useful - my Leica rangefinder glass especially has been up to the task, but they're mostly modern pieces.

Exactly this was my understanding; however I love idea of using old legacy (I love retro gizmos a lot) lenses on state-of-the art cameras, the idea's applicability/usefulness is quite limited.

The native FE 35mm is astoundingly sharp, even when pixel-peeping. This lens will spend a lot of time on the camera. The 55mm looks to be even sharper. These lenses are bargains for the asking price in my opinion.

On the other hand, if I wanted to buy the best retro lenses on my new A7 or A7R, I should pay a bit higher prices. A Canon FD 24mm/f1.4L for example costs 500 - 830 euros in my area. An Olympus 21mm/f2 is 500 - 700 euros, a Voigtlander Nokton 35mm/1.2 is 1200 euros. Honestly these vintage/retro high quality lenses are not that cheap, actually/eventually.

I'm not saying vintage glass is useless but I'm finding the A7r body doesn't really shine until you match it with a lens worthy of its massive resolution.

Would this mean that the lower resolution of an A7 then would be more tolerant to less expensive vintage lenses?

Thank You very much for the help, Miki

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Miki Nemeth
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to blue_skies, 4 months ago

blue_skies wrote:

I have both RF and SLR lenses, with the A7, and so far, I have not been disappointed - in context of items 1 and 2 above.

If dpreview ever got around to fixing the upload problems, I can post some images, right now I can only upload thumbnails....

Dear Henry,

Again, a great pleasure to read your comments.

It would be great to find a way to see your photos. I have ordered these E-mount no-electronics converters: Canon FD, Nikon F (for AI/AIS/AF-S D), Olympus OM, Olympus PEN, Leica M and Minolta MD. I am interested only in lenses that have dedicated aperture ring.

Which of these are regarded Range-Finder lenses?

All the Best and Thank You,

Miki

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UnderDriven
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 4 months ago

In the end, there will be a lot of disappointed people who imagine their old MF SLR lenses can be revived by the A7/A7R. I love the solidity and smooth focusing of my old MF lenses (and the long focus throws), but most of them really don't do very well on modern digital cameras. They tend to be soft and low contrast wide open, or have poor edge performance compared to more modern designs (probably made much worse when using a FF sensor). Add to that the lack of aperture control, and many people will gladly pay for new FE lenses after a few months of experimentation with legacy MF lenses...

In reality, only the best MF lenses are worth using on a modern FF DSLR, and they are still expensive (Contax, Leica, Zeiss, and possibly Voigtlander). Macro lenses may be the exception--they were designed to be very sharp, have minimal distortion, and have a flat field. This is where you can find bargain lenses which will still perform well on a FF DSLR. The problem is that macro lenses are usually 50mm and up. In the end, I predict that most people will buy whatever Zeiss wideangle zoom Sony produces, and forget about trying to use legacy MF lenses for anything below 35mm...

If you are really interested in using legacy MF lenses, then the A7R is better--primarily because you can crop to APS-C and still get 16MP. Or do a 1.2 crop and still get 24MP--this will probably eliminate the worst of the edge degradation on most lenses (other than wideangles). I would buy an A7R right now if it was cheaper--I'll have to wait for a year until the price comes down a bit...

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Lightshow
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 4 months ago

Miki Nemeth wrote:

Carbon111 wrote:

Thank You, James for the comments. Before writing my original post I spent several hours browsing your web-pages.

Some things to consider:

The A7r and even A7 can handily out-resolve many vintage lenses and a lot of vintage lenses aren't very well coated, further reducing contrast and image quality.

So far, with my A7r, only the very best of my lenses have proved useful - my Leica rangefinder glass especially has been up to the task, but they're mostly modern pieces.

Exactly this was my understanding; however I love idea of using old legacy (I love retro gizmos a lot) lenses on state-of-the art cameras, the idea's applicability/usefulness is quite limited.

The native FE 35mm is astoundingly sharp, even when pixel-peeping. This lens will spend a lot of time on the camera. The 55mm looks to be even sharper. These lenses are bargains for the asking price in my opinion.

On the other hand, if I wanted to buy the best retro lenses on my new A7 or A7R, I should pay a bit higher prices. A Canon FD 24mm/f1.4L for example costs 500 - 830 euros in my area.

The FD 24/2 is very capable and costs 1/3 what the L costs, even the 24/2.8 which costs half what the 24/2 costs is  very good.

An Olympus 21mm/f2 is 500 - 700 euros,

The 21/3.5 is cheaper.

a Voigtlander Nokton 35mm/1.2 is 1200 euros.

Same with the 35/1.4 Nokton.

Honestly these vintage/retro high quality lenses are not that cheap, actually/eventually.

I'm not saying vintage glass is useless but I'm finding the A7r body doesn't really shine until you match it with a lens worthy of its massive resolution.

Would this mean that the lower resolution of an A7 then would be more tolerant to less expensive vintage lenses?

Thank You very much for the help, Miki

You can't expect a junk lens to produce stellar results, but you also don't have to spend lots to get good results.

Also, just because someone didn't get sharp results from a lens on a new camera doesn't mean either was at fault, it's quite possible it was user error. Did they post pictures? Does it show the problem as described? ie. does the shot show movement blur?

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blue_skies
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to UnderDriven, 4 months ago

I am completely lost by your comments, and I do not subscribe to your findings, based on my own experiments to date.

Older lenses can be more prone to flare (e.g. SC lenses), but a sharp legacy lens is still a sharp lens on a digital sensor.

The Nex/Alpha cameras were not the first to adapt legacy SLR lenses - you could already adapt e.g. OM lenses on Canon EOS cameras in the past.

Given that the A7 has a lower sensor resolution than the A7r, it should be a better match for older lenses than the A7r, not the other way around.

Aperture control on an MF lens is no different that using the camera in A-mode. Instead of dialing a button on the rear, you are dialing the aperture ring on the lens - the camera handles everything else.

Thus far, the wider angle RF lenses are prone to vignetting and possible color shift and corner smear, and this puts a damper on adapting the wide angle RF lenses. RF lenses got popular as they are very compact and very high quality (they are expensive lenses). But if you use SLR lenses, you are not necessarily looking at much bigger setups - e.g. the OM 24/28/35/50 lenses are all quite compact with a stellar image.

The most impressive FF images tend to come from a fast FF lens with high contrast used wide open. This was typically done with RF lenses - and in  the 35mm to 50mm you can get many very high IQ RF lenses that work well on either A7 or A7r.

If you get a fast SLR lens instead, you may not get the same micro-contrast - in the SLR lens days, it was more common to make the lens perform best when stopped down a bit. On the other hand, SLR lenses have no trouble with the corners - for the better ones (and if stopped down) - whereas RF lenses deal with more acute ray angles for wide-angle lenses.

Again, as I pointed out earlier - the Nex-7 has the highest pixel density, followed by the Nex-6 and the A7r and then the A7. If you pixel peep, you will see most detail with a Nex-7, which then leads to disappointment with the A7. But this is only if not understanding the crop - the A7 is full frame, the Nex-7 is APS-C. Look at the entire image to get a better appreciation of the IQ.

As to the FE lenses - they are designed with the sensor in mind, so you will see the best of what technology can bring to bear. Are they better than adapting legacy lenses? Yes, if AF and OSS come into play, but not necessarily if you just want IQ. E.g. take a Contax-G 45/2 lens next to the FE55 and I expect to see a very similar IQ. Less so for a ZM35/2 next to the FE35, as the M lens may vignet at 35mm - but then, I'd take f/2.0 over f/2.8...

Lastly, the 36Mp A7r and 24Mp A7 FF cameras are really much closer than the 24Mp Nex-7 and the 16Mp Nex-6 APS-C cameras are in terms of image IQ (not croppability) - meaning, it is a bigger step from 16Mp to 24Mp than from 24Mp to 36Mp.

UnderDriven wrote:

In the end, there will be a lot of disappointed people who imagine their old MF SLR lenses can be revived by the A7/A7R. I love the solidity and smooth focusing of my old MF lenses (and the long focus throws), but most of them really don't do very well on modern digital cameras. They tend to be soft and low contrast wide open, or have poor edge performance compared to more modern designs (probably made much worse when using a FF sensor). Add to that the lack of aperture control, and many people will gladly pay for new FE lenses after a few months of experimentation with legacy MF lenses...

In reality, only the best MF lenses are worth using on a modern FF DSLR, and they are still expensive (Contax, Leica, Zeiss, and possibly Voigtlander). Macro lenses may be the exception--they were designed to be very sharp, have minimal distortion, and have a flat field. This is where you can find bargain lenses which will still perform well on a FF DSLR. The problem is that macro lenses are usually 50mm and up. In the end, I predict that most people will buy whatever Zeiss wideangle zoom Sony produces, and forget about trying to use legacy MF lenses for anything below 35mm...

If you are really interested in using legacy MF lenses, then the A7R is better--primarily because you can crop to APS-C and still get 16MP. Or do a 1.2 crop and still get 24MP--this will probably eliminate the worst of the edge degradation on most lenses (other than wideangles). I would buy an A7R right now if it was cheaper--I'll have to wait for a year until the price comes down a bit...

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Cheers,
Henry

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Carbon111
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 4 months ago

Miki Nemeth wrote:

Carbon111 wrote:

Thank You, James for the comments. Before writing my original post I spent several hours browsing your web-pages.

Wow! Thanks for the interest.

Some things to consider:

The A7r and even A7 can handily out-resolve many vintage lenses and a lot of vintage lenses aren't very well coated, further reducing contrast and image quality.

So far, with my A7r, only the very best of my lenses have proved useful - my Leica rangefinder glass especially has been up to the task, but they're mostly modern pieces.

Exactly this was my understanding; however I love idea of using old legacy (I love retro gizmos a lot) lenses on state-of-the art cameras, the idea's applicability/usefulness is quite limited.

I love the old stuff too but their performance on the A7r is iffy. I have found some real gems though. The 50mm f/1.2 MC Rokkor works surprisingly well as does the 20mm f/2.8 CZ Jena Prakticar (though flare is an issue). Most of the others I'm finding to be a bit lackluster.

I still have a few lenses to try including a Russian 135mm I'm waiting for and a C/Y mount Zeiss zoom. We'll see how they perform. I'm still hopeful.

The native FE 35mm is astoundingly sharp, even when pixel-peeping. This lens will spend a lot of time on the camera. The 55mm looks to be even sharper. These lenses are bargains for the asking price in my opinion.

On the other hand, if I wanted to buy the best retro lenses on my new A7 or A7R, I should pay a bit higher prices. A Canon FD 24mm/f1.4L for example costs 500 - 830 euros in my area. An Olympus 21mm/f2 is 500 - 700 euros, a Voigtlander Nokton 35mm/1.2 is 1200 euros. Honestly these vintage/retro high quality lenses are not that cheap, actually/eventually.

That 35mm Nokton is a splendid lens by all accounts though, for that kind of money, I'd recommend the native Zeiss FE 35mm f/2.8...it really is a stunner when looking at images at 100%! I wasn't really sold on it until I started using it in earnest and now I'd hate to nothave it.

I'm not saying vintage glass is useless but I'm finding the A7r body doesn't really shine until you match it with a lens worthy of its massive resolution.

Would this mean that the lower resolution of an A7 then would be more tolerant to less expensive vintage lenses?

That's what I'm beginning to think. Plus the A7 is better with wide rangefinder glass as well.

Thank You very much for the help, Miki

No sweat!

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UnderDriven
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to blue_skies, 4 months ago

blue_skies wrote:

I am completely lost by your comments, and I do not subscribe to your findings, based on my own experiments to date.

Everyone is different...

Older lenses can be more prone to flare (e.g. SC lenses), but a sharp legacy lens is still a sharp lens on a digital sensor.

Yes, but mediocre MF SLR lenses will still be mediocre on the A7/A7R. Also, standards have gone up. The Minolta 50mm f/1.4 MD was a good lens in its day, but I'm not impressed by it on my G1. Yes, that is asking it to perform at a 42MP level, but it isn't the sharpness (which is decent at f/5.6), it is how it performs below f/4. My Minolta 85mm f/2 MD actually does well on my G1, but that was one of Minolta's better lenses...

My point was not to criticize the great lenses from the past, but to point out that most people don't have great MF lenses in their closet. And the great MF lenses are still not cheap today. Most people will try their old SLR lenses for a while and then buy Sony's Zeiss lenses. I'm sure Sony is counting on that, by the way...

Given that the A7 has a lower sensor resolution than the A7r, it should be a better match for older lenses than the A7r, not the other way around.

From a resolution perspective, yes. But now we are demanding more from the edges of the lens. Some old lenses can deliver at the edges, and some cannot...

Aperture control on an MF lens is no different that using the camera in A-mode. Instead of dialing a button on the rear, you are dialing the aperture ring on the lens - the camera handles everything else.

I'm talking about automatic aperture control. It's nice to be able to focus wide open and have the camera stop down the lens to take the image (although there are issues with this if stopping down affects the focal plane, as I have observed on my Minolta 50mm MD). I do manual aperture control all the time--but I tend to shoot static subjects with the camera on a tripod. Most people prefer automatic aperture control, which is why it has existed for 50+ years...

But if you use SLR lenses, you are not necessarily looking at much bigger setups - e.g. the OM 24/28/35/50 lenses are all quite compact with a stellar image.

I agree that Olympus made many good lenses which were compact...

The most impressive FF images tend to come from a fast FF lens with high contrast used wide open. This was typically done with RF lenses - and in the 35mm to 50mm you can get many very high IQ RF lenses that work well on either A7 or A7r.

Sure, the Leica lenses are great. And if someone has a bunch of them in his closet, then he/she is a lucky person. But are they any better optically than the Zeiss lenses Sony is producing, which also have AF and automatic aperture control? They may be much better constructed (and a joy to use), but is it worth the cost of buying them now if you don't already own them?

As to the FE lenses - they are designed with the sensor in mind, so you will see the best of what technology can bring to bear. Are they better than adapting legacy lenses? Yes, if AF and OSS come into play, but not necessarily if you just want IQ. E.g. take a Contax-G 45/2 lens next to the FE55 and I expect to see a very similar IQ. Less so for a ZM35/2 next to the FE35, as the M lens may vignet at 35mm - but then, I'd take f/2.0 over f/2.8...

My point was that there isn't really a good wide-angle legacy lens for a FF sensor--other than something very expensive. Most people will just buy the Sony Zeiss FE wide zoom when it comes out. They may choose to use their legacy lenses for longer focal lengths, or they may get tired of manual aperture control and no AF, and buy the Sony Zeiss lenses...

I own the Contax G 45mm. It is a great lens. I would probably use it if I bought an A7/A7R, but unfortunately my 28mm G doesn't work well it seems. Then again, is it worth buying an adapter for one focal length? I could buy the 90mm G, but do I really want to invest in another MF lens? I already have the Minolta 85mm MD, which is very good. How many adapters do I want to buy and carry around? If the 28mm G worked well, I would have been happy with the 28mm, 45mm, and 90mm set. Now I'm not sure it's worth the trouble...

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ZoranC
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to blue_skies, 4 months ago

blue_skies wrote:

Given that the A7 has a lower sensor resolution than the A7r, it should be a better match for older lenses than the A7r, not the other way around.

My brief hands on experience with legacy lenses on both A7 and A7R indicates that actually opposite is true, that same legacy lens gives more when mated to A7R than to A7. Is it always proportionally more? No, they don't always scale linearly but so far I have not seen a case when it didn't deliver more.

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Jabez02
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to UnderDriven, 4 months ago

In keeping with the Christmas spirit(s) I'm going to say that I am a member of the "Bah Humbug" school  when it comes to worrying about extreme edges performance on any lens.

I judge by prints and not what I see initially straight from the camera. Plus I rarely print full frame and those are usually sports action shots where no one is bothering about corner softness. My criteria is that I will probably crop around 20% so that is where I am looking at the edge performance.

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ZoranC
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to UnderDriven, 4 months ago

UnderDriven wrote: I own the Contax G 45mm. It is a great lens. I would probably use it if I bought an A7/A7R, but unfortunately my 28mm G doesn't work well it seems. Then again, is it worth buying an adapter for one focal length? I could buy the 90mm G, but do I really want to invest in another MF lens?

With me it's other way around, I own Contax G 90 and now that I have seen it's performance on A7 and A7R (it is literally bitingly sharp on A7R corner to corner even wide open) I am interested in acquiring more of Contax G glass.

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UnderDriven
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to Jabez02, 4 months ago

Jabez02 wrote:

In keeping with the Christmas spirit(s) I'm going to say that I am a member of the "Bah Humbug" school when it comes to worrying about extreme edges performance on any lens.

Probably a good attitude. However, some people do panoramas and it is easier to stitch when the edge quality is high. Everyone has different needs...

I judge by prints and not what I see initially straight from the camera. Plus I rarely print full frame and those are usually sports action shots where no one is bothering about corner softness. My criteria is that I will probably crop around 20% so that is where I am looking at the edge performance.

Well, then the A7R will give you more resolution when you crop--which was one of my original points. But if you are happy with cropping 20% from the A7 then you'll save money buying the A7...

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UnderDriven
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to ZoranC, 4 months ago

ZoranC wrote:

With me it's other way around, I own Contax G 90 and now that I have seen it's performance on A7 and A7R (it is literally bitingly sharp on A7R corner to corner even wide open) I am interested in acquiring more of Contax G glass.

It's good to know that the 90mm performs well. My other concern is the quality of focusing using an adapter. I know how my Minolta MD lenses work (very smooth), but the G lenses were intended for AF. I suppose I question whether the G lenses + adapter are anywhere close to a real MF lens. Also, how much focus throw exists?

I suppose the best solution for an all-Contax kit is the 45mm & 90mm G lenses plus the Contax C/Y 28mm...

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Jabez02
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to UnderDriven, 4 months ago

Different people ,different needs. I tend to use macro lenses or at least short telephoto lenses for panoramas but of course there are times you just have to use what you have got with you. In those cases bad edge effects are going to be a real problem.

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uhoh07
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Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?
In reply to Jabez02, 4 months ago

I have A7r, would buy A7 if I had it to do over.

That said, A7r will shoot a bunch of legacy glass pretty darn well

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