Recommend an inexpensive fast MF portrait prime for NEX ?

Started Apr 6, 2013 | Questions thread
evoprox Senior Member • Posts: 1,469
Re: Recommend an inexpensive fast MF portrait prime for NEX ?

Amamba wrote:

As the topic says... what would be a fast (1.8 at least), inexpensive (as NEX is going to be my backup camera used mainly for travels) portrait (i.e. nice bokeh) manual focus lens that I could use with a simple adapter (don't need AF confirm or other bells and whistles).

I understand that NEX can use Canon's FD lenses (which are incompatible with Canon EOS).

What about Oly OM, Nikkor, etc. ?

I've tried two versions of the 50mm/f1.8 Zuiko on my NEXes (5, 5n, 7), an old 'silver nose' and the last version Oly produced and prefer the latter one by far. I also tried different Nikon f1.8s (E Series, AiS, AF-D) and an older f1.4 AiS. Of those I found the 50mm/f1.8 D to be the best overall performer. All plastic,  pretty soft and low-contrasty wide open but at around f2.8-4 everything changes dramatically. One of the sharpest and contrasty! lenses (f5.6/f8) I remember, if that's what you're after. My all-time favorite ~50mm lens is my G Zeiss 45mm/f2 Planar, but I mostly do contextual portraits so those 45/68mm are almost too long on the NEX. Gotta try the SEL35f18 these days.

Any brands that can't be easily adapted (e.g. no infinity focusing) ?

Two no-name chinese Nikon adapters and a 'Fotga' didn't focus @ infinity. I'd try the better brands, especially Fotodiox and Novoflex.

Any known bargains out there ?

I second the Mamiya mentioned above as well as the razor sharp f1.7 Konica Hexanon but would stay away from the 40mm/f1.8 pancake Konica. However all the Hexanons sport hexagonal OOF shapes, not exactly my cup of tea. I've seen them going on eBay for as little as 6-7 € once in a while. You might also try one of the Jupiters (M39). Lots of character and great fun to shoot. I paid 5€ for my old Jupiter-8 and it provides a welcome change of pace once in a while. Just keep in mind that there are quite a few lemons out there but IMO it's worth the hassle.

Any help is much appreciated !

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