Most Compact 1.4 Lenses (with Adapter Included)?

Started Apr 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 6,242
FF SLR vs rangefinder or half-frame lenses

The reason you're getting expensive lenses mentioned is that although many FF SLR lenses are small, the adapters for them add significantly to the size. Rangefinder or half-frame (i.e., Pen) lenses were designed with a shorter rear focus, so they use a smaller adapter... and people seem to go nuts about that, paying significantly more for the coolness of shaving-off fractions of an inch. Faster lenses also have a price premium, and were relatively rare on rangefinder cameras; for example, very compact f/2.8-3.5 5Xmm rangefinder lenses are cheap, especially Soviet ones.

Keep in mind that FF SLR lenses are much more likely to give good IQ on a FF NEX, if that's in your future. Pen lenses will not even cover, and rangefinder lenses will probably have bad corners due to sharper rear projection angles for light hitting the sensor.

Most FF SLR  f/1.4 or slower fast 50s are pretty small. The M42 Takumars are among the smallest, but not light and the M42 adapters are a touch longer than some others (M42 lenses can even be adapted to Sony A mount). The Canon FDn lenses are smallish and light (plastic bodied), as are the Minolta MD, but to me both of those seem like cheapened versions of the lenses in the previous generation (Canon FD or Minolta MC Rokkor).

In summary, I think the extra bulk of one slightly larger adapter -- which can be shared by several lenses -- is a tiny price to pay for the lower cost and FF capability of FF SLR lenses. If you're keeping one adapter on the NEX all the time and swapping lenses, then speed of lens swap is a bigger difference than size/weight of the lenses themselves. Minolta's SR/MC/MD gives perhaps the fastest, easiest, one-handed lens change of all old mounts; M42 screw thread is easy but very slow, and most other mounts are at least a bit more awkward. Honestly, the size difference is small enough that I can't recall ever deciding which of my many fast 50s to carry with me based on size....

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