Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens

Started Apr 22, 2013 | Discussions thread
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 11,418
Re: Small/phenomenal manual legacy prime lens

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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