If I prefer to manually focus, should I still get the FE 55?

Started Nov 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 6,229
Get an old manual fast 50

ottonis wrote:

I would DEFINITELY go with an affordable MF lens first! If you already plan on using manuaf focusing, then why bother with a 1000$ AF lens? Sure, the FE55 is certainly a gorgeous lens with excellent IQ and all but I am sure that a MF Zeiss 50mm is gonna do the same for less money and better haptics/smaller size.

I couldn't agree more. Great choices don't only come from Zeiss; there are many excellent old "fast 50s" selling for between $20 and $500. It is hard to argue against them if you:

  • Don't mind or actually prefer (as I do) manual focus
  • Don't mind manual aperture control... the camera doesn't control or even know the aperture you set on a manual lens

Basically, fast 50s came with nearly every camera, so they were the reference point for comparison and the way that manufacturers tried to convince you to buy more of their lenses. Especially the "upgrade" fast 50s tend to be excellent. Compared to other focal lengths, fast 50s also do not suffer much from lack of computer design, aspherics, and improved coatings.

I have a Voiglander Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4 sitting in my cabinet that I can't wait to put on the A7 and I don't plan to acquire any FE AF lenses at all, at least not for the time being.

Fair enough; I don't see buying an FE AF lenses right now either.

Be warned, however, that lens IQ on FF is different from IQ on APS-C: some lenses do much better on one than the other, so great on APS-C might not be great on FF. It depends on how good the center is and how badly things drop off toward the FF corners....  I don't have a FF E-mount yet, but the differences between lens corner qualities is already quite visible using a focal reducer with my NEX-7.

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