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

Started Nov 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
ottonis Contributing Member • Posts: 765
Re: Get an old manual fast 50

ProfHankD wrote:

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.

Very true. I am well aware that my experience with the CV40 on the Nex5n benefitted from cropping the part of the light beam coming through the central parts of the lens, which are generally considered to have best IQ/sharpness. So, I indeed expect that the performance of the CV40 in the corners will be less favorable on the FF sensor compared with the APS-C sensor. Nonetheless, despite some apparently disappointing results posted above, I still hope to get some nice results from the CV40 attached to the A7. We will see....



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