Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?

Started Dec 11, 2013 | Questions thread
UnderDriven Senior Member • Posts: 1,089
Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?

blue_skies wrote:

I am completely lost by your comments, and I do not subscribe to your findings, based on my own experiments to date.

Everyone is different...

Older lenses can be more prone to flare (e.g. SC lenses), but a sharp legacy lens is still a sharp lens on a digital sensor.

Yes, but mediocre MF SLR lenses will still be mediocre on the A7/A7R. Also, standards have gone up. The Minolta 50mm f/1.4 MD was a good lens in its day, but I'm not impressed by it on my G1. Yes, that is asking it to perform at a 42MP level, but it isn't the sharpness (which is decent at f/5.6), it is how it performs below f/4. My Minolta 85mm f/2 MD actually does well on my G1, but that was one of Minolta's better lenses...

My point was not to criticize the great lenses from the past, but to point out that most people don't have great MF lenses in their closet. And the great MF lenses are still not cheap today. Most people will try their old SLR lenses for a while and then buy Sony's Zeiss lenses. I'm sure Sony is counting on that, by the way...

Given that the A7 has a lower sensor resolution than the A7r, it should be a better match for older lenses than the A7r, not the other way around.

From a resolution perspective, yes. But now we are demanding more from the edges of the lens. Some old lenses can deliver at the edges, and some cannot...

Aperture control on an MF lens is no different that using the camera in A-mode. Instead of dialing a button on the rear, you are dialing the aperture ring on the lens - the camera handles everything else.

I'm talking about automatic aperture control. It's nice to be able to focus wide open and have the camera stop down the lens to take the image (although there are issues with this if stopping down affects the focal plane, as I have observed on my Minolta 50mm MD). I do manual aperture control all the time--but I tend to shoot static subjects with the camera on a tripod. Most people prefer automatic aperture control, which is why it has existed for 50+ years...

But if you use SLR lenses, you are not necessarily looking at much bigger setups - e.g. the OM 24/28/35/50 lenses are all quite compact with a stellar image.

I agree that Olympus made many good lenses which were compact...

The most impressive FF images tend to come from a fast FF lens with high contrast used wide open. This was typically done with RF lenses - and in the 35mm to 50mm you can get many very high IQ RF lenses that work well on either A7 or A7r.

Sure, the Leica lenses are great. And if someone has a bunch of them in his closet, then he/she is a lucky person. But are they any better optically than the Zeiss lenses Sony is producing, which also have AF and automatic aperture control? They may be much better constructed (and a joy to use), but is it worth the cost of buying them now if you don't already own them?

As to the FE lenses - they are designed with the sensor in mind, so you will see the best of what technology can bring to bear. Are they better than adapting legacy lenses? Yes, if AF and OSS come into play, but not necessarily if you just want IQ. E.g. take a Contax-G 45/2 lens next to the FE55 and I expect to see a very similar IQ. Less so for a ZM35/2 next to the FE35, as the M lens may vignet at 35mm - but then, I'd take f/2.0 over f/2.8...

My point was that there isn't really a good wide-angle legacy lens for a FF sensor--other than something very expensive. Most people will just buy the Sony Zeiss FE wide zoom when it comes out. They may choose to use their legacy lenses for longer focal lengths, or they may get tired of manual aperture control and no AF, and buy the Sony Zeiss lenses...

I own the Contax G 45mm. It is a great lens. I would probably use it if I bought an A7/A7R, but unfortunately my 28mm G doesn't work well it seems. Then again, is it worth buying an adapter for one focal length? I could buy the 90mm G, but do I really want to invest in another MF lens? I already have the Minolta 85mm MD, which is very good. How many adapters do I want to buy and carry around? If the 28mm G worked well, I would have been happy with the 28mm, 45mm, and 90mm set. Now I'm not sure it's worth the trouble...

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