Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?

Started Dec 11, 2013 | Questions thread
Michael Everett Senior Member • Posts: 1,942
Re: Is A7R better for legacy manual focus lenses than A7?

I can't answer the OP's original question directly, but I believe my experience with legacy lenses applies.  I have tried many, and I mean many legacy lenses on the NEX 7.  The key:

1. Start with a good brand, and it need not be Zeiss or Leica, it could be Canon FD or Nikon AI.

2. Try multiple copies.  Cost has precluded my getting into Leica lenses, but I have tried Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Rokkor, Zeiss, plus misc. 3rd-party lenses.  I have found individual copies vary more than the brand.  For instance, at 50mm I tried a Zeiss Planar, 2 Rokkors, 1 OM, 1 Nikkor, and two FD's.  I was ready to settle on the Zeiss until I tried a second FDn.  It stood out easily against the others, and I had given up on FD after the first one.  The second Rokkor was close, but turned out to be decentered.

Same with 35's.  I believe I tried at least eight different 35's and found one of four  35 FD's to be outstanding.  In this case the FDn proved better than the FD thorium version

For 28mm the Zeiss Distagon ran circles over all the others.

At 24 BTW I am still experimenting with Canon FD's, but having tried 2 FDn's f2 and two 2.8's I can say the 2.8's, one an FDn and one a FD SSC are better than either f2.  The SSC seems the best but there is some slight decentering, so I have a second one coming.

None of these lenses were really bad, except for a couple of the decentered ones, but here we are talking about legacy lenses that can hold their own on modern high-pixel digitals.

These tests involve emulating FF, as I have a Metabones FD-NEX adapter, and I had a Metabones C/Y-NEX adapter.  Because of the Metabones FD adapter I am now concentrating on FD lenses.  If you like MF you can buy five FD's for much less than a new Zeiss and then recoup at least 75 per cent of your cost as you choose one, and you get IQ that at least rivals the better modern lenses.

The nice thing about all this testing is many legacy lens are cheap enough to do that, and the ones you don't want to keep can go back on Ebay.  Some of those that are less than the best I keep because they do provide a different character.

Michael

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