Legacy lens vs modern lens

Started Dec 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Avobanana
Avobanana Regular Member • Posts: 383
Legacy lens vs modern lens
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With the launch of the A7 series many people are thinking of buying legacy lenses. I can certainly understand if you already own those lenses. From the cost perspectives they probably make a lot of sense too. Another advantage is that they are often manual focus only and thus are generally more compact.

My question is pertaining to the image quality provided by these legacy lenses. For lenses with similar specs (eg a Canon FD 50 f/1.2 from the 70s vs an EF 50 f/1.2L lens from the 21st century), I would imagine there has to be a large improvement in optical performance from the new lens. Imagine just how much computerized optical simulation software, new optical elements, improved coatings, manufacturing techniques and quality control have brought to the table...

I personally do not own any legacy lens but I am constantly reading owners of these legacy lenses raved about their great optical performance (amazing contrast, sharpness etc) of these lenses on a modern sensor like that of the A7R. Many of these lenses are from the 70s, so I can't help feeling a bit skeptical. They maybe decent lenses for their times but I have doubts that they could match or even outperform modern lenses on a modern sensor. Are they speaking in a vacuum or are these claims of greatness justified relative to their modern counterparts?

So, are there such definitive comparisons made between the "famous" legacy lenses and top modern lenses on a good sensor?

And putting cost aside, does it make sense to acquire such legacy lenses if one is going after high optical performance? I would imagine with a sensor as good as the one in the A7R, one would probably want decent lenses to match.

 Avobanana's gear list:Avobanana's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Sony a7R Nikon D810 Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM +4 more
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