Old Prime or new lens for Sony A7mk3

Started Dec 20, 2018 | Questions thread
olstrup Veteran Member • Posts: 3,939
Re: Old Prime or new lens for Sony A7mk3

Older lens design without aspherical lens elements in them are more often than not a bit soft in the corners wide open but usually cleans up nicely by stopping down 2-3 stops. An exception is really old super fast lenses like say the old Canon rangefinder 50/1.2 lens. I had one of them years ago but sold it because it never cleaned up enough even when stopped down a lot. Really old wide angle lenses are also often mediocre by todays standards. Older tele lenses are often excellent. I regularly use a Nikon 200/4 AI-S and love it. The Leica M Tele-Elmar 135/4 is not only good but stellar (and not expensive in its two oldest iterations). The Leica R Apo-Telyt 180mm is also very well reputed.

Also note that some rangefinder wide angle lenses have problems with corner smearing on Sony A7X sensor stacks (which is different from the mentioned corner softness wide open). That is a problem with some Leica M wide angle lenses - but not all. Also, some modern rangefinder lenses with aspherical elements shows corner smearing. That goes for some modern 35 and 50mm Leica M lenses. In fact one may be better off with the older non aspherical versions of these lenses (for example the 35 and 50mm type IV Summicron and Summilux which are excellent non aspherical lenses also on Sony A7X).

As always with older adapted lenses: If possible try them before money changes hands or be sure you are able to return them for a refund if you don't like them.

The above may sound as if there are many problems with adapted older lenses, but that's not the case - just a few things to be aware of. In fact, I use nothing but adapted MF lenses (Leica M and Nikon AI-S - because I had them in the closet) on my Sony A7X cameras with the purpose of keeping down weight and bulk.

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"Sharpness is a bourgeois concept." (Henri Cartier-Bresson)

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