FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography

Started Apr 16, 2014 | Discussions
sean lancaster
sean lancaster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,242
Re: On tests shots versus actual shots ...

I will probably get another 35/1.4. I have a Voigtlander Close Focusing adapter all ready for an M mount lens anyway. 1.4 versus 1.2. I don't care about edges either, but I do tend to shoot a lot of shots wide open and I enjoy the effects I can get in the out of focus areas. Not a huge difference between the 1.2 and 1.4, no doubt. But I was not as good of a photographer when I last owned the 35/1.4 so I didn't appreciate it. I also owned the Zeiss 24 at the time and it was my preferred focal length back then (similar to 35 on my A7 now).

This was the 35/1.4 on my NEX 5N a year and a 1/2 ago:

And the same kid with my A7 and Zeiss 55 now (similar perspective) - this bottom shot is lower light, but I use a reflector to add light from the window behind my son):

Sure, I used a reflector on the more current shot and post processed better, but that's my point . . . I was at the earlier stages of my learning curve back then and that's why the 35 probably didn't impress me as much (though, I liked it well enough).

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Gabor Esperon Regular Member • Posts: 159
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography

blue_skies wrote:

Gabor Esperon wrote:

nathan wrote:

looking for smaller lenses. and a great bokeh of 35/1.2 - i really not so need for such kind of shooting.

What about the Biogon 35mm f/2 (Zeiss) ? It is shorter and a lot lighter than the Voiglander... That would be my second choice.

If you shoot wide-open at f/2, the Voigtlander 35/1.4 handles edges better on the A7 than the Zeiss ZM 35/2.0. On the A7r both further degrade the edges, when used wide open.

Both lenses also suffer from sensor light-reflections on the A7. The A7r seems to have it to, but to a milder degree. You can under-expose to mitigate this some, but this brings up noise levels.

With the FE35/2.8, you loose a stop of light, but you have much less sensor reflections.

I haven't had an issue yet with the 35 1.2. The Biogon I have read some reports about the corners, not the reflexions. But it depends on the kind of shooting people do and I don't usually shoot at night, so I give it the benefit of the doubt. On the plus side the Biogon behaves really good wide open judging by a brief shooting.

The problem I have with Sony lenses is that I refuse to buy into Sony system until they clearly define the direction they are going. Both line-up and ergonomic wise. Currently Sony produce great images but it has it's perks that can be really frustrating, to the point the moment somebody releases a FF mirrorless that I truly like, I am jumping ship.

No offense to Sony, they make great cameras and sensors, but they feel to me like electronic appliances instead of a camera. Some people like it and some people don't mind, I do.

The Voigtlander 35/1.2 is just too big (Why not consider Mitakon's 50/0.95 lens?). The Voigtlander 35/2.8 seems worse than the 35/1.4 at the edges (considering only f/2.8 and up).

I briefly shoot the 35 1.4 and found I had to stop down to 2.8 or 4 to produce results similar to the Biogon, and still something felt off (I know, it is quite a subjective). On my list, given my preferences, if I could only buy one, it would be:

1 - VC 35 1.2

2 - Biogon 35 2.0

3 - VC 35 1.4

4 - FE 35 2.8

And if weight and size was an issue, I would pick the Biogon 35 2.0 in a heartbeat over any other.

If on the A7, I would consider CV35/1.4 versus FE35/2.8. then it is about two stops of light.

If on the A7r, I would consider ZM35/2.0 versus FE35/2.8, then it is about (center) sharpness and SW corrections. The ZM's center sharpness (and micro-contrast) is legendary.

The sensor light-reflections are very visible on the CV35/1.4 at times. I have not taken the ZM35/2.0 out at night yet, but I expect the same. The FE35 does not suffer from the same reflections.

Also, the CV35/1.4 has nicer OOF rendering (bokeh) than the ZM35. The FE35 just feels like a 'stopped down' lens. Of course, longer FL's are better for this anyways.

f/2.8 is not all that bad if you bump the ISO, at the street at night, keep this in mind.

Rendering wise, I like the CV35/1.4 for (close) people subjects, and the ZM35/2.0 & FE35/2.0 other subjects.

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Cheers,
Henry

jodvovauk
jodvovauk Forum Member • Posts: 77
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography

I shoot both ZM35/2 and Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 SC and I found that I prefer the later.

ZM35/2 is quite soft and hazy at f/2.0, whereas Voigtlander picks up the sharpness and contrast.

Also, ZM35/2 is longer than VC size wise.

Ended up selling ZM35/2.

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Dandrewk Senior Member • Posts: 1,094
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography

The sharpest lens in the world looks like the worst lens in the world if it's not in focus.

For me, street photography HAS to be fast.  The goal is a snapshot of a fleeting moment, often with the subject unaware and unposed.  That is a difficulty thing with manual focus.

I do street photography with the FE35.  Works great - sharp, lovely, and best of all... small.  The combo with the A7/r makes it a very unimposing rig if you need to be stealthy.

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jodvovauk
jodvovauk Forum Member • Posts: 77
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography

I totally agree that AF is a must for street photography.

But as for other things, FE 35mm is NOT small. Just compare it to Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4.

I find f/2.8 to be too narrow for street photography. It doesn't give enough of DOF.

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Dandrewk Senior Member • Posts: 1,094
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography
1

jodvovauk wrote:

I totally agree that AF is a must for street photography.

But as for other things, FE 35mm is NOT small. Just compare it to Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4.

I find f/2.8 to be too narrow for street photography. It doesn't give enough of DOF.

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AF will always come with a size penalty. By any measure, the FE35 is tiny.

If you want greater DOF, why in the world would you want a larger aperture?

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le_alain Senior Member • Posts: 1,788
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography

jodvovauk wrote:

I totally agree that AF is a must for street photography.

But as for other things, FE 35mm is NOT small. Just compare it to Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4.

I find f/2.8 to be too narrow for street photography. It doesn't give enough of DOF.

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I think you wanted to say it gives too much DOF or not thin enough.

For decades street photography was done using zone focusing,

and I find the CV very good at this , no risk to completly "miss focus", though you are never spot on.

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jodvovauk
jodvovauk Forum Member • Posts: 77
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography

Dandrewk wrote:

jodvovauk wrote:

I totally agree that AF is a must for street photography.

But as for other things, FE 35mm is NOT small. Just compare it to Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4.

I find f/2.8 to be too narrow for street photography. It doesn't give enough of DOF.

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AF will always come with a size penalty. By any measure, the FE35 is tiny.

If you want greater DOF, why in the world would you want a larger aperture?

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Sorry, meant to say thinner DOF.

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EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography

I totally agree that AF is a must for street photography.

But as for other things, FE 35mm is NOT small. Just compare it to Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4.

I find f/2.8 to be too narrow for street photography. It doesn't give enough of DOF.

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Voigtlander 35/1.4 on a7 won't make for a smaller package since shorter length is built on longer flange (hence the adapter makes up for it). It is small but you also lose AF if needed. You also lose better optics of FE 35.

As for DOF, a longer FL like 50-55 makes more sense but 35/2.8 is still a good start especially since the lens is very good wide open. In fact, 35/2.8 on FF has the same FOV and DOF as 24/1.8 on APSc to put a perspective.

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blue_skies
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 11,323
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography
1

Gabor Esperon wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

Gabor Esperon wrote:

nathan wrote:

looking for smaller lenses. and a great bokeh of 35/1.2 - i really not so need for such kind of shooting.

What about the Biogon 35mm f/2 (Zeiss) ? It is shorter and a lot lighter than the Voiglander... That would be my second choice.

If you shoot wide-open at f/2, the Voigtlander 35/1.4 handles edges better on the A7 than the Zeiss ZM 35/2.0. On the A7r both further degrade the edges, when used wide open.

Both lenses also suffer from sensor light-reflections on the A7. The A7r seems to have it to, but to a milder degree. You can under-expose to mitigate this some, but this brings up noise levels.

With the FE35/2.8, you loose a stop of light, but you have much less sensor reflections.

I haven't had an issue yet with the 35 1.2. The Biogon I have read some reports about the corners, not the reflexions. But it depends on the kind of shooting people do and I don't usually shoot at night, so I give it the benefit of the doubt. On the plus side the Biogon behaves really good wide open judging by a brief shooting.

Interesting, I will give the ZM35 another go at night, see what I come up with.

The problem I have with Sony lenses is that I refuse to buy into Sony system until they clearly define the direction they are going. Both line-up and ergonomic wise. Currently Sony produce great images but it has it's perks that can be really frustrating, to the point the moment somebody releases a FF mirrorless that I truly like, I am jumping ship.

No offense to Sony, they make great cameras and sensors, but they feel to me like electronic appliances instead of a camera. Some people like it and some people don't mind, I do.

The Voigtlander 35/1.2 is just too big (Why not consider Mitakon's 50/0.95 lens?). The Voigtlander 35/2.8 seems worse than the 35/1.4 at the edges (considering only f/2.8 and up).

I briefly shoot the 35 1.4 and found I had to stop down to 2.8 or 4 to produce results similar to the Biogon, and still something felt off (I know, it is quite a subjective). On my list, given my preferences, if I could only buy one, it would be:

1 - VC 35 1.2

2 - Biogon 35 2.0

3 - VC 35 1.4

4 - FE 35 2.8

And if weight and size was an issue, I would pick the Biogon 35 2.0 in a heartbeat over any other.

If on the A7, I would consider CV35/1.4 versus FE35/2.8. then it is about two stops of light.

If on the A7r, I would consider ZM35/2.0 versus FE35/2.8, then it is about (center) sharpness and SW corrections. The ZM's center sharpness (and micro-contrast) is legendary.

The sensor light-reflections are very visible on the CV35/1.4 at times. I have not taken the ZM35/2.0 out at night yet, but I expect the same. The FE35 does not suffer from the same reflections.

Also, the CV35/1.4 has nicer OOF rendering (bokeh) than the ZM35. The FE35 just feels like a 'stopped down' lens. Of course, longer FL's are better for this anyways.

f/2.8 is not all that bad if you bump the ISO, at the street at night, keep this in mind.

Rendering wise, I like the CV35/1.4 for (close) people subjects, and the ZM35/2.0 & FE35/2.0 other subjects.

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Cheers,
Henry

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Cheers,
Henry

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OP nathan Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography

Thanks. It moves me toward FE 35mm F2.8. Want to experience the AF on A7R too))

Dandrewk Senior Member • Posts: 1,094
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography

nathan wrote:

Thanks. It moves me toward FE 35mm F2.8. Want to experience the AF on A7R too))

Let us know how you like it.

I predict you will be happy with the choice.  At the very least, you can't go wrong with this lens.

And it weighs almost nothing.  No kidding, when it was delivered I thought surely they forgot to put the lens in the shipping box.

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M Dennis Fern Regular Member • Posts: 270
Re: FE 35mm F2.8 vs Voigtländer 35/2.5 with A7R for street photography

No one has mentioned the Pentax vintage 35mm lenses and you should consider them for use on the A7/A7R.  I recently tested the Pentax A 35mm f:2.8 and the Pentax A 35mm f:2 and compared them (in a non-scientific way) to my Summicron 35mm f:2 (4th generation--known as the "bokeh king") and 35mm on my FE 24-70mm Zeiss.  Both Pentax's are fine lens, with the tiny F2.8 being amazing.  I shot all test pictures on a tripod at ISO 50 in good sunlight.  At f:8, the Leica and Zeiss had a small but perceptible edge over the two Pentax lenses, which I suppose I should have expected given their age and relative cost.  Although the Summicron and Zeiss  seemed about the same in center sharpness, the Zeiss zoom produced a somewhat warmer picture overall than the cooler (more neutral?) Leica--as if I had used a sunny glow filter.  At f:8 the 2 Pentaxes performed very well, however, and the difference between them and the more modern lenses were quite subtle.

For street photography (as I do it) edge sharpness is not critical, but out of curiosity I did check the edges and sharpness seemed acceptable to me with all lenses  even at 100% magnification.  I think the Zeiss at 35mm is superior to the Summicron at the edges when used on the A7R, even though neither are great at the edges.

When shot wide open at the maximum apertures, the f:2 Summicron was clearly the best lens for center sharpness.  Wide open, the two Pentax lenses surprisingly outperformed the Zeiss zoom (even at f:2 and f:2.8 versus f:4 for the zoom).  The Pentax f:2.8 lens outperformed the Pentax f:2 at their widest aperture in the center--so that little lens is a real wonder and was about equal to the larger and more expenssive f:2 at f:2.8.  My conclusion is that the little Summicron is the best lens I own for street photography on the A7R, but the little Pentax A f:2.8 is excellent, coming in a surprisingly close second.

Incidentally, I also shot the Summicron 35mm using the Sony PlayMemories lens correction app for comparison purposes and discovered that the app clearly degraded sharpness of the image compared to the same shot (same speed, ISO, and aperture) taken by the lens without the app.  So, unfortunately, there goes that app for usefullness as far as I am concerned.

The big negative for the Pentaxes versus the Leica Summicron (ignoring the huge cost disparity) is that the Pentax lenses  require a fairly large, heavy adapter on the A7. The small and light Leica lens mounts with a compact and light adapter  (I used the Novoflex, but cheaper adapters seem to work just as well).   Even though the Pentax lenses are pretty compact, when mounted with an adapter they are are much longer than the Leica on its adapter, nearly the length of the Zeiss 24-70mm zoom.  The Zeiss zoom is relatively light and has the (major) advantage of autofocus, but is not ideal for street photography because of its size.

In conclusion, the Pentax A 35mm f:2.8 is a major bargain, performing close to a $2K Leica Summicron (Pre-Asph) and better than the FE 24-70mm.

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