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Bryan

Best heritage 28mm for mirrorless?

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<snip>. I wish it had stabilization, but I suppose that would be asking a lot for the price. <snip>

 

There is one advantage to NOT having image stabilization with the Sony system. I use cameras on a tripod fairly regularly, and finding the OSS off setting takes me forever. I wish Sony would have some presets that made it easy to switch from regular photography to long exposures - like turn off OSS, set ISO to 100, RAW+JPG etc in one fell swoop. That having been said, a camera that can make a nice clean 20x30" print that costs a couple days wages and is about the size of a pack of smokes, Sony has done something amazing. 

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<snip>. I wish it had stabilization, but I suppose that would be asking a lot for the price. <snip>

 

There is one advantage to NOT having image stabilization with the Sony system. I use cameras on a tripod fairly regularly, and finding the OSS off setting takes me forever. I wish Sony would have some presets that made it easy to switch from regular photography to long exposures - like turn off OSS, set ISO to 100, RAW+JPG etc in one fell swoop. That having been said, a camera that can make a nice clean 20x30" print that costs a couple days wages and is about the size of a pack of smokes, Sony has done something amazing. 

 

 

My Sony's have that. Memory Recall it's called in 2 of them. 3 panels. Not sure about the Nex3, I seem to recall it only has 2 panels.

 

wim

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How about the nikkor 28mm f2.8 AIS.  It's incredibly sharp corner to corner, even wide open and can focus very close too. I picked one up for 60 pounds and is one of my favourite lenses for using on my nikons or on my Fuji X-M1.

 

If you want something even smaller and wider, then the tiny old screwmount Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 is as sharp and performs superbly on the Fuji X-M1.

 

Parm

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Auto focus for old glass a possibility here

 

Not sure that I like the idea of the sensor wandering around...

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Never understood the rationale for anyone buying cheap lenses. I don't ever want to have to think about the problems that kind of stuff brings with it. Have always just bought the best for whatever camera I'm using and it has more than paid off in time, quality, stress, effort, work etc. etc. If I was short of money (as I very much was in those early days), then I just went without luxuries like food and shoes. (Really). Photography was more important. If it's not, then you are in the wrong business. In the 1960's people gasped at the money I was laying out for my Leica lenses but guess what? I'm still using them, some of them on my new digi M's. I took, and still take, the same attitude to my large format lenses for my 10" x 8". I think over the decades I must have saved years of fuss, time and stress due to buying the best and probably, in the long term, a great deal of money too in not wasting time fiddling with cheap stuff.

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Auto focus for old glass a possibility here

 

Not sure that I like the idea of the sensor wandering around...

 

Interesting rumour. If it turns out to be true, your old manual focus lens collection could become very valuable.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Never understood the rationale for anyone buying cheap lenses. I don't ever want to have to think about the problems that kind of stuff brings with it. Have always just bought the best for whatever camera I'm using and it has more than paid off in time, quality, stress, effort, work etc. etc. If I was short of money (as I very much was in those early days), then I just went without luxuries like food and shoes. (Really). Photography was more important. If it's not, then you are in the wrong business. In the 1960's people gasped at the money I was laying out for my Leica lenses but guess what? I'm still using them, some of them on my new digi M's. I took, and still take, the same attitude to my large format lenses for my 10" x 8". I think over the decades I must have saved years of fuss, time and stress due to buying the best and probably, in the long term, a great deal of money too in not wasting time fiddling with cheap stuff.

 

Not sure that food is a luxury, but definitely a good philosophy. Looking back at scans of some of my old images, I realize that a couple of my cheaper lenses weren't all that great. One of the themes of this thread is that there are now some very good "heritage" lenses available for the fraction of their original costs, which is possible good news for those of us not willing to go without food. B)

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Auto focus for old glass a possibility here

 

Not sure that I like the idea of the sensor wandering around...

 

Interesting rumour. If it turns out to be true, your old manual focus lens collection could become very valuable.

 

This idea was implemented on a film camera back in the day...or a very similar idea at least. The Contax AX moved the film plane to achieve focus. I've wondered why no other camera maker took on this idea, it seemed brilliant. Except perhaps that it would breath new life into existing lenses that might cut into corporate revenue. 

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Auto focus for old glass a possibility here

 

Not sure that I like the idea of the sensor wandering around...

 

Surely it all already does in many cameras to achieve in body image stabilisation or to clear dust?

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Auto focus for old glass a possibility here

 

Not sure that I like the idea of the sensor wandering around...

 

Surely it all already does in many cameras to achieve in body image stabilisation or to clear dust?

 

 

That's right. Sony's older DSLR's and SLT cameras have sensor-shift stabilization, which works very well IME.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Never understood the rationale for anyone buying cheap lenses. I don't ever want to have to think about the problems that kind of stuff brings with it. Have always just bought the best for whatever camera I'm using and it has more than paid off in time, quality, stress, effort, work etc. etc. If I was short of money (as I very much was in those early days), then I just went without luxuries like food and shoes. (Really). Photography was more important. If it's not, then you are in the wrong business. In the 1960's people gasped at the money I was laying out for my Leica lenses but guess what? I'm still using them, some of them on my new digi M's. I took, and still take, the same attitude to my large format lenses for my 10" x 8". I think over the decades I must have saved years of fuss, time and stress due to buying the best and probably, in the long term, a great deal of money too in not wasting time fiddling with cheap stuff.

Price and quality don't always correlate so closely. For example I would bet that the casual observer (or image buyer on Alamy) would be hard pressed to care about the difference in quality between a $100 Canon 50mm f1.8 and a similar but much more expensive Zeiss, Leica, etc lens. This would be especially true for 8x10" lenses. If you compared my old 12" Ektar from the 1950's with the closest thing that there was to a budget 300mm lens like a Rodenstock Geronar and to whatever the latest and greatest 300mm APO-whatever I honestly believe there would be very little real world difference in sharpness. There might be other reasons to avoid some cheaper LF lenses, like image circle, or the fact that my Ektar doesn't have a modern PC sync. And there has been major advances in the design of wide and super-wide where you could make a good case for the pricier version.

 

For many of us playing around with cheap vintage glass is just plain fun. My mother-in-law can cook a really nice meal, but she uses filet minion to make kebabs. I'm more impressed by a cook that can make a good meal on a budget, either as a challenge or out of necessity. Same goes for lenses.

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Never understood the rationale for anyone buying cheap lenses. I don't ever want to have to think about the problems that kind of stuff brings with it. Have always just bought the best for whatever camera I'm using and it has more than paid off in time, quality, stress, effort, work etc. etc. If I was short of money (as I very much was in those early days), then I just went without luxuries like food and shoes. (Really). Photography was more important. If it's not, then you are in the wrong business. In the 1960's people gasped at the money I was laying out for my Leica lenses but guess what? I'm still using them, some of them on my new digi M's. I took, and still take, the same attitude to my large format lenses for my 10" x 8". I think over the decades I must have saved years of fuss, time and stress due to buying the best and probably, in the long term, a great deal of money too in not wasting time fiddling with cheap stuff.

Price and quality don't always correlate so closely. For example I would bet that the casual observer (or image buyer on Alamy) would be hard pressed to care about the difference in quality between a $100 Canon 50mm f1.8 and a similar but much more expensive Zeiss, Leica, etc lens. This would be especially true for 8x10" lenses. If you compared my old 12" Ektar from the 1950's with the closest thing that there was to a budget 300mm lens like a Rodenstock Geronar and to whatever the latest and greatest 300mm APO-whatever I honestly believe there would be very little real world difference in sharpness. There might be other reasons to avoid some cheaper LF lenses, like image circle, or the fact that my Ektar doesn't have a modern PC sync. And there has been major advances in the design of wide and super-wide where you could make a good case for the pricier version.

 

For many of us playing around with cheap vintage glass is just plain fun. My mother-in-law can cook a really nice meal, but she uses filet minion to make kebabs. I'm more impressed by a cook that can make a good meal on a budget, either as a challenge or out of necessity. Same goes for lenses.

 

 

This is a good point. It's no secret that there are poor expensive lenses and surprisingly good inexpensive ones. Of course it usually makes sense to buy the best equipment that you can afford (or not afford if you don't mind going hungry and barefoot).

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Never understood the rationale for anyone buying cheap lenses. I don't ever want to have to think about the problems that kind of stuff brings with it. Have always just bought the best for whatever camera I'm using and it has more than paid off in time, quality, stress, effort, work etc. etc. If I was short of money (as I very much was in those early days), then I just went without luxuries like food and shoes. (Really). Photography was more important. If it's not, then you are in the wrong business. In the 1960's people gasped at the money I was laying out for my Leica lenses but guess what? I'm still using them, some of them on my new digi M's. I took, and still take, the same attitude to my large format lenses for my 10" x 8". I think over the decades I must have saved years of fuss, time and stress due to buying the best and probably, in the long term, a great deal of money too in not wasting time fiddling with cheap stuff.

Price and quality don't always correlate so closely. For example I would bet that the casual observer (or image buyer on Alamy) would be hard pressed to care about the difference in quality between a $100 Canon 50mm f1.8 and a similar but much more expensive Zeiss, Leica, etc lens. This would be especially true for 8x10" lenses. If you compared my old 12" Ektar from the 1950's with the closest thing that there was to a budget 300mm lens like a Rodenstock Geronar and to whatever the latest and greatest 300mm APO-whatever I honestly believe there would be very little real world difference in sharpness. There might be other reasons to avoid some cheaper LF lenses, like image circle, or the fact that my Ektar doesn't have a modern PC sync. And there has been major advances in the design of wide and super-wide where you could make a good case for the pricier version.

 

For many of us playing around with cheap vintage glass is just plain fun. My mother-in-law can cook a really nice meal, but she uses filet minion to make kebabs. I'm more impressed by a cook that can make a good meal on a budget, either as a challenge or out of necessity. Same goes for lenses.

 

 

Last year I dropped in to see my local friendly camera repair man who also sells secondhand lenses. I looked covetously at some Leica glass in a locked cabinet. "Would I see a real difference between that and my heritage Pentax" I asked. "Nah" he said "I doubt it!" Lost himself a potential sale!

 

I suspect that the Leica glass would be superior, maybe sharper corners and possibly better build quality, but, in terms of Alamy-worthiness, probably not?

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I have a Minolta a mount 28 2.8 and MD 28 2.8 lenses and also older MC 28 3.5.  I also have a Celtic 28 2.8 that was the Minolta entry level lens.  In my collection also 50mm MD 1.4 and 1.7 and a a mount 50mm 1.7.  Not sure how these would perform on the newer cameras.

Marvin

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I have a Minolta a mount 28 2.8 and MD 28 2.8 lenses and also older MC 28 3.5.  I also have a Celtic 28 2.8 that was the Minolta entry level lens.  In my collection also 50mm MD 1.4 and 1.7 and a a mount 50mm 1.7.  Not sure how these would perform on the newer cameras.

Marvin

 

Since I already have a Minolta adapter for my NEX cameras, I'm currently looking around for a 28mm f/2.8 to replace the one I foolishly sold a few years ago. Apparently, the Celtic version had the same glass and design as the Rokkor. Minolta just used lighter (and cheaper) materials and different coatings on the Celtic line. I've read online that there really isn't much (if any) difference between the two brands optically speaking. The Celtics go for a song.

 

Most online reviews of vintage MF lenses that I've come across give Pentax the highest marks, as Bryan does. Interesting, since Nikon was considered God back then and Pentax the poor man's alternative (for SLR's anyway).

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Most online reviews of vintage MF lenses that I've come across give Pentax the highest marks, as Bryan does. Interesting, since Nikon was considered God back then and Pentax the poor man's alternative (for SLR's anyway).

 

 

Whoa there John, I happen to possess a box load of old Pentax glass because I used to shoot Pentax film cameras. I would say that my best heritage lens is my Olympus 50mm f1.8, which was also one of the cheapest, but all of the 50s that I have tried have been pretty good.

 

I like both Pentax and Olympus lenses because they are generally small and light, designed to match the lovely compact MX/ME and OM series cameras respectively.  I've not tried any Minolta (although I have a couple of  Rokkor enlarger lenses), nor Nikon. Canon FT have a weird bayonet lock that has caused me problems with an adapter, never sure whether or not the lens is stopped down, but the glass is fine.

 

The Zeiss Flektogon was the star of the heritage show a few years back, being both cheap and excellent, although I have had one fail mechanically, and another with a de-centred element.

 

Ex rangefinder glass is possibly the most convenient for use on mirror-less as the adapter will be so much thinner, but lenses from these exotic beasts are pricey.

 

I don't think that you can go too far wrong with a prime lens from a major 35 mm camera manufacturer of the period, Japanese or German.

Edited by Bryan

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Most online reviews of vintage MF lenses that I've come across give Pentax the highest marks, as Bryan does. Interesting, since Nikon was considered God back then and Pentax the poor man's alternative (for SLR's anyway).

 

 

Whoa there John, I happen to possess a box load of old Pentax glass because I used to shoot Pentax film cameras. I would say that my best heritage lens is my Olympus 50mm f1.8, which was also one of the cheapest, but all of the 50s that I have tried have been pretty good.

 

I like both Pentax and Olympus lenses because they are generally small and light, designed to match the lovely compact MX/ME and OM series cameras respectively.  I've not tried any Minolta (although I have a couple of  Rokkor enlarger lenses), nor Nikon. Canon FT have a weird bayonet lock that has caused me problems with an adapter, never sure whether or not the lens is stopped down, but the glass is fine.

 

The Zeiss Flektogon was the star of the heritage show a few years back, being both cheap and excellent, although I have had one fail mechanically, and another with a de-centred element.

 

Ex rangefinder glass is possibly the most convenient for use on mirror-less as the adapter will be so much thinner, but lenses from these exotic beasts are pricey.

 

I don't think that you can go too far wrong with a prime lens from a major 35 mm camera manufacturer of the period, Japanese or German.

 

 

Wasn't meaning to demean Pentax BTW. Just the opposite. I never believed that Nikon was king, or Canon, or any of the other manufacturers for that matter. They all made the occasional gem and had their share of flubs. If the equipment does the job, who cares who made it. I always liked the Olympus OM cameras but never owned one.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Well, I managed to find a very reasonably priced 28mm Minolta MD lens  (circa 1981 as far as I can tell) in mint condition. Minolta produced no less than five versions of this lens. Believe I got a good one judging by the serial number and reviews that I've read. Haven't had a chance to give it a workout on my NEX cameras yet, but shall report back. Boy those old lenses were solidly built.

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Hope you enjoy your purchase John.

 

I certainly like handling these older lenses, in particular the focus is so precise and smooth, without any detectable lost travel. If your adapter has accurate registry you can also dial in a distance, which I find useful - don't know why some modern lenses don't have a scale. No time to focus - doesn't matter, no more shots lost due to camera deciding incorrect point of focus!

 

Probably telling gran how to suck eggs, but be sure to open up to full aperture and point to scene before magnifying the focus if using the EVF, otherwise the camera will grossly overexpose the enlarged image.

 

I would be interested to see how it compares with your earlier standard Sony zoom. In my experience old Pentax, Olympus and Canon lenses, all produce larger size JPGs than the new kit lens, with more sparkle to the image. although the kit lens is reasonably sharp across the frame.

Edited by Bryan

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Hope you enjoy your purchase John.

 

I certainly like handling these older lenses, in particular the focus is so precise and smooth, without any detectable lost travel. If your adapter has accurate registry you can also dial in a distance, which I find useful - don't know why some modern lenses don't have a scale. No time to focus - doesn't matter, no more shots lost due to camera deciding incorrect point of focus!

 

Probably telling gran how to suck eggs, but be sure to open up to full aperture and point to scene before magnifying the focus if using the EVF, otherwise the camera will grossly overexpose the enlarged image.

 

I would be interested to see how it compares with your earlier standard Sony zoom. In my experience old Pentax, Olympus and Canon lenses, all produce larger size JPGs than the new kit lens, with more sparkle to the image. although the kit lens is reasonably sharp across the frame.

 

Thanks for the tip, Bryan. I'll have to experiment with that when the current sogginess and gloom dissipates here in Vancouver.

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Still dragging my feet on selling things. For the NEX system I still own the Sony 16, 30 macro, 50 and the superstar -- the Sony/Zeiss 24 f.1.8, which focuses to 6.5". I also have the Sigma 30 and can use my old ai Nikon 105 f/2.5 with a cheap adopter that works fine. I would love to buy the Sony 10-18 f4, buy it's pricy. I will keep the 24, Sigma 30, 50 and sell the others. I've been using the RX10 a lot since early spring. 

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Still dragging my feet on selling things. For the NEX system I still own the Sony 16, 30 macro, 50 and the superstar -- the Sony/Zeiss 24 f.1.8, which focuses to 6.5". I also have the Sigma 30 and can use my old ai Nikon 105 f/2.5 with a cheap adopter that works fine. I would love to buy the Sony 10-18 f4, buy it's pricy. I will keep the 24, Sigma 30, 50 and sell the others. I've been using the RX10 a lot since early spring. 

 

I've had good luck selling equipment (some I now wish I had kept) on craigslist -- no shipping hassles involved and you can do much better than at camera stores.

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I've had a chance to experiment a bit with the Minolta 28mm "heritage" lens that I mentioned above. Have to say that it doesn't really seem sharper to me than the Sony 18-55 at the same focal length. It is also prone to CA, some of which is very difficult to correct. Not a particularly good lens for architecture. Having said that, it has a very pleasing colour balance (one of Minolta's strong points). Blue skies look especially rich and uniform. I'm only now starting to get the hang of manual focusing with Sony's colour-peaking feature, so I might get better results in the sharpness department as my MF skills improve. It's great having a distance scale again, and 28mm (42mm equiv.) is a useful focal length. Also, given how little I paid for this lens, it is a worthwhile addition to my kit and will make a decent walk-around lens for my backup NEX-3.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Thanks for the feedback John.

 

I have also noted an increase in CA using some older lenses, but I wonder if your kit lens is benefiting from auto CA reduction in processing JPGs? Lightroom provides an easy fix for CA in most instances. Of the 28s that I tried (Pentax Olympus and Canon) the best in this respect was the oldest, the Pentax K f3.5. This lens also has minimal distortion.

 

My findings have been that the JPGs produced by all of the heritage contenders (from a RAW conversion in LR) have larger file sizes than those from the new kit lens and the images just look better - actually sharper in the centre or maybe better micro contrast. 

 

I tend not to trust the contrast detection software unless in a considerable hurry, even set at its minimum it can give rise to false positives. Better to use the EVF at 10 x magnification and adjust the dioptre setting of the viewfinder for your eyesight. If you have an accurately made adapter then the distance scale is also invaluable - I use it quite a bit.

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Thanks for the feedback John.

 

I have also noted an increase in CA using some older lenses, but I wonder if your kit lens is benefiting from auto CA reduction in processing JPGs? Lightroom provides an easy fix for CA in most instances. Of the 28s that I tried (Pentax Olympus and Canon) the best in this respect was the oldest, the Pentax K f3.5. This lens also has minimal distortion.

 

My findings have been that the JPGs produced by all of the heritage contenders (from a RAW conversion in LR) have larger file sizes than those from the new kit lens and the images just look better - actually sharper in the centre or maybe better micro contrast. 

 

I tend not to trust the contrast detection software unless in a considerable hurry, even set at its minimum it can give rise to false positives. Better to use the EVF at 10 x magnification and adjust the dioptre setting of the viewfinder for your eyesight. If you have an accurately made adapter then the distance scale is also invaluable - I use it quite a bit.

 

So far, I've been using the Minolta 28mm on my old NEX-3, which doesn't have in-camera CA correction. I'm now going to give it a whirl on the NEX-6 to see if the auto CA correction kicks in with this lens. Hope so because it works like a charm with Sony lenses. The distance scale seems to be fairly accurate, so I guess my adapter is OK. Thanks for the focusing tips. I'll do some experimenting.

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