Looking for THE ONE lens for the Sony A7R
Old 08-05-2015   #1
kxl
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Looking for THE ONE lens for the Sony A7R

I am thinking about getting THE ONE lens to be bolted onto my A7R. My requirements:
  • IQ on A7R must be equal to or greater than the Sony 55/1.8 FE
  • Same size or ideally smaller than the 55/1.8 FE
  • Must be either 28mm or 35mm
  • Must be f2.8 or faster
  • Must cost less than $1300

Do the above requirements narrow down the option to just the 35mm Loxia?

Anecdotally, I have heard/read that the FE 28mm and FE 35mm's IQ are not up to the 55/1.8 FE's IQ. Can you tell the difference by just eyeballing it or are we talking about pixel peeping / mtf test differences?

I know that some adapted M lenses may meet the requirements, but the 28mm and 35mm that meet my cost ceiling have been inconsistent.

I am honestly curious to hear about other options.

Your thoughts?
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Old 08-05-2015   #2
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I have probably five 35mm f/2 lenses.
I think all of them can be used on A7 with adapter and neither of them are approaching $1300

Or I'm clearly missing something from your question
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Old 08-05-2015   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
I have probably five 35mm f/2 lenses.
I think all of them can be used on A7 with adapter and neither of them are approaching $1300

Or I'm clearly missing something from your question
Or more likely, I'm not being clear with my question.

THE ONE LENS must meet ALL of my requirements. I've owned/borrowed a few 35mm M-mount lenses under $1300 and their IQ leave something to be desired compared to the FE 55/1.8 (Req. #1). These include both ZM's and a couple of CV's.
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Old 08-05-2015   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kxl View Post
Or more likely, I'm not being clear with my question.

THE ONE lens must meet ALL of my requirements. I've owned/borrowed a few 35mm M-mount lenses under $1300 and their IQ leave something to be desired compared to the FE 55/1.8 (Req. #1). These include both ZM's and a couple of CV's.
That's because the 55mm F1.8 is probably the best AF 50mm ever made. The M-mount equivalent would be somewhere between the 50mm Summilux ASPH and the APO-summicron. That's beyond the realm of Zeiss ZM performance, even the planar 50 doesn't do quite as well wide open.

The Sony 35mm F2.8 is close enough in center sharpness, but overall it's still a bit lacking. If you shoot infinity at f5.6 and beyond, though, it should be good enough for most applications. I sold mine for the 16-35mm F4. The one stop isn't as good as lens stabilization for handheld shooting.
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Old 08-05-2015   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYV_146 View Post
The Sony 35mm F2.8 is close enough in center sharpness, but overall it's still a bit lacking. If you shoot infinity at f5.6 and beyond, though, it should be good enough for most applications. I sold mine for the 16-35mm F4.
I have heard of many cases where people are not quite happy with the 35/2.8 (even at its price point), and I have seen clearly uneven edge sharpness from it. It can perhaps be better characterized as a good compromise rather than a great lens.
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Old 08-06-2015   #6
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THE ONE lens is the 55/1.8 - if you want 35mm, just save a few months for the 35/1.4 - it seems to be comparable to the 55/1.8, just bigger and much more expensive. The 28mm is a nice affordable lens, not intended to be comparable to the 55mm.

Oh, the unevenness of the 35/2.8? It seems Sony has a hard time getting their QC/QA right, this sounds like a decentering problem some other E-mount lenses (like the 35/1.8) also suffer from.
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Old 08-06-2015   #7
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The new 25 2.0 Zeiss Batis is slightly wider than your two options but price should be just about within your budget, might be worth a check.
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Old 08-06-2015   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Addy101 View Post
THE ONE lens is the 55/1.8 - if you want 35mm, just save a few months for the 35/1.4 .
Over my limit, but yeah, I'm aware of that lens and and if if I had the money or decided to save up for it, that lens would definitely be the top contender, probably even above the Loxia.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Pedersen View Post
The new 25 2.0 Zeiss Batis is slightly wider than your two options but price should be just about within your budget, might be worth a check.
Probably a bit too early to tell and 25mm is a bit too wide for me to be THE ONE lens.
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Old 08-06-2015   #9
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None to my knowledge.
A7r is horrible adapting most 28/35 M lenses, so say goodbye to all M-mount not saying most great 28/35M lenses already price out your budget.
Any top notch 35mm SLR lens is not small, unless slow.
Native lens, 28/2 ruled out, probably 35/1.4, out of budget bit though

Conclusion, burn some more money to get the A7RII and a 35 summicron ASPH : )
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Old 08-06-2015   #10
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What about the Loxia 35mm f2?
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Old 08-06-2015   #11
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I know this is heresey on this forum but I mostly use the FE 24-240mm lens on my A7r.
I just like its versatility.
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Old 08-06-2015   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric4 View Post
What about the Loxia 35mm f2?
That was part of my original question... do all my requirements narrow down the selection to the Loxia? And it's beginning to sound like it.
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Old 08-06-2015   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric T View Post
I know this is heresey on this forum but I mostly use the FE 24-240mm lens on my A7r.
I just like its versatility.
+++

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Old 08-07-2015   #14
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There are a couple of cheap vintage options as well, take a look at the 35/2.8 FDn for instance.

35/2.8 FDn on the A7R

It really depends on what you use it for. For instance, for closer range documentary-style pictures the corner smearing of the rangefinder lenses is not a big deal in practise.
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Old 08-07-2015   #15
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Take a look at DXO.

The 28mm Sony is the best lens in its focal length bracket. As a general rule, wider lenses score lower, so the 28mm and the 55mm are not directly comparable.

If you don't care for this sort of testing, then it does not matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kxl View Post
I am thinking about getting THE ONE lens to be bolted onto my A7R. My requirements:
  • IQ on A7R must be equal to or greater than the Sony 55/1.8 FE
  • Same size or ideally smaller than the 55/1.8 FE
  • Must be either 28mm or 35mm
  • Must be f2.8 or faster
  • Must cost less than $1300

Do the above requirements narrow down the option to just the 35mm Loxia?

Anecdotally, I have heard/read that the FE 28mm and FE 35mm's IQ are not up to the 55/1.8 FE's IQ. Can you tell the difference by just eyeballing it or are we talking about pixel peeping / mtf test differences?

I know that some adapted M lenses may meet the requirements, but the 28mm and 35mm that meet my cost ceiling have been inconsistent.

I am honestly curious to hear about other options.

Your thoughts?
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Old 08-11-2015   #16
eric4
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Picking up an A7r with kolari mod. I've got an m-hexanon 35mm f2 lens that will hopefully have strong results. Will keep you updated when i receive the camera
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Old 08-12-2015   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kxl View Post
My requirements:
  • IQ on A7R must be equal to or greater than the Sony 55/1.8 FE
  • Same size or ideally smaller than the 55/1.8 FE
  • Must be either 28mm or 35mm
  • Must be f2.8 or faster
  • Must cost less than $1300
What's wrong with the 35mm 2.8 FE Sonnar? And don't even try to say it isn't good enough.
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Old 08-12-2015   #18
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Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
What's wrong with the 35mm 2.8 FE Sonnar? And don't even try to say it isn't good enough.
It's the best 35 for the A7r, except the FE 35/1.4, which is huge and expensive. Loxia is second best.

However, many copies of the 35/2.8 are decentered, so you have to watch that, new or used. Used they go around 600.

Now, it is possible the new CV 35/1.7 ultron is going to be very good.
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Old 08-12-2015   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
It's the best 35 for the A7r, except the FE 35/1.4, which is huge and expensive. Loxia is second best.

However, many copies of the 35/2.8 are decentered, so you have to watch that, new or used. Used they go around 600.
I get that... but it seems most people just ignore this lens not realizing it is a great lens.
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Old 08-12-2015   #20
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The 35/2.8 is all you need. Fantastic lens for the money.
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Old 08-12-2015   #21
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Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I get that... but it seems most people just ignore this lens not realizing it is a great lens.
I sold mine because I found that I never used it after getting the 16-35mm F4. The F4 is slower but for the most part better in low light because of the very effective OSS. It's a bigger lens and a zoom but almost as sharp at 35mm and F4...

IMO if the 16-35's size is something that you can live with, go with that one.
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Old 08-12-2015   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kxl View Post
I've owned/borrowed a few 35mm M-mount lenses under $1300 and their IQ leave something to be desired compared to the FE 55/1.8 (Req. #1). These include both ZM's and a couple of CV's.
Just curious, how do you measure IQ?

The reason I asked is that I have never be able to definitely say one lens is better than the other (within the context of contemporary modern lenses, not comparing triplet from 50's to a T* Zeiss of the 2010's).

Each of the 35mm f/2 lenses that I keep has its own charm. But I can't say that one is definitely better than the others.
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Old 08-12-2015   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYV_146 View Post
I sold mine because I found that I never used it after getting the 16-35mm F4. The F4 is slower but for the most part better in low light because of the very effective OSS. It's a bigger lens and a zoom but almost as sharp at 35mm and F4...

IMO if the 16-35's size is something that you can live with, go with that one.
This comes down to if you prefer primes or zooms though no? Both are good enough for photography.
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Old 08-14-2015   #24
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The one lens is the 55FE.
I had a 35/2.8 FE that I sold (and I'm kicking myself about that, as it was a good copy). I really enjoyed this lens.

The Loxia 35/2 might fit the bill, too.
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Old 08-14-2015   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYV_146 View Post
I sold mine because I found that I never used it after getting the 16-35mm F4. The F4 is slower but for the most part better in low light because of the very effective OSS. It's a bigger lens and a zoom but almost as sharp at 35mm and F4...

IMO if the 16-35's size is something that you can live with, go with that one.
I agree, a good copy of the 16-35 is the best zoom available for the camera, and quite good indeed.
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Old 08-18-2015   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I get that... but it seems most people just ignore this lens not realizing it is a great lens.
I get the impression that while good, it is not in the same league as the 55/1.8. Compared to the Loxia, the 35mm FE is sharper in the center but exhibits quite a bit of light fall-off to the edges and corners. OTOH, the Loxia is not as sharp in the center by just as hair but has significantly less vignetting all the way to the corners.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
Just curious, how do you measure IQ?
I shoot several static subjects in different lighting (subjects that I would typically shoot), using the same or a different body (on a tripod) and existing lenses that I have and consider as having superb IQ -- these would include my ZM 50/2.0 Planar on my A7R or my Sigma 35/1.4 and 50.1.4 on my D800e. I use those images to establish my baseline, then vet other lenses against that baseline.

I agree that each lens has its own charm. Some a center-sharp but with vignetting, while others are move even throughout. I own both kinds of lenses. I am generally put off by edge-smearing and to a lesser extent, color casts. For this lens, I am looking for edge-to-edge sharpness.


Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
I agree, a good copy of the 16-35 is the best zoom available for the camera, and quite good indeed.
Haven't thought about a zoom...
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Old 08-18-2015   #27
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Whatever you get, be sure to check very closely for decentering and arrange a return beforehand if this is the case. It's an issue even with M glass, common with Canikon, and possibly even more so with the Sony FF E glass. I read stories about this with them pretty often.
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Old 08-19-2015   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kxl View Post
I get the impression that while good, it is not in the same league as the 55/1.8. Compared to the Loxia, the 35mm FE is sharper in the center but exhibits quite a bit of light fall-off to the edges and corners. OTOH, the Loxia is not as sharp in the center by just as hair but has significantly less vignetting all the way to the corners.
That may be true, but there is a lens profile to correct vignetting. And comparing it to, what people consider anyway, to be one of the best lenses out there and saying it is not in the same league is not really a big deal. It is still an excellent lens for actual photography. I'm not the lens testing type.
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Old 10-03-2015   #29
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Just to close out this thread, I finally succummed to getting the Kolari mod, and trading my FE 55/1.8 for a ZM 35/2.8. The 55/1.8 is an awesome lens, but I missed the tactile experience of using a manual focus lens and missed having a 35mm lens. I'm happy with the modified A7R and ZM 35/2.8.
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