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Thread: NEX dream team lens setup

  1. #1
    Pontus
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    NEX dream team lens setup

    I wonder what you would consider the perfect legacy lens setup for the Sony NEX series. Some of you will list a lot of Leica glass but I'm trying to be a bit more creative, especially with the recent prices of Leica glass

    For me the NEX is a go-anywhere-anytime system which needs to be kept small and not overly expensive (though this is subjective, I have some fairly expensive glass on my list).

    This is my dream team:

    Voigtländer 12/5.6 (wide)
    Contax G 28/2.8 (sharp, nice rendering)
    Voigtländer 35/1.2 (low light, normal)
    Konica Hexanon 57/1.2 (low light, portraits)
    Contax S-Planar 60/2.8 Macro (short 1:1 macro)
    Nikkor AI-S 105/2.5 (compact short tele)
    Voigtländer 125/2.5 Macro (longer 1:1 macro, short tele)
    Micro Nikkor 70-180 (allround macro tele, product photo)
    Rokkor RF 250/5.6 (ultracompact tele, beware donuts )

    Can you think of a lens that deserves to be on the list? Or would you remove one of the above?
    Last edited by Pontus; 2nd December 2011 at 08:48.

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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    for 50mm, I own the ZM Sonnar f1.5. Helps me to stay with the Leica-M mount, along with the VC 35/1.2.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    I don't need that many lenses, and my lineup usually stays the same, with just a switch out of my various 35mm lenses, because this system is about size for me:

    Voigtlander 15/4.5
    Either Nokton 35/1.4, ZM 35/2.8 or Contax G 35
    ZM 50/1.5

    I occasionally bring the Contax G 90 when I have the room, or the kit zoom when I want a stabilized video option, but I'm usually just a 3 lens guy. I've bought and sold quite a few lenses over the last couple of years, and the lenses that I listed hit the mark between small size and good IQ. Of the the lenses that you listed, only the CV 12mm and Contax G 28 are acceptable for me, size-wise.

  4. #4
    Jacob D
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    UW: CV 12 or 15. The 15 seems to be a good lens on the NEX for sure, it's not completely clear yet how the 12 compares.

    Wide: The ZM C-Biogon looks very good from what I've seen.

    Normal: The CV 35/2.5 is very nice, the ZM 35 C-Biogon is likely as good or better. The Contax G 28/2.8 is also a very nice lens, but focusing via adapter is not thrilling.

    Short Tele: Probably 50 Summicron (an older version), but to be different how about Voigtlander Heliar 50/2

    Tele: Voigtlander 90 APO Lanthar, or how about a really different Leica... the Elmar 9cm/4.0


    I can live without the UW and the Tele, but they're nice to have around.

    I'm looking around for the Lanthar 90 which is what brought me over here to GetDPI. Just scouring all corners of the web If small size/weight matters to you (it does to me) you might be interested in this database in progress: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...ES2xCdVE#gid=0

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Here's a list of lenses I currently use on my 5N and some that I used and sold. Note I am just a hobbyist and don't have as much knowledge or experience as many people on this forum:

    What I use now:

    ZEISS CONTAX G - 28, 45, 90
    Love them all. Very sharp wide open. Great size. And I've had no problems with focussing on the adapters once I open them up and re-lube them. Price for the quality is UNBEATABLE. I bought this set with a G1 for $675. Sold the G1 for $150. So I only paid $525 for the three lenses! Less than I paid for my Voigt 35/1.4. There is something really special about the 45/2 for me. Mind blowing sharpness and detail. If I had to carry only one lens, this would be it. At F2 with the 5N ISO capabilities, you can shoot in very dark places and render great results.

    VOIGTLANDER - 15/4.5 LTM
    The best wide I've used on the 5N. Super tiny lens. Zero vignetting for me. I got a lot more vignetting and distortion with the Sony 16 pancake. This Voigt has solid build quality. Very sharp and very EASY to shoot. Got a used one on ebay for $265. Only downside for me (being the LTM version) is lack of filter thread, but I'm planning to do the workaround with a 39mm filter and some electrical tape.

    Lenses I sold:

    VOIGTLANDER 35/1.4 MC
    Personally, I was not a fan of this lens. It's a good lens, but if you're gonna pay $500-$600 for a used one, there are better lenses for the money. It's fast, but I was not happy with my results at 1.4, 1.8, or even F2. From what I've read, I don't think the Voigt 35/1.2 is much better at those speeds. It was not sharp enough for me and color rendering felt almost trippy. It did have color contrast, but it didn't feel accurate to me. Also lots of purple fringing. The build quality is sub-par for a lens at this price. Personally, I haven't found much use for 35mm lenses on the 5N. I'm very content switching between my 28 and 45.

    CANON SERENAR 50/1.8 CHROME LTM
    Really liked this lens. My favorite bokeh ever. Dream-like. Tiny lens and looked super cool with the chrome. I had it CLA'd, which brought it to near perfect shape. Bottom line, it was hard to justify keeping it once I saw the sharpness and color of my G lenses. Though at only $150, I kinda wish I kept it for the dreamy bokeh and cool chrome case.

    ASAHI PENTAX TAKUMAR 50/1.4
    Great bokeh, serviceable sharpness and great price. It was a little too large with the M42 mount for me to use with a body as small as the 5N, I don't see the point of lugging a large 50 and thick adapter. And I didn't have the multi-coated version so I wasn't crazy about its color contrast.

    FUJINON EBC 50/1.4
    Has all the strengths of the Takumar with sharpness, speed and bokeh. Exceeds it and the SMC version with its EBC coating. Great accurate color and contrast. But I find I'm not carrying due to its size with the M42 so it's up for sale right now.
    Last edited by jthurs; 2nd December 2011 at 15:20.

  6. #6
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Pontus View Post
    I wonder what you would consider the perfect legacy lens setup for the Sony NEX series. Some of you will list a lot of Leica glass but I'm trying to be a bit more creative, especially with the recent prices of Leica glass

    For me the NEX is a go-anywhere-anytime system which needs to be kept small and not overly expensive (though this is subjective, I have some fairly expensive glass on my list).

    This is my dream team:

    Voigtländer 12/5.6 (wide)
    Contax G 28/2.8 (sharp, nice rendering)
    Voigtländer 35/1.2 (low light, normal)
    Konica Hexanon 57/1.2 (low light, portraits)
    Contax S-Planar 60/2.8 Macro (short 1:1 macro)
    Nikkor AI-S 105/2.5 (compact short tele)
    Voigtländer 125/2.5 Macro (longer 1:1 macro, short tele)
    Micro Nikkor 70-180 (allround macro tele, product photo)
    Rokkor RF 250/5.6 (ultracompact tele, beware donuts )

    Can you think of a lens that deserves to be on the list? Or would you remove one of the above?
    Is the only difference between the S-Planar 60mm and the 60mm Makro-Planar C is that the former focuses to 1:1? The latter goes to 1:2.

    I use the Planar-C for many studio shots and love it.

    Other than the Makro, my other lenses are chosen not only because they work well on the NEX but because I use them with film cameras too. One is a beatup 35/2 Summicron version 1, the other a Contax G 45/2 which is being converted to Leica thread. This gives me a very small two body film/digital set. I use the hawk adapter on the NEX for the Leica mount lenses.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    I don't need that many lenses...

    Voigtlander 15/4.5
    Either Nokton 35/1.4, ZM 35/2.8 or Contax G 35
    ZM 50/1.5
    ...
    While I shoot with the GXR-M, it's the same format as the NEX cameras and I agree with the above sentiments, although I tend to run slightly different numbers:

    Skopar 21/4
    Skopar 35/2.5, Nokton 40/1.4 or M-Rokkor 40/2
    M-Rokkor 90/4

    That's the base of my kit and what I use the vast majority of the time. They're all very good performers.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    travel setup.
    -cv12
    -rokkor-m 28/40/90

  9. #9
    Pontus
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    monza: The Contax S-Planar 60/2.8 goes to 1:1 and the Planar C goes to 1:2. The Planar C is supposedly considerably smaller. The difference in size makes it hard to believe that the optical formula could be very similiar. Does anyone have more information on this subject, maybe a picture of the two so we can see the size difference?
    Last edited by Pontus; 3rd December 2011 at 08:11.

  10. #10
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Here is one size reference. The lens is relatively small; the Contax C/Y adapter adds length of course.




  11. #11
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Quote Originally Posted by jthurs View Post
    Lenses I sold:

    VOIGTLANDER 35/1.4 MC
    Personally, I was not a fan of this lens. It's a good lens, but if you're gonna pay $500-$600 for a used one, there are better lenses for the money. It's fast, but I was not happy with my results at 1.4, 1.8, or even F2. From what I've read, I don't think the Voigt 35/1.2 is much better at those speeds. It was not sharp enough for me and color rendering felt almost trippy. It did have color contrast, but it didn't feel accurate to me. Also lots of purple fringing. The build quality is sub-par for a lens at this price. Personally, I haven't found much use for 35mm lenses on the 5N. I'm very content switching between my 28 and 45.
    The Nokton 35/1.4 is the first lens that I bought for NEX a year and a half ago (I have the SC version,) and it drives me crazy that, when push comes to shove, I can't sell it.

    I agree with all of your critiques: purple fringing, barrel distortion, flare, bad corner sharpness, etc. However, it is a wholly unique lens that I just can't find a replacement for. The 35/1.2 is way too big, my Contax G 35 is slower and has a fussy focusing ring, my ZM 35/2.8 is way slower, the ZM 35/2 is larger and slower.

    I've been using a 35mm tandem of the Nokton 35/1.4 and ZM 35/2.8. Every time I convince myself that I should sell the Nokton 35/1.4, I put the lens back on the camera and marvel at its uniqueness when I'm not in gear snob mode...especially when shooting B&W and indoors. Help!

  12. #12
    Super Duper
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Douglas, have you seen the Metabones Contax G adapter? That might make the 35/2 handle better.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Thanks, Monza. I actually bought and sold the Metabones adapter last year. It was way too large and heavy for what I considered adequate focus improvement, so I actually prefer the Kipon.

    Hawks should make a helicoid adapter that takes the focus mechanism of the G lenses out of the equation entirely. Just lock the lens at infinity and extend the helicoid.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    I sent Hawk a 45/2 G for him to convert to Leica mount, and will use it with his M helical. Hopefully it will be here soon...if it works well I may convert a 28 or 35...

    Thanks for the note on the Metabones. It does look rather large.

  15. #15
    Pontus
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Thank you monza for those pictures. I do own the Contax S-Planar 60/2.8 but unfortunately I don't have a NEX camera yet, so I can't post pictures that would compare.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    I sent Hawk a 45/2 G for him to convert to Leica mount, and will use it with his M helical. Hopefully it will be here soon...if it works well I may convert a 28 or 35...

    Thanks for the note on the Metabones. It does look rather large.
    Wow, I didn't realize that was an option from Hawk! That would be ideal for me with my 35/2 and maybe 90/2.8. I was considering just buying a 35 Summicron IV, since it is nearly identical to a Contax G 35, but I'd rather use my Contax.

    Do you more info, like cost, turnaround time, etc? Thanks!

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    Wow, I didn't realize that was an option from Hawk! That would be ideal for me with my 35/2 and maybe 90/2.8. I was considering just buying a 35 Summicron IV, since it is nearly identical to a Contax G 35, but I'd rather use my Contax.

    Do you more info, like cost, turnaround time, etc? Thanks!
    That was news to me as well.
    I guess you have got tired of Japanexposures and/or MS Optical? If not you can have your Contax G lens converted for M-mount by them. More info here.
    Turnaround time and prices may differ - and so may the look of the finished product. I would compare the look and guesstimated feel of the lenses from these two shops.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Thanks, Jonas. I've been tempted by the MS Optical conversion for a while, but, as you can imagine, I'm personally a little weary of doing it, since I've had some issues with them in the past. I'm interested to see the Hawk's work, but I may end up doing the MS Optical conversion after all. I'm tired of switching between multiple 35mm lenses, and I think the Contax G would be good enough for me as a do-it-all lens, if a helicoid is added.

    edit* It looks like, according to their site, JapanExposure isn't currently offering the conversion service.
    Last edited by douglasf13; 3rd December 2011 at 12:25.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    edit* It looks like, according to their site, JapanExposure isn't currently offering the conversion service.
    Maybe you can mail them and ask. Perhaps Mr S Miyazaki is on vacation or something?

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Oh, I also should have said I fully understand the desire of having one 35mm lens only. After having tried the Planar G 45/2 I decided not to use any of the Zeiss Contax G lenses. Having the 35mm sounds like an interesting option if f/2 is fast enough!

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    Thanks, Monza. I actually bought and sold the Metabones adapter last year. It was way too large and heavy for what I considered adequate focus improvement, so I actually prefer the Kipon.

    Hawks should make a helicoid adapter that takes the focus mechanism of the G lenses out of the equation entirely. Just lock the lens at infinity and extend the helicoid.
    Very smart. I'd buy that in second.

  22. #22
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    AFAIK, Dirk moved to Germany, so I'm not sure he's working with MS anymore.

    I have tried the MS Optical conversions. I found them usable, but fiddly, unergonomic. Check out the Ken Rockwell article on them. The conversion I'm having Hawk perform adds a helical to the back of the 45mm, the rest of the barrel and aperture ring is left intact. The only down side is no focus scale, but I would not typically zone focus a 45mm anyway. If I convert a 28 or 35, I will guesstimate and tape a printed focus scale on the lens.

  23. #23
    Jacob D
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    I'm very curious after hearing about the Hawk conversion also. Do you mind sharing what the cost on this is and ballpark lead time?

  24. #24
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    I'll post more after I receive the lens. I don't think this is an every day product for him.

  25. #25
    Jacob D
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    I see, will anxiously await your follow up!

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    I have 3 legacy lenses that could make that list IMHO.
    Leica R 60mm Makro, goes to 1:1 with the accessory tube. Wonderful colours, massive detail, easy to focus, not over expensive price.
    Then Contax G 45 and 90. If the 28 is already on the list, it shows that the G adapter is already available and the two longer Gs are even better IMHO. Very contrasty, bitingly sharp, great detail and colours. And, of course, fantastic value for money.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    If I am allowed to dream: Leica M for wides seems like a sure bet. AT the long end it is more difficult. I guess some of the Leica R Apo are hard to beat, the same way Zeiss APO (they were made for MF so might be heavier) and canon L are very good.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    If I'm just dreaming then I'd kill for a Nex 7 with 35 and 50mm Summilux pre-asph.

    In reality I'd love the Nex 7 with the Canon LTM 35mm 1.5 and my Takumar super 50mm 1.4

    Realistically I can't afford to buy a single thing so it really is just all dreams...
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    I have collected two legacy lenses for my NEX-7:

    CV Nokton 35mm f/1.4 MC + Rainbow NEX-to-M adapter
    Zuiko OM 50mm f/1.4 + Fotodiox NEX-to-OM adapter

    I want to add the Zuiko OM 135mm f/2.8 to this mix, but I am trying to find a nice one for around $50.
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    This is a very interesting question. If we're dreaming here, about everything Leica makes would go on my list, at least in the M lens lineup. So I guess my dream team lens setup would be greatly dependent upon what exactly it was I was shooting the story of and for.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Hmmm . . Sony 16mm E (mine seems fine)
    Sony 18-200 E
    Leica R 28-90
    Leica R 180 f2.8 APO
    Sony 70-300 G lens with thingy 2 adapter.

    Oh! I have them all . . . now then . . . where's the *(@*££* camera!


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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Mine is (please note this is descriptive and not prescriptive) fairly straight forward:

    S-Planar 32/4 in a custom helicoid.

    Tessar 3cm f/2.8 plus adapter.

    Almost all the Olympus pen F lenses.

    A few fast c-mount lenses.

    Tilt/shift contraption to use other lenses.

    May be the Zeiss E-Sonnar 24/1.8.

    No LTM or M mount lenses.

    NEX-7 and to be hacked NEX-5.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Well I've tried quite a few lenses and will sell most this spring, except
    sigma 8-16 (alpha mount)
    zm18
    28 summicron (my normal)
    35/1.2 CV and the skopar.
    Pen 42/1.2
    Various 50's for portraits--nikkor 5cm 1.4 leica 50/2 etc. Canon LTM 50/1.2
    CV 75/2.5
    Various old 85's e.g. Canon 85/1.8 LTM
    tele-elmarit 90
    Canon 100/2 LTM
    Canon 135/3.5 LTM

    That's pretty close to my dream list except I might swap the 2 35s for a leica summilux, and a 90 cron would be good, and the telyt APO M 135/3.4 would also be useful. The 28 cron was 3k, but lives on the camera, so I feel investment is justified, but a 28 ultron would be fine too. I would take the ultron ahead of the fantastic zeiss g just because f/2 or 1.9 is way more light just where you need it at the normal FOV.

    for a budget I would reccomend:
    cv 15
    sony 24/1.8
    some nice 35
    sony 50/1.8
    sony 55-210 (pretty good to 135)
    Last edited by uhoh7; 12th December 2011 at 16:56.

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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    Well, I just snagged a Zuiko OM 135mm f/2.8 for $70 on Fleabay. The seller claims that the lens is in EXC condition. We shall see when it arrives. he at least had photos of the actual lens in the auction.
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    Re: NEX dream team lens setup

    It kind of depends on future sensors. If I was to use a NEX 5n, I'd be happy to use almost any legacy lens, whether Contax G, Leica M, Voigtlander or Zeiss M. I'd probably go for a Leica only set-up. The NEX-7 sensor excludes symmetrical lens designs, so I would run into trouble with older lenses wider than 35mm and with modern Leica M lens prices being what they are ...

    I'm quite attracted to Contax (SLR) lenses and think the 18mm, 35mm, 60 macro, 85mm and 135mm lenses would give very good service.

    I hope to be able to team up a set of modern Zeiss E lenses with a NEX-7, so here's in hope: the existing Zeiss 24mm, plus (hopefully) future: Zeiss 14mm, 60mm, 90mm and 135mm.

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