If you ever wanted to own a Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH but couldn't afford it buy the FE 55/1.8.
It is that good.
Is that Lux Asph any good on the A7/7R?
Vivek, I no longer have a lux-anything as I sold my Leica gear a long time ago. I do have a cron 35, cron 40 and elmarit 90 all of which perform very well on both the A7 and A7r.
I've not been that impressed with standard lenses since I sold my Leica kit and the FE 55/1.8 is the best standard lens I've owned since. Wide open as a portrait lens it is imho spectacular. Sharp at point of focus and lovely smooth, creamy bokeh.
There is a need for a decent 35 for the ILCE series but I can't see the need for a 50, especially a manual one, while there is the FE 55/1.8.
There is a lot of anecdotal information that suggests pre-ASPH Leica lenses work better on the ILCE series. As I only own pre-ASPH lenses I can't comment.
Just my two cents
Have to say that I'm totally with Louis on this one as I find the FE55 to meet nearly all my needs. What I would like sony to do is what Fuji did with their more recent XF lenses where you can change from auto focus to manual focus on the lens and when in manual mode you have a proper distance and DOF scale
FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R Fujinon X Mount lenses | Fujifilm Europe
While not so necessary on lenses of 50mm and more I would love to have a DOF scale on the wider lenses for street work
I'm uninterested in AF lenses for the Sony A7.
I prefer using this camera with manual focus lenses, mostly my Leica R and a couple of Nikkors, also a couple of my M-mount lenses. On that basis, the Loxia would be my pick for a native mount 50mm lens if I didn't already have the Summilux-R 50 or Nokton 50mm f/1.5 ASPH. I don't think it offers anything better than those two for my use, other than not needing a mount adapter.
I have to say: in looking through the six or seven thousand photos I've made with the A7, the Summilux-R 50mm has been my most used lens.
Hard to beat the 55mm FE money no object IMHO on the A7R.
I don't like the bokeh on the 50mm APO Summicron, I don't like the weight of the 55mm Zeiss OTUS nor the weight of the 50mm Sigma ART...I have owned in the past the 50mm Summicron R and the pre asph Summicron M, Olympus 50mm and Canon 50mm FD's + these 4 below (Left to Right Zeiss ZM 50mm F2 Planar, 50mm F1.4 Summilux-Asph, 58mm F1.2 Rokkor and 55mm F1.8 FE)...Number one 50-55mm range lens (for me) "IS" the 55mm f1.8 FE...It renders just about perfectly as Louis says above.
I'm going to test my new Sony Zeiss ZA 50 1.4 this week against my 85 1.4. Will give me a good idea on it since I ran that 55, 85 and 135 test awhile ago. If it's a hair better than the 85 than it should be fairly level to the 55. will see but I'm after more look on this lens.
Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.
What I miss is the solid feeling of the Lux and that tiny bit of extra Oof rendering of a F1.4 lens but that's it.
I bought 2 samples of the Zeiss labelled Sony FE 35/2.8, one sample of the FE 24-70 f/4- they all went back and I have given up on the FE lenses. Your persistence with the 50/1.4 Lux is commendable.
A bit off topic but there is a fantastic video in Vimeo of a test of the Otus 85/1.4.
Now my initial reaction to this lens was jewellery for people with too much money and not enough sense but having seen the samples in the video I'd definitely have one if I could afford it. In the video he shows sample wide open of hair and eyes in portraits and it is drop dead amazing.
But to bring it back on topic - the 55/1.8 is no slouch either.
You are a bunch of talented 'togs, but I really wonder how you can love the FE55. Sure, it is sharp as all hell, including wide open. But I found the colours of mine (I tried 3 copies, bought one) indifferent, and totally failed to get any emotional connection with mine. Once I got the Loxia, it was gone presto! And not a single shot in my Top 200 to show for my ownership of it.
Sure the Loxia isn't perfect (what lens is, this side of 3000€?), but it is so much richer emotionally than the FE...
[dons flack jacket and ballistic helmet, hunkers down in anticpation of retaliation]
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Given it is contrast sensitive, that nice vertical black line is just too much for the autofocus robot to resist against the singer's white outfit. The manual feel of the lens is a bit lighter than I am used to, so it took some time to build up my confidence in using it, but it is very quick and responsive while at the same time being very sensitive for precise movement. But then, the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say....
Up and coming LA Pop band "Cousin Kate" at the Old Town Pub in Pasadena. Sony a7s, 125th Sec. @f/1.8, ISO 12800, Sony FE 55mm f/1.8
Chuck, What you describe is exactly the reason reason why I say the fly by wire Pseudo MF sucks. If it works for a few it is well and good.
I've had the 55mmFE, very nice lens, but when I shoot 50mm and beyond, I usually use manual focus anyway. It's when I shoot outdoor sports and stuff that I need AF, and that will be reserved for the 16-35mm f4. Dear Susan has a great review on the Loxia 50mm.
I would also like to point out that I use the 55/1.8 a lot for landscape shots. I actually like shooting wide open at 1.8. You have to choose your plane of focus but it can yield some lovely, glowing shots. I think I posted this before but this is a woodland path at the Wield and Downland Museum in Sussex. One thing I find an advantage with AF is that you can exactly choose the focal plane even if it is not central to the picture, in this case it is at the point about a third from the top where the trees either side of the path meet. You could sort-of do that with a manual lens but not keeping the horizon level and certainly not with the same degree of exactness.
one thing I still miss in most mirrorless is a direct fast control to move the AF area around. Plus still often AF-point is still a little too large.
On the other side I have pretty good success with face detection which I now use very often. Here an then a shot is off but most of the times it seems to work quite well.
It's funny because as an A7 user, i've have had to be really patient for a native prime lens in the portrait range. i've come to rediscover the importance of the 50mm focal length. It's virtually distortion free and just by moving in/out for composition is extremely useful as a wide and portrait combo. The 50mm more closely resembles our natural FOV too.
What, you only tried TWO 35mm FE lenses? Pah. It took me three to get a good one . In raw technical performance terms, it is well ahead of my 35mm Summarit or 35mm ZM F2 Biogon on the MM.
My first 55 FE focused the left at 5m when the right side was focused at 20m. In normal use the left never got sharp at any aperture. My second copy is just wonderful. I got lucky with a great 70-200 F4 OSS on the first hit.
As I say, buying FE lenses is a process
This sounds not so great.
My 24-70 seems really fine so far and so does my 70-200. I also bought 55 and 35 FE lenses and I dont really want/have the time to extensivly test each lens before using it. All this AF fine calibration stuff and lens testing sucks. I had to do it for Pentax (which I quit) and also for Canon.
One of the things I love about the Leica S system - so far I have not had any issue with lenses or focus inaccurancies. The same is true for the higher end m43 lenses. Of course one pays for it.
My compact/lightweight normal lens for the A7/r.
It is similar to a "collapsible lens". I just need to extend the focus helicoid to get to infinity (close focus ~0.3m).
(One can do this with pretty much any macro lens that has a very long focus throw.)
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So how good are OM-lenses working on the A7(r)? Do you use just taht or others too?
Keep an eye on this thread: Sony A7/A7r with old lenses
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I don't have any of the A7 camera's, but on my NEX6 all Olympus lenses I have tried work wonderfully well. They're optically very good and small/light. Should cover full-frame with no problems, because that's what they were designed for.
So far I've tested the 24/2.8, 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/2, 100/2.8 and 135/2.8. All give good and consistent results and are a joy to use. Even the 40/1.4 PEN-F is great and almost covers full frame (and significantly more then APS-C)
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I wrote a little about some Olympus and Canon FDn lenses here Canon FDn & Olympus Zuiko OM Lenses on the Sony A7/R: Part 1
Bottom line: there are some great vintage/3rd party lenses out there but the 35mm FE and 55mm FE are outstanding and have no competition at all at wider apertures. Stopped down, there are some super cheap vintage lenses that compete shockingly well, as I discovered!
The 50mm f3.5 Olympus Macro mentioned above is good at f8 and excellent at f11, but the Canon 50mm f1.4 FDn is like a scalpel by f5.6 across the whole frame and substantially sharper at f-5.6 and noticeably so a f8-11. But it can't do macro of course! My Oly 50 Macro is a keeper tho.... lovely rendering too.
I've yet to directly compare the 55mm FE and the Canon 50mm f1.4 FDn, but my impression thus far is that the FE will be miles ahead up to f4 and still resolving finer detail at high contrast beyond that point. I've never seen a 50mm (ish) FF lens resolve like this from any manufacturer. The Fdn is superb, but the 55mm FE is ridiculously sharp.
Well, for my part I will most certainly stay with FE lenses or use some of my Leica M glass.
Some vintage and also the Oly glass look promising and interesting, but I guess I will want to have lenses where I can rely on IQ even at wider f-stops.
If I have to stop down then I can just use the 24-70Zeiss.
I admit some of the vintage glass to offer interesting character, but I just want lenses to draw as "neutral" as possible with good sharpness and if possible with nice bokeh.
I am not saying that it can make total sense for others to use third Party lenses.
Besides that the most salient feature (compact, light weight) is lost. It is the macro lens that can make it happen and not any old lens and with an adapter to match. The Loxia then become more compact because of the short registry.
Last edited by Vivek; 18th November 2014 at 06:17.
After reading this thread for a bit, I pulled out the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S and did some test shots around the condo. It has quite the lovely character wide open and down to f/4 with some very nice vignetting and bokeh, after which it becomes very sharp and neutral. It's wide open corner falloff and bokeh is mildly reminiscent of the Noctilux but not quite as smooth.
The Summilux-R 50's wide open bokeh is a little smoother as well on sharp edged background material, and it similarly becomes razor sharp across the field when stopped down a bit.
Much as even more sharpness on the FE55 or Loxia might be appealing, I'm more interested in the wide open character of lenses like these. :-)
I've used two copies and both were identical. Both excellent on centre and good at the edges, improving upon stopping down to the point of being excellent, but the likes of the 55 FE and FDn 50mm f1.4 put in such a uniform performance with such ease at much wider apertures. I found that, at infinity, the 50 Macro peaks at f11 for overall across the frame performance. Its a really good lens, but def takes longer to reach optimum for distance use than a non-macro and never reaches the dizzy heights of the best 50mm lenses.
I really like the lower contrast and gentle look of the 50 f3.5 Oly macro and will def use for close up portrait work, as well as regular macro. Its a kinder and less modern looking optic than the 55 FE and that will have real benefits for some uses. Classic B&W work, IMO, is an area where ultra definition is not always welcome and where the Oly excels.
The micro Nikkor 55s, for example, are not that useful because of the harsh contrast and horrible bokeh (in addition to not offering any CRC or floating element design). This is where the "gentleness" of the OM lens you allude to plays its part.
No, that is not what I posted about. Just leave it at that.
Vivek, interesting post regarding the 50mm f3.5 Olympus Macro and the internal flip lens.
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Sticking my nose in here as I got an A7s in a very roundabout way…
I also purchased the 55/1.8 just because I needed at least one AF lens (I am still more comfortable with manual focus but I'm trying to learn).
I am curious as to what lens is the smallest and lightest in the 50mm range? Is the Loxia that much smaller than the FE 55? Is there anything out there that is?
I've only used the 55/1.8, my 50 pre-ash Lux, and the first generation Summicron 35mm (the only M lenses I have here) and have been loving the look on the camera, despite what I've heard from others… Maybe it's because the A7s has only 12MP?
I plan to test out a lot of 50's I have at my disposal when we get home on Thursday, but the Loxia is not one of them. (I've just about gotten my head around shutter speed in camera but cannot get used to not changing the aperture on an actual lens… It's just instinctive.) But I really do want small.
Thanks in advance!
50 Summarit is pretty small.
They are superb lenses, the Summarits. I enjoy the 35mm very much on M mount (favourite general use lens) and the 75mm is amazing on the A7 and A7R. I blogged about it here: A7R with Leica 75mm Summarit-M
One would expect the 50mm Summarit-M to perform very well on the Sony bodies too, due to the focal length.
Look forward to hearing what you find with your other 50s. I guess you have a ton of them at your disposal.
Finding that "perfect" 50 is always a problem. Though I do have a few to use, now I am engaged in converting an Yashica Electro 35 Yashinon 45/1.7. Fabulous match for the A7 series (size wise).
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In either case I'd try all of the 50's you already own first - you may find that they meet or exceed your expectations. If not the Loxia 50 may do that for you especially if you prefer manually focusing. I doubt it's smaller than some of the Leica lenses but it will be an excellent performer no doubt. I used my ZM 50/2 on my A7 and A7R as my 50 before buying my 55 FE. On many levels I preferred the rendering for character of the ZM 50/2 but that's not a slight to the 55 FE as it's a technically superior lens. I think a lot of it had to do with being a lot more familiar with a lens that I have now owned for 5 years and was easily my most used lens on the M9/M9-P closely followed by the 35 Cron ASPH.
We have a tonne of 50s -- Kevin bought adaptors for his arsenal of lenses as well, and I have too many but love them all. (I'll be especially excited to try the Zeiss Sonnar that I had calibrated for my RD1 and haven't been able to use since.) But I'm really looking for the perfect size… We might have to come up and see you when your conversion is done!
Luckily for me, I've been enjoying 35mm again (though that may change once I'm back in europe) and my old 35 pre-ash Lux could be the perfect body cap.
My biggest problem still seems to be that I absolutely suck at auto-focus
I know -- practice, practice, practice!
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