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Thread: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Yeah, it just goes to show how limited lens tests can be, since sharpness can vary so much across the image field at various distances, and it often leads to pleasing 3D effects.

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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by richard.L View Post
    thinking that the A's may be no more, and having found an excellent deal on some A900s, I have bought 3 of the beasties... after testing each for few hundred clicks, I plan on mothballing the two that are in lesser condition.
    Hopefully your idea of mothballing includes storing with fully-charged batteries that you swap for fresh ones periodically... otherwise you'll run down the internal lithium cell that keeps the clock running and remembers your settings. That internal battery is not user-replaceable...
    α900+VG|F20|2xF58|16-35,24-70,135Z|STF|70-400G|50,85 1.4|16,20,28,100M,80-200APO f/2.8|28-135|500f/8|1x-3xMacro|2xMFC-1000|Tiltall+RRS, Bellows, etc.

  3. #53
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    I have an old Minolta 50/2.8 macro which has a wonderful signature and is my "standard" lens ( I could be happy with just a 50) I've also got a Sigma 70 Macro for product shots and portraits.

    I had the 24-70 Zeiss but I've never warmed up to zooms and I hated the size of the Zeiss, to me it seemed huge. I sold it. I plan at some point on picking up the Minolta/Sony 135 STF and maybe an old Minolta 24/2.8. I really like the look of the Minolta glass.

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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Jae, have you tried the mentioned lenses, apart from the ZA 85?

    I'm a bit confused by statements like yours especially that they involve different platforms with different sensor characteristics.

    The 85L is better (I don't like the word beats) than the ZA between 2.8 and 5.6. The ZA has the best performance of any 85 from WO to just below 2.8.

    The 24-70 has the best performance of any equivalent zoom at all apertures except in the very extreme corners which is a very very small part of the frame. At 35mm it is sharper than any prime I have ever used.

    In any case, no other brand will give you the Zeiss characteristics, so if you're after the Zeiss look, 3D and high micro contrast, as well as the sharpest look at normal printing sizes (due to high micro contrast at the right frequencies), the choice is obvious.
    Agree. Sometimes people start losing credibility when they "authoritatively" comment on things that they have not used.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Have used all these Sony/Zeiss lenses and I was not happy. All other Zeiss glass I used form Contax and Hasselblad was just in a different league. I cannot understand why people think and believe that the Sony/Zeiss lenses are Zeiss. They have the name but other than that they are just miles away form real Zeiss glass. They are truly missing the real Zeiss signature, at least for me. So why be happy with something which just carries the name but otherwise cannot come up to the expected quality?

    I find the Nikon and Canon counterparts (I am talking about the high end lenses of these brands) much better. And I would suggest anyone just test some of the Olympus SHG glass, this is something I have never seen anywhere else in terms of IQ, micro contrast, resolution, rendering etc.

  6. #56
    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Have used all these Sony/Zeiss lenses and I was not happy. All other Zeiss glass I used form Contax and Hasselblad was just in a different league. I cannot understand why people think and believe that the Sony/Zeiss lenses are Zeiss.
    I would be interested which other lens you think outclasses the Sonnar 135/1.8 ZA.

    Btw, from what I understand the ZA's are designed by Zeiss and produced to Zeiss specs and tolerances. That's why they provide a Zeiss serial number in addition to the the Sony serial number. I know everybody likes different aspects of lenses but saying they're not "real" Zeiss lenses because you personally didn't like them is a bit extreme in my mind.

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    Member picman's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Have used all these Sony/Zeiss lenses and I was not happy. All other Zeiss glass I used form Contax and Hasselblad was just in a different league. I cannot understand why people think and believe that the Sony/Zeiss lenses are Zeiss. They have the name but other than that they are just miles away form real Zeiss glass. They are truly missing the real Zeiss signature, at least for me. So why be happy with something which just carries the name but otherwise cannot come up to the expected quality?

    I find the Nikon and Canon counterparts (I am talking about the high end lenses of these brands) much better. And I would suggest anyone just test some of the Olympus SHG glass, this is something I have never seen anywhere else in terms of IQ, micro contrast, resolution, rendering etc.
    Well whether or not you like the Sony Zeiss glass is your personal opinion and you are of course entitled to it. In my opinion these lenses are great and I too can compare with my large collection of Zeiss lenses for my Contaxes and the thousands of slides I have from that era. Moreover I have tested the Sony Zeiss glass against some expensive Nikon glass before deciding which way to go, and here too in my opinion there was no doubt. I strongly preferred the Zeiss rendering. If you fail to understand why other people consider these lenses good and genuine Zeiss then there is not much I can add. With all due respect and without any animosity, I am afraid this is entirely your problem.

    However, your claim that these lenses are not Zeiss is totally incorrect. Please read the statement from Zeiss concerning these lenses which they formulated as an answer to a question in a different forum (Zeiss Flickr).

    BEGIN QUOTE "The lenses for Sony are genuine ZEISS lenses. They are developed in cooperation with Sony and manufactured according to our specifications in Sony facilities. A special ZEISS measuring technology and original T* anti- reflex coating is part of the manufacturing process there. ZEISS lenses are subject to a complete examination at Sony and Carl Zeiss colleagues are partially involved in the production process to guarantee the quality of our lenses. Additionally we guarantee over audits and samples that the production conditions meet to our requirements.

    Best regards,
    Carl Zeiss Lenses Team "END QUOTE

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    I would be interested which other lens you think outclasses the Sonnar 135/1.8 ZA.

    Btw, from what I understand the ZA's are designed by Zeiss and produced to Zeiss specs and tolerances. That's why they provide a Zeiss serial number in addition to the the Sony serial number. I know everybody likes different aspects of lenses but saying they're not "real" Zeiss lenses because you personally didn't like them is a bit extreme in my mind.
    I must admit that the 135/1.8 ZA is an outstanding lens. But for me this is the only one from the whole Sony/Zeiss lens lineup. And frankly there is now 135 same aperture from Nikon nor Canon. But the 2/135 L from Canon is at least on par with that Zeiss lens.

    But form the other lenses, especially the zooms, none of them comes only close to their Nikon and Canon counterparts.

    This situation for me reflects why I think the Sony FF strategy is not taken to be serious, because they simply do not follow up with lenses designed in the traditional Zeiss quality, nor do the introduce enough new Zeiss lenses at all for the Alpha mount.

    But of course, this is my personal take and no one has to believe what I do. But for me it worked out that way.

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    I would be interested which other lens you think outclasses the Sonnar 135/1.8 ZA.

    Btw, from what I understand the ZA's are designed by Zeiss and produced to Zeiss specs and tolerances. That's why they provide a Zeiss serial number in addition to the the Sony serial number. I know everybody likes different aspects of lenses but saying they're not "real" Zeiss lenses because you personally didn't like them is a bit extreme in my mind.
    I could not care less what marketing BS tells us and in this case it is marketing BS. All which is written and published by Sony and Zeiss may be true very well, but it does not solve the original problem: that these new Zeiss / Sony lenses are far away from the quality and flare other (former) Zeiss lenses had. So coming back to my initial statement - I do not care what any of the marketing guys says to public and to press.

    Result is what counts for me and not words!

  11. #61
    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    ptomsu, I know everybody is entitled to their opinion so if you think it's Marketing BS then so be it. Maybe you had bad copies or maybe you have different expectations but your emotional outbreak is not going to change my opinion on this matter. I think it's up to Zeiss to determine what are real Zeiss lenses.
    Last edited by pegelli; 21st August 2011 at 07:13. Reason: added sentence

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    ptomsu, I know everybody is entitled to their opinion so if you think it's Marketing BS then so be it. Maybe you had bad copies or maybe you have different expectations but your emotional outbreak is not going to change my opinion on this matter. I think it's up to Zeiss to determine what are real Zeiss lenses.
    I am neither emotional, nor do I want to change anybodies opinion! I just thought it to be appropriate to share my findings as others share their findings.

    Good luck with your Zeiss glass!

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    Senior Member ecsh's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Peter seems to be on a personal crusade to insult Sony whenever the chance arrives. Its not the first time, do a search and you will see other posts since he sold off his Sony gear some time ago.
    Joe

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    You guys are true gentlemen. Can you imagine what would happen if one of you goes on the Nikon forum and says Nikon lenses are crap?
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ecsh View Post
    Peter seems to be on a personal crusade to insult Sony whenever the chance arrives. Its not the first time, do a search and you will see other posts since he sold off his Sony gear some time ago.
    Joe
    Joe,

    I actually would love to have all this time to do a search on a specific forum to find out about statistics Really!

    Good luck!

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    You guys are true gentlemen. Can you imagine what would happen if one of you goes on the Nikon forum and says Nikon lenses are crap?
    If a specific lens is crap then no problem.

    BTW I thought that this forum is a forum where it is possible to state one's opinion. Simply also because it is not a specific vendor forum.

    I really hope that this stay's true also in the future.

  17. #67
    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    BTW I thought that this forum is a forum where it is possible to state one's opinion.
    I really hope that this stay's true also in the future.
    For me that's OK Peter. I can see the value of opinions on the quality of lenses. If you don't like the Zeiss ZA lenses I have no problem you saying so. It can be valuable information for others to check reviews and sample images to see if they agree or disagree with you.
    However I see no value at all to call things "not a real Zeiss". It adds no value, and while still an opinion is clear humbug.
    Since you already had to eat your words on the 135/1.8 it might even be better to further specify your opinions and not make broad sweeping statements. I saw on your website you're a PhD, so you should understand the value of providing precise and accurate information, opinions or otherwise.

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    For me that's OK Peter. I can see the value of opinions on the quality of lenses. If you don't like the Zeiss ZA lenses I have no problem you saying so. It can be valuable information for others to check reviews and sample images to see if they agree or disagree with you.
    However I see no value at all to call things "not a real Zeiss". It adds no value, and while still an opinion is clear humbug.
    Since you already had to eat your words on the 135/1.8 it might even be better to further specify your opinions and not make broad sweeping statements. I saw on your website you're a PhD, so you should understand the value of providing precise and accurate information, opinions or otherwise.
    I will answer on this thread for the last time, believe me I was just telling my observations, nothing scientific, but the feeling I had while using my Sony 16-35 and 24-70 on my A900 for almost a year. So while I liked the 24MP of the A900 and even how it could handle higher ISO for that relatively high MP count, I was from the very beginning when I unpacked the lenses disappointed.

    1) Mainly because of the feeling they gave to me when I held them. Felt for me like pure (and even worse) cheap plastic. Totally different as Contax lenses felt (both for RTS and 645 which I used to own) and not at all to speak about Zeiss lenses for Hasselblad, which I really loved to touch and handle. I fully agree that other might feel different, so this is why I say that this is very personal.

    2) I was never really happy with the colors resulting of both of these lenses, far away from what I was used with Contax and Hasselblad. There you could literally see the Zeiss glow, not so from the Sony ZA glass. And yes, I tried different setting on the A900 and sure, after tweaking the images a lot in C1Pro I could get finally the results I wanted but it took me too much time. From my E5 and SHG glass I simply get the colors right as I have seen it from the beginning, using both LR3 or C1Pro as RAW converters.

    3) Both, my 16-35 as my 24-70 were not sharper than what I am used to from Nikon and Canon counterparts, I actually have the impression that Canon and Nikon drew sometimes really sharper. And this was actually my biggest disappointment.

    4) When I looked into the future of FF Zeiss glass for Sony I saw actually not much of a future. At least I would still estimate that they are many years away from getting a similar pro grade lens lineup as Canon or Nikon. And one who likes that flexibility is clearly missing something if not available. I do still not understand why Sony does not get the rules of the game here. But maybe it is not even in the interest of Sony to do so.

    As I said these are my last comments in this thread about Sony Zeiss, nothing scientific, just my experiences, anymore would be just waste of time!

    I wish all of the users who believe in Sony Zeiss glass that they keep to be satisfied, great pictures and great fun!

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Well, the Zeiss zooms and Zeiss primes are two different leagues in build, so I can understand the plastic sentiment with the zooms, but not the primes. My 24-70 had a creak in the focusing ring that needed repair, but my ZA 85 was rock solid...and certainly of Zeiss image quality.

    We outta get Wayne Seltzer on here to talk about the 135/1.8, considering he shoots Canon and owns the 135L, yet went to the trouble of making a home-made mount with a card board aperture adjuster just to use the 135/1.8 on his Canon cameras.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    If a specific lens is crap then no problem.

    BTW I thought that this forum is a forum where it is possible to state one's opinion. Simply also because it is not a specific vendor forum.

    I really hope that this stay's true also in the future.
    Well, I was joking, but still, I don't consider your recent posts as good forum etiquette by any standards.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    I have a few remarks on this subject, ZA not being truly Zeiss:

    The 24-70 and 16-35 are direct descendants and improved versions of the 24-85 and 17-35 Contax N lenses.

    The ZA primes and zooms are better than any equivalent lenses on the market, even when tested on the A900.

    I have also wondered about the lack of fine detail and general Zeiss characteristics in the ZA, so I bought 3 ZS lenses. And guess what? No Zeissness there either.

    So I thought this Zeissness is either only in my imagination or is it a problem (or feature) of the camera itself.

    After a lot of head scratching, I realized the following:

    The A900 has a very flat middle curve that kills the contrast in that area, which contributes a lot to the specific look of Minolta that is loved by all users. However, if micro contrast is what you're looking for, you're screwed because the camera kills it.

    The A900 lacks in real resolution, making all lenses tested with it look bad, not only the ZA. It's real resolution is around 16 mp and the 24 mp files just look like uprezzed 16 mp files.

    The reason behind it is not clear, but for sure, one of the culprits is the AA filter that is placed further away from the sensor, magnifying it's strength considerably. Sony did this to lessen the effect of dust, which works well IMHO. I can see in the specks of dust on my sensor. I just have a couple of very tiny specks but at f/8, they measure about 80-100 pixels in diameter, when normally they should not measure more than 40-50 pixels.

    It is also possible that this could be the reason of the image deterioration in the corners of many wide angle lenses but I'm no expert on this subject.

    Despite that, the ZA lenses have a very respectable performance as I mentioned, and many reviewers share this impression. Just read the enthusiastic reviews of all 3 ZA primes at slrlensreview.com.

    We might even see the true performance of the ZA with the upcoming new generation of Sony cameras if the sensor issues were addressed.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    I have also wondered about the lack of fine detail and general Zeiss characteristics in the ZA, so I bought 3 ZS lenses. And guess what? No Zeissness there either.

    So I thought this Zeissness is either only in my imagination or is it a problem (or feature) of the camera itself.

    After a lot of head scratching, I realized the following:

    The A900 has a very flat middle curve that kills the contrast in that area, which contributes a lot to the specific look of Minolta that is loved by all users. However, if micro contrast is what you're looking for, you're screwed because the camera kills it.
    I think the choice of raw processor makes a lot of difference with the Sony. I don't know enough to explain why that is. Personally, the lack of microcontrast drives me insane, and it clearly is a lack of contrast rather than resolution as some of it is recoverable through careful sharpening and local contrast enhancement, but it sure takes a lot!

    The A900 lacks in real resolution, making all lenses tested with it look bad, not only the ZA. It's real resolution is around 16 mp and the 24 mp files just look like uprezzed 16 mp files.

    The reason behind it is not clear, but for sure, one of the culprits is the AA filter that is placed further away from the sensor, magnifying it's strength considerably. Sony did this to lessen the effect of dust, which works well IMHO. I can see in the specks of dust on my sensor. I just have a couple of very tiny specks but at f/8, they measure about 80-100 pixels in diameter, when normally they should not measure more than 40-50 pixels.

    It is also possible that this could be the reason of the image deterioration in the corners of many wide angle lenses but I'm no expert on this subject.
    Very interesting observations Edward. I have suspected as much, though I had not put the pieces together as you have. I keep threatening to send my A900 off to have the AA filter removed. Coming from a CCD camera without an AA filter, it has been a tough pill to swallow. While the A900's 25mp shames my previous camera's 10 mp, I have a hard time seeing much actual difference. Your estimation of 16 mp of actual detail seems about right.

    For anyone who is lacking micro contrast, turn off steady shot. In my tests it makes a subtle but noticeable difference. Also, I have had my best luck processing the A900 files one of two ways -- either through RPP, or import into C1 ->export DNG -> import DNG into Lightroom and process normally. There is a specific look that I go for, and this gets me there, or as close as I have seen in a current DSLR.

    We might even see the true performance of the ZA with the upcoming new generation of Sony cameras if the sensor issues were addressed.
    I really hope they deliver something awesome with the A99.

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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Bill,
    Is there a company that will remove the AA filter from the A900? Maxmax doesn't list any Sony SLR's.

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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by surfotog View Post
    Bill,
    Is there a company that will remove the AA filter from the A900? Maxmax doesn't list any Sony SLR's.
    I'm pretty sure. Actually I thought is was Maxmax. Do a search on LuLa, there was a company mentioned there. I'm slightly on the fence about my commitment to Sony (and its commitment to pro market). If I add an A99, I will likely send to A900 in for surgery to see what happens.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Bill, it's good to see that we are on the same wave length

    But don't get me wrong. Despite the mentioned problems, I am quite happy with the A900 and I think I would have had to shed 8000$ for a D3X to be happier. But for sure a 5D2 or D700 would be out of question.

    If the AA removal was available in Thailand, I wouldn't have hesitated to do it, but it's not feasible for me to send it to the US and ship it back.

    But as it is, the camera is great and has so far given some of my best files ever.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  26. #76
    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    I will answer on this thread for the last time, believe me I was just telling my observations, nothing scientific, but the feeling I had while using my Sony 16-35 and 24-70 on my A900 for almost a year......

    rest of post not quoted to save space
    Thanks Peter, that was very useful information.

  27. #77
    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Well, I was joking, but still, I don't consider your recent posts as good forum etiquette by any standards.
    Why is this? Because you do not want to discuss "true" things but rather talk everything nice? Or because you take these discussions personal? This is the wrong attitude, because I would never ever take such a discussion personal.

  28. #78
    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    We might even see the true performance of the ZA with the upcoming new generation of Sony cameras if the sensor issues were addressed.
    I would be interested in that! Let's hope it comes true!

  29. #79
    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Why is this? Because you do not want to discuss "true" things but rather talk everything nice? Or because you take these discussions personal? This is the wrong attitude, because I would never ever take such a discussion personal.
    In the contrary, I am personally not offended or annoyed by your posts. It was just an observation, nothing more.

    I am not sure how objective are statements that bash Sony or claim ZA are not real Zeiss...etc. These are your personal opinions but it doesnt mean that others share your feelings towards Sony.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    In the contrary, I am personally not offended or annoyed by your posts. It was just an observation, nothing more.

    I am not sure how objective are statements that bash Sony or claim ZA are not real Zeiss...etc. These are your personal opinions but it doesnt mean that others share your feelings towards Sony.
    BTW 1: I share your findings that the A900 maybe cannot unveil the whole potential of the Zeiss glass even if it has 24MP. And I think the same is true for the D3X which basically uses the same sensor. The point seems to be the strong AA filter used in those cameras.

    I can tell you that I get images with more resolution from my E5 with only 12MP than I got from my A900 with 24MP. This is mainly the almost non existent AA filter in the E5.

    I really hope that in next generation FF DSLRs vendors will introduce weaker AA filters. That would even without increasing pixel count increase resolution significantly if done with the right SW.

    BTW 2: understand me right, I would also love to see a Sony FF DSLR camera in combination with great Zeiss primes. Actually this would give me back somehow what I used to have with my Contax RTS III and Zeiss lenses. If this is going to happen then I might be back to Sony / Zeiss in a second. And maybe would even bother with a not so perfect Zeiss zoom lens, actually I found I am more a prime shooter lately. But I would love to get 1 zoom from Zeiss, which is kind of my standard setup for DSLRs - a 2.8/ 70-200 ZA. How would that sound?

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Understood

    We all want basically the same
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  32. #82
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    @ptomsu

    I do think that we should differentiate your impressions of image quality and build quality of the Zeiss lenses. Otherwise this discussion will have no benefit.

    Regarding build quality: Every manufacturer has its own strategy what they want to offer with which build quality and with which price tag. Obviously this is one of the few main criterias how they can increase their margin. The good thing is, that everybody can verify for himself immediatley whether this is "good enough" for him. If you do not like it, simply send it back. You made your choice and that is fine.

    But please bear in mind that it does not make sense to compare old Contax manual focus "metal" lenses with new AF-constructions. When Contax introduced the N-system (autofocus), similar discussions appeared all over the net. As soon as you decide to offer autofocus, you have different limitations in the selection of the material you use and how to make a compromise between manual focus feeling/accuracy and autofocus speed & accuracy. So RTS system lenses were made for a different purpose. Canon A1 lenses had also different material then they use nowadays for their AF lenses

    And do not forget that the small production number of Zeiss ZA lenses limit also the possibilty in higher build quality compared to Nikon and Canon. But IMHO it is above all a decisison of Sony. The price tag of ZA lenses is already very high. There is no Antishake in the lenses. Therefore they could make it better for the same price. So I agree with you on that point.

    Regarding image quality: It is almost impossible to match the look of modern Zeiss lenses with older RTS-designs. Some glasses are not available anymore, some are forbidden because of ingredients (plumb) etc. So as soon as you pick different glasses in the production, you will have a different appearance in the image quality. That does not have to be worse. But it will be different.

    Compare Zeiss ZF lenses with film-bodies with ZA and with RTS and N-lenses. You will be suprised, how the ZF lenses match the green/yellow cast of original Nikon lenses. This was IMHO a big mistake of Zeiss. They tried to please the Nikon users with it. RTS and N-lenses are more the same in colour reproduction. I can not compare RTS/ N with ZA lenses, because the sensor makes too much difference in colour reproduction. But if you have the time, use an analogue Minolta body with ZA lenses and a Fuji Velvia or Provia. This will show you whether there a significant differences in colour reproduction.

    I do think that all manufacturers can make sharp lenses nowadays. But there are still differences apart of sharpness. Colours, bokeh, flare control etc. And there IMHO Zeiss is still shining

    At the end of the day, it is a very personal, subjective decision. Either you like the image made with lens xyz and use it therefore again or you don't

  33. #83
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Bill, it's good to see that we are on the same wave length

    But don't get me wrong. Despite the mentioned problems, I am quite happy with the A900 and I think I would have had to shed 8000$ for a D3X to be happier. But for sure a 5D2 or D700 would be out of question.

    If the AA removal was available in Thailand, I wouldn't have hesitated to do it, but it's not feasible for me to send it to the US and ship it back.

    But as it is, the camera is great and has so far given some of my best files .
    I seriously doubt you would have been "happier" with a D3X. Same sensor and based on using both cameras side-by-side, even flatter response. I never had a camera that required so much post to get to the end product ... at least where color work was concerned.

    None of the CMOS sensor cameras deliver the full effect of micro contrast IMO. We got spoiled by the response of film, had hopes for digital with cameras like the Contax ND and Leica DMR, and see it realized to greater effect with the Leica M9 with FF 18 meg. All CCD sensor cameras BTW.

    Of the CMOS sensor cameras, I prefer the A900 over all of the others. Not sure I totally agree that it is an effective 16 meg output, but that is neither here nor there for me, since it currently is the best of the lot, so it is a moot point.

    I have zero idea what side effects you'd get by removing the AA sensor from the A900, but once someone else tries it I'd give it a go.

    As to the lenses, which is a subjective view no matter how you present it: The 135/1.8 is without peer in any other system, and is A900 stabilized on top of that, which none of the others are. The 85/1.4 could be better and isn't quite the lens that the N85/1.4 was, exhibiting more CA than the N did, and isn't built quite as well ... but it still sure delivers a nice 3D effect. The ZA zooms are necessary evils that do their job in the same manner that the competition ... better in some areas and not in others. The type of distortion the ZA 24-70 produces is easily corrected compared to the aging Canon 24-70/2.8L, and the ZA color is superior to the Nikon nano-coated 24-70/2.8 but not quite as sharp to the corners wide open. I just use the ZA24/2 when shooting wider work anyway.

    The sleeper lens in the Sony system is the 70-200/2.8APO ... which I found better than both Canon and Nikon IS and VR zooms ... however, I admit that I may have lucked out with my sample.

    The biggest hole in the ZA line-up is a 35/1.4 ... with a 24/2, 35/1.4, 85/1.4 and 135/1.8 PLUS a 1.4X for the 135, I wouldn't even bother with zooms.

    -Marc

  34. #84
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    FWIW, I will be completing my Zeiss line up with a 35/1.8 equivalent. That would be the Nex 7 with the Zeiss 24/1.8. I would still need the converter for the 135 though. The Sony one doesn't fit, and I tried the kenko tele plus which produces excellent results with other lenses, but not with this one unfortunately.

    PS: thank you Marc. I feel much better to know that the 8k Nikon isn't really any different
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  35. #85
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I seriously doubt you would have been "happier" with a D3X. Same sensor and based on using both cameras side-by-side, even flatter response. I never had a camera that required so much post to get to the end product ... at least where color work was concerned.

    None of the CMOS sensor cameras deliver the full effect of micro contrast IMO. We got spoiled by the response of film, had hopes for digital with cameras like the Contax ND and Leica DMR, and see it realized to greater effect with the Leica M9 with FF 18 meg. All CCD sensor cameras BTW.

    Of the CMOS sensor cameras, I prefer the A900 over all of the others. Not sure I totally agree that it is an effective 16 meg output, but that is neither here nor there for me, since it currently is the best of the lot, so it is a moot point.

    I have zero idea what side effects you'd get by removing the AA sensor from the A900, but once someone else tries it I'd give it a go.

    As to the lenses, which is a subjective view no matter how you present it: The 135/1.8 is without peer in any other system, and is A900 stabilized on top of that, which none of the others are. The 85/1.4 could be better and isn't quite the lens that the N85/1.4 was, exhibiting more CA than the N did, and isn't built quite as well ... but it still sure delivers a nice 3D effect. The ZA zooms are necessary evils that do their job in the same manner that the competition ... better in some areas and not in others. The type of distortion the ZA 24-70 produces is easily corrected compared to the aging Canon 24-70/2.8L, and the ZA color is superior to the Nikon nano-coated 24-70/2.8 but not quite as sharp to the corners wide open. I just use the ZA24/2 when shooting wider work anyway.

    The sleeper lens in the Sony system is the 70-200/2.8APO ... which I found better than both Canon and Nikon IS and VR zooms ... however, I admit that I may have lucked out with my sample.

    The biggest hole in the ZA line-up is a 35/1.4 ... with a 24/2, 35/1.4, 85/1.4 and 135/1.8 PLUS a 1.4X for the 135, I wouldn't even bother with zooms.

    -Marc
    1) Equivalent output:
    Not sure what equivalent resolution output you get with the 24MP and strong AA filter as seen in the A900 and D3X either. It might be something around 14-18MP non AA filter equivalent. The one thing I can tell is that images taken with my Olympus E5 which is 12MP but very weak AA filter and optimized processing engine look more detailed and than the A900 and D3X samples I compared. Sure you just have 12MP but you can generate larger outputs as there is more information there and the Zuiko lenses are just stellar performers. This is also where I put lot of hope for the next gen FF DSLRs in order to get rid of their AA filter. Because then I do not think there will remain any difference to CCD sensor cameras, in fact CMOS should be technically superior.

    2) Sleeper lens:
    I fully agree to the 2.8/70-200, which is an absolutely great design and lens. I really enjoyed using this lens, as much as I disliked using the 16-35 and 24-70 from Zeiss.

    3) Zeiss 35 and 50:
    They would indeed urgently need a 1.4 version of a Zeiss 35 and 50, then the whole system would already look much more matured.

    Additionally what I do not understand is, that there is not at least a 2.8/300 from Zeiss in this lineup, as this is a prominent and already many years calculated Zeiss design which only had to be adopted to the Alpha mount. Same BTW true for the 2.0/200 from Zeiss, which was one of my favorite RTS lenses. I even preferred it to the 2.0/180 APO from Leitz.

    There is hope that we might see the one or the other addition, but most important I would consider a new FF Body without AA filter!

  36. #86
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    In the meantime use the Zeiss ZS 35/2.0 and ZS 50/1.4 with an adapter on the A900...

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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    But the 2/135 L from Canon is at least on par with that Zeiss lens.
    Having used the 135mm f/2L USM extensively, I know that it is a great lens and is one of the sharpest of Canon's lenses....however, having used the Zeiss 135/1.8 on the A900, I can state unequivocally that the Zeiss will thrash the Canon optically, to kingdom come. Granted the Zeiss is larger/heavier, being an f/1.8 lens but optically there is not even a contest there. You can take that to the bank.

    But form the other lenses, especially the zooms, none of them comes only close to their Nikon and Canon counterparts.
    I have used both the 24-70/2.8L and also the 16-35 f/2.8L (both I and II) and either of these don't compare optically or mechanically (AF performance etc) to the Zeiss equivalents. Have you used those Canon lenses ?

    But is the Zeiss 24-70ZA perfect ? Absolutely not ! There are several weaknesses in the lens, including at 24mm, the extreme corners needing the lens to be stopped down to f/11 etc for absolute sharpness etc (even though 80-90% of the frame is blameless from around f/4).

    I do agree that the Sony/Zeiss lenses (specifically the zooms) have been built to a certain pricepoint, which in turn accounts for the presence of some plastic in their casing (albeit of high quality), than the lenses being full metal etc. The question is, did Sony have an option, especially when comparing against cheap-as-chips 24-70/2.8L USM, to introduce a $2500 24-70ZA ? Who would have even bought such an optically perfect but huge/unwieldy/heavy/expensive lens made of full metal ?
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    that these new Zeiss / Sony lenses are far away from the quality and flare other (former) Zeiss lenses had.
    I believe the Sony/Zeiss 85/1.4ZA Planar in particular, has a higher resolution than the Nikon mount 85/1.4 Planar, which in turn has a slightly higher resolution than the Contax version of the 85/1.4 Planar.

    Sure, the rendering is slightly different among these too, in addition to the resolution itself, but to suggest that the Sony Zeiss lenses are not "real Zeiss" is going a bit over the top.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Mark and Edward, I find a lot of faults with the A900, but on the whole for what I do, it is the best camera on the market for me. My next lens will be the 200/2.8 and 1.4x.

  40. #90
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    @roweraay

    so you say that the 1.8/135 Zeiss is a better and sharper lens than the 1.2/135 L from Canon? I cannot comment on this as I never really used the Zeiss.

    Also the 1.4/85 Zeiss for Alpha - would you say it is sharper than the Nikon 1.4/85G?

    Thanks

    Peter
    Last edited by ptomsu; 22nd August 2011 at 10:24.

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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    SONY A900
    Always outnumbered, never outgunned.
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  42. #92
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    It is true what they say that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. We are never satisfied with what we already have, and somehow tend to forget the shortcomings of previous gear and why did we sell it in the first place.

    After my rant about the A900 real resolution of the other day, a friend asked me to send him a copy of an old photo I have taken of him with my ex 1Ds2 and Contax glass a few years ago. After having processed the file in Canon DPP with quite a lot of frustration and disappointment, especially that skin tones looked horrible to my eyes spoiled with the Sony files, and resolution not exactly as good as I remembered it. Now I'm very happy again with my A900.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  43. #93
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    It is true what they say that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. We are never satisfied with what we already have, and somehow tend to forget the shortcomings of previous gear and why did we sell it in the first place.

    After my rant about the A900 real resolution of the other day, a friend asked me to send him a copy of an old photo I have taken of him with my ex 1Ds2 and Contax glass a few years ago. After having processed the file in Canon DPP with quite a lot of frustration and disappointment, especially that skin tones looked horrible to my eyes spoiled with the Sony files, and resolution not exactly as good as I remembered it. Now I'm very happy again with my A900.

    That is exactly my experience too. A year ago I looked long and hard at the many slides from my contax days, I had several professionally processed to have digital versions and had them printed. I am soooooo happy with my A900 and its devastating AA filter and that awful Sony Zeiss glass


    These were my contax lenses (all Made in Germany 15mmf3.5, 28f2, 50f1.4, 60macrof2.8, 85f1.4, 100f.2, 200f3.5)

  44. #94
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    I have to agree with ptomsu: the ZA 85/1.4 is *not* a real Zeiss. One of the fundamental characteristics of a "real" Zeiss 85/1.4 is that it has major flare problems. The ZA 85/1.4 clearly does not share this problem, so it's obviously not a "real" Zeiss -- and thank God for that!

  45. #95
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Hello,

    from my own experiences with Minolta and Sony lenses I would say that ptomsu could be partial correct but didn't provide any proof.

    At first I'm still convinced since many years that it doesn't make much sense to expect that zoom lenses deliver the same quality that prime lenses can demonstrate. A Sony/Zeiss zoom can't be as good as a Sony/Zeiss prime lens.
    Original Zeiss lenses (for Nikon, Canon...) are only primes and should be better than Sony/Zeiss zoom lenses. Both lens types shouldn't be put into a competition.

    The Sony/Zeiss 135/1,8 is very good, visible better than other DSLR lenses from Sony, Minolta.
    The Sony/Zeiss 85/1,4 is visible below the 135/1,8. I would say that there are a some other Sony/Minolta primes that are equally good or better, but have other focal lengths. It could be very well that Canon, Nikon, Zeiss have an equally good or better 85mm lens.
    I've seen tests that compared both 85/1,4, the Sony/Zeiss and the Zeiss for DSLR's. They both were roughly equally good.

    I would be happy if Zeiss would offer it's DSLR lenses with the Sony mount since these lenses look much more beautiful and should be better mechanical wise.

  46. #96
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Here is what SAR (SonyAlphaRumors), who mentioned about the 24MP APS-C sensor in October 2010 and also accurately predicted the upcoming announcement months back, tells about the future Sony Cameras (Full-frame related):

    ==============
    One more thing: The future rumors: The same sources that gave me correct info about all the new Sony cameras are already sending me bits of info about the next DDAY in 2012. The event will be important for everyone seeking full frame cameras and lenses. And that will be the new rumor adventure we will have to go the next months. As I said, there are at least three new FF cameras coming and the new lens quantity is much bigger!
    ==============

    Link below:

    http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/24-ho...to-all-of-you/
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

  47. #97
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by roweraay View Post
    Here is what SAR (SonyAlphaRumors), who mentioned about the 24MP APS-C sensor in October 2010 and also accurately predicted the upcoming announcement months back, tells about the future Sony Cameras (Full-frame related):

    ==============
    One more thing: The future rumors: The same sources that gave me correct info about all the new Sony cameras are already sending me bits of info about the next DDAY in 2012. The event will be important for everyone seeking full frame cameras and lenses. And that will be the new rumor adventure we will have to go the next months. As I said, there are at least three new FF cameras coming and the new lens quantity is much bigger!
    ==============

    Link below:

    http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/24-ho...to-all-of-you/
    I've said many times that I don't expect Sony to bring a 135 sensor NEX camera (although I hope I'm wrong,) but if Sony can manage to bring an A55-ish sized SLT with a 135 sensor in it, that would be very tempting to me.

  48. #98
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by das_schlechte_gewissen View Post
    At first I'm still convinced since many years that it doesn't make much sense to expect that zoom lenses deliver the same quality that prime lenses can demonstrate. A Sony/Zeiss zoom can't be as good as a Sony/Zeiss prime lens.
    Agree. We need to separate the Zeiss primes in the A-mount (135 and 85 and the 24mm) from the Zeiss zooms. The zooms are good performers as far as zooms go but the primes are certainly a cut above.

    The Sony/Zeiss 135/1,8 is very good, visible better than other DSLR lenses from Sony, Minolta.
    The Sony/Zeiss 85/1,4 is visible below the 135/1,8. I would say that there are a some other Sony/Minolta primes that are equally good or better, but have other focal lengths. It could be very well that Canon, Nikon, Zeiss have an equally good or better 85mm lens.
    For absolute best performance on a high-resolution full-frame, the 85mm will need to be stopped down a bit, while the 135/1.8 is already outstanding, right at f/1.8.

    I've seen tests that compared both 85/1,4, the Sony/Zeiss and the Zeiss for DSLR's. They both were roughly equally good.
    Except that the Sony version of the 85/1.4 Planar provides Auto-focus on the Sony bodies, while the other Canon/Nikon versions are less challenging manual-focus versions. Apples-and-oranges. I like having Auto-focus.

    I would be happy if Zeiss would offer it's DSLR lenses with the Sony mount since these lenses look much more beautiful and should be better mechanical wise.
    I don't mind getting some of these ultra-wides (21mm Distagon for instance) in the A-mount but for the longer lenses, I like to have auto-focus.....not interested otherwise.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    @roweraay

    so you say that the 1.8/135 Zeiss is a better and sharper lens than the 1.2/135 L from Canon?
    Unequivocally, yes ! The Canon is smaller and lighter (which are certainly advantages in my mind), since it only has f/2 (f/1.8 in a 135mm lets in almost 24% more light than an f/2 version), and comes with SSM focusing (also an advantage) but optically, the Zeiss 135/1.8 will send it back to elementary school to learn to catch up with it.

    I curse the Zeiss 135's weight (full-metal body with a large metal hood) but those images just talk volumes.....no translation needed !

    Also the 1.4/85 Zeiss for Alpha - would you say it is sharper than the Nikon 1.4/85G?
    Not familiar with the Nikon 85/1.4 and hence can't comment.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

  50. #100
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    Re: A900. Your Best Set Of Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by roweraay View Post
    Unequivocally, yes ! The Canon is smaller and lighter (which are certainly advantages in my mind), since it only has f/2 (f/1.8 in a 135mm lets in almost 24% more light than an f/2 version), and comes with SSM focusing (also an advantage) but optically, the Zeiss 135/1.8 will send it back to elementary school to learn to catch up with it.
    This part was funny to read.
    Lenses send lenses back to school to learn something.

    What I hadn't seen before this 135 came to me was to what an extend this lens brightens up everything and works out details very contrasty, despite what weather conditions there are. Bright sunshine or foggy days.
    I know the lenses of the Sony/Minolta system, but if anybody knows lenses like this 135 with shorter focals lenghts, I would be more than happy to receive one or two recommendations. I would try to adopt such a lens to the NEX system.

    I'm not sure about a Sony/Zeiss 50mm which was rumored some time ago, but if it comes, there should be a chance that it offers qualities similar to the 135.

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