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Thread: fast 50 for A900

  1. #1
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    fast 50 for A900

    I have the Minolta 50/2.8 macro which I absolutely love but would like a 50/1.4 for low light and I really don't care for the look of the Sony/Minolta 50/1.4. This is a lens I'd only be using instead of the macro in the f/1.4 - 2.8 range so wide open performance and bokeh are the only selection criteria.

    Any fast 50's available with mount conversions that have auto-focus?

    I could go manual with a Leitax converted Leica R Summilux -a lens I like very much. Leitax also does Contax but I don't care for the bokeh in the Zeiss Planars I've seen.

    Any other suggestions?

  2. #2
    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Only other AF option I know is the Sigma 50/1.4 HSM.
    Generally considered a bit "better" (whatever that means) than the Minolta/Sony 50/1.4 but quite a heavy and big beast.
    What is it you don't like about the Sony 50/1.4, bokeh?

  3. #3
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    What is it you don't like about the Sony 50/1.4, bokeh?
    Yes all the images I've seen from the Sony/Minolta 50 wide open look god awful to me. I've had at different times a Canon 1.4 and the old Pentax 1.4 and liked the look of both very much. I had the old version 50 M Summilux and loved that as well. Something along those lines would be perfect.

    I'd forgotten about the Sigma. It is really ridiculously huge and heavy for a 50. It's the size of a fast 85, which is why I didn't get it last time I looked.

    But having considered the available alternatives I think I might be willing to live with the size as the images from the Sigma I've seen look really, really good. It's probably sharper wide open then the Canon I used and the OOF areas I've seen look as smooth or smoother. I've got the Sigma 70 macro and it's excellent.

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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    The Sigma 50mm F1.4 also has onion bokeh which I can't stand.

    The R-Summilux 50mm F1.4 is probably your best bet or the legendary Rokkor 58mm F1.2, probably the best bokeh I've seen from a 50mm.

    The ZF Zeiss 50mm F2 also has quite nice bokeh and the conversion is much easier than a C/Y lens.

  5. #5
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    The Rokkor looks very interesting. Is there a mount conversion or adapter available?

  6. #6
    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Graber View Post
    The Rokkor looks very interesting. Is there a mount conversion or adapter available?
    <link removed since it is obsolete>
    Last edited by Bob; 10th November 2016 at 03:42.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    whats so bad about the Sony 50/1.4?
    I just bought one and first images didnt look bad to me.

  8. #8
    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    The 50/1.4 has a bit busy and swirly bokeh, so it's a matter of taste.
    I have an old Minolta 50/1.4 and it behaves similar but a bit less strong.
    Sharpness and resolution is very nice but busy backgrounds can distract.

    If I want smooth bokeh I'll put my M summicron 50/2 on a Nex.

  9. #9
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    whats so bad about the Sony 50/1.4?
    I just bought one and first images didnt look bad to me.
    It's very subjective. With the Leica 50's I preferred the look of the old Summilux even though the new one wiped the floor with it in every objective measurement.

    You get fast lenses to shoot wide open, otherwise what's the point of the additional cost and weight. At those apertures a lot of stuff is out of focus in the image and you really need to like the look of those areas for a lens to work for you.

  10. #10
    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Hank, I can tell you that the Sony 50/1.4 absolutely sings on my A850. No conversion, no problems, and it just works. What don't you like about the way it looks, if I may ask?

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    I have had a lot of great fast 50 s . Based on your criteria ..the Leica Summilux R 60mm is as good as it gets . One of the few lenses I haven t kept and wished I did . I like the rendering as much as the 50 1.4 asph on the M.

    But if its bokeh and wide open performance you might consider the 80 summilux R . Wide Open its very similar to the Noct 1.0 and yet as you stop down it is as brilliant as the modern asph . You can convert either lens with the Leitax adapters .

    Normally I always start with the desired FOV but few lenses can match the bokeh of the 80 summilux and for available light portraits the 80 works exceptionally well.

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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Another option is a Pentax SMC 50/1.4 with an M42 adapter. Mine is slightly soft wide open, which flatters portraits, but at any reasonable shooting aperture it's impeccable. Bokeh is smooth and soft. I think I paid $35 for mine, and it works just fine with a $10 adapter.

  13. #13
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I have had a lot of great fast 50 s . Based on your criteria ..the Leica Summilux R 60mm is as good as it gets .
    That was my standard lens on my old Leica R. One of my all time favs. But that's a 2.8 macro and I have and like the Minolta 50 2.8 macro. I need something around 50 that goes to f/1.4.

    My issue with the Sony is I have seen quite a few wide open shots with bokeh that was really not to my liking. It's all down to personal taste. I looked around for more Sigma 1.4 shots wide open and found some disturbing examples of the what FlyPenFly called onion ring bokeh in a Kurt Munger review.

    I think I might give the Rokkor 58/1.2 a go. The Minolta macro 2.8 will remain my walking around lens but I wanted something fast and smooth. Specialized for low light wide open stuff. It sounds like just the ticket. I do like the look of many of the old Minolta primes.

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Hank, I know what you mean, but I shoot mine wide open (where the DOF is really a bit to shallow to be effective if we're talking head and shoulders); and between ƒ2–2.8 otherwise. I am always a bit careful about backgrounds anyway, so I have not noticed this problem. Cheers, KL

  15. #15
    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Look at the left lower corner of this picture. Not even the busiest background but still a bit funky:


    For instance the 135/1.8 does a lot better with the same background:


    On the other hand, especially when focussing closer the Minolta 50/1.4 can be very smooth, don't have anything post ready, but could PP some if there's interest.

  16. #16
    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Hello pegelli, I'd like to see an example; I would like to show one or two myself, but I am on the road at present and do not have any of those images with me. cheers kl

  17. #17
    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    No problem Kit, unfortunately all my good examples of closer focus/smoother bokeh are with my A700, so APS-C. It still gives some impression I hope.

    Sony 50/1.4 @ f2


    Sony 50/1.4 @ f3.5


    Minolta 50/1.4 @ f1.7


    Minolta 50/1.4 @ f2.8


    Minolta 50/1.4 @ f4


    Minolta 50/1.4 @ f4.5 (some funkyness creeping in)

  18. #18
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Hank. I was referring to the 50 1.4 summilux with the 60mm filter thread. This came out a few years before the M 50 asph . The rendering is just a notch less crisp than the M lens. Look at e puts report on the lens.

    But if you prioritize bokeh wide open the 80 lux R has a Noctilux like rendering. For available light portraits this would be my first choice.





    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Graber View Post
    That was my standard lens on my old Leica R. One of my all time favs. But that's a 2.8 macro and I have and like the Minolta 50 2.8 macro. I need something around 50 that goes to f/1.4.

    My issue with the Sony is I have seen quite a few wide open shots with bokeh that was really not to my liking. It's all down to personal taste. I looked around for more Sigma 1.4 shots wide open and found some disturbing examples of the what FlyPenFly called onion ring bokeh in a Kurt Munger review.

    I think I might give the Rokkor 58/1.2 a go. The Minolta macro 2.8 will remain my walking around lens but I wanted something fast and smooth. Specialized for low light wide open stuff. It sounds like just the ticket. I do like the look of many of the old Minolta primes.

  19. #19
    Super Duper
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Graber View Post
    It's very subjective. With the Leica 50's I preferred the look of the old Summilux even though the new one wiped the floor with it in every objective measurement.

    You get fast lenses to shoot wide open, otherwise what's the point of the additional cost and weight. At those apertures a lot of stuff is out of focus in the image and you really need to like the look of those areas for a lens to work for you.
    I dont have enough experience yet with the Sony 50/1.4
    However the first shots even at f1.4 didnt look that bad to me bokeh wise.
    I had other lenses (Nikon 50/1.4d for example) which looked worse to me.
    I also have the Sigma 50/1.4 and the bokeh might be a little smoother but I am not so sure about the color.
    And yes....I am also one of those who doesnt find the new 50/1.4asph clinical.

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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    I had the exact same problem as you. I didn't find anything really bad about the Minolta 50/1.4 AF, it was just too plain jane for me. Here's the chronology of my journey:

    January 2007: Sony a100
    March 2008: Minolta 50/2.8 RS
    August 2008: Minolta 58/1.2 MC Rokkor PG
    October 2008: Sony a900
    July 2009: Leica 50/2 R E55
    November 2010: Zeiss 50/2 ZF.1
    June 2011: Leica 50/1.4 R E55

    The Minolta 50/2.8 is decent, contrast, resolution, but cool colour and slow.

    The Minolta 58/1.2 is beautiful, lush colour, but dizzy bokeh until f/2 and my copy is low resolution & no contrast wide open

    The Leica 50/2 R is technically very good, but slow and despite a mandler design lacks the "glow"

    the zeiss 50/2 is all about resolution & contrast. Despite the astronomical hype I don't think I like the zeiss colour. I don't see the "3D" holy grail.

    The Leica 50/1.4 R definately has the glow. I'm still learning it in terms of contrast, resolution colour, but it is everything I expected.

  21. #21
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by JimU View Post
    The Leica 50/1.4 R definately has the glow. I'm still learning it in terms of contrast, resolution colour, but it is everything I expected.
    I can see this is going to get expensive When it comes to fast 50's I'd agree you really can't beat Leica. I've been looking at the E55 and E60 versions of the Summilux-R 50. Spectacular performance- at spectacular prices. The E60 is really in nose bleed pricing territory.

  22. #22
    curious80
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Graber View Post
    I have the Minolta 50/2.8 macro which I absolutely love but would like a 50/1.4 for low light and I really don't care for the look of the Sony/Minolta 50/1.4.

    I have used both Minolta 50mm 2.8 and Sony 50mm 1.4 and I am surprised that you like one but not the other. I found them to be very similar in their rendering and color rendition (though I only used them on a crop camera so that could be a factor).

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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    well, i got my 3 cam 50'lux e55 and 50 mp zf.1 each < $1k via ebay / craigslist.

    doesn't have to break the bank.

  24. #24
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by curious80 View Post
    I have used both Minolta 50mm 2.8 and Sony 50mm 1.4 and I am surprised that you like one but not the other. I found them to be very similar in their rendering and color rendition (though I only used them on a crop camera so that could be a factor).
    I've never seen OOF rendering from my Macro 2.8 like shown in the picture of cattle above from the 1.4. Always very smooth.

  25. #25
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Here is another lens to consider -Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens. I had no idea these were still in production.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...f_1_2_AIS.html

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    If you want to consider the Nikkors the 58 1.2 NOCT is the one to get . It took me 6 months to find one at around $3000 as they are in high demand . But wide open thru 2.0 its very special . You can find a thread and examples on several of the Nikon Forums. For night shooting and available light its in the same class as the Noctiluxes with a different signature .

    One thing I look for in a lens signature is the depth of color its transmits . You can see it in a minute with the leica 50mm 1.4 E60 especially in the blues . Same for the Noct Nikkor or the Leica Noct 0.95.

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    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    If you want to consider the Nikkors the 58 1.2 NOCT is the one to get . It took me 6 months to find one at around $3000 as they are in high demand . But wide open thru 2.0 its very special .
    While the Noct is a wonderful lens there is no way I'd pay 3,000+ for it. I might consider paying that amount for the Leica Summilux-R E60 as it's probably the best SLR 50 ever made and gives you both resolution and beautiful rendering at every aperture. It's like having your cake and eating it to.

    But I'm happy with the macro 2.8 for use at 2.8 and smaller apertures and I get full compatibility with AF and metering, etc., The occasions I'd be using 1.4 or larger would be hand held in low light - not conditions for getting the sharpest pics due to combinations of focus error and slow shutter speeds.

    I'm looking for a very painterly rendering and I could probably be happy with the Rokkors that are going for $4-500. (and some post-processing) If I could get a Noct for close to that price I'd jump on it, but for 3,000+, not so much.

  28. #28
    lightdreamer
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    The MC Rokkor 1.2 58mm also, as nearly all double Gauss construction 5xmm lenses does not not show creamy bokeh wide open. Its bokeh is very nice and creamy at f2-2.8 and f2.8, where the bokeh is clear better than the Minolta AF 1.4 50mm (which also is good concerning bokeh at f2.5 and f2.8).

    Wide open (f1.4) also Takumars, Canon and Nikon lenses are anything but bokeh champions.

    Wide open the Sigma 1.4 50mm is the best but I sold it and kept my 1986 Minolta AF 1.4 50mm because it showed better performance at any apertures other wide open on my A900.

    Don't forget, manual f1.4 lenses are really hard to focus spot on without a peaking mode.

    BG lightdreamer

  29. #29
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    I had an as new 50 summilux E60 for a few days last spring at a bargain price of $2000 but I decided ...just too many Leica R lens in my cabinet . Wish I would have kept it as I agree its the best all around for a DSLR .

    But for night shooting I would still go with the Nikon NOCT .

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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    I personally don't rate the Minolta or Sony 50/1.4 lenses as they are all slightly soft (IME) wide open. The whole point of a 1.4 aperture is for it to be sharp at 1.4 or you might as well go for a 1.7, etc.

    I have had good experience with the Sigma 50/1.4 and think that one is worth consideration.

    If Sigma doesn't appeal and if Sony don't bring out an improved 50/1.4, I'd be tempted to look at a converted Zeiss.

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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    For human subjects and street scenes, I am very happy with my late E55 Summicron 50/2, on the A900. A fabulous allround 50mm with serious character, fine resolution, excellent bokeh and great colour and shadow detail rendition. For this task, I like it better than the 35-70/3.4 CY, which is all over the Leica for landscapes however.

    This thread has plenty of examples of the Leica contenders:

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/895186/44

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    Re: fast 50 for A900

    The Leica Summicron is a fine lens, I agree. Argueably better than the Zeiss. The main thing in favour with the Zeiss is if there are existing Zeiss optics in the OP's camera bag and so the "house style" stays consistent (a minor consideration).

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