best 35mm RF on the A7?
Old 05-06-2014   #1
taemo
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best 35mm RF on the A7?

I have a Nokton 35mm f/1.4 MC right now and for the most part I'm very happy with it but I would like a sharp and distortion free RF 35mm as I find it the ideal focal length for travel.

Here's what I would like:
-small, light, compact
-f/1.4 or f/2
-ideally sharp wide open
-inexpensive (around $1000)
-will work on both A7 and M6

some of the lenses I have in mind
-35mm Summicron IV (150% my budget but I've always wanted one for the M6 and A7)
-ZM Biogon 35mm f/2
-Canon 35mm f/2 LTM

I wouldn't mind going with 40mm Summicron-C either or even Nokton 40mm 1.4 if they are great
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Old 05-06-2014   #2
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For that budget and what you want optically, it seems the Biogon f2 is your only option, but it's not really compact. If not that, you can reconsider what you really need... Two other directions: go compact with the Biogon-C f2.8 or go faster and spend more on a fine 1.4, but everything together, optically speaking, and compact, and for a low price is just impossible...
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Old 05-06-2014   #3
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The voigtlander 35mm F1.4 is cheap, small but not really sharp wide open.

The Zeiss 35mm F2 is relatively cheap, sharp but not really small.

For the price I suppose you could also consider the 35mm Summicron ASPH (which should be around $1600-1800 if you aren't looking for like new copies), which is small, sharp, nicely built and Leica, but not cheap...
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Old 05-06-2014   #4
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thanks for the suggestions, how does the summicron ASPH perform on the A7?
my concern with the Biogon and Summicron is that from what I've read, they don't perform as great as on a RF camera with smearing in the corners but then it might just be the internet over-exaggerating things.
I would love to get a Summicron IV, one of my dream lens for the M6 and A7 but would like to see more examples of it on the A7.
Might stop by the Camera Store one of these days and play with the 35 biogon and summicron.

here's the softness of the CV 35 1.4 at 1.4

DSC01813 by earl.dieta, on Flickr

which I don't really mind since my 1.4 shots are only for small prints.

but a little disheartening seeing the distortions, even at f/8 or f/11

Bora Bora colors by earl.dieta, on Flickr
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Old 05-06-2014   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taemo View Post
thanks for the suggestions, how does the summicron ASPH perform on the A7?
my concern with the Biogon and Summicron is that from what I've read, they don't perform as great as on a RF camera with smearing in the corners but then it might just be the internet over-exaggerating things.
I would love to get a Summicron IV, one of my dream lens for the M6 and A7 but would like to see more examples of it on the A7.
Might stop by the Camera Store one of these days and play with the 35 biogon and summicron.

here's the softness of the CV 35 1.4 at 1.4


which I don't really mind since my 1.4 shots are only for small prints.

but a little disheartening seeing the distortions, even at f/8 or f/11
on Flickr
I haven't noticed any 35mm Cron ASPH performance issues on the A7 - it's the A7r that performs generally horribly with those wides.

The Cron ASPH also has ~1% distortion, but that can be corrected in post. The CV lacks a dedicated profile, but I suppose you can tweak things around a bit and make one. For what it's worth I think that looks like about 1-2% barrel with a bit of moustache towards the edges....
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Old 05-06-2014   #6
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Nearly all RF 35's are flawed at wide apertures, outside central frame, the only true exception being the Leica ASPH FLE.

It's worse with the "R", but the 7 also has these troubles.

At least with the cosina, you can stop down to f/8 and get pretty decent edges.

The other exception of course, is the nokton F1.2

It's the only RF 35 I have personally tried on either seven which is decent on the edges at F/4
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Old 05-06-2014   #7
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Probably a little off topic, but if the viewing angle suits, the CV 40/1.4 is better than the 35/1.4 and really compact.
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Old 05-06-2014   #8
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You may want to consider the color skopar even though it is about 1/2 stop slower than you want.
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Old 05-06-2014   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
You may want to consider the color skopar even though it is about 1/2 stop slower than you want.
interesting, how so?
does it perform nicely on the A7?
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Old 05-06-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taemo View Post
interesting, how so?
does it perform nicely on the A7?
It's just a great lens for the cash ($400) ... and fits all of your requirements other than speed. I haven't tried it on the Sony, but the rear element doesn't extend out too far, so it should be good. Outside of it, you're only upgrade in your price range vs. the Nokton is the Biogon.
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Old 05-10-2014   #11
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The only 35 I am using on anything at the moment is the CV Ultron f1.7. It is very small (39mm filters), and scary sharp. I have detected no distortion or focus shift. I have seen people on RFF complain that it was too sharp and contrasty for their tastes. I decided I could live with such problems.

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Old 05-10-2014   #12
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Why not go with the Sony Sonnar FE 35mm 2.8? It's auto focus, made specifically for the A7/R and the images look superb. Unless you insist on manual focus, you'd be hard pressed to do better.
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Old 05-11-2014   #13
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I was playing with the Jupiter 12 today just to see what it could do and i think for certain subjects could be quite good

wide open @ F2.8
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Old 05-12-2014   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
Why not go with the Sony Sonnar FE 35mm 2.8? It's auto focus, made specifically for the A7/R and the images look superb. Unless you insist on manual focus, you'd be hard pressed to do better.
went to The Camera Store last friday, brought the A7 and played with the 35 2 Biogon, a 35 Lux canada version and FE 35mm.
funny thing, I didn't even know how to turn AF on the A7, I'm sure that the FE35 has amazing IQ but not having an aperture ring and focus scale turns me off it.

i think i'll be sticking with the CV35 1.4 for now but keep an eye open for a 35 cron I or IV
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Old 05-12-2014   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taemo View Post
I have a Nokton 35mm f/1.4 MC right now and for the most part I'm very happy with it but I would like a sharp and distortion free RF 35mm as I find it the ideal focal length for travel.

Here's what I would like:
-small, light, compact
-f/1.4 or f/2
-ideally sharp wide open
-inexpensive (around $1000)
-will work on both A7 and M6

some of the lenses I have in mind
-35mm Summicron IV (150% my budget but I've always wanted one for the M6 and A7)
-ZM Biogon 35mm f/2
-Canon 35mm f/2 LTM

I wouldn't mind going with 40mm Summicron-C either or even Nokton 40mm 1.4 if they are great
I prefer the slightly longer 40mm, and luckily the Summicron-C 40mm f/2 (and its Minolta twins, the M-Rokkor 40mm f/2 versions I and II) work very nicely on the A7 as well as the M4-2, CL, and M9. The Nokton 40mm f/1.4 MC works well on the RF cameras, but not quite as well on the A7—I get a little bit of corner smearing with it.

The one I use the most is the M-Rokkor 40mm f/2 version II. On the CL and on the A7 mostly.

G
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Old 05-18-2014   #16
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a local RFF was selling his 35mm Color-Skopar so I immediately snagged it off him.
Very happy, way better than the Nokton 1.4 although I'll still keep the Nokton for low light situations

at f/2.8
DSC02177 by earl.dieta, on Flickr

cheers!
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Old 05-19-2014   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYV_146 View Post
I haven't noticed any 35mm Cron ASPH performance issues on the A7 - it's the A7r that performs generally horribly with those wides.

The Cron ASPH also has ~1% distortion, but that can be corrected in post. The CV lacks a dedicated profile, but I suppose you can tweak things around a bit and make one. For what it's worth I think that looks like about 1-2% barrel with a bit of moustache towards the edges....
I do not understand how you can say such a thing. With the Sony A7 35 cron asph is really poor at the edges. Much better functioning 35 cron IV. I wonder if the people here to what he personally tried or only what he has heard.
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Old 05-29-2014   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taemo View Post
went to The Camera Store last friday, brought the A7 and played with the 35 2 Biogon, a 35 Lux canada version and FE 35mm.
funny thing, I didn't even know how to turn AF on the A7, I'm sure that the FE35 has amazing IQ but not having an aperture ring and focus scale turns me off it.
The first time I went to Sony shop, after 4 months of using a7, to test the new lenses I fount out that the autofocus chip was faulty on my camera, and I hadn't noticed that for all this time (because I only had manual lenses)...

But don't let the lack of aperture ring fool you. Manual operation with Sony-Zeiss lenses is quite OK. Actually, I find that using the native lens a7 lends itself better to manual photography. Here is a big fan of rangefinders and rangfinder lenses saying that. a7 just does not match very well with rangefinder lenses, IMHO. It plays much nicer with its own lenses.
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Old 06-04-2014   #19
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Godfrey is right (as usual, on everything A7): the 40 Cron is your best bet. I checked lots of options ,incl. 35 Cron v 3 & 4 & FLE, and almost everything else in the 35mm range will have compromised corners at large apertures, except for the humungous Nokton f1.2.

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Old 06-05-2014   #20
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keep what you have for low light and add to it c-bio 35/2,8 zeiss. you have mentioned two cameras anyway.
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Old 06-05-2014   #21
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Has anyone tried the W-Nikkor 3.5cm/1.8 on the A7? I have looked around but no examples to be had. There's a a nice s-mount adapter available from the Head Bartender.... I would be over the moon to use my Nikon RF lenses on a FF digital body...
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Old 08-04-2014   #22
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Taemo, that's quite a list of requirements you've got compiled there!

Generally speaking, performance, small size, and cheapness are NOT things that go hand-in-hand, especially not in the realm of RF lenses.

Personally, I've quite enjoyed the results I get from my 35mm f/1.4 Nokton MC. It vignettes like crazy and isn't the sharpest thing out there but it's got a nice signature and a unique "look". And I actually prefer it's output to (gasp!) the Summilux Pre-ASPH.

Other RF lenses that may meet your "cheap, fast, small(ish), good" requirements:

- VC Color Skopar (mentioned by someone before me)
- Canon 35mm f/2 LTM
- Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2
- VC 35mm f/1.2 Nokton (version I or II, I personally can't really tell the difference between the two, can be found used for under $1k)
- Leica R-Mount lenses; 35mm Summicron or Summilux?

I am omitting suggestions like modern ASPH Leica anything, as those do not come close to meeting your sub-1k price tag.

If you were willing to ditch the "small" requirement, I've heard good things about the Samyang/Rokinon 35mm f/1.4, however it's SLR-sized. On the other hand it's a more "modern" design so if you aren't happy with the more "classic" performance of your Nokton I'm guessing you are looking for a more modern lens? The affordable vintage RF glass (like the Canon 35mm LTM) will be more prone to vignetting, CA, flare, and will generally produce lower contrast and less saturation in output; not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe not what you would want if the Nokton 1.4 is already not to your liking?

Personally, I've been extremely pleased with how the Nokton 35mm f/1.2 has been working with my A7R. It's a beast!

Here's a moonlit nightscape at f/2.8:



Wide open at night, illuminated only by a movie screen's glow:



Portraiture (F/2ish if I recall)



Group portrait at f/5.6:



Sure, the Nokton's a little heavy and big for an RF lens...but the A7/r/s isn't exactly tiny or light to begin with. I find the Nokton balances nicely on my A7R, and compared to comparable DSLR camera/lens combos (which don't even have f/1.2 lenses available!), the Nokton 1.2 + A7 is still relatively compact.
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Old 08-07-2014   #23
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Ive just picked up a VC 35F2.5 color skopar, not had much chance to use it yet but it seem very nice





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Old 08-07-2014   #24
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The CV 35/2.5 is OK in central frame and gets better as you focus closer, but for infinity landscapes I found the lens unusable on either A7 or R, because of the edges.

the 1.4 is much better, I found.
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Old 08-07-2014   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
The CV 35/2.5 is OK in central frame and gets better as you focus closer, but for infinity landscapes I found the lens unusable on either A7 or R, because of the edges.

the 1.4 is much better, I found.
It will be perfect for me then, don't shoot landscapes
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Old 08-07-2014   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taemo View Post
I have a Nokton 35mm f/1.4 MC right now and for the most part I'm very happy with it but I would like a sharp and distortion free RF 35mm as I find it the ideal focal length for travel.

Here's what I would like:
-small, light, compact
-f/1.4 or f/2
-ideally sharp wide open
-inexpensive (around $1000)
-will work on both A7 and M6

some of the lenses I have in mind
-35mm Summicron IV (150% my budget but I've always wanted one for the M6 and A7)
-ZM Biogon 35mm f/2
-Canon 35mm f/2 LTM

I wouldn't mind going with 40mm Summicron-C either or even Nokton 40mm 1.4 if they are great
Where´s the problem with SONYs 35/2.8 Sonnar?
https://www.flickr.com/groups/sel35f28z/
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Old 08-07-2014   #27
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As much as we want to venerate magnificent film-based lenses, they simply don't shine in the digital domain. The flatness of the sensor and it's desire for perpendicular light rays demands 'tele-centric' designs. Based on the NEX6, my best results have been with Sigma 2.8/19, 30, & 60mm (28, 45, & 90) lenses (affordable). The CV 25/4 Snapshot-Skopar works well, albeit slow. Wide angle RF/LTM lenses, while having the simplest adapter interface, are especially problematic. I have gotten best results with the Fotodiox Pro adapter (a block of aluminum). The adjustable set screw adapters compromise parallelism. We're talking about miniscule dimensions (for example, the thickness of film is up to 30 microns, while the 'thickness' of the sensor is zero microns). Such a harsh lens/sensor interface leaves little leeway for lens 'signatures'.
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Old 08-07-2014   #28
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As much as we want to venerate magnificent film-based lenses, they simply don't shine in the digital domain. The flatness of the sensor and it's desire for perpendicular light rays demands 'tele-centric' designs.
True. but it's not just the sensor. The cover glass imposes a major limitation on the performance of many RF lenses on digital sensors.

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014...adapted-lenses

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014...does-it-matter

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014...ii-the-summary

Note that these measurements explain why the Leica 28/2.8 ASPH is a terrible performer on the A7 line, while the CV 40 acquits itself pretty well, and the Lux ASPH and CV 35/1.2 fall somewhere in-between…
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Old 08-07-2014   #29
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Or....., you could buy a camera that the lenses you're interested in using were designed for.

Then you could actually use a fast wide angle "Wide" open without worry. Rather than having to "Stop" down to make it work.
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Old 08-07-2014   #30
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Or not.

Used EOL'd bodies that start at $3000 aren't for everyone.

But you already knew that before you posted, I assume.
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Old 08-07-2014   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taemo View Post
thanks for the suggestions, how does the summicron ASPH perform on the A7?
my concern with the Biogon and Summicron is that from what I've read, they don't perform as great as on a RF camera with smearing in the corners but then it might just be the internet over-exaggerating things.
I would love to get a Summicron IV, one of my dream lens for the M6 and A7 but would like to see more examples of it on the A7.
Might stop by the Camera Store one of these days and play with the 35 biogon and summicron.

here's the softness of the CV 35 1.4 at 1.4

DSC01813 by earl.dieta, on Flickr

which I don't really mind since my 1.4 shots are only for small prints.

but a little disheartening seeing the distortions, even at f/8 or f/11

Bora Bora colors by earl.dieta, on Flickr

Super sharpness is highly overrated in my opinion. These images you've posted are beautiful. Save yourself some $$ and stick with the Voigtlanders. I always thought the 35/1.4 Nokton and the 35/2.5 Color Skopar were truly excellent lenses for making beautiful images.
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Old 08-10-2014   #32
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Anyone shot the 35mm Summarit-M on any of the A7 series bodies?
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