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Zeiss lenses VERY impressive, even compared to my Summicron!
Old 04-03-2014   #1
eleskin
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Zeiss lenses VERY impressive, even compared to my Summicron!

I had a chance to really test out the 55mm Zeiss 1.8 on my A7r and let me tell you it blows away anything I have tested on the camera so far. I even compared to to my current version 50mm Summicron and the Zeiss was sharper! The lens is very solid in feel being metal construction. My testes with wider lenses for M mount confirm that many of the m do not do so well. The 35mm v4 Summicron smudges at the edges, and forget the older 28mm Elmarits and b the 15mm Super Wide Heliar. The 35mm f1.2 Nokton V1 does better than the 35 Summicron and the 40mm Nokton is just as good and in some ways better. My Noctilux f1.0 is superb on the A7r. So looking at this, it seems best to stick with the Zeiss lenses and use the Noctilux and Nokton for certain shots that do not warrant a clinically sharp look. I can say right now that some of these Zeiss lenses are better than some of Leicas best offerings at a substantially lower price. It leaves me little choice but to invest in the Zeiss lenses. I am curious about the Maxxum SLR lenses on the Sony autofocus adapter. Anyone here use that combo and how are the results as compared to the Zeiss lenses designed for the A7/A7r?
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Old 04-03-2014   #2
Mark C
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What mount is the Zeiss 55mm? I don't have the Sony, but have been hanging onto my C/Y Zeiss lenses partly with the idea they should be very nice on the A7. The 35/2.8 Distagon is a particularly nice lens.

The problem with Maxxum lenses is that they mostly produced zooms for that system. They were good for the time, but hard to get excited about today. There are some good prime lenses, but the great ones are somewhat uncommon and so not cheap. They will have the advantage of excif data, and autofocus if you are interested in that. The 24/2.8 seems very good to me on APS-C and will have the advantage of longer back focus compared to Leica lenses.
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Old 04-03-2014   #3
Samouraļ
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Many of the Maxxum/Dynax primes are highly praised and colour-matched to boot. Many designs are still being sold as Sony A-mount lenses. The 85/1.4, 35/1.4, multiple 100 and 135/2.8s are all amazing lenses. Much of the rest of the AF line are well-regarded, too. I don't have any to test, but I have been greatly interested in investing in the Minolta AF primes instead of the Zeiss FE primes. Problem is that they are still selling for amazing sums.

As for performance, retrofocus and other SLR-style lenses have pretty universally great performance on the A7 cameras. I've tested multiple Canon and Leica-R lenses on the system with no issues. Further, I'm getting decent results from my 50 and 90 Leica-M lenses. It's those RF-style wides that are really having the performance issues.
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Old 04-03-2014   #4
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There are some very excellent Sony/Minolta lenses. You can check if Sony actually redesigned a lens or simply rebadged existing Minolta design. In the latter case getting the minolta variant is probably cheaper...



This is with the A7 and a Sony 135mm Smooth Transitional Focus. IMO if you want a long portrait lens for outdoor or studio work, and don't mind manual operations, this lens is it's own league. The bokeh speaks for itself, and MTF curves are sky-high - I won't doubt that it can handily outresolve the A7r wide open.
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Old 04-03-2014   #5
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Dude you have made tons of thread compliment lenses with A7r without a photo
come on, photos talk
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Old 04-03-2014   #6
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Yes, Zeiss lenses are sharp. I actually like them more for the micro contrast. However, I just wonder, how big do you print? I think that at normal print sizes, the lens character (imperfections) are actually more interesting than sharpness.

Summicron 35

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Old 04-03-2014   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eleskin View Post
It leaves me little choice but to invest in the Zeiss lenses.
How may Zeiss FE lenses are there currently? Three?
The 35/2.8 and 24-70/4 are getting significantly less press than the 55. (Photozone isnt overly positive about both... "The corners are generally soft at 24mm and it's not all that hot at 70mm @ f/4 either" ...)
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Old 04-03-2014   #8
GaryLH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYV_146 View Post
There are some very excellent Sony/Minolta lenses. You can check if Sony actually redesigned a lens or simply rebadged existing Minolta design. In the latter case getting the minolta variant is probably cheaper...
Out if curiosity how do u check for this? I don't own any of the Minolta af lenses just the old manual focus.

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Old 04-03-2014   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryLH View Post
Out if curiosity how do u check for this? I don't own any of the Minolta af lenses just the old manual focus.

Gary
Many of the Sony A mount lenses are rebadged, not the newer lenses. You can tell by simply how they look. The 35 1.4, 135 2.8, older 50mm 1.4, for examples, have almost an identical barrel to the older Minolta version. They were simply carried over because the mount is the same. The Zeiss lenses are all new designs I believe, and all of the E mount stuff is new.
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Old 04-03-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryLH View Post
Out if curiosity how do u check for this? I don't own any of the Minolta af lenses just the old manual focus.

Gary
Some lenses are obviously rebadges. The Sony 135mm STF is identical to the Minolta one, except the color of the focus and aperture rings and the company name printed on the barrel.

Most of the SAL lenses also have a corresponding Minolta variant. If you can find a Minolta lens that has the same aperture range and focal length as a Sony lens, chances are they are identical. Some "Sony Zeiss" lenses may also simply be Minolta designs with coating tweaks, but this is just a theory I have with the Zeiss 85mm F1.4 being optically almost identical to the Minolta 85mm...
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Old 04-03-2014   #11
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Thanks NicoM and YYV_146

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Old 04-05-2014   #12
Samouraļ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYV_146 View Post
Some lenses are obviously rebadges. The Sony 135mm STF is identical to the Minolta one, except the color of the focus and aperture rings and the company name printed on the barrel.

Most of the SAL lenses also have a corresponding Minolta variant. If you can find a Minolta lens that has the same aperture range and focal length as a Sony lens, chances are they are identical. Some "Sony Zeiss" lenses may also simply be Minolta designs with coating tweaks, but this is just a theory I have with the Zeiss 85mm F1.4 being optically almost identical to the Minolta 85mm...
I've been trying to source a 135 STF Minolta, but I missed the boat on a good KEH buy. Nice to know that the Sony 135 STF has the same coatings, as I know those Minolta coatings were something special.
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Old 04-05-2014   #13
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Originally Posted by Bille View Post
How may Zeiss FE lenses are there currently? Three?
The 35/2.8 and 24-70/4 are getting significantly less press than the 55. (Photozone isnt overly positive about both... "The corners are generally soft at 24mm and it's not all that hot at 70mm @ f/4 either" ...)
also.. FE 70-200 mm f/4.0 positive review @DXO.
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