Recommendations for Legacy Glass on the Sony A7R / A7 - lenses with character

Discussion in 'Sony' started by deepsky, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. deepsky

    deepsky New Member

    May 13, 2013
    Legacy Glass for the Sony A7 / A7R

    I don't know about you, but ... I LOVE lenses with "character"! The images that
    really inspire me are not the cold, clinical, "perfect ones", but ones that exhibit
    warmth or that show a little "imperfection". I suppose that's why even though
    I shoot digital, I still have such a respect for those who shoot film.

    With a Sony A7R on order, I've been thinking a lot about what kind of
    "glass paint brushes" (aka "lenses") it'd be fun to shoot with! How
    about you? What kinds of glass are YOU looking forward to shooting
    with on your A7 or A7R? What's your favorite piece of legacy glass
    (or just your favorite lens) that you're anxious to try on a full-frame Sony?

    Some of the glass I'm looking forward to shooting with:

    1) Jupiter 3 50mm f/1.5 - this Russian lens was made between the 1940's to 1980's,
    and was a pre-war clone of the Carl Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 ... the colors,
    the bokeh s is amazing, and it's got some very nice "pop" to it also.

    2) Leica 50 Summitar - ahhh, the swirly bokeh of this lens (I LOVE IT, but
    not everyone does... to each his own, right? ). One thing's for sure, this
    lens has tons of character! And ... you can find them real cheap on eBay.
    I think of it as my "Van Gogh" lens. ;) The Summitar was designed back in the late
    1930's. Mine is circa 1948 (pre-1950 models had 10-bladed diaphragms
    that were later replaced by 6-bladed ones. I like the 10-bladed version
    for bokeh). They began coating the optics after WWII. I've only used this on a
    Leica M9, and can't wait to try it on the Sony A7r.

    3) 35mm 1.2 Voigtlander Nokton Lens for Leica Mount f1.2 - this lens
    I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with, especially at night! So fast ... and so sharp!

    4) Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Nokton Aspherical - love the 1950's influence
    of this lens, and the way it draws.

    5) Leica 35mm Summilux ASPH Lens f/1.4 - this one's definitely
    got that etherial "Leica Pop", and that, along with the way it renders
    and it's smooth bokeh has got me really looking forward to shooting
    with it on the A7r.

    Wish List:

    a) The Voigtlander 21 1.8

    b) Konica Hexanon 60mm F/1.2 - HA! (No, I don't own one of these
    but a guy can dream, right?).

    c) Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M (someday maybe).

    So... what about YOU?

    Do you have some cool "Zeiss" glass or maybe some
    classic Canon or Nikon, or ??? lenses that you're anxious to try?

    What you are looking forward to trying on your
    awesome new Sony camera? Oh, and if you're an NEX shooter,
    what's are your favorite lenses?
  2. serhan

    serhan All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    Welcome to SC. You have some nice glass there. It looks like well covered for 35mm/50mm. I like the character from Sonnars. Some of those swirley bokeh lenses are fun, though I don't have any swirley lenses. Initially I will try contax zeiss g 35, 45, 90mm as a small package w/ af adapter as well as other rf/slr lenses incl some CV, CZJ, OM, and contax zeiss glass.
  3. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Welcome to the forum!! I also like the Nokton 50/1.5. Very underrated lens. Arguably, it's every bit as good as the 50 Lux-ASPH.
  4. deepsky

    deepsky New Member

    May 13, 2013
    Thanks for the welcome, everyone! Good to be here. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  5. bobbywise

    bobbywise Regular

    Jun 2, 2012
    Nantes, France
    Robert Wisbey
    Hey deepsky,

    Welcome to SC. I have a bunch of old Minolta and Olympus lenses that I plan on trying out soon.
    However, I like the Leica 40mm F2 Summicron-C a lot because:
    - it's cheap
    - small
    - fairly nice quality images with color and pop
    - FOV between the 35mm and 50mm which is "multi-purpose" in terms of backing up to get 35mm and moving in to get 50mm

    The only disadvantage compared to the Olympus 40mm is that the minimum focal distance isn't as close.

    Here's a few image with the 40mm summicron-c and A7

    <a href="" title="DSC00383 by Robert Wisbey, on Flickr"> 11158719925_9bffaa1c03_z.jpg "640" height="427" alt="DSC00383"></a>

    <a href="" title="DSC00388 by Robert Wisbey, on Flickr"> 11158803983_176a7173f7_z.jpg "640" height="427" alt="DSC00388"></a>

    <a href="" title="DSC00393 by Robert Wisbey, on Flickr"> 11157845555_7368320b1d_z.jpg "640" height="427" alt="DSC00393"></a>

    <a href="" title="DSC00396 by Robert Wisbey, on Flickr"> 11158704353_fa9aa13afa_z.jpg "640" height="427" alt="DSC00396"></a>

    <a href="" title="DSC00400 by Robert Wisbey, on Flickr"> 11158364896_a4af008665_z.jpg "640" height="427" alt="DSC00400"></a>
    • Like Like x 2
  6. deepsky

    deepsky New Member

    May 13, 2013
  7. deepsky

    deepsky New Member

    May 13, 2013
    Hey BobbyWise,

    Thanks! I don't own any Olympus lenses but would love to
    try some. I sure have read great things about their OM-D
    camera ... very cool.

    Thanks for posting the pics!
  8. michaeldubrow

    michaeldubrow New Member

    Nov 4, 2014
    I use mainly Nikon AI and AI-S vintage glass on my

    I've been shooting both stills and video for a year on a Sony NEX-6 and on their amazing camcorder, the NEX EA-50. Just got the A7 and it is beyond amazing. Spectacular stills and amazing video. One item that gets little attention is the quality of the audio pre-amp, which blows away other DSLR/mirrorless cameras.

    Speaking of vintage glass for the A7 and it's variants, I shoot Nikon lenses almost exclusively on all three of these Sony cameras. The Sony kit zoom lenses are mediocre when you A/B them against any of the old Nikon lenses. My Nikon lens collection, which I started gathering in 1972 when I bought my first Nikkormat, has grown to the following: 20mm f/3.5; 24mm f/2.8; 28mm f/2.8; 35mm f/1.8; 50mm f/1.4; 50mm f/1.8 "long nose"; 50mm f/1.8 "pancake"; 85mm f/2.0; 100mm f/2.5; 200mm f/4.0. These are all AI or AI-S variants, except for the 50mm f/1.4, which is pre-AI.

    My favorite lenses from this group are the 20mm, 24mm, 35mm (which I prefer to any of the 50mm lenses as it is a more flexible "normal" focal length) and the 85mm. The 85 is as fine a portrait lens as I have ever used.; amazing sharpness and creamy bokeh. All are astonishing, especially for the money. Fotasy makes perfect Nikon-NEX adapters for around $15, and these lenses in great condition today cost around $150-$200 each. So you can get 4 lenses and adapters for the price of one new Sony Alpha lens.

    The focus peaking and focus assist are so good on the A7 that you won't miss auto focus when you use all this gorgeous vintage glass. Full manual mode on the A7 is like stepping back in time, but with the best in modern technology. Good luck!
  9. grillec

    grillec Veteran

    Jan 16, 2014
    If I want "clean" photographs my prefered lenses at the moment are from Contax/Yashica (Distagon 28mm, Planar 85mm and a Yashica ML 28-85mm zoom). If I want pictures with a touch vintage than I'm very pleased with the old Nikon, Minolta MC, Konica AR or Takumar M42.
    Here a few examples: Nikon 105mm/2.5 (Sonnor, Gauss), Nikon Q Auto 135mm/2.8, Minolta Rokkor-PG 50mm 1.4, Rokkor-PF 58mm/1.4 MKII, Konica AR 57mm/1.4, Takumar 50mm/1.4 ...
    For special jobs/bokeh: Nikon 50mm/1.2, Sony AF 135mm/2.8 STF, Tamron SP 90mm/2.8 Adaptall (late version), Flektogon 35mm/2.4, Helios 44-2 or Biotar 58/2
  10. christilou

    christilou Legend

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    I have the Contax G90 and 45 which suit the 7R very well but for character I still have the SMC Pentax 55 1.8 which is by no means perfect but really glows in the right light. Other than that I use a Leica 50mm Summilux, 90mm Elmarit, Voigtlander 35mm 1.2 II , Zeiss 50mm 1.5 Sonnar and 25m 2.8 Biogon. Lots of fun to be had :)
  11. conyon

    conyon Rookie

    Sep 3, 2013
    Can I ask of those using the contax g lenses which adapters they are using? I tried the metabones but found it very awkward to use. I even had some difficulty in keeping the lens secure in the adapter. Any experiences you can share would be helpful. Thanks.
  12. serhan

    serhan All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    I use af adapter from deo-tech, much better then manual focus ones from my experience:

    MF is motorized also when you turn the ring but again it is not full mf control so it goes back to af when you let go the ring.

  13. New Member

    Dec 5, 2015
    Hello! I only got an a6000 as I couldn't justify another massive purchase but I am happy with it so far. I would love to see how my Mamiya 645 lenses look on this camera or an a7.
  14. I have a couple vintage lenses for my A7 which are:

    Zenitar-M 50mm f1.7 Russian lens. Not seen many of these about. Rare and very good!
    Konika-Hexanon 40mm f1.8
    Helios 44/2 58mm f2
    Sigma 105mm f2.8 Macro

    Looking to get a few more in the future.

    Pic from the Zenitar-M
    20415500522_7d24a10654_b.jpg Emily by Andrew West, on Flickr
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
    • Like Like x 3
  15. akulya

    akulya Veteran

    Mar 1, 2011
    I've been mulling over swapping out my M8 for and A7II for a while (but haven't yet been convinced either way)
    A factor is the ZM 25 Biogon which I absolutely love on the M8 - I seem to remember you used an M for a while, how does it compare putting it on a Sony?
  16. christilou

    christilou Legend

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    I found lots of pink vignetting on the A7R but I now have the A7RII which fares quite a bit better.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. New Member

    Dec 5, 2015
    By the way, I would recommend getting a go with a Canon 50mm f0.95 it you get the chance. It is a sharp lens but at fully open it has razor thin dof so is very difficult to nail with moving objects (case in point being my son in the pic linked below. The bokeh is great with a bit of character and for an old lens there is very little color fringing or onion rings in the lights that I could see. The price is prohibitive but once you have one, it is difficult to imagine parting with easily.
    Looking up