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Best 28mm legacy lenses


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What are your favorite legacy lens options in 28mm?

 

I've tried two on my A7:

 

Minolta M-Rokkor 28 F2.8 - Tiny, and very sharp, but almost all lenses have 'white dots' which can spread onto the front element and cause glare/haze/splotches when shooting in bright sunlight at small apertures.

 

Voigtlander Ultron 28 F2 - Small and fast, but suffers from corner smearing when focusing far away at wide apertures.

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The 2.8 and 2.0 Nikkors for me.

Only 4mm off-topic ... the 24:2.8

is my current go-to. 

  

Now that I've gone 4mm astray,

I sometimes use an old Maxxum

24:2.8, which I really dig cuz it's

still an AF and it's internal focus,

so I can stick a heavy fisheye on

the front without stressing the

lens's focusing unit. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I owned successively

- Olympus 28mm f:3.5. A nice lens for very little money. Not only does it have better-than-decent sharpness and very good colours, but its small size and low weight are a bonus. But it is slow for a 28mm prime.

- Olympus 28mm f:2.0. A very nice lens. Not exactly blisteringly sharp wide open, but fine at f:2.8. Lovely colours, good detail. Low weight and small size a plus. Price is still quite low indeed.

- Leica Elmarit R 28mm vII. Its reputation makes it one of the very best 28mm primes ever made, if not outright the best. Performance bears this out. Simply awesome. So sharp you can shave with it, colours and detail are incredible. Also very easy to focus, and still manageable size-and-weight-wise. Price is seriously high, though, in inverted relationship to availability, as it isn o longer made.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Of the ones that I've tried (Canon 28mm f/2.8 IS, Nikon Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AI-s, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28mm f/2.8 C/Y, Canon FDn 28mm f/2.8...), my favorite is the SMC Pentax 28mm f/3.5 (original K, non M version.)  It's a slow lens, but I shoot landscapes, so my interest is more stopped down performance (although it does quite well at larger apertures.)  I'd love to have the Leica R 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit V2 lens that Rich and a couple others mention, as well as the new FE 28mm f/2.  But there is something about the Pentax that makes me think I'd keep it no matter what.  It gives such a bang for the buck, it's amazing.

 

Here's a f/11 shot with the a7R.

 

p936006155-5.jpg

 

Full size

 

-Tim

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I am in for the Voigtlander SL II pancake lenses with Nikon Mount (i.e. it has a mechanical aperture ring instead of the electronic one for Canon EF mount), alongside with a Nikon-EF mount adapter. Doesn't make the combo look pancakey any more, bit you don't have the trouble with smearing issue as with the Voigtlanders for Leica M mount. For 28, there's the Voigtlander 28mm F2.8 (which will want you to look out for the other SLII: 20mm F3.5, 40mm F2, 58mm F1.4, 90mm F3.5 ;)  )

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  • 2 weeks later...
 
 

As a Minolta fanboy, I've used and can report on the following:

 

Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 MC

A little soft wide open with low contrast due to longitudinal CAs ("haze"). Sharpness and contrast pick up at f/4, but never reach the performance of the Minolta MD 28 mm. Very strong lateral CAs (red/cyan borders on contrasty edges).

 

Minolta MD 28 mm f/2.8 (MD-III)

Surprisingly sharp and contrasty already wide open without the typical longitudinal CAs common to vintage lenses. Extremely sharp from f/5.6 on with great contrast. Some lateral CAs.

 

Minolta MC W.Rokkor-SI 28 mm f/2.5 (MC-II)

Didn't test this one in detail, because the slight radioactivity pushed me to sell it again. There's thorium oxide in one of the lens elements, which is not dangerous if you don't sit on the lens all day. But the idea didn't feel comfortable, so I sold it.

However, this lens has excellent optics. From what I remember, contrast and sharpness wide open were practically on par with the MD 28 mm f/2.8 (!). Can't say anything about CAs, though. Stopped down, this lens is exceptionally good. The glass had a visible yellow color cast. I'll probably get one again for a short test :)

 
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  • 3 weeks later...

Of the ones that I've tried (Canon 28mm f/2.8 IS, Nikon Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AI-s, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28mm f/2.8 C/Y, Canon FDn 28mm f/2.8...), my favorite is the SMC Pentax 28mm f/3.5 (original K, non M version.)  It's a slow lens, but I shoot landscapes, so my interest is more stopped down performance (although it does quite well at larger apertures.)  I'd love to have the Leica R 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit V2 lens that Rich and a couple others mention, as well as the new FE 28mm f/2.  But there is something about the Pentax that makes me think I'd keep it no matter what.  It gives such a bang for the buck, it's amazing.

 

Here's a f/11 shot with the a7R.

 

p936006155-5.jpg

 

Full size

 

-Tim

 

 

Nice image!  

 

With  f/11, I guess, even an cheap glass performs quiet well!

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  • 1 month later...

Of the various 28's I've used propbblay the Vivitar 28/2 close focus. It's reasonably sharp even wide open, I love the fact I can get close becasue it gives me a great deal of flexibility. It can flare but it's never been a real issue. It's defintely one of my most often used lenses because on APS-C it's a comfortable 42mm EFL.

 

7821060202_f6a323bd82_b.jpg

That Damp Snake by kevin dixey, on Flickr

 

7821069864_ae19050ca6_b.jpg
Two Inch Fangs!
by kevin dixey, on Flickr

 

8129201860_c6d2b7b207_b.jpg

Intent by kevin dixey, on Flickr

 

9735729515_d9d1884d9f_b.jpg

Dissolution by kevin dixey, on Flickr

 

15694880912_3a3aa6a4c4_b.jpg

Urban Libations by kevin dixey, on Flickr

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Canon nFD 28mm 2.8 

 

High contrast

 

          center    corner

f/2.8     B+        B

f/4       A-        B

f/5.6     A-        B

f/8       A         A-

f/11      A-        B+

f/16      B+        B

f/22      B         B

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  • 3 weeks later...

What are your favorite legacy lens options in 28mm?

 

I've tried two on my A7:

 

Minolta M-Rokkor 28 F2.8 - Tiny, and very sharp, but almost all lenses have 'white dots' which can spread onto the front element and cause glare/haze/splotches when shooting in bright sunlight at small apertures.

 

Voigtlander Ultron 28 F2 - Small and fast, but suffers from corner smearing when focusing far away at wide apertures.

Konica UC Hexanon 28mm f/1.8 is the best, the only negative is flare control IMO

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There are many great 28mm lenses out there in legacy systems. My favorite is going to have to go again to Yashicas ML lens. The ML 28/2.8 is a solid workhorse and like all of Yashicas lenses from this period benefited from everything they learned with their collaboration with Ziess. And of course it is made by Tomioka so there is another plus for it. The out of focus rendering of Tomioka lenses are very pleasing to my eye in a way I cant really describe.

 

For me the strength of a lens is not in results from lens tests or corner to corner sharpness or anything like that. If we are honest with ourselves then we can admit there are very few situations where the stats of a lens comes into play in regards to actual photo creation. Oh sure, if you are a professional photographer shoot paid work for a client then yes you want to make sure you have a lens that will return the performance you need to satisfy the job. But for most enthusiast work I think test results and lens grading and all the stats actually get in the way of photography. Too many people spend way too much time talking about lens performance instead of the much more important thing.....photographer performance. We can chat all day about lens specs and lens group arrangements but how much time do we talk about creativity or inspiration? Heres a better question...who was your favorite vintage photographer, and why?

 

Hmmmm, might have to start that topic going. :)

 

Anyway, here are some examples from my Yashica ML 28/2.8 shot on either an A7 or NEX 7 with CY Speedbooster. Speaking of inspiration, you will notice some of my shots are done in a 'no focus' style. I was shooting like this for a while before I discovered the work of Ralph Eugene Meatyard. He also shot in a 'no focus' style but his was much more gritty then mine. I have since used him for inspiration many times.

 

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11900950625_aae39a0436_b.jpg

 

12315209525_0197af9dde_b.jpg

 

11901372204_f4cd793a78_b.jpg

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Somewhat relevant.. I did a comparison of 28mm's a couple of weeks ago. Images from f/2.8 and up for each lens.

 

CY Zeiss 28 2.8 MMJ

Elmarit-R 28 2.8 (v1)

Sony FE 28mm f/2

 

I'm not an optical expert by any means, so I won't make too many claims about better/worse performance. IMO, the Elmarit-R v1 showed slightly better corner performance than the CY Zeiss. Other than the minor color differences, I think the v1 and the Zeiss are about on even footing. I think the Sony lens is great and a quick little AF's lens and it's my primary AF walk-around for wide use. I use the Elmarit-R for my manual 28mm these days, the Zeiss is hanging out on the bookshelf, but honestly I didn't think the differences between the two was that significant. I actually just prefer the more precise MF adjustment and the hood on the Leica.

 

I've only seen images of the Elmarit-R v2, but clearly if anyone is looking for legacy glass in 28mm and money isn't an object, that would be the best option in my opinion.

 

Anyway, images are here, full sizes should be available for all for peeping.

 

https://flic.kr/s/aHskg2vc5R

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  • 4 months later...

post-7614-0-40863200-1449263045_thumb.jpg

 

I have to highly recommend the pentax k28 f3.5.

Wonderfully built and a joy to handle. Excellent sharpness to the corners at f8 and f11.

Wonderful 3d rendering and deep rich colours.

This lens stays on my a7r in preference to the zeiss fe 16-35 and 24-70.

It is a lens that is cheap to buy but difficult to find (and will be more sought after by pentaxians given the anouncmemt of their first FF dslr)

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