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Sharpest 85mm legacy lens


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I'm not sure what the sharpest 85mm is for around $200, but I picked up Nikon Nikkor 85mm 1.8D (w/ aperture ring) for $125 on ebay not to long ago. Its pretty sharp across the frame wide open. To me, its distortion free @ 1.8. By f2.8 to f8 its amazingly sharp. Bokeh is good for the price, maybe not as smooth as i wished but for 125 its great! Lastly, I recommend finding one with the metal hood. I recommended it to prevent flare and ghosting. I'll try to upload some samples later.

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Carl Zeiss 85mm 2.8 lenses are going for 3 to 4 hundred for a clean lens. Saw one on eBay today for just under 200 with haze, fungus, and dust (of course light dust would be expected). Also, 2.8 is not f2 or better. Would you expand on why you have found this lens comparable to a Nikon or Canon 85/1.8 especially as a portrait lens and maybe shoot us a photo. I am also considering a portrait lens for my A7ii, and I like old legacy glass. Thanks.




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Sorry, I was a bit hasty and went by the title only.


The beautiful Minolta 85mm f 1.7 used to be under 200. But I'm afraid with the success of Sony's A7 line all this is going to change and I'll have to up my insurance – I got a complete line of Minolta and Zeiss C/Y glass when there was only MFT to adapt it to. When I checked some prices recently, I found out that this was one of the best investments in my life…

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Having tried several legacy 85mm's with high quality (Novovflex) adapters, my recommendations in order of preference are:


1. Save up or sell something else and get the Batis 85mm f/1.8. Simply fantastic lens and not much bigger than anything else when you figure in adapter and certainly not heavier. Only issue is price and availability.

2. Spend a little more than you were planning for the Zeiss C/Y 85mm 2.8. Great Zeiss pop and colors.

3. Minolta 85mm f/2. Perhaps as good all around as the Zeiss C/Y 2.8 and obviously a stop faster.


Happy hunting.

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Can you please loose a few words about Minolta 85mm/2.0 vs. Zeiss C/Y 85mm/2.8?

I have the Minolta and am thinking about the Zeiss. Just bought a few C/Y and absolutely love them (50/1.7, 135/2.8, 200/3,5). I bet the Zeiss is not realy lighter or smaler as the Minolta with adapter?


I already have the Sony 90/F2.8 Macro which is a great lens and it's my most used lens - so I'm not really in the NEED of one more 85mm ... ;-)

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I like the Sigma 90/2.8 so well that I had it in 3 mounts.


Now I only have the A-mount, cuz the other two were

EOS and N/AF. The EOS lens shuts down any Canon

digital body cuz it's EOS film era and it's Sigma. OTOH

I shoulda kept the N/AF for use on adapters. But when

all I had was a Nikon DSLR the Sigma would that I had

from the film era would shut down the Nikon DSLR. I

was not yet involved with Sony and adapters :-(


Anywho, Minolta/Konica/Sony has maintained enuf

data compatibility that my Maxxum era 90/2.8 lives on

and works 100% on a Sony LAE converter. Very fine

lens in my estimation. Estimation is the word. The pix

look great but I never test it nor search out "Lab Tests".


Sooooo .... if you find one in Nikon mount, you have a

normal aperture control and can readily adapterize it.

Just don't put it on a Nikon DSLR ! BTW it focuses to

half lifesize, has a range limiter switch for the AF, and

it uses 52mm filters :-) But the lens is kinda rare :-(

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Jupiter 9 85mm f2, lots for sale at under $200. Zeiss Sonnar design. Sharp once stopped down a stop or 2, but people actually prefer to shoot with it at f2 as it gives a soft appearance for portraiture. Bokeh is really creamy.


http://stevenoakley.com/template_permalink.asp?id=615 - video centric review



It's a very different lens to the Batis, has quite a unique rendering. I reckon that you'd probably still use this occasionally even when you get the Batis.

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My favourite Lens on the A7 is the Contax G Carl Zeiss T* 90 mm f2,8. I also have a Nikon 105 mm f2,5 and a Walimex (=Rokinon) 85 mm f1,4. But the small Contax Zeiss lens is by far the best of them. It is sharp to the edges even wide open and best. In quality it catches up to Lenses made for digital but gives the best colors and the best film-charakter of the three. And it looks very nice on the Sony FF.

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Sorry, just caught your post now . . .


Both the Minolta 85 2. 0 and the Zeiss C/Y are good, sharp lenses.  While this domain can be subjective, to me the Zeiss' colors are brighter and more saturated and images from the the lens tend to have the classic Zeiss "pop" to them, and while the Minolta has good contrast to my eyes the lens renders a little harsher than the Zeiss.  But, again, differences are not huge and I would be happy shooting either lens.  The Zeiss is definitely a little bit lighter and a little bit smaller.  

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BTW, the Contax 85/2.8 and the Contax G 90/2.8 are basically the same lens, just with a different mount, even if you would be forgiven to think differently given the slight difference in focal length.


Contax just repurposed the same optical scheme used for the G series of cameras in a lens made for their SLR, altering a bit the spacing through the elements.


MTF charts, directly from Zeiss


Sonnar T* 2,8/85


Sonnar T* 2.8/90


The 85/2.8 is just a tiny bit better at the extreme corners, like you would expect from a lens made for an SLR so with a bigger flange focal distance (easier to correct flaws).


And now with the Techart adapters you are able to use both in AF if you have an A7 II or newer camera!

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Are there any user reviews of the Techart yet? Or is it still too early.

Ps +1 on the CY 85 2.8, small and packs a punch well above its weight!



As far as I can tell, still none. I'm really looking forward to see if it performs well enough on the original A7r, despite the manufacturer claims that it should work only on the newer, PDAF enabled, models...

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I just received mine for Contax G and at first view it doesn't work well with the A7R. It hunts even under good light, and it doesn't even nail the focus. There is an adjustment for that, which I have not yet tried. Manual focusing works very well, though.


That 90mm is a very impressive lens, I'll soon test it against the 85mm C/Y.


Or are you talking about the universal model by Techart for MF lenses?

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