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35mm f2 (or f2.8) legacy lens recomendation

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Hi,

I got A7 for some time and very happy with it so far. Have couple of legacy primes, but still don’t have 35mm lens.  Actually, I tried Minolta MC 35/2.8 but didn’t like it too much (maybe it was bad copy ?!). Couldn’t find to many 35mm lens comparisons on the web (despite so many 50’s).

Would like to hear from you what are your impressions of adapted 35mm legacy primes used on A7 camera so far. I am mostly interested to use it for indoor (so f2 or f2.8) and street photography.

Appreciate all opinions and input.

Thank you.

P.S. – the reason for this post - I noticed that prices of old primes doubled in last 2 years, and don’t have to much funds/time to experiment myself.

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Ai Nikkor 35/2.0  

   

I have feeling it's not just the optical and mechanical 

qualities that results in some of my fave images, but 

it's also just the way the 35/2.0 affects what I do, or 

what I see and do. Acoarst, this could also be due to 

the exact reverse: when my mind is set on catching 

the stuff I dig, maybe that makes me leave the house 

with my 35/2.0 [and no other lenses]. It's like it's my  

version of a 24-70/2.0 zoom, the general purpose do 

it all and do it right lens ... plus you'll never see a 24- 

70/2.0 as small as my 35/2.0.    

   

I have a 35/2.0 Maxxum that offers the convenience 

of auto iris on the a7, but I still prefer the toadally non 

coupled Ai Nikkor. Not for any objectively measurable 

qualities. It's like it's my wife ... or something like that. 

I've used 35/2.0 lenses for maaanny different brands 

of cameras. I'm just very partial to that spec. I own 3 

right now [EOS, Nikkor, Maxxum] cuz they own me as 

much as I own them. But the Nikkor gets all the action. 

   

You went looking for 35mm lens comparisons online ? 

Beats me how my 'wife' compares, but she can COOK ! 

If you want a legacy lens, you don't want comparisons. 

You want love stories :-) 

   

YMMV. 

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I second Username on this. But I'm not married       :D      so I'll give you some alternative.

 

 

35/2 Canon IS

Not exactly a legacy lens, but with a Commlite (cheap) or a Metabones (expensive) adapter you will get not just (sloooow) AF but pretty darn effective image stabilization.

 

Check the review (on a Canon) and one of the latest comments for how it performs on a Sony:

 

http://thephotofundamentalist.com/uncategorized/canon-ef-35mm-f2-is-review/

 

 

"In short, it performs at least as well as the native 35mm f2.8 Sonnar and in some areas noticeably better."

 

 

35/2 Nikkor-O

The 35/2 Nikkor is a great lens, one of my all time favs. And the pre-Ai version (nothing changes for a Sony user, the difference means something only to Nikon users) the lens has the same optical scheme but it is even cheaper. The 35/2 Nikkor-O (this is the pre-Ai name) can be had for 50€...

 

35/1.4 Nikkor

Pre-Ai, possibly, because it has a 9 blades aperture (only the very first batch) and a super-comfy scalloped focusing ring. A bit more on the expensive side, and not that useful at f/1.4, but plenty sharp stopped down just a bit.

 

35/1.8 Minolta MC

One of the best 35mm I've ever used, of any brand. Bokeh is wonderful with most backgrounds, even fairly busy ones, and the lens is super sharp, regardless of its age.

 

35/2 Minolta AF

I haven't used one of these, but I've read only good things about it. And with an LA-EA4 adapter you will get (fast) AF.

 

 

If you can live with a few mm less (the difference between 35mm and 40mm is minuscule) you've got a couple of interesting alternatives more.

 

40/2 Minolta M-Rokkor / Leica Summicron-C

These two are the same lens, even though according to most people the Minolta should have multicoating (if the serial is written not on the front, but on the lens body; otherwise it is single coated) while the Leica should be single coated. The Leica, or at least the copy I had, is also much stiffer to focus. Quite sharp, and extremely tiny lenses. Buy an adapter with an helicoid to be able to focus close enough (I'd go for a Fotodiox Stretch, avoid the cheap Chinese knock-offs because most of them are either wobbly or full of grease).

 

40/1.8 Konica AR

A pancake lens. Not super sharp at f/1.8, but seriously sharp from f/2.8 (in fact, sharper than the Minolta M-Rokkor). Resistance to reflections not that great if not downright poor; use a hood. Can be had for peanuts (30 / 50€).

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Adding to what Light Addict mentions about 40mm 

lenses  .... and also he mentions adapters for Canon

and other mounts. A Canon EF adapter will get you 

access to the EF 40/2.8 pancake, which is a reeeally 

great little lens on every count:  

 

Wide open ... sharp, minimal shading. 

Flare resistance ... amazing. No hood needed, ever. 

Distortion ... none visible. 

Bokeh ... I don't know. I was never indoctrinated to 

look at bokeh, so I never see it. Ask someone else. 

   

------------------------------------------------------  

       

I've never adapted my Sonys to EF. I have a pair of 

EF bodies, and the STM focus of the 40 and 24mm 

pancakes is krazy kwik, much faster than other EF 

lenses. So I don't know how much an adapter will 

slow down the AF of Canon lenses, but their STM 

driven lenses should still be the best of the lot.   

     

=====================================    

     

Acoarst it's not a pancake on a Sony cuz you have 

the added depth of the adapter. And some users 

don't like focus-by-wire. If you reeeeaaally dig the 

legacy lens "experience", f-b-w sure ain't it. But I've 

found these little lenses do have really good f-b-w. 

It's two-speed. If you twist at moderate speed it's a 

fine focus action, twist faster and it's a rapid coarse 

focus for large quick focus shifts. I don't know if the 

two speed thing depends on the processor in Canon 

bodies or is entirely within the FW of the lens. IOW I 

don't know if an adapter maintains the two speeds. 

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A lot of useful recommendations in the thread. If you're looking for anything f/2 or faster, the Canon should be a reasonable choice. Haven't used it myself, though.

 

What I can comment on are the Minoltas: Your MC 35 mm f/2.8 is one of the weaker Minoltas in my opinion, so I guess you didn't get a bad copy - it's just not an excellent lens. The MC 35 mm f/1.8 recommended by addicted2light offers surprisingly high resolution, but it is a bit hazy wide open with lower contrast. The (later) MD 35 mm f/1.8 offers higher contrast and less CA than the MC, but the corners are a bit weaker. I've used both lenses: The MC is rather heavy for a 35, but offers superior mechanics and sharpness while the MD is much lighter and surprisingly compact.

The MD 35 mm f/2.8 was built in multiple versions. The one I tested on my NEX-5T ('MD-II', link see below) was not bad to begin with, but doesn't show the highest crispness wide open. The one tested on artaphot.ch (see below) is the last iteration, usually named 'MD-III' or 'plain MD' and outperforms even the Sony/Zeiss FE 35 mm f/2.8 (!). So, if speed isn't your primary concern and because you already have the adapter, the MD-III 35 mm f/2.8 is the lens I would recommend. You can recognize any MD-III lens by the orange and white lettering on the focus distance scale as opposed to green and white on older Minolta lenses (MD-I, MD-II, MC...).

 

 

MC 35 1.8 & MD 35 2.8 on the original A7:

http://artaphot.ch/minolta-sr/objektiv-vergleiche/340-sony-a7-and-zm-2-8-35mm-mc-1-8-35mm-md-2-8-35mm-md-3-5-35-70mm

 

MD 35 2.8 vs. Sony/Zeiss 35 2.8 on A7RII (in german, but the images speak for themselves):

http://artaphot.ch/minolta-sr/objektiv-vergleiche/434-sony-a7rii-and-summilux-1-4-35mm-asph-sony-zeiss-fe-2-8-35mm-and-minolta-md-2-8-35mm

 

MC & MD 35 1.8 & 2.8 on NEX-5T:

http://vintagelensreviews.com/vlr/reviews/minolta-mc-w-rokkor-hg-35-mm-f2-8-mc-x/

http://vintagelensreviews.com/vlr/reviews/minolta-md-w-rokkor-x-35-mm-f2-8-md-ii/

http://vintagelensreviews.com/vlr/reviews/minolta-mc-w-rokkor-hh-35-mm-f1-8-mc-x/

http://vintagelensreviews.com/vlr/reviews/minolta-md-w-rokkor-35-mm-f1-8-md-ii/

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f/2 is nice, probably pretty critically needed over 2,8 indoors..larger, heavier and pricier though.

 

I have the Olympus 35 2,8 and Canon FD 35 2,8 and am happy with their sharpness wide open, at least in the center; and perhaps because I was coming from APS-C I find their bokeh characteristics at mfd just fine.

 

Canon FD 35 2,8@2,8 and mfd: https://www.flickr.com/photos/39677670@N06/29928150611/in/dateposted-public/

Olympus, same settings: https://www.flickr.com/photos/39677670@N06/28414302676/in/dateposted-public/

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f/2 is nice, probably pretty critically needed over 2,8 indoors..larger, heavier and pricier though.

 

I have the Olympus 35 2,8 and Canon FD 35 2,8 and am happy with their sharpness wide open, at least in the center; and perhaps because I was coming from APS-C I find their bokeh characteristics at mfd just fine.

 

Canon FD 35 2,8@2,8 and mfd: https://www.flickr.com/photos/39677670@N06/29928150611/in/dateposted-public/

Olympus, same settings: https://www.flickr.com/photos/39677670@N06/28414302676/in/dateposted-public/

 

Great pics. If I may ask what was lens used for this one (and couple of others I likes there), please?

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/39677670@N06/30168420532/in/dateposted-public/

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Guest Jaf-Photo

I've used a Minolta MD 35/2.8 for ages. It has the typical Minolta colours and contrast with good sharpness and low distortion. It's quite easy to find and affordable too.

 

A leftfield suggestion is the Meyer Lydith 30mm f3.5. It's slightly off your question but it has amazing image quality and pretty good bokeh anyway. It's a bit rarer but not terribly expensive. Look it up.

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I second both the Minolta 35mm f1.8 MC and the Contax Zeiss 35mm f2.8. There's an excellent 35mm f1.4 too, but that's really expensive (and climbing by the day). 

 

Most of my Minolta and Contax vintage lenses were a better investment from a few years ago than any stock…

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The pentax m 35 f2.8 is excellent on the a7r. Beautifully made and joy to use. Excellent resolution and beautiful deep blue and greens.

 

If you could live with f3.5 and less bokeh, the pentax k35 f3.5 is absolutely superb. It and the k28 f3.5 are my two favourite lenses.

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I did a comparison using A7 between:

1. Summicron-M 35mm V1 (silver) 8-elements ($1600)

2. Summicron-C 40mm ($250)

3. Canon FD 35mm f/2.0 with concave front lens (radioactive Thorium glass) ($120)

 

They are all good lenses and similar in sharpness. But when it comes to contrast the Canon is the winner. It's super sharp even at f/2.0. But, it is quit heavy, so if that is important go for the Cron-C.

http://zone-10.com/cmsm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=345&Itemid=97

 

Canon FDn 35mm f/2 on Sony A7R

http://erphotoreview.com/wordpress/?p=4364

 

Canon FDn 35mm f/2 on Sony A7

http://erphotoreview.com/wordpress/?p=4320

 

Sony ZEISS Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA on A7

http://erphotoreview.com/wordpress/?p=4125

 

Conclusion: The FDn 35/2 is "better" than the Zeiss (if you can accept MF) and costs 7 times less. Also, 1 step faster.

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