35mm for Sony NEX - Currently have Voigtlander

By: SQLGuy 2435 days ago
Hi folks,

I use a number of manual lenses on my Sony NEX-5. Most are Canon FD, since that's what I used back in the film days, but I also picked up a Leica M39 adapter and a Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm F2.5, since it's small and sharp.

However, I'd still like something small (or smaller) and sharper that won't break the bank. I tried a Leica 35mm Summaron 3.5, and it's beautifully built and really tiny, but the Voigtlander beats it in both sharpness (at F8) and contrast.

Now I'm considering a Contax 35mm F2 Planar T. Any thoughts on how this compares to the Voigtlander? Physically, it looks to be similar... maybe a bit smaller. Reviews look good as long as it's not wide open. Would I miss the F22 of the Voigtlander? The Voigtlander does flare easily, even though it's multi-coated; how about the Contax? Any other thoughts?

BTW, yes, I do know that they're both really made by Cosina anyway. :-)

Thanks,
Paul
By: johnriley 2435 days ago
Lenses give optimum quality at medium apertures, usually about two stops down from open aperture. So f22 won't be missed if it's sharpness you're after.

First look to Sony lenses, which will be as sharp as anything else you can buy unless you are making wall sized enlargements.

You might consider the exceprional SMC Pentax-DA 40mm f2.8 Limited lens if you can get a suitable adapter, but it's the hard way to use it.

Sticking to the NEX lenses shouldn't be a problem.

Best regards

John
By: SQLGuy 2435 days ago
The biggest problem with NEX lenses is that Sony doesn't have a 35mm prime. They supposedly have a 30mm prime in work, though. Their zoom lens is not bad, but it's nowhere near as sharp at the corners as the Voigtlander or as the FD primes I have.

BTW, F22 for me is for DOF, not for sharpness. Looking at the aperture chart on the Voigtlander, I'd lose about 2 feet on the near end when setting infinity just in focus with F16 instead of F22 as the minimum.
By: johnriley 2434 days ago
In terms of lateral thinking, is the NEX the best camera for what you are shooting? It may be that you can get the lenses you need by buying a lower priced DSLR body from whichever marque you choose.

Some lenses will perform better at f22 than others, but it's a balancing act between resolution/sharpness and DOF.

Best regards

John
By: SQLGuy 2434 days ago
Yes, I definitely think so. I want something that's smaller and less bulky than a DSLR, I can accept the lack of an eye-level viewfinder, and the APS-C sensor gives more DOF than a full frame sensor would. With the Voigtlander and M39 adapter, the NEX fits in a jacket pocket. Although I don't have one, with the 16mm pancake lens, it would be even more compact.

Also, with the adapters I can use pretty much any lens on the NEX. I've gotten a lot of good use out of my Canon FD 50mm macro, 135 F2.5, and 14mm F3.5 on this body. With a DSLR I wouldn't be able to use any of those.

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