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Sony NEX Lens Impressions
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Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 01/16/2012 22:04:28 MST Print View

I don't know if I'm following the latter part of the conversation here.

There were a few things asked. My $.02...

- NEX 5 (or 5N) vs. 7? They are very different cameras in terms of handling, cost, and to lesser extent, overall size/weight, and resolution offered.

- 10mm lens? The widest rangefinder lens I know of is the Voigtlander 12mm (equivalent to 18mm on the NEX). It performs well on the NEX 5N, not as sharp in the corners as the Voigtlander 15, but it also pretty much lacks the color shifting issue that some of these rangefinder lenses have, so it's more user friendly in that it won't require additional processing. I don't have a way to quantify how much better the CV 12 would be vs. the Sony 16/2.8 + wide angle adapter (which effectively makes it 12mm). 18mm equivalent view is pretty darn wide, which is something else to consider - do you really want to work with a lens that wide? The 15-18mm range (22-24mm equiv) is already pretty wide, and of course you can always stitch shots together for wider FOV.

Here are a couple of recent images from the 5N and CV 15...

edit: removed images, put them in next post

- Where to find manual focus rangefinder or SLR lenses? All of Eric's suggestions are good, in addition there are a few forums (and buying from photog comuunity members is always my preference if buying used)...,,,, eBay prices are usually way inflated on these lenses, especially the rangefinder lenses.

- APSC Lenses... assuming this means for digital APS-C bodies, then not any of them will work, only those designed for Sony E-Mount or (A-Mount + LA-EA1 adapter), unless they happen to have an aperture ring for manual control (I don't know of any that do). When Conurus releases their Canon to NEX adapter the NEX will be able to control the aperture of all Canon EF and EF-S (the latter being specifically for APS-C) lenses electronically. I've almost lost interest in using any SLR lenses on the NEX, but that's just me... and of course I did say "almost" lost interest :)

- Landscape focus at infinity... that might work, then again if you want some foreground objects in the shot to be in focus, it won't work out. Learn the hyperfocal distance for your lenses at the common apertures, or get an app, or make a note :) Which brings me to...

PITFALLS of Rangefinder Lenses
A few things to consider before jumping in without having all of the facts...

- The focus scales on adapted manual focus lenses will not be accurate because of the APS-C sensor (this also applies to SLR lenses).

- Minimum focus distance with most rangefinder lenses is between .7 and .9 meters. This is much more than SLR lenses which can sometimes focus on objects a few inches from the front of the lens. There is a solution, the Hawk's helicoid adapter. It provides the means to adjust the lens-sensor distance on the fly allowing the lenses to close focus. I have not tried it yet as some users have reported problems with certain lenses not focusing properly at infinity with this adapter.

- Many rangefinder lenses 35mm or wider will have some amount of color shift that you'll probably want to fix in some or even all of the photos you take. One way is to use the Cornerfix program, which is free, but requires a separate step in processing each photo. It also requires you to be able to create DNG files (which Lightroom can do, not sure which other processing software can) as it only works with files of that type.

Why bother with rangefinder lenses then?
- Size
- Weight
- Build Quality
- Ergonomics
- Cost (arguable, some are very expensive, others not so much)
- Beyond 35mm there are no color shifting or corner smearing problems, so the 40-90mm range is full of good performers.

Edited by JacobD on 01/16/2012 22:06:25 MST.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 01/16/2012 22:10:24 MST Print View


Edited by JacobD on 06/11/2012 21:30:57 MDT.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Canon EF lenses for NEX on 01/18/2012 09:35:28 MST Print View

The adapter is now available, and is a joint venture between Conurus and Metabones.

I don't know how practical this is for anyone looking for a small and/or light camera system, but none the less, there it is.

Ryan Krause

Locale: Pacific Northwest
New Sigma Options on 01/18/2012 22:59:20 MST Print View

Sigma is coming out with two new options: a 19mm/2.8 and a 30mm/2.8

Ryan Krause

Locale: Pacific Northwest
The Sigma's are available now on 04/04/2012 21:41:03 MDT Print View

The Sigma's are available now - just got the notice today from B&H:

If you check the DPreview Sony Nex forum there are numerous threads with shared photos for both lens.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
NEX Lenses on 05/28/2012 13:17:18 MDT Print View

Been awhile since this got a bump.

To update regarding the Sigma lenses - I know several people who have the 30 and love it. Some of the lens testing blogs have reported on the quite amazing optical performance of the 30.

I decided to give the 19 a shot to see if I might replace my CV 15 with it. I have not decided yet. The image quality is very good, but I haven't compared enough with the 15 or the kit 18-55 at that focal length.

I've been seeing some inspiring images shot with the kit lens that made me want to use it more, so I've been taking it and the 19 out with me. Unfortunately the 19 tends to stay in the bag. I mostly use the kit between 18-24mm. I really wish Sony offered a quality (or any at this point!) wide angle zoom, like a 12-24.

One thing I have taken away from using the AF lenses lately... most of the time I prefer MF operation. With the NEX adjusting the aperture via the lens is just easier and faster... no need to switch between adjusting shutter speed and aperture, much less fiddling with the control dial. I also admit that I'm not super familiar with using the AF system on the NEX :) Sometimes it comes in handy but I have gotten so used to the simple direct approach with MF that it's faster for me at this point.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Samyang 8mm Fisheye on 06/11/2012 21:37:04 MDT Print View

Looks like Samyang has an 8mm / f2.8 fish coming out for the NEX. 180 degree angle of view... could be a fun lens.

Anyone else add or been lusting after any lenses for your NEX lately? I had an opportunity to purchase a Leica Wide Angle Tri Elmar for a 'good' price not too long ago but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I've seen some samples from this rare glass on the 5N, and it performs very well at each of the focal lengths, but it's a huge chunk of change to plunk down.

I've actually been tinkering with the kit lens lately. It's got pretty good sharpness from 21-28mm, and not too bad beyond that except at the extreme ends of the zoom.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
NEX 5R and 6 on 08/29/2012 11:31:14 MDT Print View

The 5R was just announced today, looks to be an incremental improvement over the 5N. The AF is reported to be about as snappy as the OM-D (which is excellent).

What's more exciting to me is the NEX-6, which is rumored to be announced next month. Some photos have been leaked. Essentially this is what a lot of people wanted when the NEX-7 first released - a 5N in a 7 body. The sensor should be much friendlier with alternative lenses than that of the NEX-7.

We are also supposed to get an 11-18mm zoom (or at least an announcement) for it sometime this year. This is probably the most exciting news of all since native lenses have been scarce.

Edited by JacobD on 08/29/2012 11:32:48 MDT.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: NEX 5R and 6 on 08/29/2012 12:59:21 MDT Print View


Thanks for the update....I was just searching around for new info on what the next version of the NEX will be.

The 11-18 mm zoom lens sounds like it would be perfect for outdoors shots in the Sierras.


Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Re: NEX 5R and 6 on 08/29/2012 16:04:14 MDT Print View

Hi Tony.

If you're still in the market for a mirrorless, then you'll probably want to wait until at least the 5R is out. There's a big photo show/event coming at the end of Sept which is where just about all of the major annoucements for the year are made by all the manufacturers; I think Sony will have both of the new NEX's ready to show off, and I'm hoping a new lens or two.

Yuri R
(Yazon) - F

Not that exciting... on 08/29/2012 17:10:55 MDT Print View

5R is not any better for landscape photographers/travel than 5n. The major improvement is the focusing system. The apps are nothing more than a gimmick.

6R will be interesting, but again - the design defeats the purpose. A new hot shoe mount (rumor) and still large lenses just kill the appeal of NEX for light-weight travelers. At this point, Sony RX100 is a better choice.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 08/29/2012 17:34:58 MDT Print View

I picked up a NEX 5n about 6 months ago and have been slowly learning my way around its various settings and options as well as putting together a small collection of native mount lenses and adapters. So far, I'm very pleased with the results from the camera. I find the image quality to often times exceed my expectations (of course I'm coming from a Canon G10 as opposed to a full size DSLR) and I appreciate that I can carry a kit of several lenses and adapters in a relatively small, lightweight package.

Anyway, here's my current collection of lenses along with some general thoughts.

SEL 18-55 kit lens
SEL 16mm f2.8 pancake lens
SEL 55-210 lens
Sigma 30mm f.28 pancake lense

SEL Fisheye Adapter (for 16mm)
SEL Wide Angle Adapter (for 16mm)
Raynox DCR-250 Macro lens
Panasonic 1.7x Telephoto Conversion lens (telextender)

Overall, I'm happy with this kit at the moment. The kit lens has been a pleasant surprise and has been servicable for me. The 16mm pancake works fine (with certain well known limitations) and the two adapters for it are a lot of fun to play with. The Sigma 30 is excellent, especially for its price. The 55-210 has also produced very acceptable image quality for me. Combining the 55-210 with the 1.7x telextender gets a little unwieldy and suffers from vignetting and light issues at certain times but once you learn its limitations, it can produce some good results with an impressive amount of reach in a small(ish), light(ish) and inexpensive package. I haven't played around much with the Raynox yet, but so far I find it works very well with the Sigma 30. I've had a little trouble using it with the other lenses though (particularly the 55-210). I think the next lens I'd want to add would be a faster lens, something around 1.8 (or faster), just undecided on the desired focal length.

Anyway, here's a couple of recent non-hiking examples (downsized in quality/size). All shot this weekend while escorting for a friend's 32-mile paddleboard race. I enjoy the versatility of my collection of lenses:

55-210 w/ 1.7x telextender, shot using in-camera tilt shift mode:

16mm + wide angle adapter:

Sigma 30 using in-camera BW setting:

Sigma 30 using in-camera tilt shift setting:

55-210 + 1.7x telextender at 1600 iso:

18-55 kit lens:

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 08/29/2012 19:13:02 MDT Print View

Nick, nice summary on the 5N. I liked your 2nd 3rd images.

I've had my 5N going on a year now and have found it to be an excellent camera for travel and landscape use. I guess after using it for a while I feel like it's a well rounded system if you take advantage of alternative lenses, or perhaps a middle of the road system with native lenses.

I DO think it's quite a light and compact system, but then I'm not a P&S user. Although the lenses aren't as small as some of the four-thirds lenses, they're still quite light. While wearing my camera across my chest I can fit several lenses, extra batt, and remote in a ZPacks hip belt pouch.

I still mostly use my rangefinder lenses with it. Their size, feel, and image quality is hard to beat. Sometimes I feel like having AF and grab the 18-55 kit or the Sigma 19.

We had considered replacing my wife's digital Rebel with an OM-D but have been holding off. A NEX 6 might end up being the replacement depending on how it performs.

These are not my shots, but thought I would link it anyway, 5N travel photos with various rangefinder lenses (and converted Contax G lenses)

and of course the NEX Images thread, which is over 400 pages now! (It was under 100 when this thread was started)

Craig Shelley
(craig_shelley) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Nex 5N Impressions on 08/30/2012 05:59:42 MDT Print View

I bought a Nex 5N last October and an SLT A77 in January. I have a large variety of lenses for both cameras, including quite a few older manual focus Minolta Rokkor lenses. I have the viewfinder for the Nex 5N, which I almost never remove. When I'm backpacking, my preference is to take the Nex 5N, most often with just the 18-55 lens. The rumored lenses for the Nex look interesting. I agree that the 5R doesn't look especially interesting for landscape photography over the 5N. It's strongest advantage seems to be the AF, which could be very fast (could be useful for wildlife). I often take the A77 for day hikes and some backpacking trips. It weighs a lot more but the A77 has a GPS. I like that. It also has the electronic level, which I find useful for the panorama shots. I like the in-camera HDR and the panorama capability of the Nex. Both are quite useful. I agree that the RX100 looks interesting for super lightweight backpacking. However, right now I'm satisfied with the Nex 5N when I want to lighten my load.

Links to August backpacking photos are below. Almost all were taken with the Nex 5N and the 18-55mm kit lens. The star picture at the cirque was taken with a Minolta Rokkor 24mm F2.8 lens.

Backpacking in the Southern Wind Rivers Range:

Backpacking in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness:

Here's a variety of pictures I've taken while hiking with one camera or the other:

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Nex 5N Impressions on 08/30/2012 08:16:59 MDT Print View

Craig, fantastic set of photos. You just made my mind up for me that I need to prioritize getting into the Wind Rivers Range next year! 04147 was my favorite.

Craig Shelley
(craig_shelley) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Nex 5N on 08/30/2012 09:59:11 MDT Print View

It was the first time I've been to the Wind Rivers. I plan on going back next year too. It is a fantastic place.

I should mention that I've used p&s cameras for the last ten years and waterproof p&S cameras for the last 7 years (I think that is when Pentax came out with waterproof models) - except the last 10 months or so that I've had the Nex 5N and A77. After quite a bit of research last year, I decided to go with the Nex 5N for my hiking. I bought the A77 largely for other purposes as I became immersed in photography over the last 10 months since getting the Nex.

In my younger life I was a photography enthusiast (I'm 60 now). The 5N with the viewfinder is an excellent camera. But I don't have experience with any of the Micro 4/3 rds cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M5, which looks impressive. I'm pretty committed now with all the lenses I bought for the Sony systems. However, it looks like Sony is pushing the envelope with it's cameras. I'm not disappointed with my choice at all.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 08/30/2012 10:14:57 MDT Print View

Great shots Craig! Like Jacob, I really want to get out to the Winds sometime!

I'm intrigued by the idea of getting some faster, better quality lenses for the NEX. I at one time had a small collection of canon lenses but lost them all in a theft about a decade ago, so when I decided to commit to the NEX system, I was starting from scratch. The native E-mount lens options were lacking but I was really impressed with everything else about the NEX line itself. In a hurry to build up a quick collection of basic lenses that could get me up and running, I chose to stay within the native mount offerings rather than taking the time/expense to research other options.

But now for future lens purchases, I'm willing to consider picking up older MF and/or rangefinder lenses, but I'll be honest, I'm not sure how best to figure out what I'm looking for or where to find them.

Do you guys who go this route tend to stick with one brand or mount-type so that you can get by with just having one adapter or am I concievably looking at having to purchase multiple adapters to fit multiple other mounts? Any recs on which other mounts work best on the NEX?

Thanks for the help. Glad to see this thread is still going.

Craig Shelley
(craig_shelley) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Older lenses for Nex on 08/30/2012 10:32:36 MDT Print View

Jacob has a spreadsheet listed earlier on this topic. It's useful.

I decided to focus on Minolta lenses. The focus peaking feature of the Nex is very nice for using these lenses. There are many sources on the internet. Here's a good site for old minolta lenses:

I've also checked eBay completed listings so I could build up a database on pricing. It's really a time-consuming task to decide on old lenses and buy them. I'm not sure I recommend it. Of course I always want to pay less than the lens has recently sold for (finding a good lens like the 24mm F2.8 in a bunch of junk on eBay is rewarding but it takes too much time).

You might just want to see what lenses Sony introduces next month for e-Mount.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Older lenses for Nex on 08/30/2012 11:27:54 MDT Print View

I'd agree with Craig to wait until the end of Sept and see what Sony announces. The 11-18 (or whatever the ultrawide zoom turns out to be) could be a promising lens. If Sony screws it up... well lets just hope they don't!

If the ultrawide zoom is a winner, I'll be moving away from my CV 15mm, and maybe a step closer to moving away from using rangefinder lenses all together (we'll see).

Here's the spreadsheet that Craig mentioned.

It includes SLR and rangefinder lenses. Not a complete reference by any means, but encompasses a lot of the small-ish lenses, and some not so small/light. If you have an idea of the focal lengths that you want it should give you some ideas. You can find lenses for sale on eBay, photo forums also work. GetDPI and Rangefinder Forum have classifieds, as well as Fred Miranda, Photography on the Net, and

Someone on Fred Miranda maintains a lens price database which he updates yearly (or more often) I don't have a link handy unfortunatley. Google maybe.

I also have a little more info here.

Ad far as what works etc... pretty much anything with the 5N. If you end up looking at any RF lenses wider than 35mm do some research before buying as they may have issues with color shifting and detail smearing. SLR lenses don't have that issue.

Edited by JacobD on 08/30/2012 11:42:31 MDT.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
flagged on 08/31/2012 14:37:03 MDT Print View