So the exams are over (almost…) and as a reward for myself, I’ve decided to get some new special lens (well, I have failed applied mathematics, but I’ll surely get that till the end of the semester). And since I’m a student, I’m a bit on a budget…so I thought to myself that for under 300 bucks, I can either get a crappy optics with AF or some better optics with MF and I decided to go for the MF. The thing is there are many options and I just can’t decide. In the end I came to a conclusion: In the upcoming two years, I will get three new lenses: wide angle prime, 35 mm prime and semi-telephoto prime. It would also be great if the lens was compatible with the A7 family…which I guess would bring the price tag even higher if I wanted AF capabilities.
OK. So for the UWA lens, I really like the Samyang 12mm f/2.0. It’s one of the brightest, widest lend for E-mount overall. Close comes the Zeiss 12mm f/2.8, but that’s more than twice the price…and I really don’t need AF that bad. The lens has great reviews and even with the aperture wide open, the image quality is really good. I also like the fact the lens is designed with an accessible filter thread. To be honest, I didn’t really find any competitor to this lens in this price range.
The semi-telephoto one is a tough one. There is a lot of options and I really can’t decide. At this focal length, it would be nice to have AF at hand, but as I’m not really planing on shooting any high-speed action anytime soon, I believe I would be OK with MF (also, I really like working the lens in manual 😀 ). So far I’ve used Jana’s 55-250 mm Canon lens via an electronic-less adapter on my NEX-6, so I can’t really control aperture on it, but I still have to do the focusing. Also, with LiveView, focus peaking and zoom in the EVF, the manual focus is much easier to nail! So, the first option I think about in this range is the Samyang 85 mm f/1.4 full manual lens. Based on online review, this seems to be a really nice piece of glass, considering it’s price tag. The second option I looked at is using older Leica R 90 mm f/2.8 or f/2.0 with an adapter. On Ebay, the price tag can get about the same as for the Samyang. The question is: isn’t it better to get a new lens with 3 year warranty than a second hand, albeit Leica, lens which I can’t really check out first?
As for the 35 mm option, there are the Sony SEL 35 mm f/1.8 (with AF) or Samyang 35 mm f/1.4 (full manual) or again, some second hand Leica. And as before, even here would be nice to have a compatibility with A7 series, as I have a plan to get it at some point in the future and it would be nice not to have to buy another set of lens. I would even consider 24 mm lens (well…on APS-C sensor, it makes the 35), but that just broadens the selection. There are many 35 mm models to choose from…at least more than in other focal lengths. Also, the kit lens can shoot effectively at 35 mm, so I don’t really need 35 prime that bad.
If you have any more suggestions or helpful opinions, please share them in the comments…thanks 😉
As to the photo, this one was shot with the Canon 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 mounted on the NEX-6 via an adapter. Considering the adapter was about 4 bucks and is a solid chunk of metal, this combo works really well! Of course, it sucks I have no control over aperture, but I can always mount the lens on Jana’s EOS 500D, set the aperture and then put it on my camera again…but it’s not always effective. I really liked the sung bringing up the details in this grassy patch, growing between the stones. I’ve developed the picture in RawTherapee and also did a little additional processing and local edits in Gimp. The power of open-source is just unbelievable. Lately, I’ve also wanted to give Darktable a try, but I’d have to run a second OS on my PC and for now, it’s just too much “trouble” to go through.
Have a great day!