Hi Jannik, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you use manual Lenses?
Jannik: I am an automotive engineer from Wolfsburg, Germany. I started out with an Sony Alpha 200 in 2008 but I discovered photography as my passion when the first Sony A7 came out. I preordered it and was fascinated by the ability to revive all the legacy lenses, that were “dead” for a long time. My first manual lens was a Canon nFD 1.4/50 which was an eye opener for me. At this time, I only owned the Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70 kit lens and I was never really satisfied by it. The sharpness and the creative potential of the fast aperture combined with the bargain price (50€) were amazing. I added lots of Canon FD lenses soon and started to discover other systems like Olympus OM and especially Contax/Yashica as well. With some experience, I found the different rendering styles of specific lenses and I am happy that I can choose between several lenses depending on the look that I want to create.
We summarize our experience with all the native Sony E-mount wideangle lenses and a few manualones in the 20-35mm bracket to give you a compact resource for choosing the right lens for your Sony a7.
We have no association with any manufacturer apart from occasionally loaning a lens for a review. Before any short introduction we tell you how long we have used a lens and if we have borrowed it from a manufacturer. But in most cases we have bought the lenses on the market. If you want to support our independent reviews please consider using one of the affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you anything and helps us a lot.
This guide has not been updated in a long time, best have a look at our general FE guide which contains all of the lenses recently released until we find the time to update this piece.
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Sony FE 4/16-35 ZA OSS
Status: Phillip reviewed a loaner from Sony and bought his own copy more than a year ago. He uses it regularly. Jannik owned but sold it in favor of the Loxia 2.8/21.
Jannik: A lovely lens with decent image quality and effective image stabilization. Personally, I tend to shoot always too wide with such a zoom lens although I miss it’s great versatility.
At f/4 the center is excellent across the zoom range, for best corners I would stop down at least to f/5.6, better f/8 where they are quite good.
Pronounced distortion at the ends, average vignetting and annoying ghosting for some scenes but fine most of the time.
This is neither a light nor a small lens but it isn’t huge either. Build quality is good.
A very versatile lens: It covers a very wide focal range with good optical quality and thanks to the stabilizer even on the a7 one can shoot before sunrise without a tripod. The price is significant but justified.
Hi Bastian, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you use manual Lenses?
Bastian: I am a bridge engineer from Germany and my lovestory with manual lenses began with the 50mm 0.95 Mitakon and the 12mm 5.6 Voigtlander used with the Sony A7. I couldn’t believe it being possible to get consistently sharp results with a lens like the 50mm 0.95 after I have so badly failed using an Ai-s Nikkor 50mm 1.2 on my D800 (which was even equipped with an EG-s focusing screen). The 12mm 5.6 on the other hand was a total relief in terms of size and weight and so I was hooked. Right now I have sold almost all of my Nikon gear. If you are curious you can read the whole story here: my transition from Nikon to Sony.
It is also a matter of fact that by the time I was using manual lenses I realised I don’t need AF for most of what I am doing and so today I am confident enough to even shoot weddings without AF lenses.
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