Affordable manual lenses for the Sony Alpha 7,7r,7ii,7rii and 7s


This is a collection of good manual lenses which are available for less than $100, it is meant as a resource for photographers who own a Sony a7/ a7r/ a7ii/ a7rII and want to discover the world of manual lenses without breaking the bank.

To learn more about a lens please check one of my reviews or follow the linked test. You will find the average price for a copy in good condition in the description for each lens.

All links market with a * are affiliate links. If you use them I will receive a small commission on your purchase without any additional cost to you. So if you found this article helpful using them is a great way to show your support. Thanks! 

You can find this article in German on

Wideangle lenses

Canon nFD 2.8/24

Canon_nFD_24mmf2p8-6This would be my suggestion for someone looking for a small, sharp and affordable wideangle lens to take landscape images.
Weaknesses are mustache distortion and mediocre built quality.

240g | $85 | my Review | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 | Canon nFD 2.8/24 | f/11 | full resolution

Olympus OM 3.5/28

I haven’t used this lens myself (yet) but going by other photographers results it delivers a very even sharpness across the frame. It is also small and very affordable.

180g | $35 | MTF Measurements | another test | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Minolta MD 2.8/35

DSC09971-2This is a very sharp lens which also happens to be very small and affordable. It has quite a bit of field curvature.

170g | $60 | my reviewsample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 | Minolta MD 2.8/35 | f/8 | full resolution

Canon nFD 2.8/35

DSC09969This is a very sharp lens which also happens to be very small and affordable. Downsides are average build quality and only 5 aperture blades.

165g | $50 | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 |Canon nFD 2.8/35 | f/8 | full resolution

Normal Lenses

Canon new FD 1.4/50

DSC04008At f/1.4 it is the sharpest ~50mm lens I have used so far. I think it is a very good lens to get started with. The field of view is handy for many applications and the fast aperture allows you to create images with very little depth of field. Bokeh is okay but not great and you need to stop down to f/5.6 for very good corner sharpness.

235g | $50 | my Review | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 | Canon nFD 1.4/50 | f/2 | full resolution

Minolta MC/MD Rokkor 1.4/50

Not as sharp as the Canon at f/1.4 but I think it has nicer bokeh at f/2. The older MC version is heavier and feels more solid than the younger MD versions. There are three optically different versions but the differences are not big enough to worry about them.  Weaknesses are only six aperture blades and you need to stop the down to f/5.6 or better f/8 for very good corners.

245g | $60 | my unfinished Review | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Minolta MD Rokkor 1.4/50 | f/2
Minolta MD Rokkor 1.4/50 | f/2

Minolta MD 2/50

DSC09961I haven’t used an affordable 50mm lens with more even sharpness than this, the corners at faster apertures are much better than with other versions. My choice for a hinking lens  when a small size and good sharpness matter. Built quality and bokeh are okay but not great.

150g | $25 | my Review | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 | Minolta MD 2/50 | f/8 | full resolution

Sigma 2.8/50 Macro


About any manufacturer like Minolta, Canon or Olympus sold a 3.5/50 Macro back in the day and any of those is a good buy. The Sigma is in the same league optically but it is a bit faster and most importantly it does 1:1, not 1:2 like all the other macros. The build quality is clearly worse than that of the major brands.

310g | $45 |sample images

buy from ebay*

Sony a7 | Sigma 2.8/50 Macro | f/2.8
Sony a7 | Sigma 2.8/50 Macro | f/5.6

Minolta MC Rokkor 1.7/55

Minolta MC 1.7/55 Sony a7

Not the sharpest lens but sharp enough and it has very nice character and build quality. My choice when I want a small normal lens with good bokeh.

230g | $20 | my Review | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 1.7/55 | f/1.7 | full resolution

Tele Lenses

Minolta MC Rokkor 2.5/100

Minolta MC 2.5/100

Great bokeh and good sharpness at f/2.5 make this a very enjoyable portrait lens. Built quality is great and it isn’t too large. The only real weakness of this lens is that  it is very sensitive to flare.

410g | $90 | my Review | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 2.5/100 | f/2.5 | full resolution

Minolta MD Rokkor 2.8/135


It doesn’t set any records but it is a solid lens very well suited for portraits.

535g | $60 |  sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 | Minolta MD 2.8/135 | f/2.8 | full resolution

Canon FD 2.8/135

DSC09965If you are looking for a very affordable portrait lens this is a good choice, bokeh and sharpness are good (but not great). Built quality isn’t great but good enough. 

395g | $50 | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 | Canon nFD 2.8/135 | f/2.8

Minolta MC Rokkor 4/200

DSC09966I was surprised how sharp this lens is across the frame from f/4, a great solution for landscape photography. The lens feels very solid but the rather stiff focusing ring makes it less ideal for moving subjects. I also don’t care for the very obvious CA outside of the focal plane and it’s proneness to flare.

520g | $35 | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 4/200 | f/4 | full resolution

Zoom lenses

Minolta MD 3.5/35-70 Macro

DSC09968A useful focal range and a handy 1:4 macro-mode make this a very vesatile lens. In the 40-70mm range it is as sharp as a good prime lens at f/8, only at 35mm the corners are a bit soft. Contrast and bokeh benefit noticeably from stopping down to f/5.6 and distortion at 35mm is  a bit high.

365g | $60| my Review | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 | Minolta MD 3.5/35-70 | 35mm | f/11

Minolta MD 4/75-150


A small tele-zoom which is as sharp as the corresponding primes, only at 150mm it get a little softer towards the corners. Weaknesses are some distortion and CA outside of the focal plane.

445g | $30 | sample images

buy from ebay* | adapters on amazon*

Sony a7 | Minolta MD 4/75-150 | 75mm | f/8 | full resolution

How a lens gets onto this list

To make it into this list I must have either personally used a lens or someone else must have published a well done test and some full resolution images.

I will only add lenses which meet my subjective criteria for a good lens and I want to avoid having too many very similar lenses in this selection.

If you think I have missed a lens please tell me about it! But don’t forget to link to meaningful tests and full resolution sample images.

Further Links

This site contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using any of the links marked as affiliate links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps support the creation of future content.

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I have two hobbies: Photography and photographic gear. Both are related only to a small degree.

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173 thoughts on “Affordable manual lenses for the Sony Alpha 7,7r,7ii,7rii and 7s”

  1. Hi,
    Nice article, great pictures.
    Can someone tell me how do these glasses compares to the Minolta AF glasses ?. I have the 20 f2.8, 24 f2.8, 28 f2.8 and 50 mm f2.8.

  2. Hello
    I do own a wide set of Canon FD lenses (from 20mm to 500mm) that I use on A7R.
    While me expensive, here is a quick list of my favorites FDn lenses I own: 20-35mm f/3.5 L, 28mm f/2, 35mm f2.0 (the f/2.8 is very good too), 85mm f/1.2L (expensive but just amazing) and f/1.8, 100mm f/2, 80-200 f/4L, 50mm f/3.5 macro. The 50mm f/1 4 is good. The 24mm f/2 and f/2.8 are also good but I prefer the L zoom.
    I have performed imatest tests of those as well as comparison shots. They confirm this selection.
    Have a good day

  3. Love your images and great effort. Have you tried the Nikkor lenses? I have 2 versions of 50mm 1.8 and a 135mm 2.8 manual focus. My own test beats a Takumar 55mm f2 and Pentax 50mm 1.4. Would appreciate some comments.

    1. I’m researching it right now, and… no. The only cheap 85mm is Jupiter-9. All the other good ones are at $200 and up 🙁 like Nikkor 85mm 1.8 H.C. for example.

  4. I highly recommend the fdn 200/4. Short mfd for a 200 and pleasingly sharp wide open (and weighs very little, which is a bonus). The fdn 100/4 macro is also a great performer for the money…

  5. You have a Flickr album with the Canon FD 80-200 F4L (beautiful pictures by the way!…), but I can’t see any review of it on your blog. Do you still own it? Is it a good lens?… I guess it worths more than 100 euros… Is it why you did not put it here?…

    1. Hi Phillip,

      I have picked up a few Tokina manual lenses including a Tokina 100-300/f4, 80-200/f2.8, 400/f5.6 and also a 150-500/f5.6 . Looking forward to your findings on the canon 80-200/f4.

      BTW, I am still unsuccessful with figuring out the pixel shimmering method of focusing. I wonder if you have tried that on the A7RII?


  6. I recommend the Zenit 58mm F2, The lens was made in the former soviet union (I got my copy with an old film camera they made in the 80s that I like to use as a prop as well as being a neat historical item) The lens itself was based on an old Zeiss design from before WWII. When the Soviets invaded Germany during the war they procured Zeiss’s equipment and produced the lens for decades.

    1. I own that lens and I think it is an interesting one, mostly because of it’s swirly bokeh. But I think it is interesting because of it’s character, not because it is a very good lens. If I ever publish a list of character lenses then I will certainly include it.

  7. What do you think about old Pentax lenses? I still have , from my very first camera outfit, a Pentax-M 75-150 f4 / 135 f2.5 / 50 f1.7 / 28 f2.8. I recently bought a Sony A6000 to see if I liked the Sony brand. I love it and will be buying the A7ll or A7Rll. Just wondering if these old Pentax lenses are still sharp enough ? Thanks

  8. Nice list. I recently inherited that Minolta MD 50mm f/2. I’ve been dying to try it out on my a7II. Looks like your little review just pushed me off the fence about buying another adapter.

  9. Newbie question: I have some manual lenses but gave up due to things like curvature and distortion. What is the best way to identify such things in Lightroom and then automate the correction?

  10. Hallo,
    what type of adapter do you use for the MC/MD leses?
    There are many different types on the market but they mostly say that they work with the NEX camaras and may have problems with the A7 series, in particular with the Mark 2 types?
    Can anybody recommend an adapter which definitely works with the A7 II or A7r II?
    Thanks for info!

    1. The Novoflex adapter works fine with my a7ii. All my other adapters are no-name-adapters. I am pretty sure that people will mention on Amazon if an adapter doesn’t work with the second generation of a7 cameras.

  11. I found a couple of ebay listings for the minolta md 135 2.8, but they seem to have different manufacturers – what does this mean?

    The Minolta branded ones are quite a bit more expensive – is it worth it to go for one of those? What are these 3rd party branded lenses?


  12. Great reviews. Just to add a lens in here. The Pentax super takumar 50mm f1.4. It’s a very good lens and works perfectly with my new a7. Paid £60 on fleabay and it’s awesome. Got a k&f concept adapter from Amazon for £10 and all works great. Thanks for the info.

  13. This is so difficult t make suggestions as prices vary so much on Ebay. Got a Minolta Rokkor 100mm f4 macro for 64€ including freight but they can be 3 times this price, the rokkor 24mm f 2.8 at 75 € was hardly more and the 135mm f 2.8 even less (50+10€). The 28mm f 2.0 did not make the “cheap” cut at 110€ though. On the other hand, I paid far too much for the 85mm f 2.0 at 300€ (I had not planned for Customs as I bought it from Japan…) as expensive as the 200 mm f2.8… from Germany.
    Patience and taking opportunities are the rules of the game… but I am now done with it.

  14. Hey, first and fullmost your reviews are priceless and thank you so much for the time and effort you put into them. So i have two questions for you… My first question is will you do a review for the Minolta 35mm F/2.8? I notice the link for that lens directs to the Canon 35mm F/2.8, i guess because they are very similar but it would be nice to have a review solely based on the Minolta 35mm F/2.8. Now my second question for you is these are ‘budget’ manual lenses but what would ultimetly be the best of the best manual lens while still sticking to the ‘older’ or ‘vintage’ lenses that you have used regardless of budget for landscapes? You recommend the Canon 24mm F/2.8 the best budget manual lens for landscape so in your opinion what manual lens out does that lens regardless of budget? 🙂 I hope to hear a reply from you and just to note this would be for my Sony Alpha A7.

    1. Yes I will review it and it is quite high on my priority list.

      I would probably pick the Zeiss C/Y 2.8/21 as best vintage landscape lens but boy, that lens is expensive.

      1. Thanks for getting back to me. I looked it up but it looks pretty modern to me. Is there an older ‘vintage’ version of the Zeiss C/Y 2.8/21 you are referring to? I was talking about older manual lenses like the lenses on this article but the best one for landscapes. 🙂

          1. Haha i’m sorry i couldn’t tell. When i searched that lens a really modern looking black lens came up and an older silver coloured lens, so i wasn’t sure. But thank you for the suggestion. 🙂

  15. Hi Philip, sir, thank you so much for doing this, I must have spent days, long hours, trying to decide which way to go as I “believe” in the vintage lenses but the flare in most of them is a stopper for me. So again, thank you for doing this. While I am not too impressed with the Minolta ones, I think I will build a collection of FDs and Zeiss ones..

    1. You are not impressed with the Minolta lenses he mentioned? I’m suprised! I’ve taken breathtaking landscapes with my Minolta MD 35mm F/2.8, yes i know it’s 35mm and not 20mm lens or around 20mm which is where it should really be to qualify as a ‘wide angle’ but nonetheless i would have to disagree with you. That being said, modern day lenses will always suit me better personally.

  16. At present, I have a Sony A7 and Canon 24-105 lens.
    Please provide any tips /techniques that will make manual focusing

  17. Thanks for wonderful blog. I am just happy new owner of A7.
    I would like to buy some good not-expensive portrait lens. What would you suggest : CANON FD 50 MM f/1.4 vs SLR Magic Cine 50mm f/1.1 ?
    Cine is more epensive(350$) but with aperture rotating smoothly just like the focus ring + f/1.1 + E-mount.
    As I am just rookie I do not know if this advantage is wort money diference.
    Small review:
    Thanks for your hep.

      1. And as a Normal lenses – around 50mm – What would you suggest : CANON FD 50 MM f/1.4 vs SLR Magic Cine 50mm f/1.1 ?

    1. Sounds like a renamed Zeiss Ultron 1.8/50. There were 3 series. The second series is the best. I have 2 German Zeiss Ultron, one in M42 and one in BM mount. They are among my favorite “normal” lenses, mainly for their bokeh, small size and weight, but quite expensive.

      My other favorite is the Contax N Zeiss Planar 1.4/50. It is extremely sharp even at f/1.4 and has fantastic bokeh. However, it weighs a ton and looks like it. With the FRINGER adapter, the Contax-N lenses will autofocus on the A7RMkII.

      The Contax N Zeiss are all excellent but expensive, light years ahead of the C/Y or Rollei Zeiss.

  18. Thanks a ton for compiling this article. It has been the starting point for my manual lens collection on a Sony mirror less camera.

  19. Thanks for the reviews Phillip. I’m new to manual lenses. Would I be able to use the Olympus OM 3.5/28 lens (and the adapter you listed) on a Sony Alpha a6000? Thanks!

      1. Thanks for getting back to me. Have you written anything or could you point me toward recommendations on affordable manual lenses for the a6000? Wide angle specifically.

  20. Hello Phillip. I have consistently used your site for reference, whilst buying lenses on eBay for my Sony a6000. Your sample images are superb and inspirational in quality , they have given me the confidence to invest in Minolta as a good entry to the vintage lens market .
    However, being based in the UK and shopping on I’m not sure that any affiliate money is going to get to you . How bout a donate button ?

  21. I just ran across your excellent blog and wish I had seen it sooner. I bought an A7 body about 1-1/2 years, ago at what was then a great price, I upgraded from a NEX6. I have bought and sold many different lenses on eBay and I discovered that to my eye, there was no difference between the lenses I now have and the Leicas and Voigtlanders I tried at first. I evolved a lens acquisition strategy which is to spend less than $100 on any lens. My favorites lenses now are a Canon FDn 24mm f2.8, Konica Hexanon AR 40mm f1.8, Takumar SMC 55mm f2, Nikon E 100mm f2.8, and a Carl Zeiss Jena 135mm f3.5. I also have a Canon EF 28-135mm zoom that has image stabilization, the autofocus speed is so-so but when it locks, its is spot on. I set the big button in the middle to focus magnification, I can always find it without looking when I am composing a shot through the viewfinder.

  22. Hi Phillip,

    Thanks for your continuously excellent work. Is it possible you can provide a link to the uk ebay for the Sigma 2.8/50 Macro?

  23. Great thanks! I’ve got a Canon FD 50mm 1.4 SSC (that one with the older breech lock mount) and i think that it´s very glow and not very sharp at maximun aperture. Stopped down is amazing. Do you think that de FDn version is better than the S.S.C. version? wich Minolta 50mm 1.4 version do you recomend: rokkor, rokkor-x or rokkor-pg? and another question: do you recomend FD 35mm f2? or exist any minolta version better than FD out there?

    Sorry for making too much questions… and thanks!!

    1. I have never used the 1.4/50 SSC but going by your description I would say that the nFD 1.4/50 is better that that, just check the full resolution images in my review.

      All those names were used for the very same lens: Rokkor-X was the name for the American market and the PG was dropped during production of the very first version the MC 1.4/50. It is the most solid but optically all Minolta 1.4/50 are very similar. The older MC is a bit heavier and feels more solid.

      I think the Minolta 1.8/35 is less sharp but has nicer bokeh than the Canon FD 2/35 lenses

  24. Hi, Phillip!
    Been enjoying your reviews on manual lens which made me buying a Canon FD 50mm for my A7 few weeks ago. It’s been great for me as a newbie.
    I’m interested in shooting wildlife, but I only have around $200 to spend. I wonder if you have suggestion what tele lens should I buy, something like 200mm or 300mm.
    Apart from that, I’m also considering to buy a Hoya HMC 135mm F2.8 because the seller offers pretty good bargain.

    1. I have a Tamron SP 5.6/300 which is a decent performer, you can see some images here: Tamron Sp 5.6/300
      It is sharp enough and fits your price bracket. You will have to live with some aberrations but you would have to spend quite a bit more to get rid of those

      1. Hi, Phillip. I found a tamron for adaptall mount but I’m not sure about what adapter should I buy. I only found adaptall 2, meanwhile the lens is for adaptall (without 2) mount. I havent found any clear cut explanation on whether or not I can use an adaptall 2 adapter for my a7.

  25. Thanks for the wonderful blog post.

    Can you recommend anything in the ultra wide angle that is good and affordable?

    I am looking for a prime somewhere around 17mm

    (for instance, a 16mm or a 17mm or an 18mm, but I think 16 or 17 would be better than 18mm)

    I know there is an older Canon fd mount at 17mm but I have READ that it is not so good, and it is sold used for about $300 (no actual experience with it).

    Thanks in advance.

      1. Thank you!

        I will look into it.

        BTW: Prices seem to be going up quite a bit (at least here in the States) on the older Mnolta and Canon lenses.

  26. Hi there!!!, I have minolta 58 1.2 and love it, but is not to sharp at 1.2, what do you think image quality vs canon 1.4 or another minolta 1.2. or 1.4
    thank you very much

  27. You missed one of my ultime
    steals — the Mamiya 55mm f1.8 m42 — damn sharp at f2.8 on up. The Bokeh is lovely.

  28. Hi Phillip,

    Do you have any clue how the Canon nFD 1.4/50 and the Minolta MD 2/50 compare to today’s Canon EF 1.8/50 STM and Sony FE 1.8/50? Especially when they’re wide open 🙂


      1. Really nice comparison! I love the way you can quickly spot the way each lens renders. If you could make some more of these that would be really appreciated.

  29. Hi Phillip,

    First of all, thanks for all your work here and all your effort!

    I’ve a long Canon shooter but after I’ve bought a Sony a6000 for my travels (and thinking about a A7 mk2 in the future) I started to search for old MF lenses.

    Any recommendation for the focal between 100 and 200mm? Something to include a good Macro lens too?

    Canon FDN 200/4 and Canon 100/4 Macro or even the FD 135/28 maybe?

    What you recommend?

      1. Hi Phillip,

        thanks but it seems to exceed my budget (>250$).

        Also, something light and optically good around 200m what you recommend?


  30. I bought the sigma 2.8/50 based on this article but unsure what adapter I need. Can you help point me in the right direction?

      1. Appreciate the help! I bought it out of impulse and now I’m kind of concerned, since I don’t know how I’m gonna figure out which adapter I need. Can I have your email address to send you a picture?

  31. Fantastic write up, thank you. Just ordered the MC 50/2 to try for landscapes.

    Any suggestions for a super wide (15mm or so) fast lens (prefer F2 or better vs F2.8) for night and Aurora photography? Would generally be shooting wide open and still be hoping for sharpness across the frame. I’ve seen a newer option is the Samyung 14mm f2.8 at about $350. That’s manual focus anyway so if there a cheaper or sharper lens you suggest?

  32. PhIlllp how would these lenses hold up on shooting film? is there any website or link that you would recommend? Love the blog sir, keep it up!

  33. Thanks for the list. I am wondering if you have has a chance to use a MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 lens? I have read and seen some pretty strong reviews for this lense, particularly regarding sharpness. I am a novice and just getting in to adapting manual vintage lenses to my a6000, let’s just say that I’ve caught the bug. Any thoughts on the 45mm rokkor-x? With the asp-c adjustment in range I’ll also need a shorter distance lens for indoors, 24-35mm, IL likely end up with a few with a little luck at my local thrift stores, fingers crossed….

  34. Hello Phillip,

    thanks for your articles, useful and clever. I still work with Nikons, but my Sony enlarge my photography since few weeks.
    I personaly use a Minolta 135mm on my A7II and I found it nice. It’s very sharp from my opinion, but I get purple franges, not so easy to remove even with Lightroom tool. Do you think I’ve a ‘regular’ copy ?
    I am waiting my Minolta 45mm pancake, I’ll see that one too.
    Thank you, JC

  35. Whats the best budget or cheapest manual lens with decent quality for shooting 4k videos on the Sony A7R II and what adapter?

      1. Thinking of shooting a short video. People would be about 6-10 feet away. I will be mounting the a7r ii on a glidecam stabilizer. I will be buying a Sony 24-70mm FE F2.8 GM. But I feel like it will be heavy to hold for a long period on a stabilizer. so I figure its maybe good idea to purchase a cheap affordable lens is close quality to the Sony 24-70. That can also shoot full frame

  36. Any experience w/ Leica R lenses on Sony A7Rii? Have a collection of them. Native lenses seem easier to get sharp focus but color on the Leica keeps me coming back. Any special challenges in adapting them to the Sony?



    1. Just tried a few of them once. Seemed to have great mechanics and solid optics.

      Adapting them is easy, no challenges there.

      For focus it should be easy to get consistent results with the focus magnifier (C1), don’t rely on focus peaking. More details: here

  37. Thanks for all the information! One series of lenses I would absolutely add to this is Vivitar series 1, especially te following:

    Vivitar series 1 28-90mm 2.8-3.5 (60$):
    There are lots of versions of this lens, but the best is the third one, which serial number starts with 28xxxx and its made by Komine. I have used this lens for a couple of weeks with my Sony a7 and its a dream, so sharp, so good quality and no CA at all. Definetly recommend this lens!!

    Also you should check out the Vivitar series 1 70-210 2.8-4.0, its a legendary zoom lens!

    With all vivitar series 1 lenses there are many versions and different manufactors, so you just need to do some research and find which are the best ones. Basicly all the earliest models of series 1 lenses are fantastic, but later versions are plasticy and just crap.

    1. Also the Vivitar Series One 90-180 f4.5 CF “Flat Field Macro”. One of the very few lenses that really is a macro that zooms, rather than a zoom lens that ‘sort of’ does macro. Optimised for 1:10 and goes to 1:2, or 1:1 with its matched TC. I like it a lot as a butterfly and flower lens.

  38. Hi Phillip, Many thanks for this article.
    I’ve Sony A6000, and looking for a zoom lens. I’m confused between Minolta MD 35-70mm f/3.5 and Olympus OM-Zuiko 35-105mm f3.5-4.5 . So , which of which ? and what adapter fits for each lens ?

  39. Hi,
    Allow me to ask you some advice. I have the A7RII and the FE 28/2 I wanted to get the Zeiss 55 1.8 but it is too expensive for me at the moment. So I’m looking for a lens for versatile photo and video (filmaking). I was thinking of an old optics such as the Minolta MC / MD Rokkor 1.4 / 50 or in any case an alternative to the FE 55 1.8.
    Thanks for your help

    Best regards

  40. Love this blog, Thanks very much!
    I just got an Alpha-7 and am discovering photography. I would like to get a macro lens for close ups, for bugs and creepy crawlies!
    Sigma 2.8/50 Macro, looks great, but it doesn’t mention needing an adapter? I know nothing about lenses yet, do I need an adapter for this lens please, for Sony A-7 ?
    Thanks again.

  41. I noticed that you recommend the Rokkor 55mm f/1.7 for the soft bokeh, over similar lenses. What do you think of the Rokkor 58mm f/1.4? Do you find its bokeh harsher?

      1. Thanks.
        So, if my priority is staying as bright as possible on a budget, should I better go for a Rokkor or Canon FD 50mm f/1.4, or the aforementioned 58mm aforementioned is a good choice?

  42. Hi Philip,

    Great articles from your website. Based on these articles I bought the Minolta 55mm f1.7 and now the Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro. I know others have asked regarding the mount, but I bought the “Sigma 50mm F 2.8 Macro lens for minolta Maxxum and sony alpha mounts”. I am confused as to which adapter should I buy. The Metabones Alpa to Sony NEX? A few adapters on Amazon clearly say they don’t work on Sony a7r II. Please share some input on this one.


  43. Hi Philip,
    many thanks for your articles, I learnt a lot from you.
    A lens I would recommend is the 4/20mm Nikkor. I had used it on a Nikon body and now on the Sony A7RII. It is small, lightweight and a great performer, much better than the 21mm Zeiss I also own. They are not cheap: the F/4 and F/3.5 go for $300 on ebay. There is also a f/2.8 version that is even more expensive. For me the 4/20 does the job perfectly on the A7RII.

  44. Hi Phillip,

    super nice vintage lenses reviews! I was wondering if you have a low budget alternative for the Voightlander 35mm F1,4 mc or sc. I am searching for a small 35mm lens with aperture 1,X to use on my a7sii for photography beside videography. The ones mentioned are not the bokeh monsters I am searching for. 🙁

    Any ideas?


    PS: Keep it going, very nice work!

    1. I don’t know a classic and affordable 1.x/35. The Canon FE 2/35 is probably the best and it isn’t very small nor very good optically. If you can afford it the Voigtländer 1.7/35 will deliver much better results.

      1. Thanks Phillip! I get myself the Voightländer 1.7/35 if you have no othere comparable lens in mine? (I know there is a Voightländer 1.4/35 but this one is three times as expensive as the 1.7/35)

        Onces more many thanks so far!

  45. Hello
    im very happy that i found what i was looking for ,,, i do love manual lenses as you…
    is there any other lenses i can use on my sony a6000 for portrait shoot…
    i will be glad to hear your answer
    best regards

  46. Phillip, I would propose some candidates for your evaluation: the Auto-Rokkor 55/1.8 and Auto-Rokkor 58/1.4 (but MC Rokkor 58/1.4 seems just as good).
    If you want to try an M42 lens, start with the Auto-Takumar 55m F2 from 1958. Stunning sharpness From f2.8, and superb bokeh to my eye.
    Here is a link to a quick test I did of several camera/lens combinations, but note that this was a close-focus test where I cropped the image files to get similar size of target subject.

    1. Hi John,
      the 1.4/58 has been sitting in y cupboard for close to two years now but other more interesting (to me) lenses continue to take away my attention. I don’t think I will find the time to give any attention to the other two in the foreseeable future.

  47. Ty for this, i ended up getting a MD 135mm f3.5 for £13 and a MD 50mm f2 for £15. Pretty decent, didnt want to fork out the £50 price tag for a 135mm f2.8 should be pretty close in image quality anyway

    Both lenses have fungus according to the listing but the MD/MC are easy to clean from what it looks like

  48. Recently I switched from Nikon to Sony…. I never knew Sony A series is so great untill I visited this site… All the three reviewers Phillip, Bastian and Jannik ; please take a big bow!
    And thanks for showing options while the native Sony lenses are really expensive for ametures.

  49. Phillip,

    I’m quite new to photography and as such am hoping not to pour huge amounts of money into it. Would this be a sensible way to start (manual lenses) for a APC-S camera (namely the A6000) and would you make any recommendations choosing i.e. choosing shorter focal lengths to counter the crop factor?

    1. For real wideangle coverage I would just use the kit lens but most lenses mentioned here would work well on APS-C as well. A 1.4/50 and a 2.5/100 are good lenses to get started.

    1. There is a reason most of the old zooms can be found so cheap: because they are not great performers.
      This is also why we haven’t reviewed any of those: none of us is interested.

  50. Phillip…thanks so much for this post.

    I was wondering how the Canon EF 50/1.8 STM compares to the other 50’s (used on an A7II with a Metabones adapter)…maybe in particular to the Canon nFD 50/1.4. I ask because as much as I like using manual lenses, I have another kit that can use the 1.8 STM, and am trying not to duplicate too many focal lengths.


  51. Hi Phillip, thanks for the post. This is really good. But I think you may have left out a lens that seems to get a fair amount of attention on other sites: the Minolta F1.4 58mm MCII. A couple of sites rave about it for the price, see:

    Apparently only the later model is best with SN higher than 5623848 and “a wave in the serrated of the focusing ring – the older versions have a serrated but perfectly round grip”.
    I don’t own this myself but am in the market for a good cheap fast lens and I would love to get your opinion on this lens, as you have a great deal of experience with all the other low cost lenses and could give a well informed comparison.
    Cheers, John

  52. I’m a bit of a newbie and just bought an A&. I am picking up some of the Minolta lenses to experiment with and had good results so far. Do you think a 1.4 or 2.0 tele converter would be useable without causing image quality to suffer? I am specifically thinking of using it with the MD 4/75-150.

  53. Lovely article that brings back the feeling of not needing to be rich to have decent glass. I have tried (and own) many of the listed lenses, and the only reason I don’t use them even more is because I feel bad at not picking other more expensive choices that have sit for long, and are maybe even “better” in many aspects, but they just lack the feel, personality and lovely rendition of these affordable and high quality designs.

    Another set of lenses that is as consistent as the Minolta, for me, are a subset of the Rollei lenses for Rolleiflex. Imperfect in very non important ways for me, and with some exceptions, you can build a set of Rollei QBM to represent the german version of what these lenses represent from Japanese 60s-80s design. Would cost 3x these but bring a high contrast, more 3D look that makes for less dreamy, more “hyperrealistic” rendering. In this range, Distagon 35mm 2.8, Planar 50mm 1.8, Sonnar 85mm 2.8 and Sonnar 135mm (avoid Rolleinars as that would get you closer to Japanese not German rendering). Obviously there are more expensive versions (f1.4), and some that are not good (25mm!), but I found out they have as much character, and are very different compared to Minolta/Canon rendering.

  54. Love this site, Phillip! It was instrumental in my decision to buy a Canon FDn 24mm 2.8 for my A7II. I wonder if you’ve had any experience shooting FF with Asahi Pentax SMC Takumar lenses?

    I just purchased a couple in near-mint condition (35mm f/2 and a 105mm f/2.8) and I really like what I’m seeing so far. While I realize M42 lenses aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, these have a build quality on par with vintage Leicas, and are, quite simply, a joy to shoot with. Would love it if you’d consider these for future reviews. Finally, thanks for all your hard work, and please keep the terrific reviews coming!

  55. Hi, just to let you know that on this page, the link to the review for the Minolta MD 2.8/35 lens actually links to Canon new FD 35mm 1:2.8. But wow, you have so much information on this site, I really need to thank you.

  56. Due to the weight, I chose manual PENTAX Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 135 mm / 1:3.5 Asahi Opt. Co. (it`s propably radioactive lens like an Voigtlander APO or Industar 61 L/D but I am not sure) It`s a very light tele lens – just only 310 g. Perfect for travelers! In combination with my light SONY α7C my neck feel good! Full frame SONY α7C 509 g + SMC Takumar 135 mm 310 g + K&F Koncept Adapter Pro m42-Emount 100 g = 919 g. Below 1 kg! As a traveler I`m in heaven! 🙂

  57. Phillip, How do you manage using IBIS with the vintage zoom lenses? Do you manually go in and change the focal length every time you zoom in or out?

  58. Fantastic useful thanks. I’ve been enjoying limiting myself to a 45mm 2.8 Zeiss tessar pancake lens after selling my set of DSLR samyang prime lenses. Fun but was looking for a zoom giving me some flexibility, excited to be receiving my Minolta 35-70mm this week thanks to your recommendation. 😀

  59. Great blog! Thanks for sharing!
    Now in 2021 these lenses are no longer affordable. You got to double or triple the prices.

    1. Depends on the lens. Depends on the brand. Depends on the patience of the buyer…
      Some models that were dirty cheap, like the various Helios-44 variants, are much more expensive today, but still affordable.
      The testers who write on this site have preferences, so they have gone more in depth with certain brands than with others. That’s appreciable, cause it’s better to provide reliable info about a couple of brands, than giving sparse and generic advices on all the vintage lenses ever made for the 35mm format. Definitely you cannot be knowledgeable about everything, it’s too large a field!
      For those who want to experiment with good, inexpensive lenses made by other brands, I have a couple of advices.
      Some Pentax lenses are both cheap and quite good. It seems that the Takumars almost always fetch higher prices than the corresponding versions with PK mount. That’s kind of crazy. The only reason why fast_to_mount, multicoated (and often more modern) SMC Pentax lenses cost less than their Takumar counterparts is one and only one: Internet hype weights more than plain old common sense. If you happen to use a different adapter for any adapted lens, or if you don’t mind screwing and unscrewing the lens any time you change the optic, at least go for the Super-Multi-Coated Takumars. The legendary Pentax build quality is at its top and the lenses have a quality multicoating. Other way go for the first generation of the lenses with the PK bayonet. Most Pentax-M are not great, and the best Pentax-A are quite expensive.
      Until I used either a Pentax full frame or m4/3 cameras I mostly used M42 and PK for the former, and Leica M or M39 for the latter. Now I also have a Sony Alpha 7II, bought for the specific purpose to adapt other kind/brands of lenses. Apart from some astounding cinema projection lenses (that have no iris and need a focusing helicoid), I found that Konica Hexanon (AR mount) and X-Fujinon (with EBC coating and old Fujica X mount) lenses often have an exceptional price/performance ratio. I just bought for a great price a Konica Hexanon 3.2/135mm, which is one of the best 135mm of medium speed, and a german copy of the X-Fujinon 1.2/50mm, which is among the very best super fast (non-aspheric) “normal” lenses ever made for 35mm film cameras. I got the two of them for less than two hundreds… but, as I already sais, you got to be patient!

  60. I have lens of Leica T camera (Vario-Elmar 18x56mm ASPH), want to shoot with Sony7C. Please show me to buy adapter. Thank you very much.

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