All posts by Phillip Reeve

I like to be outside with my camera and I am also a gear head with a love for manual lenses.

Best Sony FE Landscape Lenses for the poor Student

User Characterization: You are a Sony a7 series user enthusiastic about landscape photography but you work on a very limited budget. You look for lenses with a great bang for the buck ratio and good characteristics for landscape photography.

In this post I give you my top picks and a few alternatives for affordable landscape lenses. These where my criteria for this list:

  • Very good across the frame sharpness at smaller apertures like f/8 or f/11.
  • High contrast and good flare resistance.
  • Lenses should be less than $200.
  • I see manual focus lenses as preferable for landscape photography.
  • I would like to have nice sunstars but at this budget this is quite difficult if not impossible.
  • Small size is a bonus.

This is the fourth part of a series on the best landscape lenses for the Sony a7/a9 series in which we explore sets of landscape lenses for different user types.

Part 1: “Only the best is good enough”
Part 2: The light traveler and hiker
Part 3: The casual landscape photographer 

All links marked with * are affiliate links. If you buy a lens through them we will earn a small commission on your purchase without any additional cost to you. Thanks for your support 🙂

Wide

Top pick: Pentax K 3.5/28 | 261 g + adapter | $80-120

The very affordable Pentax is as sharp as good modern lenses at f/8 or f/11 and it maintains high contrast with good flare resistance which is rare for a legacy wide angle lens. Stopped down to f/14 it even draws a pleasant sunstar. But of course there is a catch: the Pentax is pretty rare and not easy to find. The best alternative I see is the more expensive Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 which isn’t better but more easily available.

Check availability on ebay.com* | ebay.de* | KEH* | adapter guide

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Looking at 2017 and 2018

As the end of the year is approaching fast I would like to take a look back and then another one forward.

The Team

Without question the most important change is that David joined the team. When David wrote his first review I immediately knew that it was a good idea to ask him for it since he offered a very experienced view on it and the other lenses he has reviewed since. He also enriches our constant behind the scenes discussions, only limited by a time difference of 10 hours.

Bastian has been the most active author on this blog in 2017. Among his reviews the Laowa 2/15, the Canon EF 1.8/200, Olympus OM 2/180 and the exotic MS-Optics 2.4/135 stood out to me. He also explored the use of front filters with rangefinder lenses and did an epic 35mm comparison. He also made the interview with Mr. Li, the designer behind the Laowa 2/15 possible.

Jannik had less time because he had to care for his young son but his review of the GM 2.8/24-70, the a7II vs a6500 comparison and FE 1.8/85 review were among our most popular articles in 2017. Also mentioned should be his epic GM 1.4/85 vs FE 1.8/85 comparison. Lately he has invested in a Nikon DSLR kit to keep up with his young one after trying the Fuji X-T2.

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Review: Minolta MD 28mm 1:2

Released in 1981 the Minolta MD 28mm 1:2 is Minoltas joungest manual 28 mm lens. In this review I test it on the a7II to see how relevant it is today.

Specifications

Diameter 64 mm
Length 50 mm
Filter Thread 49 mm
Weight 265 g
Max. Magnification 1:8
Close Focusing Distance from the sensor 0.3 m
Number of aperture blades 6
Elements/ Groups 9/9
The Minolta MD 28mm 1:2 usually sells for around $200 used at ebay.com or around 200 at ebay.de (affiliate links). 

Image Samples

You can find most of the images in this review and more in full resolution in this Minolta MD 2/28 flickr set.

Continue reading Review: Minolta MD 28mm 1:2