Since the introduction of mirrorless camera with shorter flange focal distances the usage of vintage lenses grew rapidly. With full frame bodies like the Sony A7R II or newer with 42 or 61 megapixel, it is interesting to know whether those lenses are still usable on those cameras and can be a cheap alternative for the manually focussing photographers out there.
Sigma now offers the DSLR designs 35mm 1.4 Art and 40mm 1.4 Art and the newly designed 35mm 1.2 Art for Sony E-mount cameras. Let us find out what the differences between those 3 are and if there is a reason to get one of the bigger, heavier and more expensive lenses.
Shoot out: SMC Pentax-M 135mm f/3.5 vs. Canon nFD 135mm f/3.5 vs. Panagor PMC auto tele 135mm f/2.8
In my search for a compact but good budget telelens I came across the SMC Pentax-M 135mm f3.5 and the Canon newFD 135mm f/3.5. Later, I also found a Panagor PMC auto tele 135mm f/2.8 in Canon FD mount. These lenses are cheap, light, and small, but how do they perform?
Disclaimer: I only tested one sample of the Canon and Panagor, and two samples of the Pentax. Since these lenses are old there might be more sample variation than usual, other samples might perform slightly better or worse. Both Pentax samples displayed similar performance.
We summarize our experience with all the native E-mount and a few (manual) legacy lenses in the 10-20mm bracket to give you a compact and independent resource for choosing the right super- to ultra-wide-angle lens for your Sony a7 cameras. In this summary we also included some adapted lenses we think are worth mentioning.
We have no association with any lens 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 new from retail stores or on on the used 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.
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Last update: February 2019
Laowa 4.5-5.6/10-18 FE C-Dreamer
Status: Sample loaned by the manufacturer reviewed by Bastian who is still undecided whether he prefers this over the 10mm Voigtlander.
super compact (similar in size to Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8) and even slightly wider than the 10mm Voigtlander
contrast and resolution are never great, needs stopping down to f/8 to f/11 for okay corner sharpness
flare resistance worse than the wide Voigtlander primes, very nice sunstars thanks to 5 straight aperture blades
complex distortion and high vignetting, hard to correct because of missing electronic contacs
Widest rectilinear (zoom) lens available in a very compact package, but takes some work in post for good results
Most rangefinder lenses used on a Sony a7 series camera show some serious issues because of the rather thick filter stack in front of the sensor. There are two ways to deal with this. We have previously discussed the use of front filters to counter the induced field curvature. In this article Sebboh reviews another solution.
This is an extended use review of the Kolari Ultra Thin (UT, also sometimes referred to as version 4) sensor stack modification on a Sony A7. This modification removes the AA filter and IR cut filter from a stock Sony camera and replaces it with an ultra thin 0.2mm thick IR cut filter in order to attempt to provide similar levels of performance to the Leica M9 in dealing with the steep ray angles often produced by rangefinder lenses designed for film. I have shot a UT modified Sony A7 for 6 months now and can confirm that it dramatically improves performance with certain lenses (big thanks to Nehemiah for letting me use his lenses and cameras for the comparisons shown here). I will try to outline what kind of improvements can be expected here and what drawbacks there are to getting the conversion done.