We summarize our experience with all the native E-mount and a few manual lenses in the 20-35mm bracket to give you a compact resource for choosing the right wide-angle 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.
If we have left any question unanswered please leave a comment and we will do our best to answer it.
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.
In todays post I compare two super fast lenses from the late 60’s. The Minolta MC 1.2/58 is a legend and priced as such while the Canon isn’t to popular and one of the most affordable f/1.2 lenses out there.
The following three images are processed with identical settings.
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!
Filter Thread: 55mm
Max. Magnification : 1:2
Close Focusing Distance (from the sensor/from the front of the lens): 45cm /27cm
Number of aperture blades: 6
Elements/ Groups: 5/4
Price: (February 2015): 90-150€ in good condition at ebay.de or $110-170 at ebay.com (affiliate links)
i want to thank Marc for borrowing me the lens to write this review!
In this comparison I want to compare two very different lenses.
TheMinolta MC Rokkor-PF 55mm 1:1.7 was introduced in 1968 and it was always an affordable lens. Today it usually sells for around $20 at ebay.com (affiliate link).
I like it because it has very nice bokeh, the nice focusing feel and the small size. I is not one of my sharpest manual lenses, the Canon FD 1.4/50 for example is noticeably sharper but it has very nice character, not far away from the much heavier and more expensive Minolta MC 1.2/58.
The Sony FE 1.8/55 ZA was introduced 45 years later in 2013 and it costs around $1000 or 50 times as much as the Minolta. It has received very positive reviews and is considered to be one of the best normal lenses available today.
The question I try to answer with this test is: How different are the results I can expect from the lenses? I will look at smaller images optimized for the web but also at 100% crops to judge print quality.
All images are developed from raw and I used a tripod unless I mention otherwise. Please click on them to see them in full size (1500px wide).
Scene 1: Bokeh and Sharpness in the center wide open
The same settings applied to the image taken with the Minolta 1.7/55