Our E-mount Wishlist: Slower or Less Perfect Lenses

Lens design, like clothing, is subject to the whims of fashion. These fashions dictate what tradeoffs the designers make. Every lens is a trade-off between many characteristics. The more important ones are in our eyes: speed, sharpness, price, size, weight, bokeh, chromatic aberration, distortion and vignetting.

The currently fashionable tradeoff that  Sony and most others adopt emphasises  performance and bokeh at the expense of  the size of lenses. The Sony FE 1.4/50 ZA or 2.8/24-70 are good examples of that. These lenses are certainly good tools for some applications where only their excellent image quality matters and their significant size and weight does not. Our point  is that a great lens does little good if it is so heavy that you leave it at home because of its weight. So we would argue that probably most photographers would get better results with lenses which are a little slower or a little less perfect but in their bag and not left at home.

Manufacturers focus their resources on faster, bigger and better  lenses, which of course makes perfect commercial sense. The pity of it is that this comes at the cost of less fashionable lenses which many of us would probably enjoy more. This article is about kinds of (older) lenses that we see as inspiration for lenses we would love to see made in E-mount but with the best technology available today. By accepting a few minor tradeoffs, rather than just trying to give the photographer performance and speed bragging rights, lenses can be significantly smaller. Sometimes that tradeoff might be speed only, sometimes a little peripheral performance at wide apertures might be traded off for handling.

Before we go any further: we are not talking about simply copying old ‘classic’ lenses (maybe with minor improvements) and launching them on kickstarter. We want as good performance as possible within the constraints of a reasonable budget and size. We are talking about types of lenses which aren’t now being made in E-mount, and which—with the benefit of modern design, materials and electronic contacts —could be a huge asset to our photography. Comfort certainly plays a role as well: Not having to think about an adapter and having exif simply makes life easier.

We’ll start by giving some examples where we think makers have found a good balance between handling and performance. Then we’ll get down to business: we’ll discuss the older lenses that have no modern equivalent, and should have.

Positive Examples 1: Trading off Speed Only

Zeiss Loxia Distagon T* 2.8/21You won’t find a better 21 mm lens. The Loxia is a good as any of the fast behemoths, but is smaller partly because it has traded off speed, and partly because of the mirrorless size advantage for wide-angle lenses. More of this kind please!

Zeiss Batis Apo Sonnar 2.8/135: Heavier than a classic 2.8/135; but much lighter than a modern 2/135 this is another lens that gives you a far more usable form factor than the big iron, and thus allows you to shoot an optic that is about as perfect as can be made, and still take it with you most places.

Positive Examples 2: Trading off a little bit of performance.

Laowa 2/15: With this lens there is not really much you are giving up in terms of performance. Vignetting stopped down is higher compared to bigger lenses and the peripheral resolution near the crazy minimum focus distance is a bit lacking, but that’s about it. So in the end a very versatile, still reasonably sized lens with few compromises. More like this please but with exif and 10 aperture blades!

Voigtländer Nokton Aspherical 1.2/40 Is another great example. It’s not sharp in the periphery at widest apertures, but is very usable in a decent size central area even wide open. It’s superb stopped down. The result is a compelling compromise at just 400 g. To make it state of the art at every aperture and every distance and every place in the field would take something four times the weight at least, and four times the price. But this great little lens can give state of the art results stopped down, and some glorious bokeh and sharp central results wide open.

Sony FE 1.8/55 is another nice example. As sharp as its big brother the Otus 1.4/55 yet it weights less than a third of that. There are a few tradeoffs: it has quite a bit of LoCA and not quite as much global contrast. But the contrast is easily fixed in post and and the LoCa can be usually fixed. Result: a small lens you can take anywhere which can give you state of the art results, and is sharp enough wide open that it’s sharper than most faster lenses stopped down a bit.

The Sony FE 1.8/85 is a part of the budget line without any fancy badges. The great thing about the lens is that the performance is pretty awesome for the size and price. There is a some purple fringing wide open, the close focus sharpness could be a little better and the bokeh is not as fancy as the bokeh of the Sony 1.4/85 GM but the performance is otherwise quite spectacular and not as budget-like as the price implies.  Interestingly, some usually electronically corrected properties like vignetting and distortion are well corrected or even absent.

Our Wish List

Smaller Tele Primes

The 2.8 70-200 zoom has killed the moderately fast prime. But what that means is that for the weight and haptics conscious photographer there is a problem. If you don’t want to carry up to 1.5kg of zoom around, you can’t have much speed at any of these focal lengths. The Batis 135 has made things much better. At least we can have a lighter 135. But what of the other focal lengths?

Canon EF 200mm f2.8 L II This lens adapts nicely to Sony, but it shows it’s age of 25 years in some ways. It’s not as good as a native lens at AF, especially tracking, and that’s one of the things you might want a 2.8/200 for. While it’s not as sharp wide open as the best modern lenses, it easily beats a FE 4/70-200. We think a modern remake could fix these issues without becoming significantly heavier. Sony G please; not GM or plain Sony! Batis would be good, but heavier and pricier we fear…

OM Zuiko 2/100 (and all the others): A 2/100 lens can be a great compact fast tele companion. But where are the modern ones? The makers think you must either use a super fast one (perhaps one of many 1.4/85s, or the Nikon 1.4/105) or a slightly slower, and much heavier, zoom. People adapt the Canon 100mm f2 and it only weighs 475g with AF! Maybe it would get to 600g in a modern redesign, but if you allow a little outer field blur at wide apertures, and have it otherwise sharp, contrasty, and colour corrected we think such a lens could be kept in the same league for handling as the classics, and be much better.

Lenses with Phase Fresnel elements: While we see a real size advantage in the wide angle designs for cameras with short flange distance, the tele offerings for Sony are as large as the competition or even larger. It is quite a big riddle why nobody offers a native lens with phase fresnel elements for Sony cameras, nothing would suit the small bodies better than that. The first iterations of the technology had their flaws but the Nikon 4/300 PF VR is a very good example how useful lenses with this technology can be. Nikon managed to tame the bokeh of the lens. The biggest drawback is still the behavior when pointed at bright light sources.

Slower No Compromise Lenses

Sometimes landscape photographers go on very long hikes with their gear. They don’t need a fast lens but they do want a great one. But there are very few alternatives that aren’t quite old. Here are three that people use with good results but where a modern lens of the same specs could be much better still: state of the art.

Voigtlander 1.7/35: The Voigtlander is pretty much the ideal lens. It is very sharp across the frame from wide open with smooth bokeh and class leading flare resistance. Yet it is only 238 g. If you remake it in E-mount please improve the focus ring and modify the design to work well with the filter stack. Otherwise it is a prime example of a great small lens.

Zuiko 3.5/50 Macro (and others like it): These very small lenses can cover a really wide range of applications and would be a favorite for many landscape shooter. There is a lot to be said for a small, light macro lens with a beautiful smooth helicoid. And there is no such modern lens. The APO Lanthar 2/65 is faster, longer, and much heavier. We would be perfectly happy to have the optics of the often underestimated FE 2.8/50 macro in a small helicoid which only focuses down to 1:2. Shedding the annoying AF-drive should make the already light lens significantly smaller and would overcome its biggest drawback which is the focusing experience. Adding two or three aperture blades would also be very welcome.

Carl Zeiss ZM Tele-Tessar T*4/85  David us uses this as his main hiking tele landscape lens. It’s tiny, light, and superb, with great resolution and nice sunstars. But it could be even better: it could have a touch more contrast in backlight, it could have EXIF and native E mount connections. It could be a mini Loxia 2.4/85. But Zeiss seemingly couldn’t decide between a portable landscape lens and a manual portrait lens. We think there’s room for a smaller f4 version which has that (admittedly small) increment of extra quality the Loxia does. Hell, f4.5 if it keeps it tiny!

Leica Apo Telyt M 135mm f3.4 None of us have used it, but people we respect think it the best portable hiking medium tele. Despite this it is a very old design which is most notable in the lower contrast. Although it’s a good one, it’s not as good as the Apo Sonnar. A modern redesign, maybe even going to f4 to keep it compact, could be easily as good, while being easy to pack and state of the art. And if it’s not Leica who makes it, cheaper even than a second hand Apo Telyt.

Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 4/180 In some ways this is the most urgent. Two of the team use this as their prime landscape longer tele. But it’s age shows in small ways. It’s not very high contrast, and this is a little harder to fix in post than some lenses. And there’s a touch of astigmatism in the corners at infinity. Veiling flare can be a problem. Despite all this it remains as good as you can get at this focal length and in this format (and better than many modern zooms,  including the 4/70-200 FE G zoom). But a modern remake would be bliss! Dark blacks, ten blades, super crisp into the extreme corners. Cosina, you can do it!!

Smaller Lenses with a little compromise

The last section was for lenses that had no optical compromise, but were smaller by giving up speed.

But there’s something to be said for lenses that do have compromises in optical quality where it doesn’t matter for some purposes: like in the periphery at wide apertures.

Zeiss Loxia 2/35Again quite recent but with flaws. The Zeiss is an older Biogon design again modified from the ZM (all the other Loxias are modern designs). Stopped doen it works very well as a landscape lens with very high contrast and good sharpness. If is wide open where the design’s age shows with lower sharpness and at times harsh bokeh. So either make it perform very well from wide open or make it f/2.8 and smaller and more affordable.

Voigtlander 1.5/50This is a remarkably small lens for something so fast with rather pleasant bokeh. Of course it gives up some performance in the periphery to achieve this, it’s no Otus. But that’s not the problem: it’s that it doesn’t perform well on the unmodified Sony sensor. A modern version of this, optimised for Sony and maybe improved in other ways, would be very welcome.

Zeiss Loxia 2/50 You may think it strange to see this quite recent lens in this list. But really, the design is not that recent: it’s a small alteration of the Zeiss ZM Planar 2/50 from the mid 2000s: a simple double gauss. One of the best simple double gauss around; but no match for more modern efforts like the Apo Lanthar 65 or eyewateringly expensive Apo Summicron 2/50 which show smoother bokeh and better sharpness at wider apertures and no midzone dip stopped down. A new version in the same form factor with Apo Summicron or better performance ought be possible.

Contax G 2.8/90 This 240 g lens is tiny, especially compared to the 600 g Loxia 2.4/85. The Loxia is sharper but you need to print really large to see that difference. It is pretty annoying to adapt though. The point is that you can make a remarkably tiny 90mm lens if you make it f2.8, and you give up on just a little lateral CA and don’t try to set new sharpness records. Will anyone give us something like that?

Leica 1.4/21, 1.4/24, 1.4/28 In Leica land for many focal lengths you have the choice between moderately fast, great optical performance (f/2.5, Summarit), a bit faster and at least as good (f/2.0, Summicron) and super fast with slight optical compromises (f/1.4, Summilux). Zeiss and Voigtlander are now designing lenses for E-mount that are somewhat equivalent to the first two, but so far no one is making a super fast yet compact wide angle lens. Some of us would rather have a compact 1.4/28 with slight optical compromises than the huge beasts we are now dealing with. So far no manufacturer is making anything like this for E-mount.

Small 2x zoom lenses

Today zooms which start from 24mm are always 3x or more. This makes them rather large and costs performance. As said before: For landscape photography speed isn’t a priority but portability is and since historic 2x zoom lenses are quite good already we would love to see a few modern ones.

Minolta MD 3.5/35-70: I could also have taken the Zeiss 3.4/35-70 (has 8 aperture blades for nicer sun stars) as an example but both deliver prime like performance in a pretty small package so we would often prefer them over a prime for landscape photography. If you must make it f/4 to keep it really small please do and don’t forget the 10 or 12 straight aperture blades because sun star rendering will be more important than the bokeh stopped down in such a lens.

Minolta MD 4/75-150: The small Minolta beats a modern FE 4/70-200 over much of its range so we are pretty positive that a modern incarnation with some distortion (about we don’t care much for landscape photography) could deliver prime like performance with added flexibility and would be pretty popular with landscape photographers therefore.

2.8/28-45 Olympus once made a 4/28-48 zoom, but then like everyone else concentrated on making the zoom range larger rather than going for maximum quality over the shorter range. Given how good 2.8/24-70 lenses have become, we think it ought be possible to get f2.8 and prime like quality at every aperture on this less than 2x zoom, especially if we restrict the zoom range a little even compared to the Olympus.  And it should be able to retain a fairly compact format. What a lens that would be – a true box of primes giving you the crucial 28, 35 and normal perspectives, with decent speed in a package we’d happily leave on our cameras.

 

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The Team

The team, that are four gearheads: Bastian, Jannik and Phillip from Germany as well as David from Australia. All like to use manual lenses and have a passion for the outdoors. None the less they are specialized in different areas so they can provide you with a wider perspective.

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53 thoughts on “Our E-mount Wishlist: Slower or Less Perfect Lenses”

    1. You got it. This wish list is not for general photograhy. But very much for landscape photograpers.

      For my need there are enough light and not too fast optical compromise lenses available. Many Loxias, Voigtlaenders and others or a 35f2.8 are light. Their typically hard characteristics does not meet my taste too much and the ones I own do not go on photo tour with me anymore. I Strongly prefer a Batis or a even bigger Sony Zeiss Planar and do not mind about the 500g extra over a limited light but ‘hard’ lens as described here.

  1. Great article, thank you!
    One question though: I haven’t heard about this 28-45 Olympus zoom you mentioned… Probably you’ve been thinking about the 4/28-48 OM?

      1. But we did make a small typo that Cristian pointed out: we typed 45 (well, I typed) 45 for the Olympus long end when it was in fact 45 (and 45 is our wishlist length since it’s long enough for standard, and keeps the zoom range down)

  2. Nice article!
    I use the tiny 85mm 2.8 Sonnar HFT for the M42 mount as a walkaround short tele. It is with the adapter about 7 cm in total length. The lens is sharp and contrasty, only drawback for me is the amount of laca.

  3. Great article! Bring back a 200mm f2.8: I’d trade it with my current Minolta 200mm HS just to get rid of the LA-EA4 bump 🙂

  4. Hello. I like a lot the article and I like a lot the blog!

    I am not satisfied with the FE 55mm. It is very big for a f1.8 in my opinion. The hood is execrable (but this is a minor issue). I was looking for a replacement. I am very very positively impressed by VM 35mm. Nevertheless, after reading you I am now lost. I was doubting between Loxia and VM 50mm and I am afraid that I am going to be unsatisfied by both… Any suggestion on which one to try before? Maybe Sonnar 50 f1.5? or any other suggestion?

    About 85mm I am deceived about Sony FE 1.8/85 too. In my opinion, it is very sharp and not expensive, but it has, of course only in my opinion, wash out colors, low contrast and manufacturing according to its price. The hood is execrable IMO.

    It is very expensive, but I was thinking about a used Cron 90 Asph. Any experience with it? Non-Asph following the opinions already gathered in the blog should have a lesser optical performance, although manufacturing and handling must be superb. What about Batis 85? I acknowledge that ZM 85 attracts my curiosity a lot 🙂

    Regards and thanks for the post!

    1. The 1.8/55 is a bit bigger than other 1.8/50s, but it’s also much better than every other 1.8/50 I know of (unless the Leica Apo Sumicron 2/50 counts)
      It’s a completely different optical configuration which allows it to be used wide open and near wide open with good results. All the other 1.8s need stopping down to f2.8.
      I agree it can look a bit flat due to lower contrast: but that can be fixed in post.

      If you are unsatisfied with it, then stay away for Sonnar 1.5/50 which is even lower contrast, and is never very sharp. It’s very beautiful in many ways – I like it and use it – but it’s not high performance technically in any way.

      I think Batis is likely as good or better than Cron 90 Aspherical for much less money, but I have only used the cron very briefly so this is not an informed opinion.

      1. Yes I know the test.
        I recall it boils down to he likes the look of it, but it technically peforms well, but not quite as well as many of the alternatives.

    2. I have tested both Sony FE 85/1.8 and the Batis 85.
      In sharpness terms they are very, very similar, though the Batis is slightly better at close range than the Sony. In terms of colour and contrast, I think the Batis is quite a lot more contrasty and colourful. The Sony has more ghosting flare, the Batis more veiling. Also the Batis has a read-out distance scale, which can be useful in some circumstances. Better build too.

  5. hey!
    one lens that actually exists right now, that some people would consider to be one of the “SLOWER OR LESS PERFECT LENSES” is the voigtländer 40mm f2. is there a review planned?

    1. You mean the SL dslr lens?

      I used to have one, I don’t think any of the others has one but they might.

      We review lenses we are interested in or are evaluating (this blog is not for profit, and the occasional dollar from use of our links – for which we are very grateful – doesn’t even cover the costs of running the blog) so I doubt that anyone will. I might have, but my 40mm needs are met by the 1.2 now, a bit larger though it is.

      It’s a nice kens I agree. With very smooth bokeh…

      1. Thanks for your reply. Does the lens has the attractive voigtländer sun stars, although it only has 9 aperture blades?

        1. No. But it does have nice round bokeh balls stopped down, which is the benefit you get for giving up on crisp sunstars.
          One day we will write a piece on simple tech that would make lenses more usable at not huge extra cost. And a double aperture system: two closely spaced irises, one with 10 straight blades for sunstars, and another with 11 curved ones for smooth bokeh balls (obviously you would have to use one and open the other up) would make some lenses much more versatile…

    2. I use one since 10 years, and since 2012 on a Nikon D800,
      + great micro contrast , suberb colourrendering
      + 9 bladed diaphragm, nice sunstars
      + quite good flaring
      + despite compact size, suberb mechanics and ergonomics
      + sharp from f4 over the field, 35 mm Sigma Art is sharper but has less contrast.
      + CA very good
      – Coma at f2 and f2.8 at FX
      – no suitable for Infrared (hot spot converted d750)

      1. My impression of that lens is quite different, and I recently sold mine. I actually liked it on a D70s, less on the D600 and on the A7R2 the results are somewhat disappointing. Probably due to the increased field curvature caused by the thicker sensor stack, the edges need at least f/5.6. I also see quite strong lateral CA. Due to the rounded aperture, sunstars appear only well stopped down, if at all (a plus for me – I don’t like having a permanent star effect filter on the lens).

        I did some comparisons to the Hexanon 1.8/40 once, and the Voigtländer wasn’t that much better. Overall sharper and more contrast, but the Konica had better edges at wide apertures, and much lower lateral CA.

        Note that I’m referring to the older version of the Ultron – maybe the newer one modified for digital is a bit better in the edges. Still won’t be perfect on Sony as it was designed for the thinner sensor stacks of Nikon or Canon.

  6. I really like to use my Nikkor Micro AI 55mm f3.5 , sharp, high microcontrast at any distance , low flaring, compact and no loca or ca. on a 36Mpix D800. Only comment bokeh can be harsh… But the 90mm Tokina ATX does that job as well. This one should be added! even usefull for astro imho. A 90mm with a FLD lens to make it even more compact and get it to the apo level. The 40mm f2 Voiglander (SLR) is great too -microcontrast ultracompact.

    1. Since the list got a bit long we actually deleted two lenses but the Tokina would deserve a spot indeed since it is still manageable at 500g but very versatile: Macro, Portrait and Landscape. And as you say with current technology its weaknesses should be easy to overcome.

    2. Yes, the Micro-NIKKOR 55mm 3.5 is a beautiful lens! The colours, contrast, flare control, macro & infinity performance, build quality are all great! Only drawback for me is the amount of aperture blades.

    3. Yes as I said to the previous guy, the 2/40 CV SLR lens was a very nice optic (much nicer than the old1.4/40 M mount lens they made).

      So yes I agree: as much as I love the 1.2/40 a tiny 2/40 would be welcome as well (and could replace the 2.8/40 wit it’s clunky focus system that I currently use for a minimal lens)

  7. I am looking at the Contax G Sonar 90mm F2.8 for some time now.
    I’m tired of waiting for a modern replacement for it.
    The only thing holding me back right now are the flimsy adapters and the focusing experience.
    The only adapter worth having is the Techart, but they discontinued it.

  8. Nice article. I agree with most of it. However, when it comes to loxia 50 vs. the apo summicron, I don’t think there is such big difference. Do you have pointers to comparisons where the difference really shows? The one I remember from Steve Huff is not scientific, but it showed 100% crops that were indistinguishable.

    1. Sure they are indistinguishable over much of the range. Really good lenses usually are for all the hype. But there’s a bit of spherochomatism wide open on the Zeiss, and worse peripheral performance at f2 and f2.8. Sorry I can’t point to any crops: this is just from my own use a couple of years ago.
      I think that the apo summicron is about as good as the CV 2/65 (for much more money). And the CV is noticeably nicer than the Loxia f2-4. Pretty much indistinguishable after that!

  9. I love my FE35mm f/2.8
    It’s as tiny as it gets and its performance is marvelous.
    I also have Sigma ART adapted but it’s a whole different story.
    My only wish for FE35 is to get more beautiful aesthetics 😀 😀

    1. Yes I am thinking of getting it again (or maybe the Samyang clone) as a super light hiking lens. My previous copy suddenly developed skew: the whole left side went out of whack. So I sold it (for not much money with full disclosure of course). The word is that there’s not much the repair facilities can do, because the lens doesn’t have internal adjustments.

    2. I second the FE35mm f2.8.
      I had my first copy stolen and went out and bought a replacement the same day. I have to say, I was shocked that it didn’t make it into the Positive Examples portion of this article. I know Phillip thinks it’s overpriced, but it is the one lens I can’t live without because of how good it is optically, and it’s way smaller than the other AF lenses. Also, I’m pretty sure it is the fastest focusing FE lens.

      1. It can be great. I have two worries with it. One is sample variation and fragility. I finally found a good sample; but after a year the left side was suddenly unsharp and I don’t think I dropped it or anything. The other thing is that it’s not attractive with the sun in the frame, you get a bit of a blob. But for all that you are quite right. It’s very sharp wide open, and sharp across the frame at smaller apertures. And extremely light. I guess it’s in the direction I’d like, but I’d like upgrades to flare control, aperture blades, and reliability. And, to be honest, as an f2.8 lens I’d prefer a manual focus lens (I prefer AF for super fast lenses so as to use eyeAF). But that’s just a matter of taste.

  10. I’d love a Loxia Distagon 28. I don’t mind the FE 28 but distortion is pretty bad and the build quality isn’t very good. I’d love a 10 bladed Distagon of a similar size (tad heavier probably with better build quality) and a little less distortion. If it’s F2 I’d be fine with corners being a little soft wide open but would prefer sharp corners by F4. If it’s 2.8 I’d like corners to be pretty sharp from the get go.

    1. I too would love that. I prefer to use the ZF-I 28mm at the moment, and that sucker is very big and heavy. A Loxia (with even better performance and 10 blades) would be welcome…

  11. I’d love a 45 or 50 at F2 or even 2.8 .. Since you mentioned the Contax G 90/f2.8, the Contax G 45/2 would be a nice one. Native FE, with autofocus, better coatings, 7-9 blades, and a proper focusing ring instead of the fiddly focus by wire 🙁

  12. I agree, lenses still missing:
    1. Loxia 3.5 24-45 zoom
    2. Loxia 3.5 65-105 macro zoom
    3. Loxia 2.0 28
    4. Loxia 3.5 100 macro
    5. Mini Loxia 3.5 28
    6. Mini Loxia 3.5 35
    7. Mini Loxia 3.5 50
    8. Bokeh Batis 2.0 100 APO

    :D:D:D:D:D

  13. Hi Phillip, if you would like to test the the Leica 135 Apo I could lend it to you for a couple of weeks. Since I have the Batis 135mm I don’t really use it anymore. Resolution and colors are quite good, just the contrast is a bit lower compared to the Zeiss Options.

    Boris

  14. I would add the Sony FE 28 f2.0 to the list of small nice lenses with good sharpness.
    On my wishlist is a small Voigtländer 75f1.8 with the same 58mm filtersize as the 15 and 40.

  15. I’d love to see the Zeiss 50 1.5 C-Sonnar released as a Loxia lens. I’m surprised, that this hasn’t been requested more often.
    Also, the Voigtlaender 28 2.0 Ultron (with improved quality) would be a great addition. In general, I’d love to see more 28mm lenses (faster and slower lenses), but better quality than Sony’s 28FE.

  16. The premise of your article was spot on–Sony (and the third-party manufacturers) need to think “smaller and lighter”.

    As someone who likes “hoofing it” on his own two feet, I welcome this article and heartily applaud your thoughtful commentary on all the lenses profiled.

    BTW, I’m still loving that Batis 135; it is superlative.

    1. Sure you can go M43 for small size. For number of years I used M43 for hiking (and a FF DSLR for the rest). But Some of us want the advantages of full frame with some of the size advantage of M43. And the thing is with slower FF lenses, the system can approach the portability of M43 with the IQ advantages of FF. Consider the surprising little Samyang 2.8/35 for Sony. The thing weighs 80g; it has the DOF equivalence of a 17mm f1.4 on M43 and the *system* resolution exceeds what you can achieve with M43 17mm lenses, even ones whose *per area* resolution is higher.

    2. Yes, I want small and light lenses. The MFT system has indeed some interesting small lenses of which I would love to have an equivalent in our system. I am thinking of lenses like the 1.8/75 (3.6/150), 1.8/25 (3.6/50), 1.8/45 (3.6/90), 2.8/12-40 (5.6/24-80) or 2.8/60 Macro (5.6/120). I would only call the 1.8/75 an excellent lens but the others fit quite well into our description of what a good compromise is.

      But I wouldn’t want to limit myself to small and light lenses. For some applications I want faster glass and the weight is much less of an issue there. And here I would be ill served by the MFT system.

      There are a few f/1.2 lenses in the MFT system but these are equivalent to f/2.4 lenses in FF which I wouldn’t call a fast lens and even then they are far from small and affordable since it seems to require quite a bit more effort to make a f/1.2 lens for MFT than a f/2.4 lens for FF so these are not small, not affordable and not fst by FF standards.

      Apart from that I often bring the sensor of my Sony to its limits so I am pretty sure that a smaller sensor wouldn’t work well for me.

      1. That’s the reason I’ve personally cut back on my m43 gear. It’s more expensive once you start stretching for more sdof, need hybrid AF or itch for higher resolution. There are a few gems in addition to the 75 though. I’d add the fisheye pro and leica panny 42.5 1.2 which has come down slightly with the release of Oly’s 45mm pro.

        Admittedly, I often struggle to see a meaningful difference outside the above if you aren’t going above 24MP and thusfar, haven’t tried or owned a Sony camera as well executed as Olympus’ E-m1 series….some of which is personal preference. I have yet to use any classic 150’ish lens that is as good as the 75 is wide open at a respective 3.5 equiv. Sony could cut more into Oly’s market share though if they’d release some of the lenses mentioned in this article…in addition to a sub 2k a7III without the battery issues and hybrid AF. People definetly cross shop, IMO. I know I have.

  17. My wish list of small FE lenses (although I do not shoot Sony A7 series anymore.):
    35mm F1.8 or F2.0
    stand alone 28mm F2.0 (current convertible is ugly.)
    21mm F2.8 or F4.0
    28mm – 85mm F4-F6 (inspired by Fuji 18-55mm F2.8-F4.0)
    70mm-200mm F5-F7 (inspired by Fuji 55-200mm F3.5-F4.8)
    I am shoot Fuji now, mainly for the reason of their line up of good small lenses.

  18. Again very good article, as usual! Thanks.
    Think I would buy a Bâtis 54mm f1.8 or f2. Small, modern, good quality glass.
    54mm? Well something between 50 & 60mm.
    Abram,France

  19. Thanks for the nice article!
    I’m thinking about the impossible trinity(originally from macro economics) of the glasses recently. You can’t get all 3 of these ; 1. Lens with no aberrations, 2. Lens with great handling like light compact packaging, 3. Lens with good expression like
    fast aperture or smooth bokeh. Every lens only can get full 2 at maximum or a little bit of 3.
    Anyway I prefer good handling lens with good IQ. So I ended up with M43. But I was thinking about the whole camera system with this, like Fuji X-100F or Sony RX 1. But since I’ve read your articles, I’m totally into the vintage MF lenses with Sony A7 series. Thanks for your articles.

  20. 20-40mm. That would be my ultimate cityscape / street lens. 24mm is just now wide enough. 35mm is still a bit wide with distortion.

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