Home · Register · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username  

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Sony Forum | Join Upload & Sell

1
       2       3       end
  

122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned

  
 
MikeEvangelist
Online
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned
From @MikeEvangelist

Since switching to full-frame digital in 2011, Iíve bought, used and sold a wide variety of lenses, both native and adapted, searching for just the right combination of range, performance, size and handling. I didnít realize just how many until this week when I made a Lightroom catalog to gather all the Ďfor saleí images Iíve shot when selling some of them.

The tally? 122 lenses, bought/sold since 2011. (plus probably a dozen that I forgot about or returned almost immediately due to unexpected limitations or poor performance). The vast majority were for use on Sony full-frame cameras, after brief periods with Leica M9 & 240 and Nikon D800e. I currently have/use 9 lenses.

Iíve had much fun and learned a lot on this journey.

Expensive Lessons Iíve Paid For, So You Donít Have To

First and foremost - Itís a foolís game, constantly chasing after perfection. Nearly all modern full-frame lenses, from all manufacturers, can produce excellent images.

Second, I learned that although I really want/love fast lenses, I generally donít want to carry them, or pay for them.

A few other observations

* Zeiss lenses really are special. (Iím not talking about Sony/Zeiss, but actual Zeiss-branded lenses) They are reliably excellent. (But I sure wish they still made zooms for still cameras)
* As a sub-point to that - when manual focus is appropriate, the performance and handling of the Loxia lenses is unmatched.
* Voigtlander lenses are similarly well made and also extremely gratifying to use.
* Leica lenses, while very well built and certainly made from top quality materials, donít perform any/significantly better than the top glass from Sony/Nikon/Canon/Zeiss (but confirmation bias and placebo effect often make them seem superior, especially in the honeymoon period shortly after purchase)
* Many lenses that I originally considered to be superb, turn out to be mediocre-to-merely-good when compared to modern equivalents. (one example - classic Nikkor 50mm É1.4 non-AI. Any of the modern nifty-50s put it to shame)
* Some of the later Minolta a-mount lenses are incredible performers, even today. Highlights being the 80-200mm É2.8 zoom, and the 200mm É2.8 HS.

Bottom Line
What really limits my satisfaction with any lens is my limited ability. Itís that simple.

Technique, skill and understanding your gear is at least 10 times more important to creating satisfying images than sharpness, centering, tilt, onion-ring bokeh, purple fringing or any other nit-picking specsmanship that dominate lens discussions these days. Buy what you can afford, learn how to use it, and have fun.



For the curious, hereís a Lightroom album with (almost) all the lenses Iíve owned during this period - https://adobe.ly/2qnFkJ6


Some Tidbits

The most expensive lenses Iíve owned
Leica 16-18-21 WATE - $4999
Leica 280mm É2.8 APO - $3499

The Most Amazing for the Price
Samyang 35mm É2.8 - bought for $220 - performs at a much higher level
Sony 24mm É1.4 GM - world-class performance and handling for a relatively modest price (an absolute bargain compared against the similarly performing Leica 24mm É1.4, which sells for about $6,000)

Most Disappointing Lens
Laowa 12mm É2.8 - extremely soft unless stopped down to at least 5.6 - far overpriced, in my view
Voigtlander 40mm É1.2 - Seems I maybe got a bad copy, but it was dreadful unless stopped down to É4, which of course negates the whole point of this lens. (EDIT - a number of members pointed out that it was certainly a bum copy, so I'm inclined to try it again. However, it doesn't currently fit in my line-up, or budget; maybe later.)

Most Re-purchased Lenses
Sony 28mm É2 - Iíve bought at least 3 of these, maybe 4. Keep trying, but it just doesnít click.
Zeiss 12mm Touit - Iíve had three of them - No longer shoot APS-C, so donít own one
Zess 50mm Loxia - Iím on my third one. All of them great and I regretted selling the earlier ones immediately.
Sony 70-200mm É4 G - Iíve had 3 so far. Excellent, under-rated lens. But I needed a faster zoom, so am currently trying the Canon 70-200mm IS II

All-time Favorite lenses - (they produced the most images that I like the most)
1. Sony 24mm É1.4 GM
2. Zeiss Loxia 50mm É2
3. Zeiss Touit 12mm É2.8
4. Sony/Zeiss 135mm É1.8 a-mount
5. Leica 28mm É2 Summicron





The Rogue's Gallery




Jan 17, 2019 at 02:36 PM
Fred Miranda
Offline
Admin
Upload & Sell: On
Registered: Dec 30, 2001
Total Posts: 39708
Country: United States
Featured Thread wins: 17 times
Received Likes: 62228





Due to the length of this thread, only recent posts are available here. Older posts can be viewed from the archive by clicking this link:

View older replies
darrellc
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


MikeEvangelist wrote:
LIKE plus 1000!


This is a great idea to explore and try to identify the common technical attributes of a lens that contribute to a great image. I fear that the discussion would be as wide ranging and ultimately unproductive as trying to come up with a list of great lenses.

Maybe it would work if constrained to exploration of one particular lens generally recognized as excellent. I'd love to see a breakdown of what makes my favorite lenses shine.

I took a different, subjective and wholly personal approach the other day and decided to make a list of all the good lenses I've had and simply break into "Like" and "Love". I've been on a path towards keeping only "Love" lenses along with a few lenses I need for convenience (like the 24-105, which is great but not "love") or for particular uses (like a Batis 135 which I need for kids sports and drama, as I rarely shoot tele). I'm not a pro, I just do this for enjoyment, so why not just use glass whose images I "love"?

Decided I loved the 24GM, VC 50/1.2 (and 40/1.2 before it), FE 50/1.4 ZA, RX1, ZM Sonnar 50/1.5, Panasonic Leica 25/1.4 and Olympus 25/1.2 Pro back in m4/3 days. Everything else was like. I know I would love the Sigma 35/1.2, the images consistently appeal to me, but I won't carry it for size. I also love almost every Loxia 85 pic I see, but I want AF most of the time at that focal length.



Jan 13, 2020 at 10:25 AM
trstahly
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


my list includes the Voigtlander 21 1.4 Nokton, 24GM, 50 1.4 ZA, 100 STF, Voightlander CV110, 135GM & 600GM. honorable menntion or just as easily could be in this list the 100-400GM is is pretty darn good.


Jan 13, 2020 at 10:33 AM
KarmaKramer
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


What....he....said.

AndrewNYC wrote:
It would be great to frame up the things that actually matter in a lens, that actually determine if a shot is successful (AF capability, ability to MF, maybe aperture as it related to getting a shot or not in low light) and exclude factors we tend to overanalyze and obsess over that in the end WOULD NOT make a great shot turn out bad, but have a more marginal impact that likely only the lens obsessed, or maybe the actual shooter would recognize (creaminess of boken, "leica look", words that are often added to rendering, or things like that.)
...Show more



Jan 13, 2020 at 10:41 AM
MikeEvangelist
Online
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


trstahly wrote:
my list includes the Voigtlander 21 1.4 Nokton, 24GM, 50 1.4 ZA, 100 STF, Voightlander CV110, 135GM & 600GM.


That is definitely a list of wonderful lenses. About as good as it gets.



Jan 13, 2020 at 10:42 AM
httivals
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


What's most interesting to me about the Sony system is that there are truly excellent lenses available from many different manufacturers and often several excellent choises at each focal length or for each zoom range - Sony, Voigtlander, Loxia, Batis, Sigma, not even including adapter lenses.


Jan 13, 2020 at 10:57 AM
Mister-Mr
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


pdmphoto wrote:
Every lens is a compromise. Camera too Just shoot it!


What a great meme !
.
Just shoot it !



Jan 13, 2020 at 10:58 AM
Sinasina
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


Finally some love for the Loxia 50.
The new Apo lanthar may be significantly better in the extreme corners wide open at infinity, but I prefer the oof & color rendering of the Loxia and I bought it brand new for 550EUR.



Jan 14, 2020 at 04:09 AM
rsrsrs
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned




* Zeiss lenses really are special. (Iím not talking about Sony/Zeiss, but actual Zeiss-branded lenses) They are reliably excellent. (But I sure wish they still made zooms for still cameras)


totally agree, i really miss the Contax N 24-85mm one of the best Lens ever built, of course the best zoom ever built, for me.



Jan 14, 2020 at 04:54 AM
wdshuck
Online
• •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


Same! I'm slightly tempted by the CV 50s, but I really enjoy my Loxia 50, especially at the price I paid.

Sinasina wrote:
Finally some love for the Loxia 50.
The new Apo lanthar may be significantly better in the extreme corners wide open at infinity, but I prefer the oof & color rendering of the Loxia and I bought it brand new for 550EUR.




Jan 14, 2020 at 06:47 AM
 


Search in Used Dept. 

k-h.a.w
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


Thanks for reviving this interesting one year old thread that I had not noticed before. I bought maybe about half the number of lenses that you did, but never sold one, just gave some with cameras to family members to keep. I have Leica M, R, V, Nikon F, Olympus MFT, Sony E, and Fuji GFX gear.

Back then the reason I got interested in Sony E and FE cameras was that I needed a camera to shoot my Leica R lenses with, that I had purchased just before the A7r was announced. What made the Sony E cameras so interesting to me was/is that one can - in addition to native E or FE lenses - also use adapted lenses of many different mounts. That feature became even more interesting with the ďexperimentalĒ TechArt Pro (TAP) autofocus adapter that can AF manual focus only lenses.

So after about half a decade of use of my Sony cameras (currently A9 and A7r.2) which lenses do I keep mainly using?

Well with the TAP I keep using Leica-R 80/1.4. WATE 16-18-21/4, Nikon Noct-Nikkor 58/1.2, Ai 50/1.2, Macro 55/2.8, and CV 15/4.5 ďChoppyĒ.

I also still use the first 2 FE lenses I got, namely 35/2.8 and 55/1.8. Other favorites are FE 90/2.8 Macro, 100-400/4.5-5.6, 400/2.8, and Batis 25/2.

In late 2018 I added the mMF Fuji GFX 50S with GF23, 32-64, 45, 110, 120 Macro, and 250. So I have no need to replicate the 135 film equivalents in Sony FE.

K-H.





Jan 14, 2020 at 09:21 AM
mdvaden
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


MikeEvangelist wrote:
It's been about a year since my original post, so thought I'd revisit the topic.

I'm up to 131 lenses* over the past 10 years. I'm (impatiently) waiting on number 132: the Sigma 24-70mm É2.8.



I find the topic interesting, although limited, due to each person's use, but the feedback is good to hear.

Recently I bought a Canon FD 300mm f/4 and adapted to the EOS R, it provides images as pleasing as most any lens I've tried from Canon or Zeiss -------- but in soft light --- and that was the intent for the use of that lens. It was only $80 and in like new condition. I got it for portraits and wedding couple shots, and for mild light conditions.

RE your OP .. I like Zeiss a lot.Recently I found that the new Canon RF 50mm 1.2 renders as good as the Zeiss Milvus I owned, except the RF 50mm has auto focus. The new RF 50 for general shooting is probably on par with an Otus 55mm for value (again, that's for general shooting).

It's been fun buying different brands to adapt recently, including Mamiya, Nikon, Leica and other. But by waiting for good deals on Ebay, the prices were good enough to recover every dollar while experimenting.

It may be worth closing with a note that used Canon 45mm and 90mm TS-E lenses were better than expected, for about $450 each.




Jan 18, 2020 at 07:14 PM
Frogfish
Online
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


One of the best measures I've heard of or seen is not which lenses you have that are technically considered superb, or unusual or have a great reputation .. but by looking through your own photographs and seeing which shots are *your favourites* regardless of their reputation.

I did this last night and today and I was shocked to say the least.

The FE55/1.8 which I sold because I didn't think I used it enough, has produced some of my very favourite shots, both in portraits and landscapes and tops my personal list.

Zeiss Loxia 21mm is in 2nd place. No surprise there.

Tamron 15-30/2.8 I took on some of my epic trips so it didn't surprise me at all that it was also in there. Superb lens.

Nikon 300.2.8 was an incredibly versatile lens for me in 4th.

The Pentax 77 Ltd (now I'm going back a long way to the 3 years I used Pentax) is an honourable mention in 5th but I didn't spend enough time with it to make Top 3.




Jan 19, 2020 at 04:48 AM
boshek
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned





holy crap, 122 lenses!!



Jan 19, 2020 at 09:40 PM
JohanEickmeyer
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


Frogfish wrote:
One of the best measures I've heard of or seen is not which lenses you have that are technically considered superb, or unusual or have a great reputation .. but by looking through your own photographs and seeing which shots are *your favourites* regardless of their reputation.

I did this last night and today and I was shocked to say the least.

The FE55/1.8 which I sold because I didn't think I used it enough, has produced some of my very favourite shots, both in portraits and landscapes and tops my personal list.

Zeiss Loxia 21mm is in 2nd place. No surprise there.

Tamron
...Show more

Very true.

Just today, I sent off some images that are bound to be published in a photo magazine showcase. The editor went through my collection and picked mostly shots taken with my Canon 60D and 10-22 EF-S. By today's standards that lens and camera are pretty crummy.

I think what stands out for those photos compared to my more expensive full frame gear, is that they were taken with little to no regard for camera safety, and the versatility of the articulating screen and zoom range of the lens also helped capture unique shots.



Jan 19, 2020 at 09:59 PM
waterden
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


Excellent thread and thanks to Mike for starting it. I have been particularly interested to read how many people value the Loxia 50/2 which I also think is excellent. Naturally, newer and better hype always raises questions, and there's been a lot of both with the CV50 APO and the CV50/1.2, but if you already have the Loxia ....?

Of course, as the old saw goes, it is not what you have but what you do with it . My personal rule has always been to go with a well-researched option for a given focal length and stay with it unless something considerably better comes along. Of course, this works better with established ranges like Canon EF but less so where the catalogue has been in the process of being built, like Sony FE. But the Sony range is now excellent so the choice is there. For me, in my early 70s, this should mean that a well-considered lens choice now should see me out.

There are other considerations. At my time of life AF is preferable to MF. This is an age-related thing. Also, I have learned over the years that retention value, or investment value if applicable, is always, always better if you buy the best you can afford, whether this be a Ferrari, Ch Cheval Blanc, or a lens. Never a camera! Occasionally, however, there are real brain-teasers, such as Batis 135/2.8 vs Zony 135/1.8. My strong suspicion is that the latter will turn out to be the better buy because, all things considered, it is the better lens.

All good fun!



Jan 20, 2020 at 03:31 PM
junglialoh
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


Excellent advising. I fully agree to MikeEvangelist
Thanks to your precious advice.



Jun 10, 2020 at 05:58 PM
philip_pj
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


'..time of life AF is preferable to MF.'

Understand. But the new breed of APO Voigtlanders and especially the 50/2 are very strong at the focal plane - wide open. The 50/2 has a very clear focus fall-off. These are the secret ingredients that make it the easiest to focus MF 50mm I've ever used. This is obvious even going from the VM 75/1.5.

ďUltra-high performance lenses...if the resolution is high, the focus will rise. The width of the in-focus area will also be narrowed." "People...said that it was a manual, but it was easy to adjust without any difficulty."



Jun 10, 2020 at 09:06 PM
MikeEvangelist
Online
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


MikeEvangelist wrote:
122 lenses, bought/sold since 2011...I currently have/use 9 lenses.


It's going on three years since my original post, so an update seemed appropriate. I still have a kit of 9 lenses (pictured below), but my total for the past 10 years has now passed 160. I've been doing a lot more shooting and this has helped me refine what I like and what I need.

All-time Favorite lenses - (they produced the most images that I like the most)

1. Sony 24mm É1.4 GM
2. Zeiss Loxia 50mm É2
3. Zeiss Touit 12mm É2.8
4. Sony/Zeiss 135mm É1.8 a-mount
5. Leica 28mm É2 Summicron


My favorites have changed since my original post. This is partly due to the requirements of a two-year documentary project that I've been doing. It's revealed weaknesses in my kit that weren't apparent with my prior, slower-paced, work.

Also, I have a new appreciation for the toll it takes on my body to carry a 15-20 pound bag around all day on location. I've worked to reduce size and weight where appropriate, and accept the limitations that go along with that. For example, I absolutely love the 135mm GM; but its speed advantage over the Batis 135mm isn't enough for me to put up with its extra weight and bulk.

So, here's my revamped Favorites list:

1. Sony 24mm É1.4 GM - sold this one when I got the 12-24GM, but that was a mistake. Incredible lens.

2. Sony 12-24mm É2.8 GM - astounding lens, but big and heavy. Recently replaced with the 14mm GM and 24mm GM.

3. Sony 135mm É1.8 GM - as good as they get, but ultimately lost out to the 135mm Batis

4. Sony Zeiss 50mm É1.4 - it's rather big/heavy, but the beauty of its rendering makes it worthwhile for me (I'm sure I'd prefer the 50mm GM, but sadly it's out of my budget/comfort zone)

5. Zeiss Batis 135mm É2.8 - no-compromise performance and a bargain on the used market (I paid ~$900)

As you can see, my list is dominated by GM lenses, which are uniformly fantastic. (If weight and price were less of an issue for me, the list would be all GM lenses.) And my love of the Zeiss 'special sauce' continues.

Bottom Line
What really limits my satisfaction with any lens is my limited ability. Itís that simple.


This is unchanged. The more I know my gear and the more I practice, the less important the comparative 'perfection' of different lenses becomes.





My Current Kit




Nov 17, 2021 at 10:27 AM
Alan Parker
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · 122 Lenses in 8 years - what I learned


MikeEvangelist wrote:
My favorites have changed since my original post. This is partly due to the requirements of a two-year documentary project that I've been doing. It's revealed weaknesses in my kit that weren't apparent with my prior, slower-paced, work.
Also, I have a new appreciation for the toll it takes on my body to carry a 15-20 pound bag around all day on location.


Thank you for the take and the update. I appreciate the perspective on some of the personal choice you make and stand by when it comes to gear.
Out of the lenses you currently have, which get taken along the most and which have to stay at home the most?



Nov 17, 2021 at 10:46 AM
1
       2       3       end






FM Forums | Sony Forum | Join Upload & Sell

1
       2       3       end
    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username      Reset password