Lens Choice for 35mm, vintage pref

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by sharan_jay, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. Hi Experts
    I need some advice on narrowing down my choice to shortlist the 35mm lenses to use on my Sony NEX 5n camera. Currently I am focused on getting one of the old lenses which are manual focus & will allow me to use manual or Aperture mode with the lens. So far below listed ones I have shortlisted for this choice. Please reply with your expert knowledge as to which is better choice amongst this & if there is another brand that I should consider for which I am not aware of. Here are the preferences:
    1. Nikkor Ai-S 35mm f 2.0
    2. Voigtlander 35mm F/2.5 Color-Skopar MC ( Type C )
    Price constraints less than $300 US & aperture bigger than or f 2.8. Thanks you..
  2. The NEX 5n has an APS-C sized sensor, which has a cropping factor of 1.5x. A 35 mm lens on the Nex has the field of view of a 50 mm "normal" lens on a full-frame camera or film. There's nothing wrong with a "normal" lens, but more people seem to prefer the equivalent of a 35 mm "wide angle" lens for casual or street photography. In that case, you would be looking for a 24 mm lens.
    You have a lot more choices among used Nikon SLR lenses than Voigtlander. The adapter is a little large, but in all, Nikon prime SLR lenses are easy to carry and use on a mirrorless camera. With the long backfocus distance, short SLR lenses are also less likely to vignette or cause color shifts on the NEX.
    You don't need to limit yourself to AIS lenses. Autofocus lenses with an aperture setting ring work pretty well too, especially with focus peaking and magnification features. G lenses work with some adapters, but you can only guess what the aperture setting is. The focusing ring on AF lenses tends to be free turning with a short (90 deg or less) throw, but I have no trouble using them on my Sony A7.
  3. Canon FDn (new) 35mm f/2. Sharp, fast, compact, affordable. I always recommend the newer bayonet mount FDn line for digital camera use, though the older Canon breech mount (silver locking ring) FD, and even earlier FL lenses have fans. The newer FD ones (silver locking button) are lighter in weight, computer designed, have best coatings and used lighter material in construction. Plus, they simply are newer and your chances of finding one in good condition are better than lenses that are far older.
  4. You won't get a vintage look from the Color-Skopar - it's a great lens but has a modern, contrasty rendering.
    A few I can suggest from personal experience (albeit on film cameras) are the Russian Jupiter-12 (35mm f/2.8, a copy of the old Zeiss Biogon - extends deep into the body so check that it can mount without hitting any of your camera's internals), the Pentax 35mm f/2 (either screw- or K-mount), the Zeiss Jena 35mm f/2.4 Flektogon (if you can find one for reasonable money), and the Vivitar 35mm f/1.9 (available in most of the classic SLR mounts, so shop around and you should be able to pick up a bargain).
  5. SCL


    I use the VC often on my mirrorless body, but as stated above,,,on film or digital it doesn't render a "vintage" look - it is sharp and contrasty. I also use the FDn Canon 28/2.0 and, my favorite, the Nikon Ai-s 28/2.8. Not sure what you are shooting, but I find the 28mm focal length more "natural" on mirrorless bodies than the 35, which is a bit long for much of my interests. I'd rather switch between a 28 and 50 when I need a longer fl.
  6. Olympus Zuiko 35mm f/2.8 or the 35mm f/2 will do the trick for you. The f/2 might be a bit above your price but I got one with perfect optics and a battered barrel for $150. It looks rough but performs great.
    Also, I used a Vivitar 35mm f/2.8 fixed mount for OM for years and it is a very nice lens. You can find one for $50 or less in Canon FD, Nikon F, Minolta MD, Olympus, Konica, Pentax K, and Pentax M42 mounts. The one I used had "52mm" (filter size) engraved on the front ring like this one:
    Good luck!
  7. I use pre-AI Nikkors on my Nexs' and Grays of Westminster in London have quite a few 35mms it seems, including some PC ones for reasonable prices. There are so many of all makes and it's what you like the look of though!
  8. I've used them both and, for a small mirrorless camera, the Color Skopar would be my choice for its smaller size and lighter weight. Not that the Nikkor is a bad lens as I'd still have one if I were shooting Nikon exclusively.
  9. Thank You to all of you for all this information. Appreciate it. I purchased Carl Zeiss Jenna. With first few exposures I took, its pretty easy to handle & prize to use but I see bit of blue cast which is apparently character of the optics for this lens. Anyone's experience with this lens?

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