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Minolta AF 50mm F/1.4 With K & F Concept A To E Mount Manual Adapter Vintage Lens Review

Minolta AF 50mm F/1.4 With K & F Concept A To E Mount Manual Adapter Vintage Lens Review

Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4
 

There are so many beautifully made lenses out there, no longer used because they are perhaps manual focus or belong to a camera system that is discontinued or out of favour. Many of them can be used though, either in their native form or via some sort of manual or even fully functional adapter. Here we look at a mint example of the Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4 lens, intended for the Minolta/Sony A mount, but for the purposes of this review used via an adapter on the Sony A7R III  42MP mirrorless body. This loses the AF, but let’s see if the lens remains a viable option and how it handles and performs.

 

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Minolta AF 50mm F/1.4 Handling and Features

Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4
 

Before we set off on our tour of the lens, first we need an adapter to use the SLR lens on a Sony mirrorless E mount camera. There is actually such a beast in existence, the Sony LA-EA4 AF adapter, but this is sadly discontinued. Examples could also set us back several hundred pounds on the second-hand market. Instead, the K&F Concept MAF-NEX manual adapter costs £34.99 from Amazon, is well made in metal and does the job, albeit without AF. We also lose the aperture control from the camera, but there is an unmarked aperture ring on the adapter that offers the appropriate apertures without markings. It is just necessary to count them off, but the job can be done. The adapter is well made and does not disgrace itself alongside the beautifully engineered Minolta lens.

On to the lens itself, which is metal and weighs in at just 235g. This version is the original Minolta f/1.4 AF lens that was available from 1985-1990. It can be identified by the red AF on the front ring and the red IR focusing index on the depth of field scale. Starting at the front of the lens, we have the conventional 49mm filter thread and a small pull out lens hood. The hood is a nice gesture, but really only a gesture as it is very fiddly to grip and pull out and so small that its effectiveness will be extremely limited. However, as it’s there it would seem rude not to use it, so it has been dutifully pulled into position every time.

There is a very thin manual focusing ring, not surprising as this is of course an AF lens. It is commendably smooth without being as slack as so many are. An excellent bit of engineering with just the right amount of resistance. Behind this is a clear plastic window that reveals the distance scale, marked clearly in feet (yellow) and metres (white). There is also a depth of field scale provided, including an Infra-Red index mark at the f/4 position. When using IR film the lens would be focused normally and then the focus ring moved to the IR mark to correct the focus point. Lenses of the day were not corrected for IR light, which would focus at a slightly different point to visible light.

Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4
 

Focusing is down to the expected 0.45m, or 1.5 feet. The optical construction is again traditional, being 7 elements in 6 groups. The diaphragm consists of 7 straight blades, so no attempt is made to consider bokeh, which was not a term familiar to photographers of the era.

When this lens was in use on the SLR cameras of its day the AF would have been the primary method of focusing, but if necessary it would have been manually focused using optical viewfinders, the best of which would use silver-coated pentaprisms. Less expensive bodies would use aluminium-coated pentaprisms, which would not be as bright. The point of focus would probably vary considerably with the amount of care the photographer used, the acuity of vision and whether or not any dioptre correction lenses were used on the viewfinder. This was before the days of built-in dioptre correction. So focusing was more of an issue at wider apertures in particular than many of us might have thought. Now, using this lens for manually focusing on the Sony A7R III proves an absolute breeze, providing the focusing magnification is used. If not, then accuracy can be poor, but taking the time and hitting the spot is the way to really very sharp and satisfying images.

Nail the focus and the lens is great to use, with a tremendous, quality feel to it that can be translated into fine images as well. Great fun.

 

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Minolta AF 50mm F/1.4 With K & F Concept A To E Mount Manual Adapter Vintage Lens Review

Minolta AF 50mm F/1.4 With K & F Concept A To E Mount Manual Adapter Vintage Lens Review

Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4
 

There are so many beautifully made lenses out there, no longer used because they are perhaps manual focus or belong to a camera system that is discontinued or out of favour. Many of them can be used though, either in their native form or via some sort of manual or even fully functional adapter. Here we look at a mint example of the Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4 lens, intended for the Minolta/Sony A mount, but for the purposes of this review used via an adapter on the Sony A7R III  42MP mirrorless body. This loses the AF, but let’s see if the lens remains a viable option and how it handles and performs.

 

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Minolta AF 50mm F/1.4 Handling and Features

Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4
 

Before we set off on our tour of the lens, first we need an adapter to use the SLR lens on a Sony mirrorless E mount camera. There is actually such a beast in existence, the Sony LA-EA4 AF adapter, but this is sadly discontinued. Examples could also set us back several hundred pounds on the second-hand market. Instead, the K&F Concept MAF-NEX manual adapter costs £34.99 from Amazon, is well made in metal and does the job, albeit without AF. We also lose the aperture control from the camera, but there is an unmarked aperture ring on the adapter that offers the appropriate apertures without markings. It is just necessary to count them off, but the job can be done. The adapter is well made and does not disgrace itself alongside the beautifully engineered Minolta lens.

On to the lens itself, which is metal and weighs in at just 235g. This version is the original Minolta f/1.4 AF lens that was available from 1985-1990. It can be identified by the red AF on the front ring and the red IR focusing index on the depth of field scale. Starting at the front of the lens, we have the conventional 49mm filter thread and a small pull out lens hood. The hood is a nice gesture, but really only a gesture as it is very fiddly to grip and pull out and so small that its effectiveness will be extremely limited. However, as it’s there it would seem rude not to use it, so it has been dutifully pulled into position every time.

There is a very thin manual focusing ring, not surprising as this is of course an AF lens. It is commendably smooth without being as slack as so many are. An excellent bit of engineering with just the right amount of resistance. Behind this is a clear plastic window that reveals the distance scale, marked clearly in feet (yellow) and metres (white). There is also a depth of field scale provided, including an Infra-Red index mark at the f/4 position. When using IR film the lens would be focused normally and then the focus ring moved to the IR mark to correct the focus point. Lenses of the day were not corrected for IR light, which would focus at a slightly different point to visible light.

Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4
 

Focusing is down to the expected 0.45m, or 1.5 feet. The optical construction is again traditional, being 7 elements in 6 groups. The diaphragm consists of 7 straight blades, so no attempt is made to consider bokeh, which was not a term familiar to photographers of the era.

When this lens was in use on the SLR cameras of its day the AF would have been the primary method of focusing, but if necessary it would have been manually focused using optical viewfinders, the best of which would use silver-coated pentaprisms. Less expensive bodies would use aluminium-coated pentaprisms, which would not be as bright. The point of focus would probably vary considerably with the amount of care the photographer used, the acuity of vision and whether or not any dioptre correction lenses were used on the viewfinder. This was before the days of built-in dioptre correction. So focusing was more of an issue at wider apertures in particular than many of us might have thought. Now, using this lens for manually focusing on the Sony A7R III proves an absolute breeze, providing the focusing magnification is used. If not, then accuracy can be poor, but taking the time and hitting the spot is the way to really very sharp and satisfying images.

Nail the focus and the lens is great to use, with a tremendous, quality feel to it that can be translated into fine images as well. Great fun.

 

Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates:
Amazon UK,
Amazon US,
Amazon CA,
ebay UK

It doesn’t cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

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New Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II Lens Price, Availability & Sample Photos

New Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II Lens Price, Availability & Sample Photos

Samyang AF 50mm F1 | 1/160 sec | f/13.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100
 

The Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II is an upgraded, 2nd generation version of Samyang’s first-ever AF lens – the Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE which was launched over 5 years ago. 

The new AF 50mm F1.4 FE II is a fast-aperture prime lens designed for Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras with full-frame and APS-C sensors. Currently, the Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II is the smallest and lightest among all the large-aperture standard 50mm focal length lenses compatible with the Sony FE mount.

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II Specs:

  • Length: 88.9mm
  • Weight: 420g
  • Angle of view: 45.7˚ on full-frame and 31.1˚ for APS-C sensors
  • 11 lens elements in 8 groups (including 2 ASP, 3 HR, and 1 ED)
  • 9 diaphragm blades
  • Features Samyang’s Linear STM (Stepping Motor)
  • Minimised focus breathing
  • Custom switch
  • 40cm minimum focus distance

 

Price & Availability: The suggested retail price will be £599 including VAT and the initial stock is due to arrive in early December 2021.

The Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II is the 4th new lens launched by Samyang in the last 3 weeks with the Samyang VDSLR 135mm T2.2 MK2Samyang AF 12mm f/2 X and Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE also arriving this month. 

 

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II  Sample Photos

AF 50mm F1 | 1/200 sec | f/6.3 | 50.0 mm | ISO 50
 

AF 50mm F1 | 1/160 sec | f/5.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 100
 

Samyang AF 50mm F1 | 1 sec | f/13.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 100
 

 

From Holden:

Samyang AF 50mm F1 | 1/160 sec | f/13.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100
 

Holdan, a specialist distributor to the professional video, broadcast and photography sector, has today announced Samyang’s updated and improved version of its first autofocus lens designed for Sony-E mount. It is exclusively distributed by them in the UK and Ireland.

 

Renewal of Samyang Optics’ first autofocus lens

Samyang Optics is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021 and has been marking the landmark occasion with the launch of several new lenses, including its first-ever Zoom (AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE) and now the new AF 50mm F1.4 FE II. This new lens is the 2nd generation of the original AF 50mm F1.4 FE, which itself was the first autofocus lens that Samyang released, back in 2016.

Originally a manual focus lens specialist, Samyang expanded its line-up to include autofocus models in 2016, with the AF 50mm F1.4 FE and AF 14mm F2.8 FE, whilst celebrating its 45th anniversary. After 5 years of in-depth research and communication with customers, Samyang is now meeting the demands of more photographers by launching the AF 50mm F1.4 FE II (second edition).

With lens standards constantly being updated, the Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II lens is set to be in huge demand. Although there are many similar focal lengths already on the market, Samyang has taken additional steps to innovate: The AF 50mm F1.4 FE II is the smallest and lightest among all the large-aperture standard 50mm focal length lenses compatible with the Sony FE mount.

 

Smallest & lightest large-aperture standard lens
The AF 50mm F1.4 FE II is the smallest (88.9mm in length) and lightest (420g in weight) among all the large-aperture standard 50mm focal length lenses compatible with the Sony FE mount.

Samyang AF 50mm F1 | 1/160 sec | f/13.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100
 

Excellent resolution in all areas of the image
The AF 50mm F1.4 FE II lens delivers a 45.7˚ angle of view on full-frame and 31.1˚ for APS-C sensors, as well as a bright maximum aperture of F1.4, as preferred by full-frame camera users. Optimum resolution is achieved through the advanced optical design, using 11 lens elements in 8 groups (including 2 ASP, 3 HR, and 1 ED). Combined with Sony’s full-frame image sensor, this lens delivers superior sharpness and contrast in all areas of the image.

 

Fast and quiet AF performance
Tracking the subject accurately and quickly, the AF also operates quietly and smoothly when shooting video. Samyang’s Linear STM (Stepping Motor) satisfies both photographers and videographers with quieter and more accurate control of the focusing lens groups.

 

Impressive background blur and bokeh with bright F1.4 aperture
The AF 50mm F1.4 FE II uses a large-diameter 9-bladed aperture to provide smooth background blur. It effectively separates the subject from the background, using a shallow depth of field and adding drama to the scene. The 9 diaphragm blades create smooth and natural bokeh with light splitting.

Samyang AF 50mm F1 | 1/160 sec | f/13.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100
 

Less breathing for video shooting
The AF 50mm F1.4 FE II has minimised focus breathing, so there is almost no change in the angle of view when focusing and therefore less screen shake. This is effective when shooting movies with the subject moving forwards and backwards, or focusing from front to back.

 

Enhanced usability with custom switch
There is a custom switch, which can be set allow adjustment of the aperture by rotating the focus ring. Using the optional Lens Station, you can setup the mode to suit your own preference. (More functions will be added through firmware updates in the future.)

 

Short minimum focal distance
The minimum focal distance is just 40cm, making the lens even more versatile and able to produce a unique perspective close to the subject. This makes it easier to take close-up and dramatic shots of food, portraits and nature.

 

Weather-Sealing design
The usability of the AF 50mm F1.4 FE II lens has been developed and enhanced, taking into consideration not only the design but also the user’s shooting environment. It has a micro-patterned rubber focus ring, so feels great to operate and weather-sealing also helps to protect the lens from light rain, snow and dust.

Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates:
Amazon UK,
Amazon US,
Amazon CA,
ebay UK

It doesn’t cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

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Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II Lightest fast 50mm FE lens!

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II - Photo (C) Nic-Taylor

November 4, 2021

Samyang has officially announced the Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II – Samyang say this is the smallest and lightest large aperture 50mm lens available for FE mount, and is the updated and improved version of the Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE lens released in 2016. The AF 50mm F1.4 FE was Samyang’s first autofocus lens.

Keep reading to view full-size sample photos from the new lens. 

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II

Samyang recently introduced the AF 12mm F2 X lens, and AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE lens, Samyang’s first ever zoom lens.

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II Key Features

  • Smallest and lightest large-aperture 50mm lens
  • Excellent resolution
  • Fast and quiet AF performance
  • Impressive background blur and bokeh with f/1.4 aperture
  • Reduced breathing (for video)
  • Custom switch
  • Short minimum focal distance (40cm)
  • Weather-sealed design

The lens is made up of 11 elements in 8 groups, with 2 aspherical elements, 3 HR elements, and 1 ED element, with 9 diaphragm blades. There is an UMC coating, as well as a 72mm filter thread. The lens weighs 420g without lens cap or hood, and measures 88.9mm in length, and 80.1mm in diameter.

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II side-by-side with the Mk I lens - Photo (C) Nic-Taylor

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II side-by-side with the Mk I lens – Photo (C) Nic Taylor

Here you can see the Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE side-by-side with the new AF 50mm F1.4 FE II lens, with the new lens looking usefully smaller and more compact than the original lens.

The lens will be available for £599 including VAT, from early December 2021.

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II

From Holdan / Samyang, Manchester, United Kingdom – Thursday 4th November, 2021, Holdan, a specialist distributor to the professional video, broadcast and photography sector, has today announced Samyang’s updated and improved version of its first autofocus lens designed for Sony-E mount. It is exclusively distributed by them in the UK and Ireland.

Renewal of Samyang Optics’ first autofocus lens

After 5 years of in-depth research and communication with customers, Samyang is now meeting the demands of more photographers by launching the AF 50mm F1.4 FE II (second edition).

With lens standards constantly being updated, the Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II lens is set to be in huge demand. Although there are many similar focal lengths already on the market, Samyang has taken additional steps to innovate: The AF 50mm F1.4 FE II is the smallest and lightest among all the large-aperture standard 50mm focal length lenses compatible with the Sony FE mount.

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II Key Features

Smallest & lightest large-aperture standard lens

The AF 50mm F1.4 FE II is the smallest (88.9mm in length) and lightest (420g in weight) among all the large-aperture standard 50mm focal length lenses compatible with the Sony FE mount.

Excellent resolution in all areas of the image

The AF 50mm F1.4 FE II lens delivers a 45.7˚ angle of view on full-frame and 31.1˚ for APS-C sensors, as well as a bright maximum aperture of F1.4, as preferred by full-frame camera users. Optimum resolution is achieved through the advanced optical design, using 11 lens elements in 8 groups (including 2 ASP, 3 HR, and 1 ED). Combined with Sony’s full-frame image sensor, this lens delivers superior sharpness and contrast in all areas of the image.

Fast and quiet AF performance

Tracking the subject accurately and quickly, the AF also operates quietly and smoothly when shooting video. Samyang’s Linear STM (Stepping Motor) satisfies both photographers and videographers with quieter and more accurate control of the focusing lens groups.

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II with hood

Impressive background blur and bokeh with bright F1.4 aperture

The AF 50mm F1.4 FE II uses a large-diameter 9-bladed aperture to provide smooth background blur. It effectively separates the subject from the background, using a shallow depth of field and adding drama to the scene. The 9 diaphragm blades create smooth and natural bokeh with light splitting.

Less breathing for video shooting

The AF 50mm F1.4 FE II has minimised focus breathing, so there is almost no change in the angle of view when focusing and therefore less screen shake. This is effective when shooting movies with the subject moving forwards and backwards, or focusing from front to back.

Enhanced usability with custom switch

There is a custom switch, which can be set allow adjustment of the aperture by rotating the focus ring. Using the optional Lens Station, you can setup the mode to suit your own preference*.
* More functions will be added through firmware updates in the future

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II side switches

Short minimum focal distance

The minimum focal distance is just 40cm, making the lens even more versatile and able to produce a unique perspective close to the subject. This makes it easier to take close-up and dramatic shots of food, portraits and nature.

Weather-Sealing design

The usability of the AF 50mm F1.4 FE II lens has been developed and enhanced, taking into consideration not only the design but also the user’s shooting environment. It has a micro-patterned rubber focus ring, so feels great to operate and weather-sealing also helps to protect the lens from light rain, snow and dust.

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II - Photo (C) Nic-Taylor

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II – Photo (C) Nic Taylor

Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II Sample Photos

Here are a number of high-res, full-size, sample photos provided by Holdan / Samyang, simply click the image to view the original full-size JPEG images, taken with the 42MP Sony Alpha A7R III, and 24MP A7 III.

Sample photo (C) Nic Taylor, Sony A7R III, 1/200s, f/6.3, ISO50

Sample photo (C) Nic Taylor, Sony A7R III, 1/200s, f/6.3, ISO50

Sample photo (C) Jay Gilmour, Sony Alpha A7 III, 1/2s, f/14, ISO100

Sample photo (C) Jay Gilmour, Sony Alpha A7 III, 1/2s, f/14, ISO100

Sample photo (C) Nic Taylor, Sony A7R III, 1/200s, f/5, ISO80

Sample photo (C) Nic Taylor, Sony A7R III, 1/200s, f/5, ISO80


You can find more lens content, in our lens reviews.

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A Review of the Impressive Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens

A Review of the Impressive Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens

Few lenses are more versatile than a 50mm with a wide aperture, as it can competently tackle everything from low-light situations to portraits. The Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM offers some of the company’s best features along with a very wide aperture, and this excellent video review takes a look at the sort of performance and image quality you can expect from it in practice. 

Coming to you from Anita Sadowska, this awesome video review takes a look at the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM lens. A professional-level lens that is part of the respected G Master series, the 50mm f/1.2 comes with a range of great features, including:

  • Three XA (extreme aspherical) elements for less distortion and spherical aberrations and better sharpness, even wide open
  • Nano AR Coating II for less flares and ghosting and better contrast 
  • Four XD Linear motors for faster and quieter autofocus
  • Linear Response manual focus control
  • Programmable Focus Hold button
  • De-clickable aperture ring
  • Dust- and moisture-sealing for working in extreme weather 
  • Fluorine front element coating to reduce fingerprints, moisture, and dust
  • Rounded 11-blade diaphragm for smoother bokeh

Altogether, the 50mm f/1.2 GM looks like quite the lens. Check out the video above for Sadowska’s full thoughts. 

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Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E Lens Review

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E Lens Review

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E

Collectors of fine vintage cameras will be well aware of the legendary Voigtlander Bessa II rangefinder of the 1950s, available with several different lenses, but most sought after with the superb APO Lanthar lens. Here we have a modern Voigtlander APO Lanthar 50mm f/2 lens for Sony mirrorless full-frame cameras and, as well as that enticing name that implies quality in itself, we have the declaration “The best performance standard lens in Voigtlander history”. This sounds like a worthy challenge for our review process, so let’s team up this fine looking lens with the 42MP Sony A7R III body and put that statement and the lens to the test. It should be interesting.

 

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Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E Handling and Features

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E
 

First impressions show us a metal lens construction, very nicely engineered. There is no weather sealing. The Apo Lanthar name refers to an apochromatic design, that is, one that is corrected fully for all three colours red, green and blue, with the intention of eliminating CA or colour fringing. Lanthar traditionally indicated the use of lanthanum glass, although whether or not that is still the case is not known. In any event, we have a compact lens, beautifully finished and weighing in at a very modest 364g. 50mm is of course a standard lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras, but the lens can also be used on crop sensor APS-C models, where the “35mm equivalent” field of view would be around 75mm.

At the very front of the lens, there is a standard 49mm filter thread and a screw-in round metal lens hood is provided. Lens hoods are always a good idea, not only for protection from flare but also for protecting from slight knocks to the front of the lens.

Just behind this is a thin ring with small raised and ribbed areas to assist with grip. If this ring is pushed towards the aperture ring it can be rotated so that the aperture index mark is moved from the white dot to a yellow line. At this position, the aperture is de-clicked, a benefit, particularly for videographers.

The aperture ring itself is quite slim but easy to grip and very well engineered. The click stops, if used, are smooth and operate in steps of one-third of a stop. The direction of travel is the traditional Nikon/Pentax.

 

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E
 

The wide scalloped metal focusing ring is also simple enough to grip and the action is reasonably firm but smooth, the direction of travel following Canon convention. The distance scale is part of this ring and is clearly marked in metres (white) and not quite so clearly marked in feet (red). Finally, there is a small depth of field scale that is extended enough to be useful at smaller apertures. Focusing is of course manual only and goes down to 0.45m, about 1.5 feet. This is exactly what might be expected from a full-frame 50mm lens of traditional design.

The metal lens mount is as well made as the rest of the lens and carries electronic contacts so that EXIF information can be exchanged with the camera body.

Optical construction is 10 elements in 8 groups, including 5 with anomalous partial dispersion glass and 2 aspheric. There are also floating elements in the design, usually aimed at improving the close-up performance.

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E
 

Not everyone can get along with manual focus lenses, and there are plenty of AF alternatives for those who prefer them. Manual focus is something that needs perhaps working on as we have become so used to automation, but slightly putting on the brakes and having a more thoughtful approach can yield benefits of its own. Clearly, with so many MF lenses appearing, manual focusing is nowhere near being a lost art. The Sony A7R III actually makes the process very simple and very accurate, with its quick enlargement of the centre of the image kicking in as soon as the focusing ring is turned. A half-press on the shutter release and we are back to full-frame to recompose and make the exposure. Or, if on a tripod, just to take the shot straight away. Focusing can be done at full aperture and then the clicks counted down to the required setting and the precision of this technique is very high.

In summary, a very fine lens in use and the critical question now is how does it perform?

Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates:
Amazon UK,
Amazon US,
Amazon CA,
ebay UK

It doesn’t cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

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Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E Lens Review

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E Lens Review

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E

Collectors of fine vintage cameras will be well aware of the legendary Voigtlander Bessa II rangefinder of the 1950s, available with several different lenses, but most sought after with the superb APO Lanthar lens. Here we have a modern Voigtlander APO Lanthar 50mm f/2 lens for Sony mirrorless full-frame cameras and, as well as that enticing name that implies quality in itself, we have the declaration “The best performance standard lens in Voigtlander history”. This sounds like a worthy challenge for our review process, so let’s team up this fine looking lens with the 42MP Sony A7R III body and put that statement and the lens to the test. It should be interesting.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

MPB

A picture, a moment can change the way we feel. Change how we see ourselves. Change our understanding and change the rules. Provoke and change history.


MPB Gear

MPB puts photo and video kit into more hands, more sustainably. Every month, visual storytellers sell more than 20,000 cameras and lenses to MPB. Choose used and get affordable access to kit that doesn’t cost the earth.

Sell the kit you’re not using to MPB. Trade in for the kit you need to create. Buy used, spend less and get more.

Buy. Sell. Trade. Create.


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Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E Handling and Features

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E
 

First impressions show us a metal lens construction, very nicely engineered. There is no weather sealing. The Apo Lanthar name refers to an apochromatic design, that is, one that is corrected fully for all three colours red, green and blue, with the intention of eliminating CA or colour fringing. Lanthar traditionally indicated the use of lanthanum glass, although whether or not that is still the case is not known. In any event, we have a compact lens, beautifully finished and weighing in at a very modest 364g. 50mm is of course a standard lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras, but the lens can also be used on crop sensor APS-C models, where the “35mm equivalent” field of view would be around 75mm.

At the very front of the lens, there is a standard 49mm filter thread and a screw-in round metal lens hood is provided. Lens hoods are always a good idea, not only for protection from flare but also for protecting from slight knocks to the front of the lens.

Just behind this is a thin ring with small raised and ribbed areas to assist with grip. If this ring is pushed towards the aperture ring it can be rotated so that the aperture index mark is moved from the white dot to a yellow line. At this position, the aperture is de-clicked, a benefit, particularly for videographers.

The aperture ring itself is quite slim but easy to grip and very well engineered. The click stops, if used, are smooth and operate in steps of one-third of a stop. The direction of travel is the traditional Nikon/Pentax.

 

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E
 

The wide scalloped metal focusing ring is also simple enough to grip and the action is reasonably firm but smooth, the direction of travel following Canon convention. The distance scale is part of this ring and is clearly marked in metres (white) and not quite so clearly marked in feet (red). Finally, there is a small depth of field scale that is extended enough to be useful at smaller apertures. Focusing is of course manual only and goes down to 0.45m, about 1.5 feet. This is exactly what might be expected from a full-frame 50mm lens of traditional design.

The metal lens mount is as well made as the rest of the lens and carries electronic contacts so that EXIF information can be exchanged with the camera body.

Optical construction is 10 elements in 8 groups, including 5 with anomalous partial dispersion glass and 2 aspheric. There are also floating elements in the design, usually aimed at improving the close-up performance.

Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar E
 

Not everyone can get along with manual focus lenses, and there are plenty of AF alternatives for those who prefer them. Manual focus is something that needs perhaps working on as we have become so used to automation, but slightly putting on the brakes and having a more thoughtful approach can yield benefits of its own. Clearly, with so many MF lenses appearing, manual focusing is nowhere near being a lost art. The Sony A7R III actually makes the process very simple and very accurate, with its quick enlargement of the centre of the image kicking in as soon as the focusing ring is turned. A half-press on the shutter release and we are back to full-frame to recompose and make the exposure. Or, if on a tripod, just to take the shot straight away. Focusing can be done at full aperture and then the clicks counted down to the required setting and the precision of this technique is very high.

In summary, a very fine lens in use and the critical question now is how does it perform?

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A Review of the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens

A Review of the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens

A wide-aperture 50mm lens is one of the most versatile optics a photographer can own, suitable for everything from portraiture to low-light events work. For Sony shooters, the FE 50mm f/1.2 GM offers an extremely wide maximum aperture and features geared toward professional use, and this awesome video review takes a look at the sort of image quality and performance you can expect from it in practice. 

Coming to you from Dustin Abbott, this great video review takes a look at the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM lens. As part of Sony’s respected G Master line, the 50mm f/1.2 GM offers a range of high-level features, including:

  • Three XA (extreme aspherical) elements for reduced distortion and spherical aberrations and increased sharpness
  • Nano AR Coating II for reduced flares and ghosting and increased contrast 
  • Four XD Linear motors for fast and quiet autofocus
  • Linear Response manual focus control
  • Customizable Focus Hold button
  • De-clickable aperture ring
  • Dust- and moisture-sealing for working in inclement conditions
  • Fluorine front element coating to repel fingerprints, moisture, and dust
  • Rounded 11-blade diaphragm for smoother bokeh

Altogether, the FE 50mm f/1.2 looks like quite the impressive lens for a range of applications. Check out the video above for Abbott’s full thoughts. 

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Voigtlander 50mm F/1.2 Nokton E Lens Review

Voigtlander 50mm F/1.2 Nokton E Lens Review

50mm f/1.2 Nokton E
 

Voigtlander, ZEISS, Leica, Rollei, all fine German names from the top echelon of camera and lens manufacturers and all at the top of their game, in the case of Voigtlander from 1756 to the present day. Voigtlander is now a name owned by Cosina, who have consistently proved that they are more than up to continuing the fine standards that justify its use. We are looking at several Voigtlander lenses currently; having just reviewed the 35mm f/1.2 Nokton X for Fuji X mount we are now turning to the Sony E mount options. For Sony FE full-frame cameras, here is the Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton E Aspherical, reviewed using the 42MP Sony A7R III. Let’s see how it handles and performs.

Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton E Handling and Features

Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton E
 

This Voigtlander lens is of course a standard lens for the full-frame Sony E fit cameras, but can equally well be used on the crop frame bodies where the “35mm equivalent” field of view would be 75mm. However, in the latter case, the lens would be a bit out of scale and out of balance, dwarfing the crop frame body. Using the full-frame A7R III for this review, we have a heavy, 434g, optic, but one that fits the scale and balances well. There is a supplied round lens hood that screws into the 58mm filter thread. This affords a reasonable degree of protection for the front element.

The aperture ring is at the front of the lens and is equipped with delightfully designed click stops every one-third of a stop. The direction of travel of this ring follows Nikon/Pentax tradition, whereas the focusing ring is reversed and has Canon direction of travel. Back to the aperture ring, it also has a clever extra feature that enables the clicks to be disabled. This will be ideal for videographers, although there are no instructions provided as to how to do this and the only mention that it exists is in the small print on the website, but still with no instructions. Voigtlander paperwork with the lenses seems to follow the minimalistic route, to the extent that it tells us very little. To de-click the aperture ring, push the ring in front of it towards the camera body and rotate this ring until a yellow line is opposite the f/1.2 mark, as opposed to the white dot. This is called the Selective Aperture Control System.

Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton E
 

The manual focus ring is the only method of focusing, this being a manual focus lens, and it turns smoothly and evenly through its range, from 0.45m. This is the standard near focusing limit for a 50mm lens. Distances are clearly marked in white for metres and not so clearly marked in red for feet. There is a meaningful depth of field scale provided.

The metal lens mount is well-engineered and carries electronic contacts, so EXIF information can be shared with the camera body, providing it is one of the following, which are all compatible electronically: X-H1, X-T4, X-T3, X-T2, X Pro-3, X-S10, X-E4 and X-T30. 

Optical construction is 8 elements in 6 groups, including 2 Aspherical. The aperture comprises 12 blades, a very generous number that bodes well for bokeh. It is not quite the 18 or more blades that vintage brass lenses had, but in a modern context very impressive.

Sadly, there is no weather resistance, but this lens does offer traditional construction and adding WR could well disturb the design ethos.

Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton E
 

Some photographers find manual focus difficult, and if this is the case this may not be the lens for them, but the Sony cameras do offer various focusing aids and these work effectively and quickly. The biggest difficulty will be with the minuscule depth of field at f/1.2 which means that the merest movement or miss-focus will render the image as softer than it should be. Practice is the key, especially for those of us who have all but forgotten the joys of manual focus. These include the slower working, the easier selection and retention of a particular point of focus and of course the sheer tactile pleasure of a manual focusing ring.

 

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Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review: A Solid Introduction to Macro

Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review: A Solid Introduction to Macro

Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review: A Solid Introduction to Macro 1

The Nikon 50mm f/2.8 Macro Prime lens is part of a pair announced in June. While the lens is designated as a macro, the 50mm focal length makes it more of a walkabout lens with macro capabilities.

While Nikon’s legacy macro lenses would still work using the FTZ adapter on the Z-System, the new lenses note another step of Nikon’s promise to deliver a wider range of native functionality lenses on its mirrorless systems. Nikon designed this new lens to be a small, lightweight, and compact everyday lens that can be used with both full-frame or APS-C Nikon Z mirrorless systems.

While it is a macro lens, the $650 Nikon 50mm f/2.8 offers a focal length that makes it a lens that can work double duty, both as a standard lens as well as one for close-up shots.

50mm is a lot wider than the standard 100mm or longer typically seen in macro lenses and thus frees this lens from the niche of only macro work. The 50mm f/2.8 is therefore quite diverse in its functionality and is suitable for both portrait and street photography, for example. But on the other side of the coin, users will notice it does lack a few key features when compared to the 105mm sibling, most notably the lack of Vibration Reduction (VR) and no special ARNEO coating.

The question is, does that matter?

Build Quality and Design

The Nikon Z 50mm f/2.8 Macro lens is the smaller and more affordable lens of the duo of macro optics released this summer. While the 50mm “wide” focal length does give users more flexibility as a walk-about lens, it also means that users will have to get much closer to their subjects to get the true macro shots. The upside of the focal range is it will be much easier to get handheld shots without having to worry about camera shake and blurriness, at least in well-lit situations.

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The 50mm lens is about half the size and weighs less than half than its 105mm sibling, which makes it truly compact and travel-friendly. Something keen eyes may notice out of the box is that the 50mm lacks the S-line designation the higher-end lenses from Nikon’s mirrorless lenses have. This lighter plastic body does make the lens feel “lesser” as well.

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Despite the lens being rated as dust and weather resistant, because it is so small and has a mostly plastic exterior, it feels almost like a toy lens rather than something intended for capturing incredibly sharp and detailed professional images. This may perhaps mean that it makes for a better “everyday” lens since it will be less likely to stand out while traveling.

Like most new Z-Mount lenses, the focus ring can be programmed to control additional settings like ISO and exposure compensation when using AF mode.

The last feature worth noting here is unlike most modern macro lenses with internal focus mechanisms, the Nikon Z 50mm f/2.8 Macro uses a more traditional extending inner barrel system. The plus side to this design element is it allows the lens to be smaller when not using the feature, making it more compact for storage and travel. The downside is, of course, that it has a physically extending piece that can change its weight distribution.

Focus and Aperture

I found myself dealing with a shorter “working” distance than other macro lenses in order to get the true 1:1 macro shots, and when shooting at the 1:1 focus distance, the maximum aperture was f/5.6 instead of the f/2.8. While the aperture was a bit of a headscratcher, the big frustration point for me with this lens was the fact you had to get incredibly close to the subjects for the 1:1 shots. So much so that it was very hard to frame a photo without blocking the light and casting a shadow or getting too close to the small insects I was trying to capture that I would unintentionally scare it away.

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The autofocus works pretty accurately, especially when shooting video. However, when shooting up close for the 1:1 shots, it is important to flip the switch on the focus limiter on the side of the lens otherwise there will be a very noticeable lag and focus breathing present as it makes autofocus adjustments.

After a lot of testing, I found the peak sharpness to be between the f/4 to f/5.6 range with my images. I was surprised to find that the lens was getting slightly softer starting as early as f/8.

Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review: A Solid Introduction to Macro 12

Image Quality

The Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 may not have the extra nanocrystal or ARNEO coatings like its 105mm sibling, but that does not mean the images produced by it are bad by any stretch of the imagination.

Shooting at 1:1, the depth of field is very thin, which was something I personally had to get used to, but I have found it visually interesting and a lot of fun to play with. That thin plane of focus aside, once focus is dialed in, pretty much edge to edge is sharp.

What was nice about this lens is how it is also a very nice walkabout lens. I found that while shooting it as a “normal” lens that it was quite easy to get incredibly sharp images at f/2.8 with only minor vignetting in the far corners. In that sense, I can see a lot to like about using this lens as you would with any 50mm lens and being happy with the results.

Below are some sample images captured with the Nikon Z 50mm f/2.8 Macro:

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An Introduction to Macro Photography

For photographers that are interested in macro images but aren’t quite ready to invest heavily into the niche lenses, this is a great first step into the field. The Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro lens is capable of being an everyday generalist lens for landscape, street, and portrait work, on top of capturing fantastic macro images which means it can adapt to a variety of situations should you find that macro isn’t your favorite subject matter.

For the macro purist, however, there are likely better options out there for you and while the 50mm f/2.8 is nice, it has limitations.

Are There Alternatives?

There are plenty of DSLR macro lenses available to choose from including the $419 Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8 Lens which is arguably a better macro lens. That being said, there are only a handful of macro lenses specifically designed for the Nikon Z series currently available including the 105mm f/2.8 VR S Lens some manual Venus Optic (Laowa) Macro lenses, and the IRIX cine 150mm T3.0 Macro lens for $1,195 that jumps significantly in price.

Should You Buy It?

Yes, if macro photography is new and a path of interest for your work, then the Nikkor Z MC 50mm F/2.8 Macro is definitely worth the investment to get you started shooting macro images on the Nikon mirrorless system and you will be very happy with the results you can capture.

However, if you have been shooting macro images for a while and already have a variety of macro lenses available in your kit, I would recommend skipping the 50mm f/2.8 macro and jumping right to the 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro instead.

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