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Alternative 50mm Lenses For Sony NEX

Posted by on in Lens Comparisons
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With Sony being quite slow in ramping up production of new E mount native lenses, and particularly the E 50mm f/1.8 OSS (I've been on a waiting list with Amazon for over 2 months now), the ever increasing community of NEX users has been actively evaluating a variety of alternative 50mm primes easily adoptable to the NEX mount. This particular comparison traces roots to fredmiranda.com's alternative gear forum, where a bunch of die-hard alternative glass users have been debating the properties of a number of Zeiss 50mm lenses on NEX cameras. I got curious in the topic and volunteered to do a quick test with a few popular, and often considered high-quality, 50s.

This section of the review will showcase bokeh rendering of 8 alternative lenses on NEX-5n. Results below are presented without much commentary - considering that tasted vary quite widely, I will let the reader decide which of the lenses have the most appealing characteristics. I will repeat this test on NEX-7 in a couple of weeks, but will use a different focusing distance, which hopefully would present the readers with a more diverse overview of the tested lenses. Finally, a third part of the review will compare more general characteristics like resolution, vignetting and lateral CA (expect very opinionated commentary in this section).

Before we jump to results, let's touch base on the test conditions:

  • Sony NEX-5n with v1.01 of firmware set in manual mode
  • WB set to Cloudy (5,700K, +13 tint)
  • RAW, Adobe RGB space
  • ACR with default settings: Blacks +5, Brightness +50, Contrast +25
  • JPEG max quality
  • 2.5m focusing distance
  • 2 shots per lens - wide open and stopped down to f/4

PS. I would not recommend using the samples below to evaluate sharpness of individual lenses - I did not use focus bracketing and individual shots might have minor variance in focusing accuracy.


Go to Part 2 of the comparison


Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1 M

thumb-vl50f11-f11-nex5n thumb-vl50f11-f4-nex5n


Carl Zeiss Sonnar 50mm f/1.5 ZM

thumb-czsonnar50f15-f15-nex5n thumb-czsonnar50f15-f4-nex5n


Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/2 ZM

thumb-czplanar50f2-f2-nex5n thumb-czplanar50f2-f4-nex5n


Leica Summicron M 50mm f/2 Rigid

thumb-cron50f2r-f2-nex5n thumb-cron50f2r-f4-nex5n


Leica Summicron M 50mm f/2 Collapsible

thumb-cron50f2c-f2-nex5n thumb-cron50f2c-f4-nex5n


Leica Summarit 50mm f/1.5 LTM

thumb-summarit50f15-f15-nex5n thumb-summarit50f15-f4-nex5n


Jupiter 3 50mm f/1.5 LTM

thumb-jupiter3f15-f15-nex5n thumb-jupiter3f15-f4-nex5n


Canon 50mm f/1.2 LTM

thumb-canon50f12ltm-f12-nex5n thumb-canon50f12ltm-f4-nex5n


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