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Landscape lens kit

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Barrin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Barrin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Landscape lens kit
    Posted: 13 March 2021 at 21:09
Hello forum,

Thanks to the acquisition of a MD speedbooster I'd like to build a kit for landscapes.
I'm struggling between selecting 28,50, 100 focals or 24,35,100.
What would you choose? And what lenses subsequently?
Sony A6000|Zony 24/1.8|Sigma 60/2.8

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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2021 at 21:40
Since you already have the E-mount 24 I think a 35 mm would be your lowest priority and 28 is still pretty close to that FOV

So I'd go for 24, 50 and 100, and after that an 85 and a 135. If you're really pushing it a 200 can be useful to pick out interesting details in landscapes.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2021 at 22:21
I guess it depends what kind of landscapes you like. I like rolling hills and lots of sky, so I've never found a lens wide enough! But panorama modes fill that gap.

In the right place, any focal length can be perfect, but you have to be able to 'see' that focal length which only seems to come with practice. That is why, however convenient zoom lenses are, however good they are, and however many prime FL they cover, I still find the need to fit a prime on the camera and look for scenes that fit it.

If I have a zoom, I keep adjusting the FL to fit the scene I see, but with a prime I have to search for the view that works with the FL. I guess with high-megapixel digital cameras you can always crop a scene to fit, but that's not the same thing. With a zoom lens I tend to snap the scene I first see - with a prime, I have to walk around to make the scene fit the frame I have. And the pictures are usually better, though there was definitely a tendency with the print medium to force foreground interest into the scene (otherwise people would pass a photo without studying it). Which works well enough so long as every view doesn't turn into a chocolate-box scene!

Please understand I'm not casting aspersions on anyone else's working method nor suggesting mine is 'right', just saying how I find things. The fact that I used cameras with fixed lenses for a decade, and then SLRs with only 3 primes for another two decades* before I even handled a zoom lens let alone wanted to use one regularly, no doubt has affected the way I see things, though of course I'm still learning to see things in different ways.

*and even with two SLRs available I still took most of my print photos with a fixed-lens camera of 40mm.

Edited by Miranda F - 13 March 2021 at 22:24
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A7Rii, A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras ...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote QuietOC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2021 at 01:22
Originally posted by Barrin Barrin wrote:

Hello forum,

Thanks to the acquisition of a MD speedbooster I'd like to build a kit for landscapes.
I'm struggling between selecting 28,50, 100 focals or 24,35,100.
What would you choose? And what lenses subsequently?


The 50 and 100 will probably work better on the focal reducer, though I haven't tried any MD 100 mm. Of the 50's the MD 50 F3.5 Macro worked the best with the Lens Turbo II--less CA than the faster primes. The MD 50 F2 was the next best.
Sony A7RIV NEX-5T HVL-F45RM LA-EA3 LA-EA4r MB-IV MC-11 EF-E II TLT ROKR MD-NEX KR-NEX DA-NEX
Minolta Maxxum 600si
Pentax Q7 5-15 15-45/2.8 8.5/1.9 11.5/9 AF-P/Q
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2021 at 08:56
I guess this means you're looking at Minolta MC/MD lenses. Be sure to check the other lens index for samples of these lenses. If you speak German, this MC/MD list by Artaphot gives good information.

What is the reason you want to use these old lenses? Do you want the best MC/MD lenses or just the experience?

For landscapes I find true wide-angles and short tele lenses the best.

The 24mm is somewhat expensive, but you could search a Sigma 24/2.8 Super Wide - that lens is comparable to the Minolta but cheaper.
The word is both the 28/2.8 as the 28/3.5 are good lenses.
Get the 35/2.8 over the 35/1.8 as it is cheaper and sharper (Rokkorfiles test).
I love my MC 50/1.4 PG but for landscapes a f/1.7 or f/2 will be fine. No reason to get a f/1.2 lens - the Rokkorfiles found the f/1.4 lenses to be better.
I do not know the 100mm lenses. Besides 100mm lenses, take a look at the 135/2.8 that is well regarded. The 85/2 and 85/1.7 are more expensive but wonderful if you prefer 85mm.

Me? I have the Sigma 24/2.8, 28/2.8, both a MC 35/2.8 and MD 35/2.8, a MC 50/1.4 and MD 50/1.7, the 85/2.0 and a MC 135/3.5.

If I were you, I would start with a 28/2.8; 50mm and a 135mm - these are the cheapest, give the full range from wide angle to tele and have good quality. If you like using these, you'll might notice you want wider then 28mm, get the 24mm; want something between 50mm and 135mm, get the 100mm or 85mm.
A benefit: it is the classic set - the camera came with a 50mm lens, a 28mm used to be the affordable wide option and the 135mm the affordable tele option.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Barrin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2021 at 11:34
Thanks, a lot of infos ad usual here.

I own a 28/2.8, 35/2.8
50/2 and 135/3.5 all in MD ii/iii versions.

While I really like the results from 28,35,50 lenses the 135 is nice for portraits, but I find it lacking contrast and sharpness at infinity.

This kit was built at a bargain price and es a intended to be used for fun or when I specifically go out for landascapes.

I read of good reputation of md 100/2.5 and was considering it vs the 135, but maybe I would try the 200/4 too
Sony A6000|Zony 24/1.8|Sigma 60/2.8

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Post Options Post Options   Quote QuietOC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2021 at 11:53
Originally posted by Barrin Barrin wrote:

Thanks, a lot of infos ad usual here.

I own a 28/2.8, 35/2.8
50/2 and 135/3.5 all in MD ii/iii versions.

While I really like the results from 28,35,50 lenses the 135 is nice for portraits, but I find it lacking contrast and sharpness at infinity.


Does the glass of the 135/3.5 look clear when you shine a bright light into it? You might want to try another one.

The MD 24/2.8 tends to be overpriced. I don't expect it or the Sigma Super Wide would work that well on a focal reducer.
Sony A7RIV NEX-5T HVL-F45RM LA-EA3 LA-EA4r MB-IV MC-11 EF-E II TLT ROKR MD-NEX KR-NEX DA-NEX
Minolta Maxxum 600si
Pentax Q7 5-15 15-45/2.8 8.5/1.9 11.5/9 AF-P/Q
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2021 at 14:49
Originally posted by QuietOC QuietOC wrote:

I don't expect it or the Sigma Super Wide would work that well on a focal reducer.
Why? Is it because they are wide angle lenses?

The 100/2.5 is highly regarded but not that cheap because of that. Like most major makes of that era most (all) of Minoltas lenses are decent or better.
You have a nice set, buy based on your experience or GAS. With these lenses GAS is not that expensive
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 March 2021 at 04:14
I'm not sure what to add in terms of APS-C lenses, but when I go shooting landscapes I usually work on 3 lenses that (approximately) double each lenses focal length.

So a 15/4.5 with 35/2 and 85/.4 or
a 21/2.8 with 50/2 and 110/2.5.

The other thing I try to take into account is the across-the-frame sharpness at common landscape focal lengths. A wide lens that generates soft corners starts to be problematic.
a77ii- Sony 135/2.8 STF, 16-50/2.8, 70-200/2.8 G
a7riii- Zeiss Loxia 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2, 85/2.4, Batis 85/1.8, Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Sony 24-105/4 G, Sigma 70/2.8 M, 100-400 f5-6.3.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 March 2021 at 16:07
By the late 1970s Japanese camera manufacturers had totally sorted getting 135mm tele lenses tack-sharp, even near full aperture*. If yours isn't, get another one!

The best one I ever used was the Soligor/Miranda f2.8 with the built-in lens hood (green writing IIRC) but the previous non-hood model wasn't bad and there were M42 and PK versions available which will fit A-mount. I have one of these now waiting for some A7Rii tests.

*I used to show colour slides from mine five feet across and you could resolve distant telephone wires.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Barrin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2021 at 10:14
Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

By the late 1970s Japanese camera manufacturers had totally sorted getting 135mm tele lenses tack-sharp, even near full aperture*. If yours isn't, get another one!



I guess something in my standards is wrong, as I found it lacking contrast (although the lenses are clean) as the other 100-135 I tried. I notice this only at infinity setting. I always thought it was because I was comparing them to modern lenses, as I was owning only one vintage. This is no more true as I found it/them with less contrast/sharpness than the MD 35/2.8 and 50/2.
I let it go, and try to look for an alternartive. Maybe a 100/2.5 or a 200/4. I'd love an 85/2 but it goes starting from 250€. Even the 100/2.5 is not cheap.
Sony A6000|Zony 24/1.8|Sigma 60/2.8

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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2021 at 12:02
Older lenses have less contrast then modern lenses. You can add contrast in post.
Looking at the Artaphot remarks on the 135/2.8, one of the versions (the 4-lens one) is not that good: "nicht mehr ganz so perfekt scharf wie die kürzeren Teles MD 2/85 mm und MD 2.5/100 mm." (not as sharp anymore as the shorter teles MD 85/2 and MD 100/2.5) So, it might be due to the version you had.

But in general, older lenses have less (micro) contrast.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote onsplekkie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2021 at 13:46
24mm would not be wide enough for what I like in a landscape lens kit.
21mm is my minimum (Loxia) but my 15mm Voigtlander does a very nice job too.

I've always found the Loxia 50mm a brilliant landscape lens

100mm is nice, but a little more reach on the long end I choose 135mm a f/2.8 or even f/4 would do just great. (Contax 2.8/135 is great!)

So, 21 - 50 - 135 would be my advise for a 3 lens landscape kit

good luck on completing your kit

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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2021 at 13:53
21mm lenses are for cityscapes....IMHO and YMMV

And those Loxia lenses are a bit more expensive then the Minolta MD/MC lenses
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