The problem with getting a new camera, especially the 24megapixel monster of the Nex-7 is that you start to find the dual kit lenses for the Nex systems is a bit crappy. Yup, it’s true. When the sensor is that packed and dense with photo sensing silicates, the inferiority of the lens bloody shines too .
Okay, ignore the above crappy excuse, I just buy because I simply lust for Zeiss.. LOL.
Some people might call it a brand thing but hey, all of us do it in a way right? I remember my first Zeiss was the 50mm f/4 Flektogon (Praktica) which I bought an adaptor to use it on my A mount. It’s cheap and although slow, it’s a damn solid lens. I gave it away later and started to try out some other Zeiss M42 lenses. Most of them are pretty decent at the price point and the resale value was there. So I just bought and sell and tried various series of Zeiss glasses and so far none of them were duds.
Then came the Sony – Zeiss co-operation and I got the 135mm Sonnar 1.8. Whoa! That is my greatest purchase of all time for this killer lens I dare to say. I would say a perfect score for me, especially if I mount it on my FF A900 and shoot any portraits. I always find I need to soften the image a little just to remove some skin “defects” that should not be captured in the first place. And it is also one of the lens that I love so much that I still hold onto my a900 too. The other being the 85mm Minolta G, 50mm Macro and the 16mm FE.
After the prime, I sold off my Minolta 28-135mm f/4 which I a bit regretted and got the 24-70mm Vario Zeiss. That became my working lens for quite some time. Mainly for events and it was a great and versatile lens. It was also on my Dynax 7 film camera frequently when I shoot film.
The other great thing about Zeiss is the colours it renders, the T* coating is not just a marketing thing, honestly because I shoot slides very often and Zeiss lenses just gives a much boost in contrast. Most of my shots with the most vibrant slides are from Zeiss glass. I have compared my MF shots that I took with my Hassy and Mamiya and Zeiss wins hands down in the colour department. Mamiya Sekor is a bit flat but its damn sharp.
I stopped shooting events nowadays so I sold my only zoom lens and got the lighter 24mm Distagon recently. So far, to be honest, I have not used it extensively. The main reason is that I prefer to shoot film with my Press for landscapes and that 24mm is a bit neglected, even my 135mm as I’m not at home in Thailand.
Anyway, back to the Nex system. I was using some VC lenses on the Nex7 and was really very please with it. But the widest VC I have at the moment was the 35mm Color-Skopar. It’s good but as I have mentioned in my post recently, I am currently into wider lenses and was planning to get a wide angle VC or something to complement my shooting style on the 7. The 16mm is good on the 3 but it just starts to suck on the 7. Especially if I started to compare the files with my VC lenses. So within a month of my Nex 7 purchase, I was looking through a local photography forum, looking for a good bargain of a M mount wide angle lens. Then, I saw a post, Someone selling the 24mm Zeiss E-mount at a very good price with a good filter and 5 months warranty left. On the APS-C , it will be a 36mm equivalent. Wide enough for my taste and it has AF too. Jump on it and it’s attached to my 7 now.
I spent only 2 days with the lens and I would say the lens is a bit overpriced at its retail street price of 1.5k or 1.4k SGD. It’s good of course, but just not good enough to justify at that price point. I think a fair price would be 1k at most. No weather seal and hood is plastic. No optical stabilizer. The lens does not feel heavy and dense like other Zeiss glasses I have before. Maybe, it’s designed that way to keep the weight down but the Aluminium body just don’t feel that it will last as long as those old Zeiss lenses . Focusing manually is smooth and it’s fly by wire like the Fuji system but the travel is much much much better then the Fuji one.. Kudos to that part. I still like it but I might sell it if there is a wider M mount lens available for me. The 7 with its peaking function is really a god bless for manual focusing. And if you shoot RAW, try this setting. Change the Image setting to Black and White with peaking colour set to Yellow at Mid range. Bloody bloody good.
And finally a rant to SONY, please stop making BLOODY bodies and solve your lens production issues!! This lens is well sought by thousands but its out of stock since June in every major retail or web store! What’s the use of coming out new bodies when there are no lenses available? And now you are coming out a Nex 6 or 5R… WTF….
Here are some shots taken with the 24mm Zeiss and 7.
Little India Streets