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Old February 27th, 2015, 12:42 PM   #1
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Expensive native lenses vs Cheaper and adapted brands

So I'm constantly looking at native Zeiss lenses and whatnot for some of my cameras. I mostly use cheaper brands like rokinon and sigma. I have to wonder though if I'm really missing out by not using these double and sometimes triple in cost lenses that have similar focal lenths, fstop, etc.

Anyone have some first hand experience?

For example, I'm looking for a 50mm or so lens for my Sony A7s at the moment and their native Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens has lots of amazing reviews but costs 998 dollars whereas I could probably use some non-native or other band prime in the 350$ range for that for example a Nikon AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D Lens thats lol 104.00
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Old February 27th, 2015, 01:16 PM   #2
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Re: Expensive native lenses vs Cheaper and adapted brands

A couple of thoughts:

-- For weddings, I think you should buy cheap. This is very subjective, but put it this way... I'm around photos and video a lot, and unless the images are side by side, even for photos I don't necessarily notice a quality difference between pricey and cheap zoom (though the difference between prime and zoom is more obvious to me). But I'm no pixel peeper, so your mileage will vary... But if I'm not that conscious of a difference, I very much doubt a bride is going to notice a difference...

-- Difference in brand (rather than price) is sometimes more obvious, but without a particular look being better or worse. I did a music video shoot a few years back with Zeiss on one camera and Canon L on another, and I couldn't get it to match in post -- Zeiss was more colourful, contrastier, punchier.

-- Just going by reviews, some of those cheaper lenses are apparently better than the more expensive ones! I'm thinking of the Sigma Art lenses compared to Canon L. Or even a Canon 85 f/1.8 has some advantages over an f/1.2 -- autofocus is faster. And some old cheap lenses can have a certain look, or certain qualities in the way they respond to lens flare, that might, depending on your taste, look better to your eyes than a modern lens.

-- I think a difference you might notice between cheap and pricey is not in image quality but in how the lens feels to operate. Pulling focus might feel trickier and more fiddly, zoom action might not be as smooth, lens in general might feel less robust. But does this really matter, or does it justify the difference in price? I don't know...
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Old February 27th, 2015, 02:24 PM   #3
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Re: Expensive native lenses vs Cheaper and adapted brands

OK - serious question, do you think that owning a Zeiss instead of a Rokinon will:

a) Get you more bookings ?
or
b) Enable you to raise prices ?

Unless you can say yes to one or both of these then why are you doing it?

Tools have to make business sense, not just to you, but to your clients, otherwise why would they book you?
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Old February 27th, 2015, 02:32 PM   #4
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Re: Expensive native lenses vs Cheaper and adapted brands

do you need the auto focus ability of the Zeiss - if not any of the vintage manual focus lenses will have a nicer feel when focusing - Canon fd, Nikon, Pentax etc - their old 50mm 1.4's are very cheap
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Old February 27th, 2015, 03:44 PM   #5
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Re: Expensive native lenses vs Cheaper and adapted brands

I suggest you wander over to the getdpi forum and look at examples of images from some of the off-brand manual lenses from the 60s and 70s, some really beautiful images. The bigger issue is probably customers who are brand conscious. Maybe tape over the Sears logo.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 03:00 AM   #6
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Re: Expensive native lenses vs Cheaper and adapted brands

I have the Sony 55mm on the A7s as well and I love how small and light-weight it is, and it's autofocusing capabilities especially when coupled with face detection. Not sure you're gonna see a significant boost in image quality when compared to other / older lenses though considering the price difference though.
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