Using the Zeiss Sonnar 50mm f/1.5 on a NEX.


I am having so much fun with my Sony NEX-5n that I am constantly looking for lenses I could purchase for it. Thought it would be nice to share my impressions about one of the lenses I am looking for. The Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f/1.5 lens. You can see an image of the NEX-5n with that lens on Flickr. The reason why I am intrigued by that lens is that:
1) it has a super build quality
2) it has a perfect focal length for portraits (75mm on a NEX).
3) and it is relatively compact and fast.

The lens is not cheap, around $1200 on eBay (Click here). Plus you have to buy the M to NEX mount adapter (here on eBay).

Lens reviews
To start I read the presentation on the Zeiss website. I didn’t find any official review of the lens on a NEX camera. I only found some reviews of the lens used with the lovely Zeiss Ikon ZM. Ken Rockwell writes that it is “an easy lens to love: it’s just so small and fast! It’s not a lens for pixel counters. It’s very sharp at middle and smaller apertures where it matters, but trades sharper images for smoother images at the largest apertures. This 50/1.5 is superb for general photography and people pictures.“. And Luminous Landscape tested the lens on the Leica M9: “There is something else that the Sonnar and some other Zeiss lenses have, and that is a very pleasant 3D feeling to the pictures. It´s not as clinical as pictures with some of the ASPH-Leica lenses sometimes can get. It just feels very pleasant, for lack of a better word.
I would say the lens performs very well on Fullframe cameras. But how does it look on a NEX camera with APS-C sensor?

Image and video samples on NEX:
I found that aperture test made by Janus that shows the bokeh look of the lens on the Sony NEX-5n:

I also found some nice NEX+Zeiss image samples here at Dpreview forum, pbase, flickr (whaker), flickr (Amselchen), flickr (Clarobuck), Clubsnap.

It looks like the lens is a real winner but I will wait to see the first tests of the Sony 50mm f/1.8 before to consider to buy the Zeiss Sonnar lens. The Sony has autofocus and is cheaper. But on the other hand I love to work with manual focus and I like to buy lenses with super build quality (makes me feel it was worth to buy it). If only the price would not be that high!

Zeiss ZM Sonnar f/1.5 links at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, eBay
M to NEX mount adapter on eBay



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