Saturday, September 5, 2015

Why I hesitate to buy E-Mount AF Lenses

The introduction of high quality lenses, like the Batis series from Zeiss, makes buying E-Mount lenses very tempting.  The thought of selling all my Canon AF lenses and buy Sony equivalent (or close to) lenses crossed my mind a few times, but I always resisted.  What's holding me back?  One experience taught me something about selling gear in the used market.  As many of you know, I was a Canon shooter for more than a decade, and more if counting the film days, and I have amassed quite a few Canon lenses.  My Canon camera bodies are gone, but the lenses remained (except the 16-35mm f2.8L II, and the 70-200mm f4L IS, which I sold to buy the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR).  All this time, I never had trouble selling any Canon equipment, because there are such a huge Canon user base and finding a buyer is relatively easy.  While "sampling" other cameras, I bought a Sony A-Mount camera and a few AF lenses, Minolta 50mm f1.7, Sigma 28-300mm and Tamron 90mm f2.8 Macro to try.  At the end of the sampling period, I found that it was hugely difficult to sell Sony gear.  Eventually, they were sold rather cheaply and took a long time, compared to the Canon equivalent.  One example is the Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro lens.  I sold the Sony version at about half the price of the Canon version; there were simply not many Sony Alpha-Mount users out there, especially for a relatively specialized lens like a macro.

The introduction of the A7R II makes the decision even harder for me.  The advanced phase-detect AF capabilities in the A7R II allows Canon auto focus lenses to AF much faster with a smart adapter, to a point where it's actually usable.  Previous Sony E-mount cameras AF very slowly with smart adapters, that's practically useless.

For the time being, I am going to keep the Canon lenses and wait for the A7R II to become more affordable to buy one.  If the AF is actually good enough, the Canon lenses will become my main lenses to be used on Sony whenever AF is required.

Blue Dreams - Meyer-Optik Primoplan 58mm f1.9 & Sony A7.


  1. Hi Yu-Lin,

    very sensible observations, but let's clear up one point here: ONLY the ZEISS E-mount lenses are worth buying, all Sony E-Mount lenses are far inferiour to Canon glass!

    Well, as you wait for the A7R II to come into an interesting price range, I wait for the ⍺7000 (or whatever it'll be named) to finally appear and I guess then I'll sell my Canons, too - and keep the Canon glass.

    oh, and talking about A-mount: Sony will let it die surely - all signs point that way. Sad for people who invested a lot there and - as you so astutely observed - will lose a lot of money if they try to sell their gear.

    Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I love reading your blog - I'm always looking forward to a new entry, always something interesting to learn here :-)

    Keep up the good work - see you on flickr.

    take care
    mike (you know which)

    1. Which Canon lens is optically superior to the 55mm f/1.8?

    2. Mike,

      Thanks for your kind words. I have been enjoying your stream of dragon flies and other critters. Very inspiring!

      I generally agree with your assessment regarding the Sony lenses, and that's the reason I am keeping most of my Canon lenses.

      Sony would have open its market more if they had some more affordable but good AF lenses. Lenses like the Canon AF 50mm f1.8 STM, 85mm f1.8, 100mm f2, etc, are affordable and excellent. It's good to have high quality Zeiss lenses, but only a small group of people are willing to spend that kind of money.

      You are of course right about the Sony A-Mount. It's dying a slow death, not unlike the Olympus 4/3 system, which they said would still support and continued development, but we have not heard a peep from them on any new 4/3 cameras/lenses, and of course we all know it's dead. The same is happening to Sony's A-mount. They are just hoping that people will just forget about it after a while.


  2. The SEL55F18Z is a Zeiss Sonnar...

  3. Hi Yu-Lin...

    I want to thank you for your weblog and your pictures. I really enjoy your experiments with vintage glass and I get a lot of ideas for things to try from you. I suppose imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

    I am not convinced, however, that all Canon glass is superior to native mount glass for the Sony. I expect there are a few lenses in the Sony or Zeiss line up that will equal or better the equivalent Canon glass. But, I am not going on that search. ;)

    I recently sold all my Sony gear (NEX-5N and a handful of glass) and bought a Fuji X-T1 and Fuji glass. Most of my native e-mount lenses were purchased reasonably and there is a decent market for e-mount glass, so I wasn't hurt too badly. I took the biggest hit on the camera and EVF, but I expected that when I bought it.

    When I compared the price of the Zeiss glass for the Sony system to the Fuji glass, I realized that I would be locking myself into the Sony ecosystem and was not convinced that was where I wanted to be. So, I went Fuji.

    I have a decent collection of vintage Nikkor glass and a couple of Nikon dSLR bodies to use it on. Plus I can adapt it to my Fuji and whatever mirrorless follows that. But it was a difficult and expensive move so you are wise in going slow.

    Keep up the good work, my friend...

    1. Ruminator,

      Thanks and I am glad you like the blog and pictures. My mission is accomplished when readers find useful information from my blog :)

      I am not saying all Canon lenses are superior to Sony, especially those really old designs. Some of the Zeiss E-Mount lenses are indeed superior in optical performance. In my case, I rather not have to sell all the Canon lenses and buy Sony equivalent, and lose a significant amount of money in the process.

      I think the E-Mount market is larger than A-Mount, so perhaps I am a bit paranoid, but the fact remains that Canon/'Nikon user base is far larger and gear is easier to buy/sell.

      And Fuji has some of the best lenses on mirrorless cameras. Wish they would make these for other mounts.

      Take care!