Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Industar 69 - 28mm f2.8

The 28mm Industar 69 is extremely compact, has a full frame equivalent focal length of 42mm, & opens up to f2.8. Is this the perfect, compact manual focus lens for the NEX?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Yashica Yashinon 50mm DSB 1.9

The Yashica 50mm DSB 1.9 has been a part of my lens collection for 14 years. Find out how well it performs on the Sony NEX-3!

Background & Specs

I didn’t purchase this lens. I’ve had it for over 14 years. It was a gift along with a Yashica FR-II. The various versions of this lens usually go for less than $50 on auction sites.

This specific lens is a Yashinon DSB 50mm 1:1.9. There are 7 stops on the aperture ring, from f1.9 to 16. The aperture is made up of 6 blades that create a hexagon when stopped down. On the NEX-3, it manages to focus as close as 17”, and goes slightly past infinity on the opposite end. The APS-C sensor on the NEX puts this 50mm lens at the equivelent of a 75mm lens on a full frame camera.

I purchased the CY(Contax/Yashica) to NEX adapter from Rainbow Imaging on ebay (http://stores.ebay.com/rainbowimaging) for $26.99. But you can get it from the same seller on Amazon for $14.99 at the link below:

RainbowImaging Contax Zeiss C/Y lens to Sony NEX NEX-3 NEX-5 Camera Mount Adapter, (RainbowImaging Adapter)

Build quality

This lens is fairly light, and appears to be mostly aluminum. When combined with an aluminum e-mount adapter, it’s an ideal companion for the NEX. I have probably beat this lens up more than any other lens I’ve owned, and it’s still holding together nicely after 14 years of abuse.

The only repair I have had to make on this lens was on the focus ring. I replaced the rubber grip with a grip from a broken donor lens. A little cutting & gluing, and it’s as good as new!


As I mentioned before, this is a lightweight lens. With the adapter, it comes in at 10.1oz. For comparison, the Sony 18-55mm NEX kit lens (SEL1855) weighs 6.8oz, and a full size DSLR zoom like the Canon 17-55mm f2.8 comes in at 22.8oz.

The NEX-3 balances very well with the Yashinon & adapter attached. At 2-⅝” long, it’s slightly longer than than the SEL1855 @ 18mm, which is 2-⅜” long.

Ease of Use

This lens is one of the easiest manual focus lenses I have ever used on my NEX. The full focus range is accessible in just over ½ turn of the focus ring. The focus motion is extremely easy, with very little resistance. Different copies of this lens may vary however. I’m not sure if my copy is very well broken in, or if the focus action on these lenses is just not dampened as much as other lenses.

Like all fast lenses, when opened up to f1.9, focusing can be a bit challenging on the NEX. I use a combination of the new “Peaking” feature, as well as the “MF Assist” feature. When I have more time to focus, I find the “MF Assist” feature to be more accurate & satisfying to use. When I’m scrambling to get a shot, the “Peaking” feature is definitely the way to go. Thanks for adding this in the latest firmware Sony!

Image Quality

This lens is soft at f1.9, moderately sharp at f2.8, and very sharp from f4 through f11. Diffraction kicks in at f16. There are some chromatic aberrations at f1.9 & f2.8, but the purple fringing is almost completely gone by f4. It also exhibits a fair amount of vignetting wide open, but that dissapears significantly from 2.8 onward. Despite these limitations, this lens is still totally usable at f1.9. In fact, I shoot this lens wide open almost all of the time.

The way the lens renders wide open is wonderful. There’s a certain vintage look to the shots taken with it. This lens has “swirly bokeh”, meaning the out-of-focus areas swirl together around the center of the frame. Whether or not the swirly bokeh is desirable is totally up to the individual using the lens. I personally like the character of this lens.


Center sharpness:

Full resolution jpgs converted from RAW with Lightroom 3 are available in the album below:

Yashica Yashinon 50mm DSB

Should I keep it in my bag?

Considering this was my first lens ever, it obviously has some sentimental value to me. If it didn’t, it would still keep this lens in my collection. This lens is easy to use & carry, fits the NEX nicely, and has a great character to it. It has been, and will continue to be, one of my main go-to lenses.

Below are some shots taken with the Sony NEX-3 & Yashinon 50mm DSB 1.9. All were taken whide open @ f1.9, and all have had some post-processing applied to them.

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