The Best 85mm Vintage Lenses to Adapt to Sony: A Comprehensive Guide.
Photography enthusiasts are always on the lookout for unique and cost-effective ways to enhance their craft. Vintage lenses, with their distinctive character and high-quality optics, offer an excellent opportunity to do just that. Adapting these lenses to modern mirrorless cameras like Sony’s popular E-mount series is relatively easy, thanks to the availability of affordable adapters. In this article, we will explore the best 85mm vintage lenses to adapt to Sony cameras, evaluating them on the basis of image quality, build, and overall performance.
Canon FD 85mm f/1.8
Canon’s FD series of lenses are known for their excellent build quality and superb optics. The Canon FD 85mm f/1.8 is no exception. With an 8-element design and a maximum aperture of f/1.8, this lens delivers outstanding image quality, with sharp results and attractive bokeh. The manual focus is smooth, and the build quality is durable, ensuring that it will last for years. Adapting this lens to a Sony E-mount camera is easy using an FD to E-mount adapter.
Minolta MD Rokkor 85mm f/2
Minolta is another brand with a storied history in the world of photography. The MD Rokkor 85mm f/2 is a prime example of the company’s commitment to quality optics. This lens features a 6-element design and a maximum aperture of f/2, which provides excellent sharpness and pleasing bokeh. The lens is compact and lightweight, making it a great option for travel and street photography. Adapting the Minolta MD Rokkor 85mm f/2 to a Sony E-mount camera requires an MD to E-mount adapter.
Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AI-S
Nikon’s AI-S lenses are renowned for their solid construction and impressive image quality. The Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AI-S is a fast prime lens that delivers excellent sharpness and beautiful bokeh. The all-metal build ensures longevity, while the manual focus is buttery smooth, allowing for precise control. Nikon AI-S lenses are easy to adapt to Sony E-mount cameras using a Nikon F to Sony E-mount adapter.
Helios-40-2 85mm f/1.5
The Helios-40-2 85mm f/1.5 is a Soviet-era lens known for its distinct swirly bokeh and unique character. This fast prime lens has a 6-element design and a maximum aperture of f/1.5, allowing for excellent low light performance and shallow depth of field. The lens’s all-metal construction ensures durability, and its manual focus operation is smooth and accurate. Adapting the Helios-40-2 to a Sony E-mount camera is possible with an M42 to E-mount adapter.
Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 85mm f/2
Carl Zeiss Jena lenses are known for their sharpness, contrast, and color rendition, and the Sonnar 85mm f/2 is no exception. This vintage lens, originating from East Germany, features a 6-element design and a maximum aperture of f/2, which delivers outstanding image quality and beautiful bokeh. The all-metal construction of the lens guarantees longevity, while the manual focus is smooth and precise. Adapting the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 85mm f/2 to a Sony E-mount camera is easy using an M42 to E-mount adapter.
Super-Takumar 85mm f/1.9
Produced by Asahi Optical Co.,the Super-Takumar 85mm f/1.9 is a sought-after vintage lens that offers excellent image quality and a unique character. This lens, known for its sharpness and contrast, features a 6-element design and a maximum aperture of f/1.9, ensuring beautiful bokeh and low light performance. The lens’s all-metal construction is built to last, and the manual focus operation is smooth and reliable. Adapting the Super-Takumar 85mm f/1.9 to a Sony E-mount camera requires an M42 to E-mount adapter.
Olympus OM Zuiko 85mm f/2
Olympus OM lenses are highly regarded for their compact design, build quality, and optical performance. The Olympus OM Zuiko 85mm f/2 is a prime example, featuring a 5-element design and a maximum aperture of f/2. This lens delivers impressive sharpness and pleasing bokeh, while its compact and lightweight design makes it a great choice for photographers on the go. Adapting the Olympus OM Zuiko 85mm f/2 to a Sony E-mount camera is easy using an Olympus OM to Sony E-mount adapter.
Contax/Yashica (C/Y) Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4
The Contax/Yashica (C/Y) Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 is a legendary vintage lens known for its sharpness, contrast, and color rendition. This fast prime lens features a 6-element design and a maximum aperture of f/1.4, allowing for excellent low light performance and shallow depth of field. The lens’s build quality is superb, with an all-metal construction that ensures durability. The manual focus is smooth and precise, allowing for accurate control. Adapting the Contax/Yashica Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 to a Sony E-mount camera requires a C/Y to E-mount adapter.
Each of these 85mm vintage lenses has its own unique character and strengths, making them excellent options for photographers looking to expand their creative arsenal. Adapting these lenses to Sony E-mount cameras is relatively simple and affordable, allowing photographers to experience the joys of vintage glass without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a portrait photographer seeking beautiful bokeh, a street photographer looking for a compact and lightweight option, or a vintage lens aficionado searching for unique optical characteristics, these 85mm vintage lenses are well worth considering.