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Set of lenses - Nikon D, Canon FD, Minolta or others?

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In my opinion newFD lenses are the easiest to find and the cheapest to get a full set of. They also have decent enough coatings and half stops in aperture. You can also mod them to stepless if wanted. Getting wides like 17 or 20 is also easy and far cheaper than the other vintage mounts.

I have a full set of FD and I'm not disappointed in the slightest, I hardly ever use my EF L glass anymore.

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You would honestly do well with most of the suggestions. If it's a set of lenses you hope to use in the future with any other camera, I would go the Nikon Nikkor route. They also have the quickest and easiest resale. If you're looking for great lenses that you can grow into, I'd go the Contax Zeiss route. I like FD lenses, but they seem to be prone to haze. I had a set and every one I bought had a small ring of light haze on one of the inner elements. When it came time to lighten my collection, they were the first to go. Minolta lenses are amazing, well built, characteristic consistency throughout the range, but the wider angles are a little pricy and they are hard to sell. I have had a Minolta MD 28mm f2 up on eBay for 2 months now with barely any views. But if you have zero plans of selling them, they are beautiful lenses with buttery smooth focus rings. Renaissance man is right about the 35mm 1.8, it is absolutely one of the best lenses I have ever used with the creamiest of bokeh. Also the 50mm f1.4 is just gorgeous and sharp. 

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FDs are as prone to haze as any other vintage lens. I've never had one with Haze, nor had a problem with it. FD are as compatible as any other lens, if you really want you can even mod to EF mount.

If consistency like mentioned above is of concern FD lenses are very consistent throughout, with all of them matching almost perfectly.

I like Nikkor but backwards focus drives me crazy, I also think they are quite expensive to get a full set.

OM is great, but they lack half stops and they aren't as well built I don't feel. I like OM and would love a set, but they are also expensive to get properly kitted out with.

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I'm not well versed with many of the lenses that have come up here, I can vouch for a couple of Nikon lenses that are your desired focal lengths being very light though:

The Nikon 35mm f1.8 G- although it felt a bit plasticy out the packaging, that plasticy-ness translates to it being light. It's a metal mount still. It's built for aps-c sensor sizes. I use it on a G7 with metabones XL and can confirm there's no vignetting in video modes. Possibly slightly for stills. Weighs under 200g.

The Nikon D 50mm f1.8 is even lighter still. In your budget you could get the f1.4 version, which is still lightweight.

I also have the Nikon D 85mm f1.8. Seems like a great lens from my use of it so far.

Hope that's of some use.

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21 minutes ago, tweak said:

FDs are as prone to haze as any other vintage lens. I've never had one with Haze, nor had a problem with it. FD are as compatible as any other lens, if you really want you can even mod to EF mount.

If consistency like mentioned above is of concern FD lenses are very consistent throughout, with all of them matching almost perfectly.

I like Nikkor but backwards focus drives me crazy, I also think they are quite expensive to get a full set.

OM is great, but they lack half stops and they aren't as well built I don't feel. I like OM and would love a set, but they are also expensive to get properly kitted out with.

I can only speak of my own experiences and every other FD lens I ever bought had a light, misty haze around the edge of an inner element. But even with the haze, they were great lenses. 

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28 minutes ago, tweak said:

Seems odd @mercer, I haven't heard anyone else being worried about this, perhaps it was bad luck.

How closely do you inspect your lenses? I wasn't too worried about it either until I learned how to inspect the inside of lenses. Most of the obvious gunk you will find is harmless dust that will never affect your IQ, but the horrors hang out around the edges of the elements. 

But yes, maybe it's just bad luck. 

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I buy a ton of old lenses including anamorphics so I'm pretty used to seeing it. Internal haze is often a sign of lens separation, which is about as likely to happen to any old 35mm lenses from major brands. Biggest cause of Haze is the environment the lens has been in and the treatment it has had (same as fungus).

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11 hours ago, tweak said:

I buy a ton of old lenses including anamorphics so I'm pretty used to seeing it. Internal haze is often a sign of lens separation, which is about as likely to happen to any old 35mm lenses from major brands. Biggest cause of Haze is the environment the lens has been in and the treatment it has had (same as fungus).

Haze is caused by broken down glue. Different lens manufacturers use different glues... I suspect that is the culprit.

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16 hours ago, mercer said:

Renaissance man is right about the 35mm 1.8, it is absolutely one of the best lenses I have ever used with the creamiest of bokeh. Also the 50mm f1.4 is just gorgeous and sharp. 

Here is a test with these both lenses.
My Opinion about the 35mm 1,8 is similar: a stunning lens! 
This is the Rokkor MC HH version. 
But the colors tend a bit more to blue/cold in comparison to the other Minoltas.
So, it will be interesting, if their are opinions about the MD version.
The 45mm f2 is a fantastic lens! very 3d-ish with nice colours.
The 24mm/2,8 is super sharp and a collaboration with Leica (more precisely a Minolta design used for the Leica 24mm f2.8 Elmarit-R).

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, mercer said:

Haze is caused by broken down glue. Different lens manufacturers use different glues... I suspect that is the culprit.

Exactly, which causes lens separation. The only fix is to pull the lenses apart and glue them back together again, which isn't an easy job.
All that being said, I still see no evidence that this is more likely to happen if you buy Canon. If you have some resources to support this I'd be keen to read them and learn more.

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5 hours ago, mercer said:

Haze is caused by broken down glue. Different lens manufacturers use different glues... I suspect that is the culprit.

A lot of the haze type issues are related to how a lens has been stored.  damp conditions, warmth and old lubricants/broken down adhesives can often cause a gassing effect, which manifests itself as condensation then once moisture has evaporated the contributions from the lubricants are left intact.  since often lenses are stored face up, the gasses naturally rise and the build up is usually around the front edge of the front element.  removal of a front element is often quite easy, and an ether based lens cleaner and 100% cotton cloth will remove the build up.  

 

as a general rule if a lens has hazing it's also accompanied by a dried up focus mechanism and oil on the aperture blades. 

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2 hours ago, tweak said:

Exactly, which causes lens separation. The only fix is to pull the lenses apart and glue them back together again, which isn't an easy job.
All that being said, I still see no evidence that this is more likely to happen if you buy Canon. If you have some resources to support this I'd be keen to read them and learn more.

I am very happy you have not encountered such issues with your FD lenses. While I was building my set, nearly every other lens, I purchased, had this hazing/condensation problem that richg described.

The OP asked people's opinion on certain lenses. I am giving mine based on my experiences. If he chooses to listen to my opinion, that is entirely up to him.

1 hour ago, tweak said:

Cheers @richg101! Good info.
I think there's also a difference between haze on a front element and Haze on internal elements like @mercer was referring to. Inner element haze being much hard to fix.

Sorry, obviously not technically correct, but to me... Cleaning the inside of the front element is equivalent to having to clean the inner elements. 

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Completely understand that, just the way you stressed it made it seem like it's a common known thing. I thought you may have read some stuff about it and had some sources I could research up on. All good, no problem!

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Just searched for a Minolta 35/1.8 (I only have the 35/2.8 yet :s) and fond that the minoltas MD lenses are going cheaper and cheaper :O

Minolta MD 50/1.4 : 60€, which is very very very reasonable IMO 
http://www.ebay.fr/itm/Objectif-Minolta-50mm-f-1-4-MD-ROKKOR-1-1-4-/252344490621?hash=item3ac0e75a7d:g:z9YAAOSwdU1W9lHL

MInolta MD 28/2.8 (only have the 28/3.5 myself ....) : 42€, reasonable too 
http://www.ebay.fr/itm/28-mm-1-2-8-Minolta-MD-Rokkor-/172165384575?hash=item2815db497f:g:W3AAAOSwSzdXDPZj

Minolta MD 135/2.8 : 55€, which is a great compact telephoto/portrait lens
http://www.ebay.fr/itm/Minolta-MD-Rokkor-1-2-8-135-/131775607947?hash=item1eae70348b:g:4xEAAOSwr7ZW4Fwi

There are also quite a lot of 35-70/3.5 which are known to be very good lenses for video around 40€

As a bonus, there is a cute 45/2 pancake which usually goes for 50€ in auction
http://www.ebay.fr/itm/vintage-Minolta-MD-ROKKOR-45-mm-45mm-F-2-PANCAKE-LENS-/281999659321?hash=item41a87d5139:g:oLAAAOSwoudW8WdD

Anyway, This jut motivated me to do a full review of my Minolta lenses. As it is quite difficult to find complete reviews on the web for minolta lenses with video.

I'll set up a scene this weekend and compare all my lenses. Results to come :p

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Minolta lenses are superb.  Sadly they can't be adapted to EOS so are less in demand, hence prices are vastly under what they should be.  Because of their adaptability limitations I have to admit I've stupidly overlooked these lenses myself.  since the OP is going to invest in a speed booster it means he's able to take full advantage of minolta glass.  

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I do really love the Olympus OM series, they very small, light and well build. I have a FD series too but I do prefer the look of the Olympus.

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Thanks for the responses guys.

The Olympus OM lenses look really good but don't have a cheap speed booster knock off for my Fuji. The Minoltas also look really good and would be nice to use natively with my Minolta film camera but they don't fit on EF mount without a glass adapter (I use a c100 for video work). The Contax's look great but are a little more expensive than the others. So i'm leaning towards the Nikons atm. One thing I'm confused about is how much difference there is between the AI, AI-S and D lenses. Most people seem to recommend sticking with AI-S. Are they really the cream of the crop?

I'm also considering M42 lenses since there are so many of them. But I may end up spending a lot of time looking for the right ones :D

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