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Jill Morgan

Using old 35mm lenses with digital camera

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I dragged out my old Canon 100-300 FD 5.6 lens and am considering getting the  mount for it to use on my 650D, which is part of the Rebel line.

 

It needs some cleaning, even with the caps on there is dust on the inside (not surprising with 25 years of storage.

 

From what I have read online, the Canon Rebel gives 1.6 conversion factor on the lens, giving me up to 510mm on my 650.

 

I know that none of the auto functions will work with the lens with the mount on, but I did manual in the old days and wouldn't mind tackling it again. 

 

How many of you use old 35mm lenses with your digitals? Without IS on a telephoto, how bad is my camera shake going to be? Or is it best left to the tripod and very bright sunny days where I can use a fast shutter speed?

 

I also have an old Sunpak 3600 Thyristor flash unit that has been in storage just as long. Is there any way to use this with my Canon?

 

Jill

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Jill,

 

The trigger voltage on some strobes could damage some cameras. I checked one site ( http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html ) that lists a voltage too high for your camera, but I'd look around and see if anyone else has actually tried your combination.

 

I use a variety of vintage lenses on my 5D with no problems, but with mirrorless (a5000) the quality of the adapter seems to be crucial. The cheap one I have isn't just the right thickness, so I will have to shim it to get good results.

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I do.

 

Have used Leicas for over 50 years and their compatibility policy for successive models, combined with their lenses superb optical quality means that even my oldest screw-fit lenses are more than useable on my new digi M's. I just use the same simple adapter as for the film M's.  I have newer lenses too, including some of the latest but the old ones are still excellent. I have always tried to buy the best and simplest equipment and in the (very) long term has saved me money.

 

I know Leicas don't have the whizz bangs that some demand but it is just those that fizzle out quickly and become redundant. 

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The EOS flange focal depth is longer than the FD, unfortunately, so it's a no-go unless you use an adapter with an optical element, which will increase the effective focal length and alter the focal ratio.

Too bad as I have a couple of decent FD lenses myself.

This http://www.markerink.org/WJM/HTML/mounts.htm says that the Sunpak has a contact-fryingly high voltage, so looks like a 'no' there as well.

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I use old 35mm lenses most of the time with my NEX 6, and they produce better results than my two Sony zooms. Most cheap adapters that I have tried do not have accurate registry, but all have allowed focus to infinity, which is the most important consideration. One, relatively cheap, make of Pentax bayonet adapter does provide accurate registry, and it is pleasure to be able to dial in the distance on those lenses.

 

I have also tried using old 35 mm lenses with my Canon cameras, and had less success. The viewfinders on the crop frame cameras are just not good enough (for my eyesight), while I also struggled with that on the 5D. Using live view is preferable, but it takes too long, requires the use of reading glasses, and there is no contrast detect to assist.

 

Canon FD lenses have a relatively complex bayonet lock mechanism and I have had problems with the adapter using one on the NEX, a pity as there is some excellent glass in that range. (The aperture lock ring is relatively loose and, with the camera to your eye, it is easy to rotate that when reaching for the aperture ring, resulting in the photo being taken wide open.)

 

Another consideration is that on a crop frame camera you are using only the centre of the image circle and that hides a multitude of sins. One of the reasons that I have not invested in mirror-less Sony FF is that I don't have sufficient confidence in my old lenses to go full frame with them.

Edited by Bryan

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I did some testing a year or three back with my old Olympus OM lenses on a canon 400D.  It needed an adaptor - pretty cheap on Ebay - and, of course, it's pure manual operation for focus and aperture.  Results were OK for a 50mm f1.8, a bit soft on a 200 f4 and fairly unpleasant on a 50-150 f4 zoom and a couple of other brand lenses (28mm and 135m f2.8's).  No doubt some of the better OM lenses would have put up a stronger performance but I never owned those.  In the end the quality was that little bit lower than with my Canon lenses and the ease of use far less friendly so I sold them on.  They'd probably be better using liveview - but that wasn't an option on the 400D.

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Since the adapters are not too expensive (although they can be) I may invest in one that has glass, no just a straight adapter. That is supposed to help with the focus to help equalize the distance as of course with the adapter the lens is farther away than if using a lens made for the camera.

 

Too bad the Sunpak can't be used, but such is life. Probably stick it on Kijiji.

 

Jill

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I'm experimenting with a Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8 (circa early 80's) lens on my NEX-6. The photos have a warmer look (which I like) than ones taken with my Sony AF zoom lens, but I'm not sure they are that much sharper at the same focal length. However, looking at some recent pictures that I took -- between winter rain squalls -- resolution of detail does look to be somewhat better with the old MF lens, especially with distant subjects. The inexpensive adapter that I'm using doesn't have accurate registry but infinity focus seems fine. Manual focusing is fairly easy with Sony's focus-peaking and magnification features, but I still don't have it down pat. More practice is needed. Like Brian, I'm not sure that this lens would be as good on a modern FF camera like the a7. It was cheap, though, and going "back to basics" can be fun.

Edited by John Mitchell

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John, have you tried taking the same scene in the same light with the two lenses? In my experience the manual focus lenses consistently produce bigger JPG files than the 16-50 zoom, although I know you have the older, and probably optically superior, version.

Edited by Bryan

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John, have you tried taking the same scene in the same light with the two lenses? In my experience the manual focus lenses consistently produce bigger JPG files than the 16-50 zoom, although I know you have the older, and probably optically superior, version.

 

That's on my list of things to do -- two shots same scene at the same focal length and f-stop using a tripod -- if it ever stops raining long enough.

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That is why I am all F mount.

I've had three wives and only one

NIKKOR 80-200 f2.8...LOL

and I am still working with that

80-200

 

Chuck

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I use Nikon bodies, so using old MF Nikkor lenses is a standard practice. No adaptors necessary, full-metering on D700 body. Favourites include 30+ year old Nikkor 28 mm f/2.8 and 35+ year old Nikkor 135 mm f/2.0.Thank you Nikon.

 

E.g. Shot Rolling Stones recently "from the terraces", hand-held, Nikkor MF 180 mm f/2.8.

 

No AF, no IS, no problem.

 

It's sorta like how everybody used to do it once (with the added modern advantage of MUCH higher ISOs available).

 

Go for it.

 

dd

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Certainly, it is fun trying old lenses on new digital bodies, and you learn quite a lot from it. Don't expect to be bowled over though ... most old lenses (there are some exceptions I'm sure) don't come near the quality of the best lenses of today. For example, mounting my old Hasselblad Zeiss T* lenses on my Canon EOS body left me severely disappointed. If you compare the results with images taken of the same subject with my Canon 100mm f/2.8 L IS macro lens, you feel like throwing the old Zeiss lenses in the bin. 

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That is why I am all F mount.

I've had three wives and only one

NIKKOR 80-200 f2.8...LOL

and I am still working with that

80-200

 

Chuck

 

'Til death do you part by the sounds of it.

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My two Minolta lenses just arrived yesterday and I can't say I'm bowled over by the results. The 28 prime seems to be giving me reasonable results but my first impression of the 300mm zoom is disappointing on both the NEX 6 and the A7ii.

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My two Minolta lenses just arrived yesterday and I can't say I'm bowled over by the results. The 28 prime seems to be giving me reasonable results but my first impression of the 300mm zoom is disappointing on both the NEX 6 and the A7ii.

 

Are they both autofocus lenses? There were a number of versions of the Minolta 75-300 zoom. Older ones with more metal in the bodies were supposedly better optically. I have this model (circa 1995) but have yet to use it on my NEX cameras (no adapter). It has been a decent performer on both my old film cameras and early Sony DSLRs. It's also very sturdy and has survived a nasty drop or two. Perhaps its resolving power isn't up to today's sensors, though.

Edited by John Mitchell

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A question about exposure. I'm noticing that photos taken with a legacy manual focus lens on my NEX-6 are sometimes a bit overexposed. Is this common?

 

Any tips on getting accurate exposure with these old lenses?

Edited by John Mitchell

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A question about exposure. I'm noticing that photos taken with a legacy manual focus lens on my NEX-6 are sometimes a bit overexposed. Is this common?

 

Any tips on getting accurate exposure with these old lenses?

You don't have a sticky iris, do you? Not stopping down fully or fast enough.

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A question about exposure. I'm noticing that photos taken with a legacy manual focus lens on my NEX-6 are sometimes a bit overexposed. Is this common?

 

Any tips on getting accurate exposure with these old lenses?

You don't have a sticky iris, do you? Not stopping down fully or fast enough.

 

 

Nope, just sticky fingers sometimes. I tend to manual focus using the same aperture that I'll be shooting at, which is relatively easy to do with Sony's "focus peaking." This lessens the possibility of stopping-down boo-boos.

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My two Minolta lenses just arrived yesterday and I can't say I'm bowled over by the results. The 28 prime seems to be giving me reasonable results but my first impression of the 300mm zoom is disappointing on both the NEX 6 and the A7ii.

 

Are they both autofocus lenses? There were a number of versions of the Minolta 75-300 zoom. Older ones with more metal in the bodies were supposedly better optically. I have this model (circa 1995) but have yet to use it on my NEX cameras (no adapter). It has been a decent performer on both my old film cameras and early Sony DSLRs. It's also very sturdy and has survived a nasty drop or two. Perhaps its resolving power isn't up to today's sensors, though.

John, I bought supposedly the newer AF version of the 100-300mm zoom since the A7ii and the Sony adapter are supposed to fully support auto functions. The auto functions seem to work but the images were a bit soft to my eye. So far I've only done one brief test with each camera so I figure I should play with it a bit more before passing judgement.

 

The results from the lens on the NEX were abysmal. On the A7ii with images stabilization the images were only slightly better, nothing I would dare submit to Alamy's.

 

Off topic for a moment, it looks like the A7ii with the kit lens is going to work out fine for me. I tested it last night under difficult handheld conditions set to Aperature mode. The camera bumped up automatically to ISO 6400 and with use of noise reduction software the images were clean enough to submit to Alamy. Once I upload a few images I'll share in a separate thread for those who are interested.

Edited by Lynn Palmer

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My two Minolta lenses just arrived yesterday and I can't say I'm bowled over by the results. The 28 prime seems to be giving me reasonable results but my first impression of the 300mm zoom is disappointing on both the NEX 6 and the A7ii.

 

Are they both autofocus lenses? There were a number of versions of the Minolta 75-300 zoom. Older ones with more metal in the bodies were supposedly better optically. I have this model (circa 1995) but have yet to use it on my NEX cameras (no adapter). It has been a decent performer on both my old film cameras and early Sony DSLRs. It's also very sturdy and has survived a nasty drop or two. Perhaps its resolving power isn't up to today's sensors, though.

John, I bought supposedly the newer AF version of the 100-300mm zoom since the A7ii and the Sony adapter are supposed to fully support auto functions. The auto functions seem to work but the images were a bit soft to my eye. So far I've only done one brief test with each camera so I figure I should play with it a bit more before passing judgement.

 

 

Does your lens have a focus-hold button on the lens barrel? I believe that the later models didn't have one.

 

Sony re-branded the last version of this Minolta lens in around 2006 for use with their DSLRs. I don't think it got great reviews.

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There is a button on the side of the barrel, if this link works you can see the lens listing in EBay.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/201261157738?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

 

Looks to be the same as mine. Think I paid about $600 new, but that was long ago.

 

Best of luck with it.

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How does the focus hold button work? Press, release the button then snap the picture? Is it necessary to always use it or when do you use it? It was cheap enough if it works...

Edited by Lynn Palmer

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How does the focus hold button work? Press, release the button then snap the picture? Is it necessary to always use it or when do you use it? It was cheap enough if it works...

 

I didn't use it much, but it can come in handy. All the button does is lock the focus -- after you've auto-focused -- so that the lens doesn't keep re-focusing.

 

Push the button and the focus will lock and stay that way until you press the button again.

Edited by John Mitchell
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