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NEX + Vintage lens

Discussion in 'Lens Matters' started by caledonia84, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. caledonia84

    caledonia84 Well-Known Member

    I've been doing some research on using some adapters and older manual focus lenses on the new NEX 5R. Due to the nex's "focus peaking" feature it makes manual focusing easier, so I'm not too fussed about losing AF and prefer to use manual when doing macro stuff anyway.

    So far I've came across these quite cheap on ebay, anybody used them?, worth buying? or can anyone recommend any others? going down this route mainly to save money and have some fun so looking for the biggest bang for my buck :)




    Olympus 50mm F1.8 Zuiko S Prime

    MINOLTA MD 50mm f1.7 prime

    Minolta 50mm F1.4 ROKKOR

    Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm F/2 Pancake Lens

    Also this would be my first lens purchase! been using a fixed zoom bridge for the past year or so. Therefore I'm very new to this sort of thing and just looking forward to having a bit of fun as well as improve my technical knowledge :)

  2. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    None of these lenses were regarded as being poor in their day, but that doesn't always mean that they will perform well on a digital camera. Obviously the problem with the type of camera you are talking about is that they are still recent, meaning that little that is available for them is at reasonable prices and the used market is limited.

    Don't dismiss Pentax M42 screw thread lenses, these had good optics and were well made, the fitting means that adaptors are easy to make, there should be a good supply of these lenses in the more common focal lengths, beware some of the independents of unknown name, the quality can be quite dubious.
  3. caledonia84

    caledonia84 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that Nimbus! I actually came across a Mamaya sekor 55mm f1.8 and am m42 adapter on ebay this morning, after seeing some photo examples I had to get it :)!
  4. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    You are obviously sorted now, Scott, but I'll add a few penn'orth in case anyone else is interested.

    The Olympus 50mm lens was the standard lens on the OM range of SLRs, and is as good as you might guess from that.

    As a dark horse I'd nominate the 58mm Helios-44. This was standard equipment on Zenits, and good ones are apparently very good - it's a straight copy of an older Zeiss lens so the optics are very well designed - though the usual caveats with Russian camera gear apply (ie some of it is great, and some is bloody awful - full employment was more important than quality control). The M42 adaptor you'd need for it will open up a huge range of lenses to play with should you spot them, ranging from the superb (eg Pentax) down to real dogs (eg the Prinz Galaxy 400mm lens sold thrtough Dixons - whih tells you all you need to know!), so you might wish to avoid if you have a bad Ebay habit!

  5. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I've owned at least one of each of all of those except the f1.4 Hexanon. They're all decent enough; possibly the least sharp is the Zuiko - it's sharp enough, but the real deal with this lens is the high contrast which gives an impression of sharpness. My favourite is probably the 40mm Hexanon.
  6. caledonia84

    caledonia84 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that guys appreciate the info :). Need to be very careful, allready had to reign myself in on ebay, I'm currently watching 17 m42 lenses :eek:.

    Adrian I wish I knew about that helios before I bought the mamiya, they're quite similar but that helios gets rave reviews.

    Will definitely take a closer look at that 40mm Hexanon Nick.
  7. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Addict! You think you've got problems, I need to shop for an M-mount lens... eek!

  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Watching's fine, it's when you're bidding on that many that you have problems... ;)

    It's a decent enough lens, but for some reason it's become flavour of the month, and much more expensive as a result. It's the lens that came with my first SLR, and I still have it. I also have an example of the Zeiss Biotar, the lens it's a copy of. Personally, I think most of the other lenses are better, but it's not without its own charm.

    My only concern is if there's an adaptor available?
  9. caledonia84

    caledonia84 Well-Known Member

    Yes the reviews all talk about the Helios's character and different bokeh stillvgoing for 25 to 30 0n ebay :)Ebays awash with AR to nex adapters just now looks like lots of people have been doing this for some time!
  10. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    ^The Helios has the usual difficulties with old Russian camera equipment. The optical design was pretty good, but the quality control was not, so if you get a good one it's great, but if you get a bad one it's dreadful. Some of the East German lenses were excellent too, such as the Zeiss Pancolor, but it is less common, the quality variation is probably narrower as well.
  11. caledonia84

    caledonia84 Well-Known Member

    I read somewhere that there are some japanese made helios's of excellent quality, unfortunately Ive found no way of telling which is which!
  12. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I seem to remember that some lenses were made with Carl Zeiss branding that were actually Japanese standard production (Sigma?) carrying the Zeiss name, these Helios may be a similar badging exercise.
  13. Mosstrooper

    Mosstrooper Well-Known Member

    I bought my old Lenses 2 years ago, when a Mirrorless Camera was seen as some kind of threat to civilization and prices on Fleabay were less than half what you are quoting now.

    Right now I have three Rangefinder Lenses, Industar 2.8/52mm, Jupiter 8 - 1:2
    F5cm. and a Jupiter 11 - 135mm These have a very short adaptor which results in a very small Camera, just like a Rangefinder.

    M42 Lenses - Helios 44-M-4, Cosinon 2.8/55M, Paragon 2.8 / 35mm, Tessar Carl Zeiss Jena DDR, 2.8/50mm

    Pentax K - Cosina 70-210mm

    Minolta MC/MD - Minolta MC Rokkor 1.7/50mm, Minolta MD Zoom 35-70mm
    Steinheil - 2.8/28mm MC fitting. Sigma Zoom 35-200mm.

    All of them are great fun to use, each with their own character, I had many more which were just more or less duplicates which I returned from whence they came at no loss to me.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
    Wab likes this.
  14. caledonia84

    caledonia84 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting hearing about those range finder lenses! The others aswell of course, is that carl zeiss Jena any good? I see them going very cheap, but going to wait and see how I get on with the mamiya.I worried about the longer lenses as there will be zero image stabilisation, ive only ever used lens stabilised cameras before.What do you use for macro stuff? or do you add ext tubes?Thanks for the info allready Mosstrooper :)
  15. Mosstrooper

    Mosstrooper Well-Known Member

    The Carl Zeiss Lens is very good, I hear there are two types, the one with DDR marking is East German and said to be the best, I haven't tried the other so can't say that is correct.

    Before you get all tied up in what others might think, or advise with regard to Lens stabilization, Thumbs too big for the Camera, unbalanced etc. from people who will never own one, think about why you bought the Camera in the first place. It has the shortest Lens Register in the world, 18mm, which means it can accept any Lens ever made by any Manufacturer whether it be Rangefinder or 35mm. The Photographers who used these Lenses before you had no Image Stabilization or any of the other trinkets found on your Camera, nor did they have the Speed capability in their Film, so leave that stuff aside and just enjoy what will be a new world of Photography for you.

    I'm not really interested in Macro although I do have a Sony 30mm dedicated Macro Lens, and some tubes.

    I have never known a time like this where such huge numbers of people in the world enjoyed Photography and I put it down to the fact Manufacturers have taken it out of the hands of those who try to keep it as something of a Black Art, something you need letters after your name before you are allowed to press a button, I look at all the fun things people do on the Social Networks and on the Internet, they don't want to get a picture on Getty or Alamy, or sell one for 30p so couldn't give a ----- what the purveyors of the Black Arts think.

    So that would be my Christmas message to you, you have a great tool, go after whatever Lens you fancy, if it doesn't meet your expectations, just put it back on the Bay, you won't lose any money, the enjoyment factor is immense.

    This picture was taken with the Cosina at full stretch of 210mm on a rainy day, the only stabilization was the window frame.

    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  16. caledonia84

    caledonia84 Well-Known Member

    Thanks again Mosstrooper lots of valuable advice on the camera, might leave the rangefinder lenses for now, the lens caps are going for more than some of the m42 lenses I've been looking at!

    The Mamiya Sekor 55 1.8 arrived yesterday, no adapter yet so haven't tried it, I have to say though it's a beautifully designed little thing, real quality feel to it Can't wait to use it :)

    I also have an ASAHI (PENTAX) SUPER-TAKUMAR 135mm f3.5 on it's way and a Helios 44M 58mm F2. I know the Helios is a similar focal length to the Mamiya but I couldn't argue at £10.50 :)

    I will do a wee review when they all arrive
  17. caledonia84

    caledonia84 Well-Known Member

    Mamiya Sekor 55mm 1.8 by Caledonia84, on Flickr

    Helios 44-M 58mm 2 by Caledonia84, on Flickr

    Super Takumar 135mm 3.5 by Caledonia84, on Flickr

    My M42 to NEX adapter eventually arrived which allowed me to try the new/old lenses, not worth heading out with the weather as it is so thought I'd use the lenses themselves as test subjects. Not a big fan of the Super Takumar so far but I'm sure it'll come in handy in certain situations. I really like the other 2 especially the Mamiya, the Helios doesn't feel as well built and the focus ring is a bit stiff but I can live with it.....just :)

    Enjoying using the manual lenses they remind me of rubik's cubes at times! they are definitely helping me understand the technical side of how lenses work and what's happening when I'm changing aperture settings​
  18. Mosstrooper

    Mosstrooper Well-Known Member

    Good for you, the fun starts here. There are a few web sites devoted to Manual Lenses if you care to read up on them. As far as I know The Takumar is a very well regarded Lens, you may have to experiment a little to get the best from that.

  19. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Obviously the Super Takumar is quite an appreciable telephoto on this camera, so you will not find much indoor use for it, also it being a longish weighty metal barreled lens it may unbalance this camera somewhat. They are generally optically good, poor samples are rare as quality control was good, but I believe they would only be batch tested before having their gold passed stickers attached.
  20. caledonia84

    caledonia84 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info on the Takumar guys, it feels the higher quality lens will need to get it out in good light and give it a proper go, it only cost £16 so I can't really grumble ;)

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