Using third-party lenses on the Sony a7 / a7R

In theory, if you've got a collection of old or obscure lenses for long-defunct 35mm film cameras, the full-frame Sony a7 / a7R may allow you to breathe new life into them. Like the Leica M-mount, Sony's E-mount is supremely adaptable due to the short flange-back distance, meaning that lenses for a great many systems can be attached to the a7 / a7R without huge cost via a range of third-party mount adapters.

Being an unapologetic nerd when it comes to things like this, I was very interested in the a7 / a7R precisely because of their potential as a platform for some of the lenses in my collection which have proven hard or impossible to practically adapt to digital up to now. I say 'practically' because I can't afford a Leica Typ-240 and the crop factors imposed by Micro Four Thirds or previous Sony NEX cameras do make a difference to how useful a lens is to me.

My old Vivitar 17mm for Canon FD, for example, isn't that exciting on a 1.5X or 2X crop camera. But full frame… now that might be interesting. Likewise my KONICA HEXANON AR 57mm F1.2. It's a fun (if unwieldy) 85mm-ish equivalent portrait lens on APS-C but I want to see what it's like as a 57mm!

My Vivitar 17mm F3.5 must be 30 years old, and using the Sony a7R was my first opportunity to shoot with this Canon FD-mount version. This landscape was taken at ~F4 and as you can see, edge performance is critically rather poor and there's plenty of vignetting. But do I care? Not at all. The lens only cost me $10.

Armed with a selection of adapters (some of my own and some kindly loaned by Novoflex) I picked out a few lenses that I wanted to experiment with. A manual focus SMC PENTAX 1:2/35 that I found in a local junk shop, my Vivitar 17mm F3.5 MC for Canon FD, the KONICA HEXANON AR 57mm F1.2 (also from a junk shop - possibly the best $30 I've ever spent) and a treasured 1950 Nikon 5cm f1.4 S-C for Leica screw-mount.

The following is basically a list of tips, issues, and things to be aware of if you plan to shoot with old lenses, via adapters, on the a7 / a7R. Full disclosure - it's not completely hassle-free. Some of the frustrations that I experienced are just part and parcel of the experience of using non-optimized old lenses on a new high-resolution digital platform, but some are a consequence of decisions that Sony has made which complicate the process. We've got full reviews of both the a7 and a7R on the way very soon, but in the meantime, if you're interested in using third-party lenses on either camera, I hope you find this article useful. 

Shooting at F1.2 hand-held is pretty difficult in the best of situations, but in low light, shooting a human subject it's decidedly hit and miss. This portrait, taken with my KONICA HEXANON AR 57mm F1.2 'wide open' is the only shot in a series of more than ten where my subject's eyes are in focus.

In low light, with this lens at F1.2, the a7's focus peaking was completely non-functional - even turned up to 'high'. 

The first thing you'll need to do, if you want to shoot with a third-party lens on the a7/R via an adapter is to make sure that you've set the camera up to take pictures without a lens attached. That's easy, because it's enabled by default. If you (or a friend, mischievous child or malevolent spirit) have disabled it for whatever reason, you can find the option at the end of page three in the custom setting tab of the menu setting. 'Release w/o Lens: Enable'.

Once this is done, crack out the adapters, get adapting, and you're ready to shoot. 

1: Shutter priority is your friend

I can't remember the last time I used shutter priority (I'm an aperture priority kind of guy) but it's pretty much essential if you want to shoot with a third-party lens via an adapter on the a7/a7R. As we will explain fully in our forthcoming review, in aperture priority and program modes the Auto ISO function of these cameras LOVES to select a shutter speed of 1/60 sec. Just LOVES it. This is frustrating enough when using one of Sony's new FE lenses, but it's courting disaster when using a fully manual prime, especially 50mm or longer where it almost guarantees blurry images from camera shake much of the time.

On a cold foggy morning, shooting hand-held with a Nikon 5cm prime I needed a shutter speed higher than 1/100 sec to ensure a sharp image on the Sony a7R.

In aperture priority mode with auto ISO set, the a7 / a7R generally insist on 1/60 sec so I took this shot (and most of the others in this article) in shutter priority mode.
Manually setting a shutter speed of 1/160 sec has kept this portrait, shot on a cold windy day, free from camera shake. On a 57mm lens, the Sony a7 / a7R's preference for 1/60 sec in aperture priority mode would have almost certainly been a recipe for camera shake. 

I took this with the KONICA HEXANON AR 57mm F1.2 at F2.8. Stopped down a little there was enough contrast for focus peaking to be helpful in magnified focus view. 

Hopefully this can be fixed via a firmware update (I'd like to see at least an option to bias the recommended shutter speed on a faster - slower scale) but in the meantime, for handheld shooting I've found that shutter priority mode is the way to go. I select an appropriate shutter speed for blur-free shots, and let automatic ISO take care of exposure while I work at my desired aperture.

The adapters I'm using are a mixture of cheap and simple mass-produced units and more complex adapters that incorporate an aperture stop-down / open up control. Whatever type of adapter you use, I'd recommend working primarily at your desired shooting aperture. Contrast will be higher, and you won't need to worry about focus shift when aperture is changed between focus and exposure.

2: Magnified focus is also your friend, until it isn't.

The thing about manual focus with fast lenses especially on 24 or 36MP cameras, is that it's really pretty difficult. For static subjects, with the camera mounted on a tripod it's straightforward but shooting hand-held, especially when it comes to portraiture, accurate manual focus is challenging on any high-resolution platform, and the Sony a7 / a7R are no exception.

Focusing third-party lenses manually on these cameras demands magnified live view. Unless you're talking ultra wide-angle / fisheye work or really small apertures, there's no way you'll be able to reliably hit accurate focus without it. The most convenient way of activating the focus magnifier is to assign this function to either custom button c1 (to the right of the shutter button on the top of the camera) or c2 (to the right of the EVF on the rear). This is simple enough but the way that the focus magnifier works could definitely be improved.

The a7 / a7R's magnified focus mode is essential for accurately focusing third-party lenses mounted via an adapter. When it comes to activating magnified focus mode, the buttons that it makes most sense to assign are C1 or C2.

Personally, I find that C2 is a bit awkward, due to its position on the 'shelf' that runs along the upper rear of the cameras, and so close to the EVF. 

For one thing, pressing the focus magnifier button doesn't magnify anything at first. It just brings up an orange box on the screen, indicating the area to be magnified. which you can move around using the 4-way controller. Pressing the button again initiates magnification. So you might have already gone through at least three actions by the point at which you're looking at a magnified view.

The next issue is that the minimum level of magnification is 7.2X, which is extreme enough that without built-in stabilization, when hand-held the resulting image is likely to be pretty shaky, due to camera-shake. Mild 'jello-effect' at this magnified setting doesn't help either. Certainly, for 50mm lenses or longer, you'll need a steady hand to really be able to get a clear view of what's sharp and what isn't. A lower magnification option would be more user-friendly (and might give focus peaking a better change of working too - see the section on the following page).

'Wide open' at F1.4 with my old Nikon 5cm f1.4 S-C, Auto ISO selected a sensitivity setting of 25,600 for this candlelit shot, taken at 1/100sec, handheld. 

In this kind of light, and with such a shallow depth of field, accurate focus was extremely difficult. The a7R's tricky focus magnification behavior didn't exactly help. 

Two final frustrations - the little orange rectangle which indicates the area to be magnified gets reset when the camera is powered off. This might sound trivial, but if you're in the habit of turning your camera off between exposures to save the battery (hello, Fujifilm X100S users…) it soon becomes annoying.

Also a little tiresome is the fact that when you're reviewing images, the zoom option in review mode ignores the position of the magnification frame that you used when you took the picture. So if your point of focus was towards the top of the frame, for instance, and that's where you positioned the focus magnifier, that's the area that you really want to check when you're reviewing your shot. But when you zoom in on the image in playback mode the camera will just dumbly zoom to the very center of the image, at which point you need to shuffle around the picture using the 4-way controller to track over to the area that you want to look at.

It's a small thing, but annoying in a high-end camera body and a time-suck if you need to review multiple images for critical focus. Fortunately though, once you've tracked to the desired area, the position of the magnified frame stays the same if you scroll through more images using the rear control wheel.

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Comments

Total comments: 470
1234
HKelsey
By HKelsey (2 days ago)

Why are you wasting the C1 button for focus magnification. There is already a focus button on the AEL switch at the back.

This may have been added by Sony on the A7R software upgrade as it is not detailed in the manual.

Regards,

Harley

0 upvotes
Preternatural Stuff
By Preternatural Stuff (2 weeks ago)

@Michael Berg,

Since we are on the subject of an "open mind", perhaps readers ought to be more discerning and learn to ask relevant questions regarding any writer's claims instead of taking it all in hook, line and sinker.

Instead you pointed out some irrelevant thing about shutter speeds required to shoot non-static subjects when the reviewer shot simple static shots of non-moving subjects.

"I find 1/125 is a maximum shutter setting I like to shoot at, and go for 1/160 or 1/250 if the light is there, just to be sure."

- I find it odd that an "open mind" sets such arbitrary rules without reference to all the facts of the situation. No reference to focal length (oh right you don't know what the reciprocal rule is) or the speed of the subject matter.

My experience (& obvious knowledge of the basic rules) tells me what (lowest acceptable) shutter speed to use for every situation, for the required sharpness and lowest possible noise, not some arbitrary "maximum".

0 upvotes
newuser68
By newuser68 (1 month ago)

I am new to this. I am trying old manual OM Zuiko lenses with an adapter on a a7. Getting an exposure check is an issue since the camera doesn't know what the f stop setting is and I have not found a way to manually set the f stop I am using. The camera registers "f---". Am I doing something wrong or is there something I am missing? BTW the Rainbow imaging OM-NEX adapter seems fine.

0 upvotes
Miguel Teotonio
By Miguel Teotonio (1 month ago)

You have to set your camera to A priority and then select the aperture on the lens or adapter. If you don't have anyway to choose aperture it won't work.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Just Ed
By Just Ed (1 month ago)

Barney, the SONY Ninja Assassins are going to get you for this
(meant in good humor).

0 upvotes
danijel973
By danijel973 (1 month ago)

So basically the point is to use the latest sensor technology and optics that were second class in the time of their making in order to produce a look of a Minolta X-700 with a cheap Vivitar zoom and a roll of Kodak Gold?

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
Just Ed
By Just Ed (1 month ago)

Yup, but I think it looks more like Italian made film :-)

0 upvotes
danijel973
By danijel973 (1 month ago)

The annoying thing for me is, I actually use the old lenses, but not because of the "lomo look" or whatever, I use them because if you do it properly, they can give a modern super-lens a run for the money. Some of those optics are genuinely superior to the new stuff, and you can get them for a song these days.

0 upvotes
RDMPhotos
By RDMPhotos (3 weeks ago)

Right Dan.. Like all old Rokkor or Minolta MD Glass.

0 upvotes
Dr Panos G Adamopoulos
By Dr Panos G Adamopoulos (1 month ago)

IMO, ToDay the "Alpha 7R, w/h Metabones & Leica/Voigtländer M Lenses" is the BEST value for money kit on the market; by far.....!!!
Assuming one has good M Lenses....!!!!

0 upvotes
RDMPhotos
By RDMPhotos (3 weeks ago)

i am not aware of any Leica/Voigtländer M lenses that are not good.

0 upvotes
Aero Windwalker
By Aero Windwalker (1 month ago)

When people having trouble having decent photos they play with equipments.

3 upvotes
Gionni Dorelli
By Gionni Dorelli (1 month ago)

Complete waste of time. With these lenses the final look is very boring.
In my view this kind of exercise is worth only with lenses that have a distinct character. Some old Zeiss, medium format Pentax, Contax or Leica. Just to give an example.

I mean.... a Vivitar from the 80ies??? Nikon 50mm are been proven dogs historically. An old Konika... OMG!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
blink667
By blink667 (1 month ago)

If I was shooting wide open most of the time, and I don't know many people who do, this article would be compelling. I've been using Nikon manual lenses and focus peaking on a 5N with good results. I don't know why it would be different with an A7/R.

0 upvotes
guyfawkes
By guyfawkes (1 month ago)

It isn't any different. I also have the 5N and an A7. The difference with the A7 is the field of view expected from 35mm camera optics and using the same lenses on both bodies does show up edge performance, or lack of it, on the A7.

The quality of the images can be quite variable. The Canon EF f1.8/50mm Mk II performs exceptionally well across the whole frame and is exceedingly sharp. I have to use this with an adaptor with electronic contacts as there is no way to set the aperture manually. My Canon EF f3.5/4.5 28-105 also surprised me with the quality it can achieve on the A7, with the only slight reservation is a small amount of vignetting caused by the adaptor, but this can be edited out.

I've got high quality results from a Minolta MD f1.7/50 and an Olympus f1.8/50 Zuiko and really beautiful images with my Leica f2.8/135 Elmarit R.

Wide angle lenses can be problematic, but my Orion f6/28mm gives excellent results at f8.

To the detractors, try it before posting negatively.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Ilya the Great
By Ilya the Great (2 months ago)

If only I could use my numerous Canon lenses and retain auto-focus, I would buy it in an instant

0 upvotes
alkaabi
By alkaabi (1 month ago)

yes you can, find the adapter here:

http://www.metabones.com/products/details/MB-EF-E-BM3

1 upvote
Soothsayerman
By Soothsayerman (2 months ago)

Fun article and interesting. One of my main considerations in purchasing one of the Sony A7's is to use old lenses and I think it would be just plain fun. It's not going to take the place of my DSLR, but what a great adventure and pleasure to be able to use old glass that hasn't seen light in a while. All the fiddliness would be just part of it and part of the discovery. Thanks for posting!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
alkaabi
By alkaabi (1 month ago)

its already taken the place of my D800 & RX1. go for it, it's a great camera with a lot of lenses.

1 upvote
feztizzle
By feztizzle (2 months ago)

I have a nex6 and all i use is third party lenses. I sold the kit lens which was horrible and got 4 primes and adapter's from ebay. All 1980's and older and love the pictures I get and so does everyone else.

2 upvotes
lenseye
By lenseye (2 months ago)

This camera has not been developed to work with third party lenses in per se! While you can attach lenses through an adapter, the results will not be stellar by any means... it will be happy go lucky meaning you will get nice shots too but only here and there... this is just a marketing ploy by some camera companies to sell more of their products. In most cases the focusing is difficult and unreliable.

If you really want to use third party lenses look for something that was designed for them from ground up... Ricoh GXR with the M-mount lensor is one. It has its limitations but performs spectacularly with almost any lens. Its focus peaking is second to none... I bought it reluctantly two years two years ago but can't put it down... I have it always with me.

2 upvotes
alkaabi
By alkaabi (1 month ago)

I find the focusing pleasant and no brainer. I'm already using Leica,Nikon, zeiss and minolta lenses with spectacular results.

1 upvote
PaulDavis
By PaulDavis (4 weeks ago)

Your totally wrong. You can spend five minutes on the Web and find tons of beautiful photos taken with camera and third party lenses. Your statement is based on zero facts.

0 upvotes
RDMPhotos
By RDMPhotos (3 weeks ago)

To lenseye, you obviously have no eye for lenses.

0 upvotes
Preternatural Stuff
By Preternatural Stuff (2 months ago)

I have several criticisms of this article (obvious flaws in the review):

1. Problem with the 1/60th shutter speed

This criticism doesn't cut it when most cameras do the same in Program/Aperture priority mode.

2. Related to the 1st point - camera shake
The writer needed 1/100th shutter speed to get a sharp picture using a 50mm prime lens.

More fundamentally a question of the writer's technique (or lack there of!). Most photographers can get great shots at far lower shutter speeds. I can easily shoot handheld at 1/15th or 1/30th no problem (without image stabilisation). 1/60th is plenty sufficient according to the reciprocal rule too.

3. Inability to get sharp focus
Again a huge flaw with the review - the writer uses what he conceded were bad lenses - hazy, cheap ($10!), flawed, ancient (65 yrs old!) - more suited for the scrap heap.

How does one blame the A7's focus peaking/viewfinder etc. for being not good enough to purchase?

If you want half-decent pics, use decent lenses!

1 upvote
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (2 months ago)

I kind of disagree with your second point. In an APS-C sensor, 50mm corresponds to 75 to 80mm so, the closest thing and surest thing to do to get an absolutely sharp image would be to shoot at 1/100th or 1/125th of a second, which I am assuming is the fastest shutter speed possible under the circumstances.

"Hand-holdability" is largely subjective, some people have steadier hands than others, so I wouldn't point that at technique.

But yeah all in all a flawed article.

1 upvote
Michael Berg
By Michael Berg (2 months ago)

I think you're missing the point here. The writer simply explains what it's like to use older lenses on the Sony A7. If the A7 doesn't do a perfect job that's alright, I don't think there was any expectation that it should have. Focus peaking works by contrast detection, and with high magnification it's just difficult to get good, contrasty edges. That's no fault of the A7, that's just a fact of life. Don't read it as blame. And don't read it as a reason not to buy the A7R, quite the contrary.

I also have to disagree on the camera shake. If you are walking around taking pictures, you are very likely to see blur at 1/60 regardless of focal length. If you want to take pictures of non static items (cars, dogs, cats, children - well pretty much anything), you are very likely to get blur at 1/60. I find 1/125 is a maximum shutter setting I like to shoot at, and go for 1/160 or 1/250 if the light is there, just to be sure.

Don't be so defensive. Keep an open mind.

3 upvotes
Michael Berg
By Michael Berg (2 months ago)

Also I want to say thank you to the writer for an original and interesting article, on a subject that I think a lot of people wonder about. Third party lenses can be had very cheaply, especially older ones, and many of them are very good indeed.

(In fact, 65 years is no age for a lens. The optical principles and laws of light haven't changed, nor has the glass. If it has been looked after mechanically, it should still produce good photos).

1 upvote
Preternatural Stuff
By Preternatural Stuff (2 weeks ago)

Both of you CLEARLY have NO CLUE what the reciprocal rule is about!

@Provia_fan,

What is the relevance of bringing up APS-C? The A7 is full-frame and any lens attached is full frame. 50mm is 50mm.

Do you even know what the Reciprocal Rule is? If you are using a 50mm (or even 85mm lens) & you need 1/100th or 1/125th of a second, then you, like the writer, are a crap photographer. The average photographer should only need 1/50th s shutter speed to get a sharp pic.

@Michael Berg,

You don't even know what you are talking about, you have a problem reading & also a problem with critical thinking.

The writer uses extremely bad old & hazy fogged up, unsharp lenses. There may be 60+ yr old lenses that are good but the writer used 60+ old lenses that are bad - & then complains about unclear photos & focus peaking not working well. Focus peaking obviously requires sharp lenses to work, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to work that out.

0 upvotes
Preternatural Stuff
By Preternatural Stuff (2 weeks ago)

@Michael Berg,

1. You acknowledged that focus peaking relies on contrast detection but you can't spot the obvious flaw in the methodology of using foggy lenses from the scrap heap?

2. "If you are walking around taking pictures, you are very likely to see blur at 1/60 regardless of focal length."

I don't think you understand the reciprocal rule, camera shake & what causes picture blurring. Of course FL matters. If u get blurring just cos you are walking around & just cos u are shooting at 1/60th, u are quite a hopeless photog.

None of the reviewers pics involved a moving camera (ég. on a rocking boat or vibrating car), or even fast moving subject matters & yet the reviewer complains about not being able to get a sharp pic. That indicates problems with basic technique &/or lens.

& to think that all my students learn the reciprocal rule as one of the 1st things about shutter speed!

3. I don't own the A7 - why should I defend anything. Why are u defending a badly çonducted review?

0 upvotes
Preternatural Stuff
By Preternatural Stuff (2 weeks ago)

@Michael Berg,

& on the subject of an "open mind", perhaps readers ought to be more discerning and learn to question what any review claims instead of taking it all in hook, line and sinker.

"I find 1/125 is a maximum shutter setting I like to shoot at, and go for 1/160 or 1/250 if the light is there, just to be sure."

- I find it odd that an "open mind" sets such arbitrary rules without reference to all the facts of the situation. No reference to focal length (oh right you don't know what the reciprocal rule is) or the speed of the subject matter.

My experience (& obvious knowledge of the basic rules) tells me what (lowest acceptable) shutter speed to use for every situation, for the required sharpness and lowest possible noise, not some arbitrary "maximum".

0 upvotes
eastwestphoto
By eastwestphoto (2 months ago)

Writing a comment limited to 1000 characters on this website; in a subject as technical as legacy lenses, with super high center sharpness is too limiting for a writer on this subject- DP review website. Don't use focus peaking at all! its designed for Sony's AF FE lenses mostly. Use Magnified focus in 7x, use m39, or very old Exakta lenses from 1945~1965. Size matters for ergonomics. Consider lens cleanliness FIRST. Next is the lenses designed for super high center lines/mm! Contrast ratio comes next, followed by size and weight and distance from the chip plane to end of the lens. prevent nose heavy choices. I like the small leica m39 choices or Nikkor choices best. Still the Alpa SLR lenses were outstanding. Remember 1960 Kodachrome l was ASA 10 speed and the lenses designed for it was a killer in center focus lines/mm. Sure they may have had terrible edge to edge spec's or ghosting, flare, chromatic aberration, but who cares; they were super sharp! Best regards, Don

1 upvote
Michael Berg
By Michael Berg (2 months ago)

You say don't use focus peaking but offer no alternative other than to use your eyes. Why is this better?

It's like asking a carpenter to skip the spirit level and just go by eyesight, because the spirit level wasn't designed for carpentry. Hey, if you're a great carpenter with decades of experience maybe that will work. But what about everyone else? My new shelf wouldn't look so great I think :-)

Focus peaking works no better or worse with FE lenses than with any other type of lens. It's light travelling through glass, the label on the side of the lens is just for marketing.

0 upvotes
alkaabi
By alkaabi (1 month ago)

I agree with you, but he did say "Use Magnified focus in 7x" as alternative solution.

0 upvotes
andrman
By andrman (2 months ago)

I have found that for shooting manual lenses, setting C3 to be the focus magnifier works much better ergonomically. Also, I actually use C3 for the Focus Settings option, not focus magnifier. It seems more versatile - when in autofocus will bring up the useful spot size/position selector, and for manual focus it seems to work the same as Focus Magnifier. Great little setting trick!

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Photogrrr
By Photogrrr (2 months ago)

A couple of things:

I had just posted an add to finally try to sell off my old Contax 35 mm system, but this has me wondering whether anybody has tried older Contax mounts on the a7/a7r? Perhaps there's life after film for these great lenses after all?

And I'm wondering whether this offering by Sony will prompt Nikon and Canon to also produce an entry- or enthusiast-level priced full-frame camera in the immediate future? Surely the a7 will appeal to some significant portion of their market share. Any thoughts?

0 upvotes
Just Ed
By Just Ed (3 months ago)

There was a reason for "rangefinder" cameras and split image circles in SLR film cameras. The process of trying to handhold a camera while magnifying the subject to focus on a lcd or evf seems a bit archaic to me, kinda like a view camera or tlr. I only manually focus my DSLR's when using a tripod and shooting a static scene or when dof it critical.

Guess if I owned several thousand dollars worth of Leica or Zeiss glass it might seem a Godsend. Otherwise it just seems, like the author admitted, a nerd thing.

0 upvotes
Rocky Mtn Old Boy
By Rocky Mtn Old Boy (2 months ago)

Perspective is everything. I am old school I guess... learned to shoot without autofocus. Now if I have it, I turn it off. That said, I don't take pictures of F1, speed skaters or birds in flight... or if I do, I focus on a place where they'll be and use appropriate depth-of-field. Limiting, I suppose... but my landscapes don't move much. The A7 and old lenses (or new ones - Tamron 150-600) work well for me.

2 upvotes
alkaabi
By alkaabi (1 month ago)

cool, in fact, after trying the manual focus on A7r I abandoned the so called AF technology. nice to go back to the basics and get exactly what "you" -and not the camera- want.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
AlexBakerPhotoz
By AlexBakerPhotoz (3 months ago)

I recently bought a Nex-6 for a walk around pocket camera to compliment my Nikons and got a Fotodiox Pro adaptor for it and presto, I can use all my old Nikkor 35mm lenses from the early 70's on it and it's great and easy. Doing this on FF is very tempting. The Nikon Df would be a pretty expensive experiment, the Sony a7R might be a better and less expensive way to get to 36MP FF with these old lenses.

1 upvote
Spectro
By Spectro (3 months ago)

this camera isn't design for Sony user as a whole. It is created to grab the dslr Nikon and canon shooters that has no decent milc body option, but wanted to use their existing lenses. I have to use an adaptor for my nikkor lenses. While focusing peaking is fun, I don't think some of my shots are tack sharp for portrait like they should be on a dslr native body. Landscape I can't tell as much, so it is fine. I shoot full manual, iso too with an adapter on, not shutter priority. The lcd screen shows the correct exposure anyways.

0 upvotes
Waimak Stud
By Waimak Stud (3 months ago)

Can anyone please answer this question? I am thinking about getting an a7 and would like to use it with old FD lenses, but have only had the chance to try one in the shop. I have heard how many steps one needs to initiate magnified view, however, in the shop, when the focus mode switch is on AF/M then simply pushing the button in the middle of that switch and turning the focus on the lens magnifies the view automatically. Does this only work with native Sony lenses? Does that not also work with third party or legacy lenses?

0 upvotes
hip2
By hip2 (3 months ago)

it only works with lenses that can eletronically send information to the body, so mainly sony lenses (A, E and EF mount) and canon ef lenses with the metabones adapter according to some commenters here..

0 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (3 months ago)

Once set up you simply tap whichever button you have assigned to focus magnification twice, which you can do quite rapidly. You don't have to press one button than another or anything like that, simply double tap and you are zoomed in. The first tap allows you to readjust where you will zoom in to your scene before it zooms in, lots of people see this as a negative as they have to press the button twice, but its actually quite a bit handier than moving the magnified section once zoomed in, in ny opinion.

1 upvote
Waimak Stud
By Waimak Stud (3 months ago)

Oh, Ok, thanks for your reply. Bit of a shame that just pushing that button doesn't work, but double tapping the assigned button doesn't seem too hard. Just like using my GF1 with an FD lens. Just have to be careful when re-composing that I don't lean towards the subject.

0 upvotes
deluk
By deluk (3 months ago)

I've just revisited this thread to see if had calmed down/bottomed out. Still fairly lively it seems. Pity that hardly any of the comments refer to the context of the article but to the A7 and its own foibles.
I would think that since posting it BB and the team have been smiling and shaking their heads. It doesn't affect me as I don't even have a DSLR but read it out of interest. To me it was a fun article about what you can do with older lenses. I'm sure it would have been just too easy for BB to ask around the office for a selection of much better, modern ones. That wasn't the idea though IMO. It's often more fun to go out for the day with an older lower spec'd camera and challenge yourself to take some pictures you like. They don't have to be technically perfect, the best pictures rarely are. If the image comes up on screen and you say "I like that" and someone looking over your shoulder agrees, that opinion is immediate.
Thanks Barnaby, great pictures, I enjoyed your article.

5 upvotes
AlpCns2
By AlpCns2 (3 months ago)

Thank you for introducing some (sorely needed) sanity.

0 upvotes
EvanZ
By EvanZ (3 months ago)

A friend of mine just bought the A7, so I tried out my old Nikon 85mm F2 that I've been using with a Nex C3 for a while now. It works great on the A7. Not sure why anyone would be complaining.

3 upvotes
stillzman
By stillzman (3 months ago)

There are so many misleading/over exaggerated opinions and comments about these cameras that I think it's a damn shame some people are turning away without even giving the a7/R a try for their own experience, it's really your loss.

0 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (3 months ago)

Two points that I think have been missed, not only here but in the A7 review as well:

1) Why do you set C1 or C2 as focus magnifier? C2 is clunky to get to (as you say) and C1 is too close to the shutter button. After extensive playing with different settings I now do not have a 'focus magnifier' button at all! You simply don't need it on the A7/R. Why? I shoot a variety of lens types on the A7, this includes native lenses, A-Mount lenses (LA-EA4), EF Mount lenses (with Metabones adapter), MD mount and m42 mount. Now because I shoot a number of different lenses which have differing capabilities in AF on the A7, from very good (native and A-Mount) to very poor (EF mount) to non-existent (MD and m42 etc) I wanted a configuration that worked for all lens types, rather than reconfiguring for manual and AF lenses every time.... TBC

0 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (3 months ago)

So what do I do instead of focus magnify? Simple really, I set the middle button (the one in the centre of the 4 way navigator) to 'Focus Settings', I then have C1 set to AF/MF Toggle. The really cool thing about this is that or one, when in AF mode using an AF lens pressing this button allows me to quickly move AF points using the navigating buttons, turning the dial on the other hand allows me to change AF modes, from wide area, to spot etc.

But where it gets even better is that when in MF mode that same button automatically becomes focus magnifier! So no wasted button that has no function when in AF mode, it switches automatically depending on what lens you are using and whether you are in AF or MF modes - This is very very handy and in a FAR better position than the C1 and C2 buttons as you can very quickly access the other relevant features to pressing the button, such as moving the magnify box or changing focus points, plus no chance of slipping on the shutter half-press :)...

7 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (3 months ago)

2) Is that this is an article that discusses third party lenses, but seems to only focus on older completely MF lenses. I would think an article like this should be a bit more comprehensive, so wanted to add an important experience with some 'other' third party options, namely EF mount lenses with Metabones adapter.

One of DPR's criticisms is the focus magnifier using third party lenses, so I would like to point out that EF lenses that have distance encoding (most of them) support auto magnification when you turn the focus ring, so no '2-press' required, turn the focus ring and it automatically zooms in. It also supports focus distance scales on screen as well as FL indicator when using zoom lenses. These three things make a huge difference to using third party lenses on the A7/R....

1 upvote
abortabort
By abortabort (3 months ago)

3) (yeah yeah I said two) is that people put focus peaking on on these cameras and then just toggle between different 'strengths' to suit the lens they are shooting with and what they are shooting. I found peaking rather useless as mentioned above, so I turned it off. What I DID find though is that once off I could see what the viewfinder is doing and what was previously getting covered up by 'peaking highlights' and that is that there is strong aliasing between the sensor downsampling to the EVF resolution that only occurs on very sharply focussed edges, it produces a visible 'nailed focus' highlight, without having to put ugly and distracting highlights over my composition, it is also much much much more accurate than any of the peaking modes and only shows what is absolutely, critically in focus! It works brilliantly and I can nail focus on most subjects very easily with no peaking and no magnified view, just by looking for that aliasing....

1 upvote
abortabort
By abortabort (3 months ago)

... of course it doesn't work on all subjects, but even very fine details show up as they 'fizz' in and out of being rendered or skipped on the display. Even works well for most 'soft wide open' lenses as the aliasing is still in effect well enough when downscaling from 24MP to 0.8MP for the viewfinder, even if the lens is really only resolving 6MP - I suggest everyone try it if you don't already!

PS - Hot tip, leave display quality on 'standard' as 'high' seems to smooth the effect more (higher sensor readout maybe?) and therefore becomes less visible and less effective.

1 upvote
Dr Aref
By Dr Aref (3 months ago)

Can you please give further details of your experience with Canon EF lenses with Meabones adapte. According to Metabones their markIII EF-E mount adapter is able to deliverelectronic aperture selection, EXIF data, image stabilization and lastly autofocus.

Can anyone else comment on that if you have that particular experience.

Thanks.

Aref

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (3 months ago)

It is just so good to read someone someone's experience's and tip on how to use equipment in a good way.
Thanks!

0 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (3 months ago)

@ Eleson - thanks! Think that's about the nicest comment I've ever read in DPR :)

0 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (3 months ago)

@ Dr Aref - Yes the Metabones provides all of those things on the A7/R. The only area that doesn't work so well is the AF, simply because those lenses are not designed for contrast detect AF. But given how well they work in other areas EF lenses are still a pretty good choice.

In particular the automatic focus magnification as well electronic focus distance scale display are a real boon for EF lenses. Having IS, for example with the 35mm f2 IS is really nice to have as well.

Speaking of IS, the adapter has two modes, 'standard' mode where the IS works when you half press the shutter and a second mode (activated by holding the button down while attaching the lens AND the camera must be on) which activates the IS all the time. The first mode I find the IS often doesn't have enough time to start up as you aren't pressing the shutter button to AF first like you normally would, so the IS is less effective. In the second mode the IS is always on and will drain the battery much more quickly, however you can switch the IS off on the lens itself when you don't need it.

I almost always use the second mode because that's the mode that gives you focus distance scale and auto magnification. But if you use the standard mode you just need to be aware the lens needs a moment to 'crank on' the IS before you pull the trigger.

0 upvotes
OvinceZ
By OvinceZ (2 months ago)

Thanks, abortabort for your great suggestions. I agree that focus peaking doesn't guarantee the sharpest focus. Now that I have the center button for magnified view it makes using MF fun instead of a chore. I use my 500mm Canon lens and will try turning off focus peaking. FP is still useful for moving targets or for times when magnified view can't be used.

0 upvotes
Rick Knepper
By Rick Knepper (3 months ago)

I am visiting here only because I saw the article at Sony Rumors criticizing DPR's conclusions. Without reading SR or DPR's article, I already have a strong opinion about adapted lenses based on my experience over the years adapting many other brands' lenses to my Canon cameras. The OEM alignments for camera/lens combos have to be precise and it's a miracle that copy variation isn't a bigger problem than it is but introducing an adapter (3rd party or OEM) has to increase the incidence of copy variation even more.

I long ago divested most of my alternative lenses to be done with adapters.

I will not be interested in the A7r until a full range of native lenses become available and field results made known.

OT: I will probably wait until Sony produces a longer lasting battery.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (3 months ago)

Actually, the constraints of modern autofocus (low moving mass and friction) mean that they are poorly aligned compared to typical old manual lenses on adapters -- and I've measured this on my 130+ lenses. It's mostly element decentering on modern lenses, whereas adapters can only cause a very slight positioning error for the entire optical unit. Worst case for adapted lenses is typically a very slight tilt, which only impacts performance on an optical test bed in which you don't slightly angle the camera or target to match the slightly tilted focus plane.

2 upvotes
Michel71
By Michel71 (3 months ago)

Some of the weaknesses of the A7/A7r cameras were pointed out quite right (the 1/60s issue for example).

But overall it's quite clear that Mr. Britton just didn't manage to get things right with the manual lenses.
I've just done a quick test - took 4 different photos with my Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 lens wide open, using the focus peaking only. It's after sunset here in Poland, so I took the shots in an artificial light environment. 2 of them were focused perfectly, two were acceptable. And I don't think I'm an exception...

I've been using mirrorless cameras for more than three years now and I know they need some getting used to. But for me, the A7 is one of the most friendly cameras to use with manual lenses - if only it was equipped with a touchscreen nad the 1/60s issue was solved it would be perfect.

0 upvotes
Bryan Costin
By Bryan Costin (3 months ago)

Apparently it's a bloomin' miracle anybody ever took a picture that was properly focused with a manual-focus lens.

9 upvotes
Rmano
By Rmano (3 months ago)

I had a manual focus reflex in the 80s... and there is no comparison on how easy was to focus on the "split prism" OVF than with modern cameras. Even the ones with OVF now have views optimized for different things than focus, and you can notice it quite well. EVF and manual focusing without a tripod is quite hellish.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
GXRuser
By GXRuser (3 months ago)

I have a simple question... Why not use pure Aperture Priority Mode with a fixed ISO. That should yield a better control of shutter speed.

5 upvotes
William Koehler
By William Koehler (3 months ago)

Because with adapted lenses the camera body has no control of the aperture and the lens isn't telling the camera what the aperture is. So the camera body is flying blind on aperture. Shutter speed on the other hand is always controlled in camera.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Claudio NC
By Claudio NC (3 months ago)

I have the A7r from 3 weeks
with a lot of old, new, manual and AF lenses of many brands + various adapters cheap and expensive (Novoflex with tripod collar, Metabones MKIII for Canon AF), and untill now ...

... I am 100% agree with Barney Britton, thoughts and considerations, also with commas!

2 upvotes
Niala2
By Niala2 (3 months ago)

I take the liberty to paste here what a subquestion in this forum amounted-to regarding my surprise that "modern lenses adapted to the A7r" were not (even) mentioned in the first place..

Badi,
Thanks a lot for your bid.
I searched and found the report, with also very interesting comments at it's end - on URL
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/12/sony-a7r-a-rising-tide-lifts-all-the-boats#more-16850.
also :
http://www.nicolasgenette.com/blog/sony-a7r-for-canon-users/
... http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/09/there-is-no-free-lunch-episode-763-lens-adapters

So (far) it looks like the A7r (in matters of use with modern third-party lenses) could be of advantage over the 5dIII (only) for lenses (above 35mm) such as Zeiss 50 macro, 135mm, EF 85mmII..

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
TadekH
By TadekH (3 months ago)

It would be great to see results for Pentax 77mm.

0 upvotes
Zdman
By Zdman (3 months ago)

If I'm not mistaken that konica 57mm 1.2 is slightly radioactive. In fact I just found a youtube video which shows just that. Nothing to worry about in normal shooting as levels will revert to background from about 50cm but its not something you would want to sleep with under you pillow (or let the kids play with). Also try not to break it as breathing in or ingesting the shards could be quite an issue (thorium collects in the bones).

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (3 months ago)

Thank you for this great Article. I was contemplating to buy the Sony a7. I am currently using a Pentax DSLR and got very used to shoot exclusively with manual focus lenses in Live-view. Pentax has no EVF option. So I am using a very big LCD viewfinder. The EVF of the Sony is very renowned and considering that the Sony is Fullframe and all my lenses are full frame I was very tempted. Until I read your Article that is.

There are a couple of things I love about my K30 that apparently the Sony does not have:
1) With one button press I can engage magnification for manual focusing
2) I can dynamically adjust magnification in an instance with the rear wheel
3) Shake reduction works exceptionally well. I frequently shoot with my 50mm lens in 1/15s and get razor sharp results
4) Almost no jelloing in magnification view up to 200mm.

A pity the Pentax has no short flange mount. You would be very happy with the User Interface. Buttons are where you want them.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (3 months ago)

Ah, here is a hint to focus peaking you might find useful. I used focus peaking on the NEX5 and K-30. In all settings I found it to be useless when focusing f/2.8 or wider. At this shallow depth of field it simply seems not to be accurate. I got way better result turning focus peaking off and focus like in the old day with a coarse matte screen. When shifting focus I can see the plane of focus "walking" through the scene. So I stop when it hits where I want the focal point. If not sure I move the focus point slightly forward and backward. After a while you will get used to the change on the screen and identify the focal point. With this method I nail the focus every time with 50mm f/1.4. That is on not moving subjects. As you mentioned, at these settings your own movement can throw your focus already. The above method works very fast once you got used to it. Much faster than using magnification, focus, turn off, adjust framing and then shoot. Hope you will find this useful. Cheers!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (3 months ago)

"I can dynamically adjust magnification in an instance with the rear wheel" - I don't know about A7, but SLTs do have that.
"Almost no jelloing in magnification view up to 200mm" - same here.

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (3 months ago)

@ Plastek: Thank you. My point was not pro Pentax K-30. My point was for not moving away from it towards the A7, meaning I was surprised that this excellent camera of 2000 USD did not had essential features my 400 USD camera had. I am aware that many cameras have excellent UI, with the current Olympus possibly to have the best. The A7 was tempting over the Olympus for being full frame. The poor usability as pointed out in the Article made me drop this idea.

0 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (3 months ago)

Hubert, IMHO you should try the A7/7R before "dropping the idea". Don't just go by the comments of one reviewer that apparently is not very much used with manual AF. Besides, take a look at other sites reviews of those cameras!

1 upvote
Polytropia
By Polytropia (3 months ago)

So you get paid to take bad pictures and write about it?

1 upvote
AlpCns2
By AlpCns2 (3 months ago)

So you get paid to write nonsensical comments about pictures?

10 upvotes
The Scurvy Dog of PR
By The Scurvy Dog of PR (3 months ago)

Jesus! Stop using Auto ISO. I NEVER use it. How stupid is that? I have an NEX-7 I ONLY use with old 3rd party lenses and love it. I'm sorry the reviewer 'doesn't get it', but they continue this rant through the entire review. Get over it already!

5 upvotes
ttbek
By ttbek (3 months ago)

Agreed, using auto iso the camera has to juggle 2 variable and, unless you enter it manually somewhere on the camera, it doesn't know your focal length. I use my old lenses full manual, works like a charm (on NX300 though, not this camera).

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

someone call Sony sensor isoless for one can always use base ISO with widest dynamic range at little cost of image quality (SNR).

ISO is a minor variable in photography. it used to be very important only for low level technical (chemical) issues.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
AlpCns2
By AlpCns2 (3 months ago)

I must be extremely stupid, because I use it all the time. Woe is me.

2 upvotes
ravduc
By ravduc (3 months ago)

Nice guy! Go back to learning how to speak with respect.

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (3 months ago)

"ISO is a minor variable in photography." - LOL

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

one should know ISO is no photographic concept.
very basic thing a newbie should learn first.

0 upvotes
igor_s
By igor_s (3 months ago)

Nowadays the IS is essential for almost any general-use system. That's it.

0 upvotes
ttbek
By ttbek (3 months ago)

Nonsense, just up the shutter speed. Seriously, if it worked on 35mm film without IS, then it still works now. It's always had the same flaws. IS is bonus, not standard.

4 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (3 months ago)

@ttbk
I just thought like you until I got in-body camera shake reduction. I could not go back anymore. It gives me 4 stops and I use them!

3 upvotes
Niala2
By Niala2 (3 months ago)

What did I miss..? I'll ask my question naivaly:
How come the issue of "MODERN thirt party lenses" is not even mentioned? Is it anounced as an other, in depth article?
Is it logic that modern lenses just work perfectly and thats it?
I cannot imagine to be the only one to wonder how for instance Zeiss' ZE/F 35MM f1.4 or 50mm macro, or Canon TS 24mm( all with Metabones smart-adapter) perform on the 7R...

8 upvotes
Joseph Gerges
By Joseph Gerges (3 months ago)

You're not alone, I was wondering the same, especially as people who want to change from another system would like to know, if they can use their existing modern lenses so it would not be such a costly proposition.
Anyway I've decided to stay with Canon, and considering that this is their first iteration we'll have to wait until next year or so until they come up with the next version of these Sony cameras which I'm sure will be better.
This system is too expensive to buy just so you can use your vintage lenses.

1 upvote
quezra
By quezra (3 months ago)

Probably because mean ol' Scrooge McButler gave Tiny Barney a half shilling for his lenses and told him to get on with it. Bah humbug.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

> I'll ask my question naivaly

making people ask question, the article does its work.
often it's more important to ask question and think than learn the answer.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Niala2
By Niala2 (3 months ago)

Thank you for your reactions :-)
Me too did not consider abandoning my Canon 5D III but hope since long for a a better canon M, 7r-style option along with it.
But..I have two backup 5D II that will further loose resell-value wile remaining excellent.. I planely wonder if what at least "tripod-approach photography" is concernet (next to my many other type 'duties') the reults are just obviousaly better with the 7r then with the 5dlll when using modern TS-e and Zeiss..etc.
I dont like the loudness of the 7r shutter (love the silent mode on 5dlll), its slow x-synchro, poor battery autonomy.. but if image resoult-wise it betters 5dlll in certain fields of my mandates then it seems i should not wait for other alternatives - if on whants to face "dayly commercial considerations..

1 upvote
badi
By badi (3 months ago)

Hi,
Roger Cicala from lensrental has some very interesting articles regarding the A7R, with very good explanations and test results.
In short, the results with the A7R are great with 3rd party lens, the center of the image you get better sharpness that on most native bodies, but it is not recommended for wide lens (below 35mm) due to very soft edges.

1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (3 months ago)

The 35mm f/2 from Pentax is an excellent lens. Very comparable with a Zeiss in performance. There are two images in this Article shot with this lens. You can see this lens delivers smooth bokeh combined with high sharpness. This should answer your question how high quality lenses perform with an adapter on the A7R.

0 upvotes
Niala2
By Niala2 (3 months ago)

Badi,
Thanks a lot for your bid.
I searched and found the report, with also very interesting comments at it's end - on URL
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/12/sony-a7r-a-rising-tide-lifts-all-the-boats#more-16850.

So (far) it looks like the A7r (in matters of use with modern third-party lenses) could be of advantage over the 5dIII (only) for lenses (above 35mm) such as Zeiss 50 macro, 135mm, EF 85mmII.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

> but it is not recommended for wide lens (below 35mm) due to very soft edges.

we are trained to tolerate soft borders for wide angles (especially those wider than 24mm) but recent asph technologies make borders sharp, too (12-24/2.8G, 24-70/2.8G, 18-35/1.8, ...).

I don't see enough attractiveness, for most if not all rangefinder lenses are not very good and pratically the only lenses I use on Canon bodies through an adapter are Nikkors.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
igor_s
By igor_s (3 months ago)

Much the same what I thought about this. No sensor-shift IS, poor ergonomics, not-so-good focus aids implementation. An A-mount camera would be much better for IS and handling, but you would not be able to use any Canon, Konica or Minolta lenses with it (at least for infinity).
Anyway, it Sony offered the Z-axis sensor-shift AF, that would be awesome.

1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (3 months ago)

This is a great idea! Never thought about it. Make the rough focus manually and let the camera do the accurate fine focus. I hope any of the camera makers are reading this :-)

1 upvote
igor_s
By igor_s (3 months ago)

That is not my idea, there's been some rumors about that:
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52093143

1 upvote
snow shoe man
By snow shoe man (3 months ago)

congratulations ! your portrait of the young woman shot with the konica 57 mm at f1.2 is stunningly gorgeous ! its got everything going for it at all kinds of levels. its been a long time since i have admired a portrait of such magnificent, subtle grace. once again, WOW! ... PS. i shoot with a new GX7 and 35 and 40 year old pentax lenses ( yes, i am that old to have bought these lenses new ).

4 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (3 months ago)

Exactly!

1 upvote
xmeda
By xmeda (3 months ago)

If only usable lens was

"Other lenses in my collection, like my SMC PENTAX 1:2/35, give excellent results, despite the extraordinary demands of high-resolution digital imaging compared for the film that they were designed for. This shot was taken at F4."

then simply buy nice Pentax K5IIs or K3 and save a lot of money having great DSLR .)

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (3 months ago)

I am using a latest Pentax DSLR and have the really amazing 35mm f/2. Your comment is lovely, but sadly only half true.

It is true that the Pentax will give you a superb user interface. It will also give you camera shake reduction as a bonus.

However, the Sony has an EVF and the Pentax sadly does not. Shooting with live-view on the Pentax is great considering the UI, except with no EVF it is clumsy in handling. The Pentax is also APS-C. The 35mm full frame is simply more useful than cropped!

1 upvote
xmeda
By xmeda (3 months ago)

Pentax bodies allow me to use focus assist via AF during MF and also catch-in-focus :)

No need for display :)

btw. I have FA35/2 which is AF itself :D

0 upvotes
NickNock
By NickNock (3 months ago)

I have exactly the same issues as you describe with my E-M1. I was thinking to switch or get an A7R but it does not seem to be the correct camera for using third party lenses either. More likely I am better off with the E-M1 due to the nature of the camera/sensor. I was thinking to get an X-E2 they have the electronic split finder and lens corrections. But I do not have much faith in the X-E2 after my experiences from X-E1.

After all it seems that I will have to purchase a Leica to use my favourite Leica lenses. This is a shame because there is a lot of functionality and many different roles filing to gain from cameras like E-M1 and A7R.

I like to mention that in the E-M1's manual says that the focus peaking does not guarantee the sharpest focus. I imagine is the same for the A7R.

It seems to a large degree that MF with third party lenses is mostly a wish and almost a marketing gimmick.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
snow shoe man
By snow shoe man (3 months ago)

i have been shooting with a GX7 using 35 and 40 year old pentax lenses in manual mode using focus peaking and have no problems obtaining sharp images. note that the camera asks for the focal length of the 3rd party lens and i must them set the camera to that lens.

1 upvote
ttbek
By ttbek (3 months ago)

Works fine on my NX300 (FD lenses). No adapter for Leica M lenses though. Focus Peaking cannot ever guarantee sharpest focus, legacy or native lens, it is based on contrast detection and highest contrast is not always sharpest focus. In a similar manner, autofocus cannot guarantee sharpest focus either, ever.

1 upvote
Slaginfected
By Slaginfected (3 months ago)

Ok, asking again, for all those that use the A7/r already: Is the contrast detection for the focus peaking still done on the image shown on the display/in the EVF, or done on the original image?

I liked the focus peaking on my NEX-5, but it worked on the image shown on the display. Means, without magnification the contrast detection was running on a massively downsized version of the actual image. This resulted in focus peaking telling me "in focus", even though it wasn't when looking at the full resolution image, kinda forcing me to magnify each and everytime I was operating with somewhat shallower DoF. Not good, if proper timing is essential.

Other than that I liked using manual lenses on the NEX, so looking forward to give the A7 a try :)

0 upvotes
bluevellet
By bluevellet (3 months ago)

Time's up!

It's 20.21 GMT, the day after, and still no A7(r) review.

1 upvote
Juraj Lacko
By Juraj Lacko (3 months ago)

Well now you guys will learn OVF is better for MF

3 upvotes
jhinkey
By jhinkey (3 months ago)

You think all OVFs are better for MF just because one manufacturer (Sony in this case) has some implementation issues with their EVF-based manual focus assist?
My m43 gear is far better for manual focusing than my D800 is because Pany (in this case) implemented manual focusing assistance quite well in my GH2 and GX7.

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
new boyz
By new boyz (3 months ago)

Manual only OVF (old-timer) - yes, absolutely. They were bright and equipped with split-circle prism. Modern OVF? Nah, they're only good for AF. The reflect mirror is compromised.

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
1 upvote
ttbek
By ttbek (3 months ago)

Pshh. Focus peaking and magnification are nice aids, but modern EVFs are plenty good enough for me to shoot manual focus without aid approximately as well with an OVF. I'm just fine using either OVF or EVF or even just the back screen.

1 upvote
jeremyclarke
By jeremyclarke (3 months ago)

>Manual only OVF (old-timer) - yes, absolutely. They were bright and equipped with split-circle prism. Modern OVF? Nah, they're only good for AF. The reflect mirror is compromised.

I think that's the key point to remember about old manual focus lenses. They were designed with those fabulous split-prism focus screens in mind. A modern OVF without a manual-focus-specialized focus screen is simply not even close to a cheap old OVF that had one.

I know that on some high-end Canon DSLRs (60D and higher, though distributed kind of randomly among the lineup) you can install a custom focus screen and apparently they're awesome. I wonder how many of the commenters here tried that route?

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (3 months ago)

FYI: You can easily buy dedicated matte screens for manual focusing for any modern DSLR (despite of what dPreview said - that also includes Nikon Df).

"I wonder how many of the commenters here tried that route?" - apparently: more than tried using manual focus glass with mirrorless cameras. (that's mostly because of how unpopular mirrorless are comparing to DSLRs - and glass like Helios 44M-4 is one of most commonly recommended beginner primes for DSLRs).

1 upvote
jeremyclarke
By jeremyclarke (3 months ago)

Plastek you can't "easily" install a manual focussing screen on any Canon Rebel ever (I was really hoping to do so on my old 450D). In theory you can rip the out in there out and install a new one, but it's all kinds of sketchy. The company that does so (Katzeye) recommends you MAIL YOUR CAMERA TO THEM so they can charge you to install it (it also disables the red focus-point indicators!). IMHO that's not easy at all.

Compare to even the dumbest of NEX cameras and the focus peaking feature is always there giving you 90% of the value of a focus screen. Focus peaking is Sony's killer feature and the reason why IMHO their lineup is the best in the "optionally awesome for manual focus" department.

Focus peaking might not be as fun as a prism-based focus screen (when you have lots of light) but it has the added bonus that when you AREN'T manual focussing, it completely gets out of the way, unlike a focus screen which is in the way while AF is on.

0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (3 months ago)

Using old lens is mostly only a good thing because manufactures have grossly overinflated what we consider the best price for state-of-the-art equipment. lack of competition causes this. That and ignorance.

But then what benefits have we really gained? Few.

At some point first adopters need to consider how they are fostering overpricing, and how a great a tool does not make you great.

2 upvotes
Anastigmat
By Anastigmat (3 months ago)

That is the advantage of removing the reflex mirror. If the medium format manufacturers are smart, they should do the same with medium format cameras. Doing away with the mirror removes a big source of camera vibration and it drastically reduces the size and weight of a medium format camera too.

0 upvotes
quiquae
By quiquae (3 months ago)

According to an engineer at Pentax Ricoh who worked on the 645D, they had no choice but to make it into an DSLR because they were getting poor image quality from medium format sensors that do support live view. This is not surprising considering how big medium format is. Battery life and overheating would also pose huge problems.

Once they solve those little issues, then yes, they can and probably will move to mirrorless.

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (3 months ago)

"move"? Noone serious will "move" to mirrorless - if anything: they'll build a side-line of products in mirrorless version. Still though the DSLR version will be there leading the pack.
There's no such thing as "moving to mirrorless" - if anything: you can add mirrorless to your offer.
Seen what Olympus did? They already regret it and consider returning back to DSLRs due to shrinking sales. People love OVFs and there isn't anything out there to change that.

2 upvotes
quiquae
By quiquae (3 months ago)

Olympus and their 4/3 sensor are totally irrelevant to the medium format discussion.

The main disadvantages of DSLR vs mirrorless are: 1) size/weight and 2) mirror shock, while the advantages are 3) fast AF, 4) OVF over EVF and 5) not having to compromise sensor capability to allow it to be used for framing/focusing.

On medium format, the SLR disadvantages are much more seirous than in 135mm format: bigger sensor=bigger mirror=heavier body and bigger mirror shock. Meanwhile, the advantages are diluted: you don't want to shoot fast moving targets with medium format anyway, and the lag and blackout problems inherent in EVF are less problematic when shooting landscapes or portraits.

So the only justification for the DSLR medium format approach is the sensor issue, which can and will be solved by engineering eventually. When it happens, there will be very little justification left to pay for a medium format sized reflex box.

0 upvotes
Becksvart
By Becksvart (3 months ago)

"You know you did something wrong when you posted a high-profile article on DPR and expected to not get at least 50% vitriol for it".

Can't wait for the A7/r comments.

0 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (3 months ago)

You know you did something wrong when there's such a large overwhelmingly negative reaction to what you wrote.

Little issues like "default minimum shutter speed of 1/60" um.... put it in M, set the aperture and shutter speed and use auto ISO. Bam. Done.

Where's the issue now?

Not looking forward to the bronze award A7/A7R review after this.

4 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (3 months ago)

"Little issues like "default minimum shutter speed of 1/60" um.... put it in M, set the aperture and shutter speed and use auto ISO. Bam. Done."

Yep. I think I say that in the article...

2 upvotes
ttbek
By ttbek (3 months ago)

Did you? I see you espousing shutter priority as the way to go. Anyway, NX300 deals with some of your issues to an extent. It has a lesser magnification option ( you can do 5x or 8x) and you can set a minimum shutter speed when using auto iso in aperture priority mode. This isn't a hard minimum, but it will be biased to raise the iso first up until the highest auto iso (3200) before dropping the shutter speed below the speed you set.

1 upvote
pako
By pako (3 months ago)

"Obviously, comments about design and control layout are inevitably going to be to some degree subjective, but when using third-party lenses I have found one main pain-point that I suspect will be universal. Once magnified focus is activated using the C1 or C2 button, the slightest brush of the shutter button is enough to cancel the magnified view."
I guess the reviewer haven't get yet that he needs to adapt to the tool. And it is also revealing that the reviewer thinks that a firmware update will easy his frustrations...
:-/

2 upvotes
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