Help a noob - how to use legacy glass

Started Dec 26, 2012 | Questions
coreyinoz
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Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
Dec 26, 2012

Hey Guys,

NEX-6 user here, just scored a Nikkon E Series 50/1.8 from my parent's ancient 35mm film camera over Christmas. My next steps are to get an adapter, and figure out how to use it!

This particular lens has an aperture ring to set the aperture manually. On the listings for the NEX lens adapters, I see how they recommend to use aperture priority mode when shooting with legacy glass.

My question is how exactly this works.

If I have the lens dialed to a specific aperture (let's say 2.8), what effect does the aperture setting on the camera itself have?

When in aperture priority with a native lens on the camera you set the aperture, and the camera figures out the shutter speed for you - how does this all work when you're using an aperture setting on the lens itself?

What about light metering, does shooting with a legacy lens have any effect?

Thanks for the tips.

P.S. - I'm looking at the rainbow imaging adapters - any good?

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Sony Alpha NEX-6
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pmow
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to coreyinoz, Dec 26, 2012

There is no setting on the camera because the camera can't detect the lens.  The camera simply meters the exposure and tells you an appropriate shutter speed and possibly ISO.

I was under the impression you should be using Shutter priority (S mode).  This would let you set the shutter speed AND the aperture ring, while letting you use auto ISO which seems like a popular gripe about M mode.  (M mode doesn't do auto ISO).

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karl722
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to coreyinoz, Dec 26, 2012

coreyinoz wrote:

I have the lens dialed to a specific aperture (let's say 2.8), what effect does the aperture setting on the camera itself have?

With a manual lens such as these, the aperture setting on the camera has absolutely zero effect.

The "viewfinder" (screen) will darken and the aperture effect on DOF will be visible. As the screen "darkens" due to a smaller aperture, the camera will compensate by "brightening" the screen image, for the sake of your being able to see and compose the image. At some point, the image shown will no longer be "true" to what the photo would be. This is no big deal though... just experiment!

When in aperture priority with a native lens on the camera you set the aperture, and the camera figures out the shutter speed for you - how does this all work when you're using an aperture setting on the lens itself?

Same way.. the camera sees the amount of light coming in and sets the shutter speed (automatically) accordingly. It's seamles.

What about light metering, does shooting with a legacy lens have any effect?

No

Thanks for the tips.

P.S. - I'm looking at the rainbow imaging adapters - any good?

Should be fine.. it seems all the different "brands" buy from the same various factories. Don't worry about it.

The main message: experiment and have fun! It'll all start making sense as you go along.

p.s. do not use shutter priority.. aperture priority or fully manual only

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fotowbert
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In reply to coreyinoz, Dec 26, 2012

The list is on the right side of the screen when displaying this forum thread list.  A number of them apply to using legacy glass with adapters on NEX bodies.   John 

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mkln
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to coreyinoz, Dec 26, 2012

you can use shutter priority S with auto ISO when there is low light

since in S priority you set the shutter speed, and you use the aperture ring to set the aperture, this just works as manual mode + auto iso, which isn't available with native glass.

there's no difference if you set S+manual ISO or M+manual ISO

my rule of thumb goes as follows:

- good light: aperture priority + iso 100. the camera selects the shutter speed automatically.

- low light: shutter priority at 1/ 2xfocal length + iso auto. the camera selects the lowest possible iso to get the pic as properly exposed as possible. it's possible you get underexposed shots, but they are much more likely not to be blurred because of the 1/2xFL rule you impose.

I found aperture priority with legacy glass and low light to be rather useless because when the camera does not recognize the glass it sets 1/60 as the maximum speed. totally wrong when you have a 50mm or longer lens.

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ProfHankD
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to mkln, Dec 27, 2012

mkln wrote:

I found aperture priority with legacy glass and low light to be rather useless because when the camera does not recognize the glass it sets 1/60 as the maximum speed. totally wrong when you have a 50mm or longer lens.

Yup. All the A/E-mount Sonys really need to be able to set minimum shutter speed (or, better yet, the unchipped lens focal length) and ISO range for A and other "semi-automatic" modes... and using S mode is the partial work-around. 

Note that most of the fancy auto modes actually do work on a NEX with legacy glass by just varying the things the camera can control (shutter speed, ISO, multi-shot combining, etc.). It just knows nothing of actual lens aperture and focus distance (which is most often used to help control flash intensity).

One more note: f/1.8 on a bright sunny day can easily be too bright. Most of us former manual-focus SLR users were taught to focus wide open -- that's not the best idea if the lighting is too bright. Focus stopped down can actually be more accurate anyway, because many lenses have slight focus shifts on stopping down... and, unlike an OVF, you don't have a finder brightness issue with the EVF or LCD.

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Lightshow
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to mkln, Dec 27, 2012

mkln wrote:

you can use shutter priority S with auto ISO when there is low light

since in S priority you set the shutter speed, and you use the aperture ring to set the aperture, this just works as manual mode + auto iso, which isn't available with native glass.

there's no difference if you set S+manual ISO or M+manual ISO

my rule of thumb goes as follows:

- good light: aperture priority + iso 100. the camera selects the shutter speed automatically.

- low light: shutter priority at 1/ 2xfocal length + iso auto. the camera selects the lowest possible iso to get the pic as properly exposed as possible. it's possible you get underexposed shots, but they are much more likely not to be blurred because of the 1/2xFL rule you impose.

I found aperture priority with legacy glass and low light to be rather useless because when the camera does not recognize the glass it sets 1/60 as the maximum speed. totally wrong when you have a 50mm or longer lens.

My experience is the same.

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coreyinoz
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to Lightshow, Dec 27, 2012

Thanks everyone for the helpful tips.

This gets me pointed in the right direction.

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D Cox
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to coreyinoz, Dec 27, 2012

1. In the Setup Menu, set "release without Lens" to Enable. It can be left there permanently.

2. In the Setup menu, set Peaking Level to Mid or Low. Low is the most precise setting but can be too fussy. Set Peaking Colour to Yellow.

3. Set Shooting Mode to A.

4. Open the lens up wide to focus, then close down until the shutter speed is suitable (with a 35mm lens, this should be 1/100 or faster if handheld). Shoot.

5. When out and about, you can often leave the lens on f/11 and about 15 ft, ready to shoot at once if you see anything.

6. It is convenient to assign ISO speed to the Right button.

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coreyinoz
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to D Cox, Jan 8, 2013

Hi Guys,

Sorry to re-bump my thread, but I received the adapter today and have another question.

Contrary to described above, the aperture ring on the lens doesn't seem to affect what's shown in the viewfinder - and doesn't affect the pictures either. It appears that the lens shoots wide open no matter what.

I guess this means either a) user error, or b) lens is busted.

So I can rule out a), is there any room for error when snapping this all together? It seems pretty straight forward, but I figured I should ask before resigning this lens to permanent 1.8 status.

Thanks!

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santiclaws
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to coreyinoz, Jan 8, 2013

coreyinoz wrote:

Hi Guys,

Sorry to re-bump my thread, but I received the adapter today and have another question.

Contrary to described above, the aperture ring on the lens doesn't seem to affect what's shown in the viewfinder - and doesn't affect the pictures either. It appears that the lens shoots wide open no matter what.

I guess this means either a) user error, or b) lens is busted.

So I can rule out a), is there any room for error when snapping this all together? It seems pretty straight forward, but I figured I should ask before resigning this lens to permanent 1.8 status.

Thanks!

Look through the lens. When you adjust the aperture ring, do the blades actually move? You should have a big circle at the widest aperture (1.8) and a tiny circle at the other extreme. If that is not happening, you have a problem with the lens.

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coreyinoz
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to santiclaws, Jan 8, 2013

santiclaws wrote:


Look through the lens. When you adjust the aperture ring, do the blades actually move? You should have a big circle at the widest aperture (1.8) and a tiny circle at the other extreme. If that is not happening, you have a problem with the lens.

No - looking through the lens (no adapter) and I don't see any blades at all - no matter the setting. I guess this supports the theory that the lens is busted and always wide open.

I wasn't clear if I was meant to be able to see the aperture blades. Thanks for clearing that up.

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WanderingSkunk
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to santiclaws, Jan 8, 2013

santiclaws wrote:

coreyinoz wrote:

Hi Guys,

Sorry to re-bump my thread, but I received the adapter today and have another question.

Contrary to described above, the aperture ring on the lens doesn't seem to affect what's shown in the viewfinder - and doesn't affect the pictures either. It appears that the lens shoots wide open no matter what.

I guess this means either a) user error, or b) lens is busted.

So I can rule out a), is there any room for error when snapping this all together? It seems pretty straight forward, but I figured I should ask before resigning this lens to permanent 1.8 status.

Thanks!

Look through the lens. When you adjust the aperture ring, do the blades actually move? You should have a big circle at the widest aperture (1.8) and a tiny circle at the other extreme. If that is not happening, you have a problem with the lens.

As he says, if you are turning the aperture ring and not seeing the blades "stop down" or "stop up", then you've got sticky aperture blades or a worse issue to work on

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nrcole
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to coreyinoz, Jan 9, 2013

Don't panic just yet. Are you sure you have it mounted properly? I'm not sure about Nikkor lenses, but with Canon FDs if you don't mount the lens properly the aperture blades will not move. Personally it was easy for me to make a mistake when I first started because you had to line up certain levers between the two and lock a ring on the adapter. 
Anyone who specifically adapts Nikon lenses care to comment?

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Runnicle
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to nrcole, Jan 9, 2013

Nothing in life is quite as confusing and frustrating as one's first attempt to place a Canon FD lens onto a Nex cam.  And, then if you leave it on the adapter for a few days you'll quickly forget how to reverse the process and get it off again!

But the Nikon Series E manual lenses (I have the 70-210) aren't complicated that way like Canon.  Their aperture ring controls the diaphragm without having to install the lens onto a Nikon cam or a Nex adapter.

Hence, it does appear that the Nikon lens of the OP may have a defect if the aperture ring does not open/close the lens optics even when not installed on a camera.

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Bill McClung
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to coreyinoz, Jan 9, 2013

Just saw this post.  I have three of the Rainbow Imaging adapters (for Minolta Rokkor and Tamron legacy lenses).  They are all well built, fit securely and work perfectly.  Very nice and the price is right.

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D Cox
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Re: Help a noob - how to use legacy glass
In reply to nrcole, Jan 9, 2013

nrcole wrote:

Don't panic just yet. Are you sure you have it mounted properly? I'm not sure about Nikkor lenses, but with Canon FDs if you don't mount the lens properly the aperture blades will not move. Personally it was easy for me to make a mistake when I first started because you had to line up certain levers between the two and lock a ring on the adapter.
Anyone who specifically adapts Nikon lenses care to comment?

On a manual Nikon lens, the aperture should change when you turn the ring, when the lens is off the camera or mounted on an E-mount adapter.

Looking at the back of the lens, there is a little tag at about 2 o'clock which moves for the open/closed positions. This is held in the closed position by a spring. If the spring has failed, the lens could be open all the time. Try moving this tag. You want it in its clockwise position (as seen from back of lens).

As it never needs to be in the anti-clockwise position when on a NEX, you could jam it in the clockwise position with a little bit of card or plastic in the slot.

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fotowbert
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Faulty lens aperture mechanism
In reply to coreyinoz, Jan 9, 2013

coreyinoz wrote:

santiclaws wrote:

Look through the lens. When you adjust the aperture ring, do the blades actually move? You should have a big circle at the widest aperture (1.8) and a tiny circle at the other extreme. If that is not happening, you have a problem with the lens.

No - looking through the lens (no adapter) and I don't see any blades at all - no matter the setting. I guess this supports the theory that the lens is busted and always wide open.

I wasn't clear if I was meant to be able to see the aperture blades. Thanks for clearing that up.

Sounds like you have a faulty lens aperture mechanism.  What you describe is not normal operation.

This is how it should behave.  The lens aperture blades should close to the f value you set on the aperture ring.  A spring inside the lens actually moves the blades.

You should also see the aperture control lever on the rear of the lens move in the same direction you turn the aperture ring.   Pushing this lever CCW with your finger allows you to feel the spring force and moves the blades to wide open from the position set by the aperture ring.

  • John
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