How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?

Started 11 months ago | Discussions
Carsfeverguy
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How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
11 months ago

I apologize in advance if this is common knowledge, but I have a few questions.

I just got an adapter for my Leica R glass to NEX mount from Henrys (toronto, canada)

I have cleaned  the lenses, and am ready to shoot.

I mounted the lenses on the adapter and I mounted the adapter on the camera.

Turned on the camera, and low and behold, Aperture keeps showing a blinking ???, kind of annoying.

How do I make it go away.

Also,I tried to review a picture, and it said no lens attached error, and would not let me review it. that said this only happened one time.

Am I doing something wrong? I thought I could specify the aperture of the lens on the lens and on the camera.

Sony Alpha 7
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Jabba23
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Carsfeverguy, 11 months ago

Go to custom settings which is the sprocket icon and tab 3 there is one that says Release w/o Lens, you need to enable this.

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Darren Krusi

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SQLGuy
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Carsfeverguy, 11 months ago

Blinking F will not go away. Don't worry, after a few minutes you won't notice it. I forgot about it after the second or third shot.

The error was probably related to pressing the (+)/C2 button while in shoot mode instead of playback mode. Press the Play button first.

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Jabba23
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Carsfeverguy, 11 months ago

Carsfeverguy wrote:

I apologize in advance if this is common knowledge, but I have a few questions.

I just got an adapter for my Leica R glass to NEX mount from Henrys (toronto, canada)

I have cleaned the lenses, and am ready to shoot.

I mounted the lenses on the adapter and I mounted the adapter on the camera.

Turned on the camera, and low and behold, Aperture keeps showing a blinking ???, kind of annoying.

How do I make it go away.

Also,I tried to review a picture, and it said no lens attached error, and would not let me review it. that said this only happened one time.

Am I doing something wrong? I thought I could specify the aperture of the lens on the lens and on the camera.

Make sure you have the option I told you enabled and you will be able to shoot with your lens. The aperture will keep blinking you will have to learn to ignore it, set your aperture as you want to and shoot away

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Darren Krusi

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SQLGuy
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Jabba23, 11 months ago

Jabba23 wrote:

Carsfeverguy wrote:

I apologize in advance if this is common knowledge, but I have a few questions.

I just got an adapter for my Leica R glass to NEX mount from Henrys (toronto, canada)

I have cleaned the lenses, and am ready to shoot.

I mounted the lenses on the adapter and I mounted the adapter on the camera.

Turned on the camera, and low and behold, Aperture keeps showing a blinking ???, kind of annoying.

How do I make it go away.

Also,I tried to review a picture, and it said no lens attached error, and would not let me review it. that said this only happened one time.

Am I doing something wrong? I thought I could specify the aperture of the lens on the lens and on the camera.

Make sure you have the option I told you enabled and you will be able to shoot with your lens. The aperture will keep blinking you will have to learn to ignore it, set your aperture as you want to and shoot away

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Darren Krusi

Release w/o lens enabled is the default setting for the A7/A7R.

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A7 with kit lens and a number of legacy lenses (mostly Canon FD)

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Jabba23
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to SQLGuy, 11 months ago

Jabba23 wrote:

Carsfeverguy wrote:

I apologize in advance if this is common knowledge, but I have a few questions.

I just got an adapter for my Leica R glass to NEX mount from Henrys (toronto, canada)

I have cleaned the lenses, and am ready to shoot.

I mounted the lenses on the adapter and I mounted the adapter on the camera.

Turned on the camera, and low and behold, Aperture keeps showing a blinking ???, kind of annoying.

How do I make it go away.

Also,I tried to review a picture, and it said no lens attached error, and would not let me review it. that said this only happened one time.

Am I doing something wrong? I thought I could specify the aperture of the lens on the lens and on the camera.

Make sure you have the option I told you enabled and you will be able to shoot with your lens. The aperture will keep blinking you will have to learn to ignore it, set your aperture as you want to and shoot away

-- hide signature --

Darren Krusi

Release w/o lens enabled is the default setting for the A7/A7R.

-- hide signature --

A7 with kit lens and a number of legacy lenses (mostly Canon FD)

It is? Had to enable mine. Had to do the same thing when I got my 5 and 5n
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kuuan
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Carsfeverguy, 11 months ago

Carsfeverguy wrote:

.... I thought I could specify the aperture of the lens on the lens and on the camera.

aperture of adapted lenses cannot be set by the cameras and is set on the lens only ( resp. lenses that don't have aperture ring an adapter that has aperture settings is needed )

the camera will meter the light hitting the sensor and e.g. in A mode choose correct shutter speed

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Miki Nemeth
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Carsfeverguy, 11 months ago

Here is a short description of the manual photography techniques I am experimenting with.

Old legacy lenses (Canon FD, Nikon AI/AIs, Minolta MD, Olympus OM) can be used very nicely on the Sony A7 with mostly inexpensive no-electronics adapters (FD-NEX, AI-NEX, MD-NEX, OM-NEX). Each of these MF lens has a dedicated aperture ring to set the lens opening/iris. When an MF-lens is attached via an adapter to the A7 body, an "F--" indicator is blinking on the bottom part of the A7 screen reminding you to use the aperture ring on the lens. Unfortunately, the actual aperture value will not be written in the EXIF of the image file; similarly, neither the actual focal length, lens type, and object (focus) distance will be available in the image's EXIF.

Aperture priority (A) exposure mode is not applicable with a MF lens, since aperture cannot be set with the dials on the A7. M and S modes are very usable, on the other hand, along with manual or automatic ISO.

Here are some of the most interesting settings for shooting with MF lenses:

  • Release w/o Lens: Enable
  • Focus Magnif.Time: No Limit
  • Live View Display: Setting Effect ON
  • Auto Review: Off or On depending on your preferences (in street/action photography it might be better off)

Shooting in S mode

The simplest way to shoot with MF lenses is shutter priority (S) exposure mode with automatic ISO, where the maximum ISO value can be set to a maximum value (3200 or 6400, for example). First you set the aperture with the aperture ring on the lens, then the shutter speed with the back or front dial on the A7. You can always review the calculated actual ISO value by half pressing the shutter button. For example, if you are in street photography, you set the aperture on the lens to 5.6, the shutter speed to 1/125th second, set ISO to Auto, enable focus peaking and set the Focus Magnification Time to "No Limit". Then the only thing you do is to keep your left hand on the focus ring on the lens, compose, focus and shoot, compose, focus and shoot and so on and forth. While shooting, you should keep an eye on the actual ISO, and if it increases too high, you should decrease the shutter speed are increase the aperture.

Using Magnification with MF lenses

Magnification is an indispensable function on the A7 for shooting with MF lenses. When you press the C1 button twice the screen/viewfinder changes to magnification mode and focus peaking can be applied more precisely. Pressing the C1 once more increases the magnification view, pressing again increases even more; one more C1 press brings you back to the normal (no magnified) view. You can always go back to the normal view by half pressing the shutter button. You can shoot even in magnification mode, you do not have to go back to normal view before taking a picture, just press the shutter button. If you press the C1 only once, a magnification rectangle is shown, and it can be repositioned with the arrow buttons on the back-plate dial.

Since you cannot change the aperture on the A7 body, manual (M) exposure mode can be used exactly the same way as S mode. Auto ISO works in M mode, as well, just like exposure compensation dial.

Using Flash with MF lenses

If you use your (no-electronics) MF lens wide open, focusing and using a flash is quite straightforward. When a Sony flash (HVL-F20M, for example) is attached, even when exposure simulation is switched on (Live View Display Setting Effect ON), the A7 will not change the display brightness when the shutter speed or ISO is changed, which is very handy, and smart. With an MF lens and a flash you'd better manually control the ISO, since Auto ISO would ignore the extra light coming from the flash when the picture is actually taken. This is a severe limitation of using pure, old, legacy MF lenses: fully automated (TTL) flash exposure calculation is not applicable. Practically, the flash power (with flash compensation setting for Sony lenses) should be manually set. On a non-Sony flash (Yongnuo YN 560 III, for example) the light power is manually set to the full or a fraction of the full light power. For a Youngnuo even the focus length can be set on the flash body. With the simple HVL-F20M this is not possible. Definitely, "manual flash photography" requires quite an experimenting and practicing, which is anyway very handy for acquiring creative flash techniques.

Miki

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tex
tex
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That's a good, thorough post. Very helpful /nt
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 11 months ago
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kuuan
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 11 months ago

Miki Nemeth wrote:

Aperture priority (A) exposure mode is not applicable with a MF lens, since aperture cannot be set with the dials on the A7. M and S modes are very usable, on the other hand, along with manual or automatic ISO.

great summary Miki!

just...A mode works very well, also with manual ISO or auto ISO, only difference is that aperture is set on the lens, not on the camera

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djp58
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 11 months ago

Miki Nemeth wrote:

Here is a short description of the manual photography techniques I am experimenting with.

Old legacy lenses (Canon FD, Nikon AI/AIs, Minolta MD, Olympus OM) can be used very nicely on the Sony A7 with mostly inexpensive no-electronics adapters (FD-NEX, AI-NEX, MD-NEX, OM-NEX). Each of these MF lens has a dedicated aperture ring to set the lens opening/iris. When an MF-lens is attached via an adapter to the A7 body, an "F--" indicator is blinking on the bottom part of the A7 screen reminding you to use the aperture ring on the lens. Unfortunately, the actual aperture value will not be written in the EXIF of the image file; similarly, neither the actual focal length, lens type, and object (focus) distance will be available in the image's EXIF.

Aperture priority (A) exposure mode is not applicable with a MF lens, since aperture cannot be set with the dials on the A7. M and S modes are very usable, on the other hand, along with manual or automatic ISO.

Here are some of the most interesting settings for shooting with MF lenses:

  • Release w/o Lens: Enable
  • Focus Magnif.Time: No Limit
  • Live View Display: Setting Effect ON
  • Auto Review: Off or On depending on your preferences (in street/action photography it might be better off)

Shooting in S mode

The simplest way to shoot with MF lenses is shutter priority (S) exposure mode with automatic ISO, where the maximum ISO value can be set to a maximum value (3200 or 6400, for example). First you set the aperture with the aperture ring on the lens, then the shutter speed with the back or front dial on the A7. You can always review the calculated actual ISO value by half pressing the shutter button. For example, if you are in street photography, you set the aperture on the lens to 5.6, the shutter speed to 1/125th second, set ISO to Auto, enable focus peaking and set the Focus Magnification Time to "No Limit". Then the only thing you do is to keep your left hand on the focus ring on the lens, compose, focus and shoot, compose, focus and shoot and so on and forth. While shooting, you should keep an eye on the actual ISO, and if it increases too high, you should decrease the shutter speed are increase the aperture.

Using Magnification with MF lenses

Magnification is an indispensable function on the A7 for shooting with MF lenses. When you press the C1 button twice the screen/viewfinder changes to magnification mode and focus peaking can be applied more precisely. Pressing the C1 once more increases the magnification view, pressing again increases even more; one more C1 press brings you back to the normal (no magnified) view. You can always go back to the normal view by half pressing the shutter button. You can shoot even in magnification mode, you do not have to go back to normal view before taking a picture, just press the shutter button. If you press the C1 only once, a magnification rectangle is shown, and it can be repositioned with the arrow buttons on the back-plate dial.

Since you cannot change the aperture on the A7 body, manual (M) exposure mode can be used exactly the same way as S mode. Auto ISO works in M mode, as well, just like exposure compensation dial.

Using Flash with MF lenses

If you use your (no-electronics) MF lens wide open, focusing and using a flash is quite straightforward. When a Sony flash (HVL-F20M, for example) is attached, even when exposure simulation is switched on (Live View Display Setting Effect ON), the A7 will not change the display brightness when the shutter speed or ISO is changed, which is very handy, and smart. With an MF lens and a flash you'd better manually control the ISO, since Auto ISO would ignore the extra light coming from the flash when the picture is actually taken. This is a severe limitation of using pure, old, legacy MF lenses: fully automated (TTL) flash exposure calculation is not applicable. Practically, the flash power (with flash compensation setting for Sony lenses) should be manually set. On a non-Sony flash (Yongnuo YN 560 III, for example) the light power is manually set to the full or a fraction of the full light power. For a Youngnuo even the focus length can be set on the flash body. With the simple HVL-F20M this is not possible. Definitely, "manual flash photography" requires quite an experimenting and practicing, which is anyway very handy for acquiring creative flash techniques.

Miki

Good, helpful post.  By the way, you can use Aperture Priority, just set the aperture on the lens vice on the camera - the camera will then select shutter speed based on your ISO setting (manual or auto) and aperture setting on the lens.  I use the Aperture Priority setting for a majority of my manual lens shooting, though do find Speed Priority w/Auto ISO best for action shots.

David

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DWMurf
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 11 months ago

As someone who is looking forward to owning an A7/r someday, I have read your experience with interest and appreciate your helpful post here which is great food for thought.

I have only a lowly NEX 3N to use right now, and I am surprised how well my legacy manual lenses work in any mode, including Aperture Priority, and all the Auto and Scene modes. The only difference is having to set the aperture on the lenses of course.

Auto flash works as well as long as I am in one of the Auto modes, and there are numerous flash modes to choose from such as Fill, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain, and there is Flash Comp control as well.

I think that if you experiment a little more with your wonderful new camera, that you will be very pleasantly surprised that it works better than you first realized.

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David

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Miki Nemeth
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to djp58, 11 months ago

djp58 wrote:

you can use Aperture Priority, just set the aperture on the lens vice on the camera - the camera will then select shutter speed based on your ISO setting (manual or auto) and aperture setting on the lens. I use the Aperture Priority setting for a majority of my manual lens shooting, though do find Speed Priority w/Auto ISO best for action shots.

Thank You, David for pointing out this possibility. In A mode when a MF lens is attached, neither the front nor the back dial are used any more, which is not a problem, since we got fully automated shutter speed setting. In A mode just turn the aperture ring on the lens to the required F value, and the rest is set by A7, especially if ISO is set to Auto. If the shutter speed is too slow, just turn the exposure compensation dial to the negative direction and the shutter speed will be increased accordingly.

Thank You, David, again, Miki

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Miki Nemeth
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to DWMurf, 11 months ago

DWMurf wrote:

I am surprised how well my legacy manual lenses work in any mode, including Aperture Priority, and all the Auto and Scene modes. The only difference is having to set the aperture on the lenses of course.

Hi David, you are totally right Sony made a very consistent and intuitive design for NEX cameras.

Auto flash works as well as long as I am in one of the Auto modes, and there are numerous flash modes to choose from such as Fill, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain, and there is Flash Comp control as well.

Definitely, I should experiment more to fully understand the intricacies of how Sony flashes work on the A7 with a MF attached.

I think that if you experiment a little more with your wonderful new camera, that you will be very pleasantly surprised that it works better than you first realized.

I am terribly happy with my A7; I am really sorry now that I have not started with a NEX camera several months earlier.

Take care, David, and all the best, Miki

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quezra
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 11 months ago

Great post... and it seems like yesterday when you sent me a message asking about legacy lenses.  This just goes to show it's not hard to pick up and it's very easy to catch the legacy bug!  Personally, shooting legacy lenses were directly responsible for me falling in love with photography as much as I did - even if now I enjoy shooting both equally (and the stupid FE lenses refuse to let me take them off my camera!!!).

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DWMurf
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 11 months ago

Thanks for your kind response Miki. I look forward to sharing our camera experiences here.

Best wishes,

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David

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SQLGuy
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Jabba23, 11 months ago

Jabba23 wrote:

SQLGuy wrote:

Release w/o lens enabled is the default setting for the A7/A7R.

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It is? Had to enable mine. Had to do the same thing when I got my 5 and 5n
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Darren Krusi

It was already on for both of the A7's I got (exchanged one due to a hot pixel). It was off initially on the NEX-5 and NEX-7 I used to have.

On the other hand, Sony is apparently shipping some A7's with an LCD protective sticker and some without (both mine were without), so it may be that not all of them are configured the same out of the box either. One way to find out would be to do a factory reset and see which way the setting goes, but I'm not curious enough for that.

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Carsfeverguy
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 11 months ago

Great reply. I am falling in love with this camera.

And the Leica lenses are just yummy.

Any way to only press once and get into focus magnification?

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SQLGuy
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Carsfeverguy, 11 months ago

Carsfeverguy wrote:

Great reply. I am falling in love with this camera.

And the Leica lenses are just yummy.

Any way to only press once and get into focus magnification?

No. But again, double-clicking is something you get used to pretty quickly, and having the reminder to move the focus box can lead to better focus since it makes it a little bit easier to do it right, rather than center focus-and-recompose which can be insufficient when DOF is very shallow.

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Minomaniac
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Re: How to shoot with manual lenses on the A7/r?
In reply to Carsfeverguy, 11 months ago

Carsfeverguy wrote:

Great reply. I am falling in love with this camera.

And the Leica lenses are just yummy.

Any way to only press once and get into focus magnification?

Good for you. I'm beginning to hate mine. It's not the body that annoys me, it's the firmware. All the things you criticise and more where already solved in the NEX 7:

- when you attach a lens without aperture control to the NEX there is no blinking F. It just says "--"

- zooming with one button click is no problem

- there is no annoying air plane symbol in the pictures while reviewing with exif information

- you can zoom the review picture comfortable with the command button and wheel

- native lenses can be used in Auto ISO. They even managed to screw that one up on A7r. 1/focal length is much to slow for constantly sharp pics with 36 MP at pixel level.

So instead of finally giving us the opportunity to set the minimum shutter speed in Auto Iso - a feature that Alpha users are demanding since Minolta days - they harmed the usability of the system. Implementing an insufficient workaround with Auto Iso in M mode therefore sounds like purest cynicism for me.

I' very curious now what surprises a firmware update will bring. Can it get even worse?

Sorry for being so negative. But the above points really bother me. It seems like I have to live with it, because I love the picture quality the camera produces and I love the grip that lets me comfortable use my SLR lenses.

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