Is there a primer for NEX and manual lenses?

Started Jan 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
SQLGuy Veteran Member • Posts: 6,232
Re: Is there a primer for NEX and manual lenses?

MT wrote:

a. What type of manual lenses would work with the NEX. (i.e old Canon, Nikon etc?)

For wide angle lenses you're generally safer with SLR lenses than with rangefinder lenses. That said, I use a rangefinder Contax G 35 on my Nex-7 and am happy with the results.

Regardless, you're better off with lenses that allow manual aperture control, and, for the most part, purely manual focus lenses will feel better being manually focused than autofocus lenses will.

There are plenty of good, relatively inexpensive, options among MF SLR lenses. Konica, Canon FD and new FD, Nikon manual focus lenses, Minolta Rokkors, Olympus OM lenses, Pentax manual focus lenses... all of these will work well on NEX.

If you're just getting started with manual lenses, though, you should probably start with wide angle to mild telephoto. Longer telephoto lenses can be tricky to get good results with. I think manually focusing a 200mm lens on a NEX is easier than it is on a film SLR, but it's still tricky. Something like a Canon nFD 28/2.8, which can be had in good condition for $40 or less, would be a good starter lens.

b. What type of adapters does one need for each type of manual lens.

You don't have to have an adapter for each lens, but you'll probably want a dedicated adapter for each lens you use often. The exception to this, I suppose, would be if you always use a particular brand of legacy lens... if you were always shooting Olympus OM lenses, then you could just leave the OM adapter on the NEX full time, and switch lenses to it. I have 3 Canon FD adapters, because I shoot mostly FD lenses, but I also have a Contax G, Leica LTM, Nikon G, and Konica adapters. I bought a bunch of extra E-mount end caps so I could treat the lenses-with-adapters like E-mount lenses.

c. Are there some that work better with the NEX and require a minimally sized adapter to keep things small?

Rangefinder lenses and adapters are small, and good, but generally pricey. Wider angle rangefinder lenses may have issues on a NEX with corner smearing and color shifting. If you're looking at a 35mm or longer, though, it should be OK. Something like a Voigtlander 40mm, with the rather thin Leica M adapter, would be pretty compact and quite effective. Still a lot more expensive than most of the legacy SLR glass, though. Among the SLR's, Konica's 40mm F1.8 is a very compact lens with one of the shorter SLR adapters.

d. Anything else I need to know related to this question?

Legacy glass can be addictive.


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Nex-7 with kit lenses, Contax G 35, and a number of legacy lenses (mostly Canon FD)

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