Favorite cameras for adapted lenses

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 39,779
Re: Favorite cameras for adapted lenses

moedius wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

moedius wrote:

I can't really comment on favorites, as I haven't used adapted lenses with enough bodies to make any useful comparisons.

I am interested in hearing these opinions however, particularly in regards to m4/3. I picked up a GF7 for almost nothing as a 'family camera' before the holidays (nobody but me liked the NEX5R apparently). The GF7 fulfils that purpose admirably with the kit lens, but I found it lacking when adapting. The peaking\mag features are nice but little things about the handling make it challenging for all but the smallest lenses (Pentax 110 18mm is about perfect!) and the screen isn't good enough to make up for the lack of EVF. So I've been mulling over other used M43 bodies.

I am a GM5 fan (still) even though I have other camera bodies that I quite like.

I've been missing the GM5 in my ebay searches, probably filtered out on price as I've been trying to keep the cost as low as reasonable. I had been looking at the GX7, largely because of the low cost but also because of the tilt EVF which seems like it would be really useful to me being tall, especially when on tripod. The GX85/850 and a PEN EPL7/8 are the others I'd narrowed down based on trying to balance age and price. Trying to work out how all of these handle and compare to each other with specific regard to adapted lenses is proving difficult though.

I like the GM5 because a few of them each with a lens are so compact and easily carried.  I can play “pretend-pro” with multiple cameras that works just the same and do not require lens changes in the field.  But one camera with multiple lenses is a paradigm that dies hard.  Multiple different camera bodies is harder as they are (must be) larger and also it they are not just the same set up and control interface it does make it (slightly) harder to swap cameras in the field.  The GM5 is ideal for that but its launch price made it an expensive route to follow.  Once I decided that the GM5 x multiples was the way to go I made the most of price discounts to build up my “fleet”.

A Panasonic Noticron 42.5/1.2 is a powerful combination on a GM5.  I have also used their relatively huge 200/2.8 with 2x extender on a GM5 body - unbalanced?  Hardly - it is just another largish lens supported by the left hand - but it does make the GM5 a serious camera well beyond the point’n’shoot category that it usually is labelled as.

I follow my own drumbeat and it does no always follow fashion or the common-sense inclinations of others

The GX7 was and is an amazing camera.  Panasonic seem to have thrown everything they knew at this camera when it was first released.  Even though I later bought a GX85 and GX9 I sill revere my GX7 and don’t treat it as backup only.

The GM5 was so obviously the GX7 made small by leaving out all non-essential user conveniences.  A basic camera in the raw but a full function camera for serious users no less.

I am ambivalent about the tilt evf - tends to snag when coming out of the bag.  The best thing I found out about the tilt evf is it is a handy location in which to hide the dioptre control.

I am tall also but have never used the tilt evf for practical purposes.  On tripod or for low level I find that tilting the lcd works better for me.

The evf might be small but it is adequate - I would not like to be using the GF7 without evf.

For the most part I did well just the LCD on the NEX5R, but something about the design of the GF7 makes it more challenging. I don't have the NEX anymore so I can't compare them direct, but it is possible I'm just not remembering it correctly.

With eye to evf the view can be magnified (like most Panasonic cameras with touch screen) by a simple thumb-dab <<anywhere>> on the lcd. As the evf is small the full screen magnification should be set as a magnified centre patch is useless (as I would readily agree).

I really liked the idea of the PiP magnification but I have found it is indeed useless, especially without an EVF. I could see how it would be helpful on an external monitor or a camera with a big enough LCD though.


Method - using evf - compose full screen - thumb dab - screen magnifies - check and adjust focus - focus peaking is good. Soft press and the screen is full frame again to re-check composition - another thumb dab and you can be back in magnified evf screen should you so wish. Work flow is good. Only the flip/flop of the Ricoh GXR-M with soft press alternating full screen and lift off giving magnified view is better conceived.

I'm not sure if the GF7 does this, I'll have to play around with the settings to see. Currently its set to the left press directional pad, scroll to zoom, half press shutter to exit. It's definitely more cumbersome than the a7ii custom button I've set.

None of the Panasonic cameras allows the thumb dab trick without the eye on the evf - must be associated with the eye-switch.  It will not even do it with evf-equipped cameras when the evf is not engaged.  It is not going to work on a GF7. Its purpose is to magnify the evf.

I also have no issues with all sorts of lens sizes. The GM5 can easily handle electronic adapters for EF mount lenses - Metabones adaptors work best including focal reduction.

Just support the larger lenses with your left hand - same technique as a dslr ...

The only real issue I have found is with large telephotos is where they have a tight focus action where the torque exerted makes the right hand grip on the camera body uncomfortable - even worse when combined with a very long focus throw.

I think this will always be an issue with certain cameras. Even the much heavier Sony body struggles with certain larger lenses that have excessive friction or dry helicoid grease etc.

These are “proper” full function cameras simply made small. To do this many user conveniences needed to be left out. A sort of trade-off of IBIS, articulated screen, high performance video - just for full basic camera performance in a camera body just the size of a pack of cards.

All the Panasonic bodies taken as a group have the advantage of a well thought out interface that has remained very similar across a range of bodies for some time. Obviously looking for a standard set of control locations, but not quite there as of yet.

Do you know if the GF7 interface is included in this overall common scheme? I like some aspects of the interface, but there are a couple areas that I have mixed feelings about. I could see this particular camera have an extra simplified set of options and interfaces to match it's targeted smartphone upgraders demographic.

iAuto is what Panasonic use to provide simplified control on all their cameras - actually “A mode” is really not that complicated either and does not shut out parts of the interface.  I have not tried iAuto myself but I have a son with a GX7 who said that he was only interested in “Auto” and seems to take good images that way.

Thanks for the input and tips.

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Tom Caldwell

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