What's your favourite adapted lens mount?

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 7,852
AOT mount

Pragma wrote:

Anyway just curious what your prefered mount is or what you would focus on purchasing if you could start again.

AOT mount: All Of Them mount.

Much of the fun of adapted lenses on mirrorless bodies is that you can mix & match. You don't have to pick just one mount, and each one you pick only adds perhaps $10 for the adapter (many cheaper, some more expensive).

Looking at my little list of lenses (ok, it's over 200), the ones I ranked best-in-class IQ are 8 Minolta MC/MD, 3 Sony A, 2 Sony FE, 1 Canon FD, 1 Adaptall 2, 1 T, and 1 Konica AR. So, I guess I like old Minoltas... but I knew that; in the 1970s, I used to shoot with an SRT-101 and XK professionally. However, I own lenses in over 20 different mounts -- and that's not even counting the large-format lenses which are sort-of each a different mount. I'll also add that, for example, although none of my M42 lenses is what I'd call the best in any attribute, if I were forced to just grab one fast fifty to handle unknown photographic circumstances, I'd probably grab my Mamiya/Sekor M42 55mm f/1.4 -- because it's best at nothing, but in the top few at everything. Put another way, almost every lens is really great at something, so the trick is using one that fits your needs -- there really isn't any such thing as a "best overall" lens until you specify weighting on each attribute.

Despite having a silly number of lenses, my advice is always to only buy lenses based on enabling you to make photos you want to make and can't easily make with your current lenses. Also, only spend what the lens is worth to you. The reason I have so many is largely because I've done computational photography research that benefited from having a good sampling of all types -- I wouldn't have anywhere near as many otherwise -- but I haven't spent that much, averaging well under $25/lens.

So, some more suggestions:

  1. If you haven't used manual lenses on a mirrorless camera before, start with a cheap fast fifty -- the Minolta MC/MD 50mm f/1.7 is a dirt-cheap choice that's optically and mechanically better than average.
  2. Don't be a brand snob. There are Vivitars and Spiratones that blow away some Nikons and Canons, and some Minolta and Pentax are better than some Zeiss and Leica. We didn't really know this years ago, but side-by-side testing on the same mirrorless body can break brand biases really quickly.
  3. Lenses are cheaper in mounts that were once very popular, but have been orphaned. For example, Minolta SR/MC/MD and Canon FL/FD/FDn are almost always cheaper than Nikon F, even when it's the exact same 3rd-party lens. Adaptability of M42 has kept it a little pricey. Now that Sony's waving bye-bye to A mount, the party is still just getting started for Minolta AF (aka Sony A). 
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