Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

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kwahaus Forum Member • Posts: 61
Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

I have a number of vintage lenses I’ve used mostly attached to my Sony NEX-5n. I recently picked up a Sony A7Rii and have used it a bit. I’m considering selling my NEX system and only using the A7Rii. But I wouldn’t mind having a second body just for adapted lenses. The A7Rii seems to be the best fit as it’s full frame and has more Mpx. But is that overkill for these old lenses? Would I be better off with an A7ii at 24 Mpx and IBIS?

Thoughts?

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camera_nerd Forum Member • Posts: 50
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

I have a Sony A7 II that I use mostly with adapted lenses.  The performance has been quite good. The IBIS works well except on my Konica AR 135 lens. That is just a little too long of a focal length. The Pentax 105 F2.8 Super Takumar works well with the IBIS.

I have been tempted to get the A7 R II now that is is only $1298, but I think I will wait another year and get the A7 R III when it has a big price reduction.

mpb.com has Sony A7 II for $789 in Excellent condition. I have bought several cameras from them and have been very pleased.

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OP kwahaus Forum Member • Posts: 61
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

Thanks.

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SQLGuy
SQLGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 10,118
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?
1

kwahaus wrote:

I have a number of vintage lenses I’ve used mostly attached to my Sony NEX-5n. I recently picked up a Sony A7Rii and have used it a bit. I’m considering selling my NEX system and only using the A7Rii. But I wouldn’t mind having a second body just for adapted lenses. The A7Rii seems to be the best fit as it’s full frame and has more Mpx. But is that overkill for these old lenses? Would I be better off with an A7ii at 24 Mpx and IBIS?

Thoughts?

The A7II is good, but won't be better than the A7R2, unless you're concerned about RAW file size for fairly low resolution lenses. And the back-illuminated, no-AA filter, sensor will help get more out of pretty much all lenses.

You also gain a few useful features over the A7II, like silent shutter, and min auto-ISO shutter speed.

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A7R2 with SEL2470Z and a number of adapted lenses (Canon FD, Minolta AF, Canon EF, Leica, Nikon...); A7R converted to IR.

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OP kwahaus Forum Member • Posts: 61
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

Thanks. I didn’t know there were that many differences. Was thinking it was only resolution.

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fferreres Veteran Member • Posts: 6,177
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

camera_nerd wrote:

I have a Sony A7 II that I use mostly with adapted lenses. The performance has been quite good. The IBIS works well except on my Konica AR 135 lens. That is just a little too long of a focal length. The Pentax 105 F2.8 Super Takumar works well with the IBIS.

I have been tempted to get the A7 R II now that is is only $1298, but I think I will wait another year and get the A7 R III when it has a big price reduction.

$1198 this week, continue resisting

mpb.com has Sony A7 II for $789 in Excellent condition. I have bought several cameras from them and have been very pleased.

sensiblename99 Contributing Member • Posts: 560
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

The a7r2 has ibis.

High mega pixel do not reduce your image quality when using vintage lenses, my experience is the opposite.

Remember that the image created by the lens doesn't really change when used on a camera with higher resolution but your ability to get more useful data effectively increases. I have the a7r2 and a7r4 and find both cameras effectively have the same ability to get the best from a lens. I don't think there is any more optical advantage to be had with vintage lenses beyond the a7r4 and in practice i tend to use the a7r2 simply because it's a smaller body and i prefer the smaller files because they are faster on my computer and easier to store.

The a7r4 has a better viewfinder with higher resolution which makes focusing easier but I'm not sure that its other features make it a better camera with manual focus vintage lenses. The a7r4 is a better AF body than the a7r2 and this might matter if you intend using older AF lenses eg Canon.

By the way, i only have 2 sony lenses, and use both bodies virtually exclusively with vintage or adapted lenses.

Rol Lei Nut Veteran Member • Posts: 5,273
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

kwahaus wrote:

But is that overkill for these old lenses? Would I be better off with an A7ii at 24 Mpx and IBIS?

Thoughts?

The A7RII isn't overkill, if the lenses are good. It also has IBIS.

I can't think of any advantage the A7II would have, apart from smaller file sizes, saving hard disk space.

SimonOL Senior Member • Posts: 1,956
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

Rol Lei Nut wrote:

kwahaus wrote:

But is that overkill for these old lenses? Would I be better off with an A7ii at 24 Mpx and IBIS?

Thoughts?

The A7RII isn't overkill, if the lenses are good. It also has IBIS.

I can't think of any advantage the A7II would have, apart from smaller file sizes, saving hard disk space.

I used to have an A7ii and upgraded to an A7Rii about a year ago.

The A7Rii has better low light performance (high ISO files have less noise) and the silent shutter can be useful. Obviously, the files have higher resolution, which is nice, but the downside is that it seems to make it less forgiving of poor technique, or maybe that's just me!

The biggest downside of the A7Rii is the magnified view when manual focusing. It is much less clear when the subject is perfectly focused. The A7ii is superior in that respect but not as good in almost every other area.

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OP kwahaus Forum Member • Posts: 61
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

SimonOL wrote:

The biggest downside of the A7Rii is the magnified view when manual focusing. It is much less clear when the subject is perfectly focused. The A7ii is superior in that respect but not as good in almost every other area.

Not sure I understand this. Why would the magnified view be "much less clear" on the A7R2? According to the specs on DPR, the viewfinder resolution of the A7R2 is a tiny bit more on the A72 (2,359,296 vs 2,359,000 while the LCD resolution is a bit less — 1,228,800 vs 1,230,000?

Are you primarily using the LCD to find focus?

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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 42,114
Re: Best camera for adapted lenses?
1

I would argue that Sony is not necessarily the best camera for adapted lenses - but it is probably no worse than most.  But if you have Sony kit it would be best to stick with Sony.

I don’t see that it is absolutely necessary to get the full image circle of a lens on to the sensor it contains. But there is obviously advantages for the wider 135-format lenses.  A smaller sensor format gives any adapted lens a bit more telephoto “kick” right out of the camera.

For many years I used Canon dslr bodies (aps-c and FF) interchangeably for amateur theatre ssessions.  Afterwards I genuinely had some trouble working out which camera took which image the only really obvious  clue being the size of the raw file. EXIF of course told the full story, but as far as image quality was concerned I regarded it a toss-up and I think that was why aps-c dslr camera bodies have remained popular right up to the present day.

Noteworthy for years, and right up to the demise of the dslr as a camera body, many happily used 135-format lenses on aps-c dslr camera bodies.  Today there are quite a good number of users happily using Sony NEX (with aps-c) for 135-format lenses - add EF-M, Fuji-X and even good old M4/3.

”FF” has become popular to the point of even being “fashionable” and as the saying goes “Nobody got fired for recommending IBM”.

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Tom Caldwell

Ching-Kuang Shene
Ching-Kuang Shene Veteran Member • Posts: 6,241
Re: Best camera for adapted lenses?
1

Tom Caldwell wrote:

I would argue that Sony is not necessarily the best camera for adapted lenses - but it is probably no worse than most. But if you have Sony kit it would be best to stick with Sony.

I agree completely.  In fact, for adapted lens work, camera bodies is usually not as important as the lenses being used.  Nowadays most camera bodies at the same price level are approximately the same.  The only difference is one's preference.

I don’t see that it is absolutely necessary to get the full image circle of a lens on to the sensor it contains. But there is obviously advantages for the wider 135-format lenses. A smaller sensor format gives any adapted lens a bit more telephoto “kick” right out of the camera.

The use of 135mm film lens is mainly for the wide angle shots.  A good 15mm lens would become around 25mm on a APS-C body and 30mm on a M43 body.  On the other hand, for telephoto shots, the M43 would have a significant advantage, and the APS-C size is somewhat in the middle.  The problem is that most MILC makers now put most of there efforts on FF.  What a pity!

Noteworthy for years, and right up to the demise of the dslr as a camera body, many happily used 135-format lenses on aps-c dslr camera bodies. Today there are quite a good number of users happily using Sony NEX (with aps-c) for 135-format lenses - add EF-M, Fuji-X and even good old M4/3.

I have not been using my NEX5, NEX6 and M43 bodies for a long time.  Oh, yes, I have a NEX6 with a Tamron 60/2 micro mounted for studio static shots for my article.

Recently, I gradually move from my A7II (actually I have 2, one with the 2-battery grip and the other without for traveling light) to Nikon Z6/Z7 simply because of the need for wide angle shots and because the slightly shorter flange distance.  Additionally, I can use all of my FF Nikon AFS/AFP wide angle and moderate telephoto lenses.  I got a Nikon Z50 few days ago for Zoom conferencing (webcam).  This is a small and lighter APS-C camera.  Guess I could try some of my super telephoto lenses on it when summer will come 6+ months later.  Will report my finding here.

CK

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SimonOL Senior Member • Posts: 1,956
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

kwahaus wrote:

SimonOL wrote:

The biggest downside of the A7Rii is the magnified view when manual focusing. It is much less clear when the subject is perfectly focused. The A7ii is superior in that respect but not as good in almost every other area.

Not sure I understand this. Why would the magnified view be "much less clear" on the A7R2? According to the specs on DPR, the viewfinder resolution of the A7R2 is a tiny bit more on the A72 (2,359,296 vs 2,359,000 while the LCD resolution is a bit less — 1,228,800 vs 1,230,000?

Are you primarily using the LCD to find focus?

I use the EVF 99% of the time. The lack clarity of the magnified view, particularly the first level of magnification, on the A7Rii effects the EVF more so than the LCD.

I don't know why this would be as the magnified view on the A7ii was very good IMO, as it was on the NEX-7. Having used these cameras extensively with manual focus lenses, this minor issue with the A7rii does exist for whatever reason and was quite noticeable when I switched from one camera to the other. I have read about this from other users on this forum (mentioned in passing as part of a larger topic like here ) so I don't think it's a problem with my particular camera.

Don't read into this that it's impossible to see when a lens is focussed, it's just not as clear on the A7Rii compared directly with the A7ii.

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fferreres Veteran Member • Posts: 6,177
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

SimonOL wrote:

kwahaus wrote:

SimonOL wrote:

The biggest downside of the A7Rii is the magnified view when manual focusing. It is much less clear when the subject is perfectly focused. The A7ii is superior in that respect but not as good in almost every other area.

Not sure I understand this. Why would the magnified view be "much less clear" on the A7R2? According to the specs on DPR, the viewfinder resolution of the A7R2 is a tiny bit more on the A72 (2,359,296 vs 2,359,000 while the LCD resolution is a bit less — 1,228,800 vs 1,230,000?

Are you primarily using the LCD to find focus?

I use the EVF 99% of the time. The lack clarity of the magnified view, particularly the first level of magnification, on the A7Rii effects the EVF more so than the LCD.

I don't know why this would be as the magnified view on the A7ii was very good IMO, as it was on the NEX-7. Having used these cameras extensively with manual focus lenses, this minor issue with the A7rii does exist for whatever reason and was quite noticeable when I switched from one camera to the other. I have read about this from other users on this forum (mentioned in passing as part of a larger topic like here ) so I don't think it's a problem with my particular camera.

Don't read into this that it's impossible to see when a lens is focussed, it's just not as clear on the A7Rii compared directly with the A7ii.

I find the 1st magnify on A7ii to be perfect. The problem is the 11.7x 2nd level is really dealing with individual photosites, so color and contrast get obliterated. So it's more often choosing which pattern of aliasing I like more.

I wish there would be some Creative Magnify modes, where I'd get the 4 corners in view, for example, or could select two windows and get a split view, to be able to do on static shots, a handheld composition that is almost perfect.

Benz3ne Regular Member • Posts: 201
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

kwahaus wrote:

I have a number of vintage lenses I’ve used mostly attached to my Sony NEX-5n. I recently picked up a Sony A7Rii and have used it a bit. I’m considering selling my NEX system and only using the A7Rii. But I wouldn’t mind having a second body just for adapted lenses. The A7Rii seems to be the best fit as it’s full frame and has more Mpx. But is that overkill for these old lenses? Would I be better off with an A7ii at 24 Mpx and IBIS?

Thoughts?

Overkill would be defined by what format your pictures will result. If you're printing large photos, 42MP gives you more latitude for cropping and suchlike whilst still allowing you to print large. That said, 24MP is enough for large prints too.

I went from a Pentax K-1 to the A7iii and found that a great change for adapted lenses. Although, I'll admit the K-1 bested the A7iii in the overall image quality stakes (considering corner sharpness mostly which is quite apparent), the A7iii produces more than adequate pictures, size-wise.

I've had a couple photos printed and they've come out excellently from the A7iii.

The battery life swayed it for me over looking at the less-expensive A7ii.

Dr JLW Senior Member • Posts: 1,299
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

Best for adapting lenses depends on the lenses you want to adapt.

For me with vintage lenses designed for film SLR's,  APS -C with focal reducers is the better than full frame because I get a faster lens and very good image quality,

I started with Nikon and Exacta mounts and and some vintage Zeiss(Optons) Leica and Voightlander lenses (German Voightlander)

For the Leitz and Voigtlander optics full frame is better but for most of my lenses, I prefer APS-C with a focal reducer. My Zeiss, Leitz, and Voightlander optics are 50mm f/2 and I really do not need them since I have excellent Nikon and Canon 50's.

With a Nikon to Nex and a FD to Nex focal reducer adapter I have been very p;eased with the performance of most of theses lenses on my Alpha 6000. If the adapted lenses are old SLR lenses I suggest the Alpha 6500 or 6600 with IBIS to help stabilize the long lenses.

I have had good results with Nikon AI including the 180 f/2.8, the 85mm f/2 the 105mm f/4 macro a Sigma 14mm f/3.5 and an Angenieux 35-70 zoom that, with adapting, is faster than f/2 over most of its range and lovely IQ. I also have a Nikon Mount Vivitar 800mm f/11 solid cat and using that is a challenge.  Hand held has worked well at focal lengths to 180, since these are all fast lenses and at ISO > 1000 there is eniugh light for fast shutter speeds.  With teh long lens stabilization  would help a lot so if I were upgrading I woudl go for an APS-C Ibis body.

On the Canon side I have had happy results with the nFD 50mm f/1.4, disaster with the 50mm f/1.8 (It does not mount on my adapter), the nFD 50 mm f/3.5 macro which is outstanding the 135 mm f/2 and an Exacta mount 28mm f/3.5 retro focus. All adapted

I have adapted my DR Sumicron and it gave wonderful rendering but it is cropped. IF I wanted to use it more I would have to go full frame . As lovely as it is there is just not enough benefit over the Canon nFD 50mm f/1.4 to justify the change.

The performance amazes me because these lenses were made to work with film which had a lot less resolution than today's sensors.

If the old rangefinder lenses or contemporary very high resolution lenses are your thing,  full frame is the way to go, but for me with fast vintage film glass, focal reduced APS-c is the sweet spot

ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 7,522
The A7RII is the "sweet spot"
1

kwahaus wrote:

I have a number of vintage lenses I’ve used mostly attached to my Sony NEX-5n. I recently picked up a Sony A7Rii and have used it a bit. I’m considering selling my NEX system and only using the A7Rii. But I wouldn’t mind having a second body just for adapted lenses. The A7Rii seems to be the best fit as it’s full frame and has more Mpx. But is that overkill for these old lenses? Would I be better off with an A7ii at 24 Mpx and IBIS?

Thoughts?

The A7RII is the sweet spot.

In fact, I just ordered one myself. The A7RII I've been using for years is really property of my research group, and my personal camera has been an A7II, so it was time to upgrade my personal kit and, honestly, I couldn't justify the price difference for anything else from Sony.

I suppose if I was starting cold now I'd have seriously considered a Nikon Z because the mount is a tad better for adapting, but that's an even less attractive deal financially than a comparable newer Sony model.

As for using two cameras: I do that most of the time.

In the mirrorless domain, my first pair was a NEX-7 and a NEX-5, with the NEX-5 really just an inferior second body to save lens changes in nasty environments. However, I found it really useful to pair a FF body with an APS-C second because the characteristics are quite different, for example, my NEX-7 and A7. The A7 only gives 10MP APS-C crop, so the NEX-7's 24MP made it qualitatively different. Here's why I don't bother pairing a FF with an APS-C anymore:

1. A 24MP APS-C + a focal reducer is actually a more flexible choice than a 24MP FF body (it kind of still is), but focal reducers aren't cheap and the quite cheap cost of an A7RII over an APS-C body with IBIS give you 42MP FF, which means nearly 18MP APS-C. I'd like a little more resolution than that, but in truth not many old lenses do much better than that on APS-C at most aperture settings. The 60MP A7RIV delivers 25MP APS-C, which completely kills any advantage for a 24MP crop sensor.

2. As I've discussed here many times, most APS-C native lenses actually can do a bit better using a 1.4X-1.5X teleconverter to upscale the image to FF.

So, what do I pair now?Well, it had been an A7II and A7RII. Now it's going to be two A7RII.

If Sony ever gets a 60MP A7CR out that doesn't just do EFCS and perhaps has the A7SIII menus, that would be the next move for me... but for now, I'm very comfortable with getting a second A7RII new for $1200.

BTW, during the pandemic, I've been avoiding carrying my cameras on trips because I prefer a camera that I can literally wash with soap and water to sanitize it. So, my cell phone has been getting more use on those rare occasions that I've gone anywhere during the pandemic, and I've not taken many photos on those supply-run trips.

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fferreres Veteran Member • Posts: 6,177
Re: The A7RII is the "sweet spot"

I wish they’d do an A7Rii-b, where they just update to the new battery.

AdaptedLenses Regular Member • Posts: 471
Re: Best Sony camera for adapted lenses?

Very important though, the A7II EVF is MUCH more clear at 5x magnification than the A7RII at 5.9x for accurate focus magnification. If you prefer magnification to peaking it alone is reason to pick the A7II.

As far as other differences... Let’s be real, 24MP is plenty, more than you need for most anything, especially with manual lenses. Rangefinder lenses need the A7RII BSI sensor. If you need limited silent shooting, A7RII it is. Auto Min SS is nice, and it has better AF if you’re mixing.

SQLGuy wrote:

kwahaus wrote:

I have a number of vintage lenses I’ve used mostly attached to my Sony NEX-5n. I recently picked up a Sony A7Rii and have used it a bit. I’m considering selling my NEX system and only using the A7Rii. But I wouldn’t mind having a second body just for adapted lenses. The A7Rii seems to be the best fit as it’s full frame and has more Mpx. But is that overkill for these old lenses? Would I be better off with an A7ii at 24 Mpx and IBIS?

Thoughts?

The A7II is good, but won't be better than the A7R2, unless you're concerned about RAW file size for fairly low resolution lenses. And the back-illuminated, no-AA filter, sensor will help get more out of pretty much all lenses.

You also gain a few useful features over the A7II, like silent shutter, and min auto-ISO shutter speed.

Dennis Bayer Contributing Member • Posts: 689
Focal Reducers

Can anybody suggest the best focal reducers to use on an a6500 or similar Sony in order to use Nikkor ais lenses.

I see them mentioned a few times on this thread and it got me interested.

I enjoy these old Nikkor manual focus lenses and have been considering a FF camera,  but maybe a focal reducer would be as good.

Preferably, I'd like a camera with a better evf for magnified focus.  I find focus peaking to be more or les a gimmick, that I only use occasionally  to get me in the ballpark before magnifying.

Thanks

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