Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 35

Thread: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

  1. #1
    Daisy Mae's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Wick, Caithness, Scotland.
    Posts
    2,577
    Real Name
    Sharon

    'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Am just about grasping the concept that decent 35mm film lenses can be picked up cheaply on e-bay and adapted ( even reversed) with an adaptor for use on DSLR's so a couple of simple questions.

    What benefits are there?

    Canon lenses get a bad review because the 'adaptor' contains glass and 2x glass is not a success...any views? Minolta and Zeiss come out well in reviews

    Is this a bit like 'free focussing'? :/

    Am totally in the dark here so welcome any information.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,293
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Mae View Post
    Am just about grasping the concept that decent 35mm film lenses can be picked up cheaply on e-bay and adapted ( even reversed) with an adaptor for use on DSLR's so a couple of simple questions.

    What benefits are there?

    Canon lenses get a bad review because the 'adaptor' contains glass and 2x glass is not a success...any views? Minolta and Zeiss come out well in reviews

    Is this a bit like 'free focussing'? :/

    Am totally in the dark here so welcome any information.

    Thanks in advance.
    Hi Sharon,

    Cheapness; end of story!

    Using any old film lens on a DSLR, with or without adaptor, (they are not always necessary) will almost inevitably mean;
    manual focusing
    manual aperture (via ring on lens) which doesn't communicate to camera body, therefore;
    exposure meter doesn't know what's going on (shoot and review histogram and blinkies to get correct exposure)
    aperture not recorded in EXIF data for future reference
    Plus their image quality isn't as good as current lenses, particularly on things like the lens coatings to control flare. Then there is the possibility it may be damaged in some way; scratched, fungus, stiff or loose controls, etc.

    Reversing an old lens - i.e. using a filter to filter adaptor ring is a technique for extreme macro shooting, not general photography.

    Hope that helps, ask further if anything there isn't covered sufficiently.

  3. #3
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    12,863
    Real Name
    Manfred Mueller

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    The only comment I will add to what Dave has written is that DSLRs assume that you will use autofocus and the focus screens are terrible for manually focusing a camera. Any of the better film SLRs had focusing screens that pretty well screamed "it's in focus" when your image was sharp. This feature is sadly missing in DSLRs.

  4. #4
    MrB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Hertfordshire, England
    Posts
    1,081
    Real Name
    Philip

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    A feature of the old lenses from 35mm film cameras that might be regarded as a benefit - they usually have both a focus distance scale and a depth of field scale marked around the barrel. But is the DOF scale affected when the lens is mounted on a 1.5 crop factor DSLR, and if so by how much? E.g. If the aperture was set at f/8 on the film camera (or a full-frame DSLR), the DOF would be read from the distance scale between the two f/8 marks; but with the same lens at f/8 on the 1.5 crop camera, which f-stop marks should be used to read the DOF?

    Philip

  5. #5
    Tringa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    London and NW Scotland
    Posts
    575
    Real Name
    Dave

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    It depends on the lens and the camera. There are lots of compatibility sites on the 'net to check old lenses.

    You will lose some or all of the auto functions but that may or may not be important. I could imagine for birds in flight the loss of auto focus may be a deal breaker, though years ago there was no auto focus and I'm sure there were photos of birds flying.

    For landscape work auto focus is not, in my opinion, so important, but do take the point made that manual focus on DSLRs is not as easy as it was on 35mm film SLRs. However, with a bit of work it is not that difficult.

    The lens I use most (other than the 18-55mm kit lens) on my Pentax K5 is a 70-210mm Sigma zoom that I bought in about 1980. As it is a 'A' series lens the aperture is controlled by the camera but the focus is manual. I assume things will be similar with other makes. The image stabilisation in the camera body means even this old lens is stabilised.

    Yes, it is more complicated than with modern all auto lenses and a bit of testing may be need to get the best out of the lens/camera combination. There will be some old lenses that are poor, but from what I read not all modern lenses are excellent but given some old lenses are very cheap, I think it is worth having a go.

    Dave

  6. #6
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Hampshire, UK
    Posts
    5
    Real Name
    Bob

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    As I understand things, mount and other physical compatibility is best with Pentax and Nikon, in the sense that (a) the lenses fit and (b) the mirror won't clash with the rear element. My personal experience is with Nikon where my dSLRs will drive any auto-iris lens back into antiquity. I've not found the issues with manual focus that others report (amd my eyes are far from young).
    Auto-focus is a different matter. Older AF lenses relied on a motor in the camera body. Fine for the users of mid to high end Nikons, not so good for their entry level cameras.
    So, with auto-iris and manual focus, get to know and love your camera's aperture priority mode :-)
    The prices make experimenting possible. I have an old BPM bellows set with a Pentax K mount adapter at the front. A near-mint 135mm lens cost me £5, why would I not want to experiment with it?
    Last edited by BobM; 13th June 2012 at 12:35 PM.

  7. #7
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    13,171
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    The only comment I will add to what Dave has written is that DSLRs assume that you will use autofocus and the focus screens are terrible for manually focusing a camera. Any of the better film SLRs had focusing screens that pretty well screamed "it's in focus" when your image was sharp. This feature is sadly missing in DSLRs.
    I certainly agree with that point!

    Additionally, using some manually focusing lenses on DSLR cameras will negate the auto stop-down feature built into lenses.

    What this auto feaure does is allow you to focus and view your image with the aperture at the widest opening which will allow the brightest image in the viewfinder.

    Then when the shutter is tripped, the lens is automatically stopped down to the predetermined f/stop, the exposure captured and the lens reopened to the maximum f/stop.

    I am old enough to remember lenses which did bot have this feature. When shooting with a SLR camera, you needed to manually stop down the lens to the required shooting aperture and then reopen it again to compose/focus the next shot!

    Next came "pre-set" lenses which I thought were the "cat's pyjamas". You still had to stop down manually and manually reopen but you did not need to look at the lens when doing so. You could preselect an aperture and the lens would stop at the desired f/stop as you twisted the f/stop ring. However, you still had to manually stop down and open up.

    It was not until the "automatic" lenses were introduced that SLR cameras became popular.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Ariege, France
    Posts
    453
    Real Name
    Paul

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    I'm using some Mamiya medium format glass on my Nikon D300s. Great lenses, sharp from edge to edge and contrast/colour noticeably better than my other lenses. Admittedly a pain to manual focus, and to manually stop down but my 80mm Mamiya macro for 80 Euros (no idea what that is in real money !) and my 80mm f2.8 are legendary glass and ridiculously cheap at the price. The 70-200mm zoom is quality but too big and heavy to lug around in a camera bag so that stays with the Mamiya. Focusing is done using live view on the Nikon, an admittedly leisurly activity but for macro,still life and landscape not really a problem.
    Agreed DSLR focusing screens could be much better, I remember the screens on my 35mm Olympuses (Olympi ?) and getting at least 50% of my shots in focus with the little prism fresnel thingy

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dunedin New Zealand
    Posts
    2,697
    Real Name
    J stands for John

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    The most common need of an adaptor with built in lens is with old FD Canon lens and a couple of other models [FA-FC?] of that period.
    Another use is the telephoto converter where the Canon models are equal to the best. The x1.5 and the x2 models which turn say a 300mm lens into a 450 and 600 mm lens. with 720/960 angle of view with a Canon x1.6 crop factor.

    an interesting site http://www.markerink.org/WJM/HTML/mounts.htm lists the distance from the mount to film/sensor and helps one to work out if a given lens will likely work on the camera of your choice. If the distance is greater then there is usually room for an adaptor without needing any glass.

    In my case I have comparable angles of view between my legacy and modern automatic lenses and I don't really see the point of using the legacy lens now I have 'wasted' money organising things for them [except my legacy lens are faster]

  10. #10
    Daisy Mae's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Wick, Caithness, Scotland.
    Posts
    2,577
    Real Name
    Sharon

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Thank you everyone for such considered and informed responses.

    Much to think about there.

  11. #11
    inkista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    1,409
    Real Name
    Kathy Li

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Zeiss is nice. But I wouldn't expect to find any for cheap-cheap, unless you just want a 50mm f/1.7. And frankly, the price it goes for these days would snag you a new one in whatever mount you're using. The really nice ones still cost.

    'Old Glass' on DSLR
    Canon 50D. adapted C/Y Planar T* 100/2 [AE version, $700].

    The first hurdle is finding out if your mount is a good one to adapt to or not. With Nikon F, I'd say not. With Canon EOS, I'd say yes. With Pentax K, it's ok. Sony/Minolta, not so much (throat's too small for anything other than M42). Then to find out if there's an adapter to the lens you want to adapt, and whether or not you need an adapter ring.

    With Nikon and Pentax, you can use the F and K mount manual focus lenses, respectively, without adapters, and you can retain metering, depending on the body you're using. With Sony, Canon, and Olympus lenses, you cannot use the old manual focus lenses in the respective mounts (Minolta MD/MC, Canon FD/FL, and Olympus OM) without adapter. And in the case of Sony and Canon, without adapters with a glass element, because the old mount system was shallower than the new one. Pushing the lens outwards like that is like using a small macro extension tube, and a glass element is required to act like a teleconverter in order to regain focus to infinity.

    With Nikon, if you want to use something other than Nikon F, you need to shave distance off the lens mount. Easiest way is to use a Leitax mount replacement kit, but these may not work for all lenses in a mount, and are relatively expensive (say, $100 apiece). So, bargain lenses aren't going to be worth it.

    Pentax K, iirc, can adapt M42, Nikon F, and Leica-R, but not Contax/Yashica (Zeiss) or Olympus OM.

    Canon and Olympus bodies can adapt all six: Leica-R, Nikon F, Pentax K, M42, C/Y, and Oly OM with simple rings.

    Micro four-thirds and Sony NEX can adapt any SLR mount there is (including Minolta MD/MC and Canon FD/FL), as well as most rangefinder and half-frame mounts, and (if vignetting is ok), even c-mount cine and video lenses.

    So, first question: what camera are you adapting to? And what lens did you want to use?

    Minolta MD/MC is a no-go for most dSLRs, and is probably only good on the mirrorless compacts. Zeiss comes in about half a dozen different vintage mounts (M42, M39, Leica-M, Contax rangefinder/Nikon S, Rollei QB, Contax/Yashica...) as well as being available new as manual focus lenses in the Nikon F (ZF.2, ZF), Canon EOS (ZE) mounts, and as autofocus lenses in the Sony Alpha and Sony NEX (ZA) mounts. So, it's hard to say if they're all "good", vs. on a case-by-case basis of a specific lens in a specific mount.

    That said, I love my C/Y Planar 100 with a passion. I wish my C/Y Distagon 28/2.8 didn't whack into my 5Dii's mirror, and the C/Y Tessar 45/2.8 never really thrilled me much beyond being a pancake lens, and I'm liable to sell and replace it with the new EF 40mm f/2.8 that just got announced.

    The other big hurdle here is that going wide is hard and ultra-wide almost impossible, since all the lenses are designed for 35mm film and are older. Going fast is similarly difficult. And going long without autofocus negates usefulness for a lot of folks. Prices have also gone up by leaps and bounds over the past few years as film students have been scouring the used market of any manual focus lenses for their video work. So, I wouldn't expect to be finding any two-digit priced lenses with "Zeiss" on them, unless they're faked up Russian glass.

    It takes a certain measure of "stubborn" and "contrary" to use adapted manual lenses on a dSLR. Don't kid yourself that this is going to be just as easy to use as any native autofocus lens. I've had to swap out the focus screen on my 5Dii to use my Oly OM 50/1.2 wide open. My 50D sports a Katzeye. I use liveview and 10x magnification like a mad fiend. I swear a lot if my subject moves.

    I loved messing about with adapted lenses on my Canons. But when it came time to go mirrorless compact, I went with m4/3, not NEX, because I just decided I enjoy having autofocus lens choices in the native mount. Whatever $$ you saved, gets paid back in PITAitude.

  12. #12
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    6
    Real Name
    Rene

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    My personal experience:

    From my film era, I have a lot of manual Nikon lenses and some AF lenses.
    They fit without "adapterglass".

    I use some of them them on my Nikon D700 with very good results. (macro 55 mm. & 90 mm.; shift (PC) lenses); tele...

    I think it's only worth considering it if you have the old lenses.

    Regards
    René

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden (and sometimes Santiago de Cuba)
    Posts
    1,089
    Real Name
    Urban Domeij

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    There is presently only one camera that gracefully can use old glass of any kind, and it really works as a dream, Sony NEX7.

    Forget about old glass for DSLR if you don't already have some that fits. Then you can try it, but IMHO it's a PITA, for all the drawbacks with modern DSLR viewfinders. They are mostly useless for manual focusing, and much more so when you must stop down the lens manually before tripping the shutter. It is OK for macro work of stationary objects with a good rigid setup, if you have live view that can be enlarged for focusing.

    The mirror-free cameras however is quite another thing. All of them allow precise focusing with any lens, and all the Sony ones have a feature called focus peaking, which will show you the focused areas in the image clearly and swiftly. For macro work or when using T/S lenses, they are unbeatable. In fact, all DSLR viewfinders, including the pro models, are virtually worthless for focusing tilted.

    But AR coating on old lenses is a real issue when using them on a digital sensor. In front of the sensor, there is an AA filter, which reflects much light toward the lens, which is then bounced back and causes flare if the AR coating is not extremely good. Therefore lots of old glass is virtually useless for digital. Most lenses made after 1980 though, and some top brand lenses from late sixties and on can be used. But buying one is gambling; you won't know in advance if it would cause flare or not if you cannot try it first. It is also not very easy to try it for flare of the kind that insufficient AR coating causes.

  14. #14
    krispix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    268
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by rene3580 View Post
    My personal experience:

    From my film era, I have a lot of manual Nikon lenses and some AF lenses.
    They fit without "adapterglass".

    I use some of them them on my Nikon D700 with very good results. (macro 55 mm. & 90 mm.; shift (PC) lenses); tele...

    I think it's only worth considering it if you have the old lenses.

    Regards
    René
    Hi Rene,
    Yes, old Nikon glass is fine on the D700. In fact all the 'full frame' bodies, but you must not attempt to use a pre-1977 lens on a DX format camera. It will appear to be OK (although a little stiff) until you manage to force it to latch onto the body, at which point you're going to make a trip to your friendly camera shop for a new body. Beware

  15. #15
    inkista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    1,409
    Real Name
    Kathy Li

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by Inkanyezi View Post
    There is presently only one camera that gracefully can use old glass of any kind, and it really works as a dream, Sony NEX7. ...
    Uh-huh. Haven't seen this, have you?

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...ressions.shtml

    Scroll down to the bit where there's an adapted M-mount lens on the NEX7.

    While I agree that there are a few advantages the mirrorless cameras have over dSLRs when it comes to adapting manual glass, MF SLR lenses on a mirrorless look incongruously large, and make all the combos pretty damn nose-heavy, and I have focus peaking on my 50D with Magic Lantern. I've also over the years, bought about half a dozen manual focus lenses to adapt to use on my Canons, and never found it to be a waste of my time, or that it was only worth it if you had the glass lying around. YMMV.

    Quote Originally Posted by krispix View Post
    Hi Rene,
    Yes, old Nikon glass is fine on the D700. In fact all the 'full frame' bodies, but you must not attempt to use a pre-1977 lens on a DX format camera. It will appear to be OK (although a little stiff) until you manage to force it to latch onto the body, at which point you're going to make a trip to your friendly camera shop for a new body. Beware
    Um. Actually, this information is incorrect. Agree, though, best to avoid pre-AI lenses.

    The only dSLR bodies that can use the pre-AI lenses safely are the low-end DX models (currently, the D3200 and D5100). It's when you go up the tiers to the bodies with focus motors in them that the lever breakage issue comes into play. So, your advice is kind of the opposite of what the case is. And you can make a pre-AI lens safe by grinding down the offending flange so it won't engage/break the lever, or so I'm told. There are folks out there who do AI-conversion on lenses.

    http://blog.prairierimimages.com/201...-and-ai-s.html

    The easiest way to identify a pre-AI lens is that the "rabbit ears" will be solid. If the lens is AI, the "rabbit ears" have holes in them.

  16. #16
    krispix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    268
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Um. Actually, this information is incorrect. Agree, though, best to avoid pre-AI lenses.

    The only dSLR bodies that can use the pre-AI lenses safely are the low-end DX models (currently, the D3200 and D5100). It's when you go up the tiers to the bodies with focus motors in them that the lever breakage issue comes into play. So, your advice is kind of the opposite of what the case is. And you can make a pre-AI lens safe by grinding down the offending flange so it won't engage/break the lever, or so I'm told. There are folks out there who do AI-conversion on lenses.

    http://blog.prairierimimages.com/201...-and-ai-s.html

    The easiest way to identify a pre-AI lens is that the "rabbit ears" will be solid. If the lens is AI, the "rabbit ears" have holes in them.
    Don't think so.

    My (very) old Nikon glass works fine with my D700 and, being an oldie I know how to focus manually and how to do complicated stuff like setting aperture rings. However, I cannot use these on my D300s for the reasons stated above. According to Nikon you cannot use pre-77 lenses on any DX camera body.
    Ken Rockwell says that the lens mounts are subtly different between the DX and the FX bodies and that's where the problem lies.

  17. #17
    inkista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    1,409
    Real Name
    Kathy Li

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    [facepalm]. Look. It's not just me saying this. It's Ken Rockwell saying it. Look at his lens compatibility chart.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm

    Scroll down to the "Digital SLRs" table, and see where it says "NO" in big red letters in every row under pre-AI, except the last one? He's saying the same thing I am. It's not safe to use pre-AI lenses on any bodies other than the entry-level no-focus-motor ones. And on those bodies, you don't have stop-down metering capability so metering won't be accurate (which is why we like histograms).

    You can believe what you want to believe. I just think what you're saying could be dangerous to someone unfamiliar with the Nikon F mount issues.

    And I learned on an OM-10, so I do the all-manual thing, too, hence my merry adapting of lenses from vintage mounts onto my Canon EOS and m4/3 cameras. The reason I know all about the pre-AI issues is that I wondered why those lenses were so much cheaper when I went hunting them up for my Canons.

    Pre-AI? Completely safe for Canon EOS adapting, and even the entry-level Canon bodies will stop-down meter accurately with one.

    'Old Glass' on DSLR
    Canon XT/350D. adapted Nikkor 55mm S f/1.2 [pre-AI lens]
    Last edited by inkista; 13th June 2012 at 11:02 PM.

  18. #18
    krispix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    268
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    [facepalm]. Look. It's not just me saying this. It's Ken Rockwell saying it. Look at his lens compatibility chart.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm

    Scroll down to the "Digital SLRs" table, and see where it says "NO" in big red letters in every row under pre-AI, except the last one? He's saying the same thing I am. It's not safe to use pre-AI lenses on any bodies other than the entry-level no-focus-motor ones. And on those bodies, you don't have stop-down metering capability so metering won't be accurate (which is why we like histograms).

    You can believe what you want to believe. I just think what you're saying could be dangerous to someone unfamiliar with the Nikon F mount issues.

    And I learned on an OM-10, so I do the all-manual thing, too, hence my merry adapting of lenses from vintage mounts onto my Canon EOS and m4/3 cameras. The reason I know all about the pre-AI issues is that I wondered why those lenses were so much cheaper when I went hunting them up for my Canons.

    Pre-AI? Completely safe for Canon EOS adapting, and even the entry-level Canon bodies will stop-down meter accurately with one.

    'Old Glass' on DSLR
    Canon XT/350D. adapted Nikkor 55mm S f/1.2 [pre-AI lens]
    Hi Kathy,

    Perhaps I should have a chat with Ken. The chart you refer to is a modern one (2012) and at odds with the one he produced a few years back. So, I don't know what's going on here.
    All I can say is that I have 5 pre-1977 lenses and they all fit and work quite happily on my D700, albeit non-auto anything. When I spoke to Nikon they advised that the lens mounts on the FX models was slightly different to the DX bodies.
    Perhaps the safe route will be to avoid these older lenses completely?

  19. #19
    inkista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    1,409
    Real Name
    Kathy Li

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Yes, as I said originally, I agree that it's probably best to avoid the pre-AI lenses (I mean, unless you're seriously jonesing for single-coated lenses for B&W work. Then do the research).

    I think it can come down to the individual lens, and the individual camera body. It could be like 5D mirror clearance. Two posters on a messageboard, both with the same 5D model, and the same model of vintage lens, and one will say there's no mirror clearance, while the other will say they have no problems whatsoever. You have to know what the protrusion on the lens is, and how much space you've got with the coupling lever it can possibly break. Some folks have solved the issue by simply taking a Dremel to their lenses.

    But I also think it's probably a little dangerous to assume that because your lenses work on your camera that it would be identical in all cases for all lenses. And it could also be that you have lenses that were converted to AI.

    It could also be that the full-frame mount differs from the DX mount. The mirror clearance issue for Canon shooters never pops up on the 1-series bodies, so mount differences within what's ostensibly the same mount do exist. I've just read the other story so many times and this is the first time I've heard the full-frame-is-safe version. And there are a ton of reports about how pre-AI lenses are safe for use on the entry-level no-focus-motor bodies.
    Last edited by inkista; 14th June 2012 at 08:06 PM.

  20. #20
    Kdfrank's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    66
    Real Name
    Kerry Frank

    Re: 'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Hi Kathy, Weird History indeed! in this image you see my 5 year old Nikon DSLR with a happily mounted pre-1977, pre AI Nikkor f 1.2 55mm "normal" lens. As all have mentioned, be careful with your choices, but if you really want "old glass" on your DSLR as the old saying goes "when there's a will there's a way!"

    'Old Glass' on DSLR

    Happy Hunting ~ Kerry

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •