1. Reminder: Please user our affiliate links to get to your favorite stores for holiday shopping!

Advise for Adapted lens

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by izzikiorage, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. izzikiorage

    izzikiorage TalkEmount Veteran

    323
    Jul 30, 2013
    Hi Guys

    I've been using adapted lenses on my NEX6 for a couple of months now. I have 3 main lenses that I'm using.

    1. Sigma zoom KII - 70-210 f/4.5
    2. Minolta Rokkor 50mm f/1.4
    3. Panagor 28mm f/2.8

    Need some advise on using these in the best way. I seem to get blurry shots with all of them even when I'm pretty sure i'm nailing the focus. I have focus peaking on, with a red tint. I rarely use the zoom view since that makes the image very choppy and even more hard to focus. I might be holding the lenses wrong and blurring them due to motion on pressing the shutter. Some of my pet gripes are

    Zoom KII - blurry, washed out, low contrast shots
    Rokkor - Out of focus shots, seems that using it at f/1.4 is almost impossible

    As of now not really sure what I should be doing to get better shots, or is it just a limitation of these lenses. Need advise, tips and tricks, guidelines on how to best use Adapted lenses

    linking some images

    16670026616_14b0eabb38_c.

    One with the heavens by Amlan Mathur, on Flickr

    Blurry at 1:1, no details on the clouds. Had to PP a lot to get the colors. Shot with zoom KII

    16196467324_c4c4063961_c.

    Boy's toys by Amlan Mathur, on Flickr

    Not sure where I got the point of focus. Seems blurry, has purple fringing.
     
  2. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    1- Some older lenses are just blurry. Some are made to lower standards and some are just worn out.

    2- Using 1.4 is going to be tough under the best of circumstances. Don't even think about it for moving subjects.
    If you are using 1.4, use it on a stationary object and a tripod. Zoom magnification is an amazing tool for these.
    When shooting anything handheld, you need to be in the 3.5 or greater for any reasonable success.

    Best of luck, MF is a bit of a challenge at first, but once you get it, can be quite enjoyable.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. mnhoj

    mnhoj TalkEmount Regular

    123
    Aug 19, 2013
    Some adapters don't focus to infinity.
    Peaking produces false positives.
    Try and eliminate factors one by one.
    Use Dave's advice. A tripod and zoom focus.

    I like to focus wide open with zoom and then stop down to the desired effect.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    Some of those old primes are pretty soft at 1.4 on digital, and especially a cropped sensor. Some of the old primes were BUILT to be soft at 1.4, because soft was what was desired for portraits in the 70s and early 80s

    Old zooms were by and large not good compared to modern zooms. The designs were weaker, the coatings on older lenses are not great anyway, and off-brand names (Sigma was not a brand name back then, IIRC) are generall weaker still. Even in primes, I try to stick to brand names, though Kiron/Vivitar/and I think Panagor is part of that group (??) made some good primes.

    I think your lens is a push/pull zoom? That always bugged me, too, as I found managing both focus and framing to be a pain in the but.

    Basically, older photos were more forgiving of softness and focus error. Part of it was expectations (most consumers -- the buyers of off-brand name lenses -- struggled with manual focus anyway), the fact that you didn't have easy access to "100% crops" and also film has a lower effective pixel size.

    If your sigma zoom is washed out, that's the lens and not your fault. Upgrade the lens. The Minolta should be a champ by 1.8 or 2.0 I would think (I've not used that one myself). I found conflicting reviews on the Panagor, but I'm not sure I was reading the right lens.

    Try Googling <lens name> review, and you will find most of these old lenses have reviews on them, and you can get a good sense on whether it's user error, or a weak lens.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Another thing that might help with manual focus / focus peaking is to use the lowest focus peaking intensity you can...at least down to the "medium" setting if not the "low" setting.
    I've found the more intense the strength of the focus peaking, the more difficult it is (for me) to sometimes "see / fine tune" the focus on those lit-up edges..
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    Welcome to the world of manual-focus lenses. It can be a rewarding endeavor to learn to utilize an old analog lens, but also a frustrating experience.

    Lot's of good advice above. I'll try to add what wasn't covered.

    1. Research as much as you can on a particular lens before investing in it. Some are duds out of the factory. While some worked for film but digital high pixel count sensors and/or cropped sensors reveal design shortcomings. Lens focus could be hampered by short throw rings. I find a short 90 degree turn to be difficult to focus compared to 180+. So seek out lenses best suited for fine focusing. Dried out, hard-to-twist focus rings on old lenses also hamper fine focusing.

    2. Old zooms of the 60-70s weren't very good and their standard of acceptable performance is much lower than later and today. That may go to explain your Sigma's results. Sigma lenses weren't reputed to be good ones back then. (Sorry, to tell you. But I have had similar results from my old Sigmas).

    3. Hand held shooting with telephotos and zooms require as a rule of thumb, a shutter speed equal or faster than 1/ the focal length of the lens used, to prevent blurry pictures.
    ie. 200mm lens: 200 x 1.5 = 300 for Sony APS-C, so....shutter is 1/300 sec.

    As design and manufacture progressed, so did lens performance, especially for zooms. Most native zooms were designed to a higher level and costed more. Aftermarket brands were less costly, and some cut corners. Seek out the zoom models that were well received for exceptional image quality. Many lens lines were tiered. entry kit, consumer level, pro level. By the 80s, zoom performance was rivaling prime lenses.
    It was mentioned above, but one-touch zooms can be hard to use for some. And preferred by others. I've found you must get to know the lens and its quirks.

    4. Most old lenses didn't perform well wide open. I've found the max aperture of some lenses to be basically useless, even some reputable ones.
    DOF is VERY shallow at f1.4. And the closer you are to the subject, DOF gets shallower even when stopping down to a smaller aperture.
    We're talking fractions of an inch!

    5. Adapter quality. As mentioned, some are manufactured imprecisely. Too thick and can't reach infinity. Too shallow and focuses past infinity.
    Not perfectly flat and focus tilt with soft corners. Light leakage from gaps.

    6. Lens hoods. Most old lenses didn't come with a hood or the built-in hood was barely adequate. Everyone should pick up sets of cheap lens hoods and use them. Cuts down on flaring and improves contrast. Especially helpful with old lenses with single coated optics.

    7. Use the Focus Aids! Magnifier is far more accurate than relying on peaking. I've now set peaking to Minimum to get less false positives. And programmed the custom button next to the shutter to use Focus Magnifier with an easy tap. You can't expect it to always provide a clear image, low light and extreme zoom and it'll be unsharp, but focus until it's clear as possible and that will be your best focus setting.

    8. Evaluate your new lenses mounted to a tripod to see if it's focus challenged. Hang some newspaper on a flat wall perpendicular to the camera and see how much resolution it has, if it's edge to edge clear, or if there is a de-centered element. Tripod eliminates user error.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 2
  7. Kirkp

    Kirkp TalkEmount Regular

    151
    Nov 2, 2014
    I don't think focus peaking is very accurate. It's fine if you are stopped down, but near wide open with a thin DOF I usually do better with the enlarged focus view and the EVF.
    That Rokkor 50mm f/1.4 should be able to give you razer-sharp focus -- but that sharpness will be limited to a razer-thin DOF when it's wide open. Sharpness will degrade a bit near the corners, but with the APS-C sensor that's much less of an issue than full frame.
    Before giving up on getting sharp photos those lenses, try shooting with a good tripod, using the enlarged focus view, and use a remote or timer to actuate the shutter. While you're at it, take the same photo with your lens at each f/ number. If you are able to get sharp photos under these ideal conditions, you'll know that you're sharpness issues in the field are due to operator error and not a fault with the lens.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    Forgot about hoods! Because the coatings were less advanced then (and there may be other reasons, too, around adapters and hard silicon sensors bouncing around light) hoods REALLY help old lenses, many of which flare and lose contrast quickly with strong light reaching their elements even obliquely.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Some great advice.

    When you find ones that work, it is quite enjoyable, but finding the good ones can be a bit challenging.

    I have two that I love out of about ten that I bought and resold.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    The Minolta MC Rokkor(-X) is my favorite low-light lens, and I always use it at f/2 where it is sharp right into the corners. When using it that way, focussing has to be accurate and I often use the magnified view combined with peaking. And even then I get failures because the subject and/or I are moving. If you have doubts about a lens, set it at f/5.6 for focussing and shooting and use magnified view for accurate focussing. That should give you a perfectly sharp picture.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. izzikiorage

    izzikiorage TalkEmount Veteran

    323
    Jul 30, 2013
    Wow, thanks for all the tips everyone. I guess I'll need to immediately a start with a tripod and figure out which of my lenses are very sharp (the rokkor as you say) and which might not be (my sigma )

    I've been using peaking on mid, will step it down to a low. I'm still not used to using the magnifier as it takes too long and is quite choppy. Also i never got the buttons mapped out so i could access it easily.

    I heard that there are sites where you could print out and make your own lens hoods? I doubt that there are any real sellers in India for old lens hoods
     
  12. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Generic lens hoods will do just fine, especially for common focal lengths, no need to pay serious money for fancy gear. Prices of original Minolta lens hoods went through the roof the last few years so I gathered me a set of generic ones to fill the voids in my line-up. Hoods also offer protection; yesterday my camera fell off a table in the train, I caught it with my foot and then the stiff rubber hood of the Olympus 40/2 came on the ground first. No damage done. Hail Olympus with your rubber lens hoods!
     
  13. pvp_victor

    pvp_victor TalkEmount Regular

    92
    Nov 24, 2013
    bangalore, india
    Vijay
    On Hood and Buying Camera Accessories in India:
    Personally I never liked the so called "flower petal hoods" or "collapsible rubber hoods" available for around Rs.300/- in amazon.in or ebay.in.
    Get full metal hoods like the ones here http://www.ebay.com/sch/Lens-Hoods-...sop=15&_nkw=Standard+Screw-in+Metal+Lens+Hood

    eBay.com is the best option, for buying such camera/lens accessories in India. Create a PayPal account and shop without fear. It takes 20-30 days to get here. But, it gets here without fail; even an item worth USD 1 (Camera Body Cover+Lens Rear Cap). You might look into buying used lens. Its fun.

    However, you can buy from ebay/Amazon Indian sites for items like Lens Pen, lens cap holder, UV filter (not needed, once you get a hood), CPL/ND Filter etc.

    On Lenses:
    If you are shooting stationary objects, legacy zooms are OK as long as you follow the "shutter speed = 1/focal length formula". I found this formula limiting the shots even at 105mm with my Canon FD 35-105mm F/3.5 Lens when light fades early in places like Bangalore, India. For tele zoom, I've realised the native 55-210 zoom gets you crisp images due to its OSS (Image Stabilization). I recently got one from Amazon India site for Rs.14,300/-. Better get that Zoom. Look around the forum for a better 28mm Lens and buy it off the Bay.

    Pixel Peeping:
    When viewing any photo, most of my friends and relatives go straight to 100% pixel level. They do not spend more than a couple of seconds to see the fit-to-the monitor view on a 19" / 21" computer screen. Their usual comment is "there's no detail here"; that too for an object occupying less than 1/30 th of the image, which was 200-300m away when I used a 28mm lens !!! When they do this pixel level viewing, they don't like to see their faces shot with my Canon FD 50mm F/1.4 Lens which brings out EVERYTHING IN A FACE :rofl:. These people generally value a 20X zoom PS Camera and prefer to have 40MP in a 1/2.3" sensor. Many have become critics and experts of what they don't understand fully. Ignore such pixel peepers and you also have to stop that habit, if you want to carry your Camera more.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. izzikiorage

    izzikiorage TalkEmount Veteran

    323
    Jul 30, 2013
    Cool, will have a look at the generic lens hoods available.

    @pvp_victor@pvp_victor thanks for the detailed post. Will try out amazon and the others. Have gotten a few lenses from eBay.com and its awesome fun. Have gotten some accessories from ebay.in and all, but those are useless for legacy lenses since hardly any are listed. I actually found a few on olx.in and all.

    I will stop the pixel peeping :) but would love to learn enough to get the best pics from the lenses i have
     
  15. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Why stop pixel-peeping? It's the best way to see if you nailed focus, if your lens is really good, etc. If you don't want other people to pixel-peep your pictures, just publish them at a smaller resolution so their pixel-peeping doesn't reveal all the detail they would possibly object to.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    IMO pixel peeping in the negative sense is obsessing over gear comparison when the differences are really minor

    I am betting at least one if not two of your lenses are weak. Esp the sigma. Move up to a better option and be happier with your shots. That's better IMO than spending hours in front of a computer, trying to make up for a bad lens
     
  17. Kirkp

    Kirkp TalkEmount Regular

    151
    Nov 2, 2014
    I pixel-peep my photos, but I try to resist the urge to discard a capture that is less than perfect. If it's sharp enough to look good at the size I intend to display it, it's a keeper. But the pixel peeping helps me determine how large I'll be able to display the photo, and might help me learn how to get a sharper capture next time.
     
  18. pvp_victor

    pvp_victor TalkEmount Regular

    92
    Nov 24, 2013
    bangalore, india
    Vijay
    Agree with Ad that pixel peeping helps to evaluate focussing accuracy and the lens. To be frank, I get lot of kick out of it on landscape shots; specially when hyper-focusing comes thro' with my OM Zuiko. Friends also help constructively when it comes to landscape shots. Because it is mounted most of the times, my OM 28mm F/2.8 lens is used for some portrait shots (as it has 42mm FoV on an APS-C sensor). Pixel peepers' comments are mostly on the corners of such Pics :doh:. Mildly put, it irritates a little.

    In India, hobbyists generally give least priority to Primes. I know quite a lot of people who got their Canon / Nikon DSLRs used only the kit lens, pixel peeped, got disappointed and started using their 13MP mobile Cam regularly. THAT is the negative effect of pixel peeping. On first glance, I felt izzikiorage might get dragged into it (the way WT21 expressed) and hence my comment against pixel peeping. One needs plenty of light or a good prime to start pixel peeping, IMHO.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Lisandra

    Lisandra TalkEmount Veteran

    216
    Jan 28, 2015
    ok so first things first, you gotta test those lenses. put them on a tripod, manual focus a flat but detailed surface (brick wall works) as parallel to the wall as you can and then view them on a pc. Assuming the lens is not decentered or with other problems, you an evaluate from that image how much sharpness you can expect from that lens. If things come out sharp and fairly even (not a decentering problem) then you gotta figure out what a safe shutter speed for you is. for a 50 Im AT LEAST at 1/80 of a sec, but mostly at 1/100. anything lower than that and your kepper rate goes down. Also pay mind to how much time goes by between focusing and taking the shot. A lot of beginners (not saying that you are) start with focusing and THEN compose, by the time they shoot focus is way off. So roughly focus, compose as you want, nail focus and immediately shoot. peaking works most of the time, by you gotta use the correct setting, using it in high all the time will get you a ton of false positives, and all lenses require different levels of intensity. Sharper lenses require the lowest, while older softies may have to use the highest. Dial it down until you can baaaarely see it, that way what little lights up is most definitely in focus. Still, check the surroundings of whats in focus briefly, that will give you hints as to how much to adjust. lastly, check critical focus after the shot.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I do pixel peep when evaluating lenses but it is otherwise pointless. That way I can chose best lens for occasion and have some knowledge about how much I can crop.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1