An introduction, and a question about legacy lenses

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Joshua Cairns, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. Joshua Cairns

    Joshua Cairns TalkEmount Regular

    Oct 12, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Hey everyone - I've migrated over from!

    While I enjoyed the system, things like dynamic range were killing me (as I do a lot of hiking and outdoor photography)... the GH2 just didn't cut it for that. I'm now in the process of ordering a NEX-5N as the prices have falling because of the 5R (and I just can't justify an extra $300+tax to get wifi and a new AF system that - from initial reviews - seems to hardly make a difference in focusing speed or accuracy).

    My question revolves around legacy lenses... I would really like to start collecting some thanks to the beauty of focus peaking. From the research I have done, it seems the M42 Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 is a great lens, and can produce some brilliant bokeh. With that said, my "specific" question is where do I start? From what I can tell, I need to buy a M42 to E mount adapter. There are a bunch on ebay, but with a price range. With something like an adapter, price and quality should hardly matter I presume? One that is $10 should be no different in functioning ability than one that is $30, correct? I imagine all that would change is the build quality.

    Thanks in advance for the help, and if anyone can suggest any other fast legacy lenses, and preferably wider and maybe 35mm equivalent, I'd really appreciate it!

  2. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Hello Joshua and welcome !!!
    I too shot m4/3 for a few months before missing shallow DOF so much I tried 5N, and was hooked for life by the focus peaking issue. Be careful what you're stepping it, there's a serious manual lens addiction waiting for you right there !!
    I do have a few lenses now, and I have 6 adapters right now : Olympus PEN, Olympus OM, Canon FD, M42, C-mount, and Konica AR. They were bought at various prices but I suspect they ALL came pretty much from the same factories in China !!!
    All of them work flawlessly. The only one I was warned against is the C-Mount ring,because it is so thin if something goes wrong with your lens release button (stuck or whatever), there is absolutely no depth to hang on to, bummer. I was always careful not to screw it on too firmly (but on the other end, to screw the C mount lens firmly into the adapter, so when I unscrewed, the whole thing came out together).
    I might not be much help to you as I don't shoot anything wide, and due to the x1.5 crop factor you won't have many 35mm equivalent (that'd have to be a 24mm, and they are a bit less common in manual mounts, though they do exist, of course). "normal" and short tele options are much more numerous. Beware of the "50" illness, quite a number of members here caught it !! It means collecting, out of curiosity, and bunch of 50mm lenses, duplicating your options, but in the same focal length !! (I have 4 of them right now, lol, FD 1.8, Super Takumar 1.4, Hexanon Konica 1.7, and OM 1.8. Had the OM 1.4 as well but sold it). I have several OM lenses and can vouch for them, they are cute, very well built, easy to find and pretty nice optically. FD lenses are easy to find and very good optically, but just very plain cosmetically and hold no "cult status". The Konicas AR are very popular and I have 3 myself. In telephotos I have a Carl Zeiss Jena 135/3.5 DDR which is just as good optically as any modern lens with top coatings I've ever used.
    I don't know if you've ever tried manual lenses with your Panny (I have) but they were for me a fun option to experiment, at best, but with no reliability due to focus issues. Peaking has given me so much confidence with that, I've stopped using AF altogether !! However, I have the 5N and am mightily annoyed at a lot of little operational quirks from it. Coming from Panasonic's brilliant user interface and fast AF, be ready to bear some grief with the NEX
  3. applemint

    applemint TalkEmount Veteran

    Sep 20, 2012
    I think I have this illness too :eek: - I have at least half a dozen nifty fifties! :) (Olympus OM 1.8, Minolta MD 1.7 and 2.0, Yashica ML 1.9 and 2.0, Konica Hexanon 50mm f1.7 (but with quite bad fungus so i don't use it :mad: ) I need to thin the herd, but my favourites are the Olympus, the Minolta MD 1.7 (except not at f1.7 - too soft) and the 2 ML Yashicas. Too many I know, but none cost me more than £20 ($32) and some were only £10 ($16).

    I think the best bargains can be found with Minolta and Yashica as they no longer make camera bodies so demand is lower (eg old Nikon and Pentax lenses for example will still fit on current Nikon/Pentax bodies as far as I know?).

    My other favourite legacy is actually a zoom - the Minolta MD 35-70mm f3.5 constant aperture macro zoom - said to be almost identical to a similar Leica lens. For the price they go for it is a bargain (£20 to £60 UK - that's US $ $12 to $40).
    Minolta MD 35-70 3.5 Macro, a real compact gem for my Nex

    My Minolta 135mm is also a very nice compact lens for the Nex but I don't find the focal length all that useful.

    P.S There are some quite useful/interesting tests of legacy lenses on a Nex (3) body here:
  4. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 22, 2012
    I am really, really happy with my Canon FD 24/2.8 (which is 36mm equiv). It is sharp and even with adapter just a bit smaller than the kit lens and the Zeiss 24/1.8, and dirt cheap. I also have a FD 28/2.0 which is a tiny bit soft wide open but it's one of my favorite lenses even with scratches on the front glass. I imagine a mint copy would be glorious. I don't see it often on Ebay though, it's quite hard to find (and it's really tempted me to shell out for a Voigtlander Ultron). For a 50mm, I really recommend the Sony native SEL50F18, it is unbelievably cheap coming with OSS and AF, and sharp enough wide open. For less than $300 for a modern full-featured lens, it's a steal.

    As for adapters, the cheap ones off ebay are the best place to start. I actually bought a $12 FD adapter off ebay, and a $40 adapter in a store here, and the $40 one started to have a slight slide in the housing - very disappointing. But the cheapo one is doing just fine and I am tempted to get another. M42, Contax G and Leica M mounts are the shallowest adapters (and therefore compact combos with NEX), but their lenses aren't cheap. I think the shortest common mount is Konica AR, hence it's popularity here. I'm happy with FD because lenses are really easy to find.
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Real Name:
    Hello and welcome.

    Ahhh, where to start...first off I have had great luck with adapters from rainbowimaging on eBay and Fotodiox. I typically go woth the rainbowimaging adapters because they are cheap, if one arrives and fits poorly they are quick to refund your money and if you live in the states like I do they ship out of a NY warehouse so they arrive quickly. That said, I suspect all the Chinese made adapters available on eBay are all the same.

    Now on to the fun part, I LOVE manual focus lenses and like many folks here have collected more than my share. There are lots to choose from and many of them can be had for not that much money (although it does add up when buy a lot of them). I have had several 50/1.4 Super Takumars and I have yet to have one that I didn't think was terrific. They have Thorium in the lenses are many suffer from yellowing. It's easily cured by exposing the lens to backlight, sunlight or even LEDs for a couple of days. Also the lens is radioactive. Not hugely so and all that I have read about them suggest that they aren't a health risk but you may as well know about that before you buy. There are also some terrific MF lenses by Konica, Minolta, Olympus, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, get the idea. You can start anywhere. I'd suggest looking at images created by various lenses and see what you like. Also try a few out. They aren't terribly expensive and pretty easy to resell and recoup some of what you spent (sometimes you make money depending on the lens). Fast 50's are usually the cheapest and most plentiful so I suggest starting there. If you are set on starting with the Super Takumar (a great lens) then check out the Pentax Forum (and reviews) HERE. It's a wealth of information of all things Pentax.

    If you are open to suggestions understand we all have our favorites. I like Konica Hexanons and SUper Takuamars myself. I think they are terrific lenses and a good match with NEX cameras. I also think that Canon FD and Minoltas are probably the best bargains going in MF lenses. Whichever way you go it's hard to go wrong.
  6. Joshua Cairns

    Joshua Cairns TalkEmount Regular

    Oct 12, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks for the info everyone!

    I'm not too set on a particular MF lens... but having come from micro 4/3 I'm really, really craving some good bokeh!!!!

    The pursuit of bokehliciousness led me to the Super Takumar, but if anyone has any other suggestions that would really help!

    As for adapters, is there a dependable resource to find out the mount of the lens and therefore what adapter is needed?
  7. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 22, 2012
    These forums will probably work :) Most mounts are basically following after the main brand, so once you know that, you just have to find out what type of mount within the brand which is usually a lot easier. Like Canon have FD and FL (both interchangeable), and EF and EF-S (these are the modern Canon DSLR mounts, also interchangeable). It gets a bit confusing with Leica mounts (M, M39/LTM and M42) but most other camera brands only have had one or two mounts (and usually one is much older and one much newer) to worry about

    You can get good bokeh with any 50/1.8, 50/1.4 is actually a bit overkill and the thin DOF can become a problem, plus the lenses tend to get soft wider open so you may end up stopping up anyway. F1.8-2 is actually a pretty nice spot for getting bokeh on NEX.
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Real Name:
    This is by no means complete but here are a few to get you started...

    Super Takumars = m42 mount
    Konica Hexanon = AR mount
    Minolta Rokkor = MD mount
    Canon MF = FD mount
    Pentax = K mount
    Leica = m39 or M mount
    Russian lenses = m39 and m42 mount
    Yashica and Contax SLR lenses = C/Y mount
    Nikon MF = F mount

    Contax RF lenses need an adapter with the helical focus mechanism on it (meaning more expensive)
  9. applemint

    applemint TalkEmount Veteran

    Sep 20, 2012
    Yes, any 50mm 1.7/1.8/1.9 should give you decent bokeh - I like the Yashica 1.9 for bokeh but I have not tried any of the Takumars. This review of the Yashica 1.9 however says: "Wide open, however, while acceptably sharp, it’s no competition to my Takumar 55/2. Coatings are very good already, maintaining good contrast in contra light just fine, but not keeping up with side flares. In this respect, no comparison to SMC Takumar 50/1.4".
    Source: Yashica ML 50/1.9

    My Yashica 1.9 + C/Y mount to Nex adapter cost me a total of £20 ($30) - so while there is now a cheap, good quality e-mount 50mm 1.8 with OS and AF, the legacy option was only a tenth of the price (£20 vs £220) :D

    If you want something longer there are the infamous 'Bokeh Monster' aka Meyer-Optik Orestor 135mm f/2.8: Flickr: Discussing Lens Review: Meyer-Optik Orestor 135mm f/2.8 in EOS Cameras and Manual Lenses and Vivitar Series 1/Tokina 90mm f2.5 Macro aka "Bokina": Making Not Taking: Tokina 90mm f/2.5 AT-X Macro - The "Bokina" (not just for macro!).

    The Carl Zeiss Planar T lenses (1.4 and 1.7 are also highly regarded with good contrast, nice bokeh and that hard to define Zeiss 'character'. They cost 5 to ten times as much as the Yashica, Minolta, Hexanon lenses though (£100 to £150 for the 1.7).
    Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.7 (C/Y) Lens Review

    A good tip for legacy lenses (particularly 50mm ones) is to look for old camera bodies as they often have them attached and can sell for less than the lens alone (especially on ebay). Eg: Minolta bodies for Minolta MD 50mm, Contax bodies for Yashica 50mm, Konica bodies for Hexanon 50mm etc.
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Bellingham . WA
    Real Name:
    Great tip on used bodies to find nice 50's. You end up with some extra film bodies but it's worth it.
  11. freddytto

    freddytto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2011
    Puebla, Mexico

    welcome mate, this group is becoming bigger every day and that is very good, because we can exchange knowledge, advice about NEX system.

    Is indeed addictive,:eek: now I'm using MF, has become a vice, earlier I was very difficult but with constant practice, it's easier with the use of peaking , it's great.
    I suffer from this illness likewise, I have a Minolta Rokkor 50mm F1.7 / 50mm f1.4, 50mm f3.5 Industar 50 and I have ordered the Olympus OM 50mm f1.8 and I'm saving to grab the E-50mm f1. 8.
  12. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    It's only considered an illness if there is a known cure.

    The "50mm legacy runs" is not an illness... it's an epidemic! :D
  13. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    I just did a "Buy it Now" for a Voigtlander 12mm Ultra-Wide Screw Mount (V1). Since it works on my dad's old IVSB film camera, great dual purchase. I kept debating between that and the new 10-18, but the 10-18 was $850. I picked up the 12mm for $530. So now I have seven LTM lenses (VL 12mm, Canon 28/35/50/85/100/135) to go with the two Sigmas, the 18-55 and the 55-210. If I didn't have the Sigma, I would probably have gotten the 35/1.8, and may still get the 50/1.8 at some point.

    Now to save up and wait one more generation in the NEX line to see what happens. Will probably pick up another body with the new kit lens, but waiting to see if they go full frame.

    Of course, I keep taking a look at Tele-Takumars. Won't do any good on my film camera, so I keep waffling. I keep wondering if a 300mm with a 2x converter for some moon shots would be worthwhile. Or maybe a 200mm with a 3x converter. I just haven't done enough research to know when it's a good deal.
  14. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Sep 14, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    Real Name:
    I have a 210 with a 3x converter, been waiting for a descent moon for over a week now to try it out. I'll post a pic when I can. This is with just the 210 handheld and a little sharpening, slight crop.