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Auto Focus enabled Adapters on the A7 (Mk1)

pellicle

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
271
Location
Killarney, Queensland, OzTrailEYa
Hi

my apology if there was a thread specific to this.

Perhaps as these cameras are aging now there are less users of them in the wild attempting to adapt Auto Focus lenses.

I'm no stranger to Adapted lenses, having used them on my EOS camera to mount OM series lenses through to my m43 cameras, but it has always been with the use of manual focus and stop down operation.

Indeed it was getting the use out of my existing collection of FD lenses which encouraged me to get the A7.

I understand that the A7 has both PDAF and CDAF ability (ref: Hybrid AF system with 25 contrast-detect and 117 phase-detect points) and that many adapters are not able to access this PDAF capablilty on the A7. However I've read that the Sigma MC-11 does indeed allow reasonable AF on the Sigma lenses (at least). I'm thinking of stuff like
  • Sigma 70-200 f2.8 HSM
  • Canon EF 300f4 USM / IS (as an upgrade for my trusty FD300f4)

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this, because these adapters are a bit of an investment and while I wouldn't mind being "restricted" to Sigma lenses, as I know from my past usages they are optically quite good.

There doesn't seem much written on this topic, so I thought I'd ask.

Thanks in advance
 

Petrochemist

TalkEmount Regular
Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
109
Location
North Essex UK
Real Name
Mike
I'm considering getting a smart adapter & appropriate telephoto lens for my A7ii.
Looking through the various reviews of smart adapters they all seem to concentrate on wide to normal lenses which have minimal need for AF (& the Techart pro's 4.5mm movement works for).

Sadly none of my exisiting AF lenses would be suitable either being old film era models or for smaller formats, so I'd need to get both the lens & the adapter but even so this seems to work out £100's cheaper than the native options.

Has anyone experience of using smart adapters with long lenses?
 

bdbits

Super Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2015
Messages
2,471
Real Name
Bob
Techart adapters are amazing but there are limitations. The longest I've used is a Contax G 90mm lens with the Techart Contax G AF adapter. It worked quite well actually, but 90mm is not very long. I also had the more common Techart Pro Adapter or TAP. You may already know this, but the lens you mount does not itself need AF ability as the adapter does all the work and lens AF would not be used anyway. You do need an aperture ring on the lens. And the weight matters. I forget the max but Techart only supports up to a certain weight lens, probably having to do with the TAP motor's capability or lack thereof, and this eliminates a lot of telephoto lenses. It is worth noting that you can stack adapters, within the parameters of the flange distances of course. So if you can adapt your lens to LM for instance, then you could go camera<->TAP<->M-to-your-mount<->lens. I did this with Minolta mounts, so I had the TAP on the camera and the Minolta-to-M adapter on the TAP. This gave AF to lenses that never even had it in the first place (mainly MD for me) and worked quite well, actually. But again, there is the weight restriction with the TAP. I used the TAP quite a lot but sold it a few months ago as I bit the bullet and switched to native lenses (mostly MF oddly enough) as I wanted support for things like focus assist and having EXIF data.

Now if you are adapting Canon EF lenses using say an MC-11, I've not had one but as I understand it they are mainly translating commands between mount specs, so I don't think size/weight matter at all. Until Sony started filling in the long end, I'd seen many birders used Canon lenses (some still do). Judging by their results, that can definitely work very well. It supports the full range of functions on lens and body, but not all Canon lenses, or even all Sigma lenses, work well with it, though many do. A little searching can turn up lists of lenses that have been tried and which ones work well or perhaps more importantly which do not. I think we have a few here who have used the MC-11, hopefully they can chime in. That is likely going to be your best bet over expensive native lenses. There are others but it seems to perform the best.
 

Richard Crowe

TalkEmount Top Veteran
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
814
Hi

my apology if there was a thread specific to this.

Perhaps as these cameras are aging now there are less users of them in the wild attempting to adapt Auto Focus lenses.

I'm no stranger to Adapted lenses, having used them on my EOS camera to mount OM series lenses through to my m43 cameras, but it has always been with the use of manual focus and stop down operation.

Indeed it was getting the use out of my existing collection of FD lenses which encouraged me to get the A7.

I understand that the A7 has both PDAF and CDAF ability (ref: Hybrid AF system with 25 contrast-detect and 117 phase-detect points) and that many adapters are not able to access this PDAF capablilty on the A7. However I've read that the Sigma MC-11 does indeed allow reasonable AF on the Sigma lenses (at least). I'm thinking of stuff like
  • Sigma 70-200 f2.8 HSM
  • Canon EF 300f4 USM / IS (as an upgrade for my trusty FD300f4)

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this, because these adapters are a bit of an investment and while I wouldn't mind being "restricted" to Sigma lenses, as I know from my past usages they are optically quite good.

There doesn't seem much written on this topic, so I thought I'd ask.

Thanks in advance
The Sigma MC-11 will adapt seamlessly only selected Sigma lenses. I don't have the info on which lenses at hand but do a Google search for MC-11 Sigma Lens Compatibility.
In my experience with the MC-11, AF on many Canon lenses is pretty poor and inaccurate; being especially bad on older Canon glass. It was also not good on my A6500 with the MC-11 and Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS or the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS ii lenses. I did have fairly decent results with the Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens adapted to the Sony A6500 with the MC-11. However, the native Sony 85mm f/1.8 lens runs rings around the adapted Canon 85mm...
I had better luck using Canon glass with the relatively inexpensive (I paid less than $100 for my copy) Viltrox EF-E Focal reducer (speed booster). I still use the EF-E Focal Reducer and 100-400mm lens on my A6400 and A6500 cameras. Of course, that option is only open to Sony APSC users...
 

Petrochemist

TalkEmount Regular
Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
109
Location
North Essex UK
Real Name
Mike
Techart adapters are amazing but there are limitations. The longest I've used is a Contax G 90mm lens with the Techart Contax G AF adapter. It worked quite well actually, but 90mm is not very long. I also had the more common Techart Pro Adapter or TAP. You may already know this, but the lens you mount does not itself need AF ability as the adapter does all the work and lens AF would not be used anyway. You do need an aperture ring on the lens. And the weight matters. I forget the max but Techart only supports up to a certain weight lens, probably having to do with the TAP motor's capability or lack thereof, and this eliminates a lot of telephoto lenses. It is worth noting that you can stack adapters, within the parameters of the flange distances of course. So if you can adapt your lens to LM for instance, then you could go camera<->TAP<->M-to-your-mount<->lens. I did this with Minolta mounts, so I had the TAP on the camera and the Minolta-to-M adapter on the TAP. This gave AF to lenses that never even had it in the first place (mainly MD for me) and worked quite well, actually. But again, there is the weight restriction with the TAP. I used the TAP quite a lot but sold it a few months ago as I bit the bullet and switched to native lenses (mostly MF oddly enough) as I wanted support for things like focus assist and having EXIF data.

Now if you are adapting Canon EF lenses using say an MC-11, I've not had one but as I understand it they are mainly translating commands between mount specs, so I don't think size/weight matter at all. Until Sony started filling in the long end, I'd seen many birders used Canon lenses (some still do). Judging by their results, that can definitely work very well. It supports the full range of functions on lens and body, but not all Canon lenses, or even all Sigma lenses, work well with it, though many do. A little searching can turn up lists of lenses that have been tried and which ones work well or perhaps more importantly which do not. I think we have a few here who have used the MC-11, hopefully they can chime in. That is likely going to be your best bet over expensive native lenses. There are others but it seems to perform the best.
I've used the TAP with a 500mm mirror lens (the only one of my 4 mirror lenses that is within the weight limit) At the airshow where subject distance is effectively very similar it did a reasonable job, but for closer subjects in motion it really wasn't as good as using the lens in manual focus (no luck at all with moving subjects here). I've not thoroughly tested any of my lighter 200/300/400mm primes at closer distances (10m & less) yet but I strongly suspect the 4.5mm movement of the TAP will make the AF range very limited for these too.

Some of the youtube reviews I watched last night suggested the focusing speed of the metabones / MC-11 with a moderate telephoto was often worse than manual focusing, but this could just be poor lens compatibility...

My options seem to be;
1/ Minolta A mount lens(es) & LEAE4 (to me the adapter seems far too expensive for something that basically uses 2010 APSC AF technology)
2/ MC-11 with carefully selected Sigma EF lens(es)
3/ Metabones with carefully selected Canon EF lens(es)
4/ Native supertelephoto(s) (obviously the best AF results but ££££)
5/ or simply keep/carry my Panasonic G5 & it's telephotos & live with the lesser output (perhaps exchanging the 100-300 for a 100-400).

Currently the permutations are to numerous to sort out with a visit to a well stocked camera shop. Hopefully the experiences of forum birders etc. will be able to suggest some combinations that would be worth trying out. I'm not used to super fast AF but I would like to at least have a chance of shooting hovering dragonflies & BIF :)
 
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