How to use manual lens?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by MikeCaine, May 29, 2013.

  1. MikeCaine

    MikeCaine TalkEmount Rookie

    Nov 28, 2012
    Isle of Man
    I'm sure I've seen it somewhere before, but now I need it I'm damned if I can find it again.

    Having finally received a Fotidiox lens mount adaptor for Canon FD lenses how do I use, for example my Canon 50mm f 1.4 SSC lens, on my NEX-7

    Is it as simple as sticking the camera in aperture mode, selecting an aperture on the lens, and away you go?

    How do Canon FD prime lenses generally measure up to Sony lenses, e.g. 10-18 and 18-200?
  2. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    You must have 'release without lens' on.

    Prime lenses from every major manufacturer are generally ok or good but in the old days lenses below 24 mm were expensive and rare. Same over 300 mm. Zooms have developed much more than primes. One major benefit from primes is speed. You can have 50mm/1.4 quite cheaply that way.
  3. MikeCaine

    MikeCaine TalkEmount Rookie

    Nov 28, 2012
    Isle of Man

    I figured the release w/o lens bit.

    I only had a quick play yesterday evening and it seems to work if I stick in in A mode on the NEX and manually select an aperture on the lens, but is that the best (or easiest) way to use it?

    I'd half expected to have to manually set an aperture on the body and match it on the lens but it doesn't seem to work that way.

    I don't really want to go manual; it's bad enough remembering to have to manually focus all over again :)

    Do the S or P modes offer any benefits with a lens adaptor?
  4. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I think that manual aperture is ok. Even manual focus is ok if subject isn't moving and focusing Nex is much more accurate than SLR.

    S gives you possibility to choose ISO automatically (fixed aperture and speed). P adjusts both speed and ISO. I use either M (flash) or A.
  5. MikeCaine

    MikeCaine TalkEmount Rookie

    Nov 28, 2012
    Isle of Man
    Thanks for that

    I've just remembered it was Gary Friedman's NEX book where I'd read about using manual lenses with adaptors. I'll check that out this evening, dig out some more Canon lenses and give it all a good go over the weekend.
  6. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    If you have aperture adjustment on your lens, like I do on mine put it in "S" mode.

    Aperture adjustment on the lens itself, shutter speed on the camera.
  7. Bugleone

    Bugleone TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 21, 2011
    Just bear in mind that FD requires an adaptor that allows the iris diaphragm of the lens to be stopped down/up.....make sure that the iris ring on adaptor is 'open' before fitting to lens or you won't be able to activate the iris.....

    ........Setting the NEX to 'A' ie, aperture priority is the best solution as it allows you to set whatever aperture you wish on the lens,.....the camera sets the right shutter speed by means of it's light metering.
  8. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Ad Dieleman
    I think so, I often use S mode with an MF lens in combination with auto ISO. Then you can set the shutter speed you feel is right, set the aperture you want on the lens and let the camera decide on the ISO value. That's in fact full manual control of aperture and shutter speed while the correct exposure is dealt with by the camera and that's something you can't do with a native lens! I'd really like to have an M mode with auto ISO option and for the life of me, I can't understand why camera makers continue to refuse to offer that option.
  9. dshin525

    dshin525 TalkEmount Regular

    Jan 4, 2013
    Initially i used A mode....closest to auto as you can get with a manual lens. Then i just went M mode...forced me to get used to how different adjustments affect the exposure. Also allowed me to learn the camera controls like it was 2nd nature...I can scroll thru adjustments without looking where Im putting my thumb. And it forced me to take my time for each shot, which forced me to think about each shot before I took them.
  10. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    ^^^^ This.

    This way, you get to set the aperture, shutter speed, and (optionally) EC value, and camera sets the ISO. Beats the manual mode on Nex where ISO has to be pre-set (full manual). I am more used to the way M is implemented on Canon DSLRs, where you can use Auto ISO with it to make things easier. Which is what the above setup would give you.
  11. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    Mar 25, 2013
    The easiest setting to start with should be Aperture Priority. Then you only need to work the manual rings on the lens and let the camera do the light metering. I usually set ISO as low as light conditions will allow, as I like clean photos. Light metering can also be adjusted to the type of photo you are taking, eg. Multi for wide shots, Center for medium range shots and spot metering for closeups (and all variations that you may find useful). If you don't want to change light metering, I find that Center gives the best average results.

    When I shoot in tricky light conditions, I use M mode to set shutter time myself, in order to get the correct exposure.
  12. GaryR60

    GaryR60 TalkEmount Regular

    May 12, 2013
    Release Without Lens must be enabled first, then you'll want to set the camera to MF or DMF. You can use Aperture, if you prefer, or Manual.
  13. pfbz

    pfbz New to TalkEmount

    Apr 8, 2013
    Depends on the lens and conditions...

    With my voigtlander m-mount super wide in outdoor full light/scenery shots that are fairly stopped down, I set the aperture, zone focus the lens, pick an appropriate ISO, set the camera to 'A' and let the NEX pick the shutter speed. I'll just keep an eye on it to make sure I'm not getting into camera shake blur shutter speeds.

    If there is some concern about capturing action or camera shake, particularly with mid and longer lenses, I'll set to S and let the camera pick the ISO. The only thing I wish Nex would improve is I need to half depress the shutter button to see what ISO the camera is choosing, just to ensure I'm not entering into the noisy ISO range. This mode makes sense for my Leica 50mm Summi M mount, for example.

    Very rarely have I used M, as it effectively is the same as S but you need to manually set the ISO. I did just use it for some moon photos as I really didn't want the light meter deciding anything, as I was doing tripod shots and wanted to manually bracket a wide range of exposures and f stops. Used this mode with my Canon FD 300mm F4L.

    I've never used P to let the camera choose both ISO and shutter speed with manual lenses, and very rarely even with full auto lenses!

    I have to say that the NEX really makes using legacy lenses a dream... Getting new use out of some of my FD and M lenses alone was worth the price of the NEX.
  14. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Somehow using Aperture mode doesn't quite work for me. S or M work better. But, there's no one single way to do it.
  15. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    All depends on your style. Shooting hand held in the dark is much different than shooting off a tripod in the dark. Off the tripod I'm more concerned about low ISO than I am shutter speed so I shoot Aperture preferred mode, hand held I'm more worried about the shutter speed than the ISO so I shoot Shutter priority mode.

    You gotta use what works for the situation (and for you). :)
  16. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Agree. I almost always use "S" mode. Adjust aperture on the lens, the rest on the camera.

    The biggest challenge for MF is low light shooting. Still working on that.
  17. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    Mar 25, 2013
    For most shots, I feel that it is more important to control aperture and ISO manually in A mode. Then the camera can set the shutter speed to whatever, within viable settings. That will control dof and noise, which are highly important parameters for most types of photography.

    The exceptions are of course street, sports and action photography. There, the shutter speed has priority and you can use S mode.

    In difficult light conditions, I use M to adjust exposure with both the aperture ring and shutter speed. ISO is normally set to the lowest viable number.

    Everyone shoots slightly differently, though, and if you already have a technique that works, stick to it. But if your technique doesn't work, then it could be worth to try out the techniques of others to see which one works for you.
  18. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    I agree with Jaf, Aperture priority is my main shooting mode.

    For manual focus lenses, because the aperture is on lens, the Shutter priority mode cannot set the aperture. So you end up the same as M mode. In that case, you either rely on Auto ISO; or manually adjust ISO so the exposure is proper. Most NEX'es do not have dedicated dial for ISO adjustment.

    In A mode, you set aperture on lens, set/adjust ISO, the camera sets the shutter speed accordingly. You keep an eye on the shutter speed, if it's too slow, adjust aperture and/or ISO.
  19. pfbz

    pfbz New to TalkEmount

    Apr 8, 2013
    An example of when 'A' with fixed ISO is preferable to 'S' with auto ISO in my shooting...

    • Nex-6, Voigtlander 15mm Super Heliar.
    • Outdoor scenery/landscape shooting.
    • Pre-focus lens using zone method, lets say f8, giving me from about 5' to infinity in focus without touching the lens.
    • Plenty of light, fix ISO to 100.
    • Set to A mode.

    So now I can concentrate on my composition, lighting, etc. Lens focus is a non-issue as the lens has such an absurdly large depth of field. Unlikely I'm going for blurred backgrounds or Bokeh with this type of shooting. Without touching anything, I can now shoot in a huge of light conditions just by having the camera select the shutter speed. 1/30' through 1/4000', about 8 stops of EV I can utilize. That's a pretty wide range of lighting conditions without any compromise in image quality, motion blur, or noise.

    Now, lets say alternatively we use:
    • 'S'
    • Auto ISO
    • Set the shutter speed to say 1/250'
    • Same f8 zone focus as above

    I still can concentrate primarily on composition, but the ISO range that yields maximum sharpness is a much smaller EV spread than the first method. I'd only want to use ISO 100,200,400, and maybe 800, providing only our stops of EV control (three, really as 800 will likely be showing at least some noise).

    Bottom line... With wide lenses that have large depth of field, and when shooting outdoor landscapes, Zone focus, 'A' mode, ISO 100 or 200, and letting the camera pick the shutter speed (which on landscapes makes very little difference unless you are shooting water) you can shoot pretty much an entire session without tweaking any camera settings and still get the quality and sharpness you were looking for... At most, I'll use the exposure compensation dial to tweak/bracket my exposures.
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