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May I hear about your adapted "sleepers"?

xavyr

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New as I am to the adapting (to Sony E mount) business, I have been very interested to see your posted results here, and an wondering: what lenses have emerged as your personal winners, especially among so-called "vintage" glass; older manual focus lenses of the Fifties through the Nineties or so?

Not the recognized top-tier Leitz and Zeiss products necessarily, but the Takumars, Nikkors, Canons, et al, and even Russians and Ukrainian products - whose rendering have you found especially pleasing among them?

All suggestions and experiences very much appreciated - grazie!

x
 
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These are the legacy lenses I still use occasionally despite my well-stocked line-up of native lenses.
Pentax K 3.5/28 – Sharp across the frame when stopped to f/8 or f/11, contrasty and somewhat cool rendering. Very good for cityscapes and landscapes; review.
Zeiss Contax 2.8/28 – Very good even wide open, crisp and punchy, but not good close-up, say closer than 60 cm; review.
Minolta MD (Rokkor) 4/100 and Bellows (Rokkor) Macro 4/100 (same optics) – Equally excellent close-up and further out, one of the best Minolta MF lenses IMHO.
Minolta MD 2/50 – Excellent for snapshots from f/2.8 and equally excellent for landscapes when stopped down to f/8, very little distortion, very pleasing color and contrast. Mostly very cheap, a veritable steal; review.
Minolta MD 2.8/135 – Latest incarnation of the 2.8/135 MF line, relatively light, excellent.
 

Tipton

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My favorite adapted lenses are:

Contax Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 3.4/35-70mm - The "Stack of Primes". Lord God, I love this lens. Great for landscapes, portraits and macro. I actually prefer this to the native Zeiss 24-70/4. Sharp at all focal lengths, but it's a push-pull zoom which puts some people off.
Vivitar Series 1 90mm f2.5 Macro - The early version of the Tokina AT-X 90mm f2.5 Macro. Almost identical. Another incredibly sharp lens, amazing at portraits and macro.
Minolta MC-Rokkor 58/1.2 - Better bokeh than that Contax, if you care about that.
Konica AR 40mm f1.8 - This great pancake was a *kit lens* for Konica film cameras. Even with an adapter, it's close to a pancake in size.

I'm sure I've put up photos from all of these.
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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DSC_3214copy (Large) (3).jpg
NIKON D7000    AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED [II]    70mm    f/22.0    10s    ISO 100
DSC_3214copy (Large) (4).jpg
NIKON D7000    AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED [II]    70mm    f/22.0    10s    ISO 100
DSC04339-2 (2016_03_05 21_12_29 UTC)-1 (2).jpg
NEX-7       0mm    f/1.0    1/2s    ISO 200

All of these render images that have a certain character to them, IMO, that I tend to like.
YMMV.
I'd also put the Nikkor 24mm lenses in this 'like' category also, along with my Micro-Nikkor 55 2.8.
Edit - I almost forgot, I like the LTM Nikkor 5cm 1.4 as well. Very sharp lens but is heavy just like the Canon is too.
 
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cheeks69

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The Canon FD 35mm f2 is my favorite, love the bokeh and close focusing distance on that lens, the flaring isn't good but a long as you avoiding direct contact with sunlight you'll be good. I also attach an old Vivitar 2x Macro Teleconverter to it and get excellent results.
The Minolta Rokkor X 135mm f2.8 and the 50mm f1.4 are also excellent in my experience very sharp and with pleasing bokeh.
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 non AI version has that bubble bokeh that many people love but a bit oft wide open, if you top down to f2 and beyond very sharp.


Here's a couple of examples of the Canon FD 35mm f2
ILCE-7M2    ----       f/1.0    1/100s    ISO 100
ILCE-7M2    ----       f/1.0    1/1600s    ISO 100



Minolta MC Rokkor X 135mm f1.8

X-Pro1    50.0 mm    50mm    f/1.0    1/125s    ISO 200
ILCE-7M2    ---       f/1.0    1/100s    ISO 100
ILCE-7M2    ---       f/1.0    1/160s    ISO 100


Minolta MC Rokkor X 50mm f1.4

ILCE-7M2    ----       f/1.0    1/640s    ISO 50
 

xavyr

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WoW! Guys, thank so much for allowing me to pick your brains! Gee, step away from the 'Net for a couple hours, and BANG! Citations, reviews, samples; incredible - my cup runneth over. Gonna take a while to get through these.

Ad - very cool images in that Phillip Reeves review of the PK 35 2.8. 'Scapes - yes! With Sony, never a complaint about having to stop down either. On the list for a further look. And thanks for the point to Phillip Reeves' site; have not seem it before and will have to explore - a valuable resource by someone who knows examines in depth.

Tipton - Thanks your own "greatest hits". Googling the Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 3.4/35-70 leads again to Phillip Reeves' samples and review. That it is a true utility player - "does it all" capability is always attractive. I was very surprised to find that is quite affordable as well. Gonna dive deeper.
Ah, the garden variety Konica AR 40 1.8 - Love pancakes for the street, and a quick look around shows that it is indeed a bargain.

Dave - I've never had a chance to use Konica/Minolta/Rokkors in any form. The shot of the child leaning on the sculpture - DSC4159.JPG - gorgeous warm, true life-like flesh tones. Geez, what else have I been missing?

AoA - Minolta again! 58 1.4, too! Why have I not heard about Minolta glass? Then a bankable Canon and (naturally) the Elmar. Ha! I'll tell ya - I've never had a car equal in value to the Elmar. Maybe in my next life ... or a decent Russian simulacrum.

Cheeks - I had been idly going through the site a couple days ago looking at members' shots, and I got stopped cold, clothes-lined by your earlier posting of the second floral above - the orange-ish cones surrounded by a crown of white petals. That's a gorgeous shot - the luminance, the fading away of focus into the dark, the uncommon point-of-view; the dynamic, mobile composition of the blooms trailing off, leading the eye. A simple Canon FD 35 f2; that's one to get, flairy or not.

Well, thanks once more to you all. If my responses seem a little softball and insubstantial, it is because I have no experience of using these lenses at all, and no position to speak from. Now, thanks to you, I have a basis to start looking.
 

Petrochemist

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The quirky little Industar 50 is one of my favorites but you already know about that :)

On MFT the Pentax auto 110 lenses are quite fun and the longer lengths also cover APSC well enough for fun shots. I have a couple of projector lenses that took a bit of adapting (inserted into a helicoid via a 52mm stepping ring) both the 50mm/1.2 & the 85mm/2.8 proved good value for money, All of these are fixed aperture, which might be a restriction.

I've always liked most of my old manual focus Pentax K mount lenses, some of which like the M50/1.7 have been used on just about every interchangeable lens camera I've owned (my 5x4 monorails & the Sigma SD14 are the only exceptions). It could be that memories from film days has given these a special emotional connection which I've not had with the OM, SR & A mount lenses I've tried. Several of these have given good results, but somehow don't feel quite as natural to me.

A couple of the Adaptal 2 lenses I have feel like they would be great lenses if I had good copies, but mine are somewhat hazy and are probably only worth about 10 to 50 times what I paid for them - I got the SP90 macro for £1, and the other was part of a job lot of 30 lenses :)
 

xavyr

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A couple of the Adaptal 2 lenses I have feel like they would be great lenses if I had good copies, but mine are somewhat hazy and are probably only worth about 10 to 50 times what I paid for them - I got the SP90 macro for £1, and the other was part of a job lot of 30 lenses :)
An SP 90 for £1, you say; and in a lot of 30 other lenses ...

I'm sorry, Your Grace; I must ask that you move to the back of the line - you've used up all your luck this go-round ...
 

davect01

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WoW! Guys, thank so much for allowing me to pick your brains! Gee, step away from the 'Net for a couple hours, and BANG! Citations, reviews, samples; incredible - my cup runneth over. Gonna take a while to get through these.

Ad - very cool images in that Phillip Reeves review of the PK 35 2.8. 'Scapes - yes! With Sony, never a complaint about having to stop down either. On the list for a further look. And thanks for the point to Phillip Reeves' site; have not seem it before and will have to explore - a valuable resource by someone who knows examines in depth.

Tipton - Thanks your own "greatest hits". Googling the Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 3.4/35-70 leads again to Phillip Reeves' samples and review. That it is a true utility player - "does it all" capability is always attractive. I was very surprised to find that is quite affordable as well. Gonna dive deeper.
Ah, the garden variety Konica AR 40 1.8 - Love pancakes for the street, and a quick look around shows that it is indeed a bargain.

Dave - I've never had a chance to use Konica/Minolta/Rokkors in any form. The shot of the child leaning on the sculpture - DSC4159.JPG - gorgeous warm, true life-like flesh tones. Geez, what else have I been missing?

AoA - Minolta again! 58 1.4, too! Why have I not heard about Minolta glass? Then a bankable Canon and (naturally) the Elmar. Ha! I'll tell ya - I've never had a car equal in value to the Elmar. Maybe in my next life ... or a decent Russian simulacrum.

Cheeks - I had been idly going through the site a couple days ago looking at members' shots, and I got stopped cold, clothes-lined by your earlier posting of the second floral above - the orange-ish cones surrounded by a crown of white petals. That's a gorgeous shot - the luminance, the fading away of focus into the dark, the uncommon point-of-view; the dynamic, mobile composition of the blooms trailing off, leading the eye. A simple Canon FD 35 f2; that's one to get, flairy or not.

Well, thanks once more to you all. If my responses seem a little softball and insubstantial, it is because I have no experience of using these lenses at all, and no position to speak from. Now, thanks to you, I have a basis to start looking.

That’s the great thing about the E-Mount system. If you can not afford the $2000+ G Master lenses you can always find $30-100 older lenses that you can still have a lot of fun with.

Just be aware, the addiction can grow. I went through a spurt where I was buying two or three lenses a month. Many of them I did not keep and thankfully the costs were made up reselling them to others.

Have fun
 

xavyr

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True, Dat, Dave; I can see this may become a problem; the cabinet-cornucopia is already spilling out onto the available desk tops, drawers, and table surfaces as bits go through rotation of use.

It had been my thought to get a number of more-or-less airtight plastic bins for storage, with little packets of silica-gel spread through, and to label the ends and stack them in a closet - all in the interests of decluttering and reducing cause for the, ah, frequent complaints heard hereabouts ...
 

Petrochemist

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An SP 90 for £1, you say; and in a lot of 30 other lenses ...

I'm sorry, Your Grace; I must ask that you move to the back of the line - you've used up all your luck this go-round ...
No the SP90 was on it's own & looked somewhat battered. The seller obviously hadn't heard of it & I think being unsure if it was the right mount helped reduce the asking price. (Of course it's designed to be changed anyway, but it was PKA & the mount alone would be worth at least £20)
The other lens was a 300mm telemacro, spotted in a tray of lenses on e-bay. I think it ended up about £80 for the lot - none of the others were of great interest, but again value of adapters could recoup my costs. I was lucky enough to be able to collect them in person saving quite a bit in postage.
Results from both have been rather low contrast, if I'm lucky enough to find a good quality example of either within my budget I'll be in for another lecture from the boss.

It had been my thought to get a number of more-or-less airtight plastic bins for storage, with little packets of silica-gel spread through, and to label the ends and stack them in a closet - all in the interests of decluttering and reducing cause for the, ah, frequent complaints heard hereabouts ...
I'd get larger rechargeable silica packs, but otherwise it sounds like a good approach. Desiccants like silca gel have a fixed amount of water they can absorb, if you open those boxes several times the silica gel will just be giving you a false sense of security.

Working in a lab I can get my silica gel free of charge (stocks from retired instruments) but I'm sure I've seen similar metal cartridges of desiccants on e-bay/amazon. These can simply be heated to 120C (for Silica) or 200C (for molecular sieve types) for a few hours to recondition them. If you try reconditioning the normal soft type they'll probably come unstuck & spread particles of desiccant everywhere a vacuum oven can regenerate them at 70C but those ovens are expensive and not the sort of thing anyone has at home.
 
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xavyr

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I've used the little 5 gram packets in other applications - very cheap, make it a point to swap them out regularly, and yes, it's not pretty when one bursts

I've often wondered about the "de-hazing" process ... so many fine old lens about with contrast spoiled by haze; expensive to have done professionally, you'd think, but I seem to regularly read about people who cheerfully disassemble the things and somehow put them back together without qualm. Where would one learn such a skill?

And then there is haze of the 'permanent' sort (again, I have only read about such) - supposedly, some lubricant out-gassed substances that etched the inner lens surfaces - someone (who I believe knew of what they spoke) opined that this had been the real problem with a certain Retina I'd once owned. I dunno .. would re-polishing in such instances work?
 

bdbits

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I was partial to Minolta lenses myself. But the best legacy lenses I ever had were a couple of Contax G / Zeiss lenses, a 45mm and a 90mm. I am sorry I sold them off to fund something else. (I think it was for my first 'native' CV lens which started an addiction.) The focus mechanism was a real odd duck and annoying due to the camera they were made for, but the lenses may be the best I ever used. They were very compact as well and looked great on the camera. The really wide-angle ones on Sony can cause color casts in the corners but this is easy correctable in post.

Some things to be aware of when buying old lenses:
* Dust. If it is just internal dust, it is pretty easy to get rid of it if you are willing to take it apart.
* Oil on the aperture blades can dry out, or bleed into other things, etc. This obviously can cause problems with setting aperture. Harder to fix and might not be worth the hassle.
* A common lens problem is fungus, which can form lines on the elements. I think the etching you mentioned can also be caused by fungi. Difficulty of cleaning it out is a case-by-case basis and I gather not easy, so perhaps not worth the effort. I think etchings are irreversible. But you might as well try to clean it yourself if you get one and cannot return it as they are hard to sell. 🙂
* There are certain older lenses with thorium in the glass which sometimes yellows with age, but that can be pretty easily reversed with sunlight or a UV lamp.

I think some here have done the disassemble/clean/assemble dance. Hopefully they can tell you what tools you need. For sure a lens spanner and some compressed air.
 

Petrochemist

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Cleaning your self depends a huge degree on the lens & where about the issues are.
I've dismantled a few simple lenses (not zooms or complex designs). You can get some tips by watching you tube videos, but it's only by having a go that you'll gain skills - you can learn a lot from a few mistakes and following good tips can help make the mistakes recoverable..

Some of the lenses I've tried have not responded at all to iso-propanol (a good general solvent yet not TOO powerful). In the case of one Soligor 105/2.8 telephoto I tried, all the issues where in the rear group, even switching to aggressive treatments didn't seem to do anything to clean it. So I just tried the lens with the group missing. I needed to add extension to get anything focused but after that it gave reasonable results (roughly a 200/4 now):
Soligor 105 without rear group by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr

Some years previously I'd followed an internet tip and used a 50/1.8 with the rear group removed to get a soft focus effect. Wide open on that lens gave a lovely soft focus glow, but it disappeared very rapidly as the aperture was closed even half a stop had a drastic effect. That mod is easily reversible, but I only tried it as I had a number of identical lenses.

Tinkering with simple lenses you can afford to mess up has it's benefits. :biggrin:
 

xavyr

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Oh, yeah - the pitfalls of used lenses. What a shame and such a waste! The urge to rehabilitate is strong but I think usually too unlikely to succeed, except for the less-fatal sorts of faults

Rarely use eBay for gear and almost never for glass; avoid sellers who don't accept returns. My preferred dealers are Used Photo Pro (Roberts) and KEH, and there are a couple of people here-and-there who've proven worthy of trust and who stand by their wares; Oleg K (OKVintage Cameras) is good and reliable for FSU gear.

I am an inveterate rooter of bargain bins, but wary of fungus; the glass-etching properties are well-recognized. One reads of people removing light fungus with hydrogen peroxide and killing active cases with UV light, of restoring etched surfaces with polishing but I am sure that lies well beyond my competence.
 

xavyr

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There are certain older lenses with thorium in the glass which sometimes yellows with age, but that
Oh, yeah; the notorious "radioactive" lenses with yellowed glass. I'd just been reading elsewhere about folks removing the tint with UV.
 

xavyr

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Reportedly not deleterious unless you grind them up and swallow them! And not much even then.
 

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