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Best camera for manual lenses
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:20 am    Post subject: Best camera for manual lenses Reply with quote

Hi,

I use my cameras only with MF lenses because I'm faster that way (focusing and composing at the same time).

My experience with cameras:

Fuji XT-2:
Pros
- with speedbooster adapter I get almost the same focal length of lenses as on FF
- amazing viewfinder
- looks vintage

Cons
- big and heavy (with speedbooster)
- ultra basic EXIF settings (that hurts the most) - you can only choose FL for 5 lenses...
- no IBIS

Olympus Pen-F:
Pros
- looks vintage
- size and weight
- amazing lens profiles settings - you can create new lenses with names and FL - that will work on IBIS (!!!)
- IBIS (!!!)

Cons
- even with speedbooster you are far from the FL of the lens on FF :/
- focus peaking not as good as with Fuji

What are you experiences with other mirrorless cameras? Nikon? Canon? Sony?


PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My best camera for manual lenses is the Nikon Df. Most of my vintage lenses are Nikon but I have a few others that have been adapted. I like the way it handles and works with the old lenses. While it is limited to Nikon lenses, there is a plethora of great Nikon glass available.

Pros are: Vintage look, Full Frame Sensor, Fold up tab for Non-AI lenses, Excellent High ISO performance, Great image rendering with the D4 sensor, works with most new lenses too.

Cons: Only uses Nikon Lenses and difficult to adapt others, Bigger than mirrorless or even the old film bodies, No choices on focus screens unless aftermarket, Getting old and don't expect to see an update.

I was hoping the Z7 adapter would have better coupling with the old lenses but no luck. Guess I will have my Df until it no longer functions.
Pete


PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMHO the best prosumer FF camera is A7R3, however, FF camera excludes use of lenses for smaller format cameras, due to insufficient image circle size. For those lenses the best camera may not be FF.


PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is a very personal topic.

For me, by far the best is a digital Leica M with rangefinder-coupled lenses. My choice was the original Monochrom.

Size is compact, similar to a Fuji-body, it's a bit heavier as it's a much more solid construction.

Pro's:
- excellent focus function through OVF, with a bit of practice also good for action
- in OVF, more is visible than just the actual frame of the lens, which helps both in framing and timing
- no blackout (like in SLR) or lag (like on EVF)
- wide selection of rangefinder-coupled lenses available, ranging from $10 to $10k
- simple, uncluttered interface so one can concentrate on exposure and framing
- on models from M240-onwards, live view can be use so also non-RF_lenses can be used (but see also cons)
- fullframe sensor (except on MCool but much more discrete than any other digital FF-camera and even many APSC-bodies.

Con's:
- price of camera-body (although topmodels from e.g. Sony, Canon,... are also beyond the $3k-mark)
- choice of RF-coupled lenses limited to LM and LTM (and some Contax with a coupled Contax-LM-adapter)
- optional EVF on later models is add-on, and not as good as competition
- needs add-on thumb-grip and/or hand grip for shooting comfort, especiallt with longer lenses.
- OVF only works from 28mm to 135mm lenses; framelines are not very accurate


Other camera's that I used (and still use regularly) and liked:
- Fuji X-T1
- Pentax K100D
Quirky and fun, but less used:
- Ricoh GXR
- Sigma SD10


PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion, there's something in the Sony A7 series algorythms that likes old glass. Happy accident or deliberate, I have no idea. And I'm commenting from the position of having Fuji and Panasonic cameras, not Sony. Just check out the pics and see if you like the rendering. It gives a look reminiscent of mid 1970s to mid 80s quality lenses to my eye, without grain of course.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can't afford one of the Sony A7 cameras (like me) and don't mind APS-C, then the Sony NEX-7 or a6000 are good cameras to consider. My NEX 7 likes almost all the MF glass I've tried with it, the one exception being ultra-wides, like the Tamron 17mm or the Tokina 17mm. But then, my Canon APS-C DSLR doesn't like them either.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DSLR limit choice of lenses (especially Nikon) because of the big flange focal length.
Leica - RF focus working only with M mount lenses (or LTM adapted) also limits lens choice. You can use that old EVF but then you get better package with other mirrorless cameras o.O

Nikon Z anyone?
Canon R?
Sony A7?

What kind of options do they have for manual shooters? Lens profiles like Olympus? Easy to set up IBIS? Useful EVF options?


PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Airman wrote:

Leica - RF focus working only with M mount lenses (or LTM adapted) also limits lens choice. You can use that old EVF but then you get better package with other mirrorless cameras o.O
I agree.

Although RF-focus is faster than peaking/magnification with an EVF, and OVF is certainly better in low light, the system is probably something not to everyone's taste, especially if you want to use a wide variety of lenses.

For the wide variety of lenses, I found my Fuji to be a great package, but it seems you find the X-T2 already large. That would point at smaller cropsensor-camera's (Fuji X-E-series, Sony A 6***-series, Olympus PEN, Ricoh GXR, Leica TL/CL,...), although the weight advantage is not substantial in my opinion. Also, with larger lenses, a more substantial body can be an advantage (possibly with an added grip too) But the ergo is something very personal of course.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:57 am    Post subject: Olympus, good, but has fatal firmware omission. Reply with quote

For years I used a Canon with Leica R and Zeiss optics. This avoided autofocus that locked on to the wrong spot. The camera allowed "tethering" via USB to a laptop, making the use of long optics on a tripod easier. For hand holding in slightly low light, Canons lens stabilization was fine, but adjusting aperture away from auto involved faffing around with buttons or the rear wheel. Even with Canons manual-focus screen, the viewfinder was far dimmer than my old R-9 and ST.

My newer Olympus PenF is smaller than my old M-6, has internal stabilization that makes it easier to handhold any lens, it can even take C-mount optics. The rear screen can be disabled and folded away and its viewfinder can focus in any light. For stationary subjects and on a tripod its extreme resolution mode is totally satisfactory while its normal resolution is quite sufficient for everyday use. It cannot however be physically linked to a computer, only with a battery-draining and interference-vulnerable wi-fi link.

Its firmware does however have an occasionally fatal omission; the little green focussing & spot-metering pont cannot be permanently fixed in the middle of the finder. If you use the 14xmagnification of the center in order to find critical focus before exposure, you may suddenly find that the spot has moved. It moves because you inadvertently pressed the little rear side control wheel while adjusting the lens. Yes, you can of course keep faffing about with buttons and repeat the exercise. An autofocus lens would be faster , but with the same problem of moving focussing and metering point (-unless you wish to abandon control and let the camera choose exposure and focus-point) .

Olympus must be aware of this but has not yet introduced the simple menu-choice of disabling the rear-side wheel. A really perfect firmware addition and manual-focus help would be a "picture inside picture" option where the center gave the magnified picture.

Conclusion: I will await useful new firmware and the end of the guarantee period before i use gaffa tape or the irreversible isocyanate ("superglue") option on the offending wheel.

p.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experiences with manual focus lenses on my recommendable digital cameras so far:

1. Pentax K20D modified with special split prism screen:

Pros:
Best usable like any old MF SLR. Very easy to focus like in the old analog/film days.
Bright optical VF.
IBIS works with all lenses.

Cons:
Limited to PK and M42 mount.
Only APS-C.

2. Ricoh GXR-M with optional EVF:

Pros:
Best camera for manual focus lenses ever as it was exclusively developed for manual focus lenses (particularly RF ones).
Optimized for wide angle RF lenses.
Leica-M mount, therefore almost every existing MF lens adaptable.
Very nice focus aid. IMHO best ever.
Lens profiles to take care of correct EXIF info.
Small and therefore nicely portable.
Works perfectly well with otherwise problematic wide angle RF-lenses (no color cast or corner smearing whatsoever).
Even the Jupiter-12 works (not usable on other APS-C cameras).
No AA-filter.

Cons:
No AF option (only with other AF lens modules).
No IBIS.
Only APS-C.

3. Sony A7R II:

Pros:
FF sensor with exceptional excellent image quality (same as in A7R III).
No AA-filter.
IBIS works with all lenses.
Every lens is adaptable.
Good focus aid (almost as good as Ricoh GXR-M but less intuitive).
Works better with wide angle RF lenses compared to A7/A7 II and A7R (no color cast at all).
EXIF info available via lens profiles app (Sony PlayMemories), therefore better than A7R III.

Cons:
Little traces of corner smearing with some wide angle RF lenses.

All my other digital cameras are not as good with MF lenses (NEX, Lumix, etc.).


PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:
My experiences with manual focus lenses on my recommendable digital cameras so far:

1. Pentax K20D modified with special split prism screen:

What modification did you use, something commercially available, or a DIY-mod?

I really like Pentax camera's, and they are also very affordable Smile


PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sjak wrote:
tb_a wrote:
My experiences with manual focus lenses on my recommendable digital cameras so far:

1. Pentax K20D modified with special split prism screen:

What modification did you use, something commercially available, or a DIY-mod?

I really like Pentax camera's, and they are also very affordable Smile


Unfortunately they are out of business in the meantime: http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/page--Custom-Focusing-Screens--store.html

BTW, it was awful expensive (almost EUR 300,- incl. shipping, custums, tax...).

Anyway, there seems to be a new company which sells such split screens for almost every DSLR: http://www.focusingscreen.com/

For me it was definitely the best solution of all as I always used only MF-SLRs since the early 1980's. Actually my first AF SLR was a digital one (Minolta D7D). Wink


PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can anyone help? Which Sony FF camera body has the angled pixels?

I think side looking (angled) pixels closer to the periphery of the frame (i.e., of the sensor) would help with my shorter focal length MF lenses. I do not want a FF camera body which has all the pixels looking straight ahead.

Also, does any other camera body manufacturer have this feature?


Thank you!


PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

guardian wrote:
Can anyone help? Which Sony FF camera body has the angled pixels?

I think side looking (angled) pixels closer to the periphery of the frame (i.e., of the sensor) would help with my shorter focal length MF lenses. I do not want a FF camera body which has all the pixels looking straight ahead.

Also, does any other camera body manufacturer have this feature?


IMHO there is no Sony FF camera with angled pixels. That's one of the reasons for the problem with the wide angle RF lenses (besides the thick sensor stack issue).

Best FF camera in this respect is a Leica. There is no alternative to that.

If APS-C is good enough for you, then look for the Ricoh GXR-M which is IMHO still the only ever built camera which offers this feature. It was purely designed for the use with old RF lenses from the film age. Therefore color cast and smearing edges don't exist with this camera, not even with the first generation Voigtländer 12mm/F5.6 or 15mm/F4.5 lenses in LTM/M39 (which are known trouble makers, even on most other APS-C cameras).

Therefore either Leica (FF) or Ricoh (APS-C) or use lenses rather designed for these modern digital cameras which don't take care about the compatibility with old wide angle RF lenses. Anyway, there are some older SLR lenses which don't make troubles on the new Sony FF cameras. I'm using several Minolta SLR wide angle prime lenses (both MF and AF) successfully on my Sony A7R II (20mm/F2.8, 24mm/F2.8, 28mm/F2.8 and 35mm/F2.0). As already stated before, the A7R II and III models are better compared to most other A7-series models but still struggle with some wide angle RF lenses to a certain extent.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1 small


Thank you, Thomas. Your post is valuable and thought provoking. I appreciate it very much.

Another aspect which appears to skew against Sony is diameter of mount. At least that is one of the arguments made here by a severe critic of the Sony camera bodies:

https://petapixel.com/2016/04/04/sonys-full-frame-pro-mirrorless-fatal-mistake/

You have to scroll down in that piece to locate the discussion regarding the various mount diameters as related to IBIS.

In the latter regard the new, wider, Nikon Z mount in a Nikon Z6 FX-Format camera body would appear to offer inherent improvement over the smaller Sony mount.

Basically the Nikon offers you IBIS on a fundamentally more sound design basis . . at the same price as a Sony A7 lll.

I view IBIS as an important feature for those of us oriented toward MF lenses.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

guardian wrote:
Thank you, Thomas. Your post is valuable and thought provoking. I appreciate it very much.

Another aspect which appears to skew against Sony is diameter of mount. At least that is one of the arguments made here by a severe critic of the Sony camera bodies:

https://petapixel.com/2016/04/04/sonys-full-frame-pro-mirrorless-fatal-mistake/

You have to scroll down in that piece to locate the discussion regarding the various mount diameters as related to IBIS.

In the latter regard the new, wider, Nikon Z mount in a Nikon Z6 FX-Format camera body would appear to offer inherent improvement over the smaller Sony mount.

Basically the Nikon offers you IBIS on a fundamentally more sound design basis . . at the same price as a Sony A7 lll.

I view IBIS as an important feature for those of us oriented toward MF lenses.


Thank you!

Well, for me Canikon was never any valid option as a total system change would cost me a fortune. I have too much original Minolta and Sony equipment which is still compatible with the newest bodies. Only to replace my flashes would cost me almost EUR 2K! That was also one of the main reasons why I finally buried the idea to go for a Leica. Finally even used Leicas are still very expensive and there is no way to find out the number of actuations. Therefore its more like a lottery to buy a used Leica.

Furthermore I have already a FF Sony DSLR with 24MP sensor. Therefore I only wanted to go for the 42MP R version without any AA blurring filter in front of the sensor. The additional resolution and the possible cropping reserve is stunning in comparison to the 24MP sensor.

I would not overestimate this mount diameter issue as IBIS still works fine on the A7R II. For critical situations I prefer to use a tripod anyway. IMHO the price/value relationship of a new A7R II (which is picture quality wise more or less identical to the newest A7R III) model is unbeatable. These cameras are undoubtedly among the best ones money can buy nowadays. I've bought mine after the introduction of the version III, i.e. after the dramatic price drop for version II earlier this year and I don't regret it. I've bought additionally the Sony LA-EA4 adapter to enable the use of all my Minolta AF lenses with AF functionality and the Techart PRO adapter which allows the use of almost every MF lens which is mountable or adaptable to Leica-M with AF funtionality incl. IBIS as well. As I have already quite a large collection of Leica-M and LTM/M39 lenses this was also a very important factor for me. For all other MF lenses I had already the proper adapters for the use on my Ricoh (Leica-M). Finally I can live with the fact that not all of my existing wide angle RF lenses are performing as good on the A7R II as they do on my Ricoh. I still like to use them on the Ricoh till date. It's very tiny and portable in comparison and it delivers stunning picture quality with all existing RF wide angles as well. Unfortunately there is no IBIS.

Last but not least we have to accept that there is no "one size fits all" solution till date and I doubt that this will change in the foreseeable future.

Anyway, your situation may be totally different. Even I don't know how I would decide if I would start from scratch.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:
Finally even used Leicas are still very expensive and there is no way to find out the number of actuations. Therefore its more like a lottery to buy a used Leica.
Re. film-bodies you are correct. However, on digital it is not that complicated. On M8/M9-gen you can find the number of shutter actuations on the camera itself, and on M240/260-gen from the files with the help of a hexadecimal decoder (this works on M8/M9-gen too)

However, if you are already pretty invested in Sony/Minolta, it's indeed a valid question if you want to add second system besides it. Flash shouldn't be too much of a concern though (at least cost-wise!), as there's not much TTL-stuff available for Leica, and pretty much everything can be used as a manual flash (I use a nice Nikon-flash from the film-era, with cheap yongnuo triggers)


PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:


Anyway, your situation may be totally different. Even I don't know how I would decide if I would start from scratch.


Yes, this is key. Sony is leader, but they years ago tried to adapt a mount, intended for (and well suited to) APS-C sensors, to FF sensors; probably a marketing decision and not an engineering decision.

Anyway, that was then. This is now. Is it wise starting today and looking forward, to sign on to their old compromise?


PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sjak wrote:
tb_a wrote:
Finally even used Leicas are still very expensive and there is no way to find out the number of actuations. Therefore its more like a lottery to buy a used Leica.
Re. film-bodies you are correct. However, on digital it is not that complicated. On M8/M9-gen you can find the number of shutter actuations on the camera itself, and on M240/260-gen from the files with the help of a hexadecimal decoder (this works on M8/M9-gen too)

However, if you are already pretty invested in Sony/Minolta, it's indeed a valid question if you want to add second system besides it. Flash shouldn't be too much of a concern though (at least cost-wise!), as there's not much TTL-stuff available for Leica, and pretty much everything can be used as a manual flash (I use a nice Nikon-flash from the film-era, with cheap yongnuo triggers)


OK, thanks. I didn't know that. When I was on the edge to go for a M10 the official answer from the Leica customer service was that even they are unable to check the number of actuations. Another a no-go for me was the fact that the remote control software was only available for Apple Iphone and not for Android. Customer service only mentioned that they plan to do that at a later stage. I have no idea whether it's available in the meantime.

The lack of sophisticated flash functionality is another point against Leica. I love to use fully automated remote flash hence I have 3 high end original Sony flashes. Also my additional fully automated Minolta ring flash is 100% compatible with the latest A7. That would really be cumbersome to go back to manual mode like in the ancient times.

Due to the purchase of the Sony A7R II any Leica is history for me anyway. Wink


PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

guardian wrote:
Is it wise starting today and looking forward, to sign on to their old compromise?


I fear I can't help you any further. Hard decisions.

However, apprx. EUR 2.000.- for a high end high resolution FF camera is still a very strong argument in favor of the Sony A7R II. Wink

As long as you don't invest too much in native FE glass and other expensive accessories the risk is somehow comprehensible.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:

OK, thanks. I didn't know that. When I was on the edge to go for a M10 the official answer from the Leica customer service was that even they are unable to check the number of actuations.
OK the M10 I did not check myself, but I suppose the method used for the M240 would work too. If and when the M10-M will be released, I may have a look at it.

But if flash is important, then the M-system is certainly not ideal. Especially on my Monochrom with base-ISO 320...

tb_a wrote:
Due to the purchase of the Sony A7R II any Leica is history for me anyway. Wink
At an intersection, some go left, others straight ahead, and again others go to the right. All can have an equally interesting journey Smile