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Manual focus lenses on E mount

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Barrin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Barrin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Manual focus lenses on E mount
    Posted: 16 November 2020 at 15:48
Hi everyone.
I've been trying many times to use manual focus lenses on my A6000, always without success. I give up once I find that it's too difficult focusing and obtaining a results that satisfies me in terms of sharpness.
Up to now I've been trying with Minolta AF 35-70/4, Olympus OM 135/3.5, 50/1.8 28/3.5, Olypus Pen F 100/3.5. The only pleasant results I got were from the Zuiko 50/1.8, that led me thinking the other lens lack sharpness.
I know this is not true by judging what I see on the web.

I have now acquired a nex 3N fulls spectrum, and plan to use it for B&W. I want to build a Minolta MD kit but I'm scared to waste money without having success. So here comes my rules not fail plus your precious advices:

1) Not shoot at my children (at least at the beginning)
2) Try to stop down a little the lens

Any other advice to don't give up again is welcome. I also plan to by a speedbooster, but I wonder if it will make things more difficult
Sebastiano
Sony A6000|Zony 24/1.8|Sigma 60/2.8

3xi|M35-70/4|M100-200/4.5

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pegelli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 16:09
How do you focus manually, do you rely on focus peaking or do you use focus magnification?

My own findings (NEX6, A6000 and several A7's) is that peaking is generally unreliable and that for good focus magnification you need to spend a little time optimising the diopter setting of the EVF, without that judging peak sharpness as you're turning the focus ring is very hard.

After that it's just practice, practice, practice. Don't get discouraged by the results you see posted here, those are only the succesful attempts after the misfocussed ones are binned.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 17:28
I usually use focus peaking, I find focus magnification cumbersome, especially handheld. If you use focus peaking, be aware of your settings. Also, move your focus, there are false positives, but when you move focus you can see the field of focus move. It contrast based and like I said it can give false positives. So, practice, practice.

Also, the 3n doesn't have a viewfinder and I think that makes manual focus more difficult. unfortunately you cannot add one like with my F3.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Barrin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 17:35
Thanks for the advice. I will try to tune the diopters at best.

Would someone suggest a MD prime to start with?
Sony A6000|Zony 24/1.8|Sigma 60/2.8

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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 17:44
I have a MC 50/1.4 that is really nice. My MD 35/2.8 might be a little better by focal length on APS-C. But why not get a 38/3.5 to start off cheap?

And take a look at the sample threads you can find here.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote michelb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 18:31
You definitely need to learn how to use the focus magnifier (customize a C button to access it) and unless your lens is badly beaten up, all the SR/MC/MD lenses i have tried (over 250 of those from 7.5mm up to 500mm) have given me pleasant surprises wether they were the antique Auto Rokkor's from circa 1958 up to the latest MD. At first when i was relying on the focus peaking, i got very mixed results since many lenses with wider apertures really need to be critically focused to achieve good sharpness and some slower zooms had too much DOF to provide accurate focus when using the peaking feature.

Here an album showing results with a 1958 55mm F 1.8 Auto ROKKOR-PF at all apertures: Flikr album

Pictures using MC W.ROKKOR-X 35mm F 1.8 from around 1975: Flickr Album 2

Pictures using MD ZOOM 35-105mm F 3.5-4.5 from around 1981-85: Flickr album 3

All were taken using the focus magnifier feature programmed on C1 button of the Sony A7R

Any 50mm F 1.7 or 1.4 will give great results as long as they are stopped down to about F4 but wide open will still offer results that can be surprisingly interesting when focused properly on your subject

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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 18:51
Originally posted by michelb michelb wrote:

Any 50mm F 1.7 or 1.4 will give great results as long as they are stopped down to about F4 but wide open will still offer results that can be surprisingly interesting when focused properly on your subject
Do you use your 35/1.8 wide open? I do not think any 80's lens is great wide open, but can be enjoyable. The MC 50/1.4 is nice wide open IMHO.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote michelb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 19:13
Some of the pics in the album of the MC 35mm F 1.8 were wide open. They probably show some fuzziness or some lack of sharpness but i call this a "lens personality" feature.

Some MC 50mm F 1.4 lenses are kind of soft or glowing when at F 1.4. I have 5 copies and there are differences between them.

Once you get familiar with this, you just need to learn to re-adjust your shooting habits with the lens you are using.

But then this is the kind of compromise that needs to be made in view of the difference in price with many modern lenses.

A new Sony FE 50mm F 1.8 is about 250$ new
A Minolta 50mm f 1.7 is easy to get for about 50$ or even less

You just got a 200$ compromise to work with

A new Sony 35mm F 1.8 is about 749$
A used Minolta 35mm F 1.8 is about 300$

You just got a 449$ compromise to play with

This makes me think of the legendary MC 58mm F 1.2 lens for which there still is no equivalent where some people just love it and some hate the rendering.
This is just the kind of lens where you may or may not like the results but at least it does not leave anybody indifferent.

Edited by michelb - 16 November 2020 at 19:26
Michel B
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 19:23
Nex3 full spectrum?
Planning to shoot Infrared then?
There is a thread with good lenses for IR use (without a hot-spot).
I have good experience with Rokkor 3.5/28mm as well as 2.8/35mm on my full spectrum NEX5N.
I wouldn't shoot children in IR anyhow .
Please note that IR shots are likely to be a bit less sharp anyhow.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote QuietOC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 19:26
Originally posted by Barrin Barrin wrote:

Thanks for the advice. I will try to tune the diopters at best.

Would someone suggest a MD prime to start with?

I recommend new APS-C manual lenses over Minolta lenses. There is a good deal of variation with Minolta lenses. The new cheap primes have better consistency. My MD 50mm F2 did work well on the Lens Turbo II.

It is too bad you aren't in the US. I have an extra Fotasy 35mm F1.6 listed on here that is better than those Minolta 35's. I already sold my Fotasy 50mm F1.8 which was also a nice lens.

Edited by QuietOC - 16 November 2020 at 20:19
Sony A7III NEX-5T HVL-F45RM LA-EA3 LA-EA4 MB-IV MC-11 EF-E II MD-NEX KR-NEX DA-NEX
Minolta Maxxum 600si
Pentax Q7 5-15 15-45/2.8 8.5/1.9 11.5/9 AF-P/Q
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Post Options Post Options   Quote neilt3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 19:29
I've got a full spectrum NEX 3 and an Infrared NEX 3N , for auto focus , I trust the camera , but the screens on them are terrible for manual focus in anything like decent light .
Manual focus as they are isn't great .

You can solve this by fitting a loupe on it .

I have one like this that I can swap between cameras ;
Loupe and tripod socket mounting frame .

Other types exist that have a frame that sticks to the LCD , which is handy for low level shooting so you can tilt it up like a TLR screen .

Other type

Both of them mount to the frames magnetically , so the loupe part can be kept in your pocket when not in use .

With one of these on you have a nice big , bright and clear viewfinder .
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilt3/
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 19:33
"This is just the kind of lens where you may or may not like the results but at least it does not leave anybody indifferent." Yeah, I for one do not understand why people rave about the MC 58/1.2.....

I asked about the 35/1.8 because you said about the 50mm lenses to stop down to f/4 and looking at reviews and pictures with the 35/1.8 it seems it behaves similar to those lenses.

Philipreeve.net mentions on the Minolta MD 50/2 compared to the FE Sony 50/1.8: "With adapter it is only a bit bigger and it very affordable. The fully manual Minolta MD 2/50 has much sharper edges from f/2.8 to f/5.6 and even at f/8 it is still a bit sharper. The FE 1.8/50 has nicer bokeh and higher contrast though."
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rastapartaman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 20:01
I had the MD 50mm F2 that I sold to pegeli many years ago and it was one of the sharpest manual lens I've used. Corner to corner even wide open. The 50f1.7 had to be stopped down to 2.8 or more for the sharpness of the 50f2 wide open.
Not sure how it works for IR as I've never tried it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Barrin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2020 at 20:02
Plenty of material here.

I plan to use 3n full spectrum, but to have bw shots without an IR filter. Anyway a lens that performs well also in IR is a plus. I usually use Zony 24/1.8 for IR.

My idea of using Minolta lenses is for jumping in legacy world. I have no need to buy a modern mf lens as I am fully satisfied and covered by Sony E 16/2.8, 24/1.8 and Sammy 75/1.8

My thoughts are now oscillating between MD 35/2.8 and 50/2, the one being more handy, the other cheaper.

Any thoughts regarding the speedbooster?
Sony A6000|Zony 24/1.8|Sigma 60/2.8

3xi|M35-70/4|M100-200/4.5

Olympus Trip 35
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