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Author Topic: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses  (Read 219573 times)

biker

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Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« on: October 07, 2017, 02:50:12 pm »

Hi, I'm thinking about getting a quiet and lightweight camera. I also have a few Asahi/Pentax manual lenses I like to photograph with time to time.
Pentax K-01 (don't confuse with the full frame DSLR Pentax K1) appears to be the only mirrorless body Ricoh/Pentax has ever made and while it is a 2012 model, it can be get from eBay and its 16MPix APS-C sensor is enough for my purposes.

The K-mount lenses will work there but I'm a bit concerned about the manual focusing. The mirrorless body has a magnification and focus peaking feature (see p. 98 of the manual) but I'm not sure if the absence of the optical viewfinder won't be a big problem for using it with those old manual lenses? With an optical viewfinder on a DSLR body, I'm also not always 100% sure and a bit rely to the beep sound telling me the object in the focusing area is focused. The K-01 manual mentions the beep only when using auto-focus so I'm not sure it will be there while manual focusing?

Is this combination a good idea or is it completely wrong? Any experiences with mirrorless bodies and manual lenses would be appreciated! Thanks.
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brandon

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Re: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2017, 03:35:37 pm »

Any experiences with mirrorless bodies and manual lenses would be appreciated!
Hi, I mainly shoot with manual lenses from a range (Leica R, nikkor, zuiko, pentax, M42, Canon FD), and leaving aside the FD used Canon EOS with focusing screens better adapted to manual focus. But the focus hit rate was poor to what Im now achieving with a good EVF mirrorless (Sony A7II). Focus is now almost 100% on point, not to the speed of fast AF, but allows me to utilise the lenses at least to their full potential. The very big added advantage is seeing through the lens at the aperture of the capture etc. ECF resolution and superimposed focusing aids are a big part of this success. My Fuji XPro1 is not so good in this regard (and I use it with their AF lenses optimised for the smaller sensor) in general. No experience with your Pentax model sorry
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Telecaster

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Re: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2017, 03:45:00 pm »

Manual focusing via EVF (or rear LCD) magnification is the most accurate Iíve ever experienced. Not the fastest, however. I find peaking effective with subjects facing at an angle to you, so you can see the focus zone move across the subject as you turn your lensí focus ring. Peaking is much less of a help when youíre facing the subject straight on.

-Dave-
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farbschlurf

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Re: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2017, 03:45:15 pm »

Does this camera have a VF at all? If I understand correctly there's only the screen, isn't it? No EVF, no OVF. Manual focus on screen for me is only on tripod. I tried a NEX-3 back than focusing from the hip, which was possible cause of the tilt-screen, but not a lot of fun, honestly.
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biker

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Re: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2017, 07:29:11 am »

Thanks, guys. That sounds quite reassuring.

I find peaking effective with subjects facing at an angle to you, so you can see the focus zone move across the subject as you turn your lensí focus ring. Peaking is much less of a help when youíre facing the subject straight on.
Good point! Problem is the moving focus zone is only applicable to a smaller part of scenes.

The most difficult/confusing thing with focus peaking is (especially with shorter focal lengths) when lots of objects in the viewfinder appear highlighted at the same time - imagine a rose hip bush where you want to focus a particular hip and all the viewfinder/LCD is pulsating when you turn the focus ring. That's when I rather use the magnification feature. But maybe it's time to learn to use the focus peaking even in situations like this...
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pegelli

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Re: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2017, 11:19:21 am »

It's not "either - or"

Focus peaking works together with magnification as well (at least on my mirrorless cameras).
The trick with peaking for me is to set the sensitivity quite low, otherwise peaking will show a lot of false positives especially with higher contrast details while viewing the full scene.

On the other hand with practice focus by magnification works quickly enough for me if the subject doesn't move too fast.
But in the analog days I had plenty practice with split rangefinder as well as split prism focussing screens that going back to manual focus with an EVF/magnification now feels a lot like I used to work 20-40 years ago.
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JoachimStrobel

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Re: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2017, 01:53:30 am »

I bought the Sony A7II to use my old FD lenses. After 2 years I find myself using mostly the kit zoom and invested in the 16-35/4 lens.
I can focus with the EVF and focus peaking and magnification helps. But compared to a Canon F1 with a laser screen it is close to a joke. The Evf's focusing is nowhere close the experience with such a real OVF. So I asked myself seriously why bother. The only reason is the price of the FE lenses and that will make me using some of my FD lenses for a while. Another reason could be seen in the different way a photo is rendered by the FD lens compared to a FE lens. But if I am honest to myself, then I need to say that the FE lens is better and the rest is nostalgia.
Plus, the aperture. EVF focusing works best at full open aperture, but then I need to change it manually before taking the photo. This is not very practical.
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biker

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Re: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 02:14:26 pm »

Plus, the aperture. EVF focusing works best at full open aperture, but then I need to change it manually before taking the photo. This is not very practical.
Not sure about Sony and ML but my Pentax DSLR keeps the aperture fully open regardless on what you set on the aperture ring. The only moment when the aperture setting is applied - is the moment of the shot. Why couldn't they do the same with a ML camera?
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pegelli

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Re: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2017, 02:36:36 pm »

Not sure about Sony and ML but my Pentax DSLR keeps the aperture fully open regardless on what you set on the aperture ring. The only moment when the aperture setting is applied - is the moment of the shot. Why couldn't they do the same with a ML camera?
On my mirrorless cameras I think it's an option, you either AF full open or AF at the set aperture based on how you set it (with native AF lenses).
Advantage of AF closed down is that it reduces shutter lag and avoids focus shift. AF fully open might be more accurate (if the lens has no focus shift).
CDAF (and on-sensor PDAF) of mirrorless cameras are sufficiently accurate to focus while stopped down.
DSLR's with separate PDAF sensors have no other option, because that system just doen't work when closed further than f5.6.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 02:42:27 pm by pegelli »
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pieter, aka pegelli

biker

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Re: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2017, 02:57:36 pm »

On my mirrorless cameras I think it's an option, you either AF full open or AF at the set aperture based on how you set it (with native AF lenses).
Advantage of AF closed down is that it reduces shutter lag and avoids focus shift. AF fully open might be more accurate (if the lens has no focus shift).
CDAF (and on-sensor PDAF) of mirrorless cameras are sufficiently accurate to focus while stopped down.
DSLR's with separate PDAF sensors have no other option, because that system just doen't work when closed further than f5.6.
Interesting - thanks! The shutter lag isn't a big problem for me but the focus shift issue didn't come to my mind.
But why f/5.6? With focal lengths like 200mm or more the DOF is still pretty shallow even with higher f-numbers.
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Telecaster

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Re: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2017, 03:44:27 pm »

Interesting - thanks! The shutter lag isn't a big problem for me but the focus shift issue didn't come to my mind.
But why f/5.6? With focal lengths like 200mm or more the DOF is still pretty shallow even with higher f-numbers.

Itís a matter of how much light gets to the PDAF sensor(s). Iíve used 3rd party teleconverters (the kind that donít report their contribution to effective f-stops) with f/5.6 lenses. AF still works at an effective f/8 but it does slow down.

-Dave-
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JoachimStrobel

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Re: Mirrorless and Manual Lenses
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2017, 03:53:13 pm »

I meant to say that for a manual focusing old lens attached to a DSLR the aperture has to be also handled manually. I am at least not aware of any Canon FD to Sony FE Adapter that handles the aperture, even though there are two that apply a kind of autofocussing by changing the mount distance.
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