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Old May 13, 2010, 11:46 AM   #1
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Default MC/MD lens use on A550?

I know this has been covered in the past. I did run a search but found nothing newer than almost one year ago and was wondering if anything major had changed?

I would like to hear from anyone with experience using any of the adapters to see if one type or vendor is preferable to another. I would like to use the lenses as I have quite a few that my father picked up through the years.

I shoot wildlife from a blind at close range and it seems the manual lenses in conjuction with the TTL metering and Live View should be easy enough to set and be quieter.

I ordered the Sony body last week so do not have hands on experience with them so I may be completely wrong in everything I think to be correct. (it would not be the first time )

Steve
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Old May 13, 2010, 12:12 PM   #2
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First of all, Congrats!

The A550 is a really good dSLR. I've spent some time using one in a variety of lighting condtions, and frankly, I think it's AF system (both continuous and single shot) outperforms my A700 in all but the very dimmest lighting (even though many people that have not used both cameras seem to think the A700 is the better performer). IOW, don't believe everything you read from users that have never touched an A550. It's Autofocus system is very fast (outperforming anything in it's class in all but the very dimmest lighting from tests I've seen, which appears to be right from my experience using one).

It's my understanding that using MC/MD mount lenses with an adapter will require you to use manual exposure with the newer Sony models.

You will also need to use an adapter with some amount of magnification to allow focus to infinity, due to the flange to focus plane distance with the newer Minolta A Mount.

Minolta actually released an adapter to allow mounting of manual focus MC/MD mount lenses on newer Maxxum AF mount bodies years ago. It used a 2x multiplier (acted as a 2X TC).

Most third party adapters have much lower multipliers so that you don't have as much light loss as you'd have using a TC (or adapter with optics that act as a Teleconverter) with a higher multiplier. I think most of the current adapters probably have optics with magnification offering the the equivalent of a 1.1x multiplier now (so that light loss is minimal), although some claim lower multipliers (but, I wouldn't trust the specs for most of the adapters made in Asia, and would go by user reports instead).

Any of them (that allow focus to infinity), are probably going to have some amount of magnification and optical degradation. So, going by user reports is your best bet.

You may also want to consider using an adapter with AF confirmation electronics built in. These will be more expensive. But, basically, they have electronics that "fool" a camera into thinking it's using an Autofocus lens, so that when you rotate the focus ring on the lens, you'll get an AF confirmation light in your viewfinder when accurate AF is achieved. The focus screens in a modern dSLR model are not really designed to work well for manual focus. You're not going to have a "split prism" type screen in a modern dSLR, unless you install a third party focus screen. That makes determining accurate focus much more difficult. IOW, a subject may look to be accurately focused through a viewfinder, but when you look at that image later at a larger size, you may see an out of focus subject because the image in the viewfinder (or LCD) was not good enough to see the difference compared to viewing that image at a larger size.

I have *zero* experience with these adapters. I do know you can buy them at relatively inexpensive prices now. You may want to look at the ones available from Gadget Infinity (a reputable hong kong based vendor).

Here is one that has AF confirmation electronics built in (that type will be more expensive):

http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/produc...5&cat=0&page=1
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Old May 13, 2010, 12:23 PM   #3
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I tried to use a converter so I could mount the lenses from my SRT-202 onto my KM5D. First, there's no autofocus (Duh) or autoexposure, so you have to shoot in M (Manual) Mode. Second, most of the adapters are also teleconverters, so the angle of view changes more than just the difference between a 35mm film exposure and an APS-C image sensor. But the maximum aperture changes too, so many of the reasons to use some special MC/MD lens on a dSLR goes out the window, as they're not so special once they're mounted on the adapter. Third, many good AF lenses are available on the used market at very reasonable prices, and can AF and AE on your A550, which makes struggling along with those MF lenses an even less atractive prospect.

But if you want to give it a shot, reports are that the Minolta MD/MC lens adapter for Sony Alpha / Minolta AF Confirm and the Minolta MD/MC lens adapter for Sony Alpha A100 KM 7D 5D are good choices. You may want to go with the AF Confirm model, since the focusing screen on Sony dSLRs doesn't offer the same tools that made manual focusing easy, like the split-image rangefinder or the microprism ring.
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Old May 13, 2010, 6:08 PM   #4
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Thank you for the replies.

My big thing is to try to be as quiet as possible.

I have a cold spring that surfaces on the back side of my property with ice cold running water. I put out feeders and a salt lick to attract animals. It works well and most everything from Bull Frogs to a female Black Panther have been known to drop by for a drink.

The blind is there year round so they do not pay it any attention. I pick my days when the wind is right and have had Deer and Hogs to within 20 feet on a regular basis. The Panther came to within 30 feet and she knew something was up but could not pinpoint my location with my being down wind. (probably dumb luck on my part that she did not figure out where I was)

This is why I think the manual lenses might be the better choice is lack of automation should also mean less noise. I have no idea how much noise to expect from the body but will do the best I can to deal with it when it gets here. I have a sound deadning wrap for a camera body but it leaves quite a bit to be desired.

Not to put any pressure on you Jim but your comments had as much to do with my deciding to go with the 550 as anything else I had read. I thank you for all of the help

Steve
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Old May 13, 2010, 6:42 PM   #5
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It sounds like an amazing spot. "Quiet" will be the tough part. With a dSLR, the mechanical action of the mirror slap and the focal plane shutter, will be a source of noise, more so than an AF lens. Also some lenses are available that are very quite (Sony's/Minolta's SSM - Super Sonic wave Motor, and Sigma's HSM - Hyper-Sonic Motor). So I think it's likely that the camera body will make more noise than an AF lens, especially if a criterion for selecting a lens is how quiet it is. And, unfortunately, I think that more people complain about the level of noise coming from Sony bodies than the bodies of other manufacturers. Perhaps your sound deadening wrap can handle it, but perhaps not.
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Old May 13, 2010, 9:43 PM   #6
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Interesting point TCav. I must admit that the last time I used a Minolta lens was on a Maxxum panoramic film camera and it has been a long time but I would have told you that I remembered the lenses being quite noisy. I do not think it could have been a problem with an individual lens as I have quite a few and I remember them all being that loud.

Maybe it was the camera and I am imagining things. Never know, I might need to up my meds again.

This is a commercial version of a wrap that is supposed to help with the noise.

http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/the-camera-muzzle

The one that I use is crude next to that being home made and quite a bit bulkier but mine will silence a Minolta Maxxum to a point where the sound gets lost in the rest of the forest noise. The best shooting here is in the spring and normally breezy so the tall Pines do make noise for cover. I can only hope for the best and deal with it if it is a problem.

I got lucky on this property as I butt up against a national forest and it is not up for sale often. At 17.5 acres I have the smallest place but the best water.

Steve

What is a third party focus screen?

Last edited by Old Boat Guy; May 13, 2010 at 9:51 PM. Reason: left something out
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Old May 14, 2010, 7:09 AM   #7
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A "third party" focusing screen is a focusing screen made by someone other than the original equuipment manufacturer (OEM.) For instance, third party focusing screens are available from Haoda and Focusingscreen.com.
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Old May 14, 2010, 12:36 PM   #8
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Thanks for the links TCav. The reviews are mixed to say the least. It would seem from the reviews that manufacturing tolerances to ensure proper fit to your camera is critical. It would also seem from reading the reviews that the companies making these do not always get it right.

I would have thought that the different focus displays would be something the camera makers could give us in Firmware so we could switch back and forth at will.

I cannot thank you enough for all of the help, it will make this transition go much easier.

Steve
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Old May 14, 2010, 1:22 PM   #9
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The features of focusing screens are actually ground into the glass. The camera can't reproduce the effects because the camera never actually sees what's on the focusing screen, let alone an image that would be on the focusing screen if it weren't in focus.
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Old Jun 13, 2010, 8:21 PM   #10
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A lot of the MC/MD lenses are really excellent. And worth using.
With an adapter you will need to manually focus. This can be a pain.
Possibly you could buy a Minolta 5/7D and change its viewfinder to a split-image viewfinder and then buy adapters for your lenses to mount on that. Of course they will mount on your A550 as well.
I've used my Minolta MD/MC lenses on a couple of cameras with good results.
This with a Minolta 50mm MD 50mm macro on my Konica Minolta 7d -


This with the same lens on an Olympus camera but a bit closer...



So, go ahead and use these excellent lenses!!!
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