Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Sony Alpha dSLR / Konica Minolta dSLR, Sony SLT

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jul 2, 2010, 2:27 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 9
Default To adapt or not to adapt...

After much adieu and wrangling, I'm finally making the leap from my beloved X700 to the realm of the dSLR. I came to this forum as I previously read a number of articles that helped me in my body decision making process, and now I'm hoping I can get some direct feedback on one last choice.

I managed to get a Sony a300 at what was a very difficult price to pass on. It does come with the kit 18-70mm 3.5 lens, which is one reason I opted for Sony.

The other reason was my kinship to my X700. Over the years I've owned it, I've collected a nice group of lenses of varying lengths and ranges. My research indicated that of all the brands, it was going to be easiest to adapt them for use with a Sony.

My decision, though, is whether or not to pick up the adapter needed to use one or more of these lenses on my new Sony. I believe that one of the below is what I need (but correct me if I'm wrong, by all means):
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...=STRK:MEWAX:IT

http://www.dinodirect.com/SONY-MA-MD...pter-Ring.html

http://www.goshotcamera.com/product/...-7D-5D-KM.html

If there's another place with better pricing, I'm happy to save a little.

For background, I'm a bit more than amateur, comfortable with the manual focus, tweaking aperture and shutter on the fly and will be shooting anything from friendly get together cameos to live bands in local clubs, preferably without a flash.

The lenses I currently have are:
Minolta MD 100-200mm f5.6
Minolta MC 135mm f2.8
Minolta MD 35-70mm macro zoom f2.8
Minolta MD 50mm f1.7

I know I'm not going to be able to replace these with equivalent AF models for anything less than a small fortune. My most used of those above were the 135mm prime and 35-70mm macro.

Given that I'm not selling my work, but rather almost entirely shooting for my own enjoyment with some sharing, is it worth the money for the adapter to save any of these lenses or am I better served saving my money for something with range and decent aperture?

Thanks - both in advance and for the previous great things I've read before.

Jason
MakingTheLeap is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jul 2, 2010, 9:49 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Old Boat Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: East Texas
Posts: 362
Default

Hello Jason. I think this is one of the first questions I had when I recently registered.

This adapter works as advertised http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/produc...roductid=17015 and I liked the results when shooting non moving items as close range. Having an AF confirm adapter will also make life a bit easier. As had been pointed out to me at the time finding focus on distant or moving items can be difficult as the new DSLR cameras do not have any focus aids for the manual only lenses.

I have not had good luck with the Minolta brand M/A teleconverter but have not spent a great deal of time figuring out how to use it correctly. (reading reviews it would seem that others share my problems, inconsistent lighting)

You can buy a 50mm f/1.7 AF lens for the price of the adapter. You already have a short zoom which are the more expensive if shopping the used market so you might find the switch to AF is not going to be as expensive as you might think.

Here is a thread that I had started with some good information.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/so...-use-a550.html

I am interested in hearing how it works out for you

Steve
Old Boat Guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 2, 2010, 2:45 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 9
Default

Thanks so much, Steve - The information about the AF confirm options was one I was not aware of, which sounds like it does make a huge difference in looking at adapters. I've managed to find a couple on eBay in addition to the link you posted - definitely helpful!

It's reassuring to know that if I do want to replace 50mm, it can be affordable - I'm an aperture guy, so the max aperture is very important for me. In looking though, I'm yet to find a prime 135mm that is anywhere near my price range, so that seems to make the adapter a very good investment.

My plan is to start trolling the local pawn shops and yard sales to see if I can't treasure hunt some other gems to add to the collection.

Any thoughts on the 35-70mm macro lens? The kit lens that came with the camera is similar, but not nearly as fast as the MF I have. Maybe it'll be a matter of testing when I get the adapter for the 135mm...

Jason
MakingTheLeap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 2, 2010, 3:40 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

First, modern autofocus dSLRs don't have the same focusing screens that were used by manual focus film SLRs like your X700, so you won't have the benefit of a split image rangefinder or the micro-prism ring.

Second, your manual focusl lenses won't autofocus (duh), nor will they work with an autoexposure system. That will put you at a disadvantage since there isn't anything int he viewfinder that would serve as the match needle system of your X700. You'll have to take youe eye away from the viewfinder to see the exposure information on the camera's LCD screen.

Third, your A300, in fact, most of sony's dSLRs as well as many of Nikon's and Pentax', use an image sensor that is smaller than a 35mm film exposure. Instead of the 24x36mm film exposure, the APS-C image sensor is 18x24mm. That means your current lenses will have a narrower angle of view than you're accustomed to getting. The image sensor is 2/3 the size of the exposures from your X700, or, put another way, the 35mm film exposures are 1.5X larger than what you'll get with the A300. So your current lenses will have a narrower angle of view. That means that your 100-200mm lens will have a similiar angle of view on your A300 as a 150-300mm lens on your X700, your 135mm lens will be like a 200mm lens, and your 35-70mm and 50mm lenses will be like 50-105mm and 75mm lenses, respectively. They may not be as useful on your A300 as they were on your X700.

Fourth, your Sony A300 has sensor shift image stabilization which prevents motion blur due to camera shake by shifting the image sensor withing the camera body to compensate for camera shake. It does this by knowing some things about the lens that's attached to it. Your lenses don't tell it anything, so it will compensate anyway, but it will presume that the lens has a focal length of 50mm and so may undercompensate or overcompensate for the actual amount of shake the camera detects.

The adapters you listed will successfully mount the lenses you have to the camera you have, but all they'll do is provide a mechanical connection, and they won't resolve all the issues I described above. In fact, one of them, the MINOLTA MD MC to a300 SONY a100 a200 a350 a700 adapter will actually make it somewhat worse. That particular adapter is also a 1.3X teleconverter, adding another 30% to the focal length of your lenses, narrowing your angle of view even further than the smaller image sensor would already do. But in addition, it will ad almost a full f-stop to the maximum apertures of your lenses, making them even less appropriate for the available light shooting you want to do.

The adapter that Old Boat Guy mentioned works like the other two adapters you listed, but it goes further by at least supporting the autofocusing system by allowing you to use the AF points to confirm focus, sin ce the focusing screen won't be much help all by itself.

I would like to add that there are plenty of Minolta autofocus lenses avaialble on the used market, all of which will support the AF, AE and Anti-Shake systems in your A300, and they don't cost very much. For instance, the Minolta AF 70-210mm f/4.0 'Beercan' can be had for about $150-$200, it's a great lens, and it's faster and better than your 100-200mm f/5.6, and the Minolta AF 50mm f/1.7 can be had for about $100. KEH.com is a great source of used lenses, as are the used equipment departments of Adorama and B&H Photo Video, and, of course, there's always eBay.

Not long ago, I tried to do the same thing you're trying to do now. I had a Minolta SRT-202, a 135/2.8, a 50/1.4 and a bellows. (I really wanted to use that bellows.) After some effort and expense, I discovered that used AF lenses worked as well or better, and didn't cost very much, so I gave up on trying to preserve my old gear (including the bellows, which broke my heart, but I recovered.)
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 2, 2010, 3:46 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

Remember as well that all the adapters contain optics that preserve the ability to focus to infinity. (Without the optics, btw, these adapters would also act as extension tubes, severely limiting their usefulness.) The quality of the optics in these adapters will have a significant effect on image quality, and for the price, these don't sound like the the manufacturers spent a lot of time worrying about image quality.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 2, 2010, 4:03 PM   #6
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

I was just going to tell you that you should be able to get a Minolta 135mm f/2.8 AF lens at a good price. But, it looks like they've gone up a bit since I checked them last (as they seem to be selling for closer to $400 used now).

As for the Minolta 35-70mm f/4 Macro, I've got one, and I really don't use it. Interestingly, one reason I don't use is because of it's longer than usual minimum focus distance for this type of lens when using Autofocus (1 meter). Even the kit lenses focus much closer using Autofocus.

In order to use it's Macro feature (which is only giving you a 1:4 Macro anyway, which is really not any better than most kit lenses), you have to use the spring loaded Macro Switch and use Manual Focus with it (although I think there's some type of "hack" available to modify one).

It's also not a very useful focal range on a dSLR with an APS-C size sensor (at least from my point of view), giving you the about the same angle of view you'd have using a 53-105mm lens on a 35mm camera.

So, as TCav mentioned, keep angle of view differences in mind when lens shopping. Because of the smaller APS-C size sensor in a dSLR like your A300, you'll have a narrower angle of view (more apparent magnification) for a given focal length than you're used to.

Just multiply the focal length by 1.5x to see what focal length would give you the same angle of view on a 35mm camera.

For example, a 100mm lens on a Sony dSLR with an APS-C size sensor would give you the same angle of view you'd get with a 150mm lens on a 35 camera.

That's one reason most of the kit lenses start out at around 18mm now. Your 18-70mm lens gives you about the same angle of view you'd have using a 27-105mm lens on a 35mm camera.

Since sometimes you can only back up so far to fit what you want into the frame, a lens starting out at 35mm like the 35-70mm f/4 Macro can be a bit long for some types of subjects, since you'd have around the same angle of view you'd have using a 53mm lens on a 35mm camera.

Some users seem to really like it though (as it is a sharp little lens, and it's very inexpensive on the used market). You can find some reviews of it here:

http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/....asp?IDLens=39
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 8, 2010, 2:08 AM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 9
Default

Thanks again for all the great input and information - I hope each of you knows how appreciative an barely better than amateur shooter like myself.

Based on what I've understood, I'm starting to lean towards NOT getting the adapter, even if it does have autoconfirm built in. The benefits of even a low-end AF over what I have on hand seem to overcome the sentimental reasons for hanging on to the others. Plus, I have an interested buyer for the entire package of lenses, with the camera.

That said, I did also note what I thought was a helpful thread on some of the longer zoom lenses. I'll be keeping an eye out for bargains and may throw some that I find up for opinions/knowledge in the future.

On that note, I did find a Sakar 135mm f3.5 on eBay for about 70 that I'm very tempted by. Any thoughts on the brand and their quality? (I've never heard of them before).

edit: It seems I misread the listing for the Sakar - it's an MD mount - nevermind!

Additionally, in thanks, I offer for your viewing, some of my early experiments with the kit lens, on either Google or Flikr, whichever link you prefer.

http://picasaweb.google.com/jason.a.dal/20100703#

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
MakingTheLeap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 8, 2010, 4:45 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MakingTheLeap View Post
Additionally, in thanks, I offer for your viewing, some of my early experiments with the kit lens, on either Google or Flikr, whichever link you prefer.

http://picasaweb.google.com/jason.a.dal/20100703#

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
It seems like you're off and running.

I especially like the umbrellas and the night cityscapes.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 8, 2010, 7:28 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
frank-in-toronto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 1,083
Default

I looked at the umbrella shot. closely. I couldn't find anywhere in focus/sharp. Perhaps that was the intention so I'm not judging but it allowed me to raise a question I've had in my mind for a while.

When photographing such a scene with no obvious point-of-interest, where is the usual focal plane? up-front? at the back? Whole thing with an emphasis front/back if necessary? Often I see a sequence of similar items placed in what seems to be a pleasing pattern. I'm seldom satisfied with my photo.

Some might say that if there is nothing interesting, why take it but I'm willing to think there is more to it than that. Any suggestions?
frank-in-toronto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 8, 2010, 9:11 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

Sometimes, it's the pattern that's interesting. In that situation, you might want a deep depth of field to get the entire pattern in focus. Either that or a very shallow depth of field to highlight a small part of the pattern. Either way, it's not any single umbrella that's the subject; it's the shapes and colors.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 1:55 PM.