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Old Lenses/New Camera Feedback
I’m feeling smug because I was living the dream before you did the March 2010 article about old lenses on new cameras. As soon as I found out that Olympus had an adapter to put my E-420 lenses on my E-P1 I bought one. And that was a lot of fun. But when I saw that Novoflex made an adapter to put Leica M lenses on it, I got really excited! I bought a “bargain”-grade 90mm Elmar from KEH and it was amazing. I couldn’t find anything wrong with the lens and it was a real kick to have 90mm available. I was so tickled that I got a 135mm Hektor as well. Same deal: bargain rating, but beautiful glass and mount.
Having to use them on a tripod so as not to jiggle things after focusing is no problem. It takes me back to the days when I shot 4x5 sheet film. Looking forward to any future bright ideas you may care to share with us all.
Robert A. Compton
I read with interest your article regarding the use of an older film lens on a modern digital camera. I originally purchased my Olympus E-520 camera along with a lens adapter, hoping that I could use the four Olympus lenses that I had purchased years ago for an Olympus OM-1. The Live View is a real help in an attempt to manual focus. It is a lot easier and I feel you get better results than trying to focus through the viewfinder. Anyway, this is to let you know that your fine articles are read and enjoyed by us folks out here in Middle America.
This article generated a lot of reader mail, and satisfaction, that they could successfully use older film-era interchangeable lenses on a newer D-SLR camera. Manual focusing is a must with this type of combination, but done with care, and sometimes using a tripod to steady the camera, you can produce very acceptable images. Some of the older lenses may seem heavy today, but they probably were made with more metal parts and construction instead of the lighter polycarbonate material typically used now.
I wanted to comment on the “Something Old, Something New” article in your March 2010 issue. You go to great lengths to describe converters for Canon, who basically abandoned their users not once but twice, yet you do not describe at all a fully autofocusing tele-converter offered by Pentax that gives you autofocus and additional “reach” on telephoto lenses. In addition, you didn’t really describe properly the use of manual aperture lenses on Pentax cameras where “stopped down” metering is achieved with the simple push of a button, making it both easy and convenient, nor do you note that all this is done with the lens wide-open and that the camera stops the lens down to the preset on the lens aperture for exposure. It seems you are downplaying the backward compatibility of Pentax rather badly.
With respect to older lenses, and the cons, while you are correct to mention light falloff at the edges, you should explain that this is due to lens design and early sensors needing light striking the sensor at close to perpendicular. This has been designed out in many newer sensors, and also is most acute on wide-angle lenses. With respect to reflection and flare from the sensor onto the back element, out of 27 lenses I currently own, spanning from early screwmounts up to new lenses with optimized coatings for digital cameras, only one exhibits flare from the sensor reflecting off the back element. So while it might happen, it does not seem to be a common problem. You should also mention some of the pros, specifically: some older lenses are longer, or faster, than anything available in the current lens line-up offered today and that some older lenses have optical designs that give them much more pleasing bokeh than newer models.
Thanks for sending your extensive comments about your positive experience using older film-era Pentax lenses with new Pentax D-SLR bodies. Their new digital cameras seem to be more compatible with older Pentax lenses than other brands. Interested readers can research this at: http://support.pentaximaging.com/. I have heard from several other Pentax users since the article was published and they all speak very favorably of the compatibility and ease of using their older Pentax lenses with their newer digital equipment.
Electro 35 Repairs
This is in response to the question submitted by reader JD Cruz in the March 2010 column (page 177). Probably the best repair facility for the Yashica Electro 35 GSN and other Yashica cameras is the one run by Mark Hama (see http://markhama.home.comcast.net for more info). Mr. Hama once assembled cameras at the Yashica factory. He did an excellent job on my Yashica Electro 35 GSN which suffered from the common “pad of death” syndrome. Reader Cruz can also find a lot of information on his camera at http://yashicaddiction.com, a website for people devoted to Yashica rangefinder cameras.
Thanks for providing data on where you have had competent Yashica repair work done. I’m sure other readers who have cameras made by Yashica will be pleased to learn where they can obtain more data about their products.