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I just bought your March 2010 issue and read the article regarding old lenses on new D-SLRs. I was very disappointed in the contents and research. Nowadays, a lot of after-market lens adapters are made specifically for D-SLR cameras. I have a Panasonic Lumix G1 and bought a Leica M39 adapter, which can fit all of my old SM Leica lenses. Just visit eBay.
I seldom consult eBay to answer readers’ questions. I just don’t find the data there reliable enough. I know many firms do offer adapters today for a variety of older lenses and newer digital cameras, although it’s often difficult to find one compatible with the more obscure, older film camera lenses. I’m pleased to learn you found adapters so you can use your older Leica SM lenses on your Lumix G1 digital camera.
Q. In your article “Something Old, Something New,” in the March 2010 issue of Shutterbug, you state that there are third-party firms that supply adapters to use Leica R lenses on Nikon bodies. Could you please give me the names and contact info of these companies?
J. Anthony Terrell
A. I found listings at the Adorama.com website for adapters for Leica R lenses to Micro Four Thirds cameras, Canon EOS cameras, and even to Leica M cameras, but none to work with Nikon D-SLR cameras. I would think if they offer adapters for these other brands/types of D-SLR cameras, they would also have them for Nikon since that is one of the major brands around. I hope this provides some links where you can locate the precise adapter you seek.
Old And New
Q. Your article “Something Old, Something New” was wonderful and almost answered a question I am having trouble getting answered. I own a gorgeous 650-1300mm Phoenix all-manual zoom with a T-mount. I also have two other old, sharp preset teles with T-mounts. I’m not concerned about focusing—I still remember how! My question is this: will D-SLRs, any or none, meter with these? I’ve been told they will actually damage a D-SLR. I did try the big gun on an old Rebel and it metered fine. I’d also love to purchase a low-buck 500mm “mirror” lens, but the same question applies.
A. I checked the Adorama.com website and found several different adapters to use T-mount lenses with various models of Canon and Nikon D-SLR cameras. You should be able to successfully use your older Phoenix tele-zoom and other T-mount lenses with one of these adapters on several different makes of D-SLR bodies. You will have to meter manually by stopping down the lens to obtain the light reading, then set this on the camera in Manual mode (that is, set both aperture and shutter speed yourself), reopen the lens for easier focusing, and then make the exposure. I would think a T-mount 500mm mirror lens could be used in a similar manner. I’m sure other firms such as B&H (www.bhphotovideo.com) offer similar lens adapters. In a company’s website Search box, put in “T-mount lens adapter for digital camera” to locate the correct adapter.
Contax Lens Adapter For Digital?
Q. For the past 15 years I have been shooting with a Contax 167MT. I have the following Carl Zeiss lenses: 135mm, 85mm, 60mm macro, and 50mm. I’ve never been disappointed by their picture quality. I would like to make the jump to digital. Is there any current system out there that would allow me to continue using these fantastic lenses?
A. While your 1987 vintage Contax 167MT and excellent Zeiss prime lenses may have served you well during film-era uses, you might have problems when attempting to adapt any of them for use with a new D-SLR camera. You might be able to obtain an adapter from this firm: Zörk Film & Phototechnic (www.zoerk.com). My article on using older film-era lenses with new D-SLR cameras appeared in the March 2010 issue of Shutterbug. Although some older lenses having mounts compatible with new D-SLR cameras can be used successfully, there are always some limitations so that full compatibility is not possible. The main problem seems to be with TTL metering.