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Thread: Anyone shoot vintage lenses on mirrorless systems?

  1. #1
    I've been shooting a Nikon D5300 the past year or so, and for the most part like it. But I've collected a few rather good vintage Nikon lenses (including the legendary 105 f/2.5) and I really enjoy shooting with them. They mount to and work just fine with the D5300, but with no metering, and the only focusing aid I get is a little dot through the viewfinder indicating that I've hit it (which is rather useful). Throw in the small viewfinder, single dial, no metering, and it's clear that it's not really doing the job. Moving up to the D7200 or something similar is tempting, but adds bulk.
    Anyway, I've been flirting with getting a mirrorless body. My wife would like something lighter to carry around anyway, so I figured I'd get a native pancake or something for when she uses it, and I'd keep the D5300 for fast/casual shooting (e.g. where automatic focusing is important). The Fuji isn't "too big" (she loved the X100F in store), though smaller is better in that regard. Mostly I think size is relatively unimportant, so long as it's smaller than the Nikon.
    I can get a really good deal on a couple older bodies with still good image quality (Fuji XE-1 and Olympus OMD EM10). Obviously, the two cameras are very different. I know that the Fuji comes with a bigger sensor and more weight. I know less about the differences between the EVFs, using them for manual focusing, etc. I've played with their successor models in store, but it's hard to track down the older models to handle. I like that both borrow heavily from their film predecessors in design language (part of what drove me to vintage lenses is a 1980s Nikon body that I love).

  2. #2

    Anyone shoot vintage lenses on mirrorless systems?

    I’ve shot some old Olympus manual focus lenses on the a6000 and they worked great. Beautiful colors that somehow seem to be absent on modern lenses. Focus peeking pretty much makes it a breeze. Whatever’s in focus is outlined in the viewfinder. Go with whatever feels best to you, but you’ll have way more flexibility if you choose something with in-body stabilization.



  3. #3
    I’ve shot some old Olympus manual focus lenses on the a6000 and they worked great. Beautiful colors that somehow seem to be absent on modern lenses. Focus peeking pretty much makes it a breeze. Whatever’s in focus is outlined in the viewfinder. Go with whatever feels best to you, but you’ll have way more flexibility if you choose something with in-body stabilization.



  4. #4
    I do it a fair bit with my Panasonic GX7 (Micro Four Thirds).
    I’m not sure what the used market is looking like (I think it is pretty dirt cheap now, if I recall) but if you can find a GX7, it has better manual focus aids than any of the other cameras that were on the market at the same time as it (Oly E-M10, Fuji X-E2, Sony A6000). Very good focus peaking matched up with touch-magnification, which can be "picture-in-picture" so you can focus specifically on what you want without losing overall framing.
    The sensor is a bit smaller, but there are lots of very inexpensive focal reducers ($75-150) on the market that will give you crop factor of 1.4x (slightly closer to FF than APS-C), so you can effectively use 2 lenses in one.
    I find 50mm/1.4s work really well on M4/3, and I just bought a cheap Nikkor O 35mm/f2 for under $100 that I’m using with that $75 focal reducer to get a 25mm/f1.4.
    The in-body image stabilization on the GX7 is definitely not as good as on the E-M10, but with a few attempts I can get a 2-3 stop improvement (which works with any adapted lens, so that’s great).
    The GX7 also has a silent shutter, which I’m not sure the X-E1 or E-M10 do.



  5. #5
    All excellent and helpful thoughts. I take it the focal reducer does alright, then? I know the metabones ones go for the cost of a decent used body or lens, so I’d definitely go with the miscellany from the Internet.
    The M43 system is tempting for lots of reasons I’d not have expected. They really do give FF a run for their money among enthusiasts and amateurs. I’m impressed with the quality in post-2012 cameras in general.



  6. #6
    content from reference site

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