Happy New Year! As the first post for 2008, I thought I’d write a brief note on mounting all those beautiful vintage manual lenses on the Sony α 700, especially my Zuiko prime lenses and the other OM mount 3rd party lenses I own. Most people know by now that all the Minolta AF and most 3rd party AF lenses made since 1985 can be used on the Sony Alpha series cameras without any problem (luckily for us, Sony retained the Minolta A mount).

What’s not as well known is the fact that all the great old vintage lenses out there can be used on the Sony Alpha series cameras as well. There are T-mounts or other adapters available to mount older manual focus lenses to the Sony Alpha 700 (and the Sony Alpha 100, of course.)

There are many wonderful manual focusing lenses available everywhere – often for a few dollars, since most folks don’t know (or care) about the 3rd Party MANUAL focus lenses from the 60’s and 70’s – Vivitar, Kiron, Panagor, Soligor, Spiratone all made or marketed lenses for practically every camera mount, so there are a lot of choices, Of course, with the proper mount, you can also mount Canon, Nikon or Pentax M42 or K mount lenses. Personally, I favor my beautiful OEM Zuiko lenses… since they were originally built light and small, with superb optics and perfect for mounting on todays Digital SLRs.

There is just one thing to remember – whenever a lens is mounted on any AF camera, the camera usually recognizes the lens via the contacts at the back of the AF lens. Once the “lens mount check” is done, the camera recognizes the lens and communicates with it, allowing the shutter to operate. However, the old manual lenses have no contacts and thus there is nothing for the camera to recognize, so the shutter will not operate.

However, most cameras have an option buried deep within the documentation that tells you how to turn off the “lens check”. The Minolta AF/Sony FAQ has instructions for most of the Minolta AF models, but it’s not specific when it comes to the A700.

Here’s how to enable shutter operation on the Sony A700 with a manual lens mounted. On the Alpha 700 Menu, go to the Custom Menu #2 (the little Gear icon) and scroll down until you find a function called “Release w/o Lens” and change the Default to ENABLE (the default is DISABLE). Once that’s done, you can mount any lens, AF or Manual and the camera will meter and the shutter will fire normally.

Simple, huh? Thanks again, Sony and Minolta! I love my old lenses, and appreciate the backwards compatibility that permits the use of 60’s and 70’s optics on a modern Digital SLR.

By the way, if someone is wondering how to mount Zuiko lenses on the Sony Alpha DSLR, its simple. Bower makes an adapter
Bower Minolta AF-OM adapter
for mounting OM Zuiko lenses to Minolta AF or Sony Alpha bodies. It has a glass element, so it can provide Infinity focus. Its generally available for about $65 or so on ebay – look for “Minolta Maxxum AF OM adapter”. Here is an example of what the Bower adapter can do using a Zuiko 200mm f/4. I’ll post some pictures with other Zuikos on my Alpha 700 soon.

Note on Zuiko lenses: The Zuiko wide-angle primes have a little projection at the back of the lens that does not allow them to mount on the Bower adapter. I tested the 28mm f/3.5 and 35mm f/2.8. Since I dont have the 24mm or wider lenses, I can’t tell. However, I can use them with a 12mm extension tube – there’s no infinity focus, but they’re great for close-up or macrophotography. Of course, for greater magnification, one can use a 24mm or 36mm extension tube, or a combination. All my other Zuiko prime and Zoom lenses did not have any mounting problems with the Bower adapter. I was able to mount a 50mm f/1.8; 50mm f/1.4; 100mm f/2.8; 30-70mm f/4, 200mm f/4. 135mm f/2.8, 135mm f/3.5, 75-150mm f/4, 100-200mm f5, 300mm f/4.5. I also tested some 3rd party OM mount lenses – the Panagor 90mm f/2.8, Tokina 70-210mm f/3.5 etc. I’ll have some pictures posted soon.


text and images © 2008 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners. Thank you for visiting olympuszuiko.

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This work by Ajoy Muralidhar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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Fall comes pretty late to Montgomery County. The colors just seemed to peak just last week, a full 3 weeks after most of the Northeast had their glorious blazes. But then, we don’t have that many Maples here -just enough to set them off against the yellows and brown-golds and greens. We have lots of Sycamores, Pin and White Oak, Birches and Yellow Poplar that seem to hold on to their green a lot longer. Even now, there are a lot of trees that are still predominantly green, just starting to go yellow and red

These pictures were all taken around Gaithersburg, Rockville and Germantown. The woods around Robertson Park and Morris Park are especially beautiful this week. I was out these past 2 weekends with a few cameras. These pictures were all taken with my OM-2n. I used the Tokina RMC 70-210 f/3.5 and the Vivitar SERIES ONE 70-210mm f/3.5 Zoom lens

If the Tokina RMC 70-210mm Zoom appears to have the same specifications as the Vivitar SERIES ONE, it’s because they share the same design genes. Lens enthusiasts and fans of the Vivitar Series One lenses will recall that Vivitar had several versions of the Series One 70-210mm. Their first one was the Kino Precision made 70-210m lens (serial number 22xxxxx) that was built like a tank. Weighed 2 lbs and has a 67mm front element. The second version of the lens was made for Vivitar by Tokina (serial number 37xxxxx).

The Tokina made lens was smaller and lighter than the Kino version – just as sharp, and with a constant f/3.5 aperture like its predecessor, but with a 62mm front element. Vivitar went through their lens manufacturers real quickly in those days…. they then turned to Komine to produce the third version (Serial number 28xxxxx) and dropped Tokina. Tokina then produced the lens under its own name, the Tokina RMC 70-210mm f/3.5 (with their special multicoated lens) which I was lucky enough to get my hands on. It’s a very beautiful lens, silky smooth operation and a pleasure to use.

On a side note: You’d think that Vivitar would have stayed with Komine, since the 3rd version of the 70-210mm Series One is considered by many to to be superior to the previous two – it had a f/2.8-4 aperture instead of the fixed f/3.5 but weighed as much as the Kino version (860gms) in spite of the smaller 62mm front element. Vivitar went on to make a 4th and 5th version of the Series One 70-210mm, turning to Cosina for the manufacture. Alas, the quality just wasn’t the same. If you’re in the market, I’d suggest that you look for the Kino, Tokina and Komine versions and give the Cosina versions a pass.

I love the older version Kino made Vivitar Series One, but it’s a bear to carry and I can barely hand-hold it. Besides, it looks disproportionately large on the small frame of my OM SLR bodies. I always worry about damage to the mount with such a big lens. I can see how why the later versions (especially the 2nd and 3rd versions made by Tokina and Komine) became so popular – they were smaller, even though they weighed just as much. The Tokina version weighs 790gms. Still very heavy by modern standards. Hey, it has 14 elements in 10 groups.

Check out Mark Roberts’ photography website for a comparison of the different Vivitar Series One 70-210mm lenses. He prefers the Komine Version (#3) but I think the Tokina has better contrast. The Tokina RMC 70-210mm f/3.5, however does not have a Macro mode like it’s Vivitar Series One counterparts.


Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm

Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm f/3.5
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm f/3.5
Tokina RMC 70-210mm

Photographed with an OM2n, Tokina RMC 70-210mm f/3.5, Vivitar Series One 70-210mm f/3.5 with Fuji Superia 200 film. I used a polarizer in the sunlight. The exposures in low light were at 1/125 sec at f/5.6


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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That’s because I’ve been busy with updating some of the other areas of the site that I meant to add to for a while now. I finally managed to finish the “Classics” section, and added the pictures of my older cameras – the solid Yashica TL Super (with Yashinon 50mm f/1.4), The Yashica Electro 35 GSN and the Yashica Dental Eye with its great big 50mm f/4 ring flash lens.

I also added pictures of the Fujica Fujicarex II and its peculiar interchangeable front elements. That was a lucky find, since I was able to get the 50mm f/4 element with the camera and the seller even had the 80mm f/2.8 and the 35mm f/3.5 front elements. I still need to add the pictures of the Yashikor screw-in lenses for the Electro 35.

In the Olympus camera section, I’ve added pictures of the Olympus PEN EE half frame camera. This is the early version camera – it says Olympus on the front and has the “leather” look leatherette instead of the “basketview” leatherette of the later models.

In the Non-Zuiko 3rd party lenses section, I’ve added pictures of the super telephoto Spiratone 400mm f/6.3 and the Toyo 5 Star 500mm f/8 long tube lenses, the Kitstar 200mm f/3.3 and the Vivitar 70-150mm f/3.8. I need to get some of the lens data in there as well for the Zuikos.

I still need to add pictures of the Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 and the Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm. The Zuiko section has some pictures added as well – the Zuiko 100-200mm f/5 and the Zuiko 100mm f/2.8. Yes, I finally got one. It wasn’t cheap as I would have liked, but it was a good price for a lens in fine condition. In the Minolta area, I have some pictures of the Maxxum 35-105mm lens.

The one area I haven’t gotten around to updating is the Macrophotography section – it looks so bare without any pictures of my equipment. I’ll be adding pictures of the Hoya 52mm screw-in macro lenses, the Vivitar extension tubes, and the Spiratone bellows assembly with the 35mm Macrotar, the 150mm Macrotel and the 75mm flatfield. These are dedicated Macro lenses. Of course, I still need to take some pictures of the Honeywell Repronar equipment. I managed to get the descriptions of all the Macro equipment done though.

Later this winter, when its too cold to do anything else, I’ll work on the Microphotography section and add pictures of my Wolf-Wetzlar and Propper Microscopes, the various Wetzlar, Vickers objectives, eyepieces and the microscope adapter stuff.

That will be a while, though. Fall beckons, clothed in her colorful leafy finery… her siren song fills a photographer’s soul with happiness. I need to be out there taking pictures.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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