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Thread: Old Lenses for Sony

  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Old Lenses for Sony

    I've been looking at some of the work of Emmett Gowen (google images - nudity), and it's made me realize how much I enjoy the character of older photographic technology. Everything is to sharp and detailed and contrasty today. And that certainly seems to be the preference in this neighborhood.

    I know much of the look is due to film, but I'd like to explore some older lenses on my Nex 7. I'd appreciate any suggestions you have. In particular, those under 75mm (FOV) that offer high micro-contrast without the bite so typical of modern lenses. Thanks.

    John
    Last edited by JohnW; 13th March 2014 at 09:18.

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    Senior Member MikeEvangelist's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    I hadn't seen his work before. Some pretty cool stuff.

    Looking at the images, I'd guess that most were shot on 4x5 or 2 1/4 format (a lot of them are square, so I'd say a Rolleiflex).

    Much of what you might be reacting to is the look of larger format film. (shooting medium format film is a lot of fun, but it can be a slippery slope of expense.)

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    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Thanks, Mike. Yes, a lot of 4x5 and certainly other variables besides lenses. I'm not so much wanting to replicate his look as move in that direction of less sharpness while retaining good tonal gradation. It has more character to my eyes.

    Incidentally, if you are interested, PDN recently posted this essay by Gowin.

    John

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    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    I just noticed there is an a7/a7R thread on old lenses. A little different than what I'm asking, but mods, feel free to delete this thread if you want.

    John

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    Senior Member BSEH's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    No, it's interesting enough and a little different than what is written in the other thread.

    I am also interested in how to mix the new and the old world. My idea is to find older lenses that draw "special".

    The next thing I want is to print negatives from digital files, and make 8x10 contact prints.

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    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Now I see there is also a thread on old lenses with the Nex 7! Yikes. I searched before posting but obviously not well enough.

    Joh

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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Not having to do with the Sony exactly, but I was quite surprised at how good some old lenses were...

    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-f...prised-me.html

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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    I know much of the look is due to film, but I'd like to explore some older lenses on my Nex 7. I'd appreciate any suggestions you have. In particular, those under 75mm (FOV) that offer high micro-contrast without the bite so typical of modern lenses.
    You may want to simply try the Minolta 50mm f/1.4 (or the Sony version or even the f/1.7 version if you can find it). Why seek somewhere else something for which Minolta was famous?

    Other choices include the Minolta or Sony 35mm f/1.4 G and the Minolta 28mm f/2.0.
    Last edited by jerome_m; 15th March 2014 at 08:37. Reason: added "Minolta" to make it clear which lenses the 35 and 28 were

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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    You can find a lot of diversity with M42 and M39 screw-mount - Asahi-Pentax lenses, various Soviet lenses and the Carl Zeiss Jena designs they were knocked off of, Leica screw mount, and some others. This glass all has a lot of character, and most of it can be had for as little as $30-$200 per lens if you shop around on eBay.
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    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Quote Originally Posted by jerome_m View Post
    You may want to simply try the Minolta 50mm f/1.4 (or the Sony version or even the f/1.7 version if you can find it). Why seek somewhere else something for which Minolta was famous?

    Other choices include the 35mm f/1.4 G and the 28mm f/2.0.
    Thanks, Jerome. I forgot I actually have the MD 50 1.4 and will look at it with this in mind.

    What's the "G" lens you cite? Nikon?

    John

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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    I haven't tried these on the A7 yet, but I did on the Ricoh GXR and/or M9—it proved a lot of fun and produced some nice photos:

    - 1938 Zeiss Tessar 38mm f/2.8 uncoated (RoBoT thread mount -> LTM -> M-bayonet adapters)

    - 1940 Zeiss Biotar 40mm f/2 uncoated (same as above)

    - 1959-60 Hektor-M 135mm f/4.5

    - Skink pinhole, zone plate, zone sieve

    - Holga 25mm toy camera lens


    Ricoh GXR-M + Zeiss Tessar 38mm f/2.8



    Leica M9 + Hektor-M 135mm f/4.5

    Some of my more modern lenses, the Voigtländer Color Skopar 21/28/35/50 in particular, have a rendering style much like what I see out of the '50s Elmars but with better flare control. They work great with film and the Ricoh GXR (likely the NEX 6 too), but the shorter focal lengths have issues with the M9 and A7 for color work (color shifts, corner darkening). Confined to B&W work, they produce interesting images too. I'm not sure how well they work with the NEX 7, likely on par with how they work on the M9/A7 but a little less so.

    G
    Godfrey - GDGPhoto Flickr Stream
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Quick question what adapter are folks using for C/Y lenses . If you have a link that would be great , thinking about getting one of those Contax Distagons
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Guy, the best one is the all black Novoflex, although it is a little expensive.
    Novoflex - _info
    It has a nice possibility to fit a tripod collar around it also from Novoflex, if you would ever want to buy the wonderful C/Y 100-300.
    For the time being i use two adapters on top of each other Leica to NEX and the C/Y to Leica. Works good at least this combinations blocks the inner reflections very good.

    The link doesn't really work but you have to use the adapterfinder on their site.
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    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    I've been pretty satisfied with several Rainbow Imaging adapters from Amazon. Among them a C/Y that I use with a 50 1.7. No issues and very low cost.

    A C/Y - A7 - Rainbow Imaging brick wall test.

    web site | tumblr
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    John, here are some examples with old lenses. I use them mostly for portraits.
    The last one is with the 50 Summitar as well.

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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    The speed booster will get you closer to that medium format feel.

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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    BTW It is mostly with longer lenses above 50mm you get the reflection problems with a lot of C/Y adapters.

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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Sorry John i am not much of a B&W shooter.

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    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Thank you, Michiel. Very informative. This site needs a database of such examples.

    I like the look of the Jupiter 8 very much. Although it's hard to separate the appeal of the lens from the appeal of that lovely face.

    John

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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    The Jupiter-8 is a lovely lens and not hard to come by and not expensive either.

    That face is from my niece, she is Canadian, a poet and a yoga teacher and a very nice person.

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    Senior Member f/otographer's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Quick question what adapter are folks using for C/Y lenses . If you have a link that would be great , thinking about getting one of those Contax Distagons
    Guy, I was using a generic CY adapter from the auction site until I discovered it leaked light thru the lens release button. I almost decided to fork out the 200 bones for the Novoflex that Michiel mentioned. Instead I did a pretty massive search for all available CY adapters and came up with the one made by Kipon. Kipon seems to be one of the better makers of Chinese adapters and their prices reflect this. Their CY adapter ran me about 80 bucks. Here it is on the a7.



    It is very reminiscent of the Novoflex. Quality is excellent and I like the straight edge design of it. Many cheap CY adapters have an angled body that taper from the lens mount side to the body mount side. For some reason I find that aesthetically horrible. Just a personal thing.

    The fit on my copy is pretty good. Only the most minor wiggle on the body side. Please understand that I am very particular about my adapters and this tiny movement doesnt bother me at all. The lens side is very tight, almost to tight. I thing there are screw type adjusters built into the front so you can adjust the tightness. I will play around with this soon.

    Overall Im very pleased. Very high quality adapter for significantly more then the cheap ones but less then half the price of a Novoflex.

    By the way, that is an M42 mount Zeiss Biotar mounted to the Kipon with a seperate M42 to CY adapter. Nice snug fit.

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    Senior Member f/otographer's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    Incidentally, if you are interested, PDN recently posted this essay by Gowin.
    This was an excellent essay John, thanks for posting the link. One thing that stood out for me is the contact he had with Meatyard. I discoverd the work of Ralph Eugene Meatyard some time ago and have been a follower ever since. I do feel a bit of connection with him since upon seeing his work I realized I had been shooting for some time in a style that was somewhat similar to some of Meatyards own work.

    He shot many photos in what he referred to as his 'no focus' style. Our interpretation on this are somewhat different to be sure. Meatyard not only used the out of focus area of the lens but also long exposures and camera shake to complete his image. It is much more raw and feral then my style. I guess you could say that my interpretation involves a cleaner or more clinical approach (and is the poorer for it). I simply try to paint an image using nothing but the out of focus area to render the image in a dream like fashion. While I am very pleased with what I have accomplished I do not feel it has the stark realism or power of what Meatyard did.

    Here are a few examples.

    the bicyclist


    imbalance of strata


    omoide


    black room for a blue girl


    the impression of a self portrait


    cry leaves


    spring


    bee
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Thanks folks . Okay folks back to old lenses. Great thread
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Guy, for what it is worth, I take my Contax Zeiss to Canon EOS mount first. This is with a solid, screw locked down metal ring. Then I go from EOS to Sony E with any of the better quality and widely available adapters. Those cams on the C/Y mount I want to make sure always stay down. The EOS mount doesn't have any of that stuff protruding to catch on anything or bend, going on and off in a hurry, if you get my drift. This also makes for a very solid and locked down mounting. These old Contax Zeiss lenses are heavy dudes, built like tanks. Beautiful tanks. Ah yes, the magic of the Distagons

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    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Two "oldies" that get regular use on my NEX is a 1949 Elmar 50/3.5 and a 1956 Elmar 90/4.

    Still excellent performers, nice rendering and a bit lower contrast which gives a special mood or can easily be adjusted in PP if you're not looking for that.

    Elmar 50/3.5:









    Elmar 90/4






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    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    My initial post had something else in mind, but those are amazing. Especially like the one of the sheep running. You've really blended very old and very new to produce something special.

    John
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    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    You've really blended very old and very new to produce something special.
    John, all credit goes to my Dyxum friend Leo Roos, it's not my posting. But I agree, #2 and #4 I like best from that set.

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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    Not sure if this qualifies here: '52 Leica Summarex 1:1.5/85mm

    Some shots from the beach last Sunday.





    Bart ...
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    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lenses for Sony

    A7r with 1964 Chrome Tele Elmarit. Quickies shot with the tiny Sony flash unit.

    Joel

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