Digital Camera for My Lenses

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by brent_bennett, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. I am looking at current possibilities for a high quality sensor digital that can use my Zeiss Contarex lenses.
    With a 46mm registration, that really limits my options. I wish there was a full-frame digital camera that has
    a significantly shorter registration so adapters could be made for my lenses.
    At present, it appears that the Sony NEX cameras are a reasonable option. I would appreciate your advice in the context of the following thoughts:
    1. The NEX is so incredibly small, especially compared to the big and heavy lenses that I would be putting on it. (I may have to machine a brick to hold it, so it feels more like a Contarex). A lighter and smaller camera is not something I would appreciate.
    2. I live in a rather remote area, and there is not a store within 100 miles that has NEX cameras, so I haven't seen what it's like to not have a viewfinder. I would like to hear from someone who has one who has previouly had a viewfinder camera, either film or digital.
    3. I am strongly prompted to get a digital camera that can take my lenses because of what I have read about the lack of quality of kit lenses. And I have seen that the better lenses cost more than I am planning on spending on the digital camera. I hope to not spend $2,000 on any lens at this point.
    4. Another option would be to get a better camera, such as a Pentax K-5 (from what I've read, it is a very good camera) and machine the lens mount down to take my lenses (if that is feasable).
    5. Finally, would an old SLR film camera guy, who sometimes uses a 4x5, be bothered with a camera that does not provide autofocus and automatic shutter speed and aperture settings? What is it like to use a manual lens on a modern digital camera?
    Thank You for your comments
  2. imo it all depends on your style and what you shoot. I love the nex and lcd viewing in general for what and when i shoot. I came from a fe2/m6 route but i adapted and evolved and now prefer lcd and af than vf and manual focus now. But i'm a rare case. Many here still talk down of lcd viewing and even af. Anyway, if you shoot landscapes/static subjects, adapting the nex should be fine if you are ok with the arkward size/control. On the other hand, the nex might be too much if you never shot digital compact before...getting a dslr w/ ovf might be a safer bet.
  3. Have you thought that all you need is a black cloth and the NEX will be a miniature 5x4 ? :) Fun how things go around in circles. Just missing the movements I expect your 5x4 has.
    I certainly have adapted to AF in preference to manual focusing but I'm not sure I would want a camera without a viewfinder, though I prefer the EVF to ground glass etc. Have you compared the reesults that Dpreview have got with their tests between say the NEX and the Panasonic 4/3, to see if 4/3 gives you enough of what you want? A lot depends on what you use your gear for.
    I think the problem with your machining idea is clearance between camera mount and mirror in setting lenses back into camera. This link if it is still going may be of interest to you ... a list of lens mount specs
  4. If you want full frame, you might be able to get somebody to make an adapter to Leica M9 (Novoflex?), but that is expensive and has no live view so the mount has to be made well so that scale focusing is still possible. NEX is the best realistic alternative. Get the 16mm lens and you have a handy little autofocusing digicam with a good wideangle lens and then adaptor for your existing longer lenses. You can get plenty of good fixed focal length lenses for less than 2000.
  5. I saw a post over in the micro 4/3rd's forum at DPReview that there is a Zeiss Contarex to micro 4/3rd's adapter, so you could also mount them on cameras like the Panasonic GH2 or any of the Olympus Pen bodies. Sure enough, I found one on eBay..
    I don't know about you, but I'd prefer using bigger lenses on a small body that either had an option to fit a high-quality electronic eyelevel finder, or had one built in to the body in the first place. With Panasonic and/or Olympus, you can make that choice. With NEX, you're stuck holding the whole damn outfit out in front of you and using the back LCD. Never cared doing that with small point & shoots and sure as hell wouldn't want to do it with bigger outfits, especially with adapted heavier, all-metal lenses.
  6. Using manual lenses on a DSLR is great, but using them on an LCD only camera would not be my preferred route. There is a lot of misinformation out there about kit lenses -- and of course, it depends on what system you end up buying into. The modern lenses do have different coatings, made specifically for digital sensors. Also, remember that that you are going to be using cameras with cropped sensors, which may not get the best from your old lenses, and will result in a longer effective focal length, which may not be what you want.

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